Friday, September 18, 2020

To Ink or not to Ink(tober)? That is the Question.

     So, Inktober. 

     Normally, I am big into Inktober and I like pledging to draw something every day. Generally, I do not make every day. I average about half and never regret it. This year, however, I'm questioning whether to take part again. I do have to specify here. I will be still be trying to draw every day in October. That isn't in question, even if I know I'm going to be too busy to draw every day. Its whether I will be working in only ink and whether I will be using the hashtag. 

     Part of my hesitation is due to the creator of Inktober himself. I won't go heavy into the allegations and legal issues... I'm not a lawyer and I've done minimal research on it. If you're in for the long haul, here's a good Reddit post going over in much better detail what I touch on ever so briefly below. 

     In 2019, the creator started claiming Copywrite on personal art books released with Inktober in the title. This means that a lot of artists who take part and then release their art as an Inktober book for their fans couldn't release it without a lot of hassle and legal work on a book that he has nothing to do with, but that he created the event. This year the controversy is that the creator has been accused of plagiarism by an indie artist/author who released a very similar book 2-3 years ago on inking.   

     As I said, I am not going to get into my personal feelings on him claiming Copywrite on artists' work that he had nothing to do with except that they originally posted them all under the Inktober hashtag, nor will I be talking about the lawsuit. I don't know enough about Copywrite law, I haven't read either of the books involved and while I've done a handful of research, I am in no way qualified to say yeah or nay on any of it. 

     What I can say is that all of the hubbubs is making me unsure if I want to be attached to the name this year. Also, while normally I work with only ink and love it, I would really love to get more sketching time in on my Surface. Drawing digitally is a completely different set of skills than painting in any sort of traditional medium, even if mine is a bit closer since I'm missing some of the cooler tools that the paid programs give you. 

     All that said, I'm just not sure yet. There are other options out there. Artober, Midnightober, OCtober, Witchtober... There's one for digital-only, as well, though I can't remember the exact name for that one. The question is which of these options is a fit for me. 

    Honestly, I don't really have an answer yet. I'll probably look into what my friends are choosing to do and see how open the options are. What do you think? Are you still interested in seeing any drawings I do during the month? Let me know below or on FB.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Learning Languages: The Super Difficult Way

 I have never been quiet about the fact that I have huge admiration for people who can learn multiple languages. I took Spanish classes in high school and Japanese in university. Since then, I have done online studying and taken books out of the library, bought language learning software, and more. All in all, I am bad at learning languages. One of the things that has really worked for me, if in an excessively slow way, is Duolingo. I've been using it for around two and a half years now. I'm not very far into it, I only know about 500 words. 

All that said, I am an eager and active study partner, if slower than I would like. So when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to study with her for her university class, I jumped on the chance. Since the class is offline, I spent some time trying to answer the test questions she sent me on paper. That was when I discovered something very interesting that I hadn't realized before. 

Part of my inability to grasp the language is due to my aphantasia. 

How did I discover this? On my phone, I can type Japanese really quickly, identify the characters, and even a good couple dozen characters I am starting to pick up on.  However, when I tried to write down the answers on paper, I couldn't remember what any of the symbols looked like. 

This isn't particularly new to me. I remembered, very vaguely, having that problem when I took Japanese in university. What I hadn't realized then was that part of the reason I was having trouble is that unlike many of my fellow studies, I couldn't just recall what the specific hiragana or kanji looked like and draw it from there. I was left suddenly wondering if I hadn't actually learned them. However, it couldn't be that since I've actually found myself able to read lyrics in Japanese on some of the videos I've been watching lately. 

I finally realized that it was because of my aphantasia. I can't see the pictures, so I can't recall them that way from memory. The only thing I've found that works so far, is forcing myself to learn from muscle memory, where you do the very dull work of writing out words and letters like a kindergartener on coffee. By giving my fingers and hands muscle memory, I can commit them to memory, forcing them to stay in the little box I have set aside for them. 

