layla: grass at sunset (Default)
This is the blog of Alaskan writer/artist Layla Lawlor. Friend/defriend/follow at will.

Websites:

Active projects:


All entries to this blog are mirrored at both [livejournal.com profile] laylalawlor on Livejournal.com and [personal profile] layla on Dreamwidth.org.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

This evening we hiked up our hill in a direction we’d never been before to investigate a large and suspiciously square clearing that Orion found on Google Earth (we’ve lived here 11 years and we’re still finding new things!). We did eventually find it, though it’s so overgrown that it was very difficult to determine its age or, most of all, WHY someone cleared a bunch of trees in a large square block in the middle of nowhere, with no apparent roads going to it. Thwarted homesteader perhaps? Lost pioneers? We found some stumps that we were pretty sure were cut with an axe; if so, this area was cleared a century ago! Fairbanks’s dry climate and slow-growing trees are excellent at preserving old wood. There is, however, no sign of occupation: collapsing cabins, old vehicles, etc.

We decided, eventually, that this was probably a woodcutting area for the early-1900s gold-mining operation in the valley. In an area that’s mostly scraggly swamp spruce, this particular small ridge seems to support large birch trees, many of which are now growing in clusters as if growing up from old birch stumps. Our theory is that the turn-of-the-century miners would climb the hill to cut wood (with hand tools!) and then skid the logs down the hill to the valley where they used them for firewood or construction.

SDC15588

Most of the walk up to the clearing is through black spruce forest with a dense carpet of moss underneath. We came upon this fungus-encrusted fallen spruce log and I thought it was neat enough to take a picture of it.

SDC15591

As we wandered around the clearing, we found ourselves conducting tree-stump CSI. This looks like old axe marks to us.

More photos under the cut.

Read the rest of this entry )


Crossposted from Wordpress.  

layla: grass at sunset (Default)

I’m actually attending enough shows this year that it’s worth making a post about! Here’s where I will be in 2015:

Senshi-Con
Sept. 27 & 28, 11am-8pm
Egan Convention Center, Anchorage, AK

UWA Women’s Bazaar
Nov. 7 & 8, 10am-4pm
Pioneer Park Centennial Center for the Arts, Fairbanks, AK

At the UWA show I will be sharing a table with Ellen Million of Ellen Million Graphics.

If Pop-Con is happening again this year (comics & pop culture convention at UAF) I will definitely be there unless it conflicts with something else! I believe it was around Nov. 15-16 in 2014.

Nothing is scheduled yet in 2016. Now that Kismet is updating regularly again, I’d like to start doing a show or two a year outside Alaska, but that’s obviously contingent upon being able to make travel plans.


Crossposted from Wordpress.  
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Kismet has a new home for updates:

http://suncutter.tumblr.com/

The old site will remain up, but the comic will no longer update weekly there. (Though I'll still be updating it as a perma-archive in batches of pages every few months.)

The reason for the move is because I needed somewhere I could schedule automated updates rather than having to update the comic manually each week. This means fewer missed updates for you, and easier updating for me!

The new site uses Disqus comments, like the old one, and the overall look is similar. You shouldn't notice too many differences. The only major difference is that I'm now including text transcripts below each comic, for anyone who has trouble reading the words on the image.

And this week's page IS up, fyi!
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Status of the Kismet Page-a-Thon:

Penciled:


5 pages of 12.

Inked:


5 pages of 12.

Scanned/Cleaned up/Lettered:


0 pages of 12.

Colored:


0 pages of 12.

I still know there's no way I'm going to actually manage this many pages in one week. Plus, I jumped ahead and did an easy scene first, so it'll slow down as I get back into the Galleria stuff. But I'm making good progress so far!

I also posted some Kismet things on Tumblr:
Some thoughts on Linton's sense of identity
A short Sagan fiction snippet
A brief fic with Stella & Morphine

(The latter two are part of a new project I'm trying for awhile, writing little text snippets featuring randomly generated characters. I'll do a proper roundup post eventually.)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I'm slipping farther and farther behind on my Kismet page buffer, so this week is gonna be a Kismet Page-A-Thon. One of my goals for May is to get pages done through the end of summer (since June and July, at the very least, are usually too busy to get anything done Kismet-wise), so I'm gonna put that up as my week's goal and see how much of it I can get done. I know I won't manage it all - I'll be over the moon if I can just get the penciling/inking part done - but let's see how it goes, shall we? I got two pages penciled and inked today, so that's excellent progess!

