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Onward Into 2017

January 16th, 2017 by

…like a herd of geriatric turtles, as it happens. :) We were sidelined over the holidays by that horrible flu/chest infection thing that seemed to be sweeping the country, which put a damper on the holidays until well after New Years. Horrible stuff!

I’ve very slowly been getting back into the swing of things with work, much more slowly than I’d anticipated which has meant the schedule backing up a bit. No writing done at all, and very little personal artwork. The image below is one of the more recent ones that I’ve done.

I did chose two authors rather than one for the cover contest, as they were both interesting and diverse. I want to read each of them! Both authors have been contacted, and I hope to be able to start on covers as soon as possible.

Hardly any gaming has been done (between being sick and trying to catch up on work). Some Overwatch, which I love madly and am also frustrated by. I keep thinking about going back to FFXIV, as it’s the only MMO that I can see myself doing instances and raids in, but I’ve been lazy.

The cosplay projects sit half-completed, and my front room workroom is a disaster of scraps of fabric and leather, hot glue guns, rivets and lost pins (knock on wood, we haven’t stepped on any yet…but it’s going to happen).

So, I suppose that’s it for the first two weeks of the new year…just trying to kick myself into gear.

 

Please Somebody Do This, I Beg Of You

December 7th, 2016 by

Today on Facebook I saw a friend indicate interest in the Night Market in Nottingham. Immediately my mind was filled with extremely cool images and possibilities about a market similar to the Floating Market in Neverwhere, or the Goblin Market in Hellboy 2. How incredibly cool would that be?

The Nottingham Night Market, while sounding perfectly fine in terms of shopping and food booths and undoubtedly lots of fun in its own right, is nothing like my wild flights of fancy. I know because I looked it up.

So I have to beg you, someone infinitely cooler and more creative than I am (by which I mean more social than I am), pleasepleaseplease set this in motion. Something wild and a bit shifty, a bit underground and artsy. Something like the people at the Labyrinth of Jareth masquerade would run in the off season. Costumes, booths selling arcane goods and art, wildfolk in costume. Dancing, music, drink. Food booths selling everything from candied quail to tiny, perfect marzipan banquets. I want a goblin market and a tiny slice of Bordertown.

I want to be Fae for one night. Sigh…

Holiday 2016: Free Book Cover Art

December 2nd, 2016 by

Book Cover Art
Click for model credit – not available for cover

As per my last post, I’m offering one free cover for a book, already published or not. This is my small way of saying thank you to the community of authors and fans that I so very much love being a part of, and it’s a very small way of making this horrible year suck just a little less horribly. This cover can be redeemed anytime in 2017 (after the first few months as I am completely booked!) and includes a POD cover as well as ebook cover. Examples of previous work can be found here.

I’m looking for a story which features a diverse main character, by which I mean someone who is not white, straight, male, cis, whatever. Those stories exist by the millions and that’s fine…but there are other stories out there that deserve an audience.

We all need heroes. As kids we need to see ourselves reflected in some sense in the media that we love, and those heroes can’t always be straight white males because that isn’t the world as it is. I was a girl in a small town, just about as wonderbread as they come, but I yearned for kickass stories about girls who had adventures, girls who were looking for Ms. Right rather than Mr. Right, girls who approached life like a goddamn boss. Sure, I had Podkayne…but there were few examples of female military heroes, older female starship captains and so on. I wanted an example of what the world might hold for someone past the Adventure Girl phase that didn’t involve falling in love and being a part of someone else’s story.

Anyway, back to the actual point. :D Contact me and let me know about your story your main character, and what type of cover that you’re looking for, bonus points for throwing in a chapter or so. And Happy Holidays to you all.

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A Small Holiday Gift

November 30th, 2016 by

It’s no secret that 2016 has been a rough year for us all: in so very many ways the world got a bit worse. There are lines from a poem (What They Did Yesterday Afternoon) by the extremely wonderful poet Warshan Shire which describes this year perfectly:

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

Powerful stuff.

Anyway, I think the only sane response to all this is to try to make the world a better place, each in our own small or larger ways, as we are able. Not in a hippy-dippy buying-the-world-a-coke kind of way, but in small acts that bring a little brightness back into the world. Feed some people. Spend some time talking to an older person who is lonely. Carry a sign. Donate a few bucks to an organisation who does good in the world.* Since I’m an artist, I can offer my art.

Dreams are important. Positive role models are important. Being able to read a book or watch a movie and see a main character like yourself represented is important. Experiencing a story that draws you into someone’s world who may be very different from yourself is important because once you connect with them it is much harder to see them as “other,” as someone to be feared. Diverse characters are important.

