Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Review of "Grief," a graphic anthology by Frank Gogol

GriefGrief by Frank Gogol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book for my son and I to share when we found the Source Point table at the local comic convention in 2019. I was hugely excited to get to have it signed as well. That is a rare treat for my son and I.

I finally got the chance to sit down and have a proper read through of the book instead of here and there as I could. I found it to be a very healing experience. My son has not gotten to take the time to read through yet, but I expect that he will enjoy it as much as I have and find things that he will identify with as well. We deal with grief over loved ones both human and furry that were taken from us too soon. Two of the deaths were natural causes (at least one cancer, the other we aren't sure of), one a horrible accident mere feet from our home, and one from poisoning. The past few years have been rough one could say. There have been other things to mourn such as lost friendship and the fact that my son has not had a "normal" childhood.

The last story, "Embrace," which apparently was the first written, hit particularly hard for me as I myself am a parent of an autistic young man that has had to overcome much. We have had to find our own way around obstacles. He's disclosed to me at times that he has felt like a monster, so I expect to have many discussions with him about "Monsters." Each of these tales contained a piece of things I needed reminding of. It has made me feel better and less alone to read it. I have another tool that will help my son as we navigate our most recent losses.

Thank you. I can't praise this highly enough.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Interesting Folklore Blog I'd like to share

Green Shinto on Facebook shared a good blogpost that they had found about the octopus kami. The entire blog looks pretty interesting for those looking for writing prompts or folklore tidbits.
https://arjungwriter.com/

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Short Hiatus From Podcast and Youtube

I would rather not retype the whole thing. I will take a short hiatus from the Youtube and Podcast to mourn and recuperate. I will continue working on other projects. I just need to turn inward some for a bit.
~Teresa

Other projects will not have a hiatus.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Interviewing Debi Stanton Author and Publisher with Pen It Publications


Here is my interview with author and president of Pen It Publications, Debi Stanton. As with all the interviews I am working my way through doing I hope to cast more light on the individuals that make the publishing world work. By illuminating these areas perhaps it will overall be a less mysterious place for those thinking about joining it.

 ===

Pre Interview Questions:
a) Is Debi Stanton your legal name or a pen name/DBA name? If so, would you mind telling us why you chose one over using your legal name. It is my legal name.

b) Are you an author, poet, illustrator, editor, game writer, game creator, publisher, or multiple? If you have multiple roles in the publishing community then which ones are they? If you have multiple roles feel free to answer each question with sections for each role. I own Pen It! Publications, LLC with my husband, Ray. I am also an author of 17 books and I always have more in the works!

c) What books, games, or other publishing related projects have you been involved in the production of? There are way too many to list. We have published over 500 books in the past 4 years and have more coming in every day. We are excited to be a part of each and every author’s story.
===

1. What got you interested in (writing/illustrating/editing, etc.)? I have been writing since I was a child. I was a voracious reader and writing was a natural transition. I minored in Art, but don’t illustrate, it is much too hard! And editing…that is probably my least favorite thing about writing, so we pay others to do it 😊

2. What company or companies are you doing work for/with? (In case you have more than one job and want to give them a shout out or it impacts your publishing at all.) We own Pen It! Publications, LLC which is a traditional publisher.

3. You are the President of Pen It Publications. Can you tell us the story behind the company and what caused you to get involved with it? My husband and I got married in 2014 and he had just written his first book. I had published a few. He was shopping his book around to publishers and was just not happy with what they offered. Most were vanity presses who wanted to charge him thousands of dollars. I was already publishing Pen It! Magazine, a magazine for authors and I had been traditionally published, but always felt like I was just a number. So, I mentioned that I always wanted to start my own publishing company. I knew a lot about publishing, but didn’t know much about the business side of it. Ray had owned his own business for over 30 years and said, “well, I do.” So within two weeks, we were up and running. We hired 1 illustrator and 1 editor, and we were in business. Now we employ around 50 people and have hundreds of authors. I truly love what I do. Our motto is: Everyone has a story…What’s yours?

4. What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a series of books called: People Watching…. The first one is People Watching…In the Airport. They are going to be funny looks at people watching.

