Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year-End Survey for 2015

Here's my year-end survey for this beautiful, terrible year.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
  • Won book awards and nominations. Four of them, to be exact.
  • Attended the Lambda Awards.
  • Went to Minnesota.
  • Got asked for my autograph in person.
  • Held a paperback copy of one of my books.
  • Saw a Broadway musical on actual Broadway.
  • Received my first royalty check for my book.
  • Met one of my literary agents and got taken out to brunch.
  • Made a music video.
  • Went to the emergency room.
  • Wrote solicited work for a magazine.
  • Saw a Welcome to Night Vale live show.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm afraid my answer, for once, is no.

Last year I resolved to finish writing two novels this year. I finished writing one novel: Bad Fairy 2. The YA contemporary novel, Ace of Arts, did get its start, but I decided against stampeding to finish it just so I could say I met my own goal.

Last year I resolved to sell at least two short stories this year. I sold one short story: "On the Inside," which sold in April and was published in November in James Gunn's Ad Astra. I wrote a few new short stories this year, and have been submitting them, but none except this one found a home this year. I did, however, place/sell a few short nonfiction pieces. That is pretty easy for me to do with my platform, though, and I don't count it.

Last year I resolved to prioritize writing instead of putting it on the back burner behind everything else. I can say pretty honestly that I did not do this, though I did write hundreds of thousands of words in 2015. I was derailed intensely by our friend Steven Universe. Because I chose to be.

The logical thing most people would probably do here--and what I would usually do here--would be to crack down and insist that 2016 will be a fresh start, with new goals and new fire under my butt.

I think I won't.

I think I'll try to see what happens if I go with the flow instead. I'm not making specific New Year's Resolutions. At all.

However, the regular things I do intend to continue in 2016 include reading about a book a week; making a new video for both of my channels once a month; updating my fantasy webcomic every Friday and my joke comic monthly; and keeping up my current blogging schedule. I'd also LIKE to return to better communication, but I worry that if I promise it, I'll treat it like a chore. I don't want to do that.

Let's see what happens in 2016, year of the funky flow.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My first Pitch Wars mentee, Whitney Fletcher, became a parent in 2015! Though Whitney was not the actual birthgiver.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

As usual, a three-book deal from a major publisher. ;)

Less guilt over productivity--because let's face it, even when I'm whining about being a slacker I'm doing more than most people--and less time spent on people who don't deserve it.

More quality time with Meghan and my mom. 

Time to breathe.

And a better diet.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

  • January 16: Embarked upon a birthday trip with my dear friend Meghan.
  • March 24: Watched my first episode of Steven Universe and fell in love with a damn cartoon.
  • April 17: Sold my short story "On the Inside."
  • May 20: My webcomic Negative One made it to ten years of weekly updates.
  • May 26: Left for New York City with my dad.
  • June 1: The Lambda Awards.
  • June 19: Traveled to Canada for the International Asexuality Conference in Toronto.
  • June 26: Marriage equality. It's huge.
  • July 12: I finished my first draft of Bad Fairy 2.
  • July 14: My sister Lindsay moved to North Carolina.
  • September 1: Chose my mentee in my third Pitch Wars.
  • October 13: My book The Invisible Orientation was released in paperback.
  • October 31: Had a big Halloween party again.
  • November 1: Began to write my new book Ace of Arts.
    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

    Objectively, it was probably all the book awards I won: 

    9. What was your biggest failure?

    Not getting a book deal like I wanted. Probably also not WRITING more than one book this year.

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

    I have no idea what my problem was this year, but it landed me in the emergency room and remains undiagnosed. I'm much better this year than last, though. Also, I busted my knee and twisted my ankle eating pavement in New York.

    11. What was the best thing you bought?

    Gotta be my Steven Universe merchandise, sorry.

