A Clockwork Cat

Her name was Pixie and she choseto live with us. Originally she lived next door, but after an unfortunate set-to with the dog that also lived there, she left home. Pixie began to come to our front door asking for food, so I fed her.  Eventually she came to live with us and spent many hours in Vern’s lap, lowering his blood pressure with her warm, soft fur and purring. Pixie spent most of her time with us up off the floor, and she loved to be on top of the entertainment center and bookcases. I suppose this was because she felt safe from our dogs and from my son’s younger cats. She was Queen of all she surveyed.

Despite her age, she continued to insist on using the outdoors as her litterbox. One night she didn’t return when I called her. We found her the next morning. (A wild possum had attacked and killed her on her last trip outside). This was a very emotional painting for me. While I painted, I kept reminding myself of all the warm and pleasant feelings she brought to us. I hope those feelings show in the painting

Original: 5 x 7

Media: Acrylic on board

Original Price $225

Available in prints, cards, totes and various decor items- Click Here for more information

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Magic and Manners (An Austen Chronicle Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

Author: CE Murphy

This is a delightful re-telling of a much loved story that has been re-made into movies more times than I can count. If you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice you are going to love this book. Adding a touch of paranormal was great.

From Amazon Description

It is a truth universally accepted that well-bred members of Society are not beleaguered with magic.

For Elsabeth Dover and her sisters, that truth means living in a perpetual state of caution, never using their sorcerous gifts in public. Elsabeth chafes under the stricture, but not enough to risk the possibility of good marriages for her sisters…until she meets handsome, arrogant Fitzgerald Archer.

Elsabeth, attracted to Archer’s wit and offended by his manner, strives to keep her youngest, impetuous sister’s use of magic in check so that their eldest sister, Rosamund, might find happiness with Archer’s wealthy friend Mr Webber. But when Elsa fails to keep young Leopoldina in line, Archer’s disapproval of the family taint means an abrupt end to Rosamund’s hopes, and leads to a terrible discovery about the price of magic…

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Dispelled (A Null for Hire Novel Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

This would have been a good mystery without the magic. With it, it just adds another dimension to the story. I gave it five stars because the story itself was so well written. The heroine is tough and smart

From Amazon Description

They call me an abomination. A mutant. A curse on their kind.

I don’t let it bother me. Much.

My name is Holly James, and what they say is true. I’m a freak of nature–a null. My mere presence zaps the magic from Others, rendering them powerless. That’s why they hate me. But here’s the kicker: I’ve found a way to profit from my lack of mojo.

Whether it’s acting as a mystical wet blanket in a dispute between pyromancers or keeping hormonal shifters from changing during a sweet sixteen party, I provide a highly specialized service. For a hefty fee.

When a young witch turns up dead, clutching an amulet cursed with black magic, my estranged grandfather asks for my help. In return for nullifying the necklace, Gramps promises to find my missing mother–a witch who vanished after my birth. Of course there’s a catch. He wants me to assist Cade McAllister, the arrogant sorcerer in charge of investigating the case.

Cade resents my existence, let alone my attempts to help. Still, I’ll do whatever it takes to find my mom. For my own peace of mind I have to know what happened to her, and I won’t allow anything to get in my way. Not even this crazy, irrational longing I feel for a hot sorcerer with the sexiest scowl I’ve ever seen.

***Warning! This book contains a snarky heroine and a brooding hero. If you like magic, mystery, humor, and sizzling romance-this book may be right up your alley.***

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The Other Lady Vanishes

By Jayne Ann Krenz

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Well now. I confess the heroine in this one was NOT who I expected it to be, although she does appear as a secondary character. Krenz (excuse me Quick) has used a variation of this plot line (heroine goes into hiding after having been committed to an asylum and kept there against her will). It’s a prime example of adapting a basic premise to different plot lines for different eras. 

We are so used to and dependent on technology that we modern readers sometimes forget how easy it used to be to disappear and create a new identity for yourself.

This story involves drugs, spies, Hollywood Stars, fortune tellers, blackmail…

From Amazon Description

“Quick conjures up a celluloid world that will be catnip to fans of that era evoking the sensation it was plucked straight from the Warner Bros. vault.”–Entertainment Weekly

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California–where the most dazzling of illusions can’t hide the darkest secrets…

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’ll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be–and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along..

Milkmaid

I have always been fond of goats and my Family history with these clever, funny animals comes from my favorite Uncle who raised them on what would these days be considered a “hobby farm”. He actually started out raising cows, but switched to goats when I was about 6 or 7. As a child, I loved visiting his place because of the variety of animals he and my aunt kept. I learned to milk the family of goats, feed them, groom them and after the meat returned from the local butcher, to eat them as well. . It caused quite a family ruckus when the family discovered he was naming his nanny goats after his female relatives. After my mother threatened to name the dog after him, he switched to using a baby name book. Uncle Swede had a rule, if he named a goat it was destined for the dairy and it was safe to become fond of it; unnamed goats were destined for the table.

Goats are exceptionally curious and intelligent. Goats are very agile and widely known for their ability to climb and hold their balance in the shakiest of places. My first horse was a Shetland pony I called Little Red. My Uncle Swede boarded him for us on his farm when we moved into the city of Fresno. Horses are sociable animals who love company so Little Red very much enjoyed rooming with the goats, who liked to ride on his back. I have an old black and white photo of a couple of my Uncles goats in which one of them was riding him and the other waiting her turn on an enormous wooden box placed in the pen for their climbing enjoyment.

One day a stranger driving by saw the goats riding the pony, and was so astonished he drove off into an irrigation ditch. As my uncle was pulling his car out, he kept trying to explain what had caused his accident.

