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My Yuletide present this year was a very sweet, interesting vignette titled Airs and Grace (static version here if the first link gives you a 502.) It's about Astrid (from How to Train Your Dragon) as she grapples with her feelings regarding dragons, vanity and her place in the Viking world. It's just what I asked for, and seems like the sort of thing some of you might enjoy!

I'm admittedly feeling a little intimidated by the archive this year -- some of you guys have been making recs posts, but are there any other stories that I specifically should make sure to check out?

My own Yuletide recipient seems to have liked their story, too, so hooray! Mission accomplished! Back to plowing through the last few scenes of that epilogue I've been working on for forever (and which is almost certainly going to break 20,000 words, holy shit what is wrong with me.)
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I decided to go ahead and offer copies of Zuko's Story through LJ after all -- if you're interested, the info's over here on my other journal!

Also, thank you so much for the photos! Y'all are fantastic! I'm gonna see if I can round up a few more, but then I'll go ahead and see if I can make the project in my head work the way I think it will!

Now: a few more rows of crochet, and then I'm off to do Holiday Errands in the city!
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1) I would really like to move forward with this previously-mentioned project, but right now I don't have nearly enough photos. So if you are a lady and have a digital camera (or a photo and a scanner) and a few minutes to spare, I would really appreciate your help! Again, the photos will be completely anonymous -- I have no interest in outing people on the internet. <3

2) Now that it's officially holiday shopping season, I was thinking I might sell a limited number of copies of "Zuko's Story," signed and personalized with little doodles in them, through my LJ...is this something any of you would be interested in? I am conflicted, as I really hate drawing that kind of attention to myself! :|
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A recent post by a buddy of mine has finally motivated me to get on top of a project I've been pondering for a while. Not a very BIG project -- I don't think it'll end up taking more than a couple of hours. But maybe an enlightening one, if I'm lucky.

I understand that the people reading this journal aren't exactly a random sampling of the population, but you're still a diverse group of folks. And I haven't been seeing that kind of diversity reflected in my media. And I'd like to make a visual statement regarding that.

So if you identify as a lady*, have access to a digital camera, and are comfortable with the idea of having a photo of yourself (without your name attached) circulated on the internet, could you do me a favor? Take a photo of yourself (head and shoulders) and link me to it?

All comments will be screened. If I use your photo, no one else will now it's you unless they already know what you look like. Also, feel free to link to this -- the larger the sample, the better, honestly.

I'll try to have something to show for myself before Thanksgiving.

*Not that I don't also know a wide variety of gentlemen, of course. This is just a lady-centric project.
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I don't usually cross-post from Tumblr, but sometimes there is a thing that's SO HILARIOUSLY AND EMBARASSINGLY relevant to my interests that I pretty much can't help myself.

Today, it's Hussalonia's cover of Billy Joel's 1980 album Glass Houses, which has changed my life forever. (You can alo listen to the first track -- "You May Be Right" -- streaming on my original Tumblr post, if you like)

From their site:

“Pop does not mean popular” is the Hussalonia motto. But sometimes pop is popular. Really popular. Take Billy Joel for instance. I bet your mom loves Billy Joel. Why shouldn’t she? He was handsome and wrote dramatically sweet pop songs like “Piano Man” and “Just The Way You Are.” But popularity wasn’t enough for Joel; he was an angry and cynical guy like you. He was a pop music scholar, like you. He didn’t want your mom’s love, he wanted your love: you, the snobby rock-critic, with your punk and new wave records. Enter 1980’s Glass Houses. Influenced by The Jam, The Cars, Elvis Costello as well good old Paul McCartney (who just made his own “new wave” record: Back To The Egg), Joel was determined to roughen up his image and earn some street cred. Instead, he earned his first number one single and a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Sorry, Bill.

