Art Journaling

Hello once again Readers!!!

Just a quick post today. I was recently asked to show more of my art journal. I have to admit to you that I have recently slacked off with my painting and drawing. Even with my personal journal. I’ve been consumed by my writing.

But fall is near and craft fairs are on the horizon so back to painting I shall go! Besides, most of my paintings have been sold or given away, so I need to stock back up for Fae Tis Moor. I’m excited because the new ideas Sonya and I came up with will be brought to life starting tomorrow. We’ve put it all off for a while due to life-changing experiences for both of us. I miss it. A lot.

I need to straighten myself back out. I have a problem with immersing myself into something and then struggling to find my way back to my normal routine. That is what has happened to me lately.

I know…the real problem is that it has been almost a month since my last Butterbeer.

*Gasp*

I digress.

Back to the point-my art journal. So for those of you who are interested, here are some of my pages. Keep in mind, it’s a journal and some pages aren’t finished. Man I really need to get back into it. I miss it even more after talking about it!

Here we go!

My first journal page ever. Practicing eyes.

Saw a watercolor on Pinterest the other day and just had to freehand it myself. I needed practice and loved the image. It’s not as good as the original I saw, but I’m happy with it.

A mermaid day. I wasn’t happy with her face, but then again, this was on a smaller scale for me and it’s practice.

A sketch I ended up painting onto canvas.

So those are just a few pages. I’m a bit rusty and still figuring out my style. We shall see. Looking forward to the future with bright eyes and hoping for the best.

Just remember one thing: go for what you want, no matter what anyone says. There will always be someone in your way, trying to suede you from your dreams. It’s how you handle it that makes the difference. It starts inside of you, in the pit of your soul. Nurture it and never give up.

Echelon out ♥

I’m on Goodreads! Yay!

Hello once again Readers!!! Long time no talk! Except for when I’m held up in a phone booth in the wilds of Canada like I am to your left. Then it’s long time long talk…? And fine, so I wasn’t “technically” in Canada. I was at the Canada in Epcot. Close enough for me!

I digress.

It’s been a few days since I’ve even been on here…so sad *shakes head*. A lot can happen in a few days. You could be abducted by aliens, you could win the lottery and live out your dreams, you could put your author profile up on Goodreads…wait…back up a sec, what was the last thing you said? Something about Goodreads?

That’s right people! I’ve finally got off my arse and set up my author profile on Goodreads. My novel has been added and can be shelved as to-read! What!!!! I know!!!

So many exclamation points!!!

I know it’s not published yet, but this is so exciting for me! It’s one step closer to being official. And to top that, I now have over 200 followers and I was nominated for two awards! The Beautiful Blogger and the Reader Appreciation Award. I am so grateful and on cloud nine (whatever that means)!!

The only thing that could top this would be finally receiving the email from my publisher that we are ready to go live with Born in Flames. Hopefully soon (sending subliminal messages to her now…).

I know this isn’t a very helpful blog (more like a journal entry…kind of), but I just have to share it with you because I am that excited about it. Literally. I’m grinning as I type this. (I know…I’m strange.) But I can’t help it. Seeing my cover online just sends little happy chills down my spine and makes me want to do 15 cartwheels in a row!

So to make this a helpful blog, I won’t bore you with another seven interesting facts about myself, but I will however pass on these lovely awards to some blogs I’ve recently started following. Love to pass the joy around!

Matt Knox * The Pittsburgh Housewife * Tamara Morning * Million Happy Endings * English as a Foreign Language * Dan Thompson * Words on the Page

May we all stay beautiful and appreciated, Bloggers.

Now to leave you with a question: What was the happiest moment in your life?

Until next time (most likely tomorrow), Echelon out ♥

Other Systems – An Author Interview with Elizabeth Guizzetti

Hello once again Readers!!! Remember how I said that I was looking to start interviewing authors of interest on my recent post How To Gain Traffic To Your Blog? Well guess what…mission accomplished! And I feel it’s complimentary to today’s guest, Elizabeth Guizzetti, to call my endeavours a mission. Why? Well because her latest work, Other Systems, is a Sci-Fi about a star-gazer named Abby Lei who’s on a mission to find herself amidst the terror of being stripped from everything she’s ever known or loved.

So let’s get to the good stuff!

Published by 48Fourteen, Other Systems was released on April 1, 2012 on e-book. It explores the loss of identity due to a forced breeding program camouflaged by the promise of life on a new planet. It also takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions as she experiences the loss of family and friends through time dilation and modern-day slavery.

