Mimi

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Mimi

Mimi came into my life in August, six years ago, a few days after my father passed away.

I wanted a companion for my older cat, Matty. Not a kitten, but a young animal. A woman who handled adoptions for Providence Animal Shelter at Petsmart indicated that a quiet, sweet five-year-old female like Mimi would be perfect. So, I brought her home, and Matty immediately let her know who was boss, but eventually he gave in to her cuddling and sharing cans of his favorite food.

Matty passed away six months after Mimi came to live with me. Afterward, she became closer to me, my little buddy, leading the way as I made my way down staircases, greeting me at the door whenever I returned home, sleeping beside me at night.

Through the years, more cats joined my household, but Mimi was always a tiny soulmate, sitting beside me when I didn’t feel well, gently giving me kitty kisses, purring loud…loving with all her might. She was the boss, strutting around like a true queen.

She was a friendly girl, always joining in when I had parties, chasing the larger boy cats up the stairs, sleeping atop newspapers I placed on the floor when I painted, and sitting with me when I wrote. She gave me so much love and companionship.

Two weeks ago, she began to have trouble eating, struggling to munch on the dry food that she loved, and barely eating the breakfast of canned food that I offered her. I suspected that she had a sore tooth and made an appointment with her veterinarian. The doctor found a growth in her mouth, warning me that it could be cancerous. She suggested a biopsy, and I asked if it could be done the following day. She complied and we went ahead with the procedure. They also found a loose tooth beside the mass and I told myself that the so-called tumor surely was a result of Mimi’s dental issue.

She was sore for a few days after her hospital visit and she dined on soft food and lots of gravy. However, on the third day—Friday–it became increasingly more difficult for her to eat. I booked another appointment with the veterinarian.  Mimi was given Subcutaneous fluids and Mirtazapine, which stimulated her appetite. Once back home, I opened several cans of food, poured gravy over everything, waiting for her to decide which dish was her favorite, and then patiently helped her to eat. When she got tired and retreated under a bed, I crawled under the bed and offered her more, and slowly—most likely painfully—she ate.  And I assured myself once more that the mass was merely a result of her dental problems—that had to be it. Everything would be fine.

My youngest cat, Reese, began to watch over the feedings, looking on with apparent concern in her eyes. Mimi was her mentor, teaching her to chase the boys, possessing the same tortoise shell fur. And the young cat kept watch. Then she escorted me down the staircase once Mimi had been cared for.

On Monday, we repeated the feeding ritual. Mimi would lick up what she could, grow tired of it, and I’d follow her, offering her more food, and she’d accept slowly…obviously in discomfort. And Reese looked on, never interfering, always ready to walk beside me once I’d finished.

Tuesday was the same, and Mimi seemed better…but still not herself. The phone call came that afternoon. Mimi’s doctor told me that my beloved cat had squamous cell carcinoma and that it was not operable. I asked, “How long?” And she told me, “A month…maybe two.” Then, she went on to explain the stages of Mimi’s illness. She eventually wouldn’t be able to eat at all, her tongue would hang out, she’d grow weaker and weaker.

I researched the disease, hoping to find a way to cure her, to prove the prognosis wrong. But, it was always the same. Operating inside a feline’s mouth was sometimes done—not often though—and radiation and chemotherapy only helped extend life a few more months.

I would have gladly gone into debt if I could have found a way to cure her, but there was no way she would survive. And if her life was prolonged with surgery and treatment, it would be for a short and painful time.

On Wednesday, I continued tempting her with food, and it grew more and difficult for her throughout the day. Someone suggested giving her soft treats, that they had worked for a cat with a similar condition. I cut those treats into tiny pieces. Mimi wanted them so badly, but couldn’t grasp them with her mouth. That broke my heart.

She began to hide beneath a bureau in a vacant upstairs bedroom, peeking her head out to lap up what food she could. I saw her pain, and I contemplated calling her doctor, to ask to have Mimi euthanized, but I waited.

The following morning, I awakened at 2 in the morning, found her sitting in the living room, alone—not nuzzled in her normal place on my bed. She looked up at me with knowing eyes—clear and not glazed over with the hell of her disease. It was as though she’d escaped to another place, visiting the beauty and freedom there. And she was telling me, “I’m tired now. And I want to be in this beautiful place.” At that moment, I knew what was right for her—but later I dismissed it as nighttime sleepiness.

Later, when the sun rose, she ate very little and hid under that bureau. I thought about the weeks ahead of her. Days and hours that I would have with her…as she struggled to eat—while she struggled with pain.

I had a chat with her doctor and she told me that the decision was mine, that some people wait just to have more time with their pets. She also said that if she were me, she’d probably be at the same point regarding a terminally ill animal. So, we went ahead and helped Mimi go to the Rainbow Bridge.

She died peacefully—and I wept.

