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Thrice Fiction No. 26

Posted on September 3rd, 2019

Dave!The penultimate issue of Thrice Fiction Magazine has just been released. You can check it out on our website absolutely FREE! Our next issue... No. 27, coming in December... will be our last.

I'll be talking about all that later though. Right now I want to talk about the current issue, which is pretty darn cool if we do say so ourselves!

The cover image is something I originally created for the story Ode to Oceans in the interior. I really liked the story, and the minute I read about a cat being "a gingery thing" and belonging to the ruler of the universe who lives by the sea I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Take one of my photos of water, flip it so the sea was the sky and the sky was the sea, then have Jenny sitting on the sky as if it were ground. Because the ruler of the universe can do that. Problem was... it didn't end up fitting the story well. So I took the cat out, put the image right-side up, then used that instead. It was better for the story and had really good impact.

But I couldn't let go of the original image. It was just so cool. Cool enough for the cover...

The cover of Thrice Fiction Magazine No. 26 showing a ginger orange cat sitting on the sky while the ocean floats abover her as a new sky.

The cat is my sweet Jenny. So that means both my cats have now appeared in the magazine (Jake appeared in Issue No. 22). And here's the image for the story Ode to Oceans by Elena Botts...

That's a real photo I took. I just cut out the middle section which had a shore and some trees... then glued the sky and sea together to create a kind of weird mirror.

   
The next piece I created was for the story Way Cross, Georgia, 1937 by James Lloyd Davis...

A bottle which says Saint Godfrey's and is glowing with a bright golden light.

The story is one which has an emotional gut-punch and I wanted to have artwork to reflect that. But what I came up with originally didn't work for two reasons...

A bottle which says Saint Godfrey's and is glowing with a bright golden light and a noose is hanging over the top of the bottle.

First of all... I had second thoughts on using a noose. It's a symbol of fear and hate and just seeing it can be hurtful to many people. I justified it because it's reflective of the story, yet I was still uneasy. But the reason I ultimately took the noose out was because it was a spoiler. The story has two distinct parts, and I was very careful to have a page break occur before the first section was over so the second part would be more impactful to the reader. But what good does that do if I give away the second part in the image?

And speaking of the image (a composite of four stock photos run through a paint filter)... the characters in the story are selling fake holy oil. I wanted to make it appear authentically holy by having a golden glow emanate from behind. It sure turned out pretty.

   
The last story I worked on was called Her Climb by George Hook...

The story is the lament of a man pining after a Dutch girl who was climbing ahead of him. But, alas, the Dutch girl ended up with a French boy, and the man was left alone. He envisions the girl and boy from the climb in the room next to his being together (a climb of a different kind), which is even more painful to him.

I knew immediately what I wanted for the image. Since they were in the same building but different rooms, I imagined a hotel. And I imagined a pair of women's climbing boots handing off the door handle like a "Do Not Disturb" sign. My mom had a very nice pair of boots I bought her for our trip to Africa, but I couldn't find them to photograph them. I probably gave them to Goodwill or the Veteran's Exchange. So I ended up having to cut apart a bunch of stock images to create what I wanted... then drew around them with a heavy black outline. The resulting image was then run through a watercolor filter. I did several versions before I found one that would "read" for a small 2-1/4" square image.

   
The final two images I created for the magazine were a flower from the side of my house on the inside-front cover... and a shot of a toy riding horse I photographed in Malaga, Spain...

A beautiful maroon-colored flower against a pretty greenery background.

A colorful toy horse with a coin slot you can ride which is next to a bright green door cover sitting on a stone street.

   
And that was the end of that issue! One more to go...

   

Friday is for Thrice and Art

Posted on May 3rd, 2019

Dave!Hey!

Have you heard?

The latest issue of Thrice Fiction has been released! And you can read it online (or download it as a PDF) absolutely FREE! To see a bunch cool stories and terrific art for the bargain price of free-fitty-free, just click here and enjoy!

Thrice Fiction No. 25 Cover!

This issue's cover features our raccoon mascot and was lovingly painted by the ever-talented Kyra Wilson!

As always, I'm going to take a minute to talk about the art that I created for the issue. This may involve spoilers, so it's probably best that you read it before proceeding!

Alright?

Alright!

The first piece I created is for the story Convenience by Gregory Wolos. In the story a couple loses their dog "Bark" and all they have left is his collar. Since this happens almost immediately in the story, I didn't think it would be spoiling anything to use that in the image...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

This is a stock photo of a collar that I combined with a stock photo of a name tag (which I had to erase then "engrave" myself) that I then Photoshopped on a formica countertop stock photo so I could add shadows. My goal was to have something look fairly realistic so that it reflected the very real stuff going on in the story.

