My Latest Painting- EARLY MORNING MIST


          I saw a picture in a magazine and couldn't tell if it was a photo or a painting! The artist's, neither photographer or painter, use of black to form the trees intrigued me because her or he did not use any light on the trees at all. Of course, I seen this used before but I thought the trees needed highlights. I sat at my computer and using Corel Paint Essentials and ideas of my own, I painted Early Morning Mist.
art by JD Holiday
Picked and mixed color.

art by JD Holiday

I added the trees in the mist using a darker shade of the same color after I
blended the lines between the shades of bluegreens and black.
For the final painting I added some red in the sky, using a brush called Simple Watercolor which does not smear anything you paint over, and you will see that I move the black background into the lower part of the treeline mist.
Then I added three trees in the front of the painting all in black and the new light of day on their branches and on the ground behind them and on the green lawn in front with the dandelions. 

Read an excerpt from my children’s chapter book for 6 to 9 year olds, The Great Snowball Escapade!

SUMMARY: In the story, Wilhemena Brooks’ cousin, Bud Dunphry come to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it? Bud doesn’t like girls! In fact, Bud doesn’t like anybody. Wil tries to ignore him but he pulls her friends hair, taken over games, and when Bud is in trouble he making his “you’re going to got it” face at her.
After a snowstorm closes school, Wil and her friends go sled riding. Bud shows up and starts a snowball fight which lands Wil in her room for the rest of the day for fighting.
When her pencil sharpener is found, right where she left it, Wil decides she has to try harder to understand her cousin and stay out of trouble. Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. If Wil treats Bud nicely does that change anything for her?

J.D. Holiday
Chapter 1

       Wilhemena Brooks watched her cousin, Bud Dunphry race down the street to the schoolyard gate.

Bud stopped and scooped up some snow. "I don't want to play with you. Who wants to play with a someone named Wilhemena. It‘s a funny name," he yelled.

Then Bud threw the snowball at Wil. It hit her in the arm, but it did not hurt.

Bud ran into the schoolyard.

Wil shouted after him, "I don't want anybody to see me with you anyway. Who wants to be seen with a bully. And what's wrong with Wilhemena? Wait till I tell Grandma you don't like her name."

'Wil' was what her father and mother called her. She liked to be called Wil. Bud knew that and was just being mean.

Wil wiped the snow from her arm. Too bad there was not more

snow on the ground, she thought. Sledding on Slide Hill after school would be just the thing to help her forget about her cousin. She could try out the blue sled she got for Christmas.

Wil walked slowly to the schoolyard. She was not in a hurry to see what trouble Bud would get into.

This was the first day back to the Ten Street School after Christmas vacation. Bud was now in her second grade class.

Over the holiday, he and his mother came to live with Wil's family.

Aunt Karen lost her job and was looking for a new one. Wil's parents did not know how long Aunt Karen and Bud would be staying with them.

Bud was a pain. Wil hoped they would not stay with them long. She wondered why Bud could not live with his father and why was this happening to her? She did not like changes.

Wil closed her hand. She could feel her new pink eraser inside her mitten. Her initials were on it. W.B. She did not want to lose it, or the pink pencil case that came with it. They were part of a set but the pink pencil sharpener that came with them was missing. Wil thought Bud took it, though he said he did not have it.

Wil had not seen her sharpener since the day after Christmas when Bud was drawing space monster pictures for his bedroom walls. Rather, her brother, Jason's, bedroom walls.

Jason was twelve. He went to a military school and liked being a cadet. He liked wearing a uniform like their father.

If Jason did not have to go back to school there would be no bedroom for Bud to stay in and Wil would not have to put up with him.

Wil sighed. She knew she should be nice to Bud. Her parents say you should be nice to everybody. She liked her Aunt Karen. They were good friends. Bud did not want to be her friend. She wished Jason did not like to march so much. She wished Bud were the one going to a military school.

Wil hurried through the schoolyard gate. It was too early for the bell to ring. All the kids were in the playground. No one was in line yet. Then she saw Bud running toward the boys throwing a ball against the school building.

Wil wished her friend Joey Van Stand was not there. Joey was smaller than Bud. Bud said Joey was a baby. There was going to be trouble.

Suzie Kemp and Robert Anders hurried over to Wil. Suzie had on the rose perfume she liked. She pointed to Bud and rubbed her head. "That boy pulled my hair," she wailed. "Who is he?"

