A few more drawings

September 23, 2014

I picked up the sketchbook and drawing textbook again this weekend, so here’s what I managed to draw:

First off, an attempt to draw Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who, based on a still frame from near the beginning of “Robot of Sherwood.” I tried to do this a week earlier with a full-face portrait of Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara, and gave up in the middle because I couldn’t get her to look anything like right. It’s possible my standards were too high for Jenna. This doesn’t really look like Capaldi, but at least I got myself to finish and it’s recognizably a man:

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What’s Up Wednesday? The creative doldrums…

September 3, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! And if you’re looking for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I’ll probably be posting tomorrow.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Well, I got a lot of reading done this week, especially when I was waiting in lines at Fan Expo. Finished “Lords and Ladies”, the novelization of “Spider-man 3”, and “Command Decision.” Read about five graphic novels, including two Doctor Who comics, and the first three volumes of the hilariously weird “Chew.” Reached the halfway point on “Annals of the Heechee”, started Elizabeth Moon’s “Victory Conditions”, and listened to some more Escape Artists.

What I’m writing:

Not that much just at this moment. Started fleshing out an urban fantasy idea that I may be saving up for Nanowrimo this year. I actually got the idea from the character prompts in a Dresden Files RPG session I played at Fan Expo, a girl with stealth magic who was ‘lost and never found.’

What inspires me right now:

Weird comic books, all the geeky energy I got from the crowds at Fan Expo, new Doctor Who episodes with Peter Capaldi, and Harry Potter movies.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went shopping for iPads with my Mom tonight, though she couldn’t find the model and color she wanted. Getting ready for a jam-packed weekend; trivia night in Dundas on Friday, then the BrightRun fundraiser for breast cancer on Saturday, and an epic write-in Sunday afternoon!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Sharing some more sketches (and a fanvid!)

February 8, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about drawing here on the blog; in fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done much drawing. I gave myself some goals in December and reached them, but I also realized that it was a little depressing to work on drawing in the winter without much natural light. But I do have some sketches that I wanted to share with you before I forgot about them entirely.

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A September exercise out of the ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ workbook; my own knees and feet in perspective. 😉

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I think this was my first try at the ‘books on a table’ still life perspective exercise. I probably have another whack at it around somewhere, because I wasn’t that impressed, but I couldn’t find it when I was taking stuff in to get it scanned. Read the rest of this entry »


Are you (walking/driving) comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

January 28, 2014

Okay, I’ve dived into my new Escape Artist podcasts, and don’t think I’ll be backing out, though it’ll probably (hopefully?) take me a long time to catch up on the incredible backlog of stories there. I started listening to them when braving the elements yesterday to get some exercise and fresh air on a day when the weather was lousy enough that I worked from home instead of driving into the office. And the stories were good enough to make me forget about the treacherous sidewalks I was picking my way over and lose myself to a faraway seashore with a boy genius and a great city besieged by intangible aliens.

It was as that second podcast was starting, that I thought of the quote I paraphrased in the title. I never listened to “Listen with Mother” on the radio, or watched on the television. The most direct experience I have with it was when it was sampled on Doctor Who, or referenced by Flanders and Swann. But I love the idea of these fiction podcasts as storytelling for the new millenium. They have a different kind of feel from longer audiobooks, or podcasting shows that are centered around the hosts and the general topic.

This morning, I listened to the same podcast on the drive into work, and got a pleasant surprise at the end of it, as an Escape Artist editor came on to summarize some listener e-mail and/or reviews they got for an earlier story–by Brad Hafford! I met Brad this summer; he was our resident adviser for Odyssey, and though I knew he was a talented writer, I guess I’d never bothered to track down his publications. Now I know where to find at least one; it wasn’t on the Escape Pod iTunes feed, but the archives on the Escape Pod website seem to go all the way back to the beginning.

What’s the coolest unexpected surprise you’ve ever found in a podcast?


What’s up Wednesday: Off and Nano-ing

November 6, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is the weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Got really into ‘Jumper Cable’ while I was at the convention this weekend, and I finished it yesterday. Also finished the first installment of ‘Lockstep’ from this issue of Analog magazine, and listening to ‘The Ringworld Throne’ on Audible.

What I’m writing:

Nanowrimo writing has begun! I finished off the incomplete draft of “The Witches of Arion” in the first few days, and I’ve started my sample chapters for “Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale.” The plot is very loose, but I’m catching hints of magic!

What inspires me right now:

Nanowrimo energy, my birthday coming up on the calendar, and all the fun I had geeking out with Doctor Who fans at Reversed Polarity.

What else I’ve been up to:

Well, I finished my revisions on ‘Return to Civilization’ and sent it off to Asimov’s, so fingers crossed.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


A new fanvid? (Hopefully sometime soon)

August 17, 2013

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any fanvidding. It was February of 2010 when I released my Doctor who vid for Martha and Ten, “Out of Bounds”, and I think this time last year when I tried to get started on a Dawson/Jen video for “I think about it all the time”, and managed a grand total of 45 seconds of completed footage, sigh.

