Put Your Word Where Your Mouth is!

Here is a little over six month review of the changes made to this blog since I began reflecting content from my Patreon page here:

Blog Followers are up from 114 to 166, a 31% increase

Blog Views are up from 344 to 527, a 34.7% increase

Blog Visitors are up from 260 to 346, a 24.8% increase

Blog Likes are up from 149 to 277, a 46.2% increase

The take away is that the seven month numbers are substantially up against the entire year of 2016, which happened to be the best year ever for this blog.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, because I have to ask you a favor.  When I started changing this blog it was in support of the launch of my Patreon page that I hoped would become a vehicle for achieving a measure of artistic success and hopefully supplement the income from my day job.  As part of this attempt to have an artistic life, I gave myself a year from the beginning of 2017 to make it an  ongoing venture.  Over six months have gone by and while the blog is enjoying success, my Patreon site is not.  There are going to be some things I will look at shortly to make the page more attractive, maybe even switch to a per project model.  Your feedback would be most helpful; however, your support would be better.  If not financially, then by word of mouth, because the more people who visit this blog, the more chances I have of gaining patrons.

Please, if you like what I am doing, tell your friends who like science fiction/fantasy art and writing to visit this blog.  Send them a link.  I come from a long history of retail work and one thing I know is that out of the people who shop, only a small percentage actually buy, so the more you get to shop the better your chance of a sale.  With enough shoppers you can make a living.  I need to make a living.  Please help me get more shoppers.  Promote my site on your blog, tell your friends, become a patron,or even give me advice.

If the situation does not improve, I will have to switch gears and look for a second job to get my financial situation under control.  I will probably find little time to work on projects or post to the blog, which is something I enjoy.  So send me your starving science fiction fans.

 

I will leave you with a content breakdown so far from my Patreon page Robert Garbin’s Patreon page:

7 Short Stories

18 image files

Painting Projects Completed 2 with one nearing completion and another far along

Two Art Projects in Preparation

Poem in the works

Horror Story started

 

Comic Book and Fantasy Sketch Page $5 Reward (from my Patreon page)

Here is what I wrote for the new $5 reward from Robert Garbin’s Patreon page.

“Hey all, this week’s $5 reward is a page of sketches inspired by the artwork of  the comic book series “Tales of the Jedi”, which was a series I was reading at the time.  Some of them had very good artwork.  I am a stickler when it comes to comics though.  If they don’t have gorgeous artwork or aren’t at least laid out well, I am not interested.  Art style is a large part of what comics have to offer and is the point of the medium.  Enjoy my attempts to do what better comic artists do on a regular basis.”

P.S. For everyone, don’t forget to pick up your free copy of “The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity”.  This is a good chance to get a taste of my writing style and substance.  I also forgot to mention that this story was inspired by the short story Tad Williams had on his website as an introduction to his Shadowmarch series.  I loved the loss of innocence in the story, a quality you will find deeply ingrained in my story.

You can cut the tension with a knife! (from my Patreon page)

I don’t remember if I mentioned this before but there are some interesting dynamics occurring in my writing.  Being a fan of authors like Tad Williams, Stephen R. Donaldson, and C.J. Cherryh, I like to write very descriptively.  This is also the result of being an artist, too.  So, my sentences can become long and involved with a lot of adjectives.

On the other side, I have an associates degree in business management.  One of the earlier class in the course was business writing.   The objectives in business writing are completely at odds with my creative style.  In business writing you are trained to be concise and simple; you are told to refrain from using lesser known wording or sentence structures.  You need to make the assumption that people of varying levels of education will be reading you papers and all should be able to make sense of them.   This does not mean that you cannot challenge them but you must be very clear and concise when you do.

With these two styles at play in my writing, there is a constant tension when I sit down to type a story on my laptop.  Halfway through some sentences I have to stop and rethink them because my business side is saying “Whoa, Whoa, hold on there big fella.”  I look at the line seeing too many descriptions and too many ideas for one sentence.  Of course, business me is right.

I have come to a moderate balancing act between the two styles by allowing my creative side free rein initially.  Then when I need a break, I go back to what was written and let my business side rip it to shreds and tighten it up.  Unfortunately, the two sides don’t always play well with each other so, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that tension spills out into the story.

Dragons are My Friend (from my Patreon Page)

As you know, I kind of like dragons.  Not only writing about them but reading about them.  To me they are the ultimate mythic beasts, almost God like in their influence over us mere mortals; however, anyone who is widely read in fantasy, or even science fiction, knows that dragons come in many forms.  They can be brutish beasts who’s only objective is to wreak havoc.  Or maybe, they are long-lived creatures full of wisdom to impart unto us lesser beings.  Or better yet, they are something in between.

I am currently re-reading Barbara Hambly’s “A Knight of the Demon Queen”, which features one of my favorite dragons Morkeleb the Black.  He is first portrayed as a force of nature that wreaks havoc on the kingdom of Bel in “Dragonsbane” but later you realize that he and his kin are immortal star travelers whose names are literally music.  After nearly being killed by John Aversin, the dragonsbane, he is rescued by Aversin’s lover and witch Jenny Waynest since he helped her save John.  His interaction with Jenny unlocks a hidden power within her that draws her to him.  Thus, for a time she decides to leave John and her children to become a dragon and explore time and life as a dragon does.

