Progress – January 21, 2019

Boy did I make my inner artist-child angry last week!

She got so mad at me that she hijacked the ship. Every time I went to get my words in, I felt her sticking her tongue out at me. I will share more about this later in the week. Trust me, my artist-child is such a brat!

I went over the weekend to Boise to watch the Dragon Ball: Broly movie. Certainly not as good as Spider Man: Into the Spider-verse, but it was fun to spend time with the boys. They also let me pop into Guitar Center so that I could play with some microphones. I found one I really liked. Now I can’t wait to get it hooked into my booth and get to working with it. I still have the second half of Oxygen to record before I do that though. I might keep my AKG mic and do character voices on it, but this new mic will be great for narration. I’m so excited.

It has taken me a week to get through the audio on the first part of Oxygen which I recorded last week, but I’ve been happy with the editing speed. It’s much more reasonable. The channel strip I added works well.

I’ve also been working on the edit for Tangled Magic. I haven’t gotten in time every morning, but since it’s a new habit, it’s taking time to get into place. As I had figured it would.

That’s really all I have for this week. Let’s look at the numbers.

Fiction words written last week:  2,914 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,533 words.

Daily word goal reached for 163 days! Weekly word goal reached for 26 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  16,020 words

Writing year to date total: 16,020 words

Drawing/painting last week: I only got in a little 5″x7″ painting. Better than nothing.

Audio: I spent 3 and a half hours editing audio.

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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!

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.

Continue reading

Dragons of Wellsdeep – Chapter 22

Unless I write very fast and miraculously discover how this story is to end, we’re down the last couple of chapters. The world may just have to wait to figure out how this ends (including me). 

Yeah, I know — it would be so cool if I’d focus on one project at a time. Sorry, I just can’t write like that. My artist child is a 2 year old who wants to play with everything at once. And a new story is like a new toy — it gets the attention.

Aw, you know me too well! Yes, I have a new story. 

For some time, I’ve wanted to write the story of when Steigan and Martias ran away to go join the Palin Wars. For Steigan, it was all pretty cut and dry. He got in serious trouble afterwards. I kept telling myself that there was no story there. A series of events do not a story make. 

But on Monday, the story started “downloading” to me from Martias’ point of view. At first, I started thinking that there was no way that I could make it work from Martias. That’s not going to stop my 2-year-old artist child from whining and crying to get her way. So, I figured what the heck could it hurt to at least start writing it down and see how far it went. After the first session, I kept thinking that there was no way I could write it without giving away parts of Quest for the Three Books

Yeah, that’s definitely not making the artist child happy. She’s stomping and demanding that she can do, that she is a big girl and doesn’t need to listen to me. 

So far, she’s been right. 

She’s so giving me a raspberry, big and wet, full of thththtp sounds. 

We’ll see how far she gets. She just can’t tell this story without diving in deeply into Martias’ deep, dark secrets. 

On the other hand, I’m getting to know Martias pretty well. I know how this adventure changes him. I’m also seeing a character arc that I didn’t know was there. 

When I stop to think about my theory to “trust the process,” I realize that I’m probably needing to write this story now so that I can get back to work on The Missing Thread

Yeah, my artist child might be very right about this. So sorry that she doesn’t want to play with Moonhunter and Balthier at the moment. Who knows though. Sometimes she surprises me. Well, let’s get you to the story. 

