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!

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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