30 Lists Thursday: *runs around with hair on fire*

Well, I managed to do three whole lists this week.  *laugh*

Basically I’ve decided I’ll just do the ones I think sound fun whenever I have time to work on them – doing a few here and there has been good for my sanity, but there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to complete all 30 this time.  Oh well!  Enjoy the ones I got to!



(The coloring on 21 was much prettier in real life – for some reason it photographed all streaky and weird.)


I really liked how this one came out, other than the dreadful mistake I made drawing the pitcher’s shape – I was having a really shaky day, hand-wise, and my pen kept jittering across the page.

You might have noticed that my art tends to have kind of heavy black outlines – that’s why. I have essential tremor in my hands that was made WAY worse by the lithium I used to take; it’s died down a lot since I went off the med, but I’ve always had a tremor and always will.  It gets worse when I’m tired, stressed, overcaffeinated, or in pain of some sort, and there are certain angles I can’t maintain while drawing (especially since I’m left-handed and smudge things like whoa) so I have to compensate for the shakes with heavier outlines.  Just so’s ya know.

Next week this time I’ll be in the downhill run both for moving house *and* being unemployed.  God willing and the creek don’t rise, as of October 3 I’ll return to the land of the wage-earners, and won’t have to panic about money every day.

Sylvan’s Pro Tip for Creatives:

Quit your day job if you want, but you might want to get another one…not because you won’t succeed as a writer/artist/what have you, but because NOBODY needs the constant anxiety of not being able to pay the bills.  Turning your labor-of-love into your meal ticket can sap your creativity and in fact make you come to hate it.  Don’t let anyone give you shit about “risk” or “faith in your gift” or whatever – it’s easy for middle-class white ladies with savings accounts and a second wage earner in the house to talk about ditching their jobs to make ribbon roses full time, but those of us living paycheck to paycheck know that one bad month on Etsy could mean dodging the Mastercard people for six months and feeding the kids Poverty Stew.**

My advice is multiple income streams: Find several ways to bring in pieces of your monetary need so that no one thing is your only paycheck.  That way you can have a part-time day job, or a less-high-paying one that doesn’t make you miserable, if you can find one, but still allow time for your real work.

Here endeth the lecture.

**Every family has some version of this, right?  Something ultra cheap made of horrifying or questionable ingredients that tended to show up the last week of the month?  In my family it was called Mulligan Stew and it was basically Spam and Ranch Style Beans.   Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious (to kid me, anyway), but that’s not a recipe you come up with when you’re shopping at the Whole Foods.  Just out of curiosity, did your family have some sort of Poverty Stew?  Comment below to share.

Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!

30 Days Thursday (Just under the wire!)

I had to skip a few this week because I’m dreadfully behind, so, these are the ones I did manage to do since last Thursday.  Frankly I’m impressed with myself for keeping up at all given what a crazyfest my life has become this month.





(Since I don’t do sports I had to kind of improvise on this one.  It’s kind of half-assed but I think it turned out kinda cute.  I love the TEAM SLASH guys and the person looking at them like “…wtf?”)


Because butts.

Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!

30 Days of Lists, Day 1

Here we go!  I’m so glad it’s September!  Summer can stuff itself in a paper bag, light itself on fire, and drop itself on Texas’ front porch.

Every Thursday this month I’ll be posting my week’s worth of lists for the 30 Days of Lists challenge, which I’ve done several times before.

You can see the lists every day if you’d rather, by following me on Instagram.

I’m preparing to move house this month so I might get a little behind here and there, but without my creative pursuits I will likely go insane and take you all with me, so I will endeavor to keep up with writing and listing and planning while all this is going on.

Anyway, here’s my book for this year’s challenge.  I started like I often do with a blank, black Moleskine Cahier notebook, and dug through my scrap papers for pretty things.  I crumpled up and inked the blue patterned paper, then inked up the dark blue stamped piece and stamped the title.  It’s pretty simple, but I really like the color combination and its overall look.  The individual tabs are just punched-out circles with stamped numbers.  Links to some of the products are below; I couldn’t remember where the patterned paper came from, sorry.

2016-08-31 15.33.58

Inside front cover.
Inside front cover.

Tim Holtz Mini Distress Ink pads in Mermaid Lagoon and Chipped Sapphire
Versafine ink in Black Onyx (for stamping)
Number stamps:  Lawn Fawn, Smitty’s ABCs
Tsukineko Sponge Daubers
Hero Arts lowercase alphabet stamps
Moleskine Cahier blank notebooks (set of 3)


Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!

