Art post in color

I didn’t do quite as much art this past week, but I did do more color. Here we go:

Guy and girl in the Easter event holiday gear. I thought it was so pretty and just had to draw it.
Artwork of a guy’s Titan character who has a robot leg.
A silly scribble for a friend who bought three of the bunny ghost shells.

So that’s what I’ve been up to in the past week. I’m really enjoying playing with color again, so we’ll see what else I do. I kind of want to do backgrounds again. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Character art and graphic novel page

I did a ton of art last week. Let’s show it off!

Flowers are fun to paint.
A graphic novel treatment of one of the stories in the Destiny 2 lore.
Drawing people’s characters for fun.
More characters for fun.

Trying to improve my line work. My tablet draws sucky jittery lines, so I’m constantly fighting it as I go. I suppose I should do everything with the pen tool. It looks nice, but takes ages and ages, and I’m impatient. :-p

Never run down your work

Ever see a piece of artwork that just blows your mind? It’s incredible, and it looks like it was painted it just a few strokes. Yet it somehow captures the essence of the subject in a way you’ve never thought about before.


Then you read the description. And the artist says something like, “I whipped this up in five minutes. It’s not very good and I hate it. I’ll probably take it down later.”
And you feel let down, because YOU liked it. But the artist knows better than you, right? And it must be crap, somehow. So you go away slightly offended without knowing why.


Dean Wesley Smith talks about this in a blog post called No One Cares. He’s talking about writing, but the same rule applies:

When you wrote a book and got it out, it was the best you could do at the time. Some readers paid good money for it and many liked it and bought more books from you.

So you go learn something and now YOU CAN SEE WHAT WAS WRONG. Before, those same words looked fine to you, but now you can see โ€œthe problem.โ€ Oh, noโ€ฆ

But no one else can see. And no one cares that you have learned something you add to future books that wasnโ€™t in older books.

Only you know. Only you care.

And one additional thing.

NEVER PUT DOWN YOUR OWN WORK. Especially older books.

Some reader might think your older book is the best thing they ever read and the last thing they want is to be insulted by you putting down their tastes in books.

Keep your mouth shut, keep learning, write the next book, and get it out. Repeat.

And if you really do realize no one cares but you, the freedom in your writing is amazing.

Go have fun.


See, when you put down your own work, whether it’s writing, artwork, dance, music, or whatever, you’re insulting that person who liked it. Sure, you can remark that you have room for improvement. Don’t we all? But stand by your work. Don’t run it down and cheapen it. Your audience liked it. Don’t insult them.

I could go on about what’s wrong with this pic. Or I could point out what’s right with it. Negativity doesn’t make anybody feel better.


Return of the art blog

When I first started this blog a few years ago, it was just a place to post my art and talk about how I made it. I branched out from there, but I still like the idea of just blogging my various sketches and things.

I’ve been trying to post art on Tumblr, but … let’s face it, Tumblr is just about the worst platform I’ve ever used, even worse than Facebook. Facebook will at least put all your pictures into an album. Good luck finding ANYTHING on Tumblr.

I do post to my deviantart and Pinterest, but I’d like to have a central spot of my own to post extra bits. So expect more art from me and less pithy stuff. I don’t have much brainpower for pith, anyway, which is why I haven’t updated.

Art-wise, I’ve been furiously studying and practicing, trying to improve. Mostly I’ve been focused on comics and things centered around Destiny, because it gives me an excuse to draw both humans and armor, two things I’m sadly bad at. So you may have to endure a lot of game-related jokes and fan characters.

So, really, the same stuff I draw for the Sonic fandom. ๐Ÿ˜€

So here’s a few of the things I’ve done recently, just to kick things off.

This week’s art dump (mostly Destiny)

Well, here it is Friday again. I’ve tried to draw something every day this week, just to get back into practice. I’ve been trying out different styles and techniques for things. So, without further ado, the eye candy:

destiny-madrid-and-rose
An anime take on a Destiny Awoken Hunter … with a ghost in a shell shaped like a rose.

destiny-tired-warlocks
Trying to do the impressionistic concept art look. It’s harder than it sounds. The background is screencapped from Destiny 2 because no way was I going to try painting that.

destiny-growingpains
Further adventures of the baby with a Destiny ghost.

destiny-LG-crash
And even more further adventures of.

