Living The Dream

It has always been my dream to live in Finland, somewhere where the forest meets the sea. It took many years of toiling in the scorching desert, lots of blood, sweat, tears and huge sacrifices to achieve that dream.

So instead of a book related post, I will share some photos I took the last weekend and the weekend before. These places are a few minutes of walk from where I’m living now. I am sending lots of positive energy to those of you who are working on achieving your dreams and living where you really want to live. Well, it’s not always a walk in the park and it comes with a cost, but I have gladly left the high standard of living and the high wages and came here. Choosing between the consumerist suburban lifestyle and living walking distance from the below scenery was not difficult. Holding on to the material possessions and the comfort zone didn’t make me happy, it made me incredibly miserable. I had all the toys and money, I could eat out everyday and go shopping for hours but I couldn’t write. Now I can’t afford to do any of those but I have already written 65k words into my first book -the story I wanted to write for years.

Leaving the comfort zone has been the most rewarding thing ever. Comfort zone was a dungeon with pretty walls and full of shiny goodies, but a dungeon nonetheless. I’m better off living close to the amazing Scandinavian nature than having everything in the inland desert and being trapped in the dungeon they call consumerism. Creating (writing) is what makes me truly happy (even if a handful of people read it), not buying things.

The book that has inspired me and gave me the strength to break away the chains and find my purpose in life (writing!) was a book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, brilliant author and Holocaust survivor. Here is the link if you are curious: http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/080701429X/

I said this wasn’t going to be a bookish post but I guess it’s not quite possible for me not to end up writing something bookish 🙂

Well, here go the photos (click to see them full size):

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My Entry For The Prince of Fools Fan Art Contest

The last fan art piece I drew was for The Silmarillion, something like 10 years ago. I haven’t drawn anything for 6 years except for one lousy sketch I did in early 2013), lost all motivation to draw after some traumatizing life events and didn’t find it again -until now, thanks to Mark Lawrence for writing the superior literature which inspired me to draw fan art after such a long time, and thanks to Agnes Meszaros for organizing the fan art contest! I hope I will not let go of the pencils again!

The contest ends in May 15 so you still have the time to enter if you want to win a signed copy of The Liar’s Key, book #2 in Red Queen’s War series by Mark Lawrence (I’m reading book #1 now, titled Prince of Fools, it’s really a superb read with magnificent characters and storytelling)

Here is the link for all the details: http://thatthornguy.com/contests/prince-of-fools-red-queens-war-fan-art-contest/

And the piece I entered. It’s not that great, I lost a chunk of my drawings skills due to inactivity but I am hoping to get them back. I really should draw Jorg soon!

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Concept for my book title

Today I managed to learn some cool text effects and typography tricks on gimp and made a concept design for the title of my WIP novel. Feeling too tired to write, I played around following this awesome metallic text tutorial and put together the concept. Almost looks professional, doesn’t it?

Though this looks more like a romance design rather than dark epic fantasy. I need to pick a more suitable font next time I try.

It took me about 2 hours to figure out the typography stuff. As a first timer, putting this together was not an easy task. Doing the steps of the tutorial took about half an hour. But once you get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier and takes less time. Besides, you can save the steps of what you do as layers in your gimp .xcf file, so it’s hell of a lot faster to duplicate the same thing with different texts.

My artistic side has been neglected since I took up writing and it has been complaining louder and louder as weeks passed by.  This book cover design business worked out quite well. Now I can resume writing my missing chapters!

 

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Creepy Book Cover Concept

As a starving indie author I can’t afford a professional book cover design, so I decided to brush up my graphics skills to get ready to make my own covers. I use gimp, a free graphics software which is also known as the poor man’s photoshop. (You can download it from http://www.gimp.org)

If you want to learn how to make your own book covers, Rachel Zellers is running an excellent tutorial series on her blog here: http://lillianasterios.blogspot.fi/

Anyway, I have downloaded hundreds of fancy brushes from deviantart (searching for gimp brushes reveals hundreds of results) and decided to play with them a bit. I was actually trying to do a happy, cheerful, fairy-tale kind of cover but ended up with a creepy gothic thing. Reading too much grimdark fantasy literature has that effect on you I guess!

This is not the actual cover for my own book, it’s just a concept I slapped together this evening. Gimp brushes are a lot of fun to play with!

creepy book cover design

creepy book cover design