Ever since I read my first Dan Brown novel I was fascinated with symbolism. I began to make a conscious effort to notice symbols around me, realizing that they were everywhere. To me, back then still in my teens, it was kind of a shock to realize how much symbolism was around us, yet nobody seemed to notice.
Symbols as old as any kind of written language changed their meaning throughout time, some started out representing all that was good only to become a representation of pure evil over time. Symbolism is the most adaptable language and one that is most wide spread, yet never uniform. The combination of different symbols, creating new one, can be as fascinating as inventing Klingon must have been to whoever did that.
Symbols are all around us. Some we know well and don’t seem to really notice that they speak to us in their own way. Like the cross, used by the church. We see it everywhere, people wear it around their necks, its on the Bible and on every Christian Church. It represents a religion, the pain Jesus went through, it stands for sacrifice and pain, but also the soul and the believe in good. It is well known, its associations ingrained in many Christians, but it wasn’t always a representation of the Christian religion. However, as far as I could find out during research it has always been a religious or spiritual symbol. It’s most basic meaning was the crossing of the worldly and other-worldly/spiritual world. Its representation can be found in hieroglyphs of old Egypt, in ancient Greek scriptures or ancient Celtic art.
Another symbol most know off is the swastika, only it’s meaning has been greatly changed by use of one man who was more then just evil. In ancient times, it was a symbol of good fortune, now it represents racism, murder, genocide and hate. If one was to paint it on their door, or God forbid, wear it as some form of jewelry, they would be ladled a Nazi no matter that the Swastika had a different meaning once.
Another symbol we see often throughout our life is the Nike Logo. Yes, as surprising as it might be to some, but it’s quite ancient. The logo composes of the word Nike who was the winged, ancient Greek Goddess of victory, and the swoosh below the word is a representation of Hermes’s winged feet, representing speed. Together they present victory and speed, exactly what the brand is trying to represent with their footwear.
In ancient times symbols where a way of communication, they were part of rituals and of great importance. Nowadays we are still surrounded by them but most don’t know their meaning, origin, or purpose. They have become so common that we don’t even see them anymore unless we look with conscious eye. Yet symbolism is a whole world to be discovered and it’s on everyone’s fingertip to do so if they want. Just look around you and notice all the symbols around you, you might be surprised on what you find. To this day we use symbolism to convey meanings, and we still are inventing new symbols every day, combining old ones into new ones with new meanings.
To demonstrate what I mean here is a symbol I created for a book cover I designed and then place on merchandise.
The Alpha and Omega are representing the beginning and the end. These Greek letters are overshadowed by a star, only it’s not a star it’s the rays of the sun radiating outwards. This is a representation of Apollo, who aside form other things, was the Greek God of Prophecy. In its center is planet earth with all its inhabitants. In it’s entirety the symbol represents a phorophyte made about mankind that will spread from the beginning of mankind’s existence to its end.
Where art comes from…
During this winter season as I went to trade shows, bazaars, and arts and crafts sales I was asked several times where my art comes from, where my ideas and inspiration came from. A question I couldn’t answer as easily as I would have liked, simply because I never thought about it.
No matter if it is writing, design or photography or any other form of art, it’s origin is unique to the person. At least that’s what I believe. Every person sees the same thing a little differently or even different. I look at a sunset and it’s beauty, the burning sky, the play of shadow and dimming light, takes my breath away. So… where does art come from?
Over the last few months I thought a lot about that and not just when asked and in the peril of trying to explain it. Where do my stories come from? Where do patters, pictures and designs come from? Why do I take a picture of the things I photograph?
I think the answer is the soul. Something deep inside us that simply needs to be expressed. A deep need to share that passion, emotion, or beauty only I can see and express the way I see it. Does this make sense to anyone but me? Maybe… maybe not.