Today, Poor Billy Joel is pretty much retired. He gave up trying to please you fickle bastards. He caved in and spent the 90s pandering to the adult contemporary scene. And time hasn’t been kind to his street cred. It’s less cool now than it ever was to listen to Billy Joel. We here at Hussalonia Lo-Fi Solutions might be inclined to feel sorry him, if he weren’t so fucking rich and well loved by our moms. Nevertheless, we’re offering this: a song-for-song cover of Glass Houses. We feel that Glass Houses represents the struggle between low and high pop culture. And Hussalonia resents that struggle. We hate and love all pop music equally. So what can you expect from our version of Glass Houses? It’s lo-fi, raw, unhinged and full of musical in-jokes. Maybe it will inspire the kids to reassess Billy Joel’s career. Have we lost our minds? Is this a joke? A tribute? A parody? Are we going to get sued? Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe!

 

 

I was going to just post a little quote from that, but then I realized that it was all THE TRUTH as I would have written it, were I a talented young pair of musicians, and surrendered to the inevitable.

I grew up listening to Billy Joel. We played our cassette of Glass Houses in the car so many times that we wore it out, and had to buy another copy. I had every song on this album memorized before I knew what most of the lyrics were even talking about (I only figured out why a "walk through Bedford Stuy alone" was such a big deal a couple years ago.) Informed by a punk rock sensibility that I would otherwise never have encountered in elementary school, it directly shaped the musical tastes I would carry into adulthood. And now, covered in its entirety by a two-man rock band in 2006, it's transformed into an album that retains the excellent songwriting of the original but sheds the schlocky veneer that's made Joel so criminally uncool since the 1980s.

You can download the entire cover album (and donate, if you like it) here. You can preview snippets from (and buy) the original album here. Both are excellent and fill me with giddy, inarticulate joy.

My only complaint about Hussalonia's cover of Glass Houses is that it took me four years to find it.

(NOTE TO CLIO: the cover of "All for Leyna" is particularly great)

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I had a thought last night, regarding Mad Men and cigarettes. I don't particularly chase down essays on the show, so this may be a well-worn point of view, but it seemed worth taking a few minutes to sketch out my thoughts regardless. )

NYCC!

Oct. 4th, 2010 07:49 pm
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Ima gonna be at New York Comic Con this upcoming weekend! I made a whole post about it on my other journal, but the salient points are:

- Table T-15, NYCC Artist Alley
- Sharing with the lovely and talented [livejournal.com profile] gallo_de_pelea and [livejournal.com profile] rufftoon (Who're bringing "The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal" and "Water Tribe," respectively.)
- I'll have Zuko's Story, a Chronin preview, some prints, and my last copies of that "Enter the Fire Nation" Nick Magazine comic from a few years back! (The one with the "Mai and Zuko go on a date" story, which may be relevant to a few of your interests)

I can only hope I'll have the chance to complain about certain movie franchises with some of you in person. Or, you know, shamelessly fangirl EK and Johane. Whatever, I'm game. ;)
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I generally make it a policy to restrict the posting of fanwork to Wildgoosery, but in this case the work in question won't be over there for a while. Also it seems like something my not-generally-super-into-fanfic friends might like. So....yes.

My fic for the Avatar Big Bang finally went up! It's called Son of Heaven, is 10,000 words, and is primarily about Iroh dealing with the difficult weeks after the death of his son, Lu Ten. There's no kissing of any kind, so no need to worry about being blindsided by a ship you're not interested in.

You can read it over here! Apparently the mod for the community opened up comments to non-members (although they're screened at first) so if you have anything to say, I'd love to hear it! This is a fic I've been meaning to write for years, and it was pretty cool to finally have the time an the excuse to do it.

(.....man, why do I get so embarrassed about posting links to fic on this journal? It's not like y'all don't know I'm a giant nerd... o________o )

Anyway, b-back to working on Chronin! And that other giant-ass fan project I'm slowly crawling my way through....
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So! Watched the new Mad Men. I experienced a great many Thoughts and Feelings, but in particular I was wondering about this one, super-spoilery thing. )
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First of all, y'all are completely awesome, and I feel extremely grateful to know so many intelligent, insightful people! The comments on my last post have been really interesting, and I appreciate that so many of you took the time to share your thoughts at such length! I also would encourage others to post if they have Things To Say -- I'm not one of those people who get bored with a subject five seconds after posting about it.

