This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oscar & Sarah from Roping the Wrangler by Lacy Williams

I recently joined the ACFW Bookclub, which has been a fun way to discuss Christian fiction books.  It’s free for anyone to join and communication is done through yahoo groups via e-mail.  This title was one we discussed a few months ago and I’ve been wanting to post on it since then, but didn’t get a chance until now. 
Roping the Wrangler is a sweet story about a school teacher and a horseman falling in love with each other as well as three little half-Native American girls that no one else seems to have time for.  It's a touching story and one that will warm your heart to read during Christmas time.

The inspiration for this sketch marks a turning point in the story.  Before this scene, the girls rode bareback through bad weather to make it to the school house in time for their Christmas program.  Knowing that they would need an escort home Oscar and Sarah decide to take them back.  But, Sarah’s boss seems to have a problem with that, and tells Sarah that it would be inappropriate to spend more time with them and the horseman.  She decides to go anyway.  Sarah has just made a decision which places the girl’s needs over her reputation.  Truly, that is the greatest gift we can give to another, to put their needs first.

 From pages 141-142:
Somehow they managed to fit all five of them on the single bench seat.  With Susie half seated on top of Sarah’s lap, and Cecilia no doubt the same on Oscar’s, and Velma sandwiched on the middle.
“Hyah!” Oscar snapped the reins and they began to silde across the snowy landscape.  Mr. Caldwell’s horse trailed behind.
With snow falling faster now, it formed a blanket of silence around them, insulating them from seeing houses that Sarah knew weren’t far off the road.  It was as if they were the only ones out.
“It’s kinda spooky,” Cecilia said softly.
“Too quiet,” Oscar agreed.  He winked at Sarah over the top of the girl’s heads.  Even with three girls between them, his look was pure male appreciation.  Just that look could keep Sarah warm for the entire ride.”
“You know what we need?”
“I’m afraid to guess,” Sarah teased him.
“What?  What?” the girls chorused.
“Christmas carols.”  He didn’t wait for agreement, just began belting out “Jingle Bells” in his strong baritone.

When I thought about doing a sketch for the book, I knew it would have to include not just the couple, but the girls as well.  Getting a horse in there was very fitting too, but you can probably tell drawing horses is a weakness of mine; I truly need more practice with them!  Above is the original sketch before I took it into Photoshop to spice it up a bit.  Next to it is a photo taken this October from the window of my home office!  These horses belong to our Amish neighbor.  When I was reading "Roping the Wrangler," it was easy for me to image Oscar driving this handsome pair!

Thanks for stopping by the blog during this busy holiday season!  God Bless!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Miranda and Taggart from Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley

This is the first book by Margaret Brownley that I’ve read, and it was great fun.  It’s got everything: mystery, suspense, romance, and humor all set in the Wild West.  If you want a story that’s mostly upbeat and light-hearted this is a great pick!

The story follows Miranda Hunt, aka Annie, an operative for the Pinkerton Detective agency as she takes on the job of tracking down a mysterious train robber.  Enter mysterious outlaw/ranch hand, and you get Jeremy Taggart, who’s really a special operative for Wells Fargo, Miranda’s rival agency!  Being “in the know” about who these two are, as they struggle to figure out each other’s identities while falling in love, was part of the fun.  While the romance aspect could be called predictable, I found it no less enjoyable, and I was kept guessing as to who the real villain was right up until the end.  I love the way the events of the story played out.  Once the villain was revealed, I could think back to little clues I’d read throughout the story and it made perfect sense.  The clues really solidified the surprise ending for me.  The plot was very well thought out and paced.

Miranda and Taggart were both well fleshed out characters, and both very likeable.  Having Miranda be part Kikapoo added an interesting dynamic to her heritage and appearance.  Taggart struck me as the classic good guy type you might see in an old Western.  Together they made a great couple, and I had a hard time coming up with a drawing that would represent them well enough.
“What poison do you have planned for today?” he asked. Annie kept her features deceptively composed.  “Gunpowder.” He grinned.  “Sounds lethal.” It took every bit of willpower not to be charmed by his crooked smile. “Not lethal enough.” 
If you haven’t read this one yet, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you’re into stories with spies, detectives, and intrigue!  After reading it, I discovered that it’s the third in a series titled “Brides of Last Chance Ranch,” but while each book shares the same setting and some of the characters, “Gunpowder Tea” is an independent story, and I have yet to read the first two books before it.  Having read this one, I’m hooked and definitely want to go back and read the others sometime.
I love how the book cover is so expressive with the look Taggart’s eyes and that little gun in Miranda’s hand...

I was provided a review copy of this book, thanks Margaret!

Visit Margaret Brownley's Website: http://www.margaretbrownley.com/


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joanna & Crockett from Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Stealing the Preacher.  This book has a title that’s just too good to pass up!  Crockett was my favorite secondary character from “Short Straw Bride” so I was delighted to get to follow along with him in this one.  It’s not just his story though; it also belongs to Joanna Robbins, the sweet, sincere, yet spirited daughter of an x-outlaw!  Full of action and humor, it’s one of those stories that screams to be made into a movie.  If you’re bored and don’t know what to watch, forget it, just grab this book instead!


The story starts out with Crockett on his way to a preaching interview when he’s abducted right off the train.  Things get even more off track from there, but as time goes by we see that maybe it’s just God’s way of putting him on the right track.  Joanna was praying for a preacher for her abandoned country church, when Crockett comes into her life in an unconventional way.  While she can see how perfect a fit he is for her church, things don’t fall into place all that simply, and that’s where the fun of the book lies with all the little twists and turns!

The great mix of humor and heart makes this one of those books that you just don’t want to put down once you’ve started.  Of all the romance stories I’ve read, I think this is the only one where the “meet-cute” happens when the heroine is handed a rope attached to the guy!  A bit awkward, but you have to admit that is a pretty good birthday present for a single woman!  Trust me; you’re going to love this one.

Check out the fun trailer for the book.


I was given a review copy of this book by the publisher.