Archive for December, 2007

New Year, New Site

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Seeya, 2007. Welcome, 2008. May your arrival shower happiness and success on the multitude of humanity. And me.

It seems my webhost has been behaving naughtily toward my human playmates, so we’ve moved; and I figured we’d migrate the blog to WordPress too, for good measure. I’ve moved last year’s posts into these archives, so you can still read all that 2006/2007-y goodness. I’m still figuring out some of the site’s visual formatting, but so far I like it!

And in light of the new year (and a new site/domain for this blog), I’m copping out the way many a television sitcom has: let’s take a look back at 2007.

sod-cover-v2.gifThe completion of a novel, The Sum of David. I’ve now refined this MS to the point where I feel comfortable submitting to agents for representation, but 3oo-odd days ago, it fulfilled it’s original intent — as a Christmas present for my teenage brother. It took 2 years and an immeasurable amount of coffee to complete, but I had a blast creating it. An interesting tidbit? Seth hasn’t read the last two novels I’ve written for him. I suppose this should upset me, but I honestly have so much fun doing them it’s not really an issue. Besides, he’s sixteen. There’s girls, clothes, video games, driving, Steelers and Beavers… generally, bigger fish to fry.

The second “release” of the above novel. I posted a chapter a week for most of 2007, along with some kind of insight into each chapter’s writing,  characterization or description. After copying and pasting the posts from Blogger to WordPress, I found the following conclusion to many of the 53 chapters: “This is was a fun chapter to write”. I think I said that on at least 15 of them, ha!

The Red City

Josh and I did a Sketch-off. The rules were that we each had to post a sketch a day for two weeks. The wager? Niether of us can remember, but it must have been serious — we might have pushed the midnight deadline on a couple, but we completed all 28.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows We (that’s you, me, and a large chunk of the world’s population) completed the Harry Potter series. I provided a spoiler-free review of the experience. It’s probably one of the best written posts on here so far, and involves only the tiniest amount of Rowling FanGirly-ness.

There was more excitement than the fun listed above, of course. I made a hat. I helped throw a righteous Halloween party, and we did a fundraiser for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. There were two Creative Marathons, two Doughnuts and Arts, and two Podcamp Pittsburghs. It was a busy, busy year. Here’s hoping 2008 is even better!

Coming Up Next

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

I’ve got some really great projects coming up in the very near future. I’ll be happy to post when they are complete and/or unwrapped in the hands of their new owners.

Recently completed: since we were very bare bones about our wedding in June, we didn’t spend any money on photographers. Instead, the photographers and contributing family graciously accepted beer in exchange for the pictures. As a result, I’ve spent the last 5 months gratefully sorting through the over 2,000 pictures. I finally whittled the number of photos down to under 200.

Mac’s photo software, iPhoto, is easy and convenient to use. It helps you organize all your photos and also allows you a drag-and-drop option for creating picture books. I’m sure there are other services online that will allow to do the same, but Apple’s proved so easy I thought I’d give it a try. We got one book for us and one for each of the moms.

The only thing that concerns me is the they wouldn’t take the photos as CMYK, which is the color mode I’m accustomed to using for photos for print. It rejected the images until I converted all to RGB, so I’m wondering how they will actually print… The examples I’ve seen at CompUSA looked crisp and bright and beautiful — hopefully there wasn’t any sort of mass production voodoo happening there and our books will turn out just as nice. If they look good, I bet I will be doing more of these picture books.

I’m also planning another custom book, this time as a compilation of my MySpace blogs over the years. I started posting on 2004, and even though MySpace has outworn its usefulness to me, I would hate to lose the memories from those frequent posts — I did over 400.

Lulu.com allows you to customize a book and print as many as you want, including the magic number: one. I’m formatting all those entries into a printed journal that I can stick on my bookshelf and laugh at in ten years. Or in five years. Or tomorrow.

There are a two ironies here. One, that I’m printing something that was originally in an online format. And two, that I am self-publishing two personal books… even while I am seeking professional representation for my would-be second profession. Hilarious.

Some Christmas Cheer

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

My mother works at a women’s prison facility on the west coast, and asked me to make a couple posters of a painting I did in high school. There’s plenty of online resources for this service, so I snapped a questionable quality digital picture of it, uploaded it to zazzle.com and it shipped to my parent’s home.

She had planned on hanging one in the main area and one in her office, but in order to do so she must get the design approved. The painting’s initial reaction was positive, but she’s apparently having problems getting it past the boss, who has deemed the artwork too gloomy:


Okay, it’s not warm and fuzzy. But there is an interpretive value in conquering obstacles, right? At least, that’s how I meant it my junior year… We’ll see if it is allowed in. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me: I certainly wouldn’t want any real negative effects to take place from a painting I made ten years ago.

In happier news, The Creative Treehouse hosted a toy drive for Big Brothers Big Sisters last Saturday. Professional photographers took holiday portraits for everyone that brought toys out. I hope everyone that came out had as much fun as we did setting it up.

Me, Jesse and Bodnar testing out the set and props. One of those gifts is a Wii, the other is a two pound cheese dinosaur. Does it really matter who go which? (photo courtesy John Bodnar)

Josh and I looking festive in our official portrait. Don’t worry, we’re not really cold. It’s fake snow. (photo courtesy Tom Darby)

We had a blast working the event, and in addition to families and couples, we got a few pets too. So we spent much of our time hyper from cookies, hot cocoa, puppies and holiday cheer. If you missed the portraits, the Treehouse is still holding on to the toys until Dec. 13, and would be happy to take donations up to that time.

First Blood

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Writing on David’s sequel has begun slowly, but there is excellent progress being made. My soft deadline right now for the completion of the first draft is May 1st. We’ll see. I’m feeling confident.

…which is ironic, because I totally got my first rejection letter today. I had (sort of) successfully forgotten that I even sent it out, except I started trying to remember why Dec. 15th stuck in my mind and, ah, that’s when the 2 month response time would be up. Well, I got my familiar SASE in the mail yesterday. I stared at it for a moment and, in an exercise of self-control, put it down and started cooking dinner.

But let’s face it, it’s a freakin‘ response, and the piece of paper contained within that envelope lived in the drawer of a real agent’s office — I opened it.

I’ve been bracing myself for months in the event I receive a letter that reads anything beyond “Yes! Please!” Although it would be outside my usual character, I was really afraid I would take the rejection personally, but there wasn’t any of the heartbreak or anguish I thought might bloom from the experience. Actually, my level of disappointment was only about a .5 on a scale from 1 - 10. The letter was very polite, very encouraging. I really thought I’d be more bummed than I am.

I suspect that this may be because by getting a response at all, I’m at least a part of the game now.

So the letter is going up onto the cork board in my studio, I’m on to pursue the next agent in my magic agent binder, and it’s back to work on the next book. Things are rolling along.