Confessions of an October Baby ~ by Author Darlene Kuncytes

As we get ready to say goodbye to October, I’m hard pressed to let go of one of my favorite months.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a die-hard summer girl. I love the sun and the water – but I am also a truly hard-core October baby, too! Lol

And it’s not just because I was born in October.

It’s because for me, a girl who loves all things scary, October is my Christmas!

I love that there are tons of scary movies on at any given time in October. Those are my jam and I love it! I love ghost shows and anything scary. (funny I turned out to be a romance writer, huh? 


I love the cool, breezy nights.

The fun begins on the 1st and continues until all the little ghouls and goblins are safely tucked into their beds after a hopefully prosperous night of trick or treating.

And it’s marvelous!

I will say that this year has been a strange one for us. I wasn’t sure if we should do the whole candy thing. Our city has been wishy-washy on if we were even going to have trick or treating, and that breaks my heart on so many levels. 

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are Halloweens.
I loved dressing up and going out to collect all sorts of goodies, then sitting under a street lamp to see what we were willing to trade with some of the other neighborhood kids we met up with. 

A little 411 for you all - No one EVER wanted those awful pumpkin seeds that were white from all the salt on them and came in the red package. Yuck!

But it’s not only Halloween that makes October so amazing. It’s the entire feel of the month. The leaves are beginning to gain their color. The air gets that crispness to it that is perfect for fires and hobo pies or s'mores. 

I’m not going to lie. I’m going to miss October. Just as I’ll miss summer, because we all know what’s coming next for most of us.
That dreaded white stuff. The greyness of the world around us that we must deal with as well as everything else going on right now. At least until spring comes around again.

And it will! 

I wanted this blog post to hopefully inspire in a time that is trying for a lot of us. I know so many of us dread the upcoming cold.
So, this year, take a deep breath, and make a point of doing something in the next few months to bring light and color to the world around you. Something that will bring a small smile to your face when you look at it. 

I’m far from being crafty. WAY far from it. I mean, I’m the one who glues their fingers together! LOL

But this year I decorated my tables with fake white pumpkins and fake apples, and do you know what? They do make me smile when I see them, and they will proudly sit there through November, until the Christmas decorations come out.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is - this year above any other in for as long as I can remember, we really need to prepare ourselves for the months ahead. 

The holidays are upon us, and they will be different from any others we have ever experienced before, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still make them amazing. 

Just like the way October starts the true beginning of fall and the holiday season with its glorious burst of color, we need to keep that magic going in the months ahead. 

We all could use it!

Stay safe and never, ever forget to enjoy the moment.
Kisses and pounce hugs!

Pictures courtesy of Google

About Art ~ by Grace Augustine

I’ve always had a fascination with art. All forms of art. I love watching potters working with their hands and spinning the wheel. Looms and weaving and spinning yarn—amazing. Painting, yup. That’s my thing (other than writing, of course.)

When I was a child, my mother enjoyed doing the paint by number oil paintings. I cannot tell you how many of them graced every wall in our home. She wasn’t particularly good at it because her eyesight was terrible and she refused to wear glasses, but she had fun. And that is the prime reason to create art, to have fun and express yourself.

In high school, I usually took summer school classes and one was art. I also took art as a standard class during each of my 4 years. Then I graduated, moved, and art was no longer something I did personally. I went to many museums and admired the art of others. I went to concerts and enjoyed the singers/songwriters. But my art, well, it was shelved for other things.

It wasn’t until three years ago that I decided to pick up a brush. Mind you at that point close to 40 years had passed. I began watching videos on acrylic painting and painting along with the artists, putting my own spin on their projects. Bob Ross videos and television programs still make me smile.

I chose to do acrylics because it seemed easier than oils or
watercolors. I had tried each of those early on and found no satisfaction. It took too long for oils to dry and too quickly for watercolors. Recently I found another medium—gouache—an opaque watercolor. It doesn’t sound fun either.

