Custom Kidrobot Fallout 4 Figure

I’ve decided to try some new art projects and go outside my comfort zone. I’ve been experimenting with polymer clay to make some really cool creations. Art provides great meditation for me, and I like to work on a project each day before my writing sessions. Sketching or playing with clay is relaxing, allowing me to clear my mind for a brainstorming or writing session.

I’m working on a YouTube series documenting my adventures with Super Sculpey polymer clay. I’m also attempting to sculpt some cool custom figures. I only have one video uploaded so far, but I have another in the editing stages. I need to record some new audio, and I’ll get it uploaded later this week. You can watch my video on polymer clay custom PlayStation button coasters HERE.

Here are progress pictures of my custom Fallout 4 power armor sculpt. This is using the Super Sculpey clay over a Kidrobot Munny vinyl figure, which is basically a blank vinyl toy for customization. I tried to simplify the Brotherhood of Steel power armor to make a cute custom vinyl because I’m a huge fan of Bethesda’s Fallout video game series.

I began with the helmet, spending about six hours sculpting. The little details take forever, but I was really pleased with my finished sculpt. I sculpted the body piece and arms to match. Total estimated hours spent sculpting is around 18+.

After smoothing out any fingerprints and refining, I baked the sculpture in the oven. I let the pieces cool and then sanded, primed, sanded some more. I used acrylic paints and a Polycrylic gloss finish.

I broke the helmet before I could apply varnish. I’m waiting for the opportunity to patch the helmet and reattached the hoses, so my sculpture isn’t put together yet. Regardless, I’m really happy with my first polymer clay project.

I’m determined to repair this figure, but my next project will be a custom TMNT Raphael Funko pop figure.

The Hiatus Is Over

Apologies for the lack of content. The site has been quiet over these past eight months as I dealt with a horrific loss. I’m finally back to the grind.

I’m going to do my best to bring more consistent content and updates with both art and writing. I’ve spent the last few months reviewing some of old projects and letting myself be motivated by my progression. My art has improved so much since the day I decide to buy some art supplies and paint a James Marsters/Spike portrait. And my writing has most definitely improved since the very first draft of The Alliance: Bloodlines.

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I’ll post more about my art in an upcoming post, but for now I wanted to give an update on my writing projects.

First, thank you to all the fans of my Alliance series. The third Alliance book is currently stuck in limbo while I make plans for editing. The book needs another pass of revisions and then editing. I just want to make sure I have a solid game plan before launching the Indiegogo campaign. If you want to continue to support the series, reviews are still one of the best way to show your love for the Alliance. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon will help fight the good fight.

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The self-publishing route has been a great learning experience for my Alliance series, but I’ve decided to focus on a traditional approach for Sacrifice. I’m entering Twitter pitch contests and querying agents to hopefully find representation for the LGBT fantasy novel. The manuscript has evolved from a NA fantasy novel to a YA fantasy with really strong revisions, and I couldn’t be more proud of the growth of this story.

Seriously, the Twitter pitch contests have helped so much. So. Much. I’ve learned a ton about writing and publishing since I first discovered Brenda Drake on Twitter. Her contests will help you find more motivation, improve your craft, and welcome you into an amazing and supportive writing community. Here’s a piece on my first Pitch Wars experience and why you should enter. Also, follow her on Twitter and check out her books. She’s amazing!

With Alliance #3 on the backburner and Sacrifice looking for a home, I’m currently working on a really fun MG superhero novel. I don’t really want to give too much info yet, but my MC lives in a world where comic books are nonfiction, and she’s superhero obsessed.

Again, thanks for all the support I’ve received through social media these last 8 months. More content is coming real soon. ❤

RIP My Dearest Friend

RIP my dearest friend. There’s a special bond created with a pet, and a dog truly is a human’s best friend. Draco wasn’t just a dog. Or a pet. He was my oldest and dearest friend. My most loyal homie. He was cuddled beside me for every novel i’ve ever written.  For every good moment and bad.

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Getting Draco in 2004 was the best decision I’d ever made, but twelve years just doesn’t seem long enough. One of my friends explained it best the other day. This is one of life’s cruelest ways…to create and give the most loyal and perfect companion with too short a life to live.

If I’ve learned anything over these last 12 years, it’s that people can be cruel, selfish and just plain gross. A human bond whether by blood or by friendship is one that can be broken. A human can walk away at any time, but you know your furry companion will never abuse you, judge you, or leave you. An unconditional bond of love. And with that bond you always have the perfect companion, so even while the rest of the world is busy and moving, you are never alone.

Artists and writers can often find themselves in solitude. While the world sleeps, we create. Being an artist and writer often proves to be lonely, but an animal companion counters that feeling.

I’ve had other pets and met many other dogs throughout my life, but Draco was special in many ways.

When I was told his birthday was August 22nd, I knew he was meant to be my special little guy. My birthday is the 23rd, and we celebrated both days together every year.

His name was supposed Gryffindor, but he was a tiny lil black puffball with a solid white goatee. The tips of his paws were also white and a stripe down his belly. The white patches made me think of the Malfoys with their dark robes and white hair, so I switched his name. Draco is also latin for dragon, and he has his own constellation. So, a powerful name to counter the fact that Draco Malfoy was actually a cowardly jerk in HP.

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I called him my Little Pumpkin because I got him shortly before Halloween of ’04 and stuffed him in a pumpkin costume like three sizes too big. Adorable. I hope I can find the pictures. 😦

Draco didn’t lick anyone. Ever. Maybe he would if you had Dorito cheese or peanut butter on your finger, but the act was rare. He never licked anyone just to lick. Instead he would get close and give “sniff” kisses.

