Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Saltwater Witch is a weekly web comic I've illustrated for a year and a half, and many panels and pages begin in either my journal or my drawing notebook, a bigger better version of my Moleskine journal. I'm a big fan of journals--my Moleskine watercolor notebook goes everywhere I go. I couldn't keep half the stuff in my head without constantly referring to the other half I've put down in my journal. I love technology, love my iPhone, and I'm expecting an iPad this Saturday, but I couldn't do a lot without a pencil, pen and a Moleskine.
So, here's a little bit of what I did at lunch today, sketching for the next Saltwater Witch set, and this is what it looks like:
A crazy nor'easter cycled through this weekend and targeted our power grid, trees, and physical structures. Some brutal wind gusts, some over 50MPH, and the whole time it sounds like a freight train running past.
Our power came back on at 10 o'clock (today's Sunday), and it's been out since 9:30 Thursday evening, a complete waste of a weekend. I did a bit of writing, putting down a batch of story ideas in my journal--by the light of couple LEDs strapped to my forehead. Yeah, not as fun as it sounds, I can tell you.
Last year, during the infamous Ice Storm that wiped out thousands of old beautiful trees across New Hampshire and took down power to most of the state for days--ours was out for five days, and we spent three of them in Massachusetts at the only hotel we could find that allowed us keep our dogs with us.
The last three days weren't nearly as bad as last year's power outage, and it really shows what an ass-freezing difference twenty degrees makes. The last few days, no power, darkness after the sun goes down, temps in the 30s, we burned through a bunch of wood in the fireplace, and kept the living room above 50F. We don't have a generator--yes, big mistake. We should have learned from last year.
Still, this time it started out as fun and flashlights and headed into the "camping out" phase of a prolonged power outage, and pretty much hovered there at the far edge of that. Contrast that with last year, 0 - 10 degrees F, the fireplace going constantly and unable to keep the living room--forget the rest of the house--above 38F, and within a day, we'd shot right past the "camping out" phase and headed into the dreaded "Donner Party" phase of a prolonged power outage.
Oh, one more thing. I fractured a couple toes Thursday night, in the dark looking for flashlights. I did this trying to challenge the immutability of several physical laws, in the process of kicking a five inch solid block of wood that is the front left foot of the couch like a soccer ball. The couch didn't move, and I spent the weekend limping with two toes that have these turned wonderful solid shades of purple and dark blue.
Power's on now, and we're back in business with a limp. Thanks Unitil and all the power crews who had to come from other states to get our power back in order. Cheers!
The kids were back in school this week. The house was awake at 6:30 in the morning again. It wasn't just me and the dogs in the kitchen in the morning looking at each other, going "what are you going to do today? I have to work, what about you?"
DOGS: Nothing. Hey, you going to get me some food? How about letting us out back for a few before you cut out of here? How about feeding the cat, too? Whoa, did you see that? The sunlight, it like moved. There is goes again... The light, I think it's alive man, I mean like it knows I'm looking at it, then it moves really fast. Reflected sunlight, laser pointers, you know I'm a huge fan of visible forms of radiation, anything sort of photonish and moving. Really gets me going. <wag tail rapidly>
Seaborn came out last July, and by that time I had already completed another book, Sea Throne, with many of the characters from Seaborn--Kassandra, the war-bard and her daughter, evil sea kings, some really nasty stuff from the bottom of the sea--and with more of the story taking place underwater than above. I actually like Sea Throne a lot more than Seaborn.
Alas...it's not going to happen with Juno Books, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books division. PB isn't going to pick up any of Juno's backlist, and that means me and several other Juno authors.
Yeah, not so good for Sea Throne, but at the same time I can't be happier over the Juno - S&S deal, and that all the hard work and long hours Paula Guran, editor at Juno Books put into those books over the last few years has paid off.
Paula: Thank you for taking a chance on Seaborn, all the editing, advice, introducing me to a bunch of great writers and editors--with Juno and at the cons, and most of all for getting my story on bookstore shelves. You rock!
So, what am I working on now?
