This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Proof is Here!

Last night I posted a blog that expressed concern about my missing proof for Legacy of Ghosts. The gods of the mail service must have read it, because the proof arrived today!

The snazy front cover!
I’d like to point out that there is no pink involved this time – only a bit of purple. But purple is cool. And so what if it ends up colored a little girly? I am a girl, after all. And besides, this book has a lot more romance than the last one did. Yes, there’s still killing and blood, but the focus of the first one was setting up their situation, and the main focus in this one is setting their relationship up and dusting all the little road blocks out of the way so we can move on in the next book. so, yes, there is less fighting and killing in this book, but they couldn’t and more “emotional” drama, but they can’t “grow” any if they have to spend every second running for their lives. I mean, how can you establish a relationship that way?
Anyway, here’s the back:
There should be a gray box around the quotes.... but as you can see it is invisible

So yeah, I need to darken up the box on the back cover a bit, and as for the text, well….
"here's a typo, there's a semi colon, everywhere's some rephrasing..."

Yep. I’m on page 76 and I’ve already found a few typos, inverted quotes and changed some wording.  When I was first doing writing/publishing research so many blogs and sites commented that a manuscript “read” differently on paper vs on the computer screen, and they’re right! I know it must be psychological, but it's there just the same.
Okay, silly as it is, wanted to share that with the world. Carry on.

Song playing at the moment - "Wonderwall" - Oasis

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stress & Cool retro style Photos


Yeah, so I haven’t been around much - or actually not at all. Dad is back in Iowa. Mom is home from the hospital and doing better. The Father-in-Law is out too, though he’s not doing so good, in my opinion. I guess we’ll see what happens with him.

Sorry I’m so dull. But the book release is coming up, so I’m all about that right now. I know that most of my MySpace peeps aren’t really into the vampire book thing, so I try not to push it too much here and bore everyone. That’s why I started the author blog over on wordpress (I have to say I wish MS had the cool “future-auto-posting thing it does! ) I dunno why, but I rarely end up “hanging’ out” with very many people who are into the same things I am, which is what I should be doing. I should be tapping into the vampire community, but somehow I never manage to actually get into any “communities”. I never have. Even in school we had two groups (yeah, it was a small, small school) and you were either a “preppy” or a “druggy” (No, you didn’t need to do drugs to be a druggy, nor did you need to have any real money to be a preppy. Don’t ask me, I didn’t make it up) and do you know, I still couldn’t belong to either one? I had a sort of loosely confederated third group that dissolved once I left. It must be some kind of personality flaw, or something.

The only thing that‘s worked right so far is that I got the How to Get a Cheap Book Cover eBook completed and it’s up on Smashwords now ( ) . You might remember two part blog I did on how to get a book cover? Well this book is like a super expanded version of that, broken up into sections with additional information and links. It also includes the tutorials on how to make a book cover in paintbrush, GIMP and Paint shop Pro. It’s pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself. And it’s only a week late. Not too bad.

Speaking of late, I’m still waiting on the proof copy of Legacy of Ghosts to get here *biting nails*. It’s taking longer than it’s supposed to, and I’m starting to get a bit concerned. If I don’t have it tomorrow then I’m contacting CS to find out what the holdup is. I mean it is almost the end of September and I was planning to have the book released by the 7th of October…. If I have to make changes after viewing the proof this won’t happen unless it hurries up and/or I approve the final copy without actually viewing the proof!

Speaking of CS, I updated Shades of Gray (just added an “other books by” list and fixed the typos people had reported to me over the last year - thanks guys!) and added the words “Book 1” to the front cover. So, since it’s been approved before it should have been a guaranteed pass, right? WRONG! They sent me an error message because the title on the spine was “too big” and would “wrap”; which it clearly hasn’t at any point in the last year. (I’m looking at a copy right now, and there was no title wrapping). But, anyway, I had to resize it to get it to go through. I won’t even detail the aggravation I had with them last week trying to do a wraparound cover for LC Cooper because it’s too aggravating and long winded.

Legacy by LC Cooper

And then with Legacy coming out, I have the contest going. Not that there’s a lot of work involved in running it, but in trying to pimp it out without being obnoxious about it. I hate obnoxious pimping, but by the same token, I have so many people that overlap in various social groups, so some are going to be exposed to the information multiple times. I have 7 people with a total of 29 entries between them in the regular contest, and 3 people with 6 entries between them in the bonus contest. Not too bad.