Penciled:


2 pages of 12.

Inked:


2 pages of 12.

Scanned/Cleaned up/Lettered:


0 pages of 12.

Colored:


0 pages of 12.

I also posted an old Telulah Hawkins text snippet on Tumblr (something I came across while going through old AppleWorks files). I'm going to be putting more Kismet stuff up on the Tumblr this month, but I'll always link from here (possibly in batches, if I end up posting a LOT).
layla: grass at sunset (Default)


http://www.kismetcity.com/suncutter/sc73.shtml

If the split-screen page effect is weird and hard to follow, let me know! I thought about doing the two scenes separately, but then decided to run them side by side. (A layout decision which probably made more sense when I originally drew these pages, at which point the narration went straight from the split-screen introductory shot of Linton and Signy to this page. The dream sequence was added a bit later.)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
The May rewards package for the $5+ backers has been uploaded. This month is material from the sketchbook: character designs and so forth.

I've also gone back and made the first couple of rewards packages for last year free to everybody, so you can see what kind of stuff I put in these - here are October and November of last year. I'm not going to be doing this every time, but I figured free samples are nice, so you can see what you're getting, right?

Also, if you are a Patreon backer and you haven't already, stop by my activity feed - there is a question for you there! [livejournal.com profile] allanh had the AMAZING idea of sneakily working Patreon backers' names into the business names in the upcoming Galleria crowd scene. And so I shall. :D So you need to tell me if you have a preference - if you'd rather have your name on a flower shop or a gun store, for example! (Or if you'd rather be included as, say, a busker in the background, or a guy riding a unicycle - I can do that too.)

If you read Kismet and the idea of being immortalized in the comic sounds like fun, but you aren't a Patreon backer ... well, there is an easy fix for that! It's $1/month minimum, and you can cancel at any time. I'm doing this for all the backers, not the ones at certain levels, though you do get extra stuff at the higher levels.

Obligatory mention that the comic is free, will always be free, and I don't care at all if people read it without paying - please do! :) The Patreon is just if you want extra stuff and feel like kicking some dollars to me.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
After more than a decade of comic, you finally get to see Linton's meet-cute with Janna.

http://www.kismetcity.com/suncutter/sc71.shtml
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Kicking off a new chapter with a 2-page update.



http://www.kismetcity.com/suncutter/sc69.shtml

(Which may also be one of the most depressing pages I've ever written.)

As a reminder, Kismet has RSS feeds: [syndicated profile] suncutter_feed on DW and [livejournal.com profile] suncutter_feed on LJ. For awhile I got lazy about announcing updates elsewhere, but I'm going to start being conscientious about it again, so you can also follow the Kismet tumblr (where I also reblog space/tech/science stuff) or the Kismet facebook page for updates.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

We went for a walk in the sunshine today, and the cat tagged along.

catwalk1

catwalk2

catwalk3

catwalk4

Well, at least he seems to be enjoying himself.

 


Crossposted from Wordpress.  
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

The last couple of months, I’ve been posting photos to Twitter because, well … I’m lazy and it’s easy. But, for those who don’t follow me there, or if you just missed a few, here’s a “best of” winter photo roundup.

Amaryllis

DSCN2377cropped

DSCN2379cropped

DSC_0003cropped
More photos under cut )


Crossposted from Wordpress.  

layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Over on my Wordpress blog, I'm interviewing [profile] sl_huang about her suspense/sci-fi thriller Half Life (and other books). The formatting went a bit wonky when I crossposted, so I decided linking would probably work better.

http://laylalawlor.com/wordpress/blog/2015/01/12/booktalk-interview-with-sl-huang/
layla: grass at sunset (Default)


Kismet: Sun-Cutter - Page 56

Now that Kismet has an RSS feed, I created Livejournal and Dreamwidth feeds off of it, which you can subscribe to:

http://suncutter-feed.livejournal.com/
http://suncutter-feed.dreamwidth.org/

Unfortunately I didn't think to create and test them before updating the feed this week, so I haven't deployed a live RSS update on them yet, but they seem to be working normally. (Well, except for links being doubled on the DW one - it's not doing that on the LJ one, and they're pulling from the same XML file! *baffled* It's not a functional problem, just kind of a weird one.) When you subscribe you may get the last 3 entries in the RSS on your reading page -- at least that's what happened to me ... I think that's just a one-time thing that's happening because I just created the feed and all 3 of those updates read into it at once, and should not happen after the first week. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, these are available to use if you'd like to use them; please let me know if you have any trouble.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
You may have noticed (or possibly not) that I'm once again crossposting some things from my Wordpress blog on my website, which is back to being a blog again, after spending some time as a static page that I occasionally add stuff to.

