What are Those!?

Sep 4, 2021, 11:33:17 PM


I still have not gotten donuts. A bear claw sounds nice though. Natsumi might have tried to grease the wheels with Helena and Hamilton, but I don't think Helena's gonna fall for it like her little buddy.

These comics have been quick to draw. I usually do these on the day I post them (you know, today, Saturday) and a comic take about 3-4 hours of work. That's not bad as far as my time goes. You may definitely be seeing more comics like this to tell the story in the near future because this seems to hit the balance between making art and time to produce it.

In the months prior I was illustrating the comic in the mornings before work, but lately some other things have been pulling at my attention. That doesn't mean this has been abandoned -- This Mortal Coil's existed since 2010 and weathered just about everything my life has thrown at it. In a sense, it was meant to be a creative lighthouse in the storm, a beacon I could see even when everything around me is changing.

In fact, tomorrow, September 5th The Rabbit and the Moon will turn 8 years old from the day it began serializing on the Internet. If you haven't read it yet, well, you can read it here.

The Rabbit and the Moon's 7th Anniversary poster

The Rabbit and the Moon's 7th Anniversary poster

So What's Taking Up My Time

Writing: The Mechanical Bird

I started reading and writing again. I began to compile notes and ideas for a new story. It's technically not new. It's based off of a novel series I started as an Amazon Kindle project called The Mechanical Bird.

If, by chance, you are a person reading this and wondering, "Where's book 3 of the Mechanical Bird?"

It's still sitting in an unfinished state. I'm sorry to disappoint. The new story I began to compile together (not necessarily write) takes place within that universe and set during the same time period.

I'm trying to navigate the labyrinth back to the third book, but creativity and humanity is sometimes not the straight line we'd all hope it to be.

Reading

I may have inserted this mental block a couple years back. I felt if I was going to write, I also had to take time to read what's on the market. Whether I want to write to market or not, I need to get a gauge of what's out there, and also I need to read more.

A couple of books I've been reading lately: The first book of J.C. Kang's The Dragon Songs Saga (Asian) Fantasy novels, Songs of Insurrection: A Legends of Tivara Story

I enjoyed it a great deal. My interest in reading it was to see what was happening in the Asian Fantasy genre. I kinda hate that name "Asian Fantasy" since I'm, for one thing, Asian, and why can't it just be fantasy?

More specifically, I wanted to add more people of color to The Mechanical Bird starting with Book 3. As I was working on book 3 on and off it struck me that there weren't any Asian influenced cultures in the story, and I messed around with adding it. Book 3 is in general a mess, so it's not like it hurts -- it's filling in other parts of the canvas (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I liked what I added but it again sits fallow.

Another reason for that was due to some mental blocks surrounding authenticity. I've probably eaten more McDonald's in my life than Dim Sum. I think Orange Chicken is authentic Chinese food, LOL. I discovered a lot of my roots growing up enthralled with Kung Fu movies. Then there's anime. Doesn't fit into who I am, but Japanese pop culture has a strong influence on my work.

I don't know what it means to be authentically Asian, but I know culture gets exported and mutated whether you like it or not and then becomes woven into the fabric of our identities in unexpected ways that give rise to new creations. Maybe it's entirely wrong to think of things as authentic. Our entire civilization stands on the shoulders of those who came before us. Even the old Roman marble statues we love for their pristine marble whiteness were painted garish colors.

A second book I'm reading is Tim Ferriss' Tools of the Titans. It's a ton of distilled quotes, interview segments, and knowledge from athletes, hollywood types, silicon valley VC people, scientists, and educators he's interviewed over the years. There's a lot of interesting tidbits of information.

And yes, I am actually a fan of the 4-Hour Work Week. I know some folks take issue with Ferriss (for what, I can't remember), but I like his approach to life and the knowledge he shares.

Etsy Shop

Another thing that stole some of my mindshare recently was playing with an Etsy store I had created a while back to sell coloring book pages.

You can see the shop here called "Color These Pages"

I'm playing with Etsy ads and seeing if there's any traction to be gained there or anything to be learned. I'm not new to working with online ads. I did some with Amazon Kindle to promote my books, but I realized I wasn't getting the clicks and conversions that made it sustainable, and I wasn't going to see if throwing a lot of money for a wide reach was an answer to that problem.

Lord knows why I think messing with Etsy's ad infrastructure will make a difference, but the only way to learn is to put some skin in the game and find out. Once again, it's a matter of getting views to get sales conversions -- a percentage of a percentage. Percentage of click through on the ads are low, but I expected that. I played with some graphic design, tagging, and item names to try and bolster them on Etsy Ads. No dice yet.

Right now I'm watching the numbers before I go and tweak things again.

Anyhow, that's me. Have a great Labor Day weekend!