Saturday, December 16, 2017

Love of Sea and New Book

Who can tell how inspiration works? Some think that things, people or events inspire them. Others say that it comes from art and stories. Some find inspiration in memories of the past, while others in fantasies about the future. Like many artists, I find that very often inspiration comes during the process of work (as they say in Russia, appetite grows with eating) - I start dressing up and new ideas come, or I start writing and the more I write, the more inspired I feel...

I think anything can become inspiring to us, anything that touches us that is. And the longer we live, the more impressions we internalize, which at some point can spark the growth of our new creation. We don't need to know how exactly it works, we just need to trust the process. Where on earth did  this little girl from the landlocked Siberia in the middle of the largest country get her dreams of the sea? From our early family trips to the Black Sea (4 days by train, or 4 hours by plane)? From movies that I watched on our black and white TV (I've been a huge cinema fan for my entire life)? From books that I've read?

The Little Mermaid, Victor Bakhtin's illustration from my childhood book

I really can't tell for sure, probably it's the combination of all of these things, and people, and events... what I know is that for a long time I had a dream of living by the sea - and that now I live my dream.
 I know that The Little Mermaid was my favorite childhood's fairy tale - not the Disney version, but the original Hans Christian Andersen's tale, the one with the sad ending. I think I am still overcoming some of the cultural imprints that come from stories with sad endings, but I also appreciate the pure poetry of it. As I started working on this post, I remembered the power of Google and found the illustration from my childhood book printed by the Krasnoyarsk book publishing company (my home town) - the storybook with pictures that made a huge impact on my imagination, I am sure. What I did not know was that Victor Bakhtin, a well known Krasnoyarsk artist and book illustrator, lived in Wisconsin, USA, from 1993 till his death in 2016. Here in the USA, he made a name for himself as an accomplished animal painter (read an article about him in English HERE, and there are many of his paintings in THIS POST in Russian). I did not know about it all, but even a few book illustrations from my childhood effected me in more ways than I probably realize.

Most of the photos on my blog are taken by my husband Justin, talented photographer and in a way a co-author of this blog. But not many of you know that photography was my huge hobby for a few years - there was literally not a single day without looking at the world through my camera lenses. Today, I want to share with you some pictures that I took during our most recent trip to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in November. We love taking walks in this estuary, watching birds, listening to silence. I always feel inspired by just being there surrounded by water, and last time I took many photos of the water and reflections. Not sure why, but this blue outfit somehow reminded me of these pictures.

And somehow my love for the sea, for nature, animals and birds, which took me to live in one of the most amazing places on our planet, later inspired many of my stories. (We spent 3 unforgettable years living in a little hut on the beach, and for the last 10 years we live near water...and yes, I wrote a story of Little Mermaid, with my own twist of course). Today I am happy to announce that we have just published our new book, called SUPERSEAL, with me being the author, my brother Andrei Lialin being the artist who illustrated it, and my husband Justin Donie being the editor of English text, producer of all our books and the biggest supporter and encourager of our work. I think that SUPERSEAL took inspiration from the blend of my early childhood stories and dreams, and the later years living on the shore of Puget Sound, and constantly being surrounded by nature and wildlife.

Our books are available at Amazon US, Europe, Australia and Asia. 
For American orders, click HERE.
For orders from Australia, click HERE.
For UK orders, click HERE.
For other European and Asian readers, please search your country's Amazon website.

Buy our books at indie booksellers and support local businesses:
Continent (Seattle, WA), King's Books (Tacoma, WA), Fantasium (Federal Way, WA)

If you have a child in your life, we will be honored if you choose our books as a gift!
We are proud to call ourselves independent authors. What does it mean? We are the artistic equivalent of  a "cottage industry" - we finance our own work and create our books completely independently, from the first idea through the process of writing, editing, translating, illustrating, putting the model of a book together, publicizing and marketing. A part of each book sale goes to CreateSpace (independent publishing platform), and we are grateful to them for providing their excellent services. About one fourth of the sale price goes directly to us as our royalty, which we share.

As new authors, we completely depend on the word of mouth at this point, since most people buy books by recommendation. We would appreciate if you help to spread the word about our work - please consider reposting or including links to my post and our books in your social media. 

Read the reviews in English, German and Serbo-Croatian: (in English & Serbo-Croatian) (in English)

Amazon.De (in German)

And let me tell you that we always have new books we are currently working on! :)

Andrei and I are independent artists who live on two different continents, separated by ocean. We work individually on our own projects and come together (mainly, via emails) to collaborate on our bilingual children's books and website for games and stories ( We do it simply because we love it! Many of our own childhood memories come alive as we work on our original stories, but the other huge part of it is my experience of raising a bilingual child (as well as working with dozens of bilingual families in the past). My daughter speaks, writes and understands three languages (to different degrees) and is an avid learner of another three or four languages, of her own choice. She is one of the most open-minded and accepting people that I know, so I think I can tell from first hand experience that knowing more than one language is beneficial to both the intellectual and emotional, as well as spiritual development of a person. 

It may come as a surprise to you, but 50% of the population of the world are considered bilingual (that is counting languages as well as dialects). But despite this fact, bilingual books are still underdeveloped as an industry. With our books, we strive to make a difference in this field, for all children and adults who learn and live in more than one language. But learning a second language is definitely not a requirement for reading and appreciating our books! If you read my blog and know me as a person, you will find that my stories are a natural extension of who I am - and natural extension of my family. My stories and Andrei's illustrations are wise, witty and warm. In my books, I talk about the same things I talk here on my blog - following our dreams, believing in ourselves, staying open and accepting on our journey of self-discovery. Andrei and I strive to bring to our readers the best of both worlds - in languages, illustrations and inspiration! 

