Books

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Super quick update...

It's been a week come and gone now and I'm still sick. Not badly now, fortunately. I have a fever that comes and goes which occasionally knocks me out, and I'm not good for extended trips out yet, but better. I am back to work, as of today, which I'm happy to report. I wrote 600 new words on one of my rewrite chapters and I'm hoping to finish that chapter tomorrow.

Other than that, I've been dealing with the extreme cold here in Calgary. Our temperatures have been hovering around -30C which means I have very few reasons to leave the house anyway. I've been making a point of walking down the block to the mailbox every day to make sure I don't end up feeling cabin fever too badly.

And that's where I'm going to end today. Rest up, if you're sick, stay where its safe, whether its fire or ice you're hiding from and take care of yourself until next week.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Bleh... Its that time of year again...

Sorry guys. I was hoping to have this out early for you guys with a full report of doings done and how much of my novel I finished. Instead, I came down sick on Sunday and its been kicking my ass since then. Writing after Sunday was impossible and even doing art was tough. Don't worry too much about me though. I've been taking care of myself and, despite still being tired, most of my symptoms are nearly gone now. I'll probably be back to writing today or tomorrow and adding in daily time for art after that.

All of this doesn't mean I was entirely unproductive, though. I edited the first two chapters before I got sick and got a little over 500 words done on a rough draft of a new chapter before the flu knocked me out. I'm loving where the story is going and I can't wait to work on it again.

Here's the art I've been working on!

 This is a sketch I started working on. As you can see, I haven't gone much further into it yet. I've seen a lot of people doing "my art from 10 years ago". Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture of mine from 10 years ago, so I grabbed the one in the corner. It was my first digital art picture from 6 years ago. It was terrible and at the time, the tools I had were very substandard. Trying to use them was more frustrating than anything else and that was the best I could manage. This new picture is still just a sketch, but its already surpassing the old art. Heck I haven't even added in fingers to the hands yet, making her look like a lobster hybrid, though I suppose at least I have marked out where the hands will go eventually, so that's one major improvement. I'll post an updated picture once I finish working on it. but this is where I am so far. As you can tell, I tend to start with a very sketchy body, then add in the face and neck and start figuring out where the body actually goes. I tend to work from the head down, which is why she has a fully detailed necklace, but her hands are claws and her dress is nothing more than a few folds.


These two paintings are paint pours I was working on yesterday. I'm less fond of the way the black/silver one turned out. Not that it turned out badly, its just less to my style. I like the one above much more, though I should say that, once again, that silver just overtook the other colours. Still, I love the way the green turned out. I'll be trying both colour sets again, sometime soon.


This is one I did just this morning and it's still too wet to tell exactly what it will look like when its set. The colours are slightly messed up in this picture... on canvas, it looks mostly black with just a slight touch of subtle shading and shine, which I love. This one was a complete mess to work with though. I'm trying a new binder and my first test with it was that it was way too thin. After this dries, I'll try it again, with more paint, no water, and just the extender. Still, I really like the way it looks, so I don't consider it a failure.

What do you think of my work this week? Which one is your favourite?

Friday, January 3, 2020

Editing Update

Bleh! That first week after the holidays is always difficult, no matter whether you work at a regular office or you work at home. It's so hard to get back into it, to sit down and stare at your keyboard for hours on end. Fortunately, my editor had gotten back to me so I had things to work on. 

The outlook was really good. Overall, she liked the story and mentioned especially that the second half kept her very entertained. The first half, unfortunately, had more problems. Nothing unfixable, of course. The main problem was that I hadn't put in real stakes to any of the problems that the characters were having which was making the reading dry and difficult to get through. She also pointed out that I might want to move the chapters and do a few rewrites to get the motivations to come across more. 

Here was part of my editing. As I mentioned, she suggested more than a bit of moving stuff around, so here was what I ended up with to storyboard the first half of the book.
This may seem like a lot, but this is exactly what a good editor is supposed to do. They look over your work, tell you when you've missed something obvious and how to make your work so much better. I've found that while I love my work, even my earlier version, I think that the new changes will make the story so much better and I can't wait to get it finished for all of you. 

Even better is that there is no "but" included here. Even with the complete overhaul of the first half of Lord's Curse, I'm not expecting any delays. As always, I'll keep you updated on where I am and how soon I can get the story out to you. This story is my priority for the first quarter of 2020 and I am glad that the outlook is so positive! 

