Lost Song: Music and Magic With a Healing Message At Its Core

lost_song.jpgWow.

Just wow.

So, I recently finished watching this anime called Lost Song. A friend of mine had wanted me to watch a different anime, but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time, so I come across this one instead. I saw a medieval fantasy setting with a music-based magic system and thought, “Cool, okay, I’ll give it a whirl. Makes me think of the series I’m working on right now, The Gailean Quartet.”

Again, wow.

I truly don’t want to give away any spoilers, because it’s definitely a show you should experience for yourself. But allow me to at least praise it without giving too much away.

The series did remind me of my Gailean Quartet for the musical magic aspect. Its fantasy setting and world-building also reminded me of Zelda, my favorite game series. But the emotion is what really set it apart for me. By the end of episode one, you already know what kind of show it’s gearing up to be; much like Game of Thrones, it isn’t afraid to be intense and do things that have you covering your mouth, staring at the screen wide-eyed. As much as I wanted to keep watching, I had to brace myself for each episode because I knew some new emotional happenstance was about to go down, whether something beautiful and whimsical or something unbelievably tragic. That’s not to say the series doesn’t end well, because it does! But it’s not what you think it will be starting out; about half-way through, you learn a major plot twist and some truths are revealed that are SO GOOD I could talk about them all day…but again, I don’t wanna spoil anything.

Overall, the characters are great–I was very emotionally invested in them–and the artwork and music are gorgeous. One song in particular is quite haunting; I’ve taken to listening to it on repeat and crying. Lol. I do think I connected with show as well because I could see myself in both the main female characters, especially due to recentish events in my own life.

Lost Song carries with a lovely message of love, forgiveness, healing, and the importance of finding one’s passion and purpose. The message of healing especially touched me on a personal level. The truth that in order for real healing to occur we must face our feelings, face all of the pain, love, and memories, instead of pushing them aside or throwing them away, is a powerful one that I think many need to hear.

I 1000% recommend this show. Even if you’re not an anime fan, if you’re a lover of medieval fantasy and/or shows that will really make you feel and think and dig deep inside yourself, then this is the show for you. I can’t even start another show right now because I’m still processing all the magic and beauty that is Lost Song.

First Children’s Book To Help Support Charities

Cover_v7_textAs many of you know, I have been working with artist Kishiro, also known as Philip San Gaspar, for the past few months to create my first illustrated children’s chapter book, The Adventures of William the Brownie. The book has been finished for some weeks; right now, I’m in the process of having some final things formatted. The official release date is November 21, 2014, so it’s coming up fast!

I’ve decided to do something different with this book than I have done in the past. One of the themes explored in the book is that of adoption. I have always had a passion for adoption; I believe it to be God’s will that I someday adopt, be a foster parent, or maybe even start some kind of charity for orphans/foster children myself.

In the meantime, I am doing what I can by pledging to donate twenty-five percent of all royalties made from William the Brownie to the following charities: The North American Council on Adoptable Children(NACAC) and the Christian Alliance for Orphans(CAFO).

The main reason I have selected both of these charities is because their main focus is on helping children specifically in the United States, and that’s important to me. While it’s a wonderful thing to help children around the world, my particular passion has always been to help the children right here in the States; if I do adopt someday, I intend to adopt a child from the States.

NACAC’s focus is entirely on helping place children in the States who were once considered unadoptable or hard-to-place in good homes. CAFO does have a couple of charities that extend to other countries, but their main focus is also the States, and they have a variety of programs to help place children in good families. They also help currently existing foster families, as well as widows and adoptive families, to be taken care of and succeed.

I am really excited to publish this book and not only get it in the hands of children and adults alike–I think it’s a great little adventure with a message of courage, love, and what it means to be a family–but also to be able to use the book to help children who, like one of the characters in the book, need a good home.

Thanks so much to all my readers for their support and for joining me in this new adventure. Together, we can bring families together and help make a great difference in the lives of children and adults alike.Page 27

Artist of the Week: Jason Chan

My chosen Artist of the Week is Jason Chan.

Let me just say one thing:

This guy is absolutely amazing.

The first artwork I saw from him, discovered by my boyfriend, was a book cover for So Silver Bright, which I’ll include, along with some of my other Jason Chan favorites, at the end of this post. My boyfriend knew I would instantly fall in love with his art style, and he was right–I did.

There are several aspects I love about Chan’s art style. First off, he has a softly painted look. I adore that look and often search for a similar style when hiring original cover artists for my own books. There is also the style of his characters. Chan takes inspiration from both Eastern and Western styles and combines the two. It’s like Western realism with splashes of Eastern anime-style beauty. The combo is stunningly gorgeous.

There’s not much more to say here except that one of my dreams and aspirations is to have one book cover done by Jason Chan sometime in my life. It will happen–even if I have to wait till I’m fifty to do it.

You can check out loads of brilliant original art on Jason Chan’s blog:

http://www.jasonchanart.com/

In the meanwhile, enjoy these personal favorites:

Artist of the Week: Philip San Gaspar -aka- Kishiro-Kun

Hullo, fellow readers, writers, artists, musicians, and other creative spirits everywhere!

I am going to start something new on my blog; each week, I will be showcasing a new artist I have discovered that I think is really brilliant. This might be an artist I have hired to do some illustrations or cover designs for my books. It might be a musical artist. It might be a fellow author whose stories I find particularly rad.

For my first “Artist of the Week,” I would like to showcase Philip San Gaspar, also known as Kishiro-Kun. For those of you who follow my blog, you know this guy has been responsible for creating the awesome artwork for my upcoming children’s book, my first geared for younger children and featuring full illustrations: The Adventures of William the Brownie.

