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I finished a book yesterday. Well, revisions on a book. But I cut more than 10,000 words out of the old book and wrote 12,000 more, so it's BASICALLY a new book.

I also have a (different) book coming out on Wednesday, Shifting Sands book 8. (What?! Eight already?! How crazy is that. And I'm already a quarter of the way through book 9...)

I am also on the final stretch of an art project I've been working on for THREE years. SOON! Soon it will be out of non-disclosure! I am SO excited! I may cry when I have a copy in my hands.

There's a Muse Fusion this week: https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php

Come leave Torn World prompts, questions, and inspiration. I'm looking forward to doing some little things for it, since I finished my book and I because I know that launch week generally leaves me too scattered to focus on bigger things.

For now, Monsters, Inc. with the daughter, and hot tamales while I lie on the couch avoiding doing taxes.
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Bai knows better than to dream about his gorgeous Head of Files, Ressa. Fraternization at the Licensing Office is strictly forbidden, by his own ironclad decree. He should be content with their close friendship, and has almost convinced himself that he is.

Ressa knows there’s something missing in her life. Her work, which has always been enough, leaves her feeling unsatisfied… even her secondary job with the prestigious Carnal Guild. She takes a lover, but swiftly realizes that what she thought were choices were clever orchestrations. Someone is playing her, and License Master Bai, in some larger, unknown plot.

Lives quickly unraveling, the only people that Bai and Ressa can trust are each other, and the bond of their friendship is sorely tested by secrets, betrayal, and the attraction for each other that they don’t want to admit.

RAILS is a dark, tangled story full of murder, sex, unrequited love, drugs, prostitution, blackmail, and betrayal. There are no fairy tale happy endings… but there is hope that love can prevail.

Set in the shared world of Torn World, RAILS was released at tornworld.net in installments between 2010 and 2014. It has flavors of steampunk, fantasy, and light science fiction, moving between the glamorous high society of the Empire to the gritty criminal underworld.

Find it at your favorite retailer here: https://www.books2read.com/rails
$0.99 for a limited time - it will go up to $2.99 next month!
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SENSELESS, the Torn World short story included in the In the End anthology earlier this year, is now available independently!



Reqem is thrilled to be out on his first journey as an adult, and is dismayed to find that the barrier he came to see has vanished. Disappointment turns to excitement when he realizes that the fall of the barrier has revealed new land, unseen by any person since the Upheaval broke the world into parts.

Torn World is a share world sandbox, the setting of hundreds of short stories and playground to a dozen artists and authors. Senseless is a short story of about 6000 words, a stand-alone set about 50 years prior to our current stories.

Read now on Amazon for 99 pennies! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FPY856L
You can also read it as a subscriber at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=627
And remember that patrons at the $10+ level on Patreon get EVERYTHING I write and publish, including novels: https://www.patreon.com/ellenmillion

I am always deeply grateful for reviews on Amazon or on the Torn World site.

...

I'm not expecting great things of this one in particular, but it's a stand-alone that is fully reserved for supporters, and seems like a good place to start in terms of making more of my work available in ebook format. I'm hauling myself up the formatting curve, but will be working on some more complicated collections shortly!
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New publication!

I am delighted to have my illustration "The Folded City" and also my story "Senseless" included in a new anthology, IN THE END. You can buy it on Amazon in print here: https://www.amazon.com/End-Charity-Anthology-Cliches-Cause/dp/1983796565 or in ebook here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXKGBYS - note that it is in matchbook program, so you get the ebook free if you buy the hardcopy!



Senseless is a Torn World story, about the finding of Lichenwold; it takes place about 50 years prior to our current timeline. Have an excerpt:

“You used to be able to see where the barrier reached the ground from here,” Lenar told them, as they came at last to the ridge and looked out. He pointed, and the place was obvious. The forest had thinned to scrubby brush, and then gave way to ground that looked completely barren creeping up the foothills on the opposite side of the valley. By contrast, alpine foothills to the east were showing mottled red and deep green ground cover.

They camped that night at the edge of the forest, the big, shaggy snowies browsing eagerly at the brush after their long, steady day. Reqem barely slept, and rose eagerly with all of the others well before the sun had broken the ragged horizon.

“There won't be any everberries,” Tivikai observed, when they broke past the last brush to the open land beyond.

It wasn't as barren as it had appeared from further away. Tiny new life was struggling to take hold in the silty soil, and there were several swaths of grass, already turned to dull fall colors. But nothing grew that hadn't blown there and taken root that summer – the only berries they identified were fruitless sprouts.

When it grew too steep for the heavy snowies, they stopped. Before anyone could suggest otherwise, Reqem scrambled down his saddle ladder and continued to explore on foot. Imain joined him, and after only a moment more, Tivikai came after them, nearly plowing into Reqem's back when he abruptly came to a halt around an outcropping of rock.

“Here, now, give a woman a warning when you're going to stop like that,” she scolded them, then looked up and saw the same sight.

Her shrill whistled call to the others broke Reqem from his slack-mouthed gaze.

Before them, past a pile of rock and mountain granite, was a road. It sheared into fractured plates and finally to rubble to their left, and to their right, it plunged into the mountain.

Knowing that the ancients had been capable of building miraculous things was quite different than witnessing one of those things. The opening yawned like a mouth, but perfectly square, and the surface of the road, though aged and cracked, was unnaturally flat and smooth.

The three rangers scrambled over the rock and stood in wonder, staring into the darkness that stretched impossibly away.

“Where does it go?” Imain asked in awe.

“It could go anywhere,” Tivikai said, sounding equally impressed.

“Let's find out,” Reqem said at once.

(The Great Northern Gate illustration is only attached for fun - the anthology edition is illustrated by Samuel Hazen!)

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The Kickstarter is done and went well - we ended up over 3x the goal and got all of our stretch goals, including this piece of artwork as a Kickstarter-only bonus page:



This was MEANT to be a random, generic lion shifter for my next coloring book when I first started on it, but it was totally Graham. (Of Shifting Sands)

I've also released this piece, that I've been just dying to share, but I didn't want to confuse the Kickstarter, because this is NOT in Splendrix.



This tragically handsome guy is Justin, star of Spy Snow Leopard: mybook.to/SpySnowLeopard - it is a Zoe book, but not MY Zoe book. I didn't write this one, but it's a fantastic book - lots of hurt/comfort and healing and people overcoming guilt and doubt. There are also food scenes that will make you honest-to-god drool. It is temporarily priced at $0.99, but only for another day!

In other things, Kindergarten comes to a close WAY too soon, I've approved the coloring books for printing, these are the VERY LAST coloring books I will be printing myself, and it has snowed three times in the last week and I am so very over winter.

April was amazing. And weird. And I feel like there were a lot of things I could have done better, but overall, it was good. If busy.

May looks no less busy.

Also: SEA MONSTER MONTH! I haven't decided what I'll do this year! Should I do sketch cards? I want to do a field guide to the sea monsters of Torn World, in print, but I fear that's too much to bite off as a whole, so I'm thinking I'll start working on this with the aim of releasing it NEXT sea monster month. Muse Fusion is next week!

Wheeee...
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I've been making good headway on my list of dooooom. I've done a sketch and written about 2k for Muse Fusion so far! Leave me prompts - I'm promising to do something for everyone who prompts. https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php

My book has been doing AHMAZING. I'm so humbled and happy and relived. It hit 155 in Amazon rank, and then hung out around 250 for a few days and it's only now just slumping into the 300s. My last book got to 248 and dropped off pretty quickly, and the book before that barely skimmed into the top 500.

It is the last day to get the first three books in the series on sale for .99 (for ALL THREE): myBook.to/shiftingsandsbox1

And in more sales reminders, this is the last week to get March perks at Patreon, and I'm mailing ORIGINAL ART for the $5+ rewards, so get in on that. (It's not a drawing or a gamble. Everyone in this tier will receive at least two pieces of original artwork.) https://www.patreon.com/ellenmillion

I am so SO grateful for all of your support, you guys. I can't really overstate how much it means to me. <3 <3
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My tentative plan: run the Kickstarter the last two weeks of April. Garden and Goddesses Volume 3 (by Mitzi) would be the stretch goal.

No collaborative titles this time... I have a basement full of coloring books and the market has chilled pretty significantly, and the group titles don't sell as strongly, as well as being more work. But I want another solo coloring book for purely selfish reasons, and I'm hopeful that the Kickstarter will stimulate some back catalog sales as well.

I'm gathering up my resources and numbers and print files for this right now and should have a Facebook event and some concrete dates and such pretty soon.

Have a sneak preview of one of the last pages for it:



Which is also part of my next bit of exciting news, but that shall wait for another post.

Also coming up!

Sketch Fest on Friday! Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/183217659122508/ Site here: https://ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

Muse Fusion the last week of March! Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/191419308289421/ Site here: https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php
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Artwork

3 ACEOs for Sketch Fest: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9&date=90

It was skycat month at Torn World, and I did four ACEOs (plus a sketch) for the Muse Fusion:


Plus http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=562
http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=565
AND http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=563

And a new portrait: http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2999


Writing

I edited my forth Not-a-Book, having finished it the month before. I also released it this month, which meant a certain amount of promotional and administrative work.

I also edited a short story for an anthology, which involved adding quite a lot of words.

I started a short story during the Muse Fusion, to the tune of 1200 words, but it isn't finished yet.


Other


August... was hard. Really hard. I started the month entirely crippled from overdoing it, which comes with a pile of baggage. Kindergarten was an exciting new addition to the schedule. And I was laid low when I lost my beloved dog just a few days after that. It wasn't a surprise - his health had been failing for some time, but that didn't make it less of a blow.
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More Muse Fusion fun!


Playing with a brush ink pen and Prismacolor colored pencils on Legion Kraft paper. (Original available, $15 or 15 credits)

I have FINISHED my not-a-book (again) and done another round of copy-edits on it. All that remains is formatting and backmatter, and I'm waiting on an answer to a chapter numbering question.

Kindergarten starts in a week.

A WEEK. WHAT?

*breaths into a paper bag*
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"You look better this week," the receptionist at my physical therapist said. "Not so destroyed."

I'm feeling less destroyed!

(I'm still diligently taking it easy, no worries.)

Here are two more pieces for the Muse Fusion that I'm working on:



Still working on the story, too... but switching over now to finish that last, stubborn half-scene of the epilogue for my not-a-book, which has a deadline now, while Guppy has her quiet time.
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Still taking it easy. When I think too hard about my back right now, I get really, really crabby, so I'm trying not to dwell.

This week is Muse Fusion at Torn World! I am taking prompts and doing artwork and writing flash fiction. I've painted an ACEO so far, and am about 500 words into a story. Jump on in! You can use your Sketch Fest/PA/Lilypad login at the Torn World site now. :) https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php

Muse Fusion Work:

Finished:

From Afke's prompt "Hidden between the leaves". ACEO, acrylic ink and pens. Original claimed.
I used this as my August artsnacks challenge, too.


From Jenny's prompt "Skycat glides off with yarn end". Sketch ACEO. $5 as-is.
From Julie's prompt "Steampunk Skycat". ACEO, ink, watercolor pencil, gell pen, metallic pen. Original $15 or 15 credits.


From Deborah's prompt "Calico Skykitten!" ACEO, pencil and brush pen on Legion Kraft paper. Original $15 or 15 credits.


From Deirdre's prompt "A plant Skycat (or a skycat) loves". Original, $10 or 10 credits.


In Progress:
The Beginning of the End, fiction, from Deirdre's prompt: "A mysterious medical problem"
The Empire explorers in Itrelir are looking over the snow-unicorn riders' archives and investigating their genealogy.
Excerpt: “Biology isn’t my strong point,” Diren admitted, looking over Margaa’s tidy notes. “But that doesn’t look good.”
So far, 1200 words, probably end up about 2000. Sponsor for $15 or 15 credits.


From my Prompts: Deirdre has started an acrylic painting!

I'll update this post as I add more - the Muse Fusion runs through Sunday afternoon. :)
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Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

Artwork

June was #junicorn. SO MUCH #JUNICORN. Here's the landing page, showing all 30 unicorn pieces that I did. http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html

I did 6 of the #junicorn ACEOs for the June Sketch Fest. https://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9&date=88

I also did some Portrait Adoptions: https://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2941 and https://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2947 and http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2949

I released this piece at Torn World:

(This was the first five exclusive pieces I did for the July issue of Color On! Magazine.)

And this also went up at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=543


Writing

I wrote just shy of 15k words on my next not-a-book. *panting*


Other

Summer camp was AWESOME.

Two movies in the theatre: Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and Wonder Woman, both wonderful.

There was a vole in my couch: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1607798.html
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"You're not eighteen anymore," the doctor told me.

Then he apparently heard his words and desperately back-pedaled. "I mean, you're still quite young, of course..." and turned red.

Not-eighteen-me should not be attempting to level railroad ties by herself apparently.

Nor should such days be followed by abnormally active days spent working on the woodshed and blowing glass ornaments.

Friday morning, it all caught up with me a vengeance on step #8 of 11 with hot mugs of coffee in each hand.

Adjectives like blinding and blazing and brutal are appropriate.

As there was no real choice but to take those last few steps, that's what I finally did, after standing there a stunned moment and a few false starts. Then I staggered into the bedroom, safely deposited the coffee and fell into bed.

The husband earned his wifecare merit badge by getting me fed and carefully put in the car for an emergency visit to the chiropractor. X-rays later, it was determined that it was "just" muscular. It was still pegging the pain meter.

The next three days were spent in a stupor of agonizing pain, reclined in a chair, lifting nothing heavier than my phone. I couldn't get out of my chair without assistance. We watched a lot of TV and husband earned that badge several times over. Monday, desperate for relief, I went to first care, and they gave me a shot in the ass and some prescriptions.

So, it's been un-fun. I am feeling much, much better, but that's relative. Today is the first day since injury that I've felt up to opening the laptop; I haven't even done any art. I am going to take it super, super easy for the rest of the week at least - they told me it could be several weeks before I was back to normal, and I am not going to push it. See above about not being eighteen.

But hey, I've got a bandaid with a dinosaur riding a skateboard on my butt, so it's not all bad.

***

In other news, it's Skycat Month at Torn World! We've got several skycat-themed pieces we'll be releasing this month, including this amazing felted skycat from my talented friend Carina:



Next week is our muse fusion! You can leave prompts on any topic, but I'll be focusing on skycat-themed work.
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Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

Artwork

I only did two sketches for the May Sketch Fest, but both of them spanned into full coloring pages that I released at Torn World for Sea Monster Month. Arguing Over Dinner also became my Patreon perk:



I also did this one: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=554

At Muse Fusion, I did this painting:



I also did two sketches that didn't go anywhere, and two sketches I finished into coloring pages! http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=553 and http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=552

And, miraculously, finished this painting that I started last year:



I also did this for a client:



In total, 4 complex coloring pages from sketch to finish, another inked piece, a teeny painting, and I finished a giant painting. Go, me!


Writing

A poem up at Torn World for subscribers from our previous Muse Fusion, "Tokens, Time, and Fire": http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=614

I set a goal of 500 words/day, which I didn't quite meet, but I did get a little over 10,000 words written, which is a LOT for me!


Other

Guppy graduated preschool!

Whittled one and one half spoons! So fun! http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/IMG_8901-spoon.JPG
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I've been slogging at the writing, about 2k over the last few days, but it's hard stuff, filling in gaps and working on scenes I skipped for a reason. Some writing is like uncapping a firehose. This is more like trying to get those last few iotas of toothpaste out of a tube. But I've soldiered on, and the not-a-book is up to 27,700 words. Unfortunately, my stupid muse is telling me all these awesome ideas for book 8 or 10 (this is book 3). NO BRAIN, STOP.

I have WON #JUNICORN! 30 pieces, finished yesterday. I haven't, however, gotten to scan them all yet, so I'll share this one, now up at Torn World:



This is one of last year's #junicorns, but I wasn't happy with it, so early this month I went back and revised it extensively.

Have been suffering more than usual back pain this week, because I am an idiot. Today is better, but I'm being super diligent about taking breaks and stretching, and I'm going to go do that before my next writing window. Just two more days of summer camp!
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I haven't scanned the latest #junicorn pieces yet, but did go back and finish #13 and forge forward with #19 and #20. I got six done in total with Sketch Fest prompts.

This was just released at Torn World:



It was prompted at the March Muse Fusion and finished in April as part of a collection that I'll give you more information about in a few weeks. ;P

Speaking of Muse Fusions! Our next one is in August. I am eyeing the second week, does anyone have any thoughts on what would work for them?

Got about 700 words of not-a-book written at the library the morning after peeling Guppy off at summer camp. This is a new camp, in a new place, so all the anxiety was new, too. She was TIRED and nearly fell asleep on the way home, so I'm hoping she uses quiet time for a nice nap. (So far, no dice.)

I'm going to get some more words in now! More art later!

Mondaily

Jun. 12th, 2017 02:57 pm
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Me this morning: Probably children don't get kidnapped and sold into slavery on their first day of summercamp and she's going to be fine, shut up brain. But she might be sad that I'm gone and spend the whole time waiting at the door for me. And maybe she will be stubborn with the teacher. And maybe she'll get tired or hungry or whiny...

Me this afternoon after picking her up: THIS WAS THE BEST THING EVER.

She had a GREAT time and didn't want to leave, and made a new friend, and thought everything was fabulous. I went to the gym after dropping her off and got a workout and a steam and a shower, and then sat in the gym cafe and wrote 2000 words and then went to the art store and got to use two coupons and got a bacon-avacado-turkey sandwich that was great even though they forgot the bacon, and picked up the most awesome commission ever, and I got a check in the mail for coloring books, and it was all just FABULOUS. *gasp for breath*

I feel refreshed. It was really, really nice having productive hours of work, and the not-a-book is going strong, nearly 19000 words and I'll probably be able to crack 20k tomorrow. My plan is to do the same again, but find a place with better chairs, because two hours of the cafe chairs was the worst part of the day.

This bodes very well for Kindergarten productivity.

Now I've got some arty things to tackle, and a pie to make.

Here's some art that went up at Torn World last week:


This is an illustration for a brief article on the Queen Flower: http://www.tornworld.net/settingpageview.php?id=206

PS: Got to see Wonder Woman on Friday and it was WONDERFUL and Guppy had a good playdate while I was enjoying myself. Also, I'm still behind on #junicorn, but have finished three more that I still need to post!
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Sea Monster Month drew to a close yesterday, and this was my last contribution to it:


Original available. Download available in my Etsy shop. It's also available to any Torn World subscriber!

Guppy and I had an insanely busy day. I went to the gym, trepidatiously, and it worked out PERFECTLY. I feared the worst when she clung to me as I was leaving, but I peeked in a few times, as she discovered that the play microwave went BEEP and was beeping it, and then she made a friend and when I checked in again, they were playing happily in the house. So I did a pretty long workout, took a long steam and shower, and then had 30 minutes of earphones-in art time in the cafe. HEAVENLY. I got my first #junicorn piece finished, and will have a landing post about that shortly!

(Because it's June already, what?! My garden, now that I've removed the tasty bits out of reach, flourishes. We had chicken tarragon salad with tarragon that grew back in our garden, and the delphiniums have declared this their year and have sent out scouts. The columbine came back, and has a few buds just starting, and the chives are monstrous already. No potato shoots yet.)

After the gym, the plan was to go food shopping, but we were about halfway through lunch at the grocery when Jake called and said 'come for a walk!' It was the perfect day for a hike at Creamer's Field, so we did that. THEN the shopping, and some other shopping, and a little extra shopping, then we got water, and there was no quiet time today. (So no writing. Alas.) After grilling the chicked for the salad, we made another trip into town to get lightbulbs and water a friend's garden and get another load of water.

We saw baby ducks, and a chickadee nest, and we got strawberries and dinner was amazing, so the day as a whole was a success.

/rambly ramble.
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I have new sea monster artwork up at Torn World!



You can find this - and several other sea monster coloring pages - available for download at my Etsy shop!

Young monster has been especially monstery this morning, but we went to the park for a short visit anyway. It was very cold, and we didn't stay long. Now she's being quiet in her room, and I'm going to try to get some words written. I fell off my 500 words/day wagon very severely last week, and only have two days left in the month, so I probably won't get caught up! But words are still words, so I'm going to do what I can.

I am also thinking ahead to next month, and in particular, #junicorn. I would really like to do that again.

But first, words! And a cup of hot tea, because it's COLD and I'm crabby about it.
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Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos! -

Artwork

At Portrait Adoption:

At Sketch Fest, I did 6 (!) pieces, 3 coloring page sketches, 2 little paintings (for Torn World, below), and a toned paper portrait sketch (finished as a portrait, above).

For Torn World:

(several more were posted at the site, but they're part of April's update because that's when I released them in my blog.)


I did sketches at the Morris Thompson complex, including this one:


(Patreon patrons got more sketches.)



Writing

STILL NONE. (Okay, I did a little outlining.)


Other

A bear photo of Guppy on her birthday:

I re-coded Torn World to use the database of the rest of EMG. It was a MASSIVE upgrade, and I also added Muse Fusion functionality at the site itself.

I also worked on several projects that wouldn't be released until much later!

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