Later, I sat on my living room couch, tears streaming down my face, and Reese jumped into my lap, allowing those tears to fall onto her back, dapple her fur, never complaining. And for the first time that night, she snuggled beside me while I slept.

Despite the love and companionship of my other felines, I’ve been crying since Mimi left me, sometimes asking myself if I did the right thing—if I stole part of her life. But she was dying, slowly and painfully, and it would have been inhumane to keep her here. I think it was the right thing to do—I hope.

She loved to run and play when she was well, scampering from one end of the house to the other. And I can see her now, running through grassy fields, glorious, healthy and beautiful. I miss her, but know she’s no longer in pain…she’s in a better place.

mimi7

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July, 2017

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Some exciting happenings are occurring this summer. I recently signed a contract with Crosssroad Press. They are currently working on publishing some of my out-of-print books.

MANHATTAN GRIMOIRE was the first to emerge.

Manhattan Grimoire cover5 (2)

FROM ASHES is the second…

From Ashes cover (1)

SETTLING IN NAZARETH, DARKNESS CONJURED & REIGN OF BLOOD will follow.

In the meantime, I am busy working on a novel called SWITCHBLADE. I began it a couple of years ago and it was originally around 80,000 words. It’s now around 60,000 words–leaner and tighter. And it’s a different kind of zombie novel.

Later this year, I will have news regarding my novel MIDNIGHT TOWN.

I am also working on new art.

I’ve been working from early morning until late evening, and I’m hoping that the hard work will pay off.

July 11, 2017

 

Through the years…

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*I recently began to document some of my creative accomplishments. Over the past week, I’ve listed some of my art on Ebay for auction and I wanted collectors to get a sense of the years I’ve spent painting, thinking that perhaps they’d decide that my work has some value. So,  I put together a bibliography which includes both my visual and written art. I didn’t attempt to list every poem, short story, illustration, or piece of cover art which I’ve had published over the years, nor the nonfiction articles and photography. That task would be daunting.

No doubt, I’ve been quiet about some of my accomplishments, never one to be flashy, or boldly proclaim my work as an artist. However, I’ve been around a while, and I guess that I’ve done a lot. And here it is…but not all of it. 🙂

About the artist:
 
Sandy DeLuca ia an American writer and visual artist, born in Providence, Rhode Island. Her paintings are lyrical, colorful and spiritual; moving from the abstract to Pop Surrealism.
 
She penned several chants published in Silver Ravenwolf’s book TO STIR A MAGYCK CAULDRON (pen name Autumn Raindancer).
As an author, she is known for dark and surreal prose; often visceral and shocking. She is best known for her work in the horror genre. However, she has written Noir fiction, fantasy and mainstream fiction as well.
 
She edited and owned a small press magazine entitled GODDESS OF THE BAY from 1998 through 2001, also producing anthologies and collections. In 2003, she operated another publishing company, DECEMBER GIRL, an imprint of DELIRIUM BOOKS. Once again in 2015 she founded MIDNIGHT TOWN MEDIA, focusing on publishing her out of print fiction and compiling books which reference her extensive career in the visual arts.
 
Although she created visual journals, containing offbeat drawings, since childhood, she began painting in 1985, and had her first solo art show in 1986 at the Community College of Rhode Island, while still a student. Each painting was accompanied by prose written on a card; pieces of the story she told with her paintings. Since then, her paintings have been exhibited widely. In addition, her artwork has been featured as cover art and interior art for various publications, most notably the poetry chapbook, VAMPIRES, ZOMBIES AND WANTON SOULS, with poetry by Marge Simon; with Simon receiving the Bram Stoker award for poetry in 2013. Her own poetry book, BURIAL PLOT IN SAGITTARIUS, also contains her cover art and interior art, and it was nominated for the Bram Stoker for Poetry award in 2000. A copy of this book is maintained at the Brown University library. The poetry collaboration, DANGEROUS DREAMS, with Marge Simon, was nominated for the Bram Stoker award for 2013.
 
POETRY AND COLLECTIONS
 
BURIAL PLOT IN SAGITTARIUS (Poetry), 2000, Thievin’ Kitty Publications (Nominated for the Bram Stoker for Poetry award and the Rhysling Award)
PATHS OF DESTINY (Selected poetry and short stories), 2001, Double Dragon Books
DANGEROUS DREAMS, with Marge Simon (Poetry), 2013, Electrik Milkbath Press (Nominated for the Bram Stoker for Poetry award and the Elgin Award)
HUNTER’S MOON, selected short stories, 2015, Midnight Town Media
FRAGMENTS, selected short stories and poetry, with Bob Judge (Art), 2015, Midnight Town Media
 
NOVELS
 
SETTLING IN NAZARETH, 2003, December Girl Press
DESCENT, 2005, Delirium Books
MANHATTAN GRIMOIRE, 2007, Delirium Books
FROM ASHES, 2008, Delirium Books
 
NOVELLAS
 
DARKNESS CONJURED, 2010, Delirium Books
REIGN OF BLOOD, 2011, Delirium Books
INTO THE RED, 2011, Damnation Books
MESSAGES FROM THE DEAD, 2013, DarkFuse
HELL’S DOOR, 2013, DarkFuse
CITY AT THE EDGE OF THE EARTH, 2016, Midnight Town Media
LUPO MANNARO, 2016, Night to Dawn Books
(Novelette: Journey to Talazia, with my illustrations and forthcoming from Alban Lake).
 
