Friday, March 29, 2013

03/29/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. First I'd like to point out that March is almost over, which in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous. Frankly I'm sorry, it can't almost be April, mostly because I have way too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it in. For now though, let's get to work.

I have 'Lady of Deep Waters' by Jodi Ralston today. A traveler, desperate for shelter finds an old mansion and while thinking it is a wonderful place to sleep for the night, he soon learns that there is more in that place than meets the eye. His only option is to live, and even that might be more difficult than he understands.

Niccla Vega came to that place after seeing all of the things the pegan world still left behind. His job is to convert those to the true path, however in his moment of desperation the welcoming waters of a morning godesss are tempting. He meets the kindly servant and is thankful for the place to stay and be warm. However, it's at night when he sleeps when things start to turn and he has to wonder if his faith is being tested and also whether or not it can stand up to the temptation placed before him.

I decided on this story for the suspense in the morning. It helped me wake up a bit more. 'Lady of Deep Waters' is available for free on Smashwords, so please do check it out and tell everyone about it. I would have written more about how it's a nice complete story for being so short, and the bonus material the author has provided, however I am also working on time constraints so I am really sorry about that.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today. I hope your week has gone well and that everything in your weekend is fun and entertaining. I will be coloring, because that is what I am now; a person that colors. Knowing that April is literally right around the corner is putting me into a panic mode and I must go full-on-coloring crazy if I'm going to get everything completed by the 12th. For now though, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

03/27/2013 Writing Wednesday

Welcome back everyone! This week has been proving to be a challenge so far, but I'm sure we can all make it through the rest of the way for some nice resting time this weekend. The "recoloring" is going well too, and after doing the math of what I should be doing I feel much better about the chances of me actually getting through all of the cards. It still doesn't help that they are each numbered so to me, while I know that I have completely what will soon be 30 of them, I still see IV and V on the top of the cards I'm working on, so that's fun.

With all this work on something different I keep thinking about how it ties into writing, other than the obvious for me since these are all characters from my series. Then I thought about the characters themselves, and when it comes to figuring out who they actually are, having a visual representation might not be such a bad idea for anyone. Now I'm not saying you have to be a world-class artist to have this work (lord knows I'm not one) but even a little stick figure showing their hair length, what they tend to wear, and some notes about facial features will help you figure out exactly who these people are once you get to the point of writing them.

Even deciding what your character wears is a sign of the person they are. If they tend to wear some grungy cover-alls that are covered in grease and oil stains along with a t-shirt, it's probably going to be assumed they are some kind of mechanic. Add in a rag hanging out of a pocket that looks like it's fairly well used and their favorite wrench hanging from their belt, it's now been added they are proud of their work and likely enjoy it. At least that's how I'd interpret it.

Having some kind of visual will likely also help you just figure out what they look like. Sure you can have a vague idea of who they are, but when it comes time to actually write out something they're doing which would include some kind of description, there might be moments of hesitation. Up until that point they're basically faceless bodies (that will now haunt your nightmares) and now it's time to actually make them into a person. I know a bunch of people who have made it a point to sketch out the characters in not just their stories, but also the tabletop games we've been in. It helps you grow attached to them and will actually make them feel more organic as a character.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that writing is going to spill into your other hobbies in some form or another. Whether it's you write a story based on something else you're doing (super guilty) or you start drawing the people in your stories, it's a part of who you are, and if you want to keep it separate from everything else that is going to be incredibly difficult. Don't be embarrassed by it, by all means be the opposite; be proud of it. You are doing something that makes you happy and other people will also be happy for you. Embrace it because in the end you have no idea how far it's going to take you.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will sleepily be back here on Friday with a review for you to enjoy. I am looking forward to my weekend, even if it's going to be full of endless coloring. Thanks again and I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

03/25/2013 Magnificent Monday

Welcome back everyone. I hope you all had a super awesome weekend! I have finished round 1 of my drawings. I decided that since I was only missing two that I would indeed design all 22 of the Major Arcana, so I had to add Judgment and the Hanged Man to my list. Now I am working on recoloring the copies I made because my printer decided making things super light and also getting rid of things like the background and skin color and some shading was an awesome idea. Things are looking good though, I just hope I can finish them all by the 12th.