This is one of the pictures I was working on this December. My Mom loved it. I didn't expect the black to take over the picture so much, but I really did like the way it turned out. It almost looks like galaxies forming in the upper left and lower right corners. 
Anyways, that's what I've been up to! I hope your first week back at work has been a bit easier for you! I'll end this off by wishing that your home will always be too small to hold all your family and friends. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Resolutions

'Tis the time of year to think about them, at least. And its the time of year I hate the most. Mainly because I am a terrible goal setter. That said, I have a few things I do really want/need to accomplish this year. So here's my current list.

* Publish Lord's Curse. Its the big one and the one that I'm most excited about. It requires a heavy edit, then back to my editor, then a lighter edit, followed by general fixes and final proofreading by me, my editor and Grammarly. It also requires a cover, back copy written, promotional material made, formatting and ordering in physical copies before my release date.

* Finish writing Noble's Choice. I have another 40k (approx.) to write on it. The story is coming together nicely. After I finish it, I can put it in a box and ignore it for a year.

* Improve health. I am overweight, but healthy despite that (seriously, my docs run tests and it irritates them). I am also a big proponent of loving yourself at any weight and not falling into the belief that slim equals healthy. That said, I'm working out of the house, and I've noticed that my stamina, flexibility, and balance has suffered, so its time to do something about that. My goal is to start off doing a Fit Boxing workout daily on my Switch and supplementing it with a daily walk when weather permits and some strength training with our home weight sets. I know that my Switch boxing won't teach me to fight, but it will get me moving and count as cardio.

* Open an account on Fiverr. This was an option a friend mentioned I could try. I have been talking about becoming a professional editor and this year will be the year for it. I'm going to start on Fiverr to get a few books under my belt and to see what the job is like before I commit with a full website and such.

* Open an Etsy account. I am an artist and if I want to continue buying art supplies, I need to use them and see if I can make a living selling them. I'm going to start off with art pieces and then open it up into resin and jewelry making eventually.

* Read 75 books. I like making sure that I am continuing to read, no matter how busy my life is. I used to read 100 a year, but now I've lowered that to account for not having as much time on the bus to read.

* Continue to study Japanese and Spanish. By continuing, I mean, try to keep up with it. I fell out of daily practice in October/November and have had a difficult time trying to get back into it. Like with my exercising, I'm going for daily, but if I miss one or two on busy days I'm not going to sweat it.

* Clean house. By which I mean, organize my office, and go through everything on our shelves and hiding away in storage.  Moving has come up as an option, but if we move, we want a condo or apartment rather than a townhouse, which will mean cutting down on all of our excess stuff. And I really need a semi-clean office to work in. I've been avoiding it since our Yule tree is up, but I do need to get back in there and set it up eventually.

* Edit Book 3, tentatively titled Fox... mainly because I can't remember the second part of the working title. Have it edited and ready to go our for December, if possible. I'm speeding up, but I don't know when I'll be starting it, so we'll play that by ear for now.

And I think that's it for now. It's a big list which means I'll be breaking it down to a quarterly one before the first so I can work out my plan of attack on everything. It will be necessary since I'll still be putting resumes out there in the meantime.

What about you? Do you have a list? Do you wing it every year? What sort of things are on your list and why are they important to you? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, December 20, 2019

All the ART!

And yet, nothing I can share in pictures yet! It's so frustrating. 

Since I don't have a job this year, I knew that I would be art-ing all of the gifts this year. Which is awesome until I realized that I only had a few weeks to make those gifts. Fortunately, I'm nearly done now. Arting is the right word, too! I have a few pictures painted with ink and watercolour, I have a few gifts made of resin, and more than a few acrylic pour canvases done (a style that I seem to have a natural gift in). In addition to that, I've also done a canvas painting for myself (it's adorable, but I don't know if it matches anyone's aesthetic but mine). 

Not the drawing I was talking about, but a picture I took a few weeks ago.
What does this mean? It means I have very little to show off for all this work. At least, until after the holidays, when I can ask people if they mind me sharing pictures later. 

I've also been editing. I got my work back from my editor on the 10th and spent a couple days reading it over and thinking about the changes she suggested. Now, I'm going through the biggest problem area she suggested and I'm working out what it's doing and what I need to change. She's suggested a rather large rewrite, but I want to see exactly what needed before I commit to that suggestion. 

What does all this mean? Well, firstly it means that I've been trying to avoid editing and succeeding. It also means that now that I'm actually working on it, it is getting done now. I'm hoping to have a full idea of what changes are required before the 25th and hopefully a full idea of exactly what rewrites will be required before my next post on the 27th. 

