04 December 2012

Firefly Announcement

I am happy to announce that Firefly by Belle Whittington is finally completed and sent off to its editor. This means that very soon the cover will be revealed and book trailer will be announced. How exciting!

27 November 2012

Thanksgiving and Vampires

Belle Whittington on Thanksgiving 2012A lot of readers have written my mother asking about our Thanksgiving. I find it very curious how many people overseas are so intrigued by traditional American Thanksgivings. It's not particularly anything I would think about, since I've celebrated the holiday my whole life. To sum it all up, Americans get together with their families eat an ungodly amount of food, and bicker. 

The truth of the matter is, many cultures and religions have a harvest celebration. Thanksgiving happens to be the American (and Canadian) version. There is a lot of debate on what the first Thanksgiving entailed. Let's just say it involved pilgrims, puritans, and Native Americans. You can read about the traditional Thanksgiving story that most Americans learn in school here. Typical food served is roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing (or "stuffing"), yams, various vegetables or casseroles, and pumpkin pie.

This year our family had a very special Thanksgiving. The whole family attended, plus a few of our friends. We arrived at my aunt's house early (around 10 AM) to help prepare the food. Most of us were in and out of the kitchen, each working on our own dishes. I went easy this year and just made a pistachio pudding salad. We had roasted chicken, yams, green beans with potatoes, gravy, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, cranberry salad, carrots with honey, corn, salad, fruit, and.... well, a whole bunch of stuff I can't remember. We ate at around 12:30 PM, then just sat around and talked. Later Panda and I found some cards and inspired some people to play Crazy 8 for the rest of the night. It was loads of fun.

Panda was kind enough to take pictures!




Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell A Novel by Susanna Clarke
Currently, I'm reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke with The Viking (who has not read it). It's a rather long novel and this is my second time reading it. It's taking me a little longer to read it just because it's been difficult to concentrate, especially since I'm run down with a horribad cold (thanks to mom). So, since I'm being slow and lazy and all together a whiny sea slug with a cold, I'm watching Vampire Diaries instead.

That's right, I know this is Books and Broomsticks, but I'm sick and addicted to a TV show, so we're going to talk about that right now. I realize that this is also a book series. I don't naturally gravitate towards vampire books or movies. I think I read the first two Twilight books before realizing the series wasn't really my cup of tea. I was spoiled on Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Christopher Pike, and Stephen King as a teenager; to me vampires shouldn't be romantic, they should be horrifying.

But, I'm also known for taking on a guilty pleasure or twelve. Let's call the show a guilty pleasure. I'm watching season one on Netflix. It seems pretty run of the mill vampire drama and romance. Sort of a teenage version of True Blood, but hey... I love True Blood, so not too bad. In fact, my mother has read all of the Sookie Stackhouse series and she's even met Charlaine Harris (apparently they got on famously). I tried to read the books, but I did so in the middle of a semester and that turned out to not work out so well. In fact, I took to reading them out loud to Panda when we lived in the dorms together, but we got a rather passive-aggressive note slid under our door in response. Apparently, I'm a loud reader.

Warning: The following contains spoilers of the Vampire Diaries season 1. Read with caution.

17 November 2012

How to Develop Your Artistic Style

I started dA back in 2006 doing simple digital photography. I had never taken a class and I had no knowledge on photography. My only formal training in art has been in water colour and pastels. These days I’m into photomanipulation. How did I get into it? Simple: deviantArt.

You’ve probably heard many people calling dA a wonderful community. It is, but it’s so much more than a community. DeviantArt is an art school. Yes, there are people who sign up and then put up masterpieces of work, but if you dig deeper into the community you see something amazing: progress. This is what makes dA great. To me, deviantArt has been my art school. I’ve learned from so many deviants on so many different forms of expression. And I’ve made friends.

There are some complaints about dA. Those are usually found in any community. Things usually based around generated artwork. (Too much anime/anthro/myspace shots and so on.) I think a majority of these complaints could be cut down by simply encouraging artists to find their own style; I know, groundbreaking.

dA introduces a variety of styles and techniques to us all, but many times an artist is blinded by trying to emulate (and sometimes immolate :omfg:) what they’ve seen others do. This results in hundreds of deviations that all look like each other. Sadly, many of these make the front page and it starts the cycle all over again. So here is the main point of this article: one way to become popular on deviantArt is to develop your own style.

Tips on Developing your Style

1. Enjoy and study other pieces of art, not just on deviantArt. Learn from this work, don't copy it.

Never underestimate a day to the museum and never underestimate other art forms. Being an artist is like being a growing tree. You start out as a sapling focusing on one art form, but you grow and develop all different sorts of artistic "branches". If you're a photographer, spend some time studying sculpting. You never know what you'll learn from another form of art that you can incorporate into your own work.

2. Carry a small notebook with you. Write down things you see or think of that inspire you.

You never know when inspiration will hit. I've always carried a notebook around with me ever since I was a kid (and a fanatic about Harriet the Spy). It wasn't until this year that I realized the full potential my notebooks had. The one I carry now is the size of my hand. It's filled with quotes, play ideas, poems, and short scenes I've seen or dreamt up.

Using a notebook is also another way to get rid of writer's block, especially if you're used to typing. A notebook forces the writer to get more "physically intimate" :flirty: if you will, with his or her work. It's an excellent way to form new methods to outline one's ideas and organize your writing.