Personally, I love books that pull me away from reality and make me feel as if I’m on the actual journey with the characters. Elizabeth has accomplished this in her writing. I felt Abby’s excitement, her fear, her joy, and her pain.

The blurb:

Humans have begun to sprawl across the known galaxy, however, without an influx of human DNA, the planet Kipos has only eleven generations left before it reaches failure. And with it taking over two centuries to get to Earth and back at near light speed, the Kiposi are running out of options. Other Systems follows Abby, an Earthling, who sees opportunity in Kipos’s need for humans. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, she and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. They leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs, kindhearted spouses, and the opportunity for a higher education. But when Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin is nowhere to be found. Not long after, Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. To survive, Abby must learn the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind.

So Elizabeth, what inspired you to begin a career in writing?

I always wanted to be an author, but stopped writing fiction due to my focus on creating art and working other day jobs during my early and mid 20’s. My writing career actually began six years ago. I was doing baby room murals, and I was getting bored with the work so I wrote and illustrated my first graphic novel, Faminelands: The Carp’s Eye. After three graphic novels and a comic book series, my comic book partner-in-crime became pregnant with her second child and needed a break so I wrote my debut novel, Other Systems.

When did the idea for Other Systems hit you? What were you doing at the time?

I was running into some plot/character arc issues with Faminelands#3—but the concept for Other Systems really hit me when I was out walking the dogs: a young Earth woman goes to another planet and realizes she has become a slave. However, due to her intelligence, she will escape and become a ship’s captain while she rescues her siblings also somewhere lost on this planet. Obviously this original idea would have ended the novel after Abby was in her late twenties. It also ended up not being exactly the final concept.

That very night, I saw an article about young, uneducated girls from India’s rural areas traveling into new cities and thinking that they are going to get factory jobs only to end up working as sex slaves. Suddenly, I knew the how Abby got caught up in all of this.

Then I had another idea—an idea that I was playing with in Faminelands, but got cut out of the plot. I knew the breeding laws were more expansive than just the bonded Earthlings. There would be more species than Homo sapiens and Homo kiposi. Those other species would be sterilized due to their genetics.

Interesting, I love that you incorporated modern-day issues such as India’s travesty of sex slavery into your plot. Maybe through experiencing Abby’s pain, we could take a closer interest into helping them.

So how did you choose the names for your characters and do they have a specific meaning?

I believe a good character name may denote rank, gender, and nationality. It is also important to me to have names for my characters that the reader can easily read! That is why even when I choose non-European names, I choose easy to pronounce short names such as Jin and Lei.

Generally, I use the name’s meaning or sound to help me decide if it is the right name. Some names, though I love them, end up getting axed. I wanted Harden’s character to be a woman so I originally called her Arley, just because I liked the name. However, in Other Systems, there were two problems with it. First of all, on the page, Arley and Abby look and sound too similar. Secondly, Harden turned out to be a man. Since Arely means hare’s meadow, I looked for other similar names and found Harden-the hare’s den. The other thing I love about the name is that the word Hard is its first syllable, then it softens with the en.

Did you create the colorful cover?

Yes, I created the cover artwork as well as the act break illustrations as seen here to the right. However, the red shift/blue shift (which signifies light speed) and the lettering was 48Fourteen’s idea.

I love multi-talented authors! Your art is unique and depicts the observant eye of Abby.

For aspiring authors, what advice do you have for getting through tough scenes that deal with controversial issues such as Abby’s rape scenes?

Controversial issues (graphic violence, sex, swearing, politics, etc.) should be integral to the plot in some way. So first of all, an aspiring writer should ask himself or herself: Is this scene necessary? How much of the scene is necessary?

In my mind, Abby’s rape was integral to the plot, so I do not apologize for writing it. Her bond holders dehumanized her. She and the other Earthlings in her situation were literally property and bonded specifically to breed. Not only does the reader have to experience Abby’s rape, but also the horrors of slavery.

However, I did not go graphic in every place. For example, while Harden’s wife’s suicide is integral to his character arc, I did not describe her stepping out of an airlock or the gruesome effects of a vacuum on the human body. Instead, I described Harden and his family’s reaction to the act, simply because that is what is important to the plot.

Well spoken and noted. On a more positive note, how much research went into the creation of Kipos as well as the many planets Abby visited?

