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Tales of the Wooden Castle: 4


Aagh.  Oof.  And I mean that sincerely!  Might’ve finished this sooner if it wasn’t for the back pain.  I was fine for a while, then out of nowhere it suddenly feels like my arm’s falling off.  It’s mostly better now, but only mostly, and if I sit and work too long it creeps in again.  Age, right?  That’s what a lifetime of poor drawing posture and mouse-clicking does to you.  They say we hurt the people we love, but it’s the things we love that wind up hurting us back!  Hurting my back, specifically.  It’s as frustrating as introducing a kid and never quite explaining where she comes from.

I hope it was worth it.  This was the first time I’ve finished a page by creating pure grey tones entirely with a program (besides the pen and ink cross-hatching).  I hope it looks alright compared to the old markers.

And do you like Zandra’s exhibition?  I’m still obsessively trying to revise her gown.  I never forgot the initial reception of the first version (at the time someone called it “dreadful nonsense”, and oh, lord, that still stings), and I’ve been attempting to redeem this semi-gothic fantasy craziness ever since.  I’m most fond of the design in panel 4, but if you talk I'll listen.

Aches and pains notwithstanding, I’m also contemplating what to do beyond the Tales of the Wooden Castle.  I have several concepts for a sister series to follow Zebra Girl, and I’m torn.  Maybe literally, judging by the muscles around my shoulder blade.  Zing!  Ow.

And, yes, I’m still working on the confounded Omnibus.  I promised myself I would annotate every single page of all five volumes, and I’m almost halfway through Heaven on Earth.  We’ll see that hardcover printed yet!  And I’m sure once you read my occasionally relevant thoughts beneath all those pages you’ll say, “Yeah, this was definitely worth the wait!”  How am I sure?  Because I will beg you to say it no matter what.

As always, thanks for being here, and I hope things are going well for you and your loved ones, wherever you are.  Needless to say, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, so please, continue to exercise caution!  Wash your hands, wear masks, socially distance, and befriend that vaccine!  I want to have you around for a long, long time.

- Joe

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FascinationUniformed's avatar

I barely noticed it was different colouring until I read the description!

SongCoyote's avatar

Every tale that unfolds brings new insight, new pleasure

To witness the dance of the demon is pleasure

Untold, for 'tis folly her secrets to spill

(If she doesn't know now, she eventually will)

Yet under her stripes and the power she shows

Is one outrageous secret that a few truly know

She's a demon - and a stronger one's tricky to find

But the truth of her heart is that part of it's kind

Light and laughter,


JoeEngland's avatar

Why, that's beautiful, SongCoyote! Thanks so much!

SongCoyote's avatar

You are most welcome. Your work has inspired several pieces of poetry over the years, and it has been my pleasure to have them spill forth when your Muse tickles mine <3

Thank you most kindly for sharing these pieces of you with me and so many others!

Light and laughter,


Destyvirago's avatar

I would love to see more of your work, no matter what it is.

JoeEngland's avatar
jhwood9's avatar

Did Zandra ever reconcile with her mother? I still worry.

JoeEngland's avatar

Well.... It's something I prefer to leave ambiguous, but I can at least confirm that their parting wasn't ideal. If you'd really like to know then you can PM me and I could reveal what I envision happened, with the caveat that nothing's set in stone if it's not on paper.

jhwood9's avatar

I imagine that you have something planned for a future publication, so I will wait for the canon explanation. Speaking of a parent, though, I can't imagine anything worse than being permanently estranged from my children. Zandra may be a demon, but I'm sure her mother misses her.

Wynnefox's avatar

I love having these revisits with Khazandra and her family.

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