When I write a book, it gives me the chance to not only tell a story but to shape the world in a way I want it to be, or create one I would like to be at. To bring characters to life I would like to meet or to fight. I can express my political, ethnical, and religious views, without making it obvious or offending. Most of all I can give it the happy ending we all deserve but rarely get in reality. Quite frankly, when writing, I can play god to my own little universe and have no competition.
It’s similar with art. I can express with colors, photoshopping, drawing and forming lines into shapes how I feel about a topic or in general. I can create something beautiful from nothing and share it with others. I can (within the rights of copyright) take something and reshape it, give something already existing a new meaning. With every art piece that springs into existence through the use of my hands and mind, I give birth to something new and unique.
I think, art comes from deep within us and reflects who we are, how we feel and think and what we dream about. Art is freedom, creation and expression.
With todays technology being a designer, artist, author… has become easy, not just in regards to production but also in regards to distribution. Nowadays we sit in front of our mean machines and create, then upload it and sell it all around the world through cyberspace. Yet many, especially newcomers, will quickly realize that is isn’t as easy as they thought. I know, I was shocked by how hard it is to make a sale. And, in most cases it has nothing to do with the quality of the design, rather with the fact that it’s hard to get word out that you even exist.
When you take a closer look at the distributers you chose, you’ll see most of them have thousands, some even millions of designers trying to make a sale. As much as internet and cyberspace gave us opportunity, it also gave us competition in equal measure.
I know my family laughs and snickers every time I get an email letting me know I made a sale, because I whoop, clap my hands, and do a little happy dance each time. They tease me about it, because after all, it’s just five, ten or twenty dollars. The thing is, those sales are still quite rare, for I’m one in a see of designers, each unique with their own style and ideas. I could now launch into a collection of ideas of how to promote your business online, but I’m not. What I’m going to say is something my mom used to say to me when I was little… “get out of the house!” Or in this case more correctly… “get out of the cyberworld!”
For those who don’t know me, I’m a typical introvert and most of the time rather antisocial. Yet, about two years ago, I decided to try out taking part in a mini mall around Christmas time. What I expected was lots of awkward moments where I would be forced to talk to people, and no sales. What I got was, a lot of awkward moment that I overcame and talked to people and several sales. In those two days of mini mal I sold more then I had sold in six months online, and back then I only had my books, some bookmarks, and some Christmas Cards. I made enough to pay for my table, food, drink and had some profit.
Encouraged by that experience but sadly incapable of figuring out how to find more of those kinds of events I tried again this winter season. This time not only with the two days of mini mall around Christmas, but with going to a bazar every month.
Now, the thing about going outside of cyberspace is that you need merchandise to present and sell. Meaning, unlike selling online, you have to make an investment. Since I have not much of an budget carrying a large inventory is hard. Yet even with just a small inventory I managed to make a profit during those five bazars. It wasn’t much, but what was even more interesting was that my online sales went up as well. It’s called word to mouth. When people see a friend wear one of your shirts, they might like one as well. If they see your art on the wall of their mother, they might want some of yours as well.
But there is more then just those kind of events, but let’s start with them.
If you’re not as shy and hesitant as me, go out and use your outgoing personality to ask around about bazar, flea markets, farmer markets (something I will do this year) and arts and crafts sales. Depending on the art you’re doing a comic con might even be of interest and a good stomping ground to make an impact with your art.
If you like me, don’t have a large budget to show a large inventory, just order a handful of shirts, prints, mugs or whatever you want to sell. That way you have examples of how they look. Then assemble a catalogue or if you have the means let a slide show run on your lap top to showcase all your designs and offer that customers can order them.
As to how to find those events, I found the once I participated in by flipping through the newspaper. Others like the bazar I found by accident as I went into the bathroom of the place hosting it. Talk to people, would be my guess is helpful as well.
Now, those events are often just once or in certain intervalley during a season. Yet you want to sell all year long, right? I know I want to. So… what else can we do outside of cyberspace?
