Archive for March, 2008

Initiating hermit sequence. 3,2,1…

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I was never able to remember which months have 30 days and which ones have 31. A girlfriend tried to teach me some sort of trick where you sound the months off while counting your knuckles, but I ended up just playing with the tendons that pop out and turn white when I make a fist… But according to my fancy-schmancy computer, April has 31 days.

Thank GOD.

The deadline for completing the rough draft of my current novel is May 1st. I thought I was doing pretty well. I thought I was on track. I thought I had time.

After some investigation, however, I’ve discovered I’m actually less than halfway through the story, less than halfway to my word count and I’m feeling less and less confident about meeting my deadline.

But I do have a spectacular stubborn streak when I can conjure it, and I think we’ve almost struck that gritty, balls-to-the-wall gold.

Will I meet this stupidly impossible self-imposed deadline?

Oh my, yes.
It might be paved with caffeine, sleep deprivation and nervous breakdowns, but I’ll see you in May with a manuscript in hand.

Yeah…

Friday, March 28th, 2008

overwhelmed01.gif

…it’s kind of like that. There’s a lot going on up there.

On a happy and delightfully stress-free note, as of Wednesday night I am the only one with a perfect area in my NCAA Bracket Sportsocracy’s blogger’s league. Josh has been yelling blasphemes since that blog post was made, mostly because he knows my mode of selection. Hint: it involves the alphabet. Xavier for the win!

I do recognize the irony in having a plate piled high with To-Do’s and then spending that precious time drawing an unnecessary illustration for my blog, but it gave me half an hour of peaceful distraction. So there.

Jeff Smith’s “Bone”

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

jeffsmithbonecvr.jpgIf you have any interest in the medium of graphic storytelling, this is one piece that should be at the top of your To Read/Own list.

Originally self-published by Jeff Smith from 1991 to 2004, Bone is hailed as the longest running independently-published comic by a single author. Originally, there were 55 issues, released sporadically. These days you can purchase it as a complete volume that clocks in at a spectacular 1,332 pages. And every page is a work of art.

hoodedoneratcr.jpgWhen the three Bones - Phoney Bone, Smily Bone and Fone Bone - are run out of their hometown, they find themselves far from home and separated from one another in The Valley. We primarily follow everyman Fone Bone as he’s taken in by tough Gran’ma Ben and her (cute) grand-daughter Thorn for the winter. But as Spring blossoms, so does trouble: Thorn is having strange dreams, frightening Rat Creatures have begun to invade the valley, and a dragon has been spotted in the woods. They discover the mythic Lord of the Locusts seeks someone to release him from his ancient prison so he can destroy the world, a role he thinks can be filled by either Thorn or Bone’s cousin, Phoney. The barriers between the real world and the dream world begin to break down, and the discovery of Thorn’s mysterious lineage puts them in even more danger than before.

Smith weaves a tale that effectively combines fantasy elements like dragons, monsters, other worlds, and fate with lighter, comedic fare. The art reflects this juxtaposition as well - most of the characters are human, while the three Bones are more simply rendered, with big cartoon-y features and little clothes. Many of the human characters are still exaggerated, however, and I think that’s where Smith is at his strongest. Gran’ma Ben in particular is wonderfully expressive, despite having only lines for eyes and speaking primarily through her chin. His creature designs are straight-forward but fantastic, whether it’s a dragon, Rat Creature, or the cute baby animals. Emotion is poignant and subtle when it needs to be; action is always clear, expressive and exciting.

bonesample01.gifRarely does one truly find an author that is just as gifted at art as he/she is at storytelling. In every work of fiction it’s the story that is key, and sometimes graphic novels can get caught up in the “how” rather than the “what” when the author/illustrator are the same person. In Bone, they work well hand in hand.

I really can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve read it twice, and I had just as much fun this time as the first time. I’m sure I’ll pick it up again in the future.

Bone is also being re-released in color, with the talents of Steve Hamaker adding some umph to Jeff Smith’s expert inking.

Strike Two

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

…aaaaand there’s the sting I expected from the first one.

I read my second rejection letter today. The agent actually sent it a month ago, which is made a little more embarrassing due to some technical ignorance that left it buried in another email address. And since I totally sent a follow-up email yesterday to check on its progress…? Whoops. I’m suppressing the urge to send herĀ  yet another email to apologize for the mix-up, but seeing as I would have thanked her for time and then wasted it on two unnecessary emails… Yeah, the self esteem is sitting a little lower than usual.

Andrea Somberg (aim for the stars, right?) sent a very polite and personalized email passing on The Sum of David. I got from her words that she read not only the query but also the sample pages. Agent eyes that read the query and advance to the sample chapters mean the query letter is fine, which is great news; but she said she regretted it didn’t draw her in the way she had hoped it would. Ouch.

Do you have twenty minutes to spare? Check out the Sample Chapters and let me know what you think. Celebrate the anonymity of the internet by giving me a vicious critique on the first four chapters of my masterpiece. While I’m not ready to jump head-first into another editing overhaul, it’d be great to know how I can spice it up.

Oh well. Back on the horse.

Documentaries

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

A fair warning. For the sake of humor, this may be sexist for a moment.

It amazes me that many men spend so much time trying to appear rough and tough and, well, manly, only to revert back to a child’s mentality when they are hit with a cold:

I don’t like to adhere to stereotypes, but it’s like this was filmed in my living room. If I was in Britain, of course, and married to that guy from Hot Fuzz.Josh is nearly back to 100%. He’s kind of like Wolverine when it comes to illnesses, so *shing* and a couple days of hibernation put him back up to functioning levels. I, on the other hand, have apparently become susceptible to things settling in my lungs, so I’m nursing my third round with bronchitis in six months.All that aside, we celebrated Josh’s birthday last night at the Carson City Saloon. Thanks to everybody that came out! I knew the night was a success when he came home at 2am, intoxicated to spins on $4 pitchers of PBR, and fell asleep with a big grin on his face.

Be sure to tell him happy birthday, and be sure to do so loudly.