Your History is Your Personal Story

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

One of the best things about being a full time freelance artist is creating work for some talented clients from across the globe!  Some of my favorite clients to work with are authors as it’s very cool to bring someone’s story to life with artwork!  I recently designed a book cover for author “Just Judy” and when we started chatting about what we do, I found her own story so interesting, I invited her to be a guest blogger here….aside from her novels she also compiles stories based on people’s actual family histories and creates unique books just for them!  Below she shares her inspiration with us about this fascinating project and included is her contact info. if you’d like to have this done for yourself and your own family…..

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

Personal History and the Circle of Life

Imagine a special shelf on your bookcase, displaying a few old, faded cloth covers with frayed corners, the packages of words written by your grandmother, or grandfather, or better yet, both. There would be pages filled with their stories of life’s pivotal moments and challenges, their anecdotes of parenthood, a short section for favorite family recipes, and maybe a remembrance of the day you were born: “We became grandparents today,” one would joyously announce. And, there would be pictures, just a few, of times long gone, before the days of images in color. The infant, you, may be sitting in a bassinet in front of your parents. Behind would be two stolid, stone-faced seniors, unfamiliar with this newfangled device called a camera, hiding the wide grin they wear within.

For me, words are music to my soul and art makes my spirit soar. A day spent reading such old cloth covered books would bring a warmth of emotion and a strong sense of what it means to be me and from whence I come. The record of one’s life is a gift that lasts and in the writing of it we gain perspective and strengthen our feeling of self within the larger picture of life.

It’s not all about us. It never was. Every writer of a personal history starts out with information of others, their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We come from a fountain and from us flows new beings. There seems to be no end to this circle of life?

JUST JUDY;  Holy Joe


I am a personal historian. This is a new gig for me. I’ve always been a reader and writer, but now I am hooked on life story. I help people mine their memories and record and arrange these images in a logical order. When the writing is complete, we are left with a unique package, so I help coordinate the cover art and short-run printer. Mostly, I keep the project on track and see it through to completion. I know that every life has a story to tell, and the world needs such stories.

If you leave this reading with a mental image of your own special bookshelf and awareness that there is such a thing as a personal historian, then I will be satisfied. There aren’t many of us; six-hundred-fifty members worldwide. But, we are growing. Not everyone is a writer, but everyone has a story to tell. I’m truly excited about this new career. It’s another expression of art and a mode for celebrating and preserving life.

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, Personal Historian (

Just Judy, Keepers of History (

Nationwide: The Association of Personal Historians (

Witchy works in writing; Guest Author Annie Frame

Greetings Readers!  As many of you know, I often like to feature other creative professionals on my art blog to keep you guys on your toes…and spread the word about what other people are working on in the arts!  So, today’s guest blogger, Annie Frame, is sharing blurbs about her witchy, mysterious novels.  Read & enjoy!

Imprint by Annie Frame. Published with Pegasus Publishers available from all good bookshops worldwide.
Imprint is a story that will take you on a journey of reincarnation. The pages contain the journal of an ancient witch called Hercularrose who is dead and has been dead many times. The old crone needs to explore the lives she has lived on earth to enable her to evolve in the heavens she resides in. While she does this she openly shares her deepest thoughts and feelings with the reader.
The Quiet Road by Annie Frame. Published with Pegasus available from all good bookshops worldwide.
The author takes the reader on a journey in to the mind of another.  Murder, mystery and suspense surround an aging police chief as he battles to solve a number of horrific murders. His real world begins to dissolve as facts start to present themselves and there is little he can do to stop fate delivering itself.
You will love hate and weep for those on The Quiet Road……
Author Annie Frame is now offering copies of Imprint and The Quiet Road for competition/give-a-ways. 
Interested? Email Annie at

Guest Blog: Low Sea; Eclectic Music from Across the Sea

Facebook has become a great way to meet other creative people from across the globe and I recently met the alternative musical duo, LOW SEA, just this way!  I was intrigued with their style so invited them to guest blog.  Here’s some background facts:

Ireland-based duo Low Sea combine warped seasick-shoegaze, nostalgic pop melody and fuzzed-out dreampop, all cemented on a solid krautrock platform. With sounds that reference everything from Suicide to Spacemen 3, A.R.Kane to Mazzy Star, Giorgio Moroder to The Big Pink, Low Sea?s songs are a hazy journey between looming shadows and bleached-out light”.