Take a walk through your town, or if it’s a 500 soul town, take one through the next largest one. I bet there are shops that for example sell gifts, at least on the side. Maybe a clothing store, or one specialized in interior decorating, hell even our computer store sells T-shirts on the side. So don’t shy away from a place that doesn’t seem to fit, in the end it might. Take a selection of your shirts, prints, posters, mugs, and such and show them, ask them to sell them for you or in consignment. Some might order them themselves. However, consignment sales are more likely in the beginning.
If you sell canvas prints, photo prints and such check around if there is an arts council or gallery around and ask if they would display your art, maybe even sell it for you. If you have library, coffee shop or tea house ask there as well. Floral shops often sell gifts and decoration on the side, check them out as well.
There are tons of opportunities outside of cyberspace, take advantage of them wherever and whenever you can. I often, actually almost always, have a small selection of merchandise in my car. Stored safely away in a box.
If you can afford it, bestow a shirt or mug or bag to a friend, family member or co-worker. If they like and wear it, others will see it and ask where they can buy one.
If you have ideas of your own, that I didn’t have, feel free to add them in the comment section. Who knows maybe we’ll even see each other one day of one of those events mentioned.
We all know what commercials are, and what their intent result is. No matter how you call it, an add, commercial, book trailer or anything else, the result it is supposed to have is always the same. An increase in sales. Now, as with everything else, there is a science behind commercials which is based on human psychology/behavior pattern. Most of this I only learned myself recently as I tried my hand on my first commercial. Which by the way I pretty much half-assed and never thought through in the first place.
Now, here are some things that are working according to studies.
Commercials should be short, about 30 seconds long and moving, (no static pictures that just stand there like a poster)
They should not present a load of articles but only one to three.
Interactive… this means whatever you present you should present in a way that speaks to your audience and praises the product you have to offer. Talk to the watcher so to speak.
Music should reflect the emotion you want the watcher to feel.
These are some pointers that I was given not so long ago and then researched to learn a little bit more about them. However, I have always been someone going against the grain, making up my own mind and most of all judging things rather by observation then statistics. The thing with statistics is that they are compiled using a broad range of people. When 80 out of a 100 react the same way, it is considered working that way and only that way. But, what if I want to reach those 20 that weren’t affected? How do I know it’s those 20 I want to reach?
You don’t. Chances are you will never find out if you are trying to reach those 20 or those 80 with your products, and you don’t have to. Use common sense rather then statistics and most of all observe others during commercials, talk to people about it and make up your own mind then add whatever is useful from statistics.
How do you react to commercials, and what do they do for you?
Me—I ignore TV commercials almost completely. Sometimes there is one I look up at because of a good song, cute animals, or funny animations. However, they never made me want to buy anything, not even as a kid. And since we have a PVR I often skip them unless I need to use the bathroom, need a drink or some food.
By the way, watching others and talking to them I learned that many of them react to TV commercials the same way I do. Totally and utterly bored and unimpressed.
Online commercials, like on Facebook, on the other hand can in some cases hold my interest. Some of them show me new and innovative products from health care, or new technologies. Some will present me with new kitchen tools and others inform me about science in general, new computer software for designers or the next best way to publish my next book. By reading this you should already realize why I am more inclined to watch those commercials rather then the ones on TV. Because an algorithm handpicks them according to my interests.
It’s all about TARGET AUDIENCE.
No matter if you are a writer, designer, artists or business of any other kind knowing your target audience is key. Easy. Right?
Well yes, and no. I guess it depends on what you are doing. A romance writer has romance readers as target, a carpenter someone who needs furniture or a house. A designer needs someone who needs a design. And an artist needs someone who likes to look at pretty pictures.
Sadly, it’s not that easy and I don’t have a recipe or road map to success. Believe me if I had I would be sitting in Bora Bora and not in front of my computer with a view of a winter vista. Still, I do have some tips and theories and sometimes it seems they even work.
First of all, even as it sounded like you should disregard the science behind commercials, don’t. Pick and choose with common sense. For example, most people have a short attention span, so keep the advice of keeping it short. People want to be entertained, so keep the pictures moving, don’t have just a poster, and call it a commercial.
