African Animal Names are Awesome

I was looking up the name of African mammals the other day and I learned something (don’t bother asking why I was looking up the names of African mammals the other day because I’m not telling you). I learned that the names of the animals on my continent suck.

I can’t even find one funny sounding animal on my continent, and yet just look at these fine African names:

Naked Mole Rat (yow…how do the other mole rats feel about this?)
Chlorocebus (apparently that means “monkey”)
Aye-Aye (Arrrrrrrr…I be your captain!)
Aardwolf (that isn’t a typo…it’s not an aardvark, it’s a freaking aardwolf…the mind reels)
Bongo
(Bingo Bango)
Barbour’s Rock Mouse (there’s a god damned apostrophe in that one…who is Barbour and why does he get to have the rock mice?)

And finally:

Dik-dik (heeheeheehee)

The dik-dik (mmph…heeheehee) actually has a ventilator on its nose to keep cool. It also has smelly holes in its eyes that it stick twigs in to mark its territory. Its all there in the fascinating and for all I know made up wiki entry.

What the fuck do I get? Raccoons? Raccoons suck.

Stupid continent.

The book’s going well by the way.

Chlorocebus

Book Beard: Week 2

The odd thing about not shaving is that you wind up with a bunch of hair on your face. I realize that sounds like an utterly moronic statement but it’s the truth. Before I retired my razor I gave some thought to things like what I might look like and how my hair would grow in. Was I mustache heavy? A mutton-chop guy? Sure you can trim your facial hair into the shape you want but surely there’s some predominant trait that pops out in raw form.

Somehow what never occurred to me was that on top of how it looked this crap growing on my face would have a feel too. I have to tell you, it feels a lot like hair. It’s sort of itchy and it’s hot and it’s always *there* dammit. I find myself shocked numerous times a day to reach a hand up and discover that, yes, my face has hair on it.

At any rate, the desire to share this beard strike with you all resulted in a weird half-hour while I waited for my dinner where I took photos of myself, a task that is Herculean in nature to me considering the deep-seated and long-held belief that cameras hate me and are out to harvest my soul one shard at a time by constantly offering me proof that I look  like Shrek. I wound up hitting the auto-shot button every once and awhile and letting my camera snap off a stream of shots while I did things. My hair was wet for a lot of this.

The themes we were aiming for were, “Jesus Christ This Thing is Itchy,” “My Hair is Too Freaking Long,” and, “I am a Thoughtful Author.”

Hopefully the first draft will be done soon as I’m beginning to frighten small children, but for now we press on and continue to sprout facial hair.

Part Five is Done

Whooooo!!! I wrapped up Part Five today. That leaves…I have no idea what that leaves. I’m well aware of how much is left to write but I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to break down section-wise. Sometimes the different section breaks just make sense before you start and sometimes you have to work your way into them. There’s not a lot left in the word count, that’s for sure, and there’s one section in there that is quite short, however I still don’t know quite how many more sections are coming.

But, for those of you playing along at home, thus far we have:

Part 1: They Meet

Part 2: Defining the Relationship

Part 3: Exclusivity

Part 4: Breaking Up

Part 5: Loss

Part 6: ????

Haven’t worked out what to call Part 6 yet.

But soon enough…

Motivation

Back when the Stanley Cup Playoffs started there was a little fad going around with various fans whereby they did not shave for as long as their teams were still in the race.

This is my lower face currently (complete with contemplative author hand-on-chin and expression):

Notice the rugged beard beginning to coat my skin? No? Well you notice how it looks like a balding rat has died on my face? Yes? Right, so I’m not one-hundred percent positive here but I think I might go ahead and not shave until I finish the first draft of my book. Seems like a fun thing to do and since I’m basically under self-house arrest till I’m done it’s not like my beard would have the chance to frighten too many women and children.  And once it gets itchy I think it would provide some useful motivation.

Plus I’ve never grown a beard.

Then again, as that photo proves, I probably never will…

Putting My Foot Down

I haven’t put any updates about the new book on here in awhile. Basically things are moving along and I’m getting pretty close to the ending. It’s sort of slow going because for each step forward I take in any one storyline I have to pause and figure out how the other storylines need to move forward so that everything comes to a head the way I want it to.

There’s a lot going on.

However, I get the feeling that my natural inclination for foot dragging is part of the problem as well so I’m going to go ahead and make the absurd claim that I’ll have a first draft done by the end of the month.

Hopefully putting that out in public like this will force me to be accountable and responsible all that crap.

Wish me luck!

Fun With Art

So I’ve been playing around with Victoria’s winning entry. Sorry if this seems like a horrible bastardization but when I gets my hands on stuff, I needs to play with stuff.

Anyway, one of my favorite current shows on the air is Mad Men. The Mad Men logo is as such:

Considering how much time I’ve spent reading through various Mad Men sites with that logo prominently displayed it isn’t much of a surprise that my brain decided to do this with Victoria’s entry:

Fun.

Granted my Photoshop skills suck but you get the point.

Right.

The Contest Winner

Before I introduce our winner I must strongly suggest that you visit last week’s post where the Honorable Mentions were displayed. Strongly. I’ve mentioned (probably way too much at this point) how difficult picking a winner was with the mass of great entries I received. You really ought to check them out. Again, the link is here.

