Flash Floods

Flash Floods

The emergency notice came loud and clear on my cell phone, Flash Flood warning. I didn’t have too far to go from the building where I had been at a meeting. My car was innocently waiting for me under the torrents of rain, so I held my so-called raincoat tight, pulled the hood over my head, mocking myself for leaving my umbrella behind, and raced to the safety of my sweet little Honda Insight. And got soaked.

This wasn’t the day to be driving that small driving machine that still gets fifty-six miles to the gallon, more than my son’s motorcycle. Once in the car, I raced up the hill out of that parking lot that was sure to flood in another five minutes. Traffic was heavy on the avenue, all heading to Connecticut’s truck highway, the infamous Turnpike, I95, the least likely to have a flash flood. It was around 4:30 pm, traffic is usually mega heavy, heaven only knows why the vehicles were not horizontally stacked.

Traffic was moving steadily, but slowly. I got into the middle lane, the safest that would be the last to cover over with water. But it was moving too slow for me, so I maneuvered to the left lane that was practically empty of cars and water. I kept up my speed watching for any sections that were filling with that stuff falling from the thick black clouds.

I only had to go five exits, about thirteen miles. Moved back to the middle, noting the water beginning to fill in my current position, and hung there till I got close to the next slow poke. I moved back to the left lane that now had one of those tour buses illegally in front of me, but thrilled to have it carve the way. Almost at my exit, I moved over and out of the now backed up traffic. It was easy to leave the highway and onto the road home, praying that I wouldn’t drown on any of the streets.

I ran into one signifcant puddle, but my little car behaved like the Little Engine that Could. It took me straight home with neary an incident. I got the mail and pulled into the garage.

WAIT! I’m not done. On my way up the stairs from the garage, I could see that Tom was outside doing something. I stopped, turned into the basement, the floor was filled with about an inch of water.

“Oh no.” I traveled all that way, no problem, and found the flash flood inside my basement. Soaking wet through my raincoat, my jeans wet too, I forgot about my condition, put on my snow boots that I keep in the ready and headed to help fix the situation.

Yup, water was filling our basement, the drain outside the back door was clogged. Asked Tom where our wet vac was, got a couple of pails to bail out that water like I was in a sinking boat, while Tom was building a dam to try to stop the water from running into the drain and wishing I had sandbags.  I started vacuuming out the water, my priority, and Tom building a dam, his priority. We survived, both of us soaking wet, but inspite of all this, my Geraniums were blooming in their pot on the deck, a little bit of pink sparkling reminding me that mother nature is amazing.

And how was your rainy day?




A work of art


What’s in the Garden?

What’s in the Garden?

Palais de Versailles

Sunlight filled the palace’s cavity, shimmereing on the decorative gold moldings. A distant sound, barely perceptible, echoed. Marie Antoinette, in her flimsy nightdress, caught her breath. What could that be? The sound came again.

Secret column

She looked around, she saw no one, nothing, but for her reflection. Tall mirrors, short mirrors, wide mirrors, all framed in glittering gold. Her widened eyes caught the light as she turned to the sound. The sound of a muffled laugh. She bit her lip. But there was no one there. She called, “Hallo, hallo . . .” She walked toward the sound. It bounced off all the hard surfaces, mirror, wood, moldings, it got louder. She clasped her hands over her ears, but the sound boomed like she had an ear trumpet. Her nightdress caught at the bottom of the column, she fell forward and stumbled then gathered herself up, her heart pounding too many beats.

There it was, the laugh, coming from the column. She put her ear to it. Nothing. She swallowed her fear and slid her hand over the column’s edges. There it was again, that muffled laugh. Bang, a door smashed open right in front of Marie’s face. “Yikes.” Out popped her husband, a small jeweled box in his hand, he in his night dress, void of his powdered wig, lean of build, just the right size to squeeze into the boxy column.

She gasped, her hand over her heart, “Oh Louis, I will whip you for this.” He stuck out his hand and grabbed hers. He pulled her to him, so close their lips almost touched.

“My sweet wife, how could you be so crass? Might my peace offering dissuade you?”

She pulled away from his hold and held out her hand for the jeweled box.

He placed it in her palm and she looked inside. A fresh chocolate from Paris. “Yes, I can be dissuaded.”

“But wait my darling, can you save the delicacy for later?”

