Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding Your Voice by Joyce Oroz

Finding Your Voice
So you want to write a book. If you’re looking for fame and glory, get over it. Writing is hard work with little or no monetary reward, unless you’re in the one percentile who do get noticed. On the other hand, writing a novel is a hoot … and the biggest high you’ll ever earn. Once you make the trip from beginning to middle pages to finale, you’re hooked. I’m betting you’ll start a second book right away, hoping to repeat that wonderful, agonizing, mind-blowing trip.
There are two kinds of writers, those who want to write and those who do. There are those who attend writing classes, read about writing, know everything there is to know about writing, dabble with writing, but never actually finish anything.
The real writer learns the “rules” about writing and learns how to write by writing. She isn’t afraid to break a few rules as long as it helps her to find her voice and tell her story. She looks forward to writing sessions even though they are not always productive or easy. She does what she does because it’s so much fun. The fun out-weighs the frustration. If it’s not fun for you, or at least satisfying in some way, why do it? Life is too short to be doing things you don’t enjoy. That’s my best advice and I’m sticking to it. Oh, yes, and don’t use clichés.
How do I know that loving what you do is important? Here is a brief biography to explain how I came to this conclusion.
Life’s flow pushed me forward, from mother to grandmother, painter to writer, contented to jubilant. I enjoyed a long career as a professional muralist, painting walls in cities and towns across California. The day came when tall ladders, long hours and smelly paint did not agree with me. I turned to my love of writing, took classes and jumped right into writing 26 children’s stories. When that was out of my system, I wrote my first mystery novel, Secure the Ranch. What a wonderful experience—I was hooked. At present, I am a novelist and freelance journalist and I owe it all to spell-check.
Secure the Ranch is the first novel in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series. Read My Lipstick is the second and more are coming. Even though I took classes, learned about writing an outline, etc., it never worked for me. My style is: Sit in front of the computer and write down the first thing that comes to mind and then expand on it. If it was a good first sentence, more information will come. If not, shelf it and try another first sentence.
Be open. Discover your own style. But most importantly, you must find your voice. Keep writing and reading what you have written. One day you will discover that wonderful voice that belongs to only you.
I didn’t understand my protagonist, Josephine Stuart, very well until half the book was written. Turns out, she is a grizzly when it comes to injustice, she’s an accomplished painter, drives like a maniac (when necessary) and adores her basset—and the guy next door. People say Josephine is a lot like me, but I know she is younger, taller, smarter, prettier and braver than I will ever be. She happens to drive a red pickup just like mine, she paints murals for a living, but unlike me, she finds trouble where ever she goes.

5 Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track: Negotiate a Job Offer, Interview Questions, Career Changes, Job Searches, Cover Letters, Resume, Being Proactive, Dealing With Bad Managers, Networking [Paperback]
Richard S Pearson
4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

excerpt from third Josephine book by Joyce Oroz

His embrace was like water on marigolds. My leaves were up and my petals were smiling. I hoped I smelled more like a rose than a marigold.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Muraling Part Eight Joyce Oroz

Muraling Part Eight
The picture above has been painted on a closed door at the end of a hallway. Notice the door nobs in both pictures. This is simply the results of using perspective.
Paintings, including murals, are painted in layers. Start with sky and work forward—that’s back to front for opaque paints such as oil-base and acrylic. Far away mountains, trees, buildings etc. should be painted after the sky. If you use muted cool colors they will automatically fall back into the distance. Closer subjects are next. Use stronger, warmer colors to bring them forward. The last items to be painted are the details in the foreground. For example, flowers on a lattice, in front of a house, in front of a row of trees, in front of grassy hills. An umbrella on the sand, in front of the water and sky. A man sitting on a fence, in front of a cornfield. The flowers, umbrella and man are all painted last. Even these last subjects should be painted in layers. Paint the man first. Add a pair of overalls and then a pocket on the overalls. Highlights can be added any time, but last is good.