The new version of the website is almost done. Hubby is doing all of the programming, and I think he only has the book cover art gallery and the regular art gallery and the page for the Cover Art book left to code. All I have left is to set up the Homepage, I think. Yay! I was hoping to have it done by the first of September, but alas when you have to rely on other people you can’t control when they get around to it. At least now that it’s crunch time (I absolutely need it done by the time Legacy is out, as the whole Legacy section is coded into it and not the old version) he’s throwing himself into it, so it might make the deadline.

Speaking of websites and being aggravated, the TTTC website is STILL down! We’ve contacted customer support about three times and have had no answer and I am really out of patience with it. If I had the money to register a domain I’d move it to, or or something like that. It’s 10$ for the domain name and then I might well go somewhere else to host. I’ve hitherto been happy with orgfree because they’re free (I pay $12 a year to remove ads) and they have a lot of awesome stuff (like the MySQL databases and such) but I am really getting aggravated. The question is whether it is aggravated enough to pay $20 a month somewhere else, or spend countless hours seeking out a cheaper alternative.

*sigh* of course, then there’s the usual book launch terrors. I just know everyone is going to hate the book when they read it. it won’t live up to expectations, it will have too much romance/not enough romance, it will be too violent/not violent enough or else too cheesy, too stereotyped, too predictable, or not predictable enough. There will be some unanswered question that will disgust someone, Katelina will be too weak, the events will seem too contrived, or the content will be unsuitable or, even worse, unrealistic. Yes, I know vampires by their very nature are unrealistic, but I am a firm believer in, well, believable characters who have believable thoughts and believable, realistic reactions, even in fantastic settings. In fact, one of the greatest compliments I got on Shades of Gray came from Bitten by Books when they said “[Katelina’s]struggle of seeking to come to grips with the existence of vampires strike a realistic note in spite of the subject matter.”

You know, I’d almost say that the “anxiety” is worse on the second book than the first, because I have six or seven people who liked the first one who may now hate this one, where as there was no preceding material last time, so no one to disappoint.

Between the proof being late, the website being late, the TTTC site, the family’s bad health, and all the usual anxieties with a book release (such as the certain knowledge that everyone is going to hate it) and the Newsletter coming up, and all the things I am behind on (email and blog reading springs instantly to mind) I am ready to crack, I think. I know it’s because I am a perfectionist about some things, but I can’t help it. However, I refuse to post a whiny blog and further bore anyone who might actually still be skimming, so enough about that.

Now, to give you something to scroll down and look at, it’s time for the segment I like to call Random Things from my Hard Drives. More specifically, some…

These are all taken with the phone, using that retro camera ap. I am totally addicted to it! And even better, they added a fifth camera, the Fudge Can. If this was just a little higher rez, I would be in heaven. I’m going to buy the paid version, not that it adds anything, but just because it’s like telling the developers how awesome it is.

The new camera:

creepy screen

The different cameras are each suited for different shots, the trick is going to be learning which shots are better with which camera.

retro ducky

cool sky

This app actually inspires me to want to try “real” cameras… like try building a pinhole camera, for instance. I don’t have the money or time, but it makes me want to!


bad quality on purpose - you have to love it

looking out the window

hot and cold

empty bed

scratched outlet



plastic tubing



I love this green tint

And one more…

moo moo n pokey 2

Okay, I’ll stop.

Song playing at the moment - “Because of Me” - Seether

If you haven’t entered the contest then check it out at
LoG - mini banner 2 anim

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Draw with No Money and No Talent - Part 6

how-to-draw-banner by you.

It's been a busy five days, huh? We've done a lot – we've learned about licensing, we've found resource images, constructed an at home light box, traced our drawing, scanned it, and started coloring it in paint brush. Wow. That is a lot, huh? So let's see if we can get this puppy finished?

First make your colors as we have been doing – you will need two that are darker and three lighter so that the base color you originally used is the middle color


Once back to your image choose the lightest blue for BOTH your FOREGROUND AND BACKGROUND colors and scroll to the top of the picture.  Once there go to the tool pallet and choose the rectangle tool:

In the tool options pick the bottom – or the filled rectangle


Now use this tool to draw a thin rectangle across the top of your picture – do NOT overlap your lily pads! To use the tool, click once and drag it. I always find it easier to start at the BOTTOM LEFT corner of my rectangle but do what works for you

Scroll over so that you can still see the edge of this new rectangle


And then repeat


Scroll and repeat until you reach the opposite edge


Do this with the next lightest color – do NOT go over the top of your lily pads – stop as close to them as possible, however.


Do the same with your flower. Once you have as much blocked in as possible select the paint brush and draw lines to fill in the spaces we had to skip


Now flood fill the area in. repeat with the area around the flower –HINT: if you are having a hard time SEEING then remember that ZOOM IS YOUR FRIEND!!!!