Robert was staring at Bud. "Just what we need. Another mean Drew McFarley," he said. "Drew shoots rubber bands. I think he can shoot ten rubber bands a minute, and they hurt."

"It's not that many," Suzie told Robert. "It's about five rubber bands. He shoots rubber bands at everybody. Have you seen he’s big dog? It has huge teeth."

Wil was not listening. She was trying to forget about her cousin across the playground.

Robert shook his head. "I think I've seen him before,” he said.

Then somebody began to shout. Wil knew that voice. It was Bud's. Looking around she saw him.

Bud grabbed the ball and stopped the game. The other boys gathered around him.

Robert and Suzie were watching Bud, too. Robert said, "I heard about reform schools in the old days. He's the type of kid that would go there."

"Yeah. I heard that in reform schools kids eat bread and water and break rocks for exercise," Suzie said.

Bud was shouting at Joey. Wil looked at the ground. She wished the bell would ring soon.

Then Bud pushed Joey.

Suzie cried out, "Oh, no!"

Wil looked up. Now everybody was staring at Bud and Joey. Joey's face was red. He looked scared.

"You cannot play, Shrimp," Bud told Joey. "Go join the babies on the monkey bars."

His arms at his side Joey kept opening and closing his hands. "I can so play," he wailed. His eyes were watery.

Wil rushed across the playground. She had to reach Joey. She did not know what Bud might do next. Suzie and Robert followed Wil.

Wil stood next to Joey. "Everybody can play," she said.

Bud made his mean face. "I'm not talking to you, Wilhemena," he said.

Joey edged closer to Wil. He whispered, "Yeah, everybody can play."

"Who said, little BABY," Bud said to Joey.

Joey's lips trembled. "The principal, Mrs. Johnson said. She makes the rules," he said.

"The principal isn't here, is she?" Bud shouted.

Wil stepped in front of Joey. I have to be nice, she kept telling herself. She grinned and said, "Those are the rules. Why don't we start up another game?"

Some of the kids started to play again.

"What do you know, Wilhemena?" Bud yelled.

Suzie said, "She doesn't like to be called Wilhemena."

"She likes 'Wil'," Joey said.

"What's going on?" a voice said.

It was Mrs. Campbell, the playground monitor. She was coming closer.

"Oh, nothing," Bud said. He kneeled and pretended to tie his boots.

No one else said a word.

"You're new here, aren't you?" Mrs. Campbell asked. "What's your name?"

Bud looked up. "Bud Dunphry," he said. His voice was squeaky.

Wil had an idea. "It's his first day. Bud has to see the principal before school starts," she told the playground monitor.

Then the bell rang. Mrs. Campbell blew her whistle.

Putting a hand on Bud's shoulder, she said, "You can come with me. Bud. I'm heading for the office. Everyone else line up! Line up!"

"Okay,” Bud mumbled. He fell into step beside Mrs. Campbell then turned

and make a face at Wil. It was his, you're-going-to-get-it face.

Robert stared at Bud. Then he looked at Wil. "Hey," he said. "Isn't he the kid who was with you and your mother at the store yesterday, Wil?"

Wil frowned. "He's my cousin."

Suzie cried, "Oh, no! You've got problems."

End Of Chapter 1

Chapter 2

         Everybody stood inside the classroom staring at their desks. The room was hot. It had this funny paper odor.

The long neat rows of desks were gone. All the desks were in a large circle. Wil could not tell which desk was hers.

The teacher's desk was at the front of the room near the black board.

Mrs. Ronald, their teacher, came into the room. She was smiling. "Everyone look for his or her seat. I thought we needed a change for this half of the year," she told the class.

The room became noisy. Looking around, Wil saw Joey. He used to sit in front of her. Now his desk was clear across the room.

Wil closed her eyes a minute. Why did things have to change?

Mark Morse ran by. He stepped on Wil's foot. "Watch it," Wil shouted.

Mrs. Ronald clapped her hands. "Quiet down, children."

Soon all the kids found their desks.

Wil finally found hers. She looked inside her desk. Nothing was missing.

Robert slipped into his seat beside her. "Sitting in a circle," he said. "This is cool."

Wil did not say anything. She wondered what happened to Bud.