All total, I spent about three months researching prior to writing the novel. I looked up the plants and sea organisms as needed. I began by researching the Kepler Missions and then spent time finding G-type stars within 100 light years of Earth. I had to choose stable Sol-like stars in single or in stable binary clusters. Then I focused on ship engineering and what astronauts actually go through during space travel.

For the planets themselves, I used interesting hikes I have gone on, my travels, and my love of nature to describe the things Abby found there. The biological differences just on Earth is absolutely amazing.

I probably put the most work in Lathos and Lambda Saggitarri k since they did not orbit yellow dwarves and probably would be filled with different types of plant and animal life.

Wow! That’s an amazing amount of information to absorb. I’m impressed and intrigued. You must have a soft spot for stars as well as Abby. So if you could be one character from your story, who would it be and why?

Diane Richards. Her job as head engineer means she does the work she likes without getting bogged down with paperwork as Harden the Captain and Helen the XO do. She is kind-hearted and intelligent. Like all the characters, her life has known pain, but she lives with it. During the course of the novel, she is unattached, so she gets to have a lot of fun. Plus, she loves cats.

I admit I was sad that two scenes with her and Abby got cut, but they were both little darling scenes and cut in draft two for redundancy and pacing. The first one was Diane showing Abby an engine system between Lathos and Kipos. The second one is about the correct way to approach men after Abby’s scare on O-7.

I think I would have picked her too. She had such a loving, strong nature that I admired. I loved how she nurtured Abby and helped her see that being a woman could be fun and invigorating.

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Other-Systems-ebook/dp/B007QQDU94/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342853034&sr=8-1&keywords=Other+Systems

Barnes&Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/other-systems-elizabeth-guizzetti/1104526463?ean=2940014188180

48Fourteen

http://48fourteen.com/catalog/other-systems

What are you waiting for? Hope you have enjoyed my lovely readers.

Until next time, Echelon out ♥

 

The four steps I use to create spells

Hello Readers!!!

I’ve been hard at work on my second novel! I’ve almost finished the chapter that I needed to add. It’s been a lot of fun writing it. It involves magic and fight training! So of course, now I have to blog about my favorite subject: Magic.

Everyone, I belief, is born with a little bit of magic. It is buried deep inside our brains and there it sits, waiting for you to tap into. As a child, we all discover our own magic one way or another. Some children learn to fly, their little legs racing across the playground with their arms stretched forward, ripping through the air, imagining to be Superman. Others become race car drivers as their sibling pushes them across the floor in a laundry basket. For me, magic began with the belief in people such as Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. A parents first answer to the question, “How do they do that?” is always, “Magic.”

Hearing that word explained for the first time opened my eyes to a whole new world, one where I could do or be anything I wanted. Magic implanted itself into my imagination, and from there I began building worlds of my own. Early on it was childish worlds such as a platform of wood becoming a ship that was being attacked by pirates. I would inform all the kids around me of this and then give them their parts to play in my imaginary story. We would spend hours like this, fake battling and repairing the ship. Things were so simple then. As I grew older I found music and was inspired to create plays out of whole CD’s. I think the first CD I created a play to was Disney’s Fantasia. I even held auditions for the special parts. Eventually though, I grew up and didn’t have a bunch of kids that would volunteer to follow my silly stories. So I turned to the one thing I can always rely on…paper. Words always flow like water for me when there’s a little bit of pressure and a blank piece of paper.

I digress. Magic. Just the very word brings a smile to my face. Influences like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, Everquest, even Barney, come to mind. I don’t think I could live in a world that had no knowledge of magic. I wish even more that I could visit some of the worlds that have been dreamed up. My obsession with all things magic has finally paid off though. My Trilogy is full of magic. In my written world, I am able to conjure things, use the elements, see into the future, and even dabble in dark magic. And the best part of my world, is creating spells. Which brings me back to the point of my blog. Magic. Oooooohhh…say it again. Magic.

I wanted to share with you the four steps I use to create spells. One thing you must remember as an author is:  YOU ARE THE CREATOR. YOU HAVE THE CONTROL TO CREATE SOMETHING NEW! If you can keep that in mind, then you can create something never read before! Don’t hold yourself back to thinking you have to be like authors before you. There is no box!