Anyway.

Livejournal has been kind of an ass in the past couple of years, hasn't it? I shelled out for a permanent account, you see, and have been actively using this website since 2001. I have a history here. I like it here. I enjoy familiarity, and tend to be a "you kids get off my lawn" kind of lady when it comes to each new wave of social media.

But while I see no reason to stop posting my dumb fanfic here on the livejournals, I'm beginning to wonder if it might be a good idea to start transferring my regular journal over to the rainbow-crossed and sunshine-drenched fields of Dreamwidth.

I don't enjoy the idea of having to move my day-to-day friendspage reading over there. I don't look forward to seeing all my crossposts with that little "LOL you're still on LJ? Well you can go post a comment on the REAL version of this post over here" footer beneath them.

But LJ is being skeezy and weird, and a lady has to look out for her own best interests, I suppose.

In any case, here is a test of the functionality of said crossposting. Hopefully it will go smoothly.
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So. Apparently a group of writers, programmers, artists and other nerds (including Neal Stephenson, which is why I've heard of this) decided to get together and deepen their knowledge of "Western Martial Arts." In their own words, "to engage in such activities as hitting each other with swords and trying to figure out how to protect ourselves when hitting each other with swords." Which I obviously have no problem with at all -- it seems like the writers in the group, in particular, wanted to improve their ability to describe convincing fight scenes, and I think it's awesome that they're taking their work so seriously.

Out of this group emerged a story, originally conceived of by Stephenson but elaborated on by the whole of their new community. The came to call it "The Mongoliad," and its basic concept is as such:

It’s spring of 1241, and the West is shitting its pants (that’s “bewraying its kecks” for you medieval time-travelers).

The Mongol takeover of Europe is almost complete. The hordes commanded by the sons of Genghis Khan have swept out of their immense grassy plains and ravaged Russia, Poland, and Hungary... and now seem poised to sweep west to Paris and south to Rome. King and pope and peasant alike face a bleak future—until a small band of warriors, inheritors of a millennium-old secret tradition, set out to probe the enemy.

Their leader, the greatest knight of their order, will set his small group of specially trained warriors on a perilous eastern journey. They will be guided by an agile, elusive, and sharp-witted adolescent girl, who believes the master’s plan is insane. But this small band is the West’s last, best hope to turn aside the floodtide of the violent genius of the Steppes kingdoms.


Now, I'll start by saying that I don't actually have a huge problem with the basic concept they're presenting. If adequately researched and tackled by an author with the "chops" to execute it, this could be a rich and interesting alternate history. It's a pretty classic case of "all in the details," where the particular skills, perspective and narrative priorities of the author would be the difference between "intriguing" and "train wreck."

There isn't a ton of material on the site, as of yet. But I've sifted through what's there. And I have to say -- it's starting to look like 'train wreck' to me. )
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the that's my favorite! meme
A FANFICTION PRAISE MEME


I always feel silly doing these, but right now I could actually use the encouragement pretty badly. I'm struggling to finish my fic for [livejournal.com profile] avatarbigbang over the next few days, and after that I'm going to have to crank through what's left of the epilogue for my giant-ass Ba Sing Se AU, which I've been wanting to finish for MONTHS AND MONTHS but had no time to work on at all until about two weeks ago.

But I can't spend too much time on either of them because I really need to get back to Chronin, so...hahah, yes, fic-writing positive energy to help me push through as quickly as possible would be super great, I'll admit ^_^;;;

In other news: I am going to start working on Chronin again! HOLY SHIT! :O

In other other news: my BFF/roomie [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora passed his skills test today and is OFFICIALLY a member of the New York Shock Exchange roller derby team. KILLBERT BLYTHE* LIVES! \o/

*I am also super-flattered that he decided to use the name I came up with. IT'LL BE ON HIS JERSEY AND EVERYTHING! <3 <3 <3 <3
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So far it is pretty great! A couple people seem to actually care about the Zuko Book, and everyone has been super-nice! Say what will will about HP and its fandom -- rarely have I been at a con so overwhelmingly positive and well-intentioned.