5. Do you have any future projects in mind to take on? I have a novel that I need to finish that I started a few years ago. I have 16 chapters done but just haven’t had the motivation to finish it. I won’t share that title right now.

6. What is your favorite project you have done? Wow, each project we work on for our authors is wonderful…so I’ll talk about one I have written myself. My favorite book is The Fellowship Flock. It hasn’t been much of a seller, but we are going to do a new cover for it and republish soon. It is set in Fairhope Alabama and surrounds a little church and all of the comedy and drama that ensues.

7. Is this career something that you always wanted to do? Yes, I started writing, transitioned into running writing groups, then to publishing Pen It! Magazine and then into Pen It! Publications.

8. Do you find it difficult, or find some aspects more difficult than others? I truly hate editing. I tend to get sucked into the story and skip over errors, so we pay others to do that job.

9. Have you observed any way that an author or poet makes it harder for themselves to find a publisher? Have a good query letter. I get submissions all the time that are just attached to an email with no query letter, no information about the story, etc. Also, make sure that you have edited it to the best of your ability. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but do the best you can.

10. I have noticed and heard many younger people trying to figure out how to become an illustrator. Do you have any specific advice or suggestions for those budding artists? We do hire young talent. The best tip I can give is to be diligent. If an author or publisher gives you a book to illustrate, be timely, keep in touch and be responsible to meet your deadlines. It’s very important to us and to our authors that we publish in a timely manner.

11. What is a normal day like for you? Is this your side job or main job? Gosh, I work from about the time I get up until I go to bed some days. I am always answering email, helping format books, corresponding with staff. It is a crazy life, but I love it.

12. How do you manage balancing this with family and any other work you may have? It is important to do, but sometimes I find I neglect things other than work. Ray and I take a vacation at least once a year. Last year we went to Hawaii and Israel. I just have to say, “I’m not working” and let the authors and staff know that I am going to be away. They are very respectful of my time and know I will be in touch as soon as I can.

13. What hobbies do you have? Besides writing? I would say travel. My husband and I love to travel.

14. If you could be anything in the world besides this, what would it be? Besides this huh? Well, probably a teacher at a college…teaching writing of course. Or, I would lead conferences and seminars. I love being in front of people and teaching them.

15. Do you feel that school helped set you up toward following this path in the publishing industry? Yes, definitely. I majored in English and took multiple electives. I had one teacher, Mrs. Lloyd who really inspired me. She was a creative and inspirational lady and I admired her greatly. I have five degrees, so I guess I was an education junkie. I have an Associates in Business, a Bachelor’s in Business, a Bachelor’s in Computer Software Technology, a Master’s in Business and a Master’s in Health Care Administration…and lots of Student Loans! LOL

16. If you could go back to school is there anything you wish you had paid more attention to? History. I love reading non-fiction and I wish I had been more into history.

17. What advice do you have for the next generation? Don’t doubt yourself. You can do it!

18. What advice do you have for your age peers that may also want to take part in the publishing industry and specifically with your area within it? Publishing is time-consuming. It can take over your life, but the rewards are so worth it. Be kind to people and they will love working with you.

19. Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we didn’t discuss?

I would just like to say thank you to all of our authors and staff. You have made us what we are today. I am so very blessed to have all of you in my life. I can’t thank you enough.


Debi Stanton



=Full Podcast content=
www.FlashFictionFridays.com
Podcasts.com: http://www.podcasts.com/mythical-minstrelsy-flash-fiction-fridays-and-ames-bookshelf-1a06920c4
iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mythical-minstrelsy-and-flash-fiction-fridays/id1461538463
Google Play: https://playmusic.app.goo.gl/?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&apn=com.google.android.music&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Iregmi7sag7o3fg6p3e32k5ghwq?t%3DMythical_Minstrelsy_and_Flash_Fiction_Fridays%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1vLsYYcHOkDdasTFvqe9Ph

=Flash Fiction Only Pods=
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/teresa-garcia-34


=Financial assistance for the projects=
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Amehana
Ko-fi: http://www.ko-fi.com/amehana
Paypal: http://paypal.me/thgstardragon