The main con of learning languages this way is that its slow. Very slow. As in I'll have to spend hours daily, simply writing out the alphabet, over and over right now. That said, I don't know if there is a faster way to do this without keeping a picture beside me at all times. I will research and continue forwarding the long slow work of putting pencil to paper, but if any of you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hella Fun Movie Week

 It has been a hella fun week. I've been writing and watching B-movies with my husband. Constantine from 2005 was still a blast to watch. Good tone and sets, good actors, outdated effects, and the most overplayed script you can imagine. It was super fun though. I think Keanu Reeves will always be my Constantine because of it. We also watched one of the new Alien movies; I can't remember the name, but it starred Olivia Munn; an actress I always enjoy watching. Even she couldn't save this movie though. It went right past B-monster movie into a D-movie. We also watched Push with Chris Evans. Since I am wholly in the mood for a good urban fantasy it hit that niche for me nicely. 

On the work front, I have finished another chapter or two and I have another that's nearly done. Unfortunately, September is upon us which means my tendinitis is acting up again. Before anyone worries, it isn't bad and as a yearly event, I am finally getting an idea of how to deal with it. It means that I write until it starts acting up and then I have to take a break for a while. Expect to see a lot of art posts and me cheering my Japanese for a few weeks while my writing is slow. Despite that, I am getting a lot of work on this novel done and I don't currently think I'm going to be behind my schedule so long as I do still write rather than forsake everything for my art. It's always a challenge but one that I think I'm up for. 

And that's going to be it for this week since I can feel my wrist just starting to ache. Please, if you've read Lord's Curse don't forget to write up a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever you bought it from. Those reviews really help with getting my work seen by more people. If you already have, please consider suggesting my book to friends if they're looking for a fun fantasy to read next. Every little bit helps! Thanks again, Readers! I couldn't do it without you!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Music of my Life (at least, right now)

 Okay, I'm going to be honest here. I was kinda stuck on what to talk to that I haven't already discussed recently when I realized that three absolutely kicking songs were released recently and that I just had to talk about them on here. So please, stick with me for a few minutes while I rock your world with three new amazing songs. 

The oldest of the three was released on the 17th of July. Addict is a song for Hazbin Hotel, a delightful musical about Charlie, the princess of Hell, hoping to start a hotel where she can try to redeem souls. The show pulls no punches, and the video Addict goes even further into that, into the very checkered past of Angel Dust, a spider demon porn star denizen of Hell and the hotel's first demon recruit. I totally suggest you check it out. I can't stop listening to it!

Just over a month later, BTS released their newest single, Dynamite. This is a lot hoppier than the sort of songs I usually associate with BTS, but I've got to admit, I'm kinda digging it. It's catchy as hell and quickly rising into my current favorite list. It doesn't hit you as hard as Addict but I appreciate it all the more for the bubblegum, 80's pop sound. Also, while its never a requirement for me, I really did enjoy that so much of this song was done in English, so I didn't have to find a lyric video to try to learn the lyrics, which are always what I pay the most attention to in my music. If you haven't heard it, listen. 

The last song on this list came out just yesterday. I am always stupidly excited by Riots songs for League of Legends. Of all those, K/DA's Popstars remains my absolute favorite of the lot. So, imagine how stupidly excited I was when Riot started putting out new character designs for K/DA and suggesting that their newest EP would be dropping soon. Yesterday, we got about 2/3 of a lyric only video (or at least, it sounds unfinished to me) and I've heard a rumor that its because one of the new girls to the group drops a kickass chorus directly after this which we'll all get to hear when the full video is released. I can't guarantee that, but I can't wait to see if it does continue. Either way, the song, called The Baddest, absolutely rocks. I haven't wanted to stop listening to it since I first heard it. 

