• Personal

    Days like cards, like falling leaves

    Despite not doing anything that I’d hoped to do this summer (finishing my OC dragon queen cosplay, visiting South Korea), I’ve still been busy. Days fall into weeks and weeks fall into months. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep working throughout all of this, but wow I’ve been tired.

    One of the projects that I’ve started recently was a dark-fairytale visual novel. This will be fun. :D

    Projects which have languished, dusty and abandoned:

    • My NSFW Patreon
    • My (also NSFW) Alice: Mad World graphic novel
    • Any writing that I’d planned to finish
    • All of the DIY on the house

    We’re dreading the end of the summer and Phil’s return to school. It looms like something bad on the horizon.

  • Personal

    So…that happened

    Well, just after the holidays the entire world started to come apart at the seams, and by now most of us are on lockdown to a certain extent. In the UK we’re allowed to go out alone and shop…if there is anything to be found in the markets, which varies wildly. Initially, due to panic buying and hoarders, the shelves were mostly empty but now it’s a bit better. Toilet paper is still as elusive as the unicorn, though.

    We’re allowed out (officially) once per day for a form of exercise as long as we stay away from others. Unofficially, however, the police will probably send you home as with the warmer weather we have a problem with jerks congregating in parks, etc. YOLO and all that, sorry if someone’s gran dies. Ugh.

    Now, I work from home so I’m used to isolation, but there are currently a lot of people losing their minds due to being shut in. Marriages are falling apart as people are actually forced to spend an extended period of time with their loved ones. Parents are trying to homeschool, and lord am I SO glad that my daughter is grown, because that seems like hell on earth.

    We are all news junkies now, and the news is all terrible. Country after country broke our collective hearts: first China, then Italy, then Spain. Currently the US is winning again (at least in terms of COVID-19 positives and deaths). Yaay. India, I fear, will be the next centre and it’s going to be horrible. South Korea continues to be a shining example and after an early rise (due to a secretive religious cult and a super-spreader) managed via widespread testing and GPS exposure tracking managed to bring casualties way down. Be like Korea, kids…not the US.

    Well, that’s my plague journal. We’re drinking too much, worrying too much, and we all dread the future if there isn’t a vaccine looming on the horizon. No country will be able to stay in lockdown forever, and eventually there will need to be a very terrible choice made at enormous cost…and that is something that none of us want to ever see.

  • Personal

    Happy 2020

    …and doesn’t that sound like a sci-fi date? I would have expected Bladerunner-esque cities by now, rather than our current world.

    I’ve been thinking about new projects for the coming year, one of them being my own tarot set. I’m kind of feeling like something that mixes Celtic mythology and the fae with the dystopian feel of our burning world. Think Charles de Lint’s Crow Girls and you’ll have a sense of what I’d like to do. Gemmin in smoky eyeshadows and tatters, perching on a car in a fallen city.

    I’m considering January to be a trial month, as I didn’t do much during that month. It was a kind of hangover from the year before. So now in February we’re onwards and upwards. :)

  • Personal

    Blogging: Is This Still A Thing?

    I’ll be honest, I really miss the days when everyone was writing reams and reams of personal thought, stories, game reviews, and so on. I loved the days of LiveJournal, of having my feed reader full of gaming blogs.

    And now? While I can still think in longer format (snark at the Instagram and Snapchat crowd here) I have to admit that I no longer have the time or the energy for daily blogging. I miss it, but I tweet a hell of a lot more than I write.

    This makes me sad.

  • Personal

    Whooooosh…

    Yeah, I know it’s been ages. I started a stock photography site and a naughty-art-and-comics Patreon and both have taken an enormous amount of work. I’ve been backed up with an overbooked cover schedule, for which I have to apologise to everyone who has been so patient. So, a bit frazzled lately.

    Regarding writing, I’ve done outlines and planning and short descriptions for stuff which I was excited about writing…and haven’t done anything else.

    The Shadowbringers expansion for FFXIV came out, and I have taken a full weekend and weeknights to focus on that. The fact that I’m excited about it shows how little free time I’ve had lately, haha. It’s probably the best gaming experience I’ve had, the best-written story enhanced by the best voice acting – all of this in an MMO rather than a single-player game! The Squenix team really knocked it far, far out of the park on this one. Can expansions get Game of the Year nods? If so, Shadowbringers richly deserves it.

