the art

the artist

Mirriam Neal

is a traditional artist who specializes in fantasy, fables, folklore, and fairytales. She also writes novels.

the books

the blog

It started while watching the 2009 Kazuaki Kiriya film ‘Goemon.’ The actors were stellar; some of my favorite. And Goemon is Japan’s equivalent to Robin Hood, so the story concept

If you’re a writer (published author or otherwise), chances are high that someone, at some time, has said something about your writing that devastated you. Whether you consciously realized it

“‘And when you love what you do you never work a day in your life.’ That’s bullshit. I love what I do and let me tell you…I’ve worked some days.”—

I dislike the concept of ‘pet peeves’ but when it comes to fiction, we all have things we hate to see; things that make us want to throw a book

As an artist and an author who knows many other artists and authors, I’ve seen a recurring theme in the way people refer to what we do. “Oh, that’s such

reluctant for the end

For several weeks, The Eigengrau has been sitting at almost 160,000 words. The title ‘Chapter 63’ has been perched atop page 217, waiting for me to put something underneath it.

Wordcount: 37, 073 I’m in love with this book. I’m in love with the people in the book. I’m in love with the mystery in the book. I’m in love

The Eigengrau: Day 5

Some promises were made to be broken.             Coming home wasn’t supposed to be one of them. Randi shrugged. “He could be anywhere.” She swallowed. He was anywhere. That was

THE DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED. Dark is the Night is now on Amazon + Goodreads! This is a book full of vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters for people who don’t like

The Mechanics of Snark

Snark. Sarcasm. Banter. Call it what you will, but it’s been called one of my writing signatures for a good reason. ‘Snark’ runs through nearly every novel I’ve ever written,

You may be wondering, wait—next Friday? Not this one? And you would be correct in your confusion. There were a few sticky moments with my cover files for Dark is

Horror for NaNoWriMo?

I’m writing a horror novel for NaNoWriMo. I’m as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve (it’s me. I’m the kid). This is the most excited I’ve been for NaNoWriMo

FOLKS. It’s October, and you know what that means. The release of my urban fantasy/supernatural novel Dark is the Night releases in eight days! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner,

It has been a h o t minute since I posted here. Between art commissions + personal art, writing (some News™ on that front coming up soon, keep your necks

*in case you missed it last time, it’s a post-alien invasion re-conceptualizing of the King Arthur myth Jake Uther had been dead for five years, according to popular belief. An

*It’s me. I am the idiot. Until about a year ago, I thought I was the Plant Killer. Everyone always said, “Start out with a succulent! They’re SO easy.” So

I believe in magic. That may sound bonkers, even heretical. The mistreatment of language and misunderstanding of words has led the modern Christian community to believe that the words ‘magic’

Framing Shane Walsh

Having recently come down off a Punisher Season Two high and looking for a bit of a Jon Bernthal fix, I thought, hey – why not re-start The Walking Dead?

It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything about novel-writing (which is usually what I do around here). I took Ye Stars That Shudder, my post-alien-apocalypse retelling of King

A friend asked me the other day why. Why did I suddenly get all metaphysical? (Although I’d put forth it only SEEMED sudden, this has been building for quite some

As of the last post, the general consensus seems to be: ‘Mmmmmmm I’m not sure, but I’m still interested.’ Believe me, I know. That was me a year ago. The

NOTE:  I was seized with the need to write part two this morning and impromptu sat down and wrote all of it in half an hour. It’s terribly long for

I walk into church on Sunday morning. I see people I know and love, I say hi, I laugh. I walk over to get coffee at the coffee bar, a

Still My Sister: A Prompt

Kazariah Henge was a merciful man. You could ask anyone, and they would give you the same report – even-tempered, thoughtful, slow to wrath. Good qualities in a leader, anyone

Walking Stick: A Prompt

Last week I wrote a brief scene (probably inspiration for a series of short stories – I’ve never been a prompt person before, but I’m finding it a good way

More than Stardust

It would be hard to know me for more than a few days before figuring out I love David Bowie – if it even took that long. A glance at