Murals are most effective when they fool the eye, have a 3-D effect, draw you into the picture and simutate real depth. Layering is part of creating an illusion, but the proper use of perspective is the only way to create spectacular depth. The best way to see perspective is to observe a long road with telephone poles running along one side. Notice that the poles nearest you are quite tall. They become smaller and shorter as they get farther away. If you have a photograph of such a road, take a ruler and place it at the tops of all the poles. Draw a line and then put the ruler on the road at the bottom of all the poles. Draw a line. Notice you have a triangle—you have perspective. It would be well worth your while to study perspective further.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Five Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track--2nd edition by Richard (Scott) Pearson

Richard Pearson, better known as, Scott, has a new version (second edition) of his "5 Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track". It is timely and a must-have book for anyone concerned about their current job or the job they are searching for. Scott's credentials stretch around the globe, but he brings home a down-to-earth message everyone can use. This is an author and a book I whole-heartedly recommend.
Joyce Oroz

Richard S. Pearson 3:22pm Jun 20th
I need your help to get my latest book “5 Necessary Skills to Keep Your Career on Track 2nd Edition” in the hands of more people who need it. Right now the average time for a job search is almost 10 months – the longest since the Labor Dept. started keeping records in 1948. My book will never make money – I’m doing this for a goodwill hobby and because I believe it will help almost anyone at any level in their career. Please click on the link and give a review on the book and scroll down to “Tags Customers Associate with This Product.” Click the ones most checked and it will drive more searches to my book. If you don’t want to buy the book, click on “look inside” and read parts to base your review. If you are one of the 810 who bought the first book you don’t need to buy this one – as the 5 skills are the same – I just got rid of the problems leading up to the jobs/careers challenges of today. The new edition is a look forward at the future of jobs and how we have to go about finding and landing one in today’s tough job market. Please do not delay – I want to get this book out to a much larger audience. Thank you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Read My Lipstick by Joyce Oroz...........Second novel in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series

Excerpt from Read My Lipstick
Two sheriff’s deputies climbed over the fence just as I bellied down to the sandy beach and slipped into the water like a thirsty trout. A snorkel would have been nice, but it wasn’t an option. I held my breath, closed my eyes and swam underwater in the direction of Trigger’s boat. I didn’t bother to open my eyes because the water was darker than Tavia’s black pumps and smelled like duck droppings. On one breath and tons of adrenalin, I was able to swim almost fifty feet. I stopped suddenly when my head hit the side of Trigger’s peddle boat. I popped up gasping for air. My head throbbed and stars floated in front of my eyes..........................
“Did you hear something? Look over there and I’ll go this way,” Deputy Sayer ordered. I watched them train their flashlights on one piece of junk after another all over the neighbor’s property. I saw the lights change direction and bob down the beach to Justin’s dock and then full circle back to the cottage and beyond. By that time my body was numb and my lips were in a non-stop tremble. I held onto the side of the boat, trying not to imagine what kind of slimy creatures might be swimming in Drew Lake at night.
The neighbor dog barked again as the sheriff’s deputies retreated up the path to Lower Cutter. I listened until I could hear nothing except the lapping of water against pilings. Carefully I climbed into the boat, which was no easy task in wet clothes, untied the rope and peddled my shivering body over to Alicia’s dock.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Muraling Part Seven Joyce Oroz

The picture on the left is the before picture of an ordinary small bathroom. On the right is an illusion painted on the wall.
Preparing your wall properly insures the best outcome. When your mural wall is in good shape (holes patched, bumps smoothed, fresh coat of paint) you are ready to tape off the area. Masking tape (blue is best) should be pressed along all edges of the painting, floor boards, doors, windows, switch plates, etc. A precise taping job helps to accomplish a professional looking mural. As soon as your painting is finished and dry, gently pull the tape off. The sooner the tape comes off the better.
Begin painting the thing that is furthest away, usually the sky. Skys can have much to say in a picture. They tell the time of day or night, the weather and they add color and mood. Even if there is only a small piece of sky showing through a window or balcony, it is still important and still goes first. The window frame will be painted over the sky.
Painting a sky can be pretty tricky, especially with acrylic paint because it drys so fast. Naturally, you will want your sky to be darker at the top of the picture and gradually lighten as it gets closer to the horizon. I not only lighten by adding white, I also add a little yellow to show depth in the atmosphere. (dirty air)
Mix your deepest blue, or other sky color, first. Pour about half of that color into another container. Add white to this batch until it is a shade lighter than the first color. Now, pour half of the new mixture into another empty container and add white plus a little yellow until it is a shade lighter than the last batch. You can do this one more time if you like. This will give you three or four shades to blend.