So what I’d like to do is offer a free book cover for one person with a story featuring a diverse main character. Yeah, full-on SJW stuff on my part…and why not? I’ve never seen being a social justice warrior as a bad thing. Goddamn right I’ll stand up for women, or people of colour, or LGBTQ folk because I’m a decent human being and not an asshat. Maybe I’m more of a social justice mage or priest, but whatevs…

I’ll do a post tomorrow with the details. :)

 

*A couple of organisations doing good things that I care about are Medecins Sans Frontieres and the ACLU.

 

Going Forward From Here

November 22nd, 2016 by

Just a short post to say that I’m still here, sort of. Depressed, sure…but who isn’t?

I’ve been binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix when I can and it’s helped a bit with the blues. Yes, I realise that I am firmly sticking my head in the sand but it’s so lovely, this false world of hope and good people and cute mother-daughter shenanigans in an impossibly quaint and quirky town. Hey, we all need our coping mechanism and massive quantities of alcohol just wasn’t working for me. :)

I’ll figure out a way to save the world tomorrow.

Going On From Here

November 11th, 2016 by

I am feeling human again today, barely, after surviving an absolutely cataclysmic hangover. I say this as someone who once drank most of a bottle of Gran Marnier and had a four day hangover while LIVING ON A BOAT. You think you’ve had a hangover? Try having on while being on a rocking, lapping, creaking boat and see if you don’t want to die.

Like a lot of Americans living abroad I went to bed the other night worried because the election was so very close, but still hopeful that sanity would prevail. It seemed impossible that this huge sociopathic orange festering monster could sway enough people to actually get in. I mean, I know people are horrible, but surely they’re not that suicidally stupid, right?

As it turned out the next morning, they were.

I’d woken at 4:00 am and gone downstairs as I had a feeling and couldn’t go back to sleep. Turned on the TV, and while it wasn’t all over it was obvious which way it was going to go. I felt as though the whole world had been knocked offkilter during the night, that impossible things had happened – I actually don’t know how to say it except that it felt inconceivable. But you know what they say about that word. Figuring that the whole world was ending in flames, I started drinking scotch and continued to do so throughout the entire ugly day.

Anyway, I’m back, the headache has ebbed and I might be able to eat something today. Yaay me. The world has gone on, it didn’t actually end, and we must all somehow find a way to live in it. People are starting to fight back (a bit late after the fucking fact, I might add), all of the racists and misogynists are celebrating and we’ll all go on somehow. Some of us less well than others, but hey…what’s a back alley abortion or a hanging or two?

While I was sloshed to the very brim with scotch I made the decision to cut a lot of people out of my life that I’d cut a lot of slack previously. I grew up in a small town and left two weeks after graduation. My sisters all stayed, got married, became stay-at-home moms. Their politics are very, very different than mine. Their world is very different than mine, which is something that I can’t blame them for – when you live in a small town with a destroyed economy, when you basically don’t know a single black person personally, when the only Muslims you see are on the TV, carrying black flags and beheading people, you have a certain world view. When you’ve never gone out into the world and worked, you don’t know how hard it is for women. When getting pregnant is just a prelude to getting married and settling down, you don’t understand about girls bleeding to death in the back of back-alley abortioner’s filthy vans. This is a very slight exaggeration, I know that most of them have seen a black person on the street now and then. The point is, they are a product of the place they’ve grown up in, one very small sliver of the world.

The next day I reconsidered (or as much as I could with a brain that had turned to grey mush). I have very little family left and what I have is precious to me. And in the end I thought no, I did the right thing. We all overlook the racist memes that certain members of our families post on Facebook, we chide them when we see them reposting shitposts about Obama and Hillary and Muslims wanting to do away with Christmas. Hey, most of us grew up with that uncle or grandfather that said racist things at Thanksgiving, you roll your eyes behind their back and love them anyway. It’s just what we do.

For a long time conservatives have been making snarky comments about how Muslims should be policing their own communities, it is their responsibility to stamp out extremism first. And while I generally despise the people saying those things, there is a certain amount of truth in that these beliefs are overlooked by the people who love them. We forgive our brothers and sons because we love them, and then they plant a bomb or go join Daesh. It is the same thing here. People feel justified in their misogyny and racism, they feel that since no one says anything against them it is okay. They feel that the majority of the US are with them. I don’t want to let things slide anymore, because it’s really NOT okay, it is wrong and I will stand up and fight against this no matter who you are. Even if you are someone whom I will always love very, very much. And that is an extremely hard thing.

I’ll close by saying that I do understand. I’ve lived in cow towns, I was in 4H as a kid, my dad was with the Sherrif’s Department, my mom with the church, the County Fair was the high point of the entire year, and Walmart coming to our town was the best/worst thing that happened to it. But still…but still.

These two posts say it so much better than I could, they’re worth reading to understand (if not forgive): Rural America and How Half of America Lost Its F**king Mind

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