Art stuffs and writing stuffs

Time for another art dump post!

I know I should really be writing my superhero youtuber book. (And it’s an amazing story!) But I keep getting distracted by Destiny 2. Like, distracted to the point of fanart and fanfics.

Like this tiny little flash fiction I cooked up, just to have the excuse to put a comic at the end.


The ghost had wandered for a thousand years since its birth, seeking his Guardian. He had watched empires rise and fall, witnessed humanity’s retreat to the Last City. And he still had not found the spark that sang to him, the heart destined to bind to his own Light.
Weary beyond expression, the ghost made his way back to the Last City in the Traveler’s shadow. He might have to return to the Traveler, admit his defeat, and hope the Traveler accepted him back into the Great Consciousness. He had failed. He couldn’t find his Guardian.
But then, as he flew above the buildings of the City, he halted. Was that the pull of a spark? He hovered, turning this way and that, feeling for it. Yes, surely it was his Guardian! Here, in the City, the last place he thought to look. Guardians usually didn’t appear among the living, so he had never bothered looking.
He darted downward, scanning the rooftops and walls, searching. The sense of the spark drew him onward, through the neighborhood to the smallest house at the end of the street, nearest the city’s wall. He was so desperate to find his Guardian that he phased straight through the wall to enter the house.
The ghost entered a small bedroom. A woman sat in a rocking chair, holding a newborn baby.
The baby’s spark sang to the ghost’s core.
How could it be possible? He had waited all this time for his Guardian to be born? It staggered him with confusion. But there was no mistaking the glory of his Guardian’s spark.
The mother saw the ghost and gasped. “What do you want?”
“Your son,” the ghost said, still shocked, himself. “He’s my Guardian.”
The baby turned his head, gazing at the ghost with a deep, wondering look. And the ghost’s heart was lost forevermore.

littleguardiancomic1


Oh yeah, I’ve got it so bad. Like, here’s a sketch of our fireteam:

destiny-grouphug

My husband’s character, my character, and our friend Josh. We each play a different class and have a ton of fun. Well, until we burn out. ๐Ÿ˜€


As for fanfics, here’s one of my fanfic hero, Jayesh:

destiny-jayesh-firesword

Story excerpt: Jayesh inhaled and drew on his stored Light. He was still tired and sore, but that slid aside, becoming secondary. He pushed through his own doubts, his disillusionment with his own people, and his secret fears that maybe he really hadn’t seen the Traveler, that he had dreamed it somehow. The Light was real. He could feel it. In his mind, he was back with the Traveler, feeling the Light around him and inside him, warm, electrical, and alive. Its voice spoke in his mind, along with the Light, saying in recognition and approval, “Guardian Jayesh.”
He hadn’t made it up, after all. Sudden courage filled him. He had been telling the truth–the Traveler knew his name. No amount of sneering media could change that. The Light surged inside him, though him, empowering him as its chosen Guardian.
“I fight for you, Traveler!” Jayesh cried. Fire burst from him, wreathing him in a cloak of burning light. It billowed from his shoulders like a pair of wings. A glowing sword appeared in his hand.
He shot into the air and hurled himself at the Gate Lord.

fanfiction.net link

AO3 link


So, there you have it. A peek into my latest obsession. That’s what I’ve been up to lately in my small bits of free time.

New book covers and stuff

I get quiet on this blog when I’m busy creating things. Here are some of the pretty things I’ve been working on:

I’ve been working on making new covers for my historical shifter stories. Aren’t they pretty? Much better than the terrible covers they had before. These are set in a fantasy world loosely based on the Regency period in England, so you have women in dresses and men in top hats drinking tea and sometimes turning into monsters. There’s romance, but no sex. Which is one reason I think they don’t sell much, ha! But I still love them all. And yes, they each feature a different kind of shifter. I still think the werefox is the most original (nothing like a good cup of tea to set you right!).

I’ve finally completed an audiobook of the second fanfic in the series I was doing. Here’s the first audiobook, and here’s the second one. I got a lot of advice on the first one, namely, “DON’T TALK SO FAST!” So I tried to slow it down a lot for this second one. I find that talking slower leads to a better performance, too. I’m sure there’s seasoned actors out there snickering at me for figuring this out. I feel like I’m slowly building up courage to record an audiobook of my original work.