“If I must . . .”

His gaze lingered on her lush lips. “Marie, did you remember this day? It is the yearly celebration of our marriage. Will you permit me to take you to our garden? Something unexpected waits for you there.”

Marie glanced with apprehension at Louis. Her mouth was dry. “What would you like to have then, Louis?”

He tilted his head to one side and offered a smile that reached his eyes. “I would like to have you say yes.”

“This one time Louis, I will be what it is you like.”

When they got to the garden, four puppies jumped and greeted Maria. “Is this my anniversary present, Louis?”

“It is my darling, are you pleased?”

Marie wrapped one arm around Louis, and with her other arm, she held one of the pups. Her eyes glistened and as a tear escaped, she kissed her husband and whispered thank you in his ear.

Corgi puppies

Princess and her puppies


A brief history of Versailles from Wikipedia:

The Palace of Versailles or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles.

When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.


A work of art




Rustic Wedding cake

Writing a story is like baking a cake. There are so many layers, each one more yummy than the next.

Interior design was also like that for me. For almost half my life, I helped to make peoples’ homes both beautiful and functional. Just like cakes are beautiful on the outside and oh, so good, on the inside. Someday, I’ll write that memoir, but right now I’m busy crafting the first book in my new, five-book series about a prominent family living in New York City in the late 1800s. And lucky me, I get to spend some time designing and decorating my heroine’s bedroom, and even luckier me, I get to spend some time with my heroine’s mother who is, of course, my exceptional client.

I prefer to be on a first name basis with all of my clients, and have never been refused. They seem to enjoy the familiarity.

Mrs. Clara Baldwin

So, with a bright smile, I begin. “May I ask you, Mrs. Baldwin, if I may call you by your first name?”
Mrs. Baldwin replies, “Certainly. Please call me Clara. And may I call you Gail?”
“Of course,” I reply with a bright smile back.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Gail.”
“Clara, the pleasure is all mine. Thank you for this privilege.”
“I am so looking forward to working with you, Gail.”
“As am I,” I reply. “I have other questions to ask. Your answers will be the secret to our success. Will we be working on Allie’s room?”
“How old is Allie?”
“She is twenty-five,” Clara reveals.
“Does she have a collection of sorts? Dolls perhaps?”
“Oh, my no,” Clara chuckles. “Allie is the last person who would have dolls in her room. No, my second daughter Mia adores dolls and has a very lovely collection. Allie, on the other hand, loves books. Her room is full of them. We have no idea where to put them all.
“She sounds like a very bright young woman.”
“She is absolutely brilliant,” Clara says, her eyes reflecting a mother’s pride and love.
“Who is her favorite author?” I inquire.

Window seat w/shelving

“Her favorite author is Charles Dickens. Allie loved his Bleak House. She thought it was a special book.”
“I read a Tale of Two Cities in school. It was heart wrenching.”
“Did you know Dickens’ pen name was Buz?
“No, I did not.
“Don’t you think it an odd name?”
“I do,” I reply. “But writers are very singular people are they not?”

“Indeed,” Clara says. “Allie is also a writer. She writes for my husband’s newspaper and she is probably the most singular person I have ever known.”
“Well then, we shall have to create some very singular shelving!”
“Shelving, where would you put that?”

Victorian festoons & Jabots

I walk over to the beautiful bay window and say, “Right here on either side, with a lovely comfy cushioned seat beneath the window. Under the seat can be storage for more books if she desires, or anything else that she wants out of the way. Allie can tuck in and enjoy her books here. What do you think Clara?”
Clara clapped her hands. “Absolutely marvelous. I’ll share all of this with Allie. I’m sure she will love to know her books will be so beautifully displayed.”
“And what is that big cushion on the floor beside the bed?” I ask.
“Oh, that’s for Allie’s Great Dane, Captyn.” Clara arches one brow, but her eyes are twinkling, as though she is holding back a giggle. “It’s where he sleeps.”
“Well, I am certain that we can create a very singular bed for Captyn that will suit his size and stature.”