I know I keep talking about this thing, but that's only because I am super excited and a little proud of them. Like writing, these were a huge task and the fact I managed to get them even to the point they're in now, I am really happy for. I'm also super nervous about the idea of the craft fair; I'm not one to put myself out there in front of, not just people I know, but complete and total strangers that are actually right in front of me and not just on the internet. I feel like I should have more things to sell than just the Arcana, but then I realize I have no idea what that would possibly be. I'm considering coupons for 'The Light Rises' but haven't settled on that.

I have also made more progress in my editing. Something that I left out that is constantly driving me crazy is that there aren't any page numbers. It was something so simple that I forgot and I have a constant reminder of it on every page. I can't help but look at it, and I'm hoping that I don't lose all of my sanity by the end. So far though all the pages are sporting a nice smattering of pink from where I've made notes and crossed things out. I'm hoping that after the first two editing drafts I can let someone else read it for a while so I don't have to look at it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today though, I really do appreciate it. I have also realized just how far behind I am in posting the links to those cards. I will make up for this right now. I think I left off with the Moon...I I'm just going to start from after that point, here's Justice, Death, the Sun, the Hermit, the Devil, the High Priestess, Judgment, the Hanged Man, the World, and the Lovers 3. As you can see, I have been super busy, but have been having super fun. Enjoy, and have a great start to your week!     

Friday, March 22, 2013

03/22/3013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the week has treated you all well. I have finished the first round of coloring, so I am really excited. Now I have made copies and need to recolor them to make sure everything looks vibrant and pretty. For now though, let's get to the reason why you're actually here!

Today I bring you '192: Part 1' by Jak Kindler. It follows the story of Isaac, a man that is tormented in his sleep and in reality by a specter that attempts to take control of his mind. The formatting is a little non-traditional, but that doesn't mean the story isn't good. It actually helps with the sense of panic going through the main character's mind, so I think it can be worked with.

Isaac dreams of giving the world to Allison, and he loves her more than anything else in the world. However, this dream is different, and even when he wakes up one he sees as Allison can't possibly be her. It's painful and tormenting, and even when he really does see her all she says is that she has to help him. The real question is whether or not she was able to save him. When finally he's able to wake up again, time is more of a question, as is his location, and he finds the one the specter had been guiding him toward.

I picked this story because even with the formatting I still found it enjoyable. The rules to writing are set in so much that is how teachers tell you to do it. My favorite writing professor always told me that real creative writing is exactly that; creative. You need to do things however you need to in order to get your point across. Besides, they are rules, they're more guidelines, so if you think you need to go around them, it's your work and that means you have the authority to do that.

'192: Part 1' is available for free at Smashwords, and is very short, so please to and check it out. I'm sure the author would appreciate it too. Please check it out and tell everyone about it as well, that would be super awesome if you could!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead of them. My goal is to sleep in at least some point, well however long the cats let me do that. I'm certain it will also be full of coloring, which is nice. For now though, have a great day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

03/20/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome everyone. I know the week is treating you well so far, at least as well as any work-week can do. I am still working on those cards and have decided, after seeing it visually on a list, that since I'd only be missing two of the major arcana once I'm finished, to just make the other two. This means there will be a total of 24 cards made (three of them will be the Lovers, because I'm a sap like that) and while this is a ridiculous task it has been SUPER fun. I'm looking forward to whatever future they bring me.

Today we are going to focus on what we are used to though, you know that whole writing thing. As you know, I've started working on editing 'Rending the Seal' which is a task that I still believe is daunting, but very, very necessary. One of the things I firmly believe in is that once you are finished with the actual writing portion (the first draft) you shove it into a dark closet and pretend it doesn't exist for a certain amount of time. This time can vary from person to person, but it lets you shut your brain down for a bit, think about others things, and just generally not go crazy. The question is, what do you do during that time?

