The Art of the Proposal and Yes, I’m Really an Artist

Yesterday I wrapped up my last art proposal out of twelve. A couple more opportunities had popped up since my last blog and I couldn’t resist the challenge to create more art. I’ve had one refusal, but so far, three acceptances/shows, including the AKC Art Show at the Dog Show that is happening right now in Wichita, KS. I will have a weekend show at the holy grail of dog art, the AKC Museum of the Dog in July 25th and 26th, and I will again have a piece in the Stray Rescue Urban Wanderer’s show this summer. And something I’ve been working on for so long, the main reason for this blog, my steampunk art, A Midsummer’s Night Steam Steampunk Art Installation will commence on June 5th and run through the month of June at 1900 Park, Creative Space. I am so thrilled to have all kinds of my steam art available in one spot. I have begun to collect more fabric and pieces to put some great works together.

I have been chomping at the bit to get creating, but the proposals took quite a bit of my time, almost a month. Each submission had it’s own paperwork, rules, standards, ideas and formatting. My creative writing skills were well utilized, but I was really hoping to get back to the adventures of Kate Church or designing more hats. I won’t lie, I whined about it in social media more than a few times. I had to remind myself to be grateful that so many artistic possibilities were out there to begin with. Which brings me to part two of this blog.

Last year I walked away from corporate America much to the surprise of friends and family. I had already lost my full time job last spring. I found a new job in the same industry (media), but quit after a couple months. I was burnt out and my heart was screaming “do what you love”. So I decided to work part time to pay the bills which allows enough time for my art. I’ve had a website for my dog art for years and have been blogging about my steampunk art and writing for over three and half years now.

What’s funny though is I still get questions. Are you really an artist? Really? How do you find the time? Do you live in a loft? Can you make money doing that? I have to laugh at all of them. Yep, I’m an artist. I was basically a prodigy. I remember drawing before I could talk. I was gifted and had a super imagination as a kid (I still do). I’ve participated in several huge public artworks. I did move from the suburbs to the city and my view is spectacular, although it’s not exactly a loft. But I do leave the accordian door to the bedroom open which gives the apartment a nice airy feeling. Yes, I am making money, not as much as I had hoped, but things are really starting to happen. My Etsy store has over 8,000 views. I get commissions and now monthly royalties from amazon. Life is getting good.

But I have to wonder, why people ask? I mean, I have the talent, shouldn’t I use it? Maybe I don’t look like your typical female artist (whatever that is). Maybe people expect piercings and tats, a mohawk, an unconventional lifestyle? Well, I do color my hair however I like it, I wear what I want, and I am a cougar (that’s for another blog), but I pretty much have a family and buy groceries like everyone else does. I did notice that after a recent bout of eye strain and wearing glasses instead of contacts got me a lot of interesting looks and unexpected respect. I know all kinds of female artists and wonder that in the post feminism/re-charging feminism world of #HeForShe why women artists STILL aren’t taken seriously.

I recently did a small craft/art show with almost all female artists, and most of them happen to be my part time co-workers. One of the younger gals stepped away from her table for a while after her boyfriend arrived. He watched over her work so she could take a break. After she returned and they stood together, much to her chagrin, almost everyone that approached assumed that he was the artist. I confess I’d be a bit miffed too.

Beyond the feminist aspect, I also get a little angry that art isn’t taken as a serious profession. The days I’m not working the part time job, I work at home. I might post a couple posts on social media, but then it’s off to the races art wise. I can’t tell you how many times I get interrupted by all kinds of requests, general building noises, etc. I feel the pain of anyone else that works from home. I’ve gotten in the habit of turning my phone off completely when I create. Art is my passion, but it is work that I do get paid for, and it needs to be done. Sometimes there’s research and inspirational materials I need to review. And I deserve time away like everyone else. I don’t have vacation time like a corporate job, but I need a break too. Sometimes even a walk to the convenience store or a glass of wine is a small bit of heaven.