I put fanvidding on my goals list for August, (reaching 2 minutes on a project, specifically,) and played around with the Sony Vegas project I had for “I think about it all the time”, but it was pretty easy to tell that I wasn’t inspired, or even particularly interested anymore.

So, a new project. Back to Doctor Who, once again. Season five, specifically the two-parter of “The Hungry Earth” and “Cold Blood.”

The song? An Amy Grant tune called “Eye to Eye,” which may seem like an odd choice, but there’s so much in the lyrics that resonates to me with those episodes, and the music seems like a pretty good fit too.

The first step was to get ahold of some video to work with. I watched season 5 of Doctor Who on the LG DVR, and even though I burned those episodes to disk, they’re not really in suitable quality for fanvidding work. The next copies I happened to come across are gorgeous 720p mkv files, but Sony Vegas didn’t seem to like those, and I didn’t have any luck with the instructions to extract the video file out of the mkv container. Finally I’ve found something that seems to work, and I’ve got my project workspace set up with the two episodes and the song.

Before I start picking video clips to set to the instrumental opening, though, I figure it’ll help to review what I’ve got. So I’ve started watching “The Hungry Earth” just so I remember what happens, thinking of which bits would be good for what lyrics or what instrumental passages.

I’m excited!


Doctor Who versus the Snowmen!

December 28, 2012

Yay, new Doctor Who, finally! It took me a few days to track down and watch the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special, but if you’re further behind than me, don’t read ahead, because – you guessed it. “Spoilers!”

I’ll start off with a few odd notes on characters and casting. I hadn’t remembered that Madame Vastra’s human sidekick (and wife, apparently,) was named Jenny, and so when I read somewhere that the trailers hinted that Vastra, Sontaran Strax, and Jenny would be back for the Christmas special, the first character I connected with Jenny was the title character of the David Tennant episode The Doctor’s Daughter.

Also, the first thing I thought when I heard the voice of ‘The Intelligence’ was “OMG, it’s Patrick Stewart”, and I couldn’t shake that connection even when I found out that the voice acting was actually done by Ian McKellan. Weird.

Okay, so – great adventure with the Doctor. I liked lots of things about it, starting with the plot arc where the Doctor began as very withdrawn and remote, observing the Victorian world but not interfering in it, and ending as once again very engaged and excited about the future. Also, loved all the Sherlock Holmes references.

Jenna-Louise Coleman. Clara Oswyn Oswald. There’s a lot that Moffat is obviously trying not to give away about her still, so I’m really looking forward to more regular episodes coming out – whenever they do. Moffat does well with women of mystery, I think, looking back on Amy Pond, and River Song, so if he’s specifically trying to keep us off balance and not sure what to expect next, I think we’re in for an amazing series; though I do have one guess, as I’ll mention later.

What I was most aware of in a lot of the scenes with Jenna-Louise and Matt was how they were going through a lot of the established tropes of a long-term companion falling in love with the magic of the Doctor’s universe – but that this was really the first time we’ve really seen those tropes in a Christmas special, at least with New Who. Rose Tyler and Amy Pond were both established companions before their first Christmas with the Doctor. Many of the Christmas specials have had ‘one-shot Companions’, and even Donna Noble, who became a long-term companion in the end, was not established that was in “The Runaway Bride.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Nanowrimo Spotlight #19: Kristina

November 24, 2012

Thank you to everybody who volunteered for a spotlight interview – even the few people who I assume are having scheduling problems as I haven’t heard from them since. 😉 I’m kinda-sorta-looking for a substitute interviewee for next week, but in the meantime, here’s Kristina!

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
My writing process is unusually, unreasonably difficult. I envy the blessed people who can write wherever, whenever, wearing whatever kind of pants they choose. I can be unreasonably compulsive when it comes to my quirks in general, and this translates over to the way I write. I understand that every writer has their little things that they do, but my entire process is comprised of all those little things.

One example is that I can only write between 7pm – 12am. Any attempt at any other time is not worthy of the recycle bin on my computer. Understandable, as everyone has a time of day where they are at their peak. But then there’s the less sensible components, such as how every door in the room must be closed, the pants I am wearing must be soft and the smell of chicken cannot permeate the air at any point. (I love chicken. I cannot write if I can smell it. I do not know why.)

Where are your backup files?
Three different folders on my computer, three different usb sticks and across three different computers. I believe in the power of three, and the importance of meticulous backing up. I’m disorganized, clumsy and accident-prone – I have learnt how many precautions I should be taking.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Drink water. Eat steak. Love words.

Sneaky Ninja Question! What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Besides writing? Watch Doctor Who. If I am not writing my own world, I am repeatedly falling in love with the world of Doctor Who and becoming inspired all over again. The incredible scripts often take my breath away and always remind me the beauty and power of words.

