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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 05:00pm on 23/06/2014
I'm now wondering about art styles. This is an opportunity to do a set of completely new, fun art.

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I've experimented with a number of different styles over the years, from fairly realistic and representational to more abstract-expressionist to cartoony. (Feel free to take a look at what's on my portfolio site: http://www.dreamspell.net)

What do y'all think might be most appealing in this kind of card game format?

Sent out an inquiry to three different companies that print custom game cards:

"Hi, I'm asking about a custom deck of 126 cards, sized 2.25 x 3.5" (Bridge size), Custom artwork on front and back; some cards could be two-color; some are four-color, full bleed on fronts. I'd provide all artwork to your specs. What would you charge per deck for 100 decks? for 250 decks, etc.? What packaging options do you offer?"

Also: reading up on Kickstarter FAQs and advice.
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 08:09am on 05/06/2014
I posted on FB yesterday that Friday's job interview came to naught. They hired someone else.

Now I am looking into Kickstarter - the online service that helps creative people raise money from backers to fund specific projects. I have a couple projects in mind that I'd like to work on and dozens on the back burners of my mind.

The couple closest to being ready for proposals are a card game and a picture book.

I've already got some sample art and a manuscript for this picture book and think I could complete the rest of the art readily given the funded time.
Picture Book: Would You Be a Baby )

I'm not sure I know enough people who'd be interested in a picture book to want to help fund the project, though. My niece just had a baby, but there aren't a lot of very young tots in my circles.

The other project is a card game I call BiZar, in the Uno family, inspired by Zar. Like the latter, it would have similar special effect cards, but rather than three suits of colors it would have six, and maybe a couple fewer symbol suits, to keep the size from growing unwieldy. I already came up with a working deck with the three alternate colors and think I could produce alternate symbols and a full set of the rules fairly easily. And I DO know a lot of gamesters.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on the latest novel, but working on my own artistic projects - with funding! - would beat a supplemental day job hands down.
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 06:10pm on 24/04/2014
Via [personal profile] cakmpls: If you are friends or fans of Becca Leathers and Graham Leathers: they could use a bit of help right now. Their PayPal address is knitnax@gmail.com. Every little bit will help at the moment.
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 07:47am on 02/02/2014
Cross-posted to my blog

Three months after moving house, I’m still unpacking. I’m down to far fewer boxes, but far fewer places to put things once they’re unpacked.

I’m now using one of the emptied boxes to collect things I feel I can do without.
Reluctantly, I’m forced to admit to myself that I’ll probably never open that mind-soul-healing book again – not with several others in a similar vein already on the shelves. Amazingly, now that I have two novels, two novellas and two collections of short stories published, I can do without the book telling me how to get published. How many instruction books do I need for a musical instrument I seldom play? Or for software no longer installed on my computer? It’s time to go through my shelves and make some decisions. Will I ever read this again, or that to begin with? Which of the non-fiction books are outdated? Which will actually be useful?

Why do I keep those I keep? With many of my fiction books, I keep them as reminders of the adventures I experienced and the people I’ve come to know and care about between their pages. A book on a shelf is like a photo in a family album.

Picking up a book, one can open the pages at any time and slip back into its world of people and adventures once again. That world is always there in potential, and I find it reassuring to see all those potential worlds racked on the shelves around me. I love my Nook – mostly because I can have my books and lift them, too – but the presence of a solid book is a magical thing.

Still, when I have to pile some books in front of others, it takes away the virtue of being able to see those reminders arrayed before me.

A book on a shelf is like a photo in a family album. A person doesn’t get rid of any of the photos of people and times that are truly meaningful. Every single shot holds a precious memory. But, say you only have room to keep one or two photo albums out for display. You can look through all the photos from a special event and keep one or two that are representative, and file the rest in a box (neatly labeled of course, to make future access easy) and store the box away.

Maybe I need every single volume of the Harry Potter series available – I may well want to read them again – but I might keep only the first volume of another series handy, if I knew where to find the rest when I needed them. Maybe I only need the first volume in hard copy if I have the others on my Nook… And maybe there are some stories that don’t mean as much to me as others, which may yet be enjoyable enough to make it worth sharing them with other readers by donating to a library, prison reading program, or even selling off to a used book store. Let the sorting begin!
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 11:34am on 30/12/2013
Happy New Year! May 2014 be blest, fulfilling and filled with warmth and love for all of us!

This last week was a good one as far as social activities go, but so-so for keeping up with writing and unpacking goals. I did make some progress in revising the scenes my CPs found problematic, and I did go through a lot of my officey stuff on Christmas Eve, sorting out a lot of pens, pencils, and some fancy papers to give to my cousin’s kids for arts & crafts projects. I also started again running the craigslist ads offering my freelance services, which had been in suspension while working my temp assignment.

I did seek out tax forms, and have been gathering related info. I’m glad I’d already assembled all the email correspondence between myself and Ron Gallati, (with our court date set for Jan 28) because this morning my email inbox was missing the 1000 past emails that I had saved there yesterday. Update: whew! They automatically created an archive folder for me; past correspondence is safe.

Socially, I attended a handful of holiday gatherings, got together with old friends and went with another friend to see ‘Frozen.’ This is good because I’m doubtful of getting out on New Year’s Eve. It’s too cold, especially at night, and the bus service on holidays is too scanty. I’ll be content with having wished many people a happy new year already.

