Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's All Tied Together With ART

And we're back to mish-mash blog posting...but it's all artwork related. Well, mostly.

First, notice the page make-over? I was getting a bit tired of the old look. I went with simple this time. Have no idea how long it will last, though....

Second, I attended the NECRONOMICON this past weekend. It's a sci-fi/fantasy/horror/gaming/anime convention. Lots of fun stuff like costume contests, science panels, writing panels, and games. I won a tote bag and gift card to "Think Geek" catalog by playing "rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock." If you're unfamiliar with that game, check out this clip of "The Big Bang Theory." (No, that's not art-related, but this part is...)

My drawing made the cover of the program for the Necro:

I had no idea until a few days before. Since I thought it hadn't been used I made matching t-shirts for my friend and I to wear. They have the same image, but with the black and white reversed. Also, the T's say, "ZOMBEETLE" and "cerebrum devouricus."

(Check out the scrolling thingie to the right and you can find the above t-shirt and other stuff with my artwork for sale on Zazzle. And right now, you can save $5 on any t-shirt by using the code OCTSHIRTSALE.)

Third, I'm still waiting on the decision from a small press that is looking at both my manuscript for Finding Angel and a short story. I'm trying to not get my hopes up too high. I'm trying not to be nervous. Trying. Hm. (Okay, that's not technically artwork, but I will most likely be doing some drawings for this press as well, in the anthology that will hopefully contain my short story. There, now it is art-related.)

Fourth, my latest drawing will soon be out for all to see on the cover of Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad. This is the sequel to her book The Duke's Handmaid, on which you'll find my rendering of a key.

Here's the cover to The Duke's Handmaid:

And here's the cover of Nor Iron Bars a Cage. The shackles are my handiwork. (Not a statement I ever thought I'd be making....)

This will be releasing next month, and I will of course let you know immediately :).

And to finish off, since I haven't posted a notebook nugget for a long, long time...I'm including one of my favorite quotes (by one of my favorite authors):

" is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain,

and art is an interpretation of that miracle..."

--Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Blogging?

I follow quite a few blogs and have noticed that each person has a different focus. As far as writers go, some blog about writing craft, others primarily review books, and others talk about their experiences with writing and publishing. One in particular tends to grab onto controversial topics related to Christian fiction. Another posts mostly fun stuff, like videos and "guess the movie quotes." (Yes, Lynn, I'm talking about you!)

The point is, we each have a different reason for blogging. I've realized lately, I still haven't honed in on mine.

When I first started, I had hopes of being published rather quickly. (Ok, get the laughing out of your system so we can move on....) My main intent was to have a place to announce things about my writing, such as release dates, book signings, etc. I quickly realized just how naive that really was.

So, I moved into trying to use my blog as a way to make connections. This was before Facebook hit big, of course. I shifted to posting some of my experiences with writing and a few opinions and frustrations, but my main goal was trying to find "followers"--build a platform so I could sell my book to an agent or publisher. I was advised at one point to do give-aways to attract followers. I tried a couple, and did gain a few followers, but mostly realized there are a lot of people out there who blog-hop hoping to win free books and then forget you exist.

After that, I just started posting, well, whatever. Things that interested me, more experiences regarding writing and opinions on the process of publishing. A book review here and there, and the occasional announcement when something of mine gets published.

I have yet to figure out if this is actually interesting stuff, or I'm boring you poor folks to tears...

So, what I'm wondering is--why do you blog? Why do you follow blogs? You don't have to tell me specifically why you're following me (this is SO not an attempt to fish for compliments!) but I'd like to know what makes you return to a blog you follow. What makes you think a blog post was worth the time it took to read?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Looking Forward

It's Monday morning. Start of a new day, start of a whole new week.

Maybe start of a new attitude?

Yes, I was getting into the doldrums, as apparent by my last post. It's a hazard of writing, I believe. This is a very competitive business. It takes time and dedication. A bit of crazy doesn't hurt either ;).

I decided to write today about some things I'm looking forward to:

1) My box of Chicken Soup books should be arriving any day. I've ordered a case of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic that contains my story "Lights of Hope." Some of my wonderful friends and fellow homeschoolers want to buy copies and have me sign them. Cool, eh?

1 1/2) Ok, this is one-and-a-half because it's part of number one. I'm looking forward to seeing the copy of the local paper where I made the front page! It's not like the big "Tampa Tribune"--it's a smaller one, but it's produced by the Tribune and is distributed all over my area in several different versions. The one I got had the story inside, but several people I know who live in neighboring towns have told me I was on the cover of theirs. I'm waiting to be handed a copy by one of them soon. If you want to read the story, it's online HERE.

2) My daughter's birthday. She turns eight years old this week. We already had her party--a girlie tea party. She had a blast.

3) A few girls from my homeschool group coming over to talk writing. We're not having a formal class, but are doing a sort of mini-workshop where I help them along and teach them about characterization and plot and such. We've all had such fun so far!

