What happened?

Let’s chat, shall we?

Let me start by saying that I’m trying an experiment and moving the free fiction to Friday. I want to see if it has better results there. (catch last week’s now) Not going to lie. This is all about the exposure. Me running the free fiction does no good if only a few people are reading it. I want more eyes on it.

If you were looking for my progress blog that I usually run on Monday and didn’t see it, you’re not imagining things. I didn’t run it. I had originally thought that it would be a way of me being publicly accountable, and I still like that idea, but I’m not sure anyone really cares. I thought someone might be interested in seeing how all gets done in my life and the incremental baby steps it takes. I had hoped that it would inspire others. Instead, I feel as if it didn’t have the intended effect. I also didn’t come back to review it like I thought I would.

Feeling like no one really cared culminated with other factors (cold, snow, gray skies, working many hours, little sleep, and a desperate need for sunshine) into a massive depression for me. Massive.

I don’t like talking about my depression or admitting that I have it. I’ve seen others with depression and mine is very mild comparatively. Usually I can resolve mine by getting more sleep. Not this time. I had the stupid little voices working away in my head and they wouldn’t leave me be. I began to feel destructive. Worse, I couldn’t cry. I felt as if I could vent with tears, things might be okay.

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Progress – February 18, 2019

Let me here a big “Woo-hoo!”

WOO-HOO!

Oh, yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. *grin*

I know, you want to know why you have to give a big congratulatory whoop. Here it is: I finished my read-though edits of Tangled Magic last week and got it to my reader. She, in turn, sent me back my story Alexander’s Den. Now I just have to edit up those corrections.

Books I ordered to restock my supply for Wizarding Dayz come in. I’ll be heading to Sandy, Utah, for that later this week. I hope the weather is good for driving there and back, as well as for my son who is coming home from Pocatello to help me with the show.

I finished the 18″x24″ painting I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks. I hope to have more on that later in the week — planning on doing the progression painting photos on the blog. We’ll see if I get there or if I’m too busy getting ready for the show.

Also spent some time in my booth getting audio recorded since I won’t be doing any for a couple of weeks.

Here are the numbers for this week:

Fiction words written last week:  4,206 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,228 words.

Daily word goal reached for 191 days! Weekly word goal reached for 30 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  14,938 words

Writing year to date total: 40,102 words

Drawing/painting last week: As I said above, I finished my 18″x24″ acrylic landscape painting. I posted a photo of it online and it seems like people are enjoying it.

Audio: I spent 2 hours editing and recording audio. It was very slow because as I was merging in the dialogue for a chapter, I kept discovering missing lines. I tried to go onto another chapter, but I wasn’t ready for that any other chapter later on down the line either. So, I had to wait until I could find time to get back to it. But now I should be good again, so I can get back to work on that. It did give me some time to, oh, sleep and work on the edits for Tangled Magic. I think that’s the reason I got through the edits. I guess that’s one of the good things about doing multiple things.




Progress – February 4, 2019

It was suggested to me last week that one of the reasons I might have been feeling so tired was because of the weather. I forget how cloudy days have such an effect. I made it a point to let more sunlight into my office and that certainly did help. I also reminded myself that I had to take better care of myself — I’d let that slip and I’m sure it also took it’s toll. As a result, I got a lot done even with my day job taking up extra time as it always does at the end of January.

So as soon as I started to get my energy back up, I got to work on the cover for Cirvel’s story, which I think will begin to run next week on my blog. It’s still in draft form, but I’ll have a cover reveal later this week. I also realized that I never finalized the cover for Walk the Path, the second part of Rivic’s story. So, I have that to be working on. Maybe getting it done will help invigorate me to get the edits done for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. I’m about three quarters of the way through Tangled Magic, but I have found a big section that needs some help. Basically, I have Rivic leaving Cirvel’s chambers and having a fight with Nyree, chapter break, then Rivic is returning to Cirvel’s chambers. In rearranging scenes, I ended up butting these two up against each other. Something has to be fixed. I’m not sure what I want to do, if I just want to have a short transition or if I want to fill the space with another scene. The latter feels as if that’s the best option, but I worry about being able to balance the books. Yep, I’m glad that I’m writing them together.

I also had an experience were I looked out a window and saw something red hanging from a tree branch. It was merely a speck that I could barely see, but I wondered what it was. It was one of those moments when I felt a character invading. She told me it was a ribbon and now that it was red, she knew that her beloved was dead. Within 900 words, I suspected that I was writing the story about how the Plenelians came to hate magic. I’ve always wondered why. It’s been a question I’ve been pondering for nearly 30 years. Yes, a story I wrote that long ago featured the Plenelians, but I didn’t realize it at the time — it actually came in splitting the first draft of Rivic’s story (back when I’d been writing it for Nanowrimo) that I realized my character was a Plenelian. Yeah, if you’re confused, try being in my head for a while. *grin*

That story had now created over 3,000 words this week. Write it down while it flows.

