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Monday, March 17, 2014

ERIN GO BRAGH!!


ERIN GO BRAGH! Yes, this post is on St. Patricks day. I am of Irish/Scot descent and do enjoy reading about the history and fantasy of the Emerald Isles. 

I don't drink, so the common way of celebrating this day by most Americans is sort of lost on me. But, I believe that most Americans are unaware of the real history behind this day of celebration. Therefore, I am going to give you a history lesson today.

What is St. Patricks Day really? Who was St. Patrick? (Yes, I am borrowing this from Wikipedia)

Who is this Patrick?
Much of what is known about St Patrick comes from the Declaration, which was allegedly written by Patrick himself. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to the Declaration, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he "found God". The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.
According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converted "thousands". Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland's foremost saint.

Whats with all the green?
On St Patrick's Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the "wearing of the green").
St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older. In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities. The triple spiral symbol appears at many ancient megalithic sites in Ireland.
The color green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick's Day since at least the 1680s. Green was adopted as the colour of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, an Irish fraternity founded in about 1750. However, when the Order of St. Patrick—an Anglo-Irish chivalric order—was founded in 1783 it adopted blue as its color. This led to blue being associated with St Patrick. In the 1790s, green became associated with Irish nationalism when it was used by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organization—led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members—who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase "wearing of the green" comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the color green and its association with Saint Patrick's Day grew.

Green Beer? (or, why all the drinking?)

The Feast of St. Patrick happens to fall on lent for those who recognize that tradition. Back during the early days of this feast consuming alcohol was off limits. Those limitations were lifted on the Feast of St. Patrick and so those people who were missing their booze would hit the drink hard, all day. This created an unintentional tradition of connecting Irish booze to St. Patricks day. The connection is actually quite a bit stronger in the US than it is around the rest of the world, though drinking is still a popular tradition in Ireland any time. 



Thanks for taking the moment to learn and now for some of my favorite Irish musicians, The Celtic Women





Note: I am actually a Baptist and do not recognize Catholic saints in worship or prayer. Though, I do admire Patricks work in evangelism and I am also fond of my Irish heritage.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Character Development in Living color.


Welcome to Monday, it's time for another blog post by yours truly. This week I am being totally lazy and decided to just post some of my more recent art. Most of the works I am going to be posting today have been done in preparation of creating a book cover for my upcoming novel Legacy of the Dragonwand. Please comment and let me know what you think and share this with your friends.

 This was supposed to be the main character of Markus from the story. After working and working on it I realized that I had accidentally drawn another version of Kai. Having realized this I started from scratch with a new model and drawing.
Note: There is a bit of a story behind this drawing. I was out shopping one day and happened into a store where I saw this guy that was perfect for a character. I stopped him and asked if he wouldn't mind if I get a picture of him. I am sure he was weirded out by the request, but he agreed and I snapped a shot of him. The character I was thinking of never came to be so I just held onto the picture and ultimately used it here.


This is the second attempt at Markus. When I decided to re-do the drawing I also noted that my first Markus looked too old. The Markus in my story is only 16. So, I searched for a model that would look the part. I didn't quite find him, but with a little work on my part I turned the drawing into the character I wanted.

You might note that in the colored version the book he is holding isn't colored. When I do the actual splicing of the pictures together to make the cover, I am going to edit in a much nicer book. One that looks like the story. I couldn't give it the right detail in the size I was working with.







To the Left: This is Crystal, the romantic interest of Markus and the second main character of Dragonwand. She will be colored soon enough.

To the Right: You will remember this picture from some time back. It was the first drawing I did for Dragonwand. He is Treb, the adopted father of Crystal and one of the party that helps the main characters succeed. He is also extremely overprotective of Crystal, which creates some good comedy between him and Markus.







Lastly, just for fun. This is Bark. In an alternate universe the ULH has been disbanded and all heroes are put out of work. Frost, Barks wife, goes back to the life of celebrity and co-hosts a national talk show. Bark, unable to find work as a half human dog man, spends his time body building. Frost has no complaints.













Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Dan.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Covers

The first cover for TCN
Hey everyone. I wanted to talk a little about book covers.

If you have been watching my facebook page, blog, or even just the book itself, you'll have noticed that I have gone through several covers. I have finally settled upon the one I like the best and believe I'll stick to it for a long time. (That is assuming a big time publisher doesn't snatch up the book and put an awesome new cover on it at their own expense.)

Cover #2 for TCN
Why have I fiddled around with book covers for so long? Well the truth is that all authors worry about the cover. I know that we are all told that we should not judge a book by its cover. That is a good metaphor, but it really doesn't work when you scrutinize its root meanings. We all judge books by their cover. The  cover can excite us to pick up the book and turn it over to see what all that cool stuff is about. It can intrigue the imagination, it can inspire an emotional response that draws you to immediately sympathize with a character. It might even show you a world you had never imagined and want to step into just by the art alone. The cover is an amazing tool.

Cover #3 for TCN
Now, having said all of that you might understand better why we authors are so finicky about the covers we use. Knowing how important they are, getting it right is not easy. What do I want the cover to say? Who do I want it to say it to the loudest? Does it look good? Does it match the story? Is it perfect?

Of course it will never be perfect, at least in the opinion of the author, but it can be as darned close as possible.

What is hard is that covers are expensive. Well.... ones done by pros can be expensive. Often indies have been made fun of for their covers. Ridicule seems to be the way of life for an indie author. And the  cover is a clear target. Yes, I have seen some really really terrible indie bookcovers, but as an indie myself I understand their plight. They simply don't have the hundreds of dollars to shell out for a cover. This is why I started using some public domain images, my photographs, and an editing program to create covers. I give them away for free. They are far from a real pro, but they aren't bad to look at either.

If you are an author, or know one, who needs a cover: Feel free to check these out HERE

For myself. I have created a cover for my newest book which is still in editing. Unlike my free covers, this one contains only artwork of yours truly. Please let me know what you think of it.