I am super-nervous about my reading/signing/keynote panel tomorrow (uuuuuuughgghskdfjksdjfsafksjdf) but that's fine! Because I'm so behind on my freelance work that I have PLENTY to keep me distracted until then!

I am also feeling more nostalgic for my Potter fandom days than I have felt in a very VERY long time. 22-year-old me would have freaked the fuck out at that welcoming feast, let me tell you. LET ME TELL YOU. She would also have been in her Hogwarts uniform, giant-roller-skating-related-ass-bruise-and-roadrash-combo be damned. (oh yeah, that happened. Sitting down was kind of an adventure for a few days thar)

The Ladies have talked me into using some of my super-old Harry/Draco fic as my material for the reading tomorrow, since most of my current work is either ATLA-related or comics or both. I hope everyone is duly entertained by what my younger self thought was TOTALLY AWESOME to put in the first chapter of a fanfic.

anywayBACK TO WORK

x___x
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Guys, it is Deadline Night and I have thousands of words left to write, and I am tired. I AM SO TIRED. Fandom is full of fail and shockingly bad judgment and my weekend was not so much full of sleep and it is very hot in this apartment. And I had to stay home instead of going to watch the fireworks with [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora and [livejournal.com profile] emsariel. < /whining >

BUT SO YOU KNOW, I am trying to stay positive! I am trying to keep my chin up! I am trying not to waste time feeling pissy when it would be much better to finish this work and you know DO SOMETHING ELSE TOMORROW THAT IS NOT WORK. But holy fuck, it is so hard to concentrate on anything. SO HARD. Like every sentence I type is a battle against my desire to be doing PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING ELSE.

That said. A thing that helps me concentrate? Non-lyrical music. Particularly soundtracky type music.

But there are only so many times I can listen to the "Moon" soundtrack in a single day, you know?

So: do any of you have some good-to-write-to tunes you can share with me?

If so, THAT WOULD BE GREAT! *_____*

But regardless, here, have one of my favorite tracks from the aforementioned Moon soundtrack! It is pretty great!
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(sorry, I was helpless in the face of that subject line once it occurred to me)

As alluded to previously, I am going to be at Infinitus next month, mostly so that I can participate in the Friday afternoon "keynote luncheon" with Naomi Novik, R.J. Anderson, Karen Healey, and one other possibly-supposed-to-be-a-surprise-guest-so-I'm-not-sure-if-I'm-allowed-to-mention-her-name friend of mine. The topic of the panel will be "fan writers turned pro," an issue which I have some FEELINGS about, many of which I've discussed at length on this journal or perhaps regaled (assaulted?) some of you with in person.

So basically, I am posting to ask:

• Man, what should I even talk about? I assume I should be formulating Notes of some kind beforehand and getting my thoughts in order. Are there particular issues or perspectives I should be pondering? Experiences of mine I should make sure to mention? (aside from the obvious ATLA-related HOW IS THIS MY JOB anecdotes, of course....but even then, what aspects of that situation are other people actually interested in hearing about?)

• Aside from [livejournal.com profile] pinkfinity and [livejournal.com profile] jlh and [livejournal.com profile] bookshop, will any of you be there?

• This is a Harry Potter conference but man, I have NOT really been paying attention to HP fandom in a looooooong-ass time. I have no idea what awesome fics have been written post-canon. So tell me: what should I read? What fic has been EXCELLENT and aligns to some degree with my narrative priorities? ie, what should I be putting on my ipod to read on the plane?

(PS: I FINALLY BOUGHT MY COMICCON TICKETS, so there is that)
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So there are some ~*~Events~*~ this summer that I'll be at, the first of which is tomorrow in NYC and the most surprising of which is being on a panel at Infinitus. If you're at all curious about such things, they're detailed over at my other journal.