=Other places and ways to support=
Want to visit me, see some of my other works, or support me? Find me at:
THG StarDragon Publishing, Mythical Minstrelsy & Arashiryuu Productions Discord: https://discord.gg/hvswe2A
DeviantArt: http://amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Teresa-Garcia/e/B009Q938VE
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TeresaGarcia
Storenvy: http://thgstardragon.storenvy.com/   Check now and then for new things, some I can't list just yet.
Publishing Website: http://www.thgstardragon.com
Publishing Blog: http://www.thgstardragonpublishingblog.com
Commissions Info: https://www.deviantart.com/amehanarainstardrago/journal/Commissioning-Information-566657935
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Amehana
Livejournal: http://rainstardragon.livejournal.com
Dreamwidth: http://rainstardragon.dreamwidth.org


=Reviews, Readings, and Requests=
Want to send me something to read on here or to review? Have a particular request?

Need to send something the old-fashioned way? Maybe you've got a hard copy of a book you want reviewed, or a copy of some of your own work for me to look over? Perhaps you have some of your work you'd like me to record?

THG StarDragon Publishing
Attn: Teresa Garcia
PO Box 249
McCloud, CA 96057
USA

Email necessary?  Send me a note at ladyrainstardragon@hotmail.com but bear in mind that I have been having problems with it eating things sometimes from even verified senders.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Flash Fiction #14: Kagayaku's Decision (sword spirit fiction)


Podcast Audio: http://www.podcasts.com/mythical-minstrelsy-flash-fiction-fridays-and-ames-bookshelf-1a06920c4/episode/Flash-Fiction-Fridays-14-Kagayakus-Decision-sword-spirit-story-8781


Kagayaku’s Decision

The fire guard kept watch, but mortal eyes saw none of the minor kami gathered in the room with their soldiers, nor the influence of the major kami, butsu, and bosatsu the forces regularly prayed to. The incense kept time with a steady creep and rising wisp.

She watched him sleep, just as every other sword in the room watched his or her own master sleep. The males as usual outnumbered the women. It did not matter though. Swords were not normally capable of reproducing on their own, nor at all. The humans truly did not reproduce on their own either, just as they did help was required although of a different type.

He was childless and wifeless, unlike most of those sleeping men sprawled orderly around them. Breaths and heartbeats were for the lord of the clan and for their families. His beat only for his master, half hollow instead of the full ones of the others. The murmurs had already started several years ago, after she had been awarded him, as to if there would be anyone to inherit her. More bothersome though was how colder and more distant he became with each passing year. Soon he would not be the young man she had known with such promise.

She sat straighter where she knelt in seiza beside the head of her warrior and her physical body. Her job was to protect him. Thinking of what he could become made her heart hurt. They had faced too many of those together. He could not become one of the hollow ones who only fought for rice and who tasted so bitter on her sharp tongue. Kagayaku steeled herself, her lips pressing together. The other sword spirits of the room turned their eyes to her, sensing the change in the flow of ki.

“After this coming battle I have work that must be done. Who may I ask to instruct me in what men seek of their women?” Her own eyes turned determinedly toward several belonging to those most known to visit the geisha of the floating world, locking with them. Among there kind none bowed to the others, save to he that dwelled in the shrine of the Sun’s Child and still sang of the taste of Orochi’s blood and the vanquishing thereof.

Each reddened, their lips played several emotions.

“Why, Kagayaku? Do you intend to bear him a son to in turn carry you for our lord yourself? That may be easier than hunting him a wife. Do you not know the sort that he himself looks toward?” Jari, sword of the youngest out of the targeted quintet chuckled.

“He looks to none so, I have indeed watched. He does not even look to other men so. If I can find him one, so be it. If I must show myself to him, so be it.” Kagayaku smoothed imaginary wrinkles in her lap, her displeasure giving a cold ring to her song.

“I do not think you can be demure enough, younger sister.” At length Mashite, he that was quickest to smooth words sighed. “The women my master sees all act subservient and haughty at once. And far more flirtatious. It would be a shame to model yourself after such peacock, or to find him such. No, he needs someone that will tend him as loyally as you do, that will not flinch to treat him should his armor fail.”

His armor’s spirit scowled and made a rude gesture beneath where crossed arms hid his fingers. “I only move as swift as he, no swifter.” His eyes slid over Kagayaku and he scowled more.

