the_gneech: (Default)

There she is– Tiffany Tiger!


So, Suburban Jungle launched 18 years ago today. Thanks to the strange time-dilation effect of comics, that puts Rough Housing as due to start happening around 2019 to put Charity at the right age. XD


It’s been a long strange trip and I’m very grateful for all the friends, fans, and extended family I’ve made along the way. Thank you very much!


-The Gneech

the_gneech: (Default)
As you may know, I've been sending off lots of job applications. As you may not know, some of those have yielded interviews. As of this writing, I am partially through the interview gauntlet on two different positions, which is a hopeful sign that employment is right around the corner... but it ain't here yet. XD I'm going to keep sending off apps until something materializes, tho.

In other news, an unpublished Michael Macbeth story which has been languishing in publication heck for (mumble) years was freed last night when I received official word that the anthology it had been accepted for was canceled. I haven't decided what to do with it yet; my first choice of the next market won't really work, so I might toss it up on Patreon or something, but it has to be in a paying venue.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
There's a story floating around the zeitgeist, commonly attributed to a Cherokee storyteller (but I don't know the actual source), generally referred to as "two wolves," which goes something like:

A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth. This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too."

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The Cherokee elder replied, "The one you feed."


Thing of it is, this is applicable to so much more than a simplistic "good vs. evil" parable. It can apply to anything! Like, say, social media. "Don't feed the trolls" is a mantra that's been around since the '80s at least. In more recent times, I've seen a pattern where some prominent person on Twitter (for example) gets pinged by an asshole and, instead of muting the asshole and moving on with their life, the person either retweets with what they feel is a smackdown, or otherwise engages.

Result? All the assholes start coming out of the woodwork, and suddenly prominent person is flooded with obnoxious messages, all of them looking for attention. The prominent person may feel like they were "shining a light in dark corners" or turning up a log to reveal all the bugs crawling around in the muck or whatever, but all they really did? Was feed the bad wolf. They now get to spend hours/days/the rest of their life wrestling in the digital mud with these idiots. It sucks, yes, but the prominent person invited them in.

This doesn't apply to people who are harassed by assholes merely for being themselves– "Internetting While Female" does not count as feeding the bad wolf, for instance. That's another discussion all together. But people like Wil Wheaton engaging in snark fights, and then having to spend the rest of the day far away from the internet because they effectively cast Summon Asshole? That counts.

This topic is fresh in my mind currently because this year is going to be about broadening my reach and impact in the world artistically and (for lack of a better term) commercially, and I'm already having to be very careful about what (and who) I respond to and where I engage, because I can clearly see the ripples of different types of energy trying to get in. Some are positive, and many are amazing... but more than a few are not.

One of the problems with the bad wolf is that, being bad, it often tries to disguise its true nature because it knows anyone with a modicum of awareness and self-esteem will reject it. What starts off as a seemingly fun and innocent or even benevolent interaction can sour quickly, and it's important to pay attention when that happens. What you thought was a pleasant chat with the good wolf can turn out to have been the bad wolf trying to finagle an invitation the whole time.

If you get fooled by this, it's not a failure on your part– it's the bad wolf being bad. The old saw should go: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you again and stop it, you jerk." But when you realize that it's the bad wolf at work, you need to shut it down quickly and decisively. In my own case, that means even calling out or disengaging with people who are my own fans, if they try to turn my work into something dark or mean. You can be funny without being mean, and you can be smart without being snide or toxic.

What you invite into your life, you will get more of. That's just how the universe works. So make sure you're inviting the good stuff in. :)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)

Three Lions and an Otter


One of the purposes of identifying the three lions and an otter was they made handy touchstones for the tasks I need to get through with my writing and illustration. My plan was (and still pretty much is) that each of them would get a certain day (or days) during the week for their thing, to help me keep focused and on task.


Of the four of them, Content Guy requires the most time, because he’s the one who actually does the writing and drawing. On the other hand, Business Guy’s stuff doesn’t take as long, but it’s such a struggle for him that it feels like it takes forever. Fandom Guy loves what he does and is always having fun, but he has to focus his efforts on the days when people are most likely to be listening.


Muse never does anything directly. So she has no day… or it might be said she has every day.


