About Alexandra Heep

About Alexandra Heep: The internet has allowed allowed Alexandra to maintain a semblance of life when encountering an unexpected, lingering health crisis. The Internet is a lifeline which not only allows her to remain connected to friends, but also survive, via writing.While Alexandra Heep is her pen name, she does not hide behind it. Instead, she used it to brand herself on the Internet and to create opportunities.

Alexandra published her first book, a collection of her best poems, on July 11, 2012. You can buy it at Lulu.com

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Review: Great Garden Quotes, a Gardening Book with Wit, Wisdom and Heart

"GreenPrints Magazine, the Weeder’s Digest" years ago when pitching one of my gardening stories for publication. I didn’t make the cut, but the editor, Pat Stone, left a favorable impression on me because of his personable way of dealing with writers. Trust me, that’s not a given.

That’s why I was delighted when I found out a few months ago that he was compiling a coloring book with “Wit, Wisdom and Heart” (he even had readers vote on the cover). The result is Great Garden Quotes, a careful selection of art and quotes, all with a gardening theme, obviously.

These appeared originally in various issues of the Weeder’s Digest over its 26-year span. The quotes are the same, but the original artwork was adapted to suit more of a coloring book style. Some of the 69 drawings are quite detailed, others less so. While I’ve been coloring since October 2015, I don’t consider myself advanced at all because I have health and vision problems that impact my coloring. Still, I would be able to manage the majority.

Keep in mind the paper isn’t very thick, but since the pages are perforated for easy removal, you can use media besides colored pencils without fear of bleeding through to the next page. Most illustrators, editors, publishers etc. who have no experience with coloring books usually don’t realize the importance of such a detail, so I am really impressed that the book has perforated pages. Plus, the pages, once removed, measure around 7.5 by 9.5 inches, so they can be matted nicely in an 8 x 10 frame.

I know that many people don’t need to frame pictures and can handle coloring in the book with the pages attached, but I have to remove mine prior to coloring (yes, I’ve tried techniques to get around that but without success). Perforation makes it so much easier. Big thumbs up for that, and I tested the perforation too. With some books, even the perforated pages won’t come out easily and still rip, but mine came out easily.

Whether you lovingly tend a few plants on a high-rise balcony, turn a strip of trailer park dirt into a tiny paradise, or work your magic on acres of greenery, you can relate to the content. However, you don’t have to be a gardener to enjoy this coloring book. For one, the artwork itself is exceptional. Since the drawings were created by over 20 illustrators, you get a variety of styles (some artists are obviously represented multiple times).

Speaking of artists: Each page is numbered on the back, and the beginning of the book has an index that lists each artist and the name of the picture he or she illustrated (in numerical page order). Experienced colorists know that this is important because you always want to cite the artist/source when sharing your colored creations online.

Plus, the humorous, thoughtful and uplifting quotes are sure to bring a smile to your face, and they weren’t an afterthought. They complement each drawing perfectly. You’ll find sayings by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Princess Grace Kelly, Gertrude Stein, William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury (who knew?) and a host of others.

You can order Great Garden Quotes at the GreenPrints website. You can also see some samples of illustrations that are in the book via that link. While there, check out the other parts of the site. It’s easy to navigate, even on my outdated equipment, and despite my blurry vision and Swiss-cheese mind.

Below is the first picture I colored from this book (artist is Peter Loewer). I’m very happy that Great Garden Quotes included a snowdrop because it is my favorite “spring” flower (and the page features my favorite poetry form, haiku). That’s another reason the book is exceptional because it doesn’t just offer typical floral favorites, it’s about a happy way of life.