No one was sitting at the desk on the other side of her. She looked inside the desk. It was empty. Maybe the principal would not let Bud come to school here.

"Reading groups will meet this morning," Mrs. Ronald said.

Wil put her reading on the corner of the. Maybe Bud would have to go to reform school.

Mrs. Ronald stood in the circle. "But first thing this morning I want to hear about your Christmas vacation. So think about what you will say.”

Wil wondered what there was to think about.

"I got a bike," someone said.

Jimmy Hopkins held up a hand held electronic game. "See what I got," he said to Mrs. Ronald. "I won a higher score than anybody else so far!"

"How nice," Mrs. Ronald said.

Wil moaned. What was she going to say? She knew she should say nothing if she could not say anything nice.

That Bud tied the hair of her new doll up in knots.

That he broke her favorite CD.

That he fed her goldfish pretzels.

That he put gum in her hair.

Wil slumped into her seat. These were not nice things. Bud was not nice unless being nice would keep him out of trouble.

Christmas vacation? For Wil, it was a Christmas nightmare.

It had been the worst vacation she ever had.

Robert probably has a good story. He always does. Joey went ice skating every day. Franny got three DVD movies. She has watched them fifteen times already.

Just then, Bud came into the classroom. He was not smiling.

Mrs. Johnson, the principal, was behind him. Maybe Mrs. Johnson would not let Bud stay, Wil thought. Mrs.Johnson might say, "You are too mean for our school, Bud Dunphry. The reform school will take you."

Instead, Mrs. Johnson said, "Mrs. Ronald. Boys and girls, I'd like you to meet your new classmate. Bud Dunphry. Let's show him he is welcome."

Everybody said, "Hello, Bud."

"Bud is Wilhemena's cousin," Mrs. Johnson added.

Mrs. Ronald smiled at Bud. "Then Wilhemena can help you settle into the class," she said. "There is an empty seat right next to Wilhemena you can have."

Wil looked at the desk next to her. Then she looked at Bud. He stuck his tongue out at her. Mrs. Ronald and Mrs. Johnson were talking. They did not notice. The kids laughed.

Mrs. Ronald looked around. Everyone became quiet.

"I don't know what's so funny, but I want you to show good manners to Mrs. Johnson," she said.

Then Mrs. Johnson said good-bye and left the room.

"Take your seat. Bud," Mrs. Ronald said.

Bud sat down beside Wil. Carol Lu sat on the other side of him. Bud stuck his arm inside his desk. Thumping sounds came from the desk as he fished around inside it. He was going to get into trouble.

Wil quickly looked at the teacher.

Mrs. Ronald was saying, "Let's hear about your vacation."

Mostly everybody raised their hands. Marsha Goldberg waved her hand around and around. "Oo-oo-oo," she said.

Mrs. Ronald called on Marsha.

Wil looked back at Bud. He pulled something from the desk. It flew out of his hand and landed by Carol Lu’s desk. It’s was a crayon. He mumbled something to Carol.

"No," Carol whined.

Bud said louder, "Get it for me."

Wil bit her lip.

Marsha was telling the class she gave a talking bird to her grandmother. Marsha laughed and said the bird only made peeping noises. Everyone started laughing, too.

Bud grabbed Carol's arm. He mumbled, "Get it."

But Carol pulled away. She hissed, "No. Get it yourself."

Mrs. Ronald looked their way. Bud sat still.

Suppose Bud could only make peeping noises. "Shhh," Wil hissed at him.

"Be quite," Bud told her.

Robert leaned toward Wil. He said, "Bud the spud."

Bud heard him. His eyes narrowed to slits as he looked at Robert. Robert swallowed and turned away.

Clark Stanley stood up next. He helped make the Christmas dinner. He showed the class a picture of a pumpkin pie. Mrs. Ronald was smiling at him.

It was Suzie Kemp's turn. Suzie held up her ice skates and told about going skating with her three older sisters.

A hand shot out in front of Wil. Bud tried to punch Robert. He missed. Wil's reading book crashed to the floor.

Mrs. Ronald jumped. She was frowning as she looked from Bud to Wil. "Is there a problem?" she asked.

Nobody answered. The whole class became quiet.

Wil's face felt hot. She looked at the teacher. Mrs. Ronald 's eyebrow went up. "Wilhemena, you and Bud should save your talk for after school."

