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  • Listening to: Some Owen Pallett
  • Reading: Internet updates
  • Watching: Men Drinkin' Coffee play Sonic Boom
  • Playing: Preppin' for Savage Worlds!
  • Eating: Reasonably well
  • Drinking: Got mildly crunk on Jaeger on Thanksgiving!
As you noticed, if you noticed, I sorta dropped the ball in those last days of NaNo.  This and that came up (primarily in the form of me getting my ass kicked at work and also having to wrestle with exactly what I wanted to happen later in the story) and I wound up losing the race completely.  But I got a huge block o' text down and a better grasp on the characters and setting, so I will be returning to MGP and finishin' it!

note to self actually do that this time

In the interim I'll be finishing Clio vs. Kayfabe and doing some other writin' junk in this and that variety!  But not tonight.  o lord anything but productivity now
  • Listening to: superfast i come in last~
  • Reading: A bounty of new ToC stuff!
  • Watching: Two Best Friends Play
  • Playing: Alice: Madneff Returns
  • Eating: Sporadically!
  • Drinking: Water, because I'm dry as heck.
I didn't get something up quiiiite every day, but I got up lots of stuff frequently!  And with a few more days to go and then NaNoWriMo, I like to think that I've made my return nice and secure.  It feels good to be back in the game.

Clio vs. Kayfabe will continue into the NaNo month, I feel.  I'll try and get some drawin's put up every Wednesday or Thursday, keep you all up to date on my words per day, and try to get words per day without sleeping a million billion years like I've been the past week.

Doot de doot, that's the tall and short of it~
  • Listening to: Guardians of the Galaxy OST, on repeat
  • Reading: Destiny Grimoire pages
  • Watching: YouTube videos, in the background!
  • Playing: Destiny, on rental!
  • Eating: Let me tell you about Denton food
  • Drinking: Water, because I have a cold.
I've had a good consistency thus far (desperate and flailing but good nonetheless)!  But today I slept forever after a fairly nasty previous night.  So hey.  Shiz happens.

I'd have more to saaaaaay but in truth I just felt like putting something up even if it wasn't a deviation.  Words are going here!  Another set of words follows.
  • Listening to: Guardians of the Galaxy OST, on repeat
  • Reading: Destiny Grimoire pages
  • Watching: YouTube videos, in the background!
  • Playing: Destiny, on rental!
  • Eating: Let me tell you about Denton food
  • Drinking: Water, because I have a cold.
Kriegsaffe's back.

Tell a friend.

October 1st will see my return to DeviantArt proper and the first of 31 new entries in the 10th anniversary (less than 10 actually done mind, but hey) of my 31 Daggers projeckt!

Keep those eyes wide open, gentlemen.
  • Listening to: Motivational music!
  • Reading: Public-domain golden age sci-fi
  • Watching: Ghostbusters I and II, on repeat
  • Playing: Bioshock Infinite, whence I can
  • Eating: ..Still the new Five Guys actually
  • Drinking: Perhaps more Gatorade than is necessary
Well, the main thing is that my family is moving to Dallas.  The other main thing is that news came at the start of several weeks of helping cousin babysit and sister move to Austin.  And that happened after MidSouthCon and all its attendant glories/mysteries/prep work.  And that happened after months of on-and-on assistance with cousin/watching house while cousin was gone/so many things I'm certainly forgetting with the whole "gut and skin the house to make it look brand new, and then immediately move to Dallas once we hand it off to someone else" thing.

So it's been a bit hectic is what I've been getting at.  I will--oh hey I have 420 deviations to comb through.  Neat!  If only I'd had 420 on 4/20 and also gotten around to uploading my Touhou OC on that day, but anyway.  I will attempt to do something in between doing all this stuff and not-doing all this stuff as hard as I can so as to prepare for the doing of stuff.

I'd just like to take a moment and say to all of you who read this that thank you for being amazing people and I cherish knowing you.  I apologize for lack of content, but shit gets wacky sometimes, yannow?

Also it seems like my subscription is finally running out.  I have no recollection of what it's like to not have a subscription.  This should be entertaining.
  • Listening to: Playlists for... uh, yeah. See below.
  • Reading: Flip-flopping between unread books!
  • Watching: Mr. Creepypasta's channel!
  • Playing: X-Com! The NEW one! When I'm done.
  • Eating: From the new Five Guys we got!
  • Drinking: Game Fuel(tm) to get my writegame on, if you will
It's nearly complete, or at least the first draft is.  I decided not to post it on DA this year primarily because I think I might feel better about reworking it if I haven't exposed it to one and all as it's being written.  That way I don't get attached and don't beat myself up over terrifying plot holes that I didn't see coming.

It's titled From Now On and I'm liking it a lot so far.  The problem I have is that the antagonists were extremely late additions to the story (as far as laying down the foundations of a story go) and consequentially they don't feel like they belong as of yet.  Their actions also fly in the face of things I established later but that's just how first drafts go.

The hardest part, by far, is now having to write a climax knowing that big chunks of it may change or be invalidated by the rewrites.  The problem is that I have to finish it now, in its imperfect state, because if I don't I'll just be trapped in an eternal cycle of revisions that will doom the book to obscurity forever.  And Lord knows I don't wanna do that.  Thus I'm gonna plunge right ahead into that inevitable giant monster fight because hey, that's the finish line there, might as well cross it!

