Friday, November 30, 2012

Good Fridays: My Blog Rebirthday

Today's a Good Fridays Post, which means I highlight a good experience of the week and ask about yours.

This blog has been through so much in a year - and it's been about a year since I started blogging regularly. Even in that time, I feel like I'm still trying to get a handle on navigating the blogging world. I've changed the look of my blog a few times, experimented with different types of posts to see which readers respond to, participated in bloghops and contests. I've learned a lot and met a lot of new people. I've also had lots of fun.

This past Fall I got a new job which takes time away from the blog, but supplements my life in wonderful ways. I'll try to share more about it, so that you won't just be reading about my writing/querying experiences, my illustration and hobbies, but also my library work.

In the spirit of improving this blog, I've finally bitten the bullet and installed Disqus. I avoided it for a long time because I was afraid of losing my old comments, but hopefully they'll import just fine. In the meantime, comments might be a little wonky.

The reason for Disqus is that I miss interacting with blog readers. I miss making friends through my blog and sharing interests with other people. I've fallen behind in visiting everyone's blogs since the new job, but I'm eager to pick back up again.

So, what's your good news for the week?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How Do Writers Handle the Holidays?

Lighten up, James. And don't sue me.
After this recent blog break and getting through Thanksgiving, I'm wondering how other writers are managing the stress and excitement of the holidays. A writing schedule can be hard to keep up during the rest of the year, but toward Christmas, things seem to speed up for the downhill ride to New Year. It can be a depressing time of the year for a lot of people. Days are shorter, nights are colder, and memories hang a little closer to our hearts.

For a lot of writers, December means the start of revisions for Nano, and the planning of another year's projects. Whether this means querying, starting something new, or taking a well-deserved break, it's all about change and new challenges.

I use December as a time to get cozy with the family and settle in to writing more on my current projects. I find myself gravitating to other writers to share ideas and encourage each other. While the world is in high-gear madness, I put the brakes on. Or at least I try to. It's hard to move slowly in a fast world, but the longer I live, the less I feel like rushing.

How do you handle the holidays? Do you think it's a time to speed up or slow down?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Cube Game

If you've heard of this game before, you can either share your own parts of the cube in the comments or pass the game on to your friends and see what their answers are. (And if you've done the Cube Game before, don't post spoilers, please.) The Cube game is from the book Secrets of the Cube.

I did this game recently with both of my sisters and we had a ball with it. Then I did it with my mom and nearly cried over her horse (when you find out what that means, you'll understand). The game is an imagination game that's supposed to reveal your true self to you, but I just think it's an interesting game. Also, once you've played the game, you're not supposed to tell anyone else what the pieces in the game mean until they've played the game or you'll spoil the fun.

Here it goes!

Imagine a desert. Simple. Just sand and horizon. Picture your desert.
Now, imagine a cube in that desert.
What does it look like?
How big is it?
What is it made of?
What color is it?
Where is it located?

 Next, imagine a ladder in the landscape with the cube. Describe the ladder.
What is it made of?
How tall is it?
Where is it in relation to the cube?

Third, there is a horse in the landscape.
What kind of a horse is it?
What color?
What is it doing?
How close is it to the cube and the ladder?

Fourth, there are flowers in the landscape. Describe them.
What kind are they?
What color and size?
How many?
Where are they located?

And lastly, there is a storm in the landscape. Describe the storm.
Where in the landscape is it?
What kind of a storm?
How does it affect or not affect the cube, the ladder and the horse?

Now that you have your image and your landscape is complete, click here and find out what all of your pieces mean. 

Feel free to share your own cube, ladder, horse, flowers and storm in the comments, but don't reveal the answers! Have fun! (Later on, I'll share the parts of my own cube.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are you Ready for Winter?

I don't know about you, but there's something about Winter - especially in books and movies - that's magical. Even though it's cold, uncomfortable, and dark for way too long, there's beauty in the ice and snow.

A lot of books (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for instance) focus on Winter in a magical or supernatural way. My own novel A Shadow Story begins with a Winter storm.

How many books have you read with Winter as a theme or integral part of the setting? How does it affect the tone of the book? Does it help to make it more magical/spooky/uncomfortable for you or the MC?


Winter Nymph 6x2.5 inches, air-dry clay
I also wanted to share with you a neat little discovery I made today. A sculpture I created two years ago of a tree nymph with bare winter branches has this year sprouted what looks like crystals. At first I was surprised and then I was delighted because the crystals were exactly what the piece needed to come alive!

I proceeded to take tons of pictures of her to try and capture the glittering effect. This is as close as I got.

