Why Do Writers Always Go to Coffeeshops?

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I often go to a coffee shop or similar venue to do my writing.

Clichéd, right?  Are you one of those people who always wonder, Why the hell do they come here to write?  Just to show off?  To be a hipster?  What’s the deal?!

Well, I don’t know about everyone else, I just know about me.  And me?  I do it because I need a certain atmosphere to make my magic work.

Okay, I don’t NEED that atmosphere. In fact, I’m trying to train myself NOT to think that I need it. But I do know this: I can’t get jack shit done at home. If my family isn’t interrupting me, I will interrupt myself. There’s always plenty of juicy distractions at home. If I want to get serious and do my damn work, I need to get out of the house.

I have tried locking myself in a nice quiet little study room at the local library.  But that doesn’t work either. Too quiet, too isolated, and I feel bottled up.  My creative juices get stagnant.

So I seek a balance. Somewhere that I can be alone at my little table, but not so alone that I can hear my own heartbeat and get antsy. A coffee shop or restaurant provide a nice mix of the two. And sometimes I even take inspiration from my surroundings to fill in details about people, places or things in what I’m writing at that moment. Hard to do that if you’re locked in a closet all by yourself.

The downside is the rent. Most places don’t want you sucking up table space unless you pay for it. By buying a cup of joe, for example. So there’s a daily cost to doing that.

By the way…

If you’d like to sponsor one such writing session, I’d be happy to provide an avenue for you to do that. You can buy me a mug or drop me a tip or show a tiny token of your appreciation, if you wish, at http://www.paypal.me/JDBrink and sending electronic coins there. Every drop of coffee/cocoa/whatever helps further my work.

So if you do wish to do that, THANK YOU from the bottom of my mug. And heart.

And if you REALLY feel compelled to help out, you can sponsor one cup of coffee a month on an ongoing basis. Check out my Patreon page for details. As little as $1 a month gets you everything I publish, sent straight to you. Plus little monthly tidbits I share to subscribers on my page.

If you are thinking about doing this, THANK YOU each and every month from the bottom of my heart!

By the way, that nifty image above is stolen from a great article I just found while looking for images on The Creativity Post. Very interesting…

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40K Eldar Fire Dragons: Finished Up Painting the Squad

After starting them in July, I finally wrapped up my “Black Phoenix” Aeldari Fire Dragons.  And I’m pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out!

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This probably doesn’t look like 3 months of work.  Because it isn’t.  I stuck to a very basic concept: base colors, wash, highlight, DONE.  And I decided not to get bogged down in the fine details, like painting every little gadget on their belts a different color or whatever.  Kept it simple.  It just took forever because I went weeks between painting sessions.  Still spent plenty of hours on them, but as I did a whole squad, one color at a time, I made pretty good progress.

Still didn’t master dry brushing, which I seem to think would make all this way easier, but hitting the highlights very deliberately instead still worked out well.

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I also considered trying to lay some green plasma looking stuff into the grills of their fusion gun muzzles to match their eyes and give the guns a cool look.  (And tie in another color to bring them together.)  It’s still tempting to try, but I’m also afraid of screwing them up in the process…  (What do you think???)

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It’s funny that they’re done now, because I swam laps yesterday and had a flashback to 2009 or 2010 when I used to think about “How am I going to paint those fire dragons?” to keep my mind occupied while I swam.  And now, like 8 years (!) later, they’re done!  (Actually, I don’t think I had my “dark” aspect warriors built then—it was classic Eldar dragon models at that time.)

Almost finished with my custom Fuegan.  I hollowed out a cloak for him that I have to paint and attach.  His sword I might just keep simple too rather than try to pull off some great magical effect that doesn’t turn out how I want.  We’ll see.

 

Compare and Contrast: 40K Eldar and Painting Theory

After a couple days of 13-hour shifts, I was able today to get back to painting a bit.  It was a beautiful day outside as summer slowly transitions to fall, so I sat out in the backyard and did a little more work on my fire dragons.

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Today I mostly accomplished my yellow highlights.  I ended up mixing two colors together: the fresh new but somewhat brown yellow I have, and the ancient and dried up, but nice and bright yellow I’ve had for years.  So I started out with some water and a toothpick, mixing and mixing a hunk of that old stuff to revitalize it, then mixed it with a little of the base color I used on the helmets and knee pads already.  What you see is the model with a red and yellow base washed with a crimson wash, then the highlights hit one at a time with meticulous, tiny brush strokes.

And I like the way those highlights turned out. They stand out from a distance and make the models pop.

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The guy with the sword will eventually be my customized Fuegan, Phoenix Lord of the Fire Dragons.  Not sure what I want to do with the sword yet.  Thinking of making the blade white and then either some kind of fiery orange glow or maybe even green to go with their eyes.  Instead of the “Fire Ax” it can be the “Dragon’s Claw” (or something like that).  I’m also going to do some white drybrushing over his bony helm and make a dragon hide cloak from fantasy Dark Elf models.  (Oh boy, oh boy!)  That might be green too, so maybe a contrasting blue for the sword blade…?

After applying all the yellows, I started to work my way to the next step of highlighting, but was quickly burning out.  It is a more meticulous effort, after all, and I’d done it for 6 models.  So I was tiring rather quickly now.

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Here you see my female dragon.  She alone has a purple helmet with hair, rather than yellow with bladed fins, so I went ahead and did her purple highlights.  I just mixed the same purple I used as the base color (which was then hit with a blue wash) with a little white.  The brush strokes seemed big to me at first but I think they turned out well.  I especially like this model because she comes out as very much an individual.  All of the squad members are unique, no two heads quite alike.  The female also has a pistol and grenade because I ran out of blaster rifles.  Which is fine—just makes her stand out even more!

