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Kicking the Habit

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I have to swear something off today, because I realize it’s not good for me. In fact, it’s bad. It’s real bad.

I’m swearing off funding campaigns, specifically through Kickstarter. At least for now.

Why? you don’t ask. Why do that? Are you crazy? It’s free money!

Actually what was once a good thing has become the breeding ground for predators and spammers. It’s a time sucking money-wasting black hole of empty promises. And I fell for it most recently, all because I wanted to make some cute kitty charms and please the world.

In the past few weeks I’ve seen some crazy funded campaigns. For example on Gofundme, I saw a little dog earn enough to pay off my car because he did what any dog will do: defending against another dog’s attack. Enough. To. Pay. Off. My. Damn. Car.

My husband rants daily about this one guy who wanted to make lasagna. If you pledged to support him, he sent you a photo of him making lasagna. He made enough to pay off my car, get it converted to run on hybrid fuel, and put solar paneling on my house.

Since I started my Kickstarter I’ve spent $250 I didn’t really have. This means I made enough to … well. I have bounced checks right now. I made enough to bounce some checks.

I’ve also gotten various emails from people promising me funding if I just spend $300 dollars with them. Today I got an email from someone who owns a domain, and would I be interested in buying it? They found me on Kickstarter. And I am realizing that when it comes to Kickstarter, folks are missing the point. And yes, I know. You have to spend money to make money. But in my case, I spent money and now I’m losing more money.

The issue with me running any campaign is I don’t have what other people have.

1. I don’t have money, which ironically is the point to me running a campaign. The truth is for $200 I could have just made the charms and not lost $250 and precious time on this campaign. But, I reasoned when I started it, I really wanted to make charms and have people to send them to. Also, I hoped I would make $20,000+ like other charm makers I’ve seen on Kickstarter.

2. I don’t have the right “star talent”, apparently. Oh come on, you and I both know it. I’m forward and sarcastic. And my art is unique… and what this means is it probably won’t even be appreciated after I’m dead. No cookie cutters for me, nuh uh. Which means I ain’t winning any popularity contests anytime soon.

3. Speaking of popularity, I’m also lacking in that department. Sure I tweeted and Facebooked. I even paid folks $5 to tweet for me. The result? I got ignored. I was even ignored by family – and let me tell you it sure smarts to see how that aunt donated to that other cause over there while my husband and I are wondering how we’re going to pay the waterbill when it comes. But you know what smarted even more? When folks I tweeted and facebooked for on numerous occasions for their cause ignored mine. That really stunk. Compound that with the fact I have maybe 20 people on my close list and only 400 on my twitter reach, and yeah. Barely anyone knows about my campaign, and that’s how it’s going to stay.

4. It doesn’t help that if your campaign isn’t successful, Kickstarter buries it. That’s right. My campaign wasn’t easily found, which had that going against it, while the successful campaigns that clearly didn’t need the promotion were, well, promoted. Hardly seems fair, does it.

This will be my 7th failed campaign. A long time ago when I was trying to get one of my comics funded, a reader emailed me privately and wondered why it is that if a man is trying to publish a comic he makes thousands in support. But consistently he notices that women get ignored. I had no answer for him because I wasn’t sure I trusted the observation. Well, I did a test today. I changed my gofundme campaign from “please help me write stories” to “I’m a soldier and I’m broke please help” with my husband’s photo. Within a few hours, guess what got retweeted more than the entire time it’s been out under me? Yeah. And wow.

Well. My husband is coming home in a few weeks, and when that happens we’ll be out his income. And my work has slowed crazy down to the point the bill collectors call me all day long. So I’ve decided to do another little experiment. I’ve started taking websites down. It might not be permanent… I’m just seeing if there’s really anybody out there who gives a damn. Or is it really the way the reviews I read on Amazon make it out to be: everyone wants me to put out for free. And I gotta wonder, if this is the case.. .is it because I’m a woman?

Ignoring that my work sucks, that is…

But it is kind of weird that the only time we managed to make it was for a book I said my husband wrote. The truth of that matter? I wrote the book. My husband wrote a short essay and called it a day. I took that essay and turned it into a book complete with scores of research, editorial comments, and illustrations. It was 90% me, baby.

Which leads me to another experiment I’m planning with my pen name, Keenum Spear. But for that to happen I would have to have funding so I could get to the point where I could offer the product finished. It’s a vicious cycle, one I desperately want out of. I’m tired of this rat race for literally nothing. It only makes me fat, ugly and discouraged. It’s not right I tell you. It’s wrong. It’s all wrong.Well, we’ll see what happens from here.But dayum. Enough to pay off my car.

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I See A Red Door

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I am a married woman in love. My husband is aware of this romance; how I pass by the object of my affection daily, sometimes even walking through it. He has bore the brunt of my rage when he managed to harm it, and even today knows that this object of my desire is red. Red with passion. Red with creativity. Red because I painted it that way.

