Go, Go Power Ponchos, Ancient Alien Meme-tasticness and Doodly Fun

I keep seeing the above image on Facebook, in an ad for an online fashion site. And each time I do, my brain automatically comments: "Mighty Morphin Power Ponchos."

Clearly, someone needs to get a group together to wear these garments-- one color of each-- and strike ninja poses in the various open spaces around Pittsburgh. Y'know, to liven things up between Furries Conventions.

"Go, go, Power Ponchos!"

(And um, no, I am not volunteering. I'm the Ideas Person. Implementation is free for someone else. :) )
Speaking of ideas, there's this meme going around where you go to Google Images, you type in your first name and the word "meme" and see what images pop up related to it. I decided to try it for my lead alien character Rollie.

This is what came up for that.

For folks here who are familiar with my books, I am open to any and all suggestions of what exactly Rollie did to the Ancient Aliens guy. Go ahead! Be creative. Because with Rollie, it really could be pretty much anything.

Speaking of Rollie, I've been doing a few little doodly illustrations in the evenings from the books-- just for my own entertainment. Below is Bertram and Rollie at the Lunch-n-Launch Diner from The Purloined Number.

Bertram does enjoy digging into the alien chow!

Below is Rollie on Altair-5, from the perspective of an Altairan Carnivorous Daisy. Yup, them's some big angry posies!

And the last drawing is also from The Purloined Number-- my character Meena showing her sculpture at the art gallery on the planet Gwash. Meena's art is done in backspace materials, like paper mache, architectural salvage and despair. Oh, and she'd want me to tell you, she accepts commissioned work! :)

Anyway, that's it from me. I've got various holiday tasks to do this weekend, including trying to find gifts for people who don't want anything, and clumsily taping pretty colored paper onto non-conforming objects.

I swear, if anyone at this time of year ever asked me what superpower I would like, I'd say: to make wrapping paper bow to my will and not cause every present to look like some kindergartener hepped up on sugar plums wrapped the gifts.


The Mawwidge of Pwincesses, Pencils and Paypah

Now that I've finished the main, non-baddie cast, I thought you folks might enjoy seeing the character drawings from the movie The Princess Bride that I did this week. I started with Pwincess... er... Princess... Princess Buttercup. This is from the scene where she dreams she married Prince Humperdinck and gets booed by her royal subjects...

And here is her true love, Wesley (in Dread Pirate Roberts mode). He's only lying there because he's been Mostly Dead all day.

Of course I had to do my personal favorite character, Inigo Montoya... (say it with me, folks: "Hello: my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.".... Ah! Feel better now? I do.)

I also thought it would be fun to draw the ever-nefarious Vizzini-- as inconceivable as that might be...

And this morning, I put the finishing touches on the beloved strong man Fezzik, as played by the late Andre the Giant. ("My way? What's 'my way'?")

So now? I must close the book on this post. May your weekends all end up "happily ever after!"  --Jenn

Where Have All the Plural Pants Gone?

It arrived in my Inbox this morning. "The Soft Pant."

The email claimed to be from DressBarn, but my instinctual mistrust of the denizens of the internet suggested to me it probably was porn spam. Because if there's any soft panting going on online, that's usually where it'll find ya.

But no. Further inspection revealed a strange new perspective in fashion marketing. Somewhere along the way, it seems our bum-covers have become all feisty and leg-independent-- lone wolves, toughing it out in a statement of personal destiny, rugged individualism and polyester blends.

I'd seen hints of this leghole-based libertarianism a few months ago. There was one sign in Express, and another in New York & Company, proclaiming the chic awesomeness of this or that particular "pant." I had only just mentioned it to my friend Linda, when she promptly discovered this ad in her own email...

The "tummy control pant." One pant to control them all! 

Ah, if only Frodo had enjoyed the benefits of this singular garment of belly-bulge-bracing resolve, he might have been able to finish his epic journey in the span of a standard two-hour feature film.

I admit, it has me curious just how far the ramifications of the solo "pant" go. I mean, plural pants have been a part of our language for a while now. And I don't know if I'm ready to adapt. For me, it brings up questions of consistency.

Now do we tell someone to, "Put your pant on one leg at time"?

Do we talk about who "wears the pant in the family"?

After a big meal at the SuperPanda buffet, do we lean back in our chairs and exclaim, "My pant is too tight!"?

For my British friends, in a moment of dismay, are we required to exclaim, "Oh, pant!"

