Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Last Kiss" Caption

I HAD to put up a caption on John Lustig's page. Go laugh! (Search "Donna Barr" when you get there).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ARGH! Missing pages


This refers to a problem in the BOOKSTORE.

The missing or mixed-up pages for AFTERDEAD 2. Download and print out and stick in book. And yell at me for some original art (a nice little bookplate you can put right in the book), for your trouble, IF you already have a copy of this:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Indy Comic Book Week





Here's the ICBW website. When I was originally beginning to work with this event, I mistook it for an actual independent comics event. From what I've been able to glean in email messages, it's been put together by industry distribution and art people who fear for their jobs in a failing bookstore world.

I love the comics shops and bookstores. I also wish to make it clear that I hope the very best for this event. But it may not be possible for traditional shops to survive in a world where the author no longer has to go through middlemen, and can speak and sell directly to readers (ie customers). Many of us find working with middlemen too difficult and time-consuming, and have turned to print-on-demand, with ad-powered webcomics. Our readers have left the shops and followed us online. This is great for us, but it leaves the middlemen completely out of the loop. We get paid, they don't. Distributors turn into second-hand stores because they can't get our books new. Or not yet; they may figure that out in the future.

The site wants to place a lot of strictures on book authors, limitations which were traditional in the old distribution and retail world, but which we now no longer use in doing business. None of the authors have signed any contracts with the event. And I, for one have to stay within my own business model. This may or may not work with a traditional event. But it's only the first year. It takes a while to establish these things.

I still want to cooperate with this event to try to bring my customers back to retail outlets, but I have to make my own offer to the retailers. This is how it works: I need to have all retailer orders to me by November 30, to make the Ka-Blam deadline. This one time, I can pay shipping -- or I can offer 50% off. Otherwise, it's 45% off. This is not normally how I do business, but I'm doing it for the event. Print-on-demand works as an automatic engine, and normally I would not be involved in any sales (with some backstock and special exceptions; see below).

Ka-Blam is working to take advantage of the event. They will be printing new, competitively-priced comics POD editions of all my books. A choice of the books so far is at Indyplanet, search "The Desert Peach." Those are the retail prices.

For a list of all my available books, click "The Little Store" in the column to the right.

Anything at http://www.lulu.com/desertpeach can be ordered directly on-line by any retailer, for the same wholesale price available to customers and distributors. You just can't get these deals unless you use the site to order directly. It's as low as the prices for Lulu POD go. I DO have some extra copies that can be included in a direct order, but you need to make your needs clear very early, in case I don't have any more, at least for now.

BUT -- The special AFTERDEAD 1 and 2 collection special must be ordered through The Little Store, but you will receive the same special price as any direct-order customer. These are near-wholesale prices, and you can order as many or as few as you need or like.

PLUS: I'm clearing out her (non-POD) backstock. All of it. Retailers can get amazing deals during the Indy Comics Weeks. Contact her through this blog site and just ask.

Packages: Put together your dream package and let's negotiate to make your store and me some sales and profits. And -- most importantly -- to make my customers very happy and bring them into your store. I tend to throw in bonuses and goodies.

It's not that bad a deal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Advice to Academia

Recently I had one of my culture clashes. It was between the professional artist and the fan/academic world.

I sorta promised to be part of a charity - which one does not matter. It's something I'm concerned about, but that I've been working on a long time. My inclusion or not in any project about it won't really matter. I want to admit that I used to do a lot of fan projects, including donating pages for advertising, charities, and even putting books together like this one myself. It's something we all do, as part of the learning process, and not something I regret.

But I've been at this a long time. I need to pick and choose what I support, and a partial promise to be part of a charitable project doesn't guarantee it will go to the head of the line; you get what you pay for, folks (unless it's an artist in trouble or needing health care; then I donate anything I can give). I'm also commissioned by paying customers and they come first.

I'm rather busy right now getting all the pages up for the Desert Peach website and the books processed for Indyplanet. Among other things.

I recently became part of the movement to teach artists and writers to always get paid, and stop acting like they're part of a usable free pot of pretty stuff, especially in America (besides, anybody who does so is a damn scab). Things sort of spiralled downhill from there. Someplace in activism, it often does. Heads get butted before I wander off grumbling and then attempt to analyze the problem.

So here are some simple rules for academics:

First of all, PRO UP:

1. Do not approach professional artists without offering payment for any projects. This includes charities or educational projects, which can be deducted for taxes; do the research and paperwork on becoming a non-profit.

2. As professors, you should be well aware of the methods of discovering and applying for academic funding. Do so, when looking for funds for shipping and advertising. Offer each comics artist at LEAST $150.00 per page -- for use alone. Add (don't replace payment) an option for royalties. If you find legitimate academic funding, you will lend professionalism and recognition to the project.

3. Do not presume to browbeat a professional artist as you do your students. Whatever you think or make up about art or writing will always be far behind what the creators are actually doing, and they will always be doing it for completely different reasons than you can actually imagine.

Remember: FINANCE, FUND and don't FUSS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stop Treating Us Like Free Monkeys


Artists, illustrators, graphic designers, web designers: what to tell people who keep thinking what you do isn't worth a penny:

http://www.webcomicsinc.com/forum/topics/rules-for-engaging-an-artist

You have my permission to copy and use the "Don't work for free" logo in this post any damn way you want or please.

(Yeah, it's quick and dirty; you get what you pay for.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Out-Of-Print to Print-On-Demand Press Release

For immediate release:

August 30, 2009

Contact information:
Donna Barr, A Fine Line Press
donnabarr01@gmail.com 360 963 2935

Xeric-grant funded “Seven Peaches” sells out.

“Seven Peaches,” a collection of the first seven Desert Peach episodes that was funded by the Xeric Grant, has sold out.

The Xeric Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation established by Peter A. Laird, co-creator of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Planet Racers. The Foundation offers financial assistance to committed, self-publishing comic book creators and qualified charitable and nonprofit organizations.

Donna Barr's work has repeatedly sold out print runs, including collections. To guarantee that her books stay in print without interruption -- and to keep from being forced to re-process them for a print one -- Donna is offering her work through her own company, A Fine Line Press, using new, more permanent technologies.

As a forward-thinking company, exploring new technologies, A Fine Line Press is committed to offering webcomic and print-on-demand versions of all past series by Donna Barr, including The Desert Peach and Stinz, as well as the on-going Afterdead (availale at Amazon and as a webcomic) and other, smaller series.

The first steps include the full Desert Peach collection, available now as a two-volume set at Lulu.com

“The Desert Peach” is also running as a page-a-day webcomic.

The first issues of the print-on-demand reprint of The Desert Peach is being prepared for use with the print-on-demand company Ka-Blam.com, and its distribution arm Indyplanet.

