I am still trying to scratch the surface of the behemoth that is Expression Design 4, but one day at a time I am getting closer to it. Today, inspired by one of the paintings I created with Artrage a few years ago, I invented a title, added several textures to match the mood of the title, then worked with 8 layers to manage text and image. A professional would have found an easier way to achieve the same result, without drowning under a sea of layers. Because of the typeface I used, this cover doesn’t work well when scaled to thumbnail size, but I like its overall feeling. The image conveys a sense of playfulness with just a hint of dark memories lurking under the title. At least, that is what I wished to achieve with this project. And now, I want to write this story.
And as such it must be practiced daily to achieve satisfying results. Today, I am stuck on a scene. Elios’s first editing is done, but I need to add a few sentences to explain a minor incongruence in the plot. Therefore, I give you the October 2013 Drawing Collage, followed by the Official Procrastination Stamp. I am sure that, given time, I can come up with something even more dazzling. Meanwhile, you, have a productive rest of the day.
Right in the middle of Off the Beaten Path Giveaway, I’ve taken a break from the guest posts to enjoy a beautiful autumnal afternoon. Around the ridge, trees are reddening and orange leaves are falling. The air is crisp and the sky is terse.
Gaia is in the hands of the second and final proofreader. Elios and Marie’s Journey are both being edited. Gaia’s cover is almost done as well. For the first time after months, I don’t even remember how long it has passed since last time it happened, I am writing something new. Well, Notturno it’s one of those projects I started one year ago, but I never finished it, therefore it counts as new to me.
From Notturno, a NA fanstasy novel:
Dalia found the three of them more and more revolting as minutes passed. She shrank to the farthest corner of the cage, hoping they would leave her inside and never come close enough to touch her.
The woman who was now staring at her with unblinking black eyes, held a malevolent expression on her wrinkled face. She shook her head in mock disappointment. “By the end of your staying here with us, you’ll wish the mercs kept you.”
Dalia would have told her she was already of the same opinion, but she closed her mouth tight. Her new captors didn’t seem sound of mind, and she was already of the impression that anything she’d say or do would trigger their bad tempers. She shivered under the woman’s scrutiny.
“What are we going to do with you?” The woman stepped back and tilted her head one side and then the other.
“Let her work for us.” Dant joined her, and they stood side by side, looking at Dalia.
Lars walked close by and then passed them, heading straight to the cage. “That’s a great idea, methink.”
Dant seemed to think about it for a moment, and then smashed his open palm with a fisted hand. “She could work in my bedchamber.”
Dalia was now uncontrollably shaking.
“Yes! Can she work in my bedchamber too, Catal?” Lars took the woman’s hands in his and jumped up and down, like an overgrown child.
The woman, Catal, slowly shook her head, the beads at the end of her tresses noisily clinking against each other. “You never take care of things. What if you break this one? She looks too scrawny.”
“We’ll take good care of her. We’ll even walk her outside—” Dant’s hands slid up to the woman’s elbows.
Catal forcefully loosened his hold on her arms. “She is a nocturnal. Remember?”
I have neglected my Friday Snippets long enough, but here is number fifty in all its literary splendor.
From Marie’s Journey, the fourth installment in The Ginecean Chronicles:
“Sit on the stool and give me your left arm.” The order was given with a tired tone. The old woman must have gone through myriads of branding. She turned to her right to open a big tome lying on a low table.
Marie sat as told, but before completing the task and raising her arm, she asked, “What’s your name?”
The older woman raised her eyes from the book and looked over the brazier. Surprise was soon replaced by interest in her wary gaze. “Why do you want to know? Nobody’s ever asked before.”
“So you won’t forget about me.” Marie kept her eyes on her.
The older woman tilted her head by the side, the orange-red coals illuminated the lower part of her face and her uneven teeth shone unexpectedly white when a grin spread through her face. “They call me Mala.”
“Marie.” She raised her arm then and watched as Mala chose between several branding tools neatly arranged on a low table on her left.
A friend of mine, C. B., is a wonderful artist. A few days ago, she posted on Facebook her latest painting, a colorful village by the sea, and I was inspired by it. Earlier this morning, still jetlagged, I opened Fresh Paint and created this piece.
End of Summer
The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a sun epidemic. My sales are sinking, but every indie authors and their mothers are complaining about not selling, so I’m partially relieved. It must be the sun. Unable to control the weather and the publishing market, I blissfully make lemonades by walking mile after mile and writing when I’m not walking—I wish I could do both at the same time. I’ve been also on a baking spree. More on that later.
Around mid-December, one rainy afternoon, I was sitting on the floor, hoping to sense her aura and feeling bereft without her mental presence to soothe my pain. A familiar but unpleasant feeling possessed me. Darkness embraced my mind and I was sucked up into the tunnel before I could react.