I absolutely love working with Philip. He is an overall nice, patient, fun guy to work with. He listens to my needs, adds every detail to my pictures that I request, and always finds a way to go above and beyond. The colors in his artwork are particularly amazing, bright and beautiful.

If you’re looking for any kind of art in manga style, I highly recommend him!

Enjoy some artwork of his below, and follow the links to connect with him and learn more. If you have an Elance account, you can also hire him there; it’s where I found him myself.

Links:

Kishiro-Kun’s Facebook

Kishiro-Kun’s DeviantArt 

A Feast of Friends and Fine Art: Part I

 

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Me on the MetroLink, on my way to the Bazaar!

Wow. What a busy beginning to what is already proving to be a busy week filled with friends, art, writing, and over all great times!

Today’s adventures began with me rising promptly at 6:00 am to ready for the Dutchtown Bazaar at The Feasting Fox in St. Louis, MO. I was not a vendor there myself, but rather attending in honor and support of a friend of mine, Kiana McCormick, also known as Space Case. It was her first time selling art at a show or event, and I was super excited to attend! I felt the same sort of excitement for her as I felt when attending my first book signing–and admittedly the same sort of nervousness as well. New place, lots of new people…101_0408

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Kiana and Alex showcasing her table filled with amazing, original artwork.

But I have been pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone, meet new people, and make new artistic connections, and overall, it proved a really fun and relaxing experience.

I took the MetroLink and bus and arrived exactly at 9 am, right when the whole thing was to begin. Kiana was at her table with a long-time friend of hers, Alex. This was my first time meeting him, and I often can get anxious around other people’s friends, but Alex made me feel right at home as much as Kiana does. I’ve heard a lot about him, and it was great to finally meet him in person. He is laid-back, sensible, and a really, really nice guy–plus, he took care of the cash box and managing financial affairs, something that no artist/author likes to contend with, whether we always admit to it or not.

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The Feasting Fox, in all of its lovely fairy-tale beauty.

We spent our time talking, selling art, and passing out business cards. Kiana made quite a few sales; the most popular sellers were her stickers and rings which surprised her a little, but I mean, why not? Who can resist cool stickers and cute, affordable jewelry?

At some point, I took a walk and explored what the vendors outside had to offer–it was a ridiculously hot and sticky day, so it’s nice that Kiana’s table was inside. Outside, I was able to meet several artists and buy several awesome pieces of jewelry as seen in the slideshow below. I used to be a very shy person and suppose I still am, but I’m getting a lot better at introducing myself to fellow artists and promoting myself. I also had the pleasure of talking to the artists I met a bit about being an author and asking if I could include them in my blog post about the event; you can see those pictures and get their links below as well.

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Kiana and I looking fabulous with our fabulous hair.

After the show ended, we stopped at Ted Drewe’s for some frozen custard–well, on Alex’s and Kiana’s part; I am allergic to milk and sugar, so custard to me = instant death–and then Alex was nice enough to drop me off at my car so I could rush off to the next day’s event, a wedding shower for a friend of mine from church, Crysania Marie Panganiban Snyder–yes, her name is so amazing and complicated to pronounce, I simply had to include the whole thing.

Again, I admit I don’t usually like events like wedding showers, but I am trying to branch out and be more social, and you know what, this one was actually really fun. I got to see friends of mine from church I haven’t gotten to really see or hang out with in ages, due to work schedules, school schedules, and just life in general. Plus, there was lots of amazing, allergy-free Filipino food that I can actually eat, and trust me–by that point, I was starving. I ate all the lumpia possible for me to eat–it’s still my favorite!

Also, there were games, and I love games. We played Pictionary; all the clues were wedding-related. My clue was “something old,” and the only thing I could think of to draw was this little, bent-over old lady, but hey, it worked and my team guessed right.

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Brittany show-casing our team’s awesome toilet paper bridal design.

We also played a game where two teams had to create a bridal gown from toilet paper; the other team won due to their kick-ass sandals and ring they created, but I think our team’s dress was pretty rad too, especially with all the little flowers we added.

Mrs. Baker, the pastor’s wife, also gave this wonderful little devotional about marriage. She compared marriage to a see-saw and said that a solid marriage will start with God, as a solid base. The husband and wife rest at either end, and as men and women are so different, the see-saw will likely be bouncing up and down a lot, but it’s important that the couple seek God, work together, and try to balance that see-saw–and it’s especially important that both partners stay on; if one gets off, the other will fall.

101_0468She added words like “love,” “Bible,” and “prayer” to support the see-saw and grant it more stability. Then, once all these things were in place, she began adding family, work, church, and other, in order of importance. It was a great little analogy to help remind Christians like myself that when you trust God and seek His will first, He will help you with everything else. It was also a great reminder of the kind of teamwork needed in any relationship–and that both people need to be willing to ride that see-saw and stay on at all times. Otherwise, the whole thing will crumble.

Overall, the day was a wonderful, action-packed, productive experience. I have more plans throughout the week, so keep posted for Part II of my adventures, and in the meantime, enjoy the rest of the pictures from today’s events–and don’t forget to check out the links to Kiana’s page as well as those of all the other cool artists I met!

Pictures of Kiana’s art:

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Pictures of the rest of the day’s events:

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Links to Artists:

Kiana McCormick: Space Case

Christina Sterman: handmade for you

Priscilla Meinz

Donna Fox: Crow Steals Fire

Scarlett and Maria

April Klenke