On the flip side, I leave this blog on a positive note. There is nothing like having someone see your work and marvel at it’s beauty. Or the person or client that buys a piece and doesn’t bat an eye at its price. For this, I am so grateful. And as always, thank you for reading.

-Victoria

P.S. So much good stuff coming. I am going to do many more short visual posts from my phone as I finish pieces for a Midsummer Night’s Steam. Please share and keep your eyes peeled for my vision of Victorian retro-futurism.

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Fruition

The main character in my book “Strax and the Widow”, Kate Church, has a moment in which she cleverly escapes her nemesis in very crafty and surprising fashion. It’s the main plot twist in my steampunk adventure. Obviously, I won’t give it away, but Kate’s plans had come to fruition. A phase in which I’m enjoying right now.

2014 was a pretty tumultuous year. I was finally fired from an agonizing job I’d tried so hard to leave. I ended up finding employment in my field within a few short weeks, doing almost the exact same position. I left after about three months, taking a leap of faith to really pursue my art, with a full time job at costume/party shop for back up.

But with all the hard work I’ve put in, I’ve created a solid foundation on which to continue pursuing my passion. Dreams are being put into action. Books and art are being created and sold. Manifestation is becoming my middle name. I’ve got a list of plans and ideas a mile long. I believe that they too will come to fruition.

I’m cutting out what’s not working. Have had a cafepress store for years and like Facebook, they kept changing rules, commissions, etc. Not a single sale all year, so good bye. Google+? I’m on it, but I never post there.

What is working? WordPress of course, but I am getting rid of the actual Scoop from the Coop blog. One art blog is enough. Mysteampunkproject celebrated its second anniversary and I’m well into my third year of blogging.

Etsy is the best place to find my art (in The Haute Hen store). I am experimenting with a few others, but for now, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the 7,000 views in my Etsy store. As promised, I’ve just added some photo prints and more unique steampunk and gift items are on their way.

I will remember and savor other good things from 2014:

I finished my first full novel, “Strax and the Widow” and completed the first ten volumes of “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series.

I had a juried piece in the superbowl of dog art, “The Art Show at the Dog Show” and had two pieces selected for the prestigious 2015 Washington Dog Park Calendar.

I did some set design for an indie movie “I Remember Me” from a talented writer and director Chelsea Zotta. I’ll let you know when it’s released. It should be awesome.

I was selected for another public, large scale art project, stl250 Cakeway to the West. My cake, “The Spirit of St. Louis” was displayed at the Soldier’s Memorial in downtown St. Louis and was later auctioned off for charity. It’s currently on loan to Patti-Ann’s Exchange, a unique art and resale shop.

The only promoting for this blog is my Etsy store. Again, thank you for 7,000+ views! So to celebrate Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, there’s a 25% off code LUVMASKS25 in the store for ALL items. The link to a fabulous mask and the store is here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/182900579/steampunk-gold-mardi-gras-light-up?

As always, thank you for reading,

-Victoria

UPDATED 75% OFF-So Out with the Old, in with the New

SPECIAL UPDATE-I wanted to update this blog with a quick thank you to the HUNDREDS that downloaded my free books AND to announce that through 12/30/14 ALL items in my Etsy store are 75% OFF with code NEWYEARS75. Please feel free to share it. I have everything from steampunk fashion, art and antiques that MUST go in order to make room for new items I have ready to add, including photo prints, more steamy and fun hats, and of course more dog items.

Thank you as always for reading and your patronage!

Victoria

______________

I hope that you are having a most lovely holiday season! If you aren’t, I hope things get better soon.

And maybe some FREE downloads will help? OR 50% OFF in my Etsy store? Read on!

Today, 12/26 only, the whole Vampire’s Little Black Book Series is FREE for the last time, for volumes 1-10. The covers are redone and I am working on a compilation to be released next year. I hope you will share this with friends and feel free to comment/critique on amazon and goodreads. My link to my author page (and all my titles) is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-L.-Szulc/e/B00CDFDIBI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1419620251&sr=1-2-ent

10 The Vamp Hit List

Not a big reader? Like to shop, like dogs, unique fashion and jewelry? Use code XMAS50 for 50% in my Etsy store. Offer good for a limited time, so please check out the store, link below:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen

K7

As always, thank you for reading!