“She must be willing to put up with long nights of loneliness, and drunkenness.” Other swords began voicing their opinions and advice, not all of it delicate and often far coarser.

A few hours before dawn all had decided to try to find someone and to let the others know, then to somehow arrange introductions. They quieted as the ningen began to stir and go about their preparations. Today there would be either death, or life, for each of them. Perhaps some of their own also would be sent to the shadow lands to walk the wind scoured and mist shrouded beaches, or to the lands over which Lady Izanami now ruled, unable to send the dead back home since her once-husband’s betrayal of her modesty and mysteries.

Her ningen’s fingers caressed her hilt, and she drew a deep breath. Kagayaku’s bearer would not be one of the fallen, if she had her way. Beneath his touch she sang.


Bosatsu = Bodhisattva, a buddha who waits for all to Awaken before leaving The Wheel

Butsu = A buddha that has gone on but turns to give deliverance and guidance to show the Way.

Jari = grit

Kagayaku = luminous

Ki = energy. Known as chi in China

Kami = spirit, deity, god/dess

Mashite = not to mention, let alone

Ningen = human

This was intended to be a short story, but may unfurl into a novella through later flashes to the characters. It is born out of a long ago talk that planted the seed for a samurai that unknowing and reluctantly falls in love with his sword. It also somewhat draws on the reluctant king story seed although the ningen will never rise to king nor emperor.


Full Podcast content
www.FlashFictionFridays.com

Podcasts.com: http://www.podcasts.com/mythical-minstrelsy-flash-fiction-fridays-and-ames-bookshelf-1a06920c4

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mythical-minstrelsy-and-flash-fiction-fridays/id1461538463

Google Play: https://playmusic.app.goo.gl/?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&apn=com.google.android.music&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Iregmi7sag7o3fg6p3e32k5ghwq?t%3DMythical_Minstrelsy_and_Flash_Fiction_Fridays%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1vLsYYcHOkDdasTFvqe9Ph


Flash Fiction Only Pods

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/teresa-garcia-34

Financial assistance

Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Amehana

Ko-fi: http://www.ko-fi.com/amehana

Paypal: http://paypal.me/thgstardragon


Other places and ways to support

Want to visit me, see some of my other works, or support me? Find me at:

THG StarDragon Publishing, Mythical Minstrelsy & Arashiryuu Productions Discord: https://discord.gg/hvswe2A

DeviantArt: http://amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Teresa-Garcia/e/B009Q938VE

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TeresaGarcia

Storenvy: http://thgstardragon.storenvy.com/ Check now and then for new things, some I can't list just yet.

Publishing Website: http://www.thgstardragon.com

Publishing Blog: http://www.thgstardragonpublishingblog.com

Commissions Info: https://www.deviantart.com/amehanarainstardrago/journal/Commissioning-Information-566657935

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Amehana

Livejournal: http://rainstardragon.livejournal.com

Dreamwidth: http://rainstardragon.dreamwidth.org

Illustration Process demonstration: Watercolor brush pens (layer 1)

The above video is an illustration technique demonstration using watercolor brush pens. This is ONLY the first layer. I was unable to record the following layers. A video of a full process watercolor will be done at a later date with a different work.

I needed to soothe myself and needed some brain tingles. I've been wanting to use my watercolor brush set more so I decided I would somewhat simulate the feel of Chinese brush art with modern tech. Elements I included are water lily, strata rock, rushes, tree stump, lake grass, ornamental goldfish.

This is the finished result after passes with a waterbrush for blending and then going back with the brushpens for more detailing.

https://www.deviantart.com/amehanarainstardrago/art/Lily-Fish-Pond-Waterbrush-marked-799865515

Later I will make this available as a poster in Second Life and I think it suitable for a print in our analog world as well. It is currently available as a print in the DeviantArt store, just follow the link from the work in my gallery.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Musing about Second Life's Premium account and Basic account changes

I do not normally write about Second Life prices here. However we do utilize Second Life at times to obtain digital photography and videography for our projects, to network, for my involvement with the Trotsdale Library, various writing contests, and even some of our books (not all as the porting was an experiment to test the market in SL books) being available inside Second Life.

