Monday, March 30, 2015

The Dark Ice Chronicles: Jay Cross, T-Shirt Model

In the absence of any further ideas, I found the same old Dylan O'Brien pic which I used to draw my teenage Tony Stark and used it as the basis for the first solo sketch of Jay Cross. And since I was high on mocha and peanut butter cookies at the time, I decided to dress him up in a Penny Tee like on iCarly. The result is below.

I couldn't resist that slogan - and now I wanna make Jay wear one in the story!

Next up - Evan and Harris taking up Penny Tee modeling as well!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rinmaru Avatars, Part 4: Dark Ice Chronicles Supporting Characters

It's been a long time coming, but at last, here they are, the supporting kid characters from The Dark Ice Chronicles in Rinmaru avatar form!

Kevin's more beefy than this.
But hey, I got him holding that ice cream cone.

Adele's looking quite excited today.

And Rachel is just glowing. :)

Jeremy Cross, the little rascal.

Henley, looking deviously smart.

Michelle has too much hair to manage.

Morgan showing his inner geek.

Aimee's flower is for Harris, of course.
Those who are caught up know why it's purple.

Enjoy! And await my next actual drawing, most likely a solo sketch of Jay. :)

Versatile Blogger Award

I've been nominated by Megan @ Books of Fascination for this award I've never heard of before, until now - being so new to the blogosphere. Thanks a million, Megan! :D

-Nominate 15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging.
-Let the bloggers know that you have nominated them.
-Share random 10 facts about yourself.
-Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
-Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to display on your blog.

My own nominations:

* Natasha @ Natasha's Little World
* B.R. Myers
* Tia Jenkins @ Read It Write Now!
* Selia @ Griffin&Snowflake

And...oh God. I don't know anyone else! I fail at blogging! :(

Oh well. I tried.

But I'll still do the 10 Random Facts, starting right now! And I'll do eleven bonus facts to make up for my inability to tag enough people! So, in total, 21 Facts, one for each of my years of age!

1) I once put on Panic! At The Disco and got my dad to do some air-guitaring. (The song in question: "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage.")
2) I'm half Maltese, so you can imagine my reaction when I learned there was such a candy as Maltesers. :)
3) I'm also quarter-Italian. Which, as I always like to say, makes me more Italian than half the cast of Jersey Shore put together.
4) My first fandom was Harry Potter. I've never looked back.
5) According to Pottermore, I'm a Gryffindor.
6) I love chocolate cake, but not the German kind. Coconuts... *shudder*
7) Me and my dad, we love to spoil-but-not-spoil Mockingjay for my sister. A bit of revenge for her constant sporking of Peeta (and, to a lesser extent, Gale.) For example, my dad asked after seeing Mockingjay Part I, "Wait, doesn't she kill the president yet?" And I automatically said, "No, she doesn't do that, remember?" To which my sister said, "Aww, great, now I know she doesn't kill President Snow!" And then my dad and I looked all conspiratorial, 'cause we never specified which president (Snow or Coin) we were talking about! :D
8) As for The Hunger Games, most tests tell me I'm District 3.
9) If anyone tells me I'm cute, my automatic response is to disagree.
10) My ideal world would have the following features: Red Rain and Night Shift being published for real, The Amazing Spider-Man being part of the MCU from the start so Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone wouldn't get replaced, the Pacific Northwest providing excess rainwater to drought-stricken California, snow in the Bay Area every winter, and a delivery of lava cake ice cream to my door each weekend.
11) I'm thoroughly Divergent.
12) My favorite way to piss off my dad - watch Once Upon A Time in front of him.
13) My favorite way to piss off my mom - sing a song in front of her. Any song.
14) My favorite way to piss off my sister - beg her to stop watching Honest Trailers.
15) House Stark all the way! :D
16) I could never live in a coffee-free world. So upon watching Mockingjay Part I, for a moment, I actually felt Effie's pain.
17) The Beygency will always be after me. Thank God they don't exist...right? *glances around shiftily*
18) In my headcanon, Stiles' first name is Casimir.
19) My dad thinks cutting chips out of my diet will give me clearer skin. Next time a certain Drake and Josh 'sode comes on, I'll have to show him proof that his evil plan will fail miserably.
20) I'm American, but my favorite swear word is "bloody hell!" :D
21) There was a time when I wanted my first kiss to be Tori Vega. I'm still waiting...

