Thursday, June 28, 2012

Like with any forthcoming stretch of time off, this week has been mired in a frenzy to get things done before I head out of town. A wonky printer and lack of sufficient time doesn't help the situation. I'll be in Rockford next week, partaking in much summer-fun activities like mini-roadtrips, picnics, flea market expeditions, and summer cocktail imbibing . But getting there has been the hardest part, finishing up author copies and layouts and all sorts of projects that need to be wrapped before I go. Due to my technology fail, it looks like I may be taking some press accoutrements with me to finish there as much as I can. Not really a vacation, per se, but at least there wont be this constant rushing from work to studio to home and then back to work again.

Otherwise, I have been partaking in buying some new summer dresses and assorted frilly unmentionables. (I've been trying to lower my daily budget on things like meals and coffee to save for fun things like clothes, books, and boozey nights out.) Though, Max will be getting a trip to the vet and coming back with a little less in the reproductive arena while we're in Rockford, so I can't go too crazy spending money (plus I had to buy a backup printer that will be my main printer until the mystery of the bad paper feeding is solved with the Epson.) I also had to buy a new guillotine trimmer after I cracked the rotary one I've been using since 2007. The new one, however, goes through chaps like butter and doesn't make my shoulder hurt when I cut to many books, so it's already a win.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

sneak peak

Over the course of the weekend I have been working on the wicked alice redesign, which I intend to have finished and up hell or highwater on July 1st. It feels right to be starting a new chapter with our 11th year online, a new format, new and varied sorts of content. I was laughing at some of my design choices via the way back machine last night, all sorts of horribleness through 2005 when I decided simple white was a much better option. (I also realize that quarterly issues, even though they were kinda small, was a bit ambitious in the beginning.) Of course, since the press didn't happen til 2004, there was much more time to devote to it in those days when life was a little less frenzied and complicated. I remember going on the P&W boards begging people to submit to the first issue. I basically taught myself html from scratch by manipulating angelfire templates. Looking at the internet archive, it's almost like looking at baby pics.
I've been thinking a lot about online content and the limits of self-contained issues. I feel like whenever we release a new issue, there is alot of initial traffic that then slows to a trickle. Since we've now been doing bi-annual issues, there's alot of in-between time where not much is happening. I want to make it relevant, new, fresh, everytime someone visits. I want people to be able to subscribe to content (via following, via RSS, whatever.) I guess I wanted it to be more blog-like and much less static website like, thus I've been playing with various formats.

I'm also exited about new variations in content. I'm hoping in addition to lots of poetry, just like the old format, to include more reviews and interviews, features, essay, even fiction. Also, features on artists, film, music. I plan to add people to the staff eventually. (anyone who knows me knows that my inner control freak is very uncomfortable with this) but the rest of me is excited. I've been lining up a couple weeks worth of content meanwhile and reading through submissions from May. You're going to love it, I promise.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the longest day

of the year and so far, despite the heat, it's been a good one, filled with raspberry italian ice for breakfast and later, cocktails with a friend (incidently, a friend whose first book was just released by horseless press so you should buy it.) I've also been working steadily away at some interview questions I've been slacking on, wherein I talk about dgp and the business side of running a press. Also, that pesky quarterly e-mail newsletter I've been threatening to inflict on my mailing list that I can never seem to pull together. I'm putting together a couple of big book orders in studio, but I've also been working slowly along on the anatomical pieces, though I've yet to attempt any of the more ambitious things I've been plotting. At times like this I am much better at wading than swimming. I do plan to have Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan available by the end of the week. (I sold a few copies at Printers Row, but I still have maybe 4 or so left from that first batch I made, with more cardstock on the way.) It's going to be a limited edition of some sort I just haven't decided on the entire print run yet (the poems themselves sans artwork are going to be part of a full length book project (as yet unamed manuscript #5) that is about halfway completed, but this is the best way to see the entire text/image project as it was concieved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

With daylight stretching a little bit longer as we move toward the solstice, I've been waking up oddly early, the extra time of which I've been spending writing first thing in the morning, which is odd for me since it is usually quite the opposite. I'm not sure if I like it, but it is productive, and with all the things afoot press-wise, it's absolutely necessary if I want to get any writing done whatsoever. The heat wave that moved in over the weekend is persisting, so I like to pretend I'm somewhere exotic and sun drenched like Mexico or Greece. The sort of place where you actually seek heat out rather than try to avoid it. I've been working myself into a funk every afternoon, however, over any number of things, a funk I then have to work myself out of to enjoy any sort of a produtive evening. Could be weather, could be hormonal, who knows, but there is alot of cranky. I try to preserve the good mood I arrive at work in, but it seems to go to hell awfully fast lately.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Another end to a warm, busy weekend, filled with readings and bookmaking and berries and excellent mexican food. Last nights' event went off swimmingly, all of the readers work fitting together so nicely. I am always so proud of the work we publish and the writers we draw together. Today I did some grocery shopping, but mostly stayed home and prepared this week's plan of attack. My vacation at the end of the month is so close I can almost taste it, but alas not close enough just yet.

I've also been thinking about drama queens, not even the female ones I've known (and probably have been on occasion) but the male version (who I admit has been an object of previous/ongoing affection for the past year or so). Until another friend mentioned the term in conjuntion with him, I hadn't really seen it. How people, friends, love interests, seem to be held in a weird orbit around him. How much, in his absence, and by everyone, this person's name is mentioned. How people are drawn to him. It's hard to get away from that orbit, especially when you really need to to save your own emotional well-being and cut your losses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today, we played hooky for a bit from the library and headed up to the Cultural Center's Morbid Curiosities exhibit, which had all sorts of amazing death's head/skull art, including a giant chandelier made from bones (well, plaster bones) and a sizeable collection of skeleton book plates. The thing that most excited me was an actual White's Physiological Manikin, which set my wheels turning on the anatomical series I've been working on. I had discovered a foldout/popup anatomy book a few months ago, which was what inspired the entire series, but had no idea that a life-size version existed. My heart nearly stopped as I rounded the corner and saw it. It was all tied tight together and you couldn't touch it, but I would have loved to unfold it.

