Update 2: Cover Art

Today, I was discussing cover art for the Jake and the Dynamo novel. I don’t have a contract in hand, so it’s probably best I don’t give any specific details as of yet, but things are moving ahead. It appears that the book should be out sometime next year.

I have a big project looming, but my schedule will ease up a little after next weekend. The rest of today I’m planning to spend on a short story I want to submit to an anthology project.

The Briefest of Updates

I feel the need to apologize again for the lack of content. I’m moving into the final phase of my second-to-last term of school, so I’m naturally swamped with school work, plus I’m working two jobs.

I’m just stepping in to say that things appear to be slowly creeping forward on the book publication project, though it is still too early to give official details. I’ll keep you all posted. I’m going to be permanently indebted to L. Jagi Lamplighter, who’s gone above and beyond the call of duty to help this project, but she seems to be as enthusiastic about it as I am, if not moreso.

In other news, the second season of Miraculous Ladybug is finally underway … in Spain. I’m unsure yet when it reaches the U.S., but I intend to keep an eye out for it. Its first season was one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had watching television in a long while.

Also, when I can, I’m snatching occasional episodes of the second half of Sailor Moon S, which I will of course have to discuss when I’m finished.

Grape-kun Is with Harambe Now

Waifus out for Grape-kun.

Okay, I admit I’d never heard of Grape-kun before yesterday, but all of a sudden, my social media timelines were full of him.

The handy website Know Your Meme breaks down the facts. Grape-kun was an elderly Humboldt penguin in the Tobu Zoo in Japan. For a while, the zoo had placed cardboard cutouts of characters from the manga and anime series Kemono Friends in the pens of various animals as an advertising gimmick. I’ve never seen Kemono Friends, but it is apparently yet another of the innumerable manga/anime about random objects anthropomorphized as little girls; in this case, the random objects are animals. The anime series is on Crunchyroll.

Anyway, the zoo placed an image of a character named Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin, in the pen of Grape-kun. Thereafter, people noticed the penguin frequently staring at the image.

He’s probably wondering what happened to Hululu’s pants.

Naturally, people leapt to conclusions, and Goboiano reported on April 27 with the headline, “Japan Puts Anime in Zoo and Penguin Adopts a Waifu.”

Grape-kun died yesterday, October 12th. The zoo reported that the cut-out of Hululu was with Grape-kun through his final moments.

Four months ago, this comic showed up on the Internet. I’ve been unable to figure out if this is from the manga version of Kemono Friends, or if this is someone’s fan art, but either way, it is now relevant:

Rest in peace, Grape-kun.

#WaifuWednesday Special: Andalusia Trading Card is 50% Off!

On this Waifu Wednesday, are you alone? Are you lonely and miserable, sitting in your mom’s basement with your fedora askew on your unwashed hair as you scratch your unshorn neck and pick at your acne? Are your hot pockets tasteless, no longer satisfying? Does your anime character body pillow no longer comfort you as it once did? Do you wonder if this is all there is to life? Do you yearn for something more? Are you in need of a warrior dame named after an autonomous community of Spain to lift you out of your doldrums?

I think so. In fact, I know so.

That’s why, in honor of Waifu Wednesday, our one-of-a-kind Magical Girl Lady Paladin Andalusia trading cards are half off for one day only! Featuring Andalusia’s genuine signature and the professional photography of artist Roffles Lowell, this card depicts Andalusia in a striking yet sensitive pose, eyes humbly cast down as she thanks God and the Moon Princess for her latest victory over monsters and Saracens … or maybe she’s just thinking about the Backdoor Boys, because, I mean, Donnie in those tight jeans? Like, OMP.

So don’t delay. Shut up and let me take your money … or something like that.

Bad Signs for the ‘My Little Pony’ Movie

The above image is screencapped from Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of this writing, My Little Pony: The Movie has no critical reviews, which means they’re withholding it from critics.

It’s also opening the same weekend as Blade Runner. They don’t have exactly the same target audience, but still.

I smell a bomb.

Excerpts from the Rag & Muffin Lexicon

Acharya: Master, guru.

Alta: A red dye used to paint the edges of a woman’s feet during some religious ceremonies.

Angithi: A brazier made from a clay-lined container in which coals or other fuels are placed.

Antavasin: Pupil, student.

Arx Ciceronis: A large, walled fortress on Godtown’s west end. Home of the city’s more well-to-do Elysian expatriates.

Drug Doll: Slang, a disparaging term for a HYBRID.

Elysian Empire: A resurrected Roman Empire ruling approximately half the globe. The Elysian Empire formed out of the Holy League following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, but did not attain worldwide significance until the late eighteenth century.

Heaven Seed: A potent entheogen produced in a gland attached to the visual cortex of a HYBRID.

Hybrid: One who is half human and half MARJARA. Hybrids are always female and have a maximum lifespan of approximately sixteen years. Frequently installed in temples as KUMARIS.

Kumari: Literally, “virgin.” A polite form of address for an unmarried girl or woman, equivalent to “Miss” in English. Alternatively, a HYBRID installed in a temple as a living goddess. Alternatively, a specific goddess, Kanya Kumari.

Lakh: A hundred thousand.

Marjara: Earth’s second sapient race besides the human. Unlike a human, who has an “invisible caste,” a marjara has distinct physical traits determined by his VARNA and JATI.

Paan: a stimulant created from a combination of betel leaf and areca nut. Produces a characteristic orange stain in the mouth.

Pishacha: A shapeshifting demon that haunts cremation grounds and feeds on the living.

Runearmor: An armor suit created with RUNETECH. Its operator must be temporarily dead in order to communicate with the unclean spirits trapped in the suit’s runes.

Sammohana: The power of a HYBRID to deliver mystical visions via her eyes.

Seed Sucker: Slang, a criminal who extracts HEAVEN SEED from HYBRIDS.

Skull-bit: A drill used to penetrate the back of a HYBRID’s skull to reach her HEAVEN SEED gland.

Tuaoi Stone: A magical crystal. Tuaoi Stones are found primarily in the Vindhya Mountains west of Godtown. They are vital in both YOGA and RUNETECH.

Varna: “Color.” The varnas are the four major caste groupings into which marjaras and humans traditionally fall: BRAHMIN, KSHATRIYA, VAISHYA, or SUDRA. The corresponding colors are white, red, yellow, and black, respectively.

R&M Begins!

I haven’t had much time to post lately, but I will step into say that, now that the first volume of Jake and the Dynamo is out of my hands, my next project is to roll up my sleeves and put Rag & Muffin into a form that is presentable.

I’ve learned a lot about the craft since I started this project an embarrassing number of years ago, so I think it is finally time to get it shipshape. To that end, I’ve dusted off my copy of the Hobson-Jobson and begun to re-immerse myself in the seedy, dirty world of Indian dungeonpunk I first conceived of … well, a long time ago.

Fortunately, at some point, I had the foresight to attach a rather extensive glossary to the existing draft. That’s good, because I’ve forgotten half the words I’d discovered or made up for this thing. Following the lead of Rudyard Kipling, I never give the native language’s name, but most of it is Hindi with a smattering of Sanskrit and the Hindi-English slang sometimes called Hinglish.

It Is Finished.

I have just put the last touches on the final draft of Jake and the Dynamo. It took me longer than it should have, admittedly, partly because of some procrastination.

After I made all the major alterations Lamplighter requested, I went back through the entire thing to make sure it flowed smoothly and that the new additions didn’t introduce any problems. While I was at it, I took the opportunity to improve several word choices, remove some wayward commas, and fix a few previously undiscovered typos. Three days and half a bottle of bourbon later, I’m satisfied that it’s reasonably well polished.

The process was painful, but it is, after all, my first novel, so I hope I can be more efficient in the future. Maybe I should go cry into a bowl of noodles like that chick in Whispers of the Heart or something.

Anyhow, it so happens that I have also got all of Roffles Lowell’s illustrations. He apologized for being tardy, but from my point of view, his timing was impeccable, as he finished at the same time I did.

I’ve a lot of other things going on. I’m back in school, of course, and I’ve kind of been letting my studies slide while I’ve been finishing this up. Also, I just picked up a new job directly relevant to my educational training, so that’s exciting.

As busy as I am, I can’t promise that posting here will become more regular, at least for a few days. But the book, at least, can go sit on someone else’s desk instead of mine. That’s a relief.

Kai Wai Cheah Goes Magical Girl

I’m going to have no serious content here until I FINISH MY BOOK (which might be today!), but I am pausing momentarily to note something that showed up in my Twitter feed:

This is from the Twitter account of Kai Wai Cheah, the author of No Gods, Only Daimons. He’s a seriously skilled author of military sf and fantasy. He’s also in my writer’s group, where he’s given some additional details about this project, but since he hasn’t posted them in a public forum, I won’t repeat them.

miko, in case you don’t know, is a Shinto shrine maiden. That’s a picture of his new character up at the top there …  nah, I’m kidding. I grabbed that off Pinterest.

Anyway, let’s just say that I’m very interested in seeing what a knowledgeable military sf writer does with magical girls.