Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some Ave Art!

Before I was making money at job-things, my holiday and birthday gifts to Victoria would always be art. This year, since we were budgeting all our savings for moving, we didn't really have much money to spend, so I worked on a portrait of Ave on and off between our packing and unpacking times.

So, in celebration of Monsters coming closer and closer to a tangible thing, here's the ever brilliant Avery.

I struggled with this a LOT. Before I'd sat down to paint her, I'd been painting character portraits from our other WIP like bam, bam, bam, two hours resulting in awesomeness, very close to the original vision I started with.

Ave, however, took one full do-over and about 10-12+ hours. Keeping track of time was tough since I had to use little pockets of time here and there, but she was quite the struggle to get just right.

Still, I have to remind myself that, as I paint more and do better, my critiquing eye expects more out of me. So these previous paintings I did, in my brain, are a whole lot better until I let time pass, keep painting new things, then come back to them. Then I can see that I certainly have made progress.

I used to be pretty proud of that black-and-white sketch. The two pictures were painted with similar methods, and Kali on the left was the first time in a looooong time that I had tried painting over a sketch without full line art. Ave on the right is the most recent painting I've completed.

Writing also works the same way sometimes, but also, sometimes, I look back at what I've written and get excited because, "Wow, this is still good????" So, I mean, both things are good things, as long as we keep doing the writing and doing the painting.

For now, Ave's printed out and framed, ready to go up on the wall.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


So, after nearly a month after our departure from California, we're finally starting to settle down in our new home across the country.

It's such a weird change too, weather-wise, because I'm so used to September being the hottest month of the year for California. Here in Pittsburgh, I've been staring wide-eyed out our windows at these autumn-like clouds with autumn-like rain and autumn-like winds giving me autumn-like chills I don't know what to do with myself.

But now that we're here with our own address, I was FINALLY able to order a proof of the redone FtSW's cover. If you didn't know, the original first two books' covers were done in lamination with a default Createspace spine. More recently, however, I went back through these covers and redid them with a MUCH better spine, plus the newly added matte cover option.

I love cradling the matte book covers to my face and making sweet cooing noises, yes I do.

On a separate, less embarrassing note, books two and three also tell you on the cover now which book comes next in the series. Book series that don't make their chronology obvious have always been a pet peeve of mine, but after working in a bookstore for most of a year, I developed a stink eye for them too.

An ugly, ugly stink eye.

But take a look at these spines. Look at them. Just look.

Sighs contentedly.

Anyway, also now that we've started settling in, Victoria and I have been able to sneak in some writing time. Book 4 of Marionettes is at about 95% completion. Yes, almost done. Just a few scenes are left, and then the end. It's definitely the biggest book of the series so far, and begins an arc I'm reeeeally excited about.

As mentioned before, book 1 of Monsters is currently with betas, and book 2 is already about a third of the way completed. It's totally wild.

(Victoria laughs at me whenever I say "wild", because I say it about everything. "That floor display is wild." "That cloud formation is wild." "That part of the wilderness is wild.")

So, up soon is going to be the cover and preview of book 1 of Monsters, aaaaas promised. I just want to do some slight final tweaking with the cover before I finally debut it because I'm never satisfied.

It's gonna be wild.