I absolutely love my front door.

As you know, my husband and I don’t get the amount of money the federal government is convinced we get. So when it comes to things like furniture, clothes, and fixing up our fixer-upper we have to get more than creative. We have to be beggars. I’m too fat to shop at Goodwill without crying anymore, but my husband’s wardrobe is made up of exclusive Goodwill fashion. My daughter’s bedroom ensemble was a perfectly good bunk bed set we’d found at the dump. And the new front door to our house is antique. And I love it because it is so.

The Craigslist Door, in it's original form.

The Craigslist Door, in it’s original form.

We got it off of Craigslist about five years ago, right before we moved to Fort Polk. It was for free, and I really wanted a new door to the house. So we tied it to the top of our car and drove it home that way. I’m surprised we didn’t get a ticket, to be honest. It was stored in the garage to wait for the day I could have time and money to do what needed to be done. And then we went away.

That’s when the tornado hit, and things were damaged. Moved, shunted, cut down without my permission, and left to rot because I couldn’t come back – not and be forced to leave my daughter behind when she was still in school. Through it all the door waited silently in the garage for our return.

The original door and the condemning X.

The original door and the condemning X.

So, I returned a couple of months ago to a house that was still standing but not sporting the door that was waiting in the garage. Rather, the house still wore the plain front door I meant to replace. Except that plain front door was painted with a big, ugly green x – an x I had never been told was there. An x that basically told the neighborhood our house was condemned. The neighbors told me that x had been there all these years. I think we’re lucky we weren’t fined for it, even though it was the city’s fault being as they’re the ones that put it there trying to convince the government that dead people, over 600 trees ripped from the ground, and entire neighborhoods of obliterated houses did indeed quality as a natural disaster.

It was past time to put the Craigslist door in it’s place.

This meant taking the old paint off, sanding it, cleaning it, loving it. The need pushed us into a three day journey exploring this door’s heart and soul. It had been through some tough times, our door. Part of the wood was so water damaged because of a poor doorknob installation it was warped. There were nails holding bits together while weakening the wood at the same time. There were small gauges, nails in random places, and two extra layers of paint it originally was not meant to have.

But also there were five panels, sturdy interlocking construction, and a need to be used the way it was meant to be used: as a door. As a gateway to our home. The jolly portal to our hearts and minds. This door had been hurt, but it was not a lost cause. Not to me it wasn’t. No. I understood where it had been all too well.
So with Pestilence’s and the roommate’s help, we began the arduous task of taking off the layers of paint. This is, in my opinion, always the most tedious part of these types of projects. After a day, mostly thanks to the roommate, there soon stood by the garage door a beautiful piece of wood construction. It wasn’t oak. It wasn’t cherry wood. Come to think of it, we realized, how old WAS this door?

Pestilence painting the door frame as we prepare for The Hanging. Loki, the dog, looks on while not making a run for freedom by some "my dog is trained' miracle.

Pestilence painting the door frame as we prepare for The Hanging. Loki, the dog, looks on while not making a run for freedom by some “my dog is trained’ miracle.

I think I researched doors for hours upon hours. The first thing I figured out was that, according to the door’s construction and lack of fiberglass, my precious door was not just any door. It was an antique.

I had to start narrowing times down. I was pretty sure it wasn’t Victorian – I’ve seen those doors. They’re thin and taunt you with their ability to eat chocolate and continue to look good in a corset. Poking at images of colonial doors didn’t show a match. This moved me up to the Roaring Twenties, which produced images of doors that were near perfect except one problem: the glass. Turns out clear glass such as the kind our door proudly sports didn’t happen until somewhere near the early 40′s, late 30′s. There was also a second problem: door sizes weren’t standardized to the dimensions we use today until about the late 1930′s.

Going to the 50′s not only steered me away from the five panel look of our door, it stepped spades away from the way the door was constructed.  So there I had it. Our door was from sometime in the 1940′s.

With an era narrowed down I was able to pinpoint it’s actual type: a  bungalow. According to this website, bungalow door construction actually was replaced with modern door construction somewhere around the 1940′s. My poor baby, to have its sturdy construction cast away like that for some new fangled and (IMHO) ugly fad!

Now that I had my door’s age, the rest just fell in place. My fabulous door is made from heart pine, which is harder and more sturdy than the soft knotty pine used today. Apparently in the old days, up until about the 1950′s, tree farms allowed their pine trees to grow a lot bigger than they do now. The most interior wood harvested from these massive trunks was harder and more sturdy, and thus was called “heart pine” because it came from the tree’s heart. My door not only represented a way of manufacture no longer in use, it represented a growth of quality no longer in use.

My door was cut to fit an older door knob set. That was probably the hardest part to handle (pun not intended). I looked at some gorgeous door knob replications online, but alas… $100 is too much. $50 is too much. We had to settle for a cheap set at the local hardware store.

