ACEO of the Week – 05/20/17

May 20, 2017
Landscape #11

Landscape #11
3.5″ x 2.5″
acrylic on Bristol Board
©2011 Dawn Blair
SOLD

 

Often, I’m very glad when I see ACEO’s go off to someone’s home. It cleans out my space and gives me the urge to paint new ones. This is one I wish I had kept. I still kick myself for not keeping this one. Maybe that means I’ll get inspired to paint a larger piece. We shall see, won’t we?

Trust me on this: if you ever see a piece of art you want, buy it before someone else does. You might regret not having that piece later. There are a couple works by other artists I wish I had. One piece I’m thinking of now was a beautiful gesha painting. The artist, a girl much younger than me, passed away suddenly a couple weeks ago. Very sad. I think about all the art she had within her that is now lost to the world. And, I’m certain the gesha painting is far beyond my grasp now as I’m sure that if she still had it at the time of her death, there is no way that her family is parting with it now. Understandably.

And, if you have art (whatever that is: painting, writing, poetry, cooking, sewing, creating a loving home, taking care of your family, whatever – everyone has something that is an “art” for them) in you, don’t let it remain there. Get it out.

If you don’t think you can, check out last week’s blog for a reminder. Time is the commodity you are given in your life, but you have no idea how much has been doled out to you. Use it wisely. Imagine the possibilities. Then act. How you spend your time and what you give back to those around you is your rent for living. Make sure you give value for having lived.


ACEO of the Week – 05/13/17

May 13, 2017
Tree House 0906 #3

Tree House #3
3.5″ x 2.5″
colored pencil on paper
©2006 Dawn Blair
Not for Sale

I thought I’d have a major throwback this week. I’m always saying how much someone can progress if they just decide to do something and then do it.

It really is that easy, whether you want to gain a new skill or change your life.

Two step method:

  1. Decide — nothing happens until you absolutely make up your mind to do something.
  2. Act — you must take action on that decision. Even if you don’t know the whole path, start. Do what you can where you are at with what you have.

Google exists to give us answers. When you hit the question of what to do next because you’ve hit your limit, search. Searching is still taking action, but don’t stay in search mode for too long. Get just the answer you need and move on. Don’t expect to have all the answers at once. Some times you have to swim around in the waters to see how it feels. It stretches your comfort zone slowly, gently.

Equally important, but is something that develops naturally over time, is when you decide that you DON’T want to do something.

So, why does this ACEO merit being the ACEO of the week? Because it shows you and me how far I have come as an artist. I mean, look at that waterfall! Atrocious! I have learned so much about that, and about painting water since then. I didn’t just have the knowledge; I learned and I practiced. I now get regular comments about the water features in my newer paintings. But none of it would have happened if I hadn’t first decided that I wanted to learn to draw. Yes, my request was that simple. I wanted to know how to draw. Then I acted by taking a class. Then I decided I wanted to learn to paint water better. I read books, I took another class where water was a primary feature of the painting we were doing, and I practiced.

Look back at this blog to see where I was just 4 years later.

Or a painting from around that same time.

While it’s hard to not be jealous of someone as you admire and where they are at, just know that the only thing that separates you from them is that they had made the decision to act much sooner than you and then put the time in. You could be there too. They might even be willing to show you the tricks so speed your own journey along. Don’t let another moment get away.


Progress – 05/01/17

May 1, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 9,518 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  806 words

Writing month to date total: 27,065 words for all of April

Writing year to date total: 104,154 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8 hours on recording and editing  audio. I’m still planning on having The Doorway Prince out on Audible and other platforms in May.

Week’s happenings:  I have been taking care of my son still after his bike accident last week. I think I’ll have another week of cleaning and bandaging his hands every night. We’re still picking out gravel. Bikers — always ride with gloves! I’ve also gotten in at least half and hour of walking every day in taking the dog out for morning and evening walks, so that’s been good. I’m the only person who is still bundled up though. Until the wind stops, I won’t find any warmth in the days. I don’t care if it’s almost 60 degrees out now. It still feels like 40 to me. Thank goodness for my “no hat hair cowl” from Stacy, which I’ve been wearing to keep the wind out of my ears. It’s black with flashy gold trim around the face, so I feel pretty when I wear it too (added bonus – grin).