Part of what you do is going to depend on how long that time is for you. Depending on the person it could be a couple weeks, a month, to sometimes several months almost a year. It really all depends on how long you need to not look at that thing once you've finished the first draft. For me it's usually a couple months but sometimes it can be longer just because editing and I are not friends and I don't want to start it. One thing that I do recommend is that, at least for the first week or so, don't fill your time with more writing. I know that seems counter-intuitive, especially if you're working on a giant series thing, however the initial purpose of this was to shut your brain down for a bit, and immediately jumping into something else will not let that happen. Find a game you want to play, color, go on a vacation, or just do nothing. This is your time to rest both physically and mentally and you don't want to burn yourself out.

Now if you're anything like me after that first week of nothing you'll start to twitch, it's at that point when you are ready to maybe start something new while the other thing marinates. Currently I have multiple stories in various stages of writing, and that's perfectly fine. I work on them when I can, or when I become particularly inspired, but it means I can work on them at my own pace and not have to worry about not getting something done. I know that a lot of people can't do that, but I also have an ulterior motive for doing it that way, which is the knowledge that at some point I will need to get my wrists fixed, and I know that while I am at home recovering if there's something for me to do I will do it, no matter how much I shouldn't. I do usually tend to focus on one at a time though, especially if one is closer to being 'finished' than the others, which is the case for 'Daughter of the Shackled King', since I can finally see the end of the notebook. Once that's done I can work on 'Through the Broken Mirror' and focus more on editing 'Rending the Seal', but right now I just want to get that one into a digital format.

I'm not saying to completely shut down your brain, at least for a long-term break, but pretending something doesn't exist is actually very helpful. It lets you clear your head and think about other things so that when it does come time to pick it up and look at it again you will have a fresh perspective of what you're looking at. Especially in those cases when it took a long time to write something and you can see your style evolve as you read. While that means a mountain of editing to smooth that out, it also means that you have noticed it and know where it works and where it doesn't. I've also realized that coming back to it later will actually help you feel more satisfied with your work. I can't tell you how many times I've thought something I wrote was absolute trash, but after I came back to it I didn't feel that way anymore and was rather pleased with what I had done. It's a difficult process, but we're all in this together!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I do have more cards, however I don't have the DA links for them yet. I will try to get them all together by Friday, at which point I'll have more than just two to throw at you all too. For now relax, and we'll all get through this week together, and if it gets tough just think about kittens. All of them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

03/18/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! It is the start of another week and hopefully this will be a good one. I am wicked tired right now though, so I'm banking on the day waking me up on its own. Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, so I want to say a belated 'yay!' to that and also that I hope everyone had a nice and safe day to celebrate.

With my current project right now I am down to the home stretch. Since I last posted I have finished the Hierophant (though that may get another attempt once I'm finished with everything else), The Lovers, The Star, Strength, The Wheel of Fortune, Temperance, The Lovers 2, The Chariot, and The Moon. I worked on Justice and Death this weekend too, but haven't uploaded their pictures yet due to weird lighting where I was at. I am super excited about how well this project is going so far. I think this week I'll be able to re-scan and work on making higher quality color versions too. The originals will always stay with me, but my hope is to be able to sell them and get more people interested in my series.

I've also done a little more work on editing, and while I'm a bit disappointed in my lack of motivation, I also understand that I have been SUPER distracted (please see previous paragraph) and haven't really thought about much else. My wrist though did scream at me some, so I have been forced to put 'Daughter of the Shackled King' down for now during lunch, which has given me the chance to work on the editing side a bit more. I am not enjoying myself, but I have never once said that editing if my favorite part, it's just the necessary evil that comes with writing.

For now though I will power through today with all of the awake-ness I can muster. It will be a challenge, but I think I can do it. Having a one-day weekend is super killer sometimes though, but I also don't want to be the person who calls in after a holiday, because frankly that looks super bad and I'm not like that. I hope everyone has a great start to the week though, and please tell your friends to come check out 'The Light Rises' please or maybe the cards as well. That would be awesome! I'll see you all Wednesday!

