Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tyler-Rose Uses a Screwdriver

Besides majoring in English, I am also getting a minor in Graphic Design.* So mostly I spend my time either reading strange modernist fiction or making pretty pictures on the computer. However, said Graphic Design minor also requires two drawing classes which are MY FAVORITE PART.** Even though my drawings are rarely stunning masterpieces of glorious magnificence, I love that my work results in something I can actually hold in my hands or hide under my bed or hang on my wall.***

At the end of the semester the art professors require that students enter a piece in the All-Level Student Show. This requires matting and framing a drawing. Matting and framing a drawing requires the guillotine paper cutter, t-squares, and practical life skills like the ability to hold a screw driver.

I think it is periodically important for writers and artists (I think this is actually why the professor require us to enter something in the show) to remember that they do, in fact, often have practical life skills even when their individual emotional journeys make it seem like don't.

In celebration of practical life skills, I give you . . . my UNBELIEVABLY EXCITING**** framing project.

(Also appreciate our new impossible-to-keep-clean Post-Flood flooring.)

A picture of the things I will need to frame my drawing.
All the materials laid out. See? Real screwdrivers.

A picture of three sides of the frame.
The frame partially screwed together with the Acrylic in it.#

A picture of the back of the drawing and matboard.
The picture carefully attached to the mat-board with acid-free paper tape.
Because this one needs to survive the ages.

A picture of my framed drawing of a male torso.
Proof I can operate a screwdriver.

I didn't tell you our model is a decathlete, did I? Let's have another one. Just for funzzies.

A picture of me and my framed male torso.

The show starts next Sunday. I thought about putting a price on The Abs and trying to recoup the cost of the frame,## but I'm afraid I like them way too much and could never part with them permanently.

And I'm going to keep them on my dresser until I turn them in on Saturday. :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* So that if I fail as a writer in a truly epic and unrecoverable fashion, maybe I will still be able to feed myself.^

^ Just kidding. That's only about half of why. The other half is that I like pretty things. A lot. Like, A LOT a lot. And I like making pretty things. And making things pretty. And beautiful too, if I can manage it.

** Here is a drawing I copied of a lovely French gentleman because he is one of my favorites:

My copy of a drawing by Hubert-Francois Bouguignon.

*** Novels do this too, but they take way longer than my little drawings. Sometimes the gratification is so delayed it's hard to remember that it's there at all.

**** LOL

# Real glass is for cocky fools who think they aren't going to drop their pictures the instant they pick them up.

## Which made me cough just a little bit when I saw the total online. 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Song Caster

Previously we've helped proclaim the glorious birth of both The Swan Prince and The Stone Kingdom, Books One and Two of charming The Wilderhark Tales by Danielle E. Shipley. Things have moved on while Susan and I were under our paper writing rock and it is now time to reveal the lovely cover of (OMG) Book Four!

Without further ado . . .

A picture of the Cover of The Song Caster, a Young Adult novel by Danielle E. Shipley.

The dull doom of impending marriage at his back and a reticent royal at his side, remarkable minstrel Gant-o’-the-Lute is off in search of adventure, and you can be sure he finds it – complete with much music, magicked maidens, and a dangerous power so great, Lute might for once find himself outmatched.

The Song Caster
Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast; a princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell; bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk – all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories – of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball; of frog princes, and swan princes, and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea. Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

 It will be available on June 24, 2014. You can get it in Paperback from Amazon or eBook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile, you can add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads!


About the Author:

A picture of author Danielle E. Shipley.Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com. Her first novel, “Inspired”, is now available through J. Taylor Publishing.

Congratulations, Danielle!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Art and Literature

I've written about the chasm that seems to divide commercial and literary fiction before.* It became especially relevant early last semester as I began to be more confident about telling people that I was a writer and that I write YA Fantasy. I had several rather unpleasant encounters with professors and other students where they seemed to think less of me once they learned the silly thing I did with my free time and hoped to do with the rest of my life.

While I know a lot of you will want to say something along the lines of "you shouldn't care what they think, just follow your writing heart,"** I do care what they think, and I really can't help myself. More accurately, I really just care about what a few of my professor think. Most of the rest of them I can shrug off. And all but a choice few of the students have pretty much lost their ability to make an impact.

But even when their disapproval has zero impact on my life plan, I still notice them disapproving of me. I also still manage to get into snits with people it would definitely be wiser not to argue with over this issue,*** and people who think reading shouldn't be 'fun' still make me worry about the state of the world.

So, of course I was interested when one of my art professors started talking about a similar theoretical division that currently exists in the art world.

Apparently, Post-Modernism that focuses solely on the artist's feelings about The Lack of Meaning in the World is currently in vogue and those who would like to focus on drawing as the foundation of art and follow in the footsteps of the Italian masters are left out in the cold. This is how we get big canvases of blankness with a single blob of chewed bubble gum stuck in the middle hung in art museums. 

As it is hard for writers of fantasy and commercial fiction of all sorts to get into writing workshops and MFA programs, so also do the Realists struggle.

I find this an intriguing parallel.



Completely unrelatedly, I found these on Etsy. Aren't they fab?

A picture of a pair of tights with a map of Middle Earth printed on them.
Don't you wish you had Middle Earth on your pants?