4) The NECRONOMICON. This is a sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention I attended last year. It was so much fun I'm going again. They've got writing panels and cool artwork and stuff to buy. Games and a "Necronomi-prom" dance. What a hoot.

4 1/2) I had entered a design of mine in hopes of it being the official Necronomicon t-shirt, but it didn't make it. So, I decided to make a t-shirt just for me with the design and wear it there. You can see the shirt HERE. Even buy one for yourself, if you'd like! While you're checking it out, check out the other stuff you can buy with my artwork on it.

5) Getting my muse back. I think once this week of busyness is past, I can get my focus back on writing. I'm sure the Necro will fill my head with ideas (you see some seriously crazy stuff there!). And just knowing I'll have some uninterrupted time next week should be of help.

So, there you go. A new day, a new week, a new list. What more can you ask for? :D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Missing My Muse

I'm going to be dead honest here. I've been wanting to post something truly cohesive lately, but it's been all bits and pieces as you know. Why is that? Busyness for sure, but that's not all.

I'm frustrated.

Writing has felt tedious for me lately. I'm completely uninspired. It's a scary feeling. For so long short stories were all but blasting out of me. Now I have several started, but am pretty much stuck on all of them.

It's a mental thing I believe. My expectations have not been met. I fully understand that many, many authors take years to finally see their novel in print. The overnight success stories are undeniably rare. That does not, however, make it any less frustrating.

Most would say the answer lies in moving forward. Work on the sequel, start a new series. I've done that. Truly. It's not helping. Something in my brain has locked on to the idea that first things must come first. There is this part of me--a rather stubborn part--that wants Finding Angel published before any other novels. And there's a snarky little part of me that says, "Enough with the short stories! I either want to be a novelist or scrap the whole thing."

Ah...I hate sounding like this. I want to look at that part of myself in the mirror and say, "Shut up, ya whiner."

I've been forging along for over three years now. And I'm by no means giving up. The momentum has merely slowed of late. I'm quite sure my muse is taking a well-needed rest and will return when she's regained her energy. But there is an empty hole where I got so used to her presence.

(Giving credit where credit is due--I snagged the image above from online. Probably without right to do so. Check out the site where I found it--beautiful artwork by someone with obvious talent.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blog Bog

Sigh...several of my latest blog posts have been simply playing catch-up. Going a week or so without blogging and then cramming little bits together and calling it a post. Not the best way to keep you all entertained, I admit.

Am I about to do it again? Well, sort of.

Okay, not "sort of." Pretty much straight-up "yes."

First, as I sit here it is nearing the end of October 12th, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic released today. My short story "Lights of Hope" is in there!

Second, I had a wicked cool day at Universal Studios, hanging out in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter again. Which is why I totally slacked on posting about the Chicken Soup book earlier. Priorities, yes, I know :).

Third, the dragon puzzle I mentioned starting a few posts ago is done, glued, and hanging on the wall in the hallway.

Fourth, still no word from the small press on Finding Angel. Definite interest in my short story, although a few edits were in order. Tiny edits. Keen-eyed editor spotted a few bits of "telling" and I quickly turned them to "showing" and sent it back. Will let you know as soon as possible the final decision on the short, and whether or not a full manuscript is requested for Finding Angel.

So, there you have it. Another recap of the life of Kat. I'm hoping to find an actual topic to post about next time. Something, you know, with a beginning, middle and end. And a point. That might be nice, eh?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Off to the Wild Blue Yonder

And so, life has moved forward once again and I've had little time to blog. I've been prepping my manuscript of Finding Angel for submission to a small press. I officially submitted three days ago, after spending a looooooong morning participating in the Susan G. Komen cancer walk. Exhaustion is a good motivator to get something over with. I knew if I didn't just send it in, I'd spend an eternity nit-picking. So, off it went.

The day before that, I submitted a short story to the same press. It's one I particularly loved writing. If they don't take it, I'll be shopping it until it finds a home. Let's hope that's not necessary :).

Since my submission, I have been line editing for Shawna Williams, whose first book, No Other, is published in ebook form through Desert Breeze Publishing. I was able to be a big part of that book, critiquing each chapter as Shawna finished. I fell in love with her story and characters. I didn't have time to do quite as much with the sequel, In All Things, but as I read through it now I realize I did get to be pretty involved in a good chunk of it (reading and critiquing, that is). It's a beautiful continuation of the story in No Other. Same rockin' characterization--Shawna's fabulous at that!

Little secret--there are two references to me in the story in In All Things. How cool is that?

I've also been getting a sneak peek at a book that is going to be submitted to the same press I submitted Finding Angel to this week. So far, I've gotten to read nine chapters, and they have been so good :). I won't give way who I'm talking about--not yet. But soon, I'm sure, I'll get to, um, name names.

Anyway, I will of course keep you posted as to the statuses of my submissions once I know them! Nervous, nervous...but excited!