If you have the budget hire a company specialized in promotion and your area. However, I know that few do have that kind of budget, neither do I.
Meaning we are on our own, from start to finish. So, what is step one.
Step one is accepting that promoting your work, business or product is going to be hard, time consuming and headache creating. If you think it helps bang your head a couple of times against the door frame in advance.
First you determine WHO is your target audience and narrow it down. I’m going to use my own business as example.
Business = Nicole Kiefer Design
Brought spectrum target = art lovers, people who need an individual and unique design for private or business, Stores that might sell my art on shirts and other merchandise.
Now, this first target audience is for your whole business. You can create a commercial that simply promotes your business, (business name, contact ways, goals) and no specific articles. If you’re not shy make a video of yourself introducing your business and yourself. Keep it short, point out what you can do, and what your goals are.
Second tiered/ more specific targeting = T-Shirts with: aliens, fantasy, pattern, nature, animals, fun phrases, comic, humor, love, sexy, sarcastic, and so on.
This is still a brought target group. Here you can make a commercial pointing out that you do T-shirt design, showing the genres you specialize in, and one or two examples. Make sure all text and pictures are sharp and clear in any resolution. Again, if you can do a video shoot of sort use it, if not use something like PowerPoint or similar program.
Third tiered/get down to product = T-shirts with aliens, targeting sci-fi lovers, believers in aliens and such.
Here is the true hard work, deciding which designs you want to use to represent this category. To me that’s the hardest part because I like them all, after all, I designed them. If you have sold any of your artwork already use those you sold, or if you had some that won competitions, prizes, and awards use those. If not, listen to your guts and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work do it again with different designs.
If you can afford to buy some shirts, do so and ask friends, family, or the guy at the bar (but be careful) to model them for you. Take pictures and assemble them into an animated slide show with some fun copyright free music. (Copyright free music can be found and downloaded on YouTube)
If that isn’t an option try creating 3D models with DAZ or Poser if you have either of those, then dress them in your designs. I only started using those myself and know it’s not easy so don’t get frustrated when the first results don’t look so great. It takes practice. If you don’t have those programs or can’t manage to create what you need go to public domain photo sites like pixerby and download a model you like, then dress that one.
I know I said earlier that you should follow rules like playtime, keeping it short, and that’s still the case. However, animation takes time and if it happens to fast it get’s annoying to watch. If everything just flashes by I personally tune it out. If text vanishes too quickly I tune it out. Stay under one minute if you can. Present only a few examples of one category and choose music that reflects the mood you want to create, matching your designs. (Meaning if you want to sell a Valentine’s design don’t play death metal music.)
When you put your commercial/slide show together show it to friends, family, or the guy at the bar if you liked him. Ask them how they liked it, if they could read all the text you had in, if they liked the music or if they think you looked good in that shirt. Then make changes as needed or don’t depending on the outcome. If you don’t have anyone to ask, well, you can always hope and pray. Or you can present your commercial to groups and friends on Facebook, MySpace and such to help you find out what is liked and what’s not.
When you think, you’re done put your commercial on YouTube, your website, blog, send it by email to your friends, family and customers and promote it on Twitter and Facebook. Zazzle for example has an area where you can link and promote them. So, do many others, including Amazon for authors on their author page.
It doesn’t matter what business you are in; the basics are always the same. Know your product, determine your target audience, and narrow it down, then make short promotional videos, slide shows or recordings of yourself. Distribute that commercial as far and wide as you can. Don’t be generic, be your extraordinary self, be unique while sticking to some of the science behind promotion.
But most of all, don’t give up just because it didn’t work the first time. Go back to the drawing board, do some research into your genre of business and try again. I don’t believe that there is a single working road map to success, or that only one way works. What I do know is, you’ll never succeed if you give up. Keep on trying, experimenting, and retrying. Don’t give into frustration, don’t despair over a sale missed or not made. Celebrate each sale no matter for what amount of money, every sale is a success, even if it is a small one. Keep on going, be stubborn, be determined and keep on learning. Most of all, try to have fun while never giving up or giving in.
