I have decided to begin opening up my Patreon story rewards to the public in hopes of stirring up interest and gaining readership of my work. If you like what you read, please consider supporting the creation of more work. It only costs $1 a month or $12 a year and would serve as a morale boost and a reason to continue. The first opened post contains the story “Sanity” along with the cover I created for the collection I hope to publish. Find the files here First Patreon Reward.
Finally getting back to writing, albeit at a slow pace, has got me to thinking about the collection that was the reason for creating my Patreon page. “Mystics and Misfits” is a celebration of everything I love about the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre filtered through my experiences and feelings. I became an artist because of the artwork from the books, movies, and TV shows. I started writing because of all the great stories I read that touched my heart, made me laugh, cry, and rage. Now I have a chance to show you guys what it means to me.
I just reopened the file that contains the collection and it stands at 58,173 words and my goal is 80,000 for the final book. If “Lost Contact expands out as I think it will, I should be at that mark. I will also be adding in my sffworld contest entry “A Word in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” because I think it is a worthy story and will help get over the word goal. From there is where I will need all of your help and support. I want to get a real editor to go through the collection and make it as sharp and tight as a professional collection, but that will take money and encouragement. Please consider helping anyway you can.
Most of my adult life I have been considered to be a negative person. If you look at a lot of my earlier posts you may find it easy to go along with this point of view; even I have believed it. However, if you take time to read enough of the short stories I have posted on my Patreon page, you will find a surprising reality. Many of my stories have up beat endings.
Some spoilers ahead, “Dragon Dreams”, while full of battle and strife, is essentially a dream come true for Jason Conners. He becomes a creature that can turn his creativity into a reality through dreams. What writer/artist would not love that. The story “Cast the First Stone” deals with the end of Nazi Germany in a very brutal and graphic way with the death of Hitler, yet it holds out hope for us all with the potential for redemption.
My artwork almost always focuses of the beauty of life. “Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability” deals with the potential man has to destroy the majestic tiger. However, the image is very beautiful and vibrant and the symbolism used expresses my love for space, the stars, the planets, and big cats. “Rodeo” deals with suicide and Hell, but the story that accompanies this painting ultimately is about hope and salvation. So while even I sometimes believe that I am a negative person, my stories and artwork paint a different picture.
OMG, I love Gimp 2.8 even more now. I found out that the gif I wanted to create of the progress in painting “Rodeo” could be done using Gimp as compared to the frustration I was having in Shotcut. What I could not achieve in an hour and a half, I did in ten minutes with gimp and it looks great. Look for more of these as I get time because I like to save the painting files under different names so that I can reopen from there if I go in a bad direction as I explore ideas. This means I always have a progression of steps saved in the process of making a painting.
I uploaded a jpeg version of Linear Thinkers in a Non-Linear Universe for my $3 a month patrons (my Patreon page ). Here is what I wrote:
“Here is the planet, nebula, moon, and spaceship painting in a downloadable jpeg format. This was supposed to be just a quick speed paint of a planet that took on a life of its own. It should make a pretty good wallpaper.”
I have posted before that I have very limited resources for creating quality videos to promote my artistic endeavors. The video editing program I have is an old windows 7 version that does not support the higher quality video of newer versions. With it I created the video that is now part of my Patreon and Kickstarter page. However, I still hope to find something better.
To that end, I downloaded Shotcut, which is supposedly an open source full featured editing program to work with video the way Gimp 2.8 works as a graphics manipulation program. Unfortunately, unlike Gimp 2.8, I found the program to be incredibly frustrating for creating the same type of video that I made with the older program. Basically I create a slideshow of jpeg copies of my artwork with transitions to morph from one image to another. I had high hopes for being able to add commentary to the video since it would be done on the newer computer, but I found that just creating a few seconds of video from jpegs was excruciatingly painful.
I was excited to try making a video progression of my latest painting “Rodeo” that would show the image changing as I added more and more detail. However, just loading five jpeg images of the different stages into Shotcut took almost a half hour. I probably worked for another hour putting them on and taking them off of the video timeline trying to achieve what I did in five to ten minutes with the old program. Granted, some of this time was spent figuring out how the program functioned compared to the older one, but for everything I moved or changed there was at least a minute of wait time when the program quit responding to input. In addition, Shotcut was nowhere as intuitive as Ulead Videostudio was. So, as far as I am concerned, this has been a complete bust, my search continues.