 
ART BOOKS
 
PAINTING THE THIRD FATE, 2005, Sam’s Dot Publishing
THE MAD HATTERY (with Marge Simon’s poetry), 2012, Electrik Milkbath Press
VAMPIRES, ZOMBIES & WANTON SOULS (With Marge Simon’s poetry), 2012, Electrik Milkbath Press
APPARITIONS: Thirty Years of Strange Art, 2015, Midnight Town Media
ETHEREAL BEINGS, 2015, Midnight Town Media
NAUGHTY LADIES (With Marge Simon’s poetry), 2015, Eldritch Press
CHILDHOOD, 2015, Midnight Town Media
TALES OF AN EARTHBOUND TRAVELER, 2015, Midnight Town Media
SMALL SPIRITS, 2016, (With Marge Simon’s poetry), 2016, Midnight Town Media
* Note: Some of these books are out of print, but you can find most of them at Amazon. 
 
EDITORIAL/PUBLISHING PROJECTS:
Goddess of the Bay Publications, where she produced and edited a monthly zine of poetry, art and short stories. In addition, specialty projects such as A Midsummer’s Night Terror, Something Wicked (experimental fiction collections) were produced under this banner.
December Girl Press (an imprint of Delirium Books): She produced and edited a collection of ‘Noir fiction called Crime Spree and a rare collectible novel Saying Uncle, by Greg F. Gifune. (1999 through 2003)
 
VISUAL BODIES OF WORK:
Figures and Fantasies 1986—ongoing. Expressionistic figurative work, Shapeshifting–fantasy paintings of felines, strange lands and the female figure.
The Genre 1995-ongoing. Paintings inspired by genre writings and imagined images related to my own writings.
Abstract Experiments in the City 2002-2006
New York inspired art 2007-2008
Digital Experiments 2016–ongoing project.
 
AWARDS AND HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Burial Plot in Sagittarius was a finalist for the Bram Stoker award. A copy of the book is maintained in the Brown University Library. Her Poem Sarah (a piece from Burial Plot in Sagittarius) was nominated for the Rhysling award. Her poem Girls of the Seventies from a group called Wicked Verse received an honorable mention in Years Best Fantasy and Horror, 2004.
 
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS:
Community College of Rhode Island, Solo show at Warwick and Lincoln campuses; 1986. Two paintings were on loan for exhibit in President’s reception area Community College of RI, 1987. Various group shows Warwick Community College Campus, 1984-1997; while earning my AFA in the 1980’s, and then later studying art seminars in the 1990’s. 
Border Books, Cranston and Providence, Rhode Island (2003). 
Winky Dink Ink Gallery and Tattoo Parlor, (New York) 2010. 
Various shows, New Hope Gallery (Cranston, RI) 2011-2015.
Various shows, Hughes/Donahue Gallery (Taunton, MA), 2011-2013. 
Anything Goes Gallery (Warwick, RI), October 2011-2012.
 
Right Studios, Woonsocket, RI, December 7th, 2011. 
Jerry’s Artarama (Providence, RI), 2012. 
Gallery Q Summer, Juried, (Providence, RI) June 1, 2012. 
Ugly Dog Gallery (Attleboro, MA), August 2012. 
Bank RI, Providence, RI, solo exhibit, December/January 2012-2013.
University of Rhode Island, Feinstein Campus, Group show, November 2014.
 
*There are more, including mail art exhibits in France, Italy, Malaysia, Spain and other countries. My art resides in European collections, American, Japanese and Australian. I’ve exhibited in hair salons, tattoo parlors and bookstores. There’s much more, but I’m a horrid record keeper and it doesn’t matter as long as it’s out there…somewhere…in this world…as long as I’m still creating..
 
*I no longer exhibit, but for select shows. My paintings are available for sale, and queries are always welcome. In addition, prints of both my digital work and paintings are available at venues like Redbubble, Deviant Art and Society6. Of course, I also sell my art on Ebay. I enjoy working in the publishing world and love to pair my visual art with my writing. I also enjoy making cover art for genre magazines and books, and doing illustrations, and that remains an ongoing project.

Mandy Cat

It’s Art!

