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Last year I did art every day of the year. It wasn't much, some days, if I didn't have the time or the energy for more than a quick doodle or sketch. But knowing that I had to post the art daily (I did miss a few days while traveling and having no internet, or when I was quite sick) pushed me to create. It was very fulfilling, sometimes tiring and frustrating if I had no ideas, and in the end I had a fantastic album full of art and memories. 

This year, I didn't want to keep pushing the art. I'm not in school any longer (graduated! Yay!:happybounce: ) and am currently hunting a job, don't expect to be unemployed long, and am also reviving my writing. So I decided that I would take a photo a day, and put it here on DA (the album last year was on Facebook and it got very unwieldy by the end). So far, three weeks into the project, I've learned that it will still be a challenge. There will be days like today where I took rather a lot of pictures, and more than one was worthy of being that single photo. But there will also be days like last week where it was raining, I was busy, and squeezing those few seconds of time out for the photo (plus uploading, and editing, and... Waaaah!  ) feel like more than I want to do. 

But it's good for me, to push, to brush up my skills that I have been slack on while focusing on other things. I'll still do art; I've been itching to paint recently. And the writing is going, which is a relief. This novel is nearing completion, and I'm already getting glimmerings of story for the next one, which is in the series my fans clamor for. So! Even if a full-time day job drops in my lap Monday, I have my goals and habits in place. I'm ready for the coming year. Plus, my daughters are asking me to teach them things. One wants to learn photography, another wants to learn creative lettering (and heaven knows I'm no expert there, so we'll be learning together). I have to find my son's creative button. Other than Minecraft, where he loves to build and then take me on virtual tours of his creations. Which is sweet, but I want to deepen his skillset, too. 
  • Reading: A Short Guide to Writing about Biology
  • Eating: Peach Frozen Yogurt
  • Drinking: coffee, always!
I do book reviews on my blog fairly regularly, but I'm just starting a series of them that aren't fiction books... I'm finally making myself look at all the art books I have on my shelves. I've been really bad about picking them up, shelving them... and then not using them. So I've started it off with some ebooks on digital art. Next week it will be something more traditional. This should be a good exercise for me, since I'm an unorthodox artist at best. cedarwrites.com/review-art-boo…

What art books, print or ebook, do you recommend? Why? 
  • Reading: Universal Principles of Design
  • Eating: cinnamon roll
  • Drinking: coffee, always!
I want to learn how to do better art. I wrote about it today at my blog, cedarwrites.com/art-taking-the…

It seemed like this was a good place to ask: where are the best beginning tutorials to be found? Who is a good teacher of digital art, and where do I begin? 

In the meantime, I'll always take pictures, and I will try to draw every day. Maybe even add color :D 
  • Listening to: Racing the Sunset
  • Reading: Peter Grant's Forge a New Blade
  • Eating: red anjou pear
  • Drinking: coffee
I was reminded today that I really don't know what I'm doing here. I mean, yes, I know why I'm here, a part of DA. I needed someplace to put art and photos so I could give a link to people who were interested in my portfolio, prints, what have you. This last year I've been slowly uploading a decade or so of photos (mostly) to the gallery. Dynoliaeth kindly pointed out that it's gotten overwhelming. Which it has, even to me. So... sorting into folders has begun. 

But I keep getting this sense that I'm blundering along with the tip of the iceberg in sight, yet there is more here than I know. I haven't had time - likely won't have enough anytime soon - to explore very far. How best to use DA? am I committing etiquette errors? How would I know? 

I tend to discover art and artists by accident, either when someone favorites a piece of mine, and I go look at their collection, because often those are well worth seeking out, or I find them by watching the feed of new art coming it, which is awe-inspiring and inspirational. I had to bite my tongue recently when I saw a comment in another forum bashing DA as only having horrible amateur art. Not so! There are gifted artists who lift my heart here, and even though many are learning, how better to learn and grow than to show your work and get feedback? 