The nymph is made out of Crayola air-dry clay, untreated, unpainted, and left sitting in a china cabinet. I've never seen anything like it before!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Living Dead Girl

2003 pen and ink illustration
No, not the song by Rob Zombie. That's just how I feel today. It's been a very hard week. I went to the viewing for my aunt over the weekend, and last night after work I got an email from an agent with a full rejection. Then there was the election. The stress of everything just left me feeling threadbare. It was a long day, followed by an even longer night.

Since the weekend, I've experienced anger, frustration, despair, more anger, sorrow, disappointment, resentment. All the fun ones. Last night it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I found that family is the best support in a time like this. They understand, they agree, and they sympathize.

Things feel somewhat better today. I'm moving through the stages of grief and into acceptance - of everything. I'm starting with the things I can actually do something about.

I'm thinking I approached queries from the wrong angle. I might have to query my novel as middle grade to get the right response from agents. I've considered it before, but made it hard on myself because I thought I'd have to change my entire story to fit the middle grade label. Maybe I don't.

How many of you have had to alter your query approach or relabel your manuscript? How did it work out for you?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Old Ghosts and New Glitter

Velvet In My Veins - 2005
Today I decided to redo an old piece from 2005 which needed redoing since the anatomy was horrible. The new piece isn't full-body, but it's a start. I got to play around with my tablet, starting with an all black layer. Then it was up to adding the highlights and details (and SPARKLES). Step back, Edward Cullen! This is my OC Silvan - a very old OC who hasn't made it into novels yet.

Your Disaster - 2012

I think I just wanted to draw Silvan again. His hair is naturally aqua because he's fae (among other things). As such, he's handsome and self-centered, scandalous, and full of turbulent emotions. His tainted nature requires him to feed off of human desire, depleting their energy. He has the ability to entrance humans using pheromones and his singing voice. Women are drawn to him and men dislike him, so he doesn't stay in one place for long. He often chases after those who present the biggest challenge. (Due to an event he prefers not to speak of, he's given up singing)

Silvan is very social, but also selfish and spoiled. He's drawn to the party scene and anywhere humans gather to lose their inhibitions. His relationships rarely last, causing crippling loneliness... until he finds someone new. He keeps his love interests around through boyish charm, fae magic, and the fact he's emotionally immature, bringing out their nurturing tendencies. Silvan's life goal is to find a family with someone strong enough to love him, and to find a purpose other than hunting for his next meal.

This character is much older than 2005 and has a backstory longer than my arm. Here are a couple songs from his playlist:

(This is what I imagine his singing voice to sound like.)

Silvan was inspired by this notorious womanizer (for those of you who know anime):

Sha Gojyo from Gensomaden Saiyuki

I used to draw Silvan with a cigarette poking out of his mouth too, but there are other ways to make a character look like bad news.

Ladies, what is it about the bad boys?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Already?

I'm very glad it's Friday. Somehow all this week I haven't managed to catch up on sleep. So now it's a little after 8pm and I'm exhausted. Sleep debt is no joke, people.

This is a Good Fridays post, though it might be disguised as an update. It can be that too. I had a big fat Monday update planned but I ended up losing interest. I blame the weather.

Since Good Fridays posts are all about something good, I'll tell you something that hasn't happened yet, but has still made my week brighter. My job is fluctuating and talk is going around that things could get better than they already are. More hours, different positions opening - pretty exciting stuff!

Also, working at the library has given me great opportunities to use what I know to help the patrons. This means recommending books to kids and teens, helping other writers find resources, and giving technical assistance to the elderly. One of my favorite parts of my job is working circulation desk to answer people's questions and help them find the books and movies they're looking for. It's so awesome that I'm thankful every time I drive to work. I'm the custodian of all these books and I get to lurk among their shelves and offer them to people to take home! - I'll feel that even more when I'm finally handing my own book across the desk to people to check out. 

What I've been reading lately (if you don't follow me on Goodreads): Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy. What I'm about to read: Veronica Roth's Insurgent. What I just finished reading: Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord. I love Pratchett. Veronica has a pace and style similar to Hunger Games, but I still think her concept sets her apart. I plan to read more by Cornelia soon. Probably Reckless.

A few I plan on reading are: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross, Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, and The Witch's Boy by Michael Gruber. If you've read any of them and would like to give me your opinions, I'd love to hear it.

The last movies I watched: Marvel's The Avengers (in which Hulk was my favorite), Morning Glory on Netflix, and A Thousand Words with Eddie Murphy. All good movies. All taught me something. One of those was that Hulk bashing Loki into the ground like a ragdoll is a vision of beauty.

What about you? What good things do you have to report this Friday?

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