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I am bouncing so wildly between styles now that my painting hand is getting whiplash. (Or maybe that’s from using a mattock to get those two viburnum in the ground yesterday.) Freed from Dragonbreath for a few weeks, all the creative backlog is trying to come down the pike at once.  Probably a good thing I’ve got a con next month…

The Boar God’s Gift

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“I don’t know,” I said. “So many things I thought were true turned out not to be. And if those things are false, then how can anything be true?”

“I cannot help you,” the boar-god said. “You have no enemies worth trampling, and I cannot remake the world into a shape you understand.” He lowered his head. “All I can give you is one night of sleep. No dreams or demons will approach you. No doubts will yammer in your ear. You need not argue with old lovers inside your head, or tell yourself the stories you already know by heart.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“It is a small thing,” said the boar-god, “but small things are the beginning of courage.”


Figured I’d finally start posting at the new blog. It cross-posts, of course, and lord only knows when I’ll get the LJ archives imported, so I might as well start over there…of course, that means I’ll have to wiggle the crossposting until it actually works without committing atrocities to my image files, but it was gonna have to happen sooner or later. And now I can make LJ host my images instead of sending you all over to DA, which I know has been trying to unload Trojans on people now and again.

Fooling around with a new technique–hadn’t planned to, but I was roughing out the image and just kinda kept going. Lord knows, there have been long stretches when I would have been grateful for one night without anxieties yammering in my head…

Prints available in both sizes, as usual.

Woohoo! Just got a note–like Ninjabreath before it, Wurstbreath will be a selection of the Junior Library Guild for Fall 2010! Yay!

I’m stoked, and not just because now I can have a nicely symmetrical set of framed certificates. The JLG has been very nice to my books, and I am very grateful for it.

For my big post-finishing-a-Dragonbreath-book-painting (an outgrowth of the big post-finishing-a-Dragonbreath-book depression, during which I inevitably decide that I am a hack and a dreadful artist and cannot paint anything but cartoon dragons.) I came up with this:

The Flight of Hamwings

I always have this crash. Kevin occasionally makes me German chocolate cake, which does seem to stave off some of the symptoms, but usually I need to do a painting just to prove that I can still paint.

I think it arises out of some weird conviction that I am dreadfully lazy. I point out to myself in vain that I am on the hook, between Dragonbreath and Digger, for 400+ illustrations a year, a punishing schedule by any standards, even without having to write two books as well. Whatever weird artistic guilt drives me is unimpressed by this. I should be doing brilliant mind-blowing art at the same time. If I didn’t read books or take naps or garden, I would have time for brilliant art. What is all this sleep crap? And going out to lunch with friends twice a week? That takes HOURS! And how much time do I spend going to the bathroom when I could keep a jar under the desk like a REAL artist? I could be painting! WHY AM I NOT PAINTING?

Someday I will find that center of my brain and beat it out with a tire iron.

In the meantime, however, paintings and cake.

(non-DA link)

Large Numbers

So my editor sent me the marketing department’s plan to market Dragonbreath 3, and let’s all just stop a minute here while I go "Holy crap, how did I come to a point in my life where there is a marketing department somewhere that actually cares about me as something other than a consumer?" 

I realize I should probably be acting cool and laid back and dripping ennui about this whole affair…yes, of course I have a marketing department, don’t we all, it’s no big deal, so tiresome–but let’s be honest, the whole notion makes me giggle like a deranged monkey because dude, there is so no way that this could possibly be my life. I mean, I drive a used Vibe and live off $10 print sales. My boyfriend is, at this exact moment, out checking live traps for feral cats to take to the vet for neutering. We had hot dogs for dinner and I use a shipping box to blockade my door against intruding pets because you have to leave the studio door open or the air doesn’t circulate and it gets to be a hundred degrees in here. My mouse scroll button is breaking but I haven’t gotten a new one because you can only get cordless mouses these days and I hate those and there’s a tick bite on my left thigh that itches like death on a stick.

This is the…y’know…actual world that I inhabit.

There cannot possibly be a bunch of people in a New York office somewhere contemplating how to get my books in front of eyeballs. How does that even make sense?