Heart pine is beautiful when stained and varnished properly, but that was not to be for our door – not that I was going to go with that look. There were too many bruises and gashes on the darling. And besides, I had always wanted a red front door ever since I was told as a child that red was traditional. I didn’t know what red meant, I just knew I liked the idea. And that is why our door was painted red.

So I had a red door with shiny brand new replica door knob and hinges waiting to go. There was one more detail to take care of, though- something I had planned years ago. The three panels of glass needed some oomph. I decided to paint the middle panel to resemble stained glass.

Our phoenix thunderbird. I mixed the elements of both worlds in its design, making sure to include medicine wheels and fire. Because who doesn't love fire?

Our phoenix thunderbird. I mixed the elements of both worlds in its design, making sure to include medicine wheels and fire. Because who doesn’t love fire?

But what to put there? It needed to be something that could represent all sides of our home and temple. Something that touched on what we both brought into the house. My husband, being the let-me-just-give-my-wife-even-MORE-work type of guy that he is, suggested a full blown scene with (of course) a dragon and a knight… because don’t you know his Native American wife’s half would of COURSE bring in a White guy fighting a European monster. -_- I almost painted feathers and White-Man-Eating wolves just to show him better for that.

Ultimately we decided on a thunderbird – the kind that can also be considered a phoenix. It just seemed the most universal way of showing that he and I both live here, that we both rose from the ashes of abuse and ruin to find one another. How fitting that our door, which also had risen from the ashes, should speak the tail through mythological metaphor.

We found brass decorative corners, the kind that are meant to protect your door from scuffs. We examined door guards and hinges. Things we knew the door could appreciate. And then, when we had it as ready as our very limited finances would allow, Pestilence hung it in place. The house breathed a sigh of life. It no longer looked condemned.

The cable/internet guy was coming to the house for a line redo shortly after we had it hung. He asked me, “Is your house the one with the weird front door?”

Great googly moogly. Weird door? After working on the door for over a week straight, I didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t worth arguing over, so I didn’t, but yet even before my journey through this door’s past began I could tell it was something old and special. And not because I hold a minor in history. If you open your eyes and look around, you can soon figure out that some things aren’t… I dunno… soulless.

Shortly thereafter during The Hanging of the Door, my husband managed to splinter the fragile wood where the nails had been. Tragic! And see Loki, still not escaping....

Shortly thereafter during The Hanging of the Door, my husband managed to splinter the fragile wood where the nails had been. Tragic! And see Loki, still not escaping….

It’s not a weird door. It’s a fantastic, passionate and gorgeous piece of artwork.

It speaks of a time when quality meant something. When even wood for construction, like wine, was not served until it was time. It was hand crafted and built to be a sturdy door that could withstand the battering of the elements and keep going.

It had seen some significant moments in history. There was probably a war going on when it was born… at the very least it came to life when the social status of women in America was changing irrevocably away from “barefoot in the kitchen”.  It had been abused and then thrown away after that. It knew intimately the pain of being taken for granted.

It had been rescued by a pair of kindred spirits who scraped away the grime of time and pulled out the thorny nails. They whispered passion back into the grain of its wood, they filled the holes and covered the warped and weakened areas. They gave it color, and then placed the story of all their lives in the center view. And they loved.

Do you know the meaning of a red front door? I didn’t either until I started to write this post.

Our door means “welcome”.

Our door means we are protected from tragedy.

And apparently our door means our mortgage is paid up – or at least it would if we were in Scotland. We are not in Scotland.

I love my door. Sure it’s easily 30 years older than my house, but it’s pretty there where it hangs.. although I have to admit my door project isn’t complete just yet. I’m looking for certain brass fixings to shore up the door jam. It looks like I’ll need them to be custom made. So far I haven’t found anyone willing to do the job.

And it needs weather stripping on the interior. In fact, our electric bill swears we really need weather stripping. When the door is completely finished I’ll show it off some more. =^-^=

But that is the story of my love affair with a door. And how the most common place of things can be truly meaningful, if you stop to think about it.

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ADT Update

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

#businesstoavoid

So I finally found where to file a formal complaint against ADT. I got a new bill today and with it being three months past due, there’s still no sign of shut off. I sent them letters and then there’s that bill I wrote all over. (And about to be another one with things written all over it.)

 

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More About 10 Confessions

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Zoe's new look thanks to DAZ's new way of breaking shader purchases. Cowlick to be added later when I figure that part out.

Zoe’s new look thanks to DAZ’s new way of breaking shader purchases. Cowlick to be added later when I figure that part out.

I’m sure you already know that 10 Confessions has been brought to a complete standstill by what I thought were further hardware failures. Weeks upon weeks later, many fightings to get my renders to look how they used to, and hundreds of explorations and experimentations later I had to accept it wasn’t Charlie. It was DAZ 3D and their latest stupid update, and the fact that toon renders seem to be very low on their totem pole. Where “realistic” lighting used to work before, it doesn’t now. And with pwtoon, despite the website saying it’s compatible, simple lighting is chancy at best.