Here are two of my recently designed commercials on YouTube. They are still not perfect but better than my first, second or third.
Good Luck and have fun.
Artist… I never considered myself an artist for the simple reason that when I think of artists I see man and woman with paint brushes and pencils. In my mind, I see people using their hands to create something on a blank canvas or piece of paper. I might even imagine someone in front of a piece of marble, ready to free whatever they see in the stone. I never once in my life imagined an artist in front of an computer, painting with a mouse or a stencil on a tablet. Never did it cross my mind to think of bits, bites, and pixels as art.
But what is art? I had art in school and learned about those old masters that painted in oil, hungered through life, and only became important when they were dead. As a kid or a teen, I could stand in front of some paintings, stare at them for an eternity and not see anything in them. At other times, I just looked at one and knew what it pictured, mostly because those were realistic drawings of things, places, or people. Most of the time I simply shook my head at the art I encountered wondering if the artist had been on drugs. If I could I would apologize to those artists today, unless of course I was right and they were on drugs while painting. In any case, I learned over the years that art is not one specific style or way of producing a picture. An artist is not just someone who studied it, or knows all the technical terms and names of styles. Art is not something inside a box that can be easily defined or explained.
Art is soul and passion. It’s heartbreak and pain, joy, and euphoria. Art is beauty in the eyes of the artist. Beauty that isn’t defined by the usual parameters we use going through life. The beauty the artists sees might seem to the next person like nothing more than a blob of paint, a smear on paper, or a clutter of material formed into something that has no definition. Art is emotion or the absence of them, it’s despair and love, it’s up and down. Art reflects life with all it’s spectrums and variations, taken to a level beyond what we see, hear, and feel daily. Art is the reflection of a soul. Most of all, art is unique as is the artist.
Sometimes I photograph, at other times I simply “doodle” until something grabs me and begins to grow into more. At other times, I create a 3D creature, scene, or person. And sometimes I mix it all together. Is it art? Yes, it’s as much art as what any other person creates. Art is creation. Taking something and making something else off it. If that is a piece of clay, a canvas or bits and pixels doesn’t matter.
Now, after all that there is one more thing I want to share my thoughts about, that’s the value of art. Realistically spoken, the exposure and prominence of the artist determine the value. If your name is big enough, you can charge a fortune for a blob of paint on a blank canvas. It’s still art, don’t get me wrong, but the many zeroes in the dollar amount is for the name on the painting, rather than the painting itself.
To me art has no value that can be measured by money, art is priceless to those who look at it, enjoy it, or get inspired by it. Yet at the same time creating that art takes time if nothing else. Time that isn’t spend on a five to nine job with a fixed salary. Hence the fact that many artists will charge for a reproduction of their work and even more for the original. One of the wonderful things about digital art is that there is not just one of it. Unlike a canvas, that once sold is gone, digital art can be reproduced endlessly and in all forms. It can be resized, printed as photo or on a canvas, even printed in 3D if that is what one wants. Distributing art has become easy compared to twenty, thirty or a hundred years ago. Many think it should cheapen that art, that artists, especially unknown ones, shouldn’t charge much or at all for their art. Yet, one thing has not and most likely will never change when it comes to art. That’s the time consumption, the heart and soul and the emotions the artist’s pours into his/her work. And that’s what you pay for. Whenever you buy my art, you pay for a piece of my soul to share, a bit of passion and my time.
I do a lot of different work when it comes to art. I photograph, paint… well kind off, use 3D creation with Poser and DAZ, and mix it all together. I create greeting cards, patterns, and all kinds of things that I then place on platforms like Redbubble or Zazzle for you to buy in the form of a t-shirt, laptop skin or duvet cover to name but a few. Yet sometimes there is a piece, a picture or photo taken or created that I find stands out from all the others. Those go into my art gallery as well. It’s something new and I’m still working on figuring it all out, but some of my work is already available there to view and buy. So, go check it out, leave a comment or a like, and let me know what you think of my work. Better even buy some… not that you have to, but it would be highly appreciated because sadly one other thing hasn’t changed throughout the ages when it comes to art… it can’t be eaten. Well, most of the time it can’t.