Music for rendering subconscious dream walking and emotional free-fall. A female vocal reminiscent of `The Passions` from the early Eighties almost gives Low Sea a similar lovelorn feeling, right down to the fabulously over indulged guitar echoes and electronic back-beat. A panoramic lesson in Post-Digital Pop.

And now in their own words…
Low Sea was born on a summer night in 2008 in the south of France. At the beginning we put together a 4-piece band. Over the course of time, the line-up went through some changes, but the Billie and I soon felt we wanted to remain a duo. Although we knew this would mean more work for us in terms of playing gigs, etc, it would be worth regaining the creative freedom.
When we started out, the sound was more in the vein of Shack, early Primal Scream, The Velvet Underground, Jesus & Mary Chain, Love, Brian Jonestown Massacre … it was initially a more acoustic, hazy, neo-psychedelic sound. There is still some of that in what we’re doing now, though we’re more open to experimentation with electronic/vintage keyboards, and even heavier percussive sound and motorik beats. We’ve now being more compared to bands such as The Horrors, Mazzy Star, Spacemen 3, and even darker and krautrock bands such as Neu!, Joy Division and Bauhaus.

We’ve released two albums so far. The first one, Las Olas, was a self-release. We put a lot of effort into creating something different, collectible… We designed the artwork for it, and are keeping it a limited edition. That’s available exclusively through our Myspace at, or it can be digitally downloaded at iTunes or CDbaby. The second, mini album called “The Light” was released in September in the US through Lefse Records ( ). We’re at the moment waiting for an official Europe release of “The Light” so we can set off on tour. Would love to play The States one day as well if there would be enough fans who’d like to see us perform live.

Guest blogger Marcus Twyman discusses his “dark art”!

Happy November All!
As you know, I don’t want this blog to be only about MOI…I mean I hope you want to read about my artwork & what new projects I’m working on, but let’s face it, people like diversity and I enjoy meeting new, creative people so I’ve been having many guest bloggers here discussing their art forms. Here’s my latest guest, horror/dark fantasy writer Marcus Twyman. We met on LinkedIn and due to similar interests, decided it’d be fun to blog on each other’s sites, so take it away Marcus!

First and foremost, thank you Lauren for allowing me to guest blog today. I hope I keep your readers entertained, and look forward to introducing myself and my writing to them.

I have been asked about what inspires me to write about the darker realms of reality and fiction on many occasions, and I believe that my answer is probably similar to that of most other writers’ who write on the same topics as myself. I firmly believe that writing, artwork, songwriting/singing all reflect an individual’s personal life challenges and experiences on some level. I mean, how could life not inspire one’s creativity? The way I see darkness is not how people who’ve only heard about the ugly side of life do. They make assumptions and I paint a reality. Yes, it’s a reality coated in fiction, but the “feelings” are true – real.

When I was younger, I went through several huge events that changed my life. Anger, fear, depression, and hate clouded my mind – made me shun the world. I remember feeling like I was overflowing with these emotions. My days were spent trying to balance the turmoil that lived inside of me with the demands of normal, everyday, life. This was a battle that I was losing, so I decided to do something about it.

I knew that I was a strong person, someone that could overcome anything that life threw at them, all I had to do was figure out how.

I still remember sitting in class one day (High School geometry, yuck!) and feeling a tidal wave of emotion start to pull me under. The last thing I wanted to do was break down in the middle of class and have my peers witness my insecurities and try to explain away the “why” of my mood, so I started writing.

