do, please, judge a book by its cover | nanowrimo 2015 covers

NaNoW­riMo 2015 is upon us in less than three days! Have you plot­ted and planned? Are your char­ac­ters all ready to fall in love or be ripped apart or slay the drag­on? Have you let your day­dream­ing get to you, imag­in­ing what it would look like to see your name on the shelves with the best? I have, with­out hes­i­ta­tion... okay, with some hes­i­ta­tion. I wasn’t too sure, until mid-Octo­ber, whether I would par­tic­i­pate in NaNoW­riMo (Nation­al Nov­el Writ­ing Month) this year. Last year, a lot of life-relat­ed issues kept my best friend and I from reach­ing our goal, and it was a blow to my ego — my first “loss” in the six years I’ve been giv­ing my soul over to the lit­er­ary deities and mus­es so as to bleed out 50,000 words with­in 30 days. I final­ly decid­ed that no, I wouldn’t let last year’s bad luck and emo­tion­al tur­moil spoil the fun I’ve had every year throw­ing new char­ac­ters into new sit­u­a­tions, shar­ing excerpts and gripes and mile­stones.

Plus, and here’s where I get to the point: it means that I get to design a cov­er for my nov­el! One of my favourite, ran­dom lit­tle hob­bies, is graph­ic design. I’ve been mess­ing around in pho­to­shop pro­grams since 2003 (even before then, if MSPaint can be count­ed). For the most part, the art I make is for myself; col­lages to depict char­ac­ters, cer­tain scenes, moods; dig­i­tal jour­nal pages to clear my head of thoughts; and every now and then, some­thing fan­dom-relat­ed. It’s a medi­um that I like to think I’ve grown tal­ent­ed in, and I love when oppor­tu­ni­ties arise for me to share my work with oth­er peo­ple. NaNoW­riMo is a great out­let for this. On the forums, there’s a gor­geous lit­tle sec­tion called NaNo Arti­sans, where artists of any make or mea­sure can come and offer things such as char­ac­ter sketch­es, per­son­al­ized sound­tracks, and, as my luck would have it, cov­ers!

This year, I want­ed to get back into the spir­it of NaNoW­riMo and include myself in the forums and chats. I start­ed that jour­ney off in the Arti­sans forum, ask­ing oth­er writ­ers to tell me the syn­opses of their nov­els, so that I could, with a lit­tle inspi­ra­tion, cre­ate some­thing that they could use to moti­vate them­selves and do that thing we writ­ers love to do: imag­ine our­selves on the shelves. Over the last week, I cre­at­ed 36 mock book cov­ers for some amaz­ing­ly tal­ent­ed writ­ers. I had an amaz­ing time with every design, want­i­ng to do right by each author and the world they have ready and rar­ing to go come Novem­ber 1st. I hope above all hope that every­one is suc­cess­ful with their 50,000 words this year, and that maybe a few years down the road, I get to see their book on a shelf some­where (like­ly, with­out the cov­er I’ve made, but hey, at least I can say I helped inspire them a lit­tle back in the day).  

Here’s my per­son­al Top 10 from all of the cov­ers I did!

Con­tin­ue read­ing


if i am a hawk This is just a small update to let every­one know that I will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in The 100 Day Project over on Insta­gram, start­ing today (April 6th, 2015) and end­ing on July 14th, 2015. The idea is to take time out of every day to cre­ate some­thing impor­tant to your­self, whether it’s tak­ing a pic­ture, paint­ing, writ­ing, danc­ing, or what­ev­er else your heart and spir­it desires! I’ll be writ­ing 100 words every day specif­i­cal­ly for the project, and you can fol­low along by fol­low­ing my Insta­gram and my hash­tag, #100fauxRIOTs. I’m excit­ed to be a part of this and see what oth­er peo­ple choose to do for their 100 days, and to be inspired and moti­vat­ed by them!


so it’s been a while!

let’s do a quick recap of what’s been going on for the last month or two:


1. i don’t remem­ber what sil­ly thing hap­pened, but noses were scratched and lips were pout­ed. /​/​ 2. i picked up embroi­dery and needle­point again for the first time since i was 12.


3. i drew an ele­phant (pho­to was a w.i.p.) for a friend. /​/​ 4. i spent a week with my ‘step-sis­ter’ and her daugh­ter, and rekin­dled my love for blue’s clues.


5. i cut up three decks of cards to cre­ate bob­bins for all the embroi­dery floss i’ve col­lect­ed. /​/​ 6. sin­clair tried to take a self­ie.


7. i had a girl’s night with my mom­ma and went to an ‘acoustic only’ live show at a club in town and lis­tened to some great artists. /​/​ 8. i chan­neled my inner lisa frank.


9. at my kid brother’s 22nd birth­day din­ner, he and my mom­ma played a game of knuck­les... she lost. /​/​ 10. my lat­est fin­ished embroi­dery project was inspired by the lyrics of ‘jesus jesus christ’ by brand new.

