Tag Archives: art

Works-In-Progress (or maybe: Projects I *should* be working on)

It’s been a long time since I really talked about writing. I mean, sure, I’ve moaned about my lack of time for it and how creatively dead my brain has been, but when is the last time I really talked about the books themselves? I think it’s been ages, to be honest. Like, possibly years even. Perhaps you don’t even really know anything at all about my completed novel Dreamsters, except that it’s in the horror/thriller category. And so, with the help of some awesome art I commissioned artist and friend, Heather R. Holden, to do, I’m going to talk about my writing – what it’s about, what I’ve got, what I need, and where I’m going with it – and maybe it will not only intrigue you, but help me get back into, you know, actually working on them again. :)

 

 *Click the images to see them larger!*

 

Dreamsters (not an actual title – that is still undecided)

 

About: This story is about a creepy old lady, a girl with a nightmare curse, and a foolishly kind boy who feels compelled to get involved with them both. I consider this story a nod to one of my favorite horror films A Nightmare on Elm Street, though more thriller than horror, maybe. 😉

 

What I’ve Got: A completed manuscript at around 70K words.

 

What it Needs: A completed 2nd draft. I’d started on this a couple months after I finished the 1st draft last year, but there are still major portions of the book, particularly at the end, that need heavy rewriting to finalize a 2nd draft.

 

Where it’s Going: Publication? I hope. It was my intention to have this 2nd draft sharp enough to start looking for an agent this year, but so far this unfortunately hasn’t been the case.

 

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Picture background: This comes from the end of Chapter 2. Milo’s stayed up late to get ahead on some homework and just before going to bed, glances out his window at Mrs. Womack’s house across the street. This is the scene he sees and the lines from the book look like this:

 

Illuminated by the street lamp is a girl in a red plaid, pleated skirt, with black tights and clunky boots, and a black leather jacket being destroyed by the rain. And a boy significantly shorter than her, holding her hand, in a hoodie and cargo pants that look too big for his small frame. Each of them carry just one bag, hardly large enough to hold any decent amount of personal possessions, and they stare at Mrs. Womack’s front door from her gate.

 

I don’t need to see their faces to know who they are.

 

 

Crack the Sky

 

About: I’ll let the main character tell you what Crack the Sky is about. 😉

 

My name is Tilian King and I found a girl in the woods one night. I sound like a fool for saying it, but I swear the lightning led the way.  She was covered in blood; I’m *practically* a saint for saving her. 

 

She claims she’s my guardian angel and that demons took her wings so she can’t protect me. From what, she won’t say.

 

She also claims my girlfriend and father are demons and that my dead mother is an angel like her. I asked her what that makes me, but again, she won’t say.

 

I think she’s f@$%ing insane. Escaped from the looney bin or some shit. It’s somehow both annoying and hilarious to me.

 

Still, and I’d never admit it out loud, it is sort of nice having someone to share the lonely mansion I call home with now, since my dad’s never around. Plus, who doesn’t love poking fun at naiveté? Leilani’s chock-full of it and I’m as rotten as they come.

 

If you’d like to see a few examples of scenes from Crack the Sky, I’d actually posted some when I started this book in 2011 for NanoWrimo. Click HERE! (Note: these scenes were roughly written and have since been polished so they aren’t the final product by any means.)

 

What I’ve Got: About 18K words, or just shy of 1/3 of the story.

 

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What it Needs: The rest? About 50K more words? No, in all seriousness, it needs the meat of the story. Crack the Sky is an intense sort of story, with a great deal of tough decisions and bloodshed. This first 18K has been the introductory phase, the buildup of backstory, and the planted seeds of character growth. Next, things get crazy. 😉

 

Where it’s Going: Oops, I think I sort of answered that above? I guess I could add that it’s not going to have a happy ending. Okay, so it won’t be super awful, but not the happily ever after type of ending that’s all too common these days because life doesn’t always work that way so why should make believe? 😉

 

Picture background: I’d told Heather that if this picture were titled I’d call it, “Torn,” because that’s the feeling I wanted to come across for Tilian. So that it’s not too spoilery, I won’t tell you much about what’s going on in it outside of TORN, but I will tell you who you’re looking at! (L) Mackenzie, Tilian’s Girlfriend (M) Tilian King, POV of the book (R) Leilani, Tilian’s Guardian Angel.

 

 

So, those are my current, big works-in-progress. I have another novel idea that springs up every summer, but never produces much words and another that I hope to eventually return to one day, as it was the first story I ever wanted to make into a novel, but both require a lot of world building and I’m just not sure I’m a good enough writer for that just yet.