The ISSN numbers for this new reprint are:

ISSN 1948-9269 (print)
ISSN 1948-9277 (online)

“(Donna's) astonishing productivity puts most of her fellow comics creators to shame, particularly since she has never benefited by having the big-time comics publishers blowing wind into her sails. Donna has charted her own course and controlled her own creative destiny, and in the process she has provided inspiration and generous mentorship to others of us who would similarly like to avoid being shackled by presumed commercial ground rules.”

Howard Cruse, Stuck Rubber Baby, Wendal All Together.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Did you lose this dog?


This lovely dog was lost west of Joyce, Washington, on Highway 112, on the Olympic Peninsula.

Please call Patrice at 360 640 4907 or contact her at: clallambaysekiu@hotmail.com if this is your dog.

You must give a detailed description.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Who's in charge here? Me or the house?

For anybody wondering why I am not plugging ahead on art and stuff as fast as usual, I am a home-owner, and it is summer.

Before it rains, much maintenance must be done. Including getting six years’ worth of dandelions out of the yard and replacing it with the white dutch clover that will crowd out the grass, which cannot survive without extra water. The clover will hold available water, including dew, in the soil. It is also very low-growing, and never produces hard stems that our reel mower can’t handle. It stays soft and low, and offers masses of nectar to bees and other insects.

Yesterday, Nearest ripped out the back porch stairs and I whipped in a new set — and was wiped for the rest of the day. I can do anything I did as a kid, but it takes longer and longer to recover. Even got the walking surfaces on the steps and stairs stained and weatherproofed, so we can hit the rest when we can and not be held up using the steps. Today I traded off pulling weeds if Nearest would get the rest of the porch painted, or enough to make it look Intentional.

I have many art- and publishing-related things to do once the rains close in, but for now we’re racing the sun like vampire-hunters.

Next year’s whole plan is to fix one corner of the house’s siding, clean off all this moss, get rid of these stupid shutters the previous owner put on, and paint the whole outside.

Maybe, if I can, I can pull up all the yard tiles, lay down the plastic the neighbors ripped out of their dead swimming pool, and then re-lay the tiles. The previous owner went to the trouble to make and lay these tiles; why lose them?

Earlier this spring, ripped up and re-built the shed floor, built a scrap greenhouse. And got in all the winter’s wood.

I’m almost summered out, I tell you what.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Henna























TwitterFriend requested I post the Henna job. Done with a Lush color. I'm not grumpy; I was trying to focus the camera. That's my face when I'm not using it for something else. Huh; I've been told to cheer up by complete strangers. The phiz do look kinda cold when it's not being employed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I'm Not At The San Diego Comicon

1. Airline pressurization. I know why the babies scream during flight; if it hurts an adult like that, imagine what it's like for them while their little ear membranes are shredded.

2. Airline security. From what I've heard, I'd be closer to getting arrested. Or wearing a raincoat to the security line and when they ask me to take it off -- well, wearing nothing but one's social security number marker'd onto one's arm would probably be more bad taste than they could deal with. It would be fun on YouTube, though.

3. Pinched nerve; carrying stuff can lock this one down, and lose me up to 45% of function. I can't even drive like this; it's literally like being drunk. Not to mention blind with pain.

4. Stress attacks; I don't need to be in a hospital away from home going in insane circles by my emergency room bed, so I don't rip out my IV.

5. Virtual model becoming more and more successful, for example, the Desert Peach webcomic.

6. By building the virtual model, more people can take advantage of it; ultimately, this will again make available authors and artists who are distant, aging or ill.

7. Inside information says that the new virtual market is getting very close to working, and the more time I spend on it the more I will be ready when it hits.

8. I don't need anybody's autograph. We are all monkeys on this planet, with the same belly-buttons and toenails.

9. The closest connection I need to a movie star is through his or her work; the library will get just about any DVD I want, or I can get me some nice collections.

10. If the virtual panel ever gets off the ground, I can stay up all night at Comicon in my pajamas with my cats.

The Desert Peach Blog

If I haven't posted here in a while, I'm posting on the Desert Peach webcomic site.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fledgling Funnies

The barn swallows and house finches pumped out masses of kids this year. The fledglings are gathering between floppy baby flight (looking rather like autumn termites) on the neighbor's garage roof. People almost have to duck as the gangs of amateur flyers flip by.

Yesterday, when the adult swallows were desperately shoving food into crowds of peeping babies, the young finches piled into the mix, and started to beg and cheep.

They got fed. We don't know if the young swallows pulled the feed-me trick on the adult finches.

Very young bald eagle coming up the river couple of weeks ago ran into his first fast tailwind; could almost hear him/her yelling "WHOA!!!!" as the wind pushed him wildly right back into a gang of crows who did NOT want the predator gang in their neighborhood.

Two days ago, a young bald sat on a snag while a bunch of baby crows yelled at the big kid, not daring to get as close as their parents would have.

An adult eagle was sitting on a tree by the river, snapping at a crow as it swooped past his head. They looked more like they were amusing themselves than fighting. It was noplace near a nesting area.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Read THE DESERT PEACH #1 on our new handy dandy WEB READER; NO PAGE LOAD TIMES! http://ping.fm/yIlNE

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What love means to me (vote if you're DA) http://ping.fm/jTYzL

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Very Own White Supremacist?

In 2006, somebody painted this swastika on the former Bank of America building in Clallam Bay.

Neither of the small papers I write and photograph for wanted the story. Since newspapers are being pressured by the internet into becoming little more than flyers for the local tourism or sports industry, this made sense; swastikas won't sell any fishing licenses or stadium seats (it might sell an avant-garde art-walk, but that's a few years in the future).

Some people said whoever did it must be mad at the Makah for whatever reason people get mad at the Injuns around here (it doesn't take much and usually has to do with some form of fishing squabble). But since it was on the bank building, it might have been a vague protest against actions on the part of the bank itself.

To you and me, the swastika is only an ancient worldwide spiritual symbol that a bunch of right-wing ignoramuses swiped for their own uses. A lot of less-well-read people think the symbol is something bad having to do with old war movies and possibly Communism. It's a real attention-getter, and not for announcing anything nice like the arrival of the Mexican ice-cream sedan. So whoever had painted the sun-cross was mad about something.

At the time, the whole town was pretty steamed over being abandoned by the only bank within thirty miles (I said the bank was pulling out of smaller towns to invest in the heating housing market, and pulled all our funds out of our stocks). Some of the oldsters cranked out that "We ain't had a bank before and we can get along without one now!" in the same tones that sounded like they might have been able to get along without the sheriff's deputy or the fire department. Or, in the case of the church community, the theory that the earth revolved around the sun.

Earlier in 2009, I received a call to get up to the memorial rock, fast. The rock is in the parking lot at the entrace to Sekiu. Everybody from basketball-crazed teens to relatives with birthday or health wishes to the local Christians spray-paint messages on the rock, which over time has become as smooth as melting ice with layers of pigment. The chamber of commerce and the highway authorities allow this as a channel for graffiti that might otherwise end up on the walls of the abandoned cannery or somebody's boat-storage garage.