Also:

• Last night I went to a Newsies sing along here in Brooklyn with [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora. It was put together by (and a charity event for) the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, which as far as I can tell is a social justice marching band. As a result, the crowd was pretty excellent -- 100% sincere, full of people who recited the opening monologue right along with me and sang their hearts out, completely free of self-conscious hipsters trying to impress their friend, peppered with newsboy caps and suspenders -- and we had a really fantastic time. Watching it with that particular group of people, I was surprised at how very RELEVANT it proved to be to their cause. I don't usually think about Newsies in the context of social justice, but of course that's at the core of everything it's doing. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to sing "Seize the Day" at the top of my lungs in a church basement full of activists. It was pretty rad!

• I spent a lot of the past couple days working on a pair of leather toe guards for my new skates! They came out a lot better than I'd expected them to, and I'll use what I learned to make some more heavy duty ones for [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora, whose skates have been getting pretty beat up at derby practice.

• I've been rereading a certain giant-ass Zuko fanfic of mine as part of my efforts to FINISH the damn thing already. It's a little strange to be speedreading 100,000 words of my own prose like this, and it certainly doesn't do a lot for my confidence as far as how well I paced it. But I have PLANS for the epilogue, and hopefully I'm in the final stretch.

• I wish that I was faster at reading/writing/drawing/etc. Where did this week go? Where did the SPRING go? I've gotten a lot done, but there's SO MUCH LEFT and it seems like I'm never quite caught up.

• Shit. Have to buy SDCC plane tickets. Blerg. x_____x
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A book meme, from [livejournal.com profile] jlh!

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4-7 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest (unless it's too troublesome to reach and is really heavy. Then go back to step 1).
6. Tag five people.


I'm at my mom's place this weekend, and I don't actually have any books in the room I'm sitting in. BUT! I do have my ipod touch sitting right here, so I flipped to page 123 of the ebook I just finished reading in Eucalyptus: Anne of the Island.

"...By the way, is Ludovic Speed still going to see her?" [asked Anne.]

"They say so," said Marilla, "and he's likely to continue it. Folks have given up expecting that that courtship will arrive anywhere."

"I'd hurry up a bit, if I was Theodora, that's what," said Mrs. Lynde. And there is not the slightest doubt but that she would.


Incidentally, what book comes next in the chronology of Anne Shirley? I'll admit I'm a little mixed up as to where to go from here.

I will tag [livejournal.com profile] emsariel, [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora, [livejournal.com profile] rawles, [livejournal.com profile] meredyd and [livejournal.com profile] kittyjimjams for this particular meme! (Along with anyone else who feels inclined, of course <3 )
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This weekend contained:

• Watching Taiko Drumming (fun fact: I first saw the Soh Daiko troupe when I was like ten at the Black Ships Festival in Newport, and it quite literally CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY TINY LIFE with how much I loved it) and folk dances and saying hi to [livejournal.com profile] naniwa and loling at the human cartoon that is Borough President Marty Markowitz at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens' Sakura Matsuri.

• Attending the Bell House's Kentucky Derby party with [livejournal.com profile] emsariel and [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora and [livejournal.com profile] jlh and [livejournal.com profile] kyoto_idol. The $5 cover charge got us three rounds of free Mint Juleps, a rope and whip show, an excellent vantage point for the hat contest and the race itself, and a venue where Paul and I were not the most overdressed people in the room. (At Sakura Matsuri he was mistaken for a Holmes cosplayer, which only served to further cement my plans for Halloween this year.)

• Picking up some free comics at the new-ish store on Bergan Street, which I hadn't been to before but will certainly go to again.

• Getting a small amount of work done on various projects.

• Watching Back to the Future 2, which I had not seen since the debut of the iphone (and really, the massive popularization of texting) which makes the 2015 scenes seem dated in completely new and different ways. (Fax machines? REALLY? lol paper. But the giant wall-mounted flat-screen video conference where your personal information scrolls by under you weren't actually that far off.)