 

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If you’ve enjoyed the art accompanying these descriptions and think you’d like some of your own, head on over to Heather’s site for commission guidelines and prices! Or if you’re just a fan of the art and don’t need any for yourself, give her web comic Echo Effect a shot. She’s an excellent storyteller, too!

 

Tattoo Night

You may remember me making and failing to meet a resolution in 2014 to finally have some moxie and get another tattoo already? Well. I’ve finally done it. And not just one new tattoo, but two (that go together in my mind). The theme? “Take me to a world where it’s always fall and winter!”

 

My sister turned 30 yesterday and in preparing for how we’d celebrate last month, we decided we’d get tattoos the same way we had when she turned 18 (our first tattoos). By some sort of luck or fate, we ended up getting an appointment set up with not only the same artist who did our first tattoos, but on the exact same day 12 years later too.

 

Despite getting two in the same night, I’m already eager for more. I wonder if I can squeeze at least one more from my pocket before the years end? 😉

 

(Click through the slideshow below for pictures of the process and finished products!)

 

 

2014 In Review: Stuff I Loved

A new addition to my year end reviews!

 

I have one of those personalities that falls in-love with things almost obsessively until something else comes along and demands more of my attention. Below are the big things I fell in-love with in 2014 and why you should check them out, too!

 

Torrid

 

Let’s not pretend I’m a small person. Okay, I mean, I am small in stature (5’ 1”), but I’m curvy even at my skinniest weight and I’m not skinny right now. As a result, finding cool clothes that fit me has been difficult in years past, leaving me dressed like some old lady – which I am not. In fact, if I had to describe the style that fits my personality most, it’d be edgy. I can’t even remember the search term that brought me to Torrid, I just know I was sadly searching the internet for cooler clothes in my size when I stumbled upon them and was instantly addicted.

 

Admittedly, I’ve nearly replaced my entire wardrobe with Torrid clothes this year, which was a hit to my pocket, but the reason I love them so much is not just because their style is in line with mine, but also because I’ve never paid full price for a thing there. Deals-Deals-Deals, every single day.

 

Having “cool” clothes that actually fit my frame has done wonders for my mental state where my self-esteem is concerned, and sure, I’d still like to be thinner, but I have to admit I don’t hate my fatness the way I did before – where I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without wanting to cry. At least now, it’s confined properly in clothes designed for a body like mine, that don’t make me look old, and dare I say, I’ve even felt somewhat pretty on occasion this year thanks to Torrid.

 

If you’re a bigger girl (size 12-22) and looking for something stylish and reasonably priced, you should probably check them out HERE!

 

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Jelsa (Jack Frost + Queen Elsa)

 

My good friend, Heather, got me into Frozen this year and I just happened to watch Rise of the Guardians on demand shortly after watching Frozen because I was looking for something similar. It was instant, this love I had for Elsa and Jack together, a crossover that will never happen. My mind drew up all sorts of connections, all sorts of back stories. It was silly, really, but I couldn’t stop myself. And when I told Heather about it, she said I wasn’t alone. That apparently a whole fanbase existed to support “Jelsa.” This only encouraged my imagination and my first OTP became a thing. I love the idea of Jelsa being a real thing so much that Heather got me these adorable Jelsa stickers for my birthday this year and I even commissioned her for some winter Jelsa art. I don’t know if anyone can convince me to stop loving an impossible thing at this point.

 

(I’ve commissioned Heather for even more “fan art” this year. Check out this Ever After High inspired piece she did for another franchise she got me into. For more information on her commission work, click HERE!)

 

Loot Crate

 

Another good friend, Akoss, can take the blame for my love of Loot Crate. She started a youtube channel this year, mostly to highlight her love for reading, and while catching up on it one night, I watched her first Loot Crate unboxing. The video wasn’t even completely over before I knew I HAD to sign up. I wanted every single thing in that box. Just the idea of getting a themed, geeky filled box of fun every month for such a crazy low cost was appealing enough, knowing the kind of stuff that would arrive in them really sealed the deal for me. Sometimes there’s a shirt, or toy, or comic book – lots of the time they’re exclusive items that can only be acquired through Loot Crate! Below are just a few examples of some the boxes I’ve received since. It’s a subscriptions service/treat I’ll definitely allow myself to keep up in 2015.

 

(Click through the slideshow above for a few samples of the crates I’ve received this year!)

 

(Learn more about Loot Crate HERE! Check out Akoss’ youtube channel HERE!)

