End-of-summer ‘where have you been?’ post.

I’m not sure who said that summer was supposed to be laid back, but whoever they are, they should be banned from speech. My summers are always crazy busy, and this one has been no exception.

Where do I start?

Oh yeah, Camp Nano. Yes, I won with 50,004 words. Basically, I did Nanowrimo in July. To put that into perspective, if I recieved a dollar for every word I wrote this July, I would have enough money to buy my family a brand new Chevrolet Express 3500.

Which brings us to our van-shopping adventures. We have a fifteen-passenger Express who is white, ginormous and named André,  like the heavyweight champion André the Giant. We named him that because that guy plays our favourite character from The Princess Bride, Fezzik.

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Anyways, André is as old as I am, so naturally he isn’t very good on the highway anymore. Considering that we do frequent commutes and road trips, we’re looking for another van – not to replace André, but one we can use on the interstate. So my mom has been looking all over creation for one within our price range and not halfway across the country. (Well, scratch that. We live in West Texas. The van we’ve scouted out is in Houston. That is halfway across the country. :P)

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Here’s a van like him. We’re considering naming him Schwartz, Dougal or Nigel.

Conveniently, we’re going to Shreveport this weekend, so we’re going to alter our usual I-20 route and go down to Houston to see Schwartz/Dougal/Nigel. I’ll have to decide which name works best for him when we see him in person. Which do you think is best?

Let’s see, what else have I been doing? I’ve been bowling on Thursday nights, which is fun, and I’ve also been working at a stable. In exchange for cleaning tack and helping younger kids with thier lessons, I get to ride, so I’m loving the arrangement.

I’ve also been biking. I recently worked up to guts to ride in a skate park. That was fun.

Then I have been trying to manage these two blogs and still eat and sleep.

It’s going to be even busier once the school year starts, so I’m making the best of things and collecting funny memes from the Internet.

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How has your summer been?

{Tess}

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Little Art Dump + Camp Nano Pep

After posting about the Lion I did a couple of days ago, I felt so good that I sat down and drew for another hour or so. (Of course, that puts me drawing at almost midnight. Oh well, it’s summer.) Here’s some things I did:

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YUS…..finally, a female husky to shake things up a bit. Her ears are a teeny bit off, but I think it’s okay.
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Green dog! My little sis and I were playing school and I drew this for ‘art class’. It actually wasn’t half bad (despite being green…)

 

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I love the wolf’s position here!

I’ve been doing some reading, and I found a slideshow (yeah, authoratative) on the differences between wolves and dogs and how you can distinguish them in drawing.

Secrets…

Wouldn’t you like to see this really neat guide? The whole slideshow will be in the Secrets page! To get in, though, you must answer the question (and I’m practically giving it to you)…

What were my sister and I playing when I drew the green dog?

The password will be all lowercase.

Now, for the remainder of this post…

Image result for camp nanowrimo 2017 banner

I’m participating in Camp Nanowrimo this July, and I’ve created a special cabin for anyone who wants to join. All I need is your Camp username and you can be part of the WordPress Authoresses. (You will need to make a project before I can find you. It doesn’t have to be much, just a title and a word goal, really.)

If anyone’s interested, then tell me your Nano username, please! The more, the merrier! I’m also considering making a Chatsy room for it, so this session will be fun!

Good luck with the planning (or pantsing, for that matter!)

{Tess}

A Tiny Art Dump – June 27

I have been in a drawing slump recently. I’m in between the point where I thought I was good, then realised a serious error in all my wolf drawings and am still trying to get better. As a result, most of my drawings have been small sketches here and there.

I don’t even think this counts as an art dump. Oh well.

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A couple of Disney doodles. I liked the Danny (Great Dane on top from 101 Dalmatians) except that his legs were too short. So I abandoned him. Tramp is not bad, but there’s something up with his mouth and the rat’s claws. And the Bambi is hands-down horrible.