I'm a writer, primarily, and had I not fallen in with a great group of mentors and peers years ago, I wouldn't be where I am with the writing. I'm still a rank newbie when it comes to the art. I haven't time for formal classes, sadly, so I put my efforts here, and sometimes people tell me what they like, which helps me refine my work. I will keep doing that, as so far that seems to be the best option. And I have books on art I'm going to try and take more time for, more time to learn and grow. That's my new year's goal.  Reading Outdoors by cedarlili
  • Reading: Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Eating: tuna sandwich
Yesterday I took my fiancé and we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I'd been meaning to get there ever since I bought the membership in April, and it's only a 45 min drive... but you know how life is. Even yesterday we had only a few hours, and it was steaming hot, enough that I was having trouble breathing in the butterfly house. I'm sharing a lot of the photos I took, but mostly I wanted to show what I see, not the whole animal always, but the beauty of the little things, the expressions, the textures. Because I've been challenged to create a Godzilla picture, I spent a long time and a lot of shots on the Komodo Dragon, with the intent of using him as an anatomy model. 

I'm going to go back, perhaps later this fall, so much more to see, and photograph. 
  • Listening to: Racing the Sunset
  • Reading: Baptism by Fire, by David Pascoe
  • Drinking: coffee
I'm always super excited when a new book of mine is released. I just want to run around with copies pushing them at people saying, "here, read this!" but sadly, that's not a socially acceptable thing to do, and besides, my friends live all over the world. That's a lot of running. 

However, if my enthusiasm is infectious enough, maybe you'll at least take a look… www.amazon.com/Gods-Wolfling-C…

And you only have to put up with me in bouncy mode once in a while, so be patient. It will wear off, and the reality of my last chemistry exam score will sink in. Then you get gloomy sourpuss. So take the sunshine while it lasts! 
  • Listening to: Mein Herz Brennt
  • Reading: Our Daily Bread: The Essential Norman Borlaug
  • Eating: carrot cake
Want to win a book? I'm giving away a signed print copy of The God's Wolfling. I might even sketch in it if the winner is so inclined. All you have to do to enter is comment on the post below. The winner will be randomly chosen from the commentors, and announced on August 2, the day after the official release. So enter, share this post, and give your friends a chance, too! cedarwrites.com/2014/06/22/the…
  • Listening to: The Gael
  • Reading: The New School by Glenn Reynolds
  • Eating: hoisin pork over rice
  • Drinking: water
I finished writing a book today. This is the fifth time I have finished a novel-length work. I should be all excited, and on one level, I am. I'm a writer… I can say that, mean it, and back it up. But then I step back a little and it seems unreal. I know part of this is the little case of the blues - I won't even glorify it with the tag depression - that I get when I put the last two words on every book I have finished. It's done… what next? 

I'm going to make some visual art tonight, I think. Tomorrow I'll take a day off. If the weather cooperates, I will take my camera and go shooting. I might read a book. I'll love on my partner. I'll call my kids. 

The day after that? I'll start the next book. Because that's what a writer does. 
  • Listening to: The Rain falling
  • Reading: War to the Knife by Peter Grant
  • Drinking: iced tea
the book is out in the cold wide world, people are buying, reading, and hopefully liking it… now the push begins, to spread the word about it, and the wait, for reviews and feedback from my fans. 

In the meantime, I begin another story, another path unfamiliar, with new characters to meet and a new adventure to relate. 
  • Reading: Fallen Race by Kai Spriggs
  • Drinking: Rose Tea
There are many comparisons to writing a book being like having a child. Perhaps… more like letting that child grow up, and go out into the cold, hard world without any protection, though. I'm getting ready to do this with my third novel. I'm a bit nervous about it. Will it do as well as the first book in the series? What if it doesn't? What if everyreader hates it, do I have to start all over again with a pen name (and never write another sequel in my life, only stand-alones, because if this book fails I will know I suck at sequels)?

No… It will do what it does. And I have to start thinking about the next book, which I will start writing as soon as school is out in Mid-May. I can't write during school, because evidently math makes my creative brain shut down. It's a curious phenomenon. 

In the mean time, I will wait with bated breath for May 1, and the launch, and the uncertainty to be over. Then I can start taking deep breaths again. 
  • Reading: Vengeance From Ashes by Sam Schall
  • Drinking: Coffee
I do cover art and design, contact me if you are interested in a commercial license for one of my current gallery pieces, or for a custom design. I do both digital art, and paintings. For examples you can see my own book covers at my writing blog, cedarwrites.com