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, October 31, 2013

Drew Fathering from Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

Since Halloween was this week, reviewing a mystery story seems appropriate.

The setting is England, and the murders are happening right on the grounds of Drew Fathering’s estate.  Drew starts out as a bored aristocrat, but if murder can’t shake a person up, who knows what can? 

Frustrated with the local law enforcement’s investigation, Drew and his best friend Nick start poking about.  There’s a house full of the usual suspects, but there’s some safety in knowing that the love interest, Madeline Parker (an American related to Drew’s stepfather) is with Drew during the first murder so there’s no fear of betrayal when it comes to her character.  And of course, as a certain Father Knox stipulates, “The detective must not himself commit the crime.”

Right off, I love the title: Rules of Murder.  Makes a person think, hmm… are there any rules to murder?  Father Knox seemed to think so.  He was a writer in late 1920s who laid out a set of rules for detective stories.  As Drew Fathering mucks about trying to solve this murder mystery, he and Nick have a running banter on Knox’s rules.  In her afterward, the author admits that her inspiration came from a desire to bend and break Knox’s rules, all in good fun, of course.  My favorite rule is this one:
“The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.”
Inspired by the party scene in the begining.
Sorry Nick, I guess that makes you the stupid friend!  Wait… does that make me the stupid reader?  You can read the rest of the rules here:  http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv186.html

I haven’t read a lot of murder mysteries but I’ve always loved watching the BBC shows based off them like Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple, etc.  I like that Drew is young, handsome, and follows his instincts as he investigates.  By the end of the novel his character has grown a lot, but he’s still just a fledgling detective.  I’m excited to keep reading the series to see how he grows even more.  I didn’t mention Madeline much; she could use her own post because she’s a great female lead.  I love that she had a strong, unwavering faith.

You can read “Rules of Murder” now, the next in the series “Death by the Book” will be available in Spring of 2014!  http://juliannadeering.com/


I was provided a copy from the author for this review.  Thanks Julianna, if that is your real name... lol

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eve from Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

“Sweet Mercy” is a thoroughly good story.  The 1930’s is a fascinating era to read about, and if you’re lucky enough, a fascinating one to be told first-hand accounts about.  My Grandmother was born in the 30’s and has told me more than once how her mother served the out-of-work men at a picnic bench on the lawn.  Her house was right by the railroad tracks and was one marked for hospitality.  With this bit of family history of my own, it was endearing to me that “Sweet Mercy” started out with Eve as a Grandmother, reminiscing of her youth during this time to her grandson.

Throughout the book, Eve’s thoughts make the story personal, and the activity of her family and life at the lodge they run lead to some exciting plot twists.  When something happens that causes her to never look at life the same again, it’s engrossing to follow along as she deals with her new perspective on life.

As she’s reflecting, trying to make sense of the world, she remembers a time when Al Capone, Public Enemy Number One, showed her kindness and acted as her guardian angel by tending a skinned knee.  It illustrates the question, how can someone be a good person yet do bad things?  It was this scene that inspired the image below. 

In addition to the pondering questions, there’s also some romance, of course!  Usually when there’s romance involved I’m a pretty good guesser on who the main love interest is, usually it’s rather obvious, but this one kept me wondering for a good portion of the story.  I really liked that because it brought me back to the way I felt as a teen when life was so full of uncertainty and possibilities.  Any of the young men in Eve’s life could have been a match, but happily, she ended up with the one I was routing for.  Due to Ann’s skillful writing, I’m sure that was no coincidence.


I was provided a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my two-bits!

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Artful Weekend

This weekend I was a part of an Art Studio Tour here in Wisconsin.  It's an annual event that takes place every October where artists from my region all open their studios on the same day and offer a free map for visitors to come on a self-guided tour.  This was my second year participating, although the weather was bad on Saturday, Sunday was absolutely beautiful!  Here's a link to the tour, mark it on your calendar for next year if you're in the area!  http://www.fallingleavesarttour.com/

My studio is just across from the house in an old grainery.  It's still a work in progress, but the goal is to make it a fully functional studio space!

I had fun displaying some of the illustrations from the blog in the front room, and in the back I had some artwork for sale.

If you'd like, you can check out more photos on my facebook page.