Great Dane Tuff Bolster nest

“That would be wonderful, since he usually ends up sleeping on Allie’s bed and then her bedding smells like dog the next day.”
We both burst out laughing.
“Can you tell me a little about the clothes she chooses?” I ask.
Clara tilts her head. “Nothing too fussy, why do you ask?”
“Her taste in clothes tells me a great deal about what she likes to live with.”
“Ah,” Clara nods. “Well, she often expresses how ridiculous corsets are and refuses to wear one. She is contemporary, if that has a meaning to you.

Simply divine

“Why yes, of course. I take it she prefers the new style with no crinoline, simple lines.”
“She certainly does.”
“I’ll put together three floor plans, with wallpaper and fabric choices. Then we can pick one or a combination. The plans will offer Allie’s singular pick within her taste.
“That sounds wonderful Gail, I can’t wait to see your suggestions.”
“Clara, we have run out of time, but I will come back soon with the plans, if that’s suitable.”

The choices that Allie makes, with her mother’s approval, of course, will be revealed in, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA




The House of Gail


Romance Writer’s of America does it right. A conference in Orlando with all the magic moments, including a trip to Disney. Have you ever been to a conference that had entertaining and enlightening speakers, topped off with twinkling lights and fireworks from your hotel balcony every night? It was spectacular. Until the invasion of the . . . ants!

Chapter 1

Odorous House Ants (hardened honey)

Holy cow! Ants crawling all over me, all over the car, all over our stuff. So tiny I thought they were little spiders, squishing them with my fingers, the critters were so fast, I didn’t have time to take off my shoe to swat, hand swipe was the only way. One kept wriggling. I put on my glasses and saw they were ants. Oh no, not good news. When you see one, you can be sure there are hundreds. Did they build a colony in my car? OMG, this is serious.

Chapter 2

White napkins and ant trap

Fumigate, and we all die. I didn’t have bug spray anyway. Two whole days to get home in the car with these crawly things. Google check. You need Terro Ant Traps and no matter what, don’t let the liquid in the traps spill, it’s sweet and a mess to clean up. We’d have to find a Home Depot, which would hold up our trip. Vacuum the car. If you think we could find a car wash that would vacuum the suckers up, forget it. Just go home and suffer. No more eating in the car. Kitchen ants in a car, what a dilemma.

Chapter 3

We’re home, it’s dark, now what? All the luggage, what to do? OK, I got it. Lay out a white sheet on the driveway (No taking the car into the garage), put everything in the car on the sheets and tiny black ants are now all over the sheet. Sprayed them. My neighbor appeared and said, bring the luggage up to the deck and leave overnight. They’ll scatter . . . She looked me in the eye and asked, won’t they? She didn’t really know, I didn’t know, Tom didn’t know. I can’t spray bug spray on the soft luggage, all the clothes will get damaged. We wiped everything down, should have wiped with alcohol, but didn’t think of it. Wiping with a paper towel didn’t really do it. We brought in one piece of luggage at a time. Looked okay. Next morning . .

Chapter 4

Ants on the kitchen counter from what we thought were cleaned suitcases.


Well, it’s official, now we have kitchen ants in our kitchen. Called our Terminex Pest Control. We are customers for over ten years, but no priority, they can’t get to us until Friday. This is Tuesday. You have to be kidding me. No joke. We used bleach cleaner for the counter, wow, that was a good idea anyway, great way to clean granite. Ants seemed to vanish. Put six of the Terro traps on the floor around the kitchen island, and other areas. They may be in hiding. We didn’t use any food, didn’t prepare any meals, sandwiches from Costco come in handy. It was morning when we laid out two white napkins on the counter. We put a trap on one white napkin to see them easily. It’s night now, no ants. I’ll let you know results in the morning, bugs seem to play in the night.

So, what’s happening with the car? I thought you would never ask.

Chapter 5

This car looks innocent, but something lurks behind those doors.

Detailed the car interior, about $100 (these ants are expensive). They found ants running up and down inside the door edges. They vacuumed them away. Got home with the car, sprayed indoor/outdoor bug spray on the doors, and set two Terro traps on the floor of the car. If there is a colony, they will eat the sweet stuff, bring it to their home and poof, they are gone. Colony will be dissipated.

Chapter 6

Rotting tomatoes

Why did this happen? Guess what folks? Cleaning the car, when we first got home from the RWA conference, revealed a rotten tomato, ugh. Disgusting. Shopping for produce before Florida, we never noticed that one of the tomatoes had rolled under the seat. The tomato cooked in the Florida heat. Those were happy ants. We never noticed crawly things until our trip home. Finally home, at sunset.