While I tend to talk about writing on this blog, I’m actually an artist. It’s what I do, it’s where my revenue comes from, and I talk about it everywhere

How to Write a Psychopath

Fiction is enamored with psychopaths. The concept of an emotionless, calculating genius is a fascinating one, and one I’m always down to see – except it’s almost always wrong. Off

Wade sauntered over to the side of the road, and for the first time got a glimpse of where he was. Brown, weedy grass stretched over endless rolling hills as

Several years ago, while I was writing The Fading of the Light (the first novel in my futuristic science-fantasy Samurai Robin Hood retelling) I joked, “Just wait until I put

Sheltered (?)

‘I unfollowed her from Instagram because I was starting to question some of the things she said.’ I read that comment on an article about a current bestselling book by

An Autumn Tag

It’s no surprise to anyone that I love Autumn. I am every basic autumn meme you see floating around the internet, and I don’t even mind. Everything about autumn is

The Art of Clutter

There’s been a big shift toward minimalism in the last few years. Everywhere I look I see people simplifying their homes, switching to monochromatic schemes of black and white and

I’ll be honest – it’s taken me nine months to write this because I really didn’t want to. The reasons are twofold: one, I’m extremely emotionally attached to this movie

There have only been two plot twists in the world to blow me over. (The plot twist in Ted Dekker’s ‘THR3E,’ experienced when I was fifteen, and the plot twist

Everyone who knows me knows that my favorite show is Prison Break which is why when I began watching Trollhunters and said it tied with Prison Break as my favorite,

It happens on a near-daily basis, both on the internet and out and about in daily life. I say something – anything, really; an opinion, a fact, a remark about

If you know me at all, you probably know I love Star Wars. Both extended universe AND new canon. You also probably know I sort of hated Rogue One and

Ah, characters. They can be difficult little hooligans sometimes, am I right? We all know this, and I sympathize. I stop sympathizing, however, when I pick up a book and

Who else takes pride in their individuality? I know I do. Being something Other, going against the flow, has always been important to me for reasons I’ve never been able

Remember that A Villain’s Mind series introduction? It’s ba-ack; and ironically we aren’t starting with a full-on villain (per se). Let’s get to it. I have a favorite type of

Here’s the deal. There are many new, budding writers out there who have no idea what they’re doing. They’re fragile – they’re newborn writers and they’re flying blind, wanting to

Things happen when you sprain an ankle and have a hard time hobbling anywhere – they pile up. Things pile up on desks and chairs and the floor and by

That wasn’t going to be the original title but I threw it out as a joke and it was accepted so here we are. Having finished two of my newly

How to Wing It, Literarily

Yesterday a friend asked me if I had any advice on writing without an outline. I’m a panster. For anyone who doesn’t know, writers are typically divided into two camps

A while back a friend asked, “You know that quote that floats around, the ‘every villain is the hero of their own story’? Do you think that’s true?” More recently

The Glamour Man – Snippets

This has been an Interesting NaNo. It’s been a game of fall-behind (re: focus on art commissions + live life) and catch-up. Family came to visit (definitely a good thing)


I follow quite a few Christian Instagram accounts. You know the kind I mean – beautiful photography pages run by artsy Christian women, constantly posting quotes in swooping calligraphy or

In my last post, I talked about the novel I had actually last-minute decided to write for NaNo; the novel that had taken over my previous idea as the culmination

Occasionally I get asked things like, “What’s your writing process?” or, “How do you plan a novel?” I assume ‘plan’ is different than ‘plot’ because I could talk about how

When I heard about the Netflix remake of ‘Death Note,’ I was incredibly skeptical. Every new piece of information – from the Americanization to the casting – made me sink

The Prompting

I never do writing prompts, for several reasons. There isn’t enough room for me to explore and describe everything I want, I have difficulty connecting with characters in 500 words

The Legend of the Sword, Hollywood’s newest take on the legend of King Arthur, is nothing mind-blowing or utterly original. However, it has my favorite cinematic portrayal of King Arthur

I’m not really sure what happened with War for the Planet of the Apes. It was like the executives sat down and said, “Yeah, the last two were good, but

