Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Twitter

Every family is holy

The Artdog Quote of the Week

The “quote” is a little harder to see in this week’s Quote of the Week. It is “Every Family is Holy,” the theme of a campaign created last summer by Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, IN (Vice President Pence’s home state).

The Trump Administration may no longer be separating families and caging children, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that the Christmas story in the Bible tells us Mary and Joseph (who may or may not have been pooralthough pastors all through my life have made a point of emphasizing that they were) had to go pay taxes and register, then couldn’t find any safe place to stay but a barn. That can’t have been their most positive family story to share.

The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone (1304–06, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua) By © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro /, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52228577

After that, on reliable intelligence, they fled in terror to Egypt from persecution. Again, those with a political agenda will point out that they weren’t technically refugees, in part because no such definition existed at the time. However, if you apply today’s definition they certainly were.

My point in bringing all of this up for today’s Christmas Eve post is deeply grounded in my own Christian faith (so be warned)No matter how hard you proof-text, it’s really hard to dance around the fact that today’s so-called Christian Right often espouses harsh, judgmental, and all-too-frequently-racist positions, in stark opposition to the message of inclusion that Jesus taught. You have every right to disagree with me, but you’re not going to change my mind on this. And I–thanks to the First Amendment–have every right to say something about it.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Ryan Liggett’s Twitter post for the first embedded Twitter image in this post, and to Christ Church Cathedral of Indianapolis’s Twitter post, for the second. Giotto’s Flight into Egypt is courtesy of Wikipedia and José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro. Many thanks to all!

A screen-grab from Lara's video on how to support small artists.

Seven great ways to support small artists

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post for a longer time than I expected (because of my crazy life–it’s not Lara’s fault!). I went to her presentation at MALCon/Westercon in Denver last July and immediately knew I wanted to share it on this blog.

She’s created an 11-minute video that covers most of this information, so if you prefer to get your information that way, check it out at the link above.

A screen-grab from Lara's video stands in for the original video embed.
Lara’s 11-minute video is packed with excellent advice. (You Tube).

In her presentation, as in the video, she outlined seven excellent ways to help small artists thrive. Her advice goes for all sorts of creative types. She herself is a musician, but her advice applies for artists in many fields. That includes musicians, actors, dancers, crafters, visual artists, comics-creators, and writers.

How to Support Small Artists!

by Losing Lara

In this day and age with FacebookTwitterYouTube, and so much more, it is incredibly easy to create art and put it up online. Whether you are a musician, writer, or traditional artist the world is your oyster as long as you have a stable internet connection. What seems to be increasingly difficult is being a consumer of said art.

Day after day we are inundated with some new piece of entertainment and it can be hard to know what’s the best way to really support the people and art that we love. As a YouTuberwriter, and musician, I have found that my friends and family are surprised when I tell them even the simplest (and free) ways that they can support me.

Because of this I have made a YouTube video, a convention panel that I have presented multiple times, and now a blog post. With the help of artists in several different mediums, we have seven tips that you can help support the small artist in your life.

1 – Participation

This is the easiest step of them all. Even better, it’s free!  If you see a post online that is some sort of interest to you, whether you know the artist or like the subject, then click on it!

Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Soundcloud link, or takes you to a personal website, click on it. That is one more number added to an artist’s closely-studied metrics. The higher the numbers are, the more successful an artist. It starts with you!

You might think that your one view doesn’t matter. But in the grand scheme, every little bit counts!

2 – Go to Shows!

This feeds into participation. Because without an audience, it wouldn’t be much of a show.  A lot of times, this can be free too!

If your writer friend has a book reading at a local bookstore? Your friend is performing in an open mic?  Free art gallery exhibit? Check them all out!

Even if you can’t buy anything from the artist/bookstore/gallery, just be there. Seeing your face in the crowd is a show of support that means the world to artists! Also, if your friend is in theater, ask when the show’s industry night will be. You can usually get discounted tickets!

3 – Share the Thing!

This is one of the most important ways to support! Small artists don’t have a huge marketing team working behind the scenes to get their art in front of as many people as possible. We have you and your pointer finger.

When you see them post about their new book, their new album, video, show, artwork whatever it might be, hit that share button! Memes are great. If you are like me, you share about 200 in one day. Sharing work from a small artist is just as easy, not to mention, more important.

4 – Reviews

Now it’s time to add your voice into the mix! The comment section is a magical (though sometimes scary) place. It can be almost more important than views alone.

All these social media sites run on algorithms. If a post has a lot of views but no interaction its respective website won’t promote it. Especially if your friend is selling a book on Amazon, the more reviews, the more Amazon will showcase the book. Even bad reviews, but of course, good ones are always better. This is also very important on Etsy.

5 – Buy the Thing!

