Friday 30 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Elena Dudina

I've said it before and I'm gonna say it again. I love Elena Dudina! Her work is breathtakingly stunning and beautiful.

And her website is well worth a visit. You won't be disappointed.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend!

Friday 23 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Don Barnett

Sticking with the whole Prehistoric/Dinosaur theme this week, I thought I'd go for a pic of our ol' faithful friend, T-Rex.

This one was created by artist Don Barnett.

The Tyrannosaur is famous for its ferocity, and there were plenty of other pics that depicted this, but this one has him more serene and just happily going about his merry way. I loved the more ferosious ones, don't get me wrong, but none of them had the colourings and contrast of this piece, or the mood or the atmosphere. That's what I love about this piece, and that's why I chose it.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend...

Monday 19 September 2011

Mummy, Where Do Dragon's Come From?

Look at this skull; what do you see? I see a Dragon. I see horns on both its beaked nose and above its eyes - and I'm not the only person to see this. This skull could be the connection between myth and reality. This is, in fact the skull of a Dinosaur - a Dracorex Hogwartsia (named - for reasons I'm not going to look up - after the Harry Potter series. Oh yeah, fact!).

The thing is, this beast could have been around with our early ancestors, thus creating a time when people did, in fact, roam with dragons. Back then, as the stories past verbally down from generation to generation, they grew with intensity; fact became exaggerated, then become a legend, followed by a myth - a time when dragons roamed the earth.

And lets face it, if an ancient Egyptian stumbled across this skull, they wouldn't exactly say, "Oh, that's a dinosaur fossil." No, it would fuel their mythological beliefs.

Take, as another example, the ancient Greeks, a civilisation famous for its unique religious views and legends. One famous mythological creature was the cyclops, a huge one-eyed beast. Where did this come from? Well, the remains of giant mammoths apparently scatter across Greek and neighbouring lands. One theory is that the Greeks stumbled across many of these skulls and, not knowing what they were, saw them for what they looked like, mistaking the huge nasal cavity for a single eye socket, and thus creating the legend of the cyclops.

Also, Greek legends are filled with creatures and gods that could turn people to stone, such as Medusa. As everyone knows, after several million years of lying in rock, dinosaur bones become fossils, ie stone. What if the ancients Greeks saw this and their only plausible theory was that they were turned - just like the kraken?

There are many people out there who are trying to connect Dinosaur fossils with myth, and another one that has them hungry is the Triceratops. Could a member of its family, with their beak nose, have given birth to the legend of the Griffin? And could some ancient discovered fossil have fueled the Chinese dragon myth?

It's a plausible concept. Stories and pictures become like Chinese whispers through time, and the creatures of myth that we are seeing today could have once been born from the discovery of dinosaur remains.

This subject really interested me this week, and as a writer I thought it was a great tool to consider when world building. If your world, like the ancient Greeks, is full of colourful, fantastic myths and legends then it may also help to understand where these stories originated from, giving your world a sense of depth and time. Just where do your dragons come from???

Friday 16 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Jena Della Grottaglia-Maldonado . . .

That's one hellova name - but then she's one hellovan artist.

My friend is getting married this weekend - ahhhh bless - and so I thought I'd go with the whole wedding theme. Not to put a downer on the event, I suddenly thought of the film 'Corpse Bride' and so googled it to see what it would come up with. Apart from the usual pictures of the film and the animated characters, I come across this little gem.

Jena Della Grottaglia - or the Autumn Goddess as she is also known as - has a gallery on both DeviantArt and her own website (worth a visit just to see it. It's stunning!). From her about me page I read that when she was younger the teacher set them an essay assignment of 1000 words, so she drew a picture and handed that in instead, claiming that a 'picture speaks 1000 words'. Classic!

So anyway, Jena Della Grottaglia-Maldonado's 'Corpse Bride'.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend...

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Odds and Sods...

What a weekend. Lots of things happened - well, I wouldn't say lots, but there was more than usual.

1: I finished the second part to Son of Jack, which you would have read about in Friday's post. It's now been emailed around to my critique group for them to savagely rip to pieces nicely :) I'm now planning part three and will begin new adventures in writing very soon.

2: I had a fight with my cat. It gets chilly in here sometimes, and just recently I've had to resort to bringing my blanket out of its summer hibernation (god knows what I'm gonna be like come winter). So, as I sat, wrapped up all nice, warm and cosy like in my blanket whilst working away, I was well aware of a pair of beady eyes watching me and sizing me and waiting for that moment. As I got up to get a drink, the fight began. As you can see from the below piccy, she

3: Hatfield House celebrated 400 years of existence. For those that aren't up on English History, the house that stands today was built in 1611, however, there was another house there before that was built in 1497. It housed two of Henry VIII's children, Edward - who was crowned King after Henry at the age of 9, and who died at the mere age of 15 - and his sister, Elizabeth, daughter of the famous Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife who was beheaded for adultery and witchcraft. Elizabeth was to eventually to become Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1608 three wings were torn down by Robert Cecil, the First Earl of Salisbury, and was rebuilt to a new design, the design that still stands today and that celebrated its 400 year anniversary. And, boy, did it go out with a bang. Just under 15,000 fireworks were used on and around the actual house in the most spectacular firework display I've ever seen.