In other news, I’ve been drawing a lot and writing a lot. It’s amazing how a nice, boring, routine life promotes a creative mind. The kids love being on a routine, because they always know what we’re doing next (even if it’s math).

I feel like I’m slowly coming out of this scary survival place where I’ve been hiding for the last decade. It’s hard to be creative when your brain is shut down in fear all the time. But things are stable, and I feel like I’m turning back into a human being again. All I want to do is create things. And you can tell, because look how pretty those new covers are!

Here’s a composite artwork I’m very proud of, too:

artemis-dream

This is me drawing a made-up Sonic character, then going crazy with Photoshop compositing and various special effects brushes. Oh yeah, those tutorials on matte painting are paying off.

The top five things I learned about marketing this year

Confession time: I didn’t actually do a lot of marketing this year. Not, like, real focused, aggressive advertising. What I did do was a lot of soft marketing–telling people that my books exist, mostly. I couldn’t afford to run ads in the big book newsletters, but I did try the Kobo advertising thing they have. Anyway, here’s some of the things I learned.

5. Kobo’s advertising is very interesting. Mostly because the international market doesn’t read the same things the American market reads. The American market devours weird things like urban fantasy and science fiction. The international market prefers contemporary romance or political thrillers. That’s what I see dominate their charts month after month. But I did manage to sell a few YA paranormal romance books with their ads, and their ads are pretty cheap (5 bucks for the basic one, as of this writing).

4. People like pretty pictures. If they’re pretty pictures that pertain to your books, so much the better. I observed this phenomenon with the launch of the Mortal Engines trailer. If you read the book description, it sounds like nonsense. “London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.”

But you show them the artwork …

Mortal-Engines
Mortal Engines concept art

All of a sudden, we have a visual for a really amazing setting.

3. Fire and Ice Cream was picked for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club last year, and it got a ton of reviews. Not all of them favorable, either, ouch! But hey, readers say they’re suspicious if a book has only good reviews. Long story short: book clubs are awesome. But go into it with thick skin, because if your book has a flaw, it’s going to be chewed over with delight by the readers.

2. Keep writing books. Every time I launch a book, people go, “Oh yeah, she writes books, doesn’t she?” And I sell a few of everything. And only go Amazon exclusive if you’re in one of the weird niche genres that sells a lot on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re any of the big general genres, like mystery, go wide on all the retailers. You never know where your readers are lurking, and Kobo’s reader is waterproof, so maybe they’re in the bath!

1. Be enthusiastic. If you’re writing and talking about what you’re writing and being excited, it gets people interested. I discovered this to my chagrin while working on a fanfic. When I described it as “Beauty and the Beast with Serenity’s ending”, I had all kinds of people sitting up and taking notice. Too bad it was only a fanfic–the plot really was that good. So my next book, I’m going to come up with all kinds of little hooks and pitches for it. And I’m going to talk about it a lot.

I followed a blogger one time who had a concept that totally fascinated me. I stalked her for two years until her book launched so I could read it. And really, isn’t this cover just intriguing?

lindormkingdom_smaller1

By the way, see what I mean about really good artwork selling the story?

So those are the five things I learned about marketing this year. It doesn’t have to be huge glamorous things like book signings and pestering bookstores to carry your book. It can be simple little things like saying, “Hey guys, I have a book out. Think it’s something you might like to read?”

Finally old enough to write fanfic

Yesterday I finally finished writing a fanfic trilogy. Good grief, I am so fried.

I wrote the first story a few years ago as an experiment with a new world. I had tentatively planned it as a trilogy (three is such a nice number), but I didn’t expect a lot of feedback on it. After a while, comments trickled in. Very positive comments. So earlier this year, I wrote story #2. The comments on that were even more positive.

So I just finished writing the third story. I took the conflict deep. I was laughing at it, though. The big finale is basically everyone standing around talking about all the things they’ve been hiding from each other. And it’s massively intense. Yes, it’s Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic. You can find the trilogy in order here.

(That’s why my poor blog has been neglected this month. Every spare second of writing time has gone into that story.)

As I was cooling down from the final intense writing session, I got to thinking about the difference between my old stories and these three new ones.

