• Personal

    Struggling

    I know that many of us (just judging by Twitter) are struggling with the energy to meet each day, to do our jobs, to meet deadlines and conquer challenges, in the current dark and mean times. I know it’s not just me.

    I also know that I have a wonderful situation in that I work for myself, from home rather than in the small, grey cubicle that I spent so many year inhabiting. I’m not ungrateful for that. And yet, I still struggle to get through every day. Sometimes I have weeks in which I haven’t left the house once, or talked to another person who isn’t my husband, or felt like a real human rather than a ghost drifting through these quiet rooms.

    This is all complaining, of course…I am aware of that. :) I just seem to have forgotten how to live my own life, and I’m not sure what to do about that.

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  • Personal

    January Blues

    As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve been lax in keeping up with the book design series that I’d planned, but we will get there in the end! 

    January has been:

    • Cold
    • Grey
    • Full of TOO MUCH WORK that I put off over the holidays
    • Depressed. I mean the month itself is probably just peachy, but I seemed to sink into the grey days. I’m working on that.
    • Full of the threat of dreaded self-employment tax looming over me. Agggghhhhh! It burnssss ussss!

    I haven’t been playing much, aside from levelling another new alt in FFXIV which is one of the ways that I cope with stress. We were playing Warcraft again in anticipation of having new races to play with, but the grind involved in unlocking them finally wore me down. I guess I don’t want to play a Nightborne that much (plus I frigging hate Suramar with the fury of a thousand suns). 

    I’m still looking forward to playing Fallout 4 VR, but we held off on purchasing it until some of the launch issues were worked out. Also I am trying to convince the husband to move all of the VR stuff to the livingroom so we can both play, rather than in his tiny computer room. *hard Paddington stare*

    That’s all. I hate January and February with a passion. They’re the grey months, the cold and mean months when it seems as though the summer will never return.

  • Personal

    Mad Summer

    I came back from Prague to face the busiest two months that I think I’ve ever had. My fault, entirely…sometimes I really suck at scheduling and schedule way, waaaay too much. But I’m almost at the end. :)

    I’ll write another post about Prague, which was extremely romantic and gorgeous with wonderful people and stunning buildings. The food was heaven. We walked for hours and hours, finding something new around every corner.

    At the moment? I’m rendering on two machines while working on a cover series, officially Too Much To Do. :)

     

  • Personal

    Updates: 3D Work

    I’ve been playing with 3D work for some time now – not creating my own models from scratch (yet!), but instead working with models and environments in Daz Studio. It’s coming along, and I’m having a lot of fun although I don’t get enough time to devote to it.

    The main reason why I started working in 3D was to add some life and action to models for book cover work – most stock is created for fashion or advertising, and the models show it. Stiff poses don’t make for dynamic book covers, so adding a CGI element allows me to create more of an action pose and pair that with a photographic model’s face, hair, etc. It’s interesting and I think it has potential.

    I’ve started a small commercial stock portfolio with some of my work which can be seen here: Ravven Stock on Depositphotos.

    In my free time (yeah, right! /cry) I’ve also used them in art projects, which you can see here. :)

  • Personal,  Travel

    City of Smoke and Bone

    Yes, if you’re familiar with the gorgeous Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor you’ll understand that I’m referring to the city of Prague. A city that I’ll be going to in just over a month. I am incredibly, fantastically excited about this.

    I’ve wanted to go here ever since reading this book! Since the husband doesn’t travel I am going with my mother-in-law, who also has wanderer inclinations that she’s never been able to indulge. We’re going to stay in an exceedingly posh hotel (nicer than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in, certainly!) in Old Town Square and explore from there.

    I’ll post more as time goes on, but I just wanted to squee a bit. :)

  • Personal

    Dentists, Part Two

    Part One here

    I saw a different dentist today, and the difference was astounding. He was nice, funny, had degrees out the wazoo (it is my understanding that this is a technical term) and had previously worked as a maxilliofacial surgeon. And it was NHS, not private. They DO exist. :) His claims about being able to painlessly remove a tooth without using needles I will take with a grain of salt, however.

    And Phil? I didn’t give anyone cancer this time.

    Which is a lead-in to a story about yesterday, and a bit about our married life. The dentist yesterday that I had inadvertently managed to offend so badly at one point glared at me (while I was trying to explain how just a bit of sedation would make this so much easier) and said “I just came back to work after having cancer, and I’m only working three days a week, and I’m ONLY DOING NHS WORK.”

    Jesus, what do you say to that? Oddly, I felt as though I should apologise…I mean, how do you react to that?

    So this morning, rather than show any sympathy which would of course make me feel much worse, my husband said: “Good luck, don’t give anyone cancer today.” And that’s us in a nutshell. :D

  • Personal

    Dentists, aka I am not the enemy

    I’m going to have to vent for a minute, since I still feel shaky and as though I’m going to be sick after just getting back from the dentist. For most people those visits probably aren’t pleasant, but they’re a necessary evil…unless you have a crippling phobia of Evil Bastards, I mean dentists.