I concluded my Jane Austen re-read with Northanger Abbey. I think that and ‘Emma’ are my favorites.

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking back over the past year and assessing my goals for the future. My 2013 review: http://skylarker.livejournal.com/912632.html

For Next Time: )
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 03:14pm on 29/12/2013
January 2013: I started out the new year living at the Grand House, behind on rent, with the hot water heater out of commission, and worried about work and income. (Although a Jewelmark order and formatting gig (for an options trading book) were in the works.) ‘Sweet Mercy,’ my very first publication from Champagne Books, had been out for a month and I was polishing ‘Safe Haven.’ I received cover art for ‘Spirited!’ – from which they’d dropped my exclamation point, experimented with ‘free download day’ promotions, worked on Line Edits for ‘Wonder Guy.’ I formatted the MFW Anthology, ‘Love in the Land of Lakes,’ for print and digital versions and saw the first Hobbit movie!

Compare and Contrast: Nearly a year later, I’m living in my own small apartment in New Brighton, rent is current and I’ve just fulfilled a successful temp assignment. My arts & craft facilities are in disarray after moving, though not total chaos. A new Hobbit movie is out, but I’m not liking the reviews. ‘Safe Haven’ has been out for a couple months and I’m working on its sequel, ‘Shining Hope.’

Having learned my lesson last year, when a check went astray because the contact info on my website was out of date, I’ve just updated the site with my new address.
The ups and downs of 2013 )

Looking forward to 2014, my plans for the near future include:
  • a renewed job hunt,
  • preparing my taxes, and
  • preparing for my court date on January 28th.
Long term:
  • More writing: completing ‘Shining Hope’ and submitting it to my editor at Champagne, along with a suggestion that all three Team Guardian novellas be compiled into a single volume.
  • I also aim to produce POD versions of ‘Wonder Guy’ and ‘More Wishes’ for Lulu, and a digital version of ‘More Wishes’ for Smashwords.
  • Additionally, I’m slated to take over production of ‘The Muse’ for MFW and to keep the club website updated.

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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 10:29am on 13/08/2013
Since Sunday's debacle (details in earlier post) I've sent Ron an email asking politely to be reimbursed for my moving expenses (approx $830) and have not heard back from him. My brother Dave, the lawyer, is on standby.

Yesterday I caught up with my transcription and sent my monthly mss to my critique partners for our meeting on Sunday, and have started the reading and wrote my responses for a blog interview that will go live on Monday.

Before fate took the abrupt plot twist, I'd already started setting up the other two books I'm formatting for 40Press; I want to finish those this week, and start on the edits for the novella scheduled for October release. I had put these projects on hold while moving, and they need to be completed asap now.

This week's goals:
- Reorient myself (start looking into housing options)
- Edits for 'Safe Haven' - other writing
- Read for CPs
- format 40Press books

Friday: Gamesday
Sunday: CP Meeting

I hope life is much quieter for you this week than it's been for me and Tigger, who is handling things very well, considering that my brother's house has two other cats AND two DOGS!
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 07:11am on 03/08/2013
I wrote on the day after reaching my latest Day 100, but have since been focused almost entirely on packing for my upcoming move and decided I need the hiatus for a few days at least.

I now face a new chapter of my life, and sympathize greatly with the poor characters in our books who don't know what the author has in mind for them but must face each day as it comes.
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 11:04am on 29/06/2013
During the past week's writers' retreat I completed the drafts of the two inter-related short stories on which I've been working for some time. Yay! They are very rough and part of this week's goal is to apply critique partner feedback and polish them so they'll be ready for publication. I also started making notes for another story in the Team Guardian series.

At this point, it's now only a handful of days before Convergence where I'm scheduled to appear on several panels, so I will need to prepare for that and prepare some artwork to show there.

Due to infelicitous timing of a couple panels, I've arranged crash space for Thursday and Friday nights. I'll have to abandon Tigger overnight again so soon following my trip, and plan to commute home again during the days to make sure the kitties are all cared for.

In the meanwhile, I've only got to the end of the month now to find a job, enabling me to find new place to stay, then to pack all my stuff and make arrangements for moving. I'm trying not to panic, but that's a tough task in itself.

My mother's memorial service is planned for July 16, which will undoubtedly take some time away from dealing with my own situation. I'll have to travel to Fergus and help my brothers and sisters deal with the large household full of stuff Mom left behind. (Plus side: I may get a nearly-new computer out of the deal.)

This all seems overwhelming, but I'll do what I can do, one step at a time.

For Next Time: )
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posted by [personal profile] laramie at 05:30pm on 28/06/2013
Returned today from the writers' retreat at Jewett Lake to find this wonderful review posted on Amazon and Goodreads:
"I'll state this right up front. I loved Wonder Guy. This is a charming story with likable, real people interspersed among characters that aren't, well, precisely real. Think adorable fairy godmothers and nasty, shape shifting creatures from another world.
Bookish grad student, Greg Roberts, is a wonderful, caring guy but overlooked and unappreciated by the girl of his dreams, his next door neighbor, Gloria. Desperate to impress her, he agrees to take on extraordinary powers. In doing so, he manages to catch her eye and do some good for the citizens of his home town, Minneapolis. But he really wants to be noticed and loved for who he is and not some masked superhero.
Wonder Guy is whimsical, humorous, lyrical and beautifully written. Ms. Stone does a great job with balance as the story is light and dark, good and evil and most of all, very touching. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

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