I used to believe firmly in genres, and in the idea that a author could only write one of them at a time. Either a book was high fantasy or

• How do you decide which project to work on? Generally the project chooses me rather than vice versa. The process is always the same – I get an idea

Don’t. Obviously this post has to be longer than a single word (because somebody somewhere said single-word blog posts don’t hold readers, or…something). I have approximately 358,713,498,000,000 pet peeves when

You might be thinking The Climbing of the Moon? What is this?? I thought she was writing The King’s Gambit?? And you would be correct – I was writing The

It’s time. You’ve written the first novel in a series and you’re ready to tackle the next one, but let’s face it – writing a sequel can be daunting. We

SPOILER ALERT-SLASH-WARNING: This blog post discusses sexual topics. If you’re a kiddo, you can skip it – you don’t need it yet anyway, trust me. I figured out what sex

Practice does not make perfect and your life is a lie. Is your mind blown yet? I can explain. We all grew up hearing ‘practice makes perfect’ and believing if

It’s been two weeks since I posted (I’ve been busy, okay) but when I don’t post here I miss it so I decided, along with my morning coffee (yes, my

Seven months. That’s how long I went without writing in a novel. I tried – I did things that involved writing, like revising – but writing in an actual novel


I’ll be honest — I’ve been avoiding this tag for several reasons. Reason Number One: I’ve been struggling in the area of writing for a while now (read: on and

Let’s Talk About Art

I realize the tagline of this blog says writing, art, etc. but is 90% writing and 5% etc. Today, to shake things up a little bit, I’m focusing on the

If you’ve known me for longer than two minutes, you know I love a good antagonist-turned-protagonist. You need look no further than my list of Favorite Fictional Characters to see

We all have that stack of books that shaped us, the ones we stayed up late reading and re-reading, the ones we took with us on car trips, the ones

‘Villains are just the heroes of their own stories,’ saith 19, 783 pins on Pinterest, pinned lovingly to novel WIP boards. To that phrase I say — get thee to

The Dramatic Villain*

*Plus tips for writing villains in general. Enough about heroes and ensemble casts – it’s time we take a break and talk about another fun subject: the villain. Specifically, the

Remember when I said I posted on a schedule? HA. Currently, I laugh. You’re all going to have to live with some off-schedule posts until I get a schedule back

If there’s one Latin phrase an author is likely to know, it’s the dreaded Deus Ex Machina, or ‘god from the machine.’ (Although let’s face it, writers are more likely

The Eagle Has Landed

I’m back, world! The past month has been an adventure in every sense of the word – exhausting and exciting, and it isn’t over. Our darling (old, quirky, weird, etc.)

Further Up & Further In

There’s no way to say this with flourishes (or there are, but they aren’t coming to me before coffee) — my family is moving as a package out to Omaha,

Revising a novel is like giving something a fresh coat of paint – you loved the original, but now it looks even better. It looks different, it looks fresh, and

Ah, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Widely regarded as one of the swooniest fictional heroes in literary history, he’s often overlooked as someone who fits in the category of Straight-Up Good Guy. When

Newt Scamander, easily my favorite big-screen hero of 2016, is something we don’t see very often. He’s a ‘straight-up good guy’ whom people don’t happen to like very often, through no

When I began Prison Break I expected many things, the least of which was a main character who was decent, sweet, and downright good. A good man who was interesting, compelling,

I watched the first episode of Netflix’s new show ‘Frontier’ the other night. I was disappointed. (Me? Disappointed in a show? PERISH the thought.) I’d like to make the disclaimer

It’s no secret that I have a favorite kind of cast, be it a book, a movie, or a television show. My favorite ensemble has always been the ‘Dirty Dozen’

January Giveaway!

For a while in 2016 I had a sketch giveaway for all my blog followers at the end of each week. While I loved the idea, it became too much

From time to time I get emails from new novelists, usually with questions about their characters. (We all know that I ain’t the person to call when you need help

A Thought About Opinions

Do you feel like everyone on your Facebook feed is angry? Is everybody you follow on Instagram posting empowering quotes with political hashtags you may or may not agree with?