If you’re not sure what I’m saying, then let me sum it up: DAZ broke my toy with their stupid update. It’s been weeks and months and the toy has never been fixed. 10 Confessions has suffered.

I’ve had to think of another way to make 10 Confessions – and let me tell you I’m sore unhappy with this development. But DAZ is free, and you get what you pay for. And speaking of what you pay for, something I’ve been coveting went on sale last night so it was bought for the sake of 10 Confessions: a manga shader.

It’s risky switching to this shader because I am seriously considering saving to purchase Poser at some point and switching some of my renders to it. Poser is more stable and people make my sort of  complaint less, you see. But they don’t have a manga shader.

So here I am working along, learning this new method. I’m almost there, which is good because I’m SO FUCKING TIRED OF BEING STUCK AT CHAPTER TWO. And there is one good thing about switching to this shader: I’ve been trying to imitate a manga like look since 10 began. It is now achieved on a level I am definitely happy with. See image.

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Wyrms

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

My husband’s little brother has moved in with us and he brought two puppies.

I warned him that if he came with those puppies, they would become my puppies. And so far, they kind of are. Since they arrived I have literally spent all night until dawn tending to said puppies. I have also spent other parts of my waking hours helping with the puppies, although I have to admit the little brother has helped some.

Said puppies have worms. I’ve been planning to deworm them, but I worried they were too young. I decided when the diarrhea passed from the inevitable change of diet by coming there, that would be the death time to worms. It looks like the worms have taken matters into their own uuuh… can I say worms have hands? and are working very hard to gross me out. That is all you need to know about that. I am grossed out. Severely grossed out. I can’t even leave my office right now. I’m sitting here waiting for 3 AM, when the room mate wakes up, so I can beg for her help. I have literally run out of the house retching at least once. Seriously, this is gross.

Another amusing anecdote. A study was done and the top ten corrupted states in America were announced in a list. Some official sounding thing in Hong Kong was part of the study. I don’t remember the particulars. What I do remember is Louisiana was #2 on the list. Not shocked. Illinois is #4 on the list. Man, I’m screwed.

And The Demonkeeper’s Daughter is dying to be written and read. But I worked on Heavenly Bride tonight; I have a schedule to keep. And work to do.

Please send me offerings of chocolate so that I may create for you.

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The Demonkeeper’s Daughter debut

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been thinking about serializing my current novel project for quite some time. I had tried that with another project a long time ago and had to give it up: no readers, no time, no nothing. It just wasn’t working.

But The Demonkeeper’s Daughter I poke at from time to time. Not a lot… but enough. I’ve been fleshing characters (as you saw when I posted the beatsheet) and various other things. And I’ve been considering Wattpad.com for it.

I’ve decided I’ll give it a try. If the story gets readers and feedback, I’ll begin to set aside regular time to post on a firm schedule. If not, well… I’ll write as finances allow. Because unfortunately for me, personal creation literally depends on readership support. Damn those bills and their mean billiness.

And of course The Heavenly Bride must always be handled first….

So let me introduce to you The Demonkeeper’s Daughter. Chapter One is ready for you to read. I’m asking you, my pups, to please spread the word and help make this a success. Make it worth my time. It’s free, and it will remain up and free until I complete it.

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Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Some people are just brats.

BUT… BUT… I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE COLOR TAN IS! OR HOW TO TRAIN A DOG TO STAY INDOORS! AND I CAN’T TELL TIME!!!!!
Photo courtesy of Holly Chaffin at publicdomainpictures.net

Okay, so… if you ask me to illustrate your children’s book or draw your comic book I’m probably going to turn you down. Despite that I had an insane moment where I agreed to illustrate someone’s books a few years ago after they literally begged me in more than one email. I doubt I’ll ever do that again.

Always before it’s been a time matter. And a sickly matter. 1. I work a lot and don’t have the time for a new project. 2. I’m sickly a lot that keeps me from having the time for a new project. Or really any project. I’ve only been working as much as I have been in the past couple of years because our family didn’t have a choice but for me to literally fall asleep at the desk and never have time for myself much less anybody else. We’ve been living empty hand to starving mouth for a while.

Then there’s the golden #3. Back when I thought I wanted to be a children’s book illustrated, many moons ago, I soon learned that authors are the worst control freaks that ever walked the face of the earth next to professional chefs. One client actually suggested I drive an hour and half to his home every day and sit at his kitchen table and draw there so he could tell me if I’m getting it right. Brrr.

