ellen with wrench

Who is the nut behind the wheel?

Ellen Million: Artist, Writer, Project Enabler, Creative Force of Nature. And, Mom.

Projects:

Currently in crowdfunding: Sketch Tarot! - Sponsor a card or pre-order a deck at a steep discount today!
Coloring Books - Highly detailed coloring books for grown-ups. (By many artists!)
Sketch Fest - a monthly prompted 48-hour creative jam for artists around the world.
Portrait Adoption - adopt a pre-finished character portrait that will be exclusively yours! (By many artists!)
Ellen's Escape - my personal webpage and an archive of pretty much my entire artistic journey.
Torn World - a shared science-fantasy world.
Etsy - digital stamps (digi stamps) and coloring books.
Patreon - support Ellen and get monthly surprise goodies!

Other links of possible interest:

2015 goals
2014 goals review
Chopping Block of 2010 - an interesting snapshot at all of my projects of that time, including several that did not survive the cull.

Ellen elsewhere:

Ellen Million Graphics at Facebook
Ellen Million, Artistrix at Facebook
Sketch Fest at Facebook
Torn World at Facebook
Ellen Million at Facebook - mostly a feed of this journal.
@ellenmillion at Twitter - almost entirely a feed of this journal. (Has been hijacked by hackers. See my business twitter: @ellen_million)
@torn_world at Twitter - updates for Torn World
ellenmillion at Deviantart - very, very rarely updated
Elfwood gallery - oldest gallery of my work (aside from my personal site, above).

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Happy New Years

I have sent the daughter and husband to watch fireworks at the university (socially distanced, outdoors) by themselves and am watching my very favorite SG-1 episode, eating popcorn, and drinking a rum and root beer. I have the fireworks streaming in a Facebook tab. I might work on the paperback files for Gryphon of Glass, because I love crossing things off my to-do list.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2021 is amazing in every way. Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1793625.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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Newest book! Gryphon of Glass

Gryphon of Glass is here at last! I've been working on this book since JULY. Because 2020.



Floofy tiny gryphons! Grumpy cats! Kick-ass heroines and clueless knights from other worlds figuring out toasters and paper napkins and pizza!

This is book 3 of Fae Shifter Knights, and although it is a stand alone book, you'll probably enjoy reading the series in order: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081YGVB3H - all of them can be read in Kindle Unlimited!

I humbly think that it's one of my favorite battle scenes that I've ever written. Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1792576.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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2020 Round-up.

2020 was seriously weird, but I did some things:



That's five books published, and three solo short story collections. It's also the serious launch of a new pen name (two of those five books). It's about sixty art cards. Three short stories in two anthologies. Project: Hug (13 flash fictions).

I found my breaking point this year - the point at which I can't simply power forward and continue making things happen. I am grateful that I was in a position where I could step back and stop for a while to regroup, and I feel considerably better and more balanced and ready to do things again.

I found my goals for 2020:

*Write six books - I re-wrote Dragon Prince, wrote Unicorn of Glass, Broken Lynx, Dragon Prince's Librarian, and Gryphon of Glass (twice), plus a whole lot of short stories and several novellas. I ditched the Green Valley Christmas book. If you count re-writes, I made it, otherwise...no.

*Publish six books and two story collections (Is that crazy? Probably!) - Oh, sweet summer past self, you had no IDEA how crazy. I ended up dropping one book from this plan...and adding another collection.

*Submit to two anthologies - submitted to four, got into three, two were published this year, one scheduled for January.

*30 pieces of cat art in one month. #junikitty? #janucat? - I morphed this into magical pets, but I consider this a goal met. I also did #junicorn again and raised $1k for the food bank.

*Work on the sequel to the Alaska Animals Native Translation coloring book - I didn't so much as look at this and they haven't agitated. Definitely back-burnered.

Personal Goals:

*Work on my physical strength - Some...not as much as I'd like. I did keep up on belly dance, and the three of us kept each other sane during this crazy year.

*Avoid comparing myself with others and focus on self-confidence without outside validation - I actually did a fine job of this. By the end of the year, I simply didn't have the extra energy to waste on comparing myself to other people.

# # #

Obviously, 2020 was one of those years that no one really sees coming. My goals had been based on things like school and summer camp, and the husband being at work, not camped in my kitchen on video conferences. Instead of writing being a career I was pursuing, writing was something I shoved desperately into the corners of being a full-time teacher and care-giver. I canceled trips. I lost friends. I had triumphs. My faith in humans was badly shaken. Things I took for granted proved dangerous. I re-examined myself and didn't always like what I found. I learned. I broke and rebuilt. I shut down more major parts of EMG. It was a wild, wild rollercoaster with no seatbelts.

My goals for 2021 are hopefully gentler. They're definitely humbler.

I'm planning on writing four books: Dragon Prince's Bride, Firebird of Glass (concludes a series!), Green Valley Christmoose, and Shifting Sands Academy. Of these, the last is the least solid and might get replaced with another idea I've been toying with. I have some novellas in mind, too - three Kalikoi/Elva lesfics, and a Suddenly Shifters reprint. (These would be expanded from existing things.) In a perfect world, I would also write The Dragon Prince's Magic and some new novellas, and possibly start the last Green Valley book and also do the middle grade book I have in mind.

Artwise, I want to do another art card challenge this year. No idea what that will look like. I don't seem to be out of #junicorn ideas.

