Art and Update

Featured image: “Those Mahou Shoujo Messiahs” by Ruri-dere.

To let you know what’s up, chapter 26 of Jake and the Dynamo is (finally) off to my writer’s group, so it will appear on the blog in the near future.

I’m writing a novelette tonight, and then in the near future I need to finalize the extra extra story that’s going in Down and Out in Fifth Grade, the first fully illustrated Jake and the Dynamo novel. The editor I wanted has agreed to take me on, and she can get to it in mid-June. So that gives me enough time to get the extra material put together and get things squared away with Roffles Lowell, the illustrator, as well as get the ball rolling on the cover art.

In other news, I’ve got a lot of schoolwork coming up as we’re rapidly approaching the end of the term. And I have a new job.

So things are moving, if more slowly and haphazardly than I’d like. But it’s coming together.

I hope to have a new, fairly extensive review up in time for Easter. There’s a particular magical girl franchise I’ve been meaning to discuss at length, and Easter is the right time to do it. In fact, one of the magical girls in the above image is from the franchise I have in mind. If you can guess which girl it is based on the hint that it’s related to Easter, you can win the grand prize of ONE INTERNET, which I will award immediately.

Art + Update

Featured image: “Mahou Shoujo Cotton” by Maruuki.

I just finished working through my final pass of my upcoming novel, Jake and the Dynamo: Down and Out in Fifth Grade. I was waffling on the bonus chapter I had previously written for the end, but I think I’m going to expand it slightly and keep it. It’s not long enough to be sufficient bonus material, so among other things, I’m going to spend today working on a short story that will also go in the book, the working title of which is, “Young Rifle Maiden Plays It Safe.” That story, like the bonus chapter, will not be available on the blog.

I think I have things worked out with Roffles Lowell. He’s interested in doing the interior art. Right now, he’s just waiting for me to tell him what size, dimensions, and format he needs to work in, and whether I need black and white as well as color. He also offered to produce pictures for the chapter headings and section breaks, and I think I’ll probably take him up on that to give the book the appropriately gaudy YA novel look.

So things are coming together, albeit slowly. In my most recent pass over the story, I expanded a few sections, revised others, and fixed the inevitable typos that slipped through the earlier editing (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few on this pass, too). Also, because of the way I’m writing the story, posting as I go, a few inevitable inconsistencies have crept in here and there, so I’ve taken the opportunity to correct those as well. They mostly involve minor issues like the length of T.B.’s hair, Tsubasa’s threat competency rating, or how much access Marionette has to her own computer code. These are the same kinds of things you’ll notice in, for example, long-running web comics, even ones by creators who make more careful notes than I do.

The initial drafts go through my writer’s group and also get about three go-overs from me (once before going to the group, once after, and once in hard copy) before they go online, so what you see when the story updates is what we might call “upper middle draft,” as opposed to rough or final. Now that I’ve given the novel version my own edits, I think I’ve done all I can without someone else’s eyes on it. I haven’t lined up an editor yet, but hope to have that underway in the near future.

Presumably, after the editor has given it a go-over, it will need some rewriting.

A few years ago, it crossed my mind that it would be fun to write a light novel series, so I guess I’m living the dream, though Down and Out in Fifth Grade perhaps does not qualify as a light novel, since it’s about 95,000 words, whereas light novels generally run 40,000 to 50,000. So I guess I’m writing a novel series that’s light-novel-ish.

And if you’re following the series online, we’re already six chapters into volume 2, which presently has the working title of Jake and the Dynamo: Dead to Rights. It will probably contain approximately twenty chapters and around 100,000 words, just like volume 1.

Art: ‘Princess Tutu’ and the Art of Awesomesauce

Featured image: “Magical Girl Noveau: Princess Tutu Bookmarks” by Vivifx.

Today’s art post features the greatest magical girl of all time, Princess Tutu, an unlikely fusion of “The Ugly Duckling,” Swan Lake, and Revolutionary Girl Utena, with easily the most highbrow soundtrack in anime history. I ship Duck with Mr. Cat.

And yes, I said greatest. Of all time.

Because if it weren’t for Princess Tutu, there would be no guitar ninjas. You can’t argue with that.

Many fans of Her Tutuness consider the AMV for “Hold Me” to be a successful encapsulation of the awesomesauce, even though this song is not actually on the soundtrack:

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 24

Bitter Tears: Does Dana Volt’s dark secret conceal a deadly threat?

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 24: BITTER TEARS

FIRST
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NEXT

 

Jake sat on the sofa with his parents and fidgeted. He swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and tried to steel himself for what was likely to be the most awkward meeting of his life.

“Don’t mention Pretty Dynamo,” his mother said for the hundredth time as she patted his shoulder. “Just don’t mention her.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “I won’t, Mom—”

“And if you go out with Pretty Dynamo again, maybe you should wear a mask,” she added. “And if you talk to any reporters or anything, change your voice.”

“Change my voice? How?”

“I don’t know. Pretend you have a smoker’s cough. Like Batman.”