    12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

    • My sister Patricia and brother-in-law Yusuke for soldiering on through the parenthood thing and raising such a delightful, curious, polite (for a two-year-old) son who's such a joy for an auntie to be around.
    • Meghan, for everything she is and everything she does, including getting her Bachelor's this year and being one of the best people who ever happened to me.
    • Victor, for finding and keeping his job this year.
    • Joy, for going through some dark times but still managing to participate in some interactions that I valued deeply.
    • Ronni, Jessie, and Heather, my creative gal pals who have Done Their Thing this year in spite of some pretty big setbacks.
    • My ace and trans friends who came out this year, began using self-affirming labels this year, and got gender-affirming surgeries this year.
    • Lynn, my mentee, for bravely revising her novel during Pitch Wars and surviving disappointment.
    • And I don't know if this really works for "celebration," but my mom continuing to deal with chronic pain and my dad continuing to deal with my grandmother's Alzheimer's/health issues and sad things in his partner's family is worth a shout-out for their strength.
    13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

    I won't name specific people, but . . .

    • Frigging upstairs neighbors who can't be considerate of who lives below them.
    • Disgusting, horrible racists whose attitudes have led directly to loss of life and perpetuate a system that blames victims without punishing aggressors.
    • People who limited the rights of LGBT people and caused violence against them.
    • All the people who reacted to my asexuality activism with threats of violence and condescending lectures about my obligation to try to change my orientation.
    • Selfish people whose fixation on their own worlds limited their ability to see the big picture.
    • People who claim to support freedom of speech if a speaker echoes their beliefs, but support censorship if the speaker says something they disagree with.
    • Rapists and rape apologists who think they're being reasonable and logical when they harass, bully, attack, and shame victims of assault.
    14. Where did most of your money go?

    Most of my money went where it always goes: rent. Besides that and my other bills, my big expenses were traveling to New York and Toronto, buying presents for others, and buying merchandise. Er, and I lent out a significant chunk of money to others this year.

    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

    My first royalty check. The Lambda Awards. Cuddling my nephew. Selling a short story. Birthday trip with Meg. Incredible compassion in queer activism. Whitney's baby. Steven frigging Universe.

    16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

    I mean I really can't not say it's this song, right?

    17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

    i. happier or sadder?

    I'm not sure if "sadder" works, but I'm probably sorta more melancholy? And trying to make some peace with a slower pace?

    ii. thinner or fatter?

    Fatty fatty bo-batty.

    iii. richer or poorer?


    18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

    Responding to communication.

    19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

    Laughing at Tumblr. But God, it was really fun.

    20. How did you spend Christmas?

    I went to my mom's and hung out during the day. Played with my nephew and ate Chinese food with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law. We enjoyed the tree, togetherness time, and The Point on DVD.

    21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

    If all goes well I shall be hosting my family at my place for a breakfast-for-dinner celebration.

    22. Did you fall in love in 2015?

    What, are you jealous of my girlfriend?

    I mean obviously you should be.

    23. How many one-night stands?

    I should answer with an irrational number just to be a wise-ass.

    24. What was your favorite TV program?


    25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

    Hate isn't the word I'd use. I'm afraid there are a few people I had to stop engaging to preserve my mental health, though, and their behavior was very disappointing.

    26. What was the best book you read this year?

    This is not a question a caring person should ever ask a book nerd, seriously.

    The best books I've read this year were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Martian by Andy Weir, and Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. If I have to pick one, I'll say Fun Home.

    27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

    Aivi & Surasshu.

    28. What did you want and get?

    Support from my friends, longer hair, book awards.

    29. What did you want and not get?

    Yer face.

    30. What was your favorite film of this year?

    How to Train Your Dragon, probably. I'd never seen it before but Meggie recommended it and we watched it together.

    31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

    I turned 37 while chilling with Meghan in a rented house we got for just the two of us to be dorks. We did a lot of baking!

    32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

    Selling my trilogy. And not living in a world where people keep being murdered because of what color they are.

    33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

    Any excuse to wear a tee shirt with a cartoon reference on it, honestly.

    34. What kept you sane?

    Reaction videos, Twitter DMs, my characters, and blogging.

    35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

    I'm pretty taken with Rebecca Sugar. Kill me now.

    36. What political issue stirred you the most?

    I definitely became the most emotional over #blacklivesmatter, but was also very invested in trans rights, asexual visibility, and the various terrible displays of bullcrap put forth by promiscuity shamers, rape apologists, and sexists.