We want the next stripe to be thicker so instead of using the BIG rectangles we want to just make little thin ones


Use the paint brush to finish up your lines and floodfill this section


We already have the base color on the picture. So scroll below it and use the same method with the next to darkest color – make small thin rectangles to fill in the spaces – and unlike the other sections let's outline both the top and bottom of it:


When it's done you can flood fill both it and the final, darkest row


Wow, it's really shaping up, isn't it? In fact, we're almost done, really…. We just need to blend the water using the same technique we used to shade the flower and lily pads – aka the airbrush tool.


Though we did our initial shading using straight lines, we do not NEED to keep the airbrush lines perfectly straight – this is water, after all, and water is not straight lines. However, we will need to use a lot thicker segments of airbrushing than we did previously:


Remember, the FASTER you move the airbrush tool while holding down the mouse button, the more space between each brush, hence the thinner or less dense it is, conversely, the SLOWER you move it, the thicker or more dense the color will be.
Just like when we drew our rectangles in, we want things to line up. When you finish one segment, scroll over so that you can see the edge of what you just completed:


If you get too dense – aka too much of one color – don't worry about hitting undo – just select the color under it – aka the color you are overlapping – and run the airbrush over the too thick area to thin it down – think of it as erasing ;) This is especially handy in tight areas like this:


Here you need to move the brush slowly, but that makes the density thicker.. SO I just did it thick and then used the background color to thin it back out like this:


OMG! OH no! Oh the horror! I have gone OVER something! I have slopped blue on my lily pad! Oh terror of terrors…


Wow, yeah you did slop it there, huh? Oh no! the end is here… have you ever looked really close at a watercolor painting – or hell, any painting? In case you haven't, I'll tell you – that happens in traditional media, so chill. It's not a big deal. It happens, and it's not worth undoing a lot of work for.
*do doo doo doo…*
*time passes*
Andd… we're done with the water!


Wow. That went pretty fast, actually. Technically, we're all done, but that one lily pad is bugging me, so I am going to go in and some more blending to it – whether you want to or not is up to you!


Use windows picture and fax viewer to take a look at your picture. Go back to paintbrush and fix anything that you think needs fixed – need more shading somewhere? Add it in. Need less? Remember our handy "eraser" method with the airbrush? Then use it.
You may also want to thicken up some of your black outlines with the paintbrush. Anything you think needs fixed, well, fix it.  On mine, I am going to thin out the density of the top, lightest segment of the water because when you look at the picture your eye is drawn to the top and not to the flower where I want it to be drawn. I will do that by using that handy erasing airbrush thing we keep talking about…


It could be done now, if you want it to be. It is your art, so do whatever you want with it. However, I am going to attempt to add in some reflections in the water – still using the airbrush and the same technique we used to blend the shading.  First I use the eyedropper tool to select the darkest pink and then I use it again and RIGHT click to select the dark blue water. Using the airbrush I scribble in a patch and then I RIGHT CLICK and use the airbrush again to thin it out with the dark blue until it looks like this:


The lily pads need reflections added too – you want to use the darkest lily pad color for this.


Make sure to run some of the dark green in with the pink from the flower


When you finish use windows picture viewer again and if you're happy with your picture then we're done!
But, it's a pretty BIG picture…

Yes, this is true. So let's resize it. The size you want to make it will depend on what you want to do with it. But let's look at how to resize!

Go to image – then stretch/skew


You'll get a dialog box


If you just want a general "so I can display it size" then 20% is probably adequate if your image is around the same size as mine. If you want a specific size – say for wallpaper – then you need to do a little bit of math.
Go to the folder that you have the image saved in and take a look at the attributes – we need the width and in this case it is 3221 px wide


Now open your calculator – in XP it's under programs/accessories/ calculator – and type in your DESIRED width – aka I want to make wallpaper so I put in 1024 – now we want o DIVIDE it:


Divide it by the current width – the number you got from the folder information – in this case 3221:


Then hit equal and we get…..


What the heck?
Multiply this by 100 and we get our %

Round that up and so we want 32% because paint brush will NOT accept decimals!  So go back to paint brush and type in 32 in BOTH the horizontal AND vertical text boxes then hit okay:


Go to FILE and choose SAVE AS - you don't want to save over your original!!!!!


Enter a name and use the drop down box to make it a JPG


And that's it. You've now created artwork with no money and possibly no "artistic" talent. Don't you now feel talented? Well, you should! So sit back and bask in the glow of your achievement!