Right.

So I’ll just throw the winner’s name in here before I go into my schpeal so you don’t have to wait any longer.

The winner as chosen by a panel of about ten separate judges is…(drum roll drum roll drum roll) Victoria Spurling!!

Congrats.

If you’re dying to see the winning entry it’s further along towards the bottom, but Victoria entered a few drawings and I really liked all of them and since I kept her off of the Honorable Mentions page entirely I’m going to go ahead and share her other work with you.

First we have this (click for full views):

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to place this picture. It’s been more than two years since I wrote Probability Angels and you’d be surprised how many pieces of the world I created got lost in the nether over time. Eventually I was able to lock this down as Matthew at his wife’s funeral when he first meets Epp, and then I didn’t feel so bad about not being able to place this picture immediately because that is a scene that never actually plays out in the book. Matthew talks about it and describes it but we never see it. Which makes it a pretty cool scene to pick in my mind.

Next up Victoria submitted this:

I absolutely loved this one. I think, and I hope I’m not wrong here, but I think it’s still in rough sketch form. Then again some of my stories have been called unfinished when I consider them done so maybe this was as far as Victoria wanted to take this. All I know is that if this was fully colored and detailed it would be hanging on my wall right now. Well…actually a lot of the entries are on my wall right now but this would have wound up framed and stuff. This is Matthew’s first (or seventh) attempt at reaching the top of Everest, a task he is blissfully unaware is impossible for him. The look on his face, the tuxedo shoes, the little hint of Epp at the top watching him fall all come together into a nice capturing of one of my favorite moments in Probability Angels.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for Epp’s hard-nosed teaching style.

All right, time for the winning work of art. Simple and clean, yet somehow capturing a lot of mood as well as conveying a lot of Matthew for a picture that merely represents the back of his head. The judges choice for the Joseph Devon Fan Art Contest 2010:

Thank you, Victoria.

And thank you all for entering, spreading the word and, you know, all that stuff.  We will be doing this again.

The Contest: Honorable Mentions

A month ago I shut down the Fan Art Contest and disappeared into my command center in order to choose a winner. These things are always bittersweet for me because I get so many great entries that it becomes difficult to choose just one. Luckily I had a group of judges to help me out (and absolve me of responsibility).

That being said I wanted to take today to post some honorable mentions before announcing the winner next week.

So here we go.

Again, this wasn’t easy.

You can click for full-sized views.

First we have Sara Williams who set up a series of photographs centered around Matthew and Epp’s first scene together. She got massive points for effort and interpretation. I mean, she set up yellow tape around a nearby park for God’s sake (there was actually some debate about this, some judges were convinced that she didn’t actually set up the tape and that it there for some other reason…but that means that she took her models and drove around looking for a park that happened to be roped off with yellow tape which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me).

Thank you, Sara.

Next up, Chris Box gave me Hector and Nyx (he also submitted a Bartleby). There’s a lot of talent here and I think he really took the characters to heart. Plus he did wonders with Nyx in my mind. The look on her face and the blood soiled shirt are wonderfully deranged and creepy.

Thank you, Chris.

While we’re on the subject of wonderfully creepy, Jack Davies submitted this. Apparently Jack was rushed for time here and was only able to get a few hours of work in before he had to catch a flight and the contest ended, which makes this all the more impressive. I’m always amazed at peoples’ ability to draw anything that remotely resembles what it’s supposed to look like as my attempts at drawing all look like blob monsters. I obviously wish Jack had had more time to play and polish but this was still a nice entry. Notice the silhouette of Epp with his cane in the background…

Thank you, Jack.

Ben P gave us everyone’s favorite samurai in his final moments…as a mortal anyway. I liked the mood of this one, surprisingly thoughtful and at peace for a scene of such gravity. Plus there’s a rather huge soft spot in my heart for Kyo and I think this captures his solitude well. Not showing his face was a nice touch. Kyo doesn’t strike me as the kind of person whose face gets captured in lot of pictures.

Thank you, Ben.

Finally we have Nathalie’s take on Epp. Nathalie actually has a page over at DeviantArt showcasing her work and I recommend you go check it out. Likewise her other entry, as well as the entry below, are available for full view. She took Epp back to his classic roots, grounding him in an ancient Roman feel and showing her take on both his living persona on the left and his immortal one on the right. I like the translation of Epictetus’s name across the top.

Thank you, Nathalie.

So next Tuesday I’ll announce the winner as chosen by myself and my panel of judges.

And thanks to everyone who entered. I only wish I could sit and showcase all of your works!

Again, these things are always bittersweet.

It’s Officially Summer; Now I Stop Making Sense for Three Months

As a good friend of mine once said, “There’s drunk. There’s really drunk. And then there’s wedding drunk.”

I just got back from spending a lovely weekend in Dallas complete with three nights of ribald chicanery, way too much drink and food and a trip to a mall for some reason. The mall was a rough outing for me. Oh, and some good friends were joined in marital bliss.

Since I’ve been traveling all day and drinking for the past seventy-two hours I am brain dead. And you know the drill when I’m brain dead. Instead of my usual witty banter I just throw videos at you.

Here is an action scene from Bollywood’s finest. They are miles ahead of us.