I've made a short list of things I feel are probably gonna change either a little bit or a lotta bit when I get around to revision, but I shan't plague you with them until I get some feedback from the people who've been reading it since I've been working on it (primarily my other NaNo buddies).  The biggest single change would be going full slice-of-life modo and just having it be about a dead girl who adjusts to her new existence as a ghost in a new, hostile, and lonely world.  The change I've been wanting to make since about the end of week one would be expanding the number of narrators and telling the story from multiple perspectives, since our protagonist is somewhat shacled to a loner by nature.  I suppose I could go for an extraordinarily minimalist plot about feelings and personal reflections and not have the looming "well, we may all be screwed in very short order" that looms over 3/4th of the plot, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I don't think I'm good enough of a writer to make it work.

That's what I get for putting all those feelings and emotions in there when I could be having monster fights and giant robots.

Well, more monster fights and giant robots.

Double-full-disclosure, I really want to have the bad guys in there because I think the Unknown Soldier is pathetically fascinating and the off-screen but inevitable self-destruction of Sleep of Reason really makes me want to follow her in her breakdown and why she's breaking down and why she's declaring war on the protags even though their territory isn't all that impressive.  I also hope to make the conflict seem less forced and weird because it is pretty much forced and weird at this point!  Seeing things from their eyes will definitely clear things up and make the routes of conflict more obvious.  It may also serve as a dark parallel, what with Carol making new friends and integrating into a new world that is at once horrifying and full of amazing potential while the Sleep of Reason isolates herself to become more like the terrible things that live and surge darkly in the Realm of Intention.

Also I think I might just trim that down to Realm of Intent.

But "Intention" sounds suitably pretentious for sorcerers.

Also :iconaphexangel: is getting freaking married.  He is freaking engaged right freaking now.  Go over and tell him hi because he is freaking getting married, you guys!!!!!
  • Listening to: Playlists for uber-secret projeckts!
  • Reading: In-between books again.
  • Watching: 5 Second Films
  • Playing: X-Com!
  • Eating: Quite well!
  • Drinking: Plenty of water.
Albeit slowly.

News to come when news comes!
  • Listening to: My playlist o' appropriate music.
  • Reading: That Is All
  • Watching: The Darkseed II RP
  • Playing: The NaNoWriMo game!
  • Eating: Already
  • Drinking: Delicious stuff
...a tabletop roleplaying game, that is, because programming is entirely beyond me.

When I'm not writing this year's NaNoWriMo book, I'm thinking about other things I could be writing.  Like this game.  It's called ...perchance to dream if you wanna be all edgy about it, and it's a game about dreams.

Specifically about having adventures in a shared dream with you and a handful of other oneironauts.  The world you adventure is shaped by your subconscious--all of your subconscious minds.  Something is threatening its stability, and it's up to you to save this dream world from destruction.

Or perhaps there's something missing from your waking lives.  The answer is within, waiting for you to uncover it.  Traumatic memories long-repressed and grown strong in the darkness?  The agony of anagnorisis?  The bliss of truth?

Maybe you only think you're dreaming.  You have been drawn into a new world.  Its world may seem unusually appropriate, given the new heroes attempting to rescue it from the Overlord, but really, that could just be your imagination.  Not that this place lacks in stimulating the imagination...

No--the dream you share is a new world, crafted by your hands, your unfathomable power, and inadvertently the darkness in your hearts.  Before your creation may thrive, you must flense the imperfections and cultivate the worship of your new children.

And that was the pitch for the game.  The gist of it is the player characters are dreamers (of one description or the other) who embark on allegorical adventures in a dream world (or a world very much like a dream), fighting creatures of the Id in order to achieve their goals.  If you ask me it's a damn good idea, but I've hit a wall.

Namely, I've been pondering the mechanics needed for the game.  I've got character creation down, but then comes the parts that the rules system (FATE, that is) already has down pat.  I don't think I'll be changing combat or how skills work all that much, so now it's down to the really different things, and I'm not sure what to attack first.

I suppose what I'm gonna ask is in a roleplaying game set in a dream world (or a surreal world of adventure), what are some things that you think would require rules?

Note that the following is already accounted for: lucid dreaming and altering things in your favor (Fate points and stunts), being forced awake (a possible consequence for getting your ass beat literally or metaphorically), and needing to go deeper (a small device that plays the sound from "Inception" will be included with physical copies of the book; a small app for producing the sound, likewise, will accompany the digital version).
  • Listening to: Some Darkest of the Hillside Thickets!
  • Reading: Still depleting that fat stack!
  • Watching: A little this, a little that
  • Playing: Not much, at the moment
  • Eating: A while ago
  • Drinking: Hydratin' regularly!
There are some ideas I like to bat around that even I know are bad ideas, but being the nature of a guy who couldn't know taste from smell I love to bounce them around every once in a while.  I'm just gonna go ahead and blather about a few of them, and maybe you can say something about them, or maybe just nod sagely that at least I know the ideas are bad and hopefully should know better than to pursue them.

Wherein I try to bridge fan naff with literature.  From time to time I think of writing fanfiction about a nonexistant series.  I've done it before, the briefly-lived but bemusing tale of two RTS characters and their escape from KOTH_Flanders.  On one hand, it's a fun idea, and its time may yet come.  On the other hand, it is a patently ludicrous idea and may be difficult to really grok.  On this second robot arm I had installed because I'm Legion from the Street Fighter roleplaying game and for some reason I replaced one normal arm with two robot arms on the same side of my body like an idiot, I do know I have distinctly different mindsets when I'm writing fanfiction and writing plain ol' regular fiction.  This is why Jan and Clio's adventures are surreal but good-natured, while Reimu shoots up speedballs and murders children because they are present and capable of being murdered.  If I could tap into that vacuum energy, I could craft a story that reads like a fanfic about existing characters instead of a story about existing characters.  Alternately, buddy up with one of my writin' pals, we each compose a world, with characters and a "canon" plot, then trade and write fanfiction about the other guy's world.

...hmmmmmmm.