-Victoria

________

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

 

 

Last Call for a Steam Trunk

A little over a year ago I stumbled upon a most wonderful antique-see a previous blog “Gratitude and a Steam Trunk”, link: https://mysteampunkproject.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/gratitude-and-a-steam-trunk/

I couldn’t believe my luck at this beautiful find. Yes, it needs work, but it’s a gorgeous piece of steam/Victoriana deliciousness. I debated keeping it, but put it up in my Etsy store. Well now, it’s been a year in the store and the trunk is lonely. It’s seeking a permanent home. I took it with me to a summer art show. I couldn’t help but notice it looked pretty lovely with art draped over it. And I did have space for a coffee table/storage piece in my living room….

I’ve reduced the price and have had several inquiries. So now it’s up for renewal in the store, only I won’t list it again. I had to make a decision. The trunk sells by 12/19 or I keep it and refinish it, end of story. So, if you should want to take a gander, the link is here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172315146/antique-steamer-trunk?

Trunk 1 Trunk 3 Trunk 2

Upcoming events:

-The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v.1-10, will be FREE for one last time on December 26, 2014. Please share and comment on amazon/goodreads. The compilation of all ten stories will be available later this winter in “The First Ten Bites”.

-The Creating Anna Series spinoff is in the works and the first volumes should also appear in the New Year.

-The sequels to “Strax and the Widow” are also well underway. Be prepared for more steam adventures of Kate Church. More information and links are below.

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

When Life Imitates Art

I recently met my vampire. Really. Someone who embodied my main character Will the Vampire before he met Emma, the love of his undead life that changed him forever. And like Will, he broke my heart a little, at least temporarily. Please note this blog contains some scenes/language that might offend some readers, but hang with me for a bit.

In my series “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” I wanted to explore what makes an undead tick. Through Will’s adventures and flashbacks the reader learns that he’s pretty much a stud, a philanderer, even before he’s changed. From “Thirty-three Forever” v.6:

The day of my change had started like any other. I had overslept after a night of reckless carousing. I awoke with not one, but two ladies of the evening, still in my bed. Only a blinding noonday sun drove me from a drunken slumber. I sleepily ran my hands over the naked bodies of last night’s lovelies. One awoke with a naughty smile. I pulled her to me and kissed her deeply. This would be the last time I would kiss a woman as a full blooded human.

Will is pretty much, well, a player. And it gets worse after he is changed, as Will admits in “Creating Anna”, v.5

But who was I to judge. I’d been a hellion in my younger years, even before I had been turned. I had been with scores of women of all kinds. I reveled in their beauty, their wealth and passions. I hurt some of them badly; I was quite the cad. I took other men’s wives, girlfriends, daughters, and even someone’s mother. I had bedded some, devoured some, and sometimes did both without care or responsibility.

A few months ago, I would have never believed that I would meet someone like this in the real world. Then I discovered a man I’ll only call “G” and my life suddenly imitated my art.

I mean, I have met opportunists before. Will is very loosely based on a real doc I know (for the medical parts only), people I met in the bar scene when I used to dance all night and one very bad dating experience in my early 20’s. Things are different now. I’m wiser. I’m a cougar. I usually lead with confidence. That’s what I thought…

So when G. messaged me on FB this summer about working on some book and collaborative ideas, my guard was down and my creative juices were up. I was writing and creating every spare moment I had. He was attractive, smart, and funny. But he was half my age. I put the cougar leanings away even though I wanted to pounce. I was in a state of employment flux, getting fired from a job, looking for a new one, hating the new job, and finally doing a creative retail job so I could continue doing my art. I was distracted.

But fast forward to November, G. started messaging, which lead to texting, which lead to flirting, which lead to some serious attraction when he showed up at my work. I was flattered. He was hot in a kilt. My inner cougar roared loudly, almost uncomfortably so. Then Ferguson happened.

