Monday, June 30, 2008


Just for the fun of it, started a Deviantart account. I'm over at:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Art Spurt!

It's bleeding out of my fingers! But I've got an obscene amount of space on my website, so why not? I have done some computer modulation, but only to make the scans look as much like the original pages as possible.

This was a free-form drawing, with no photo for reference. After starting it, I immediately wished I had used only white pastels. One small computer modulation beyond those described above - I originally had her eyes a bit too high, and the first pencil mark was faintly visible in the scan, so I smudged it digitally.

Just for fun, I put it into Paint Shop Pro and blue-scaled it:

This one, on the other hand, was sketched by hand and then colored in PSP. The title is "Chocolate Bard" - a combination of my trying to "fantasy up" my work and my really bad pun sense:

But wait. The puns get worse. Much, much worse. This one is entitled Waite-d Dice:

Finally, I went kind of nuts and bought myself a starter set of acrylic paints. This is the result:

I'm having fun conceptualizing things that I can draw without using copyrighted models - and basically giving myself permission to experiment and be not terribly good at it. ;-) I'm taking a roll of film right now to see if my camera even works ... I'll be shocked if it does, considering the film that was in it when I found it was from 2005 ... but it was a good camera, so there's a chance.

Spaaaaace Sirens!

I just sold a story entitled "Precious Cargo" to the anthology Space Sirens, edited by Carol Hightshoe (of The Lorelei Signal and Sorcerous Signals - always gracious and professional). Essentially, the theme of the anthology is female-centric adventure science fiction. She was looking for some humor / tongue-in-cheek - I'm not totally sure where my story falls on that spectrum, but I was trying. ;-)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fantasy ...

"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels." ~Francisco Goya

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

Dry spell broken - sale!

Mirror, Mirror will appear in the debut issue of Speculative Mystery Iconoclast ( sometime towards the end of July. I rather think I'm going to enjoy this magazine, m'self ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boot Camp Revised

Finally decided on a two-day cycle:

Day 1: Pitch and first three pages
Day 2: Remainder

I did a script yesterday, but I may be putting off the rest of the "camp" to start next Monday. I am having a wildly over-busy week and it's just one thing too many on my plate. Will heavily depend on whether I get a script started today.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Writers' Boot Camp: Part Two

A while ago, I did a self-imposed Writers' Boot Camp: I went through the book The Three A.M. Epiphany in order, one exercise a day, skipping only the ones that didn't fit easily into a single day's work and taking breaks only under extenuating circumstances. Now, I'm pondering a different idea.

Since participating in the 48 Hr Film Project, I've become intrigued by script writing. The random prompt generator the Oblaks set up for practice pitches is still there. I thought I might make use of it to write a whole bunch of short scripts. A rough guideline is one minute per page, so if I stay within the 48 Hr guidelines, which I see no reason why not (brevity practice is always good for me), it would be aiming for 4-7 page scripts. I'll go easy on myself and say to max out at ten.

I'm not going to come out of this with a product I can sell. My hopes are two-fold:

A) Come up with some material that can be converted into short work / flash fiction, and/or that can be used within a story - a play within the work, for instance.

B) More importantly, improve as a writer by stretching and trying a completely new medium.

My only quandry here is how to set it up advantageously. In the past, my boot-camp was designed to leave me enough time per day to work on my continuous projects. I'm not sure that I can write 4+ pages of script and not have it take up the whole day. However, if I say per 3 days, then I lose the element of having an obvious goal for each day. I think I'm going to try a couple over the next few days and see how it goes; then I'll decide how to proceed. But I'm thinking a two-week "camp" is my final goal, and/or ten scripts minimum.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not Quitting My Day-Job

Every now and again, I like to draw - hindered somewhat by the fact that I'm not very good at it. I also prefer to have something to draw from, which is a problem when photos are copyrighted, etc ... I feel a bit "off" claiming it. Also complicating matters is the fact that I feel the urge to "fantasy up" everything I draw. Anyhow, I've gone through another phase, and thought I'd post a few for the heck of it.

Old work:

I really liked the inverse shading I had to do with the pastels for the second one, so am planning on trying something similar.

Currently, some found objects from my house: Rocks.jpg

And I felt the overwhelming need to fantasy-ize this one by making it anthropomorphic:

This next one, I was initially going to do three ways (pastels, pencils and digital), but I couldn't get the lines distinct enough to "work" them on the computer. So: Musician 2.jpg Musician.jpg

I had a huge rant prepared about how the background of the second one was supposed to be a carpet, so expansive that there wasn't really a horizon in the perspective, but it turned into a psychadelic trip ... but *then* the carpet color didn't really get picked up by the scanner.