Interview with the Author

When I first met Eli online several years ago, he became one of a very select group: those whom I immediately like. He’s an intelligent, friendly, well-read conversation partner and

A question landed in my inbox a couple weeks ago. An acquaintance wanted to start a blog, and wondered if I had any tips. I told him I’d write a

I’m picky. And I don’t mean mildly picky. I don’t mean ‘Yeah, the acting was lame but the movie was fun anyway’ kind of picky. I mean the kind of

I’m as romantic as the next person, but let’s face it – it’s hard to find a well-written romance in fiction these days. From poorly-written triangles to relationships based solely

The Book Sacrifice Tag

“I’m doing a blog tag about least-favorite books,” said Arielle yesterday. “Tag me in that,” I demanded immediately, and she obligingly did so. I’m not one for blog tags and

The Antagonist Report

We all know the basic formula ‘Hero vs. Villain,’ the simple brand of storytelling that has survived the test of time. It’s straightforward, full of conflict, and gives us epic

less of that, thank you

“I hate revising.” Such has been my staunchly-held battle-cry for years. After all, it is one thing to spend a year deep in creation, and another thing entirely to go


  Victoria Erickson said, “If you want gardens, become the gardener.” I was washing the dinner dishes on the second of January when this phrase floated back into my head.

wishes & hope

We are ready to shed the old year. We are more than ready to step into the new year, to see everything it has to offer, to see what it

The Artist’s Secret Weapon

Before you ask where I was, I’ll tell you: I had the Flu from Hell and was laid up for the last week, hence the lack of posts. (At some

Here’s the thing – I’m very, very bad at keeping track of my plot details. I can remember the overarching theme, I can remember what minor character #237 had for

If you’ve been around my blog since last December, you probably know I’m an avid Star Wars fan and have been since I was a kid. You might also know

speak to me!

Today, my internet squad, I place fate in your hands. By which I mean, now is the time to speak up! Is there a specific topic niggling in the back

an announcement of sorts

Sometimes, all we need is the right motivation to make a decision; and Jenny’s shiny new website (seriously, go look at it. It’s beautiful) snapped me into Decision Mode –

10 misconceptions about me

I have always been a collector of things. It’s part of having an obsessive personality. When I was a kid, I collected folders and plastic animals. Now that I’m an

one day, two guys

I sat at the window bar at Starbucks with my feet propped up on an extra chair, reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and drinking a peppermint mocha,

//the good things

This year has been a downer, hasn’t it? It’s amazing, how much down can be packed into twelve months (less than twelve months!) but it’s amazing how much up has

//angels in the wilderness

There are many good ways to start off a weekend, but waking up with severe pain, unable to use my right leg, wasn’t one of them. As I hobbled on

//in which I am a dropout

I hate quitting. Even when I pile my metaphorical plate higher than Vesuvius, I hate to remove even a single thing from that plate. It feels like giving up. It

//I choose to be the moon

Tired. Exhausted. Worn out. These are the adjectives I would use to describe my soul right now – and not just mine, but the collective soul of everyone around me.

//TDOTL; the end + snippets

For reasons I will divulge at the end of the month, I have a bit of ‘free’ non-intensive writing time on my hands right now. (I’ll pick the intensive writing

NaNoWriMo. JuNoWriMo. Camp NaNo. If you’re a writer with wi-fi you’ve probably participated in at least one of these events at some point, or this upcoming NaNo might be your

//what makes us who we are

“You make so much more sense now!” I’ve heard this joke many times over the years, and it never fails to make me laugh. I say something random – about

It’s approaching that time of year. This will be my tenth ‘novel writing month,’ between Novembers, Junes, and the one Camp Nano stuck in there somewhere. I can call myself

It’s autumn! Officially the best season of the year, every year. (Or it will be, once the Georgia weather decides to cooperate and stop clinging to the last vestiges of

//snippets of 90% sarcasm

But do I really post anything other than sarcastic snippets? Ever? During my semi-hiatus, I was busy writing. I hadn’t realized it until I hit 140k in The Dying of the

//sunday, 5:13 pm.