    37. Who did you miss?

    A few of my pals whom I really haven't seen this year because I was busy and so were they. If I had to name names I think I'd be here all night.

    38. Who was the best new person you met?

    It's gotta be between my mentee Lynn and a couple folks I connected with at the ace conference.

    39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

    Nobody's disappointed in me, so I should really stop being the only one who is.

    40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

    "All that counts is here and now. My universe will never be the same. I'm glad you came."

    End-Of-Year Book Survey: 2015!

    I'm doing the bookish year-end survey from the Perpetual Page-Turner! If you're a reader and a blogger, why don't you do it too?

    So here I go.

    Number Of Books You Read: 46
    Number of Re-Reads: I don't really reread.
    Genre You Read The Most From:
    Probably a tie between kids' contemporary fiction and YA fiction of a few genres. My reading habits were kinda diverse this year.

    1. Best Book You Read In 2015? 

    I'll go with Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Really hard call though. I also gave five-star ratings to The Martian by Andy Weir, Landline and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck, a couple manga books, and the Crystal Gems kids' book.

    2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 

    Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. People kept telling me I was going to really dig this graphic novel, and when I read it I was like . . . "what the heck is this?" Same with the Lumberjanes graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, & Brooke Allen--really wanted to like it, but just didn't really enjoy it.

    3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? 

    The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'amour. It was assigned by my book club and I was kinda jazzed to find out what the defining author of westerns was about even though I had no real desire to read the genre. It was the most bafflingly incoherent, simplistic, offensive book I think I've ever read, and I finished it almost in tears because I know how popular and successful the author was.

    4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? 

    I wasn't too successful with book pushery this year. My dad bought The Martian and is part-way through it because of my recommendation, and one of my friends is reading Fangirl because I gave it to her for Christmas.

    5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015? 

    I technically only started one series this year, so I guess by default Shannon Hale's Rapunzel's Revenge wins for best series started this year.
    Best sequel was deffo J.C. Fann's book Of Goddess Born.
    Best series ender was definitely Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale.

    6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? 


    7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 

    The Appeal by John Grisham! I was not looking forward to a courtroom drama book, and was so pleasantly surprised that I want to read more Grisham.

    8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 

    I read very few thrillers, and though some were thrown at me by book club, I didn't find them thrilling. Except for . . . The Martian. I was able to put it down, but it kept me on a couple reading streaks I didn't intend.

    9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

    Let's face it, I will reread my Guide to the Crystal Gems book. That kinda doesn't count.

    10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? 

    Most of the covers I saw this year weren't actually appealing to my taste, art-wise. But I did read a graphic novel compilation of Steven Universe comics that had a really pretty cover.


    11. Most memorable character of 2015? 

    Ahh, well, probably Miri from Princess Academy. I just love her.

    12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? 

    Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

    13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? 

    Thought-provoking, huh. Fun Home again.

    14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

    A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck. I've had it on to-read lists for years. Also, Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. It's a classic but I didn't read it until I got a copy as a freebie in my Lambda Awards attendee goodie bag.

    15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? 

    You will smell must and soap, and feel a stab of panic about how alone you are. It will be like most showers you've taken.

    —From Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

    16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

    Goodreads says my longest read was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, at 513 pages.

    Shortest read was Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search: Volume 1 by Bryan Konietzko & Michael DiMartino. 76 pages, and it was a graphic novel.

    17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.) 

    The Appeal by John Grisham. Bad guys aren't supposed to win the way they did.

    18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?

    I'm not a huge shipper. (OTP means "One True Pairing" by the way, if you don't know.) I honestly had no huge investment in any pairing this year. (Not one that was in any books I read, anyway.) How about Georgie & Neal from Landline by Rainbow Rowell?

    19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

    Cath and her fanfic characters. Haha. No actually, Cath and her sister Wren. (From Fangirl.)

    20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

    21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

    The Martian by Andy Weir. Not only was it the book club book but the founder of the club kept talking about how great it was.

    22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? 

    Can I still say Garnet from the Steven Universe graphic novel even though I didn't get my crush on her from the book?

    23. Best 2015 debut you read? 

    Ummmmm Breaking the Ice by Gail Nall.

    24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? 

    Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale.