Friday, March 15, 2013

03/15/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone! We made it to Friday. I know it seemed like an endless trek and for a while like it would never come, but it did! I appreciate everyone coming too, this was a challenging week and to say that we got to Friday, I say that everyone deserves a treat.

Today I bring you 'Death's Game' by Douglas T. Vale. It's about a young man who, like many before him, tries to deal with Death and after trying to convince the specter that he isn't dead, which fails miserably, he decides to challenge him to a game of chess. Death is entertained by this notion and decides to humor the man before taking him to his final reward or punishment.

Chris had just been out that night for some fun, and he remembers hitting his head, but he doesn't remember dying. Death does, which is why he is trying to take Chris to where he needs to go. The young man disagrees, especially once he realizes that his own faithlessness means that his choices are fairly limited in where he gets to go in the afterlife. He remembers the stories he'd heard before; of people playing a game of chess with Death in an attempt to get out of dying, and being a little desperate he tries too. However, Death is very good, and Chris soon realizes he may be well over his head.

'Death's Game' is available on Smashwords for $1.99 and is a fun story to read when you don't have much time. I am always a fan of a characterized version of Death, especially when they are done well. There are people who make an attempt to do it where it falls flat, and this is not one of those instances. Please also check out the author's other works as well, as there are several and I'm sure he'd appreciate the views.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I apologized for the lack of post on Wednesday, however I really needed just a day to let my brain melt while I caught up on things. I'm still a little tired, but we're better than we were, so I'm going to take what I can get. The project is coming along nicely, but I am starting to see that my determination to have something to do during the day is taking it's tole. I'm trying to figure out how to give myself a little break during the day and so far the option seems to be cut out my writing, at least until the drawing/coloring is done. I think I should be able to manage this, but we'll see how it goes. Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend, I should be back on Monday with a lot more energy. Until then, I hope you all have a great day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

03/11/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I hope the weekend saw you well. I had a lot of fun and made lots of progress on my side-project. I've added a couple more cards to the project, and if you'd like you can see the Magician and the Fool here. I did work on the Hierophant and the Lovers as well, but I am waiting to upload them until I take a picture with better lighting. Hopefully that will be done either today or tomorrow morning.

I am enjoying this project very much, I know it makes me look like an editing slacker, a part that does make me sad, however this is so different and so big that I think the satisfaction is being able to finish it will outweigh any guilt I have. Today I get to start work on cards for the characters from 'Through the Broken Mirror' and while that section will be the smallest, since there is overlap between that story and 'The Light Rises'/'Rending the Seal' it will mean I am just over halfway done when I get through them. Still though, super fun and I really hope I can finish all of them.

Last week saw some good traffic over to 'The Light Rises' thanks to the sale at Smashwords. While that didn't mean that the number of sales went up, I'm still happy that anyone went and took a look at the page. Exposure is very difficult so getting any at all is a much-needed boost.

I also hope this post makes sense to those reading it. Daylight Savings kicked in this weekend and I feel like I have been beaten to near-death because of it this morning. It doesn't help that this is the Saturday that I work, so my work-days are going to be longer than normal. I really hope I am able to survive today, because right now I'm not sure if that's going to happen.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today, as I said before I will be putting up more links either tonight or tomorrow morning for my cards. I really hope everyone is enjoying that project as much as I am and I'm really looking forward to the real finished products. That will happen after I print everything out again, re-color them to make everything much more smooth and vibrant and scan them into my computer as a final image. I really hope they turn out as well as I think they will. For now though I hope everyone has a great start to their week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

03/08/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and happy Friday! I hope your week has seen you all well. I have been busy, but it's been lots of fun! I'll admit that editing has taken a backseat right now, but while I feel somewhat bad about it, the satisfaction of what I've been working on is far greater and I am really excited to see how it is progressing. For now though, let's get to what you all came here for!

I bring you 'Moon Rising' by Eleanor Frances today. The teenage years are awkward and uncomfortable for everyone (if you say they weren't for you then you don't remember them correctly) so imagine if you were a teenager but also a werewolf. You go through a violent change once a month already, so adding being a teenager into the mix and things just get more complicated.

