Annnnnd I'm back!

My desktop computer died last week and suffice to say, it was not a lot of fun without my desktop and big monitor. So far my Saturday night has consisted of re-installing programs and other fun stuff.

It doesn't appear any data was lost off the solid state drive (SSD). It was lousy because two weekends ago, our NAS (network attached storage) had two drives that died. My last partial back-up was from June 14, which included some of the NAS. I was just in the process of rebuilding everything on the NAS from back-ups and then the desktop had to fall over. Suffice to say, EVERYTHING is getting backed up tonight on my external hard drive.

Practice safe computing!

Flash Fiction Future?

Much like art, writing is a lot of work and I don't just mean the actual creative work. It takes work to find customers, calls for entries and more. Inevitably, I miss out on a lot of deadlines even for publications I follow on Twitter. Just yesterday I noticed a short story contest for a magazine I follow. The deadline is June 30--but they want you to mail in your submission.

What is this, 1995? :-D

Actually I'm absolutely amazed at how many publishers still want mail-in submissions.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of micro-fiction, keep reading! Micro-fiction or flash fiction are stories that balance narrative and word count. There are even some Twitter feeds like
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] https://thejohnfox.com/flash-fiction-submissions/">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Much like art, writing is a lot of work and I don't just mean the actual creative work. It takes work to find customers, calls for entries and more. Inevitably, I miss out on a lot of deadlines even for publications I follow on Twitter. Just yesterday I noticed a short story contest for a magazine I follow. The deadline is June 30--but they want you to mail in your submission.

What is this, 1995? :-D

Actually I'm absolutely amazed at how many publishers still want mail-in submissions.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of micro-fiction, keep reading! Micro-fiction or flash fiction are stories that balance narrative and word count. There are even some Twitter feeds like <a href="https://twitter.com/MicroSFF>Micro SF/F</a> that tell a story in 140 characters. <a href="https://thejohnfox.com/flash-fiction-submissions/">Here's a list of places to submit flash fiction and read it as well</a>.

I have a short story that could be a good flash fiction candidate because it was already about 4000 words and I brought it down to 3527. The middle part is 1333 words alone--a little more slicing and dicing and I'll see where I end up!

Peaches in Progress

I can use a small amount of my work week for professional development, so instead of listening to webinars, I decided to work on Peaches this past week. Digital art is totally work related. The graphic designers had to learn a package called Rebelle for some technical illustrations, so I'm just keeping up with the Joneses. The trouble is that it's been so long since I used Clip Studio Paint that I had to relearn some of the basic stuff.

So, this hot mess is Peaches is the latest progress picture and I'm thinking vertical is going to work better than horizontal. I don't want the name obscured too much and it will look better with the vertical orientation of the ladder and Peaches.


Peaches in progress digital drawing

Biz Biz Biz

I shared a post about social media scheduling on a FB group recently. I only shared my experience as a prompt and hopefully others join in, because I want to know too! Next school year will be hectic and I want to make sure people remember me :-D

I signed up with Hootsuite and Tailwind eons ago and just had to sit down figure out how they could help me mid-2021, especially since I'll be going back to school soon.

TL;DR is that free Hootsuite and Tailwind plans don't offer a whole lot. The cheapest monthly Hootsuite plan is $49 and that's a big nope for me!

Tailwind launched in 2012, mainly as a Pinterest scheduler and stats collector. Pinterest didn’t have those features at the time. Unfortunately, Pinterest isn’t very usable for me--I want to see stuff I'm interested in, not diets and swimwear. If you convert your Pinterest account (or create a new one) to a free business account, you can unlock analytics, ads, and scheduling.

Tailwind still schedules pins and collects stats, but I couldn't upload any photos to the pins I was trying to create. There's a neat drag and drop feature to design the preview image, but the image is kind of necessary!

I did convert to a biz account and it's much easier to schedule pins and upload images with Pinterest, so I'll stick with that for now. The upside with Tailwind is visually being able to schedule across a calendar.

Hootsuite's free plan is remains a good option since I mostly post from my phone. You can see your Twitter feed, mentions and more on a larger screen. The free account only lets you make five scheduled tweets at a time, so I queued up some TBT posts.

Lastly, I went back to Facebook Business Suite and scheduled a bunch of TBT posts as well. Usually I post from my phone, but there's value in thinking ahead and the process is less onerous than I remember :-D

The Ringed Giant Anthology

It's been almost two months since the last semester ended, but, when you defer life for eight months, there's a lot of catching up to do, like posting about this book!

About this time last year I was so hyped to participate in the 2nd Annual Zombie Pirate Publishing Writing Week. 168 hours, 101 participants, 15k words! It was an absolute creative marathon that I would love to do again!

Although my story made the long list and the short list, it didn't make the final list. Aw! However, you can buy the anthology, The Ringed Giant as an eBook or paperback through Amazon. Enjoy eight novelette length science fiction stories for one great price!


The Ringed Giant

Last weekend's birdwatching

Here's what I saw--I had to wait on the gadwall ID. Unfortunately it wasn't my day to take photos--most of them weren't worth showing off, but they are keepers for IDs at least!

Canada Goose + goslings
Mallard + ducklings
American Wigeon
Lesser Scaup
American Coot
Ruddy Duck
Merlin
Magpie
Pigeon
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Robin
House Sparrow
Gadwall

And here's the lovely storm pond on a beautiful Alberta day:

Storm pond in summer

Peaches in Progress

Happy June!

So, after this post, I'll be caught up on Peaches! I was able to work some more this week and work in a peach and try to decide how big all the elements are going to be.

One of the great things about Clip Studio Paint is that the updates are f-r-e-e! There was an update last week and it was a nice surprise.

Here's my original digital picture of Peaches using a reference photo. I blocked in the colours and was quite pleased with how easy it was to draw lines.

I may make a different drawing of Peaches though. The thing about digital drawing is that I don't recognize it as my style or my hand making the marks, which probably accounts for some of the dissonance between screen and chair.


Peaches in progress

Peaches in Progress

I decided to take my sketches into Clip Studio Paint, but I created a fruit label frame in CorelDraw first to audition some colours and cut down on the amount of layers. I played around with some fonts and really like this one called Loki Cola because it had the fruit label font feel. I have to make the curved shape and then flow the text along a curve, but I'll wait until the picture is finished in case I change my mind.


Fruit label frame