11 June 2014

Writing Wednesday: Plugging Away

I'm still not back to my regular writing output, but I'm determined not to stress about it anymore (dertermined, dammit!). I have been slowly working away at a story--a novella, maybe--that's going well. I'm enoying the main character and the setting, and thinking that it may be a recurring series, probably with different charaters in the same setting. Kind of like what I have planned for my Wonder Island stories (the first one, Ichneumon--the title of which I may change since it says nothing about the story if you don't know what it means--is available at the usual ebook outlets (no link at the moment, as Blogger for iPad won't let me add links)).

Anyway, "The Curator of Improbable Fossils" is somewhere under half finished. As I got closer to what I thought was the end, I realized it might work better as an alternating viewpoint story, since there are things I can't address properly from the one point of view. So I've written most of the Curator's part of the story, and now I'm transferring it out of my handwritten notebook (I don't always hand-write, but I find it helps me get un-stuck sometimes because it seems much less permanent, like I don't have to get it right).

Next, I'll write the Librarian's point of view (and maybe even type it directly into the word processor, since the Librarian is a rather more modern character than the stuffy Curator). Finally, I'll write the end. I don't know yet if the concluding parts will be alternating viewpoints, or from one or the other's point of view, or from something more omnipotent. I hope I'll know by the time I get that far.

01 June 2014

Suspending Stamp Saturday, Sort Of

I just found out that I got a table (actually, a half table) at the Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival in August. Yay! It's only a half day thing on a Sunday, but I have so very much to get done by then. Add to that the fact that I just started a part-time retail job, and retail is extra-exhausting for an introvert like me, and I just don't have time to do everything.

So, sadly, for now, I'm going to suspend my Stamp Saturday posts. Probably not entirely -- I am going to try to work on them a little at a time between other things, but those other things have to take priority for now. Rest assured, though, that I will get back to stamp stuff. I have all that wonderful material to play with, after all!

Just as a taste of the length of my to-do list, here are some of the main things on it:

  • write 8+ reviews and articles each month for Young Adult Books site, plus site maintenance and other odds and ends, and reading the books I review
  • work two or three shifts a week at video game store
  • teach letter press one evening a week (until the end of June) -- this usually takes up most of the day as I also run errands and print some things of my own while I'm in the city
  • make corrections to Fey chapter one digital files and re-print
  • scan, touch up, and letter Fey chapter two pages for posting on the web
  • lay out Fey chapter two in book form, order a proof, correct, and print
  • finish as much of Fey chapter three as possible
  • finish Art Nouveau satyr illustration and print as poster (and maybe other things)
  • make prints of dragons (first test different sizes)
  • text for Monsters mini-comic
  • scan and touch up images for Monsters mini-comic
  • make cover (possibly letterpress printed) for Monsters mini-comic
  • make fairy stickers
  • make Fey business cards and flyers
  • wrangle Wordpress so Fey site looks better
  • make myself a Fey t-shirt to wear at DCAF
  • figure out table set up and buy/make necessary stands, etc

So yeah. Whole lot to do and no time to waste. Plus, in order to be able to do my video game store job well, I need to read video gaming news and reviews so I can better help customers. And I need to decide if I'll have my novels to sell at DCAF, too, and if so, I'll have to lay out several of them for print, get and check proofs, and order copies. Probably I'll just get a few more copies of the ones I already have available in print (though one needs a cover change to match the new e-book version cover).

I think the rest of today may very well be spent scanning. I may also drop dead before I even get to August. Heh.

29 May 2014

Writing Wednesday: Back on Track… ish

Just before I sat down to write this, I found out that I got the part-time retail job I applied for. It means I'm likely to have less time for writing and drawing unless I sacrifice something else. And since I'm determined to keep writing fiction and making comics, it may be this blog that suffers. But it's only a part time job, at least for now, so maybe I'll be able to keep juggling everything else. At any rate, it'll mean being able to pay the bills every month, which is a huge relief.

But not all is lost. I've managed to write a couple more parts of the odd story I started, so I'm up to about 3500 words (hand-written, so my estimate is probably a little low). It's not a prodigious amount, but it feels good. And I'm excited to see what happens to my characters.

I've also been working on a little mini-comic or zine, with monsters reconstructed from fossils -- based on the idea that ancient peoples interpreted huge fossil bones as giants and dragons. It's pretty fun, and silly, and I hope people will like it. And of course, I'm slowly pecking away at the dragon faux natural history book. I've set a goal of November for having that done, but there are a lot of illustrations yet to do, so we'll see.