I returned to work some on Elliot’s story when Cirvel’s slowed down. Since those two tie together, I have a feeling I’ve got to get them to work in conjunction. I found a huge hole in Elliot’s story — there’s a plot element from a long time ago when Elliot’s story was originally a romance (remember that time from 30 years ago I’d mentioned earlier — yeah, same dumb portion of my life, back when I believed in romance). Anyway, that aspect of the setting has got to go. I tried to keep it, but I find it interfering with the story I’m trying to tell now. I had to go have a chat with Cirvel about what he was trying to accomplish. That interview is going slowly; the man can be stubborn when he wants. However, I think I have what I need to know, but there’s going to be some rewriting on Elliot’s story to clean out the junk. And you know, I’m rewriting this whole damn book all because there is one scene I want to preserve from the defunct romance. One scene. I have almost the whole manuscript sitting in a drawer. How easy would it be to pull it out and just retype and publish that? Very. But I can’t get behind that story. I didn’t realize then that it was part of Cirvel’s story. I don’t want to tell it as a romance any more. I changed Elliot’s character completely. They really are no longer the same story.

Don’t worry, the original version of Quest for the Three Books was a romance too. That turned out much better because I took the awful romance out of it.

Okay, there is a part of me that misses the romance, back in that time of my life where I could believe in it. Why? For the sake of not running this blog too long, I will tell you tomorrow. How does that sound?

Great! Onward then.

I finished the edits for the audio for Oxygen and I got the audiobook cover done for that. I still need to make a correction before I upload the audio, but it’s a simple correction. I just need a moment to do that and start the upload.

Meanwhile, I’m back to recording Manifest the Magic and I’m hopeful I can salvage the voices I have already done. I merged in voices on the first chapter and I like the way it sounds.

I also finished another space painting this week. I hope to have more on that later this week too.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  5,093 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,333 words.

Daily word goal reached for 177 days! Weekly word goal reached for 28 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  25,164 words for January , 3,851 for February so far.

Writing year to date total: 29,015 words

Drawing/painting last week: Finished a 9″x12″ painting that I want to incorporate into a larger painting. Also still working on that larger piece I started last week.

Audio: I spent 6 hours editing and recording audio.

Progress – January 28, 2019

There are some weeks when I am just tired. Last week was one of them.

In trying to reboot my painting, I have several decisions to make. That lead me, of course, to research to find tools that will help me and that, obviously, leads me to testing several different tools to see which one(s) I like.

What frustrates me is that I had a tool I liked. It had years of data in it. I did want to clean it up some, maybe divide the database. But because of changes in technology, the program doesn’t work quite right any more. The company that developed it still has a website that for the last two years has asked for patience while they update their systems — they want to move to a cloud platform. However, I’m not sure they are serious about that any longer. I have exported the artwork data from the program, but it’s not easy to import without a lot of cleanup, mapping fields, and making it fit a new program.

With that experience, I don’t want to start something else that could potentially disappear or become obsolete. Which makes me think about paper files — good until a fire, or flood, etc.

So, it makes me leery to pull the trigger on anything. I don’t want something I will just end up rebuilding in seven to ten years. I realize that technology changes and that we have to have forward movement, but it seems like everything always needs constant updating and when a business no longer wishes to continue, they just close up. No one wants to build for a legacy, only for the current moment (and dollar, though I’ve read that the average lifespan of a solid business is about 30 years). It makes me tired.

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Nebula on a hexagon

My six-sided painting. I was pretty excited to find this canvas. I knew immediately that I wanted to do a space painting on this. Once I felt ready, I painted the canvas black. The picture above shows it all prepared and ready.

My first layer:

It’s hard not to block a painting in like this and not absolutely hate it and fear that it’s been messed up. But, the painting must continue.

Here’s the next layer:

Now we’re getting some of the misty cloudiness into the piece.

In the next layer, the stars start to shine:

More layers come next, more stars, and adding some of the black of space back in. Finally we end up with this:

There was a point at which I really messed everything up. I didn’t grab my phone to take a picture though; I knew my paint was drying quickly. That probably returned the fun to this painting. I’d started to take it too seriously and quit having fun with it. In causing a catastrophe on the canvas and knowing I had little time to fix it, I had to attack it with courage and release everything. Believe me, at the time I really wasn’t sure I’d be saving it. It was extremely hard to release the fear. Words make it sound so easy, but at the time it was horrible. I instantly projected myself into the future where I had to paint the canvas black once more to restart and regretted the past where I wished I hadn’t touched it so much. I was everywhere but the present.

Grounding yourself with courage puts you firmly in the moment. There’s an obstacle that must be overcome and only by stepping forward can this obstacle be hurdled.

This painting could have easily gone the other way where I did have to go through the future of repainting it that I had imagined. However, I’m glad I kept working it and gave myself the chance.

As my friend, J.D. Estrada, said a few days ago on an Instagram post, “Self doubt is an option, but so is believing in yourself.”