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I sketched some more wolves, trying to get angles just right. So far all my front views have been awful. But the wolf in the middle wasn’t bad, so I did a transfer onto another sheet of paper.

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I like everything about it except that:

  1. his colouring needs to be more blended
  2. his back right leg is too floppy.

You’ll see what I mean if you look at the original sketch.

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(The grey box contains a bit of P.I. so I covered it up.)

This, on the other hand, wasn’t bad, and it’s nice to have a bit of a break from the usual horses and wolves. I’m making a photocopy of it for my art binder and giving the original to my dad to hang up at work. I love this!

With tonight’s lion, I may be getting out of my drawing ditch.

Any tips?

{Tess}

(PS: Who else is psyched for Camp Nanowrimo? I may be making a cabin for blogging friends – comment JULYNOWRIMO if you think this is a good idea.)

Tag!

I was tagged by Rebcake (Becca, I had no idea you had another blog) for a writing tag of sorts. Now, I am not a Canva wizard with money to spend on those countless one-dollar beasties, so instead of trying to finnick with the free images for hours, I figured the quality, conciseness and intrigue of the answers was more important than graphic design. Some things just don’t click with me.

I. What genres, styles and topics do you write about?

Stellar question. When I don’t have a new story rolling around in my head, I write anthropomorphic animal fiction. As in, talking horses. But it sounds more dignified when you use large words to describe it. If I happen to not be in a anthromporphism mood, then I write brutally innacurate historical fiction.

As for topics, I try very hard in my stories to avoid orphans. Pick up any book on the shelves of your local library these days and there’s a 70% chance it features an orphan. Can’t we have some parental supervision these days? I wouldn’t think of giving any of my characters mental instability by removing all of their parental attachment. The cruelest it gets is losing one of them, and even so, they’re forever remorseful over it.

Other things to be avoided: any kind of magic, too much shipping, academies of special people (where’s the idiot academy?) and most “E.S.” stories. E.S. is an acronym used commonly in my notes. It stands for “enigmatical something”, meaning, some sort of thing that every single blasted person knows about and wants except the people irrelevant to your story. The Lord of the Rings, although I really don’t like it, is a classical E.S. story. I usually use the acronym in a annoyed/sarcastic tone, e.g. All this story needs is something to go between part C and part D. Oh, I know! An orphan with an E.S.!

Well, I have spent a lot of time talking about the things I don’t like to write about. So it is safe to assume that I like to write about the things I have not mentioned. Proof by counter-example.

II. How long have you been writing?

I got interested in writing via an online course I took that gave me a bounty of information on how to write, which happened sometime in 2014. But I had been making up stories long before then.

When I was around six years old, I began playing out stories in my head before I fell asleep at night. Most of the time they revolved around this kid named Tony (heavily based on my brother Mac) whose dad was a police officer, and, naturally, went on crime-fighting, mystery-solving adventures that were a lot of fun to think about. Of course, looking back on it, it was awfully cheesy, but I was six.

After that phase three to four year obsession, I began making up animal stories due to my love of animals and the fact that I began to like Tony’s German Shepherd Trooper (made up in the second year of my playing those adventures) better than Tony himself. So I dibbled with those for awhile. But my ‘big break’ was Nanowrimo 2015, when I finally sat down and wrote 40,000 words. I haven’t stopped since.

III. Why do you write?

This is the part where all eloquence flees my mind.

I write because I have stories that need chronocling. As anti-climactic as that is.

Wow, this is oppressively short.

IV. When is the best time to write?

They say that Nanowrimo builds habits. I believe them. I get up before eight every morning, eat an egg and some turkey sausage, read some Bible, then sit at the computer and write for at least an hour. So, morning, I suppose.

This sounds all hunky-dory but I get writer’s block like crazy, so most of the time I only end up with a few hundred words.

V. What do you love about writing?

I love the imagination involved in creating characters and stories and worlds.

I love the tingly feeling I get when I make something that’s actually good.