Wherein I embrace cliche from the wrong medium.  Sometimes I just wanna say "fuck it" and write about teenage misfits in a teenage wasteland banding together to save the hell out of the world from an evil overlord of some kind.  Just thump the side of the Monomyth jukebox and strike up a tale to the tune it plays, except I'll finish it in one book instead of hoisting it onto my grandkids to finish, poorly, after I die.  Also, I'd explicitly base it off of video game tropes and storytelling cliches because I'm an idiot and find exploiting cliches in a different medium from the original to be amusing as opposed to gimmicky.

Wherein I try to go postmodern.  Flip all the gimmick switches and compose an entire book in interactive fiction format.  Do the above bad idea, except with active references to video game mechanics, equipment, random encounters, et cetera, et cetera.  I'd say "cram all my signature storytelling elements into the same story," but honestly that can be said for ATWIH, MD, and HAA, so nevermind.

Wherein I drop pretenses and write a jukebox musical.  This would basically be just me shoving my playlist in my readers' faces and going "Listen!  Listen!  Because these guys are awesome!  Oh God I'm sorry I like some of these people, but I do, and their music helped me write this!"  So, you know, kind of annoying.  My literature is pretty soaked with music references as it is, so bridging the gap and having characters engaging in dialog which quotes extensively from whatever song I'm listening to would just be the same as those Setzer/Frieberg movies where a character from another movie pops up and says "Hello, you might remember me as (incorrect character name) from (recent movie).  Uh oh, (activity) is happening!"  And, it's like, it's (year where recent movie was released), you don't need to remind me what movie (incorrectly named character) was from."  What was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, music.

I've gone on about how important music is to my writing process, but I really, really feel the need to reiterate about (recent movie) on this.  When I write, it's motherfuckin' Across the Universe up in this bitch and there's choreography and fist fights and sword fights and jumping around and fireballs are going everywhere and Casse and Maddy are all singing a two-girls-version of "Lewis's Dream" while reminiscing about when Casse's family weren't killed the hell out of.  When I brainstorm stories there's always one song that is, like, the song that plays in the trailer and it turns out the trailer-as-music-video is an infinitely better movie than the actual movie (Battle: LA, Terminator: Salvation).  It's the song that plays during the zoom-out at the start of a Fallout game.  My books are playlists in text form.  I had to physically restrain myself from quoting a song there.  I could be Gamequoter, except it's Lyricsquoter.

So... yes, playlists help me write, and help me think in general.  Probably shouldn't integrate them with the literature!  As of yet, ayway.

Wherein I think, briefly, about doing a webcomic.  Ha ha ha actually where can I find an artist with an open schedule?  Because I have always wanted to do this.

Wherein I think, briefly, about doing a story romhack of Quest 64.  Rubbish!
  • Listening to: Exile Vilify
  • Reading: A big fat selection of con-got books
  • Watching: Exile Vilify music vids
  • Playing: O'erclocked!
  • Eating: A late breakfast
  • Drinking: Milch, to go with breakfast
But not at the moment.

Getting back to writing and oh such things I have in store.  Or, I think I have such things in store.  Right now I'm just trying to write whatever comes to mind.

Fun fact, the first short story I've started on since I got back home rapidly became a lesbian romance between a high school girl and a Deep One exchange student.  Man, am I predictable.

Tomorrow: chicken recipes.
  • Listening to: Music video music!
  • Reading: Still Switchflipped!
  • Watching: Vids with friends!
  • Playing: O'erclocked!
  • Eating: I really should now
  • Drinking: Sippin' syrup
So, I have sold three copies of Human After All: one for fifteen, the second for fifteen, the third for Fluttershy.  I'm not sure how often I'll accept ponies for payment, but I gotta say, they sweeten the pot.  Or whatever monetary-transaction saying belongs there.

Not much else to report today, and frankly I am quite tuckered at present.  But I will share what I feel like sharing until the last will to type leaves my fingers.

The highlight of today would have to be dad calling me and gushing about Human After All.  The lowlight would have to be doing this while juggling a credit card, a giant book of signatures, and my aunt's medication in a pharmaceutical drive-through whilst the pharmacist was delivering some very important information on what not to mix the drugs with.  I'm not totally sure what Friend Joseph's family is gonna think of Human After All, given that his father is a former minister and I came out swinging with a love story between a lesbian sorceress and a lesbian angel and the sorceress's jealous lesbian worm-sorcerer.  We'll see, I suppose...

The next step in prep, and also the last step, is getting some adz printed.  These would include flyers, bookmarks, and a poster or two for boothvertisement purposes.  It shall be rad.  The last obstacle is how much I can bring to AnimeFest.  The good news is that the books have been divided into three sub-boxes' worth of content and we have four traingoers, so we can divvy up the weight thusly.

Waiting is the hard part.  Waiting is like a black hole--it's slow counting down the days, but the sensation intensifies the closer you get, spaghettifying until that final moment of climax lies forever beyond your grasp as you are suspended in a deathless un-state for what you perceive as eternity.  Except unlike actual black holes you then just sort of do it and all is well and you can find your pal's booth and set up.

And that as they say is that.

As always! tinyurl.com/HAAbook
  • Listening to: The official Human After All playlist
  • Reading: Switchflipped by Greg Stolze
  • Watching: TGWTG videos, yet still!
  • Playing: Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • Eating: Eh, soonish
  • Drinking: Sugary stuff to get my energy up
Gather 'round, fair fellows, for it is almost time for Module X-104: Revenge on the Temple of Elemental Cosplay!  I'll be bringing ~30 or so copies of Human After All to sell (depending on how many get redistributed to relatives and friends and whatnot) and otherwise helping :iconaphexangel: bring the heat.  It's my authorial debut and I wish that more of you awesome people could be there to see it.

