Boy and Girl Clothes

Happy Ostara! Happy Spring!

I’m hoping 2017 will be good for me to do some spring cleaning. I have already begun my Great DeCluttering of 2017 and 2018, where I’m making goals for myself – read all the books and empty one bookshelf by end of 2017 and sell the books. Unfortunately I tend to accumulate more books. I don’t know how that happens…

I did clean out one shelf so that’s good. If anyone is my friend on Goodreads you’ll see a mass addition of “read” books in the coming year. Next I want to clean out closets again, especially the baby’s as she grows out of clothes, and then start on the kitchen with dishes that we don’t really use. My friend and I intend to have a garage sale soon, so I’m gathering up stuff in boxes in a place in the garage for when that happens. I just hope the weather gets nicer so I can go out and start pricing things.

Speaking of kid’s clothes, I have another friend who’s expecting a boy soon and she’s always lamenting how boys clothes are not at cute as girls clothes, and it’s funny because I’ve kind of felt that both clothes are cute, and I’ve wanted to buy my daughter boys clothes before, and we have, but clothes with dinosaurs, super heroes, and power rangers on it were cute too, and made me miss having a boy as well. I love my daughter, but maybe some day I’ll be able to have a boy? I know it’s not really up to “me” if that happens, but I would love a little boy to buy clothes with dinosaurs and lizards on them, as well as play outside in the mud with him, find toads and earth worms — I guess I can do that with a girl too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not limiting what my daughter can do either…

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We definitely bought this boy’s onesie for our daughter. Because this is totally her. You can find this at Target.

But maybe I feel cliche as a mom that wants to have one of each. I’d love to see my husband bond with a son like I do with my daughter, and hope that he has a relationship with a son that he had with his father.

Oh, and yeah, I’m sure he wants to buy our future son dinosaur shirts too.

No matter what, if we have girls, a girl and a boy, or just one girl, I hope we can take them to Gatorland like we did for our Honeymoon in Florida. No matter what gender you are, they have to enjoy seeing big crocodiles, pythons, turtles and all the other kinds of animals they have there. That’s my hope anyway.

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In other news, I’m still working on the short stories. I was looking for stock art for covers the other day and enjoyed it very much.

There is this stock photographer that I follow at DeviantArt that has a lot of book cover contests with her art. Sometimes I vote on them, but I also think in the back of my mind that I can do a better job. I know that’s rather pretentious of me, so I kind of thought if I think that, why don’t I do it? I can’t be all talk. I have to show that I can do it. So I looked at her current contests and downloaded the images and plan on entering. Fingers crossed!

If anything it’ll be good for my portfolio.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Hobby Doesn’t Mean Free

Sometimes I am just baffled by people who still don’t think being an artist, photographer, videographer or designer deserves compensation, that the jobs that we get should be for “exposure” because it’s just a “hobby”.

Today our Program Director came up to me (the resident Lead Designer) and asked me if I knew any students/interns in art or photography that would come to our Meetups downtown Chicago and take photos and videos for us.

Me: “Like for internship credit?”

Him: “No, not interns. Students that like to take photos and video. It would be like a hobby. [Our Company] would not pay them.”

Me: “But you’d have to pay them. Even interns get paid these days. And if you want them to come downtown to Chicago, there’s parking expenses, train ride expenses. Plus no one would do it for free.”

He gives me this blank look. “These students wouldn’t even do it because they like it? Because it’s a hobby?”

Me: “Nobody, not a student or anybody, is going to do photography or videography for free. At least an intern should get minimum wage.”

He looked completely baffled that we would pay someone to come to our events in Chicago, whether by train, bus, or car of their own expense, let them take photos and video of our speakers, and not pay them a single thing.

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I’m kind of livid, as an artist, you know? Like it’s unreal.

No, artists do not do things for free. We do not do things for trade. We have these skills, hone them, and use them for money so we can eat, put a roof over our heads, and clothe ourselves and our family.

Don’t let anyone try to persuade you to do things for exposure either. Work = $$$. Bottom line.

Cheers,

HK Rowe

 

I Do Book Covers!

So I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I’m going to finally put myself out there.

I’ve done a couple of my own book covers, and even though I’ll continue to do my book covers for my future works, I’d really like to get into doing book covers for others.

I have over 15 years of freelance and professional graphic design experience. Currently I work full time as a UIUX (user experience user interface) designer for an IT company. I still use Photoshop extensively for most of my projects. I use stock imagery sites for all the photos, as well as commercial free brushes and textures. I create my own textures and backgrounds as well. I am very meticulous with fonts, and I keep up with the most readable, trendiest, and readable font type faces in the market. I use Photoshop, Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook as my software tools.