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The Succubus--for blog

“The Succubus”

Acrylic on canvas–30 x 75 inches

My father served in World War II and I’ve always been fascinated with photographs of his time in Egypt and India, the Sphinx and the Taj Mahal looming in the background, as he and his friends posed–British and American soldiers banding together to protect national treasure. I’m not sure if he went to Europe before or after those snapshots were taken, but he did tell me that when he first saw the Sistine Chapel, he was overwhelmed, realizing genius, quickly becoming a fan of the Italian Renaissance.

In his later years, he chuckled at people when they were openly shocked about  a nude scene in a modern movie. He said, “Go overseas…nude statues are everywhere, right out in the open. It’s art!”

So, he didn’t flinch when I enrolled in a Life Drawing class in college, and we both smiled at my mother when she asked if the models really removed all of their clothes. “They can’t do that,” she proclaimed.

They did! All posing for a group of students–shameless, and lovely–most imperfect. Some were old, some young–some thin–some overweight–and I learned that the human form is beautiful at every stage of life–in all of its forms.

My new painting–a partial nude piece–is titled “The Succubus”. It’s inspired by a recent story I penned called “Hotel Namaah”–an erotic tale about encounters with a succubus. (Now available at DarkFuse magazine.)

And to quote my Dad…”It’s art.”

The Scoop

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Goddesses-Young Goddess Kissing the Devil.jpgHere’s the scoop–I have been painting for several decades. Although I created my first gallery ready paintings around 1985, I made small oil paintings for years prior to that. And I’ve been writing almost as long—overseeing several small presses in the 1990’s as well. I’ve often combined my visual work with my written work. And sometimes I paint fictional characters…or scenes from my stories.

I worked full time for many years, spending nights and weekends writing and making art.  I experimented with poetry, nonfiction, photography and a host of other creative ventures.

As the years passed, I accumulated a huge body of visual work, and my written work slowly began to grow, too.

My father became ill in February, 2011, and I retired from my day job to care for him. He died in July of that same year. After that, I once again began to exhibit my paintings. It was fun meeting other artists and mingling with them at galleries. I loved their energy and appreciated the time that they spent preparing for art shows. I networked with many talented painters, and have remained friends with them. I respect what they do immensely. I am thankful that my paintings have been shown at prestigious galleries in the area.

However, after spending several years doing local shows, I realized that I didn’t enjoy getting ready for exhibits, dropping off my work, and then later taking time to pick it up. And, while local galleries are important venues for artists, my over-sized symbolic work—lovers, nudes, sensual women–and figures that go hand-in-hand with the horror genre–are out of place most times. I am influenced by painters like Max Beckmann, Klimdt and a host of German Expressionists.  I’ve been told on numerous occasions, “We’d like to show your landscape paintings…if you have any. Your figures are a bit too suggestive.” I have painted landscapes, making most of them in recent years–specifically to fit into area galleries. But I’m happiest rendering the human form.  I’m pointing this out with no disrespect. We’re all on different paths and tastes vary.

However, as an artist, I  can’t compromise my message and my expression, despite the kindness and friendship many local galleries and artists have offered me. In addition, I recognize more than ever that my visual and written work go together. And I’m most comfortable in the publishing world. I also love working and marketing my work from home.

I’ve been fortunate to have had novels, novellas, poetry collections and art collections published. I haven’t gotten rich from any of it, but my life has been richer. I am thankful for mentors who have helped me along the way, and for those who have supported me.

Painting is hard work, and so is writing. Visual work comes easy to me. But if I abandon writing for too long, it haunts me.  Sometimes I throw up my hands and swear that I’ll never write again. Friends who know me well have learned to ignore me when I tell them that I just want to paint. But I have to do both. Many times, the pieces I conjure when working on my fiction get published as magazine cover art, or they accompany a poet’s words. And sometimes people buy the original paintings. My first poetry collection, Burial Plot in Sagittarius, was accompanied by my black and white mixed media pieces. Through the years my drawings or paintings have occasionally been paired with my writing. Recently, more of my paintings have been interior illustrations for my fiction—Lupo Mannaro (Night to Dawn Books), City at the Edge of the Earth (Midnight Town Media) and the soon to come novelette Journey from Talazia (Alban Lake).  AND Alban Lake will be publishing a book of my art this year. And presently, my writing is taking a new direction. So that’s the scoop.

Painting—“The Devil’s Kiss”—1987

The New Year

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With 2017 approaching, I am excited about various  projects–both visual and literary. I am currently putting together a series of digital artworks, as I hope to have more of my digital work included in genre magazines and as book covers. I continue to paint, but at present I will only be doing select exhibitions…unlike several years ago. I am also in the process of completing a new novel, as well as several short stories and poems. I recently reached a milestone birthday, and having survived cancer almost a decade ago,  being prolific and concentrating on the quality of my work, is most important to me. None of us know how much time we have left on this earth.Frankenstein's Bride.jpgraven-2