I love the big thought trains my words buy tickets for and the long discussions they incite.

I love the research I end up doing and the knowledge I gain that was sparked through a simple question I thought up while writing – What does miso soup taste like? What even is miso soup?

(FYI: Miso soup is a Japanese broth made out of soybeans. I have tried and I have to say that if you haven’t had it, you’re not missing much.)

VI. What do you hate about writing?

I hate it when I spend effort and brain cells making something up and then realise that it’s already been written.

I hate it when words don’t behave as they should.

I hate it when I can’t eke out any words despite my most violent efforts.

I hate it when I have a brilliant idea just waiting to be written and then I forget it.

I hate it when I get distracted.

And I hate writing culture. Sorry. I believe in happy endings and moral choices, despite the critics who call that uninteresting and psycologically boring. I’ll show ’em.

VII. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I switch projects. I go write something else. And I wonder why I can’t seem to finish anything.

VIII. Are you working on something at the moment?

Indeed. The votes have pointed towards Dog Story, which I began – ha! This morning!

IX. What are your writing goals this year?

Camp Nanowrimo (July 2017)

15,000 words of Dog Story

Nanowrimo (November 2017)

Editing Camp Nanowrimo Project from April

Over-achiever. *scoffs*

Indeed, I realise that this post is nearly one thousand words long! For your cooperation, you have won access to something you may or may not be interested in.

Introducing…

Secrets

A members-only page for those who make it through posts!

Yay! Free stuff!

But – there’s a catch. To get your classified information, you must answer the comprehension question below:

What was the name of Tony’s German Shepherd?

The answer, which is case-sensitive, is the password to the page. If you can remember the answer, then you will find out the title of the long-awaited Dog Story. And it’s a pretty awesome title, if I may say so myself.

Good luck and good day!

{Tess}

I Touched A Real Human Brain

Yes, I did touch a real, preserved-in-formaldehyde human brain. I also touched a heart and a liver, which were also human and preserved in formaldehyde.

Yes, it was creepy.

No, I did not visit any black-market organ donation joints in creepy alleys.

Today, I went to the  Sci-Port, in Shreveport, LA, courtesy of my friend, Cyto. Now, I had been before today and witnessed all the cool stuff they have there, one of the attractions being an excellent model of the Solar System. Nothing makes you awe at the works of the Creator like seeing your tennis-ball sized Earth next to the thirty-four foot wide Sun. I powered light bulbs and hair dryers with an exercise bike, stood in an old steamboat, and discovered that I have the extremely rare trait of bent little fingers.

But by far, besides petting the milk snake that was out, witnessing the adorable juvenile alligators, and experimenting with pulleys, the coolest thing was the brain.

Of course, the credit of my experience goes to the guy who brought it out of its bucket and let me touch it. That has to be one of the coolest things I have ever done.

The other really, really neat thing that I have done happened yesterday. Whenever I come up to Shreveport, my siblings and I always make sure to visit Cyto’s neighbour, a certain Mrs. Ann Horn. She has told us all kinds of things in past, and showed us several as well. Once she told us how when she was going to college in Princeton, New Jersey in the 1930s, the newest H. G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, was being played over the radio, and how everyone mistook the gripping descriptions of alien motherships for the apocalypse being forecasted and fled the town. We all found that quite amusing. But yesterday left me awe-stricken.

She had this book on her dining room table when we came in, explaining that we may want to look at it. So I picked it up and opened the barely-attached cover. The following greeted me as I breathed in the dusty, musty scent.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1754.

I just stared at her. And she smiled back, replying that it was indeed an original printing.

That had to be the oldest thing I had ever held, save a rock. And I couldn’t believe that she had it. Apparently her brother had given it to her.

As I sit here writing, I realize that this sounds a bit far fetched, but I assure you, everything I wrote about is 100% true. On my honour.

What is the weirdest or most interesting thing you’ve ever touched? I would love to know.