Start brushing on your deepest shade using a two or three inch brush. Work fast, beginning at the top of the picture, then blend the second darkest shade with quick up and down strokes, finishing with side to side until blended. The lightest shade will be last and closest to the horizon. Again, all blending must be done quickly as the paint dries fast.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with Author Joe Truskot.....Part Three

Joe Truskot, author of the Central Coast Rose Manual, please tell us about some of your other accomplishments.

I’m most proud of the number of concerts and events I’ve produced over the years from Cabaret Pops concerts in Salinas, to Candlelight Christmas Concerts at the Carmel Mission, to a long list of wonderful musical performances of the Monterey Symphony. I have profound love of classical music and those talented folks that produce it. This passion is currently manifesting itself as one of Central Coast Public Radio, KUSP 88.9FM on air hosts. Tune in every Friday at 8:00 p.m. for OnSite. I guess I’m doing pretty well in this new endeavor as the board and staff of KUSP made me their “Pataphysician of the Year” at their recent annual meeting. I was really quite honored.

I was also named “Director Emeritus” by the Association of California Symphony Orchestra after having served on its board of directors for most of my twenty-one years in California. I had the great pleasure of serving on the National Steinbeck Center’s board of directors during the time we raised the money and built the Center at One Main Street, in Salinas.

What do you like to do in your spare time, that is, if you have any.

My other past-times include designing and sewing quilt tops. I send my creations back to Ohio to have some Amish friends finish them and then make them available for sale out here. I’ve been a potter since my college days and many of those creations can be seen in my garden. I’ve also been a collector of vintage postcards on and off since I was twelve. My latest endeavor in this realm has been research on one of the art world’s least appreciated flower painters German Catharina Klein (1861-1928). She was during her time one of the most successful commercial artists. You may know her work, but I’m confident that you’ve seen her remarkable paintings. At any rate, to read more about her and view some of what I think are the best paintings of roses, check out:

Do you have any pets at home?

In 2002, a black and white, bobtail cat wandered into my rose garden and my life. I was fifty-two years old and had never had a pet of my own. I called him “Princess” for the first six months until my vet said, “You need to pick another name. This is a neutered male.” So he got butched up with “Buddy.” It was a gradual process though, his moving in. I decided to feed him, but he would remain an outdoor cat. It wasn’t long before I was in the pet food aisle, scratching my chin. “Would he prefer Country Home Dinner or Mariner’s Platter. Oh hell. I’ll just buy both.” Then, one day while I was paying my bills at my dining room table, I heard this very curious sound. What could it be? Snoring? Sure enough, the cat that would never be welcome indoors was on the chair next to me, four paws to the sky, sound asleep. I was afraid of what he might do if I startled him. So I continued my task and he snored away for an hour or so more, then opened his eyes, sat up, stretched, looked at me, meowed, jumped down and walked out the open patio sliding door. In 2007, Buddy brought Freddy a rib-cage showing, abandoned older kitten to the food bowl. Hidden from their view, I watched as Buddy showed him the dish and encouraged him to eat with an expression that said, “Yeah, help yourself. Every time the kibbles get low that big guy comes out and fills it back up again without me doing anything.”

Joe, please describe the contents of the book and the benefits of owning it.