Since I have blogged approximately never in the past five months I've been hammering at HAA, I'mma try and make up for that by journaling like I aten't journaled before.  I might just even catch you cool kids up on what I've been doing other than write these past few months, 'cuz shit has been going down at quite a bewildering pace and I've been up to my waist in relatives and cross-country drivin' journeys and whatnot.  But seeing as how the con begins in seven days and all I have left to do is print fliers and design fliers to print and so on and so forth et cetera, I'll probably be spreading that out evenly over the next few days.

Let's start by revealing the obvious thing that was cut from the book: a framing device.  I decided at the last minute that perhaps having my first book be jam-packed with references to things I've already written would be a bit intimidating for the lay reader, so the HAA you see now is a straightforward collection of literature.  Probably for the best--the sheer number of fanservicey references made me dizzy.

Here's how it would have gone: the framing device would take place in the Dreamlands, where Kore and Cupray (from "The End of the Dream") listened to tales told by a number of dreamers, including Shell ("Love"), Theda ("Wonder"), and Clio ("Joy").  Right after a story excised from the current collection, the storytelling would be interrupted by the intrusion of Lambsblood Grace.  An attempt at ass-kicking would ensue, and while it would be valiant, their asses would be kicked nonetheless, with various forces stirring them from sleep in their respective waking worlds.  It would happen most cruelly to Kore and Cupray, whose hearth-fire would go out in their waking world, leading to the events of "The End of the Dream."

The one thing I miss from HAA's framing device would be foreshadowing relating to ATWIH.  The thing which woke up Shell would be (SKIP TO THE NEXT BLOCK OF CAPITALIZED TEXT IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED LATER) a stabbing pain from her empty left eye socket, rousing her next to Pom onboard an airship.  (WOW, I WONDER WHAT MUST HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND THEN TO HAVE RESULTED IN THAT!)  But, oh well.  There's always next time.

There are a lot of stories snipped from HAA, including (sadly) a lot of the new stuff I promised, simply because I couldn't think of something suitably cool to tell in a short bit of time.  Which, again, is fine.  A lot of these stories are going to wind up told on the site as normal, so don't worry your pretty heads about it.  Especially "The Hour of Arrival," which I particularly liked but which misses something when not paired with another story from that collection what was snipped for space purposes.

More legends to come!

And, if you missed it before:

Download your free .pdf of Human After All right here! www.mediafire.com/?nfti86o87oz…
  • Listening to: Victory musick!
The book is completely finished!

Download the free .pdf here!  www.mediafire.com/?nfti86o87oz…

I'll open the book to any and all interested buyers after the premier at Animefest (after applying any errata / last-minute additions that might pop up).  Until then, enjoy the .pdf!  If you've got any questions or comments, fire away.
  • Listening to: Mood music!
  • Reading: "Switchflipped" by Greg Stolze!
  • Watching: TGWTG vids
  • Playing: Something to still these jittery hands.
  • Eating: Stomach's not steady yet.
  • Drinking: Stuff to keep me goin'!
The book is aaaaaalmost done.

A download link for the free .pdf shall be provided in the not-too-distant future.
  • Listening to: Aw shit son, new Lonely Island tomorrow!
  • Reading: (indicates)
  • Watching: Nothing at the mo-ment.
  • Playing: Revisiting Symphony o' the Night.
  • Eating: Delightfully!
  • Drinking: Water, which is good for you.
Saw a meme that caught my attention via :icondarkgoddessk:; behold as I fill that sucker out with five of the ladies appearing in Human After All!  Four are familiar faces (alliteration!), the fifth is a new gal who'll be showing up.

1. Choose 5 of your OCs
2. Make your OCs answer these questions
3. Tag 4 other people
(I tag anyone who wants to get in on this blaction.)

The chosen one(s) are:

1. Shell Bygone-Glory (All the World is Holy)
2. Theda Null (Midnight Directives)
3. January Jones (Jan and Clio)
4. Kore ("The Old Dream")
5. Abigail "Walking on Air" Winter (An Invisible Sun) (Say hi to the new girl!)

A. How old are you?
Shell: "I turned fourteen this spring."
Theda: "Eighteen!  That's drinking age where I come from."
Jan: "Twenty-three."
Kore: "I don't know.  I'm not that old, though."
Abigail: "Fifteen last time I checked.

B. What's your theme song?
Shell: "I'm partial to--pardon?"  (receives an envelope)  "...  'Song, Song, Song' by Owen Pallett,' it says."
Theda: "I get one too?  It's by the same guy--wait, what the hell kind of title is 'He Poos Clouds'?"
Jan: "I'm partial to 'Do What You Want' by OK Go."
Kore: "I can't read this.  What does it say?"
Jan: "Looks like 'Your Hidden Dreams' by White Noise.  I think my dad has that album."
Abigail: "It's in the name.  The King Crimson version, by the way."

C. What were you made for?
Shell: "To carry the light of Aesh."
Theda: "You may have been made for love, but I'm just made."
Jan: "I like playing pool a lot.  Maybe that's why I'm here?"
Kore: "To keep the fire burning."
Shell: "Ah, you and I are both in the light-for-the-future business!"
Kore: "No, if the hearth goes out then the monsters from outside will flood the caverns and devour us, body and soul, leaving nothing behind, not even the memory of our existence."
Shell: "...oh."
Abigail: "Man, you're real fun to follow up.  Anyhow, I don't know yet, but I intend on finding out."

D. Have any kids?
Shell: (patting her belly) "One on the way.  Eventually."
Theda: "Don't even know if I can have 'em."
Jan: "Nope, not planning on having any for a while."
Kore: "Not yet.  Some day."
Abigail: "I'm kind of young to be having a kid."