Acrylic pours are extremely popular right now, but it seems so messy and uncontrollable (can’t tell I have control issues, can you?) I will leave that to those creatives who have the patience to deal with their quirky ways.

I love experimenting with new subject matter. My latest is Monet-like scenery and Santorini inspired blue doors. Most of my creations are calming in nature, maybe because I need it. May be because I enjoy it. 

Anyway you slice it, art is a way to unwind. Whether it is music, textiles, pottery, dance, wine tasting (yes it is an art!) or painting have fun. Branch out. Do something new, something you never thought you could.

To check out Grace’s other posts, visit her MEMBER PAGE or her OBD ART PAGE. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER

All photos used are property of Grace Augustine and may not be replicated or used without permission.




Fall Days ~ by Author Jennifer Daniels

September and October are a couple of my favorite months of the year.  A lot of times in September it is still warm enough to wear shorts and enjoy a light warm breeze during the day. There are so many things you can do this time of year and one of them for me is going for a ride and looking at the trees changing colors. I love the greens turning into yellows and the oranges turning into reds. The peak of the leaves changing happened in Upstate, NY the last week of September. It was simply beautiful.

I love the smell in the air. In the evening when things are cooling down, the air smells so crisp and clean. In the mornings, it smells like dried up leaves and fresh pine needles.

This is the time of year when everyone starts thinking about the
holidays. I love to decorate for Halloween. This year is the exception because we are having a huge house overhaul. We are adding a three-stall garage, new roof, and siding. I cannot wait to see it but that means I cannot decorate outside. But next year will look incredible. (I hope.)

Many of you already know this about me, I hate to cook. I can do it but I loathe it! I do, however, like to bake. During this time of year, I always make homemade pumpkin pie, crust and all. I add a thick layer of cream cheese mixture to the bottom of the crust before I add my fresh pumpkin. Let me tell you, it is to die for! I often make it for my dad to take into hunting camp. Also, when the men are in camp, my mom, sister, and the other ladies in the family usually get together for crafting. My sister and I have an overnight Halloween Hallmark Movie night. We love to watch The Good Witch and perhaps have a glass or two of wine.

What is your favorite thing to do in the fall? Carve pumpkins? Bake? Go to an orchard to pick apples? There are so many fall things to do. I hope you all have a fun and wonderful fall season.

Check out Jennifer's other blog posts by clicking HERE

My Interest in Psychic Phenomena~ by Author Roni Denholtz

As a kid I liked mysteries and strange stories. When I was about 15, a friend showed me a copy of “Hidden Channels of the Mind” which she’d borrowed from the library. I reserved it, read it, and I was hooked! Since then I’ve been fascinated by the ESP and other psychic phenomena.

So it was not surprising that years ago I had the idea for a connected
series of books about people who’d been struck by lightning and developed psychic abilities like precognition, mental telepathy, astral projection and more. It took me over 6 years to write three books set in this imaginary world and I am just now publishing them.

Have I had psychic experiences? Some. I had a tarot reading once where the reader told me I was going to marry a man I already knew and considered just a friend. Months later, I heard from an old high school friend who told me he was moving back to New Jersey after living out of state for several years. He called me a few months later, we started going out, and the rest is history!

I’ve had a few precognitive dreams. For example, when I was pregnant with our first child I dreamed she was a girl—and she was. When I was pregnant with out second, I dreamed I was having a boy—and I was correct. Of course, my husband says I had a 50-50 chance anyway. I have had dreams about friends I haven’t heard from for a while and then been called by them the next day. That’s not uncommon.