Well, that's it. A few nominations, and 21 Random Facts! :D

Review: The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one got a little boring at times, just enough to knock it down a star for me. What a shame, though - it was such a unique little steampunk fantasy action tale. :D

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rinmaru Avatars, Part 3: Red Rain and Blue Monday Supporting Characters

I made so many of these avatars yesterday, it's not even funny. So, here they are, the major supporting cast of Red Rain!

Luca fancies himself a bit of a gamer.

MJ hair, Gwen Stacy eyes - that's Dani for you.

Rachel has a bunny. Your opinion is invalid.

I promise, Paul isn't really this thin.

Aron, however, very much is as thin as depicted.

Steve's favorite toy - the double orange knives.

Yeah, I put Cameron Monaghan in the cast list,
but the resemblance between TJ and Ian still shocks me.

I didn't really think Penny was a Goth before, but now...

Kyle Prado <3's you. Especially if you're Gabe.

Ryan isn't supposed to look like me.
He's supposed to look like Andrew Garfield.

I wish Annie could have gotten a guitar too.

Coming soon: Dark Ice Chronicles supporting character avatars! :D

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rinmaru Avatars, Part 2: The Dark Ice Chronicles Protags

Presenting my second round of Rinmaru Avatars, based on my three most important Dark Ice Chronicles characters - Jay, Evan, and Harris!

If I'd realized I could do hoodies before,
I'd have given my own avatar one.

It wouldn't let me do a single braid, sadly.

That fang-y necklace is now part of his gear.
And that's canon - now, and forever. ;)

I should really stop making these avatars - but I can't! I think next up, I'll be doing some of my neglected Red Rain characters, like Luca and Dani.

Rinmaru Avatars, Part 1: Enhanced Self-Portrait and Red Rain Protags

I've been seeing these adorable anime avatars popping up on the intarwubs lately, and I eventually discovered their source - Rinmaru's Anime Avatar Creator. So, late last night, instead of putting up the finished product of Chapter 13 of The Scalers like I should have (because I was too sleepy to do anything else while listening to the Corner Booth's first video), I decided to fool around a bit with it, and created avatars not only of myself, but of my three most important Red Rain characters - Alex, Gabe, and Fionna.

So, in that order, here they are:

I even gave myself the wings, just 'cause. :)

You can't see it, but he's wearing a Reese's shirt.

Gabe could be a little blonder, maybe.

Her wings aren't actually that big, BTW.

Well, that's it for now. Next up, a set of Dark Ice Chronicles avatars! These will hopefully help you guys pass the time until I get back to making my own drawings.

Review: Through to You

Through to You
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one was short, but crazy intense - especially in the final 25 pages or so, when the major twist was revealed at last. Holy God, if anyone saw that coming, they must be psychic beyond psychic.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: The Shadow Cabinet

The Shadow Cabinet
The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'd been wondering for a while when Johnson was gonna put this one out. And I think it's safe to say the long wait was worth it, because this is the best book yet in this series. Yes, better than Jack the Ripper, we have what basically amounts to England's version of a Jim Jones suicide-type cult. Except, in this 'verse, death ain't quite so permanent.

Thank God there's gonna be a Book 4. :)

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dammit Wattpad, Stop Changing The Story Layout!

As many of my fellow Wattpadders will no doubt have noticed, lately the site's been rolling out another round of cosmetic surgeries. This time, it's the space in which we read the stories that has been affected. I suppose it was inevitable, after the much-despised "Twitterization" of the profile pages, and the elimination of the double-genre system in favor of a single-genre system that apparently would have made it easier to find stories. As someone who believes strongly in the power of genre-busting, I'm still pissed about that one, and even more pissed that my attempt to start a petition to reverse it didn't take off.

Neither do I, Professor.
Now Wattpad's gone and done it again, and this time, I'm really just...ugh, I'm almost too pissed off for words. They've gone and repeatedly screwed up the layout of the stories. And I mean repeatedly - in the last several days, they seem to have changed the layout at least once every twelve hours.

Rube's a breakfast aficionado. I'm more of a writer myself.

First, they made it so that instead of having the stories split up into several pages as needed, now the pages load automatically as soon as you come to the end of one. Which might seem good for convenience's sake, but when you want to scroll down and leave a comment about something you particularly liked, it means you have to scroll all the way down over and over again as all those pages load up, then go back up slowly and painfully as you try to remember the place where you left off.