"Yes. Sorry," Wil said.

"Yes, Mrs. Ronald," Bud said.

Wil groaned. Bud was pretending to be an angel! He was good at that. She got up and raced around the desk to scoop up her reading book.

Mrs. Ronald said, "While you're up, Wilhemena, tell the class about your vacation."

Wil stared at the teacher. She felt like crying. Bud had spoiled her vacation. Wil could not think of anything to say. Mrs. Ronald was waiting.

Wil gulped and her eyes began to water. She closed them and the tears ran down her cheeks.

Mrs. Ronald patted Wil's shoulder. "Did you do anything special?" she said softly.

Wil shrugged her shoulders. "Bud came to stay," she said.

"And we sang songs at the piano," Bud said. He was smiling.

"See," Mrs. Ronald said. "That's something special." She then called on Franny Larson. Franny told the story of the princess in one of the DVD movies she got.

Wil wiped her eyes with her hands. She did not care about the princess story. She slumped down into her seat.

Bud whispered, "Cry baby."

End Of Chapter 2

                                                    GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE           

E-Book of The Great Snowball Escapade

An interview with Author, Magazine editor and the creator of two award winning sites as well as PROMO DAY! Jo Linsdell talks with me.

1. What is Promo Day and how did it come about?

Promo Day is an all day, online, international event for people in the writing industry packed full of tips and advice along with a variety of opportunities for writers, publishers, editors etc to promote their work and services. Readers are also welcome to drop in and get to know the authors better in the forums, view the video trailers or read writing samples.

This year a new forums feature has been added to the site to make interaction even more international. There will be special sections for publishers to post their submission guidelines and give information to authors about their companies. Companies offering services (virtual assistants, website designers, illustrators, ghost writers etc…) will also have a section where they can let attendees know more about what they offer.

Another new feature for this year is that anyone can have their book featured in the on site bookstore for just €5,00. This is a big opportunity to increase your book sales and raise awareness for your work as the event is attended by thousands of people from the industry (email is interested in placing your book)
Promo Day came about because I was looking for opportunities to promote my books using the internet at little or no cost. After attending the Muse Online Writers Conference back in 2006, I searched the internet for similar events aimed at what to do after you’ve written the book and found none. I decided to fill the void and so PROMO DAY was born. PROMO DAY is a great opportunity to network with other members of the industry, take part in online workshops and promote and best of all it’s FREE!

Visit the website for more details of how you can be involved.

2. How much work is Promo Day and what does it entail?

It’s a big task to deal with. From creating and updating the website and blog to scheduling the workshops to promoting it. I also need to find sponsors for the event. This years event is Sponsored by

I usually start preparing for it just after Christmas to give myself enough time to get things right. I organize Promo Day in addition to my other projects and writing so I only get a limited amount of time each day to work on it. It’s well worth the effort though.

3. Do you do all the work yourself?

Yes. I do all the organization, updating the website, scheduling the workshops’ etc myself. On the day I have the help of moderators to keep track of the workshops and help thing run as smoothly as possible. I’m also lucky enough to have a large number of people that offer to promote the event on there websites, blogs, newsletters and writing groups. Their help is much appreciated and needed to make sure the largest number of people possible know about the event. The nature of the event means that the more people that attend the better the results for all.

4. Your blog, Writers and Authors has become a huge success. It is used by not only writers but by people in the writing/book industry in general. What do you see for it in the future?

I’m actually planning a make-over for the site in the near future to give it a whole new (and hopefully more polished and professional look).

I’ll also be launching the Writers and Authors online magazine at the same time which will showcase the blog posts over a four month period (it will be a quarterly publication), offer the chance for other book reviewers to post their work, contain articles by and for people in the writing industry, promote services on offer for writers, list paying markets, have a shout out section where people can brag about awards won, book deals signed etc… It will also highlight a visitor to the website who has contributed, in that period, by their interaction on the site.

I’m currently looking for people interested in being part of the editorial team. Anyone interested should email me at is an Award winning blog. You have another Award winning blog: Can you tell us about it?

As The Romans Do is my blog for anything and everything related to Italy. I came to Rome for 3 days back in 2001 and stayed. I love Italy and use this blog to share my passion for it.

Posts include reviews of books connected to Italy in some way, tips for tourists, famous Italians, events, recipes, guest posts and much more.