When I made it to the rock, Sasha Medlen, the Community Action Team leader, hired as part of the Clallam Bay/Sekiu chamber of commerce's USDA grant for improving the towns, was desperately trying to spray-paint over the latest swastika. This time it was accompanied by the words "White Power." I took a quick shot of the little that was left and later compared the two designs.



Whoever painted the first swastika probably painted the second swastika. They're not that easy to paint correctly - they demand exact lengths and corners not to come out unevenly - and whoever had done it, had done it freehand.

Some people suggested it was painted because the Forks basketball team lost to the Neah Bay basketball team. Team violence once tore the sink off the men's side of the Clallam Bay Park restroom. Somebody's mad about something. We'll see.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Neah Bay 4th of July.

Perfect 4th of July. Made it down the Shi Shi trail to the beach, on the Pacific Ocean. The trail wasn't as strenuous as we'd been led to believe. The part of the trail on the Makah nation was dry, well-maintained and delightful, right up to the carved metal marker in the trail that marked the boundary.

It was a bit muddy after leaving Makah lands, but other walkers had developed their own dry highland portages. These were narrow but interesting and added to the sense of adventure.

Once the trail makes it to the beach, there's only one way down: straight down for about 300 feet. Tree-roots and a couple of sharp switchbacks make it a bit easier. It's not far, though, and coming and going, just take your time and breathe and watch where you're putting your hands and feet.

Dan and I have a shifted perspective on hiking. The first hike we made in the Olympic National Park was the "takes-no-prisoners" Wagonwheel Lake trail. We did it in three hours, up and down, and our gray faces as we returned brought a park ranger on the run to see if we were all right. So maybe you should take all this claim of a trail being not so hard with a grain of salt.

The trip to the beach was well worth it. Clean, quiet, the kind of place you can leave your bags and shoes and take off to explore. Thieves hit cars at trailheads; they're unlikely to make it all the way down to the beach.


















Got some beautiful shots once the mist cleared off. This view was taken from a narrow ridge to the right of the trail-head (looking out toward the water). The sea-stacks are the remainders of headlands, including the ridge we'd climbed. Barefoot, by the way; we're getting too old for this (yeah, right, watch us stop).

We even managed to find someone to take a shot of us (we ain't pretty, but we're having fun):

















Once we scrambled back up the cliff and drove to Neah Bay, we had time to get some chili, chowder and frybread dippers, and settle down in our portable chairs with hot coffee to await the fireworks and enjoy non-professional beach fireworks. If you visit for any evening activities, be sure to bring a jacket or sweater, and some blankets; it's going to get chilly.

Next year we're not sitting so close. The attitude around here is, it's your skin, sit where you want. The couple sitting next to us had to jump in an explosion of sparks when a beach firework was tipped over by running kids. The woman's hand-made quilt was singed, and she had four black burn marks on her leg. Her partner couldn't stop laughing. It was pointed out that somebody always had to get hurt, at least a little, as a sacrifice to the Firework Gods, so nobody else got hurt, and it looked like this year she was Chosen Maiden.

Admittedly, it's a bit hazardous, but it spoils you for anybody else's celebrations. The excitement and racket is almost too much rush.

The fireworks were peculiar this year; Dan said the unpredictable, stacato bursts of bombs and fountains of painfully, heavy-duty explosions, all of one sequence of colors after another, didn't remind him so much of celebratory fireworks as of war; at one point he was doing air-M-60 with his hands. We both found it less than pleasant, but that may be because we sat so close. Next year we're sitting across the street, where the elders sit. We're supposed to get wise with age, right?


Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Makah Bracelet

This is the new Makah silver cuff Nearest commissioned for me. It's signed by the artist, Salawish (Micah Vogel). Note the style; the Nootka or Makah style is more representational than the very symbolic Haida style. It looks like it's midway between Haida and Salish.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eagle Death in Sekiu

A short article I wrote for the local papers; expanded a bit for inclusion here, with more photos. Admittedly, it's written in that crappy AP style that Hemingway got stuck with -- and that through him infects the literary world.

Young Eagle In Wire Death

The bald eagles wheeling joyously over the Sekiu docks during the fishing season lost one of their number when a young juvenile collided simultaneously with a roadside power line and another young eagle, Saturday, June 27.

The eagle did not die of electrocution, but from the collision. Rachelle Reeves, who works at Straitside Resort, witnessed the incident.

Said Reeves, "I saw a flock of four, in the corner of my eye, when I stopped and watched them, because they're always playing up here. They collided right on the wire. One of them fell into the middle of the road, limping around. One of them was on the side of the road. It was done for. It did not move at all."

The dying eagle fell into the entry driveway of Van Ripper's Resort, the surviving eagle into the middle of the road between Van Ripper's and the Straitside.

The collision was witnessed by a number of people, who ran to the site of the accident. Reeves said the surviving eagle "kept limping around because people kept on coming." As cars and more people arrived, the eagle hopped over to the Straitside parking lot and took shelter under one of the boat trailers.

Reeves saw several people calling 911. She said she didn't call herself because, "They didn't need their lines crowded up."

Reeves said a large adult - presumably female - bald eagle was swooping over the two juveniles. She said she was "pretty sure it was the mother because it was circling around." She said no one attempted to touch or move the eagles.

Steve Bang, of Seattle, was polishing his RV in the parking lot at Van Ripper's resort when he heard a series of thuds and whirled around to see two juvenile eagles falling.

"I heard them hit the line," said Bang. "I heard the thud-thud and saw both of them fall to the parking lot over there."

Asked to clarify the sequence of sounds, Bang thought a moment and then said, "One was on the line; two sickening thuds on the ground. They bounced."

Bryan Bertsch, who was passing in a truck with Fred Bykonen, of California, said, "There were three birds, playing or fighting. They were going in circles."

Bykonen immediately called 911, which relayed the report to Fish and Wildlife personnel at Olsen's resort. Jessica Slipper, Scientific Technician and Fish Checker with Fish and Wildlife, responded. She bagged the deceased bird, along with any loose feathers and called in the incident to Fish and Wildlife.

Before an officer could respond, the surviving bird regained control of its wings and took off at speed over the roof of the Straitside resort. The bird displayed no disorientation while flying.

Because the bird was momentarily out of sight it was then impossible to pick it out of the many other young and adult eagles flying around and through the trees above the town. However, none of the juvenile eagles showed any further sign of disability.

Fish and Wildlife Officer Corey Peterson responded and took control of the deceased bird, verifying details of the incident with Slipper before leaving the scene.

Linda Palumbo, of the Straitside Resort, says she has witnessed the eagles being harrassed by firecrackers when the fishing season coincides with summer holidays.

"This happens every year on the 4th of July and Fun Days," said Palumbo, who identified one of the two juveniles as this year's young from a nest in Sekiu.