She later rejects this gift in favor of a human life and love.  You would think that was it; however, in a new trilogy of books started with “Dragonshadow” we encounter a changed Morkeleb who shuns the company of his brethren.  Like Jenny, he is haunted by the changes his contact with the her has opened within him or as he would say “Not a Thing of Dragons”.  As the story unfolds, you will see Morkeleb change from an aloof archmage to reluctant friend to a curious student of what it means to be human.  A depth of caring for those that have become surprisingly important to him will emerge as the trilogy unfolds.

Wow, multiple styles of dragon all wrapped up in one creature.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg for dragons in the fictional realm.  Take for example, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern dragons from the series of the same name.  They are genetically altered native creatures that were created by colonists to help them survive a devastating otherworldly attack.  They are at once intelligent and animal like in nature, more akin to very smart pets and just as loyal.

Then there are the dragons found in Melanie Rawn’s “Dragon Prince” and “Dragon Star” trilogies.  Creatures of immense power and moderate intelligence, they become mostly wild companions to several key figures in the series after first contact is made through magic.  They are unpredictable because of their more animal view of the world, but when harnessed, they are devastating weapons.

Finally, I give you the dragons that appear in Tad Williams’ trilogy “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” that are totally mysterious yet unavoidable.  We are never given clear insight into their intelligence, nature, or role in the world.  They are long-lived yet dormant most of the time.  Key figures in the world’s past and present have suffered grave damage from battling them; however, nothing more is revealed.  Oh what a tantalizing web left dangling before our eyes.  As for my own dragons, I tend to make them a mix of all these gnarly beasts.  They are cunning and shrewd and unknowable for the most part.  Then something happens to throw everything up in the air.  What could be more fun?

World Creation (from my Patreon page)

One of the fun aspects of writing any story is creating the world or universe your characters live in.  For example, in “Sensu Learns a Lesson”, while I did not go in-depth into the politics and players of this story, I had to think about a universe that was full of aliens and political intrigue.  Also, I made a beginning into the living and social structures of the Altharians, they lived underground and looked like transparent blue slugs.  The Altharians live in underground structures carved out over millennia by the passage of their ancestors.  They are master spies (their society is completely focused on spying) because of their ability to shape change.  I also began to create a class structure through the mention of royal blood.  If I ever manage to expand this story, I will have to vigorously expand on all these choices.

Another example comes from my story “Lepidoptera” coming up next month.  By the way, for anyone that does not know, lepidoptera is the order name for butterflies (technically moths and butterflies).  I began the world by creating a society of elves similar to Tad William’s Sithi in the series “Memory, Thorn, and Sorrow”.  I wanted that mix of age, wisdom, and magic which his Sithi had.  I also wanted to give the sense that when you entered the lands of my Sindains, you entered a world separate from the rest of the world.  In their lands, the forests move and living spaces are made from the living plants around them.  When Sindains enter the Woods of Calling, the outside world disappears and time runs differently.  Basically, they live constantly with magic.

My final example comes from my story “Sanity”.  In this story I focused on a single world with lots of political intrigue between kingdoms and a powerful outside race that dabbles in this plotting for their own unfathomable reasons.  All the players know something about this race, but none have hard evidence of their goals or methods of achieving them only that they are powerful.  The race is non human, which leaves you wandering if they are part of the world or come from another.  The world in general is a metaphor for our political nature of playing for power where each dog thinks they are at the peak until some bigger dog takes them down.

Half the fun of writing a story is deciding what the underling facts of the universe is then seeing how these affect the interactions of the characters.  An example of world building that affects the actions of the characters is Brandon Sanderson’s Mist Born novels.  The principals set down for the universe are consistent and interesting.  Also, the world is not static as his new books in the series show, meaning that he introduces growth in the society with the introduction of technology.  However, the underlying magic still exists.  Mr. Sanderson seems to enjoy seeing how the invention of technology changes how society looks at those with magic.  How fun is that?

Who do I like and Where can You Find Them

As I continue to evolve this blog, I have thought about what I wish to share with you, about myself and what I like.  The second sidebar of this blog used to cover what any old blog would offer, links to the tags I used, other sites of mine, and the unfortunately small collection of fellow bloggers I linked to.

However, I have decided to add more content pertaining to what I look for when I go on the net.  What writer’s websites do I go to?  Where do I get leads for selling stories?  What interests me?  In other words, what influences me?  So now, I have added more links for you to follow to my favorite sites.  To begin with:

My Art Page – This is a link to my Deviantart page where you can see some of my artwork and also, the art of other members that I was impressed with.

My Face Book Page – You can see some of the quirky things that catch my eye.

Tad Williams Face Book Page – A good place to see what Tad Williams is thinking and doing along with current writing news.

J. Michael Straczynski’s Twitter Page – A good place to see what this talented producer and writer is up to.

Rhalan’s Website – A detailed site of current markets for writers of short fiction.

Standard Manuscript Explanation – A link to a site that explains what editors mean by a standard manuscript.

Hopefully, as time goes on, I will add more interesting places for you to go and maybe make my blog your first stop to all the great sites you wish to see when it comes to art and writing.