So when the client with the children’s books offered me a larger sum than before to work more full time, I said sure. This of course meant I was going to have to give up one of my jobs, but I was okay with that. I’ve been wanting a life change for a while now. I’m restless. And I was obligated to her first. Seriously it was taking me like a year to illustrate 29 little pages. Crazy, huh. I don’t think I need to reiterate the sickness, which had me in the emergency room more than once over the past couple of years as well as walking angrily out of the doctor’s office when they refused to take my problem seriously. And here I will magnificently avoid the accompanying rant about how stupid army doctors are that think “drink water” is the magic cure for everything. And I won’t start talking about the solution my husband finally found a few months ago: apple cider and grapefruit seed extract. I will mention it, however, as it is important to this post.

I couldn’t just drop everything and run to her books full time. I was clear about that. She was offering less than what I normally make in a month. I had to plot carefully. Part of my plot? To literally give my ebook cover and formatting business away to someone else. I had three people in my life who all said they wanted it.

Mkay. The first wouldn’t get her life in order and literally made me wait months to pass her portion on to her. The second, who complains daily about how badly she gets treated at McDonald’s, still can’t get her ass out of the clouds and get to work. She honestly thinks she can only work on Saturdays and that would be enough. She genuinely can’t seem to grasp this is a real job. And the last one? She wasn’t available before but she has stepped up now. The problem? She can only work part-time at the most. Honest to the gods, I’ve come close to simply shutting everything down and disappearing more than once. I’m not sure why I hung in there, to be honest. I guess because this thing I’ve built is a real career, and it’s hard to just close something like that down. You’d rather see it live in someone else’s arms.

Still. The client asked for full time and this meant getting rid of my business. There’s only so many hours in the day. And I picked up the pace on the art.

Enter her children’s book publisher, located somewhere around the Wisconsin area. Near my tribe anyway. Old guy, used to be a CEO of another publishing company, claims to know everything about publishing books as well as writing computer programs. His first reaction to me as the artist? Kick me out, he told the client. I didn’t have an art degree and knew nothing about what I was doing. His reaction when meeting me and seeing my daughter’s art? To belittle me in front of my daughter in a Skype call because I didn’t have an art degree and knew nothing about what I was doing. The way he has reacted over the past two years? To make it difficult for me, use me, and work in the background to cut me.

For examples: 1. He had me draw an entire series of illustrations for a music book. When I told him I could do the guitar tabs in layers so the art could be done faster, he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about (even though he supposedly knew more about art than I did) and got testy about it. To this day I have not been paid for all 50+ images. 2. His ftp system decided to stop letting people log in to deliver artwork. I asked him for help on numerous occasions to which he told me it was my fault not his. Meanwhile the client was telling me she couldn’t get in either. I suggested I ask my older brother, who does things for a living, for help and he got irate. It was weeks before I finally could sign in to deliver anything. 3. I asked him on numerous times could I please have a password I could remember. I never got an answer, so it was weeks… etc. 4. He apparently was pushing the client to get rid of me all this time. She came to me more than once boasting about how she was sticking by me. 5. Told my daughter point blank she didn’t need to be working with me. She needed to be working with an experienced team who knew what they were doing. Etc.

Oh yes, I bet those children’s books he puts out are just full of love and sunshine.

And my client? She was patient, which I thought was wonderful. My husband and I found some answers on how to change our diet when living in a region filled with nothing but disgusting Monsanto food and I started to get better. We discovered the apple cider vinegar and grapefruit seed extract solution and I got even better. For the first time in years I was starting to feel like my old self again, and this meant I was producing more sketches for the client even past having to take on extra commissions because of that whole mess with the electric company charging us 3 times our normal electric rate for several months straight. I was working long hours, but she was seeing stuff done.

She had been so reasonable over the years, however, and she had said often “my illustration notes are just guidelines. You can draw what you feel and I know you’ll do what’s good for the story.” Which is what I was doing all along for three books now, even through the ones where my daughter drew (what I told her to cuz she was always stumped) and I colored them. For this last book I presented a storyboard – a new concept to her – with pages of thumbnails I had taken time carefully considering to think up for the look of her book. My goal? To make this next book even MORE professional looking, more bright, more engaging for the kids, etc. I was giving away my business and going full time like she had asked me to, and by the gods this book was going to have my 200% effort.

My mistake, I think, was expecting her to trust me to know my job. But, please refer to reason #3…

Here’s where it gets kind of stupid. I mean there I am with $400 plus light bills, having to skip car payments, going in circles, and still no end in sight on finding someone serious enough to take up my job and yet I’m still producing artwork at a faster pace. Two months into the project, when I had just about all the pages sketched and ready to be sent for approval, she sends me this angry email wondering where her art was because I apparently wasn’t working at all. It was uncharacteristic of her, so I sent her what I had and brushed it off. I had not thought to send her the pictures one by one to get approved because they already had been approved in the storyboard. The next step was for her to get the batch, go over them, and make changes then. The publisher had made himself completely inaccessible at this point so it was just me and her, the way it was before he had come along, so okay. Here’s your art lady.