She said she meant that the eagles, a dozen of which can be found on the Sekiu beach any time during the fishing season, were upset and excited by children letting off fireworks nearby.

She said she knew one of the birds, which had sometimes taken the ball she threw into the water for her dog during morning walks. Palumbo pointed out that the two juveniles were far too young for mating, and were playing, rather than being involved in a courtship dance.


A young eagle lies in a Fish and Wildlife truck after it was killed after colliding with a wire and another eagle in Sekiu, Saturday, June 27.














A young eagle, disoriented after a collision that killed another youngster, takes shelter under the boat trailers at the Straitside Resort in Sekiu, Saturday, June 27.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Bread and Swans" - prose Desert Peach novel - now at http://ping.fm/FsbdS

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chicken Pictures.



As requested, chicken pictures, of our possible Aracana crosses. The white one is "1" with the larger dark one is "2," the smaller dark one "3" (Naming goldfish or farm animals can be fatal).

Yeah, I know, the yard needs moving. The grass piled on top of the cage is "yard waste." Why the hell buy hay when we all have it growing at the edges of the lawn? As demonstrated to farming friends lately, if the farm's being run right, there should be no "waste" of any kind.

Trying to figure out how to clean cage and get eggs out. The cage was built last year for ultimate security against small and flying predators, and to keep the coop dry, and now it's hard to figure out how to let a human in. They're only 1/2 grown, still cheeping, so there's time.

2 may be a rooster, but Joe said bring it back it if is. Living in one of those neighborhoods where animal noises MAY bother neighbors.

Wish I had a film of Hector seeing the chickens the first time. He sat with his eyeballs hanging out on stalks, until they came up to the wire and stared back. Then he seemed to become completely bored and disgusted. As he turned and stalked off, the birds' necks stretched out watching him leave, as though saying, "Come back!" They grew up in a box and everything seems fun to them.

Their cheeping sounds just like eagles talking. Their beaks are oddly eagle-colored. Since DNA has shown falcons and chickadees are closer to parrots than other birds of prey, now I'm wondering about eagles and chickens....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I has chickens: http://ping.fm/xUkeg

Eggs at Last

I has chickens. Three 1/2-grown hens; 1 whats-it leghorn (maybe) cross and 2 1/2-breed aracanas. Still cheeping, not clucking.

We call them, 1, 2, 3. Because I can't tell two of them apart and I refuse to name food animals, even if they are only for eggs.

I bought them from the old bachelor farmer up here. He showed me his Dexter cattle, his half-breed Jerseys, his half-breed Boer goats -- including his 300-pound buck -- his many chickens, ducks, and one big handsome turkey. And about a bajillion Min-pins. And two donkeys. He says he wishes he had a cat, "But they run off or my dogs kill 'em."

I told him to get a BIG cat. Preferably a mean old farm cat. "That's what's spanking dogs is for," I added.

The farm is what you'd expect of a place run by one old wirey guy; dozens of half-finished projects, but all in pretty neat piles. No odors of rot, just clean manure, dirt, grass and wood. Beat-up old trailer, but all the animals healthy, sweet, unafraid - and spoiled rotten.

As I helped him unload the 50-lb bags of feed, he remarked, "See where all my money goes?" But first he had to yell at all the goats and tell them to get off the truck.

When we chose the three hens, he said, "If any of them are roosters --." I finished, "We'll eat 'em."

"Yeah, you could eat 'em. Or bring it back and I'll give you a hen."

I wonder if any of the animals out here get eaten. He seems to live on the milk. He says he used to "Sell milk as fast as I could pull it," but the county got in the way ($#!!! industrial farmers!).

That is possibly not so much a farm as a petting zoo....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Snow Nazis - the Documentary

These girls prove that laughing at something is the best way to destroy it: http://ping.fm/tptwT

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Desert Peach musical clips at: http://ping.fm/e2Ucj

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life after the Desert Peach Musical

Tripping The Light Fantastic - a new musical by the authors of The Desert Peach Musical: http://ping.fm/GHQuB

We really learned our lesson on this one. The actors, male and female, can wear their street clothes. Except for the crazy spiritual lady, but the costumer can trot down to the local rummage sale or a couple garage sales and put together a sparkly version of a hippie costume.

The props people can get the furniture from St. Vinnie's and pick up the scrap lumber while they're there.

Any budget can be blown on cool glittery light effects -- and if all you want to do is get a mirror ball and some lasers, you can do that, too.

This one's about the music and the lyrics and the singers. All stuff that's going to sound really good on itunes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Art of Advertising

Beautiful sea-glass for jewelry: http://ping.fm/zQvbQ

And people wonder what flogging drawn books taught me. For one thing, we have to get over the idea of "humility" when pushing our own stuff. Us girls of the boomer generation especially. Our parents and teachers would have had us wearing burnooses if they could have.

And this is nice glass!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jobs For The LAD

I can't take a lot of credit for being much of an activist. I clean the beach, I re-use bath-water to flush toilets (1 bath = 1 day's full flushes), I strung solar Christmas lights all over the house and USE them at night (we're always festive). I don't fish unless I really, really want some fish. I forward petitions (slacktivism).

But occasionally I do something I'm proud of. Not always the first time; in junior high, when presented with a preserved frog, my lab partner and I dutifully picked it apart. The lab teacher forgot to crack the windows and we ended up so high on the fumes we took up the empty skin in the clamps and waved it around like a flag, giggling like idiots, until the teacher put us outside in the hall and told us to breathe and calm down.

In high school, I was offered a live frog to kill and dissect. That was different. I couldn't do anything for the preserved frog, but I also couldn't see the point of killing ostensibly to teach brainless children what insides look like, a goal as easily fulfilled by a diagram as the death of an animal, and probably a wild-caught one at that. I wasn't that bright, but I'd figured that out.

I stared at the frog, and when my lab teacher asked me why I hadn't begun the killing process, out of my mouth came the voice of the Little Activist Demon who lives inside me (somewhere in the greater intestine, I fear): "Why don't we kill and dissect you?"

The LAD has no sense of context or decorum. Once again, I was in the principal's office. Once again, my mother got a phone call about her troubled and troublesome offspring.

I should point out that I was raised by an Irish/German grizzly bear. I do remember the principal's tone of stern righteousness turning to confusion. I didn't hear what Mom said, but I imagine it was something like: "Well, she's right. Why would you make her kill something for a lesson?"

That's it. It's my MOTHER's fault. I wonder if they're still using nature as a resource industry to teach kids that animals are objects. Somebody's always announcing that Our Schools Are Failing Our Children. If the job of the schools was to teach disinterested sadism, they were doing their job.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The 26-Year Comic

I did 6 x about 1600 panels like this before I ever published. OCD? http://ping.fm/jcuo6

24-hour comics are fun, but 26-year 1-author comics are an exercise in adrenalin, caffeine, ink fumes and too many hours on a laptop.