Alex has tried to be 'normal', well as normal as being a teenager can actually mean, however being a werewolf too doesn't make anything easier. Luckily she's been keeping that part a secret for so long it's starting to become second nature to her. However one night she finds herself stuck somewhere and she isn't alone. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but the moon is threatening to make everything a lot worse. She doesn't want to hurt the person she's stuck with, but even she knows that losing control is all a part of the change. Will the one taking shelter with her make it out alive, or will Alex learn she's not the only one with secrets?

'Moon Rising' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free and is a fun little story to enjoy during a break. I picked it because sometimes, especially on a Friday when you're just waiting for that clock to say it's time to run out the door, you just want to read something sweet that makes you feel good about things. This is that story for today and I hope you all get a chance to check it out. Just a heads up, the Smashwords servers have been taking a little bit of a beating this week because of the sale, so if you aren't able to download the story at first, please don't let that stop you and keep trying until it works.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. I hope to get lots of work done on my new project, and if anyone would like to see the progress so far you can check them out here, here, and here! I plan on making one for each of the main/important characters from my entire series. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to it! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

03/06/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! I'm glad to see you back here and hope the week is treating you pleasantly. So far my day is a tired one, and unless caffeine is far more magical than I remember, I don't see that changing much. Either way I have a lot of work to do, so hopefully that will keep me excited and motivated throughout the day.

My current project is part of what I'm going to bring up today actually. As a self-published author the hardest thing in the world is to get your book to where people can see it. Getting to to where they can buy it is easy, especially if where you publish from distributes pretty much everywhere. The problem comes when you need to let people know that they can even look for it. Advertising is hard, possibly expensive (never again...) and a lot of the time, yields very small results. It can be the part of self-publishing that makes getting motivated very difficult. However, that doesn't mean there isn't light at the end of the tunnel!

I've talked before about how social networking makes getting the information out to people a lot easier than it was say....10 years ago. It's still true, and for those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter will know that I am irritating when it comes to spamming that link out to everyone. The thing is there is a reason for it; new followers might not necessarily see older posts. Sure they have the ability to look back and see what those were, but when you start following someone, do you really go back and look at each and every thing they've ever posted on the Internet ever? No...unless you're a stalker, in which case...creepy. The other reason is that the new followers will have new and different people following them. That is an entire audience that you haven't reached out to and unless you keep presenting the information you'll never get to.

Finding a new audience is where things are also difficult. In a 'Real World' setting like a workplace environment you will be surrounded by people who are interested in what you're doing at your desk for as long as they are standing next to it. This isn't to say there aren't some who are genuinely curious and want to know everything about you and what you're doing. The important thing is to identify who those people are, because frankly you don't want to irritate the crap out of someone who is just by your desk because they need to get some paper. If there are people who are truly interested they will keep coming back even if they don't need anything. These are the ones you tell everything to and you ask/beg them to tell others. Word of mouth is a wonderful tool and just like on the Internet is extremely useful in real life.

Which brings me to what I was saying previously. Branching out into the other mediums might actually be helpful, you just need to work it in such a way that you can do it. For instance at my work we have a craft fair coming up. We've had it before, and I honestly have no idea how frequent they are, but I have been (strongly) told to participate in it. This is a strange concept to me, as I had no idea  that anything I did that was 'crafty' would be something people would decide they should pay money for. Anyway, after much deliberation and getting some suggestions from "totally unbiased parties" I have decided to try and get some things ready for it. Right now the plan is to make some cards and have them set up both individually and by sets, and on the back have information about where to go to start reading my book series with 'The Light Rises'. If I manage to get this done, it will allow me to use an entirely different medium to reach an audience I wouldn't have even considered an option previously. You can even see the picture one here and I apologize for the picture quality I will upload a better one later and maybe even make it so prints are available! This is something that we all have a potential to do, you just need to figure out the best way to mix and match everything.