Writing-wise, I had my best week of writing so far this year at 10,324 total words for the week. I finished drafting the manuscript for the second origin story in the Ninjas series titled Space Ninjas Aren’t Real. It ended up being way more serious of a story than I thought it would be. I’d hoped it would be humorous and more along the lines of The Loki Adventures, but nope, it had other plans. I still see an edge of humor in it, so there is hope that by the time I bring the character to the real ninja story, she’ll be my funny one. We shall see. These characters have minds of their own.

So, if you’re curious about how all these things I’ve added up work out considering that you’ve been seeing a word count here but for a long time I hadn’t actually been finishing things, here’s how it goes:

During the end of March and in April, I created:

2 stories under 10,000 words

1 story over 10,000 words

2 novels (1 currenly 89,000 words long and the other at 85,000)

So that’s approximately 204,000 words that have come together in the last month. That’s really not to shabby.

I currently have one story that is coming up on 10,000 words, plus I have a good start on the 5th book in the Sacred Knight series, and I am over 3,000 words into the next Loki story. I don’t expect that May will see quite the same number of completions as I saw in April. I really think it was strange timing that it all worked out that way, but I do want to illustrate that if you keep working at something, eventually you will see results.

Also this week, I redid the cover for By the Numbers. And I prepared the cover for Prince of the Ruined Land (Sacred Knight #4). You can see them here.

I listed By the Numbers online, so it is now available for purchase. Yeah, getting the story ready for publications was certainly now how I imagined spending my Friday afternoon, but it’s what I got done. I now have copies of The Doorway Prince and History of a Dead Man. I’ve ordered copies of By the Numbers which I hope to have by this weekend when I do a show, but we’ll see. I’m not counting my chickens there. I got the first set of books mentioned super fast. I doubt I can be that lucky again. But it would be cool.

The show? For the sake of time, here’s a link with all the details. 

I mentioned that I was working on the new Loki story, right? Well, he’s babbling in my ear now, so I better go and get to work on him. Ever since I told him that he was next in the funnel and actively got back to work on the document, he’s been charging ahead as normal. I fully expect that I’ll be up until 3:30 a.m. again. See you all later after I’ve gotten some sleep!


Two new covers

April 30, 2017

If you’ve been reading along with Ninjas: By the Numbers during the month of April, you saw on each post the picture that I thought would be the cover. I had a thought that I’d try something a little different with it and that didn’t work out. But like Bob Ross, I had a “happy accident” with it. I think it’s definitely the touch I needed for the cover. Here’s the updated cover:

By the numbers cover small

If you missed part (or heaven forbid, all of it!), you can get the full version in print or ebook here.

I also sat down yesterday and made the cover for Prince of the Ruined Land (Legend 4 of the Sacred Knight series). Here’s a peek at it:

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

I still don’t have an official release date for it, but that will be announced shortly. I’m betting I will figure something out this week. All I keep thinking is that my blue and gold hero is back so Holy Sapere Martias better watch out. (grin) Yeah, I’m a little EXCITED!!!!! Best yet, with the new rate at which I’m writing, it won’t be long until we get Legend 5 in the series. Are we there yet? (Okay, I admit, when it comes to Steigan and his story, I’m unbearable. Sorry, DWS, but Steigan is my special snowflake; I can’t help it.) He just jazzes my world and I am so thankful that I get to share his story.

There will be so much more in my progress post tomorrow, but I just couldn’t wait to share these updates with you. Thank you for being here to celebrate with me! And if you’ve been enjoying my stories, remember to spread the joy of reading as entertainment with all the people in your life.