Thus, assuming a five-day work week (which may or may not be a valid assumption), the week breaks down like so:



  • Monday: Fandom Guy! I haven’t looked into it recently, but for a long time the stats of websites made it very clear that Monday was the day people were most likely to check out links and want to be distracted from their day. So if Fandom Guy wants attention, this is the day to go for it. That’s why Suburban Jungle goes up on Mondays, and so when Fandom Guy has something to say, that’s the day you can expect to hear from him.

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Content Guy. Assuming nothing else gets in the way, these are the days our hard-working lion spends down in the pixel mines. Of course, this can also include work for Fandom Guy in the case of things like streaming sessions or posting commissions and the like. But these days are mostly for just getting the work done.

  • Friday: Business Guy. Last but not least, our frazzled number cruncher does his thing on Fridays, whether it’s paying the bills, keeping URLs up to date, booking convention hotels/travel, hunting down markets/editors to submit to, or updating merchandise availability. Why does he get Friday? So that at the end of a long day doing things for which he has little talent and less patience, he can kick back and have the weekend. 😉 He earns it!


Now given that the average page of Suburban Jungle takes me two days to draw, this means that Content Guy only has one day dedicated to business writing gigs, commissions, book writing and whatever else. But the sneaky trick here is that Fandom Guy and Business Guy rarely need a whole day each week, so Content Guy gets whatever they don’t use. Also, well, weekends are a thing. As the old saying goes, “Find a job you like and you’ll never work another day of your life.” I write and draw because that’s what I enjoy doing (and because I kinda can’t not do them), so as long as I have some time to spend with Mrs. Gneech and the kitties, “working” on the weekend is the opposite of a problem.


And on that note, I’ve got commissions to work on! Catcha later.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Default)

Fandom Guy loves you! And fish. He also loves fish.

So one thing that was made quite clear at the most recent Midwest Furfest is that I’ve really gotta get back in touch with the fandom. Suburban Jungle used to mean room parties and charity auction cameos going for hundreds of dollars, but this past weekend it seemed to be “That comic everybody used to know and remembers fondly.”


Dude. What am I, the Animaniacs? XD Nostalgia is not my brand!


Seriously tho, I think a lot of the problem is that as time has gone on, I’ve just gotten out of touch. I met plenty of people at the convention who’d never heard of me or my work, but upon seeing the art were instantly interested in checking it out. So clearly what I’ve got to do is get it front of more eyeballs!


To that end, I’m working on a retool of my online presence generally, looking for new venues to spread the word and so on. Besides the usual DeviantArt and FurAffinity accounts, I’m going to start posting more of my work on my Tumblr account (which has until now been little more than reblogs), I created a Pinterest board for my art, and I have (finally) started dipping my toes into groups on Telegram.


Sometime by the end of the year I expect to also start streaming fairly regularly on Monday and/or Tuesday nights as I work on the next comic page. Right now I’m still researching that, looking for artists with successful streams and watching what they do. (If you have faves, let me know! I want to see ALL THE STREAMS.)


As a general thing, I also just sorta need to get back out into the world. Over the past years I had kinda retreated into a cocoon as I dealt with the slings and arrows being fired at me by outrageous fortune, and I’m finally sticking my head back out. (What did I find? 2016. For cryin’ out loud, world, I hide away for just a few years, and you turn into a dumpster fire? I want you to go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done while the rest of us clean up this mess.)


…Er, sorry, what was I saying? Right, getting back in touch with the world. I’ve got a few volunteers who are helping me with that, and I’ll gratefully take any assistance I can get, but nothing replaces me getting out there and taking care of it myself. I need to do a lot more connecting with the world than just posting to LiveJournal and Twitter, and that’s going to be a big priority for me over the next several weeks.


If anyone has ideas on what I should do, I’d love to hear them! 😀


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)

Three Good Things for Today


  1. Finished and posted issue five page five

  2. Finished a long-overdue commission

  3. Nice dinner and walk around Barnes & Noble with [livejournal.com profile] lythandra

  4. Bonus Good Thing: Agent was "intrigued" by Sky Pirates [1]

  5. Bonus Good Thing: Got some recommendations for art streams


Three Goals for Tomorrow


  1. Post the commish to art sites

  2. Social media management/art posting plan

  3. Layouts for issue five page six

  4. Stretch Goal: Start next commish


Keep on keepin' on.