E. Favorite food or drink?
Shell: "I'm partial to rotten meat pies."  (disconcerting looks from all but Kore)  "What?  I'm a cockroach."
Theda: "Lamb.  Any kind.  Lamb chops, mutton, doner kebab, oh eight I could go for a gyro right now..."
Jan: "Nothing beats a good cheeseburger 'n fries.  It's not the fanciest food, but dammit, I love it.  There's this place on the way back from work..."
Kore: "In the Dreamlands, the zoogs make moon-wine from the fruit of moon trees.  It's the most wonderful thing I've ever tasted."
Shell: "...you have moon-wine?"
Kore: "In dreams."
Shell: "That's... odd.  The mosquitoes brew moon-wine from what they call moon-trees.  They say a great hero of theirs stole fruit from--"
Jan: "--the ghouls, right?  Clio's ghoul grandma told us that one."
(eerie silence)
Abigail: "Can I go first next time?  Because you guys are a tough act to follow.   Anyway--flan.  I could eat flan after every meal and never get sick of it."

F. [REDACTED]

G. Killed anyone?
Shell: "...yes.  I'm sad to say."
Theda: "Yeah.  I guess she had it coming, but..."
Jan: "Not yet."
Kore: "Why would I?"
Abigail: "'Sup, not-killed-anybody sisters."  (offers a fist-bump to Jan and Kore; neither are returned)  "Kind of hard for me to kill people with my powers."

H. Hate anyone?
Shell: "Hate's not something to carry with you."
Theda: "I've bumped into a few assholes over the years.  Maybe they'll get theirs someday."
Jan: "Not really hate, unless you count 'am very annoyed by' as hate."
Kore: (starts to say something, then goes quiet)
Abigail: "Why bother hating?  You could use all that energy for something constructive."

I. Any secrets?
Shell: "Is this going to be public?"  (is told "no")  (fifteen minutes elapse in private)  (public interview resumes)  "Oh god that felt so good to say.  Please, please don't tell anyone."
Theda: "Secrets are for people who didn't have to disclose everything about their life for two-thirds of it."
Jan: "A couple.  I guess."
Kore: "One."
Abigail: "If I say 'maybe' will you assume 'none'?"

J. Love anyone?
Shell: (slow nod, wide smile) "Yes."
Theda: "Like a sister, yeah."
Jan: "Do crushes count?  'Cause just between you and me I've got the biggest crush possible on Mr. Nowhere.  I mean, it's not right to have a crush on your boss or anything but have you actually seen this guy?"
Kore: "My sister, my aca, my hapo."
Abigail: "No time for love, Dr. Jones."

K. What is your job?
Shell: "Everything else aside, I'm a historian.  I'm teaching a class this fall."
Theda: "Professional adventurer and test subject."
Jan: "Accountant.  Would like to be a pro pool player one day, though!"
Kore: "I pick mushrooms and tend the hearth."
Abigail: "Full-time student.  Not sure what I'm gonna be after school.  Sky's the limit, right?  Pun not intended."

L. Favorite season?
Shell: "Spring, without a doubt."
Theda: "I like Stillness.  You can really get your think on during Stillness."
Jan: "I'm a winter kind of girl."
Kore: "In the Dreamlands there's a time called 'summer.'  The sky goes on forever, day and night.  It is the most wonderful time."
Abigail: "I like it in the fall.  The bird's-eye view makes all the changing trees like some kinda slow-motion bonfire below you."

M. Who's your best friend?
Shell: "Pom, of course."
Theda: "Mal Sutra, like you had to ask."
Jan: "My buddy Clio.  She's my first and best friend."
Kore: "Sister Cupray's always been at my side."
Abigail: "'From a Whisper to a Scream' Morgan.  She's a good kid.  Tried to kill me once, I ever tell you that story?  Still my best pal."

N. Hobbies?
Shell: "Literature!  If it's on paper, I'll read it."
Theda: "Swimming the Flow."
Jan: "Pool, if you couldn't guess.  And watching my friends doing their hobbies."
Kore: "Pardon?" (concept is explained to her) "Oh.  Dreaming."
Abigail: "Does archery count?  Otherwise, it's following hero blogs and Twitters and such."

O. What are you going to do when this tag is over?
Shell: "See what Pom is up to."
Theda: "That food question got me hungry.  Gonna order me some gyros."
Jan: "It's pretty late where I am, so I'm just gonna hit the hay."
Kore: "If I'm dreaming now, I'll get back to it.  If I'm not, I'll check the hearth."
Abigail: "You're kind of a one-trick pony, you know that?"
Kore: "I'm sorry."
Abigail: "...hey, hey, no need to be sorry!  Just sayin'.  Uh... I still have my evening flying practice to do."

P. What is your eye color?
Shell: "Brown."
Theda: "Black."
Jan: "Brown, too."
Kore: "In my dreams, my eyes are green."
Abigail: "Blue."

Q. Are you good?  Or bad?
Shell: "I like to think I'm doing the right thing."
Theda: "I guess I'm pretty okay."
Jan: "Hopefully I'm good."
Kore: "I try my best."
Abigail: "This halo is secretly two devil horns."

R. Any last words?
Shell: "Be of good cheer."
Theda: "See ya."
Jan: "Adios!"
Kore: "Dream well."
Abigail: "Hang on, let me come up with a say-goodbye catchphrase..."

S. What is your greatest fear?
Shell: "Losing my... you know, I don't have to say it.  I'll just jinx myself."
Theda: "Dying alone."
Jan: "Bees."
Kore: "Waking up forever."
Abigail: "I'll be honest, the future terrifies me."