So. Yeah. Not an artist.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just Goes To Show ...

I am a horrible judge of my own work. I had discounted my entry for the May Writing Challenge, because I'd read a couple other entries that I thought were significantly stronger than my own.


(I'm Aiara.)

I am sort of mystified. But pleased!

(No more 48 Hr updates for a while. Next step is the screening next week, of all twenty films in our group ... I'm hoping to attend.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

48 Hour Film Project: 46hrs to Zero Hour

So the mysterious secret of the editors' demesne twas revealed, and after getting myself thoroughly lost off the exit (go me!) I finally trolled in about 5:30. An hour and a half until submissions opened, two hours until the final bell. With sixteen minutes needed to make two tapes, the crew was busily working on the audio. It was crazy, watching the last minute blitz. Amy was in nail-biting mode, but too tired to actually do any chewing.

At first, we're talking about leaving to be there by 7pm. Then leaving by 7. And then, as a few of the boys head off to scout the way ...

Kachunk. Disk failure. Reboot. Reboot again.

We need sixteen minutes. It's past 7. ... and it's not going to happen.

A disheartened crew is ready to push through even despite, but the energy is gone. Then a cameraman has the idea to copy the second tape on the way over. "But we don't have this cable!" "I do!" "... my battery is dead." Eventually sorting out the mishmash, we race to the car, waiting and ready to drive. (I am not driving. Are you crazy?)

A lone figure surges out of the apartment. "I checked the rules! We only need one tape!" And whoosh, we're off, pedal to the floor, clocking like crazy for downtown, and very tempted to run some red lights downtown. We pull up by Fountain Square - out jumps Jim with the tape - and a crazy swing down into the parking lot to park. I really wish I'd known I was going to be running: I literally ended up out of one of my sandals as we hurried to join him. (Only he needed to be there, but - still! Fervor!)

We made it, less than two minutes to spare. Off to celebrate, swap shoot stories, snack on appetizers and (quite a bit) stare into space. What a ride.

48 Hour Film Project: 43 hrs

Just received a call from Amy - turns out they banned anyone who wasn't an editor from the editing room, and didn't even tell most of the crew where said editing was occurring. She said that it would probably be open in a little while, but I've got a lunch date for Father's Day, so ... and the last stage, of course, is the drop-off, with celebratory dining afterwards. Not sure whether or not I'll be able to make it down there ...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

48 Hour Film Project: 17hrs to 25hrs

Ah, the dreaded phonecall:

"It doesn't read like a road movie."

Unfortunately, with about ten minutes until I left, the mail came in, and it included a rejection on an agent query. So I felt this irrational compulsion to get it back into the "mail" (email in this case) immediately ... complicated by the fact I'd decided to multi-query. I finally told myself I was being silly, as long as I had the destinations chosen, there was no way a couple hrs in sending was going to matter ... but still, getting myself out the door with the queries unsent was unnervingly hard.

Managed to get a parking space out front, then realized I had only one quarter. One of the apartment owners was outside with Randall (puppy!). I rushed up to ask if I could trade for some change. He asked if I'd checked around the corner for alley parking. I turned, in sort of a rush because I was fifteen minutes late (1pm was the requested meet-time) and ... smack. OWW. I crashed thigh-first into a flower-pot. The fact that it leapt out of nowhere and viciously attacked me became a running joke for the rest of the day.

But I have a war-wound! (Actually two of them - cut my finger later trying to pull the dog back on one of those darned auto-retractable-extendable-whatever leashes.)

We decided to extend the travel sequences and add some monologues, including one about kayak being a palindrome ... why isn't palindrome a palindrome? Anyhow. Also some other conceptual neatos, followed by the slow trickle in of necessary personnel before ... uh ... turns out the crew that wanted to start filming as soon as the new draft was approved couldn't go anywhere because they had the kayak, but no way to secure it.

Eventually, everyone got out the door. Amy and I ended up doing some clerical work and coming up with a possible form for the credits. Since she was the only other one there, I hung around for a bit before clocking home ... mainly because we weren't conversing, I was monologuing and I was turning increasingly more idiotic.

There was a lot of hurry up and wait today, but we got some good, strong work done, and I'm feeling better about my contribution to the collaboration. Tomorrow -- editing, and that's mostly an observer post again.

Halfway there!

48 Hour Film Project: 9hrs to 16hrs


Woke up this morning and sent probably the second text message of my life to Amy to find out if they'd slept yet. Turns out they want to meet at 3pm to do some editing, so unless it becomes earlier, I'll be shipping out in a bit to play observer. I'd also think the editing process should have some creative elements ... not that I'm necessarily providing them, but I can pretend. ;-)

At this point, I want to step aside and discuss a basic problem with fiction: Inspired By True Events.