The End


It’s the next day . . . nary a sign of ants . . . God is good all the time!!!

Got home in time to witness this sunset at Trader Joe’s to pick up milk for the morning.

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA






Picasso “Avignon”

Character Complexity. What in the world does this all mean? A story well told inextricably entwines place and person. The place is filtered through the person’s personality, age, education, experiences, culture, nationality, friends and family. It’s a must have for every story, every chapter, every scene. Show off your people, your place, your setting. Look for ways to enrich your story.

Catskill Mountain House

As Leila and her betrothed approached the Mountain House to vacation before they  go out west, she was reminded why she was at once drawn to the area.

In my book, Indigo Sky, Memories of her youth in summer days flashed through her mind. Those were carefree times in the Catskill Mountains, when adventures sent excitement coursing through her veins. She stretched languidly, her mind drifting to games played on the mossy rocks in the brook. She’d challenged each rock to stay steady as she lithely jumped from one to the next until she reached the other side. Oh, to do that again.

Catskill Waterways

Why not?” Jumping to her feet, she paused as she surveyed the swollen brook. Water rushed over rocks in foaming eddies, leaving a few exposed as it raced to a dark green pool. I can do this.

She left the bonnet on the grass where she had tossed it and stepped onto a moss-covered rock inches from the edge of the brook. Water swirled around her skirt like champagne, soaking her hem. With each step, her exhilaration rose. I wish Hank were with me. She scowled. No, I don’t! The next rock peeked above the water. The smooth black stone sparkled like an iridescent jewel between the mosses, beckoning her. There was enough rock showing for one foot. Gingerly, she set her foot down and stepped onto the rock. She held her breath and jumped to the next rock.

Once stable, she slowly put her weight on another. Buoyed by success, she planted herself. It held. She giggled, once more a child unburdened by the constraints of society. She held her arms out like the spars of a topsail. Halfway across the brook, confidence replaced caution. She skipped across three rocks, laughing with joy—only six to go.

As her tongue poked from the corner of her mouth, she balanced. Her foot slipped on slimy moss, and the rock wobbled. She gasped, searching for a secure foothold.

As her tongue poked from the corner of her mouth, she balanced. Her foot slipped on slimy moss, and the rock wobbled. She gasped, searching for a secure foothold. Arms flailing wildly, she fought to regain her balance and then fell.

She squeezed her eyes shut and hit the rocks with bruising impact. Icy water engulfed her, taking away her breath. She floundered and clutched at the slippery rocks, but the strong current carried her relentlessly, and waterlogged garments hampered her efforts. Now the brook was her enemy. It tumbled her faster toward the pool. A scream tore from her throat before her head slammed into a rock.

The rapids were dragging her down.

Reading A Breakout Novel

Author Donald Maass, in figuring out what makes a breakout novel, writes the following about creating character complexity.

One-dimensional characters hold limited interest because they are limited as human beings. They lack complexity that makes real life people so fascinating. In well-constructed fiction, a multidimensional character will keep us guessing: What is this person going to do, say, or think next? Furthermore we are more likely to identify with them–that is, to see ourselves in them. Why? Because there is more of them to see.

Writing a Breakout Novel, Donald Maass

According to Donald Maass’s book, Writing the Breakout Novel, perception changes as we change. In your stories, can you show your characters emotions, reactions and behavior to where they were then and where they are now?

How can you enrich your stories? Check out Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel.

Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA



Pat Haggerty, Scrivener Instructor

Learning Scrivener has eluded me for five or six years. My first book, Indigo Sky, got born without it. Intentions are to cook up my sequel with it.  Not too long ago I took Pat Haggerty’s workshop, all video, Scooped up hearing aids this time.

Before that I attempted other ways. After a Scrivener workshop, instructor Gwen Hernandez met with me to explain further. Ugh, am I a dunce or what?

Right now, for my sequel, I. Will. Learn Scrivener. I’m pushing for awareness and education. I got myself geared up and put out an SOS to my CTRWA loop. “Can anyone help?” Patty Blount, from the LIRW, (Long Island Romance Writers) author of “Some Boys,” popped in,  “I’ll give it a shot.” An angel, she wrote and wrote and wrote and sent stuff, but . . . .” You kind of get the drift, don’t you?