It’s been nineteen days since my last blog post. This number seems huge to me – almost three weeks? I didn’t quite expect that. It’s not because I haven’t had

//walking on water

Confession: I was scared to publish my last post. Even as I wrote it, I wondered if I’d be able to actually put it on my blog. What if people

I realized, soon into my semi-hiatus, that I wasn’t taking a break from the internet so much as my internet persona. The experiment has shed light on several areas of

This phrase has troubled me greatly since I was old enough to grasp the lie of it. I recall vividly the first time someone said this – my youth group

“You realize you’ll have readers thinking X character is gay, right?” “They’ll have to really stretch to keep thinking that after a while. Besides, I decided I didn’t care. I

“I’m an INTJ.” — 99% of people who are not. Everybody wants to rule the world. Hence, everybody wants to be an INTJ – the MBTI type best known as

I leaned my head back and stared at the globe hanging overhead. It swayed back and forth in the breeze from the fan in small, hypnotic circles, casting a shadow

When Arielle recently dusted off some of her old writing, I decided to hunt through some of mine. The purpose was kicks and giggles – after all, why not? I

JuNoWriMo is over, leaving my current WIP (The Dying of the Light) at 122, 753 words as of this morning. I had plans to reach 50,000 in the third week

The dreaded Inner Editor. Everyone has one – the Thing perching on our shoulders, looking down and watching every sentence we write, every paragraph, with critical scrutiny. I remember when

There’s an astonishing amount of bamboo in Georgia. Growing up, I equated bamboo with Pandas and pagodas. Bamboo was something found in eastern Asia, not the American south. I was

//indestructible women

‘A loving woman is indestructible.’ I came across this phrase by Steinbeck several weeks ago, and I loved it so much that I scribbled it on a card and stuck

I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor all day hoping it will magically begin stringing words together. So far, no luck – but inspiration had better hit me before Saturday,

My insomnia is back. It comes and goes – once a year or so. That’s how long it takes for me to internalize the stress that doesn’t affect me on

And I’m only two weeks late! I apologize – between personal life happenings, JuNoWriMo, and the return of my insomnia, my brain has decided to stop holding information, important or

  Who doesn’t love a good bromance? Two guys with an intimate, platonic relationship sharing banter and life experiences – it’s my favorite relationship to write, and it’s usually the

I wasn’t planning to write two blog posts in one day, but here I am. You’re probably over-acquainted with the name Brock Turner. It’s become infamous to the public over

We’re nine days into JuNoWriMo, and I should have a total of 25,000 words to show for it by the end of today. It’s been a harder – but strangely

Yesterday I was chatting with Lauren about The Dying of the Light (NaNo ’15-JuNo ’16). I’d recently made a loose chart with three categories: white, grey, and black. Then I

Tomorrow marks the first day of June. It also marks the beginning of my ninth ‘Writing Month.’ (Once NaNo rolls around, I’ll feel respectable. Ten is a good number to

  On Saturday, I celebrated the last vestige of my birthday (yes, my birthday was a month ago, your point) by doing something I’ve always wanted to do: I went

This past week, actresses Gillian Anderson and Priyanka Chopra have expressed interest in playing James Bond. I mulled over the idea of a female James Bond for a few days,

The Rurouni Kenshin live-action trilogy is one of my favorite movie series ever, featuring an incredible cast of characters. Among these incredible characters is Shishio, the over-arching villain featured in

“Would you mind talking more about your last statement?” “You didn’t mention psychological horror!” “What about Frankenstein and other classics?” I had enough responses to the last post (after just

“I WANT TO WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT SOMETHING TO DO WITH STORIES.” I was sitting with my feet propped up on the windowsill, staring at a blank page. Arielle,

//perfect day

The weather is delectable – just warm enough that the cool breeze feels heavenly. Mom, my younger sister, and I shop for food first – pita bread, lettuce, and a gallon

  I grew up believing (firmly) that Harry Potter was evil. I could watch Lord of the Rings, Willow, and Stardust to my heart’s content, but Harry Potter was a