The majority of these tips are things you can do for free. But we live in a capitalist society. Unfortunately, being alive is expensive. An artist creates for the love of creation, but at some point we need to eat. That’s where buying our art goes a long way!

Spotify is great. But it takes 1,000 streams of just one album for the artist to make the equivalent of ONE sale.

Most importantly, exposure does not buy food! Exposure is great for an artist. But art takes a lot of time and work. It should be valued in the same way as spending time working inside of an office building.

6 – Tipping and Reward Sites

If you can’t afford to buy a item, then a lot of artists have a tipping and reward site! On sites like Patreon and Ko-Fi, you don’t necessarily buy a thing, but pay for a monthly subscription or one-time donation.  YouTubers who don’t necessarily create a tangible product go this route.

There are also sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo where someone can propose a project and you can invest in it.  On these sites and Patreon you can either donate or you can get something from the artist in return, while Ko-Fi is only donations.

7 – Don’t copy/illegally download

Whatever your feelings about large corporations, that does not apply to small artists. As I mentioned before, there is no giant team behind these people, they are usually doing everything themselves.

Yes, we are happy when people like our art, but not enough to completely give up credit. Please don’t repost art without an artist’s name. That is literally taking money away from them.  If you see art without credit you can report it and do a Google Image Search (Jan’s addition: or use TinEye) to find the original post.

As you can see, supporting small artists can be easy! I know every time one of my videos or songs gets a like or a share it feels so wonderful and encouraging.

We make art to share with people and even just a like lets us know that there is someone out there. There is someone who sees us and sees our work and takes even just a second to say, “Hey, I see you and I like it.” And really, isn’t that what everyone wants in life?
One of Losing Lara’s songs could be an anthem for the #MeToo movement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Losing Lara makes videos for the internet, performs nerdy music, and occasionally writes a bit. You can find her on YouTubeTwitterFacebook, and Bandcamp.

IMAGES: The video and all the illustrated headers, as well as the text for today’s post, are all courtesy of Losing Lara. I found the cover image for her song I Said No on her Bandcamp site. Please share this post, and give her full credit!

Found on Twitter

Jennifer Foehner Wells

Back in ancient days before the Tweeter-in-Chief became a thing and I became more focused on boosting my productivity, I could beguile hours at a time on Facebook and Twitter. I made some great discoveries during that time period, including the marvelous Debbie Ridpath Ohi (@inkyelbows), who writes and illustrates children’s fiction, creates delightful cartoons about the writing life, and turns doodles, found objects and table detritus into fanciful visions.

Patrick Weekes

I also discovered sf authors for older-than-children, especially Jennifer Foehner Wells, who’s become one of my all-time favorites (and a great inspiration), right up there with Lois McMaster Bujold and Louise Penny, as well as another Indie, Zen Di Pietrowhose space opera series I’m not done reading yet (reviews to come at a future date).

During the same period, I discovered Patrick Weekes, a fantasy author whose unique takes on magic systems and morality within what looks like high fantasy world kept me reading and chuckling (He also happens to be the lead writer for the Dragon Age game).

Since my theme this month is catching up on my reviews, I thought I’d dedicate this post to reviewing books by two of my “Twitter finds,” Wells and Weekes.

I’ve already reviewed two of Wells’ booksFluency and Remanence. I figure it’s now time for a couple more, along with Weekes’ Rogues of the Republic TrilogyYou know if they’re featured on my blog, I think they’re worth reading. Now let me tell you why.

The Confluence Series continues

Darcy Eberhardt’s story ended up being rebranded as Book Three of the Confluence Series (with two different Galen Dara covers), but whichever title you read it under, it’s quite a ride.
JaneAlanBrai, and the rest of the Speroancora crew are back for another adventure in Valence (with a Stephan Martiniere cover)–in which Zara, an interesting new voice, also chimes in for Book Four.

Turning the tables on The Most Dangerous Game

Inheritance (published earlier as The Druid Gene)

By Jennifer Foehner Wells

Here’s a new twist on the “abducted by aliens” idea, from an author whose entire “Confluence Series” deserves attention. Darcy Eberhardt is a second-year medical student who steals a break from studying for a test, to take an overnight camping trip with her boyfriend Adam. He’s determined to take her to a special place he’s found, so she can relax and rest.

It’s pretty special, all right. Unwittingly, Adam has led her to a place where a secret hidden for millennia in her genetic makeup can suddenly activate—and land them both squarely in the bulls-eye of an interstellar target.

Can Darcy learn to control and use her ancient gift—as well as all of her other aptitudes and capabilities—to forge new bonds with undreamed-of allies, and rescue both herself and Adam from the trap they’ve fallen into? Join her for a crash course in the myriad lifeforms of the “Confluence” universe (including a reunion for some Wells readers with Hain, protagonist of her novelette The Grove), as Darcy struggles to confront the most dangerous lifeform in her new, expanded world, and pass the hardest test of all.