Professional work aside, I’m knowledgeable in formatting needed for Amazon and CreateSpace, and can adapt to any other specifications with ease.

Here are my book covers for my own books:

Unbridled on sale now!

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Here is my behance portfolio if you want to see more of my professional work.

For the first run of book covers, most likely through the year I’m offering a flat affordable price to get some great covers in my portfolio. If this is something you’ll be interested in, please drop me an email at hkrowe@gmail.com.

Thanks!

H.K. Rowe

And now… for something completely personal

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H.K. My artwork – 2002

Let me tell you a little about myself, not just the writer and artist, but ME.

(Although this post may be a bit random…)

I don’t like opening up about myself. I don’t like sharing my feelings with people. I don’t even like sharing feelings to my best friends, my family, or even my mom. I have a hard time opening up to my husband. It’s not that I can’t; I just don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want people close to me to see the flaws or to find flaws in my hard work. I want them to think of me as strong, determined and capable.

I want to see myself like that, but that means I have to work at it. As an abuse survivor, I had to grow up rather quickly and become independent. I don’t even remember my childhood. It’s a dark space in my brain that I can’t access, blocked off from all the things that happened to me. I know what happened to me, I remember my feelings, but I don’t remember events clearly. Most people have memories so clear it’s like a movie. In my movie, there’s a big ink spot in the center and I can only see faint unrecognizable shapes on the sides.

Counseling aside, I didn’t talk about it like most things. I knew that it was a part of me, and that I am the person I am today because of it. But I also know that it has influenced me to have some rather infuriating social skills. I prefer a loner’s life, even though I enjoy being with friends. I enjoy listening to my friends, I enjoy their confidence, and helping them. I enjoy being the shoulder they cry on. I enjoy giving them advice. But I do not enjoy asking for such things in return.

I have chosen this behavior, and I am aware of it. I’m comfortable keeping most things to myself. It takes a lot for me to even show pride in anything I’ve done or accomplished. For example, when I published my book, I distributed it as much as I could, but when I would meet new people, it was always someone else telling them that I wrote a book. They were immediately entranced. “Tell me about your book!” And… it was awkward for me. I didn’t feel they’d be interested at first. When I talked about it, I was cautious. Most people are kind, and they are excited to know someone that has written something, but sometimes I feel like I act like a complete stone-faced moron, like I can’t even be excited about it and promote myself.

I internalize praise just as much as I internalize criticism. Criticism wounds me where praise embarrasses me.

I feel like a weirdo. But it’s my nature to be more introspective than overt. It’s my nature to plan and do things rather than talk endlessly about things. It’s in my nature to make impulsive decisions without telling others or getting others’ advice. I feel sometimes this makes me seem snobbish or aloof, but I don’t know how else to be.

I was once a young girl who sat in the corner with her drawings, her paper and pen, her books and her dolls in a different world while the rest of the real world carried on. I was the young girl who wanted to do things to show people I wasn’t this victim, that I wasn’t to be pitied, rather I could show people how self-sufficient I am.

I guess I just got to good at it because when my friends or family find out that I’m doing something or something happened and I didn’t tell them, they take it as a personal slight. Trust me, I never intend to hurt anyone. I’m just not good at sharing pieces of myself.

Most of the time I just don’t know how.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Monday Blogs: Giveaway & Book Review

Happy Monday, everyone!

I am still reeling from NaNoWriMo and catching up with my never-ending to-do list. I do plan on setting up a more regular blogging schedule at the beginning of the new year, but until then my posts will be a bit random like before. For now…

Tomorrow (which is my birthday) I am kicking off my Goodreads Giveaway for Unbridled. I will be giving away five FREE signed copies of my book. So you’ll see an official post for that tomorrow when it begins. I hope you enter for a chance for a free book. Who doesn’t love free, right?

In other news, I’ve been reading a lot, and normally I don’t do much reviewing of books because it seems like everyone does that, and though it probably is a good skill to foster in the indie-book world, it also depends on time. So normally I don’t have any sort of structured time for that, but when I read a good book, I feel I should share – whether it’s an indie author or not.

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The book I read recently is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Amanda Palmer was the former lead singer of the Dresdon Dolls, a bit of a cabaret punk band. She is an independent artist now and makes music regularly. Amanda Palmer is known for taking the music world by storm with her Kickstarter project and other advocacies, and I’ve been following her career for a while and just love her spirit, her engagement with fans, and her wisdom in art and music.

I don’t have a lot of free time to read much anymore, so I was amazed how enthralled I was by her book and finished it so quickly. I’m partial to biographies anyway, but sometimes I read them and it takes me forever, but not Amanda’s book.