I was enraged, but not surprised to see both Areel and Kam at the other end waiting for me. “What did you do?”
Kam waived one hand in the air. “You didn’t give us a choice.”
“And you thought forcing me here would be for the best?” I had never come to feel so close to want to beat anyone. Physical energy built in me and needed to be released. “You thought involving Lex to give you my mental signature would be a good idea?”
“We didn’t know what to do—” Areel stepped forward and I stepped back. “I’m not going to force a Share on you!”
“Wouldn’t you now?” I looked at them and they flinched. “What did you tell Lex?”
“Nothing.” Kam lowered his eyes on the ground.
I shook, fists by my side. “Lex wouldn’t have given you access to my mental signature so that you could summon me here against my will for nothing. What did you tell him?”
“That you needed a vacation, but you were too busy with your mission to be bothered to take a break.” Areel gestured for me to look around.
Only then, I finally took in where we were, and it wasn’t our usual spot. “What are we doing on Karillion?” It was a place we used to go on vacation, a tropical island close to our Academy. Ancient pink sand beaches with perfumed seawater and warm temperatures. I looked down at my feet already buried in the shore. The fine pebbles mixed with the sand and moved at once with the water, rolling back and forth and creating a melodic sound, almost music. I had always though it was the most relaxing place in the universe. Not at the moment. “I am still doing my job. This, what you did, is uncalled for.”
Areel maintained his gaze on me. “We only wanted to help.”
I felt angrier. I didn’t like to feel vulnerable and right then I was devastated. “I wouldn’t stop working on a mission for anything and you know it.”
“That wasn’t our concern.” Kam discarded the cloth around his waist and waded into the water. “Come.”
*Today’s drawing is an inked version of one of the illustrations I made for The Prince’s Day Out. I used Paint.Net as my usual to saturate the colors of the original and I added the ink filter.
Monday drawings is back. At least for this week. After I finished the illustrations for The Prince’s Day Out, I’ve become lazy about posting my drawings and paintings regularly. Today’s offering is another Fresh Paint psychedelic, insomnia induced landscape.
Waiting for the Right Light
I hadn’t realized, but I only shared this painting on Fresh Paint and twitter.
Another great week in the Pacific Northwest. Last Sunday, I went for a hike and discovered I’m not in the wonderful shape I thought I was. The climb is quite steep though and I did swim in the icy waters of the lake once we reached the end of the trail. It felt awesome, but I temporarily lost the use of my limbs. Worth it.
I finished several paintings using Fresh Paint, but I hesitated to share the one titled Rainbow Feelings on twitter. I thought it looked too crowded. I’m glad I decided otherwise, because I received several kind tweets commenting on it. My naïf art is now a lock screen background on someone’s cell phone. And that is priceless.
On the writing front, my latest news is that I joined a co-op on NetGalley. I have no data to report at the moment. I’m working on Elios and keeping a steady 1500 words a day, while also editing Gaia. Crossing fingers, I should be able to publish the two of them for Christmas. Meanwhile, Marie’s Journey, the fourth in The Ginecean Chronicles series—formerly known as a trilogy—is in the capable hands of my editor, Amy Eye.
“Now, I want you to do it again, by yourself,” Lex said.
In earth time, several hours had passed since the beginning of the session and I was mentally tired. Almost certainly, my physical body—lying naked on the bed—was aching as well.
“You must trust me.”
“Of course.” I summoned the image of when I had gone deep diving in one of the seawater pools by the Academy. Lex had asked me to find a memory that symbolized my reaching for the innermost part of my soul and that image had stood out. I shed my clothes as I had done that day and dove into the bright, turquoise waters. It wasn’t a coincidence my human eyes had turquoise flickers in them. I kept diving and the colors all around me darkened. Soon, I was surrounded by black waters, but I wasn’t scared. I felt at peace; cocooned in a warm, safe liquid. I was ready for the next step and surprised it had taken so little effort. I switched my point of view, and, as I had done in the previous sessions guided by Lex, I opened my eyes to a different scenario. I was in Seattle, but I wasn’t. I levitated over the vast expanse of the city, myself as big as the sky, floating over the roads and the buildings. I expanded my consciousness. I stretched my ego until I was no more. I looked down and I saw reality as a constant stream of mathematical possibilities. Every single action taken by the individuals living down there could be explained and predicted with great accuracy. I lingered to analyze one of the possible futures this city would live through in the span of ten years. I fast forwarded to one century. Then, I came back to five minutes from the present. A second later, I was in the now. “Amazing.”
Lex chuckled and when I looked at him I saw the sparkle in his eyes. “You, my pupil, are the youngest Observer to ever achieve the Dark Void with barely a mission in.”