Uncle Swede, who loved a good joke, looked him dead in the eye and asked, “Man, what have youbeen drinking?”

Due to their agility and nosiness, goats are also notorious for escaping their pens by testing fences and enclosures; for his goat pens, my uncle used hog wire with a small electric wire on the outside of it to ensure they stayed where they were supposed to be. Due to extreme stubbornness and the tasty rose bushes my aunt grew along the fence, each goat had to try to stick her head out the holes in the fence and then be rescued before they learned not to try to escape that way.

Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, and have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goats;Dairy goats are generally pastured in summer and may be stabled during the winter. As dairy does are milked daily, they are generally kept close to the milking shed. Their grazing is typically supplemented with hay and concentrates. Stabled goats may be kept in stalls similar to horses, or in larger group pens.

Original: 18w x 24h Price $575.00

www.gaildaleysfineart.com

Available in prints, cards, totes and various decor items- Click Here for more information

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/milkmaid-gail-daley.html

Goats vs. Cattle:Except in the United States, 65% of the milk consumption worldwide is from goat’s milk, and this popularity hasn’t come about due to high profile marketing campaigns or big-budget advertisements. “All milk is not created equal.” The differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk may not seem apparent to most of us as both look like white liquid. But a closer look will show us how milk matches up with the human body in its various stages. A human baby is created to be fed entirely upon mothers’ milk for at least the first six months of life. There is no other food in the world better than mothers’ milk as studies have shown both in the laboratory and the real world. After we are weaned from the breast or bottle most of us obtain our milk supply from the local grocery, many of which are only now beginning to stock goat milk as well as cow’s milk. Why would someone choose goat’s milk over the far more popular and accessible cow’s milk?  Well there is something called “lactose Intolerance” an allergy that can be blamed on a protein known as Alpha s1 Casein found in high levels in cow’s milk. The level of Alpha s1 Casein in goat’s milk is about 89% less than cow’s milk.  In fact, a recent study of infants allergic to cow’s milk found that nearly 93% could drink goat’s milk with very few side effects! Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules and does not contain agglutinin allowing it to stay naturally homogenized. All milk contains certain levels of lactose or ‘milk sugar.’ A relatively large portion of the population suffers from a deficiency (not an absence) of an enzyme known as lactase that is used to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance can cause painful gas episodes and, In addition, Cow’s milk is designed to take a 100-pound calf and transform it into a 1200-pound cow. Goat’s milk and human milk were both designed and created for transforming a 7-9 pound baby/kid into an average adult/goat of anywhere between 100-200 pounds. Consequently, more of the goats’ milk is absorbed by the human digestive system and not converted into painful gas.

The Serpent Garden

Judith Merkle Riley

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is my favorite of all Riley’s books, perhaps because the heroine is an artist like myself. Susana Dallet is left the widow of a painter at a time when artist Guilds didn’t allow women to paint no matter how talented they were. Since her husband was murdered when he was committing adultery, he was no loss. 

He also departed the world leaving Susana broke and with no means of supporting herself. On the advice of the widow (of another dead painter) downstairs, Susana finishes a commission taken by her dead husband, pretending his ghost came home and finished the work so she would have money for his funeral. The widow downstairs tells her that she has supported herself for several years by selling her dead husbands paintings of a naked Adam and Eve. However she is running out of them, so she suggests Susana paint more Adam and Eves adding miniatures by HER husband and they split the money. So Susana becomes two dead painters. 

Her work draws the attention of Cardinal Worsley and hr recruits (blackmails) her to travel with King Henry VIII’s sister when she travels to France to marry it’s aging king. 

This book is full of ironic humor, fun and adventure without straying from the mores existing at the time. There are plots, subplots, conspiracies; even one involving a conflict between the angel Hadrial (in charge of inspirations, arts and music —don’t ask) and a demon prince who is out to make as much trouble as he can while he fulfills-the last command put on him before he was imprisoned. 

Don’t worry—Everything ends well. 

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Gilded Latten Bones

Garrett P.I. #13

Author Glen Cook

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The first part of this book is a glimpse into the dark future if Garrett & Tinnie had remained a couple, and in an effort to remake her world to suit her family, Tinnie had remained in control of their mutual destiny because Garrett was too lazy to fight about it. Fortunately, when Belinda Contague tells Garrett Morley has been hurt and needs his old pal to help keep him alive, Garrett agrees, leaving Tinnie pitching a royal fit. This in turn forces Garrett to examine what has been happening in his life, and he chooses self respect over pleasing Tinnie and the life she had chosen for them both.

This isn’t a conventional Garrett paranormal mystery. It’s low on Garrett action for one thing, since he only hears about it secondhand as he is stuck looking after Morley for the first half of the story.

Of interest also is the return of the Windwalker, Furious Tide Of Light from a previous book, who is not only still interested in making Garrett her main man but is so much pleasanter than Tinnie that most of Garrett’s friends and family vote in her favor. Not that she doesn’t come with drawbacks—she does: a teenage daughter too smart for her own good, some murderous in laws who are apparently cutting up corpses to stay young, a father with incestuous designs on her daughter, etc. When Tinnie gets a chance to star in  theatre drama, Garrett suddenly realizes how little the two of them really know about each other, and they come to a mutual parting of the ways, semi-approved by the Tate clan.

On top of everything else, Prince Rupert, that bastion of law and order, suddenly doesn’t want anyone including Garrett and the new home guard investigating who tried to kill Morley and keep Garrett from ferreting out the culprit.

I liked this tale, even though I figured out who the bad guys were early on, the character development kept me interested in the story. And I do admit it was nice to read about Garrett finally having the kind of woman in his life, who instead of throwing a jealous fit in the middle of a case, would Call down the lightning’s to defend him.

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