Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Completed A 20-page Graphic Novel!

Month of February was both a difficult month emotionally, mentally, and physically for me.

I won't get too much into one of the reasons but I can talk about the other reason: I worked on a 20-page graphic novel! It was a rush job as I only had roughly two months to complete it.

Instead of using my special micro nib pens for inking, I decided to use my  double-head black designer markers instead. It gave a children's book feel. I drove this idea home especially that I used a junior high school-aged Latin-American boy as protagonist.

I had my mom and five co-workers read the graphic novel and received only positive and heartfelt feedback!

The application package had four deadlines and, on my part, I completed the cover sheet, my bibliography, a resume, and the work sample (graphic novel)! I already had an appointment with a professor colleague who worked on my letter of recommendation. I only have one letter left. That deadline isn't until the first day of next month.

I posted cropped pages of the comic on my Instagram (@Handdrawnbycarmenjr) since it's in the submission process.

Please wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Application Life is Hard

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.

We had a death in the family and I'm currently out-of-state. In the interest of privacy, it was a sibling's spouse who passed away.

I have also been making changes to certain writing goals and choices. I've decided to make the most recent fellowship I applied for my last and just focus on residencies, grants, and the occasional writers contests.

What's a fellowship*? It usually involves a deeply personal packaging of information that may contain: a resume/CV, a bibliography of one's publications/credits/clips, (often) letter(s) of recommendation, and the work sample (in whatever shape the stringent requirements/submission guidelines state it must be).

Why apply to a fellowship? Well, it's as deeply individual and unique to each person. What I can tell you is that being awarded one, the newly 'minted' fellow has the ability to travel, to teach at a number of institutions, to take part in government programs and grassroots organizations. Now you might ask: but can't you do that WITHOUT ACTUALLY APPLYING for a FELLOWSHIP? Well, it depends on what goals one has in mind. Some of mind are to get funding for specific kinds of research, to travel broadly according to particular projects, and for me to promote myself as a scholar in certain pop culture circles.

I have been applying to these fellowships for almost 3 years, before and after graduate school, and now I think it's time to take a break and concentrate on another aspect of my writing career. So there is that.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, Dear Readers, and continue to 'watch this space...'

*I'm speaking on writing/creative arts fellowships ONLY.

Fellowships** are as complex and diverse as the people who need and/or desire them. And depending on its industry, a fellowship will follow those particular requirements, rules, and guidelines for applying.

**To learn more about what fellowships are and what they can do for you, check out

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book covers As Art Galleries

Since I'm uploading art on this blog and will upload to my DeviantArt account later this week, I wanted to talk about how book cover art has influenced and continues to influence me to this day.

I don't wish to get into a long discussion but I will split these blog posts into a mini-series by focusing simply on ONE particular science fiction series.

'The Rowan' Anne McCaffrey (pb)
During my community college days, I 'discovered' this paperback in the college bookstore.

These were the days before college/university bookstores were still owned by their schools.

Done by the artist known simply as Romas, his full name is Romas Brandt Kukalis, he has done mostly front covers mostly in the speculative fiction field. As a very young art major, book covers became my art galleries and I not only devoured the stories but also 'ingested' the covers!

Here, what I can only assume are the hardcovers:
(Hardcover version)
(Hardcover version 2)
Dynamic, huh? Still a fan of these covers. The heroine's/shero's strength of character, her superiority/insecurity complexes, the distinction of her authority, the outfit and fashion of her time period, and her potent psychic abilities seemed to radiate from the paper.
Now, why do I speak on this?
 Well... Most of my reading material have become 'classics' and therefore, in need of updating. While I can't complain that books need re-editions and updating like everything else, I'm a little troubled by a lot of contemporary cover art. Back then, different genres had different 'looks', different aesthetics. And while things weren't perfect, and plenty of speculative fictional books were given a bad rap in poor-looking artwork, book covers that didn't tell a story, there were still gems and once you looked at enough bookshelves, you began to tell, even if the book was stuck on the wrong shelf, this was a romance, this was horror, this was a thriller, this was comedy, this was memoir, fantasy, suspense, etc. Nowadays, it seems book cover art is suffering from sameness.

(Updated cover for 'The Rowan')
Take a look at the updated cover art for The Rowan now:
Nice cover. Nice art. Sigh. But I don't feel anything, and if I didn't recognize my late favorite author's name, this would be the cover to any other genre. As an emerging author who may have books published one day, I feel kind of sad that my cover won't be distinct and unique from others. Because, as a new name, I will already have obstacles to get my titles out there, and as a lifetime reader and lover of books, a bland front cover will prove to be another obstacle.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Inktober 2017 - Part 2

Inktober 10/2017

Inktober 10/2017

Inktober 10/2017

Inktober 2017 - Part 1

Doing something different. Will post more than one item per post so my dear readers and visitors can get more bang for their buck!

Note: My years of artwork can be seen on DeviantART. However, since I haven't uploaded these Inktober 2017 pieces yet, they made their debuts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! But you, my readers, can enjoy them here!

Inktober 10/2017
Inktober 10/2017
And as always, leave comments and I'll be sure to respond!*

*Be kind and be professional

I Didn't Forget!

Still owe my viewers my Inktober 2017 submissions! Especially on my DeviantART profile... Well, before I upload my artwork, I'm going to touch on a few recent things:

I am re-working an old idea. A science fiction series from my childhood. The journal designated for this story is halfway done.

I'm also bringing up that I noticed one of my posts about  multicultural elements in one's writing is popular and keeps popping up on the blog's sidelines.

A notable reaction when I showed Inktober for 2017, people appreciated the fact that a lot of the characters were Black, Brown, South-east Asian, and that they had Caribbean/West Indian backgrounds! Sort of sad that this reaction means that we still haven't reached the level of inclusion and diversity within genre fiction, but, we ARE getting there!

Next post will be the first Inktober 2017 submissions!