    25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? 

    Well, gotta go with Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg.

    26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015? 

    Fangirrrrrrrrrrrl definitely Fangirl

    27. Hidden Gem Of the Year? 

    A Kingdom Apart by J.C. Fann.

    28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? 

    Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.

    29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015? 

    Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, never read anything like it. Welcome to Night Vale was a close second, though.

    30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

    The Passion of Sergius and Bacchus by fellow Lambda nominee David Reddish, because his typo/language mistake quotient was out of control for a published book. I was sad about that.


    1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015? 

    I didn't discover any book blogs in 2015.

    2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015? 

    Maybe Hurricane Punch by Tim Dorsey because it was honestly kind of a rage fest.

    3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? 

    There's no way to really say what the "best" was so I'm gonna pick Representation: Incidental vs. Targeted.

    4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? 

    I guess that's going to have to be the Lambda Awards, where I was a nominee for the LGBT Nonfiction award. (I didn't win, but it was kinda cool attending the ceremony and getting a picture on the red carpet and everything.)

    5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015? 

    Let's just go with picking Lynn Forrest for my Pitch Wars mentee. It was so squeeworthy.

    6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? 

    Feeling like I'm disappointing myself and others when I don't come through with a book update, haha. I've taken to updating about my writing progress on Thursdays, but some weeks if I don't write, I feel crappy that I didn't.

    7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? 

    My Pitch Wars post, which had over 2000 views and was fed traffic by the contest I was in. I had a few other popular posts in association with Pitch Wars, like Avoiding the Red Pen of Doom and Nerdy Analysis, but my most popular non-contest blog post this year was It's Not Fair, with 769 views.

    8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? 

    Cartoons and Representation. ;)

    9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? 

    On Tumblr, sometimes people post queer titles in groups and I like favoriting them while telling myself I'm totally going to put all these on my to-read list someday.

    10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? 

    I didn't set any goals or challenges, though I roughly aimed to read a book every week. I fell a little short of that (with 46 books read in 52 weeks), but there were some awfully busy weeks this year and some big books I just had to give myself permission to read over a couple weeks.


    1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? 

    Probably Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel.

    2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? 

    Excited about the self-published book by J.C. Fann, one of my friends, entitled Blood of Our Own, which is the fourth in the Queenschair series. (I was trying to pick something that actually comes out in 2016, and I don't have a lot of not-yet-out stuff on my list.)

    3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? 

    Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard. 

    4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? 

    Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. It kinda doesn't count since it's not technically a sequel, but it's sort of a continuation of the first book in a way.

    5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? 

    Relax the chicken.

    6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

    I'm afraid I have not gotten my grubby paws on anything coming out in 2016, because I am not a special milkshake.

    THE END.

    Wednesday, December 30, 2015

    Wednesday Factoid: Creed

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you have a creed?

    I don't have a go-to statement to spit out if someone asks me that question, so I guess I kinda don't.

    But in my thoughts and actions, I strive for respect that goes beyond "tolerance." I try to understand people and default to believing they have good intentions and good reasoning before I dismiss what they have to say, and if I do have to dismiss it, I try not to do it with fanfare unless they are going out of their way to attack me or misrepresent me.

    I've sometimes struggled for a balance between respecting people's space/time/tolerance/opinion and getting myself walked on.

    I have let people borrow money and belongings, use and access my abilities and knowledge, and take from me far more than they gave, and I have been burned for my trust sometimes. I've learned to be somewhat diplomatic in making sure I don't make the same mistakes twice, though, because the last thing I would want is for other people's exploitation of my kindness to make me jaded. I want to be able to go into new relationships without the old ones poisoning them. I want to provide the breath of fresh air, the leg up, and the love that someone else needs. The ability to do that starts with assuming that people want to be good and are trying their best.

    Monday, December 28, 2015

    2015 Holiday Haul

    I got a lot of cool stuff for my holiday gifts this year, so this will be my Present Post! (Unfortunately there are also a few instances where I know a present is eventually coming, but I have no idea when. This will surely be the bulk of it though.)

