Happy Hallowe'en, GUD-monster style!

"Be careful your clockwork doesn't run down." monster:  You're the robot from Darby Larson's Electroencephalography in Issue 1. You were built by Dean's family to help around the house, but it seems you don't take orders too well. You do take other things, though. Like hearts.
What GUD Monster are you?  Find out at GUD Magazine!

I have spent the past week working on the illustrations for this quiz.  I ended up pouring in more time than I had intended, but the cause (promoting GUD Magazine) is good, and I really enjoyed doing it!  Sometimes, it's incredibly nice having inspiration placed in front of you. :)
I encourage you to take the quiz. It's quick, amusing, and links you to both my art, and some excellent writing.  The monsters are also quite strange and creepy (not your usual Hallowe'en fare, these!)

There are also ten different possible outcomes, so you might want to take it more than once. ;)


Where the writing goes.

For anyone who has been following my blog for a long, long time, there might be some recollection of my having once posted snippets of short fiction on here as well.  I stopped doing that a while ago, frightened by the prospect of having my work stolen (something that is easier to do, and more difficult to prove with words than it is with imargery).  But I have no ceased writing!  Since finishing my six thesis books, I have continued to write short ficiton for myself.
Emboldened by my recent visibility on GUD Magazine's blog, I am beginning to submit some of them to contests and literary magazines. 

First up is Nanoism's December five-part twitter serial contest.  I'm posting about it here for three reasons!
a.) So that you know about this magazine, because it's awesome and because there is a chance I might be in it! 
b.) Because, as an incentive, they allow you to submit two different stories if you mention the contest! 
c.) This is a nifty contest, and a really cool little magazine, and you should submit!  Yes you!  Whoever you are, send them something and make it good!  They make it very simple to do so.
The deadline is October 31st, and winners will be published in December.

Second, I am also submitting to Fantasy Magazine's Halloween flash fiction contest.  Flash fiction is good for me.  It forces me to be succint, to have an entire story arc in mind when I begin, and to actually finish the thing.  1,000 words is also a pretty good goal for a single day of writing. 
This contest is particularly good because the premise requires that a graphic be paired with the story, as the inspiration, and I can make my own.  Thus, it gives me a possible venue for showing my art as well: two-for-one!
The deadline is October 16th, so get to work!



So I just wrote a guest post for GUD Magazine's blog!  It's on the topic of banned books, and is a belated post in recognition of the ALA's 'Banned books week' several weeks ago.  Check it out!
And while you're there, be sure to take a look around the site.  GUD's an excellent literary magazine, and the freebies there alone are enough to be worth your while.  Plus, they've recently gotten a whole slew of honorable mentions from 'The Year's best horror'.  I have three of their issues, and I've been enormously impressed by everything I've seen an read of them.  They have some great editors, and a lot of diversity in what they publish.  Definitely worth keeping an eye on. 


My brain is getting in the way of thinking.

I have difficulty working with music or sound around me.  Or rather, I have difficulty conceptualizing... once a sketch is down and I'm onto the grunt work of rendering, I can listen to anything.  This is something I am just realizing.

Despite five years of art college, it took until now for me to recognize this pattern in myself.  I honestly thought that the reason I tended to do most of my work in silence was because I was too lazy to turn on music, or an audio book until I was several hours deep into a project.  I also though that the reason that I didn't like spending time in the noisy Print studio at school was because I am antisocial. 

It took until I was living with Evan full-time, working in the same studio space as him for the problem to truly surface.  He loves music, and works best with his MP3 collection, a podcast, or an internet radio station playing in the background.  He does a lot of insanely tedious work for a graphic design firm, so he seriously needs it.

I know why this is, too.  I have Asperger's Syndrome (as I've probably mentioned before) and tend to automatically visualize everything.  If there is a music track playing, my mind is working to visually map that song, with colour, imagery, and geometric shapes.  If someone's speaking, my mind is creating a tableau based on whatever they're talking about, overlaid with a running transcript written in a pleasing serif font.  This ties in with the synesthesia so common in us Aspies, apparrently.  Also, sometimes I just hallucinate stuff, for no other good reason!  My brain does not like to think that I am lonely.

The net effect of this sort of all of this?  I become almost blind when there's too much sound going on around me.  I'm seeing what I'm hearing, and I'm finding it almost impossible to focus on whatever is in front of me.  So even if I'm doing fine, inking and listening to music, someone talking to me over that can make my entire workspace go invisible. 
I love working in coffee shops, because they remove me from the constant temptation of internet time-wastage, while also getting me out of the house.  This is where I write best.  Unless it is too loud there. This is highly frustrating.

The best solution I can think of is to find myself a quiet, private place to get started on my work in.  Where that is, I have no clue, as I live in a townhouse with no backyard to speak of.  Anyone else out there with similar issues, and perhaps suggestions?



Today is 'Support Our 'Zines Day'!  Something I was informed of upon waking this morning, by an incredibly exuberant Eimhin.  He, not the procrastinator that I am, has already posted a wonderful and comprehensive list of 'zines-of-amazingness on his own blog, which I recommend that you peruse.  But there really is no possible way to over emphasize the importance of literary magazines, both in purveying excellent literature (and visual art, comics, and poetry...) and in promoting artists, burgeoning and established alike.  So take a spin about these bizarre and marvelous publications, and if you can afford it, show them some love.

GUD Magazine
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
Crossed Genres
Weird Tales
Leading Edge
Brain Harvest
Electric Velocipede
Sybil's Garage
Tin House
Flash Fiction Online
The Cafe Irreal
Fantasy Magazine
Strange Horizons
Steampunk Magazine

If there are any others I have missed, or simply have not heard of, please tell me about them in the comments!  There are few things as satisfying as discovering a good new source of fiction.

I listen to not nearly so many Podcasts as Evan, but I am a generally huge fan of the readings over at Telltale Weekly.  Alex Wilson's voice and inflection are perfect for these readings, and his content selection is excellent.  It was through Telltale that I first found out about Kelly Link, actually (you must listen to 'The Girl Detective' as read on the site) which has, of course, led to all sorts of  fascinating developments in my life.

*SOZD still sounds to me like a state of drunkenness.
Somewhere between dameschwipschen and completely toasted.  Probably not the ideal state for reading, but to each one's own.  Go for it.