   
This next piece for the story Last Wednesday by Djanaina Salamon was not something I felt that I should take on myself. It specifically speaks to experiences of a Black woman, and I felt if needed that voice for the accompanying artwork. I tracked down an artist that was a good fit, but it fell through. I tried to get a replacement, but that fell through. And so... the night before we went to press... I pulled out my laptop to paint something myself...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

I used Adobe Illustrator and the brush pallet to "finger-paint" the image, which I wanted to look a bit raw and abstract... but still capture a sense of beauty. The idea here is that she's burning with righteous fury over the microaggressions and other daily injustices that would probably drive a white person insane if we experienced even a fraction of it. I didn't want the fire to be actual fire... that just reads as "anger" to me. I wanted it to appear "holy," in a sense, so that it could be interpreted as "righteous." So I decided to make it silver. I also decided to make it be more of a "glow" than wild flames, so it didn't seem like the woman was out of control. There had to be an internal strength there. Originally, her hair was much shorter... but then I got the idea to make an afro which was a perfect circle, like a halo around her head. In the end, I'm happy with the illustration... but I still struggle as to whether it was appropriate for a white guy to try and interpret something he will never have to experience. I really wish I could have found an artist better suited. But I was my only option if we wanted to make deadline. Such is the life of an art director.

   
For the story Away, Away by past Thrice Fiction contributor MaryAnne Kolton, I wanted to come up with something which illustrated what I perceived to be the essence of the story. It's the story of a woman thought of as weak and inconsequential by her abusive husband... a "dead fish" as he refers to her... who has to find the strength to do the unthinkable...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

MaryAnne was specific as to the firearm used in the story... a Phoenix Arms Semi-Automatic Pistol... and I wanted to be accurate in my illustration. A stock photo of a dead fish was easy to find. But I couldn't find the right pistol at the right angle which could be used. So I called my brother, who works at a gun shop in Montana to see if he could help me out. He didn't have one. But a friend of his happened to walk in that did have one, so I had him prop it up against something of fish-height and send me a photo. I then composited them in Photoshop, painted over everything (being sure that "Phoenix Arms" was visible), adjusted the colors to be almost monotone and bleak, then ran it through some filters until I had what I was looking for.

   
Ali Azar's story A Drifted Sorrowful Soul was dense with imagery I could pull from... but I couldn't get the idea of a young Iranian boy being inundated with images from the television out of my head. At first I was just going to illustrate it like out of a children's book. But I bristled at the idea of taking such a serious subject and reducing it to a kiddie illustration, so I took my drawing and cut out textures as shapes that I could paste over it...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

Every piece of the illustration is a texture except the Iranian flag, which is the real deal (but not really, because you can't see the center identifying mark). As you can imagine, this took a long, long time to construct. But the result is what I was looking for so I guess it's worth it. Kinda childlike... but "real" in the sense that the textures are all real.

   
For Paul Beckmans awesome bit of flash, it was critical to not give the ending away, which is what makes it so great. So I grabbed an image from the front-end of the story of a running dog and used that. In order to throw readers off balance and make it so they couldn't possibly guess what the story was about, yet be compelled to read it so they could understand what was going on in the picture, I intentionally drew something goofy and simplistic...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

I then added old-fashioned halftone dots to the image to make it look like something out of a comic book. For no other reason than I love the story and the illustration I came up with amuses me, this is my favorite work in this issue.

   
For the cross-spread story of Larry, Said a Voice from Inside by Frank Candeloro, I knew exactly what I wanted to draw. The thing that sets everything in motion... a dying cellphone battery...

THRICE FICTION artwork!

To match the previous page, I rendered it in the exact same style. Nothing round. All angles. Despite the simplicity, I love how it turned out.

   
And there you have my artistic contributions to Issue No. 25 of Thrice Fiction Magazine. If you haven't already, please do check it out... it's FREE, after all.

   

Bullet Sunday 532

Posted on September 3rd, 2017

Dave!Don't let smoke inhalation get you down, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• FIRE! Once again it would seem that the Columbia Basin is on fire. This is the view I had on the drive over the mountains...

Wildfire Smoke Scenery

   
• Chase! My... My... My pants! Jake chases Jenny. Jenny chases Jake...

It's the circle of life up in my house.

   
• Tolerance! A short but bittersweet article that's worth a minute of your time: The Christians Making Atheists. The decline of Christianity in a nutshell. But, in reality, it could also hold true for other religions that attempt to hide their bigotry in the guise of religion.

