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Posts tagged as “Dragon Writers”

Day 112

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dita sketch

Quick Sharpie sketch of Dita von Teese. Not bad overall, but I ended up badly screwing up the proportions and made her face so tall I had to shrink it vertically about 10%, which ... actually, wasn't so bad, compared to the original:

dita headshot

Ran across a more fetish-themed image of her as I was trying to design a waitress for a scene in SPIRAL NEEDLE; I judged said picture was too steamy for this drawing series, and the waitress ended up in a different outfit anyway, so you get a sketch of a glamour shot instead.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

P.S. 1700+ words on SPIRAL NEEDLE. Ahead of the wordcount, behind on how much I need to do to catch up, but at least, catching up is happening now.

 

 

Day 110

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nielsen sketch

Sharpie sketch of Leslie Nielsen, another actor who has played a vampire (came up with Dakota mocking (in her head) a vampire she met). Roughed in non-repro blue, which was surprisingly easy to remove in Photoshop, but actually made it a little bit hard to tweak the roughs to get the landscape right (hence the tilted smile) and Sharpies, while forcing me to work quickly and helping me learn the role of blacks and whites in composition, are still doing no favors on the rendering.

nielsen headshot

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

P.S. 1900+ words on SPIRAL NEEDLE. Onward.

Day 108 and Camp Nano 12

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moore sketch

Quick Sharpie sketch of Roger Moore. Head's a bit squashed, but it's not too bad. I admit, I threw my first drawing away and made myself start over, rather than deal with one messed up line in his right jawline. It's interesting to me how much of the character of even a very young Roger Moore is made up not just by that whale of a jaw, but by the subtle lines all over his face. He was strangely old even when young.

moore picture

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

P.S. Only ~800 words today, which was quite a struggle. Roger Moore came up very tangentially when Dakota was snarking about a vampire looking like a cross between Roger Moore and Leslie Nielsen.

Day 107 and Camp Nano 11

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apsara sketch

Quick Sharpie sketch of an Apsara dancer, a mythical spirit appearing in Southeast Asian cultures. Came up in some tangential research for a scene in Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE, but decided this was too rich a mine of mythology for a throwaway line, so I ended up using something else.

apsara dance

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Oh, and on Camp Nano: just got ~1000 words so far. Not sure why I got fewer words when I had more to do yesterday than today. Perhaps I need to break more paintings?

VAC-CI-NATE! (and Drawing Every Day #103, and Camp Nano …)

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vac-ci-nate

So! I got my first shot today, and other than a little arm soreness, a headache which may or may not be related, and some tiredness which may just be because it's 3:21am, I have not yet had any ill effects. I was totally lied to by my album covers though, and have not been able to hack into Bill Gates' secret global network through the tiny implanted computer chip in the vaccine, maybe because neither exists.

centaur, vaccine 1

Ouch. First picture failed for some reason, so we get this charming shot of the needle coming OUT rather than going in. But it didn't really hurt at all, maybe because I was fiddling with my camera. Our Dalek friend below is proud that he was able to contribute his catchphrase to our cause:

dalek toy

~500 words on Camp Nano, still behind, but I am too wiped to write more.

Drawing, writing, being a good citizen every day.

-the Centaur

Day 100

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dakota rough sketch

Quick Sharpie sketch of Dakota Frost, based on the model from the BLOOD ROCK / LIQUID FIRE covers. I tried to do this upside down at first, to "see" it better, and OH BOY it did not turn out well - the landscape was all off. So this is an even quicker sketch, because I need to get to bed early.

dakota skull small

Also, Camp Nano only got ~150 added words, but again, I need sleep. Rough draftiness:

“Your voice,” the priest said, taking another step back. “If not a vampire, surely … surely not a werewolf … but your voice … why do I know your voice?”

I spun, rolling my neck, unfurling more vines into a soft green halo that lit my face.

“Do you know me now?” I asked.

“Oh … God,” the priest said. “You were on the news, the mother of that weretiger—”

“That I am, and if she is here,” I said, “you should point the way … then run.”

“She … here?” The priest blinked, then his eyes flicked at the coffin. “But it’s not—”

My heart fell. The prisoner in the coffin was not Cinnamon—but as the priest’ eyes went wide in terror, I realized that in his shock he’d given away there was a prisoner in that coffin. I drew a breath, my face flushing, feeling my blood pounding in my ears.

Hopefully I'll pick up speed now that I'm out of the Lenten "Jesus and Godel" series. I wrote 45,000 words of nonfiction in Lent, which is nowhere near the needed Nano rate, but I think is probably the fastest rate and largest single body of nonfiction writing I've done since perhaps my thesis.

But what I really did today was move boxes into the room that's going to become my wife's art studio.

Drawing, writing, moving every day.

-the Centaur

Camp Nano April 2021, Day 3

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dakota skull small

Day 3, just under 600 words, still behind. A lot of today was spent on planning the scene.

Rough draftiness, with Dakota infiltrating a church using her magic tattoos:

My eyelids flickered as the orchid petals infiltrated the lock, a jumble of images and feelings flooding back to me as the interlocking parts of the stamen column felt the tumblers. It was hard to see and “see” at the same time, much less guide the—

Click.