And if a film really sucks, must we proclaim, "That movie was pant!"

Also, I want to know if this applies to synonyms for the two-legged garments. Will we soon be up to our navels in "trouser"? On the weekend, will we slip into our favorite pair of "jean"? Do we now go to the meeting in one fashionable "slack"?

Is this some insidious ploy by the shirt and sweater marketing associations, who've secretly felt bitter all these years for having two sleeves yet being referred to as one piece of clothing, forcing them into being united for a single cause? Is this some sly chance to urge conformity among the soft cloth funnel wearing masses?

I want to know.

In the meantime, I glance suspiciously at the "headphone" on my desk and wonder. And wait.

Humorous Sci-Fi $0.99 Sale Cosmicness!

Heads up to my reader buddies on here!-- I decided to have a little summer sale for my humorous sci-fi books during the next week. Both There Goes the Galaxy and The Purloined Number are now available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords for $0.99 a piece. They're also available proportionately cheap in the UK, Canada, etc. on Amazon-- I just didn't want to overload folks with too many links.

So if you were looking for a good time to pick up a copy of either of those to books, this might just be the time to snag them. Or if you know someone who enjoys sci-fi in the general Hitch-hiker's Guide or Terry Pratchett tradition, I'd love it if you would pass the sale info along. The details are as follows:

Kindle US:









Thank ye much, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday! :)

Happy Thorsday from Me and Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grand Uncle Thor

After the slaying of the Cumberbatch from my last post, I was feeling pretty confident that, with blood, sweat and many eraser nubbins, I might just be able to draw whoever I'd like to a reasonable degree. So in between writing, gardening and my Day Job Thingy, I launched myself into a series of portraits of my favorite movie characters.

To celebrate #Thorsday, I HAD to attempt Chris Hemsworth in the role of my family's demi-god ancestor-- a superhero forged of stardust, steel and quality hair care products.

I also chose Mia Wasikowska as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, in armor, preparing to fight the Jabberwock. (And -- major ALICE IN WONDERLAND NERD RANT-- I love this movie, but I'm sorry, Mr. Burton-- the creature is NOT a "Jabberwocky." That is the name of Lewis Carroll's poem. The dragon is the "Jabberwock." It's right there on the page. This bugs me every time. I understand taking liberties with the plot to create a new film, but there's simply no reason to tweak the name of the Jabberwock. It is totally non-frabjous and someone needed to say that... Ahem.) Look-- Alice looks concerned about it, too.

Post-Alice, I decided I would tackle two favorite character actors at once, by drawing Paul Bettany and Alan Tudyk as Chaucer and Wat from A Knight's Tale. Interestingly, it took me less time to draw both of these guys than it did a single Cumberbatch. All drawings for me are now going to be evaluated for their difficulty on the Cumberbatch Scale.

I've been wanting to draw Paul Bettany, anyway, because if my There Goes the Galaxy books ever became movie fodder, he would be my very first choice to play my character Rollie. Sometime, if I'm feeling brave, I may try to draw him in the role. He really only needs the orange eyes and madder hair.

Another film I've watched a million times is Ever After, so I decided to draw Drew Barrymore in the scene where she's headed off to the ball. I had to use two different reference photos to get this right since the photo of her costume didn't show her face clearly and at the angle I wanted.

And my FAVORITE of the bunch is this Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. I wasn't sure if I could pull this one off, so when the drawing actually began looking Depply, it was really exciting!

I post all of my drawings as I become happy with them on my Pinterest account here: 


So if you enjoy them, I hope you'll follow me there. (After the many hours of drawing I've done, I'd be all excited to see folks repinning something other than that one pink moth photo I pinned off of someone else six months ago.)

Ah, but such is the Interwebs. :)

Happy Thorsday, good people!

Slaying the Cumberbatch: The Saga of Drawing and Redrawing the Elusive Benedict

I've been drawing portraits lately in the evenings, and a couple of my friends innocently requested my next project be Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock fame. 

Then I lost four days of my life to stalking the wild and wily Cumberbatch.

For folks who have visited lately, you've probably seen some of my drawings. They're of varied success, but usually they bear a reasonable resemblance to their subject matter. And my last two, I had considered actually decent... The interesting and complex-looking Colin Morgan of Merlin...

And my childhood hero, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman...

So when my buds suggested Mr. Cumberbatch, I was psyched. 

I was cocky.

Little did I know that Benedict Cumberbatch is not of this world. His unusual features (and ALL of them are unusual) are not easily pinned down to paper as actual human faces are.