One of my most interesting experiences was after our dog Sable died. I have dreamed about all our dogs, but this was especially vivid. We had decided to adopt another dog after we returned from our vacation. While visiting the national parks in beautiful Utah, I dreamed that Sable was walking with a brownish-tannish dog with a white chest. When I awoke I told my husband that Sable was guiding us to the dog she wanted us to adopt. So when we returned home, I went on and found the dog in my dream at a shelter about 45 minutes from our home! We went there two days later and adopted Rawhide. I always tell people Sable guided us to him. She knew he needed a good home, but also that he would give us lots of love. 😊

I would love to hear about ESP or other psychic experiences you have had!
Oh, and I found “Hidden Channels of the Mind” recently on ebay, and bought a copy!

Roni Denholtz is the award-winning author of 12 romance novels, 9 children's books and dozens of short stories, articles and poems. Her work has appeared in such magazines as Complete Woman, Baby Talk, Modern Romances, and For the Bride.  You can connect with Roni by clicking on the links below:


Merry Mazatlan by Ruth Ross Saucier

My friend bought a house in Mazatlan. A lovely house a half block from ocean beach with a rooftop deck that featured sunsets over the Pacific. 

I had seen Tijuana a couple times, but never “real” Mexico, so a visit was definitely in order. From day one I was in love. The first excursion we made was to a supermarket, where we bought a bunch of supplies.  There we found all sorts of lovely options, particularly liquor for sale (a novelty, since Washington State at the time did not allow such indulgences). Here we picked up rum  for me, since I don’t drink tequila, and on the mixer shelves I found a new love: peach juice! 

 Another friend had made punch at one of my parties in the States; it had peach juice as one of the main ingredients, but when I went looking for more peach juice (it goes so well with rum), I discovered that peach juice is not cheap. Not cheap at all in the US.  But there on the supermarket shelf I found canned peach juice that was less than half the price! Thrilled, I bought a slew of the cans and our vacation was under way! 

I had Peach Juice with eggs in the morning for breakfast.  Peach juice drinks at lunch time. And Peach Juice with rum before and after dinner.  But while my friend was drinking tequila, I declined tequila, because I had had an early difficult encounter with that devil juice and swore off it forever!


We had a delightful time, walking the beach and shopping and seeing the sights.  Mazatlan is truly beautiful. All the time I was there, I read every sign and pamphlet, trying to retain some Spanish (I have some exposure to five other languages, but not Spanish). I listened to people talking in the streets and struggled to use what little of the language I could acquire. You haven’t lived until you try reading a Lowe’s installation pamphlet in Spanish!

I fell in love with Mexico that week. It was the BEST. I loved my friend, her house, her dog, her neighborhood, the view, the ocean, the beach, the downtown, the food, everything. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it All.  

And so when the week drew to a close and we were hanging out in the backyard, I found myself trying to read the small print, the teeny-tiny print on the back of the peach juice can. I got to ingredients and found: Durazno. Good. I had already figured out that meant peach.  But what was this? The full ingredients read: Durazno con tequila. 

Con tequila!? With tequila?*

Why, yes.  I had been drinking tequila and peach juice morning, noon, and night. With eggs. With Lunch. In the afternoon. AND with rum: Rum and tequila/peach juice before dinner. Rum and tequila/peach juice during dinner. Rum and tequila/peach juice after dinner.

No wonder I adored everything Mazatlan.

*and no, it didn't say that on the front of the can!

Exploring Creativity ~ by Guest Richard Bist

I’ve always been someone who has been interested in creativity. Part of that comes from being a writer and having a curiosity for the world. I admire other forms of art: painting, music, sculpture, cooking, or anything that involves self-expression and imagination. I love to learn how things are created, how the paint it mixed, how the pieces of a song come together, how chefs can mix and match ingredients to create a beautiful and tasty dish. 

It’s like seeing a magician perform an amazing bit of slight-of-hand and then having the trick explained. Knowing how it’s done doesn’t diminish the trick, but instead the knowing makes it more interesting. What I enjoy is learning how an artist can envision something in their head and the process they follow to make it become real.