Words streamed out of my subconscious and pretty soon I was staring at a page full of lyrics…a song about someone in my life that I cared about. The song was entitled “August Wind”. This is how I learned to control my feelings – my spontaneous outbreaks.

I kept writing songs and eventually my writing grew more elaborate…more defined. My short sentences began to take on more life, filling my pages with raw emotion and character driven scenes. That’s when I began to write stories.

I guess my inspiration came from a necessity rather than a muse. Writing became part of my life – a pillar that I could lean on in the hard times.

As far as visualizing and actually creating an idea or concept, I really don’t put too much effort into it. It’s very strange. Sometimes I’ll hear something while going about my day that will entice a story to begin formulating in my mind. Sometimes I’ll see something that will spark an idea in my head that will start to nag at me and demand to be written.

When I begin to build on a concept or idea, I actually focus more on dialogue before “painting” the scene. In my head I know where my characters are, I understand what they’re doing, but when it comes to what they’re saying, my mind hears the conversation like the characters are talking right in front of me. I usually find myself holding conversations with the characters (I know that sounds crazy) so that I can make sure that what they’re saying sounds “real”. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than reading a screenplay or manuscript that sounds flat and unrealistic. If my characters are angry, they cuss. If they’re terrified, they may babble incoherently or stutter. There has to be a touch of reality in not just my characters, but the story as well.

I guess that to be a little more specific, I tend to visualize the concept/story as I go. I know what direction I’m going to take the story in, but I don’t really know what’s going to transpire between the manuscript’s cast in order to get there.

Many people tend to wonder why dark themes and undertones seem to always find a home in my writing. As I stated earlier, my early years were filled with a lot of pain and darkness…most of my early memories are filled with darkness, so I guess it translates readily into my writing. I don’t usually write to showcase just the “ugly” parts of life though. I write about the dark and pain so that the beauty and the love are highlighted and coveted by my readers. When you read something that is a blend of emotions, you begin to make the story personal – you start to “relate” to the characters and their situations. To me, a book where the characters are struggling with the same emotions as I am tends to hold my attention and demands a reaction that’s emotional and true. I walk away feeling like I’ve just experienced something myself, not like I just read a book.

As far as some things that I’m looking forward to working on, a “dream project” if you will, I have an idea that’s been nibbling away at my mind for quite some time.

My dream project would be to create a kind of hybrid anthology-scrapbook. I would love to fill it with my poetry, drawings, pictures, and short stories. It would be like a journal – like a piece of me that I would be sharing with the world. That would be my dream project. I would love to fill it with the wonderful and the horrible – I’d want to format it in a kind of timeline consistent with the events that occurred throughout my life.

Please keep in mind that I always enjoy having people give me feedback on my writing and appreciate their input. I noticed that my genre(s) tend to be occupied by a lot of women right now, so I tend to write from a guy’s point of view and (as stated in a query letter reply I received from an agent) this tends to not fit in with what’s circulating in the “market” as of right now. Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy; these are strongholds for female authors and I have to work a little harder to get my material heard and appreciated by a largely female audience, which I don’t mind. If anything, I feel like this only prepares me for success.

What I usually ask my readers to do is, if they like what they read, go to my facebook fanpage and follow/“like” it. This helps spread the word and create a grapevine through which my work can get viewed and appreciated by other individuals that share my readers’ tastes. I also welcome readers to follow my blog at so that they can read my latest stories and watch my vlogs. I’m trying to build a small community of like-minded people who share my love for reading, writing, and enjoying fantasy and horror fiction.

I’m currently working on the second “Khet Chronicles” installment and am shopping the first book to agents and publishers, so keep checking in on me so that you’re current on the most recent news and information.

Lauren, I just want to thank you for allowing me to guest blog on your site and I want to make sure that people also go and check out your artwork. It’s very unique and carries some really cool, dark, undertones.

Thank you once again, and remember to reach out to me with any questions you may have or to just talk about writing.

Best Regards,

Marcus Twyman