So after an evening's worth of work scrutinizing my DVD case and spreading graphite around, I was left with this...

Um... no. Not only is he a disembodied head, but that head bore more resemblance to Dexter than Sherlock. Where was the prominent nose? Where was the large distance between nose and mouth? What was up with that hair?

Not to be daunted, I set out on a second quest on the trail of the sly and stealthy Cumberbatch. A second evening of effort using the same photo produced this rough sketch...


More Disembodied Head-a-go-go with a TOUCH of Hardy Boys' Parker Stevenson. Also two ears on very different trajectories.

Perhaps it was the photo that was the issue! I decided I needed a different photo, a different angle. That would solve my problems! 

Then I found my paper covered in this...

Is it Beethoven? Napoleon perhaps? Definitely a bit of 18th century composer with French revolutionary tucked in.

I began contemplating how a person could have a large nose, but a short nose at the same time. How can a person's nose be rounded AND pointed? How can it be aquiline AND have a dent in it? How can eyes be small and narrow and angular, yet not look like they're squinting? How can they be pale AND piercing?

But I had promised to do this. Friends were counting on me to come up with the goods. This is a guy lots of women adore-- I had to do the man justice! So I put my sketchbook aside and set-out to rework it the next day...

More Cumberbatchly, YES, but an Angry, Snooty, Cumberbatch. Aged Dickensian Cumberbatch with a bit of Alan Rickman for good measure, and only half a lip and a chin that could cut bread. This old, craggy Cumberbatch clearly smells something he doesn't like... 

And it's US.

By now it had become a point of honor. I would not be defeated. I would draw Cumberbatches until my fingers were claws and I had drawn my last breath.

(Or until I ran out of paper. Whichever came first.)

So just as I was about to question the very meaning of Art, of Life, of all that is good in the world beyond compelling BBC detective series, finally, FINALLY, last night, a different, larger photo helped me see a break in the Case of the Cumberbatch Conundrum. And it was after a night of restless sleep where Baskerville Hounds and Moriarty Minions pursued me, I rose with fresh eyes, to put the finishing touches on this...

"And hast thou slain the Cumberbatch?
Come to my arms, my beamish girl
O frabjous day! Calloo, Callay!"
She cheered and gave a twirl.

(Apologies to Lewis Carroll)

Artsplosion, Ideas and Tees, Oh My!

For a person who often feels like I really don't do anything, it sure appears as if I've been very busy! Over the weekend, I was tackling the Amazon rainforest that was my backyard, transforming it from a home to lost 1930s adventurers and junglemen swinging from vines, to a reasonably tame Secret Garden.

I'm pleased with the results-- the evicted anaconda and piranha, less so. Plus, George Challenger's served me with cease and desist papers and Tarzan's been picketing. So there's that to deal with.

But, while I was scything back the underbrush, it gave me plenty of time to think about scenes for the last book in my There Goes the Galaxy trilogy, Tryfling Matters. I'm about 100 manuscript pages in and I know where I want it to end, but I'm plotting out the structure for a strong, fun middle. You know the kind; if it were a person, it would be a middle with good abs.

In the evenings, to help keep the creativity going, I've been doing a lot of drawing. Some have been illustrations from scenes from my first two books. And some of it has been whatever's popped in mind. 

You can see above, I attempted David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor of Doctor Who last night. I thought he turned out pretty Tennanty, but I've since been informed that he looks like: 1.) Harrison Ford 2.) both Japanese AND Korean 3.) His nose is wibbly-wobbly. (I imagine that last one is because it's half-stuck in another dimension. The TARDIS is clearly rough on the sinuses.)

So I'm glad I was set straight on all that. :)

I also decided to try my hand at ol' Captain Jack Sparrow.

I had to try to draw one of my favorite superheroes from childhood, Batgirl...

(The book she's reading is "Work-Life Balance.")

I did another couple of doodles based on There Goes the Galaxy characters... Bertram and Rollie in the Shop-o-Drome on Golgi-Beta from the first book...

And a Charlie's Angels spoof of Tseethe, Fess and Rollie, all characters from my Intergalactic Underworld. There's no slight intended in making Kate Jackson's character a squidoid, by the way. That's just Fess. :)

I did a few Alice in Wonderland doodles using a steampunk theme. This is Alice searching for the Jabberwock with her Vorpal Sword...

And her companion, the Cheshire Clock, all by himself in a paper umbrella tree.

