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Tag Archives: Art

What’s going on? 

I haven’t been posting a lot to my blog, but I should be. There are a lot of things going on that I should be updating people on. 

One, last night I did a challenge with Bjorn on my twitch stream,then I posted a little video on the results, and showed off the helmet/mask set I made. I might stream a few creative things now and then, or more challenges with Bjorn. His twitch is also growing a lot lately. 

I am on the home stretch with the first book in the Half Blood Sorceress series. Just have to reread it, clean up the chapters, and make sure everything makes sense. Then off to an editor. 

Every weekend in April I will have two free short stories available on amazon. Just check back Friday through Sunday every weekend for new titles. I’m also hoping to publish something new this month. Keep your eyes out for that. 

If you like art you might check out my instagram. I’ve been adding new drawings almost daily, andI think I might start doing something with them. Charms, stickers, pins, etc…. 

What else? Recovering from the car accident is going well. I have a new car, and you can find out more about that here

I think that’s about it. More writing. More drawing. More just having fun. 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Around the Web

I’ve been busy writing and editing, and generally doing everything a writer should be doing, so I missed out on doing the “Around the Web” links. I have found a few interesting links the week.

One of these might be April fools jokes btw.

Jim Butcher to put Dresden books on Hiatus.

French newspaper still printing the newspaper with tech from a century ago.

This week I might be jailed for writing a book about human rights abuse.

Internet Archive adds 6000+ ebooks.

Douglas Adams made me a writer: by Neil Gaiman

Download 422 art books for free, from Metropolitan Museum of Art.

JK Rowling: Life after Harry Potter.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2015 in On Writing

 

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What I learned about 99 designs

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Using 99designs has been an interesting experience and I think I’ll use them again. I loved the way it worked, and there are some fabulous artists on there. There are also some that aren’t as great, but that’s okay, they are still learning.

I was told some people had issues with copyright, but I found that if you did your due diligence that wasn’t an issue. The two covers I chose had all their textures and photos linked back to the original, and I could easily see what the copyright requirements were. Some asked for credit, which is easy to add in the copyright area, and I’m happy to give. Most were copyright free textures.

The toughest issue I had, personally, was dealing with the artists of the designs I rejected. They would ask why I rejected them, what they did wrong, how they could improve. In many cases the answer was “you can’t” either because the art wasn’t professional enough, or the right tone for the subject matter, or just because someone else was far better than they were. I didn’t want to say that. So I tried pointing out a couple things I didn’t like, and said I’ve already made my choice, I’m just waiting for time to run out.

I think I could have declared a winner earlier, but I’m glad I didn’t. Not only did the original artist I loved come up with an even better cover, but I had another artist show up that had an awesome cover too, and with a little tweaking it made a fantastic cover for the second book.

So, a couple tips to make your experience better.
1. Click on the art piece, don’t just go off the main page. This is where you will find notes from the artist, and copyright info.
2. Don’t accept art that doesn’t reference the original materiel. You need to know the terms of copyright. If they don’t add it ask them for it.
3. Even if you aren’t sure about a specific design ask for minor changes. Sometimes a rough or okay piece will become a diamond.
4. Wait. Don’t choose something too early, you might miss a fantastic opportunity.
5. Give your title something unique. My title was “Lovecraftian high fantasy” and a lot of artist were fascinated by that. Who doesn’t want to do a Lovecraft art piece?
6. Keep in contact with the artist. You may find you want to hire them later.
7. If you see a second piece that would work for another project don’t be shy about asking to buy that directly from the artist. 99designs had a 1-on-1 project section that allows you to buy specific pieces from a specific artist, or commission new ones.
8. Ask about using the art in promo material. Both my artists are fine with it, and the art references they used are okay for it. Others may not be. Ask!
9. Ask about adjustments after the fact. I don’t know how big my book is going to be yet because I haven’t gotten the page count nailed down, but my artist offered to adjust the spine for me, free of charge, if I ever need it.
10. Make sure you get the PSD file and/or a high quality picture without a blurb on it. You are probably going to want to adjust the blurb some day.
11. Ask for a cover for the print book that can be cut down to ebook size later. Maybe you don’t want a print book yet, but some day you might and your going to want a good one, not just a plain cover tacked onto the ebook cover.
12. Triple check everything, then have someone else check it too. I miss spelled “Witch’s” as “Witches” when I first asked him to change the title. I asked him to change it and he added the apostrophe but didn’t take out the “e”. For some reason my eye just went right over that “e” without seeing it, several times. Thankfully others caught it before it was too late.

