Lots and lots of sketches

I feel like my brain is backlogged with all this art I’ve wanted to do and couldn’t. So, every chance I got all week, I drew something. Here’s the results:

Jayesh and Cirrus face off.

This was me trying for more dynamic positioning. Jayesh and Cirrus, from Vid:ilantes and After Atlantis, respectively, are facing off.

Fire and ice wizard

I wanted to draw something with a lot of really bright colors. So here is Destiny Jayesh, keeping the ice at arm’s length and the fire close to his heart.

More Destiny characters

I’m trying to draw a bunch of poses I haven’t tried before. I have a huge pose library in Clip Studio Paint, and I’ve only used a fraction of them. This pic came out all right, but not as dynamic as I’d hoped. Ah well.

Drawn for a friend on my Discord. She wanted her character dressed up as a Titan with a pet warbeast. Somebody remarked that warbeasts aren’t cute. I said, “Sad eyebrows make everything cute!”

Kari and Jayesh, Destiny versions

I’ve wanted to draw these two with the gun Lumina for a while (in the story, they built it together). But it’s hard to draw a romantic-looking pic and have guns in it. But I’m going to … wait for it … take a shot at it.

Ba-dum tish

Now I really should work on commissions and stuff. 😀

A little art for Friday

I kind of swing from writing, to drawing, and back. The last week has been all about writing, so I haven’t done much art. Also the baby doesn’t think she should ever be out of my lap, heh.

Waiting for help

Finished up this pic. I wound up compositing in a lot of photos for textures because I didn’t have time to paint everything.

Cal Kestis from Jedi Fallen Order with a bogling pet. Boglings are just Eevees.

I highly enjoyed Jedi: Fallen Order, so I had to do some fanart for it. It’s a throwback to the original Star Wars movies and does characters and friendship the way Star Wars is supposed to be. I’ll probably play it every year like rewatching a movie. The way I do Portal 2 and Bioshock Infinite. 😀

Quick sketch of Robin Stephanos from my After Atlantis and Vid:ilantes books

I’m trying to draw more concept art for my original characters. It really helps to have visuals. I’ve done the heroes, but I haven’t done the villains and supporting cast. Trying to rectify that. Robin is a bounty hunter who sides with whoever can pay the most money, preferably in jewels. She first appears in Guardian’s Awakening, which technically takes place slightly after Islesworn. She’s in Islesworn, too. Heck, she shows up in just about all of them because she’s always harassing the heroes. She’s kind of fun and utterly amoral. 😀

Why don’t publishers hire ghostwriters for the books they want written?

It’s summertime, and writer’s conferences are in full swing across all my social media. My writing groups are full of people writing proposals and summaries, trying to catch the eye of various publishers or agents. It’s a busy time full of hopes and dreams.

I’m sitting in my corner, doing revisions on my own work, and watching this go on. I’m watching my friends get rejected, watching publishers with really weird requirements. And a question has arisen in my mind that I’d love to ask publishers:

Why do you accept submissions at all when you already know what kind of books you want? Why don’t the publishers write proposals and summaries, and hire writers to write those books?

Publishers don’t want authors who write random books. They want particular books: romance, mystery, or whatever. They want particular formulas in those books. They want particular writing styles. Authors who don’t fit those requirements get rejected, no matter how good their book is.

So … why don’t publishers just hire ghostwriters? Any writer worth their salt can write according to somebody else’s rules. Heaven knows that enough authors have to rewrite their books according to what an editor or agent thinks will sell. Why not go all the way and just write a book from scratch that the publisher has ordered? Authors of licensed fiction do it all the time for Star Trek and other properties.

I think my author friends could avoid a lot of heartache by self-publishing their books and picking up ghostwriting gigs from publishers. I mean, there are indies like Bella Forest who are just a pen name for a jillion ghost writers churning out series books. It’s a thing. I just don’t know why publishers continue to use the old model in the modern era. It’s nonsensical.

Rough art: Star Wars and Destiny

As is our usual habit after I’ve had a baby, my hubby plays story-heavy games while I watch. We enjoy them together like a movie. This time, he’s been playing through Jedi: Fallen Order. And I remember what a Star Wars junkie I was back in the day. Although I liked the movies (original trilogy only, heh), my bag was always the games. And I mean the old games, like Dark Forces, X-wing, and Jedi Knight. The new movies haven’t interested me as much, and the games, while interesting, were usually inaccessibly placed on console only (like Force Unleashed). I think that’s why Destiny grabbed me, because it’s a lot like Star Wars.