   
• Fresh! This is what happens when you travel a lot and keep forgetting to pack deodorant...

Deodorant Drawer Madness

That's a lot of money tied up in antiperspirant products!

   
• Thrice! Hey! Did I happen to mention that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction has been released, and you can read it online or download it for FREE?!? Well, you totally can! Just visit the Thrice Fiction website!

Thrice Fiction Magazine No. 20

If you like fiction and like to read... it's worth the price of admission. Which is FREE!

   
• All That We Share! Nice to know that while this country is tearing itself apart that other countries are making an effort to keep it together...

Viva la Denmark!

   
Have a good Labor Day weekend, everybody.

   

Thrice Fiction No. 20

Posted on August 31st, 2017

Dave!Good news, everyone!

The twentieth issue of Thrice Fiction magazine has been released... just in the nick of time for the August cover date to still be in August! And you can read it online or download it for FREE at our website!

This time we are honored to feature a gorgeous cover illustration by Chilean artist Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo, who does work for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Wired, Rolling Stone, New Republic, Forbes, Harper's Bazaar, and other fine publications. Many thanks for his kind generosity in allowing us to feature his artwork in this issue...

Thrice Fiction No. 20

If you'd like to see more of Alvaro's stunning work, head over to his website and prepare to be blown away!

And now... what are you waiting for? Go take a look at the latest issue of the best fiction 'zine you're not reading: Thrice Fiction!

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So What If It’s True

Posted on May 8th, 2017

Dave!I am very pleased to announce that Thrice Publishing (the Not For Profit company behind Thrice Fiction Magazine) has released their second book publication... So What If It's True.

This remarkable collection of poems, letters, and writings by the late Lorri Jackson is a lush snapshot of street culture in 1980's Chicago as edited by Thrice co-founder RW Spryszak and designed by Thrice co-founder David Simmer II (yours truly)...

Lorri Jackson So What If It's True

You can read more about the book over at Thrice Publishing.

And if you'd like to order a copy, you can purchase it at Amazon with free 2-Day Prime shipping (for Prime members) or at the CreateSpace Store.

Thanks to everybody for your continued support!

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Thrice Fiction No. 19

Posted on May 1st, 2017

Dave!Hey! Yesterday was the last day of April!

It was also the last day RW and I had to get our "April" issue of Thrice Fiction released, which we did. It's our nineteenth installment of everybody's favorite lit-mag. A fact I bring up because I still remember being told not once... but many times... that we'd never last past our first year because most endeavors like this are doomed to failure.

But not us, baby.

You can take a look at it over at ThriceFiction.com and, in a first for us, you can also read it online! No special browser plug-in needed! In fact, all nineteen issues are available for reading or download absolutely FREE!

Thrice Fiction Magazine Issue No. 19

That amazing cover is courtesy of frequent Thrice Fiction contributor Katelin Kinney. Beautiful, isn't it?

The insides are equally wonderful... filled with great stories and terrific artwork from a bunch of talented people.

So what are you waiting for? Go get some!

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Compositional Reality

Posted on April 24th, 2017

Dave!Did you know that yet another issue of Thrice Fiction Magazine will be debuting this month (hopefully)?

Well, it's true!

And while I don't want to give any of the awesome stories away, I thought I'd take a minute to share one of the art pieces I put together last night.

My favorite way of creating art to accompany a story is to draw, paint, or photograph something of my very own. But there are times that it's just not possible for what I'm trying to communicate. For one particular story in our next issue, I wanted to create a Bon Appetit magazine-style page. My vision was to have a kind of fried fish/prawn hybrid sitting on a plate in a Japanese restaurant... perhaps with a dollop of wasabi on the side. Being a vegetarian who hates seafood, the idea of putting fish parts in my deep-fat fryer filled me with horror, so I decided the best way to get what I wanted was to buy stock photos and assemble them into what I was envisioning.

And so I searched Adobe Stock for the pieces I needed...

Stock Photos

Then downloaded preview images into Photoshop so I could see if they would fit together well...

Rough Comp

Then, once I was happy with all the parts and pieces I found, I'd purchase the full-res photos and get to work. I had to combine three pieces of fried fish/prawns into one... add it to a plate with some wasabi and chopsticks... then paint in shadows to bring it all together and make it look "real-ish"...

Rough Comp

And voilà! A fish-prawn thing is served!

To find out why it's served... you'll have to download the April issue of Thrice Fiction, coming soon!