The city I love exploded in chaos. I worried for G. Only hours after I’d met him in person, he was called into service through the Guard. I worried. I pined worse than the main characters in Jane Austen novels. And I had to work all Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend. I was fried and I jokingly put out a FB post for a rescue. Of course G. offered (big into the Ren scene). Finally after an ice storm on Monday, things calmed a bit.

By Tuesday I was craving normalcy. G. had been checking in on me. But something wasn’t right, just couldn’t put my finger on it. We began a marathon evening of texting, which turned into well, intimate fascination is how I’ll put it. Then suddenly silence.

I had to check FB, I hadn’t really been on much. Apparently during our texting G. received a post from his fiancee. Yeah, you read that right, like marriage is imminent. My response was pretty much WTF? But I didn’t panic. I thought clearly. I messaged someone with some info (nope won’t revel a source). After a few lengthy messages, I had scoop and proof. G. was a catfish. A player. Lies. Pink songs started going through my head. Dump text and message sent.  One pissed off post on FB made. Why hadn’t I listened to my intuition?

As I sat on the couch still in shock, I realized that G. was Will my vampire before he meets Emma. How ironic that just a few weeks ago I was starting on one of the new volumes of the vamp series titled “The Cougar”? And more irony that only a couple hours before, G. joked about me writing him into one of my stories. Mind blown.

I managed to sleep despite being pissed. Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” was the first song in my head this morning: You chewed me up and spit me out like I was poison in your mouth. NOOO kidding. I still have no idea what was real, but I got played. I’d been taken by a real human vampire.

What is interesting though is Will himself gets played as in “Do You Hear My Heart Beating?” v.7:

On most nights during our affair I would feed before heading to the Woodbridge manor. But one day a few sailors had become very ill. The plague had invaded their ship. I decided to extend a little undead mercy and I ended their lives quickly. So I was sated by the early evening and I went to see the Lady a bit prematurely. When I approached her balcony I heard voices. One was the Lady, the other a male, but not Lord Woodbridge. I eavesdropped as another lover spoke elegant words to her. She giggled delightfully in response. I listened as he made love to her. I watched as he left. He was a young soldier, tall and strong. I wanted to kill him, but could I blame him?

Was I not as bad as he? Suddenly I realized my favorite plaything had been taken by someone else. I was furious as I entered her chamber. She stood naked at her basin, wiping off any trace of her other lover. Her stunned expression revealed everything. My Lady was no longer mine.

“William?” she whimpered. She no longer resisted me. Instead she was begging for forgiveness. She stepped towards me. “I was just washing up.” She lied. I wanted to kill her. I had to leave, right then. If it were possible, my eyes penetrated her soul with hate.

“Why are you lying to me?” My voice echoed with anger.

“I am sorry.” She winced, tried to cover herself and stepped back. I could hardly stand to look at her.

“How many others are there? Are you so bereft that you must fuck every knave in town save for your Lord?” I was vicious. My Lady had become like a common whore. Gone was the enchantment, the sweetness. To be taken by one who does not own you is thrilling. To be taken by more than one is deviant. What should I expect though? I’d promised her nothing other than I’d be back to sleep with her again.

How funny that I’d written what I now felt almost seven months ago? Gone was the enchantment, the sweetness. I would imagine at some point this will happen to G., if it hasn’t already. It’s late afternoon and I’ve moved on. It’s a beautiful day and there is art to be made, more creative words to be written.

I still believe in love. He doesn’t have to be a white knight on a fine steed. I still believe that there is a soul mate for me. I’m glad that Will my vampire does too. From “Creating Anna”, v.5:

Despite my wicked ways, I had redeemed myself through one human. A woman, who would become one of the most valiant and honorable vampires known on this planet; I had sired Anna.

The whole The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is available on amazon/kindle and will be FREE to download for the last time on 12/26/14. Enjoy. My links are below.