The other reason I wanted to explore creativity is because I didn’t have much opportunity to do so when I was growing up. While I had support from some members of my family, there was a vocal group who discouraged my creativity because - in their words - it wasn’t masculine. So my love of writing fiction and poetry was something I expressed quietly and with a degree of reservation. I continued to write, but most of it I kept to myself and only showed to a few close friends. Other forms of art were more difficult to hide.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally broke free from that toxic mindset. I realized that I have a need to express myself, not just in words, but in ways I hadn’t yet explored. One of the things I’ve had on my ‘want to try’ list is podcasting. I think it’s an interesting format to express and exchange ideas, sort of like terrestrial radio used to be back in the day. The big difference is that with a podcast, I could do what I wanted. There’s no restrictions on format, length, or subject matter. Complete freedom of expression. I like that.

As I began planning the show, thinking about topics I’d like to explore, I had an epiphany. You see, I originally wanted to do the show for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to explore creativity, figure out how artists performed their magic tricks, and maybe expand my own creative boundaries. While I felt empowered, I realized that my thinking was too narrow. That was due to a conversation I had with an acquaintance.

The young woman I spoke to told me about how she was struggling with her fiction writing. She was the creative one in her family, and they didn’t quite understand her need to be creative. They didn’t want to read the stories she wrote or provide any encouragement. I found it sad and it hit close to home because it was similar to what I had gone through.

That’s when I decided that my podcast needed to be broader. Instead of focusing on how things are created, I thought I’d still discuss creativity and the creative process, but I also wanted to include motivation, inspiration, keeping focused, and nurturing ideas. Basically, I wanted to help people - artists and creators - who were going through the same things that I had. I understood what it felt like to be teased for being creative, for being different. While I couldn’t go back in time to fix things for myself, my hope is that I could instead help others.

The only thing left to do at this point was come up with a show name. That was actually the hardest part. If you’re at all familiar with podcasting, you’re aware there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there covering almost every conceivable topic. That meant finding an appropriate name was

important. I spent the better part of two weeks researching names before I stumbled upon the perfect one: The Prometheus Project.

Why Prometheus? A very good question, and one I’ve been asked a few times. If you aren’t familiar with Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity, thus bestowing knowledge and civilization to the world. Additionally, he was also seen as the creator of the arts and sciences. In my mind, that was perfect. Not that I think I’m a Greek god. Narcissism isn’t one of my strong suits. No, I felt that the purpose of the show - to inspire, motivate, and explore - fell in line with the acts of Prometheus. I’m trying to share my creative fire with others.

To me, what it comes down to is a need to express myself and my ideas. I’m not the best writer, best musician, or best artist. However, being best isn’t what I’m striving towards. I simply want to explore ideas and imagination. I want to try new things, broaden my horizons, and maybe along the way, inspire others to do the same.

I think art is often underappreciated by the general population. What I mean is, while many people listen to music and watch movies, for example, they usually don’t consider where it came from and the process it took to become real. I think that the more people who get to see behind the scenes, who get to see how the trick is done, will end up with more appreciation for art.

But it doesn’t end there. I also think that self-expression is necessary for good mental health. I know that when I take the time to do something creative every day - writing, playing guitar, cooking, whatever - I feel better than on the days I don’t express myself and my ideas. Maybe it’s a release of endorphins, or maybe it’s simply cleaning out the junk drawer in my brain. All I know is that it helps me.

When it’s all said and done, I know that I’ll look back fondly on the stories I’ve written and the music I’ve made, but what’s really going to make me proud is knowing that I helped other people to explore their creativity and hopefully built up their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Writing will always be my first love, but I feel that inspiring others to be creative gives me more satisfaction.

Richard Bist has been writing professionally for over twenty-five years, but he’s been writing stories
since he could pick up a pencil. His work has been published in a wide variety of both online and print publications, and he’s recently self-published two short story collections.

