Well, I survived the preorder week of hell and GOT MY PERIOD TODAY which would explain why I was so wretchedly anxious and sad beforehand so that SUCKS.
But now I’m not, even though I had a dastardly day of pitching because I let my dad talk me into trying at Uncle Hugo’s, even though that 70 year old autistic man had NO interest in buying Deny Me hahaha. I mean, actually, Moon Palace was really nice and I’ll probably do some events there next year. And I got to tell my dad all the cool stuff that’s been going on around my release and he wanted me to read some of the awesome reviews I’ve gotten. And of course he’s been very kind about the not-so-awesome reviews I’ve gotten (most of which seem to be for completely individualized reasons which I do of course respect) and talked about.
I got into sticker-making last weekend partly as a means to cope with the wait for my book to come out and also because I decided to take part in a market at Nine Keys Apothecary a few weeks before my book reading there haha. So I was like “ok yeah I can sell my book but bitches love stickers” and…here we are.
So let’s see, I know Next Chapter is going to carry a few of my books, as is The Paperback Exchange. Moon Palace might, and I also emailed them, and Dream Haven, and Next Chapter about events. Tomorrow I’m gonna be on a book podcast!
Oh yeah and The Kiss is gonna be on the cover of a magazine in October??? what the butt
God I’ve been woefully neglecting this blog because of all the work it is marketing for the book. I keep thinking about it, but talking about my creative work is kind of a chore right now, which makes it feel strange doing it for pleasure.
I’m down to the last few weeks before release though. Today I ordered business cards and I’m planning to start doing some trips to local bookstores to drum up interest for the launch party. My dad was ready to do that for me today but I wanted my whole package ready to bring with me haha.
I just finished up and sent out for printing six tarot cards inspired when I was talking to my friend Taylor who owns a crystal salon. I had her put together some crystals for my raffle box for the launch party and then we got talking about doing a reading there. Which made me want to finally after years of toying with the idea, make some tarot cards. This would not have been possible before I discovered the symmetry tool bahaha.
I don’t even think I had written in here that I updated Lucienne’s name on a whim to Chamomile hahaha. It was when someone typoed her name to Lucien and I realized that not only is it generic these days, it doesn’t really have any bearing in the Lilydale world. I said Chamomile as a joke and then it just kind of brainwormed into my head.
Ummm what else. I got some new secondhand trauma from a client yesterday but on the bright side it very circuitously made me realize that Andrew’s mom was accidentally based on Jamie Lee Curtis in the new Halloween movie. Shrugs. Haha.
Ummm what else
I feel really happy that drooling over The King’s Maker has made me so much better at hands which has allowed me to give Andrew the sexiest goddamn hands ever like whaaat, every single fucking time 10/10 gorgeous motherfucking digits
Hi blog! I have been very distracted and consumed for the five or so weeks since joining a writer discord server which has propelled me into the writing world in an exciting, but overwhelming way. I’ve gotten three critique partners who are blazing through my work and responding to it in the way I always hoped readers would respond to Andrew and Micah and co.
I also found an absolutely phenomenal typographer who’s been working with me to decorate Deny Me, The Nightshade Boy‘s cover.
Um, also, I don’t know that I’ve announced on DIC that Deny Me is the final name of the book? The trilogy is:
Deny Me, The Nightshade Boy Relinquish Me, Your Broken Knight Promise Me, Lord Heartwood
Overall I’ve been happily committed to my self-publishing route, but I’m also looking at indie presses going…if they would pay for printing, is that so bad…?
I’ve really hit my stride with Twitter and I’m happy with my growth trajectory within the writing community. I wanted to write my numbers but it feels lame, even though it seems like for unagented writers that I’m hitting the Sweet Spot for good engagement and a sense of community.
I’ve also been working on lots of promo art and just ordered some acrylic pins and glitter stickers this morning of Micah looking ADORABLE
But I had to neglect Andrew during this round and that makes me sad because he turned out SO SWEET
Anyway these will be fun to display for Super Stories next month.
My discord server was pretty jazzed about Pride Month starting yesterday. I’d already decided I wanted to make Pride-themed stickers for my cast but yesterday I got the itch to just start a full-scale drawing of them and add them with their lil Pride flags. It led to some interesting discussions regarding Micah since he evades any sexuality identification for all of The Heartwood Trilogy. There’s an undefined sexuality flag, and a couple of clients and I thought that there was a flag with question marks, but when deciding Micah’s design re: flags it ended up being the snappiest just to do a queer rainbow flag.