-The Gneech

[1] Didn't take on the book, alas, but it's still better than a form rejection!
the_gneech: (Keitaro Holy Crap)
Well. It's been a thing, hasn't it? Yeeks.

As I suspect has not gone unnoticed, I have not been my characteristically chirpy, genial self for some time now. This is because the world seems to be actively saying "Up yours!" over and over, and it has me not-unnaturally feeling peeved.

To recount, in the past double-handful of years I have lost...

  • a beloved aunt


  • both parents


  • my former business partner and best non-spouse friend


  • another friend who was the group "den mother" for us in high school and who I was actually much closer to as an adult


  • Frostdemn, a fan and friend who was a joy to everyone who knew him and was way, way too young


  • my job


  • my house


  • Game Parlor


  • Laughing Ogre Comics


  • ...and of course Buddha the kitty, whom I loved dearly


Some of these things are worse than others of course, but it's the sheer number and overwhelming breadth of it that gets me. Like there's no good thing so minor that the Universe doesn't feel like going "YOINK!"

Then last year, [livejournal.com profile] lythandra's job, which was at least paying the bills, also disintegrated, and she's been searching ever since with frustrating results.

Just in 2016, circumstances conspired to kick us out of the place we didn't especially like but had landed in when the house sold, into [livejournal.com profile] sirfox's condo in Maryland. And, wishing no reflection on Sirfie, Maryland just ain't working for us for reasons I don't particularly want to get into here.

Despite my best efforts, and even when it returns praise for the writing, I have not been able to sell my book.

And oh yeah, now the neo-nazis are on the march, and the ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate despite it being winter, much to the consternation and bafflement of the scientists who study such things. Those who used to be alarmists on the topic are throwing up their hands and saying, "welp, we're fucked," while those who used to be only concerned are becoming alarmed.

So yeah, things kinda suck right now, on levels cosmic, social, personal, and downright petty. What the hell. And it's made me grouchy.

However, as Nick Fury put it, "Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on." And while some people use anger and spite to fuel their fire, I am not among their number. Anger and spite make me cruel and mean, and I don't like me when I'm mean. I renounced it long ago, before anyone who knows me now even met me, but it's kinda like being a werewolf or something– it's always there, trying to sneak back out. I suspect many people would be shocked at sheer volume of vicious thoughts or cutting comments that jump unbidden into my mind, and at the effort I'm constantly expending to stop it before it reaches my tongue or the page. If you ever feel I'm snarky or negative now? My public face is Mr. Flippin' Rogers compared to the crap that goes on inside my head.

Lately, just by having been worn down by the world, this effort has been a real fight. I'm spending as much energy on keeping myself "up" as I am on actually accomplishing the things I want to get done with my day. I had a counseling appointment about this last week, and that helped, but it's still something I am dealing with.

The point I'm meandering my way to here, is that I think I've finally reached a certain equilibrium over the past few days, and hopefully I am now at the "Take a deep breath, stand up, and keep walking" stage of things. The reason I punted on NaNoWriMo was so I could concentrate on more immediately-lucrative pursuits so that when our current lease is up we would have options. I have a specific goal that I am working towards, something that Laurie and I have decided as a result of the recent social events, and that goal has finally given me something positive to work towards, instead of simply trudging on because that was all there was to do.

Hopefully, as I start to make progress, and perhaps even start building more positive things back into my life, the Universe will get the message and start moving in the right direction itself, as well.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)

As things have developed, both public and private, I have decided that my I need to change my priorities in the upcoming months. To that end, I need to put By Elves Abandoned on the back burner and work on other things. Instead of working on those other things and feeling guilty about not hitting wordcount goals for NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to simply let that go.


The book still has a lot of potential, and I expect to pick it up again before too long, it’s purely a matter of timing. Maybe my own personal NaNoWriMo will come in February, we’ll see!


Suburban Jungle will keep going, and punting on NaNo will hopefully give me time to fix up lingering issues I’m having with the current storyline and the direction the comic is taking generally. Fortunately, that only takes me a couple of days a week and could be done at night or on the weekends as needed. I am also still working on finding a publisher for Sky Pirates of Calypsitania.