My outfit is remix from my closet:

Dress and belt - Chico's (old), dress shown HERE and HERE
Faux fur coat - Boden (old), shown HERE and HERE
Boots - Aquatalia (old)
Earrings, bracelet - vintage
Shawl (Pavlovoposadsky platok) - gift from my parents, shown HERE
Backpack - TJ MAXX

Linking up with Tina's Pink Friday
and Patti's Visible Monday
Thank you, Patti, for featuring my last outfit among other stylish ladies HERE!

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  1. I can definitely see the parallel between the outfit and the reflection photos.
    Beautiful shots.
    I am feeling bad I haven't bought your books. How would I get them out here in Australia?
    I don't have any small children any more, but I thought they might encourage my kids to see what is possible with their writing and drawing. And as a beautiful momento of my friend.
    Xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Hello my dear! First of all, no reason to feel bad. But I DO feel very appreciative that you have an interest in my books! Friends support is precious. I agree with you that books can be encouraging to others! And there is definitely no age limit for fairy tales, ever!

      I did a quick search, and it seems you have them at your Amazon Australia! Great news!!! I think it even offers free delivery! Here is the link:

      I don't know whether Superseal is also available, give it some time, it might appear later. But if you have any troubles purchasing them, just ask me - I will learn how much it would cost to ship to you from here, and we go from there!

      Lots of love to you and your beautiful children!

  2. Beautiful photos, of course i can see you with a camera at the ready, poised to capture beauty everywhere. Lovely that Justin shares this talent and aptitude. The photos here are so very lovely.
    Yes. inspiration is a start of something, it is how we feed it to make it bloom, into a book, a wardrobe, it can reinvent itself... and your talent is always growing.
    Thanks for sharing it, and the book looks so magical.
    Love the fun fuax fur and ikat dress, the leopard backpack to add some edge and warm tones.
    xoxo, Elle

    1. Dearest Elle, thank you so much for your kind words! Justin taught me a lot about photography! I am not very technical, so I don't consider myself a "real photographer" - but there is inspiration, a good eye for composition, and those things can also get you somewhere. :) Lots of love!

  3. hey - you wonderful mermaid!
    your post is radiating art and culture and beauty - in warm, lovely rays. i´m still a bit sad that all the kids i know are late teenagers by now - your books would make such gorgeous pressies. but i will share - of cause!
    your watery yet cosy outfit is a stunner! gorgeous how dress and coat work together and your accessories add i 4.dimension.....
    very beautiful photos! you really captured the quietness of that watery area. love that mother of pearl colors <3
    we do say too: *appetite grows with eating* around here - and yes - i just start with simple things like a mending and the feel of fabric in my hands and the growing process make me want more and the juices of creativity flow.......
    love & hugs to you my friend! xxxxx

    1. My dear, maybe your mentioning of mending got me thinking of you when I found that antique greeting card... :) Thank you so much for your wonderful friendship and warm support of my creativity throughout the years! It means so much to me! Lots of love, my dear!

  4. First of all, congratulations my dear friend on getting your book published, which must be such a great feeling. It looks totally amazing, and you and Andrei can be really proud of your achievement. Then, I must congratulate you again, this time on your fabulous photographs. They really capture the atmosphere of the place, and make me feel as if I were there with you. I applaud you too on your stunning outfit: I am totally in love with that dress! Hugest of hugs! xxx

    1. Thank you so much, my dear Ann! I am touched by your warm words, as always. It is an amazing feeling, and Andrei and I are so happy - it really is a little miracle to have our books published! Lots of love!

  5. Wow congratulations Natalia.
    You look amazing in this blue sea style and your photographs are stunning. They are a little bit magic like pictures from "Avalon"
    Big hug Tina

    1. Danke schön, liebe Tina! I have to admit, I am not aware of Avalon...will have to look it up. :) Lots of love!

  6. Such great news about your book - exciting times!
    That maxi dress, jacket and scarf combination are utterly lovely and echo the blues and greys of your glorious photos. xxx

    1. Thank you, lovely Vicky! Your compliments and congratulations are very much appreciated! <3

  7. Your talent shines in your writing , your beautiful outfit compositions and these glorious photos.Many congratulations on the new book , it looks truly magical , maybe I should order and put away to share with future grandchildren.

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful warm words, darling Jill! They mean a lot to me! If you ever want my books, but can't order some titles from Australia, just drop me an email at inthewriterscloset at gmail - and I will figure out the way to ship them to you! Lots of love!

  8. i too see the connections between your lovely outfit and these photos. You radiate serenity, as do the photos. I agree, inspiration can come from just starting. Thanks for linking up and Merry Christmas to you, xox


    1. Thank you, Patti! I love that - "radiating serenity"... it even sounds good! :)

  9. Love to see how nature could inspire us to create something. Love to read your words, love to see your new book!, and love to see you wearing those blues and greys inspired by the sea and the seaside landscapes!. Such a beautiful mix of shades and prints, so elegant!!!
    Wish your books have lots of readers!

  10. Congrats on the beautiful book! I am so proud of you! I also love the photos here, so evocative. Fabulous ikat dress and leopard combination- muted so lovingly with the soft faux fur!
    happy holidays!
    xoxo, Elle