Thank you for reading,

-Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Day of the Dead 2014

It’s been an insanely busy Halloween season. I managed to squeeze in some new creations, all with a Day of the Dead/Halloween theme. My last creation first, a Dead of the Dead, Mardi Gras bunny mask, now available in TheHauteHen Etsy store.

I built this on a pre-existing black mask, a template I have used before in “The Heroine” series.

DOD Bunny 6

After hot glue, some embroidered trim and roses, I got the result I wanted. A sassy bunny mask that’s perfect for any costume occasion.

DOD Bunny 3DOD Bunny 4DOD Bunny 5

Add a little makeup…

DOD Bunny 7

And let the photo fun begin…

DOD Bunny 1DOD Bunny 2DOD Bunny 8DOD Bunny 9

Then on to business…I had a great buyer in my Etsy store who bought my Day of the Dead Groom Hat with a few modifications…

Groom 7 Groom 8

And then she commissioned a voodoo belt for her husband, which was really fun to put together. I sent her a sketch, bought some neat pieces including a beaver skull from the Etsy store (and friend) Guiditta Testa.

Voodoo 1A Voodoo 1B Voodoo 2 Voodoo 3 Voodoo 4 Voodoo 5 Voodoo 5A Voodoo 5AA Voodoo 5B Voodoo 5BB Voodoo 5C Voodoo 6

And Elizabeth Rios and her husband looked fabulous in their creations!

Rios 1 Rios 2 Rios 3

So much more happened last month, but that is for the next blog. Thank you for reading!

Victoria

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

Will has returned in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. Volumes 1-8 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

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

Image

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Random Thoughts on Being Sick

This is a short one and not what I expected to blog for October. My car got broken into about a week ago, but they stole nothing, just busted a lock. I’ve been working like crazy. Hopefully the next blog will be filled with Halloween and costume happiness. Meanwhile, enjoy these random thoughts on being sick:

-I absolutely hate being sick. Period.

-I have now returned to my classic pre-summer vampire white skin.

-Of course we have two of the most wonderful Fall days in St. Louis. The Cardinals lost in the playoffs, but the Rams and Blues won this weekend. Yet I am stuck on the couch or in bed.

-Why does everything look so good on tv, yet I have no appetite?

-I wanted to at least severely reprimand the guy (an adult mind you) that picked his nose in the fitting room line. OK, I wanted to kill him, but I can’t afford to go to jail.

-The part I hate most about going to the doctor (besides cost, I don’t have health insurance), explaining my low body temp. Today at Urgent Care I checked in at a comfortable 97.7. Yep. I feel like dirt and have the temperature of a reptile that runs through it. But my neck is swollen like a chipmunk. I’ve had strep and the flu and not run a fever. OK, at least my blood pressure was awesome.

-This time it hit pretty fast. Went from a slight headache Friday afternoon, to not sleeping that night because I felt like I’d gargled with razor blades.

-Sleep is my friend at last. When I did finally fall asleep on Sat. morning I had to text in sick to work. Got some OTC meds and gatorade and went back to bed. Watched some tv and did a little work on my costume. Took another nap. More tv. Bed early. Slept ten hours. Text in sick again. Urgent Care and pharmacy about 3.5 hours. Home and another nap. As of 3:30pm today, I’ve slept almost twenty-four hours. Sad to see most of my waking hours were at the doc’s office or getting meds.

-Surreal sick moment of the day, got my windows open and wake up from nap to people yelling and stuff. Turn on the tv to see that the Rams won. Lookout to notice the happy traffic of fans and the leaves changing color on the Arch grounds. Another beautiful day wasted. Cursed flu, but at least it’s a pretty day.

-The Countess is having tea and a bit of a lie down as they say in the UK. Stupid f’n virus, as we say in the US.

OK, will stop groaning now. What’s coming up?

Will the vampire returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers”. Since I really don’t feel like doing anything else, I will be writing a bit later on. Keep a watch on my social media links for its release.

Stay healthy my friends, and thanks, as always, for reading,

Victoria

___________

Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

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

Image

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

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon