Category: Newsletter

🐹Crazy Adorableness🐯

Hey babes,

So, for starters I saw Brea has her latest book out, and it looks super fucking adorable—crazy adorable! <3 So I’m smacking it at the top here for anyone who needs a sweet pick me up this weekend.

His Bewildered Mate by Brea Alepoú

True mates are found in the most unlikely of places.

Rhy, a weretiger with a heart so big, that when an elderly woman comes in looking for her lost cat, Mr. Fluffkins, Rhy knew he had to help. He had no way of knowing that it would lead him to his true mate.

Dillan (Mr. Fluffkins), has lived his whole life wishing he was more than just a cat. He never felt right walking around on four paws. He tried to be a normal cat; tried to talk to other animals but it wasn’t possible. They couldn’t think in full sentences or communicate. It was more of feeling they had then what they thought. He watched television, so he could studying humans and what they did. He wanted to interact like humans. His owners showed one another so much love and were always doing something together. Dillan ached to have what they have.

Love, loss, and tender moments. A dream to have the one person that completes you.

Warning** Slow burn. This book is shifter Mpreg pregnancy is mentioned in this book. this is the first book of the series. The series will need to be read in order, as new couples will be introduced but old one’s stories will continue. They will be intertwined. This is a HEA.

What’s up?

I have spent the last 2 weeks really chill. Very calm. Even got a tooth infection last week, but I’m doing really well. Just calm, chill, trying to get used to realizing my body has been tense as fuck forever. I put some blue fairy lights up in the porch I’ve been using as a writing room, and it’s like hanging out in sapphire while listening to some great, calming music. I’m obsessed with Metric at the moment, the album “Grow up and Blow Away” usually playing in the background.

I haven’t had a single Parkinson’s symptom since I started this calm down experiment. When I notice my stress levels rising, or that I’m pushing myself too hard, I stop, I relax, I unwind the rock my stomach has turned into, and I’m good.

Amazingly enough, because of this, I’ve stopped thinking of myself as sick. I haven’t been thinking in terms of I have Parkinson’s or mold toxicity or even PTSD. I’ve just been thinking, oh, that feels stressful on my body. Let’s not have all that stress. It’s doing good things for how I think about myself, where I’m not labeling myself with these pretty big, unpleasant illnesses 24-7, and I’m not narrating giant hoops I need to jump through to be allowed to feel okay. It’s just about not stressing.

Learning to write calmly

I updated a couple of fanfics on the website the last two weeks. I also added these really quick to read dates so you can see the last time a story was updated at a glance. What else… I’ve had a few breakthroughs on the writing front. Now that I could see that I was putting so much pressure on my writing, I was able to kind of side step some of that pressure. But only some.

Last night I had a mini epiphany about a big issue with my creativity. I had been digging up these outlines I have of stories I want to make—I love these stories—but I feel so overwhelmed every time I look at them. I don’t know if you peeps remember what happened to me a little while back. Instafreebie had decided to feature Blackthorne and I had a mini freak out. The book wasn’t well put together. In the matter of a week, I made a new cover, and started editing the 100,000 word book, rewriting large chunks of it. And I was killing myself—I was still sick, and here I was breaking myself over something stupid as fuck. And once it was pointed out to me, I stopped. I let it go… and I haven’t looked at editing Blackthorne since.

It was all or nothing.

I have this habit where everything I do is climbing a mountain. It was why I stopped digital painting. I know what it takes to get to the end of a polished, highly realistic painting. I know the steps, I know the hours on hours put in, and I know I can get to that ending and have an amazing product. But I don’t want to do the work because, unlike normal people who can pace themselves and do other things while they create, I’m a fucking psycho who wants to sprint to the finish line right at the beginning of a marathon. I don’t know how to balance my creative endeavors. It’s why they always seemed so rushed—I was rushing to get everything down before I became too exhausted to keep the pace.

I have no idea how to be anything else, partially because this habit was created out of me being stuck in PTSD mode. My body cannot survive that type of creative process. Plain and simple. But my psyche cannot survive a world without creativity either. So I need to figure out how to flow, how to pace myself, how to have fun, how to stop and be able to start up later after doing something else. I have to stop trying to be a writing machine—I’m too organic to be any good at it. XD

Right now, when I look at all the stories I want to write, all I’m seeing are mountains because that’s what I turn each project into. I’m hoping if I can see that each project is just a little bit of calm time spent enjoying myself—you know, a nice walk instead of an exhausting climb—I’ll start looking at creating differently.

I guess we’ll see how it goes… The last few weeks have been amazing. I didn’t even think I could get this far in just relaxing. I feel like a different person, someone I didn’t even know was here, allowed to exist. I thought it was normal to feel super alert all the time. Now, I can see it was just PTSD that I thought was normal. Life the last few weeks has been feeling a bit like being drugged and happy (without the drugs) because I can be alert in the world, in my life, without being tense at the same time. I just never knew it was a possibility until now.

Hope you’re all doing well! ^.^

 

💥How To Stop Being A Freaked Out, Overachieving Perfectionist💥

Hey peeps,

Ugh, so the first episode of the Paranormal Academy For Troubled Boys serial is ready to publish. Why ugh? Because I’m trying to figure out how the fuck to post this story without burning myself out during the process.

I’ve been realizing some big stuff this summer. One is how I’m an overachiever who undervalues herself so much I couldn’t even tell I was an overachiever. Two, that I’ve locked down my subconscious so well in the need to ‘adult’ that I haven’t allowed myself to daydream or think about stories that aren’t about building the Sadie Sins brand—aka, this is why writing is no longer fun. I’ve been so focused on trying to turn my writing into a living that I lost what I loved about writing, which was the fun, crazy ideas.

Thirdly, and probably most damning, I found a connection between my health problems and PTSD. A big connection. :/ We’re talking psychosomatic death feigning, learned helplessness, and dopamine suppression as the brain forces the body to ‘give up’ a fruitless task to stop it from neurotically obsessing until it breaks. I realized that living with the anxiety PTSD gave me for over 30 years had turned me up to 11, and when I ‘got better,’ I only calmed down to something like an 8. I’m still stressing myself out, I’m still holding onto twisted values that keep pushing me to do, do DO! And I have become so used to this stressful drive, that I couldn’t see it, like, at all.

I’m a control freak (okay, I already knew that) but I didn’t see how bad it really was. Because I was the crazy fuck who, when I thought I was dying, decided it was time to start a business just to pass the time. Yeah, my body was so sick, exhausted, and burnt out from my overactive immune system responding to everything, but I decided to ‘push through’ like a WINNER and ignore all that. Because I am fucked in the head and only just now seeing the extent.

My body is trying to stop my self destructive patterns by literally stopping me flat. And I thought at first, whoa, that’s crazy. How could I even think that about myself? But then I started practicing mindfulness again, started really looking at what happens right before the Parkinson’s flares and the messages happening in my mind. I had a flare right after a bad driving scare—literally life and death response. Then I had a flare when I had the house to myself for a day and then my bf came home and I realized, nope, I’m not okay with sharing a bedroom indefinitely—I want my fucking space! But it wasn’t until I faced that feeling that the flare stopped just as quickly as it started. I started getting a flare when out on a long walk, and instead of ‘suffering through’ like I normally would, I stopped, stretched, regrouped my emotional core, and the feeling passed and my energy returned.

So yeah, it’s me. I’m stressing myself into sickness.

I figure it’s like this…

My body got used to breaking after 5+ years of mold toxicity and low dopamine, and now that everything is ‘fine,’ it has decided certain triggers—thoughts, emotions, behaviors—are going to start that cascade effect all over again. The neural pathways are still there, set deep into my brain and nervous system. It’s not the smell of mold setting me off anymore, but when I feel emotionally trapped in a situation. It’s not dust mites or cat dander, but when I ignore that my muscles are tensing and I don’t relax my body as needed. I don’t have to worry about pollen anymore—I got a little pill for that. But I have no pill for the stress I weigh myself down with when I put too much expectation on myself and the simple things I do.