The Central Coast Rose Manual is divided into three parts. The first section contains the prefatory remarks and general information on the needs of rose bushes. The second and largest part is a month-by-month guide on what you should do in the garden at that time. The final part is a series of informative articles on many of the challenges (insects, diseases, etc.) that we all face and offers many solutions. The book extols the value of organic gardening and environmentally safe practices. It is also written with a great deal of personal narrative; thus, the subtitle “Creating a Personal Rose Garden.” The chummy prose style adds a degree of warmth to what can be a pretty cold iteration of garden do’s and don’ts. Most of my close friends say they hear my voice talking through the entire book which, I suppose, is logical because it is ME talking through the entire book.

How can people find your book and why should they buy it?

Several very supportive folks have been behind the success of this project. It was amazing how quickly certain outlets jumped on the opportunity of offering the Central Coast Rose Manual and other’s rejected it. You can buy a copy at the following great stores:

River House Books, Carmel

Wild Bird Center, Del Monte Center, Monterey

Old Monterey Book Company, Monterey

Bokay Nursery, Hitchcock Road, Salinas

Wisteria Antiques & Gardens, Soquel

Alladin’s Nursery & Garden Center, Watsonville

The Garden Company, Mission Avenue, Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

The following Public Libraries also have it on their shelves: Salinas, Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Gilroy and several other branches of the Santa Clara Library System.

Thank you, Joe Truskot, for a very informative and personal look into your fascinating life.

by Joyce Oroz

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review by Robert Walch, Salinas Californian

"Secure the Ranch" (Outskirts Press. $18.95) by Joyce Oroz.
ª Local connection: An Aromas resident, Joyce Oroz is a freelance journalist, muralist and author. This is the first in a projected series of mysteries set on the Central Coast.
ª Content: A 50-year-old widow, Josephine Stuart, is the owner of the Wildbrush Mural Co. With business slow, she agrees to tackle a project for Theda Munger, who owns a 9,000-square-foot mansion in the Santa Cruz Mountains
The job entails murals in three rooms. Besides a Tuscan pastoral scene in the dining room and converting the ceiling in the den to a blue sky with "puffy clouds and maybe a couple of cherubs in the renaissance style," Mrs. Munger wants a wall in her music room transformed into a meadow with flowers and redwoods.
Referring to the assignment as a "cupcake," Josephine muses, "What could possibly go wrong in Boulder Creek?"
As you'll discover, a whole lot will go wrong on this isolated, wooded mountain top. Odd accidents, fires and the death of a local resident suggest things are not as they should be in the idyllic community and someone wants the Mungers to leave.
A woman with a lot of curiosity and a strong sense of right and wrong, Josephine is undaunted by the problems and danger she encounters. Unfortunately, this gets her into a lot of trouble and places her life in jeopardy as she disrupts the lives and illegal activities of some rather nasty characters.
ª Quote: "In no way was I prepared for what had happened to the mansion overnight. I parked my truck and watched two workmen roll white paint over large black letters spray-painted on the southern wall outside the music room. The first coat of paint didn't cover the 'LEAVE OR DIE' graffiti very well."
ª Audience: If you enjoy suspense stories with a local flavor and an engaging central character, you'll like this novel. The story unfolds in Santa Cruz County and the primary setting is in the Santa Cruz Mountains outside of Boulder Creek.
ª Robert Walch of Monterey writes about Central Coast Authors for the Arts & Books page Saturday in The Salinas Californian. Contact him in care of Central Coast Authors, The Salinas Californian, 123 W. Alisal St., Salinas 93901; fax to 754-4293; or email to by Robert Walch

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Muraling.....Part Joyce Oroz

Muraling…..Part Six
The windows in the photo are an illusion, painted on flat dining room walls.

With a screwdriver, take off all outlet and switch plates. These are usually made of plastic, but some are wood or metal. All types can be handled the same way. The switch plates should be sanded with medium weight sandpaper until the shine is removed. A minute or two of sanding is usually enough. When all plates are sanded, wipe the dust off with a damp cloth, dry the plates and paint them with white primer, brushed on or sprayed. An hour or so later, go back and paint each plate with the wall color. When that coat of paint is dry, screw the plates back in place on the wall. When you paint your mural, you will treat the plates as if they are part of the wall, and they will disappear into the picture......................