He never jumped. He’d paw at my shoe and let out one lil growl or “ruff” if he wanted to cuddle and watch tv. I’d scoop him up at bedtime, and since 2004 I never had to sleep alone. His little legs just never really made it far off the ground.

I probably had one of the only dogs who didn’t lick or like bowls. He was scared of bowls and would only drink out of certain ones. His food was served on a placemat of his preference. His last food mat was Star Wars because Draco was a geek like me.

Draco loved music. If I turned on music to clean or brainstorm, he would dance around and smack his paws on the floor until I grabbed a toy to play. He was a rocker dog and perked up most for Papa Roach and Disturbed. He also had a soft spot for Glee soundtrack mashups and I won’t let you judge him for that.

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Plushies were his favorite toy, and he loved to play fetch and a mild game of tug.

Even as a pup, Draco was well behaved and chill. He always knew which toys were his and which were not. You could leave anything in the floor and he wouldn’t touch it. Shoes, phones, or whatever. I’ve sat drinks next to me while sitting on the floor and walked away, but Draco never touched them. Most dogs I know would run over and start drinking.

I’ve never met such a well behaved dog, and I’m not saying that because I’m biased. I’ve loved other pets before, but none were as chill and well behaved. The only bad thing he ever did was pee on my bed once as a puppy, and who can really be mad at that?

He truly was the best in every way. He was the most loving lil guy with a big heart—apparently too big for his tiny body.

RIP lil man ❤ If there is an otherside, I hope to see you there. Twelve years could never be enough. If I discover a TARDIS, I’ll go back and we’ll become Time Lord and Companion.

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Real Talk, Growing As A Writer

Okay, real talk here.

After reading over my first draft of the Alliance #3, I went back to book one to fact check a few things for consistency. I cringed when I read parts of Bloodlines. I won’t say it’s terrible, but it’s my first book and will never be my best. I’m still proud. And, hey, the reviews are strong so people are still enjoying the story despite the imperfections!

When I decided to get serious about writing the Alliance, I was straight out of high school with little understanding of sentence structure. Sad and surprising, I know. I had an imagination and could be descriptive, but I never really learned or retained all the rules of writing. I pretty much struggled throughout high school. I scraped by with low grades, and honestly, I copied off a friend’s paper when I got too behind. I cheated myself out of learning because I felt I couldn’t catch up. I absolutely didn’t learn well in classroom environments.

I slowly improved my writing with the help of some grammar savvy friends. Plus, I read a lot and just paid closer attention to the way other authors wrote. I did my research and got critiques were I could. I kept learning. I’m still learning. I think that’s an important thing to remember regardless of what you’re trying to achieve in life. Never stop learning.

Almost every author I’ve ever loved and followed has said that the first book you write will be crap, so I already knew I couldn’t expect Bloodlines to be perfect. Regardless, I was still shocked at weak description and poor structure.

I’ve learned so much since writing my first novel. My structure has improved and my descriptions are stronger. Drakon is much improved, and I think book three will surpass them all. Hell, the first draft of book three is stronger than the final draft of Bloodlines.

It’s amazing what you can achieve if you don’t give up.

If you read Bloodlines I hope you enjoyed and will give Drakon a chance. The Alliance sequels may surprise you. Click here to see what readers are saying about The Alliance: Bloodlines on Amazon.

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The Music that Fueled the Alliance Part 2

Last week’s blog post listed the songs which helped me write The Alliance: Bloodlines. This week, I go into more depth with my playlist selection for Drakon. You’ll find lots of similarities here—it’s completely obvious rock music fuels my soul—and you’ll even notice some repeats from the previous list.

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For Drakon, I kept some of the fast and heavy songs which I like to play while visualizing a fight scene or action sequence. “Down with the Sickness” and “Bodies” are two of my top contenders for fight scenes.

“End of the World” is a song I always imagined being a perfect theme song if the Alliance had a TV adaptation. I think the song packs an emotionally fitting punch for the series as a whole.

“Hero” is a song that I find really suiting for Bailey and Jameson. I imagine their inner voices singing this.

“Get Out Alive” and “Animal I Have Become” are for Jameson’s story. “40 Miles from the Sun” is also one for Jameson’s flashbacks—specifically the demon dimension of Drakon.

I can’t help but to think of classics when I write scenes for Star. Jess is a fan of metal and classic rock so I feel he would approve of most of the full playlist below.

If you’ve read the series, i’d would love to know which songs you’d pick for a theme song or specific characters.

 

The Drakon playlist:

 

“End of the World” by Cold

“Hurt” Johnny Cash’s NIN cover

“Break on Through (to the Other Side)” by The Doors

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses

“Come as You Are” by Nirvana

“45” by Shinedown

“Never Too Late” by Three Days Grace

“Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace

“Get Out Alive” by Three Days Grace

“40 Miles from the Sun” by Bush

“You Should’ve Killed Me When You Had a Chance” by A Day To Remember

“Hero” by Skillet

“Monster” by Skillet

“Awake and Alive” by Skillet

“Take Me” by Papa Roach

“Scars” by Papa Roach

“Change or Die” by Papa Roach

“So Far Away” by Staind

“Fade” by Staind

“Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed

“Stricken” by Disturbed

“Land of Confusion” by Disturbed

“Indestructible” by Disturbed

“Bodies” by Drowning Pool

“37 Stitches” by Drowning Pool

“Nightmare” by Avenged Sevenfold

“Numb” by Linkin Park

“What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park

“So Cold” by Breaking Benjamin

“I Will Not Bow” by Breaking Benjamin

“6th Avenue Heartache” By The Wallflowers