I read it with ferocity, absorbing her stories, her biographical accounts, her romance with Neil Gaiman, and her struggles with asking people for help and then her art itself. Sometimes it felt like a self-help book, that I could adopt some of her wisdom with my own life and struggles. I know it probably wasn’t supposed to be like that, but once you read some of her own wisdom, you feel that her words are adaptable, and they make you think.

Especially when it comes for asking for help and receiving gifts. I feel like that can be a struggle for people, myself included, in getting over your pride and asking people for help, whether for money or goods, and when you do, as Amanda did, you see the sense of community and collaboration that is born from that. It was really touching to read about that, to see all her friends and fans come together in a unifying spirit to help.

I also enjoyed the concept of making art, how making art “is not hard” – and I guess I can see that as a more liberal sense of the concept, where if you make art for the public and someone, even one person, appreciates it, it’s a success.

If you’re a fan of Amanda’s work, I definitely recommend the work. If you’re intrigued by her, I’d look into her music and get a sense of her and then if you like her, totally pick up her book.

Here was my review I posted to Goodreads:

This book was so amazing I couldn’t put it down.
I began reading this and felt so connected to Amanda through her words, her snippets, and her stories. I was moved to tears many times that I was reading so furiously that I didn’t even realize I was crying until my cheeks were wet.
Such a powerful, moving book, that there were several parts of it I just absorbed with abandon, and other parts of it I just felt I understood her and nodded my head with what she was going through, explaining, or feeling.
It felt like a random, almost-self help book on and FOR artists, but it’s not that, (or is it? I’m not sure), it’s everything Amanda. That’s how much you connect with her when you read this book. I’ve never actually met Amanda in person, but once you read her story you feel like you’ve always known her and loved her. (But I want to meet her one day, because wow, what an amazing human being she is…)
Wonderful, wonderful book. It’s the best book I’ve read this year for sure.

Enjoy! See you all tomorrow to kick-off my Goodreads Giveaway!

Cheers.

H.K. Rowe

To My Younger Self

It’s been a few days since I released “Unbridled” and though the promotion is not done yet, I have had some time to reflect on how accomplished I feel. I’m soaking in the happiness so to speak.

At one point I felt like I reverted back to my younger self, writing and drawing on the floor as I watched TV with my mom, dog Georgie Girl, and three cats, Misty, Checkers and Butterscotch. I remember writing my stories on lined paper, drawing my own covers, and then binding them with Elmer’s glue like they were a real book you could pick up in a store and read. Or I would do my own graphic novels, tell a story with pictures from one panel to the next. I still have several of these hand made books. Every once in awhile I get them out and look at them. It’s sad how much the pencil has faded, but I love seeing my old handwriting, my old drawings, and the budding mind of a writer.

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A couple of days ago, that little girl’s dream came true. My book is out there… selling!

Does it matter that it’s not traditional publishing? Does it matter that it’s not on a bookshelf in my local library? Not really. I give a lot of thanks to the advanced technological world, the ease of self-publishing, and most of all, the existence of fanfiction culture. If if hadn’t been for the latter, I may NEVER have had the mindset to get this far, to have the connections to encourage me and give me tips over the years, nor would I have gained the accessibility. Utilizing social media and forums and blogging over the years makes self-publishing so much more possible.

I am going to soak a little in the happiness of raw accomplishment. It’s only my first book but personally speaking, I never thought I’d get to this point. I’d been beaten and exhausted from terrible past jobs, challenging mental health periods, stress and dealing with a parent who lost his life to cancer. At one point publishing my own work felt like a pipe dream.

I know it’s ONLY self-publishing, but it’s still something very important to me. Plus, I love the hard work already. I love the engagement. I love the possibilities and the control. I’m a Type A personality and I love my schedules, my organization and my control. This is my heaven.

I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I’ve ended my days this past week with a smile on my face.

I treasure that. So does my younger self. She’s over the moon.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible.

H.K. Rowe

Cover Release Day!

Okay guys! It’s time to reveal the cover of my upcoming book, release next week slated for May 20th!

Unbridled cover!

Unbridled cover!

I’m very happy with it! I found just the right stock photo image and made some tweaks. This is the official cover of the book, which features my female protagonist Elekta. Elekta is a pinnacle part of the story, even though a majority of the POV rests with Ethan, the male anti-hero.

I hope you enjoy it! Now that the cover is revealed, the next step is only to release the book! The plan is the e-book version will come first, and then within due time, the print version will be available as well.

Just little background about myself, besides writing (of course), I’ve been a professional graphic designer for over 10 years. I’ve been drawing forever and I love technology so naturally I have evolved into the Illustration, Graphic Design, and now UI/UX design world. Design evolves and changes, so I love being able to share this part of myself with my writing as well.

I hope the book cover makes you excited as I am for this book’s release.

Until later!

H.K. Rowe