A note on the covers: both The Druid Gene and Inheritance have covers by Galen Dara, whose distinctive style adorns much of Wells’ website, too.
A riveting space opera series, and a worthy new addition to the cast
 
The “Confluence” series continues to provide fascinating non-Terran worlds and cultures, and plenty of excitement, danger and suspense to keep me turning the pages. This book brings together our old friends, Jane Holloway, Alan Bergen, Ei’Brai the kuboderan, and the rest of the Speroancora crew, as well as their accumulating list of friends from an accumulating list of worlds.
Some of these friends realign themselves into new configurations in this episode. We also get relatively brief glimpses of Darcy and Hain, but even more striking is a parallel plotline that introduces a strong new character, Zara, along with some other very cool new characters and a whole lot of new complications.
All the while, our assorted friends do their part to support each others’ quests and keep the Swarm away from Earth. Relationships continue to evolve in realistic ways. Wells has written a worthy next chapter in this riveting space opera series, and has brought in a great new plotline. This is science fiction the way it OUGHT to be written! I already can’t wait for the next book.
A note on the cover: As with Fluency and RemanenceStephan Martiniere created the cover art for Valence. Wells has credited his covers as a factor in her early success. It’s a case in point for Indies: people DO often judge books by their covers. Invest wisely in a cover from a real professional!

The Rogues of the Republic Trilogy

Cover design and illustrations by Lili IbrahimDeron Bennett and Jason Blackburn do a remarkable job of keeping the look of Patrick Weekes‘ Rogues of the Republic series visually consistent (extremely important) despite the changing artistic hands for each book.
Will skill, grit and a large bag of magical tricks be enough?
Getting imprisoned for life on the impossible-to-escape crystals of the lapiscaela was not necessarily part of the plan.
But Loch, along with her band of rascals, rogues and magical miscreants are adaptable. Misdirection and sleight-of-hand might be pickpockets’ tools, but they know how to employ those techniques and a whole lot more to further their ends—which actually are more worthy than they’d ever want to admit. Now, if only the implacable Justicar Pyvic wasn’t so dedicated to tracking them down!
Soon it becomes clear that escaping from the lapiscaela was the easy part of their quest to regain a treasured artifact stolen from Loch’s family. Before it’s over she and her diverse companions (who include a shapeshifting unicorn, a talking magical warhammer, a disgraced mage, and a handful of others) will take on thugs, bullies, and power-mongering politicians, take a zombie for a stroll, and fight the Hunter Mirrkir, who is not mortal. But that’s just the warm-up.
Patrick Weekes brings to life a memorable cast of characters in a vivid fantasy world that is diverse, perverse, and consistently unlike others you may previously have explored.
May the best cheater win . . . 
How can a book of naughty elf-poetry keep the Republic and the Empire out of a war?
Former Scout, rogue, and daughter of an all-but-extinct noble house in her homeland, Loch doesn’t mind indulging in a little thievery, if that’s what it takes, and she has an intrepid band of friends and fellow miscreants to help her. This crew of sorcerers, sleight-of-hand artists, safecrackers, acrobats and others, as well as possibly the outcome of a high-stakes card game, may be all that stands between peace and mutually-assured destruction.
But there’s a lot of interference to run, between the golems, daemons, elves, dwarves, mercenaries . . . And did I mention the dragon?
A more unlikely lot of heroes you’d be hard-pressed to find, and they line up some unlikely allies, too—some of whom prove more trustworthy than others. Patrick Weekes once again brings all the seemingly-chaotic parts together for a fast-paced, adventure in which the dangers are high, but the cost of losing is even higher.
Beset on all sides in the hardest test yet

The Paladin Caper

Targeted where it hurts the most: their families!
The Ancients want to rise again, but they’ve been stymied by Loch and her band of “unusual suspects” twice, now. This time they’ll stop at nothing, and they have a head start. They’ve already infiltrated the highest ranks of the Republic. Their tentacles reach everywhere, and Loch’s group has no lack of mortal enemies with grudges too.
Not to mention enthralled elves and dwarves, golems galore, and a temple full of reanimated-but-dead priests among the obstacles. With the team scattered and hard-pressed, and the Glimmering Folk on the march, Loch would die to stop the Ancients.
Or has she, already?

IMAGES: Many thanks to Joe’s Geek Fest, for the head shot of Jennifer Foehner Wells (be sure to read Joe’s review while you’re at it!), and to Goodreads, for Patrick Weekes‘ head shot. Thanks are due to Amazon for ALL of the covers: The Druid GeneInheritanceValence, The Palace Job, The Prophecy Con, and The Paladin Caper. 

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