There have been other songs that I have been falling in love with too, of course. The new Black Pink song, How Do You Like That, and of course, the RWBY, Vol. 7 soundtrack are also top-notch, just not quite as amazing as these three songs for me. Tell me, which is your favorite? Have you heard any other new releases that you can't stop bopping to? Let me know in the comments or on FB! I'd love to hear what you're unable to turn off right now. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

When Words Collide Still Has It

 It does not feel like its been a week since WWC finished. And even though I wasn't presenting this year and it was only online, I still finished the weekend tired and happily exhausted. The presentations were very informative and I will admit, as much as I love being up in front of people presenting along with everyone else, it was really nice to have an easier weekend where I just got to attend things again. I got a chance to talk to more than a few of my friends that I haven't seen in person since last year. 

I have new ideas on where to take my novels, promotions I want to run, and different media that I'd like to explore. I have a lot of information I want to look over and listen to again. In addition to those, because it was an online event, I didn't have an hour's long trip home and could afford to stay late and chat with everyone. We talked ghost stories, met new friends, and got to reconnect with the old ones. Hearing Mark Leslie read one of his short stories was wonderfully creepy. I love a good ghost story and he provided. 

The rest of the week passed in a tired blur, as it always does. Today is the first day I was able to get right back into the act of writing, though I have been doing research on a few of those ideas that are percolating. And I will say that the chapter I'm writing is turning out wonderfully. It's for Fox's Facade and a Kuzunoha chapter. Its a discussion between her and a new character introduced in this book. I'm not sure how long this new character will stick around, but he's interesting to me, more so than he was the first time I wrote him into this story.

In fact, I'm currently taking time away from it to write this post. So, I'll cut it here and get back to work getting that next book out to you faster. 

Please remember, if you haven't gotten a chance to put in a review for Hunter's Gambit or Lord's Curse, I need those reviews to get my novel seen and into other people's hands. As of Friday when I checked, we still only had the one (and allow me to thank you so much for your kind words in that review) but I can't wait to see what the rest of you think! 

Friday, August 14, 2020

When Words Collide 2020

 This weekend isn't going to be what I wanted it to be. 

Why? This weekend I was supposed to be attending When Words Collide. I had a great solo panel I was going to give and I had signed up to be on two or three others. I was particularly excited because it was going to be the first solo panel I ever gave at one of these events. That panel has now been moved to next year when, hopefully, Covid-19 will be nothing more than a memory. 

As good as that thought is, it still doesn't quite make up for the fact that I was supposed to have all that this year. 

One of the new add pictures I created. What do you think of it?

That said, the people at When Words Collide haven't hung anyone up to dry. They have planned out a full weekend of fun and free panels available online. I am not going to be on any of them, but I am more than looking forward to hanging out with everybody at them as a spectator. 

I have looked over all of the panels and there are more than a few great ones. Most of mine this year are focussed on the business side of writing since my goal this year is to try and treat this more like a business than a hobby, but the ones focussed on writing look amazing as well. It makes me wish I could be in multiple places at once. 

So, if you're going to be hanging out online for WWC this weekend look around and you may just see me hovering somewhere. If so, come by and say hi! There will be digital hugs for everyone!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Our Hearts Go Out To Beirut

I was in the middle of researching the hanfu revival movement when I saw some people on my FB feed start mentioning the explosion in Beirut. At first, I was saddened, but I didn't look into it until the news show I watch put out a video on it about 20 minutes later. Then I saw the video and was stunned by the damage. 

What we know isn't much at this point. According to the news, the government knew they were storing over 2700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (a chemical commonly found in fertilizer and one of the easiest explodable things to get your hands on if you need a make a bomb, according to popular belief) after the ship carrying it was abandoned by its owner in 2014. Cue to 2020 and a fire at a nearby warehouse set off the highly explosive substance with the force of a 3.1 earthquake. 

The government doesn't think there was foul play, but they are still looking into it. Unfortunately, I won't have anything new to add to the mix. I just wish that someone had dealt with the chemical much earlier. That much in one place sitting that long would have gone up if someone smoked too close to it. If you have money, consider donating to whichever company you feel best handles relief efforts. There are a lot of people suffering over there, 200-300 thousand people that are now homeless and while only 134 dead have been found, its entirely likely that many more will simply never be found, leaving their families without closure. The full extent of the loss probably won't be known for weeks or years. 

My heart goes out to the entire city of Beirut.