Step One:  The first thing I decide when creating spells is, what language will I use? A made up language? Latin? Greek? It’s up to you. It’s your story. You can even take a language and twist it a bit to suit your style. There is a great tool called Google Translate that will take an english word and turn it into many different languages for you. You can use what they give, or spin-off of the words they give, changing letters here and there to create your own. And if you are really good at imagining, then you may be able to create words on your own with just your imagination! Once you have decided that, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step Two: Now you must come up with your basic rules. Will they be able to conjure and eat food? Can a spell move them from place to place? Do they need ingredients in order to create spells like witches use? You have to create your boundaries for your characters. Don’t make it too easy for them. Part of the fun of reading, are watching the characters overcome or even succumb to the obstacles you’ve created. Just because they use magic doesn’t mean they should be able to do anything.

Step Three: So you have your language and your base rules. Now you must think of what type of magic they will use. Will it be elemental? Light and Dark? Witchcraft? Druid? Will you have multiple races, each with different forms of magic? Will you take a few different types and mix them, making them your own style? There has to be some cohesion to the magic you are using. You don’t want to look at it like the kitchen sink. Make sure it makes sense to your story. You don’t want it to become unrealistic. It will pull the reader from your world. If you aren’t sure, research. Read up on different magic-using races. Get a feel for what you like. Priests, Monks, Orcs, Goblins, Elven people, Shadow walkers, something not yet thought of? So much to dabble in. Once you choose your magic style, it will make it easier on you to write your story.

Step Four: Now you’re at the point where you’re ready to begin creating the actual spells. This is the fun part! I create a new word document to keep my spells on so I can keep track of everything. You may want to categorize it. Defensive spells. Offensive spells. If you choose elemental, separate the elements.  Dark magic. Death spells, ect. This will be your go-to guide when you are writing your story. It will be there when you need some spells to get through a scene and can’t remember what to use. Start with thinking of common spells needed such as throwing someone backwards or disarming someone. You have your language chosen, so think of the words you want to be chanted or said when the spell is thrown. Try to make the word sound similar to the action so the reader can have an automatic response to it. Then, write it in your spell book along with a definition so you can remember it later on. I would try to think of as many different scenarios as possible and what type of spells my characters could use to get out of a sticky situation, or even use when stuck in a sticky situation. Then I just create. Once they are written down, it allows me to focus on the actual story and not have to stop and think of new things which holds up the writing process.

So there it is. As I’ve said in blogs before, everyone is different and creates differently. This is how I’ve done it. This is what’s easy for me. Will it help you? I hope so. Even if you are only able to use a few of my steps. There are so many ways to use magic to vamp up your story. It’s intoxicating to read and even more addicting to write about. It’s what we all wish we could do. So now I set you free to begin the process of creating new spells! As for leaving you with a question, how about, if you are a writer, share your steps on how you create magic within your story. If you are a reader, share how magic affects you when reading.

That being said, Echelon out ♥

Tongue-tied…

Image  

Hey Everyone! 

To say it’s been awhile would be an understatement. My bestie and I just had our first Craft Fair which showcased our art from Fae Tis Moor last weekend, so we were busy preparing for that. In case you’re wondering, it went extremely well. We received a lot of positive feedback and are applying for another one in a couple of weeks. It feels good to finally be doing something I want to do as opposed to something I have to do. And it is only just the beginning. *Mischievous grin*

I digress.

So while I was at the Craft Fair, I came across another topic I wanted to blog about while baking in the sweltering Florida heat. My wonderful bestie thought it would be smart to put out printed copies of my cover with my publisher’s website on the back just to get the name out there. It sounded like a great idea, but what I failed to prepare for was the inevitable question that comes with asking a complete stranger to keep your novel in mind.

What is it about?

*Crickets*

I was instantly tongue-tied as I tried to come up with a quick and interesting way to explain my story and my face burned with embarrassment. Instead of the pretty blurb I wrote while sitting behind my computer in the safety of my home, it came out as a bunch of mumbling, incomprehensible stutters. Not my shining moment. I realized that if I want to be successful, I’d need to get over my fears. *Sigh*

Point is…as you tackle one problem in life, another will always present itself. But rather than fumbling around and giving up because it’s not something you’re good at, take it as an opportunity to grow. Being shy is a problem I deal with day-to-day which can be mistaken for many other characteristics. It’s probably why I chose a profession that allows me to hide behind my imagination. So I refuse to let it hinder my career.

As the weekend wore on my confidence grew as strong as the smiles the customers wore while appreciating our art. I greeted them rather than evading them. I forced myself to try, and came out with a stronger outlook on how to best explain my work. I proved that with a little discomfort and effort, a lesson can be learned and hurdled. *Happy dance*

So with that being said, I leave you with a question. What problem have you had to tackle and how did you do it?