6. You write regularly for magazines, newspapers and websites. How do your pick what to write about? Is it current events driven?

The articles I write depend largely on the projects I’m doing at the time. For example, I’m writing a book about social media at the moment and so a lot of my recent articles have been about online marketing, twitter etc…

I write articles about Italy as, living in Rome, I have constant inspiration all around me.

I’m also mummy to a lively two year old and so often get ideas for parenting or children related articles.

7. What magazines, newspapers and websites do you write for?

I write articles for content sites like and for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. I don’t have a fixed column and so send off articles and fillers to various markets.

8. You have written two books that have to do with life in Italy; A Guide to Wedding in Italy and Christmas in Italy. Have you written any others and do you find a need for a subjects and then fill them?

I have two Italy related books available in print format ‘Italian for Tourists: Pocket Edition’ and ‘A Guide to Weddings in Italy’. I’ve also written several short e-books on topics like Christmastime in Italy and La Befana.

I wrote both print books following requests from people I met and based them on my personal experiences. Italian for Tourists started out as an e-book, then went to print and finally to pocket format thanks to public demand. It was the first book I wrote and has grown with me.

I wrote A Guide to Weddings in Italy following my own wedding in 2006. Italy is a bit tricky in sense of documents and has lots of traditions. Several people asked my advice about how to go about getting married here and so I decided to create the type of guide I would have liked at the time but couldn’t find.

The e-books were written out of the pleasure of writing them. They are topics that have interested me and so I figured would be of interest to others as well.

9. Are you currently working on a book? If so, is it fiction or another non-fiction and what is it about?

Like I mentioned before, I’m working on a book about social media. It will cover the various sites on offer, how to use them to get the best results and the applications that can be used with each of them.

I’m also working on a novel (romance/mystery) based in Tivoli, a small town close to Rome. It’s set in Villa D’Este, one of my favorite places. A young journalist comes from England to write an article on the villa and instead ends up in a hunt for art thieves whilst dealing with a complicated new love interest and an evil-ex.

I hope to have both finished by the end of this year.

10. What other writing and publishing interests do you have?

I’m Editor of Robin Falls Magazine ( which is a bi-annual e-zine for creative souls to show off their talents.

11. You will be involved in the Roman Writers Retreat to be held in Rome on the 23rd to the 30th of October this year (2010.) Can you tell us about it?

I'm honoured to have been invited to host seminars at The Roman Writers Retreat to be held in Rome in October. This is not a full-blow writers conference, though the essential qualities of seminars taught by professionals certainly exists. Rather this is a heart-of-Rome Retreat. We’ve even organised a special evening at a restaurant where we will be having a lovely meal, a couple of seminars and have a table to promote our books from.

Seminars are planned (but not so many as to interfere with inspiration time!) on the craft of writing, the building of platforms and the marketing of fiction and poetry as well as less structured opportunities where attendees can share and learn from one another.

The other instructors are Eve LaSalle Caram and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Eve LaSalle Caram, MA, is a longtime and popular instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Progam where she won their Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing. She is a novelist, essayist, and poet whose latest novel, The Blue Geography, was a finalist in the Texas Review novel contest. Ms. Caram's other novels are Dear Corpus Christi; Wintershine; and Rena, A Late Journey. She edited Palm Readings, a multicultural anthology of fiction by Southern California women.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers Program for several years. She is a multi-award winning author of This is the Place, and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remember and her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals both online and in print. She is a popular seminar leader at conferences like Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, San Diego State's world renowned Writers' Conference and Call to Arts! EXPO. She also appears in national TV commercials. Her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers have become staples in the libraries of many writers.

I’m very excited about being involved in it and meeting other writers from all over the world.

More information about it and how to take part can be found at

12. Jo, along with the blogs we mentioned, are there any other sites where we can find out more about you?

I recently purchased my own domain name and although I’ll be designing and re-launching it soon, it is my main website and has links to all my projects and other sites.

Blog Jog Day Sunday May 9th

Join Blog Jog Day! Increase your blog traffic/Have visitors explore your Blog/then travel on to the next Blog! Come Join us Sunday 5-9-10

Animal Lovers here!

JD's Artwork!
Jd (Jan) Holiday's itemsGo to Jd (Jan) Holiday's photostream