When he’s not writing, he works on his creativity podcast and cooking videos, plays guitar and keyboards, and finds time to procrastinate with his two mutts. You can contact Richard by clicking on the links below.

Colors of Fall
Fall color! Vibrant reds, glowing oranges, brilliant yellows. That's what today's post was supposed to be about. But Seattle has seen little color this month. According to this article the "blob"--warm water over the northeast Pacific Ocean--is robbing us of the chilly nights needed for those rich autumn hues.


While the nights have been mild this fall, we have had fog and rain. Yes, far more gray than color.




How to handle this unanticipated lack of fall splendor that has paled my intended topic? Pivot! A term I'm encountering often lately. So, if fall fails to deliver color, I'll look at gray.

Gray isn't always drab--consider the myriad shades and ways of describing the spectrum between white and black. There isn't even one way of spelling gray or grey, depending on which side of the "pond" you live.

Photo from Unsplash

The scale from white to black is infinitely varied. Nature takes full advantage of the range, from the clouds above to the stones below.




Agate from Pinterest

Gray, silver, smoky, gunmetal, charcoal, slate, ashy, all of these terms bring different images to mind. The mental picture words create is of prime importance to me as a writer.



In my story drafts, having to pivot is something I regularly face. Feedback from beta readers may indicate they don't really know my main character, or her actions need more explanation. The picture I'm trying to paint with my words ends up simply black and white on the page.

Reflecting on what I've written and having to look at things differently so I can incorporate reader feedback brings me back to that most important gray matter--my brain.

Meaning of Gray

So, rather than viewing my story as a drab failure, I can use my gray matter to bring vibrancy to a story that readers will enjoy. And with the rainy days ahead, what better way to spend them than coloring the world of my story?

Meet Our Members

Author Lexa Fisher

Lexa writes seasoned romance—romance between characters who are over forty. Her characters value integrity in a partner and a relationship founded on trust. Gratitude and thanks are predominant themes in her cards, and sparkle is always an element in her designs.

To learn more about Lexa and read her prior blog posts, please click HERE

Marcus Antonius: Dredging Up the Perfect Protagonist ~ by Author Brook Allen

A little over fifteen years ago, I finally found myself in a position to begin my first novel. I knew I wanted to write on Late Republican Rome, doing something biographical. But who to write on? Julius Caesar had been done by big names like Conn Iggulden, and Cleopatra had been done so completely by Margaret George and Colin Falconer. Cicero had just had his day in the sun under the skillful pen of Robert Harris. Who else was there?

The one name that kept coming to me was Marc Antony—Marcus


Antony had an illustrious political and military career, but he wasflawed, too. A lover of women, lots of wine (too much, really!), impetuous, and did I mention he loved women? On the other hand, he was extremely courageous, a loyal friend, a man of his word, and a soldier’s soldier, but he really loved women! In fact, he rarely ever let an opportunity slip to sleep with someone new, and as most people know, his life ended tragically.

So why Antony? How could a no-name author create a debut novel on a man whose life ended in horrible disgrace?

The more I looked his life over, as well as the treatment with which
Rome and the first emperor Augustus tarnished his name, the more I thought, “I can’t believe more authors haven’t jumped at the chance to write this guy’s life-story before”. 

Oh, yeah—everybody has read about his affair with Cleopatra and many readers are familiar with Shakespeare’s take on his “Friends, Romans, countrymen…” monologue. But if I was going to really do this and do it well, I had to read between the lines of ancient sources and determine to the best of my ability, what motivated him and eventually even caused him to turn his back on his own countrymen.

That being said, to this very day, Marc Antony is a polarizing personage in history. To listen to Classicists on Twitter or military strategists, a lot of people might ask, “Why even bother with him?” And yet, Marcus Antonius, as he was known in his day, became the central catalyst of Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire.

I discovered there was MUCH more to Marc Antony’s story than his romance with Cleopatra or Julius Caesar’s funeral. First of all, his grandfather was a national hero, but his own father ruined all of that glory by betraying Rome to a bunch of low-life pirates off the coast of Crete. That is exactly where my story takes off. 