 

 

Jamberry

 

Yet again, another dear friend, Nakia (aka: my pseudo-sister), can take credit for my love of Jamberry this year. (Look I’m easily corruptible, obviously.) She decided to be a consultant so she could make a little money while going back to school and caring for her son and at first I only gave it a shot because I wanted to support her new venture. I didn’t really expect to love it as much as I did, but 20 Jams later and I’m hooked. Admittedly, these don’t always last the full 2 weeks for me, but that’s okay because I know I’m hard on my nails and they still last a heck of a lot longer than nail polish does. Plus, SUCH CUTE DESIGNS! I couldn’t get these adorable prints with nail polish even if I tried. Maybe they seem a little expensive, especially if it’s your first time, but they really are a nice treat if you’re someone who likes having fun nails!

 

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(If you are interested in checking out Jamberry, you can request a sample or check out Nakia’s shop HERE!)

 
Funko (read: Toys)

 

My love of toys isn’t a new thing, but it has been resurrected, thanks to Loot Crate. When I moved into my apartment 7 years ago, I didn’t bring any of my toys with me. I have a lot that I’ve collected over the years, waiting patiently for me in my parents attic, because apartment living isn’t really ideal for large collections such as mine. I always imagined myself having a whole room dedicated to my toys or maybe one that was shared with my books or something, but here I am 7 years later and still in an apartment and I’m just tired of missing out on something I’ve always loved. Loot Crate exposed me to Funko’s mystery minis back in September. It’s not like I’d never heard of Funko before, in fact I’ve been tempted many a time to pick up a Pop! figure, but once I had that first mystery mini in my possession, I couldn’t stop myself from buying more. And so in the last three months, my collection went from nothing to this (see below) and I think it’s safe to say this toy collector is back in action!

 

Funko 2014

 

In 2015, Funko will be releasing a new line of Frozen Pop!’s and mini’s that I must have and a line of Garbage Pail Kids inspired figures too. I’m already SO excited!

 

I’m sure there were other things I got into in 2014, but these are the handful I’m pretty sure will stick around for a long time to come. What kinds of things did you get really into in 2014?

Making Bathroom Art

(Click through the slideshow below!)

 

 

 

Echo Effect

After months of extreme dedication and hard work, my best friend/critique partner Heather () launched her first webcomic Echo Effect today! I can't express how proud and happy I am for her to be fulfilling a dream she's had for a long time now. I've been lucky to see the next 35+ comics after this first one and I can honestly say, it's a great story. If you're into Greek mythology, antisocial girls, and/or popular pretty boys, Echo Effect is the comic for you! Check it out! 

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(Clicking the picture above will take you to the first comic strip.
Bookmark the site and check back every Monday/Wednesday/Friday!)

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My Best Friend > Your Best Friend

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that Heather () would chose to spoil me on her favorite holiday of year, but personally I've never gotten Halloween gifts before her and it's not like I deserve them anyway so imagine my delight when the following showed up in the mail today for Halloween! 

photo (smaller)
(Vampire Knight Manga #1, Framed art of my character Bryce, her character Arden, and my character Tilian dressed up for a Halloween party, and a cute Halloween Snow-globe)

In case you can't see how cool that art is, here's the digital version:

(Like Heather's Art? She takes commission requests now! Click HERE, if you're interested in custom work!)

I don't know what I ever did to get such an awesome best friend/critique partner, but I know that I am the luckiest. 
     
Do any of you celebrate Halloween with gifts or festive cards? If so, what fun things did you get/give from/to your friends?

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This Week: In My Mailbox

This week I finally pre-ordered all (I think all, at least) of the books I must have for the year. There were 16 total (thank God it doesn’t all come out of my pocket at once). I also ordered three additional books (pictured) that were either necessary for the pre-orders coming or just because. I had a gift card leftover from Christmas so there was no guilt in these buys!

Books Pre-Ordered:  Spellbound (Hex Hall, Book 3) , Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, Book 3) , Body & Soul (Ghost and the Goth, Book 3) , City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, Book 5) , Endure (Need, Book 4) , The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, Book 1) , Hidden (Firelight, Book 3) , Fathomless , Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 21) , The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals, Book 2) , Just for Fins (Fins, Book 3) , Rapture (Fallen, Book 4) , and Purity

I also bought one of Starline Hodge’s Candi ACEO cards and I’m super stoked about it! I’m amazed at all the awesomeness done with markers packed into such a tiny card. I already want more!

It was a good week for my mailbox. :)

You guys order/receive anything cool lately?

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My Best Friend is made of Awesomesauce!

Why, you’re wondering?

Because she published a freaking book for me for Christmas this year!

I never talked about it here for some reason (probably because I suck at cross-blogging), but back in October Heather made THIS for me. (Be sure to read the explanation behind it.)