Put a Ring on It, Part 3: 10 Things I Love (About My Wife)

This is probably the most important post of this entire week.

2016-06-27 17.48.26
Isn’t she a dish?

Here are Ten Things I Love About My Wife, Dianne Sylvan.

1. She has the most adorable little hands and feet. Even though they’re small, and her fingers shake, she makes amazing stuff with them. I love when she paints her nails – either dark brooding Scorpio red or some crazy sparkly blue.

2. Obviously I think she’s a brilliant writer. I especially love how she can wring tears out of people; I’ve seen her make people cry by committing horrific (fictional, as far as I know) murder and by just telling a story about herself. I want her to have all the stories – all the ideas she could ever want, just so she can do the thing she loves most in the world and create characters that move people…or even change people. She gets messages sometimes that her stories have changed how people view love – I can’t think of a higher calling than that. Which of course leads me to:

3. I love that she doesn’t give up. Oh, she might say she does, but before you know it she’s back at it. If it’s something that matters to her, whether telling a story or going vegan, she keeps trying, and tries different approaches, different ideas. I think it’s a Scorpio thing (and also a writer thing), that drive to understand how people tick – including herself! – and change the story. Her tattoo says “we’re all stories in the end,” but it’s not so much about legacy as it is about reality; so much of who we are is just a story we tell ourselves and by extension the world. When she gets past that mountain of self-doubt she has the ability to change that story. I wish she understood how powerful that is…although if she ever does, look out world!

4. Seriously, have you seen her skin? I love how her tattoos show up so starkly – she can never decide if she wants to get full color or just stick with black line given how awesome it looks on her. She really wants another script tattoo on her right forearm to balance the left one – that might be next on the roster, money permitting.

5. I love that she doesn’t care how uncool her taste in music (and everything else) is. There are all these authors, especially in genre fiction, who seem determined to be weird. How many vampire writers are so into Taylor Swift? She says often that she doesn’t believe in “guilty pleasures” – if something gives her pleasure and doesn’t hurt anyone, she refuses to feel guilty about it. That means watching Disney movies over and over, bebopping in the car to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and being open about her distaste for classic literature (she says she has to read what white men think about women every damn day, why do it for fun?).

6. I love that she is brave.

7. You’ve probably noticed this already: She’s insanely funny. Get her past her social anxiety and she’ll have the whole party rolling on the floor inside five minutes.

8. She’s compassionate – sometimes weirdly. She cries when she kills a bug. She starts thinking about how that bug had one life just like she does, and its entire single life is over with because it annoyed her, and it breaks her heart. She says she’s not good at offering comfort to humans; she gets really self-conscious about what would be useful and what would just be frustrating, based on how she feels when people force her to talk about her feelings, so she ends up stepping back and offering money, rides, food, a calm front. She wants to be useful by doing things she’s good at, which is funny considering she’s good at everything she wants to be good at, but try telling her that. Stubborn she-goat. *laugh*

9. I love that she’s a stubborn she-goat.

10. I love her tiny tiny handwriting, her swirly vine doodles, and all the other silly things that come out of her pen to make things pretty. She’s such an odd combination of styles and moods – Kawaii Scorpio, I guess you could call it, like if you could pass light through blood and get a rainbow.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Go forth to your blog, your Tumblr, your Facebook, whatever, and write down ten things you love about your most important significant other…yourself. Physical, mental, whatever, just stop what you’re doing and make a list. Do it in third person if that makes you more comfortable – imagine you’re married to yourself and telling the world why you chose that wonderful creature in the mirror as your best beloved. Do it. I double-dog-dare you.

Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!

June 2016: State of the Author

It’s been six months (!?!) since I last did this post, so, seems a good time to update.

These Days I Am…

Rocking Out To:

Okay, this video made my day a billion times better in four minutes. The thing I love most about JT is that he doesn’t mind looking ridiculous – I mean, the man dressed up like a block of tofu on SNL and is famous for “Dick in a Box.” Singing with a banana is no big thang. Although the older dude dancing in the grocery aisle with the pricing gun gave me the best case of the giggles I’ve had all week. I can so imagine putting this song in an ecstatic dance mix just to get everyone grinning.

Wearing:   Pretty much what I always wear in warm weather:  jeans, a silly t-shirt (today it’s Deadpool advertising Chimichangas & Tacos), tennies, the usual jewelry.  I am considering trying to incorporate more leggings and tunics and the like into my wardrobe – I’m kind of bored with my current line of frumpwear and want to shake it up a little.  Still trying to figure out what kind of shoes I’d need (that I would be willing to put on).