She approved them every one.

This is great because I work very linearly. In order for me to feel comfortable finalizing, say, illustration #2 I have to have illustration #1 passed. This is because the story works like a movie in my head, and if you change anything in #1 that might affect #2 and so on. Best to go linear. It’s less work that way. Off I went on a coloring spree. And sketches for the rest spree.

I set myself a goal. Because I was being forced to abandon house and home due to the ridiculous utility prices I wanted to get her all of her colored artwork by my moving date. I sent her colors and told her of my deadline, which was only a week away.

She rejected them all based on the fact that illustration #5 didn’t match page #5 and things like that. This is because they’re numbered according to the storyboard I told her. To which she responded she didn’t like them at all. There were some she liked, but most she didn’t… and all the ones she rejected were ones she had approved before.

This put me back to square one because I clearly had a client who didn’t know how to read her own book, look at a picture, and go “I see, the cat is jumping. And in my story on page four the cat is jumping… they must go together.” I mean, even if she couldn’t handle the storyboard there was that. She started a real argument with me, too, and it didn’t matter how many times I said okay this is just a misunderstanding she was hot on my case. So I told her fine, we’ll go back to square one. This means I won’t make my deadline, but there’s no way to help it. I did what I could and on the fateful day, I moved with an unfinished project packed in the car.

It took me four months to get that far. And on the way back home I lost some of the project, which set me even further back. But with hardly any furniture, most of my office still in Louisiana, and a computer with a dead video card I carried forward in the name of her books. Two months later I was looking at redrawn sketches and once again being close to completion. I was putting out stuff in record time. Two months! I know folks out there might think that’s slow, but let’s see YOU crank out an entire book overnight while working on commissions, moving, unpacking, dealing with crap around the house, and yes… falling very very very ill because you came home to a very very nasty unkept house.

A few days ago I sent her some more artwork. Four pieces to be exact.  I was excited when I sent them. I was thinking… if I could keep my groove up maybe I could be done by the end of the month. Now that I was home and my business was being sent to the others, I was finding myself with more and more time; the kind of time illustrations could get done in. I was even starting to rearrange my finances to compensate for the cut in pay.

I got an email back firing me. “This isn’t working,” she said. I go too slow.

Sigh.

Yeah I got angry.. I wasn’t shaking mad, but I also didn’t feel comfortable not standing up for myself. I set aside my professionalism (not as easy as it sounds) and told her directly what for. Seriously enough is enough. You give up your entire company and rework your entire lifestyle for someone and when you finally have it set to go and you’re going at a good clip, they dump you? Yeah, hell no. If she was going to dump me she needed to do it sooner when it really WASN’T working. Or better yet, hire another artist like she had asked to do more than one occasion and I had suggested. I even sent people her way that wanted work.

The professional thing to do would have been to let me finish this book while she hired out for someone else. It also would not have resulted in me taking the rights to my artwork, flipping her a bird, and putting her back on square one just to let her know how it felt. She was forcing me to ignore the storyboard and do clip-art amateur type stuff anyway. It was going to be an ugly book.

The resulting three emails are kind of a blur, to be honest. I didn’t study her responses because I didn’t feel the need to respect any excuses and bullshit she might have to offer. The highlights I noticed were:

  1.  She was sorry I was angry but I was just too slow and the books had to be done.
  2.  She didn’t ask me to give up my company.
  3.  She asked me to work full time because she “assumed the artwork would go faster”.
  4. She went back through and read all of our emails and somehow she was sure this put her in the right.
  5. She didn’t reject all of the illustrations. Just five of them. #1 was the first… #2… etc. One was rejected (in the sketch phase) because I drew the dog at the front door (not the patio, never-mind I’ve seen patio doors that look like front doors my whole life) and the door was open.Didn’t I know that if the door was left open the dog would have run away never to be found omfg the horror?

Seriously, what can you say to stupid shit like that except… what are you fucking stupid? Maybe I’m getting a little harsh here, but it takes some kind of stupid to argue with such flimsy shit as that. Here is why.

Don’t care that she was sorry. If I cared I wouldn’t have told her in so many polite words that she belonged on a bicycle in the Wizard of Oz. I mean, I wouldn’t have made it clear that the only reason why her book wasn’t done was because she had rejected the artwork that had been approved of beforehand.

How many hours does she think artists have in a day anyway? Or maybe she’s one of those idiots that thinks working at home isn’t work. If Joe Schmoe is asked to take a full time job with the Medieval Masturbators of America but he already has a full time job with Jealous Jellies while moonlighting at Poles R Us, he will have to choose. And that choice would mean quitting something. It literally can be no different for me.

The art WAS going faster. And it was speeding up the better I got things established all along. So I’m going to have to guess she somehow got sucked into a fairy time vortex where they kept her prisoner for years until finally releasing her back on Earth, and this left her confused and unable to tell time.