    So! First: I received an Amazon gift certificate from my daddy, an eBook from my friend Hezekiah, and a Target e-gift-card from my friend Meghan. The virtual gifts cannot be displayed, but I am thankful for them nonetheless! THEY LOVE ME!!

    Now the pics.

    From my company president:
    Gift certificate and a bag of candy, which I ate immediately.

    From my mom and sisters and brothers-in-law:
    I opened everything at once so I'm not 100% sure about who picked
    certain stuff, but I got a book, sunglasses, a couple pairs of socks,
    a magic wand, some straws, a candle, and a gift certificate!

    From Jeaux:
    A fleece blanket featuring Garnet from Steven Universe.
    My only Steven gift, surprisingly!

    From Kari:
    Handmade magnet of one of my characters, with a
    talk bubble for her to say vulgar things I'm sure,
    and some pencil erasers and thingies.

    From Mike:
    A Spider Robinson book.

    Also from Mike:
    An Arrogant Worms CD. I didn't know it was from him
    when it arrived because there was no identifying info, weirdly.

    From Ms. Ronni:
    A Rainbow Rowell book and a show tune CD.

    From my boss:
    Restaurant gift card, and bag of candy.
    Which I, again, ate immediately.

    From R.:
    I got, like, a bunch of stuff? Books, DVDs, shirts, hats, things.

    Saturday, December 26, 2015

    Personal Digest Saturday: December 19 – December 25

    Life news this week: 
    • It was a pretty wild week because not only was Christmas coming, but . . . Ash turned two! On Saturday we went to Sarasota to visit Dad's side of the family. I got to see my grandparents as well as Dad and Connie, and we ate Carrabba's food. Little Ash was obsessed with a Jason Mraz song that's been repackaged for Sesame Street, haha. When we got back home I made his birthday cake and went to bed.
    • Sunday was Ash's second birthday and we celebrated at Lettuce Lake Park. There were bees in the shelter so we just sat at a picnic table. Ash lost his balloons in a tree almost immediately. We ate Publix sandwiches and hung out catching up and playing with the kids. And the apple bread cake with whipped cream icing was enjoyed by most. Ash just seemed to like the whipped cream. :D After I got home from that and had a nap, I did my decorations for Yuletide while chatting with Meggie on the phone. Yay!
    • Monday was a longish work day because I had a project to do. Then I went home and had a surprise dinner at Mom's with my visiting sister and family. We ate stir-fry. I didn't do much else with my evening because I was sleepy.
    • On Tuesday I worked and didn't see my family, and made/posted a video.
    • On Wednesday I had Jeaux Day and we couldn't exchange gifts because the thing he ordered for me wasn't in yet. Boo. We ate at Five Guys and in addition to talking about feminism and cartoons we also discussed racism and dreams. Wow we're really changing it up here. I baked cookies for my family after he left.
    • Thursday was Christmas Eve. I had to work in the morning though. Jeaux's present for me came in so he ran across the street and we exchanged gifts. He got me a Steven Universe-themed blanket--instant hit, obviously. I went home after that and my sister L picked me up for Christmas Eve at Mom's (with her nutty dogs in the car). We hung out at my mom's and later sister P joined us. We all had a lovely dinner and opened our presents and had a fire (even though it's completely unnecessary in Florida). They had gotten a tree too, for free. We ate the cookies I brought too.
    • Friday was Christmas and I spent that at my mom's too. It was just us sitting around playing with the baby, eating Chinese food, and making cinnamon rolls (well, that was mostly my sister; I just helped with some dishes). I drew a bunch of comic panels while chilling over there and talking to my family. It was a good time even though I had to squeeze to get my comic posted when I got home.
      New reviews of my book:
      Places featured:
          • Convergence 2016 ran an article that included an interview with me.
          • Someone seems to have written Asexual Tony Stark fanfiction which involves the character discovering my book and crediting it with saving his life? Interesting.
          • includes a personal piece that mentions my book and discusses asexuality.
                Reading progress:

                • Completed reading: George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Two-star review.
                • Currently reading: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel.

                New singing performances:

                Here I'm singing "Tonight and the Rest of My Life" by Nina Gordon.


                New drawings:

                Webcomic Negative One Issue 0554: "This Simple."