Sam is a favorite among my readers so I was excited to include him in this. Just so weird since he’s the only new character in the cast!
I was also yearning for the beach so I made this painterly one of Andrew and Micah looking super queer, and also because I’m obsessed with bucket hats rn because I drew a pfp for one of my readers (Olive!) and they were wearing one and I fell in love hehe.
And yes, I did draw Micah’s rig too exaggerated the first time and had to shrink it ehehehe.
We’re re-watching New Girl (again) and my first CP Vic loves New Girl too so I ended up turning Andrew into this Nick Miller quote hehe.
I want to release bookmarks as a bonus for preordering so I cooked up this whimsical magical beauty.
So yeah, as you can see, my focus right now is on promotional work for DENY ME, but I’m excited by how good a lot of the stuff looks.
New Fall Out Boy! Got the vision of Andrew being a nerdy shut-in hanging out with his cat. I feel like he had a black cat a million years ago too. But this is Arwen.
The manuscripts were super fun to throw in there. And yes, trying to get his tum right required some interesting results on Pinterest from what me and my client described as “the rabbit hole of gay men in crop tops”
I’m revising Superior and added a scene where Micah makes Ingrid and Lucienne go to Target to get gifts for the Folk and…doodles ensued
And okay so when I was writing the original draft I kept debating whether or not Micah and Lucienne would kiss/have a thing/briefly be together and I opted for this awkward Trial scene where Lucienne tricks Micah into thinking they slept together, but I ended up squeezing another scene in in its place and Micah ends up in Lilydale
So I talked it through with, you know, my monogamous partner, and ended up deciding one one kiss between them
Well…the worst case scenario has happened. My dad planted the idea in me to turn Lilydale into a series and…well, that’s working out.
So that’s most of the art that I’ve been doing lately, but honestly what art could I possibly need to do ever again tbh, they’re perfect
And THEN…I was getting underway with it and the anthem band for MicahxAndrew, All Time Low, released a new single and IT. IS. A SPIRITUAL. EXPERIENCE for me.
I literally told Ryan that the fact that this song came out while much of the plot of this second one was planned and the new single matched the theme PRECISELY…like something about that is so unreal and implausible that…that’s the shit that moves me.
So here’s an image dump of illustrations since I started Superior.
Don’t worry, this part of their story is only TWO OUTTA THREE hehe
I can’t believe it! Three weeks later, I’m done with Lilydale. It rounded out around 45,000 words.
I think it’s my favorite conjunction of characters forming new relationships. I literally didn’t bother coming up with any new characters except for Sam and Micah’s evil faerie mom. Micah and Ingrid are half-siblings now. Ingrid and Andrew both slept with Erik, but he’s dead for the whole story haha. Lucienne met Ingrid in Lilydale and kind of likes her? But it’s very understated. She’s a badass archer. Also Micah/Julian’s cat Fadil is a fun throwback to that being Julian’s original name, back when he was Andrew/Bakura’s adopted kid he found in Egypt. bahahaa
Micah and Andrew basically don’t have any relationship problems for most of the story cuz I’d say the main theme ends up being Micah’s identity crisis. Andrew isn’t asked to change a whole lot mostly because he started with a very mild animosity with faeries but as soon as Ingrid and Andrew realized Erik fucked them both up, the get past it.
So I have a lot of WIPs for Lilydale art and rather than waiting to post about this being done I was just going to post them all now.
I probably also have to make a page in My Mental Breakdown pretty soon too.
So one of my other 12yos saw the kissing picture as my phone background and asked if I was going to post my story anywhere. Honestly it got me thinking, once I finish some revisions, just to put it out in the world myself and see what comes back.
I don’t know.
Regardless, I’m really happy with how this story worked out. I think it does faeries justice, and it honors everyone’s histories as characters. Except Erik, who was pretty much a dog.
Shocking all of us, I FUCKIN FINISHED Code: Compromised (best name I could come up with). It rounded out at 298 pages, infuriatingly. Haha. It’s not super high quality, overall I’d say though the images are better and more artful and obviously more skilled than when I was 18, realistically the paneling and bubbles are about like they were when I was a teenager.