Eleven-year old Marcus must deal with a disgraced family—one that will struggle to see the light of day again until he rises to power. It’s an unforgettable story, and one I’ve lived with for fifteen years, turning the man’s life into The Antonius Trilogy.

My perfect protagonist’s story begins with Antonius: Son of Rome, dealing with Marcus’s tragic loss, through his wasteful early years, until he finally finds himself in the East—snuffing out the remnants of rebellion against Rome’s instated rulers and coming face to face with a major portion of his destiny when he meets a precocious, adolescent Egyptian princess. 

At Actium
Antonius: Second in Command follows Marcus as he rises to the heights of power at Caesar’s side, only to taste his first bitter betrayals in loyal friends and supporters. At the end of the second book, Marcus finds himself victorious and at the height of his power. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this is one excited author, because today (FINALLY!) after multiple trips to Italy and Greece, and one to Egypt… my third and final portion of the trilogy will launch: Antonius: Soldier of Fate. Naturally, I’ve had some pretty spectacular experiences with my “perfect protagonist”. But he was difficult to hunt down. Aside from the damnatio memoriae—the damning of Marcus’s name, which was the postmortem punishment for men and women who disgraced Rome in some way—I had another set of problems in rediscovering this elusive character. 

Two-thousand years’ worth of extant buildings that hid sites from his period, destruction of historical sites, and changes in geographical river-routes, erosion, or the simple withering-away of historical evidence over time has made it incredibly challenging to recreate Marcus’s world.

Nor was his story intact. Just as damnatio memoriae decreed that his monuments be leveled, his statues smashed, and his inscriptions chiseled away, so did the truth behind his story turn to dust. Men who hated him, such as Cicero, smeared his name before Marcus ever died, but writers like Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and Appian of Alexandria (just to name a few) were all ancient sources that aided me. And there were dynamic secondary biographers to, like Eleanor Goltz Huzar and Patricia Southern.

A full-throttle adventure through ancient Rome, her corrupt Senate, the exotic eastern provinces ensues, and at last ending in Egypt. Difficult? Yes! Marcus’s ultimate punishment of damnatio memoriae didn’t make this easy. But this author learned so much and has developed the grit necessary to pursue a protagonist, regardless of how little of him has survived. 

From photographing the shores of Alexandria in a rocking, water-logged row-boat, driving all over Thessaly and locating the river where Marcus and his legions kept Pompey’s army at bay in the Battle of Pharsalus, to communing with the mystical ghosts of Rome’s past inside the shadowed Tabularium at the west end of the Forum Romanum… I feel that I’ve not only had the perfect protagonist, but that he’s become a friend, of sorts.

Author Brook Allen (and Marc Antony)
Award-winning author Brook Allen graduated from Asbury University with a B.A. in Music Education. However, she has always loved writing. A Master’s program at Hollins University with an emphasis in Ancient Roman studies helped prepare her for authoring her present works. Brook teaches full-time as a Music Educator and works in a rural public-school district near Roanoke, Virginia. Her personal interests include travel, cycling, hiking in the woods, reading, and spending downtime with her husband and two amazing Labrador Retrievers. She lives in the heart of southwest Virginia in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. You can reach out to Brook via the links below.

The Legendary Night Marchers of Hawai'i ~ Jacquolyn McMurray


Photo by Altinay Dinc on Unsplash

For many of us, October conjures up visions of all-things-scary. In Hawai’i, we have our own unique spooky stories, many that feature the ghostly night marchers—phantom warriors who travel at night with the most high-ranking chiefs.

As terrifying as the night marchers can be, in ancient times their job was to protect the sacred chiefs so no mortal would catch a glimpse of them. 

Because the night marchers’ main function was protecting high ranking chiefs, they tend to frequent places of significant cultural importance, but have reportedly been spotted in many other locations.