4: I finally got round to giving the picture of the X-men (Revisit that blog post to refresh your memory if you wish) that I had been working to my friend. I was really pleased with the way it come out and I hope they like it. But I couldn't give it away with taking a sneak piccy on my phone. The colours, albeit subtle, didn't come out in here. I may get another piccy at a later date.

5: And not forgetting the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. I held my respects on Sunday and my thoughts are with all the victims and survivors. I can't believe 10 years has gone since that horrible day. I can still remember exactly where I was and how sickened and horrified I felt when it happened. It's a day that has scarred us all.

Friday 9 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Schizophrenia

I finished the second part of 'Son of Jack' last night. I didn't think I would, but it was one of those evenings when I kept thinking "Just a little bit more - I'll just finish this bit," and before I knew it - well, at 1am - I finished. 30k. I was more than happy with that.

Normally when writing a novel, I plan my characters out so that I know more about them, thus being able to portray them better and keeping up with continuity. For 'Son of Jack' I haven't had the time to do that. Because I'm on a tight schedule to get the book finished, I've just jumped in the deep end. I hadn't done any prep work for my character Dan Pattman, but knew that he had to have a disorder and had to have a voice in his head.

Now, I'm ashamed to say that I don't know lots about Schizophrenia, and even as I started writing, the disorder never even entered my head. It wasn't until about a week ago whilst looking something up that I come across a website that highlighted the symptoms. It was then that I realised Dan was an undiagnosed schizophrenic. It was a huge surprise to me, and as I looked back at certain points in the story, things started to make sense.

Having put myself in the mind of such a person, I am now more the wiser of what they go through - okay, it may not be much, but I have a better understanding. So today I thought I'd dedicate this week's Pic of the Week to schizophrenia in hopes of creating more awareness.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Writing Exercise . . .

This piece was written a while back as an exercise for our writers' group. I can't quite remember what the in's and out's of it were but I know it had to include the sentence:

' . . . As I watched the mountains began to fade away . . . '

This is what I churned out.


Time travel. So many people had been warned of the consequences of messing with time, but of course the advise was never listened to and the price was always paid.

I had always considered myself as someone with their head firmly attached to their shoulders. I was smart and sensible. Time travel was something I would never mess with - but that was until I met the hand of temptation.

I stared at the photo - the one thing left I held close to my heart. To my relief it still looked the same. The family - my family - who stood in front of the log cabin looked happy and excited, and I remembered back to when the photo was taken.

We had inherited the log cabin two years ago, although to say two years ago now would be an error as the booking wouldn't take place for another hundred years - at least. The location had been my parents favorite, with the picturesque scenery and the mountainous backdrop, and it had been a holiday to remember.

It had been our last holiday to together.

"As long as the picture remains the same, you will be okay," had been the last advice given to me before I left. Now every second I got I was staring at the picture.

My actions in the deep past had not yet affected my present, and my heart slowed with relief in my chest. Whole families had been wiped off the planet because of simple careless actions and irresponsible decisions. I didn't want to be one of those, the cause of something like that happening.

Copyright Lea Roberta Michelle Weikert

 But it had happened, and it had happened fast - too fast for me to realise. Suddenly my spontaneous actions in response to what was happening was wrong. They were the kind of actions that would bring consequences to my family. I continued to run every event over and over in my head for some speck of hope that I might be saved, but I couldn't see anything. The only reassurance I had that my actions hadn't been disastrous was my photo - but as I looked it began to change before my eyes.

And as I watched, the mountains in the background began to fade away.

I wanted to cry but I felt numb. There was nothing I could do. Within minutes my family would be erased from existence . . . and I would fade with them.

Friday 2 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Tang Yuehui

This week I've decided to return to the art of Tang Yuehui. I'm a big fan, despite it being digital art - which is a talent in itself I suppose. I have artistic talents, but I've never tried to create something digital. I'm not sure I have what it takes to create something as spectacular as this. So I give credit where it's due.

Tang Yuehui, everybody. The gallery on his website is worth checking out. He has some fantastic pieces and it was difficult to choose one for today. So why did I choose this one? Well, as a fantasy writer it's inspiring. Imagine he's one of your characters. What a scene this image would create. What are his circumstances? Is he being trapped or is he being born, so to speak? Maybe he was cursed and now he's just being released? Ah, it brings the imagination to life . . . I can even feel a piece of flash fiction being written around the corner. Hmmm . . .

But in the mean time, enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!