Then I went ahead and tried to highlight the red armor.  I had two options: one a lighter but very dynamic red, the other a very orange shade of red with a strong contrast against the washed red armor.  Here you see the results.

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I think he turned out a bit too orange for me.  I envisioned a darker red and yellow combo.  Not really digging the bright orange look.  Might be too much of a contrast with the red underneath.

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So then, after I had already put everything away and dumped my water cup, having decided I was not happy with the orange, I decided to try the other red.  And it doesn’t stand out very well, but I think I like it better.  Thor and I were just commenting that a strong contrast is good on the table, especially if you want models so small to stand out on the tabletop, but…  I think the orange is too much.

What do you think???

The Joy of Painting… Eldar Fire Dragons

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Or is it “Aeldari” now?  I don’t know what that’s about.  (But if I had to guess, I’d say establishing intellectual property rights).

I have been working on these guys off and on since July.  So, mostly “off” I guess.

Today I sat down and spent 2.5 hours on them, and really wanted to keep going.  IT WAS SO DAMN RELAXING.  I had forgotten “the joy of painting.”  With all the stuff going on in my life right now, lots of preparations all just poised to hold for months on end, it was just a huge relief to sit and paint again.  I can’t express how nice that felt.

And on a beautiful day like today, I prefer to sit outside in the shade and do it.  Just being outside is therapeutic for me too.

I prefer the natural light to paint by, too, though it isn’t doing wonders for this photo…  Can’t tell, but that female to the far left has a purple helmet.  (It’ll look better when she’s all done.)

They are coming along nicely, though.  I’m trying something different, something I’ve been talking about but not practicing for a while now.  SIMPLICITY.  I’m intentionally forcing myself NOT to go into the minute details on these guys.  That tiny little thing on their belts?  It doesn’t need to be a different color, no one is going to notice it anyway.  Just leave it and keep painting!

So my plan has been to throw on the base colors (and keep that to just 2 or 3), touch those up nice to get the smooth edges and everything, then wash and highlight and be done!  I’m also striving to be less subtle than I have been with my painting over the past 30+ years.  I’m usually very subtle with my colors and differences, thinking it more realistic.  But the truth is, realistic or not, it makes for some less-than-dynamic looking models.  So I need sharper colors and more contrast.  On these guys, that’ll be more apparent once the highlighting is done.  I’m going to attempt to drybrush most of those brighter edges on, but I’m not very practiced at that technique.  Wish me luck.

In these pictures now, all the base colors and washing is pretty much done.  Now I just have to highlight.  Since I have to work all weekend, this might get done Monday or Tuesday…  And I might even be getting holiday credit on Wednesday (like the 4th of July or Labor Day, now long past), so maybe Wednesday too!

These might not look like your run-of-the-mill Fire Dragons.  I built these guys out of Dark Eldar Warrior parts, mostly, and slavaged as many blasters as I could for fusion weapons.  They look WAY more like thorny dragons than the traditional aspect models.  In fact, I’ve made a lot of my aspect warriors out of Dark Eldar models—cuz the DE are BADASS and the traditional Craft Worlder models are sleek and graceful…  and boring.  I want my craft world to be a rough and tumble place.  My “Black Phoenix” Eldar have been through the ringer and it shows.  My dragons, swooping hawks, dark reapers, warp spiders, and lancers (the jetbike aspect…  Can’t think of what they’re called, probably becuz the models are so lame) are all going to be DE models, and therefore look a lot fiercer on the battle field.  I guess the only ones I like are the dire avengers (and as much as I love those guys, they always let me down on performance), scorpions (who never let me down!), and banshees.  And I’ve considered making my own banshees, too.  Wyches with the right heads might work well…  (Except for being half naked.)

Actually, I saw some of the new fantasy Wych Elves and they are dynamic as hell.  If I could get some masked heads they would look really cool charging down the field.

So I hope to be finishing this squad soon (not used to painting a squad at a time either, one color at a time, but it’s been fun), and then move on to more models.  I have made this b=hobby a low priority for the last few years, but really, had I realized what a stress reliever it is, I wouldn’t have marginalized it as I have.

Going forward, this will be a higher priority for me.  It’s healthy, damn it! 🙂

More next week!

Still Working on New Life — Some Reading While You Wait

While you wait for what?  I don’t know.  Sounded good when I typed it.

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Most of my time is being put into planning out the next chapter of my and my family’s lives.  I know anticipate leaving Japan in mid-January and 10 days later be effectively out of the Navy.  (Or at least on terminal leave.)  There’s a lot to figure out, and it isn’t easy when you’re thousands of miles away.

In the meantime, here’s a new ebook bundle with two of my books in it!  You can find it and links to your favorite retailers by clicking here.

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Book Bundle Mania

fullboxset-xI actually have SEVEN book bundles going at the moment.

That’s something like 100 books you can buy for whatever chump change happens to be in your pocket!  

Of course, you don’t have to buy them all!  There are different bundles grouped together by genre and theme.  Mysteries, scary stuff, sci-fi, superheroes, and more.

What is a “book bundle”?  It’s when multiple stories and/or novels from multiple authors with a common theme or genre all band together to offer you a big burst of books for super cheap.  And they’re available on several book retail sites, whether you prefer Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, what-have-you.

The following bundles have my books in them:

Finding the Detectives

Capes, Masks, and Spandex

Crimes, Capers, and Rule-Breakers

Heroic Tales

Out of This World

Summer in the City 

Duty, Honor, Country

There may even be one or two more with my stuff still floating around from last year.

But you can browse all the current bundles at BundleRabbit.com by clicking here. 

(Updated on OCT 26 — I now have SEVEN bundles, not SIX. Duty, Honor, Country, baby!)