I recently took up watercolor painting because it is a challenging medium in many ways. No point in counting the ways. Take my word for it--it's hard. I've decided that I am not going to be a landscape artist because there is not enough story in most landscapes to sustain my interest. I am more drawn to the landscape of the face, the hidden emotions and thoughts. It is much closer to writing. So here are a few of my watercolors with all of their flaws on display (my instructor points them out to me on a regular basis).
And since it's the holidays, I'm also sharing a few paragraphs from my novel, Dreaming of Laughing Hawk. My novel is available on Amazon in print or ebook and if you watch for the December 8 - 11 countdown promo, you can pick up the ebook at a discounted price.
It's 1964. The country is in turmoil and so is Elizabeth Leigh. A fortuitous invitation from her cousin to come to Los Angeles rescues her from an uncertain future. What she doesn't know is that the good life she dreams of is going to be turned upside down by a quicksand character named Mark Laughing Hawk. The following bar scene features Hawk and his uncle, Kills-at-Night (aka Killer).
The room was dimly lit and had a hazy red glow. Bottles of liquor lined the shelves behind the bartender who was all business and no smile. Saturday night was hopping, and there were a couple of pretty waitresses in short tight skirts and low-cut tops running back and forth. Usually the jukebox was playing, but tonight a smooth jazz floated just above the haze and the din of voices and clinking glasses. Some struggling musician had managed to talk the owner into a little play time.
Hawk saw her coming—a well-built blond with ample cleavage and a dangerous swing of the hips. She picked the bar stool next to him.
"Thirsty," she said. "What do you recommend?"
Hawk stared at the damp blond ringlets that clung to the nape of her neck. She smelled hot. A concoction of malt and perfume cut with smoke.
"A cold beer. Schlitz," Hawk said.
Hawk ordered her beer, scotch for himself and Killer.
Killer leaned forward to get a better look.
When the bartender brought the round, she said, "I'll have a little salt."
She sprinkled salt into the beer and took a long drink. "Thanks. I was parched." Her tongue chased the salt on the glass. "What's your name?"
"Hawk is what I'm called."
"I thought you was Mexican or something like that." She slipped her hand into her blouse and pulled up her bra strap. "My name's Angelique."
"Good name," Hawk replied.
"I never knowed an Indian before."
"First time for everything."
She laughed, looking like a woman who had just found her compass, and then she lightly brushed a thread off his sleeve. "This joint plays the best music, don't you think?"
That was news to him, but he decided to throw her a bone. "You a musician?" Hawk felt his uncle’s sharp elbow against his.
Ignoring his sarcasm, she traced the rim of her glass with her finger and leaned close enough to brush his shoulder. "I'm good."
Hawk clinked ice against glass. They both understood one another.
Her well-manicured hands stroked her glass and began to tap impatiently. "Is it a big decision?” she asked. “I don't have all night."
Killer smiled and stared straight ahead.
Hawk gave her the head-to-toe look she seemed to expect. "How much?"
"What do you do?"
"The usual. Anything kinky is extra. Some things I won't do."
"Exactly what do I get for forty dollars?"
"All the pleasure you can stand." She rested her hand lightly on his thigh. "You want me to draw you a picture or do you need a checklist?"
"How are you going to do me?" Hawk said. He could see in the mirrored wall behind the bartender that the gap in Killer's front teeth was showing.
"What do you mean by how? First I take your clothes off, then I…"
"No, no. I mean describe it. How do you take my clothes off? What makes me want to take my clothes off?"
"Are you an idiot or a pervert?"
"Both. How about a little imagination?"
She slid her empty glass across the bar in his direction. "I'll tell you what, when, where and how much, but if you want me to describe how, that's double."
"I can't afford to pay for the time it would take you to imagine it."
"I thought so," she said. “No money.” Her eyes scouted the room, no doubt looking for another john.
Hawk pulled out his wallet and counted a hundred. "You’re right. It's not enough."
"That's enough to buy you the best time you can imagine."
Hawk put the money back in his wallet. "No, it wouldn't be enough for my imagination. I'm a hungry man."
"You're fucking crazy."
"You should pay me if you've never done an Indian before. You'd get your money's worth," Hawk said, stuffing his wallet in his back pocket. "Hell, I'll fuck your mind for free."