Truth is stranger than fiction. "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities - truth isn't." (Mark Twain) It all boils down to this: we tolerate coincidence in the real world, but we don't tolerate it in a story, except as maybe a catalyst. ("Oh, look, a kayak!" That's fine.) For real events to work as a translation, they have to have an underlying causual integrity. And sometimes, the way things actually happened don't necessarily make for a better story.

So there's a push-me-pull-you between, "But that's how it happened!" and the evolution of script and story. It's not all one way, either - we want to keep the core, because there is something really fresh about the fact that this actually happened. But it has definitely been a confounding factor.

48 Hour Film Project: 5 hrs to 8 hrs

Location scouting! I have no business being part of this, but it involves being on the streets of Cincinnati at 12:45 in the morning, so hey. Eerie cloud passage overhead. It's amazing how alive the streets are, and then they clear out, and in that possessive stillness I'm reminded of a favorite poem about a very different place -

And suddenly, a silence ...
Takes your breath away

There's something very magical about this illusion of emptiness in a city.

Not quite so magical: random drunk man trying to high-five everyone.

Quinn compares parts of the script to Douglas Adams. Terry looks blank. Scott and I are shocked. You poor deprived woman! Or maybe I should say, "Our jaws hung open exactly the way bricks don't."

There are bits I'm not fond of - I've got a limited tolerance for crude humor. (Yeah, call me a snob.) But it should hang together well.

The kayak arrives!

Peanut butter brownie cookies I bought on a whim are a hit. Seriously, I just stared at all the cookie varieties until I saw two that I particularly wanted to have. There was very little public appeal thought to it, but for some reason it seems like everyone else was in the same cookie mood.

I could have left at this point - and I know there will probably be creative disputes after I did leave - but I was curious to catch the beginning of the filming. It's a slow process of hurry up and wait, but passerby seemed to be both courteous and very interested.

Could have stayed over and slept there - I did bring my sleeping bag - but I put my back out a week ago, and that struck me as really dumb. So stayed until I could feel I was edging on too much pain and too much sleepiness to drive safely, then took off for home. Will call when I wake up to see where everyone is ...

Cannot go to bed without shower. Spent way too much time petting dog and way too much time around smokers. Will wake up as one ball of unremitting allergy otherwise.

What a crazy, surreal, eclectic experience. This is a whole new form of collaboration for me. Still processing. More as the film continues ...

48 Hour Film Project: -2 hrs to 5hrs

A man, a plan, a ... kayak?

Today is the ... no, yesterday is the day. I really wanted to collect all my thoughts before I slept. Actually, what I really want is a shower, but I don't want to wake anyone else up. ;-)

4:50pm -- Amy telephones me and lets me know they're en route to draw their random elements for the film. Stuck on Fields-Ertel, which is one of those nightmarish roads upon which construction occurs, but no improvement. Everyone needs to be at the Plum Street Cafe in downtown Cincinnati by 7pm to begin work as soon as elements are announced. I'm planning to leave around 6:30 ... leaving fifteen minutes earlier usually just puts you that much closer to the rush, so you end up arriving at the same time with more glunking in the car.

6:10 -- Amy again, "Hey, Linds, where are you?" Me, "I'm not driving yet, leaving in a few minutes." Her, "Well, there's this accident ..." Me, "Aaack. Getting in car. Now."

6:50 -- bumper to bumper traffic, thirteen miles to go and OMG WHY IS THERE A BUS DRIVING ON THE LEFT HAND BERM?

7:26 -- finally downtown. Circled around once. No parking. Saw Amy and her husband Jim, tried to beep at them, probably ticked off other drivers. Phonecall, picked her up on the next go-round, and finally got parked.

Inside at last for the moment of truth:

Genre: Road Movie
Required Character: Winston (or Wilma) Weatherby, an auctioneer
Required Prop: A roll of toilet paper
Line of dialogue: "There's no way this is going to work."

I think there are a dozen people in the room, and we get down to coming up with a general form. Some things are kicked around - I suggest a bicycle road movie, someone brings up Antiques Roadshow. Turns out there's a true story about the brothers who own the apartment we're taking over and one of those things that sounds like a good idea when one is drunk: an epic tale of trying to bring a dumped kayak back to their apartment.