As a teen, writing my Sonic stories, I tended to come up against things that I didn’t know how to write. Like romance. The depth of love between friends. The true meaning of sacrifice. I knew all these things in a theoretical way, but I had never experienced them. So I wrote about them as best as I could and hoped nobody noticed that I had no idea what I was talking about.

Fast forward eleven years. I got married, had five kids, moved across country. I experienced joy, grief, homesickness, poverty, plenty, you name it. A lot of furious living in those eleven years.

So, this time when I sat down to write about love and sacrifice, I was able to handle it in a completely different way. These characters feel it, man. Especially in this final story, when the conflicts of the whole trilogy come to a head. Here’s one of my artworks and the scene that it’s from:

perfect_chaos_confrontation_by_netraptor-dbn25et
Perfect Chaos Confrontation by me

The island settled beneath Knuckles, touching down in the sea with a light shock. Now he was lower than Chaos, looking up at the huge, rippling head in the morning light. It was impossibly blue, turquoise at the edges, indigo in the middle. Could it really eat him? Did it have a stomach? It didn’t seem to have any organs at all, aside from the suggestion of a brain between its eyes.
Knuckles drew quick, panicked breaths, the floating feeling of unreality settling over him again. “I want to negotiate the outcome of this sacrifice,” he heard himself say.
In his headset, the AI Ramussan said slowly, “What did you just say?”
Chaos studied Knuckles, the huge head swinging closer. “I will hear your terms.”
Knuckles drew a deep breath, trying to speak without screaming. “Lift the blood curse from the line of Solaris.”
“Guardian, no!” Ramussan screamed. “Someone stop him! He’s about to throw himself to Chaos!”
His friends’ voices broke into a panicked clamor. Knuckles ignored them. He gazed into the monster’s nearest eye, which was focused on him intently.
“Much depends on you,” Chaos replied. “I will draw power from your death. If you contain enough, I can, perhaps, lift the curse. It was laid with the power of my beloved’s death. Perhaps you can match that. Perhaps not.”
It was a good a bargain as he was likely to get. “And you’ll keep your word?” Knuckles said, his voice faltering. Annihilation stared him in the face. His entire being wanted to turn and run for his life.
“I can’t find him!” Sonic was yelling. “Shadow, where is he?”
The black hedgehog teleported to the path up the hill from Knuckles, a hand pressed to his headset. He and Knuckles exchanged a long look.
“He’s not at the dock,” Shadow said coolly.
Chaos lifted his head higher, stretching upward on a thick neck made of water. “I always keep my word.”
The huge head curved over Knuckles, the jaws opening. Teeth made of water lined the jaws, clear as icicles. Knuckles looked up into the maw, detached, terrified, and saw there was no throat. It was all just a shape made of water with no real body.
Then the shape fell apart into a crashing waterfall. It struck Knuckles like a tidal wave, sweeping him off the rock and into the sea with the speed of a rip tide.
Shadow watched. “We’re too late,” he said into the headset. “There was nothing I could do. Chaos took him.”


I feel like I’m finally old enough to write fan fiction properly. Isn’t that funny? Most people who write it are young people, like teens. Maybe most teens don’t try to write the grand epic stuff like I wanted to.

Tell you what, though, it’ll be so nice to dive into editing Malicious for the next few weeks. In the the meantime, I’ll be catching up on my reading. Got to fill the creativity tank!

Just fall pictures

I keep wanting to blog about something or other, but words escape me. Stress, bewilderment at our crazy election, and so on–so I just want to focus on simple things. Like enjoying fall.

All these pictures grabbed off deviantart. There’s lots more fall artwork there!

autumn_in_the_woods_2_by_turbotuck-dakj3vulittle_high_falls___2__by_brettazimmerman-dakj5czautumn_by_catsdogphotography-daki9oucalico_by_bagirushka-dakhsm5autumn-wolfrainbow_of_autumn_by_lani_heartcoreautumn_by_janjua-d5hcaolold_red_pine_road__10_9_2016__small_by_edfirmagejr-dakkcup-pngwhisper_of_autumn_grove_by_gogiver-dakjxbgdev_7598_lisc_by_konradjanicki-dakjrlcamanita_muscaria_baby_by_lewiarts-dakjcwi