How Not to Suck at Overwatch is also going to go quiet for the foreseeable future. It was a fun project and I enjoyed it (and I’m very grateful to the friends and fans who made it possible), but at least for now I have other things I need to concentrate on.


As for what I am working on, that’s not in a stage where I’m ready to tell the world. But when the time comes, I will! But until then, I’ve got commissions to finish and a comic to draw, so I’d better get to work.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Legolas silhouette)

When I started trying to brainstorm for NaNoWriMo this year, I had nothing to go on. Months of shopping Sky Pirates of Calypsitania around to agents had received mostly chirping crickets, with the occasional “You’re a good writer, but… nah.” On the advice of J.M. Frey, I decided to write a more “mainstream fantasy” novel that would help me get my foot in the door, figuring that once I had a body of work, it would be easier to get people to buy in to other stuff.


But again, what to write? I can craft prose all day, but creating a compelling story is much tougher. Finally, with nothing else to work with, I said, “Fine! I’m taking some of my unplayed RPG characters, tossing them into a scenario, and writing it as a book!”


On the good side, it definitely got me rolling. I have some protagonists and a broad story arc, and that’s all good. However, there is one big problem with this framework, which is: most RPG campaigns, even good ones, tend to be a never-ending string of fights. Whether it’s orcs or stormtroopers, the “filler” of an RPG campaign is generally going to be battles with monsters… which can make for dull reading.


Yes, the blow-by-blow of a tense action scene can be exciting. Bilbo’s encounters with trolls, goblins, spiders and dragon (and later Frodo’s encounters with ringwraiths, orcs, trolls, more orcs, more ringwraiths, more orcs, easterlings on oliphaunts, more orcs, a giant spider, still more orcs, and a giant pit of lava) are iconic. But what really makes a battle interesting is not who slashed what or cleft the other in twain– it’s what changes as a result of the battle.


And that’s where the neverending string of fights in a D&D game fall down as fodder for a novel. As a rule, they don’t change anything, other than to nibble away at resources. In a novel, the “five rooms full of orcs” at the front of the level that lead up to the “boss” at the end would lose readers after the second fight. “We’ve seen this already!” would be the cry of the frustrated reader. “Get on with it!” (And they’d be perfectly right to do so.) The first fight with orcs is interesting, because it’s new, which means it changes things. The fight with the boss at the end is interesting, for the same reason. (And presumably the boss has some kind of plot coupon or other thing to make them worth fighting in the first place on top of that.) The stuff in the middle? Gets mercilessly summarized unless and until it makes an impact.


So this is where my NaNoWriMo project actually hits an uphill climb: I have more or less completed act one, with the hero about to set off on her journey with her new companions. While I have the next big change– the “boss” of the next section so to speak– worked out, I need to figure out interesting and relevant things that will take the character from here to there. In a D&D game, this would be an overland journey with some random encounters, ending in a dungeon complex, easy peasy. For a book? It has to matter, or be cut. And that’s the tough part.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Writing)


NaNoWriMo has launched! The first scene of By Elves Abandoned is written, and I think it’s a good start. I’ll be posting it to my Patreon tomorrow for supporters after my morning re-read.


Woot, woot! And now, on to another Overwatch PotG commish…


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Default)

Three Lions and an Otter


First item of news: Issue Five launches on November 14th. I’m still kinda trying to figure out what I’m doing with it, but I’ve also reached the point where if I don’t set a deadline, it’ll languish, and I need to force my mental waveform to collapse (so to speak). I’m also going to be working on NaNoWriMo at the same time, and posting chunks of the NaNo project to my Patreon page for supporters.


Which leads to the topic of Patreon. I think I need to just come out and say it: I am terrible at running a Patreon. I have never been good at the “business hustle” part of being a professional artist, it’s just an alien world to me– and honestly, mental bandwidth I’ve been burning on trying to figure it out has been not just wasted, but siphoned away from the actual process of making the art. In short, I can run the business or make the product, but I can’t do both, and I need to stop trying.


How does that effect my Patreon? Well, my first inclination was to simply delete it entirely. But the strange thing about it is that many of my supporters have said they don’t really care about the “rewards” levels anyway, they just want to support my work. It’s kinda like the old Paypal tip jar, just a little more formalized.