Your tarps are down, the walls are taped, the plates are prepared. Now you can recreate your sketch, only bigger, on the wall. The first mark is the hardest. Remember, it’s only a mark and you can always erase it or fix it. With chauk or pencil and a numbered level, draw the largest features. A chauk snap-line works well for a horizon line. Use as little drawing as you can get away with, and use very little pressure on the pencil. Sometimes lead is hard to cover with paint. Some pencil lines can be erased when the painting is finished and dry. Never use felt pens or magic markers, as they are almost impossible to cover with paint.

When designing your mural, try to keep the top and bottom portions of the picture relatively simple because near the ceiling and close to the floor are the most difficult parts of the wall to reach, unless you are a pretzel.

When you are finally ready to paint, make sure you have mixed large enough quantities of each color. If you run short of a color, it might be difficult to mix your paint into that exact shade or tone. The shade is the degree of color, how dark or light, and the tone is the quality or intensity of color. Jade green is intense, teal is not. Fire engine red is intense, burgundy is not. Orange is intense, peach is not.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Interview with Joe Truskot....Part Two by Joyce Oroz

Mr. Truskot, your new book, Central Coast Rose Manual, is beautiful and so informative. Why did you decide to take on this project?.........................
For eleven years, I was the editor of The Bay Rose, the Monterey Bay Rose Society’s monthly newsletter. During that time, I produced an eight-page newsletter every month. So when I left my job, I had the book nearly written. It only took me about six weeks to re-organize the information and edit it down. The remainder of the time was spent taking and editing photographs, writing some original content where there were voids and dealing with the challenges of software programs. I also knew that most of what general books on roses had to say about horticultural practices were wrong for California’s coastal communities. In addition, most major outlets for roses—the notorious Big Box Stores—had a purchasing agent back in corporate headquarters who didn’t know a thing about our climate. At various presentations and clinics I’ve run, I kept meeting frustrated gardeners who thought that there was something wrong about them and their ability to grow roses when the specific variety of rose was not suitable to our conditions. Growing certain rose varieties in our climate is like trying to grow cocoanuts in Ohio……………

Joe, I have toured your beautiful rose garden, and wonder how much time it takes to create such a masterpiece. Any special tips you would like to pass on?.........................
Ask any gardener. The work is never done. In preparation for your visit to my garden, I realized I had several empty spaces. I’d cut down a tree that got too big. I’d dug out underperforming roses in January and never replaced them. I’d moved others around which slowed their growth. So I had to do some last minute decorating with annuals and garden decorations to mask the fact that the roses were missing in a few areas. Once the roses are established, the care you provide is feeding and watering, weeding, and dead-heading. It does get easier as the garden gets more established. The important rule is to keep the number of roses you grow to a minimum. And make sure those that you do grow are showy and healthy……………..

Here are six things rose growers can do right now to have better roses……………….
1. Open up the inside of each rose bush. Light should be able to fall on the bud union. This provides better air circulation, encourages new canes to grow from the base of the bush, and will inhibit the development of black spot.
2. Dead head spent roses quickly. Always make your cut to an out-side bud eye so the new flowering stalk grows away from the center of the plant.
3. Add a double handful of alfalfa pellets to the bottom of each bush and water them in. During the next several waterings the pellets break down and release an enzyme which helps all plants absorb the nutrients in the soil.
4. A half-cup of Epsom Salt provides some magnesium which is deficient in most garden soil around the Monterey Bay. Magnesium helps plants transport nutrients. This only needs to be done every couple of years or so as magnesium stays in the soil.
5. Pinch off side buds growing on your hybrid teas. This allows the single bud to develop more so you will have a larger, longer-lasting, more symmetrically beautiful flower and the plant will replace this single flower sooner.
6. Thin out any plants growing too close to your roses, especially trees and undergrowth. Rose roots aren’t invasive and quickly lose their intended nourishment to invaders.
look for the Central Coast Rose Manual on line at Amazon

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pictures from the 2011 Maker Fair, by Avery Laurin

The Maker Fair in San Mateo was a big hit this year. Here are samples of the wide variety of inventions and fun things to do.