It's like comparing going into the woods for three hours to get a vision -- to the Sun Dance

(With the understanding this is strictly a figurative comparison and no attempt to equate the severe vision quest of the Sun Dance ceremony to making drawn books. Or should we? Spirituality comes in many different forms, and the high priests have all got to be a bit nuts).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The very last Hader & The Colonel. AT: <a href="http://ping.fm/vouV4">http://ping.fm/vouV4</a>

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"I thought it was legal, officer."

Okay, I have another question for my readers and colleagues. So we don't end up using the title, there.

What is the CHEAPEST, EASIEST LEGAL way to get rid of a body in Washington State?

Breathe....

We're just putting together plans for life, like ALL of us should. My preference would be to chained down on the reef on the beach and let the hermit crabs have a party -- and then allow the remaining bony bits to be used for Hallowe'en decorations (give kids a legend -- and possible psychosis -- for life). But the Sheriff's Department probably wouldn't appreciate that (spoilsports).

Cheapest cremation? Hospital school donation? Commercial body donation? (Yes, those companies are growing -- but don't go with the people who answer you from Baltimore with Russian accents in their email, especially when they say, "We legimatate buziness! You check on internets! We not gots time -- we gots bodees to processing!").

Everybody our age should be thinking about this. These meat wagons don't last forever.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

VIELEN DANK to readers who have donated at: http://ping.fm/QHSN9
Vote the Peach up! http://ping.fm/uRmCT

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The FULL Desert Peach Collection

WHEW! It took two years of scanning, cleaning, proofing, layout and upload -- but the COMPLETE two-volume Desert Peach collection is now available in print at the Little Store (look in the links column for this blog).

It's done in trade size, because otherwise the upload size and costs would have been prohibitive. When you order it, be prepared for a couple of books you could hit somebody with.

To see the pages as though at full size, check out the Desert Peach Webcomic. We need comments for the letters page of the new print versions at the store on the same site. Your drawings and general nuttiness about the Peach very very welcome for upcoming issues. Add the comments on the site, send the drawings or photos to me at donnabarr01 at gmail dot com.

I will probably offer it to Diamond, just to let everybody know they can get it, but any retailer or reader can just go to the Lulu site, if they prefer. If you're a retailer, order it for your customers and just add a couple of bucks for your time, trouble, or whatever you think you need for a bit of profit, but keep it down for your people. Customers, support your store by ordering through the retailer -- and I'll send you a signed bookplate for each copy.

Full pdf downloads are also available on the Lulu site. Retailers -- download both of them and have a projection party at your store!

I've already set my rates, so I'm getting paid about the same, no matter how you order it. Enjoy!

Now on to the Stinz books..... Oy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Emerald City Comicon 2009


















I'm not a ANM (Adolescent Niche Market) fan, but they had the COOLEST thing at the con -- this sturdy, gold plastic Wonder Woman crown – with bright red light-up star! It was given away as a freebie by DC, and ended up all over the show on every kind of head. This cutie is workin' the look – but a lot of guys were wearing it and making it Theirs. And not worn across the forehead like a Roman centurion's helmet frontlet, but – like a tiara. You go, Boychicks.


















Wonder Woman's Accountant.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Emerald City Comicon

Well, here I am, all set up at the Seattle Convention Center for the 2009 Emerald City Comicon. Check-in and unload was easy (well, except for getting lost in the parking bays) and they provided carts and directions. Nice.

I'm at the Hidmo restaurant tonight, having some injera, lentils and okra with an Amstel Light beer. They are very nicely letting me use their wi-fi. Nice place. Look it up when you get to Seattle. They have music nights, with performers from Africa, South America and more. Tasty food, nice people -- it's my living room when I'm in Seattle.

We'll see how this goes when the show starts on Saturday.

The Desert Peach Webcomic

See the pretty new link over there at the top of the list of extras? Go over there and read all the original Desert Peach pages, as they appear, day by day.

For the Stinz readers: stop whining! Dave says we'll be doing the same thing for YOU, too! So promote this site and we can get to the next one. Yay!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Experimentation -- BAD?

When I published AFTERDEAD 1, I commented that the entire color section in the front -- Pithed -- was the result of experimentation.

What reviewers in our present-day book world -- and especially comics -- don't understand is that experimentation is a desirable quality. They misunderstood, and rather than looking at what I was actually doing, began to make pronouncements about it.

I LIKE what I did in those books. It's what I WANTED to do. I experiment on every single page I write and draw. It's not "wrong" or "doesn't match" or whatever it is they think they're seeing. When I put something out there I MEANT to do it. It's not some clueless accident because I can't copy somebody else. I know, I know: they need to try to get their heads around that.

Admittedly, I don't like my work while I'm doing it. I struggle and cuss and push, and finally release my three-eyed, one-legged babies upon the world, convinced -- as so many artists and authors are -- that They're Going To See Me For The Fraud I Am and Make Me Give It All Back. Then I come back in a year or two and gasp in amazement: "Who did this work -- ELVES?" I always think I was better Back Then and that I'm going downhill now.

This is the final difference between a hack and an author. The hack is trying to emulate what they perceive as a Master -- never realizing that the Master is always tearing apart her or his own work and is never satisfied with it.

I envy the hacks. They know what they're shooting for. Most of the marketing work has done for them. All they have to do is draw and write the pretty pictures that fit a prepared mould, pouring in the contents like any industrial worker and sending it off down the production line. Washington Irving portrays one of them in Buckthorne and His Friends.

The best of them know this, and are happy with it. The saddest are angry because they don't know why an author doesn't recognize them as One Of Us. I've stood in the same room with one of each, the former pumping me for marketing and editorial tips, the latter steaming because he just couldn't understand the difference. He didn't realize that authors like me are the ultimate source of his own rice bowl. He could never have invented Star Trek on his own.

I've done plenty of hack work; it pays well because somebody wants what they want, and they don't want us authors trying to work out anything new, different, disturbing or surprising. They want cottage cheese -- no salt -- not kim chi and chorizo.

I find the hack work I'm asked to do boring and repetitive. It's based in obsessions that have nothing to do what I want to say. But I can turn out a nice little moulded plaster statue, and hide the pouring seams pretty well. My customers are happy, I get to pay some bills or buy something I need. The best of my customers know I'm not going to enjoy what they ask me to do; I might as well be working the line at Boeing. So I ask for at least comparable pay, with benefits. And get some more time to write and draw what I need to.

Working as a reporter on a paper is pretty much the same job; a timid revelation of only part of the facts, told without spirit or insight. No wonder newspapers are dying -- it's not that blogs are faster (which they are) but they're self-correctible, fearless and include film on the spot. Who wants to read the grannie prose when the good stuff is on line? I finally get a job, and it's in a business that might as well be making buggy whips.