T. Does your name have a special meaning?
Shell: "My lineage's first pathmother was Carapace Bygone-Glory."
Theda: "Come again?  ... Anyway, I'm part of the Null batch of Soulless.  Was part of."
Jan: "You kind of look like a young Theda Bara, too, if she didn't get enough to eat and had a zero tattooed on her forehead.  Also: I was born before the famous one got famous.  My mom and dad just love terrible theme names.  I was born in January, my little brother was born in September... and October Jones is my older sister.  We go by Jan, Tim, and Toby at home."
Kore: "My name means 'giving.'"
Abigail: "It's my grandma's name."

U. Any siblings?
Shell: "It's impossible for me to have siblings."
Theda: "In a way, every Soulless is one of my brothers or sisters."
Jan: "See above."
Kore: "My sister Cupray."
Abigail: "My kid sister, yeah."

V. Where do you live?
Shell: "In the House of Names."
Theda: "Born 'n raised in the City of Thinking Iron."
Jan: "Same, I'm a Pound's Field girl."
Kore: "In the darkness."
Abigail: "I'm moving next year.  Morgan's coming along, too."

W. Do you find yourself attractive?
Shell: "Well, my mother's very beautiful.  If I treat myself well, I might be too."
Theda: "In a skinny creepy sort of way, maybe."
Jan: "I don't wanna guess wrong."
Kore: (no answer)
Abigail: "Let's see: wings, halo.  That's a pretty good baseline for pretty, right?"

X. Would you kill yourself to protect the one you love?
Shell: "Without a doubt."
Theda: "Agreed."
Jan: "If, uh, there isn't a better option than killing myself, yeah."
Kore: "Of course."
Abigail: "Let's hear it for the Suicidally Eager to Save People Brigade!"
  • Listening to: The official and ever-changing playlist!
  • Reading: A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
  • Watching: Netflix queue while editing!
  • Playing: Having fun... with science!
  • Eating: Black beans 'n rice.
  • Drinking: Lots.
So, some thoughts on the collection as she is assembled.

Vital stats thus far: 19890 words, including stories still in editing.  Presently the dominant genre is comedy, with horror a close second.  Likewise, the dominant entries are some of many, many ficlets and poems I've put up throughout the years.  Because those are easier to edit, because I have fewer words in which to make terrible mistakes.  Brevity: wit.

ATWIH, TND, and Jan and Clio are all represented thus far, with Jan and Clio possibly having the most entries.  Midnight Directives will require entirely new literature done to be represented, though see the Questinz 'n' Kommentz below.  There is still no fanfiction, though I am tempted to do a name-replace inclusion of "Taigacide."  See, once more, Questinz 'n' Kommentz below.  More comedy is incoming, as I've got stories queued for editing that I presently lack the energy to edit at the mo-ment.

I am startled by the comparatively high quality of my poetry (comparatively, let's not get too generous here) and short work, once again teaching me that not blathering is the key to me not being terrible.  I also discovered something I completely forgot about, which was pleasantly surprising and is definitely making it into the book.

Given a staggeringly large number of my stories are cute little one-note gags contained in one hundred words or less, comedy is going to take up a significant chunk.  On the bright side, even with Freaky Ice Demon Chick, there's still plenty of dramatic stuff, including DYL and whatever I come up with for ATWIH and MD, to make sure all my genres are represented.

I'll keep you guys posted on book updates because I am deadset on finishing this thing and only forces beyond my control can stop me now.  Y'hear that, God?!

Now, time for QUESTINZ 'N KOMMENTZ:

Fanfiction with the names changed: tacky, awful, and possibly going in!  While I promised I wouldn't, the interactive fiction pastiche "Taigacide" gets the rough chuckles, and given that it's based on a rumor about a legend of an ending in a video game I've never played for a series I've never watched or plan on watching, changing the names wouldn't fundamentally alter it.  So: is this a good idea?  Any other brisk-form fanfiction that might survive getting its relevance extacted?  Candidates which leap to mind include the "Nanaca Crash 'Strategem Guide'" I wrote years ago seems like another good candidate, that Slenderman ficlet I wrote a while back, Counter-Earth Alerts, and the Candle Cove prequel.

A framing story: yes?  I've been approaching the collection as basically my "Heavy Metal," a sampler pack of everything that is me, set to rockin' tunes.  Just as Heavy Metal was all about the heavy metal, boobs, murder, mutants, and agonizingly beautiful artwork, so is Human, After All shaping up to be all about my esoteric and godawful music tastes, girls kissing, murder, mutants, and writing that could be called agonizing in one context or another.  To complete the comparison, I'm tempted to include a framing story about someone or the other interacting with the work in some way or the other.  "Magic carnival," "campfire in the Dreamlands," and "abstract tale inspired by a string of songs by King Crimson" all leap to mind.  Would this be awesome, or merely relentlessly self-indulgent?
  • Listening to: A playlist, assembled ominously!
  • Reading: Portal 2 news, and pawing hopelessly
  • Watching: Portal 2 vids. "I'm different!"
  • Playing: In this DEAAAD SPAAACE!
  • Eating: Delicately!
  • Drinking: Perhaps more than necessary!
So, now that MidSouthCon is over, and the hideous throat issues I picked up from constant yelling and possibly germ exposure have finally fallen through, the time has come to be more productive.  Among other things, that means planning for Animefest!  For this year I'm gonna take physical texts with me, and they will be sold (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha), and you people at home can avail yourself of them!

Because every time I've planned something in advance it's failed with impressive swiftness, I'm going to plan what's coming up next right here where everyone can see, and also because I want to keep note of this in a place that'll stare at me accusingly in public every single day.  The concept is simple: I'm going to take a bunch of stories I've put up on DA, touch them up or expand them a great deal, and assemble them in a book to be titled Human, After All.