//so much the better

I was recently interviewed by my friend and fellow writer, Eli. He asked an excellent question about Christianity and mythology, and I gave a response – but the response was

This round of questions was so good that I couldn’t decide who to shine the spotlight on. Lauren read the questions and immediately suggested Tsuki and Kiba (The Dying of

A couple years ago, I was introduced to ‘V’ (the original show, not the ridiculous reboot). Consequently, I fell in love with Michael Ironside. His character, Ham Tyler, was gruff and

Today I have the distinct pleasure of announcing – the Paper Crowns tour has left the station! Every day this month save Sunday, a different blog will post something Paper

  “I need a left hand matching these dimensions.”   The guard glanced at the door. “Don’t worry,” Oscar continued, his anger softening just enough to allow him to say,

Last night, I received this message from a sweet, creative girl I know: “Hey so serious question: How on earth do you manage to stay focused and enthusiastic and motivated

//the paper coronation

A few years ago, I took a break from writing darker, grittier novels. Instead I sat down and I wrote something lighter and sweeter than my usual fare – a

//the garbage will do

I’ve seen Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) get bashed by not only the media, but friends I know and love. She’s been called self-centered, a brat, and even ‘trash.’

  I read an article this morning titled An Open Letter to Rey, in which the author presents various arguments as to why characters such as Rey, Katniss Everdeen, Furiosa,

“What kind of stories are your favorite?” my friend David asked me. I began to try and scramble up an answer, but since I have favorite stories in almost every

//on finding balance

The dictionary defines balance as ‘an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.’ When I use the word balance, I usually envision a juggler

//keep moving forward

Eight years ago, I went on my first water-slide and eight years ago, my jaw popped uncomfortably for the first time. Since then I’ve dealt with on-again, off-again jaw/head/neck pain.

You see the worst (and sometimes best, but usually worst) side of fandoms when you’re on Tumblr. I remember soon after Lexa was introduced during season two of The 100,

//oh death

It’s been ‘Kill Fan Favorite’ season in TV land, and discussions about character deaths are swirling everywhere as fans kick up a storm – frequently with good reason. If I

//project kindcore

Kindcore. I saw the word floating around Tumblr, and it stayed in my mind for weeks. Kindcore. It was tossed out as a suggestion — ‘hey, what if everyone was

It’s no secret that  I like selfies. They’re quick moments of self-expression, like an outfit. I enjoy seeing other people’s selfies, and I like being able to show other people

 “No one stays good in this world.” So says Superman, just before flying away to kill (or try to kill) Batman – or see his mother burned to death at

//good & happy

  Good Friday. Happy Easter. The adjectives we use to describe these days are true, but also ironic. I don’t think anyone who attended the crucifixion and saw their teacher,

  I was attempting to decipher the faded handwriting on a recipe card last night, so I could type up a recipe for Crumble Top Peach Pie and Graham Cracker

//what He didn’t say

Anybody raised in the church is familiar with the account of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well. Several weeks ago, I was mulling over the passage, and these

SCENARIO ONE The shadowy assassin pushed his hood back, revealing his scarred face. “Who are you?” asked the frightened girl. “That does not matter now,” said the assassin solemnly. “I

I’ve written so much about writing this week, I thought it only right to follow up the previous posts with some snippets from The Dying of the Light. This book

My last post was surprisingly well-received. Not that I doubted the strength of my readers, but because I don’t usually go that route. I don’t usually say ‘maybe you shouldn’t

Writer. The word conjures up so many ideas and images. Sipping tea, sitting on a window seat, stargazing, dancing barefoot through spring grass, daisy chains, ink pots and quill pens

  Yesterday, I saw Zootopia and I left the theater wondering, “Did I like it even more than Strange Magic?” (Strange Magic is my favorite animated movie to date, ever,

Lawrence Coddington! I’ll contact you asap and get the sketch sent out as soon as I remember ASAP! I’ve used up three sketchbooks in three months. Ce la vie.  

