One of the nicest ladies who has ever walked down the pike seemed to walk into my blog some time ago (Probably nudged by Josie, another correspondent here).
She is Sienna (real name Pam); she lives in Victoria, Australia and she has seen it fit to start promoting a couple of my book titles there.
Do angels live in heaven?
No, they seem to live in "Birchip", Australia, and they have a veritable Noah's Ark of animals they keep on their race horse farm.
Every morning, you are very likely to see in the yard a kangaroo with a Joey almost as big as Mom Kanga, a stuck-up emu, four Hungarian hounds that might as well be people (they all have personalities) and gorgeous horses so fine you'd swear that El Greco painted them.
Veritably, a peacable kingdom.
And here we are in Canada, so busy hardscrabbling to pry a dollar out of somebody that we hardly have time to pause and smell the eucalyptus.
Recently, on the street, I met Larry Woodcock, who designed the cover for my Light Over Newmarket novella.
"Australia?" he said in an uncharacteristic appreciation (Larry is not like Will Rogers. He hates just about every person he meets, and he's down on just about any country, calling them furriners).
But today, when I told him some lady in Australia liked his cover illustration, he seemed to show great respect, even awe.
"Everybody wants to go and live in Australia," he was telling me.
"Ontario is a crap-can.
"Ten months of winter and two months of really bad skating weather."
I was glad I caught Larry in a good mood.
Two weeks ago he'd punched out a hapless optometrist saying, "This is how I ride up on you slopes. Penny-pinching bastard!
Then he accused some poor Pakistani of stealing his bike.
"You camel-****ing MoFo, you should't even be in this country. I've got half a mind to beat the crap right out of you."
Afterwards, he went to city hall and harrangued seven councillors, right up in the Chamber, calling them all scoundrels, frauds, cheats, homosexuals.
The new mayor was aghast.
Said the secretary, "I guess you hadn't met Larry before, Your Worship.
"Your Worship!" Larry mocked her. "I didn't come to worhip anybody."
And Larry gets away with it.
He is eighth-generation. Scion of pioneers who started Newmarket. To call Larry broken down aristocracy would be equating him with Lord Black. Larry is poor as a churchmouse, and extremely opinionated, to be sure.
He is also probably the best artist in town.
Ah, artistic temperament.
But he's got the chops (artistic and judo) to prove it.
I used to be a lot like Larry at eighteen, but at five-foot eight, I soon learned you can lose a mouthful of ivories really fast by being the fastest mouth in town.
So I write books and Larry does the cover illustrations.
There is some stigma.
"Who published your book--Larry?"
Well, they're all so good, and they're all so fine, but Larry has more talent in one finger than they have in all their bodies.
Why does talent hide in the strangest places.
Actually, the poor Pakistani that Larry really did punch out had earlier done some work for me as well.
He had selected a cover for my Black Icon novella.
It is reproduced above.
Hey, you can still get decent help! :)