    Plus…bunny girls. Everyone loves a bunny girl, and I have a gorgeous, gothy, sulky one. The terrible thing is that I picked the infamous Voice No. 7, not realising how she sounds in battle. As someone in a comment said: “It sounds like Grandma is doing butt stuff again.” There, try getting that visual out of your head.

    Anyway, still not dead.

  • Personal

    Struggling

    I know that many of us (just judging by Twitter) are struggling with the energy to meet each day, to do our jobs, to meet deadlines and conquer challenges, in the current dark and mean times. I know it’s not just me.

    I also know that I have a wonderful situation in that I work for myself, from home rather than in the small, grey cubicle that I spent so many year inhabiting. I’m not ungrateful for that. And yet, I still struggle to get through every day. Sometimes I have weeks in which I haven’t left the house once, or talked to another person who isn’t my husband, or felt like a real human rather than a ghost drifting through these quiet rooms.

    This is all complaining, of course…I am aware of that. :) I just seem to have forgotten how to live my own life, and I’m not sure what to do about that.

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  • Personal

    January Blues

    As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve been lax in keeping up with the book design series that I’d planned, but we will get there in the end! 

    January has been:

    • Cold
    • Grey
    • Full of TOO MUCH WORK that I put off over the holidays
    • Depressed. I mean the month itself is probably just peachy, but I seemed to sink into the grey days. I’m working on that.
    • Full of the threat of dreaded self-employment tax looming over me. Agggghhhhh! It burnssss ussss!

    I haven’t been playing much, aside from levelling another new alt in FFXIV which is one of the ways that I cope with stress. We were playing Warcraft again in anticipation of having new races to play with, but the grind involved in unlocking them finally wore me down. I guess I don’t want to play a Nightborne that much (plus I frigging hate Suramar with the fury of a thousand suns). 

    I’m still looking forward to playing Fallout 4 VR, but we held off on purchasing it until some of the launch issues were worked out. Also I am trying to convince the husband to move all of the VR stuff to the livingroom so we can both play, rather than in his tiny computer room. *hard Paddington stare*

    That’s all. I hate January and February with a passion. They’re the grey months, the cold and mean months when it seems as though the summer will never return.

  • Personal

    Mad Summer

    I came back from Prague to face the busiest two months that I think I’ve ever had. My fault, entirely…sometimes I really suck at scheduling and schedule way, waaaay too much. But I’m almost at the end. :)

    I’ll write another post about Prague, which was extremely romantic and gorgeous with wonderful people and stunning buildings. The food was heaven. We walked for hours and hours, finding something new around every corner.

    At the moment? I’m rendering on two machines while working on a cover series, officially Too Much To Do. :)

     

  • Personal

    Updates: 3D Work

    I’ve been playing with 3D work for some time now – not creating my own models from scratch (yet!), but instead working with models and environments in Daz Studio. It’s coming along, and I’m having a lot of fun although I don’t get enough time to devote to it.

    The main reason why I started working in 3D was to add some life and action to models for book cover work – most stock is created for fashion or advertising, and the models show it. Stiff poses don’t make for dynamic book covers, so adding a CGI element allows me to create more of an action pose and pair that with a photographic model’s face, hair, etc. It’s interesting and I think it has potential.

    I’ve started a small commercial stock portfolio with some of my work which can be seen here: Ravven Stock on Depositphotos.

    In my free time (yeah, right! /cry) I’ve also used them in art projects, which you can see here. :)

  • Personal

    City of Smoke and Bone

    Yes, if you’re familiar with the gorgeous Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor you’ll understand that I’m referring to the city of Prague. A city that I’ll be going to in just over a month. I am incredibly, fantastically excited about this.

    I’ve wanted to go here ever since reading this book! Since the husband doesn’t travel I am going with my mother-in-law, who also has wanderer inclinations that she’s never been able to indulge. We’re going to stay in an exceedingly posh hotel (nicer than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in, certainly!) in Old Town Square and explore from there.

    I’ll post more as time goes on, but I just wanted to squee a bit. :)