The Wordpress blog probably still won't update terribly often. I'm going to try to do a weekly post on the general broad topic of books and writing (my books, other people's books, etc), and perhaps the occasional post with Alaska pictures or other such things.

I've also been more active on Twitter lately.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)


Sun-Cutter: Page 55

The problem I was having with comments last week has been fixed, so comments are working again.

Don't forget there is now a forum, where you can ask questions or post observations about the comic. If anything interesting comes up (like the current Founder's Day thread) I'll periodically pull this sort of thing out and post it.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

Let the Monday “Booktalk” posts commence! :D

I’ve been on a Diana Wynne Jones rereading kick lately. It started with Hexwood and proceeded to the Chrestomanci books, of which The Lives of Christopher Chant is my favorite by far, and one of my favorites of all of her books — mainly because I think the things I like most about her books are more clearly on display in this one than in many of her others.

I didn’t start reading DWJ ’til I was an adult. I expect I would have liked her books as a kid, but I think I might’ve appreciated them in a different way — more seduced by the sense of wonder, less distracted by how the plots go (or don’t go). As an adult reading her books, I sometimes find the plots very hit-or-miss, and in particular the endings frequently leave me feeling let down or simply frustrated. She has a meandering approach to plot that breaks just about all of the standard plotting rules at one point or another — important characters fail to appear until halfway through her books, critically important plot elements may be held back until the very end, Chekhov’s Gun may or may not fire, etc. It’s a style that feels much more like an oral storytelling tradition — someone telling you a story — than a lot of fiction tends to, and sometimes I really appreciate it for its lack of artificiality, but sometimes it just completely misses the boat for me.

But the thing I love most about her books, that keeps me coming back to them, is the layered-ness of the characters, and in particular the way the characters are presented to the reader. One thing that frustrates me about a lot of fiction aimed at kids is the flatness of the character presentation. Good people and bad people are evident at first glance; they wear their goodness or badness on the outside. (Good people pretty, bad people ugly….) And certainly they don’t do both good and bad things at once, so you can’t even tell how you’re supposed to feel about them …

But DWJ’s characters are complicated and surprising. Her hapless protagonists have to guess, like everyone in the real world, about who the good and bad people are: who to believe, who to trust. And often they guess wrong (frequently misjudging other characters based on superficial attributes), only to figure things out over the course of the book.

Many of her books deal with a particularly challenging aspect of growing up — the way that your perspective on other people, and yourself, tilts as you mature and begin to recognize your own humanity in other people, and become aware of the flaws in yourself.

I enjoy all of the Chrestomanci books to one degree or another — I’m currently reading The Pinhoe Egg, which doesn’t seem at all familiar, so it’s possible I’ve actually never read it before — but The Lives of Christopher Chant has always been the book in the series that stood out the most to me.

(Spoilers follow.)

Spoilers under the cut )


Crossposted from Wordpress.  

layla: grass at sunset (Default)
The January rewards package has been posted in the Patreon activity feed. See how Signy's redesign is coming along!


(Above: the sneakiest of sneak previews)

The 3-month introductory special is now over, so the rewards package is now available only to the $5+ subscribers, i.e. back to the regular reward tiers. (The last 3 months' rewards will stay unlocked for all subscribers.)

However, you won't miss out because I plan to use the Patreon blog a LOT more in 2015, posting updates of my work in progress, answering questions and whatever else you like. :) I just posted a snapshot of my drawing board this morning, with Page 66 up for penciling! All you need to do is subscribe for at least a buck a month (less than a cup of coffee!) and you'll have access to it.

Handy link to the Kismet patreon!

I've redone the reward levels somewhat. At $50 a month, the comic will pay for itself -- web hosting, software costs, materials costs like pencils and paper, etc. I would really love to get it there in 2015, and when it DOES get there, I'll post a Signy & Jude side story I've been working on that gives a bit more of their shared backstory. I'm also thinking about other goodies for both new and current subscribers (anything new I offer to entice in new people, the current subscribers will also get -- anything else would be unfair!).

What sort of rewards would YOU like to see?

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Layla

July 2015

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