It’s such a contradiction to who I am in so many ways. Because I know—I KNOW— the value of a person is in that they exist. That’s it. If you exist, you are already worthy of compassion and respect. You don’t have to do anything or achieve anything or have a buttload of wealth or be super nice to be valued. You exist and that’s enough. I know this, but my subconscious is still running on old trauma wiring that tells me that I can only be worthy if I do things, and I have to do them really well, and people have to like them, and if people don’t like what I do then that means they don’t like me and I must be a terrible person. And how do I know if people like what I do? Well, what does society tell us? We learn that unless we have great wealth, we are not valued by society, that we are worthless enough to die outside a hospital with no one caring. Not being wealthy means you’re a lazy, worthless person who just isn’t trying to contribute to society, right?

It is difficult to be a human in this world of humans that was crafted around the idea that people are only valuable if they appear to have succeeded in life. Even as I know that these ideas of success are absolute nonsense, a lower part of my brain absorbs these messages and pushes me to survive by these irrational rules. It’s exhausting. I have spent years unconsciously trying to gain self worth from something that has absolutely nothing to do with my worth—and it hasn’t helped that the self improvement industry sells these ideas to us like they’re spiritual enlightenment. Really, think about it. We don’t have gurus like Ghandi anymore who discarded his worldly possessions and his ego to do what he could to help the world. We have CEOs swearing if you reach enlightenment, you’ll be wealthy beyond your dreams, you’ll be valuable to society, recognized for your greatness and intelligence. You’ll win the human lottery if you just figure out how to be spiritually, physically, mentally, and motivationally perfect. Discard your want of worldly possessions and you will be able to hoard all the shit you want in a giant mansion. If you overcome being an overachiever, you will be able to DO MORE THINGS! (not fucking joking; this was the message that smacked me over the head when I started looking up how to stop being an overachiever.)

I need a mental break from myself and this fucked up world

One of the things I noticed when I realized what the fuck I was doing to myself and how destructive the messaging surrounding me was that I started to be able to let my thoughts wander. I allowed myself to be bored. I’m thinking about stories that I don’t see much immediate financial gain in, but I do see fun in the journey of writing them. But this is not an overnight process. I have been wired to break myself at every turn—just the crushing guilt of not publishing in months has been brutal—and I need to find ways around that through habits, healthy messaging, and a fuck ton of mindfulness. I need to exposure therapy myself out of perfectionism and need for control.

Under it all is this little, vulnerable voice demanding if I just do everything right, I will never be hurt, I will never feel alone or sad or like a failure. If I just plan enough, stress enough, double/triple check until my eyes bleed, I will be safe. It’s a very sad, lonely voice who already feels like a failure and is just projecting it onto everything I do. It is very tiring to live this way, so driven to achieve something where I can’t even notice that I’m breaking myself out of poor self esteem. I don’t know how to relax—all those years stuck in bed and I never learned how to relax, just how to ignore the pain and exhaustion I was feeling. Really, it’s seriously sad to even think about.

I found myself in a profession that has a lot of excuses to give into that perfectionist voice. I’m not just talking about editing and ensuring my grammar is perfect along with spelling and comma placement and every pointless fucking rule in the English language that rears its head. (If you have a visceral reaction to hearing that the rules to our made up language are pointless, you might want to see if you’re dealing with perfectionist issues. Not joking.) This self publishing shit is about pattern recognition, algorithms, SEO for keywords, genre trends—there is so much fucking minutia in publishing your own books that can really trigger that obsessive voice in my head to DO THINGS RIGHT, which then in turn freezes me because it’s just too much stress—gotta get the ARCs out before the book goes live, gotta start marketing and setting up networking to coincide with the release date, gotta create the perfect blurb hook, gotta space those book releases 3 to 4 weeks apart before you fall off the Amazon front page from the KU new book boost—There is a lot to this process that just screams for perfection while whispering if you do it right, if you hit it the right way, you will be rewarded and never stress again. You will win the book lottery where you will finally be recognized and rewarded for killing yourself over fucking fantasy.

It’s a misery fest for my already fucked up mental stability. So I gotta find a way to balance this shit so I don’t self destruct. It’s like poking at a pimple until you realize half your face is swollen and you have a giant bloody wound in the middle of your cheek because you can’t just let shit go.

I don’t know how I’m going to handle this, I’ll be real. Part of me wants to throw the book on Amazon and not anything else, just ignore it. That seems self destructive in its own right where I can only do something by not being part of the process. I’m considering a preorder, something where I can force myself to slow down and take a month or something so I won’t be allowed to overwhelm myself by trying to do it all in one moment. I know nothing about preorder stats and ranking, so I can’t fall into the pattern recognition game of NEEDING TO DO IT RIGHT! I don’t know what’s right for it, so it will just be what it is, a way to give myself a break.

The book is done, the cover is made, it’s all edited, I just need to create some space between me and the actual publishing of the book so I don’t fall into the shit that hits me after every book release.

Learning to be idle

So… yeah, that’s my crazy rant of the week. I’m facing the fact that I torture myself over everything and in doing so, have lost all sense of fun and enjoyment in what I do. It has been on such a subconscious level, I couldn’t even see the connection to the apathy, the exhaustion, the emotion = body stopping. It has slowed me down—I don’t want to think of getting past overachieving as a way to achieve better productivity—but the truth is, the psychological shit I’ve been weighing myself with has absolutely resulted in a level of writer’s block. And it’s fucked, because I designed my website to get around the pressure of self publishing and freaking myself out!

It’s all in my head. =_= I will carry this with me no matter what I do until I figure out how to let it go. I’ve been reading some essays on the wonderfulness of being idle, trying to get into a mindset that is so alien to me after all these years. But that too could be the PTSD. When you’re running from your own thoughts for years, giving space to think can feel overwhelming too.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and not being an obsessive, neurotic wreck. ^.^ The crickets sound amazing just buzzing in the quiet night.

🌍Please Stay Safe

Hey babes,

Guys, I totally missed the fact that ICE raids were happening this weekend when I sent out the Newsletter talking about covers and visual novels and damn…

I’m so sorry. I’m living in my own little world of illness and creativity, and I’m really fucking privileged to not have to personally worry about this. The news is so full of misery that I can only tune in so much. To all the people with family, friends, loved ones and acquaintances facing this hate based ethnic cleansing currently tearing through the US pulling families and communities apart, my heart goes out to you. Please stay safe, and stay strong.

You are worthy, just like we all are, and I’m so sorry that you have to live in fear based on something as wholly insignificant as the place of your birth. Humans keep making these inane, insane rules and then point to them like they’re supposed to mean a fucking thing. No wall or border or culture or language or accumulation of wealth can separate the fact that we’re all human, all deserving, all equal of being treated with respect and dignity. I hate that it’s the worst of us running the show, while the best of us are just wondering how to fucking cope with it all.

Remember, don’t open the door. “An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant. If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, ICE does not have a legal right to enter a home.”

Stay safe. You’re loved even if these bigoted fucks make you feel anything but.

💞Seriously Cool Stuff This Week!❤💕

Hey babes,

Okay, so cool stuff this week! For one, Wendy has released her Foundling Trilogy. And might I say, the covers are absolutely spectacular. *preen*

 

The Foundling Trilogy

Wendy talks about the creation of this trilogy, and in it, a bit of her process as an mm author. She jumped into the genre writing field after coming from a literary background, and part of the beauty of the Foundling Trilogy is watching her find her voice when she shares these characters with the world, book by book. On her Facebook page, you can find more interesting tidbits from her behind the scene world as a writer, as well as on her group page, Wendyland.

 

A Little History on How the Foundling Trilogy Came to Be… (by Wendy Rathbone)

Back in 2012 I knew gay porn was being written, and some was romance, but I didn’t know there was a whole genre called “mm romance.” I’d never heard the term.

I come from a background of many different writing experiences including non-fiction, poetry and fantasy short stories. I wrote a ton of slash fanfic and was always hungry for more male/male (in the past we spelled it out and put the slash between the ‘m’s). The mm romance genre was young and new, and I had not heard of it yet.

At that time, I also had a wonderful obsession with Anais Nin, who wrote beautiful and poetic erotica back in the 1930s and ‘40s for a mysterious benefactor who paid her and her friends a dollar a page for sex stories, and she had two volumes of erotica published, as well as very sexually explicit diaries of her life and her sexual exploits juggling a husband and multiple lovers. I couldn’t stop reading her lush prose, her amazing insights, her deep thoughts about her explicit sexual encounters. But she comes from another time, thus she writes phrases like: “He stormed and sought to conquer.” “He made of their room a den covered in rugs and tapestries, perfumed.” “A long member came out from the middle of one man and penetrated another from behind.” She even eroticized rape. And yes, these books are sold on Amazon despite taboos in them because they are considered “literary.”

I was in a dreamy swoon over it all.

I had an idea for an original gay love story and had the thought, after encountering mostly gay porn (not romance) for several years that I wanted to tackle the experience of writing beautiful erotica and try to stay away from typical porn-isms for just one short book. Not that anything is wrong with porn. I love porn. But I was in a swoon over Anais’s ability to write in a different (albeit “dated”) language. And I am a poet at heart, and was trained in literary writing as well.

I deliberately chose to write a hard-hearted character, someone who is the last person you might expect to tell a story from a swoon-worthy point of view, but he can’t help it. A man has entered Diego’s edgy life and he is instantly challenged by his dramatic feelings and transformed.

This was an experiment. It was supposed to be a one-off. I had zero plans for three books. I’m a pantser, so I didn’t even know there would be more story to come after the first erotically poetic short novel.

I put the story on Amazon under gay erotica. I called it a hot gay love story. I did not understand the language or terminology that existed then for mm romance.

When I wrote book 2, the plot just came to me. It was a year later and I decided to use a more straight-forward third person writing style. Yes, it’s still lush, and it’s hot, but I was less Anais-influenced and more wanting to write in a fever about these characters. I saw mm romance then. I was still exploring it as a genre, still new, but I was happy to find it as a reality! So with the second book I deliberately made it more relate-able.

Two years later, book 3 came to me out of nowhere. I am a pantser which means I use zero outlines and very few notes, if any. I just hear a character and go with them.

I was writing another novel at the time, but suddenly Alec started talking in my head. Dictating his story. He was shy and afraid at first. He wouldn’t let me know much at all about him, so I let him babble. He’s emotionally unstable, a bit messed up (for good reason!) That book is first person, and because Alec is himself in a dream-state a lot of the time due to amnesia and nightmares of his past ordeal at the hands of sex traffickers, I let him go on. The first parts of that books show his mind-state. It’s a dreamland a lot of the time. He’s not right in the head. But the second part is intense angst and very straight-forward as he finally confesses, and finally remembers himself. It is, I think, the strongest of all the books, and makes me cry every time I re-read it.

What a ride this was! All of it was an experiment. I didn’t consciously do formula romance. I focused hard on setting-as-character and how it affects emotion. And I focused on character-driven 100%.

On the re-release of these books of my heart, I updated everything I could, editing, proofing, tech, covers. It’s been almost a year in the works to re-do and re-brand these books.

I write this history because I want people to know how these books came to be and how and why they differ in style from each other and from my more recent books. My journey has been my own, unique and wonderful, writing from a state of pure love.

The mm romance genre continues to be a hard place to actually experiment in and win favors, but I love it so much! I read it all. The bestsellers, formula, and especially seek out the unique and on the edge authors who unabashedly blaze new paths into kink, dark and taboo. And some of the more poetic authors… I sink into your books!

I think it’s all wonderful and I thank you all every day for letting me be a part of it!”

Free on KU<3

I gotta say, I do love when authors share their process. It’s like getting a little window into their minds. These three books are an amazing exploration of love and lust in the settings of a dark, humid jungle to the streets of San Francisco. The characters unfold, resistant in their defenses and deeply felt pain, to both each other and the reader. The journey is a glimpse into the soul in all the right ways.

book 1

Rescue Me

book 2

Sacrifice Me

book 3 *release date 7/15

Remember Me

 

The Foundling Trilogy Covers

 

 

I was really excited to be invited to take on the Foundling Trilogy cover project and give them a contemporary makeover. Working with stock photos to ensure that the covers all look related can be damn difficult, especially when sifting through models and trying to get the right look and feel (and face! @[email protected]) But there was something about this project that just clicked, and I felt like I grew a lot as a cover artist as a result.

I used color pallets I’ve avoided before this project, especially yellow. (Yellow has been such a challenge for me. I found interesting research that it could be linked to the Parkinson’s and how the brain perceives tone and color, which might be used to diagnose the illness.) I truly feel the second cover with the yellow/purple color theme pops—They all do, really. (Do I get to say that? Like, is that just narcissistic as fuck?) There was just something about that touch of cherry red on the bridge of the third cover that I fell in love with. Anyway, I’m super happy with the results. I got to give readers a peek into each book, hopefully appealing enough for them to want to crack the story open and give it a read.

 

I started the visual novel project!

 

 

I started the Demon Virus one too, but it’s only for members. Everything Demon Bonded is free—cuz fuck yeah, Demon Bonded! I think it’ll be interesting to watch these games grow.

So it’s all preliminary stuff at the moment as I try to understand the game engine and how to get my vision to manifest. But it’s been so much fun! (Frustrating too, let’s be real XD) but I’m really enjoying this approach to telling a story and engaging readers in a new way. I only have placeholder images. I need to take some time to sculpt the characters and actually learn the texturing in Blender so I can get some color on them. I want to do the background scenes and everything with 3D modeling—it may seem like a lot of initial work, but everything I make can be reused.

It’s why I’m making two games at once “Demon Bonded” and “Demon Virus.” Both are long games that will require reuse of the characters. If I’m going to put the effort in, it should be for strong story based stuff that can be revisited, chapters added with ease, art made with the character models to collect, etc.

These project has been a long way coming. Not just because of the illness. I’ve been struggling with adulting, if I’m honest.

It’s one of those things where I think if I do ‘the right thing,’ I’ll get good results. Instead, I just get bored, and frustrated, and fight myself like a kid having a tantrum. I know as a ‘proper’ writer, I should stay on focus, write what I’m ‘supposed’ to. It’s good business. But my creativity just doesn’t work like that. Which I fucking knew when starting, yeah? Once I hit the 10,000 word mark, I want to write a new story. All the time. But I’ve been fighting that and I think it’s been stifling my creativity a lot.

When I resist my impulse to play (which writing used to be for me,) writing becomes this horrible, mean job where I can’t find my happiness. Working on these visual novels has been a lot of play for me after a really long time of telling myself I have to work instead.

I don’t know if it’s my neurotic brain, something to do with the low dopamine, or what, but I get stuck in these really dumb ideas of ‘supposed to.’ I mean, really dumb. I know they’re dumb every time I stop and question it, but there I am, stuck anyways. I start judging myself, telling myself real writers work like machines and write what they’re supposed to, not what they love or are inspired by in the moment. I start thinking people are judging me, angry I haven’t finished other projects (and fuck, I get PMs along those lines, lets be real.) It’s hard to remember I’m a human being, not a human doing, and I have limitations.

I can’t be a machine; I don’t want to be a machine. I want to have fun. I started writing to have fun and it’s really important I figure out how to keep that fun in my life.

I think these visual novels are going to add to that fun and help break up the monotony of ‘supposed to’ I’ve trapped myself in. I enjoy learning— when I learn something new, I am having the most fun. So I need to make sure I’m learning while I’m also writing novels and series and such. I need to start adding that into my priority list of being human.

I hope you’re all having a marvelous weekend and enjoying the weather! I keep waking up when the sun is about to disappear, but even so, I may have tanned a bit. XD Not quite as pale and ghostly as before. Good stuff. 😉

💋Visual Novel Update And The Slave Harem💋

Hey babes,

No worries, no long ass ramble this week. XD I thought I’d check in and let you all know what I’ve been up to. It’s kinda exciting because I think I finally found the perfect software to be able to make the visual novels/interactive novels I’ve been looking to make.

But first, Wendy has a sexy new book out!

The Slave Harem: A Kingdom of Slaves Book by Wendy Rathbone

FREE IN KU!

The slave harem is all. If you enter, you can never leave. Contact with the outside world is forbidden.

With a secret talent for seeing auras of physical and emotional arousal, Ren, a sought-after pleasure slave, is sold to a mysterious master in a foreign land where he will become part of a collection of beautiful men.

Though the men appear welcoming, there is competition and jealousy among the ranks. And their mysterious master who is heard but never seen elicits more questions than answers.

One friendly slave, Li Po, helps Ren settle in, but it is the voiceless man, Zanti, who draws Ren’s attention. With his wicked beauty and bratty scowls, Zanti is the least welcoming of them all, and Ren’s training and control are put to the test.

Gay harem, slow-burn, enemies to lovers. Extraordinary and strange. Hot and cold. This book explores the many levels of sex, lust, loneliness and belonging. And maybe, just maybe, there can be love.

 

 

That back burner project…

I’ve been thinking about visual novels and interactive novels for a while, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of little roadblocks. And I’m not just talking about my current writing responsibilities which I consider to come first (or my health issues which keep smacking me down whenever I get complacent.) My biggest concern is time– Okay, let’s be real, it’s money, cuz if I had crazy $$$, I wouldn’t even have to think about juggling. XD But I live in a limited reality, and time is my current currency.

The two current problems holding everything back on developing visual novels were:

1) How do I make a game on a time schedule where I’m writing other stories at the same time?

2) How do I make pieces of a game and be able to share it on the website without having to distribute it in big patches?

For a while now, I’ve had ideas on how to solve these problems but nothing solid. The last half of the month I have found what looks to be the answers to both problems, and it’s pretty fucking exciting!

Solution to problem #1: 3D Modelling for fast, customizable art

With time being an issue, I realized I didn’t want to make character art by hand the traditional way. I didn’t want to draw a dozen different poses for each character (the Demon Virus visual novel starts off with about ten main characters and expands as it goes. @[email protected]) The amount of artwork required just seemed mind boggling. I knew the answer was 3D avatars or modeling so I could design, dress, and pose a character into all those versions, and that way I wouldn’t have to draw it all.

I’d been doing a little research off and on, keeping my eyes open. Then I realized the software I’d been seeing people pose avatars in could easily be used to actually sculpt characters. With a free program, I could make completely unique characters in my style. The last couple weeks I’ve been teaching myself Blender 2.8, and yeah, I think this program is going to be the answer to the art situation.

My First Trial Run

This is a one of my little footlings or ‘Lokies,’ small spirits that jump into the bodies of less complex life forms and walk around being brats. ^^ I learned a lot just sculpting this little guy, and currently learning a lot retopologizing (so boring but essential if rigging is involved =_=) and soon to be texturing/coloring.

I’m just in the preliminary stages of understanding the program, or 3D modelling for that matter. Been watching a lot of youtube tutorials to figure it all out. Conceptual art stuff that I just think as one thing is now all these separate stages in the art process, such as lighting, the viewpoint, surface texture, colors and materials, rigging a character to pose, etc. It allows for so much more versatility than a 2D image, but I have to learn it all first along with all the damn menus that go with each aspect. Eventually, I may be able to do little animated cut scenes, which would be super cool for a visual novel. I don’t really want the characters to look 3D, but I think there are tricks in lighting to help make the 3D model look 2D in the end.

Right now, it feels kinda tedious, but at the same time, I’m well aware how much work it takes to make a character look like that character from a zillion different poses and I am just beyond the patience at this point in my life. So I’m learning 3D modelling, taking the time to save me time later, so I don’t return to the path of neurotic details as an artist. I’ve got better things to do, damn it.

Solution to problem #2: A web browser based game creator

While researching game engines/software, I kept coming across wonderful final products created in Ren’Py. It’s a versatile program I think would be perfect for my needs of the final game. But it’s not what I want in the development stages. I need something I can smack on the website and update as I please until it’s finally ready.

I think I may have found it in the name of an open source program called Monogatari. I just found it the other day and I haven’t delved too deep into the functionality and limitations of it, but it looks like it’s going to be a good fit.

Why a web based storytelling mode? I could regale you with smart marketing shit about how having people show up at my site to play a game helps brand me into people’s minds so they will come back to read books, etc. I mean, it’s a perfectly valid reason… but this is more about avoiding problems in terms of content.

Let’s be real, some of the stories I plan on making could be problematic if they’re obtained in ways without proof of age of the consumer. As much as I cry foul when it comes to all this insane, Puritan based censorship, I have to because some people end up fined/in jail over sexual drawings of characters. It’s one of the reason that, although I’m an artist, you don’t see a lot of sexy art from me ever since I started writing erotica as a business. Looking into the business side of things revealed to me the disconnect when it comes to the laws in my country and the understanding of what is real and what isn’t. It might be a modern world, but some peeps are still running on drone minds who think drawings are people, and when you draw something, it must mean you want to do the same in real life to real people. It’s a problem in our laws I’m too aware of to ignore.

Having these sorts of things contained to my website, stuck behind a paywall that involves the acknowledgement of age and the viewer’s responsibility if lying about age protects me as a creator… and I guess it protects people from ideas they can’t handle. I’ll have less mature demos on the main site where no one needs to log in to read, but the fun stuff is going to be exclusive until a final game is built. And some content may be forever exclusive and never sold when I get into the more taboo subjects because of very real fears. (The moment imagery gets involved with erotic content, free speech is labelled obscenity and targeted. Text alone seems to be ignored outside of censorship, but images are what gets people thrown in jail if not careful.) Until the world gets better or I can afford a better legal understanding, it’s just safer to cover my ass.

Life keeps moving along

That’s about it for now. I’m still trying to figure out the answer to the apathy. I’ve had super good days and some really dead inside days since I put out that last newsletter. Being real here. Spicy food, or at least capsaicin may be a helpful tool in battling the problem. It seems to release serotonin in the gut and spark dopamine, and I’m seeing positive results with it.

We’ll see. I’m not giving up. I want this problem solved so that I don’t have to fear my creativity slipping away. I’m sorry that it means I’m less active as a writer atm, but again, to be real about it, if I don’t figure this shit out, I may never want to write again, you know? Apathy steals motivation, drive, lust for life. I gotta win this asap. Every time I ignored the problem because I felt good, the apathy slipped back in and I wasn’t prepared with a way to battle it. I’m hoping I’m more prepared now with what I’m learning.

I hope you’re all safe with the crazy weather hitting. Stay out of burning fires and heat waves and rainstorms flooding giant swatches of land. I’m in a relatively stable area atm trying to enjoy some sunshine (in very limited doses to my vampiric skin. XD)

Oh, and I hope everyone enjoyed the free 24 hour pass. That was a super cool promo I have a feeling I’ll be doing next year given the great responses. You guys rock! Ttyl, babes! ^.^