                New videos:

                Letters to an Asexual #32 is about the tired old comment suggesting we're "unfit" if we don't want sex because it means we won't reproduce. Hahahaaa.


                New photos:  

                Got a lot this week because of all the festivities, of course!

                We visited my dad in Sarasota and they had this little Christmas tree. Here's Ash beside it.
                Sometimes Ash gets a little distraught and responds well to music.
                I bought the Steven Universe Funko Pop! toys online but they had stock issues so my shipments were delivered separately. The first one to arrive was my Pearl figure. :)
                Ash's second birthday! I got to make his cake, which was apple bread with whipped cream icing.
                Birthday boy under the Happy Birthday sign.
                Ash is ready for his big boy cake.
                My Steven Universe Pop! figure collection is complete now. Yay!
                At Mom's, Ash is enjoying the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
                Ash is enjoying raisins with his parents.
                My sister Patricia took this one of some of the family on Christmas Eve about to open presents.
                Hey it's me with my stocking on Christmas Eve.
                Sister Lindsay with her stocking on Christmas Eve.
                Ash is enjoying his new caterpillar toy from one of his favorite books.
                Ash is enjoying his new personalized train cars from a very special auntie. ;)
                Yusuke and Ash are having some sweet togetherness time on Christmas Eve.
                Ash is enjoying one of his new toys: a motorcycle.
                The watermelon consumer has arrived.
                This kid loves a good story about ABCs.
                Ash sometimes plays doctor. That means that sometimes Grandma gets covered in Band-Aids.
                Ash sometimes plays doctor. That means that sometimes Mommy gets covered in Band-Aids.
                The perfect cinnamon roll. Made by my sister.

                Social media counts: 

                YouTube subscribers: 5,246 for swankivy (no change this week), 545 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 720 for swankivy (1 new), 1,194 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 286 friends (no change) and 184 followers (no change) for swankivy, 627 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 116 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,313 (3 new). Wow it's a slow week for social media.

                Wednesday, December 23, 2015

                Wednesday Factoid: Artist

                Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you an artist?

                In the loosest sense of that word, the answer is "of course." Given that writing is a type of art, I think it's safe to say I qualify.

                And regarding other forms of art, I'm a pretty decent singer.


                But in the more traditional sense of the word, when people think "artist," they often think of visual art, so I'll answer that too. I don't actually consider myself an "artist," but I do an awful lot of art.

                Most of the time I don't take it particularly seriously, and I don't think I'm unusually talented at it, but I do enjoy it and I do use visual art as a medium for conveying ideas pretty frequently.

                If I spend a lot of time on something, it comes out pretty nice--but I don't often spend a lot of time on drawings. Most of my drawing is for webcomics, and to be honest they're hastily doodled and used primarily to carry a story or a message.

                Example of probably the best realistic pencil sketches I can do:

                BABYFOOT YESSS

                Example of messy pencil sketch for my fantasy story webcomic, Negative One

                Example of chibi-style color art I usually use for my joke comic for writers, So You Write

                Sometimes I go all the way to "superdeformed" style.

                And sometimes I copy other cartoon styles for some reason, like I did for my Halloween Party poster. I do pretty well reproducing existing styles if I have a reference.

                But yeah, if you asked me to say yes or no--nah, I'm not really an artist.


                Monday, December 21, 2015


                A while back I wrote a short story called "Aquarius" and a bunch of it takes place on a spaceship.

                My mom, who usually hates science fiction, read the story and told me it should be a whole book.

                To be honest, I don't think I could write such a book. Because it would be pretty obvious that I don't know enough about space stuff, space travel, engineering, astronaut stuff, or technical junk to make it convincing. And if I did a whole bunch of research and got more knowledgeable people to read it for me and advise me on making it realistic, I think it would still show.

                The short story I wrote was focused primarily on the relationship between the characters, the politics surrounding their story, and the emotional implications of knowingly leaving Earth forever. I didn't have to go into a huge amount of detail to make the slice of life that the story was about. Just the basic idea was enough to write a short story. I don't think the same is true for making it feel real for a novel.

