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Friday, June 27, 2014

Castles, Dragons, Gods, and more.

This week I am involved with an event we call Share-A-Stitch. It is a regional seminar for the Embroiderers Guild of America. We take classes learning new embroidery, have dinners, learn whats going on in EGA, and just have fun. But, it is very time consuming, so my post this week will be short and sweet. Just another art post. Enjoy!!

Note: I am considering opening up a little side business in drawing for others, doing characters and such. What do you think? Based on what I have shown you over the last  few years of this blog, do you think I have a marketable talent?

My first piece to present today is a bit different than my others. I started this by staring at a small model of a castle and then went crazy with it. It was just for fun as I had nothing to do and pencil and paper near my hands. As I drew the castle I added the mountain. Then I turned the tallest tower into some sort of smoke stack. Then I thought it needed something funny behind it and added the dragon. Then, I thought it could use color, and viola....color.

My next contribution to the arts is this little number. I discovered a free app for my smartphone that let me draw on the phone itself. It was fun so I attempted to draw my main character. I found a picture of this handsome fellow and worked on the drawing. I have never worked on such a small area before, it was a challenge.

 This bit was a quick drawing of Bark. He is re-imagined into a different storyline of a different game. The game is set in the ancient world and the story is about all the mythical gods of the ancient world turning on humans when humans realize that they can actually kill a god. This version of Bark is only named Joshua and is from the lands of ancient Egypt. He was cursed by a wicked Djinn to look like an Egyptian god, when all Joshua wanted was to be a big strong handsome man to impress a woman he loved. The story, potentially, will involve his journey to kill the Djinn so he can change back, and what he learns along the way.

Last is something you should recognize. It is a compilation of several works of mine. This is the third, and perhaps final, bookcover for the Kai's Journey series by my friends Charles and Wendy Siefken. As you can see I put two figure drawings of mine together and imposed them over a painting based on a photo I took of a nearby lake.

I hope you enjoy my work, I certainly enjoy doing it. Let me know what you think. Good words go a long way to help an artist keep doing what he's doing. (That is assuming you enjoy what he is doing.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Yarn about Goats

My mother and several friends are participating in a local event that is very interesting. The yarn shops around East Tennessee have gotten together and created an event called the Yarn Crawl. In this event you have one month to travel to each store on the crawl and get a stamp on your "passport" from that shop. If you fill your passport with all the shops stamps you are entered into a drawing for a basket of stuff that is, I believe, worth more than 500 dollars (us). Also, at each stop there is a free gift from that shop.

Due to this crawl we have encountered new people and shops we probably would've never found. For me, they are interesting but not exactly my cup of tea. I'm a stitcher, not a crochet or knitter.

However, there was one that caught my attention over the others, It is called Mountain Hollow Farm, in Tazewell Tennessee. The shop is situated in some antique buildings off the beaten path. Surrounding it is a farm, in fact it is a farm belonging to the shop owner. What would you have on a farm around a yarn shop? Goats of course. Well, goats, ducks, peahens, llamas, cats, dogs, and a Shetland pony. If you want to get to know the origins of that lovely cashmere wool you just purchased, go out and say hi.

Here's a photo journal of my little trip:

Heading over Cherokee lake, up through Indian Gap, we headed for Tazewell. The lilies are in bloom all over the place.

 I was immediately greeted by the welcoming party of Leo the cat, as well as two enormous happy dogs who watch over the distant pasture of animals.

I said hi to the mommy goats as they ate their breakfast. They are used to guests, especially since the shop hosts classes of kids to learn about farming, animals, and yarn making.

Said hi to the Daddy goats, who were sequestered away from the mommy goats. The moms weren't as photogenic as the dads. In fact several of the males came up and stared until I took the picture.

Of course what do you get when you have mom and dad goats on the same farm? Baby goats. romping, eating, and playing.

I also met the peahens, the horses, and the llamas.

 This was my morning. Meeting animals, feeling very soft wool, and getting pictures. They enjoyed the experience and so did I. I was impressed by the shop and the animals. The owner was nice and very informative. If you ever get the opportunity to make your way out to Tazewell, Tennessee, I suggest taking the time to stop and say hi to the myriad of animals that provide soft wool and warm humor.

Check out their website here:

Oh, and I also met a very mouthy duck, who wouldn't shut up.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Here I go again

A while back....okay a long time ago, I talked about a book I started as a short story and then let it get out of control. The book is called Legacy of the Dragonwand, at least tentatively. The first post about it is HERE.

What have I been doing since them? Well, I have written two other novels, a few short stories, a play, and edited enough material to fill an isle at the Library of Congress. Is this to say that I set Dragonwand aside and left it to collect dust....hardly.

I decided that this book was good. That might sound odd, but if you know anything about writing you know that as an author you have the lowest opinion of your work. It takes a
lot for me to agree that my work is even worthy of showing to someone, least of all consider it publishable. But, after sitting back and looking at this story I was convinced by a few people that it had merit. It has the quality to actually make it as its own book. So, what did I do with that? I RAN WITH IT!

I have published several books on my own over the past few years, as well as short stories and a few other items. I have learned a thing or two from my mistakes and successes. One thing I learned, if I want to get this out there, polish it like a diamond, not leave it a lump of coal. I edited myself, which is very common. Then I let my mother edit it, which is also my norm. Usually I stop at that and let it go, mom is pretty good and the books come out looking relatively decent. But, I didn't stop there. I wanted more. So, I asked other friends to read it and comment. This would be my first ever attempt at beta-reading. After that I had enough money saved up to pay for a professional editor. This is where I am at now, the editor sent the book back a few weeks ago and since then I have worked, worked, worked to get the corrections made and finish the book.

Am I confident now that the book is as good as it could look? No. As the author of the work I will never feel it is at his best. That is just the nature of being a creative person. But, am I more comfortable now with the work? Yes. I am now willing to believe that the book will stand on its own story and voice when viewed by a publisher and not be just a pile of glaring mistakes.

Next starts a process I am very familiar with, submitting. I will craft the best pitch, cover letter, and synopsis as I can to begin the long, painful process of attempting to garner the interest of an agent or publisher.

P.S. Not only did I work on other things during all this process, I worked on the art for the book. I did the cover and this unique textural picture of the Barren Mountains from the story itself. If they actually get used for the book if/when it gets published is uncertain, but it kept me busy.