R.I.P. Wireless Keyboard – Hello New Art

Well, I wondered if it would happen. It finally did.

After several million words, my Microsoft 1392 Arc keyboard up and died. One night it worked great, then I picked it up the next day for a new writing session…

And nothing.

R.I.P. Wireless Keyboard - Hello New Art
OpenClipartVectors / Pixabay

At first I thought the batteries died. Changed them, and still didn’t work. Could be bum new batteries, right? So I found two more batteries from a different pack. Nope, no go. Tried many ways to re-establish communication with the computer. It isn’t just a connection issue. The little light for the caps lock won’t even come on.

Tried manipulating the area where the batteries went in. Restarted and ran diagnostics on the computer, just in case.

I think it’s dead, Jim.

R.I.P. wireless keyboard!

A new one was purchased, but it took over a week to arrive. My biggest writing time is at night, and unfortunately, the laptop keyboard is too high when the machine is sitting on the desk for me to write very many words. Doing so would hurt my wrists and shoulders because of how bad the ergonomics are.

I can’t afford to harm my wrists and arms. My writing, art, and taking care of Mother Hen depend on them. So, until the keyboard arrived, the writing had to changed.

So, I switched gears! At night I worked on covers and art. These are still moving me forward in good directions! The art I’m doing is not only for myself, but also artwork to sell. Here is my account at Dreamstime with some of my artwork for sale.

While sorting through my artwork looking for works that were almost done, I found a few pieces I’d been playing with. I’ve put a few of them up at my Deviant Art account:

R.I.P. Wireless Keyboard - Hello New ArtWhat keyboard did I buy? I found a refurbished Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 for Mac/iPad/iPhoneR.I.P. Wireless Keyboard - Hello New Art. I’ll never need batteries again!

R.I.P. Wireless Keyboard - Hello New ArtNo matter what, I’m determined to remain creative!

May 2012 Release – The Great Salmon Run Cake Fiasco

May 2012 Release - The Great Salmon Run Cake FiascoIn keeping with the schedule of one new release every month, the release for the month of May is the short story “The Great Salmon Run Cake Fiasco”. Yes, it’s as silly as it sounds. Do not drink while you are reading it!

“The Salmon Run Men’s Club, the General Store cafe kitchen, and the one-month anniversary of the Callahans in Alaska… All the ingredients needed for a messy disaster of legendary proportions…”

AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords

In other news, I will be away from the internet for at least a week. Hopefully no more than that, but I don’t know for sure. In the meantime, I’ll be writing away on new short stories, and then a new novel first draft.

Third, author Neil Gaiman addressed the University Arts class of 2012, giving an amazing speech. It’s about fifteen minutes long, and it’s fantastic. You will not regret listening to it.

And in the words of Neil Gaiman, go make good art…

Robot Generator Fun

Robot Generator FunI love generators. There are a lot of free ones all over the internet. Robohash is one that creates a new robot for each IP address or from text you provide.

The first image is a robot generated from my IP address. Don’t I look pretty in purple? 😛

Of course I had to try the text input box. The word? Well, I chose a phrase.

“Space Cadet”

Robot Generator FunYes, I know how much that says about me. A pink and purple robot. Strange how the generator picked two of my favorite colors!


Robot Generator FunI have a new release! Introducing the SF romance: Coffee Cup Dreams

She wasn’t supposed to wake up when dead…

During what should have been a simple operation, Tish Douglas died. And yet, she also awoke… in what the doctors called a ‘psi event.’

Despite having no memory of the incident, it means she’s required to go on a life-time course of debilitating drugs designed to reign in her supposedly new psi gifts. She’s left with the option of existing on Earth in a drug-haze, or leave the planet.

When an opportunity for a good paying job on a space station known as Redpoint One is offered, she jumps at the chance. Even though she doesn’t have any experience as a ‘maintenance engineer.’ Even though the station sits in the middle of nowhere, a still-operating construct of a long-gone alien species.

Between pirate attacks, intelligent repair robots, and maintenance emergencies, Tish must find a place for herself.

All complicated by a growing attraction to the one person on the station she can’t have: boss Arthur Getty.

A stand-alone 48400 word, 193 page (approximate), science fiction romance novel by J.A.Marlow.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Monday Zombie and Carina Nebula Photo Inspiration

Day 9 Wordcount: 35 (Glint of an Artifact, Short Story #3)

Yes, only 35 measly little words. That’s what happens on a Monday where the wind is blowing causing an allergen alert. Oh and then financial month-end at work coupled with system glitches resulting in a 10-hour workday.

I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow. 😉

Here’s a lovely space-shot for inspiration. I love the colors and movement!

Carina Nebula


This is a Hubble shot of a stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina.

Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionised gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation.

Nestled inside this dense mountain are fledgling stars. Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in opposite directions from the pedestal at the top of the image. Another pair of jets is visible at another peak near the centre of the image. These jets, (known as HH 901 and HH 902, respectively, are signposts for new star birth and are launched by swirling gas and dust discs around the young stars, which allow material to slowly accrete onto the stellar surfaces.

From the ESA/Hubble Website


The challenge in question is the Forward Motion May “Story-A- Day” challenge. See my previous post about the rules. The goal is to achieve the 10 short story level.


Cover Design – The Digital Painting

As an artist, I work in several mediums. Pencil, Oils, Genesis Oil Paints, and Digital.

Pencils wouldn’t give me the sharp colors I wanted, much less the translucence of the aurora or the color sharpness for the cover in general. I would need to use a glazing technique and oils would dry too slow to fit in with the limited time-factor. The Genesis Oil Paints were a real possibility, but thanks to my move I no longer had access to my good scanner for scanning in a high quality version of the resulting painting.

That left only one real option for the cover: a digital painting.

I had a mock-up put together in Photoshop (by the way, a mock-up can also be put together in GIMP, which is free.). I didn’t want absolute realistic for the cover, so I chose to use Corel Painter to do the actual digital painting.

Here are a few steps in the process:

Cover Design - The Digital Painting

Cover Design - The Digital Painting

Cover Design - The Digital Painting

Cover Design - The Digital Painting

Once I’m happy with the overall digital painting, I take it back into Photoshop for a few special effects, and the all-important title and author name.

Cover Design - The Digital Painting

I’ll be honest. Using clipart, paid photo stock, or image with a loose creative commons license is a heck of a lot easier and less time-consuming than the above. The digital painting took hours and hours. Doing a digital painting like this is not something most Indie Authors/Publishers would want to do or are capable of doing. For most it wouldn’t be cost effective to hire someone else to do it for them.

But I’m also an artist, and the painting does reflect some of the same qualities I bring into the writing of the stories. So, I’m okay with spending a little extra of my time to put them together. That’s okay. For me, it’s very satisfying.

That said, I’m also fully aware that this cover has its flaws. It might be too busy. The colors might not stand out enough.

But it might also be just right.

As with so many things in the Indie world, I will give it a try. If it doesn’t work, or I’m not happy with the attention the book is getting, I might change the cover. As an Indie, I have that power.

And I can’t take it personally. If the cover art doesn’t work, then so be it. It will be time to change it. I still love the results, though, and I learned a few things painting it. Those skills will then be used on subsequent covers and artwork. The work and time invested will not be for nothing.

After all, this is a business. The cover is a main promotional marketing tool for the sale of the book. And I want the book to sell.


“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!

I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.

If you find this information useful or interesting, please encourage others to come on by and visit.