IronMantisACS4x6This weekend saw my expedition to Alpine, Texas, for the Alpine Artwalk. I joined my friend Kip Piper (www.TheRandomBlonde.com) just in time for Saturday’s evening parade. We saw many different art cars, eat fried fair food, and shopped the night away at multiple artists’ booths and galleries. I had the chance to catch up with my artist friends Deborah Allison (http://deborah-allison.artistwebsites.com/) and Petei Caroler (http://www.petei.com/) at their respective art gallery niches as well as purchase a beautiful copper chainmail bracelet from Anne VanLoon (http://annevanloondesigns.vpweb.com/). I had a wonderful time and hope to journey back next year as both a customer and an featured artist.

As we strolled in and out of shops and stands, Kip and I discussed multiple strategies for improving business workflow and efficiency. One of our discussions centered around speech recognition software and its many uses in office productivity. Because of that conversation, I am dictating rather than typing my blog to you today. I am using e-speaking software for this particular blog entry and while I find its speech recognition somewhat coarse with the first day’s trial, I believe it will improve over time. I chose this software over others because while its speech recognition was not as accurate as its competitors, the software was far less expensive than others on the market. Thus far it has shown excellent speech learning capabilities and has already improved its dictation capabilities as I write.

In other news, I continue my participation in NaNoWriMo this year. So far, I have written over 15,500 words on Dreamdrifter, which is several thousand short of NaNo’s usual mid-month 30,000 words goal. Despite the low quantity, I am extremely happy with the quality of the content written thus far and consider that to be far more important. Hopefully, I will be able to complete writing my personal goal of 30,000 new words on the manuscript by the end of the month. We shall see what happens.

I am extremely excited about my current art projects. I continue to upload multiple graphic art templates to my Zazzle art gift store. In the past two weeks, I have uploaded seven templates to my Zazzle site store including: “Feeling Kiwi Green,” “Lady Slipper Orchid,” “I Heart Horses,” “Martinis are Comfort Food,” “Crying Monkey in Clock Faces,” Coffee is Comfort Food,” Beer is my Comfort Food.” By the time this blog entry is posted, my photos from Balmorhea, Texas, Fort Davis, Texas, Alpine, Texas, and Marfa, Texas, will be up on the photography website. I look forward to your comments and critiques on all of the new work.

Now, let us move on to today’s Creature Profile:

Creature Profile: Centaur

Real or imagined: Imagined

In mythology:

The centaurs found in Greek mythology are male creatures that are part human and part horse, which are usually portrayed with the torso and head of a human and the body of a horse. Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and debauchery.

In literature and entertainment:

Centaurs seem to be a relatively common creature among modern fantasy stories and games. They are featured in games like Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. They also appear in books such as the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling or Divine By Mistake (Partholon #1) by P.C. Cast. In Harry Potter’s world, centaurs are portrayed more as wise seers and astrologers than drunken beasts. Indeed one of them even becomes a regular teacher at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. In my own book Skinshifter as well as in the rest of the Metamorphosis book series, centaurs appear as a migratory race with various clans sharing the Shara Plains east of the Nyghe sol Dyvesé mountain range in relative peace with each other and other races. My centaurs are a bit different from the usual mythological creatures in that they actually have the torso and head of a nymph with the body of a horse instead of a human’s upper body. Male centaurs are bigger than females with a long mane running from the top of their heads to the base of their torsos while females have manes only on their heads. Centaurs are in my literary world are far kinder than those of the original myths. Their numbers produce many gifted warriors, politicians, and magic-wielders. Mages are usually either skinshifters or sproutsingers. Turned centaurs—that is undead centaurs—are called dullahan (a creature which I will explain in a later post).

In reality:

Centaurs are almost impossible to track down in reality unless one considers a diversified engineering company in Cambridge, England, an Indiana-based horse-racing/casino business, or a band from Virginia as part of his or her search (which I don’t).

For more information about centaurs, please see the following links:

The centaur as a mythological creature:
http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/KentauroiThessalioi.html
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/centaurs.html

The centaur in literature and entertainment:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3.Harry_Potter_and_the_Sorcerer_s_Stone
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30187.Divine_By_Mistake

The centaur in reality:
(The band) http://ronmoodyandthecentaurs.com/
(The engineering company) http://www.centaurs.com/
(The horse-racing/casino business) http://www.centaurgaming.net/

Until we meet again, may your ink blots be liberal and your tea stains tiny.

[~]D Alycia