Photo by Peter Nicola on Unsplash
Folks report hearing the night marchers before they see them. First, they hear the pounding of drums in the distance, followed by an eerie voice chanting. Then the hair-raising sounds of someone blowing a conch shell at the same time the smell of death invades their senses. And finally, a string of torch lights announce they are near.  

In ancient times, if a mortal looked at a sacred chief, they would be put to death. It is said that the kindest chiefs travelled at night so mortals would not see them. This practice reduced the number of mortals who looked upon the faces of the sacred chiefs, thus reducing the number of deaths. Legend tells us that the ancient practice of the night marchers escorting the chiefs carried into the afterlife. 

If you dare, it is said that you can summon the night marchers by whistling at night. Once summoned, there is no stopping them unless they encounter ti leaves. If you live in Hawai'i, you might want to plant ti around the perimeter of your house, just to be sure!

If you happen to stumble upon a night marcher procession, strip naked and lie on the ground in the prone position and play dead or beg the chiefs to pardon you. If that doesn't work, your only hope of not being speared to death is that one of the ghostly figures will recognize you as a descendant.

One descendant tells the story of encountering the night marchers while in a cemetery on O'ahu. He didn't realize he was standing on one of the known night marcher paths. All of a sudden, he felt very cold and a mist formed around him. He heard someone cry na'u, mine, and realized one of the long dead marchers must have been a distant relative.  The night marchers walked around him, and no harm came to him.

He is considered by many believers to be one of the lucky who was spared. 

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Next time you are on the Hawaiian Islands, if you hear drums pounding in the distance, smell the stench of death, and see a torch procession in the distance, heed the warnings and run. 

Just in case. 

An Artist's Pondering ~ by Steve Henderson

This Was Our Shangrila

Like many artists, I have been painting since childhood. I almost left it all behind, however, after getting my art degree at the university.

Fortunately, time and wisdom intervened, and I was able to move past the prescriptivist teaching of some very kind, but limiting people. I do not like painting gritty urban scenes. I don’t like violent art. I do not gravitate toward ugliness and shock value. These, I was taught, are what’s “in” among a select group, but, as it took me years to discover and joyfully accept, I am not part of this group.

Valley of the Goddess

A country boy who grew into a country man, I like beauty, peace, quiet, and space to move around in. In my paintings, I seek to bring about feelings of freedom, joy, happiness, thoughtfulness, contemplation, and contentment. Throughout the years, various viewers and buyers have told me, “I feel like the person in your painting,” or, “I can step into that landscape and fall into a sense of serenity.”

I love hearing this.

Red Sail Day

I believe that we are all given gifts, gifts which, when we spend the time and effort in opening, discovering, and using, can then be given back to the world around us. That is what I seek to do through my art: to take people on a journey of discovery, to invite them into a place of peace, to prompt them into confidently walking forth on their own path.

Reality does not always have to be harsh, cruel, greedy, thoughtless, mean. Such elements exist in our world – in far too great a quantity – but when we focus too strongly upon them, we forget that reality also consists of goodness, compassion, honesty, integrity, innocence, and joy.

On Watch

Representational visual art, because it is quiet and does not feature a talking head, allows the artist to start a story that the viewer discovers, interprets, and adds to. It is an honor for me to start that story.

Steve Henderson is an artist who lives in Washington state. To learn
more about his art, please click on the links below.

All photos are original artwork by Steve Henderson and may not be used without the artist's permission.  For additional information or commissions, please visit his website.

Opals and Tourmaline ~ by Grace Augustine

I've always wanted a mother's ring. However, having children born in the months of April (diamond) and October (opal), and my birthstone being an amethyst, it would cost a small fortune that I don't have.

This month we explore the beautiful opal and tourmaline. October is
Deposit photos
one of those months with more than one birthstone. I guess there is a traditional and a modern gemstone, and I'm not sure which is which. So, we'll start alphabetically with the Opal.