I asked my artists if I could put their website in my credits as well. They deserve a little publicity. The first artist didn’t even have a website. He’s never asked people to attribute him before. But I’m going to, because it just seems like the right thing to do. I hope if you use 99designs you’ll do the same.

And to find out when Witch’s Sacrifice is out please sign up for my newsletter.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2015 in On Writing

 

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Around the Web

Welcome to the world wide web. Pull up a chair, view a few pictures, and enjoy the view. I’ve got articles, photos, videos, and more. Enjoy.

Penguin to publish the “lost” Schönwerth fairy tales.

Rowling release 12 new short stories for Christmas. Sign up for Pottermore to find them.

Thousands of Einstein documents now open source, and just one click away.

Beautiful redesign of the Harry Potter books.

Books made into beautiful art

Scientists translate monkey language

DC’s comics parody famous old film art.

First underground park. (Inspiration for you Sci-fi authors.)

Also, my boyfriend Gregg and I started doing a new project. We’re calling it Nano-Files, and it is us telling some crazy stories using a deck of cards. You can check out it out here. You can also catch up on my semi daily vlog here.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in News, Video

 

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Science and Art

I just got done watching Adam Savage’s SXSW Address and I needed to talk about it. Adam Savage is a fantastic speaker, and usually has something very thought provoking to say. In this speech he is talking about Science and Art. That they are connected because they are both ways to discuss the same thing. Human Culture.

I am a writer, and I also do art. This makes me an artist, right? Yes, I would say it does. But I also am a scientist. I enjoy performing thought experiments about scientific advancements. I use these thoughts in some of my writing. How can a space ship save it’s passengers from cosmic radiation? If electromagnetic fields on earth do this how can we create an artificial electromagnetic field on a space ship? How can we encompass an entire colony ship?

I’m not the first writer to think about how things could work, and use those things in there writing. The writers of Star Trek did this every week, and create some interesting technology that no one ever thought would be realistic. Then we got communicators, and touch pads, and reusable shuttle crafts. They, Star Trek, inspired so many scientists. And yet “Star Trek” is still often seen as low brow cinema. Even though Star Trek was one of the first TV shows to comment on the cold war, the inequality of African Americans, and sexism. Not directly, of course, but it was often written into the show in such a way that people could accept it, and discuss it, when they could never have done so before.

Art opens doors for communication. It doesn’t matter if it is “high brow” or “low brow” art, it doesn’t matter if you initially understand the piece, but it get some people talking. And that is what art is for.

In my novella, “Osiren’s Tears“, there are several themes. The extremist view point leading a society astray, the difference in two cultures clashing and causing war, the idea that women are less then men just for the fact of their sex. I did not write the story with the idea of these things being talked about, but they probably made their way into the story because they are effecting me more now then they ever did before. Crimea, Iraq, Afghanistan. Extremists on every continent are trying to drive entire societies like leading a bull with a ring in it’s nose. The bull doesn’t want to go there, but the pain from the ring in their nose makes them move. Sometimes the bull will break free and go it’s own way, but other times it can’t stand the pain and just goes along with it.

Writing is a way of sharing thoughts and ideas, and exploring both sides of a story, without consequence. I can write from the view point of someone who thinks and does atrocious things without anyone actually getting hurt. I can explore why they would do such a thing, and what drives them, and maybe understand them a little more while doing it (though never condoning).

Cultural Anthropology, the study of cultures and people, is a science, and I think every artist would benefit drastically from that science. Statistics are math, and statistics show some invaluable information. How things are better, how things are worse, how things effect you or societies. Then there are environmental sciences, biology, and basic geometry. How does your world fit together? How do the creatures evolve? What are the dementions of a temple, and how do people access each floor?