Scrivener corkboard

See, I need details and action right then and there. Do this, do that. TL Costa, author of “Playing Tyler,” in my CTRWA chapter, gave hints way back when I was a baby wriggling writer. She was great, but I wasn’t. While reminiscing about my writer pal’s busy lives, I put the whole mess behind me and gave up.

Scrivener for Dummies. If you don’t know the questions, how do you get the answers? Guess you have to read cover to cover. Never tried.

NOW WHAT? I am not sitting around, I must learn Scrivener now! Funny thing happened on the way to the forum, OIRW* offered a course, Scrivener workshop. This is definitely a divine intervention. I rubbed my hands together, sighed, and signed up.




Ines Johnson, instructor, a heavenly gift,  knows her stuff and shares with heart. Her method is Scene by Scene. Ines not only teaches Scrivener, but explains GMC. Sound familiar? Goal, Motivation and Conflict. In every scene you write, include GMC. In this workshop, Scrivener will befriend me, and I expect to become a better writer. I can’t wait to read her books, the one waiting for me in my Kindle is “Rumpeled: a Cindermama Story, (Cindermama series)

Here’s the kicker. My job at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum has an exhibition coming in this Saturday, I greet, meet and install, no small feat this art curating. Paperwork, phone calls, meetings,  smatterings of my job. In the midst of a struggle to survive as a writer, a precious piece had to go, painting parted. In spite of it all I missed at least two workshop days with Ines and fell behind. Reminiscent of my interior design and architecture studies. Nights, lots of nights, not much sleep, not much food, mostly vitamins and coffee.

Wait, I’m not done. Remember Pat Haggerty in that cowboy hat at the top of the page? With a simple student request, he blessed me with his videos. Together with Ines Johnson, hearing aids, miracles mixed in, guess what? Turns out, Ines, after eyeing a snapshot of my work, said, “You’re all caught up.”

For shows coming up at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, watch for my future blogs on . . . .”

*OIRW Outreach International Romance Writers (Romance Writers of America Chapter)

Have you indulged? Why not join the Scrivener crowd? Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.

Indigo Sky, available in audio, ebook and paperback.

Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA



After four desperate tries for my latest writings, a sequel to my Indigo Sky, I finally nailed down ideas in the form of a synopsis. I know, I know, a synopsis is supposed to be, well, sort of like a short story–beginning, middle and end. How do you write this thing without the story? Created as the preliminary to an outline, I left out the unnecessary, and kept in the necessary. In other words, my synopsis left out the B-ST.

Stephen King

Maybe what Stephen King says in his book,”On Writing” in his Second Foreword, is true, This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with B-ST. Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do–not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less the B-ST. King suggests that every aspiring writer should read The Elements of Style. Rule 17 in the chapter titled “Principles of Composition” is “Omit needless words.” I tried to do that in my short synopsis, maybe three pages double spaced, based on someone’s probable expectation. Enough of this, I can see your eyes rolling from here.

So now how to create that outline? I am about to–finally–learn how to use Scrivener, created for us (writers) to outline. Wish me God’s speed . . .

http://amzn.to/2ji2Gda (Audio)

http://bit.ly/29xUJ1H (Trailer)

indigo sky cover6x9 72res.jpg

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE (buy link)






Busy writer, ugh!I got this email a few days ago from Mel Jolly, she is the writer’s assistant, so you can imagine how busy she is. I get her newsletter because I had asked her to be my assistant, and she turned me down. I was sad, but she offered to send me her handy dandy newsletters filled with tips and advice. I asked her if I could use this week’s for my blog and put it in my own words. She said, “Of course!” I really don’t have to put it in my own words because she said it just as I would have done it.

Today’s tip is going to sound a little weird, but I’m going to share it with you anyway.

Sometimes when I sit down to work, I have a

Busy chair

Busy chair

problem staying in my chair. (I already knew some good advice would be following)

It goes like this:

w-indexOh! I need to get my water bottle from the kitchen.
Runs to the kitchen. Comes back to office. Sits down.

