I’m sure everyone is curious about Steampunk Toilets, but this post is all about writing, and I begin with a reminder to vote on our newly-minted Round 11 of the Random Title Writing Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, THIS POST has a brief explanation, links to the stories currently being voted on, and a poll for you to vote on, should you be so inclined.

Right! On with writing stuff . . . and be aware that while I sprinkle a few toilet in the post, there’s mostly writing.

This is a quick reminder that the voting for Round 10 of the Title Challenge closes tomorrow at 12:00 (Noon) Central DST Time (Chicago time). Your time depends on your location and whether your time zone follows DST.

If you’ve read the stories, you can vote for them HERE. Coincidentally, that post also has links to the stories in case you get a sudden urge to read them before voting.

I kid, of course . . . you should definitely read them before you vote. Heck, read them even if you don’t vote. After all, reading is fundamental.

Gary and Perry have been neck-and-neck for most of the round, so even a few votes could affect the outcome.

These photos are from early October, and I figured I’d share them before we transition out of Fall and into Winter proper. Of course, that only applies to readers living in the Northern hemisphere.

By the way, did you notice the bird?

Anyway, here are a few more . . .

The Round 9 Title — Behind the Green Door — voting is in full swing. We’re almost halfway through the voting round, and we have a race on our hands (Gary and Perry). Assuming everyone has read the three stories titled Behind the Green Door, you can vote for your favorite in THIS POST. If you’ve not yet read the stories, that post also has links to the stories. Plus, I link the stories (and their blurbs) below.

I normally populate reminder posts with artsified versions of my photos, but I thought I’d try my hand at using AI Art Generators to provide graphics reflecting what each writer submitted.

Sounds like fun, no? . . . let’s get started.

The voting for Round 6 of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, September 6th. If you are interested in reading the stories and voting, or if you’ve read the stories and have yet to vote, there’s no time like the present.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post, and also — as a service to lazy readers — the stories, with their associated blurbs, linked below.

As mentioned in the last reminder post, both Perry and Gary wrote pretty good stories, and their heated votes battle reflects that fact. Of course, it would be nice if readers made a point of reading all our stories, but I’m suggesting their Round 6 stories are worth the effort. Mine? Nah.

E. J. D’Alise submission<<link
Edwina never dreamed she’d have to defend her choice. Now, she’s doing just that in justifying her antinatalism view.

Perry Broxson submission<<link
Jack, recently divorced, starts his second act. He finds a great new lady, only to lose her…inexplicably, to suicide. He has to know why, why, why she took her life. But that information will cost him dearly.

R. G. Broxson submission<<link
What makes a family uproot and risk everything for a new life? Follow a boy from Honduras as he and his mother and unborn sister make the treacherous journey to the land of opportunity. It won’t be easy. Hot on their heels is Satan, a ruthless gang banger that can’t afford to let them testify against him. Will they survive? Read and see.

Now, then . . . . Samsung Note 20 Ultra. I’ve not been posting many of the photos I snap, other than the results of me using Photoshop Mix and Paper Artist.

But, today, I share photos from April. Not all, mind you, but some.

I begin with a panorama of the Southern Illinois University Campus lake.

I happened to have spent a fair amount of time around that lake. Sometimes walking with Melisa, sometimes fishing, sometimes riding my bike, and sometimes just sitting. I was surprised to learn that bikes are no longer allowed on the paved path that goes around the lake.

Why was I there so much? Well, to the right of that first photo . . .

The stories for Round 6 went live late on Sunday evening. That means that by the next morning — when people woke up and frantically grabbed their phones to make sure they didn’t miss anything unimportant — the links to the story posts were likely buried among tons of other links.

Meaning, some readers might have missed the publication posts. This I say because we’ve not gotten many views. That, of course, could also be due to the world going down in flames, and reading stories might not seem important. This, then, is a brief reminder that, yes, it is important. If not these stories, then read something else, but read.

The voting for Round 6 of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, September 6th. If you are interested in reading the stories and voting, or if you’ve read the stories and have yet to vote, there’s no time like the present.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post.

As a service, I’ll link the stories below.

I do so because Perry and Gary both have stories that deserve to be read. A nod to Gary for writing what will likely and easily be the winner this round. You can pass mine up as I’m sure many people won’t find it worth reading and, should they read it, won’t like it.

E. J. D’Alise submission<<link
Edwina never dreamed she’d have to defend her choice. Now, she’s doing just that in justifying her antinatalism view.

Perry Broxson submission<<link
Jack, recently divorced, starts his second act. He finds a great new lady, only to lose her…inexplicably, to suicide. He has to know why, why, why she took her life. But that information will cost him dearly.

R. G. Broxson submission<<link
What makes a family uproot and risk everything for a new life? Follow a boy from Honduras as he and his mother and unborn sister make the treacherous journey to the land of opportunity. It won’t be easy. Hot on their heels is Satan, a ruthless gang banger that can’t afford to let them testify against him. Will they survive? Read and see.

Now, then . . . . Paper Artist.

I’ve shared some of Photoshop Mix creations that have then been modified or further processed using Paper Artist. After you globally process a photo, Paper Artist has the option ‘erase’ portions of the current processing to reveal another processing under it. I generally show either the one or other processing in their entirety, but I can also ‘write’ on the top process to show parts of the underlying one.

It’s easier to show than to describe. The orange with black dots treatments is the top process . . . I then used a brush to ‘paint’ away some of the top layer and show the bottom processing.

Sure, I can draw faces, but I’m more likely to draw patterns.

Here’s an example . . .

As a reminder, the voting for Round 5 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, August 16th. That’s in 5 days. If you are interested in reading the stories and voting, or if you’ve read the stories and have yet to vote, there’s no time like the present.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post.

