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, February 27, 2014

Deeanne Gist's 2 Who Care Campaign

I just wanted to put up an announcement, in case you hadn't heard about it, Deeanne Gist is doing a really neat giveaway right now.  She blogged about it here:  http://www.deeannegist.com/blog/blog_sub.php?blogid=000299 

Inspired by the hero and heroine in her upcoming book, FAIR PLAY, bestselling author, Deeanne Gist is giving away $1000 to a couple who is giving back to their community with her 2 Who Care campaign. #2WC To enter or nominate a couple, go to http://bit.ly/1mDdG1C

That's all, I'll be back with another review & sketch next time!


Kirstie from the “Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots” by Karla Akins

This week in the ACFW Bookclub we’ve been discussing the “Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots” by Karla Akins.  This novel falls under the “mom-lit” genre, which I hadn’t really been exposed to before.  I was attracted to the fun title, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to a main character so different from me in age & lifestyle.  Still, I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised!

The heroine, Kirstie is a 47 year old Pastor’s wife living in a small Indiana town, raising 3 teenage boys, one with autism.  She has more than a full plate as she tries to balance her time among her sons, take care of an enormous dog, run the household, make sure her husband is never late, and keep peace among all the very opinionated parishioners!  She struggles with feelings of guilt about not getting to spend enough time with her loved ones and feels overwhelmed by all the demands of being a Pastor’s wife.  For a release, she turns to the world of biking (with the blessing of her very kind, supportive husband) and takes to the open road forming an unlikely motor club of both non-church going and church going ladies.

Karla balanced humor with heart in Kirstie’s story, and spent a lot of time developing her characters so I really felt like I knew them.  The pacing of events felt a bit episodic; I could often picture a chapter being a single episode in a TV series.  Each chapter had a little something different to offer ranging from comedy, to drama, and even mystery.  The plot that tied it all together was centered on Kirstie’s internal struggle to cope with the way her life had become and continue trusting in God.

When I read the ladies having Kirstie draw their club patch, I couldn't resist making this page of sketches, imagining what her ideas might have looked like.  Their club name sounded soo ridiculous- Lady Eels on Wheels!  I just had to prove to myself it could be done! ;) 
As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure if I would relate to Kirstie (I’m in my 30s, still single with no kids), but Karla did such a good job of showing Kirstie’s feelings through the events that happened to her and her reactions to the characters around her, that by the end of the story I had no trouble relating to her.  It was fun to follow along with her as she learned about the biking culture, and God showed her new things about what it means to follow Him.


Here's Karla's Website:

And, another blogger's post about the book; I love the picture of Karla riding that's featured!  http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/


Friday, February 21, 2014

Cordelia & Bernard from “Pieces of the Heart” by Bonnie S. Calhun

“Pieces of the Heart” is a story about love, but it’s not your typical romance novel.  The book spans a good portion of the main characters’ lives from before WWII, through it, and then after.  It’s a story about healing, compassion, and trust in God.

When I picked up the book I thought because of its length it would be a light read, but the depth of character Bonnie poured into each page caused me to slow down and ponder over the stories' events.  It’s a more serious story than a lot of the books I read, but very heartfelt, and I found myself completely immersed.  I am very glad I read it.  At the beginning of the story, Cordelia is 13 and running away from bullies when Bernard comes to her rescue.  From that moment on, Cordelia loves Bernard and through the entire story, her feelings never waver.

This was inspired by the opening scene where Bernard comes to Cordelia's rescue.  I found myself playing around with Photoshop brushes as I made this, trying to get a more emotional feeling with the bold, loose outlines.  Think it worked? 
Bernard overcame his anger towards his abusive father with God’s help, but when he goes to War his faith suffers.  He’s also loved Cordelia from their first meeting on, but after the war he’s tormented by what took place and is unable to move forward living life normally again.  By God’s grace, where Bernard’s faith has wavered, Cordelia’s has grown.  Working on the pinecone quilt her grandmother started, she pours her heart out to God with each stitch.  The quilt becomes a symbol of the covering over her life, of the love from her Grandmother, and of God’s faithfulness.  Although life for both Bernard & Cordelia is never perfect or easy, God is able to use them to be a support to each other.

“Pieces of the Heart” is a beautiful and tragic story about relationships and the effects of war.  Yet, through all the pain and imperfections of life God’s perfect love shines through in this story, and that’s what truly makes it worth the read.

Fun Fact: Bonnie modeled Bernard & Cordelia after her parents.  In her book trailer she uses photos of them!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Darcy from Stranded by Dani Pettrey

“Stranded” is the third book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaska Courage series.  I loved the first two books for their exciting plots & captivating characters.  With this sequel Dani has proved her consistency to enthrall, leaving nothing to disappoint her readers!  With every installment she gives a thrilling and satisfying adventure, while setting the stage for the next story.

When Darcy was introduced in the previous book I was eager to see what trouble she’d get into next.   Her story starts five months after the events in “Shattered.”  Five months of being away from Alaska, five months of being away from Gage Mckenna.  As the story begins Darcy & Gage find themselves together again, both having taken temporary jobs aboard the Bering cruise ship.  While Gage is aboard to lead passengers on adventure excursions, Darcy is using her adventure journalist position to find her missing friend Abby, and uncover the dark truth Abby was investigating before her disappearance.

Darcy is a girl who loves the hunt.  As a former investigative reporter she’s bold to a fault, yet her tender heart brings balance to her ambitions.  Gage has a tough exterior, but inside has been hurting over the loss of his infant son and the destroyed relationship with his former fiancĂ©.  As Darcy deals with her ambitious desires and Gage finds healing from his past, they both become entangled in a race to save Abby from a terrible fate!

If you’ve read Dani’s previous books this one won’t disappoint.  If you haven’t, there’s enough to jump in and start reading any of the stories, but you’ll miss out on enjoying some of the character’s history with each other if you do.  For thrilling adventure, suspense, and romance this is the series to turn to!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rachel & Josh from “Unforgettable” by Trish Perry

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it was time for a little romance!  “Unforgettable” is the first historical fiction book I’ve read that takes place in the 1950’s.  I love the time period, and the theme of dancing fits so well with my impression of it.  This story will whisk you back in time into the world of dance for a delightful and unforgettable read!
I was immediately drawn into the story as I followed along with the main character, 32 year old Racheal Stanhope owner of a successful new dance studio.  In the opening scene she’s waiting for her assistant to arrive & open up after having been lent the keys to lock up the night before.  While she waits she has an unfortunate conversion with Josh who has brought his niece & nephew to their lesson.  Assuming Rachel to be another parent, he vents his frustrations and skepticism for the arts, tardiness being typical for those ‘dance types’!  This delightful exchange set the tone for the rest of the book which was filled with classic His & Her banter and an inevitable romance.

This image was inspired by the last scene when the characters are dancing the Foxtrot.  I used this website: http://www.ballroomdancers.com for reference.  The part shown is the "promenade."
Every time I think about this book it makes me want to take dance lessons.  I enjoyed that while the formula for romance was familiar the way the ending played out was a surprise to me.  This happy, feel-good story is one that I’ll definitely want to revisit.  It’s a perfect pick for a relaxing evening at home with a good book! 
Another fun fact, the dress I drew was inspired by one that used to belong to my Oma (German Grandma).  I'm not sure if it's from the 1940's or 50's but when Trish described Rachel wearing a pink dress, this is the one I thought of.  This photo  is from when I was a girl playing dress-up with my cousin.  I still have this dress and a few others that Oma used to go dancing in!
Thanks for sending me a copy to feature the book, Trish!

Speaking of Trish… here’s her website:  http://trishperry.blogspot.com/