Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Follow-up Blog Post: Paintbrush Revival

The stuff I used is amazing. I was able to save literally every single brush from going into the trash can. This is impressive, considering I've been using both oils and acrylics, and that some of the brushes were hard as bricks.

I soaked the brushes overnight after scrubbing them each across the brush cleaner. Then, I ran the water and worked out the caked-on paint, pulling off what I could and then making circles on my hand like one of my art teachers told me to do once, working the stuff into a lather.

I didn't think I'd be able to save all of them. I'm just in awe. I'm not using this blog for a commercial-type thing. I'm just impressed.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bringing Old Brushes Back To Life

A while back, I'd gotten pretty lazy with my art. After I was done using a brush, I'd throw it into a little plastic cup, not even bothering to wash the paint off of it. Next time I'd work on something, I'd just grab a clean brush, and repeat.

Well eventually it got to the point where I'd ended up with a cup full of dirty brushes. I remembered I'd had this brush cleaning kit I bought ages ago, so I pulled it out and decided to test it. It's called "The Masters" Brush Cleaner & Preserver

The main part of the kit is this little round lip-balm-lookin' thingy, and you're supposed to dip the brush in water, and then swirl it around on the cake thing, and repeat as needed.

So far, some of the brushes appear salvage-able, and some not so much. But we'll see how many I'm able to save. Right now, it looks like I've got about twenty or so brushes going in there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: Echoes At Dawn by Kathleen Ann Gallagher

Five Stars! *****

I just finished reading Echoes At Dawn, by Kathleen Ann Gallagher. Although Romance is admittedly not my favorite genre, I really did enjoy this one. My review is below!

We are introduced to the main character, Madeline Young, as she dines with her friends. Kathleen Ann Gallagher really does a good job of setting up the scenes in her novel, and giving the reader a sense of atmosphere and ambiance.

The tone of her writing is very straight-forward. Mine tends to be that way as well. And you know who also wrote that way? Hemingway.

Anyway, Madeline likes to enjoy the company of her friends, Anne, Mara, and Maggie. They're all getting older, although they still hang out just the same as when they were back in high school. The sense of camaraderie is refreshing.

Like the title character of The Aeneid (Aeneas, who Paris encounters, fleeing the burning Troy), Madeline is struggling to care for both the older and younger generations all at once as she, too, flees from life's catastrophes.

She meets Nat Griffin, a lecturer at the alcohol addiction facility she's decided to volunteer at, to further support and assist her son. The two have a mutual attraction to one another that blossoms into a beautiful romance.

There were some grammatical errors, but overall, they don't detract from the story.

I really found myself rooting for these characters to be together despite the odds against them.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hunting Dragons & Making Plans

So I've gotten my latest novel, Betrayer, all polished up and prettied, only to find that through editing, I've lost 4,330 words that I need in order to make it "standard" novel length of 60,000 words.

So I've divided up that 4k or so into sections that I want to expand upon, and will be tackling 500 words or so per day in order to make this happen. Estimated time of completion = July 16th. Since I'm just now creating these sections, they aren't as polished and neat as they'll be in the final version. The idea is just to get the concept down on paper, however it comes out. There's time for neatness later, and I've even carved out a day for cleaning up the manuscript.

So here's what I've gotten in for today: *SPOILER ALERT*

Draeon held a blazing torch in one hand and a sword in the other. Ash would have had to use both hands to wield that sword, but Draeon easily hefted it with one. The cave was dark as pitch and Ash peered into it and saw nothing, the light of the torch eaten by the all-consuming darkness.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked, shivering. She wasn’t entirely sure that the cold was to blame. “Of course,” said Draeon. “Don’t you trust me?”

Ash felt a pang of guilt. Does he think I don’t trust him?

“Yes,” Ash replied. “You know I do. It’s not that. It’s just…”

Draeon sheathed his sword and bent down to pick up a gold coin. He peered at it in the torch light. “Here,” he said. “This is for you.”

Ash grasped the coin and examined it briefly. It was old, with strange markings on it that she couldn’t decipher. She stuck the coin in her pocket, where it clinked against the other one – the one that Will had given her long ago. Draeon and Ash continued on, the gold becoming more abundant as they went. The cavern glittered with gold, and jewels. And then the light of the torch fell upon a corpse. Ash gasped. “This is no place for the living.” The words spilled forth from her mouth, and she was unable to stop them. She looked up at Draeon, his handsome face illuminated by the torch fire. He threw back his head and laughed.

“Draeon, listen to me,” said Ash, shaking. “We’re going to die here. We’ve got to get out of here.”

His eyes sparkled with a strange light. “Shhh.” He bent down and kissed her – a kiss that tasted like sacrilege. Ash held back the urge to spit. “We’re not going to die. I’ve been in this cave before. There’s a fork up ahead. The dragon lives deep in the belly of the right fork. We’re going to take the left fork, that opens into an sky-vaulted stone pit that we can scale and get out of here. Ash felt her intense fear begin to subside. Maybe he knows what he’s talking about, and my fears have just been getting the best of me. For all we know, we might not even see any trace of this dragon.

So she continued on, following after Draeon, trying to quiet her footfalls as they hit the dirt. Thankfully, Draeon didn’t stop for more gold, which would make noise. There’s no reason to wake the dragon. And so ten minutes in, the fork was visible, the light of the stone pit coming in from the left fork, and the intense darkness focused to the right. And just as Draeon said, they turned and followed the left fork, which opened onto the light of a fading sunset. There was nothing to worry about. Ash was going to be fine. She took the coin from her pocket and looked at it. It was kind of neat, really, with markings that looked like runes, and the image of someone that looked kind of familiar and kind of not, and…oof! Her foot hit a rock and she stumbled, quickly regaining her balance. But the coin went tumbling from her hand, clinking onto the ground. She halted for a moment. Did anyone hear that? She waited for a moment, hearing nothing. Thank goodness. Then all at once, a rumble came from the depths of the right fork. No no no. This can’t be happening. The dragon was waking from its slumber.