I will also cheer in getting another review as an early X-mas gift! I'm up to 4 on Goodreads, as well as three up on Amazon (over the different countries and locations). Hopefully, I'll get even more before Lord's Curse is released! I was so excited I made this for it!


As a final aside, I'll wish of you lovely readers a Happy Holidays, no matter what you celebrate this time of year. I'm personally very excited to have Solstice and Jolabokaflud happening this week. I don't know if I'll be able to afford a new book specifically for it, but I do have a few new books that I haven't had a chance to read yet, so one of those will probably have to do. 

Have any of you bought a new book for your friends/family for Jolabokaflud yet? Which books did you buy for them, if you did?


Thursday, December 12, 2019

#Giftmas 2019

Giftmas is here again, Stand up and cheer again. 
Let's leave hunger and heartache behind.


Yes, its Giftmas time again! Last year, we raised over $1,100 for the Edmonton Food Bank and since every dollar donated can be stretched, they end up counting for about 3x that amount. This year, Rhonda Parrish has raised her goal to $1,000 or more. Since last year the goal was $750, I'm really hopeful that we can hit that goal! As of right now, (pretty early on the 12th day of December), we're sitting at $625, but I know we can hit that $1,000 goal before the 16th (the last day of the fundraiser). Please, even if you only have a dollar or two to spare, consider donating. If you can't, please share around the links and the other stops on the Giftmas set. Sharing might get it into the hands of somebody who can donate a few dollars to help out.

I was very lucky. Growing up, my family never had to go to the food bank for extra aid. I had my first experience with them was when I moved out and working part-time. Our money wasn't stretching as far as we needed it to and they were a huge help. When I was working at the Co-operator, we tried to donate an entire afternoon of our department's time. One or two of those years we helped at the Food Bank here in Calgary, usually creating Christmas hampers so that everyone could have enough food for a big turkey day. It was a job that even the twenty of us couldn't finish in the time we were there, but it was wonderful to be able to help wherever we could. 

In addition to the donations, there are a whole wack of prizes that you can enter in for! Please, sign yourself up and once again, don't hesitate to share. There are a lot of great prizes, check here for all the details about what you can you win. 

As if that wasn't enough, Rhonda is also hosting a Snowman drawing contest! You can go here to see all of the current entries, but of course, I had to get in on that as well! Before I show you my picture, the rules for your own entry are simple; draw a picture of a snowman (whatever medium you prefer, from digital to graphite to oil to coloured pencils), write #Giftmas2019 somewhere on it, and email a copy to Rhonda Parrish @ rhonda.l.parrish@gmail.com. She'll update the site with your entries and there are prizes you can win for that as well. 


For my picture, I decided to finish work on a snowman idea I had a few years back. I painted it using acrylics on canvas. It's a very cartoony style, but I loved the way it turned out. Its a really big painting too; 10" x 16". I'll be putting it up in my home soon... I'm just not sure where we'll end up hanging it. 


What do you think of it? And will you be entering a picture? Please, check out the page below and check out the hashtag to find your way to all of the great blog posts going up for this Giftmas!


Novel Update: While less important than the wonderful work that Rhonda is doing for the Edmonton Food Bank here, I did want to let you know that I have my book back from my editor now! I'll be looking over it today and will start working on changes asap! Hopefully, I'll be able to present a plan to you guys next week for it. 





Friday, December 6, 2019

Its Never Easy Getting Back in the Saddle

Well, this is coming a bit late... December is always an incredibly tough time for getting writing done. After spending a month writing 50k, I always need a few days off. This year, fortunately, it wasn't really a recovery I needed, but a chance to rejuvenate my flagging creativity. Its one of the side effects of falling into just one creative bubble for me; when I get out if straight recovery of abused muscles isn't needed, some mental recovery is. So, since Nano, I've been obsessively playing around with my tablet, drawing some really gorgeous dahlias. I've also got a quick rough picture done of an ink painting I want to do.



Now onto some awesome news! I just found out that my novel, Hunter's Gambit, has been added to at least one online bookstore in Sweden. While I realize that this is something that I should have realized would happen, seeing it actually do so is really exciting. It's a small thing, but it has absolutely made my day. Its another little way that helps me feel like I've made it. That added to the new review that I have on Goodreads and I feel like I could fly. I've also received one additional star rating, though no physical review for that one.

What does this mean? Well, Goodreads has my book sitting at a very respectable 4.25 stars with three reviews. I am secretly hoping for even more reviews for Christmas.

Speaking of which, how many of you have e-readers or are asking for them for Christmas? What books are on your gift lists this year? And will any of you be giving books (mine or others) to your family this season? Let me know in the comments!