Mr. Finch is right.
The execution of this good premise totally sucks.

In addition, there are these annoying, useless ads that pop up in between pages. It was bad enough that Wattpad had to put randomly talking ads on the sides of story pages, in between our cast lists and recommendations list. But to make them so much more ridiculously prominent, and further detract from the Wattpad reading experience?

Understatement of the month.

And now the crème de la rotten crème - they've gone and taken a pet peeve of mine and applied it to everyone's stories as far as my eye has seen. I've sometimes found people with really wonky formatting on their stories, where for some reason they have no spaces between paragraphs. This results in a nigh-illegible wall of text that's really, really hard on the eyes.

Every story I've seen in the last several days has this now. Every. Single. Fucking. One.

Cumberbatch's face, doing things no
human face was meant to do.

The worst part of it is, if the text as it appears when you edit the story is anything to go by, this issue shouldn't even be happening. I will now present you with a vision of what Red Rain looks like in Wattpad's editor, from Chapter 10:

I had to make this picture extra-large so you guys could see it properly.

Looks fine, right? Exactly like what we're used to seeing it. But now here's the steaming hot pile of scheiße the current story layout turns the same text into:

If you turn it sideways, it almost resembles an EKG readout. Or the Matrix without the Sickly Green Glow.

In addition to losing the nice, neat full-justified text, the lack of spaces between paragraphs just turns this glorious little convo into a bloody mess. I wouldn't read the story like this if it were published in a weighty little hardcover someday (and I'm still hoping it will be, despite the continued lack of agent interest, but let's not open upthat wound). And if some lazy-ass publisher tried to do that, I'd yank whatever deal I had with them and take my business elsewhere. I wouldn't allow my readers to read something I wouldn't read myself. Would you?

The funny thing is, barely twenty-four hours ago, the story layout had the opposite problem with the paragraph spacing. There was too much of it. It looked like instead of skipping one line between paragraphs, everyone had skipped three. (If I had any screenshots of this to show you, I would do so immediately. Of course, I didn't think I would need to take such screenshots this time yesterday...) My guess? Whoever does the coding for Wattpad's design and layout must have noticed this little problem and overcorrected for it.

Also the result of overcorrecting: stuff like this.

Or perhaps whoever's doing the design work decided to have a childish phase and experiment with the code until people got pissed at them.

I was gonna use Cat from Victorious for this,
but the pic I found wasn't GIF-y enough

Whatever the reason, I'm not the only one who's gotten pissed about this. So, if you're reading this and you want to join me, let me know and I'll add your name to this little petition. I'll start with my own name, of course, and hopefully add more in the coming days until Wattpad finally makes a change for the better.


Remember: Denis Leary is always watching. Always.

Edit (3-23-15): Today, after publishing Chapter 13 of The Scalers, I discovered that Wattpad has fixed the spacing issue that got me so riled up before. Now the spacing is completely back to normal, for which I am grateful. But I still wish Wattpad would eliminate the auto-loading page thing.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sleepy Hollow: You Never Forget Your First Time

In honor of the recent third-season renewal of Sleepy Hollow, I've made a fancomic of one of my favorite moments from the show - the scene where Ichabod has his first espresso.

As an Italian (quarter-Italian, anyway) and avid espresso drinker, I'm offended by his initial statement. But then when he changes his tune...uh-huh, that's much more like it! :D

I'm on spring break for the next week, which also means my drawings will be on hiatus. I promise, there will be a fresh sketch of one of my characters by April Fool's Day, though! :D

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Teen She-Wolf: Hunter Renard

My Teen Wolf fanfic, Teen She-Wolf, wouldn't be the same without the assistance of my #1 Wattpad fan, @SkiesAfterRain. I have to give her some credit for helping me come up with the idea of this original character: Hunter Renard. He's a teenage werelynx looking for love, cuddles, and balls upon balls of yarn to play with 'cause he's got the soul of a kitty cat. Also, he's British, he looks like the Flash (not that you can tell from the drawing), and he'll shamelessly flirt with any guy or girl.

Fun fact - the werelynx drawing got compared to the Cheshire cat while it was being sketched. :D

Next up - a little bit of Sleepy Hollow fanart to celebrate the show's fresh third-season renewal!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Deadpool Syndrome: The Girls

Last time, the guys of Deadpool Syndrome got to play on a page for my pencil. Now, it's the girls' day in the sun!

