Hi peeps, we have Lissa Kasey popping in now with her new release Painting With Fire, we have a fantastic guest post and a wonderful excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Painting With Fire
Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.
They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.
The world has sort of gone crazy in the past few months, right? In fighting has gotten worse. All walks of life and people are divided, and sometimes as a writer I feel like I’m on the edge of a battle field with my pen poised. That’s what it means to be an artist of any kind. Our work rings emotion from people. There are a lot who claim it’s just for “entertainment” but would you be entertained if you felt nothing when you looked at a painting or read a book?
In college I had a lot of philosophy and literature classes. At the time it was annoying as I felt like I was wasting time reading works of the past. It’s not until now, a decade later, that I realize the point of all that reading. The philosophy and fiction of the past aren’t necessarily history, but a view of an artist’s dream of what they wish history was. Sure, like modern fiction there is always some bits of truth laced within the story. But it’s more about perception. And perception is reality for a lot of people, truth, even while shaded by opinion and judgment.
Look at some of the classics of American writing like the Grapes of Wrath or Red Badge of Courage. These are works of fiction based on the world the writer was living in at the time. Colored by the Depression or War, it shows us a side of people, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and the bitter disappointment when those dreams die. Even classic tales like the Lord of the Rings have things to teach us about how the author viewed troubling bits of the world, the one power slaughtering races for power. Sound familiar?
The recent political climate has terrified a lot of people, rightly so. While the title, Painting with Fire, is a euphemism for passion in artistry, it fits not only the story, but my goal as a writer. I feel as a writer it is my responsibility to show the world more than just rainbows and fictional sunshine. The actual climate is heating up, so should our writing. We should stretch to show reality, invoke emotions, even if they are angry ones, and give a little hope. It’s our work that future lifetimes will be looking back on to determine the real heart of the people. Not the history books, but fiction, where the hopes and the dreams of the people can never be silenced.
Painting with Fire is a story ripped from my life. Real family members doing horrible and questionable things which I hope make everyone stop and think, “what would I do?” But in the story there is hope, healing, and love. And though there is never actual peace, there is hope of moving forward.
As the climate continues to change and world order turns to chaos, I will continue to write. I will share my hopes and dreams. I want to make the world see that not everyone is lost in sadness, pain, fear, and hate. It’s not much, but it’s important. Think back on all the works you’ve read in your life. What touches you the most? Why? If it’s fiction, what was the message? Do you recall the setting?
We often don’t focus on the setting simply because the characters are so engaging. But think of some of the most amazing stories in history. Would Harry Potter be what he was without Hogwarts, Muggles, and Voldemort? Would Katniss Everdeen have risen to greatness without the Hunger Games? Would Sam and Frodo have saved the world if they’d just been flown to Mordor on giant moths, or if the elves had just been giving the ring? What if there had been no ring? Would Luke Skywalker have learned the importance of protecting others if he’d never met Han or Leigh?
Fiction teaches us more than the history books because it shows us the heart behind the facts. Facts are important, but how people react to them, create change, and move forward is more important.
Bastian blinked at him, as though he were just waking from a dream, or maybe the trance that his muse required of him to create such amazing work. Charlie set Oscar down and shooed him away from the table.
“Sorry,” he said again. He glanced down at the small item in Bastian’s hand. “Is it a no-no to look before it’s done?” It looked sort of like a Barbie doll, only the head was larger, and pale mint green in color. The face Bastian had been painting was female and sort of anime-like with giant eyes and delicate blushing across the tiny nose.
“It’s okay to look. I’m just practicing. Non-flesh tone painting is always more complicated,” Bastian finally spoke, his voice barely above a whisper. “This is a thrift store doll rescue.” He pulled open a drawer at his hip showing a handful of ratty, damaged dolls similar to the one he had in hand. All of them were odd colors, pink, green, blue, and orange. All of them had lived better days as their hair was matted, missing feet and hands, and badly stained. “It’s called a Monster High doll. I like them better to practice on than Barbie dolls because the face has more surface area.”
He dug out another doll that was also the odd mint color. It was then that Charlie realized it was the same doll, only this one still had the factory paint. It looked like any other cheap doll, uniformly boring, and sort of emo looking with dark eyes and lips. He’d bought a dozen such dolls for family members and toy drives. But the doll Bastian had painted… She could have been real. There was so much depth to her eyes, Charlie was shocked to find they’d only been painted on.
Bastian opened a small box in another drawer and drew out a rainbow colored bit of hair. He carefully fit the hair onto the doll’s head, and suddenly she became a spunky little girl with bright colors and attitude.
“I’ll need to seal her face again before I actually attach the wig, but you get the idea,” Bastian told Charlie. “I’ll have to find a nice outfit for her too. I know there was supposed to be a bunch in the stuff I got in the mail today.” He glanced at the clock that ticked behind them. “Yesterday.” He rolled his shoulders like he’d been standing hunched over this small doll for hours, and maybe he had been.
“This is practice?” Charlie asked incredulously.
He nodded. “I try to do a dozen or so a month. A friend comes up once a week to take pictures and post them for sale. Then I just have to package them for shipping. The mailman, woman actually, comes out here twice a week to drop off and pick up mail. Though she’ll make an extra trip if I call her. They sell for a couple hundred each, so even though it’s not much, I do get in a lot of practice.” Bastian set the wig back in the box and flipped his goggles back down to stare closely at something on the face.
A couple hundred each, and it wasn’t much. Wow.
Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.
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