Oh Hey! The mail is here. I’m going to go get it.
Runs out the door. Gets the mail. Comes back to the office. Sits down.

imagesOh shoot. That pan I left in the sink probably needs to soak.
Runs to the kitchen…


d-imagesOh darn. I better walk the dog before it’s too late.
Runs to get the dog, leash and collar…

You get the idea.

m-imagesAnyway, I usually listen to music on my computer while I work and one day I decided to listen through headphones.

I think the act of having to take out my earbuds to get up and then put them back in when I sat back down was enough to make me think twice about leaving my chair.

It’s almost like I literally tied myself to my chair.letslistentomusic_84ec02_5513907

Will this work for any of you? I have no idea. Maybe I’m the only one with a specific brand of laziness that keeps me from wanting to put forth the effort to take my earbuds out and put them back in. But, maybe it will work for you too! Why not give it a try?

Keep Reading

Lifehack – 15 Ways to Stay Focused at Work

Does this describe your writing time? I know the earbuds work–why not give it a try? You might get another 500 words done in a flash.

Thank you to Mel Jolly.
Mel sends out a weekly email in which she shares organizational tips and other nifty tricks she’s learned during her years as an assistant. Interested? Sign up here.

Author Rx



Tonal Values B/W

Tonal Values B/W

“Horrors.” Scarlet said as she turned to her friend with her hand covering her mouth. “Why did Jack and Jill choose those colors?”
“Truth tell, they loved purple and white with yellow accents,” said Sandy.
“But, everything—the walls, ceiling and floor are that deep, dark eggplant, which is too much of a gorgeous color. There’s only white and yellow pillows on the dark purple sofa, why didn’t they ask someone to help?”asked Scarlet.

“Dang, it’s so dark in here, they must be planning a Halloween party. Don’t you think?” asked Sandy.

It happens. You love a color but have no idea how to distribute what you love in your environment.

So . . . Here’s the scoop.

Five Tonal Values

Five Tonal Values

There are basic color schemes that you can pick from. Complementary Scheme, Monochromatic Scheme, Monotone Scheme, Neutral and One-Color Scheme and Analogous Schemes.

There are considerations in choosing. Understand the light in the spaces throughout your home and how the room will be used. What’s your home’s exposure? What is your natural light? You know, the light from outside. Eastern exposure gets the cool morning sun. Western exposure gets the warm afternoon sun. Southern exposure gets the hot sun all day long, even in the winter it’s uncomfortable to have sun beating into your space from sun up to sundown. Northern exposure gets no sun. For example, I built an art studio with three huge windows where the northern light spills into the space. It’s cool and restful, and gives me true interpretation of color for my paintings. It also gives me great light to photograph my work, also great to portrait paint with a live model and set up my own lights.



Of course the amount of natural light in a space depends on the position, number, and size of the windows. Natural light is white. Sunny rooms will be warmer than northern exposure offers. Then of course the windows treatment also affects the light penetration, as well as adjoining buildings, foliage. If natural light is minimal, and you want a cheerful effect, then the principal colors for walls and ceiling should be light in tonal values (usually an 8 or 9 value if possible). See the black and white charts for tonal values. Upholstery materials and color accents may be slightly darker and brighter. Darker tones on the walls (value 4 or less) are possible to use if the character of the room calls for them, but finish in semi-gloss for light reflections that maintain luminosity. If the room lacks natural light, brighter colors will tend to neutralize, toning the colors down. Also be aware that natural light reduces the size of your retina, which darkens and neutralizes the colors.

Chart black to white

Chart white to black (same tonal values apply to color)

Fundamental distribution of tonal values; light ceiling, medium walls, and dark floors. What we enjoy in our exterior environment, sky, foliage and earth. Of course there are variations and exceptions. A popular concept in contemporary spaces are dark walls and light floors.


Color Tone-all colors

Color Tone-all colors

colour-wheel-tonal-values“They should call an interior designer to help them,” said Scarlet.
“I agree, but maybe they are happy. Who is going to tell them?”
“Uh oh, not me.”
“Me either.”
“I have an idea,” said Scarlet.
“Let’s have them over for tea and ask if they are happy with their decorating colors. We can say the colors are nice, but don’t you find it too dark?”
“Nice is a poorly chosen adjective.”

Avant Garde - One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau

Avant Garde – One of the four themes in The Mansion at Sofitel Macau. Notice the luminosity and tonal distributions.

Are you inspired?

To be continued . . .