It's like a friend of mine said: "Sometimes I wish I were just fat, dumb and happy."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Creative Life

As a creative freelancer, all you need to read is this number of Mistress Matrisse's Control Tower. Forget the how-to books, the seminars and workshops. This is all you need to know.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Toonie Awards Banquet Address

You're Doing It Wrong
(With stage directions)
By Donna Barr for the Cartoonists Northwest 2009 Toonie Awards Banquet

First, I'd like to thank the CNW folks for asking me to address this (pause) – I almost typed “August Body.” But who wants to start with irony? I believe the official collective noun for cartoonists is – “The Usual Gang of Idiots.” And proud of it!

If you don't get it, corner Basil's granddaughter afterwards (point at her) and ask her to explain.

I had a request to talk about Women in Comics. “Women in Comics is The Panel Subject That Wouldn't Die.”

There.

The title of this address is “You're Doing It Wrong.” It comes from a phrase that was originally used in the movie “Backdraft,” and is now rampant on the internet. It ranges in appearances from the pages of coding instructions and the titles of blogs, to a picture of a rat with the handle of a spoon in its mouth.

Since somebody always asks me why I do comic books instead of some other easier art form, here's my only answer: because I can... write and I can... draw. Okay?

That answer drives interviewers crazy. They always want a tortured history. Or influences. It's the wrong answer. It's why I'll never get a gig teaching art. My entire reply to “teach me to draw” is: Get a pencil and a pad of paper and draw everything you see – for twenty years. See? Wrong answer.

I've always done it wrong. I've drawn the wrong things, and said the wrong – read “unacceptable” – things about them. I've gone down the wrong roads and followed the wrong ideas. The Road NOT Taken for me has always been the one somebody just mowed. There aren't enough bugs and thistles and nettles on that road; you can't eat mowed grass. But you CAN deep-fry cicadas and make nettle omelets.

I don't think this audience is going to be surprised I knew that. It's the job of a cartoonist to be complete garbage brains; it's how we keep it funny. Finding a left-handed link between the unrelated is the birth of the non sequitur and the belly-laugh. Comedy is the strongest horse: nothing's sacred, not Allah's turban, not the Pope's red slippers, not even recipes for kosher bacon bombs. Unlike a lot of writers and artists, we know we're throwing snowballs at top hats.

But somebody always had to do it wrong, at least the first time. It was the wrong artists who decided it would be cool to twist the bodies on Scythia's tattoos. For all I know we're the ones carved the fat ladies and left them in the caves to confuse and awe the local shamans – or we were the shamans. Who else would have figured out how to make caricatures pay? I wouldn't be the first one to define the swimming reindeer heads on the cave wall and the Egyptian Book Of The Dead as “cartoons.”

I might have been the first to define the Stations of The Cross as a comic strip, complete with panel gutters and word balloons. Scott McCloud thought we were all going to be hit by lighting – but Jack Kirby said I was right. Well, if anybody was ever was one of the “Usual Gang,” that guy was. I'd say he was totally off the grid, except there's one named for him.

I've always done my art wrong. When I was a kid, I started drawing German soldiers. Why I did was mostly about fashion, relationships and horses. And cute guys. Girls don't ask about the politics when they've seen a cute guy, especially one who looks good in boots. The politics would come later. In spades. I could bore for England.

When you consider that my parents and their neighbors were part of the worldwide Generation That Couldn't Get Along with Anybody, you'll see why I was always hiding the drawings in the back of the underwear drawers. Who else hid their art there? (look over audience) Oh, didn't you HAVE an underwear drawer? I bet your mother dressed you funny, too. (Use this one depending on audience reaction.)

I've spent 23 years piling up pages about an impossible subject – what genre-minded publisher is going to touch my stuff? I got news for 'em – there's a whole new generation of girls now drawing the same uniforms. But with long hair and faces whiter than anything the original Aryans would have allowed to run around outside a camp for – ahem – “defectives.” It's like Prussia meets Anne Rice. I must be doing something right, because I'm getting really tired of reprinting my books every time I sell out. Which is one of the reasons I went with print-on-demand. I thought Done is DONE, but in publishing the targets keep moving. I'll keep you posted in Penstuff.

When I was asked why I drew what I drew, I answered, “When I grow up I'll find another girl drawing the same thing – and she'll be in Switzerland!” which was my idea of a really far-away place. Forty years later, I did find her – and she was from Switzerland. I also said all the world's money was controlled by a little old Japanese lady living in Switzerland – and now I'm beginning to wonder.

I also used to yell at my dad: “I'm gonna go live with the Indians!”

Now we live in Clallam Bay. We're not exactly at the butt-end of nowhere, but you can see it from there. Guess who we live next door to now? They're getting their language back. And selling t-shirts that say, “Resisting terrorists – for 500 years.” We better hope all they want is casinos – and not 40 acres and a mule.

What do we have on the Olympic Peninsula? A beach, a wood stove and two full baths. Bald eagles in the backyard and harlequin ducks practically underfoot. If you come visit and I'm smoking fish, be careful of the salmon grease on the front doorknob. We also have wireless DSL; talk about your techno-hicks.

Living that far out forced working on the internet. I'll admit the roads on the interwebs can be like navigating Highway 112 during the slide season . But that's just the briar patch for Brer Cartoonist. We can find loopholes in sites – like allowing blog catalog readers to find bookstores through the IndieBound system, even for books that don't have an ISBN number. The trick is using your publisher serial-number base, and putting a fake three-number ending on it. I use XXX like the old cartoon whisky barrels. Think of it as back-roadin' the revenooers.

No matter what you do, part of it is going to be right. The publisher may want you to sign the contract, but she also wants your copyright – even though she can't afford it. That may look good, but if you end up working for ten years without copyrights, you're the typecast Star Trek actors before Roddenberry took pity on them. Just remember: if they can't afford to pay you, they can't afford to sue you.

After watching one of my colleagues fight with Hollywood, I wrote my own animation contract:

Take my work and screw it up any way you want; I'm not going to be buying any of it, or even watching it. But first hand over six million dollars – offshore – and never talk to me again. If you do, you'll pay another million for every contact. I mean it – every time you think you need to bug me again, by any means, for any reason, it'll be another million dollars. Don't ask me if you can make t-shirts or get the wrong voiceover actress or persecute the fans for selling knickknacks; I won't care. I'll be on a beach somewhere. With tequila. And no cell phone.

I once described this contract to an animator, who said, “They'd go for it! No lawyers! And no agents!”

I posted this as part of a binding public contract on my blog. It says that anybody who signs me for a copyright owes me six figures. With its date. Any publisher doesn't find it before signing, it's his own fault for hiring lawyers on the cheap. And not surfing.

We already know how much publishers love us. To quote the Canadian Broadcasting Company's radio series Monsoon house: (Use East Indian accent) “We don't have so many authors, now; less aggravation.”

A Facebook friend and I were laughing about how the economic meltdown affecs artists. Ha! Artists are like – pardon the comparison – black people in the depression: “What economic meltdown?” Everybody should hire us as consultants for living on the edge. We must have liked college because a lot of us are still living on the same budget we had in the dorm. Ramen is your friend.