I can’t post the plan, since I assume it’s proprietary and all, but…there are big numbers in it. The sorts of numbers that make me want to crawl into a corner and hyperventilate, and also I don’t know what some of the words mean in this context, although I assume "impressions" when referring to an advertising campaign means "people who get the banner ad and probably ignore it," in which case that’s a really, really, large number of people who don’t care, but if even a smidge of those people actually did register the name of the book on some level and then a fractional smidge of those buy it….


It probably won’t be giving too much away to say that the number appended to that bit about impressions had "millions" in it, and there were some websites listed there that are…like…big. Big-big. Mammoth. Elephantine. Possibly non-Euclidean and eldritch, too.

And was that one big number at the top–the one that came after "target"–meant to be eyeballs reached, or books sold? (I need a cheat sheet!) That’s a big number, although not an inconceivable number. It’d be twice as many as have been printed of Book 1, and should they inform me that they have printed that many books, I fully expect to lose my bladder control on the spot, and will spend the next six months huddled in the corner going "They’ll never sell that many and it’ll be a huge flop and they won’t market the next one at all and they’ll print two copies of it so they don’t lose money and they’ll never buy any more books and I will have to go work at Wal-Mart."

Neurosis. I haz them.

(The downside of all this is that even if the book is just as successful as they hope, it’ll be nearly a year before I see a dime of that–they figure the royalties twice a year, and it’s rare to earn out in the first period. But that’s publishing for you.)

Don’t get me wrong–it is inconceivably wonderful to have a marketing team that believes in my books. I want to send them all bunnies and vodka and art. (Well…maybe not bunnies.) It’s just…so….baffling. I mean…really? Seriously? I want to go find someone and go "No…really?"

I don’t know, maybe in a few years I’ll get used to it, that’ll be my life, and maybe I’ll make enough to pay off my used Vibe early. But…really?

Bafflement of the Day

Comment from DA on a small cute painting of small cuteness:

How is that people like you and someone like the brutal decapitator al Zarqari (spelling?) are members of the same species?! It boggles the mind.




……..I don’t think I have enough ellipses to express my bemusement.

Frank Frazetta Passes

Since I don’t know how much mainstream press coverage it’s likely to get, I’ll mention it here–illustrator Frank Frazetta passed away today.

If you grew up on classic fantasy art, he and Boris Vallejo were pretty much the face of the pulp fantasy cover. I had a Frazetta poster on my wall in college. The style was getting a little dated by then–it’s got a 70’s kinda vibe, with the swirly paint in the background, but Frazetta’s compositions were so damn good and he did some very impressive stuff with color that kept it vibrant even then. And he kept putting out work, and it kept being good, for a very, very long time.

On whatever other plane artist’s creations dwell, I hope he gets a Viking funeral, attended by scantily clad barbarian maidens, on a pyre pulled by polar bears.

Okay, internet braintrust–book recommendation time!

I am in the mood for a Gothic romance.

I don’t mean "heroine wears a lot of black and listens to the Cure," I mean…oh, you know. Serious young woman hired as governess in dark brooding castle on the moors, grumpy servants making dark hints, pitying looks from the townsfolk, until she falls madly in love with the dark brooding owner of the dark brooding castle, who then turns out to be a were-yeti.

I’m flexible on the bit with the were-yeti.

The problem is that I read a fantasy novel recently that tried to do it, and suffered some serious problems of pacing, so that the heroine took half the book and a failed romance to get to the brooding castle in the first place and then only had ten minutes to fall in love with the brooding owner of said castle, who thus had the character development of lichen. I found myself mildly annoyed, particularly since I suspect it’s gonna be one of those exceedingly complex politically thrilling vaguely steampunk trilogies, which species I’ve pretty much lost all patience with.

The end result was that I wanted to see it done WELL. So, O readers–suggest a Gothic romance! Or even a horror novel that fits the general parameters–if she has set the were-yeti on fire and escape older, wiser, and somewhat saddened, I will happily read that as well. (Please,though, no vampires. So very tired of vampires. Unless it ends with her setting the vampire on fire and escaping, in which case I might give it a whirl.)

So! Any recommendations? 

….and more art.

I spent about three hours today gardening. I am exhausted. My last chunk of prairie plants came in the mail, and there was much hacking of clay to chop holes to stick the wee things in, and now I am stiff in the way that indicates that I may be limping around the house tomorrow like Quasimodo’s decrepit older sister.

But I did more art!

Green Panda