Sunrise in Fairbanks

A week before the solstice, this is what sunrise looks like in Fairbanks … at 12:30 p.m.

And this is also as close as the sun will get to our house today. That’s actually the shadow of the hill behind our house, being cast on the hill across the valley.

The trees on top of our hill. This is a little misleading as it’s not actually the sun — it’s diffuse sunlight behind clouds. (Those are also shadowed clouds above the hill in the top picture, not a blue sky.)

Our house, which is really turning into more of a compound now that we have the shop too, all hunkered down beneath the weird wild winter sky.

December Patreon rewards

This month’s Patreon rewards are up! Two holiday wallpapers (sneak preview below) and a look at an upcoming new characters. (Yes, another one.) The Clay image is an older one, though it’s never been a wallpaper before. The right-hand image is new, and in its non-wallpaper version, will be up on the website later in the month. I always used to do a yearly Christmas image back when I was working on Hunter’s Moon, and I’m going to start doing that again.

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This is the last month of the introductory special, with the Patreon rewards being available to all backers; starting next month it’ll be the usual tier structure, with the goodies being for the $5 & up backers. However, I plan to release the December rewards to everyone each year, as a “thank you” for supporting the comic, and the sneak preview stuff released throughout the month in the Patreon activity stream will still be available to everyone at the $1 level and above.

Ferguson action link roundup

I expect most of you have heard on the news about Ferguson, MO, where a grand jury declined to indict — i.e. put to trial — a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager on Aug. 9. For the record, grand juries almost always indict:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them. (source)

This is not an isolated incident: police frequently shoot unarmed Black suspects and are rarely prosecuted for it.

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • If you’re a U.S. resident, write to your representative/senator to ask for body cameras on police. This way there is always an unbiased record of police actions, to protect citizens and cops. Here is an example letter and here is where you can find out who represents you.
  • Donate to the Ferguson public library. (Paypal donation button at upper right of website.) While Ferguson schools are closed today — Tuesday — the library is staying open to give kids a place to go. And in general, libraries are a public good, and an especially good thing for low-income children.

To help the Ferguson protestors and the Brown family directly, you can:

If anyone has a correction or something they’d like to add, comments are welcome. Please also feel free to link and share.

November already?!

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Here we are in the middle of November – how do these things happen? I got some nifty pictures of the sunset on the frozen creek the other day.

Kismet is updating every Monday. Now that I’m back in the swing of updating the webcomic, I need to figure out more ways to get the word out! I also have a Kismet Facebook page and a Tumblr where updates are announced.

And I have a romance novel coming out Friday from Dreamspinner Press. Here’s the pre-order page on Dreamspinner’s website and on Amazon.

October updates – Kismet and more

I’ve gone back to a blog-style interface for my main website, so that I can more easily post updates here.

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Why hello, winter. You seem to have come early this year.

The big news is that KISMET IS BACK! Sun-Cutter is updating every Monday and I hope there will be no more downtime ’til the comic is done. I also have a Patreon funding page where people can support the comic — I’m hoping Kismet can at least pay site hosting costs (it’s actually about 1/3 of the way there already!). The Patreon will also offer behind-the-scenes glimpses as a donor perk.

In addition to that, I have a Kismet tumblr, kismetcity, where I’ll be posting update notifications as well as art, reblogs of things that remind me of Kismet, and so forth. It’s not very active so far, but once things settle down in my personal life (September there was a major illness in the family; October I’m mostly traveling) I’m going to start getting into it in a major way, so look for that!

One of my short stories (The Bride in Furs, which you can read online) is reprinted in Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, edited by Melissa Scott and Steve Berman. This is the first time I’ve had my work solicited for an anthology (as opposed to submitting it myself); I’m pretty jazzed about it!

I also have a romance novel coming out from Dreamspinner Press under my Layla M. Wier alias.

And I’m going to try to be more active on social media starting in November. Right now, the place where I probably spend the most time is on Tumblr, where my main tumblr is laylainalaska — there’s some original art along with reblogged stuff having to do with comics, fandom, politics, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Here again, I’m going to aim for posting more original content starting in November.

And in conclusion, here’s another picture of early winter in Fairbanks, Alaska! This and the above were taken on Saturday around our yard.

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Summer Arts Festival 2014

Are you interested in comics? Would you like to learn to draw them?

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I’m teaching a “how to draw comics” class at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival again in 2014! The class, “Introduction to Graphic Noveling“, will be held July 14-27, 2014. Last year’s class was a lot of fun – I hope this year will be even better! All experience levels are welcome; all you need is an interest in comics.

The FSAF website has all the information you need, including online registration. See all visual arts classes or visit the website for my class.

Summer Arts Festival 2013

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Fireweed along the Steese Highway

It’s another glorious, wildflower-filled summer in Fairbanks and I’ve just finished a 2-week stint teaching at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival!

My class was Introduction to Graphic Noveling. This is the first year that the Festival has offered a class in cartooning & comics storytelling, and I hope my students had as much fun taking the class as I did teaching it. As I explained to the students at the start of class, this class is basically the comic-book equivalent of a creative writing class. My role as their teacher was to give them a grounding in basic skills and help them develop their own creative projects … and once they got started, they took off like rockets!

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Caution: Artists at work!

Making things even more interesting, the Festival was spread out all over town because of summer construction at UAF, its usual venue. My class was held in Badger Hall at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds. Aside from a few small drawbacks (occasional interruptions as the hard-working fair staff set up for the exhibits that would eventually fill the hall; terribly uncomfortable metal folding chairs) it was quite a nice venue for artists — we were very isolated and private, with a huge exhibit hall all to ourselves, and a semi-secluded lawn when we felt like drawing outside!

Talented local cartoonist (and all-around great guy) Jamie Smith also came in to do a penciling/inking demo for us.

And I brought fresh fruit and homemade-from-scratch brownies for my students on the last day of class.

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Y’know, just in case you were thinking of signing up next year …

Inching towards spring

Still waiting for progress to occur on the “melting” front. Walking the dog last night, I noticed the setting sun glinting rather beautifully off the snowbanks along the driveway, although by the time I ran and got my camera it had mostly set:

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(This was about 10 p.m. — we have a lot of light, at least.)

And here’s a picture I took today of water pooling on the creek ice:

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It’s 40 degrees today and feels wonderful. Hopefully we’ll lose this snow quickly now that it’s getting warmer.