Patreon Update and Self Mockery!

I’ve made a bit of a change to Patreon. I went in and created a little archive on the main page that categorizes all the sketches I’ve ever posted, and it also lists all of the short stories I’ve written so far. If you need an easy way to go back and look at some of the things I’ve posted, or if you want a glance at how much of each type of bonus material is already in existence, then it’s now easier than ever to do!

And now, for a bit of fun, I had an old friend from days gone by find some long buried ancient artwork of mine. High school art. If you’re in need of a laugh, I guide you this way…

jared_thumb

Yes. That is what you think it is.

Among other things. Um.

Enjoy!

If that’s the word for it.

A Surprising Amount of Time… And Yet Not

It’s been a little while since it happened, and I think I was waiting both to get my head around the new situation and to figure out if I even need to say anything. If you guys know me at all by now, it’s because you don’t really know me too well. I’m not very good at talking about my personal life outside of a circle of close friends. Actually I’m awful at it.

Still, I think this kind of needs to be said because it might affect the comic in the long run. The next year has a chance of being very, very topsy turvy, depending on how things go.

The short of it is that I was recently laid off from the day job I’ve held for a good eight years. I found out about the impending doom early last month and worked my last day a little over a week ago. The good news is that I had a good union, and the job loss was due to cutbacks and not anything personal against me, so financially I’ll be fine for a good long time. Months. But I do need to find another job sometime in the near future, just because I have no intention of running off that cliff when the money runs out. So it means that my schedule is wide open right now… and yet I have no idea what it’ll look like as the next year goes on. Paying rent and bills and putting food on the table is always first and foremost, for I am primarily a living creature and only partly made up of paint and pencil shavings at this point, and with the job market being what it is, I’m kind of in a beggars-can’t-be-choosers situation. I have very little leeway if I wanna stay fed and warm for the long future.

I wish I could say more about what to expect, but the truth is that I have no idea. For the immediate future, it’s actually kind of good for the comic, in that I’m trying to take advantage of the inevitable free time for a short while and get a bunch of things completed that I’ve been wanting to. Right now I’m looking at building a comic buffer. Also revising how Patreon works (*cough* and here’s a small reminder of the existence of that thing *coughcough*). I want to make it a little nicer to navigate the previously added rewards and add some extra patrons-only one-time goodies there. I’m also entertaining the idea of finally maybe being able to put in the time to get some merchandise designs done. Thinking strongly about it! I only wish I’d had more time before Christmas. That would have been perfect.

But Christmas is more about giving that it is about consumerism, isn’t it? Ideally, anyway. I like ideals. They’re shiny. I’m thinking instead I’ll probably make something for you guys. A treat.

Speaking of treats, and on a more pleasant note, the fluffy wonderful boyfriend Tim has gently reminded me that I keep forgetting something, so here’s a bit of glitter to cover up the weirdness of this post. Glitter never comes off anything, after all, and makes a fantastic, if permanent, cover up. Back in the summer, he actually made plushie number two in a series of awesomeness. Witness! The glee that is Shanka-fluff!

shanka

 

Bonus picture of both of us holding Jahrd and Shanka from the end of August, when I got to fly west to visit Tim for a few days. <3

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There. I like to put a cherry on top. That is the cherry for the top. Hopefully things just turn out smooth for the rest of everything. I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. One can hope! You’ve got my thanks in advance for the patience that this is probably going to require. I’ll try not to be too much of an annoyance while I wrangle this thing. The comic matters to me. You guys matter to me. A lot.

Chapter Three!

It’s almost here! Tomorrow the newest Circle Puzzle goes live here on the home site, and just after midnight in the wee hours of Monday, the first page of Prophecy of the Circle: Chapter Three will be ready for you to view!

I’m doing something different with this chapter. I’m giving you more! There are actually two stories to be told this time, and so every week I’ll be running an extra page. Every Monday will be Jahrd’s tale, which we all know and love, and then on every Thursday there’ll be pages of a new story, Jamet’s tale, which takes place at the same time as Jahrd’s, but in Tieke City, and with a slightly different art style.  From now until the end of Chapter Three, you’ll basically get two webcomics to read instead of just one. Bonus! 😀

For sheer ease of use, on the archives page both will be separated into their own sections, so if you want to let one or both of them build up over time before reading (which I’d understand with this format) it’s not too difficult to do so.

I’ve been eager to try this method of storytelling, and I can’t wait to see how it goes over. :)

Hiatus! Sort of.

Thus concludes the Interlude, and Chapter Two, and what I like to think of as Volume One! I’m trying out a few new things for Chapter Three, and it’s going to take a bit of planning that I didn’t have time to completely finish. Since it’s the start of Volume Two, my goal is actually to make Chapter Three a good starting point for those who don’t want to go all the way back to the beginning of the story. Optional take off points in stories can be kind of neat, I find.

And that’s not the only thing I want to try, but I need to do some testing first.

I also haven’t taken a break from the comic in a few years, so I figure that taking a month to rejuvenate my art skills is probably something I should do. Every once in a while I need to just step back for a while.

The hiatus isn’t a total hiatus this time, however! On the website here, things will definitely be quiet. But I did prepare some material to run in my absence on the Prophecy of the Circle Patreon, as a continued thanks to those who chip in every month and help keep food on my table, paints on my desk, and the website running more or less smoothly. You’re all welcome to that bonus material if you so choose. I’m keeping it cheap. For a $2 pledge, you get access to the Patreon tier where I usually post the comic early each week. In place of that comic, for a month I’ll be running a written bonus story about events leading up to the beginning of Chapter Three that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. In the $3 tier where I usually post the pencils and inks of each comic page, I’m running small illustrations and sketches to go along with those stories.

If $2 or $3 is out of your price range, which it definitely is for many, I know (it often is for me, in fact), it’s not anything you desperately need to know, and it won’t hurt your experience if you don’t follow along with those bits. But for anyone who does want to contribute, it’s an enhancement. It’s a bonus. Just a gift to say thanks. :)

As a reminder, I do keep the Patreon pretty active. For a pledge of $5 a month, there are updates nearly every day of the week, and I like to add more extra goodies whenever I can. I’m brainstorming up some new ones over the next month, too. Just more tokens of my appreciation.

So whichever way you choose, I’ll either see you around the comments section of Patreon, or I’ll see you back here in a month. I’m looking forward to it. :)

Recommended Reading! The Sinister Garden Legacy.

The apartment I live in just got a bit more amazing, creatively speaking. I’ve been friends with my roommate, Danielle Klassen, for a little over a decade, ever since we met in college where we were both taking the Professional Writing program. She’s become one of my best creative confidants, the one who boosts me up when I get a case of writer’s block, and she’s one of the most important people I turn to when I need an opinion on my own writing.

After many years of tirelessly writing novels (at least one of which had me outright sobbing by the end, and that was just the rough draft; I hope someday you can all suffer with me and get to read that particular story), she’s now got the beginning of a story up for public consumption on the internets! It’s called The Sinister Garden Legacy, and it’s several parts spooky horror story, a great big dose of moody gothic atmosphere, and altogether a really well told tale, if I do say so myself. It’s only just begun, and it’s well worth checking out.

If getting a regular dose of awesome serialized fiction sounds like a fun time, you can check out her site over here! Chapter One begins here, for a quick and easy start. :)

She also has both a Facebook page and a Tumblr for keeping up with the updates.

Go forth and enjoy. I hope you will. :)

New Cosplay, New Fanworks, and a Really Cute Story

So this is a fun story. First, the eye-candy. There’s a name you might recognize from the comments around here, that being TimmCosplay, and if you’ve checked out the Fanworks page, you’ve definitely seen his creative works. He’s the one who builds the fantastic cosplays for this story, which, in itself, is a feat. I never, ever, ever expected there to be cosplay from my comic, what with the main characters either being backwards-legged fuzzballs or bird-lizards each the size of a city bus, but somehow he pulls it off. He’s done it again, and this time, he really outdid himself.

Presenting: an insanely detailed cosplay of Jardren Stiggs! Just look at this. It’s crazy. The fellow’s a wizard at this.

Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt Stiggs by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt

Second, there’s a rather cute story to go along with it. The two of us have been talking for a good long time now. Ever since he started the Koro and Eika cosplay and needed my input. There’s been a lot of idle chatter between us, and we’d gotten to be pretty good friends.

In May, I actually had the pleasure of meeting him in person, and even seeing the above costume with my own eyes. He’s a fellow Canadian and happens to live near to where I have a lot of family, so our paths crossed pretty easily. Now here’s something I never expected, but you can possibly guess by now.

We rather hit it off. 😛 A day of hanging out together led to a lot more back and forth talk online when I returned home, and we’ve discovered that we’re a bit more than just friends. I’m probably his biggest fan and he’s probably mine, and now I can happily call him my boyfriend. Couldn’t be happier with the guy, gotta say. :)

It just goes to show, meeting your heroes doesn’t always turn out to be a bad experience, despite what the adage might allude to. Sometimes you discover that you’re their hero too. :)

On that note, and as an apology for letting me get all mushy in my newspost, have one more bit of awesome. He made me something for my birthday that I have to share.

Jahrd Ardeana plushie! I have one now. This is a thing that exists and is pretty fantastic. More eye-candy for you guys.

Jahrd Ardeana Plush by TimmCosplay@DeviantArt

There. Now go forth, free of my madness, and enjoy your day. I know I’m enjoying mine. ;P

Ending My Third Decade With Gratitude

So begins another trip around the sun for me today. I just turned 30. :)

And on that note, I want to thank you guys. If there’s one great thing on my birthday, it’s getting to take a moment and look at where I’ve gotten myself to, and to who’s helped me along the way. You all deserve recognition. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I’ve got the best group of readers I could ever ask for. You’re all fun to tell stories to. You curious and helpful, you’re funny and smart, and you genuinely seem to like my rambling tales.

You’re supportive, too! So very supportive. I’ve successfully sent many little original paintings out into the world since I started sales late last year, and I’ve even gotten to hear back from most of you via email when the package arrived, which is always a real treat. I love when I get to exchange little messages with you guys. :) Even recently I’ve been so pleasantly surprised and impressed. I started the Patreon for Prophecy of the Circle less than a month ago and already it’s been more successful than I could have hoped. It makes me want to contribute as much as I can. There’s content going up four or five times a week there, and I want to offer more.

annen_sketches

One change I know I’m making is that I want to make the short stories I’m writing a bit more accessible to more people. Currently there are two parts to Annen’s story posted and ready to read, but $10 a month is a bit steep for some (it definitely would be for me, for sure). I still want to keep the $10 tier special, so I’m not changing that one. The higher level contributors still get to read whatever I’ve written each week with no waiting, but in the future, at the $5/month tier you can read the stories once they’re finished. It means a longer wait in between, but you still get the content in the long run. I’d feel better getting to share with more people. Bonus, that tier already comes with an early comic every week, access to my sketchbook of ideas, progress scans and photos and my commentary to go along with. It’s pretty snazzy. I want to make it snazzier.

In case you missed it, too, I posted the first little bit of my first short story for the public to see. I only mentioned it on my Twitter and Facebook at the time, but I want to make sure you guys get to see it, too. It was meant for all to see. Here’s where you can take a look at it.

The fact that I’m writing again is amazing unto itself. That deserves more of a thank you to you guys. Its been years for me since I had the motivation to write. As some of you know, I actually have a degree in Professional Writing, and, I won’t lie, for the last very long time it’s felt very strange to look at it on my wall because I really wasn’t writing much. Not the way that I used to, at any rate. Somewhere in there I just lost all interest in full paragraphs and in painting a picture with words alone and instead it’s all been comic scripts and storyboards. Comics are great, though! Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun, but the variety is better. I like doing more. It strengthens my artistic muscles, so to speak. I couldn’t find a way to get started before, and I think a large part of that was a lack of confidence. Knowing that there are people out there who are keen to read what I’m writing even without the artwork attached is just what I needed to kickstart my work again.

Thanks again, all of you. I’m thankful just to be able to hear from so many of you and to talk back. I’ve made great friends, I’ve seen some great work from you in response to my own – fanart and cosplays especially (I never, ever thought there would be cosplay from this story; wow) – and I’ve felt valued.

Happy birthday to me, you guys are just great. :)