When I was in my teens, I loved going into museums, fascinated by the art exhibited there. Once when I was sixteen our class took a several day’s long trip to Dresden (Germany) and there we visited the Gallery of the Old Masters. I was awed as we walked along the rows and rows of paintings and sculptures. More so because I knew I would never be able to do anything alike. Truly, give me a pencil and paper and the best you get is a squiggly line or some stick figure. To me the connection from my head, where beautiful pictures house, to my hand, is screwed up.
The one thing I believe about art is, that it is inside of you, like a force that motivates and drives you. That no matter what path you choose in your life, the need to create will find a way to be expressed, to show that passion, drive and need that’s inside an artist.
I know this sounds feministic and condescending, but I think women in general will understand my meaning better when I say women know how it feels to create something from nothing. Creation is in a woman’s genes. Yes, it’s not exactly the same, but just like with a child that was created inside our body, the art someone creates is loved once it is finished and ready to be shown to the world. And just like a child, someone else might not like it, find it too squishy, ugly, or too loud. The difference is you would never tell those things to a mother, but you most likely will to an artist.
Child birth has a time limit for it’s creation, art however has not. Some people will discover their artistic outlet in a young age, like Mozart did. Others might be well into their 70s or 80s when they do, or realize that they have done art in one form or another for years.
In a way, I was always creative. As a little kid, I loved to spin tales to get out of trouble. Yes, it’s called lying, but I prefer to think of it as story telling. When my mother opened a small, home based print business I fell in love with Corel Draw and it’s clip arts, brushes and all the little gizmos. When I got my first camera I was fascinated by taking pictures, but not very good at it and it quickly got expensive. That was before digital cameras were on the market. Then later in life when I was in my twenties I began to write, despite my dyslexia. I think it was kind of a rebellious way of expressing myself, but at the same time I found joy and comfort in it, happiness even. I even did my own cover designs. Yet, I never thought of myself as an artist of any kind. I considered myself a writer and designer, but not an artist. Art is what you find in museums and galleries. Right?
Wrong! Art is everywhere and in every act of creation. When I was a cook I was an artist in the way of creating recipes, and using them to feed people. As a writer, I create worlds with words, bring joy, laughter, and pain to my readers. As a designer, I bring the ideas and concepts of others to life. As a photographer, I capture the beauty that nature paints. And I have gotten better in that department as well. In any case, art in general is filled with variations and ways of expression, of creating something. That has always been the way of art. What has changed over the centuries is how we distribute and access it.
As I said in the beginning I got my first real impression of the magnitude of art when going to the gallery of the Old Masters. Sure, I was replicas of famous art on someone’s wall, in shelves, and some people that had enough money even had originals. However, for a long-time art as in paintings, photographs and drawings, was often expensive and if you wanted something special and original, hard to find.
Today with modern technology, internet, and public domain picture collection (regard the copyright) art has not only reached a new level of opportunity, but has become easier to access and distribute. Where twenty years ago, you would have gone from one gallery to another to maybe get one piece of art exhibited, you now upload it to an art portal, or print on demand service and sell it directly. Mind you, I only discovered recently, as in two or three years ago, and it’s an ongoing process, how to utilize my artistic talents.
When my Fibromyalgia forced me to stop working as a cook, my dyslexia prevented me from taking an office job and my anxiety blocked me from doing something in customer service, I took to writing once more. First to give me something to do, then to share my stories and finally to make money with it without investing a fortune. That brought me to book cover design and from there it was a small step to creating something new and different all together.