Echelon out ♥

When the end is really the beginning…

  Hello once again Readers!!!

Guess who’s escaping from Purgatory in a few weeks!!! This girl!!!! *Happy dance with a penguin shuffle*

Though I must say the circumstances that have led me to my escape weren’t without sacrifice or even a hard slap in the face. *Ow* But really, when does fate ever let you take the fork in the road without any bumps? Hardly ever! And I think it’s because you must learn a life lesson before you can proceed to the next level in life. (Yes I play too many video games). But not to worry, because I hurdled those bumps like Free Willy jumping for freedom and quite honestly, for once in my life…I feel like I am finally on the right path. It’s like, I’ve weathered this wicked storm and then the clouds part, suddenly giving way to the most beautiful sunset you could ever imagine. Kind of like the one in the picture above.

But the real magic lies in what comes after the sun rests its head. Stars! Vast, endless, sparkling stars that take your breath away and promise the return of another day or in other words my future (at least I hope). My bestie and I are going to plunge forward with our art business Fae Tis Moor. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be able to let the creativity flow without interruptions as well as having more free time to write! But the icing on the cake will be all the precious moments I get back with my children. *Tear*

So that’s currently where I’m at this week. A big change from last week. I’m still plunging away at the keyboard day after day trying to wrap up the first draft of my second novel to the Born in Flames Trilogy. I am now nineteen chapters in-WHAT! I know…I’m keeping a good pace. Hopefully the evil spider from last week will keep its distance from me. *Wink*

I’m keeping it short this week so I can keep writing and am hoping that next week I will have more exciting news to share. Maybe something about Born in Flames?! Who knows where fate will take me next? And on that note my question for this week is: What big leap are you looking to take and how are you planning your escape?

That being said-Echelon out ♥ 

Finding inspiration when your Muse takes a vacation…

Hello once again fellow readers!!!!

 So for those of you that don’t know, I’m a sucker for inspiring quotes. Especially quotes that pertain to bettering yourself. I have a hoard of them taped in various places on my desk…things that make me smile when the flames are roaring high in Purgatory. 

And I don’t know why, but somehow total strangers seem to have the ability to sum up exactly what I’m feeling or longing for in two sentences or less. This ability to sit back and observe outside the box is one I try to live by day after day.

I digress –so I wanted to share a quote with you this week that totally hit home with the fork in the road I took a few years back. The fork to my inner artist. Drum roll please…….

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot (real name Mary Anne Evans).

I know right.

It’s inspiring for so many reasons. One being the fact that he is really a she. And in the 1800’s she chose to pursue her dream of becoming an author despite the stereotype women harbored. And two being the simple fact that there are so many people out there that don’t realize that it’s never too late!!

In my case, I didn’t go to college. I just wasn’t ready for it. Freedom flew beneath my wings and I found it hard to be bogged down by more schooling. Instead I chose to build a family. I’m one of those that when I want something, I simply go for it. But as I said in my previous blog, I was still missing something.  After battling with the initial lack of self-esteem most people hide deep down I thought, why can’t I do it?

I couldn’t think of any reasons. At least any that weren’t really just excuses. Nothing in life happens without taking risks or chances and putting in hard work. So I went for it and I wrote. And that was the day I chose to go left instead of right. So what does this have to do with inspiration?

We’ve all felt it one time or another whether you’ve noticed it or not. It’s in the crisp, starry night air twinkling above you as you walk hand in hand with a lover, or the golden-orange colors that seem to ignite the horizon at dawn as the sun begins to rise. It’s in the serenity that comes with the toss of your favorite fishing pole into the crystal blue waters that hold the promise of your next catch. Or even the excitement of bringing life into this ever-changing world.

The fact is, inspiration is all around us. And inspiration can do so much for you. It can change your outlook on life-make you appreciate the everyday. It can help mold you into a better person. It can push you to pursue what you thought was no longer possible. It’s what drives us forward.

So I ask you…take a moment to stand still and just listen. Whether you’re in a bustling kitchen or on the couch at home. Close your eyes and breathe. Think about what it is you love. What your heart wants. Step outside and look up. Find the brightest star in the sky and make a wish. Then make that wish happen. You can do what you set out to do. As I tell my bestie, “Pain is beauty.” Not in a superficial sense, but in real life. You always seem to find yourself inside the deepest pit of pain. And with finding yourself comes surety in who you are and what you are capable of.

With that being said…What inspires you?

Echelon out ♥