Saturday, June 30, 2007

Catching up. . .

I've been so busy, I've never finished the "final" page for my horse and carriage sculpture (well, not yet, anyway). Here's what I was working on for so long!

This picture shows the piece as "assembled" as I can get it for now. The shafts for the carriage are aluminum rods that have been sanded (on a belt sander) to make them square rather than round, and have been bent into the proper shapes for the shafts. The rest of the harness (the tugs, shaft loops, etc. - the stuff that connects the horse to the carriage) are simply a stack of wax strips right now, or wax with bits of clay on them to form buckles, etc. The driving lines (which are white rope in reality) will be made at the foundry.

Before you ask, yes, the man and carriage are proportional to the horse. The driver isn't a huge man, but the horse is big and kind of dwarfs him. The horse is 16.3 hands - there are 4" to a hand - at the withers (the part of the horse where the mane ends, just in front of that second strap across this horse's back). The carriage in real life has 54" high wheels, which are 6" high here - 1/9 lifesized, as is the rest of the sculpture. The wheels were made by my basemaker, Diane Soper of Sistermaide Woodworks (, who makes reproduction spinning wheels as well as sculpture bases.

The bit is made from copper wire (the flat part is flattened copper wire) which took my hubby three nights of trying (and melting at least three bits!) before he got them soldered properly. I'd already given up on soldering them, since it took a propane torch rather than an electric soldering iron, and I'm not very good with torch soldering.

The horse is 10" high at the top of his neck and the whole piece about 21" long total. The detail on the man's face is so tiny, I was using micro tools, a toothpick and a straight pin to try to sculpt the details!

You can see this sculpture, called "Elegance," as a work-in-progress on these pages: (scroll down to see the horse) and to see how I made the carriage (and there were no instructions - I had to figure it out for myself, argh).

I've just finished teaching a week-long sculpture/mold-making/resin casting workshop at the K-12 Gallery in Dayton, Ohio. It was fun but also a LOT of hard work!! The kids were great, and so were my helpers, but I was exhausted every evening when I got home, so, unlike my usual practice, I didn't get anything done other than cleaning stalls and feeding the animals. It's nice to get back to my usual routine!

On the writing front, I'm currently writing content for my book website, which may or may not be "live" when you check it. My web designer and I keep messing with it, trying to get it "right" before officially launching it. I'm currently working on a couple of "Writer's Tips" articles.

I'm also doing the final polish on Star Sons 1: Dawn of the Two before sending it to my book designer. I got the manuscript back from the copy editor about a week ago, but I've been teaching since then and haven't had the time or energy to do the revisions (all very minor - just formatting and typo-type things, mostly) until today. I hope to get it off to the book designer very soon!

And that's the news from here for today! Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Jim Baen's Universe magazine

Someone (Hi, Sam!) suggested I try Jim Baen's Universe magazine. I recently read the October 2006 issue, and enjoyed it greatly! There are stories there in mind-boggling variety. My particular favorites were Mike Resnick's "All the Things You Are," an intriguing "love" story, and S. Andrew Swann's "A Time to Kill" about a time-traveling sniper who does his job magnificently well, but with horribly unforeseen consequences. The stories range in locale from the deepest reaches of space to the American frontier, in time from the distant past to the unforeseeable future. Fascinating stuff!

As an artist myself, I was particularly impressed with the beautiful illustrations for each story. They not only enhanced the story, but gave me even more to think about as I studied the artist's interpretation of the story.

This issue includes stories by well-known authors as well as first-time authors, a "classic" ("A Matter of Fact" by Rudyard Kipling) and two serial installments, non-fiction articles and columns.

You can read Jim Baen's Universe, which was the last project Baen started before his death last year, at Check it out! If you enjoy SF/Fantasy, I believe you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Doing the squealy circle dance of joy here!!!!!!!!

Every book or resource I've read on self-publishing, self-promotion, etc., says you should get "quotes" from VIP types to put on your book cover or inside the front pages of the book, to use in promotion, etc. I don't know that many "famous" people. The movie actor I know is recovering from two hip replacements and probably is in no mood to read fiction. But a girl I went to college with - the only college friend I'm still in touch with - is the daughter of the man who was a very "high up" politician in the late 60s/early 70s. So I asked my friend if her dad liked to read (yes) - did he like fantasy (no, he never reads anything but historical biographies and that kind of thing).

Long story short, he agreed to read my novel despite the fact that he's not interested in magic and has NEVER read a fantasy novel. I sent it to him last week, he got it two days ago and he called me this morning! He said I disrupted his busy schedule because he COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! He said it was a great read, a "gripping" story, and a real page-turner! He couldn't wait to see what happened next!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! From someone who doesn't read fantasy, that's HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!

Doing the squealy circle dance here! Joy Joy Joy!!!!

And since it's been so long since I've posted, I'll catch you up. I've converted the ISBN numbers I had left over after publishing my sculpting book ("Sculpting 101: A Primer for the Self-taught Artst") to the new 13 digit ISBN. I've got everything in place for my publishing business now, AND I have a group of authors (from one of my writing boards) who are working on an anthology that I'll edit and publish (IF their work meets my standards, which I believe it will -this is an "invitation only" group and they're all good writers). So now I'm busy trying to get things organized to publish things for more than just ME - that means contracts, etc. I've joined the PMA (an international group of small publishers) which means I'll be able to have books in BookExpo and the London Book Fair f0r a reasonable fee. I've been approved by the Library of Congress for their cataloging system (just need a final page count, which I'll have after I get the book back from the copy editor and book designer, before I can finalize the stuff with the Library of Congress). I've got a lot of other things in place too, but my brain is so buzzed about this wonderful review, I can't think! :) And sorry, budding writers, but I'm not accepting submissions from other authors at this time. When I'm ready to accept more submissions, I'll post it on my publishing business website (, currently under construction).

In other GREAT news, I finished the horse and carriage sculpture today, YIPPEE!!!!!!! I'll post some pics here once I get the horse cleaned up and get the final pictures taken.

Sorry I haven't posted more often - but I've been a busy lady! :D