I am somewhat disappointed in Second Life right now.

I (Teresa Garcia as Amehana Ishtari/Arashi) have 42 groups current. Over the years there have been times I have had to pare out groups that I would have preferred to keep in order to make room for groups that I needed for administration duties for communities or for storefronts in sims that require vendor groups instead of renting out parcels that can be set to one's store group. Between Meditation/Shrine groups, the Library group, various Pony/Furry communities, storefronts, and artist/book/networking communities, my store group for Arashiryuu Productions / THG StarDragon Publishing, and a couple family/friend groups I only have space for a few shopping groups that I use to get discounts on set pieces from manufacturers I like to follow. Now the basic accounts are dropping the number of group slots available and increasing the amount it costs to go premium.

I use a basic account due to my income. Although the premium account has 70 slots I did not see a need to pay monthly for something that I wasn't certain I could always cover out of my personal expenses plus that I pay monthly for inworld rent for the store and covering the library's rent (that is my responsibility now as Zepdek has had personal issues to attend, meaning his financial contribution had to drop).

I heard about the changes first through CrimMip, a fellow admin for Nisa/Dreaming Twilight (the group whose land I normally use when obtaining Second Life originating visuals for projects). I heard about it next from Bixyl Shuftan through their blog article. There is a bit of a conversation ongoing now in the SL Newer's discord chat. Some that I have talked to see no problems with the amount of group slots, feeling they are coming no where near their cap. Others, like myself, are frustrated because they are and do not wish to switch to premium to increase their groups slots, already putting quite a bit of money into the platform through virtual land rent, market purchases, and tipping performers.

I can understand increasing prices for premium accounts. They did decrease (temporarily) land prices for those that buy land. However they lowered the amount of group slots and ofline IMs for basic accounts, a feature that theoretically costs no money. They do have to pay their developers and admins. It does put people like me in a strange spot though. Porting my clothing goods and furniture items over to an alt account is not possible due to licensing agreements of used components. Transferring stores to another account would not work due to still having to keep the same groups to rez the vendors from my main account (and then I'd end up missing payments due to notices going to another email). Asking admin duties to transfer to an alt would not work as well either due to my main account already being an established and known name, the other account not being as well known since my main alt is a prize dispersal for library based contests, who started out as an "I'm overwhelmed and want to enjoy and explore inworld but want to focus on a handful of people right now" account.

So, now I weigh and decide. Basic has dropped seven slots. If I need to jiggle groups for any other needs that arise admin group wise for communities and networking I will have to drop seven, which would include those I currently need. I also wonder how well this move will work for them. Honestly I am glad I do not work for SL or have to figure out good financial moves for their company. They have such a large user base and not many are going to be happy with price increases, especially with the fluctuation of the $L and if the monthly stipend for inworld spending that goes with a premium does not increase.

How will this impact THG StarDragon Publishing's sponsoring of the Trotsdale and Intersim Library Network? At this time I do not know. I continue paying the library's rent. I need to set aside some funds for a prize for the next contest. I need to decide whether it will be writing, art, or if I should shake things up and ask people to make reading videos or tracks. Tonight at 5 PM Pacific Illya Leonov has his music hour followed by his story hour. This week he plays chapter 10 of Past Sins, an MLP fanfic. Sundays I normally (unless ill or too inundated) read or stream, now at 5 PM Pacific and sometimes followed by other readers. How will it impact the Library, or my own store group and meditation group? With a decrease in group slots for the basic account I can guess that fewer peoplewill be getting notices of the inworld events, and overall the world will get smaller for Second Life users as they will have fewer options available to them. The work around of a Subscribomatic to send messages has the pitfall of it's owner only being able to use it to send announcements for one group, meaning that if they have to have work arounds for several groups they may end up with several of the free alternate accounts and have to switch between them for what should be a simple thing... advertising.

SL Blogpost: Land Price Reductions, New Premium Perks, and Pricing Changes
Bixyl Shuftan's article: http://slnewser.blogspot.com/2019/05/linden-lab-raising-price-of-premium.html
Second Life Forum Discussion Thread: https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/437783-what-are-your-opinions-on-the-new-land-price-reductions-new-premium-perks-and-pricing-changes