There are a couple other suggestions, but this seems to lead. Everyone contributes to general form, possible incorporation of the elements, and by just a little after nine o'clock, we have a rough outline. Terry, Scott (I think) and I are turned loose to script-write. Terry takes the typing and the lead; she's opinionated but not roughshod, so this works really well. I feel like I'm quiet, but I do contribute some. I am inordinately distracted by the fact that we have a storyboard artist drawing shots of the scene as we're scripting. Too. Awesome.

(Also, I stop to have a conversation with Randall, the dog. No one finds this odd.)

At this point, time begins to bluuuuur. I think it took us two hours to get a rough draft - four pages, which at about a minute a page (and with a couple of action/montage scenes) put us comfortably in the 4 - 7 minute restriction. Time became of the essence because, while conceptualizing the script, we realized it had to be shot completely at night. So - shooting would start (has started) tonight and be finished Saturday night.

(I have a chocolate orgasm. This is a cookie. My diet is more shot than a tourist trap.)

Readthrough, suggested minor changes, and then some more significant thematic issues, handled with a few lines. Amazing what focus and clarity can be conveyed in minor tweaks.

Laura and Quinn pop upstairs at this point and have written us a themesong. Chords, lyrics, melody and campiness about being in a kayak with no paddle. Themesong. Seriously. Wow.

Continuing into tomorrow ...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Memoriam

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of putting my dog Nimi to sleep. Here she is, enjoying a last car-ride:

A year later, I still think this says it:

"I'm on the move
I'm gettin' on
I'm breakin' out
And it won't take long
Behind the wheel
Got a song
Pedal's down
And I'm gone ..." --- Cadillac Car (Dreamgirls)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Mystery in a Mystery?

I just finished Glen Cook's "Sweet Silver Blues," which I've heard described as a (loosely) noir-style mystery in a fantasy setting. This is the way I want to take my own fantasy-mysteries - a period investigator in a fantastic setting, rather than the urban detective in a paranormal contemporary world that seems so popular - so I was particularly interested in this one. It certainly has some elements of a mystery story, and I did like the noir intrusions into a fairly standard fantasy setting, but it didn't strike me as a mystery for one reason: no fair play.

There was no way that a reader could have guessed what was going on before the detective, because most of the time, the background clues, hints and relevant world knowledge was provided only a few pages before the attached solution. I got the impression that I was somehow expected to intuit any number of possible fantastic elements ... or there was no play-along aspect to the mystery.

Since this is the first book, I would expect this to balance out in later novels. Undecided whether I'm going to try to pick up future volumes to see. I was curious to see what would happen, but I didn't feel invested in the characters, so I wasn't interested in their survival ... a loss of tension. I am very very picky about my character development, though, so odds I'm being overly harsh - high.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Laptop Woes

My laptop has - twice now - abruptly turned off and refused to reboot. This usually happens after I've had it on for a number of hours, so I'm working on the theory the fan might have died. Going to see if it does it again, and then possibly take it to a repair place ... I really hope it's not very expensive to fix if so. I also keep procrastinating on getting the CD burner on my desktop fixed because the last time I had my desktop repaired, the Gateway people held it hostage for two months ...

Random work update --

Journal of the Dead - just a tiny bit shy of 72,000 words. Protag and her bodyguard are about to have a blow-up over his romantic interest in her.
Miss Understanding - full manuscript under review. Keep your fingers crossed.
A Dose of Aconite (short) - Challenge story for June is "Write a story from a/the villain's perspective." So my villain has just knocked out my heroine ...
Flow - about to post my synopsis on a private writers' group. I think.

Friday, June 06, 2008

48 Hour Film Project

So I decided to step out of my comfort zone - way, way out of my comfort zone - and attempt this:

Essentially, teams in every host city get a randomly selected genre, character, line of dialogue, and I think maybe a prop. They then have 48 hours - from 7pm Friday evening to 7pm Sunday evening - to script, cast, shoot and edit a 4 -7 minute film. I've only dabbled in screenwriting, but obviously I'm intending on pretty much helping with the creation aspect and then stepping back ... though if there's a need for a crowd scene, I'll be happy to be involved.

My friend Amy (the flutist) and her husband are in charge of this group - Eikonoclast Films, responsible for the winning entry in Cincinnati last year, "ATM: A Time Machine." We were talking about it while I was in Connecticut last year for my cousin's wedding ... really wish I could have been there for the scifi entry.

I know a bit more about how it works now and I'm pretty excited. My main fear is that I'm going to sit there dumbly, because my track record with collaboration is spotty, but it's too fun not to try.

Monday, June 02, 2008


A brief view of A Time Two ... Volume 2, with one of my flash fiction stories (Retirement) in it:

I always get jumpingly nervous the moment I see there's a review up. This one is positive, if brief.