Did you know that opals are mineraloids? That means their water content is between 6% and 10%. It is also a hydrated amorphous form of silica. The opal has a pearly, waxy look to it. They come in many colors: black, pink, white, grey, blue, green, purple, yellow, red, brown, and orange. (you can see the various colors at )And you will always find a fire (known as a 'play of color') in the gemstone. Their MOHS ranking is a 5.5-6.5, making it one of the softer gems, so be careful not to scratch these beauties.

In the early 1900's, numerous discoveries of opal assured Australia
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the leader in production and export of this gemstone. Fire Opals are found in Mexico and Ethiopia. Common and fancy varieties are found in Hungary, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovania, and the Czech Republic. Opals have also been found here in the United States in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Louisiana.

If you want loyalty and faithfulness, then wear opals. This seductive stone intensifies emotional states and releases inhibitions.

The Tourmaline is classified as a semi-precious stone and has a
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hexagonal crystal system. This crystalline mineral is found in a variety of colors: green, black, pink, blue, red, yellow, purple, white, grey, orange, and brown (you can see all of the colors and shapes here ( ) It's appearance is opaque to transparent and on the MOHS scare of hardness, the tourmaline comes in at a 7.0-7.5--a fairly hardy gemstone.

Brazil has been the lead source for tourmaline for over 500 years. The first commercial tourmaline mine was found in 1821 near the town of Paris, Maine, however, the most important source here in the States are the mines in Southern California.

This beautiful gemstone is known for it's power in reducing toxin
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related illnesses. Wearing tourmaline also will aid in reducing stress, improve circulation, and strengthen the immune system.

In this photo, you can see the hexagonal point watermelon tourmaline.

To view the other posts in my gemstone series, please visit my members page by clicking HERE

Meet our Members

Ruth Ross Saucier

Ruth lives under the watchful gaze of the Olympic Mountains, somewhere out west of the waters west of Seattle. Today, after 40 years of writing, editing, and wrangling a variety of nonfiction and fiction, she is retired to a life of writing, editing, and investigating any and all curiosities she deems fascinating.

To learn more about Ruth and read her prior blog posts, please click HERE

What We Can Learn from the Coelacanth ~ by Author Marj Ivancic

The story of the Coelacanth is one of joy.

Okay. Maybe not birth-of-your-first-child kind of joy, but it’s certainly one that makes me smile and gives me a bit of hope.


A Coelacanth (SEEL-uh-kanth) is a fish, and for a long time, we
only knew about these little guys from their class pictures in fossil yearbook. They were a pretty fruitful crew about 300 million years ago. But fast forward 235 million years, and their portraits in the rock disappear.

The dinosaurs died out, so perhaps these little lynchpins did too?

And then…

A day in 1938, a captain of a fishing boat pulls in a haul off the coast of South Africa. In among the sharks he’s snagged is a stranger dressed in blue. So, he rings the local marine biologist. She’s always looking for odd specimens for her museum.

She comes.

She’s excited.

Could it be?

She makes some calls. The scientific community jumps to attention.

How exciting! How amazing! A shadow come to life!

(Cue Beethoven’s “9th Symphony” here.)

Beyond the implications to scientific research, this discovery (or rediscovery?) of the Coelacanth is a humbling, hopeful reminder. Man can only look so far, dig so deep. Our eyes and ears and bodies and minds are limited. We can think we know something, but really, all we can do is believe. Believe and trust.

Which means we can always be surprised!

And just because we can’t see something, hear or touch it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It—whatever “it” might be for you—might be out there, living, swimming the waters of wonder and miracle. Keep hope! Keep looking!

To view Marj's other blog posts, please click


  Foiled and hand-colored card   I continue to bring in cards to the food bank where I volunteer weekly. Since we are past Mother’s Day, I’v...