Eating:  Well, I went vegan again on June 1, although I’ve been at a steady 85% for pretty much the whole year.  I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless and defeated for the last…well, half a decade, to be honest, though it’s been particularly bad this year; you know how it feels when it seems like everything in your life is just a mess.  Sometimes all you can do is pick one thing to focus on and go from there, and I asked myself, what one change could I make that would really make me feel better?  No-brainer, really.  Going back to a vegan life would benefit my mental health more than just about anything – cognitive dissonance is poisonous.  And over the months I’ve been sneakily edging that way, checking out new foods and new ways to make the transition easier.  Now felt like the time to actually do it.  I imagine I’ll be writing more on the subject over on my food blog, Stumbling Towards Ahimsa.

Drinking:  My blood volume in soy espresso Frappuccinos.



Watching:  Now that the regular season is over, it’ll be time to catch up on all the shows I never did manage to watch:  Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Elementary, the last season of Doctor Who; and then the stuff I either haven’t had a chance to start (Jessica Jones, The Night Manager) or paused midway through when the season of my regular shows started (Hannibal).  I finally had to walk away from TVD and The Originals…a sad but liberating decision…and long before Sleepy Hollow made me want to punch it in the face I had already given up on its particular brand of asinine crack-addledness.  Meanwhile I’m excited that Zootopia will be out on DVD this coming Tuesday.

Making:  A book, as it happens.  I’ll be hard at work on Met by Midnight until probably ten minutes before it goes on sale.

Reading:  Oh, so many books.  In May I read I think six total, and I’m knee deep in several more:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 5.01.39 PM

That’s a book on feminist critiques of animal exploitation, a book on life as a spinster, and the history of curry.  All that picture needs is an iced mocha, an angular sexy British guy, and my planner and it would be “everything you need to know about Sylvan in one Instagram.”

Cooking:  Most recently, a very tasty and easy Aloo Gobi (recipe on my food blog).

Playing:  Still hooked on Neko Atsume, I’m afraid.  My current obsession is putting out themed goodies for my cats – all toys in one color, things that look like food, things made of cardboard, and so forth.

Smelling:  At the moment, coffee, as I am sitting in Starbucks.  A while ago a woman walked by seriously exceeding her Personal Scent Zone – why is it that people who wear *nice* fragrances are never the ones who bathe in them?

Following@briankesinger on Instagram.  He’s a story artist for Disney, and draws those amazing “Lil’ Kylo” cartoons that pay homage to both Star Wars and Calvin & Hobbes.  If you haven’t seen them, where have you been?!?  But he also posts other awesome fan art as well as his original work.

Disliking:  Actually “disliking, needing, and wanting” all have the same answer this time, so:

Needing:  You know what the whole internet needs?  A global comment off-switch.  So when you go to YouTube, for example, and you’re scrolling down the list of “if you liked this you might like this” videos, you don’t accidentally see racist trolls or homophobic dickweasels or someone threatening a woman with rape because she liked the new Ghostbusters trailer.  I never, ever want to see the comments.  Ever.  I should be able to turn them off.  It’s not like the comments section sells anything, so why would it hurt a site to let you toggle them?  Imagine the internet with 50% less despair for humanity!

Wanting:  See above.  But also still wanting soft pretzels.

Pinning:  Lately I’ve been pinning a lot of Art Dolls – I was into making them for a while back in my early 20s, but got frustrated (meaning I wasn’t awesome at it from the second I started, so I gave up) and moved on to other media.  Actually polymer clay used to be my big thing, and I did some cool shit with it (see below), but the kind I liked to work with breaks so easily I got fed up with seeing stuff I’d labored over shattering if you looked at it funny.  I never really did get back into it, though I keep thinking I should, and every time I break some out to make a tiny thing for one of my shrines I find myself feeling kind of teary-eyed with nostalgia.  Maybe I’ll try it again soon.

I made both the cute lil' chef witch and the goddess plaque. At least the plaque is still in one piece.
I made both the cute lil’ chef witch and the goddess plaque. At least the plaque is still in one piece.

Admiring:  The notorious RBG.

Missing:  A sense of purpose and meaning.  And also Ambien.

Giggling at:  

The headline of this article on manatees.

Pigs love to play in the leaves, too.

How John Oliver describes countries:



Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!
Scroll To Top