Otherwise, I am getting ready for the weekend and working on a few press related marketing details--a newletter mailing list, how better to use social marketing. I am also thinking about the reformatting of wicked alice that is underway and how that might look. (I'm hoping to unveil it July 1st if all goes well.) I have also been playing around a bit on tumblr and created a sort of portfolio page. I actually nixed the news page on my website and replaced it with this which I can update more easily that going in and coding things on the website. I still like blogger for my journaling purposes, though, so I'll still be here regardless of how tumblr works out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

We seem to have lapsed into full blown summer, both suddenly and not so suddenly. After a spate of too warm days, I almost ache for a thunderstorm, a huge whirling clamorous dervish that brings cooler, dryer air. Windy enough to scatter branches, turn the sky pitch black, and drop buckets of rain (though note that I'd prefer to be inside and not commuting when it hits.)

This weekends book fair was a success even despite the heat. I actually rather enjoyed my shady vantage point, drinking bottle after bottle of water and snacking on sandwiches and muffins and strawberries/kiwi fruit cups secured from the 7/11 on State and just enjoying the people watching. We sold lots of stamp necklaces and paper goods as expected, more books than I estimated we would, and also some of those bookmarks I finally got around to making. We made enough to finance a special limited edition box project I am working on for Rebecca Dunham's upcoming manuscript, as well as enough to finance the tarot project (that is when I can round up some of the loose pieces.) Plus enough for a good size order or cardstock.

This week, I am making books for next weekend's reading and designing some covers for upcoming titles. I am looking forward to some vacation time over the 4th of July to put everything aside and not think about anything for an entire week. Now I just need to get there.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

I recently did a revamp on the design for our postage stamp pendants and swapped out bails with bezels, which makes the back of them completely closed, improves their general durability, and make them much easier to make than fiddling with those tiny bails and all that epoxy. It cuts into the profits a little, especially when I'm selling them cheaper in person, but also shaves time off making them, so I can live with that.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

dgp news and notes

* We are in the thick of our open submission period for the summer, and already have been reading some awesome manuscripts. I will be making decisions on the 2012/2013 season of books as I go, so keep them coming!

* This weekend we will be holding down a section of table at the Printers Row Lit Fest with the latest chaps, zines, art prints, bookmarks, paper goods and other bookish things. We'll be in the vicinity of the Dearborn/Harrison intersection with lots of other awesome small publishers, so come find us. No doubt, I'll be running our 3 books / $10 summer special, as well as some sales on other things far below their online price.

* The next weekend, June 16th, join us at Edge Gallery in Edgewater for an evening with some of our newest authors, including Chicago peeps Laura Goldstein and Tricia Taaca, as well as out-of-towners who will be swinging through, J. Hope Stein and Laura Madeline Wiseman (whose 2nd book with us, She Who Loves Her Father, will be hot off the presses and available for the first time that evening. )

Monday, June 04, 2012

Mondays are always hard, especially Mondays of what looks to be the beginning of two weeks worth of insane busyness. Especially after two weeks having been free of Monday entirely.

Earlier, I finished off the layout on the shipwrecks project and began proofing and image formatting. While it's an equal mix of image and text, I have grown rather fond of the written pieces in and of themselves. Oddly, I feel like they are a turn back to the style of older poems, less discursive, less random, more straightforward. It's a mix of more lyrically oriented tercets and prose poem pieces/fragments, all of which flow rather nicely into and out of each other. I wound up cutting and combining and salvaging some things for other projects, so it's only 11 written pieces and about 9 images interspersed, so it makes a nice little booklet. I ordered 10 sheets of the cardstock, which will be enough for an initial batch for this weekend, after which I can afford more if I sell some copies.

Tonight the moon is huge and golden and low in the sky. The strawberry moon, I heard someone on facebook say. I am intrigued by moonlore of late, of celestial things, of contellations and such. You can see some of the brighter stars in the city, but I'm looking forward to some time in the country this summer to fully appreciate them.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Yesterday was spent mostly in the studio, catching up on author copies and starting to get ready for next week. The weather has improved immeasurably, and heading downtown, it was one of those unbelievably beautiful days that makes me fall in love with the city all over again: sunny, clear, warm but not humid, and the lake a gorgeous piercing blue. Today, I have been resigned to doing nothing but work on some stamp pendants with the supplies I have on hand (just in case the ones coming from overseas don't arrive this week), take naps, read more of The Monstrumologist, and play with the cats. Later, I plan to make a big pan of penne rosa and watch some movies. This is my last totally obligation free weekend for awhile and I'm determined to enjoy it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today, productivity on my end is faring much better than yesterday. Already I've put the final touches on a couple books almost ready to print and have been wading slowly through the dgp inbox. I'll no doubt be spending tonight and possibly tomorrow in the studio making books and getting other stuff underway for next weekend. I feel like I've lost so many days to the NATO weekend and Memorial Day, that I'm drowning again. I'm once again well-stocked in paper, ink, and cardstock, though, so I'm hoping to plow through my to-do list. Outside,it's still grey and rainy and colder than it should be, so I've been fending off the blues with hot fudge sundaes and shopping for postage stamp necklace supplies. Amidst the usual birds and butterflies, I found some of the most gorgeous Hungarian animal stamps, so I'm hoping they get here by international post in time for me to use them by the end of next week.