Guest Blog Post: the multiple lives of author Valeska Réon


How many lives have you lived? Valeska Réon, a German writer who often models with her adorable furry friends, takes creativity to so many levels! Read on for a hint at her fascinating multiple professional and personal personas…

Valeska Réon with a friend.

* * The Multiple Lives of Author Valeska Réon * *

When I started writing back in 1997, the world of literature was not like it is today. Self-publishing wasn’t yet invented, so you first had to find a publisher before the book could see the light of day. The Internet was still in its infancy in Germany, so you had to resort to traditional marketing strategies.

Valeska Réon and her dogs are great models!

In 2012, after three non-fiction books on health and beauty, I took all my courage and wrote my autobiography, “Flowers for a Chameleon.” What happened next — I hadn’t expected that! Perhaps I should tell you that I was not born a woman, but had already worked as a model in Paris before the sex reassignment surgery. Always I was careful that nobody learned of my secret. 1985 was another time, and models like Andrej(a) Pejic and Lea T. did not exist. The reactions to my book were overwhelming, it sold very well, and a filmmaker contacted me to film it (shooting starts in 2020).

But above all, I became aware of one thing – as an author, you market yourself best when you are authentic. Due to my life story, I was suddenly in the focus of the German LBGT community, which I first had to deal with. Countless letters from my readers all had the same core message: “Thank you for giving us such courage with your book!”

Today #beyoubetrue is my favorite hashtag, and I use it not only on Instagram but also on my author portraits.

Valeska Réon wears her favorite hashtag.

After that, I changed my genre to now writing thrillers – and that’s when I had a new marketing idea. In my book, “Double Sacrifice,” the song, “J’aime tellement,” plays such an essential role that once I wrote the lyrics, I then found a singer/composer to set them to music. Finally, it was remixed and is now available for download –- a great compliment to the book.

CD cover for Valeska Réon’s music.

 

My new thriller, “Walking on Sand,” is currently being rewritten into a stage play that will premiere in Düsseldorf, December 2019. Another autobiographical story, this one is about the transsexual children’s book author Lea. After many years, she returns to her hometown to avenge the terrible things her classmates did to her. The children’s book mentioned within it, “Charlotte Inside,” is taken out of the crime plot and made into a book of its own. It is the first children‘s book ever to tell young readers about therapy with the inner child.

What new creative adventure is Valeska Réon conjuring?

My greatest wish is for “Charlotte Inside” to appear internationally so it can bring joy and courage to children everywhere.

Guest Blog Post: Antique and Vintage Photos by Val Erde


Val Erde’s sensitive and artful photo coloring truly brings history to life. Based in the U.K., she kindly contributes this for you to see…

Dog in garden before and after. Photo coloring by Val Erde

In my blog I show the colouring work I do on my collection of antique and vintage photos. I’ve been an artist all my life and have been doing these photos since I had my first pc and graphics program. I usually colour photos of people, though I have a few that include dogs and cats, but this is the first in a long while that I’ve done just of a dog. I hadn’t intended to colour it, but well… look at it. Wasn’t it barking calling out for colour? Or, more likely, food.

“Please give me a treat. Anything will do, really. Maybe something you’re eating? I like your food. I like everyone’s food.”

I haven’t a dog so have to rely on photos for colour references and as I don’t know what breed it is, I’m not sure I got this one right. I suspect it’s a bit of lots of different things. Well, doggy things, anyway.

So… any ideas what sort of dog it is? And – the dog aside, can you by any chance identify the flowers to the right? The ones on the left are roses, that I know, but the rest – what the heck are they? To me the blossoms look like Cosmos, but the leaves are wrong. Anyway, to be safe, I coloured the innards yellow and the outtards (yes, I know) varying shades of pink. But they could be anything really.

There’s more to do on this photo but I decided to call it a day. Well, actually, I’ve called it a dog.

Do come and visit me at my blog, Colouring The Past.

My thanks to Da-AL for inviting me to guest blog!