This weekend did not contain:

• A copy of the Del Rey Showcase.

By the time we got to the shop, they'd run out of the Del Rey books entirely. There was also a preview of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inside, you see, which made it something of a HOT TICKET ITEM, particularly in a young/hip/nerdy neighborhood like Park Slope. Apparently a LOT of people had a hard time getting ahold of that sampler, such that only a few friends of mine seem to have seen it at all.

D:

(thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] space_coyote got a copy from her roommate, so she got to see some of her gorgeous artwork for this book in print. And [livejournal.com profile] halifax_slasher snagged a copy for ME at Midtown, which I'll hopefully have by tonight. But seriously, it's pretty hilarious to find myself in a place where I hope people WILL scan something I've done and put it online. THE SUSPENSE. UNPLEASANT!)
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So tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! At which there will be a preview for the Zuko!Prequel! HOW ABOUT THAT! (more info on the other journal if you're interested)

I signed up for the Gotham Girls Basic Training next month, so I can work on my quad skating skills (or rather, my lack thereof.) I'm pretty excited about it, actually! I'm not a particularly serious athlete but there are some basic skills I've had a hard time figuring out on my own, not to mention the poor shape of my basic form. I've bought the required equipment I didn't already have (helmet, mouth guard, elbow guards) and now you know...COMMITTED!

On a related note: still trying to figure out whether or not I want to buy new, higher-quality quads for myself. The skates I have now were bought back in October while [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora was first visiting, and I've gotten a lot of use out of them since then. But they're men's vinyl figure skates of moderate quality, and I'm starting to get good enough that quality matters. I tried on [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora's speed skates the other day, and even though they're like two sizes too big for me they STILL felt more comfortable and better fitted than my current skates. Only problem is, a decent pair of used speed skates is gonna cost at LEAST $200 and probably significantly more.

Hmm.

This would be less of a problem if not for the last item in this post: my cat! Julien! Who I adore and who is over 17 years old! And who had to go to the vet twice this week and is now on antibiotics because of a kitty UTI, which caused him to yowl horribly and pee in places he was not supposed to. Fortunately the meds seem to be helping and he's on the mend, but...guys. GUYS. I don't want to think about how much those vet trips and blood tests and urine cultures cost me. I don't want to think about it at all.

Oh, Julien. You may have cost me a pair of skates, buddy, but you're worth it. <3
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There was a secret on [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets the other day that...didn't BOTHER me so much as struck me as vaguely ominous with regards to my own situation. And got me thinking. It was about one of the various Buffy comics, and suggested that authors of tie-ins should "leave fan fic to the fan fic writers. They aren't in it for the money, and will (typically) do the story justice."

My thoughts, in bullet points for all of our convenience:

• I write fanfic AND official tie-ins. So where does that put me? Is the integrity of my fic compromised by the professional work? Is the professional work automatically of lower quality than the fic, even though it was written by the same person? I realize I'm being a little facetious with this, but seriously. CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, THE DRAMA!, etc.

• While I will freely admit that writing licensed work and adaptations provided nearly ALL of my income last year, I would stress that said income was laughably small, as in just barely above the poverty line. The work included several dozen pages of comics at a standard rate, half of two graphic novels and an adapted screenplay (that I'm still working on oh god so much to do) and I don't know if packing much more in would have been feasible. Any one who's "in this for the money" should have their head examined as it's not exactly lucrative.

• It's absolutely true that many tie-ins and adaptations are terrible, often because of the constraints of the project or a lack of caring on the part of the authors and artists creating the licensed work. But then, plenty of licensed work is AWESOME, like the Simpsons comics that Nina Matsumoto's worked on in the past. As with so many things, they're only as good as the effort the people involved are willing to invest. But has the reputation of tie-ins been so thoroughly tarnished that there's no point in trying to redeem them? I'm so biased for a whole host of reasons that I can't really stand back and consider the issue objectively. How would I feel about the Zuko!Prequel if I hadn't written it?

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Go make some new disaster.

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