And, as if I don't have enough to do, I'm tossing around the idea of doing an occasional webcomic about being an almost-middle-aged woman working at a mall video game store. I'll have to see if I have anything interesting or funny to share from the experience first, I guess.

21 May 2014

Writing Wednesday: Nothing to See Here

How the heck is it Wednesday again already? Have I finally reached the age when time seems to kick into fast forward? Wait, slow down!

Er, anyway… I'm essentially still where I was last week. I've been trying to get myself back onto something resembling a schedule and am making slow progress. But those stories are building up in my head and if I don't get them written soon my brain will explode. Or at least that's what it feels like.

I did at least pull out all the pages of my comic Fey that I have done so I can assess where to go with that next. I'm going to have to start re-scanning and re-lettering the rest of the pages soon, as I've almost reached the end of chapter one. And, a handful more pages to draw and chapter three will be ready to scan and letter, too.

So yeah. Not much done, but I think I'm slowly crawling out of the hole of non-productivity. Or at least I hope so.

17 May 2014

Stamp Saturday: Machine Cutting

I don't have a proper Stamp Saturday post done, and it's being one of those days when I get the minimum of work done so I can enjoy the sun outside and/or do something silly instead (like today, I have done yard work (!) and next I'm going to start working on a minicomic). So instead of the cutting techniques post I was intending to have ready today, here's an image of another product I'm going to be evaluating at some point in this series:

It's the Stamping Starter Kit, from Silhouette, intended for use with their desktop die cutters. I have a Silhouette Cameo. I'm hoping the latest software version will work with my computer (for some reason, I could never get the last version running, so I've been using the next-to-last version, which does not include the presets for cutting stamp materials) (which is why this box has been kicking around my workspace for months instead of being used).

Anyway, assuming the software all works, I'll be giving this stuff a spin to see how fine it can cut, how cleanly it cuts, how easy it is to set up with the software, and how well it stamps. Exciting! If it works well, I'll be buying lots more of the stamp material (and probably more cutting mats, too, as they do wear out) and mounting them permanently rather than using the reusable acrylic blocks that come with the kit (well, I'll use those, too, but for ones I don't want to mount permanently).

This isn't going to be a material I'll use to replace hand-cut stamps. They're not likely to have the same look, and I enjoy cutting my own. But I'm hoping it will be a good addition to my arsenal of printmaking/stamping supplies.

14 May 2014

Writing Wednesday: Dealing

So, there's been a certain amount of crap going on in my life lately. Things mostly beyond my control, but things I still have to deal with. Eventually, maybe, I'll write about what those things are, but for now I'll just say they're making it really hard for me to focus or get much more done beyond the absolute basics I need to do for my various jobs.

But not all is doom and gloom. Even though I'm worn out with the crap-dealing-with, and my brain is a little scattered, I've actually written a little. Not a lot, and I still have a ways to go to get back on track. But I did manage to start a new story -- maybe a long short story, maybe a novella. It's probably not a novel, but I'm not really far enough into it yet to know.

It's a story, or one of a series of stories, that I've been thinking about for a while. It'll most likely appear under my "Nic Silver" pen name, not because it has lots of sex like my other Nic Silver books, but because it feels more like a Nic Silver story. Which is to say, dark and weird. Probably.

I also managed, finally, to get started on the next "Others" novel (also written as Nic Silver). It's only half a chapter, but it's a start and it gives me a vague direction to head in. I think I have less of an idea where this book is going than I did for the previous books, which might be why it's taken so long to get to it.

And, not writing, but related, because it's for a book I'm working on (which I will also write the text for), I've managed to finish some more dragon illustrations and get started on a couple others, which is why there are dragon pictures decorating this post. I'll make the finished ones (well, mostly finished -- they will eventually have hand-written text on them) available as prints in a few places online soon.

So yeah. Dealing with crap, but still dragging one foot after the other. I'm too damn stubborn to ever give up.

04 May 2014

Stamp Saturday, on Sunday

I'm planning on getting back to regular Stamp Saturday posts soon, but in the meantime, here's a little bit about some rubber stamp stickers I made recently. 

Everything starts as sketches, of course. In this case, I needed to make some one inch round stickers, so I drew a few pages of one inch circles to doodle in.

Once I picked the designs I liked, I cut the stamps from white rubber erasers (in this case I got them all out of one eraser).

I tested the final stamps with a couple of different stamp pads to see which would work better. Then I stamped them on some sticker paper that I had already letterpress printed a wood grain background on and cut the circles from on my die-cutter.

I ended up with quite a few extra, so I packaged some up for sale. 20 stickers per sheet, three different designs.