Previously: Moonhunter was born and his novimather (dragon mother) left him in the care of an older man named Balthier. Years later, during one of there missions, Moonhunter believes that Balthier’s informant has sabotaged them and they barely escape. After they get off the planet, Balthier is trying to figure out if they were set up and, when that leads to finding it has something to do with Moonhunter, begins to dig harder. Balthier speaks to one of the saperes he trusts (a rare thing), and finds out that there is a plan for Moonhunter by some of the other saperes. They want to send Moonhunter on an off-world operation, but Balthier convinces the sapere that he should really go along. Balthier learns that they shouldn’t trust anyone. Bathier fetches Moonhunter and they head off-world. During their mission, Balthier is captured, allowing Moonhunter to get away. Moonhunter runs from the police and steals an airster (a type of flying craft on this planet). Unfortunately for him, the man who he is taking the craft from, insists on coming with Moonhunter — to him, he thinks its an adventure. Besides, if’s obvious that Moonhunter has no experience flying an airster. Ralph gives Moonhunter basic driving lessons. Though Moonhunter doesn’t realize it, Ralph seems very intuitive to what Moon needed in stealing the airster. They head to the suburb where Dr. Melstone (the target of their mission) lives. When Ralph mentions that they don’t have space travel, Moon begins to wonder why they have a dark matter mechanical scientist — the pieces don’t match. They see a long procession with security leaving the city. Moonhunter drives into the procession, pretending to be in ignorant kid. They follow the procession from below. Moonhunter thinks they have been spotted as an alarm is raised, but it’s something much worse, something coming in at top speed. Ralph says it’s Rel. Moonhunter and Ralph follow Rel, who is chasing the caravan, until the dragon hits a force field. Ralph leaves Moonhunter in the airster so that Moonhunter can go talk to Rel. Meanwhile, Balthier gets questioned about why he is back. The people holding him want him to kill the crazy Shil’mak dragon, Rel. Moonhunter breaks into the military base only to discover they are in fact hiding something. He makes a mad dash, trying to get away so that he can find out what it is. The energy coming from the Humline leads him to the basement where a sapere awaits him. Balthier continues to remain in custody while the saperes try to get him to agree to hunt down the crazy dragon. The sapere admits that his own father tried to rescue a younger Balthier from some of the horrible things that were happening to him back then. That doesn’t bring Balthier any comfort. Moonhunter is shown down into Welldeep and told about how it is a sanctuary. He finds himself surround at attacked. Ralph, meanwhile, continues to negotiate with Balthier. When Balthier continues to refuse to do the Wellkeepers’ bidding, Ralph leaves in anger. Moonhunter finds himself in a modified airster being blasted to the planet’s moon with only himself and an airtank. After crashing on the moon’s surface, he is attacked by a monster called a Grekish.

 

Dragons of Wellsdeep cover small
Cover and layout copyright © 2018 by Morning Sky Studios Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios Cover art copyright © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com, © Digitalstormcinema | Dreamstime.com, and © Kalcutta | Dreamstime.com

Dragons of Wellsdeep

Chapter 22

by Dawn Blair

Balthier had to guess that the man next coming into the room was a low ranking military officer from the lack of badges or brass on his uniform. He wasn’t quite sure what to expect, making him doubly surprised when the man took some keys from his pocket and began unlocking the cuffs holding Balthier to the table. “Let’s go,” he said in a voice not nearly as gruff as Balthier was expecting. This man seemed full of surprises.

“Where are we going?” Balthier asked back.

“Off base. My instructions are to release you as soon as we are outside the force field. After that, what you do is your own business, but we highly suggest you get yourself off world and back to your own.”

“That right? Why?”

“Kill orders, I suspect. You’re marked as an enemy of the state now. Not safe for you to be here. Why stay where you’re not wanted if you have the option to leave?”

Balthier stood and followed the officer. With his hands still cuffed, they weren’t treating him as if he were much of a threat. Might as well let that play out. He looked around as much as he could, taking in the details of the base he saw, without looking like he was actually scoping the place out. He sauntered as much as he could, trying to delay, trying to sense Moonhunter’s presence.

As they were nearly out of the building, Balthier saw Ralph taking to a sapere. “Hey, where’s Moonhunter?” he shouted.

Ralph glanced casually over his shoulder at Balthier, then returned to his conversation with the sapere.

Balthier moved in their direction, making the officer he was with change course suddenly. “Where’s Moon?”

The officer grabbed his arm and tugged him back. Balthier wasn’t going to let this go. He fought against the officer’s hold.