Kristina is a fledgling teen writer from New Zealand, a lover of country music, a madly obsessed Doctor Who fan, and a girl who has two options in life. Become a nine to five, financially stable accountant, or take a risk and struggle down the sink-hole ridden road to becoming an author. She’s picking the second one. You can find her at http://bittersweetnovel.wordpress.com/


Nanowrimo Spotlight #6: Rhianna

October 25, 2012

Well, let’s see. It’s seven days from November the first, my local Kick-off details have been finalized at last, and I’ve got a new Nano spotlight interview to share with y’all. Say hello to Rhianna

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
That I’ve never done anything like this before!  I am completely new at the idea of writing a novel.

Where are your backup files?
I hadn’t thought of that…I guess I should start saving a hard copy somewhere safe just in case.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Give us complete noobs some love!  Writing may not be our passion, career, or hobby; but we’ve been bitten by the inspiration bug whether it is because of the challenge, prestige of being able to call yourself a novelist, wanting to try something new, or what-have-you!  Sometimes it can feel like an exclusive club where non-serious writers aren’t accepted and that can be sad.  So, open up your arms and send a supportive hug towards a newbie this year!

Sneaky Ninja Question! How much schooling have you gone through?
I have a bachelor degree in animation (focus on hand-drawn) with a minor in graphic design. I went back to school two years ago and got my master’s degree in instructional design with a focus on eLearning design and implementation – which, although a lot to say, means that I make corporate training materials like new hire training, how to use software, and pretty much almost anything else you can think of that you’d have to learn for/at your job!  Often training can get a bad rap for being dry in content and pretty ugly to look at; I have made it my goal to use my arts background to give you something to draw your eye so you want to look at it and has the content jazzy enough to match!

About Me: Howdy! I’m Rhianna! I am in my 30’s and rockin’ out in Colorado.  I have a wonderful husband that keeps me well loved and crazy at the same time.  I am a first time mom to a beautiful girl who also keeps me well loved and insane at the same time.  I like a lot of different geek genres, but I don’t consider myself a die-hard fan of any of them…more a lover of most.  I adore almost everything Disney (especially the Disney theme parks) and read a lot of paranormal romance. I like to follow Doctor Who, The Venture Bros., Project Runway, Top Shot, Hell’s Kitchen, Dexter, and I cried when Firefly went off the air. If you must know, I prefer Star Trek (TNG!) over Star Wars. My favorite movies include Jurassic Park, Aliens, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Jesus Christ Superstar. I feel that there is a time and a place for every type of music, but I mostly listen to classic rock. I am a self-taught sewer/quilter, beginner photographer, expert couch potato, and a seasoned marksman. Basically, I’m all over the place – but I think that makes me more interesting. I also reserve the right to change my mind.

Thanks for volunteering, and best of luck in your first of many Nanos! You can do it. Oh – and keep an eye on Rhianna’s blog in December – I’m going to be doing a Post-nano wrap-up interview for her.


Nanowrimo misses the mark on Venn diagrams

October 11, 2012

One of the big things in the new 2012 Nanowrimo merchandise is a Venn diagram theme. There are Venn Diagram stickers available and two different t-shirts.

Now, this may be my math nerdiness shining brightly through, but I’ve noticed a bit of a stealth trend of Venn diagrams in pop culture and merchandising, if only in the arena that’s already nerd-culture-friendly. And one thing I think that you have to do, to properly deliver on a Venn diagram motif in your merchandising, is to pay attention to those three double-overlap areas flanking the center of the diagram. What does it mean if you have two pieces of the puzzle, but not the third?

Alastair from Storywonk gets it. He didn’t unfortunately label his overlap areas in the show notes from Storywonk Sunday 21: Furious Robot Sex, but he did reference them in the podcast audio. The overlap between Character and Plot might be labeled ‘Soap opera/Sitcom’, (with an asterisk noting that there’s nothing preventing a really good soap opera or sitcom from discussing great themes and moving into the center,) the overlap between Character and Idea would be ‘Room with a view’, and the overlap between Idea and Plot would be ‘Golden Age Sci-Fi.’ And the Michael Bay Transformers movies, from which we get the tongue-in-cheek title of the episode, are consigned to the outer edges of the bubble marked ‘Plot.’

The best example of being really clever with a Venn diagram, to me, is the Doctor Who Venn Diagram t-shirt. Here, they take three timeless and fun aspects of the Doctor Who franchise, and show how rival franchises can only claim two out of three, thus illustrating why Doctor Who is vastly superior. 🙂

So, I’m calling on fellow Wrimos to help me out. Take one of the Venn diagram designs from the merchandising I linked to above and tell me what should be in the double-overlap spaces. Or come up with a brand-new Nano Venn diagram of your own – but label all three of the double-overlap zones. (Or at least one?)


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