    Backtracking for history:

    When I was a kid we lived in a small town in Northern California, where there was one dentist. On hindsight I think he was either a genuine sadist, completely incompetent, or (more likely) an alcoholic. If he remembered to give you Novocaine he shoved the needle halfway through your jawbone. If he had to drill a cavity, he wandered…into gums, tongues, once his own finger. I shit you not, my friends – this was one sorry excuse for a dental care professional and my sisters and I are all terrified of going to the dentist. I also have a terrible fear of needles which I attribute directly to him.

    I learned to deal with it as an adult, mainly because I was then living in Los Angeles and had access to practices where they gave you valium and used sedation. Not fun, but I could do it.

    And then I moved to the UK and it all fell apart. Here you’re treated like some whiny baby, a wussie who can’t handle a filling or two without painkillers. Always double-booking appointments, they rush you through everything and barely sterilise the hammers they use to bash you with. I admit to slightly exaggerating there. So, I’ve been going without since we moved here, which seemed like an entirely sensible plan until I was eating toffee and cracked a lower tooth loose from the bone. I’ve been living with said aching, wobbly tooth for what, four years? Not fun, and I need it taken care of now.

    So, I explain everything to the dentists’ office near us which supposedly sees private patients as well as no-frills NHS ones. We don’t have much money but I would pay anything to just have a bit of nitrous. I’ve been sick since yesterday when I made the appointment. And I see…not the smiling, gentle dentist that I’d hoped for, but a very brusque lady who has no patience for people who are babies. She didn’t like me.

    I asked about the private services that I’d been promised, I said I could do it but I needed something to help. She looked at me as though I had just admitted to voting Tory and being an avid foxhunter. In a flash I’m no longer a semi-redneck from California, but some elitist toff with my pointy nose in the air, sneering at NHS dentistry. Now she really hates me, and she’s starting to look a bit like Laurence Olivier in the movie Marathon Man. I don’t know if it’s safe or not, but I’ll say anything she wants at this point.


    This is me

     

    And so I left. And that was my day. And dentists suck. :(

  • Art,  Personal

    Onward Into 2017

    …like a herd of geriatric turtles, as it happens. :) We were sidelined over the holidays by that horrible flu/chest infection thing that seemed to be sweeping the country, which put a damper on the holidays until well after New Years. Horrible stuff!

    I’ve very slowly been getting back into the swing of things with work, much more slowly than I’d anticipated which has meant the schedule backing up a bit. No writing done at all, and very little personal artwork. The image below is one of the more recent ones that I’ve done.

    I did chose two authors rather than one for the cover contest, as they were both interesting and diverse. I want to read each of them! Both authors have been contacted, and I hope to be able to start on covers as soon as possible.

    Hardly any gaming has been done (between being sick and trying to catch up on work). Some Overwatch, which I love madly and am also frustrated by. I keep thinking about going back to FFXIV, as it’s the only MMO that I can see myself doing instances and raids in, but I’ve been lazy.

    The cosplay projects sit half-completed, and my front room workroom is a disaster of scraps of fabric and leather, hot glue guns, rivets and lost pins (knock on wood, we haven’t stepped on any yet…but it’s going to happen).

    So, I suppose that’s it for the first two weeks of the new year…just trying to kick myself into gear.

     

  • Personal

    Please Somebody Do This, I Beg Of You

    Today on Facebook I saw a friend indicate interest in the Night Market in Nottingham. Immediately my mind was filled with extremely cool images and possibilities about a market similar to the Floating Market in Neverwhere, or the Goblin Market in Hellboy 2. How incredibly cool would that be?

    The Nottingham Night Market, while sounding perfectly fine in terms of shopping and food booths and undoubtedly lots of fun in its own right, is nothing like my wild flights of fancy. I know because I looked it up.

    So I have to beg you, someone infinitely cooler and more creative than I am (by which I mean more social than I am), pleasepleaseplease set this in motion. Something wild and a bit shifty, a bit underground and artsy. Something like the people at the Labyrinth of Jareth masquerade would run in the off season. Costumes, booths selling arcane goods and art, wildfolk in costume. Dancing, music, drink. Food booths selling everything from candied quail to tiny, perfect marzipan banquets. I want a goblin market and a tiny slice of Bordertown.

    I want to be Fae for one night. Sigh…

  • Personal

    Going Forward From Here

    Just a short post to say that I’m still here, sort of. Depressed, sure…but who isn’t?

    I’ve been binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix when I can and it’s helped a bit with the blues. Yes, I realise that I am firmly sticking my head in the sand but it’s so lovely, this false world of hope and good people and cute mother-daughter shenanigans in an impossibly quaint and quirky town. Hey, we all need our coping mechanism and massive quantities of alcohol just wasn’t working for me. :)

    I’ll figure out a way to save the world tomorrow.