The important thing to note is that there will be the following: The Lovesick Hospital, finished at last; The Freaky Ice Demon Chick, now with an ending; brand new never-before-seen All The World Is Holy short fiction; brand new never-before-seen Midnight Directives short fiction; brand new never-before-seen Jan and Clio fiction; an entirely new story 'verse not yet seen on this site; Do You Love?, now at novella length, for your literary pleasure; plus a shitton of smaller stories, arranged in an order which you might find appealing, made no longer embarrassing and etched with care onto dead tree matter.  Weigh in on the stories you like best and I'll see if I can't make them not shitty anymore so they'll look all nice on the page1  There will also be no fanfiction, because that would be illegal to publish and I am not literally an idiot like the people who change the names in their fanfiction and then publish them, like that terrible book that used to be about Draco Malfoy and is now instead about what a terrible writer thinks Draco Malfoy is like.  Will there be an eBook version?  Maybe.  Will it be Creative Commons'd for your pleasure?  Sure, why not.  Will that mean a free .pdf version?  Oh shit, I bolded that before I should have.  But why not.  There may or may not also be a musical theme, because that's just what I do.

I am at this very moment combing the archives for what should go in and what should stay buried and forgotten.  Stay tuned for more arcane wisdom.

Later, more arcane wisdom!

So, the "greatest hits" thing won by a landslide in that poll I just ran.  In that light, what is YOUR favorite short story (or poem, or whatever) of mine?  Given that even the planned entries might be trimmed for space, your favorites will help shape the final product.  Note that fanfiction is out of the running, but microfiction (bundles of microfiction, really) is definitely in.
Japan just got slammed by an 8.8/8.9-scale earthquake.  Hundreds are dead, thousands are injured, millions are without power.  You can help by donating to the Red Cross.  You can drop in online at tinyurl.com/48fsyxk to donate however much you want, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 (30333 if you're in Canada) to donate 10 dollars to the cause.  Every little bit helps.

Hope you're safe, Jill and co.
  • Listening to: Music what gets me pumped.
  • Reading: Delta Green: Denied to the Enemy
  • Watching: Terrible old cartoons: the reckoning
  • Playing: Dead Space! The first.
  • Eating: Delicious experimental steak
  • Drinking: Diet Dr Pepper.
"MFW" means a lot of things.  It means, of course, My Face When, which is hopefully a reaction some of my followers will have upon hearin' this.  It also refers to the update schedyool: Monday for All The World Is Holy updates, Friday for Midnight Directives updates, and Wednesday for miscellaneous fan madness because con season is upon us and I am veritably aflutter with excitement.

Starting this very day (this very day!  But later.) you'll receive a bounteous ATWIH payload of some fashion.  On Wednesday, some bizarre surprise, perhaps fan-fictional if I am in the mood, perhaps miscellaneous, perhaps any number of things, shall emerge from the Phlogiston.  Last but not least, there will be some witchy Midnight Directives madness upon Fridays of all kinds.  Maybe on Thursday for the very final week afore the con, because, well.  I might be busy.

Anyhow--to round things out, I am pretty much jonesing for that damn concordance of nerds to happen already.  To assuage, in a small way, my obsession, here is a list of three little things I love about late nights / early mornings at the con.

1. Meeting people.  A comic fantasy author who suffered from mercury poisoning and related a truly harrowing story of adjusting to sudden loss of memory.  Spontaneous Irish folk music.  Discussions of Dan Ackroyd movies suddenly seguing into plans for next con's fursuit.  Seeing friends I haven't seen in months dressed like characters from anime we both got into simultaneously and separately.  Eavesdropping on discussions of movies and comics and books and politics and Romulan ale.

2. Gaming with late-night gamers.  Rounds of Werewolf/Do-You-Worship-Cthulhu going on 'til the morning games begin.  Rolling up characters for new RPGs.  Eying racks of esoteric board games and falling in love with them, knowing full well I won't have another chance to play 'til next year... if ever.  Last year, a 3 a.m. game of the ancient Dune board game was perhaps my favorite moment.

3. Music.  Midnight Directives and ATWIH would be very different creatures were it not for me rolling bones or just watching people while music of a particularly geeky stripe blared in my ears.  Infused with the general "we're all friends and freaks here" nature of con, it gets my brain all aflame with might.

On the subject of late nights, I should get back to either sleeping or not-sleeping (hey, the gym's open in .... two hours and fifteen minutes, God-Jesus).

...

...okay, maybe sleep is less likely than I thought.  Oh well, there's always buffing up the SuperCon NanoMix 2011.

EDIT: Let's start it on Tuesday and end it on Thursday afore the con (maybe with a bonus morning update if I feel up to it!).  Was busy at Goodfriend Joseph's today, helpin' him with the birthday thing!
  • Listening to: Owen Pallett, still.
  • Reading: A bunch of Crimmas books.
  • Watching: Terrible old cartoons on Netflix.
  • Playing: Comic Jumper at present.
  • Eating: Delicious home-made wings.
  • Drinking: I lack thirst at present!
First of all, happy new year, gents and ladies, and may your new year be as awesome as it can!

Secondly, while I'm trying to struggle through the post-novel blahs, I might as well be somewhat productive by sharing the story of how Midnight Directives came to be.  Much like ATWIH it was a semi-recent idea whose time had finally come to fruition, and much like ATWIH there's quite the gap between what I saw in the beginning and how it wound up.

Naturally there are SPOILERS APLENTY FOR THE NOVEL, so tread lightly if you haven't gone through it yet.

