Thursday, October 31, 2013

Autumn Fog Wanderings

I love fog and Fall, so I took pictures. No words can capture the beauty of God's paintbrush.






























Saturday, October 26, 2013

They're Coming for Me Now...and then They'll Come for You

I feel bad because I haven't blogged for a week. So here's a scary story.

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Once upon a time there was a writer. She had a vacation she had waited for for a long time. She was certain she would use it to write and write until she had a new draft for her beta reader to crit in November. But she didn't know that the monster Procrastination was waiting for her.

When the vacation came, she was tempted to sleep in because she could. Procrastination liked that. Then her family needed her to help move. She hauled boxes, cleaned, and moved heavy furniture. She felt productive, and she was happy because she could see her accomplishments. But she hadn't written anything.

Her baby nephew was so adorable she had to play with him. Her mother was so lovable she had to spend quality time with her. She was so hungry she had to go shopping for food. And she had to buy pumpkins because it was almost Halloween.

The vacation was almost over, everything was taken care of except for the writing. Everyone had been helped, played with, and loved. Then procrastination came.
It showed her shiny things like the internet, like television shows she hadn't seen before. Addictive ones. Procrastination was tempting.

"It's been a year," it said, "A few more days can't hurt."

The writer stared at the shiny screen and vowed, "I will write tomorrow."

All the while, procrastination was creeping up behind her, getting closer and closer as she stared at the shiny screen. And when she leaned in to type the last letter of her post -
 IT ATE HER!


the end.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Good Fridays: Artist Appreciation

We all know about art appreciation. Most people agree that it's a good thing in schools, libraries, and homes. But what about artist appreciation? Often artists are underpaid and undervalued for their skills, so recognition for the things they do and the effort they put in is important. I tasted a little of that this past week and I'm still floating.

I teach a short art class to older kids (ages 11-16) on Thursdays at the library where I work, and I love it. I love when I have new kids, I love when kids show me things they've done on their own, and I love when they thank me for providing the class for them. I have the most grateful bunch, always willing to help clean up, always trying even if they've never attempted the medium or subject before.

This past week I had a mom of two of my kids come to me and tell me how she appreciated what I do. She said people have been seeing the work her kids bring home and asking about it, how they did it, what they used and who's teaching them. The kids have fun trying media they've never used before and they love coming to the class. I've noticed it too. Even new to the class, they're enthusiastic, eager, and absorbed. If she hadn't come and thanked me, I would've gotten satisfaction just from seeing them at work, but hearing it made my day brighter.

Though artists are taught to be thick-skinned dealing with crit, and patient working toward success, we get discouraged just like anyone else. We like to be praised for a job well done. Sometimes that encouragement is all it takes to keep a discouraged artist from laying down her pencil.

So, the next time you compliment an artist friend or even someone whose work you've admired from afar - especially if you show off their work online or to someone else - it means a lot to them.

And from me to you, I thank everyone who's complimented my work and I appreciate everyone who reads this blog. I know all of you are artist appreciators. ^_^


Monday, October 14, 2013

Honest to Blog: Staff Day

On Monday when you are reading this I will be in a library 'staff day' which is like an inservice. It lasts from 8:30 to 4:30 and makes me tired just thinking about it. We'll get breaks to stretch our legs, but it'll still be a very long day. So, if you're having a rotten Monday, imagine me sitting at a table for eight hours, listening to the guest speakers, feeling like this:







When it's over, I'll be feeling like this:




And probably when I get home, I'll feel like this:




All that time, you'll be like this:




I'm glad my discomfort amuses you. You heartless, heartless people.
Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Fridays: Ridiculous Fluff

Have you ever spent a half hour watching squeaking frogs on youtube? It's at this point you reevaluate your time-management skills and seek something that will make you productive again.

I am here to help!

I recently discovered this positive website lifehack.org which has great articles Like This One that help point me in a better direction than the distracting internet does. I have a horrible time with distractions, procrastination, pretty much everything lifehack warns me against. I am proud to say that... I'm working on it.

Since this is a Good Fridays post, I will also share with you some fun things I've done and/or discovered this past week.

What I'm reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I'm whizzing through this book. It started out slow, but now that I'm about midway through it's much more compelling. I love that it's in first-person - something I hadn't realized before I read it. I prefer the creature's tale to Frankenstein's, and I think the language is... something I have to be awake to read properly unless I want to reread a lot of sentences. Formal, for a start. Good reference for my Victorian YA series.

What I just finished reading: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
I can't say enough glowing things about this book. It is about a bunch of teenage girls at an academy, hoping to become princesses, but they are deep and earthy and strong, not pampered and fluffy and shallow. The academy is also on a treacherous mountain, with avalanches, bitter winters, and bandits to contend with. Princesses indeed.

I didn't realize this was a Newbery Honor Book until I saw the seal on the cover.

(Side Note: the 'book' I read before this one was Deadpool Classic Vol. 3. Talk about an ecclectic mix! I'm currently nearly done with Batman and Son. Older comics, but still good. Not as good as Planet Hulk, though.)

What I'm watching: Call the Midwife
This leaves me up to my eyeballs in estrogen, without the romance. Nearly every episode makes me cry, and I don't usually continue watching shows that do that. So, that's saying something.

What I've been drawing: Pumpkins!

You might've already seen this on my twitter or my Facebook illustrator page, but here he is again! Isn't he cute? He's a jack o'lantern inspired by the shadowlings in my Lividia story. He may even be inhabited by one.

I love pumpkins and jack o'lanterns in the Fall. In fact, I'm teaching my little library art class cubism by attempting it with pumpkins this upcoming week. I'm going to do an example piece for them in oil pastel, so we'll see how that goes. I've never tried cubism on pumpkins before and it's been ages since I've used oil pastel, but it should be loads of fun!

Those are a few of my good things for the week. If you have any, I'd love to hear about them in the comments. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG: My MS Is An Iceberg!

I have some wonderful things to announce this month and one thing to ask advice on.

A Shadow Story's MC Lividia Blackwell
First, I have a CP - I finally have a CP! You know how when you were younger and that one kid on the block always got the ten-speed first whether he was big enough to ride it or not? I felt like that watching my writer friends with their CPs who later helped them get their agents. I thought if I could only find myself one (and a good one) then the rest would fall into place a lot more quickly. Well, now I have one! In your face, Johnny Ten-Speed!

I've had the MS for my YA Victorian Fantasy novel written for some time, and even queried it, but this past year I realized I needed to work on it some more, including adding maybe 10k more words. It's the first in a series and a hard thing to approach without the rest planned out. It's an expansive series - moreso than I realized when I wrote the first book. It also includes pen and ink illustrations scattered throughout the prose. The more time passes, the more it grows, and the more the backstories of the characters unfold and influence the plot.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good is that the story is still writing and illustrating itself, even though I don't have it physically written. The bad is that I don't know how long it'll take before it's finished enough for me to query the first book again. I queried prematurely and ultimately didn't get anywhere because the first book is like the tip of an iceberg. I need to discover how deep it goes. (It also sinks other creative ideas that come near it.)

I've written fantasy before, and sequential short stories, but this is the first project of this scale I've undertaken. When it's finished I expect it to span more than a trilogy (unless the books are HUGE), but I'll have to see what the plotting reveals. I'm also a pantser, so this is an even taller order for me.

Have you written a complex fantasy series before? How did you query your first book? Did you finish your world-building and plan the rest of the series before you could?


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