I've spent the last few months concentrating more on short stories, and I have several sub'd right now, both SF and fantasy. I've made my first art sale! I'm halfway through another novel, hoping to finish it up around April. And then there's my Saltwater Witch thing, a weekly web-comic.
Here's my first set of sketches of the new year, a few expression sheets I'm drawing for Saltwater Witch. The last one is
the main character, Kassandra, doing surprise and a few others. I'm to the point in the story where she and her two friends (yes, she only has two) have a little discussion about math and mothers and monsters--and there's some anger, shock, etc.
I don't usually resolve to do anything in particular at the first of the year, but one thing I'm going to really try to do through 2009 is keep up with my graphic novel/web comic, posting at least three pages every week (usually Mondays).
Graphic novel/ web comic Saltwater Witch (first 50 pages) is here:
Click on the pics below for the full view:
A little late getting this post up, but here it is. Hope everyone's having a happy and/or productive holiday. We've had a couple good snowfalls in the last week, although it's high 30s today and raining.
Alice took the kids to see Yes Man with Jim Carrey the night of the 26th, and I spent the time reading Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book--very cool story. I've also done quite a bit of writing and drawing.
Hope everyone's doing well and being creative!
"An astounding batch of new deep-sea discoveries, from strange shark behavior to gigantic bacteria, was announced today by an international group of 2,000 scientists from 82 nations."
I've read about some of this research like the White Shark diving, but I think things like "giant, filamentous, multi-cellular marine bacteria" are going to be cooler discoveries for science.
I have a character in Seaborn, Michael Henderson, who's a minor character with a background in science, and I've sort of left it up to him to try to explain how people can live and breathe under the sea. He has the "curse" himself, all the abilities the Seaborn have. He writes pages of notes, sketches the things he sees in the deep, imagines why things work the way they do with the Seaborn--all with a scientific mind.
I've written and drawn a bunch of stuff in the character of Michael Henderson, which started out as part of the worldbuilding exercises, and just kept going. I wrote the chapter headings in Seaborn from Henderson's perspective, taken from his notes, his journal, his "conversations" with various notable characters.
Here are some samples from my journal:
I have been to the deep ocean, the Very Deep, and I have set my feet down in billion year old sand. I have kicked through the dark with blind animals that change shape with their moods, with fish ten meters long that glide through the deep sea without fear--and only eat microscopic food, with arthropods made of glass, and creatures that defy classification, I have touched the bioluminescent lures of fanged ambush predators in the abyss, and I still have all of my fingers. I have done all of this without equipment, without SCUBA, without feeling the pressure, or need for air. I am no longer a surface human--or as the Seaborn, say--a surfacer, a Thinling. I have become one of them.
I have experienced, l’ivresse des grandes profondeurs, Jacques Cousteau's "rapture of the deep," but not as the nitrogen narcosis that Cousteau described in Silent World. Say, rather, that I have experienced the rapture of the unexpectedly normal in the most unexpected place on earth: the deep sea.
The Seaborn do not suffer from any of the affects of breathing compressed gases, for example the squeeze of barotrauma on descent, because presumably, these do not exist in effective amounts in their bodies.
SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. This is a device enabling surface-living humans to recreate, as near as possible, and within well-defined limits, everything the human respiratory system needs above the ocean surface, in the air. While in the water, it appears that the Seaborn do not--or even need to--breathe in the same manner, possessing a different, possibly more advanced system for taking in the same gases and nutrients directly from seawater. Out of the water, the lungs of a Seaborn human appear to function the same way as the lungs of any surface human.
Lungs: Alveoli are the small grape-bunch like structures that line the lungs and take up oxygen, CO2, Nitrogen--gases the human body needs to survive, with oxygen fueling so many of the processes. The Alveoli are highly susceptible to damage from heavy substances like seawater, which really shouldn't be in the lungs. Damage then leads to low blood oxygen levels (hypoxemia) , low tissue oxygen levels (hypoxia), and then death. The alveolar-capillary membrane is a delicate, one cell thick membrane through which the gases we breathe are exchanged. It appears to be the case that the Seaborn possess a more rigid surfactact--a sort of stiffening coat for the alveoli to prevent them from collapsing under the weight of heavier substances like water in the lungs.