The Class With No Name

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Chapter 16 In Living Black & White

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Whoa! Looks like Nina has a lot of coloring to do! If I had more time, perhaps I’d print out her sketches so far, and color ’em myself! I’m sure the results would be…horrendous. Better not.

Chapter 16 The Class With No Name. Here’s my sketch for the first illustration, entitled (of course) “Three Wise Monkeys.”


And here’s Nina’s:


Excellent! It’s as if she’s been to my house! And, LOOK! Why, that’s exactly how I look from behind! Heh. I’ll say it again: I wish Nina could illustrate my life.

Here’s my second sketch, “The Portal.” My Portal looks a little cranky, for some reason. I think it’s the cupboard pulls:

HT-038 The Portal

And Nina’s:


So close to the actual Portal, which is in the same place in my house as it is in the Hideaway, to the right of the fireplace. I have yet to paint it (but I will!):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s my third sketch for the chapter, “Mr. Horace,” with his mean threat of MINT IN THE BOX. *shudder*

HT-037 Mr. Horace

Nina’s take:


Also excellent! I only requested one small change for the final. I wanted a slightly more outrageous and defined mustache. After all, as it says in the chapter, “He was older with grizzled silver hair and an enormous handle-bar mustache, the curled ends of which framed his ears if you could view him at just the right angle.”

I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to show Nina what I meant (not that she needs showing, but I always seem to feel the need to show), so I sent the next closet thing:

HT-037 MustacheJust asking for the “top layer of mustache” of course.

There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. A little re-writing, some fleshing out. I’ve discovered that I’m never satisfied. I always want to do MORE. Even after the “final, final, final” version I send to my brother for the website. MORE. It’ll will actually be a relief when the words are finally set in print.

Of course, there’s always the second edition…

Happy Weekend Before Thanksgiving, All!

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A Fate Worse Than MINT.

163b1For as long as I can remember, my mother has had a wonderful little collection of the Three Wise Monkeys. You know the ones: Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil & See No Evil. So I was delighted when I saw an opportunity to work that into Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway.

Edited excerpt from Chapter 16 The Class With No Name:

 “Elizabeth, are you okay?”

For a moment Hazel thought that she had outgrown her childhood, when she’d only just discovered how wonderful it could be. Elizabeth had gone completely still and didn’t appear to be breathing. Hazel was so relieved when Elizabeth eye’s widened and she loudly gasped, causing the room to go quiet. She appeared to be trying to speak and everyone looked at her, waiting. When she finally managed, it was a very faint whisper. “Did you say, Portal?”

163cHazel was not prepared for Dot and Betty’s reaction. In unison they blurted, “The Class!” and then all three dolls, Dot, Betty and Elizabeth, immediately clapped their hands over their mouths like the three wise monkeys who only knew one thing not to do.

Now, if you want a doll to keep a secret, what would you threaten her with? Why, the worst fate of all, of course!

Another edited excerpt:

“If any of you reveals what I am about to tell you, you will never, ever have the chance to become ‘Favorite Companion’.” Mr. Horace emphasized his point. “You could be surrounded by hundreds of the dearest, most pure-hearted children in the world, and you would have no more life than the saddest level of all,” here he paused, and each of the dolls felt he was looking directly at them, “Mint in the Box.”

163a1The dolls all shuddered, not wanting to even imagine: Never seeing the light of day, never being removed from your box to be played with for even a moment was bad enough. Suffering that fate while out in the open, surrounded by children…

Some of the dolls started quietly weeping.

Writing that last line made me laugh a little bit, because of course there are worse things in the world. However! Not for a doll, there isn’t!

‘Mint in the Box’ dolls are the most sought after and of course fetch the best prices amongst collectors. But how sad! It’s not just for lack of money that I don’t own a single mint doll, it’s because I don’t want own a sad doll. That would make me sad, which is the opposite reason I surround myself with these girls, odd person that I am.

Of course, the threat worked. Over all of the decades none of the dolls ever spoke a word. Right up until this very moment in the book.

Tomorrow! The Art of 16. We artists, Nina and I, have a LOT of catching up to do…Until then!