Well this year for Christmas, not only did she send me framed art of our characters (even featuring my latest novel’s lead male!), she also published a book – all shiny and colorful – called, “Torture Christmas Art,” the first volume of more to come hopefully!  I can’t show you every page or this would be a mighty long post (and spoilerific!), but check out the pictures I have included! It’s awesome, right?

Yeah… my best friend rocks! You jelly? 😉 

P.S. See that snarky blonde haired boy? His name is Arden. You should check out this Christmas short story featuring him called, “Holiday Sneer”!

The Most Random? Well, probably not the most.

NOTE: I’m not sure how much this blog post will flow as I started writing it at work in between final locations (where I can’t get on livejournal) and finished with my first drink in hand.

This week I got some of my mojo back writing wise, which completely excites me because I’ve missed my story so much. But rather than taking an axe to the beginning like I need to my mind wanted to work on rewriting that first kiss scene (since the old one is null & void now due to major plot line shifts) which doesn’t happen for a while from the start of the book. Problem with that is, well… see yesterday’s post and you’ll understand. So I’ve written four different versions of the scene this week and tonight (with the aide of the Captain) I plan to merge two of them together as the final version and hopefully – finally – I’ll be satisfied with it. I can’t help it that I prefer my characters together and that’s what keeps drawing me to write everything from that first kiss on instead of focusing on fixing all of the build up to that moment. The build up is necessary – it shapes them and makes their connection that much more important, but it’s no where near as fun to write in the minds of miserable confused people. It kind of drains me because I don’t really want to remember how to be miserable, ya know?

In relation to writing I have to gripe just a little about something. Creatively – I work in words and music, not art. That’s not completely true, I can draw houses, floor plans, and trees exceptionally well, but everything else is a not a skill I obtain. This isn’t what truly bothers me though – I’ve accepted this inability to draw or paint even though I’d like to be able to. What bothers me is that a major part of my story resolves around this symbol/crest/emblem (I know that doesn’t really exist, but…) and I can see exactly what it looks like in my mind, but I can’t seem to find anyone reliable enough to actually do the artwork for me. I’ve had three very artistic relatives agree to do it, tell me they actually worked on it, and then ignore my questions as to when I can see it. It’s frustrating because A) they’re my family – I mean come on, don’t you care at all? –AND- B) I really want to see it outside of my head and every time I’ve attempted to bring it to paper I’ve failed miserably. I NEED someone to do it, to bring it to life. Yet there is no one to do it. Stumped.

Anyway I fully plan on spending the majority of my weekend knocking out some much overdue writing and catching up on sleep (because that’s just something I don’t do well during the week). Heath finally fixed the Xbox 360 and I’m ecstatic to, after a year of waiting, finally be able to play Rock Band again. I’m really good, or at least I was. I’m sure it will be like riding a bike and regardless of how unpracticed I am I’ll still kick Heath’s ass so it will still be fun.

One last final thought: Today my 58 year old boss found out his cancer is officially in remission which elates not only him, but me too. Watching him fade away everyday at work for months killed me – I missed the man he used to be. But he’s back in full effect now (well not completely – he’s only gained 20lbs of the 70 he lost back, still can’t taste much and his hair just finally fuzzed over the top of his head) and today he did one of my favorite things.

A cubical wall separates our desks so I can never see his face unless I get up and look around the wall, but we are the only two in our room so we can hear everything the other is doing or saying. We try to take turns with our music choices and typically I refrain from playing music I know he absolutely doesn’t like (like rap/hip hop), but sometimes I just have to listen to something off the wall because of my mood. I love it when I hear him singing or humming along to songs I know he truly hates or would never listen to if I didn’t subject him to it. For example today I was playing a mix of a little bit of everything and I heard him singing along to several Citizen Cope songs and humming along to Kid Cudi and Miley Cyrus. It brings the biggest smile to my face.

Two summers ago I went through this huge Disney Pop phase; it was all I listened to for a month. And he sang along to so many of them it cracked me up because I knew if he knew they were Disney kids he’d be in denial. Then more recently I was listening to Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA and he said, “If I didn’t know any better I’d guess that was Miley Cyrus” and I said, “Good guess, but you do know better. You’ve sang along to a few of her songs before.” His mouth fell open shocked, “Nah Ah.”

When I went through an all Citizen Cope and all Sleepy Sun phase he sang along to almost every song. He even sent me the lyrics to Bullet & a Target because he likes the intro – lol. I made him copies of said music and when I gave it to him I said, “Here, you like these groups. Believe me – you know all the words.” He looked skeptical, but when he played them his don’t-want-to-believe-it face faded and he nodded, “Oh yeah, I do like these.”

I don’t know why, but I love it. He’s “hipper” than he thinks for his age :)

Peace – Sarah

P.S. Music is meant to be played as loud as possible while driving. Just saying.

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