“Mom, Batman is fictional. I’m running around with magical girls, not cartoon characters.” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 24”

Jake and the Dynamo Coming Soon

Featured image: “Snowwhite and Hardgore Alice” by KaishaScire

I’m busy at the moment with an assignment I have to have completed tonight, but if I can get this wrapped up, I’ll make the final pass on chapter 24 of Jake and the Dynamo. Check back here tomorrow, as I hope to have it up.

Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3

When killer vegetables attack, pizza bites back!

In honor of National Pizza Day, we present this three-part short story featuring the sauciest—and cheesiest!—magical girl in all of Urbanopolis: Space Princess Pizza Margherita! Enjoy this story I decided to write just now … and did!

This is an official prequel to Jake and the Dynamo!

Pizza Margherita!
A Tale from Urbanopolis

Part 1 of 3

READ PART 2 | READ PART 3

Midnight. In the midst of a sea of coldly twinkling stars, the full moon hung over Urbanopolis, and in the Sea of Serenity, the lights of the Eternal Kingdom were steady, clear, and unblinking. Down below, the citizens of man’s last city slumbered peacefully in their beds. It was a cool night, a clear night, a calm night. As the Urbanopolitans love to say, The Moon Princess is in her sailor suit, and all’s right with the world.

But hark! A crash of breaking glass! The lonely, frantic wail of an alarm! Once again, an evildoer has shattered the city’s peace—for there is no rest for the wicked.

In the lavish, velvet-carpeted lobby of the Unnatural History Museum, the night guards made their final stand. Armed only with nightsticks and conventional firearms, they stood no chance against the slavering, vicious horde that skittered through the smashed glass entryway. Foul, greenish beasts, their backs covered in rustling leaves and their insect-like limbs crackling with every twist and bend, poured in like a flood. The guards overturned tables and display cases to set up a barrier, but it did no good. The creatures swept them aside, heedless of the bullets from the guards’ pistols. They picked up screaming men who begged for their lives or called for their mothers, and threw them whole into their slavering maws. Deep in their gullets, the drowning, dying men dissolved in the monsters’ digestive vegetable juices. These monstrosities were neither animal nor mineral: they were the Salad Soldiers, carnivorous plants grown in the volcanic wilds of the Earth’s hollow core. In man’s last days, these fell creatures had ascended to the surface to claim their place as the planet’s new overlords. Continue reading “Pizza Margherita! Part 1 of 3”

Art?

Featured image: “Winx Club – Bloom” by Nesallienna.

Ah, Winx Club. Haven’t talked much about that one. Funny story: I decided to try that show out a couple of years back because I knew it had a big fandom, and I knew it was a magical girl show from outside Japan. Here in the States, Nickelodeon has slapped its name on this show, and I didn’t do my research before purchasing half a season of it, so I mistakenly believed I was getting a magical girl series from the same people who gave us stuff like Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer and Avatar: The Last Airbender. In other words, I assumed I was in good hands.

No. It’s actually an Italian cartoon and has the honor of being the first Italian cartoon to get syndicated in the U.S., which is more than I’ve accomplished today. It’s also proven quite popular in a wide array of other countries. I would have watched it in any case, but I wasn’t prepared for just how freaking awful it is. After I finally looked up some information, I was unsurprised to discover that the CIA uses Winx Club in lieu of waterboarding for “enhanced interrogation.”

Okay, I made that up. But still. I had to prop my eyeballs open like that guy in Clockwork Orange just to get myself through thirteen episodes. And it’s gone for seven seasons, totalling 182 episodes the last time someone counted and I paid attention. A hundred or more episodes of something like Sailor Moon or Saint Seiya doesn’t make me swallow, but Winx Club? I think watching the entire run of Winx Club is what they make you do in Purgatory.

It sounds like an okay idea, at least if you’re out to make money off kids: the premise is a cross between Harry PotterTinkerbell, and Sailor Moon. It’s about five teenage bimbos with magical fairy powers who fly with gossamer wings, fight evil witches, wear skanky outfits, go to magic school, zip around on dungeon-punkish spaceships and hovercraft, and have some peculiar obsession with ending words with the letter X. You could certainly do worse for a cartoon concept. The animation isn’t great, but it isn’t awful, and the bad CGI is excessive, but that was a fad at the time (2003) that it started its run. The production values are acceptable.

But, seriously, worst. writing. ever. I think Winx Club has the dubious honor of containing the most awkwardly constructed romantic subplots I’ve ever seen in anything professionally produced. At one point, the narrator announces that a couple of characters’ relationship is deepening and growing closer, and that was the first time I knew those characters even had a relationship at all.

And get this: the first time the heroine (Bloom) arrives from Earth on the magic planet, she immediately comments on how mundane it is. She’s not wrong: it basically looks like downtown in any generic Western city, except where the cars and motorbikes float. That’s a major lost opportunity in the environmental designs, but they actually have the main character point out that it’s boring. Brilliant idea, guys. I hope that’s the English translators getting a dig in and not something that’s really in the original Italian.

Anyway, my schedule is getting slightly less insane, so I intend to get back to regular posting around here. We’ve got more stuff to review and discuss, and of course, we’ve got more Jake and the Dynamo, which doesn’t contain the worst writing ever. I hope.