Anyway, arts:

Cal Kestis from Jedi: Fallen Order

Painted the above in an hour while the baby was asleep. Didn’t get the values bright enough, but it’s not bad for an hour.

Destiny art stuffs

Thinking about adventures my characters might have in the next expansion, which is on Europa. Which is an icy wasteland. Which means my characters get to wear fur! All the fluffs!

Sitting poses are the hardest for me to draw, so both these are sitting poses. It’s good practice.

Launch of Vid:ilantes novella: Waygate

I’m excited to announce that a new Vid:ilantes novella is available!

A novella that takes place a few months after Bloodbound. Kari and Jayesh send emails back and forth, slowly becoming friends. But Jayesh is dealing with a mysterious super, a knight in armor who can destroy supers with a touch. At the same time, Kari is watching a creepy house where the inhabitants are building an Atlantean waygate–technology that has been lost for three centuries. Can Kari and Jayesh trust each other enough to work together, or will the knight and his magitech destroy them both?

Available on most retailers here

I didn’t mean for there to be a novella in this trilogy, but after Bloodbound, the characters needed some space to breathe. It also introduces the Big Bads of the final book, so it’s important to read. I guess it’s not really a trilogy anymore? 🙂

A little figure practice

Haven’t had much time to draw since the baby was born, but here’s the smattering I managed to do during her naps.

Practicing odd poses that I don’t normally tackle. Sitting poses are super hard for me.
Tane and Jayesh from After Atlantis and Vid:ilantes. Jayesh can summon a magic spear but doesn’t know how to use it. Tane is going to train him, probably with spear fishing.
Participated in the #faceyourart meme on social media. You just show off nine faces you’ve drawn recently, so here’s my nicer ones.

Hoping to get my groove back as the baby settles down into a routine.

Book review: Wilding by Isabella Tree

These last few weeks, being miserably pregnant and watching social media turn into a dumpster fire, I needed to take my brain someplace else. No fiction appealed to me–too stressful. So I picked up a non-fiction book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time: Wilding, by Isabella Tree.

I first read about the Knepp Estate Wilding project a few years ago in this article. It was so strange to me, so backward and refreshing, that I just had to know more.

The farm is on the famously heavy clays of the Sussex Weald. It’s no coincidence that Sussex folk have more than 30 dialect words for mud, from clodgy to gubber: this poorly draining “marginal” soil sets like concrete in summer and porridge in winter, and will never provide high yields of crops.

For 17 years, Burrell did what the conventional farming world told him to do: intensify, and diversify. Tree quotes Burrell’s aunt: “We were all brought up to believe we would go to heaven if we made two blades of grass grow where one had grown before.” They invested in better machinery, unleashed the latest pesticides and launched their own brand ice-cream. They almost doubled their wheat yields. It didn’t work. After 15 years of farming, they made a cash surplus in only two. Both Burrell and Tree enjoyed wildlife. “We’d go all over the world looking for nature, never thinking about what we were doing to it here, or how it could be here,” says Tree. In 1999, the ancient oaks on their land were inspected by an expert, Ted Green. He told the couple that their trees were in poor health because of their farming system’s ploughing of roots and the destruction of mycorrhizae, a vast subterranean fungal network that is crucial to plant health. His visit, writes Tree, coming just when they realised their farm business was unequivocally failing, was an epiphany.

Raising cows among the weeds, the Guardian

This is where the book starts–a failing farm on heavy clay that is no longer good for anything. So the couple take inspiration from a rewilding project in Scotland, where you let the land go wild and introduce hardy, grazing animals like deer, cattle, and pigs. It’s important to use old breeds that still have survival instincts and can feed themselves through the winters. That’s where things got interesting.

When they first let the land go fallow, they immediately had three years of weeds coming up, among them the hated Devil’s Thistle. It sends out a huge root system from one plant and covers acres this way. The surrounding farmers gave them crap for it, but the couple held on, hoping that the whole rewilding thing would work itself out. Then came an absolute plague of painted lady butterflies up from Africa.

Painted ladies love Devil’s Thistle. They blanketed the farm and covered the thistles in caterpillars. By winter, the thistles were so decimated that the wild ponies ate them to the ground, and by the next year, there wasn’t a thistle to be found.