I know getting the information out to the masses is hard, and sometimes feels so futile you can to flip all the tables and just go to sleep. I really do (Facebook, your advertising sucks, btw) but that has never stopped me from trying and it shouldn't stop you either. Your work is important, it may seem like it's just important to you, but that's just because you haven't found the right person to read it yet. When you do then things will explode into so much awesome you won't know what to do with yourself. Just be patient and keep going. It'll all work out.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I'll be back on Friday and hopefully will be all bright-eyed and ready to face the day! I hope the rest of the week sees you well, I'm going to get back to writing/editing/drawing everything ever!

Monday, March 4, 2013

03/04/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was full of entertainment and some fun. Currently though my week is starting on a questionable level when I discovered the dish washer didn't actually do what it's name suggests. So we're checking to see if running it again will make it work, since I thought maybe something was blocked, but we'll see...if it doesn't work that's going to be lots of frowning from me.

I have starting the editing process, now more officially than just saying I was going to do it. The pages are printed out an in a binder and I have a new pink pen to help me make everything up. This process is always the hardest for me, especially when its something I haven't looked at for a while, but I know it needs to be done. I just have no idea how long it'll actually take, at least the first round.

This week is also 'Read an EBook Week' over at Smashwords, so if you're interested go check it out. There is a list of participating books and they are, for the most part, all being offered at some kind of discount. I have included 'The Light Rises' in this as well, so please go check it out so you can get it for 50% off! The coupon code is available right on the page too, so there won't be any need to dig around to find it. This is a great chance for all of the authors involved, so please check it out and tell all the people you know about it!

The further I get through my notebook, the more I realize that I'm getting close to the point where I'll be done with typing up 'Daughter of the Shackled King'. I know that means I'll get to take a break and focus on editing, but it seems like that has taken such a long road to get to that part that there's part of me that won't know what to actually do next. The real answer, after editing the ever-living-hell out of 'Rending the Seal', is to move onto 'Feathers of the Dead', but even still I'm sure you all know how that feels to suddenly be done with something that has occupied so much of your time. Seeing that I'm getting close to that part is kind of interesting.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today. I really hope this week proves to be a good one and isn't a jerk, because I would really like it to be nice to me. The last couple weeks have had their share of days I just want to hide in a dark room and having one where I don't feel the need to do that would be super cool. I'll be back on Wednesday though, likely with a progress report on how the editing is going. If there's any suggestions for the topic that day please feel free to let me know, or if you just want to start a conversation I'd be more than happen to oblige. For now though, have a great start to your week!

Friday, March 1, 2013

03/01/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone! Did you realize that today is the start of a new month already? It just seemed like yesterday I was still trying to figure out what to do for all the birthdays I'd see in February. Talk about ridiculous! Anyway, let's get to it!

Today I bring you 'Fred' by Aaron Knight. A robotics company has created something wonderful for the American Household; a robot that will do all your chores for you! However the creator of this robot has a little bit of resentment toward the head of the company that he works for and has added in a little special something into Fred's programming in an attempt to bring the company to its knees.

Imagine you are part of something great and fantastic, and then you're told that you need to change it. Something that you are incredibly proud of and want nothing more than to show the world, but then your boss tells you that it needs to be just different enough that it will still be the thing you love, but you will always know there's something off about it. Now imagine that you have a chance to get them back for it, and what you do is make your revolutionary helper-bot completely anti-social. It's put into the programming so well that no one will know it's in there, or that you were the one that did it, or at least by the time they figure out what happened the robotics company will be ruined. That is what happens in this story and you feel yourself kind of rooting for the robot.

'Fred' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free. It is closer to a full-length novel too, which makes the price even more reasonable. It's nice to wonder who the real bad guy is in the story; is it the inventor that changed the programming without anyone noticing, or is it actually the head of the robotics company that wronged him? Those types of stories are always a fun read, especially when they keep you guessing until the very end.

Thanks so much for stopping by and checking everything out today. I'm looking forward to a nice, hopefully quiet weekend after the last couple days I've had. My hope is that today is fantastically easier overall. For now though I hope you all have a good day and weekend and enjoy the start of March!