(for a good laugh, you’ve got­ta click that pho­to of my mom­ma to see it full-size) so that’s a vague look at what i’ve been up to late­ly, some flash­es of my life that may go through my head if that’s tru­ly what hap­pens when you die and if that’s the case? for the most part, feb­ru­ary and march of 2015 are two decent months to reflect back on.


you’re the tops and that’s that (meet sinclair)

(props to any­one who knows what the title of this post is ref­er­enc­ing)

This is Sin­clair. He is the ugli­est thing I’ve ever fall­en in love with.” — I wrote on Jan­u­ary 23rd, 2015, on my way home with a card­board box fid­get­ing on my lap, a tiny nose now and then peek­ing out to sneeze at the sit­u­a­tion. It’s weird to think that, come tomor­row, he’ll have only been home with me for three weeks. Hope­ful­ly, he’ll have many more years to come.

I won’t lie; a part of Sinclair’s charm is that he was an impulse adop­tion. I had been left to wan­der on my own for about a half hour, which you would think, “How much trou­ble can a 25 year old with about $80 in her pock­et real­ly get into?” Well. I prac­ti­cal­ly bee-lined my way to the pet store to see if there were any pup­pies there to cud­dle with for a while, or maybe a fer­ret or two. There were not, but I had time to kill, and I can spend a lot of time just look­ing at all the lit­tle crea­tures. I don’t care much for rab­bits, or ham­sters. I’ll side-eye the lizards and snakes, and I’ll gath­er up all my courage to glance at the scor­pi­ons and taran­tu­las and toads (ugh, I hate toads!). I do absolute­ly adore hedge­hogs (and even had one, the infa­mous San­cho Pan­za, a grumpy lit­tle thing that I had to rehome because I didn’t have the time or means to look after him any­more). But, to cut things short, I spent the most of my time look­ing at the rats.

Now, pre­vi­ous­ly, I hat­ed the things. Beady-eyed, long-toothed, sharp-clawed, with those long, creepy tails! Ugh! I thought they were the worst. And then I vis­it­ed my mom for a week­end, and she had recent­ly adopt­ed one, named Lady (or, as I liked to call her, Fid­dy-Fid­dy, because she was hood­ed). My first night, I bare­ly got any sleep, hav­ing been stuck in the same room as her in her lit­tle cage that I was absolute­ly cer­tain she would sneak her way out of and bite me to death. I want­ed noth­ing to do with her. I had ham­sters as a child, and the nov­el­ty of small fuzzy crea­tures is entire­ly lost on you when you get bit­ten every time you try to touch them. I thought the same about Lady. Until my broth­er took her out of her cage, and dropped her right into my lap.

Love. Absolute awe.

After Lady, there came Dash(board) and Lit­tle One, who are still kick­ing around. They’re down­stairs togeth­er as I type this, my mom’s girls and sweet things. Dash­board got her name thus­ly from get­ting out of the box the day we picked her up, and hid­ing in the dash­board of my mom’s truck for the entire dri­ve back to the house. We’re lucky she made it. And I was hap­py to move back home and be around the two of them more often, as well as my pup­py Lexi, of course (she’ll get her own post one day). Still, I real­ly want­ed a pet of my own, I was just wait­ing for the right time... or so I thought.

Back at the pet shop, I crouched down to get a look at the rats they had. A pile of fuzzy hood­ed males, maybe half the size of my fist each, all cud­dled up togeth­er to keep warm while they napped. Okay, cute— but! Wait! What is that thing!? That mass of wrin­kles back there, sit­ting on top of three lit­tle rats?! I need to see this thing!! OH GODS IT MOVED.sinclair-1 As soon as I saw him, twice the size as any of the oth­ers, and the only one of his breed in the whole store, I fell in love. It was instan­ta­neous. He was hideous and all I want­ed to do was hold him! It took me ten sec­onds to make up my mind, just as long as it took for the girl work­ing there to make her way to the back of the store. “That ugly lit­tle guy, I need to take him home now!”

He peed on me. I had him on my shoul­der for less than three sec­onds, and he drenched me. And still, I loved him and need­ed to call him my own. So, alone and deter­mined, though unsure what the reac­tion would be, I called my mom. In fact, I woke her up from a nap, and while she was still grog­gy, I sim­ply asked her, “Can I buy a rat?” and she gave me her bless­ing, and prob­a­bly went back to sleep.

Sin­clair is a hair­less rat. He’s now sev­en months old (rough­ly 18 in human years), and right now, he’s curled up in a navy blue leg warmer sleep­ing, because I rude­ly woke him up this morn­ing while chang­ing his water. He already answers to his name (which was inspired by a char­ac­ter from the video game Bioshock 2), and he loves yogurt drops and banana chips. Arguably, he’s soft­er than reg­u­lar rats, his skin almost has a vel­vet-like feel to it, and this spoiled lit­tle brat gets a mas­sage once a week with extra-vir­gin olive oil to keep his skin from dry­ing out or get­ting scratched up.

Even when he wakes me up in the mid­dle of the night chew­ing away at his food or lick­ing at his water bot­tle, all I can do is smile at him. When he sneezes (he has aller­gies, some­thing com­mon with hair­less rats, and some­thing I’m keep­ing a very close watch on), I sneeze back. He runs around on my bed (with a tow­el, because he’s yet to learn there is a time and place to poop and my bed is not it), and I tick­le his back and scritch above his nose, his favourite spot. I nev­er, nev­er, would have fig­ured myself a ‘rat per­son’ but here I am, with the ugli­est lit­tle sweet­heart ever. Here’s to many years of us keep­ing each oth­er com­pa­ny. sinclair-3