I'd also like to put together a new coloring book for print on demand. No one wants to buy from small press and ship from Alaska when they can get it from Amazon with free shipping, and if you can't beat them, join them! This would be a compilation of existing artwork and a few new pages.

In personal goals, my ambitions are minimal: stay healthy and maintain grace. I can't predict what 2021 is going to be like, but I do know that it's not going to be 'normal' again immediately. We're distance-learning at least until summer, and I'm not optimistic about summer camps. Teleworking might be a thing for a long while. I have to be patient, with myself and others. I have to be kind and remember to be grateful. I have so much to be thankful for. Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1791266.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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Happy Solstice

(I wrote this last year, but it all still applies in spades.)

Solstice matters a lot when you get close to the poles. Today, we will have less than four hours of sunlight, with the sweet promise of lengthening days from here. We live on the north side of a hill, so although we have daylight, the sun will not strike my house until mid-February.

I'll see it in the trees first, traces of gold on the tallest branches of the birches.

Days later, it will creep down the trunks, teasing at spring long before there is a hint of warmth in the air.

And when it hits the windows at last, there is this feeling of euphoria and peace that only someone starved for sun can know.

Light is important.

My wish to you, this season of giving, is the return of your light.

Whatever you are celebrating this year, whichever hemisphere you live in, light is likely to play an important role in your festivities. Whether it's faith, or hope, or illumination, or inspiration, may you have light, chasing the darkness from your life. May you have the warmth it brings, and the clarity you need. Let it overfill your cup and light the way for others.

I love and admire you all very much, and when things are darkest, I remember to look up and see all of you shining around me. You inspire me to better things and braver goals. You are beautiful and strong, even when you forget it.

Happy solstice. <3

Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1789819.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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Free book!



To celebrate the season (and surviving the year!), I’m setting The Dragon Prince of Alaska free until Tuesday: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085786T3C

2020 has been a wild ride, for sure, and one of my favorite parts was launching The Royal Dragons of Alaska. This was my first series as Elva Birch, and what started as an excuse to paint northern lights dragons has turned into a whole new world of dragon shifter royalty with a distinct Alaskan flair. It's got all the things I love: gorgeous and good-hearted heroes, complicated and competent heroines, humor, adventure, dogs, camping, magic, and crunchy world building, with lush descriptions, steamy scenes, and satisfying happy endings. I can’t wait to take you with me on the rest of this journey. ❤

Come and get lost in a fascinating alternate world, just a step off of familiar. The Dragon Prince’s Bride is up for preorder now! Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1787265.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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Need a free holiday read?

This book is really special to me. I mean, I'm sure that authors say that all the time, but this book? This one hit me right in the heart - and it's free until Monday!

When I first introduced Gizelle in Tropical Tiger Spy, way back when I was a baby writer, I only knew that the then-nameless gazelle was going to play an important role. I didn't realize how important...and initially, I had no plans to pair her up with a mate of her own.
But readers asked, and I couldn't resist.

This was one of the hardest books I've written - it was a whole pile of tricky balances. Gizelle is innocent, but not at all a child. Conall, in some ways, is as damaged as she is...and she spent her childhood in a zoo! It was the first time I wrote a deaf character, and for the first half of the book, they can't even touch each other. Gizelle's growth and bravery - through this book and this whole series - is a big part of the Shifting Sands series.

I love this book so much. It's funny and hopeful even while it's sometimes heartbreaking, and I especially love how it shows how much love and support the Shifting Sands staff has for each other.

Although this is book 7, you can drop into the series from this book and read it without picking up any of the rest of them - it stands alone and the end is satisfying and complete. It's Gizelle's first Christmas! Discover the holiday, and the magic of love.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDTW6P2

Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1778610.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)
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Thankful

I feel thankful, and I'd like to use our American holiday as an excuse to take a moment to share that with you.

I am so thankful for my family. I like to joke that I'm fond of my cellmates during lockdowns, but the truth is, you guys are great. I love living with you, and you are my anchors. I never have to look far for a hug or hilarity; our house is full of laughter and love. I am so grateful to have so much, stuck at home. I am thankful for the family outside of these walls, too, whether by blood or marriage. You are wonderful people and I think of you often, even though I'm bad at phones.

I am thankful for my author friends, Zoes and otherwise. You have been unwavering in your support and friendship, and I love that we can lift each other up. Thank you for all of your unflinching critiques and encouragement, and the knowledge you share. It's been a crazy journey for me, and I owe it to so many of you.

I am thankful for my artist friends, and I think of you all as 'my' artists, no matter how sporadic or long-ago your participation in EMG has been. Your trust and your support and your participation has been invaluable and inspiring and I am so happy to see the beauty you add to the world. Never stop creating.

I am thankful for my fans and readers. I think of all of you as friends first, and your enthusiasm keeps me going when things are hard. Whether you read or buy my work, cheer from the sidelines, or just randomly like my posts on Facebook, you are my inspiration. You are the reason I can create, and I am so grateful that I can help you escape.

It has been an insane year, and while I'm not excited for everything that has happened, I am thankful that it hasn't been worse. I'm thankful for the friends who have recovered from illness and the new life that has come about in these weird times. I'm thankful for every bite of food and drink of safe water. I'm thankful for my shelter and warmth. And I'm so thankful for all the people who make my world brighter.

Thank you. Originally posted at Dreamwidth: https://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1778289.html (I'm more likely to reply to comments there!)