I think the concept was super solid and the plot was really tightly knit, not trying to do too much, and the development of Micah and Andrew’s relationship was really tender and balanced (even if it oogs my husband out because Andrew’s older than Micah, sorry, I have my kinks, if you can even call “age difference” that…the teacher/student thing maybe, but age is shrugs.)
I go back and forth on whether I want to plunge into a “real” draft of it but I know I’d want to use my computer tablet for that, and having the time to do that seems like a distant dream.
I have to give an invisible blog shout out to All Time Low for their new album Wake Up Sunshine literally being the anthem for this whole story. It was fun to use a really old band’s new work to create my first new work in a really long time. I haven’t figured out how to best document like, I don’t know, the growth of these two since they came around in middle school. I know soon I want to add a page for this story to My Mental Breakdown but that’s another thing I have a hard time imagining squeezing into my stupid adult life.
The weirdest part about this project is that I’m really happy I finished a story but it was almost physically painful how obsessed, compelled I felt to work on this. At times in the last few months I was neglecting not only my child but my husband too and that was…weird. Writing feels like its cost has increased greatly since I was a carefree high school student. And the funny thing is that I don’t even feel “wowed” by this project’s quality, but if I’d put out 298 quality pages I think I’d be dead now.
So, more resolution on this project to come, but in the meantime, IT REALLY IS DONE! wow!
Here’s some art!
Lastly I wanted a statement to live on my blog forever about recent events. A lot of white people are having potentially their first encounters with white guilt so Black Lives Matter is currently a very trendy slogan to get behind, in addition to many white people stating for the first time that they’re mad about racism. As someone who went through their teens blissfully unaware of the diversity around them, before stepping into a very whitewashed community for a year, before stepping deliberately back into a diverse neighborhood in South Minneapolis without fully grasping how I was still contributing to systemized racism and also basking in my white privilege, who then read Counseling the Culturally Diverse by David Sue, who then felt super guilty for glamorizing diversity and being a bit exhibitionist about diversity in my art, who has then backed off from pretending like I have a place to speak about or be part of the Black community, who has then come to some sense of peace about things, who has now realized many people did not go through all this…I have done a lot of smh at the white community around me, well-meaning as they are.
Many of my friends, Black and white alike, were in the cities protesting following the murder of a Black man, George Floyd, by a white fucker of a police officer who is now being charged by our amazing Keith Ellison for second and third degree murder. Riots ravaged my nearby city. Shit got destroyed. Uncle Hugo’s was burned to the ground. I was…quiet, withdrawn and depressed, wanting to flee the country as snapshots from apocalyptic games, movies, books flashed in my head, thinking about my innocent albeit white male son growing up in a crumbling country. Since then it seems like there is some really important systemic change that’s beginning to happen, and a lot of organizations, like BLM, have received amazing charity funding that they’ve been scrounging for for ages. And I’m really glad for that. But I know with most traumatic events, the people who weren’t “hurt” by it will move on with their lives. And I wanted to make a statement and a commitment to not forget that I always have and always will support powerful movements like Black Lives Matter. And I am committed to raising my white male child to make this world a better place for his Black brothers and sisters, to know that he has privilege, to encourage him to use it to improve the lives of those who have less privilege than him.
On this blog, Black Lives always have, and always will Matter.
So suddenly the coding manga I’ve been writing has amassed 156 pages and I’m about 70% done with the story. It feels really amazing but also kind of…weird because, while the story looks actually quite similar in quality to my high school writings, this one really feels like the very compelling rough draft of something I’m going to go back through before long and write in the quality of Dumping a Dragon.
Andrew and Micah THRILL AND DELIGHT ME, I love them as a couple so much. It honestly makes SO much sense and their personalities perfectly complement each other.
The story stays SO MUCH SMALLER than the other manga I’ve attempted to do and feels much more intimate, manageable, and fleshed out because of that. Really the only thing I need to refine during the final version will be the presentation of the Codeys and Scripts but that’ll be easier when I’m not writing the whole thing in a notetaking app haha.
I also made doodle sketches for all the chapters since they’re sorted by chapter in my app so here are those!
I’ve also been absentmindedly doodling them in between chapters whenever I briefly lose my flow, like I used to.