On Death and Creation

Dear Readers:
Last week I was overwhelmed. I still am a bit. Preparing for a major con is really having a whole other job. The kinda job you need to do full time. More than once, I had to just have the ugly cry and get it out. 

The older I get, the more I realize I don’t have time for petty drama, or doing or having things that don’t bring me joy. And then again, sometimes you don’t get to choose to make those changes. 

On Easter, my older sister passed away after an almost thirty year battle with Multiple Sclerosis, the same disease that killed my mother twelve years ago this fall. 

Since last autumn, my sister had steadily declined with seizures that eroded her bodily functions. MS and multiple addictions had taken their toll. She was in hospice care for roughly six to nine months with all of the drama of dealing with finding her better care, treatment, and what ever it took to make her more comfortable. Much of the more peaceful rest came as a result of my younger brother’s compassion and previous medical experience.

She had manic episodes that were so jarring, I had to bite my lip from crying. Often, I couldn’t stop. We took turns feeding her. There were days she was definitely winning battles, but overall, we knew she was losing the war.

During this time, I visited when I could, in between shows, the holidays, and a business trip to New Orleans. Every visit, I lost a little more of her, like tearing off a band aid hair by hair, ever so painfully slow. 

On the good side, my family rallied together for support. I am blessed to have so many siblings. I have no idea how only children can handle this kind of tragedy. 

On my sister’s 50th birthday, she’d been almost too heavy for her mobility scooter. By Easter last year, I had to bring her new clothes as she was on a diet. 

That day was golden for me. She was completely lucid. We talked about our life as kids. We didn’t always have the best relationship; sister sibling rivalry can be brutal. But I’d forgiven her long ago. She talked about getting well enough to leave assisted living, get a job, and to have more time with her daughter. 

So it was ironic when, about a week before this Easter, she started to truly slip away. She stopped eating and talking. Within a couple days, we knew she was dying, it was just a matter of when. She had wasted away, but her skin was oddly soft and radiant. Her fingers had curled tightly around her sheets. We placed a rosary in her grip. One of her care nurses said she had the strongest heart despite all her other organs shutting down. The longest they’d ever seen someone last on just oxygen was eleven days. My sister made it past much of eight.

On Easter, the majority of my family skipped dinner and went to hospice. Over a period of seven hours, I watched her skin pale, the light in her eyes go, while I and my family reminisced and grieved. At 10:30pm, she finally let go.  

We had the luxury of time for memorial as we choose cremation, but for two weeks, I was a zombie. I had a book signing and two photo shoots scheduled, one the Monday night after Easter. How I churned out some incredible work during this time is beyond me. Maybe because I let myself have my pain and not give a rats ass what anyone else thought.

From the photoshoot I styled/designed the day after she passed:

Photo credit Kim Ackerman/Vogue Portrait Studio

The above shoot, a few days after my sister’s death, right after a book signing. Photo credit Lori Peterson.

And including this portrait I drew (shown from start to finish) of my sister for her memorial:

Spring and early summer were filled with the usual ups and downs of the art business, including a stalker that made me more inclined to credit, copyright, and trademark my work. I finished “A Long Reign” in three weeks for the Amazon UK Storytellers Competition. But I didn’t do well at the usual Lafayette Square House Tour. 

My bunny Bobalou had been increasingly tired. Always incredibly sweet, but he’d been taking long naps with hilarious periods of dreaming. The night before he passed, I’d stopped at the pet store and decided to get him the “good stuff” as intuition told me I didn’t have much time with him left. He demolished it and almost fell asleep with his head on the dish.

 Like most elderly house rabbits, he succumbed to pneumonia. Within moments of a wheezing fit, I had an appointment at the emergency pet clinic. Within the hour, with complete agreement from the vet, Bobalou was led gently over the Rainbow Bridge.

I had him for 10 of his 12 remarkably healthy years. However, with so much change coming, including more travel, I’ve opted to not get a new pet for now and his things will help homeless bunnies at the Missouri House Rabbit Society.

The end of July was just a shit show. A friend’s marriage is in trouble. Another friend was raped by someone she knew. I got dumped after a short summer romance, and the day after that, my car broke down. And it was freakishly hot for a few days. But I survived, lol.

Summer is almost over. Today as I hit crunch time for Big River, I’ve come to roof for a break, to reflect, and have on last cry. It’s amazingly nice weather for late August.


What I’ve learned from being an artist is that I never want to stop feeling. You often hear that some artists turn out their best work when high or drunk. I try not to judge those that imbibe, each to their own, but I don’t. Those chemical filters turn off my senses. I can’t create what I don’t feel. And after what’s happened this year, I really have the feels.

In my works, especially the novels, I don’t take death or treatment of characters lightly.  “A Long Reign” is brutal. More so than “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery”. Almost on par with “the Vampire’s Little Black Book Series”, if not even more jarring. I don’t add sex or violence for shock value. Controversial things happen because just like life, things happen. And most times, they happen for a reason, though we may never know exactly why. I can deal with that as long I learn from experience. This year, I’ve learned a lot, and learned to let go.