So I’ve decided to leave the Patreon up, but I’m going to remove the reward tiers and make it a simple binary, “yes, you’re a subscriber, or no you aren’t” system. All subscribers will have access to all the Patreon content, which will include immediate comic page postings, draft chapters of books in progress, and so forth. I am also looking at changing it to a “per posting” model, and would be curious to hear any opinions folks have on the topic.


In any case, I’m going to make this change now, between monthly cycles, to give people plenty of time to adjust and/or bail if they wish.


Thanks for your patience! I hope to have some cool stuff for you soon.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Kero Power Tie)
Although it has been a difficult decision, I have decided to start actively seeking a "day job."

Certainly, the largest factor is money. While I have been earning some money with my art commissions, writing, and other projects, it has never been more than "supplementary" level. That was fine while [livejournal.com profile] lythandra was making more than enough for both of us, but despite having an amazing job history and regardless of the best efforts of an army of recruiters, it's been over a year now since she had regular employment as well, and we simply can't keep living off our savings any more (or we soon won't have savings to live off).

As for what I'm seeking, I'm still working on that. I want to be in an office environment, but I don't think I could go back to writing code all day (and my skills in that department are super-rusty anyway). I'm going to start by looking for admin, data entry, or other sorts of entry level work and see where that leads me in the short term.

If anyone has leads, I'd be grateful to hear them!

How this will impact the writing and comics, I'm not sure. I imagine it will take me a little while to actually find a job anyway; during that time I am continuing to submit Sky Pirates of Calypsitania (rejection number ten or so just came in this morning) and working on other ideas, and I still have commissions to get through. Issue five of Rough Housing is kinda stuck in development heck as I fight through script problems, but I am still plugging away at that, too.

In the meantime, I'm also going to refactor my Patreon, as I'm just not able to devote the proper attention to it and I don't want to be misleading people about it.

I'm grateful to have had the past few years "off" to help my parents in their final days and to deal with other various life crises, as well as finishing the Sky Pirates novel and various other projects. But I can't keep coasting forever.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)

Snoopy Deals With Rejection


Including the first cold submission to Tor, I have now been sending queries for Sky Pirates of Calypsitania to publishers and agents for five months. I have received:



  • Six form rejections

  • One personal response that my writing was strong but the agent didn’t feel a personal connection to these particular characters

  • Four chirping crickets


But today starts a new week, and so this morning I’ve sent off two more queries (including one to an agent who, even if she doesn’t care for the book, just seems like a cool person and I started following her on Twiter). As more responses come in, assuming they are more form rejections, I’ll keep sending more queries out, until this book sells.


Because that’s the thing, I believe this book will sell. It’s the kind of book I keep wishing somebody else would write so I could read it– and if I want a book like this, surely other people must too. It’s just a matter of connecting Book A to Readers B. I don’t expect it to become the sort of thing that makes it to supermarket shelves, necessarily, but I do think it’s a very entertaining first novel and is the good launching point of a career. I have seen (and read, and have in my personal library) books that are weaker on all fronts and yet are quite successful, and if those books can do it, so can mine.


So I keep calm and query on. There are hundreds (thousands?) of good literary agents out there, and if I get through the list, well, I’ll start over. And in the meantime, I will continue to work on the next book while waiting for responses.


We’ll get there.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Kero asleep)
Summer has a tendency to knock me all askew; put that summer in the middle of a year as whacked out as this one has been, and I'm half askew before it even gets here. Send me a book rejection and then lock me in a car for the weekend, and summer doesn't even have to try any more.

I am askew. And last night was the worst of it. Today was to some extent a sick day, although I didn't officially label it as such and like a nitwit tried to actually be productive in the morning. By lunchtime, I knew that wasn't going to happen.

But, with years of practice, I can feel this evening that the worst is over (for now) and I am starting the climb back up out of the hole. Assuming I can shove myself into bed early and get some proper sleep tonight, I will be back to being myself in the morning. At which time, I will want to have a plan so I don't end up just pfutzing around. To that end, here's this week's Too Much To Do List:

  • Work up the "Langley the Lifeguard" idea for Roar 8.

  • Find a "non-steampunk" tarot app to facilitate the "tarot as story prompt" idea.

  • Find old "story vault" file and transfer to Google drive.

  • Work on Issue 5.

  • Furplanet commish.

  • Let Man In Amber percolate on the back burner a while.