We had a small bump in votes after the previous reminder, but we’ve since again stalled. I suggest voting as early as possible before all the good votes are taken.

Now, then . . . . AI Digital Art Generators. As predicted, I wasted a bit more time with these tools, and I have some thoughts about them.

Before we get there, let’s begin with NightCafe.

Can you guess the prompt for this creation?

Before I go on, other than the last of my efforat with NightCafe, the images are fairly low-resolution and small because I only enhanced the last one.

Anyway, here’s the prompt I used to generate that image:

rainman detailed matte painting Pendleton Ward detailed painting majolica silver nitrate photo r/Art firey dystopian 8K 3D 

You needn’t try to interpret the prompt other than to know I was trying to generate a graphic for my contribution to this round’s title offering, Rainman. The first effort with each generator consisted of just giving the title. The rest of the stuff are things that affect the look of what’s generated.

Obviously, I can’t see much applicable to “rainman” in the above graphic . . . maybe this next prompt might generate something more like what I had envisioned . . .

rainman in arid landscape hyperdetailed photorealism digital illustration 3D shading thunderstorm landscape beautiful

As a reminder, the voting for Round 5 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, August 16th. That’s in 10 days. If you are interested in reading the stories and voting, or if you’ve read the stories and have yet to vote, there’s no time like the present.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post.

We had a small number of initial votes after publication, but we’ve since stalled. I suggest voting as early as possible before all the good votes are taken.

Now, then . . . . Photoshop Mix.

For this post, a new original Photoshop Mix offering based on one of my doodles, a photo of some palms (the plants, not the PDAs), and probably some flowers. The first offering is the ‘worn and washed’ look . . . it’s OK, but I’m not partial to faded treatments.

That said, this might look good hanging on the wall of a fabric store.

There are a few elements of the mix that I don’t recognize but rest assured, they’re all my photos.

Here’s another Paper Artist treatment . . .

Before divulging Perry’s choice for Round 6 of the challenge, let me remind readers that voting for the Round 5 stories ends two weeks from today. For them who are used to wait until the third week, well, that’s no longer a good plan of action if you are planning to participate.

If your life isn’t too busy, and if you tolerate our offerings, and if you want exposure to unknown writers who — however unlikely — may someday be almost famous, well, get yourself over to THIS post.

It has links to the stories and the poll where you can vote for your favorite. As of this post, three days after publication, only one vote has been cast, so here’s your chance to forge a path into terra incognita.

Right; let’s get on with the business at hand.

Photoshop Mix output

As is my wont, the photos are more renderings from Photoshop Mix and Paper Artist apps. I know I used some flowers and a doodle for the above, but it might also have other layers that I now don’t remember.

As a reminder, Round 4 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, July 19th. If interested in reading the stories and voting, tomorrow and Sunday are good days to do so . . . ’cause you know Monday will be busy, and there’s not enough time on Tuesday.

You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post if you have any inclination toward reading the stories and voting.

We had a small surge of votes after the last reminder, but we’ve once again stalled. Suffice it to say, the race for first is hotly contested . . . the race for third has already been decided.

Now, then . . . . Photoshop Mix.

For this post, a new original Photosho Mix offering, one that includes a starfish. . . a concrete one that sits on our patio . . .

Kind of neat, no?

As usual, this then gets the Paper Artist treatment . . .

As a reminder, Round 4 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, July 19th. That’s a week from today, so if you’ve been procrastinating, this is a gentle nudge to let you know tempus fugit. You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post if you have any inclination toward reading the stories and voting.

As is, the voting has stalled and it’s waiting for the last-minute surge we seem to always experience as we near the deadline.

Now, then . . . . Photoshop Mix.

For this post, I’m continuing the series from the last reminder — the combination of three photos; my backyard, a shot of some winter Aspens, and a photo I now don’t recall — and adding a fourth photo of a lattice, giving it a ‘looking out through a window’ look . . .

Then, I once again sent the above to my Paper Artist app . . . another app that’s no longer available but that’s hanging on to life on my phone.

And I did it multiple times . . .

The Round 4 stories went live this past Tuesday. As a reminder, Round 4 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, Tuesday, July 19th. You can find the poll and stories links in THIS post.

Now, then . . . . Photoshop Mix. As previously mentioned, the app was retired, but if you have on your phone, it will keep working. However, if Adobe takes their clues from Google, at some point they will deprecate it and make it unusable. Since I don’t know long it will keep working, I’m playing around with it a fair amount and generating stuff I can use in the future (saving the output as JPGs).

For this post, I’m using the combination of three photos; my backyard, a shot of some winter Aspens, and a photo I now don’t recall blended together to generate this . . .

Then, I sent the above to my Paper Artist app . . . another app that’s no longer available but that’s hanging on to life on my phone.

I have a few favorite effects, so I keep using them and then, but I should try to blend them to see that I get . . . maybe next time, but for now . . .

A quick reminder that the voting for Round 3 of the Title Writing Prompt challenge closes at Noon, this Sunday, June 12th. You can find the poll and links to the stories in THIS post.

Now, then . . . meteors. This was the headline from one news outlet for the Tau Herculids meteor shower (May 30th or May 31, depending on your time zone): The most powerful meteor storm in GENERATIONS could light up skies above North America – but NASA cautions it will be an ‘all or nothing event’. Others, like THIS article from Australia, were more measured (and informative).

The weather was looking iffy for my location, but at around 11 pm — about 45 minutes before the show was scheduled to begin — the sky cleared up. Not crystal clear, but clear enough.

The above was the second photo I took at the time it was supposed to start. It’s very faint, but if you enlarge the photo and zoom in, you can see a diagonal trace in the lower right quadrant of the picture.

It’s more visible if processed differently . . .