In cartooning you have a choice: money or legacy. With the first, you're gambling you can save the money for the future; the second lets you pile up owned work. Copies of my books that originally went for $6.00 are going for RS 1300 in India – about $26 bucks apiece. I still own all my stuff and no publisher is going to have to wrangle with anybody else in the negotiation. Except me. (Burt Lancaster Grin).

My legacy is nailed: a reader opened up a contact with the San Diego State University special collections department. Your readers make a great street team and they love being included. I gave Collections a bunch of sketchbooks, art, printed books and the strange toys readers send me, to seed the Donna Barr collection. I have a little glass plaque on the Love Library entry wall, and am a designated heritage member of the university. They put me up at the Hyatt when I went to speak at the opening of my collection because they wanted to emphasize that comics artists are important artists. Cool, huh?

They got collections for everybody, even a complete set of the original Wizard of Oz books. Their original print runs go back to the 15th century. It's the ultimate geek job. If you get a chance at the San Diego Comicon, go beg the Love Library to let you take a peek at the stacks. They have my Inkpot Trophy – and my Toonie. SCORE! (Arms Up)

There are two more roads: an idea nobody else ever thought of, or one everybody's thinking of. Deciding on something original can work for or against you. If it's rather original, it could require a lot of steps to relate to an audience. If it's VERY original, you need dumb luck.

Forks, the town where the Twilight series is set, got lucky when the author said she found it on Mapquest and the publishing industry was in PPD: Post-Potter-Depression. But living 30 miles from the place, I'm wondering whether Meyers wasn't using the bad teeth, living in the dark, and poaching, as a parable about the meth capitol of the Pacific Northwest.

Are we born with our luck? Chinese birth signs come in twelve-year cycles, light and dark. Late baby-boomers like me got the dark cycle. We don't just get the snake, we get the Snake In The Grass – powerful and talented, but nobody recognizes his or her gifts. We get the War Horse. I'm a dragon – but I'm The Dragon In The Rain. Rain dragons see everything as dark and stormy. They never feel at home.

But if I recognize that, I can turn a weakness into a strength. Every time I'm feeling like I don't belong, or that I'm in the wrong place in my life, I just have to remember I'm a Big Wet Lizard, and the feeling goes away.

Well... mostly.

Like I said, nothing's perfect. Then again, Zen Buddhists say EVERYTHING's perfect. So you can't really do anything incorrectly, anyway. If nothing else, it will be a learning experience. You know (quote signs) – a “Learning Experience.” (Look over glasses). Yeah, I think we've all had a few of THOSE. We still try to hide them in the back of the underwear drawer.

So there's no use waffling on whether or not it will turn out right. If there are too many choices, then there's only one way to make a decision and move forward: flip a coin. Or look at a good horoscope.

I don't necessarily believe in horoscopes – mostly because of parallax (point at sky) – but since my day usually has about 14 roads to choose from, the few sentences of instructions and suggestions – usually printed next to the comics pages, which I'm going to be reading anyway – will help me steer me onto one road. It doesn't prevent it from being a road full of nettles – it just keeps me from falling in the potholes or meeting highwaymen. Of course, if you ascribe to the belief that falling in the hole is how you learn to climb back out, you might want to be steering for the ruts, anyway. It's your road.

Like the atheist ad-boards on busses say about God– you don't know, so don't worry about it. Especially when you're lying in bed when your half of the globe is asleep and really can't do anything to you until it wakes up and has its coffee. Any road you take, one way or the other, it's going to be the wrong road.

But it will be PERFECT. (Prayer hands).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Interview

Interview with me by K.A. Laity at Wombat's World. With lots of links! Cool site.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Artist Needs Your Help










Comic artist Dave Simons was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Now he has bills, and won't ask himself. But he needs chipping in. Go read, and pass on.

I'm sending this piece of art for the auction. At a pertinent moment in Washington.

If you ain't got money, send art. (Artists are like -- pardon the comparison --- black people in the depression: "What economic meltdown?")

This stuff adds up -- I've seen major medical bills paid off twice in creator and fan campaigns that took in a few bucks at time -- and one big art auction at San Diego Comicon that raked in $30,000 in three hours for an artist's wife's facial rebuild after a bad wreck.

(Click art to see full size. Those of you who KNOW that, have patience with readers who don't.)





Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bare Naked Holiday Cards

This is how I stopped hunting envelopes when making my own holiday cards. Print on both sides of a piece of pond or a nice piece of art paper. This is just layout -- make your own with OpenOffice.org's software. It's free, and works with PC and Mac.





Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Great German Word Hunt, 2

If you were coming up with words for the German prompt buttons, Anne Kirkham of Bremen and Tommy Lee and Sharon Henderson have beat you to it.

Watch for their efforts on the new website, coming soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Great German Word Hunt

Hi, Mad Readers of Mine!

Dave Baxter, of Worst Writer and Kill The Grizzly is doing neat little prompt buttons for my WHOLE NEW Peach-based website (other books will come later, okay? We don't want to scare the new readers with the ENTIRE Midnight Library. It's like building a fire -- little bites first).

He had this cool idea - when you hover the pointer over a prompt button, it reads as the German word.

Now we all know how rich (and slightly warped) German idiom can be. I suspected the Germans were using English words, as the German Lush site.

But... you know we're always going to do something -- ahem -- "original" (with all that implies in English idiom). You native German speakers -- putting your heads into the era in which the Peach lived -- what word do you think the Peach would have used to say "Home," "contact," "register" on a webite? Perhaps even a military-flavored word? Get out your historical thinking cap and put your tongue FIRMLY in your cheek. And have fun! Driving very proper German professors out of their minds encouraged. Dialect encouraged! Private jokes encouraged!

The words we need so far are: About, Archive, Contact, Forum, Store, First, Home, Last, Home, Next, Previous, Subscription.

Dave, I'd like to give credit to anybody who helps out on this or whose word gets used. Maybe when the button opens up, we can add, "Vielen Dank to:!"

And I'll send those who get in a sketch of Udo using their word.

(And if you call me ANAL, Dave, them's a compliment to us Germans! And all the Freudian connotations THAT has). ;))

This is also part of a Facebook Comicon Event , which lists the deadlines.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Facebook Comicon -- Free Downloads

For the Facebook Comicon, I'm inviting all attendees to view temporary free downloads of books at Lulu.com

The free download access will be from March 1 to March 14. It will be part of the FaceBook Comicon weekend, March 14, 2008.

I've posted the event at my table:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49173617545

--
www.donnabarr.com

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Desert Peach Display Art Will Be For Sale


This quick display art will be available for sale after April 12, 2009, when I get back from Norwescon.

It portrays the Desert Peach, as he appears now in the series AFTERDEAD.

It's just an acryclic on a piece of cardboard, about 3' x 3', but it's pretty fun. It's actually square -- I had to photograph it instead of scanning it.