Science and art work hand in hand. Science explains how the world works, and art is a communication tool to explain it to the layman. Art is a way of exploring facets of the world we have yet to experiment with scientifically. And science is the way to explore those same ideas even further.

There is a movement to add art to the STEM programs. It’s called STEM to STEAM. They want to add art to the middle of STEM where I think it belongs. And I completely support this. Schools don’t just need scientific exploration, they need understanding of the culture around them, and they need to know how to communicate in different ways which is taught by music, painting, writing, and sculpture. All things that use math and science to get their points across.

But the bigger question: how do we get our children to engage in science and math?

MAKE IT PERSONAL! If it isn’t personal to them then they won’t care. I did not care about history in school because the history class was so boring, and did not link the past with the future so I kept thinking “this doesn’t matter to me.” But when I got to college I took some awesome college classes in history that made the world come alive.

But if you teach a child through mediums that they enjoy, and show them how science, math, and history link to those things, then they are likely to take a closer look at them as well. Some students will stop thinking of themselves as just creative, or just scientific, and realize that they are both.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in On Writing

 

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FAQ: How do I write?

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We hear this all the time, and the answer from most writers is “sit down and write”. And that’s a valid answer, because in order to write you simply have to pick up a pen, or type on a keyboard, and write.

But I think the question most people mean to ask is really “how do I keep writing, even when I don’t want to?”

That’s a little more complicated. Learning to write is, in many ways, as hard as learning to play an instrument or becoming a pro-ball player. It’s less physical (unless you count carpel tunnel from all this typing) but it takes practice and dedication.

The other question might be: “How do I stay inspired?”

There is a terrible myth that all great art is created by this magical muse that comes and gives you incite at the right moment. Then you write a LOT, and everything is wonderful. It’s bullshit, but that’s the rumor.

The truth, and a truth all failed artists of any medium fail to see, is that the really great artists (Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh) had a few hundred paintings and sculptures in museums. Thousands more of their paintings were destroyed before they ever left the studio because they simply weren’t good enough. There are whole sketchbooks from some of the greats of pictures that were started, restarted, scratched out, and restarted again.

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story every day for YEARS. Not all of them were great, but he had a lot of practice, and a lot of them were. Picasso painted several paintings each day, and only a handful survived.

You need to write, and you need to write A LOT in order to get better. Thinking you can get out of that disregards all of the years that every other artist has ever put into writing.

As for the muse… create your own muse. Find out what inspires you to write, and keep doing that. For me it’s reading good books, talking to other authors about writing, or listening to a podcast. I know that if I do these things a lot then I will probably produce a lot more words on the page, just because I want to keep going. I want to see my book finished and in print.

For you it might be long walks, a shower, or a contemplative morning in front of a tech magazine.

Find what works for you, and keep doing that. Make your own muse. And even if the muse doesn’t come, sit down and write about the muse. Ask her/him why he isn’t showing up, and keep going.

 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Forgotten Ones

forgottenonesminiI am down to the final edit of “Forgotten Ones”, and adding in the last few scenes.

So I finished the cover.

Thank’s to David Wright for pointing me in the direction of Font Squirrel, and the twenty-eight fonts I downloaded last night. The one I used for the title and this cover is “Griffin”. An unusual font, to be sure, but I found it eye catching.

The cover depicts “the all seeing eye”, which is appropriate since “Forgotten Ones” is about the goddesses of Fate who share an eye. (Not literally, but we’ll get to that in the story.)

I will be so happy when this one is finished. It is 22,000 words long at the moment, and I still have a few thousand to go before it’s done. That puts it at short book status, and I will be putting out an ebook and a paperback, on the new Kindle Matchbook program. So if you buy the paperback you’ll get the ebook for free. It will just take a couple weeks longer for the print book to be available as I go through for a third edit, then format, and finally set up the printing. (And the Matchbook won’t be available till October, but if you buy print copies before October you still get them once Matchbook takes affect.)

I know, I know… so much of this must be fascinating.

Know this… This time all three fates are in the fight, and they learn something about themselves they had forgotten in their attempt to survive the rise of humanity. Something that allows them to defeat a god who has regained a lot of his former power.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Updates

 

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