This weekend, believe in yourself.

Happy adventuring!

When things get torn…

After my last show of 2018, my son was helping me pack up the car. He was carrying 2 paintings out when he slipped on a patch of ice. In catching himself, he dropped both paintings. He, fortunately, didn’t hit the cement or hurt himself. But when he reached down to pick the paintings up, he saw that one of the paintings had gone through the other.

“Please be the waterfall,” he thought to himself. “PLEASE be the waterfall!” He knew that of the two, I would be less angry about the waterfall painting getting destroyed rather than the lotus painting.

It was the lotus painting.

He told me when we got home and we were unpacking the important things that couldn’t stay out in the cold and snow,. I could tell he felt badly about it; this wasn’t the first painting he’d put a hole in. I’m sure it won’t be the last. (Okay, the boy has even put a hole in my trailer wall — why he has to break everything, I don’t know!) Yes, actually, I do: he’s a boy. *grin*

The tear in the canvas was a clean 90 degree square. It wasn’t huge. It could have been worse. I figured this would repair fairly easily.

It took more patience than I thought it would.

I took a piece of muslin and some gesso, covering the back side of the canvas around the hole, and pressed it flat. Gesso squeezed up between the tear. I then covered the patch on the back with gesso, making it nice, smooth, and strong.

This is a picture of the gesso coming through the tear to the front.

In retrospect, I should have filled in the whole crack while it was wet. I think it would have been easier to fix the scar if I had. But, I didn’t know. I’ve only repaired one other canvas before so I felt I was still working on bare minimum knowledge in practice. I had learned a lot from that first painting and I knew I’d learn even more with this one. That I should have filled and leveled the whole thing then is valuable information I will take to the next tear should (when) this happen(s) again.

This was my first attempt at covering it up. I started out with some blue, then brought in some white. Like I said, I didn’t have a whole lot of patience and I thought this would be a fairly easy process at this point. As I layered up paint, I saw that I was going to have to do this in layers and it might require some light sanding in between coats.

Here’s what it looked like when I really started filling in the scar.

It seemed like I spent a lot of time alternating blue and white. It took a lot of coats to fill in the scar. Yes, I did some sanding too, very carefully around the edges. I didn’t want to take paint off of the scar where I was trying to fill in, only on the canvas so that it would retain some of the tooth.

I started thinking that I might want some pictures of the canvas that weren’t closeups. So here’s the picture from above as it is on the canvas. It looks big here, but this shot isn’t the whole painting.

Finally I start to get a good fill on the tear. It’s still visible, but just barely.

And here’s what the canvas looks like at this point:

Can you even see it? The second lotus petal from the bottom points right at it. Great, I’ll never lose the tear again now that’ I’ve noticed that!

Still building up layers:

At this point, I’m also bringing more clouds in around the vines at the bottom. They always bugged me with how they seemed to stick out. It looked like a lotus blossom superimposed over clouds, rather that actually being part of the sky. This is me fixing that because at this point, what do I have to lose?

Repair done:

Well, at least as far done as I have pictures for. I did add another couple of touch-ups last weekend while I was painting, a few highlights here and there.

If you look closely at this painting from the side, or get up close to the canvas where the tear it, you can still traces of it. I don’t think it would ever completely go away. Besides, the big white spot on the back is a sign that something catastrophic happened. Overall, I think I did a good job repairing this canvas. It’ll continue going with me to art shows until someone decides that they want it hanging on their wall.

Sometimes, you just have to heal the best you can and move on with your life. You can’t always hide all the scars perfectly.

Progress – January 14, 2019

I’ve still been working on the story about Martias and Steigan heading to the Palin Wars which I referenced last Wednesday. I’m trying to slant it so that a reader could pick it up at any point in the story, even before reading Quest for the Three Books, without much in the way of spoilers. So far, so good.

It is a little strange because while I have known Martias’ motivations for quite some time, I hadn’t every really thought about where his head would be at when he and Steigan ran away to the Palin Mountains. We’ve “chatted” about how he felt when he first arrived at the Temple, and even how he felt when he was nominated for the position of Holy Sapere, but I hadn’t really needed to know how he felt along the way on that path. So, this provides me with interesting insights into his character.

I also love his view of Steigan. I’m so use to being in Steigan’s head, where he is always so noble and upstanding. Let’s face it, even when he had no memories, I knew who he was because I knew how he’d act on instinct alone. Admittedly, that might be why I’m having issues working on book 5 (The Missing Thread) because Steigan’s headspace is so messed up that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. That, and the fact that I have no idea about Keteria waking up. I know when I write the correct scene, I’ll know it. It just hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, that aside, it’s fun to see what Martias thinks about and what he withholds. Steigan is cut and dry. He speaks his mind. Marias, he refrains. Again, that’s not something new with Martias — I’ve known he doesn’t always tell Steigan everything, but I see how he is event the trickster character in his own mind. It’s fun.

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