There are two opposing schools of thought in Christian society. The first school of thought belongs to the progressive half, and it appears to stem from the ‘worldly’ idea that

HOTTER (Haka + Otter, The Dying of the Light) How did they first meet? What were their first impressions of each other? They first met when Lieutenant Takuan put an

ARADHEL SMITH AND VADIK CHAUSSER How did they first meet? They first met when Aradhel and her accipiter, Brynhedda, seek him out hoping to gain passage on his ship. What

I’m very behind on the Beautiful People meme, and the as the last set of questions was centered around Valentine’s Day, the questions are two people instead of one. I

//a reply

I opened my inbox and saw your email sitting there. I’ll be honest and say the sight of your name makes me need to take a deep breath and brace

I’ve been trying to write this post for over a week, but every time I open it up, dormant emotions kick up and I opt out, writing something a little

Colossians 3:16 opens with, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.’ As a kid, I thought this verse was referring to verse memorization (duh) but

//february sketch dump

It’s been a busy month – I finished editing Paper Crowns and now the publishers are working on formatting the interior. On top of that, I’ve been pushing myself artistically,

“Have you written a blog post on how your Christian principles affect your writing?” Well, I hadn’t, but now I have. It’s a broad subject I want to condense a

//mascara application

I’ve never liked asking for things. It makes me uncomfortable. Even as a child, I can remember really wanting something, but then placing more practical concerns in front of it

A few days ago, a friend asked me what I thought about Icarus – the full story, not just the half that gets toted around as a warning not to

//identification, please

a sketch of Jenny F.‘s character, Golden Lion Boy (that’s not really his name) There’s a common type of character I like to refer to as the Shell, and the

//thorns & flowers

Since the first of the year, I’ve been reading through the epistles again, and something struck me in a way it never has before. We all know about the thorn

//coffee and connections

I sat curled up in my favorite chair at the coffee shop, reading The Introvert’s Way by Sophia Dembling (I highly recommend this book to everyone, by the way, whether

“You sound proud of her,” said Shi. “I guess.” Shotgun scratched his nose. “She’s kind of like my grandmother, you know? Hovering. Always there. Sending me money when I need

//standing room only

Artwork from my amazing girlbro Lauren, a Christmas gift that made me cry many happy tears    Watching your writing style, abilities, and preferences change is a fascinating thing. As with

//lassoing the moon

I had a different blog post planned for today, but when as I logged onto my computer this morning, the news washed over me like a wave of cold water

//I am not Atlas

A couple days ago, I pegged Lauren as an ESTP and I read up on her personality type while she read up on mine, INFP. “This is you. This is

//Beautiful People #14

Sky and Cait (AND CAIT! AND CAIT! Cait, see, I didn’t forget you this time) are back with another round of questions, these ones pertaining to writing goals and achievements.

//what a sketch taught me

“You’re feeling the character out,” Lauren told me. “It’s supposed to be loose.” I groaned, a fraction away from throwing in the towel, and maybe my pencil. “I’m really bad


The meteor shower wasn’t supposed to start until three o’clock, but I settled down on the deck anyway, hoping I might see a few lucky precursors while I was still

//the word

I spent a good deal of yesterday mulling over my word for 2016. It’s like choosing a novel title: I don’t feel I can really write the novel until I

I actually sketched this before I saw the movie. LOL @ me.  For at least a week now I’ve had friends telling me, “You’re going to be the worst Kylo

//waving to the old year

It’s hard to believe 2015 is wrapping up. In some ways, the year has felt very short and in other ways, it’s felt very long. It’s a year I’m grateful

{art, Boba Fett, and C. S. Lewis lectures} Whew, things have been busy this past week. Dad had shoulder surgery and can’t move his right arm, which has changed the

When I was twelve or so, I began to notice a change in my favorite characters. Less frequently did I love the hero – I loved the grudging antihero, or even

Interested in having custom artwork done for you or a friend? Today is the last day of my Christmas art sale, where you can order any art commission from me

This is something I’ve discussed before, but I’d like to go more in-depth on it today. Also, if it seems vague and/or like a ramble, my only excuse is that