Only when I started with digital art I wasn’t sure what to do with the finished picture/design. Remember the art gallery and museum. Most artist I think dream of at one time being exhibited in a museum. However, in my experience it’s most often the dead that get there and I don’t intent on joining their ranks any time soon. So, I no longer care about museums.
And art galleries are kind of a one-time deal. You put one picture, painting, or photograph up for sale and that’s it. Once it’s gone only one person has it. Yet I wanted to share my creations with many, and sell it more than once. It’s the business woman in me that wants to make money repeatedly.
That’s how I found Art to Wear. Yep, finally I’m coming to the point.
At first, I stumbled over Zazzle, which is a nice enough portal for distributing art, don’t get me wrong it has its benefits. However, it lacks in the graphic T department. Graphic tees are a wonderful way to share and sell art. For which I can recommend Redbubble, they have a great selection on graphic tees and a super easy platform to upload and present your work.
I guess art to wear is a very limited description, it’s more like, Art to put on everything that can be printed on. From normal shirts and graphic tees to lap top skin, mugs, and notebooks. Hell, even duvet covers and fleece blankets. Where thirty years ago, (god I’m getting old) I would have sworn to you that I’ll never be able to create anything artistic, I now offer my art on several portals for you to buy. The best is, thanks to modern technology the things I create are actually worth looking at. Sure, I still don’t use a pencil and paper, but who the hell cares? I now do anything from greeting cards you won’t find in a store, to duvet covers I would have loved to have growing up or even now. Anyone who ever wanted a piece of art on their wall, or body, can with the click of a button and a credit card.
Peachy was originally created for a crowd-sourcing competition, with a totally different context. The little guy didn’t have a face, arms, or legs at that point, just his funny hair and a tie. Still, when I looked at it I smiled and fell in love with the little feller. Once the competition was finished and lost I stared at the little guy and didn’t want to let him go.
I assume all of you know the phrase “everything is peachy”, even if it is an older saying. That phrase simply didn’t want to go out of my head. So, I did the worst thing imaginable… I started to think.
Peaches, they are soft, fruity and juicy with a thick skin and hard, strong, unwavering core. They are full of vitamins and when you look at them they have rosy cheeks like a healthy person should have. Peaches represent health, and strong, withstanding characteristics.
With those thoughts in mind, my little peach became a meaning, a soul so to speak. Then it became arms, legs, pants, and expressions. Most importantly it became a mission.
Peachy the happy peach is born and destined to spread happiness, give strength, support and let you know you matter. Peachy is immortal (no age), ASO (All Sexual Orientations or none), All or no religions, disabled or healthy, to save some time and put it simple, Peachy is everything he needs to be, filled with nothing but love and acceptance. He will stand beside and behind you, support you and hold on to you. Peachy stands for all things that are good and never discriminates. With him, everything is peachy….
We live in a world where publishing has become as easy as buying a book at Amazon. Anyone who want’s to, can share their work, either for free or for a charge. Yet there are a lot of people, readers, other writers, journalists, and many more who are annoyed or even upset about the easiness of which anyone can publish. They cry out about technicalities not regarded properly. The scream at misspelled words, at bad grammar and bad style. They complain about how a writer tells her/his story if they don’t go the usual way, whatever that is. They wage war against the unusual and out of the box or unguided and inexperienced. And that’s their right. They have a right to their opinion and to voice it. They have a right to point out all those flaws and to share their findings with everyone else.
Over the last year, I have seen and heard it all. Well maybe not all but a lot. From a one star review complaining about my spelling and grammar, of which I warned, to five star reviews that made my heart swell with pride and joy. Looking back at 2016 and the five books I published, and the countless books I read, I realize something. One of the big topics during the year was diversity, racism, and bigotry. I saw hundreds of posts on Facebook from other authors about how we need to have diversity in our stories, to promote togetherness and acceptance in our worlds of fiction and fantasy. Something I deeply agree with. Those posts and the events of last year made me realize two things I want to share.