Signing off for now,

Tess

Writing poll from Tess

Well, after a week in Louisiana, I realized that I hadn’t posted on Steeplechase in quite a bit. So I decided upon a quick update on the state of lierary things in my Microcosm.

Now, I want some participation, but I know that it isn’t easy to get answers from your average Reader viewer. Understanding that, I have put together a system that should make it easy for you.

In the post below, I will be assigning numbers to responses. When you wish to respond, all you have to do is to type the number of your response in the comments – no composition required. It sounds confusing but it will become clear as you read. Hopefully.

Ready to begin?

I am currently in a dilemma, trying to decide which of my numerous projects to work on. I’m certainly full of ideas, but not will power to do them all at once. Which do you think I ought to work on?

For NaNoWriMo 2016 I wrote a very thrown-together tale about a girl who was trying to cope with her older brother’s absence. At the same time, her brother’s horse Falconer was dealing with the loss of his best friend. An unlikely love springs up between the two, which translates into a full-time friendship. Although it is a very good idea, it needs a tonne of work to be something really moving. If vote to revise my NaNoWriMo project, “A Charger In Command”, comment the number 1.

Camp NaNoWriMo this April also  held some surprises, as I set out to write about something that I knew absolutely nothing about (Feudal Japan) and after a lot of Wikiresearch came back with a lot of new inspiration and the skeleton of a really good  story. Skeleton meaning that so much meat and sinww needs to be put onto it that it would wind up a completely different story. But still. If you think I should revise my Camp NaNoWriMo project, “The Taiso Senshu”, comment the number 2.

Possibiliy number three is one that has occupied my creative juices since last November. It’s a dog story, but not really the sort I have ever seen told. The only hiccup that I have run into is that I can’t decide how it ought to end. This doesn’t mean I can’t start it, though. If you think I should finally begin the canine story I have been thinking about for what seems like decades, which is entitled “The Vagabond”, by the way, then type the number 3.

And now we come to the last option. I was asked once to make up an AG GOTY story. Of course, knowing me, you should be able to guess what talent I have given my heroine…not all equestriannes are Western riders, AG. It actually sounds like it could be one of her stories. If you are more inclined in my writing my GOTY story that’s been milling about my head for a while, type 4.

One last thing!

If you like this new and improved easy responses thingy, then give me a winking face with your number! Thanks for your cooperation, and remember, my writing until November depends upon your whim! I will post the result of our poll on Wednesday.

{Tess}

Summer Goals

Ahhh….summer. Which, here where I live, translates to Saharan temperatures and hurricanal winds. Nevertheless, I have goals for summer, just like every other blogger in the world, and I’m sharing them so that you can keep me accountable. Ready?

1. Consistently wake up at 6:00 am.

I love sunrises. Especially West Texan sunrises. Maybe that’ll get me out of bed.

 

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2. Write 30,000 words of The Vagabond.

Yes, this is the dog story. Yes, I have made changes on it. Yes, I’ve added wolves. No, I haven’t started yet.

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3. Learn a little bit of piano.

I’ve got some piano-teacher software laying about to be used with a USB keyboard (great for people with space issues!). So hopefully I’ll be able to use it this summer. Disclaimer: I am not especially musically inclined, but still, it’s good to know the basics.

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4. Ride my bike twice weekly.

Biking is one of the best ways to get exercise, and I love how you can get about quickly on it. So let’s get Traveller out and ride him more often. (Who doesn’t name their bicycle?) Haha, I lucked upon a picture of my exact bike!

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5. Blog more often.

“More often” is somewhat indefinite, but still, it’s a start. I need to blog more often this summer.

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6. Animate.

I want to do more animations like the ones I did in this post. Who knows? If I get good enough, I could make an entire movie….. (I didn’t draw this photo!)

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Aaaand that really is it. Because I’m lazy and want to have a good summer just the way it is.

What kinds of things are you doing this summer?

{Tess}