Monday, August 1, 2016

New Work - August 1st

Another month came and went soooooooo quickly!

I wanted to give you all a quick update on the writing of "The Ledgerkeers",  the book of short stories I am creating built around the world of the Bewildering Pine. It is going so well right now and I am currently fleshing out a bout 20 different short tales with another 10 or so to go. The challenge is in trying to create lots of little vignettes about the folk, commerce and daily life while hinting at a darker undertone to the Pine's distant (and future) history that I hope will lead to a full fledged novel later on down the road.

Right now I am still hitting the 750 words a day writing goal, 6 days a week!

I also stumbled upon a delightful writing podcast called "Writing Excuses" which has also been a huge help just to keep the brain thinking and working on all sorts of aspects of the process. I highly recommend it. It's 15 minutes per podcast so it takes just a bit of time each day. and the backlog of shows is well over a hundred episodes so there are topics from worldbuilding to pacing to dialogue to descriptive details . . . and you know I am LOVING the details! Always the fun is in the details.

I just ordered a few books, one called "Dirty Old London" that I used an online excerpt from for a story to help flesh out my bake-house / tart cart scene. It was so detailed and brought the early victorian era to life. I am amused by the thought of an entire book on Victorian London's filth and the ways they tried to keep it in check as well as the underside of what we think of as the romantic aspects of that life. I may only use a half dozen details from a book like that but each of them is a true little gem for bringing a world alive!

And finally. . . setting a larger goal, I just booked my trip home to Pennsylvania in February on the Amtrak train. It's a 2 1/2 day trip and I am looking forward to it because, this year, I got a sleeper car for the longest leg of it from Portland to Chicago and back as well. I intend to spend most of that time finishing the final drafts for the stories for the book. I'll have a tiny room to myself and all my dining car meals paid for and I can just focus on editing, reading and watching scenery. This trip gives me a definite goal to have the first drafts and first revisions done by the time I leave.

I've also decided that, once done, I am going to print and hand-bind the first 25 or so copies here, maybe more, we'll see.  I have the flame-throwing Epson 3880 printer to do heavy duty canvas  paper cover work and page layout so I may end up just doing them by hand all around while I shop it for publication.

Of course, I realize I still have to think about illustration, map printing, cover art etc etc etc  So maybe February is a bit ambitious but we'll see. . .

Now, as for August, here are some new pieces I finished the last few days. I had one of my tiny houses featured in the Home/Living/Terrarium section of the Etsy email a week or so ago and it's been CRAZY!

I decided to begin making even tinier houses as I know a lot of terrariums are too small for some of my regular fairy houses. So these cuties may be just the thing for the very tiny indoor garden fae who need the smallest of dwellings!
The houses on the left and right are just 1 1/2" tall!

And these are meant to evoke some of the Venice, Italy color and style in tiny, tiny scale too!

Little Fairy Garden figures for the wee gardener. :)

That's a Hob above, a Brownie here and a Nisse below

I've been working on transferring some illustration skills to these little figures, just simple lines and forms and not too much unnecessary detail. It's working well I think!

I showed you my first dragon a few months ago and here is the next, her name is Roxo (purple in Portuguese )

And I am getting more elaborate with some of the bases on a few statues in Shadow of the Sphinx.
Anubis looks rather pleased to be perched there. :)
Well, that's the news for now. A busy month ahead again with the start of stocking for the holidays. On the calendar is the making of 20 Fairy Houses on Stars and a range of stand alone towers and houses too.

I can't believe i only posted twice last month. . . I hope to have more consistency this month and I look so forward to seeing your lovely comments and thoughts here, as always!

Thank you!!


  1. The Ledgerkeepers will be a real treasure indeed. I feel privileged to read about the process behind it as it is written. Your Amtrak journey seems like just the ticket to focus on more writing for your book. How exciting for you, Nicolas!

    Dirty Old London sounds like an interesting read. I have always been a bit of a history buff. It was one of my favourite subjects in high school. I think the fact that we had an amazing teacher who brought history to life in our minds was a big part of it. Very true that the harsher realities of yesteryear are often romanticised or left out altogether in novels.

    You are very talented to get so much detail in those tiny houses...amazing! Congratulations on having them featured in the ETSY email. Such lovely, sculpted pieces as always and Roxo is adorable! I can see why you are going to be a busy bee over the coming months.

    Have a creative and inspiring week,

    1. Thank you Serena! I feel like I could get lost in historical books too and, like you , I can trace it back to one person, my 4th grade history teacher, who made it seem vital and alive. We never covered subjects like the dirty aspects of cities like London or New York, but he really went above and beyond in sharing what he knew about the day to day life of the times we studied. Asking us to "Imagine if you were. . . " and I recall, one parent teacher night, when I was being pigeon-holed as a "good student" who "talks too much" by most of my other teachers, he told my mother, "I wish I had 100 more students like him." :)

      And yes, I can read about cartography, ancient rome, dirty London, ancient food production etc etc all with the same desire to learn and to glean something from it for my own stories. . . and I get lost in those worlds and those details stick with me long afterwards too. :)

      Thank you for coming by and commenting and have a lovely week there as well Serena!