Progress – 04/17/17

April 17, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 6,362 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  572 words

Writing month to date total: 12,737 words

Writing year to date total: 89,826 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8 hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  I got the 4th book in the Sacred Knight series finished! Prince of the Ruined Land is off to a first reader. I finished drafting (I think — it’s a strange story) a story about a crazy novihomidrak. That makes two characters that haven’t gone through a dragon birthing very well. I sense a theme. I did also finish drafting another story about a new kind of dragon and I’m halfway through another story that is a companion story to that one. It felt like this was a week of finishing things up.  I also keep having this idea to rebrand the Sacred Knight series. I was trying to work on cover ideas for Prince of the Ruined Land and then I had a fight with myself (thank you to my children for listening once again while I ranted to them just so I could have a sounding board) about whether to go with photos and rebrand or if I should just paint the covers as I have been. I finally decided I would attempt a rebrand with the ebooks. I’ve already posted the cover to Amazon, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll fix the other distributors later, but I wanted to see if it would have any impact on Amazon now.

Here’s a look at the cover:

The Three Books cover new 041617 72 dpi

I’d love to know what you think about the new cover. If you want to see what the previous cover looked like, you can see it here. I’m not sure this is a final, but I thought it might be a starting place. It’s the cover for To Birth a Destiny which I’m very excited about. That’s the one that made me decide to try a rebrand. In the meanwhile, I’m learning I can do a lot of things with Photoshop. On the other hand, it doesn’t drive me to improve my traditional art skills any. What a conundrum. But, we shall see what happens and maybe I’ll have my answer.

Until next week!

 


Progress – 04/10/17

April 10, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 3,586 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  977 words

Writing month to date total: 5,803 words

Writing year to date total: 82,892 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8.5 hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  I’m off my rhythm. It feels like nothing has gone quite right this last week. Nothing major, but just enough to make me feel off. Just weird. I sketched in my sketchbook last week. Nothing amazing. Stupid stuff actually. I felt depressed for a couple of days. My weekly routine is off. Yeah, it’s just been unusual.

To top it all off, I’ve been trying to work on clean-up edits for Fractured Echo, History of a Dead Man, The Doorway Prince, and By the Numbers. Somewhere in all that I thought I needed to do edits for The Last Ant, but I seem to have gotten that done at some point. My head is just spinning with trying to keep track of where I’m at. Remember I did mention I have several projects going last week; well, that hadn’t included these titles where I was trying to get rid of little errors and such. I had to start a spreadsheet to keep track of myself. There are just too many titles where I think I’m done but then I find an issue that needs fixed so I have to fix it, recreate all the PDF, epub, mobi, etc. files that need done, then get them uploaded across all the sites where I have accounts. There are so many steps now that it’s no wonder I get a little confused.

If you haven’t taken a moment to read the first part of Ninjas: By the Numbers, I suggest you do so before Wednesday when it goes away.

I had a big realization that just because I know the reasons and the appropriate types of people behind some of the scenes in the 4th Sacred Knight book, that doesn’t mean my characters would know. Especially since that knowledge has been kept from the people for so long. Yeah, that meant I had to delete scenes and rewrite to fill in gaps. I feel more  scenes to come. I’m still aiming for 90,000 words on the manuscript.

I also thought this week about rebranding the covers of the Sacred Knight series. I like the fonts, but I wonder if they wouldn’t sell better if I used photographs instead of art. I’m thinking of mocking up some covers to try. Time, where are you!

My oldest son also took me to Boise this weekend to see Your Name. It’s a very good movie. I didn’t see the major twist coming. As a storyteller, I can usually see what’s going to happen before everyone else. Yes, some of it I did see. The movie had a lot of foreshadowing. But it still got me! I love it when a story surprises me. If you aren’t use to watching anime, don’t be fooled that it’s “just a cartoon.” It’s not. The coloring of this movie is amazing. Yeah, I’d put it on my “watch again” list.

I sense that the next two weeks are going to be amuck too. If I can get figure out these edits and where I’m at with all of them without messing the whole thing up, then maybe I can progress forward and feel like I’m getting somewhere.


ACEO of the Week – 04/08/17

April 8, 2017
flower-covered-cliffs

Flower Covered Cliffs
3.5″ x 2.5″
acrylic on canvas
©2010 Dawn Blair
SOLD

I have a friend whose birthday is today. I thought I’d bring her some flowers today, so here’s a beautiful ACEO filled with flowers for her. I hope she sees it and knows that I think of her often.

Why don’t you get a gift for a friend? Art makes a great gift and has the potential to increase in value. Give some art now.