“Where’s Moonhunter?” Balthier hollered again.

Ralph broke away and walked toward Balthier. He motioned with his hand for the officer to release the novihomidrak and back up a bit. “Moonhunter is gone. He has been sent away from here. Go home.”

“Where’s he gone? Where did you send him?”

“No where that you will be able to help him. He is on his own.”

That familiar tingle from the Humline ran through Balthier again. “Where is he?”

“He’s on the moon. He has truly become a hunter on the moon. He’s going after the Grekish.”

“What’s this Grekish?”

Ralph shrugged. “You had your chance to help. You denied it. Officer Madison, take him out of here. Deadly force is authorized.” He started back toward the sapere once more.

“Get me there,” Balthier yelled. “Let me go help Moon.”

“There is no help for Moonhunter. It was a one-way trip. His trip took all the resources we had. We don’t have enough to get you there as well, or for Moonhunter to return.”

Balthier morphed, his dragon teeth coming down, claws extending. His dragon lids cast a red color over the room, sharpening details. “There has to be a way. Let me help Moonhunter take on this Grekish. He’s an apprentice and can’t do it alone.”

Ralph jerked his head. “The mission is done. And so is yours.”

Balthier felt a sharp jab in his side, along with a jolt of electricity. He began to turn, ready to mock the wielder that the tip of the shock dragon tail was weakening and it would take more than that, but his world spun out from beneath him as he fell. He realized as he started to slip to the floor, that the shock dragon had only been the means of delivery for a tranquilizer and wasn’t supposed to be extremely potent. He hit the floor, bounced, then slipped away into the blackness waiting to welcome him.

When he woke, the startle brought him to a sitting position. His novihomidrak aspects responded to the alarm. He growled, bringing himself to his hands and knees, one hand raised to attack with his extended claws. A flood of memories from long ago conflicted with his thoughts about where he was now.

The nearby birds and crickets grew quiet.

The silence calmed him enough to gain awareness of where he was. They no longer had him at the compound, but he was outside. On grass. Among many trees as far as he could see in every direction even with his dragon vision.

A sight through the branches caught his attention.

The moon glowed with a pale white in the sky above.

Moonhunter was there. And he was here, now outside the military compound. He couldn’t help Moonhunter from here.

But there might be someone who could. Unfortunately, it was a Shil’mak.

Balthier got to his feet. Time to go talk to this crazy dragon.

 

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Dragons of Wellsdeep – copyright © 2018 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios Cover and layout copyright © 2018 by Morning Sky Studios Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios Cover art copyright © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com, © Digitalstormcinema | Dreamstime.com, and © Kalcutta | Dreamstime.com

This excerpt is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

Progress – January 7, 2019

I’ve spent the day working on a story called Alexander’s Den. I wrote the story a couple years ago and it spent all year in submission with a magazine I was hoping would publish it. The story was apparently very close, but not quite. They were kind enough to give me a few comments on it, so I’ve been looking at the story again in light of their comments. What I found was a whole bigger problem. I had actually fractured the story in many different directions, which makes their comments make sense. So I’m trying to cut away everything that isn’t part of the story.

My son also took me to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse today. What a brilliant use of the hero’s journey. They use so many elements and mix things up very well. Bravo!

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get words in and do some painting. I showed some paintings here last week. I did also work on more planning for 2019, built some spreadsheets, tinkered with the one that I use to log my production and time on, and set up other things to help me keep track of progress. Oh, and I worked on website items, including one for my audiobooks. That one isn’t anywhere near completed yet, so I can’t show it to you yet. Soon, hopefully.

Speaking of audiobooks, I’m throwing out all that I’ve recorded on Manifest the Magic. I bought a channel strip which, once it’s in, I need to add to my setup. I’m hoping it improves the mixed results I’m getting. I’m just not happy with what I’m getting because every now and then I get these metallic sounding artifacts. It’s kind of frustrating. Anyway, I hope this helps. My next option is to get a new microphone. Baby steps. Anyway, I thought that when I get the channel strip in and set up, I might try recording Oxygen just to see how it sounds. That should be short and fast. Then I can get back to Manifest the Magic.