The book is filled with story after story like this–where they assumed one thing and found out it was wrong. For instance, (highly endangered) nightingales were assumed to be a woodland bird–until they began nesting in the scrub brush at Knepp in amazing numbers. Same for the (even more endangered) turtle dove. Each chapter is fascinating examination of things that conservationists believe, and how they were wrong.

Ultimately, the book ends on a hopeful note. The world’s farms are producing food enough to feet ten billion people, and that surplus goes to waste every year. Improving the microscopic life in the world’s soils would absorb the excess carbon in the atmosphere within a few short years. By letting rivers return to their floodplains and letting marshes return, the pollution runoff from farms is reduced to nearly nothing. These observations go on and on–what a positive effect it is to let our over-farmed land lie fallow and let the wilderness return.

It’s a deep, refreshing read, quite different from the hysteria on the news right now. It’s encouraging and hopeful, and backed by pages and pages of studies. I kept joking that I was reading a fascinating book about conservation. But it really is fascinating, and also refreshing, like taking your mind on a vacation.

I highly recommend it for anybody who would like to take a stroll around an English farm and watch it slowly turn to wilderness.

A smattering of art

I feel like my artistic energy has dropped very low. I’m nine months pregnant, and I barely have the energy to do anything, let alone sit in a chair and draw. But here’s a few things I’ve managed to draw in the last few weeks.

Wrathion, the Black Prince, from World of Warcraft.

Here’s Wrathion, from World of Warcraft. I’ve been interested in him since he was born in Cataclysm, basically the only uncorrupted Black Dragon. He immediately set about killing all the rest of his corrupted family, including putting out a hit on his dad. He’s only gotten more and more interesting with each expansion. This is his Battle for Azeroth look.

The Titan Gamer

Commission I did a little while back. Tried some different shading techniques on it and I’m pleased with how it came out.

Concept art for a story, guy with broken arms getting a hug.

One of those pics that showed an idea more than being actual good art. :-p

Taking a rest

After going through a really long slump, I drew this over a base, mostly to try out drawing the clothes. They’re kind of Starfleet, and I liked them. I’ve always loved strong diagonals in design.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately … about 1 drawing per week, which isn’t much for the poor blog. Once I have the baby and feel better, I’m going to draw like a crazy woman.

Art showcase: other people’s work

I drew exactly one crappy pic this week, and that’s not enough to make a blog post out of. So, have some other people’s art! Everything is credited as best as I can.

Artist – Andrey Bogachev Russian Painter.
Waning moon by Warwick Fuller
Artist – Gelena Pavlenko Ukrainian Painter.
Artist – Ralph James American Painter.
Artist – Kathleen Dunphy American Painter.
Painting by Dawn E. Whitelaw

All art picked up from Samuel Cherubin’s Facebook account, where he shares art from tons of artists every day.

Book launch: Vid:ilantes book 2 – Bloodbound

I’m so excited to announce that the second Vid:ilantes book is live!

One by oath, one by blood, one by election.

In a world of superheroes, Jayesh has a rare healing power that he uses in the local hospital. When teenagers are admitted with feather-patterns burned into their backs, Jayesh is reluctantly drawn into the underworld of black market magic smuggling.
A chance encounter with Omniscient, the villain in charge of the smugglers, leaves Jayesh with his magic shattered. A portal to the hospital goes wrong and Jayesh is instead sent to an island in another dimension: an island that has awaited its Bloodbound for centuries. In exchange for healing, he is magically bound to the island, and half his magic is turned into a tiny dragon.
Now, with the help of the Islesworn, James Chase, Jayesh must go undercover to recover the mysterious Pandora. But this means facing off with Omniscient, a villain who can bring a person’s fears to life—and who is increasingly ruled by his own power.

Grab it here!


This is one of those stories that was just so much fun to write. Jayesh is the gentle, quiet, introverted type, very much a healer. And he goes and gets himself into very hot water, just because of trying to do the right thing. I wrote it as an escape, mostly, so all the parts where he hangs out on the island Sanctuary, just walking on the beach or resting, were because I wanted to go to a place like that, myself. I hope readers enjoy the visit as much as I did. I’m already messing with a followup because I just can’t leave this universe alone.

The third book in the trilogy will take it full circle and plug everything into the After Atlantis trilogy. Tane might even appear in Bloodbound. Everybody from After Atlantis will meet up with the Vid:ilantes, and things are going to get really crazy.