I tried a more traditional Alice down the rabbit hole, really testing out that gravity...

And one of my favorites, the White Rabbit, chillaxing there in his favorite chair...

Here is a different version of the Queen of Hearts I attempted... I wanted her to be less Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria influenced and more Scarlett O'Hara, for a change...

And this was followed by a drawing of The White Queen, which turned out kind of creepy and intense. I was going for a little Galadriel and Joan of Arc...

An investment in some monochrome grey markers had me try a little Dorothy in Kansas action...

And I thought I'd do one in color as well.

Because I had some folks on social media forums request it, I've posted a few of these and some other ones as small posters in a Zazzle shop. I have those there along with some t-shirt designs based on the There Goes the Galaxy stories. Folks who have read the books will understand the references. You can check them out here: 

So that's about it for me right now! This weekend, I plan to finish the rest of my book's metaphorical ab workout, and we'll see what else awaits. I probably should do something about Tarzan and his chimp buddies picketing outside my house. I've explained to him he doesn't have squatter's rights, but it's like talking to a brick wall.

Off-Orbit Art and the Fun of Getting to Draw Aliens, Invisibility and Skull Buckets

I have just a few more drawings to share with you for this week. The first, above, is the one I was still messing around with last post-- the scene with the Underworld snitch Skane in Vos Laegos. I discovered white colored pencil over marker is a great way to show high-tech alien camouflage... while simultaneously not showing it. 

The next one I thought would be fun to work on was Rollie and Meena in the bar on Gwash. This was once I got the general idea roughed out....

And this one, is the finished piece. Apologies, the straight lines look a little bendy due to the paper...

One of my favorite parts was getting to draw a bucket made of an animal skull. The other was giving Rollie sunburn. Poor guy! Altair-5 is not made for the average Hyphiz Deltan.

So that's it from me for now. I hope you all have yourselves an out-of-this-world week.


Doodles, Details and Dayjobs

With the dayjob sucking a lot of my writing brain away lately, I've enjoyed a replenishing break doing some doodling. Lately, this has gone from more simple, static figures, to actual scenes from There Goes the Galaxy and The Purloined Number.

It's always surprising to me what I learn from doing this. For instance, when I decided to draw Bertram in the discount souvenir crap he picks up at the Lunch-n-Launch diner in The Purloined Number, I had NO IDEA he'd gotten himself the questionable orange and green logo pants he seems to be wearing here. He just needed something extra, and they APPEARED. (I'm sorry, Bertram. I'm really sorry. But at least you look happy about it.)

Rollie below was fun because I finally got a better bead on those heavy-treaded boots he's always clunking onto things. I liked adding the little frayed bits to the bottom of the coat, too. I don't imagine Rollie bothers with having many wardrobe options in his closet.

I wanted to draw Xylith, who's integral in both books, here doing a little pick-pocketry... her speciality. Here, I knew about her very strange feet, but I wasn't aware until I started trying to design the boots and clothes that her people may well be amphibious.

I also wanted to try to draw Rozz, the other main Earth person in the series. From comments online, Rozz apparently looks like a fuchsia-haired Felicia Day. I would have liked this drawing better if it wasn't limited by my crappy handwriting. Missing those first grade penmanship classes--- it still haunts me! :)

On the plus side, I have a better idea of what the Print Liberation Lounge logo and company colors might be.

One of my friends at work, who'd been following along with my drawing projects, requested a scene from the first There Goes the Galaxy, wanting to know what the Seers' Tower on Rhobux-7 looked like. I wasn't sure if I was up for doing such a complex scene, but it was really fun to try to figure it out!

That got me thinking about that big lime green eyeball (The Receptionist) inside the Seers' Tower. I was pretty happy with little details like the sweep of Rollie's coat, and the hole in poor Bertram's sock.

I also thought it would be fun to see what the Peace Guards on the planet Podunk-17 looked like. I knew they were lizardoid. But I didn't expect they would be inspired so much by tropical aquarium fish.

So, that's where I am currently. I'm working on the picture below today.

This is in Vos Laegos, in The Purloined Number where Bertram and Rollie visit with Rollie's snitch acquaintance, Skane. Here the challenge will be in doing Rollie's high-tech camo. It's supposed to be visible but not visible, so it's an interesting balancing act for me. I don't know if my drawing skills are up for it. But I'm preparing for takeoff anyway. :)

If any of you have suggestions for a scene you'd like to see doodled, I'd be happy to hear it!