Please see my statement about not moving on to finish #2 until #1 done ad infinitum.

She didn’t respond to my last scathing email; the one that told her that by the way the color tan? That color she literally yelled at me over? (I chose a tan color based on a photo of her dog. She wanted TAN because the book said TAN didn’t I know what TAN was?? And attached an illustration.) Yeah, that tan. NEWSFLASH! THERE ARE A THOUSAND DIFFERENT FUCKING SHADES OF TAN!!!

And by the way, I wrapped up with, she didn’t have permission to use my artwork. So she could ask how to pay me all she wanted. I didn’t want her money. Maybe money is the center of her universe like it is with so many people in this country, but it’s not for me. And because of that fundamental difference, when they offer me money it never ever mollifies me. If my bills are paid I’m good. If you’re not paying my bills and are dicking me over, if you leave I’m good.

And that, dear friends, is another nail in the “fuck being an illustrator” coffin. Thank you, but no. Just no. I’ve given it a go more than once, and fate has different things in store for me. Mkay.

And to be honest I put the woman from my mind. You see, Louisiana had a new scandal for our little family. Our tax payment bounced with the bank (we’re not sure why there was 3 times the needed amount in there), so Pestilence called them a few weeks ago. They told him to wait for it to be presented again. So we’ve been waiting.

We finally got a letter telling us we had never bothered to pay, so here was a new amount we owed them complete with fines that made the price bigger. Pestilence called and they told him they’d tried to present the check a 2nd time on the 6th and it bounced. So we called the bank. The bank was like, they’re dumb. So Pestilence called back. And the story changed. Suddenly they claimed they never told us to wait, never told us they were going to present a second time, and did NOT present the check a second time (mysterious date fact what??) and we had to pay them a fine AND it needed to be over the internet.

Let’s couple this with the IRS, who took our tax payment last year as well as sent us paperwork and things acknowledging receipt of our tax forms, claiming we never sent them jack and wanting us to send it again.

And then looking at how we were treated before I left Louisiana.

And yeah. Coincidence? Probably not. It probably became public knowledge that I don’t agree with current government policy on a variety of subjects. Or. I’m not White enough. Or Black enough. Take your wildest guess. I’ve seen a lot of strange shit.

I dunno. I’m not friends with Alex Jones and not special enough to get people backing me up to stop this sort of government bullying that has been a problem for thousands of families for years and has only gotten worse in the past 8 years. I honestly feel if we all stood against it and said enough is enough, kind of like with the Bundy Ranch a few months ago, there’d be a change. Instead of what clearly looks like a stack of cards against me that someone is preparing to push over… for no other crime than being self employed and alive.

The stupidest part of this that drives me crazy; the part that people don’t have to stand for but do? “We prefer debit cards and credit payments. No cash. We discourage checks. Okay yes, thank you for bleating little sheep… now we have to charge you a fee for paying us with debit or credit on top of the fee you just paid…”

 

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AMVs anybody?

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

bunnyI’ve been busy handling things that aren’t paying job items today. Fun fun! For example, one of the cats brought home a week old bunny last night. I spent a good portion of the day getting him to a shelter willing to fight for his life. Then I did some gardening, to my housemate’s dismay being as this means I forced her to participate. And then I came inside because I have a date with my husband, if we can swing the finances, to see Maleficent sort of together. Sort of in that he’s still stuck in Louisiana so we’re just gonna see the movie at the same time and call each other later. We hope. We may have to postpone that one.

So sitting here trying to detox and get my energy back, my mind naturally turns to two music video projects I’ve been planning for a couple of years now. Both have been on hold because I simply couldn’t find any footage for them. (Talk about frustrating.) But I may have found an answer. So I sit, and I poke at things, and naturally my mind turns to anime music videos – which I used to do and even won awards for. And man do I wish I had time to do them again.

I should like to do another amv because I find them a bit of a challenge. And they’re excellent marketing for the parts involved. Some of the best animes I’ve bought or paid money to see were discovered by amv. A large collection of my music was discovered and paid for because of amv. Hell, I’d love it if someone would use my stuff like that. Just give me credit! Cuz free marketing. I’m down with that.

So I think I’ll post my pathetic four starting with the first I ever did that one first place in the contest I submitted it for. It was made before Code Geass became legal in the states. The musicians originally had it knocked down off the web, but as the popularity for the song waned they elected to put it up again arbitrarily with a lead going back to their website and where to buy the song. (That was surprising.) But you know, this video has gotten a lot of recognition so yeah. At last someone recognizes the merit of word of mouth.

I’m just proud of it because I didn’t have a video card. So I literally made it computer blind. I’d count the beats on the song meter, count the measurements of the footage, and place. Tweak, render, count. Count, count, place.

Tags:

ADT – a #businesstoavoid

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I’m sick and tired of being pushed around by the phone and alarm companies, which I have been since I got home.

