27 April 2011

Writing Wednesday: Remembering and . . . Something Else

Just a quick update today as I have a million things to do for a craft fair this weekend, and still have to keep up with my PSP gig. So, point form.
  • another short story, this time "Remembering to Fly," is available on Smashwords, and eventually in the Kindle, Nook, Sony and iBookstores. It's currently listed at 99 cents, but I may add a coupon to make it free, because it's really very short (around 1500 words).
  • I am falling behind in my short-story-a-month goal. First "Brother Thomas's Angel" turned into a novella and then I got busy with other things. So I have about 3 stories to write in May to catch up.
  • I'm also falling behind in my writing 5 days a week goal, but I'll make that up as soon as this craft fair is over (they have a tendency to take over everything for a while, no matter how carefully you plan ahead).
  • I have now caught myself back up on White Foxes, Full Moon and am about to write brand-new stuff and get this thing finished. I'm also probably going to change the title to distinguish it from the short story that I expanded into the first part of the novel. For now, I'll use Reindeer Girl as a working title, until something better presents itself.
  • I'm no longer writing about anime/manga and folklore for Mania.com. My last articles should be up early in May if they aren't already. They're cutting back on freelancers, and while they're happy to keep publishing my stuff, they won't be able to pay me anymore. And while I love writing and anime and folklore, I can't afford to work for free. So.
  • Still haven't heard back about the reviewer job I queried about.
  • Applied for another freelance gig, but I won't say what it is until I know if I really have any chance. My application was good, but we'll see.
And I think that's it for today. Back to working on letterpress and bookbinding stuff for the craft fair. An update on that tomorrow or Friday, I think.

25 April 2011

Another Sea Things Cards Update

Almost done with these, I promise.

So there's the octopus, and here's the sea jelly:

And the sea anemone:

Tomorrow I should be able to get them cropped on the guillotine during the Letterpress Gang meeting, and then I just have to fold, sign and package them. Unfortunately, I don't have very many of the envelopes I wanted to use--they only had a few left last time I ordered, and I haven't been able to put in an order recently--so I'll have to use different ones for some of them.

24 April 2011

More Sea Cards Progress

Since I'm actually remembering to photograph these as I go, I'm going to bombard you all with the pictures. Don't worry, I'll be done in another day or two and then it'll be back to my regular blabbing about writing.

So these nautilus cards--all 30 of them--are done and ready to crop, fold and package. It'll be good to have some new (non-wintery) stuff on my table at the Halifax Crafters spring market, which is next weekend. If you're in Halifax, why not drop by and say, "Hi"? It's 11 to 5 (I think) Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Centre, corner of Hunter and Cunard.

23 April 2011

Sea Things Cards Progess

Yesterday I managed to get the background wash--the part that represents the water--done on all 30 nautilus cards, 28 of the octopus cards (1 got mixed in with the others) and 8 of the sea jellies. I'll finish up the jellies (and the one remaining octopus), as well as the anemones today, and then get started on the actual sea creatures themselves. Which could take longer . . .

22 April 2011

Letterpress: Hand-Coloured Cards in Progress

Here's what I'll be spending my long weekend on:

All of these cards--just under 30 of each--need hand-colouring before I can crop, fold and package them.

 Don't worry, though, I'm not going to be spending hours on each one. Just a couple quick washes of watercolour, or else I'd have to charge so much no one would buy them.

I letterpress printed them on good-quality watercolour paper and left the paper a bit big so I'd have room to paint.

You may recognize the images from this year's calendar Tentacle & Carapace. I figured I aleady had the plates, so I might as well use them.

And living in a coastal city, sea things are popular year-round.

13 April 2011

Writing Wednesday: You Know, Stuff

Not much to report, really. I finished part 2 of "Brother Thomas's Angel," bringing the whole story up to something like 24,000 words. I think it's done, and I'll be sending it some first readers just as soon as I do the copyedits. If anyone reading this thinks they'd be a good first reader, let me know. I can't pay, but I can offer editing in return, or maybe some kind of barter.

