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“The tea-master, Kobori-Enshiu, himself a daimyo, has left to us these memorable words: "Approach a great painting as thou wouldst approach a great prince." In order to understand a masterpiece, you must lay yourself low before it and await with bated breath its least utterance.”

― Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

Sovereignty lies
in her emerald eyes
by seeing in the darkness.

Notes from the Real World: I could not believe my good luck when artist Michelle Kennedy (known in the blogosphere as Sunshine Shelle) agreed to do the artwork for my Cover. Her artwork already graces the banner of this blog, and I knew she was the perfect person to capture what I was hoping for in the cover of this book. Shelle's style naturally combines the sweetness and darkness I hope comes across in most of my stories.

Once I decided I wanted Rowena (the main character of "What's A Little Blood to a Mother's Heart?") to be the cover girl, I sent Shelle a copy of the story and gave her some general guidelines. I was blown away by the end product, especially with the tiny details she came up with. The little mementos on the shelf behind her - she totally captured Rowena's love for the natural world with the small plants in water amid different depictions of animals. The lace table cloth (and wow - the brushwork on that) adds to the feeling of gentleness and old-fashioned comfort. But it's the expression on Rowena's face that Shelle captured that impressed me the most... sweet, but somewhat unsettling. And what is that tiny bottle tucked away among all her other things?

Shelle's painting is a story unto itself, surpassing my already high expectations. Go on and head to her Instagram and Approach some of her other marvelously expressive pieces as Korobi-Enshiu recommended above - as if you are in the presence of royalty who might whisper their secrets to you, their trusted confident, so long as you attend patiently to them.

Song Choice: Once Upon a Dream covered by Lana Del Rey 

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