I said it to a friend today, you can’t move forward until you leave something behind. Forward I go with the fullest of hearts.

So now, back into the intense throes of prep for Big River Steampunk Festival-details on the event in my links below.

As always, thank you for reading,
Victoria

——-

*Big River Steampunk Festival, Hannibal, MO, Labor Day Weekend. Event link is here:

http://bigriversteampunkfestival.com/phone/index.html

TBA with more details:

*9/15, Rock, Shop and Glow Festival, 5-8pm, Webster University.

*9/23, Strange Folk Festival pulled out of Lafayette Square. A one night event at 1900 Park will be replacing it.

*11/11, Live Draw at the AKC Museum of the Dog

*12/2017 Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour

-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam filling your email box. 

-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! 

-And so the Discussion began….The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

Or buy on Etsy: -I have plenty of copies of “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery” in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are $20 each or $35 for both. 

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-the Haute Hen.

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

-goodreads-Victoria Szulc

-twitch-coming soon

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A Long Reign FREE This Weekend!

Dear Readers:

First of all, thank you to all who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day is to honor them, and I am grateful for the freedoms I have.

As promised, my new novel, “A Long Reign” is now available on Amazon/Kindle just in time for the Amazon UK Storytellers contest. The digital book is FREE this weekend from 5/26-5/30. Please download, share, and most of all, rate and critique on Amazon, whether positive or negative. It has reached #15 on both the Kindle Steampunk and Time Travel categories on Amazon!!


I’m posting a few live reads on Facebook and sharing them on other social media and YouTube.

Here’s a link to the first read on FB:

https://www.facebook.com/1512040175497133?view=permalink&id=1182013641910176

And the YouTube link:

 June 1st is the deadline to get into the top ten, and I would be so grateful if you would share it and your thoughts. #storytelleruk2017

Link to the FB event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1179355142176026/?ti=icl
Link to get the book for FREE this weekend:

As always, thank you for reading,

Victoria
—–
News and events:
*”A Long Reign” is FREE through this weekend!
*Lafayette House Tour/1900 Park, Steampunk and Art Trunk Show, June 3-4, 10am-5pm

*Urban Wanderers, Stray Rescue’s Art Benefit opening is Friday, June 9th from 5p-8p at SLU’s Museum of Art
*The London Tea Room 10th Anniversary and Street Party, at the London Tea Room, Saturday, June 24th from 11am-6pm
*AKC Museum of the Dog, Live Draw and Art Show, Saturday, July 15th from 11a-3p
*12th Annual Amazing Spirit Art Exhibit and Opening at the CWE Schlafly Branch of the City Library. Opening Wednesday July 19th, 6p-8p
*Big River Steampunk Festival, Hannibal, MO, Labor Day Weekend, many more details to follow!!
TBA with more details:
*11/11, Live Draw at the AKC Museum of the Dog
*12/2017 Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour
-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam filling your email box. 
-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!
-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! 
-And so the Discussion began….The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:
amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc
Or buy on Etsy: -I have plenty of copies of “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery” in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are $20 each or $35 for both.
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)
-Etsy-the Haute Hen.
-Instagram-Steampunkcountess
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess
-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Author Shout Out Book Signing This Weekend!

Dear Readers:

Due to my sister’s passing, I had to delay the release of my vamp series compilation. But that will come later this summer! 

In the meantime, the Author Shout Out is this weekend! Details are here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1497427766943880/?ti=icl


I also have two photo shoots this week, so new pics are coming. 

As always, thank you for reading,
Victoria

—–

News and events:

*Author Shout Out! Meet me and book signing at Schlafly Branch in the Central West End, April 22, 2-5pm

*Heavy Anchor Craft/Art Fair:


*Lafayette House Tour/1900 Park, Steampunk and Art Trunk Show, June 3-4, 10am-5pm

*Big River Steampunk Festival, Hannibal, MO, Labor Day Weekend, many more details to follow!!

-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam filling your email box. 

-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! 

-And so the Discussion began….The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

Or buy on Etsy: -I have plenty of copies of “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery” in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are $20 each or $35 for both.

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-the Haute Hen.

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Cyber Monday 2016

Dear Readers:I’ve added incredible things to the Etsy store! And today is the last day of the sale.

***Take 50% off any item over $20 with code SBS2016. This code will be good through Cyber Monday 11/28. Feel free to share this code with family and friends as the SBS in the code stands for Small Business Saturday! Please support small and local this year! 

Just a taste of what’s new:


Another BIG THANKS FREEBIE-I am so grateful for your business, that I am offering a FREE steampunk/Victorian gothic short on amazon/kindle. “A Stairway” is available TODAY through Cyber Monday. Again, you are welcome to share it with friends:

amazon.com/author/victorialszulc

As always, thank you for reading,
Victoria
—–
News and events:
-Shop small at the Heavy Anchor! I’ll have lots of great gifts:

-I will again host the Open House at 1900 Park during the Holiday Parlor Tour in Lafayette Square, Sunday, 12/11, 10am-5pm. More great goodies at the Trunk Show!

-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam filling your email box. 
-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!
-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! And so the Discussion began….The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:
amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc
Or buy on Etsy: -I have plenty of copies of “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery” in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are $20 each or $35 for both.
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)
-Etsy-the Haute Hen.
-Instagram-Steampunkcountess
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess
-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Gratitude 

Dear Readers:
Thank you to all who have supported my art in all its forms! I am so grateful for your patronage. 

Again, as a thank you, I’m filling the Etsy store with new goodies, from vintage and art items to new steampunk jewelry and offering an incredible sale. Take 50% off any item over $20 with code SBS2016. This code will be good from TODAY through Cyber Monday 11/28. Feel free to share this code with family and friends as the SBS in the code stands for Small Business Saturday! Please support small and local this year! 

Another BIG THANKS FREEBIE-I am so grateful for your business, that I am offering a FREE steampunk/Victorian gothic short on amazon/kindle. “A Stairway” is available TODAY through Cyber Monday. Again, you are welcome to share it with friends:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

So much incredible stuff is coming. I’ve already scheduled several shows for next year, so watch this space!

As always, a very special thank you for reading,
Victoria
—–
News and events:
-Shop small at the Heavy Anchor! I’ll have lots of great gifts:

-I will again host the Open House at 1900 Park during the Holiday Parlor Tour in Lafayette Square, Sunday, 12/11, 10am-5pm. More great goodies at the Trunk Show!



-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam filling your email box. 
-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!
-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! And so the Discussion began….The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:
amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc
Or buy on Etsy: -I have plenty of copies of “Strax and the Widow” and “Revenge and Machinery” in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are $20 each or $35 for both.
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)
-Etsy-the Haute Hen.
-Instagram-Steampunkcountess
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess
-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Garbage, Concert and Influence

Every once in a while I post about things that inspire my steampunk art. I find that  sometimes there’s more focus on the steam part and less on the punk. Not that there’s anything wrong with Victorian history, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Neo-Victoriana, re-enactors, etc., I think there’s room for all of it. 

Last night I had the good fortune to get a free ticket to go see Garbage, a group with punk/alt rock roots,in concert at The Pageant, here in St. Louis, courtesy of Agent Owl:


For my younger readers, you might want to check out Garbage’s music, a mix of grunge/electronica that borrows from the punk aesthetic. They still inspire me.

They were at the height of their fame when I first saw them 20 years ago at Pointfest, a local alt rock music festival (that is still going strong) sponsored by local radio station 105.7 The Point. Back then, I liked them because they reminded me of the dancible punk of Adam Ant and Billy Idol, with goth elements of the Cure. 

The lead singer, Shirley Manson, is still going strong at almost 50, stalking the stage like a tigress. I can appreciate that she even admitted to a mistake and restarted one of the songs early in the set. 

Their pieces are often dark, but lyrically witty, with driving guitars and bass lines, things that apply well to the punkier side of steampunk.

They saved one of my favorite songs for the end, “Only Happy When It Rains”. The video features a nifty clash of glam punk in a dystopian, crumbling surrounding:

There’s a strong dieselpunk vibe in the video for “Special”, video via YouTube:

And a little retro/cyberpunk for the James Bond theme “The World is Not Enough”:

I hope you check out their music. The live show was electrifying. 

As always, thank you for reading,

Victoria

News, events, and links:

**MASSIVE SALE in my etsy store!** 50% off any item over $20 in the Haute Hen Etsy store with code:

50SUMMER2016 

Coupon good until August 17, 2016. Feel free to share this code with friends and Etsy shoppers! I have marked down many items to clearance prices!!! I need to clear out old art to bring in the new. I have plenty of copies of Strax and the Widow in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are just $20!!! 

-LIVE DEMOS of pet art at the Dog Museum, July 23rd and Aug 20th. Please stop by, more details forthcoming.
-Coming late summer/fall, Big River Steampunk Festival, CAM Open Studios. Amazing stuff. Please watch this space for more details. 
-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!
-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:
amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)
-Etsy-the Haute Hen.
-Instagram-Steampunkcountess
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess
-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Amazon Prime Today!

If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, you know that today is full of deals. Please take a gander at my works on Amazon. The shorts will go up in price this fall, as the anthology is finished. And Revenge and Machinery, the sequel to Strax and the Widow,  is available in print, with Kindle version coming soon!

All my links are below, thank you as always for your support!

Victoria

**MASSIVE SALE in my etsy store!** 50% off any item over $20 in the Haute Hen Etsy store with code:

50SUMMER2016 
Coupon good until August 17, 2016. Feel free to share this code with friends and Etsy shoppers! I have marked down many items to clearance prices!!! I need to clear out old art to bring in the new. I have plenty of copies of Strax and the Widow in the Etsy store. To get an inscribed/signed copy, message me through the Etsy store. Books are just $20!!! 
Links and events:

-LIVE DEMOS of pet art at the Dog Museum, July 23rd and Aug 20th. Please stop by, more details forthcoming.

-Coming late summer/fall, Big River Steampunk Festival, CAM Open Studios. Amazing stuff. Please watch this space for more details. 

-Please support me at gofundme/passionateartist!

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is here too! My amazon author page link:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-the Haute Hen.

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon