Feb. 20th, 2018 01:19 pm
ellenmillion: (Default)
I finished my book on Sunday, after putting nose to grindstone and adding nearly 4000 words. There's always a bit of a hangover after that - I'm still sort of staggering around in a daze.

Yesterday was President's Day, and we went to Guppy's parent-student conference - she showed us the work she's been doing and we saw all the various places she goes and she led us through some of her routine and then melted down and did hysterical laps of the Kindergarten room giggling and trying to run away while I was telling her to put her socks and boots on.

Because parenting is one big bucket of non-stop awesome, you guys.

Today, we gutted her room. Or started to. I did half the closet and the game dresser thoroughly and a rough 'everything into a box, I don't even care' clean up of the rest. We generated several bags and boxes of things to donate... and you can hardly tell! We'll tackle it again after quiet time.

Client work is teeth-gnashingly frustrating, with key systems going down at the WORST possible times.

The most recently published not-a-book is noodling along nicely - ranging between the top 300 and top 500. Each book in the series has done successively better, and each time, series sales REALLY make the difference - the new book is only about a quarter of my total sales right now.

I did get my next cover mocked up today, as well.

Now, I'm going to have a cup of tea and try to be zen about all the many things I can't control.

...Like the snow storm with high winds and possibly RAIN that is galloping down on us.
ellenmillion: (Default)
Today was OMG snow.

I came home from Kindergarten dropoff and helped a client with email woes, then bundled up and went out into yon snow with the snowblower. In places, the snow to move was up over the cowling of the snowblower, and it was warmish and windy. I was frequently blind in the blowing snow, and ended up caked in ice.

Then I wrote 290 words and made phone calls, picked Guppy up from Kindergarten, lay down with a headache, and got up to do more of it.

I love where we live, but it has downsides.

My not-a-book is doing nicely - better than the last one, and I've got more backlist reaping the benefits on top of that. It crept briefly into the top 250, though it's slipped out now.

I think I will go to bed early...
ellenmillion: (Default)
I am feeling whooped but triumphant. Last week was five playdates in six days, including two (!) sleepovers (including a school day), and I survived.

I also cleaned like a mad over the weekend - reclaimed the junktable and all the windowsills, cleaned out some drawers of things, did laundry, tamed Guppy's room, and cleaned my entire closet (including replacing a lightbulb).

I went to the gym this morning and wrote 1100 words (a bit over 25k on the whole project now!). I have two half scenes to write, and a little bit of cleanup.

I'm still behind on #inktober, with 11 done. Some of them are pretty simple, but #10 is a doozy (complicated 9x12 piece with lots of teeny detail), and finished just in time for a deadline for an anthology that I also have a story coming out in.

#5. Original available. (Half-priced for Patreon patrons!)

Sketch Fest is Friday! Bring prompts and help me catch up on #inktober!

In weather news, we've been a weird extended pause. We got snow last week. And the week before. And each time, it got rained away the same day. Fermata is a musical term for an extended last note or pause at the end of a phrase, and that's what this feels like... the conductor is just still standing there letting fall fade out for just a few weeks more and everything is waiting. Saturday was surreal and foggy. Today, it's colder, and it's just now started snowing very lightly.

Tonight, bellydancing. Even though my abs are sore from P/T this morning.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Friday got derailed with emergency unscheduled parent aiding for preschool - and it turned out wonderfully, because it was a special cultural snack day, and I didn't even need lunch afterwards. It all went very smoothly and was fun.

The weekend was useful, but I'll be dashed if I can remember what I did, now. There was dance class, and I think I drew some things, and possibly wrote some things, and I read Castle Hangnail, and there was very good food. Oh! And I got all my Patreon patron packages mailed. They made out like bandits, ya'll. Originals, etched mirrors, art books, coloring pages, magnets...

Yesterday was a day off for Jake, but not for me, and Guppy unhelpfully got up about 40 minutes before the alarm - which isn't really enough time to get her back into bed, so we just got up, and then she fell asleep in the car on the way to preschool. DOH! I worked for about an hour at the library on my next not-a-book (grindingly slow!) and then went shopping before we went home for lunch. Guppy got a good nap, and I, for the first time in as long as I can remember, said 'a nap sounds great!' and also took one, followed by a cup of green tea and a nice productive afternoon. Bellydance was wonderful as always, and I came home to a culinary coup of Porta Rican stew and boxed macaroni and cheese. (They don't sound like they match, but WOW, they really did.)

Today, instead of going to the gym, I took daughter and dog out into the woods. It's been cold enough that the trails aren't rotten yet, like they often are this time of year.

Once they'd both burned off some of their energy, I was even able to let Guppy walk Norway.

I also made about eighty phone calls (I put off making phone calls, so they pile up...) and was on hold with the USPS for 45 minutes to get the Sekrit address to which you send written appeals for claims. They lost a box of coloring books last August and wouldn't let me file a claim while they were doing a search for it... which took them 6 months, and then it was 'too late to file a claim.' So now I have to send them a letter to get my $%&& insurance money out of the box, which barely pays for the time I spent on hold, let alone the value of the coloring books (40 of them! *clutches chest*). AND I get to pay them for a stamp for the privilege.

Have some artwork that I did for the last Sketch Fest, which is now up at Torn World:

(Original for sale, $20)

Now, a cup of tea sounds marvelous, and I've got some art with looming deadlines.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)

It's cold enough today that the LED light by the garage is doing it's disco-strobe. (That happens at about 25 below.) We saw a sundog driving in today, and I got a photo of small animal evidence when I dropped Guppy off at preschool. I have fingers crossed that it's warmer than 20 below by recess so she can go outside and play! (What? What's your recess cut-off??)

The teashop is unfortunately chilly today, so I'm wearing my sweater and fur hat inside.

You'd think, coming off a major project like I just have, that I'd be taking a breather, but I have one more deadline looming. This one is easy! I have more than a week to finish this:

Research for this was really, really fun, as I'm going for a totally vintage vibe, complete with cold war references.

But I'm not working on it right now, because my inbox has 679 emails I need to deal with. My nose-to-the-grindstone February means some things got... neglected. If you're waiting on me, I apologize! Hopefully most of these just need sorted into folders.

Off to tackle that now!
ellenmillion: (working hard)
*falls over* So, phase 2 of the Secret Project kicked in on Friday, and I got ALL 16 new pieces sketched, inked, scanned and am working on the layouts now. I still need to do one piece in color, as well. Two more days! *dies* I feel like superwoman. I hope this carries me through parent aide tomorrow...

It has snowed about six or eight inches since my last post, and we're running out of places to put it. Jake did a Herculean job getting it off the driveway, and we're both dismayed to see it blizzarding again now. Enough, already! (I tried to take a photo, but it just doesn't do it justice.)

Have a new portrait, available now at PA:

Off to make birthday muffins for monsterus minimus to share with her friends at preschool tomorrow, which I just now remembered. DOH.
ellenmillion: (bzzz...)
I made good progress on my Big Project during preschool time today and in the time I carved out yesterday - just one more sketch to finish before I start a flurry of inking. Patreon patrons are getting WIP images, but I can't share them wider yet. I'm feeling weirdly unbalanced, creatively, as I'm doing SO MUCH art and not getting any writing done. Naturally, this is when I'm having ALL the story ideas and inspiration.

Not-A-Book is not tanking. (It's doing about the same as the previous one, but I was pretty spoiled by my first one...) It is getting EXCELLENT reviews, which are making my day.

The weather turned weirdly warm yesterday, and the snow sunk in everywhere and it looks sort of sullen and dirty now. It felt briefly like spring, but that's just because Mother Nature is a big tease.

I'm making a cherry pie.

Those are the highlights of the last day or two!

Now I must wake Guppy from her too-brief slumber and go dig out the grill for cooking pork chops.
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Starting the year as I mean to go on, adding beauty and art to the world, here is a new piece of artwork available now!

I did this as part of #inktober, but PA artists rose to my challenge last quarter, and provided enough portraits that I'll be posting one a day for the next three months. This is a beautiful "problem" to have. Click to adopt! The original is also available.

There is a Sketch Fest on Friday! https://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

I traditionally take the month of January off, but this one crept up on me. I will do the Sketch Fest through the weekend as promised, send out payments and such on Monday, then button up and take the last three weeks of the month off to recharge and get ready for the rest of the year. I need a little break where I'm NOT feeling obligated to answer emails and be the boss. (Except of Guppy. But then, we know who's really the boss there.)

The storm brought a lot of fresh snow (15+ inches), and it was very, very windy. We were without power for just a few hours Friday night. The howling wind and lack of nightlights scared Guppy, who came to snuggle with me in bed for a little while before deciding her bed was better after all. My snow-shoveling muscles are quite well-used.

Bellydancing tonight! I'm thinking I'll pick up pizza on my way home as a treat.
ellenmillion: (let down hair)
The sky is getting dark before 3, which is not entirely unusual. But it's also just starting to snow, and the forecast is for up to 15 inches over the next few days, with winds to 50 mph. Power outages are expected (and prepared for!), and I feel like the whole world is just... holding its breath.

I'm in no rush for 2017.

I find no real comfort in the turning of the calendar year, and I do not assign 2016 any malice for the many griefs and upsets that were suffered. I don't find a lot of immediacy in the many celebrity deaths, but I did lose a friend this year, and there were many times I had to stop and wonder at the lunacy of the world and re-examine things I'd taken for granted.

That said, it wasn't all that bad of a year for me personally. I did a lot of art. I wrote and published two not-really-books (not the SAME books, because there is a little lag between writing and publishing - 1 was written in 2015, and one is due to be released in February)... and one of them did amazingly well, while the other still did better than I ever would have expected before this year. I kept my fingers in programming and added some pretty awesome new features to my sites. I had illustrations published in two books (one paid, one a charity project). I released seven new coloring books, one of them a solo book of my own. I did a tarot card for the 78Tarot Carnival project.

I was bold and courageous about my own work, which paid off in crazy spades. I didn't get everything I applied for, but I did get three noteable contracts, one of which I have been able to share nothing about yet, and I'm so, so pleased with my work on it so far.

I did #junicorn, and #smaugust (though I fell a little short there), and #inktober. I did some work in color, and a LOT in black and white. I even started a painting, though it would be more impressive if I had finished it. I wrote a non-fiction article.

Business sales were brisk at the beginning of the year, my new coloring book Kickstarter was a solid success, and then sales tapered over to nearly nothing over the summer, with no real holiday rebound, to my surprise. My Patreon page continues to grow in teeny steps, and my Etsy shop grew considerably in size and modestly in sales. (This month was my best ever in sales!)

My daughter turned four, early in the year, and has been SO VERY FOUR. She vacillates from the sweetest, cuddliest, more precocious little angel to the most frustrating, infuriating, stubborn little monster. I love her in all her ways, but want to strangle her more in some than others. Trying to get her to wear pants is crazy-hard.

There were world-changing health scares in the immediate family, and I am grateful that the terrible potential outcomes were dodged. It was eye-opening. We have life insurance now, it was that serious. I will never take our heath for granted the same way again.

2016 was not awful. It was not unblemished, but it was by far not my personal worst.

I know a lot of people look at 2017 with fear and pessimism, and I understand why, but I'm pretty optimistic.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the amazing, creative projects that my inspired and inspiring friends will make. I'm looking forward to Guppy turning five and seeing what she's like as a five-year-old. I'm excited for the adventures I'm going to have with my amazing husband. I am eager to push my boundaries more - can I write THREE not-a-books this year? Even more? What changes will 2017 make on my art style? Will I FINISH a painting?

It has snowed an inch or so, since I started this entry, but the expected wind has still not arrived yet. I am content to wait. I am ready for the storm. I am ready for the year. I am ready.

Are you?
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
May you have many boxes!

We had a quiet, delightful Christmas eve and day. I love my loot - primarily a sock-and-flowerpot snowman from my daughter and a set of burly fireplace tools - and Guppy and Husband both got things they will use and enjoy as well. Guppy is using her new camera everywhere, and has made many things from Playdough and Legos. We had butter meat for dinner, which is to say a rib eye roast cooked to perfection, and a green bean casserole, with butter-drop biscuits. Leftover steak and fresh chicken eggs were breakfast this morning, before we went out and did snow clearing things.

Our Christmas day walk.

My new favorite snowman.

A storm is barreling down on us this week, and we should get even more new snow, possibly with wind and power outages. Alaska is never boring, whatever else it is.

I have artwork to ink, and edits to make on my not-a-book, a year-in-review to look at, goals to post for next year, and I think I may bake cookies...
ellenmillion: (roawr)
Who's an amazing tough Alaskan kick-ass gal who can change a really flat tire at 30 below? Me!


Two people stopped and offered their help, but I wasn't really interested in standing around watching them do what I could do, so I thanked them and sent them along. I had a cheater bar, so loosening the nuts was no trouble, and I've already put the car up on the jack several times now, and I have an amazing cold weather coat and fur hat, so I didn't even really get cold.

My phone, however, was not as tough as I am, and stops recognizing my SIM card when it gets too cold.

It was Sunday evening, so no one was open to take a tire to, so I put on the donut and took the car out of AWD (which requires moving a fuse under the hood) and limped home with my hazards on.

My car handles like crap with a donut and 2WD, but we got home safely.


Oct. 20th, 2016 08:53 pm
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Today, we got SNOW.

It was a stay at home day, which was nice because everyone always forgets how to drive the first day of snow, and Guppy wasn't feeling very good, but had a quiet day to recover. We had a crackling fire and I did some laundry and we made a Halloween wreatch from a craft kit. We watched Incredibles, and I snuck in an episode of the Flash while she was napping. I did a lot of artwork that I feel tremendously good about today, and wrote a hard email that I feel was appreciated and also programmed a fab new toy to play with at Portrait Adoption:


The idea occurred to me a few days ago, while I was noodling around with things, and it turned out to be relatively simple to write up. I would still like to make a button to share it on social media, and possibly also save your results, but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen. I have a few ideas I could poke at if it's something people decide they want.

THere's also a new sampler page up at EMG, for the Wild Teas of Alaska: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbook.php?id=75

Guppy was feeling enough better at the end of the day to walk up the driveway with me. She was all smiles and glee until I wanted to take her photo, of course.

Looking ahead! I have a few things on the calendar to share with you!

October 30 I will be at Sipping Streams from 1-4 for a fabulous coloring party! Tea, finger food (OMG, so good), a face-painter, free pages, and a chance to use my own high end coloring tools. Don't miss it!

Nov 5-6 I will be at the UWA holiday bazaar, sharing a table with [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor. I will have painted ornaments and any coloring books that I personally am in.

Nov 11-12 I will be at PopCon at UAF. As time allows, I will be doing on-the-spot commissions of ornaments and sketches.

Nov 18-20 is Sketch Fest #81!

I'm also ruminating something fun and Sketch Fest related for Black Friday...
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Sketch Fest is TODAY! I am hoping to work on some #Inktobers.

I've gotten some words on my not-a-book, and it's crawling towards the finale. I hate it completely right now, but am hopeful that will lift once I've actually written 'the end' and gone back and read it. I have dim (DIM) hopes of doing a modified NaNoWriMo this year (for something shorter, more like 30k), but this has to be finished first.

Guppy must be going through a growth spurt. She is in a total 'no' state of mind and testing ALL her boundaries, and had to be pried off, weeping, with a shoehorn this morning at preschool. Guh. It just wrecks me to leave her so traumatically. Even though I KNOW she's going to have a great time and have so much fun.

From our walk yesterday evening.

It is chilly, but not as cold as you'd expect for mid-October. My oregano is growing like crazy, and my strawberries, after a DISMAL summer, now have dozens of blossoms and green berries all over them. Poor, confused strawberries.

Writing now, then insurance stuff (because adulting is necessary) and the post office and then grocery shopping with the Guppy.
ellenmillion: (juggle)
I had to butcher my garden on Tuesday. I was so pleased that the delphiniums had survived the Sunday hailstorm... and on Monday, the wind knocked most of them over into a big, tangled, broken mess that was smothering my strawberries. Except for two of them, none of the flower stalks were far enough along to bring them inside to bloom... and I'm not even sure about those two. I'm still grieving... you may remember my previous years struggles with these delphiniums - aphids, storms, etc - and this year they were flourishing. I had more than a dozen flower stalks, and they were well over four feet tall. There are three now, and the rest had to be cut back to stumps, even the ones that I had staked. Alas! The many trials of gardening! I wish I had gotten a photo!

In other news, I have SO much news.

I am officially doing a First Friday this Friday, at the lovely Sipping Streams Teashop. There is a Facebook event for it here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1170531656302771

I am also a guest in a multi-artist coloring event on Facebook, with loads of giveaways and contests. My official hour is July 9th, 9-10 AM PST, but I've just opened a pre-contest - color any of my pages and enter for a chance to win your choice of my solo books. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/618818858282117

I'm also super excited to announce that I am one of the illustrators for Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children - it's funding now on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1537879721/hidden-youth-speculative-stories-of-marginalized-c

Crossed Genres, the publisher, is one of those places I've always wanted to break into as an illustrator, and by the time I worked up the nerve to apply, I found out they were closing, so when I saw the call for artwork for this, I had to leap on it. I have already started my sketch for it:

I got my coloring books!! I haven't unloaded them all from the car yet, but they are on site! I am filling Kickstarter orders this morning!

I also have a gazillion emails to work with, but I'm making good progress - I got a big freelance project finished up last week, and my not-a-book is ready to go up in just over a week, and the other anthology piece I'm doing is well-sketched, and I'm sending out #junicorn orders today and holy Julymonkeys, I better get going...
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
As much as it was starting to feel like spring - there were even some confused pussy willows blooming! - it is still March, in Alaska, and it should not be a shock that we got more snow. About four inches of light fluffy stuff, where we live, and it made everything pretty again. It's also gotten cold again, down to close to zero, so I've had a fire in the woodstove, which is lovely and cozy.

In the last few days, I've written a few hundred measly words, made a few minor site improvements (particularly, I've made the PA page formally not recognize non-PA artists), and worked on crazy-detailed coloring book art.

I've also got a new coloring book sampler page available for download and coloring:

You can download the high resolution PDF here: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbook.php?id=36

I've got monsterus minimus distracted with How to Train Your Dragon for a few moments, so I'm going to go do more work now!
ellenmillion: (guppy stare)
Most people equate Alaska with snowmen, but the truth is, the snow in Fairbanks (the dry interior), is usually awful for making snowballs. You pat it together, it just falls apart. We only get a brief window of sticky snow in the spring and fall, when it's warm enough to stay structurally sound. Today was one such day!

It's a snowbunny, because we've been watching Max and Ruby, and they make snowbunnies.

And one shot building it:

I have a First Friday show this evening! The roads may be awful, and I'm not expecting a great turnout. More caramel apples and cider for me! I thought I'd bring my sketch book and work on some Inktober pieces, and bring some blank ACEOs and do sketches if anyone wants one. I've already got my show box together, and I'm not doing anything fancy with displays - just some coloring books in stands, an original or two, and a scatter of cards and bookmarks.

Guppy is dawdling over her snack now (and getting most of it on her face...), then we've got a nap, and I'll try to do more art. I've gotten 7 pieces done for Inktober, and am excited to work on more of them....
ellenmillion: (kativa1)

Yesterday, we made it safely to preschool - only about 4 inches had fallen when we woke up on Tuesday. Guppy got out of line to announce loudly to me that "I'm having a great time at preschool, Mom!" Others moms got a kick out of that.

The snow was up to 6 inches by the time we came home at noon, and snowed steadily all day. This morning, when it finally tapered off, we had nearly 15 inches. The power was out twice yesterday, once for about 10 minutes, and once for about 30 minutes. It flickered a little today, but we are definitely lucky; people all over town are without power and the utility company is not optimistic about getting them all fixed today. We did get ourselves set up in case it went out, though - the water jugs are full, the log holder is full of logs, I made up a bunch of hard-cooked eggs and other ready-to-eats, and there's even a fire laid out in the woodstove ready to light. Jake did a herculean job on the driveway; he managed to break 9 shear pins (heavy, wet snow, and the gravel underneath is loose, not frozen down yet) but still cleared all 600 feet of it, plus the turnaround and the leg from the garage to the house.

Tomorrow begins Inktober, and I am SO excited. I have several PA portraits planned out, and a bunch of Torn World bits, and 5/10 prompted pieces, and I have the last 2 (not-so) secret pieces to finish. Is it October yet??

I've been doggedly working on my inbox - I realized yesterday that it was up to a ridiculous 591, and fought it back down to about 350. Many just need to be filed properly, but there are a few moldy queries in there that needed to be replied to also.

Pumpkin everything season! If you have a favorite recipe that uses pumpkin puree, let me know! I have a TON to use up!
ellenmillion: (orly guppy)
After our Friday dump of snow, it warmed up and turned to rain. My yard has slushy lumps of snow, the driveway (after much work) is just wet. But a cold front is coming in... we're supposed to get up to 12 inches of snow. Wet, icky snow. We're well prepared for dry snow and lots of cold, but our snow-blower does NOT like this wet stuff, and our driveway is very, VERY long. *nervous* It's supposed to be 40 by Thursday, which means all the new snow will turn into slush. And then freeze at night.

I have 3 new Christmas designs up at Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ellenmillion
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
Friday I went blueberry picking with M. We couldn't have asked for better weather - it was sunny and beautiful, and although it was crazy-early for them to be ripe, they were, and our summer had clearly been much kinder than the previous one. The picking was fair to good, and we each got at least a quart. Delicious blueberry pancakes were enjoyed all weekend.

Saturday was far less lovely. My delphiniums did not survive the winds and rains!

I made lemonade from those lemons, and found a perfect spot for a GIANT vase of flowers.

Shown with child for scale.

And in case you need proof of wind:

This morning I got orders out. I mailed off the last stragglers for the Sea Monster Month project - I was waiting for print selections and finally picked randomly for the last few. Project FINISHED! Also, a Portrait Adoption print went out, and a handful of coloring books. I also delivered more coloring books to a bookstore in town - they've been delighted by how briskly they are selling. I invoiced a new wholesale order to a gift shop in town, and Amazon has my next shipment, though they haven't unpacked it yet.

Orphan Works is the hot topic among artists... again. I am not particularly worked up about it. Like last time, well-meaning people are spreading a lot of mis-information. Much of what I wrote last time is still apt: http://emg-zine.com/item.php?id=396 And as always, the best way to protect your work is, ironically, to share it. If you have your work in YOUR galleries throughout the web, you are easy to find, and very difficult to legitimately orphan.

I am working on the color version of the Dotminatrix cover, and also on a whole BUNCH of new coloring book pages for two projects I can't really squee out loud about yet.
ellenmillion: (thud)
Yesterday was pretty much a dead loss. I did get one Very Important thing done - but it took two trips into town, two long waits at the bank, two long waits at the Post Office, and a whole lot of ricky-ticky running around in between. Much teeth-gnashing was involved. I also got our farm share, and fresh beets for dinner were lovely.

I've already gotten more done today, and have 47 coloring books ready to mail, which is marvelous!

Fishpond Fantasies is back to the printer for reprints, and I found an old show box that had SEVERAL old out of print titles, now available at my site: http://ellenmilliongraphics.com/coloringbooks.php

The smoke unfortunately rolled back in yesterday - as bad as I've ever seen it. And yes, I was here for the summer of 2004, when 6.5 million acres burned and we spent the whole summer trying not to breath too deeply. It's a little clearer today, but NOT MUCH. I am weary of the smell and taste. I woke up with a headache at about 3, but got back to sleep. It has eased, but not left entirely. I was pretty nauseous earlier, too. Just icky!

Okay, out of time, as I'm meeting friends for lunch and (probably not) sketching.

April 2019

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