I drew a careful breath, then turned my hand. The petals and sepals closed on the knob and turned it, softly, and I gingerly opened the doors. My vines and their floating leaves shifted as the heavy wood parted, but did not otherwise react: no security system had been triggered.

The church was spacious, almost cavernous … but not wholly dark. An eerie blue glow filtered in from the twin rows of stained glass, but the white light glinting off the rows of pews came from a pool of spotlights, pinioning before the altar a gleaming silver coffin.

“My friend,” came a quiet Asian voice. “You should not have come here.”

Instantly I whirled 270, twisting mana up in my body, murmuring shield just as I came face to face with … a priest? A typical, nay, stereotypical long-cassocked priest, stepping from a confessional, bearing an ornate pectoral cross and carrying a gun … no … a water pistol?

“Let this be a warning to you,” he said, and fired. “Begone!”

Writing every day.

-the Centaur

 

Camp Nano April 2021, Day 2

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Just added roughly 250 words today. An excerpt, all first-drafty stuff:

I strode up to the silver coffin, the parallel blades of the Salt Chamber Sword singing hungry in my hand. The closer I got, the more it vibrated, testing my grip and rattling my teeth. The coils of my Dragon looped out around me in a spiral, pushing the guards back; her wings covered me protectively, but none of them were fool enough to try shooting again.

“Alright, alright,” I murmured to my sword. “I’ll give you what you want.”

I drew the Salzkammergutschwert down the length of the silver coffin.

The black tuning-fork blade squealed through the thick metal case as easily as drawing a pen across paper, except the line left by this writing instrument was a hot metal gash. The ancient faerie blade jerked and popped in my hand, and I struggled to control it so I didn’t harm the occupant—oh, that precious occupant!—as the screeching Salt Chamber Sword popped clamps and cut hinges alike, bits of hardware clattering to the floor in glowing showers of sparks.

My arm completed its motion. The Salzkammergutschwert quit singing. Something thudded against the lid, which shuddered, jumped, then flipped aside, the thin hands of the occupant clawing for the air. A slender child rose from the prison, screaming, fanged, eyes glowing, and for the briefest snap-second I imagined it might have been Cinnamon.

Then the starved vampire child’s gaze fell on me—and he lunged.

Onward.

-the Centaur

Camp Nano, April 2021: SPIRAL NEEDLE

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camp nano april 2021, day 1

Taking on Dakota Frost, Book 7. Added 305 words. A raw unedited excerpt (including some prior text from Tuesday for context):

Agent Grant, commander of the MIRTH unit—if I remember my DEI alphabet soup, that stands for something twee like Magical Incident Response Transportable Headquarters—turned towards us, turned off his earpiece, and turned completely serious.

“She’s right, this is an operation,” he said evenly but firmly, his full beard making him look grimmer and sterner than he already sounded. “It doesn’t matter if you two are the only ones on deck. If you’re not ready, I am not sending you in.”

“I fought in the Great War, you ridiculous pup!” But Nyissa’s voice quavered. I knew she was not particularly brave; but what was up? More than just anger at being awakened before the crack of sunset, I think. “But I’ll not be going in at all, I think—”

My hand fell on her knee. “And no-one thinks less of you for it,” I said.

Nyissa sagged a bit. Grant raised his eyebrows at me.

“So we have one operative,” he said.

“We have one operative,” Philip said.

“And it’s Red Sonja here,” Grant said.

“Hey!” I said. “Just because I have a metal bikini and a sword—”

“Outclassed by my own supposed sub,” Nyissa said. “Some bodyguard I am.”

“Different kind of discipline,” Grant said, looking between us. “Frost, you ready?”

“As much as I ever am,” I grumbled, squinting at the church. “What can you tell me?”

That is all. Zzzzz...

-the Centaur

Hannibal Lecter Judges Me When I Cook (A Milford Essay)

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lecter sketch

So, I have a new essay up at the Milford SF Writer's blog: "Hannibal Lecter Judges Me When I Cook"! This essay explores the writing techniques Thomas Harris uses to make Lecter a convincing character:

So, let’s set the stage: I’m a writer, learning to be vegan … and a fan of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal series about an erudite cannibal. Hannibal itself is one of my favorite books: while the world Harris creates is dark and depressing, that world feels compellingly real to me — which leaves me in the unenviable position of having a mental model of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, as played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, leaning over my shoulder and judging me while I’m cooking.

Now, don’t get me wrong – he’s not judging me for my plant-based cooking (I’m not a vegan, but I am married to one, and I’m trying). He’s judging me based on my poor technique, my unrefined tastes, and my willingness to prepare quick meals when I’ve got work to do. But as a writer, I’m fascinated with how Harris created a world so realistic that I’ve built up a mental model of a nonexistent person.

For the rest, please check it out at the Milford blog. Milford is a great writing conference and I recommend it to everyone: I describe more of Milford and my experiences here:

Are you interested in the Milford SF Writer’s Conference? A year ago, I definitely was! I was in the middle of the Taos Toolbox Writer’s Workshop and couldn’t get enough of its “Milford-Style Critique” – a collaborative process in which a dozen or so writers critique each other’s stories in a circle of peers. For each story, every attendee offers 2-3 minutes of commentary (timed) to which the writer listens (quietly), at which point they may respond, followed by open discussion.

Please go check them out! And be nice to people, or one of them might eat you.

-the Centaur