//the writing process

This was supposed to happen during NaNo, as far as I’m aware, but I didn’t get around to it in time because I was busy writing. (Ironically.) However, since at

Yesterday morning, a friend dropped this note on my Facebook wall: “So I’m curious–how did you get a successful blog with a good following? I mean, i get how single-topic-niche


While tomorrow marks a traditional day of giving thanks, it also ushers in the official Christmas season for the Neal family. I don’t know about you, but the whole holiday

My OC Kirikizu, drawn by the incredible-amazing-fantastic Lauren, aka CielaRose on DeviantArt. Usually, I’m an obsessive NaNo poster. I post every few days with updates – snippets, character biographies, what-have-you.

At 3, 750 words exactly, I completed the first chapter of my NaNo novel, and I’m pleased to say I really, really love this novel. After the enormous amount of

The time approaches. At the stroke of midnight, November will begin, and NaNoWriMo insanity will begin. Expect me to be more forgetful than usual. However, I have the good news

//meet the menagerie

The Dying of the Light Justice, loyalty, betrayal, and insane fashion. This morning was #thatawkwardmomentwhen you roll out of bed, take your first sip of coffee, and realize NaNo is

//not so perfect

‘You’re perfect.’ I hear that sometimes, spoken by a friend or acquaintance, or sometimes practical strangers. I feel a small spark of wow, thank you, but just as quickly that

After a brief period during which I drew more than I wrote, I managed to get some actual writing done between flurries of editing, watching James Patterson’s MasterClass, and plotting NaNoWriMo


Yesterday, Lauren – one of my closest friends and favorite people – said, “You cry very easily and honestly I think it’s a beautiful thing.” Which, of course, nearly made

Every month Sky at Further Up and Further In hosts a questionnaire called ‘Beautiful People,’ but this month’s is a bit different, designed for NaNo preparation (although it doesn’t necessarily


As I sat in a coffee shop the day before yesterday and watched people walk in and sit down, alone or in groups of two or three, I knew I

//my “plotting process”

A few weeks ago, my friend Eli asked what my writing process was like. I laughed, and then realized he was serious and agreed I would. Then I told my

Life has loveliness to sell, All beautiful and splendid things, Blue waves whitened on a cliff, Soaring fire that sways and sings, And children’s faces looking up Holding wonder like

If you’re new to this series, or would like to refresh your memories, you can find Part 1 here. M: Do you keep any kind of schedule to help with

//dear amelia

At the park by the Atlanta Zoo, there’s a playground. The weather today was perfect; overcast and warm, with a breeze that smelled like autumn. I was out with two

//and the sketch winner is…

I posted a ramble instead of a sketch winner yesterday; but never fear – I’m here with a sketch winner today. I haven’t gotten last week’s sent out yet because

//10:49 p.m.

I’m sitting on my bed in a room dimly lit by fairy lights strung up over my bed, listening to a Chinese pop song through the cutest flowered headphones on

Deborah commented on my last post with something that I felt deserved a whole post to itself – but before I continue, let me introduce you to Skimm. My friend

//for better or worse

[Note: I am not advocating ‘hiding your head in the sand’ or avoiding important issues. This article isn’t even about politics, although I use them as an example. I completely

//the problem of pain

In our writing circle, my friend Arielle and I are known Givers of Pain. Our readers frequently rail at us for emotionally destroying them [cue diabolical chuckle] but something I’ve

Thanks to Annie Hawthorne for sending me a picture of the sketches she received – I sent her two sketches from several years ago because I thought them fitting for

I first made Annie’s acquaintance when she left a touching comment on my blog about a month ago, and I’m delighted to announce she’s finally venturing into the blogging world

//becoming you

Rana, a beautiful young woman I’m proud to have as a friend, left this comment on my ‘Dear Younger Me’ letter. She said, “Could you do a post on loving

//dear younger me

Dear Younger Me, I don’t know where you are right now, or what you’re doing. You’re probably reading – or maybe I found you in that moment when you first

//snippets, etc.

You may have noticed that I didn’t post a sketch winner last week. I didn’t forget, but I decided that posting a sketch winner during weeks where I only write