Vincent Chong Launches New Blog and Art Book

If you’re a fan of Vincent Chong, and you’ve seen my post on him, you’ll be delighted to know he has a new blog and he has a new Art Book coming out.  The details are below.  

Vincent was commissioned to redesign covers for all of Stephen King’s books, and they’re stunning.  I’ve picked out a few designs I like.  I’m waiting still for the really cool werewolf one.  (But there aren’t really any good werewolf novels yet…gonna have to write one)

My new blog is now online.  The blog will be updated regularly and feature posts including news updates, artwork, behind-the-scenes material such as sketches, insights into my working methods/inspirations, tips and info on life as a freelancer and much more.  There’s also free downloads including desktop wallpapers, so please stop by for a visit and check it out.  

I’m also excited to announce that the first art book collecting my work will be published by Telos Publishing.  Entitled ALTERED VISIONS: THE ART OF VINCENT CHONG, the book will be a 48 page, A5, full colour hardback edition. Further details can be found on my blog.

The book will be published 25th March and launched at the World Horror Convention 2010 but you can pre-order a copy now direct from the publisher’s website under the ‘Original and Classic Fiction’ section.  Copies are expected to be limited so place your order now to avoid disappointment.

If you know of anyone else who may be interested in my blog or art book, please pass this information onto them.



The Enchanted North: the Art of Nathalie Parenteau

Sea Otter and Volcano, Nathalie Parenteau

When I see Nathalie Parenteau’s art, it makes me feel as if I’m seeing what I would be seeing if I had enchanted glasses. I like her animals–how they run wild through the colors, and even when they stand still, their reflections run rivulets of Fantasy to the bottom of the image. I love the tenderness of Klimt between lovers in this wild kingdom; and the women who pick cranberries–I like how their hair rises; and how the moon witnesses moose, caribou, northern life; and how the red cloaks reveal so much, ravens living inside; and how the legs dribble like the edges of a dream; and the mandelas, especially the feathers of the snowy owl, how you can feel them.

If I bought as much of her art as I want, my house would unfold like a storybook.

Caribou Shimmers, by Nathalie Parenteau

I’d like to get me a pair of those glasses–look outside my windows and see what Nathalie sees. I’ve linked above to a page that sells her work. Enjoy.

Diversify, or How to Get the Most from Your Writing Degree

APTOPIX Turkey DolphinariumI confessed to a fellow writer that I had nine jobs in the Yukon, and that it was still sometimes make or break at the beginning of each month.  I was living by cobbling together jobs, which isn’t necessarily bad. In my case, I might not get to do everything I want at first–but learning to diversify has helped me survive.

I’d always thought I would rather live by the phrase: I’m a ________ who also writes. Fill in the blank with astronaut, beekeeper, mechanic, sumo wrestler, whatever you like. This is where my money would come from–then I would carve out writing time. Or, another option was: I married a _______ and I write. Fill in the blank with astronaut, beekeeper, fire swallower, accountant, President, Estate owner, whatever you want. [On second thought, hold off on the fire swallower] Either way, money would come into my house steadily. I like paying my bills, really. 😀 But these options come with their own heartaches, as I’ve been reminded of by a good friend who struggles with the full time job and not having time for art. I would say it’s a choice–this art or security–but I want to believe we don’t have to make that choice.

Some say “the lean and hungry look” is a good one for writers–makes you write more, and more brilliantly. But lack of security makes me frightened, cranky, and depressed, and angry at myself for not planning better, or getting marketable skills. My brain panics and I make endless lists on how I can make money—that’s not what I would call “creative writing”–it is Fear.  You don’t get paid from writing for months, so it’s never fast money. So, the answer I came up with –if I couldn’t get a big job that paid well–was to diversify.

Here’s my version of diversification to make ends meet: I teach one college class on novel writing, teach cartooning in the schools through Yukon Arts Edventures, teach an after school program for teens through the City of Whitehorse on writing science fiction and fantasy, write articles for Yukon: North of Ordinary, sometimes for What’s Up Yukon, work as an on-call interpreter for the Beringia Centre, am doing an Oral History project for a friend, perform vaudeville in the summer, write radio series for CBC. In the works: I have auditioned for some short movies as an actor, may be working on an ad campaign, am auditioning to sing in a Big Band and am trying to teach online, and teach through teleconference, in the summer.

Even with all these small jobs, I’m still doing what I love:

Of my  jobs, most of them can be connected to narrative in some way. I write articles on topics that both interest me, and might be used for later stories; I teach about writing or literature; the radio series lets me both write, perform and produce; cartooning in the schools has expanded my understanding of narrative. The performance jobs–including Beringia as an interpreter–are still about words, communication, entertainment, teaching. So, in reality, I haven’t strayed too far from my writing, or my degrees.

And–working outside my field has improved my writing by showing me different styles of writing: a more informative style (articles and Beringia) and comedic (vaudeville and comic strip), for example–and by giving me new subjects to write about–like mammoths and scimitar cats and Yukon history and fifth graders. Also, it’s given me several editors–newspaper, magazine, online editors.

My friend, Arlin McFarlane, is a professional at diversifying. Actor, producer, director, B & B owner, acting teacher, English teacher, creator of Burning Away the Winter Blues and other creative events in Whitehorse, Arlin calls it repackaging yourself for every new job–the money I make she calls “ribbons of income.” It’s what we do to survive as Creators. I’d say that diversifying is more than a survival technique, it is a way of expanding your understanding of your skills. What CAN you do? A host of things. They may not pay much at first, but they keep you creating.

Write anyway:

I had to give writing its own place in my job line up too.  If I didn’t, then job number 10 or 11 could sweep away the writing.  Until you find a sustaining job –that also gives you time and support to create–diversify to keep your name out there, your skills fresh, and your money coming in.   If a Walrus can play a saxophone to make a living, you can discover new ways to make your bucket of fish too.

PS. While I was writing this, the phone company called to remind me my bill is overdue. Sigh. Ars longa, bills brevis.