                That's not to say worldbuilding isn't important in short stories. The opposite is true. I think your world should still be able to feel full and comprehensively built. But in a short story, I felt like I could "get away with" not knowing very much about spaceships and whatnot because you wouldn't be spending enough time with the characters to see where I didn't have the knowledge to make it feel authentic. In a novel, I think I would want to know more about everything--sleeping arrangements on a spaceship, what they wear, what food they eat, the everyday lives of astronauts, what the different areas of the ship look like, all that stuff. But in a short story, all I had to do was hint at it and let the reader fill in the blanks to their satisfaction.

                I think my limitations would make it impossible to tell this story in a novel format. I think presenting it in a short story was the best choice. It was honestly my only option if I didn't want to have a co-author, I think. This is probably why I'm better at fantasy. The science I did mention makes sense--like, you know, how far away a star is--but I hand-waved a lot of it with "um . . . aliens?" In fantasy you can make a comprehensive world built on fantastical magic laws that don't actually adhere to science, but should still make sense internally. In science fiction, the rules are different. So I had to add a level of distance from the material that prevents the actual scientific explanations from being vital to the story's playing out, and you presumably can accept that the characters know what they're talking about and know what they're doing even if the author does not.

                I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a novel knowing as little as I know about space science. But I felt comfortable enough visiting it with a short story. 

                Saturday, December 19, 2015

                Personal Digest Saturday: December 12 – December 18

                Life news this week: 
                • Saturday I did a little shopping and went to Drink and Draw! It was a small group because I guess a lot of people are really busy during the holidays. Eric was wearing a Santa hat on top of his cowboy hat, haha.
                • Sunday I should have been writing but instead I was getting packages ready to mail for Christmas. And that I did. Also, I was playing a Steven Universe trivia game online, and ended up telling the creator that a couple questions had mistakes, which led to the creator giving me the keys and letting me fix them and add more questions. I added a LOT of awesome questions to the quiz and it's so fun.
                • Monday and Tuesday I got most of my stuff mailed and just went to work and did some reading and sleeping. I wasn't feeling very good. I usually go to Mom's on Tuesdays but my sister was supposed to be arriving the next day so I figured I'd just come over when they were there.
                • Wednesday I wrote out my holiday cards and tried to spend the day just being still. Jeaux and I just hung out at my house and ate Burger 21 food and talked about cartoons and feminism because that is what we talk about.
                • Thursday I did finally get to go to my mom's and see my sister, her husband, and my li'l nephew. I got a good-night hug and kiss from Ash that night! So cute! He's talking a lot and it's fun to hear him play little games and respond to prompts. It was lovely to see my sister and brother-in-law, and we all had Chinese food.
                • Friday I was still tired and stuff. I wrote a book review, did my comic, and lost my mind for a while because I found out Steven Universe is coming back from hiatus shortly after the new year (plus there was a minute-long teaser of the next episode!) and . . . well I get kind of excited about those things. KIND OF. Oh, and I got my statement for this half of the year, which means I'll theoretically get paid my next book money soon. And that always feels good!
                  Places featured:
                      • Brithistorian on Tumblr enjoyed my book and said he thinks "the world of asexuality is going to divided into before and after the publication of this book."
                      • The Asexual Agenda included one of my posts about definition policing in the weekly linkspam.
                            Reading progress:

                            New singing performances:

                            Here I'm singing "I Will Love You" by Fisher.


                            New drawings:

                            Webcomic Negative One Issue 0553: "Not Hate."

                            New videos:


                            New photos:  

                            Santa Eric at Drink and Draw
                            My tasty sandwich at Cafe Hey

                            Little Ash looked like he was trying to take my pic, so I took his pic
                            Ash is a tiny Jason Mraz.

                            Ash with his parents in his cute jammies

                            Me at work after getting cartoon news but being stuck at work
                            so I couldn't properly flip out about it

                            Also, haircut comparison photos.

                            Front, February 2014
                            Front, December 2015
                            Back, February 2014
                            Back, December 2015

                            Social media counts: 

                            YouTube subscribers: 5,246 for swankivy (7 new this week), 545 for JulieSondra (5 new). Twitter followers: 719 for swankivy (no change), 1,194 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 286 friends (no change) and 184 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 628 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 116 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,310 (16 new).