How to Photograph a Dog? by da-AL


4 headshot photos of da-AL with her labrador pit bull mix dog

I mean where she faces the camera but doesn’t look like you’re choking her (which I sort of am in these because she’d much prefer to chase birds and cats across the street than be a model).

2 full body photos of da-AL with her labrador pit bull mix dog on brick porch steps

A kind reader lamented that she wanted to see more blog posts by me. Though now I feel sort of like a narcissist, that made me think that maybe other readers might feel the same way, so here’re some photos of one of my beloved dogs. I wanted to show her to you on my newly revised site, but the dear girl wasn’t having it.

Have you had any luck shooting great eye-ball-to-lens pictures of your pets?…

Sneak Preview of My Friend’s Art Show by da-AL


Be a model with me on April 16!

Here I’m goofing off while my fine artist friend Connie DK Lane fits some of her designs for her upcoming show, “Bravura.” Too shy to model? Visit us anyway. Connie’s art will be displayed the entire week.

Bravura” in Connie’s exact words: A large number of hand-made anthropomorphic forms made out of latex rubber, a simulation of apparels for all genders, will be displayed throughout the window case, from support devices, ceiling, and walls. The opening on April 16 will feature a live fashion show where students and audience members are invited to model the unique latex clothing forms and walk within the window passageway.

When: Opening show April 16, art exhibit runs through to April 20, 2018

Reception: April 16, 4-6pm — performance at 5pm

Where: Cerritos College Fine Arts, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650

Parking: $2 on-site for entire day.

Here’s the first post about Bravura Here’s one about one of Connie’s previous shows and here’s Connie’s website.

Here’s when the show took place!

My Friend’s Art Show by da-AL


Art lovers — join me at artist Connie DK Lane’s show, “Bravura.” She’s asked me to be one of her models. You can be one too!

Bravura” in Connie’s exact words: A large number of hand-made anthropomorphic forms made out of latex rubber, a simulation of apparels for all genders, will be displayed throughout the window case, from support devices, ceiling, and walls. The opening on April 16 will feature a live fashion show where students and audience members are invited to model the unique latex clothing forms and walk within the window passageway.

When: Opening show April 16, art exhibited until April 20, 2018

Reception: April 16, 4-6pm — performance at 5pm

Where: Cerritos College Fine Arts, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650

Parking: $2 on-site for entire day.

Here’s a previous post about Connie’s art and here’s her website.

Here’s  the pre-show ‘getting ready’ post. Here’s the performance.

Be Your Own Best Role Model – & – Guest Blog Post: “Learning to make homes,” in Elizabeth Semende’s exact words


Thank you, Ryan McGuire.

Role models can be great. They provide wisdom for how to get where we’d like to be.

Take care, though.

In our eagerness, we risk blindness and deafness to how sometimes they’re better examples of what not to do. Of the ones we love, those who are closest to us, their familiarity can feel like normalcy.

The amazing poem posted by afroliz of Zimbabwe that follows illustrates what I’m trying to say.

I believe we must all continually work to be our own best role models. Let us be lighthearted in working toward that goal. Let us be as serious as happiness when it comes to understanding which role models we might already have unwittingly chosen.

flowers and poems 🌼

In these places where women come to die

My mother’s words take turns to hit my ears:

“When you find a man, carve a home beneath his pride and

learn to make homes from nothing.”
Then I screamed: Mother this is not my home!

This is not a home!

It carries the weight of a man’s pride

the same way corpses carry the weight of tombstones​

In silence.

Mother did not listen.
She too found a home

In these places where nothing remains

but a swam of men urinating on the flame of our souls

She said: that is how we make homes out of nothing

By carrying the weight of a man’s pride

In silence.

© Elizabeth Semende

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Guest Blog Post: “Who’s Perfect?” a video via David Kanigan


Still from "Because Who is Perfect?" video
Still from “Because Who is Perfect?” video

Who’s attractive? What’s chic? Always it’s a good time to embrace our humanity and our uniqueness — but now is better than ever. Hoping Kanigan’s post makes you smile like it did me …

Live & Learn


Thank you Susan

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