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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Introducing Garyn

So, here he is.  Yes, the main character in our book.  His name is Garyn Stelifar.  He is a boy like most boys--raring to go on an adventure, a little fool-hardy and untrained.  But he has some great traits...one being the resilience taught him by his mentor, Torvid Firestorm, the dragon he has known since childhood.

What's he doing here?  Well, we are getting ready to revamp the cover of our book.  It's a great looking cover, but it doesn't give you, the potential reader, enough clues to go on.  Basically, the shadow of a Tarn is compelling, but it doesn't tell enough about the story.  So we found our Garyn and here he is pictured above.
(Okay, okay, his real name is Dylan and he is a great kid to hang around with too.)

 And this is Chyra.  She's only half-way formed.  She's got the white hair of her Tarnish disguise (wait, did I just say "disguise?) but not the ram horns.  They'll be added later.  Yeah, yeah--so her real name is Celeste and she's a cheerleader and we finally got her to give us a hint of Chyra's attitude in her pose.

So these are two of my models.  I have two more as well.  Very fun.  But I will save them for later.  This is a sneak peek only.   But it's looking good, isn't it?  I mean, these kids totally have a look that says, "I belong on the cover of a good fantasy book".   Kudos to Daniel for taking the photos and handling the lighting.

He's great at lighting.  Heck, he's great at handling, too, but that's way more information then you need. 

Oh, and a few more details:  we are in our new place!!  Yes!  A sweet little 2 bedroom house with a yard for my son to run around in, and pretty hard-wood flooring.  Such a relief, too.  They were willing to let us do just a 6 month lease, which was very generous, since my husband's work has hinted that they may send us a few states away in the coming winter.  I've had my cry and now I am resolved.  The truth is, that God's a great planner of our individual stories, whether they surprise us or not and He promises that He knows the plans He has and that they are good.  So, I am resolved.  If we have to move, it will be good--just as simple as that.  :)

But in the meantime, I am enjoying my little place very much and am VERY grateful. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speaking in Cat

The other day, I was sitting in front of my computer, doing important things like checking my Facebook, when I heard this little mew.

I looked down and saw this lovely fluffy black cat walking through my bedroom.  I had left the front door open since there was a nice cool breeze and both my children were taking naps, so apparently this neighborly kitty decided that my home was a "friendly" and she ventured in to investigate further.

She was right.  I love cats and since my husband doesn't care for them (yet!!  I have hope!), I miss them.  Any chance to befriend a member of the feline species is welcomed by me.  So Kitty made herself right at home, as witnessed by the photo.

And I had this idea:  I think God speaks to me in Cat.

No, I don't mean He meows or some such ridiculous idea.  I mean, I think He sends me love through cats.  You see, He knows me.  And it's one of the ways that He knows I like to be loved...so He sends me cats.   I know He does.  That's just so like Him.

So you're thinking, "That's a mildly weird to rather bizarre and absurd thought to come up with based on the visit of one smoky black cat."  Yeah.  Okay.  But there have been other visits.

Long ago I had a cat (named Glimmer) and I decided to walk very carefully through allowing her to have kittens.  I began looking for a mate, but in my small town, there were few non-fixed males wandering around.  I put the word out, albeit a little embarrassed to admit I was studiously shopping for a nice looking stud for my kitty.  One young friend offered the services of her young male cat but I went, I saw and I turned him down.  Tortoise-shells are all well and good, and smashed in faces are loved by some people, but my cat was a simple black cat and I wanted her kittens to be prized so that I could find really good homes for them all.  I figured black kittens might be a little plain to some.  A friend heard about my dilemma and suggested a Siamese mate.

"I've heard that Siamese and black cats make beautiful kittens," she said.

I thought that was a fine idea, but where in the heck would I ever find a Siamese cat, whose owner was willing to pair him up with an un-pedigreed girlfriend?  Well, I remember I prayed about it.  And a few weeks later, another friend called me up.  She said, "There's this male Siamese or Himalayan cat wandering around the trailer park.  I haven't seen him before, and I don't know where he came from, but I'd let you have him if you would find him a home afterwards."

A few months later, my cat had given birth to five pure white kittens that got all their Siamese points in time and I had found a home for all of them and the father.

Another time, after a really challenging day while visiting some people who didn't seem to want me or my husband there, we found kittens in their barn (pictured).
It was such a wonderful moment for me on a day that I would have liked to have cried on.

Then there was the day that my own cat, Glimmer, died.  Even though our friend Martin was visiting us, I couldn't contain my grief.  I cried myself to sleep, cuddled up in my husband's arms.
The next morning, Martin greeted us at breakfast with, "Hey, these kittens woke me up playing outside my window."

I spent the rest of the day cuddling with the two kittens.  Their mother, a neighbor's cat, had apparently given birth to them there, but finding them on the day I needed them was a serendipitous "chance" that only God could have planned.

The year before my son was born, I was trying to deal with the fact of my apparent infertility.  My husband and I had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for three years.  To assuage the pain, I began dreaming about my ideal cat.  I read carefully over the many breeds and became fascinated with Abyssinians.  But since we were unable to afford ourselves, I didn't see how I'd be able to experience an "Abby" for a very long time.  Enter Daniel's cousin whose husband was in the military and had just received word he was going to be transferred to Turkey.  She and their children would stay with her parents during her husband's stay but her dad was allergic to cats and she was looking for someone to take care of her husband's special cat if they paid for it's keep.  Did I know what an Abyssinian was?

So, back to the smoky black cat who entered our apartment the other day.  Yes, I needed her, too.  See, we just got word this last weekend.  A friend of ours, my husband's supervisor and friend was discovered to have committed a pretty significant moral failure.  It will affect his family, many of our other friends, and our own lives in big ways.  The company my husband works for was forced in sadness to expose the situation and depose the man from his position.  Likely, because of this, we will also be required to uproot our lives here in Colorado and move several states away where the company is based.  I've moved before, am in the process of moving now - to a lovely little rental, and I can handle this idea of moving to Illinois in about six months or so.  But it was very hard to be positive about all of this a few days ago.

So God sent me a kitty.  To remind me, I think, about His love and His promises, neither of which ever change.   So I felt comforted.  And reminded of His goodness in spite of the storms that might swirl around us.

And that, my friends, is how I know that God speaks to me in cat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Painterly Sample of Robin

Did I mention I thought it would be a good idea to give myself some practice in a more painterly style?  Well, after I dug out that old Robin Hood set of pages, I was thinking, "Huh.  All the cues are here...what if I tried to paint over it?  What would it look like?  Would that work for The Big One? (Meaning, the graphic novel we intend to do for real).  So, here is a sample of what I have been doing.  You can see my reference photo in the first page of the Robin Hood graphic novel that I posted before.  It's very time consuming, but I think I like the result.  Ha.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be posting a sample. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moving Angst

So, we're in the process of moving.  At least, I'm packing right now and we need to be moved by September 1st, so...yeah.  Our lease is up and since Daniel and I don't want to re-up for another year (we'd like to buy soon rather than keep dropping rent money down a bottomless hole), we're moving.  Don't know where yet, but God's got something cool up His sleeve, I know it!

So, I am experimenting (when I find time) with re-doing a page from that Robin Hood graphic novel that I last posted.  I know, I know, it really wasn't all that great.  BUT, I am painting it traditionally to see what I can do and how long it takes and stuff.  It's taking me a while just to do one page.

So, here's something else in the meantime.  A little drawing I did to illustrate a friend's kid's book back in college.  It was called "The Five Elephants and I".  Here's another from the same.