1. The origin of Midnight Directives comes, naturally, from the song of the same title.  It's the first track off of Owen Pallett's "Heartland," and it seized my imagination from the first notes.  The more I listened to it, the more clearly a world suggested itself to me, a world of wonder and terror and beauty.  Unlike ATWIH, which started with a doodle of two characters, Midnight Directives started with a world and later acquired characters.

2. The world of MD has changed very little from when I first imagined, gaining only depth and breadth.  The initial concept was for, basically, a Princess-Maker-2-esque game where one played a witch out to achieve some goal (revenge, wealth, global domination, mastery of the art, etc.) and sought a way to make that happen.  One could train mundane and magical skills at tutors, then use these skills to, as the saying goes, pay the bills.  Mal Sutra, for instance, was conceived as a wandering swordswoman who'd teach you melee combat skills and a school of melee-enhancing magic.  The intellectual bugs and floatin' squids were there from the start, with other weirdos popping up as I went along.  I decided a story might sit well there, so when last February rolled around I rolled up the ol' sleeves and got about it.

3. Unless I'm mistaken, the earliest vision of MD was in "Some Witches of Note," followed by a doodle of Mal, Theda, and Nobody's Daughter.  The original version of Midnight Directives, which I was going to give a better name later, was a comic series about Theda and Mal as they were hired to find Nobody's Daughter for a mysterious benefactor.  It was basically Shadowrun minus the cyberpunk but keeping the cyberpunk flavor.  I had verrrrry little in mind for this story--prior "builds" basically involved wandering through scenically desolate locales and fighting monsters, eventually winding up at a bizarre otherworld where some nasty magic shit was going down.  I lost interest in doing the comic and for much of 2010 it lay abandoned.

4. I forgot how I came up with Theda--as in I literally don't remember a thing about what inspired her specifically as "the Soulless girl."  It took a Wikipedia trip to realize her name is a reference to Theda Bara, whom she slightly resembles.  I do know the zero on her forehead is, aside from cool, a reference to Stephen King.  In "On Writing," he describes a rabbit in a cage on a table set with a red cloth.  The rabbit has a blue "8" printed on its side.  It's his example of how writing is literally telepathy, exchanging ideas across a distance without voice or gesture.  Y'know, 'cause that's very fitting in light of the ending.  Before her, there were no Soulless in the MD universe, and now they're in, and all is pretty well, first wave of mass suicide and mistreatment aside.

5. Mal changed quite a lot while retaining the essence of her character.  Originally her magic school's schtick was being a totally brutal melee magician.  Realizing that I already had a blonde who used two-handed swords, I figured a little combat diversity was called for.  So I gave her magic whips instead, since besides dual-wielded swords and proton-pack-esque weapons flexible weapons of reach are what I'm hard for.*  Personality-wise she went from jaded and broken but being recalled to life, to being cheery and open while secretly broken and jaded.  Y'know, turning her jacket inside-out.  She was originally the Obi-Wan to Theda's Luke, if Obi-Wan were actually Elminster of Shadowdale and Luke was a Burning Wheel character, which is an excessively nerdy way of saying "wise and knowledgeable, pity Theeds can't actually use any of it.  Also, she doesn't die to aid in the hero's character development / be a blatant Mary Sue and bang a bunch of deities."

*(Non-sexually.  No, really.  I'm not into that.  I'm into MUCH WEIRDER stuff which I won't describe in public because that's not where describing MUCH WEIRDER stuff goes, and hopefully some of my cheekier buddies won't fill you in at the comments section.)

6. Poppy was in there from the beginning, I knew she'd be a cheery drug dealer slightly after the beginning, and she was slated to die from pretty much the moment she was designed.  She was always going to be tormented by how oft her profession is abused, but that wound up being thoroughly overshadowed by PTSD in the novel.  Which also completely flattened her character, as it happens, but so it goes.  That's for revisions to cover.  To be honest I still don't think I have a good grasp of her character.  Maybe I should step back and think on that a bit... anyhow.  The exact circumstances of her death have changed over time, wavering between "unceremonious victim of battle" to "succumbs to weakness and overdoses herself" to "overcome by monsters which metaphorically represent her weaknesses" to "sacrificial lamb," but this Poppy was meant to be reaped in time.

7. Earthwhisper--who may still be renamed one of these days--was always going to shank our heroes in their collective backs, because she's just like that.  It's pretty obvious, isn't it?  Maybe I should tone that down in the revision.  Anyhow, her lack of innocence was never in doubt, and her inevitable downfall likewise.  I forget when I decided Death would be her daughter.  Perhaps that too was from the start.  The goddesses were that way from the start, too, since I thought the notion of "amateur child goddesses" was simultaneously charming, tragic, and offbeat.  That and there's plenty of symbolism there, but I'm sure you can pick up on it since you're all pretty smart, right?  Or I'm just really bad and it's obvious.  Either way.  I think Earthwhisper isn't that bad of a person, by the way.  Misled, sure, but acting from pure maternal instinct.  I might have to prod the ending until the contrasts I want are more visible.  Hope that made sense to you!

8. Scours the Silt was literally the last character I came up with, and he wound up being a few folks' favorite despite the absolute minimum of effort I put into creating him.  That's not at all bad, though.  I think Scour is a cool guy, eh has the tents and doesn't afraid of lockpicking.  And that as they say is that.

9. All in all I'm pleased with how MD came out.  The actual writing was quite straightforward, uneventful (besides a few panic attacks) and enjoyable.  I admit I was crying while writing the third-to-last installment, and I hope some of my emotion got out in the writing, if it didn't wind up too maudlin and schmaltzy that is.  If you've got any questions about the MD 'verse, its writing, its characters, and its future, ask away.  I may do a second round of ATWIH backstory shenanigans too, so hold on tight.