From left to right: Honey Lemon, Maggie Carter, Skye, Gwen Stacy, Natasha Romanoff, Sif Surtsen, and Ginny Potts.

Next on the schedule: a sketch of my Teen She-Wolf original character, Hunter Renard. :D

Review: Innocent Darkness

Innocent Darkness
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one reads like a pretty wild little cross between The Iron Fey, The Infernal Devices, Shatter Me, and The Demon's Lexicon (the latter complete with references to Christina Rosetti and her famous "Goblin Market" poem.) The best part, though, is the surprisingly unique setting and genre - West Coast steampunk fantasy. If only the payoff was as five-star as the concept - but while the book lagged at times, the characters were still very engaging (especially Noli and V. They're too good together.)

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: Blood Infernal

Blood Infernal
Blood Infernal by James Rollins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The end of the trilogy already? Well, that sucks. But that's okay.

Yes, I'm rating this one five stars in advance, 'cause it's gotta be just that awesome. I just hope I don't really have to wait till December 2015...

Review: Well, it looks like this one may well and truly be the end of the trilogy. Sure, there's easily potential for further adventures, but after that ending... Let's face it, that's the most original ending in this genre I've ever seen. Nobody's thought to redeem a fictional Lucifer like that, I'm sure.

And along the way, of course, there was nothing short of the typical Rollins high action and high adventure. Not to mention my favorite part of reading these types of stories - major history-bending. I'm a sucker for that, and the Sanguines Trilogy is no exception.

With that being said, I hereby bid this amazing - and amazingly underrated - series ave atque vale!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Guys of Deadpool Syndrome

As promised, here's my artwork of the Deadpool Syndrome guys.

On the far left, we got Hiro and Tadashi with Baymax, of course. Peter's hanging upside down 'cause that's whatever a spider can, and the rest are all looking quite teenaged. Hawkeye looks like a younger Bono, Cap's got a scarf (if you can't tell), I ended up cutting off part of Stark's hair, and as for Thor, he's not flying. Stark "volunteered" him as a testing dummy for Peter's webshooters, as well as Hiro's microbot body armor (which explains why his chest is so unusually thick-looking, and also why he's the only organic being not smiling.)

Next up, the girls! :D

Monday, March 9, 2015

Night Shift: Daniel and Mary

The amazing B.R. Myers cannot seem to get her wild and crazy and amazing Night Shift Trilogy published and sold in bookstores all over the world like it deserves. (There's a reason why, in the Red Rain and Dark Ice Chronicles 'verse, it's been published officially so Alex, Fionna, Jay, Evan, etc. don't have to go to Wattpad in order to read it. Sometimes, fiction is better than reality.)

But, for now, it's available on Wattpad for all to read. The first two books (Night Shift and Black Friday) are finished, with the third, Final Sale, now in progress. And, in celebration of the beginning of the end of this series, I have created what may be the world's first-ever fanart of Myers' lead characters, Daniel and Mary.

In one hand, they each hold one of the Willard's keys. In the other hand, invisible to the viewer, they each hold a chocolate.

Also, with apologies to Ms. Myers - while I went back to the first book to make sure I got the details of Mary's appearance right, I apparently failed to notice she'd added a cast list to her story, with Emily Browning as Mary. I, however, modeled my version of Mary on Teresa Palmer.

Enjoy! Next up, the boys of Deadpool Syndrome - Peter, Clint, Tony, Steve, Hiro, Tadashi, and of course Baymax. :D

Friday, March 6, 2015

Alex In Mourning

Continuing on my brief trend of capturing my characters at depressing moments in my drawings, here we have the latest - Alex Snow after a loved one has died.

For those of you wondering which loved one it is...well, you'll have to read Red Rain first, 'cause I can't spoil it for you.

Next up on the artwork schedule - Daniel and Mary from Night Shift, by the wickedly talented B.R. Myers!

Review: Burning Nation

Burning Nation
Burning Nation by Trent Reedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second part of the Divided We Fall Trilogy really slams on the gas pedal as far as action goes. Which makes sense, because now the Second Civil War has begun in earnest, and we're not just playing kid games anymore. Between the guerrilla fighting, terrorist-esque tactics used by the "good guys," and of course the waterboarding and other assorted forms of torture, it's easy to forget this is supposed to be Twenty Minutes Into The Future. It instead feels like Twenty Minutes Into The Past, back to the time of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Just one more book to go...why is it not already here?

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