Well now, let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  2,952 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  3,116 words.

Daily word goal reached for 149 days! Weekly word goal reached for 24 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  4,714 words

Writing year to date total: 4,714 words

Drawing/painting last week: Completed 2 paintings last week for a total of 34 linear inches. Also finished repairing the canvas for “In Living Color,” my lotus in the clouds painting.

Audio: I spent almost 4 hours recording and editing audio, all of which I’m probably pitching out. I might be able to salvage the voices — we shall see.





It was a date, remember?

So on yesterday’s blog, I showed some pictures of a space painting I’d been working on in 2018 and thought I had done.

But then, as any good tale would have, conflict struck.

I painted another picture that made it look like garbage. Well, what’s an artist supposed to do?

I’d say that the correct answer is not to pull is back up on the easel and keep working on it, but I know that’s exactly what a lot of painters do. But I do understand the need to let something hang for a bit so you can look at it just to let your mind mull it over.

So let’s talk about this painting.

I started this painting the same night that I started the other two paintings, but I was way too embarrassed to show it. I honestly thought I’d be painting over it. I mean, what do you do when you have a mess like this to start off with? So I let it sit with some creative procrastination for a while. I figured if I didn’t look at it, I wouldn’t think about how badly I would feel at having to paint it over because it was a horrible start. However, I had some ideas I wanted to experiment with, so I decided I’d play and see what happened. I figured it was only a 8″x10″ flat panel canvas, so who cared if I messed it up so badly that I ended up breaking it in half over my knee like a ninja master? If nothing else, I would learn something.

But I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my intent to fail.

Nope.

I took a picture for me to document my learning process and didn’t show it to anyone.

Then, on January 1st, I decided it was time to pull out the painting and play with it. How better to get a start at painting for the new year than to learn if I could or couldn’t pull this painting out of the fire.

This was the next layer. Honestly, by now I was a little wowed by the hole thing. It was so simple, and yet so pretty. Just brushstrokes.

Look at the depth now starting to come into this piece. There was a part of me that wanted to stop right here.

But, I’m a fool and I pressed on.

Here it is finished:

Yes, there are parts of this I wish I’d been able to express some self-control on, but I do wish the picture did it justice too. I’m happy with the lessons it taught me and and that I managed to save a painting I wasn’t sure would work out.

So, for hoots and giggles, let’s look at the “finished” painting from yesterday compared to this on:

I hope you see what I mean when I said it nearly made me want to cry. The “finished” painting seemed so clumsy and blockish compared to the smooth grace of the new one.

Now let’s see them both together after that 1st one had the reworking:

What a dramatic improvement, don’t you think?

I wonder what will get cooked up this weekend on my easel. Just after I continue working on my edits for Tangled Magic.

I think I’m finally done!

I’m done. This time, I mean it. I swear. Done!

Okay, remember this painting I showed you about a month ago or so?

I’ve been working away at it slowly. I worked really hard on it last weekend because I wanted to have it done in 2018.

Here’s a couple pictures of it in progress:

I even said I was done on my progress blog because I really thought I was done. Here’s a picture of it “completed.”

Not a bad little picture, right? I was so happy with it. Yea, a nice little space galaxy. *insert happy smiling face here*

NOT!

Two days ago, I painted a picture that blew this one out of the water.

Ka-BOOM!

I picked this picture up last night and nearly started to cry. It looked so bad, horrible, blah! Especially when compared to the other one.

So I wasn’t done. I knew I could do better. Back on the easel it went. Awhile later, here was the result:

I dare not say that I’m done yet. Who knows what tomorrow will bring,

Now, aren’t you excited to see the picture that inspired this one? Yeah, I think you’ll be just as amazed on that as me. How about I show you tomorrow? Great! It’s a date.