I'm also seriously considering publishing "Brother Thomas" under a pen name (as I may have mentioned before). Not because I want to hide authorship (I wouldn't be blogging about it here, if I did), but because most of the fiction I have published under the name I use in real life ("Niko Silvester," if for some reason you didn't already know that) is either YA/kids' fiction, or it's nice, melancholy, not-too-horrifying fantasy. "Brother Thomas's Angel" isn't too, too much darker than some of what's out under my name, but it does have a lot of things some people would consider offensive (especially if they're homophobes, Christian fundamentalists, or uptight about sex). In other words, I'd be a little worried about someone picking up "Brother Thomas" and expecting to get something along the lines of "Hollow Bones."

Depending on feedback, I may or may not add another part. It's a bit weird, because usually when a story is finished, I know. It's very clear. But with this one, I'm just not sure. So I'll see what my first readers say, let it sit for a bit, and then decide. In the meantime, I'll work on a cover image. And start the next story, of course (actually, I will probably get back to working on White Foxes, as it's the next closest thing to being finished).

10 April 2011

Quick Update on Letterpress, Writing and Everything

Well, OK, maybe not everything, but I'm trying to get caught up on about six million projects. So.

  • Class goes well, I forgot to take pictures again. 
  • The university diploma project fell through and it sounds like they'll end up with digitally-printed certificates designed by students instead of letterpress-printed diplomas designed by, you know, a professional (not me, one of my old teachers). 
  • I quoted for another small job, and it was a lovely design, but too many colours + too few pieces + individually personalized = astronomically expensive, so they said no. 
  • In the next three weeks I need to print spring card designs (three new ones, plus images from the sea calendar for hand-colouring), cards for jewellery packaging, and maybe a few other odds and ends for the Halifax Crafters Spring Fling (or whatever it's called). April 30 and May 01 at the Olympic Centre, corner of Hunter and Cunard in Halifax.

  • After an inexcusable lapse in regular writing, I've boosted "Brother Thomas's Angel" part 2 to almost 9000 words, bringing the whole thing to about 22,000. So definitely not a sort story any more, Or even a long story. It could end up as a short novel, but I'll just let it become what it needs to be.
  • My latest folklore and anime article for Mania.com is up. It's called "Unicorn of the East: Kirin in The Twelve Kingdoms." My latest creator spotlight got lost in email and I re-sent it yesterday, so it should be up soon. And I've almost got the next one ready to send, for posting early in May.
  • I wrote a guest post on anime and religion (or lack of same) for Christian anime blog Beneath the Tangles. It's called "Hard-Wired for Storytelling."
  • I sent in a query about becoming a book reviewer for an sf/fantasy online magazine. It's a magazine I quite like, and they've always had nice things to say about the stories I've sent them, even though they were still rejections. Fingers crossed (figuratively, as I am not the least superstitious).
  • And, best news of the week, I have another story up from White Raven Press in various eBook formats. This time it's "Sealskin" and you'll find it here at Smashwords and here at Amazon Kindle. I'm considering a coupon for a free story for people who "like" my Facebook page. I'd change up the coupons now and then, so fans could conceivably get lots of free stories. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
OK, that's it for today. I've been sitting at my computer all day except for a quick trip to the mailbox (because I neglected to check on Friday), and my shoulders ache. I'll be writing the next bit of "Bro. T's Angel" sitting on the couch.

02 April 2011

Writing: Angels, Anime and Steampunk

So my actual writing of new fiction isn't going spectacularly well. This past week was long and busy with letterpress rather than writing. But, I do have a few things to say (and didn't say them on Wednesday because I was out much of the day and got home very late and very weary, and the same thing happened on Thursday). I have managed to write a couple thousand words on "Brother Thomas's Angel"-- part two. I can't tell how long this part will be, but I'm starting to have some of the other characters' voices come clear, so it's possible that one of them may take over for a part 3 once the angel is finished with his bit. I'll figure that out when the time comes.

Another bit of not-so-new news: I've been writing a couple of columns for the media/pop culture site Mania. I'm doing a "Creator Spotlight" series on anime and manga artists/writers/etc and I'm doing articles on the sources of anime and manga in folklore and myth. Here's what's posted so far:
The next two are submitted and should be up this week or next.

And finally, the first chapter of the serial novel Aeryn Daring and the Scientific Detective (under my steampunkish pseudonym Calliope Strange) is now up on Smashwords and processing at Amazon Kindle. Apple iBooks will follow in a few weeks, as well as Sony eBooks and a couple others. For now, you can find all the various formats on its Smashwords page.