   

Bullet Sunday 498

Posted on January 1st, 2017

Dave!There's hope for 2017, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Love! The reason I managed to get through 2016 was because I have a lot of internet friends holding my virtual hand. People can diminish online friendships all they want, but the people on the other end of the screen matter to me, and the importance of those relationships cannot be understated. There were days that they were all I had, and I'll always be grateful. As we head into 2017, I'm guessing a lot of people are going to be relying on an online community to get through. Here in the US we essentially elected a license to hate and, though hate is nothing new, there are already signs that it is escalating to a frightening degree. Maybe it's because of how you worship. Maybe it's because your skin color. Maybe it's because of your sex. Maybe it's because of who you love. Maybe it's because of where you live. Maybe it's because of how much money you have... or, more likely, don't have. People can be horrible to each other, and choosing to be kind in the face of that is going to mean the world to somebody out there. Keeping that in mind as you interact online in the coming days is vital. I'll be paying it forward by trying my best.

   
• Help! All that being said, if you're in the US, need help, and can't find the support you need, there are places you can call free of charge...

Get the support you deserve. There are fellow humans wanting to help.

   
• Inspiration! Here's Simon Sinek on why good leaders make us feel safe...

We can all be good leaders for each other.

   
• Sleeping! How Jake Sleeps...

Jake Sleeping in a Very Odd Position

Meanwhile... I can be laying in the most comfortable bed on planet earth and still not be able to sleep.

   
• Roast! The late Carrie Fisher was damn funny on top of being talented, beautiful, and brilliant. This video of her roasting George Lucas has been making the rounds is undeniable proof of all of it...

And here she is on Harrison Ford...

Miss you, Carrie.

   
• New THRICE! Hey... did you know that the latest issue of THRICE Fiction has been released? And did you know that you can download the issue for FREE? If you didn't, now you do! If you did and didn't believe it, I'm here to tell you it's all true! Head over the ThriceFiction.com and grab it!

Thrice Fiction Magazine Issue No. 18

   
• More Simon! I catch shit every time I mention how tough it is to hire from the crop of Millennials that have permeated the work force. Every time I'm told "The generation before us complained about us, the generation before them complained about them... it goes on and on, and dumping on Millennials is just continuing a tradition." Which is probably true... but when it comes to THE ACTUAL WORK... to interacting with people to complete a task... Millennials can pose problems unlike anything else that's come before. Simon Sinek has completely nailed it in this video, which is so worth your valuable time to watch...

What's interesting to me is how NON-Millennials are adopting the habits of Millennials which Sinek is discussing. Particularly when it comes to mobile phones. Nobody will put away their phones for five fucking minutes anymore, no matter what their age, and we're all losing because of it. That goes for performing in the workplace... and double for maintaining healthy friendships. My only resolution for 2017 is to pay more attention to the people in front of me.

   
And... that's the last of the first bullets of 2017! Be safe and be kind, everybody.

   

Thrice Fiction 16

Posted on April 23rd, 2016

Dave!Hey!

Hey, you!

Like reading stories and looking at art?

You do? I'm not surprised. Did you know that the latest issue of Thrice Fiction is now available? And did you know you can download it absolutely FREE from our website?

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

If you didn't, now you do! Go check it out, won't you? We're now sixteen issues strong, and every issue is available absolutely FREE for immediate download...

Thrice Fiction Issue No. 16!

I'll be back next week to discuss the works that appear in the issue. In the meanwhile, enjoy!

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THRICE 15.2

Posted on January 3rd, 2016

Dave!Welcome to PART TWO of a discussion about the art that's running in the latest issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine!

If you haven't read PART ONE yet, you should do that first.

And if you haven't downloaded a FREE copy of our August 2015 issue... then you should definitely do that first because, WARNING... SPOILERS MAY ENSUE!

Thrice Fiction No. 15

Alrighty then...

It's a forgone conclusion that not all writers are going to be happy with the art that gets paired with their work. And while the idea of such a thing is upsetting to me, I've pretty much made my peace with it. Artwork is highly subjective to begin with, and then you've got to take into account all the possible pitfalls that come with trying to interpret the written word for a visual representation. And it doesn't seem to matter how much detail the writer puts into their story. On the contrary, the more specific the writer is, the more difficult it can be to meet expectations. "I said the main character had a big nose... but I didn't mean THAT big!"

But if the alternative to sometimes getting it wrong from the author's perspective is to have no artwork at all, I think it's a risk worth taking.

Because I can't imagine THRICE Fiction without the art.

And, on that note... on with the show...

   

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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