I wanted a better line. The phone company gave it to me, sort of. They also ran a new jack into my wall placed right in front of my phone book drawer in the kitchen, the one with all of my important information such as alarm passwords I should need. It is now hell to open the drawer.

Then they charged us twice the quoted price for their work and left me with a phone that didn’t ring at the receiver. No, oh no…it rang THROUGH the alarm box. ALL DAY LONG because for years now our number has been listed in the phone book as the number to our phone company, not to us.

I tried to get it fixed. They sent someone who complained very loudly the entire time that he didn’t know about alarm systems, was not trained to handle alarm systems, and left me with a mess.

Fine. Call the alarm company. They helped me to fix the box, but not before my husband shut off the phone line being as we’re pretty unhappy with the way we’ve been dicked around by the phone company. The lady was nice and was even willing to help me close my account if need be, but I chose not to because I thought all was well. Except the phone is down, so… I call back. To close the account for now.

See this house is riddled with phone line after phone line after phone line where various phone companies have come in and compounded on the mess every time something was installed. Rerun lines through already set paths? Not tangle things? Not create a mess that we, the customer, have to unravel each and every time? Forget about it. So our great and wonderful plan *was* to shut things off until my husband finally came home for good, which should be any week now we hope. (It’s in the VA’s hands.) Then we’re going to rip out all of the lines, get the 20+ year mess cleaned out, and run shiny new cables ourselves (he can do that). Then we were going to turn things back on.

But after being pushed around for the final time today, I can only say fuck it. Sure I’m going to have my shiny new lines. But if I can it *wont’* be with the companies that have pushed us around. Because not only would our phone/internet idiots not fix things right the first and second time they came, I’m not getting the speed I’m paying for. And the alarm people? Yeah. They want passwords from me from five damn years ago, which I don’t have anymore thanks to a certain housekeeper having just about everything shipped to me when I was in Louisiana. Including the contents of the phone book drawer. (I still remember how pissed I was when I found those articles in a box as I was unpacking.) If I don’t have the password, they tell me, how about names from my emergency contact list… which I wouldn’t have made except under duress because I don’t *have* anyone I can add to such a list so no, I’m not going to remember. Well then I have to find a fax machine (the closest I can use is over an hour away) to fax them a notice to a number I wasn’t going to get.

How about, I finally said as I’m quite fed up with this drama, I just stop paying the bill and you guys will cut me off eventually?

Not a wise choice, the person on the other end who very clearly was taking a “strong” stance against me, but I could also do it that way. But she’ll have it sent to collections.

So? I asked.

Seriously, I think that’s the stupidest threat you can try to levy against anyone. It will be sent to collections… and so?? First of all, okay so you send something to collections. Oh no. I pay it. Second of all, it doesn’t matter if I pay it to you or pay it to collections it still will get paid… except it’s a lose situation for YOU because you only get a partial cut of what I’m paying where I’m paying the same as I would pay before. Thirdly, I personally don’t give a fuck if you send it to collections or not because – this is important – I’m not allowed credit because I’m SELF-EMPLOYED.

That’s right. I’ve been refused credit again and again in the past seven years because I’m self-employed. This is the reason on all of my rejection letters. My income level does not matter. Proof I pay my bills does not matter. The fact that I’ve been paying the same credit cards monthly like clockwork for over ten years does not matter. So I’m just not sure how such a threat is supposed to sway me to want to do business with you?

Oh wait, ha ha, it doesn’t.

When I think of their services over the years, it’s not like it’s done me any good. The times the alarm needed to sound, a power outage stopped it. Or the call wasn’t made. The only times the cops have been alerted was when we did something accidentally. Yeah. Years of paying out for nothing. Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll find a better company (but not the one the dispatcher at our phone company apparently runs, as the service guy told me ADT customers are pushed around by the phone company on purpose to make us switch.).

And that was my adventure today with ADT, the alarm company, that now has a payment-less bill waiting to go out. The check I had written for it is shredded to pieces and rests in my wastebasket. And on the bill it says very clearly that I want the account closed. And if not paying the bill will get me what I want, then so be it. And they can forget about my business in the future.

When the account is finally closed, I’ll pay the bill. That simple.

It is a major point of irritation to me that in the name of safety and security I have to go through such actions. They verified who I was, I shouldn’t need this crap. This was the crap a certain bank gave me AFTER I’d went into their office to close my account before moving up here the first time. I had to go to Chicago, they told me, now that I had moved if I wanted the account closed… all because they didn’t follow through the first time. I had to allow the account to go into arrears, get closed, and then pay it out. That’s what I HAD to do because, in the name of security, they held my credit hostage.

Fuck this noise. FUCK IT! And if everyone else would say the same, this bullying would STOP.

#businesstoavoid

Seriously.

Tags:

Molasses

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I just spent over 12 hours trying to generate five little panels for 10 Confessions.

I am beyond frustrated.

That is all.

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