FLEDGLING LOVE: a short story

FLEDGLING LOVE: a short story

Crowds for Steeplechase

Crowds for Steeplechase Oil-on-Aluminum 12×24″ by Ingis Claus

Undertow rush of wave

Undertow rush of wave

Breathless, Emma dragged her disheveled self from the water’s edge. Her hair dripped sand into her eyes. She clawed herself away from the drag of the next wave that crashed on the rocks. It broke into softer splashes over her. She stared into the water’s foam and listened to the sounds of waves crashing and colliding near her. She stood. She shook. The wind whipped at her wet and sandy body and wrapped around her like a blanket. She couldn’t get her mind out of those eerie waves that pushed her down, down, down. She lifted her head up to whoever would listen. Her voice, a scream, filled the night air. She gritted her teeth, sandy enough to file them down . . . and gagged. Her tears mixed with the salty water. “Never again, she cried out, “The Ocean is not my friend.”

Steeplechase Park Entry

Steeplechase Park Entry

“Emma, Emma.”

Voices carried with the winds of the night air. “Emma, come on, come here, come join us.”

Emma turned to the voices.

“Where are you?” She did not dare rub her eyes. She could not tear herself from the blurred vision, silhouettes against the moonlit, yet dark sky. It looked like two figures of disputable character. They shouted to her.

Steeplechase pony ride

Steeplechase pony ride

She swallowed, “Please,” she said in a timorous voice, “I can’t see you. Wave.” She squinted, but the darkness shrouded the figures, what did she see?

She walked toward the sound of the shouts. “Maybe I should run?”

Coney-Island-Elephant HotelIn the distance she could hear the trumpet of the elephants. She could see the tower, the elephant hotel. The sand, cold and damp, tickled her toes, and hampered her run. But run she did, when an arm came out of nowhere and grabbed her hair. He turned her around, threw her down, and took her mouth in a searing kiss. She struggled to no avail.

Coney Island is not known for high waves, but this evening, the smell of storms permeated Emma’s nostrils. The ocean waves, big enough to drown, headed this way.

“You dimwitted girl, were you swimming tonight?”

She stared into Wil’s face. A friend? She lifted her hand and ran her fingernails down his cheek. Blood oozed out of the long red scratch. The sticky stuff dripped into his mouth.

“Ouch, damn, why’d you do that?”

“I just came out of the water after almost drowning, and you scared me half to death.”

“You didn’t have to get violent.”

“Violent? Me? What do you mean? And what was that, a kiss? Go into the water and wash your face. There’s blood all over the place.”

“Look Emma,” Wil lowered his head, blood dripping into the sand at his feet, ran his hand through his hair, his dark eyes widened, “I’m sorry. I did not mean to scare you.”

Emma, now shivering from the cold, said, “Go wash your face, then we’ll talk about this idiocy.”

Bobby, a friend in the crowd they hang with, stood by watching all this said, “Emma you are cruel. Wil won’t ever do anything to hurt you. He loves you.”

“You’re crazy as he is Bobby. Never play a game in the dark like that, I couldn’t tell who you were, and where your voices were coming from.”

“Hog wash, Emma. Who else would it have been calling you? The gang were all waiting for us, we didn’t know where you were, but then we saw you come out of the water, and called to you.”

“You go tell everyone we’re coming. I’ll wait for Wil.”

Now Wil was trudging through the sand, his head hanging. He became more and more interested in Emma and couldn’t resist teasing her. The scratch on his face gave him the thrill of her touch. He’ll treasure the mark forever. It was a simple flirtation, this roll in the sand. After all no great harm had been done. He hoped Emma would forgive him. He’s saved up all the money his Uncle Henry and Aunt Lucy had sent him for his birthday in January, so that he could take Emma out to Steeplechase Park, that new playground. Even buy her a Valentine’s Day present. Some chocolates in fact. Maybe something more.

“Well, you sure took your time. What were you doing, drinking up the ocean?”

He looked at Emma, who stood in place with a grin on her face. “Emma, are you still mad? Don’t be mad, please.”

“No, I’m not mad anymore. I hear all the laughing from the Steeplechase, let’s go Wil, just never scare me like that again.

He offered her his arm, she tucked her arm into his, and off they went getting the sand between their toes as they walked the beach to the Steeplechase pony ride to join the gang.

Pin It on Pinterest