As a writer, good or bad, known or unknown, famous or lost in the multitude of others, we have a chance and a responsibility. The saying, the feather is mightier than the sword, doesn’t come from nothing. There is truth in it. As writers, we have the chance to influence, inform and even shape others. No matter what we write, from fiction to fantasy, from biography to all the non-fictions, we reach people. With our words, we touch their minds and sometimes their souls. With the world we paint, we educate, share our opinions, emotions, and hopes. We let them into our dreams and our fears. With each word we share a part of our mind and soul with our reader. All throughout history there have been writers that inspired. Some ignited a flame inside others, leading to great inventions, pollical change, or rebellion as well as peace. With the stroke of a feather, wars rose, kingdoms fell and societies were reconstructed after being torn down. It’s scary to think about the power one writer can wield by sharing a piece of themselves. Which words will do what, nobody will know until it happened. There have been works that went utterly unnoticed, had been scrutinized and frowned upon, until they ended up in the hand of one person and changed that person. Which brings me to the second realization.
This will be something many will take as an excuse on my side for publishing my work without a professional edit, especially since I’m dyslexic and mistakes are a certainty. It’s not. An excuse I mean. Publishers, bloggers, reviews and so many others want more diversity especially infictional work. They ask the writing community to stand up against bigotry and hatred, against racism and homophobia. Something I agree with, yet the same people are often the ones doing everything in their power to suppress the same diversity within the writing community. And no, I don’t mean that they should accept bad spelling of grammar. As often as I read articles about the writing community promoting the acceptance of diversity, I read articles condemning self-publishing authors. What I disliked (hated) the most was when those articles attacked not a specific writer, but the broad spectrum of self-publishing writers. They didn’t attack because of bad editing or poor cover design, neither for endlessly ongoing sentences that simply didn’t seem to end. What they criticized was the way the writer told their story, the style, or the topic or how explicit their sex scenes were. They complained about writers who didn’t study the craft at a college or university. They judged on experience and if that author had ever made it onto a bestseller list or not. They put all writers into a box and those who didn’t fit that box were ridiculed and condemned as bad writers.
The same people who told us to embrace diversity, rejected the very same thing within the writing community.
Writing not unlike painting is an art and as such it is subjective. Where one might find a story boring and shallow, another might find beauty and depth. Like a song doesn’t sound the same to everyone’s ear, a story doesn’t touch everyone’s soul the same way. Some styles are for a brought spectrum of people, while others are just for some. Diversity means a multitude of attributes, different ways of thinking and interpreting. It means many different ways of telling a story, of conveying one’s thoughts. It means stepping out from the box society, rules and holier then thy critiques want to keep us in.
Self-publishing opened the doors for diversity, to be embraced not just by being integrated in the stories written but by accepting the multitude of ways a story is told. Every story, no matter how it is told, has a right to exist, has a purpose and a meaning. Each one has the possibility to inspire and ignite a spark.
And when this year runs out in a few hours, I know that I touched some people with my stories, shared some of my soul with them and maybe inspired them in some way. I go into the next year knowing that I will do it all over again, with new stories and those already published. But most of all I know that I and many others, embrace diversity not just with our writing but with our acceptance of other writers who go down the same road. There is nothing more diverse than the writing community.
~~~~~NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON~~~~
The world Lisa and Alastair returned to is darker and more violent, changed in so many ways. Yet, within that darkness, Lisa finds love, kindness, and most of all, hope, as she connects with the planet’s endless power. It is that hope and the love she shares with Alastair that keeps her grounded, as the power tries to drag her into the darkness.
While trying to get a handle on her newly increased power and searching for King Arthur, the couple must deal with a potential pregnancy. Yet, when Lisa learns that Arthur is not just a legendary king but a potential traitor, rapist, and worst of all family, the couple’s relationship ends up on the backburner, where it slowly simmers.
When they finally find Arthur, nothing is as it seemed. Full of hidden secrets and unknown plots, the past reaches out to them, quickly the situation reaches a boiling point. Once again, the couple must face danger and win or mankind will be extinct.
Only this time, they are not alone.