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* If you haven't heard about the foolish thing our school library has done with the YA Fiction, then you need to click here.

** And I thank you for that. No doubt it's true. Perhaps I'll reach that level of confidence in myself and my craft at some blessed future date.

*** I usually walk away from these congratulating myself on not smacking my opponent for his or her pretentiousness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


* Tyler-Rose momentarily commandeers the ship to let everyone know that this is our 300th blog post!!!! YAAAAY! Uh-hem. Carry on. *

Hosted by the lovely sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme/blog hop in which writer-bloggers take a brief post to share what's going on in their lives, writing-related and otherwise.  Check it out here or here if you want the details! 


The What's Up Wednesday logo is set before a background of a flowering tree.


WHAT I'M READING

Still working through A Game of Thrones.  Still loving it. 

Also lots of lyric poetry for my Renaissance Lit class.  Here's one of my favorites--a song by Shakespeare that my professor made us memorize.  (By the way, Tyler-Rose, I misspoke yesterday--it does come from a play.) 

WHAT I'M WRITING

Almost done re-drafting the first 100 pages of THE MADMAN'S CROWN!  It looks like I'll be tackling it in four chunks, so nearing the 1/4 mark is good news!! 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

The fact that the snow has FINALLY melted.  For a while there, I forgot what it was like to go outside without a parka. 

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

We're nearing the end of the semester, so mostly I've got the usual insane busy-ness with finishing papers and projects and wrapping up the year!  (Hence the general lack of blog in the past few weeks...) 

While doing some baking to relieve end-of-semester stress, I got one of THESE to make cupcakes with.  It worked amazingly well--super-efficient and fun to use!  And the result was delicious: 

This is a red velvet cupcake in the sun.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sad Songs

Some friends exchange gifts of this sort or that.  Tyler-Rose and I like to exchange sad songs.  Sad songs of a Scottish or Irish folk persuasion, mostly.  Often ballads. 

We've accumulated some favorites, so without further ado, I give you: 

Tyler-Rose and Susan's top 5 Sad Irish/Scottish/folk/English/Celtic Songs: 

(Well.........okay, I may have snuck one happy ending in here.  Can you find it? :P) 



Starting off strong with...  "Drowned Lovers" by Kate Rusby:

 
 
 
A variation on that theme:  "Step it out, Mary" by The High Kings:
 

 
 
 
Another Kate Rusby--a male-perspective ballad with the auspicious title, "I Am Stretched On Your Grave":
 
 
 
 
Of course, this list would be nothing without a love-gone-to-sea song--"There Was a Maid In Her Father's Garden" by Dervish: 
 
 
 
 
And last but not least, my hands-down absolute favorite and most weep-worthy, Loreena McKennit's rendition of "The Highwayman":
 


Did you find the happy one? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday



Hosted by the lovely sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme/blog hop in which writer-bloggers take a brief post to share what's going on in their lives, writing-related and otherwise.  Check it out here or here if you want the details! 



WHAT I'M READING

I finished Cruel Beauty last week.  It's one of the best YA books I've read in a while!  Highly recommended to fans of YA fantasy, romance, sister relationships, and the whole Beauty and the Beast/Hades and Persephone story. 

cruel beauty rose

I'm now mostly focusing on A Game of Thrones (yes, I'm just starting it now...), which is beginning to get really, really good.  I was impressed with the writing pretty much from the beginning, but it's taken me about 100 pages to be totally hooked.  I am hooked now, though I believe my decision to not read it when I was younger was a good one. 

WHAT I'M WRITING

Did some reassessment last week and am heading back into my rewrite of THE MADMAN'S CROWN with renewed focus. 

I think (I hope) I'm finally at a point where I just have to get those words down.  (As opposed to planning and planning and straightening things out and revising the plan and learning lots of good things but not actually writing because the learning curve is steeeeeep sometimes...  At this point I just want to WRITE IT.) 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Tyrion Lannister. 

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Well, I'm avoiding an English paper as I write this, so...better go! 
 
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

I know I'm a late-comer today, but...

Hosted by the lovely sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme/blog hop in which writer-bloggers take a brief post to share what's going on in their lives, writing-related and otherwise.  Check it out here or here if you want the details! 




WHAT I'M READING

Still vaguely rotating my seven fantasy novels, but have mostly been reading Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge.  I'm enjoying it, and I know Tyler-Rose did because I lent it to her on a Friday evening and got it back that Saturday morning before we had our scones. 

Also Shakespeare's Henriad (so good--and now with awesome movie adaptation! <--yes, that is Tom Hiddleston; your eyes do not deceive you) and other things for class. 

WHAT I'M WRITING

I got a little off track with my rewrite over the weekend.  Re-assessed this morning and am looking to get back into the swing of things over...

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

...spring break!  I am going home, and I'm going to eat good food and sleep a lot and write stuff.  So pumped. 

Also--did I mention this yet?--Tom Hiddleston as Henry V.  I haven't even watched the movie yet and I'm inspired. 


Tom Hiddleston Henry V
If you're not feeling inspired too, now, we have a problem. 


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Homework.  Papers, midterms...  But spring break is coming so it's all going to be okay even though it only lasts a week and will feel like two days but still.  Yay. 
 
Happy Wednesday, everyone!