    2. OH, what a lovely comment from your history teacher! He sounds very much like my own history teacher. She helped us live it in our minds which made the learning part fun. We are very similar in our love for information/history books, Nicolas. :)

  2. So true about the fun being in the details. Sometimes it's thinking about them that pushes me through the necessary boring bits.

    Have you watched the Victorian Farm series? There's a bunch of them (Edwardian, Wartime, Tudor, Pharmacy, Bakery) and they give a really good insight into everyday life and practical issues faced by regular people in different periods. It's fascinating, fun and an easy watch. Ruth Goodman is an absolute joy to watch. I'm sure you'd discover an inspiring something or other in there.

    1. Nichola!!! No, I had never heard of the Victorian Farm series but I am ON IT! :) Thank you!!!

      And ahhh the details. . . I agree, it gets me thru a lot of the tedious times. I can get lost for hours just looking for little ideas to add here and there in all of my creations. A tiny broom, a little bucket with sparkly "water" in it, a wee lantern etc etc. You know. . . :)

      Thank you so much for dropping by and taking a peek at my blog! It's always a joy to have your comments here!

  3. I am so happy for you that the writing is coming easy! Well actually that is not what you said, but i assume it must be, since you sound excited and are achieving your daily goal...
    It sounds like your background world building time really is paying off making the whole writing now come easier! Yeah! And i think your plan sounds sooooo heavenly, writing in a sleeper car all to yourself. I am sure not everyone would feel this way but to me that would be heaven.

    Printing yourself is probably a good plan. I just have never found a reasonably priced way, but maybe i haven't spent enough time researching too. Good luck with it ALL!

    I really love those tiny houses! It is amazing you can get that much detail in 1 1/2 inch. So very wonderful! And congrats on the etsy feature!

    1. Andrea, Well, it's easy in the sense that it is all first draft and I quickly got myself past the point of editing as I go as if the words were going to be in stone. lol Letting go of that ideal helped a lot and, I also found it easy to slip the narratives I wanted to tell from my own childhood experiences into this world. I've tried to save descriptive text and the such for later in the process.

      The printer was a major investment 5 years ago. . . and it's a monster (size wise it prints up to 17x22)! But it was so I could print my own photography and digital art. It's paid for itself over the years as I also was printing other folks artwork which actually is what "paid" for it. Now I only print my work and one of my good friends prints and art cards. That more than pays for the ink and paper so I feel like it's a tool I should use more.

      And I am looking forward to the train! Going thru Idaho. Montana and the Dakotas in mid-winter will be awesome!

      Thank you for dropping by! :)

  4. Oh how fantastic! You are on a roll, fire coming out the back of your shoes (or fingers, should I say). Nothing stopping you now. It's so great you are putting your talent on the table and committing to it. Increments are the best way - some days you might find you write more than others, and that's ok too right! And hand binding! :O Hey I came across a book recently called 'Do the Work'by Steven Pressfield. It's a short book, you can read it in less than an hour or even less than that. Someone recommended it to me and well I was impressed, it's a no BS slap in the face if you need it and so great, when the dark face of resistance comes up to greet you when you really want to write. It will have every excuse in the book for you not to do what you really want to do. I think most of us are built similarly. ---- Also you train trip, love the sound of that, nothing like zooming through the countryside on a train. You have created little masterpiece creatures once again. You have all your fingers in the right sockets, it seems - I love it! <3

    1. Louise! I will look into that book for certain! Thank you.

      Yes, increments and yet more into the stream. . . as Joseph Campbell said; "Eternity is not a long time; rather, it is another dimension. It is that dimension to which time-thinking shuts us. And so there never was a creation. Rather, there is a continuous creating going on. This energy is pouring into every cell of our being right now, every board and brick of the buildings we sit in, every grain of sand and wisp of wind."

      I've always felt timeless, at least when I was alone or in situations where I could be allowed to live as such. I always avoided appointments, dates, schedules, calendars, marking time etc etc. . . all the linear time thinking that makes it a constant forward progress when I've always seen time as cyclical, eternal like the quote above, and when I am in THAT zone, fingers in THOSE sockets, it feels like anything is possible and it's just the matter of doing with no deadlines, end games or restrictions. Hard to balance but, the more I find that space, the better things seem to go and the less I feel under pressure to "achieve". . . and more connected to that source. :)

  5. I am so excited for your book! Everything is going amazing! Sounds wonderful! And, a trip home, by the train! I am so happy for you Nicolas, everything is rolling for you! Your new items are amazing!! I can't believe how small those houses are! WOW! I love all your pieces!! That dragon is so cool!! Congrats on the Etsy feature!!! Hugs :)

    1. Thank you Stacy! It's hectic and a juggling act but I love the process and I am having so much fun with all of my pursuits. :)

  6. Your miniature pieces are amazing! It sounds like you are making serious progress on your book, it sounds fascinating.

  7. Thank you Lisa! I appreciate you coming by and commenting!I'll keep updating the book and sharing excerpts over time too. :)