I'm thinking of an ebay auction -- but I may have a very interesting option, within the comics world.

Watch This Space.

Whale painting


The sort of thing that inspires a writer.

Thu Stephens bought this painting from the prison on the hill.

It looks like it was done by the guy with the killer whales in his yard.

Thu's husband Robert was the head of the dragon in the 2009 Dragon Dance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The One True Refuge

For the second time in a row, Diamond refused to ship my orders. In fact, with the economy making it tougher for retailers, they raised their order level requirement from $1500 to $2500.

I'm thinking about not bothering with Diamond. Haven Distribution orders as needed as backstock, and since I use POD, EVERYTHING can be treated as backstock. If anybody insists on using a distributor.

Everyplace we look in books, publishers and distributors are scrambling. Websitecomics sites and the publishers working with them work authors to pieces, then collapse and take most of their money with them (you know who you are). When I found out who was working at Clickwheel, I gave them a sample booklet, but that's as far as I'm going to gamble with those guys.

I've had to send a rather -- cool -- letter to a newspaper about back payments. That paper is now very good about paying me. The person in charge of those payments has moved on to another newspaper -- which is now having trouble paying me. I may have to rework the letter.

The two income streams that are really working for me are Projectwonderful, and my Lulu page. Both of them are simple -- they sell ads or they print and sell books. PERIOD. Once I upload files, there are no loony program changes that force more useless work (Hello, Firefox!). The only upgrades I need to do are the ones I do myself, because I want to make a collection out of smaller books.

Lulu also automatically makes all book files into downloadable PDF's. And if you, my dear readers, ever feel you're making me more money by buying hard copies -- you're not. I clear as much out of a small download fee as I've set for the hard copies. If you WANT a hard copy (and -- for you collector crazies -- $6.00 books are now selling in India for around RS 1300 -- about $26.00), please order one. I love paper, myself, but it's not the ONLY way to do it. If you'd rather just grab a pdf, please do so. I still get paid about the same amount.

I'm keeping an eye on Kindle. Any comments from anybody who have tried to use the device for comics? Good links on real-world experience?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sew What?

NPR was interviewing another woman artist today. They asked her about sewing, and the weddings and romance she sings about.

Is it just me, or is every woman who is interviewed in the arts singing or painting or writing about Women's Stuff?

Have you ever picked up a book that a woman wrote that isn't about love or sex or relationships? I know I've been turned down for writing seminars because I wasn't -- ahem -- writing about the women's stuff. Then again, I was turned away from a Magic Realism writing group because I wasn't -- quote -- "Spanish enough." 'splain that one to me.

I should qualify the question when asking about non-mainstream art. Sci-fi and fantasy writers who happen to be women get to write just about anything they want to. Mystery writers have broken every barrier there ever was -- stick a dead body in it, and you can add demons, ancient cultures and talking cats if you want to.

But if you're at a mainstream writing seminar, show, or in the literature section of a mainstream bookstore -- look around and see what the women are (allowed?) to write about.

And why do women always adopt that whispery court voice when they're being interviewed? "Court" refers to those samurai films with those upper-class women adopting a peculiar weak voice. The old-movie voice that was either husky to attract, or murmured to soothe. Nobody talks like that! Even in the samurai movies, the women who are cooks or farmers yell just like the guys.

I always wondered if Julia Child's voice wasn't an attempt at a court voice. I wonder what her REAL voice sounded like?

Friday, February 6, 2009

AFTERDEAD Novel

The ideas for prose are beginning to gell. An afterlife series based on the ideas in AFTERDEAD -- but in a more contemporary vein.

I've even figured out how my main character gets INTO the afterlife, and it's one that I've found irresistibly funny and relevant ever since it popped into my little pointed head.

But then, my family competes to tell horror stories about the deceased at a funeral. Sort of like: "Mom came closest to killing ME, so I WIN!"

And I did.

AFTERDEAD Page

Another AFTERDEAD sample at Deviantart.

One of the AfterLife rules is that the closer you were to someone or something in your lifetime, the less likely you are to know them in the afterlife.

Rommel WAS a techie while he was alive.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life of a Writer

Random thoughts:

I don't think my newspaper editors care if I'm a subversive as long as they know they can send me tearing out into the storm to get any weird crime story that happens out here. Or lose my mind writing down all the paper-of-record numbers at some awful community-development meeting; I would literally rather stand in the icy, pouring rain than listen to a bank manager drone on (I've done it; I can compare). I'm a amateur stringer --- I don't know no better.

Creative people are crazy. You have to kill us first to make us stop writing or drawing or making baskets. But sooner or later we have to admit we have to make choices, and if we want to continue to create, we have to back out of other things. The books and pictures and woven things come first.

NOTHING hurts as bad as the migraines that I had all my life and are now GONE!!!! I don't know why; they used to cripple me, but now they've just disappeared.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Answering Questions (Not Under Torture)

Nice interview with me at ComixTalk.

Interviews are GIGO: you don't have a good interview unless you have good questions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching The Last Episode of West Wing, 2009

This is just us at home, watching on the MacBook (with a cooling fan). Stuff my readers might enjoy, but that's about as far as it goes.

What were YOU doing during Inauguration 2009?

video

I'm going to be putting up a better, more considered article at Associated Content. And another video at YouTube. I don't believe the 'net has to be the first panicky rough draft. We got time to think and savor, because it's going to be around a long time, not used tomorrow to wrap fish or compost.

And there are a LOT of people out there with the good stuff, right on the spot. Don't expect deep political thought; I'm even going to comment on the scarves.

The Writer's OTHER job & The Inauguration

This is me playing (PLAYING) journalist: LINK

Huh. I finally get a job and it's print media.... why don't I just take up braiding buggy-whips?

Sitting on the couch in pj's, while the stove-top oven heats for cat-head bisquits, and back on and eggs (special breakfast), watching the inauguration on the web.

Who needs tv?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Crazy Weather

On January 3, the junction of Highway 101 and 113, near Forks, looked like this:


















Our gold roses were still blooming when the storms hit. I headed the blossoms and left them on the snow:



















On January 18, there was barefootin' at the Clallam Bay beach (Clayton Bannon and Damen Ringgold). That's Canada there in the background, with snow.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wolf For Reviews

In return for a couple of reviews on GoogleBooks, one of you Speedies got this wolf, which took me about 30 seconds to sketch, a minute more to scan and a half hour to fiditize (fiddle with/digitize). Imagine what you could get for a Twitter campaign.....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Come get ART.

In return for whatever you want me to commission to draw or paint (any media, including pixels, cuz now I got a Bamboo):

Go to Google Books. Search my name. Do everything you can to add more cover art, details, reviews, whatever.

(And think Tit For Tat: the more work, the better the art.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Simba Purring

Whew. I thought we'd lost this file. Youtube of Simba purring in Dan's lap.