  • Do some meditation not related to past-life regression.


That should keep me busy for a while. If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna curl up with Tumblr and look at KorrAsami and AppleDash stuff for the rest of the night and get all the feels.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)

On the value of good manners, the agent who passed on Sky Pirates of Calypsitania last week wrote back in response to my thank you note to say, “I think your writing is very strong and I wish you the best in your agent hunt! For me, I just didn’t fall in love with the characters in the way that I’d need in order to be a great advocate.”


This, while it may not sound like much, is actually hugely helpful feedback. When you send out query after query and get the same boilerplate “not a good fit at this time” response, you begin to question every little aspect of what you’re doing. “Is my query letter too amateurish?” “Am I committing enormous grammatical blunders that I just don’t see?” “Is my adventure story about airship pirates really just a string of vapid clichés?” “Are the weird relationships and social outliers in this story too off-putting?” “Am I a hamfisted hack and everyone’s just been too nice to say so?”


This tiny bit of specific feedback makes all that junk go away. Being told by an industry professional that my writing is very strong is a bonus, I won’t lie! But the real value here is knowing that it was a matter of personal taste, rather than a systemic problem with the work. There are plenty of books out there that are great books, but I just don’t get into them. The entire corpus of Ernest Hemingway, just for starters.


What that means, in real terms, is that I have to just keep putting the book in front of agents until I find one for whom the book clicks. Of course, that was my plan anyway, but I feel a lot more secure about it now. Even if this particular agent and I end up never crossing paths again (although there’s no reason we might not), she’s done me a great favor and I’m grateful for it.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Writing)

It has often been observed that writing is a tough racket. Like, suspiciously so– people have been predicting the death of the written word pretty much as long as there have been written words, but particularly the death of the modern publishing industry as long as there has been a modern publishing industry, despite the fact bookstores tend to be full of people happily shelling out their hard-earned dollars for books even in this post-internet age and that book sales are actually up rather than down. The rates for writers are largely un-moved in decades, and editorial budgets are slashed, but book prices keep going up, so… that money has to be going somewhere.


However, for the time being at least, I am not interested in figuring out that mystery. Publishing for me is largely a giant black box where I put words in one end and, theoretically, money comes out the other. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.


Granted, I have not submitted that much for publication in the grand scale of things, being largely self-published or having worked mostly with editors who were also friends and colleagues already. But over the course of my writing career, I’ve had far more successes than rejections. In fact, I can only think of three rejections off the top of my head:



  • A creature write-up sent to White Wolf for a Werewolf line “monster book” in 1989 or so. This was done hastily, because Bill (the line editor at the time) was in a pinch, and I basically threw together something that belonged in Call of Cthulhu instead. I’m not surprised he didn’t use it– in fact, I would have been more surprised if he had.

  • Out In the Cold, my first full-length(ish) novel, sent to an agent c. 1996 in a fit of youthful enthusiasm. This was a cozy mystery, and it didn’t totally suck but it wasn’t great, either. It did at least garner me a very nice handwritten reply praising the narrative voice and depiction of the characters. I eventually decided that mystery writing was probably not where my strengths were and shelved it after that. And finally…

  • Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, which as of yesterday has been rejected by one publisher and seven agents, and “soft rejected” by a handful more agents who simply did not respond (“If you do not hear in 4-8 weeks we aren’t interested.”). Of all these, yesterday’s rejection was the hardest.


The reasons why yesterday’s hit me so hard are twofold. First, this agent was specifically seeking steampunk novels– a genre which is notoriously tricky to get people interested in. I was very jazzed to see someone actually wanting steampunk, instead of having a subtext of “Okay, I guess I’ll look at it, but don’t you have any doorstopper fantasy or military SF we could check out instead?”


Second, after the initial query, the agent wrote back to me and asked for a larger sample, which was the first response of any kind on this book beyond a polite form rejection. I knew it wasn’t guaranteed that she would want to move forward after that, but I did think it was quite likely. She wanted steampunk, she liked the first chapter, and her agenting portfolio seemed like just the right fit for this particular book’s eccentricities. Alas, “After a careful reading, I am sorry to say that I don’t believe this project is right for me.” I sent her a thank-you note, and who knows, maybe something else will work later.


But in the meantime, we carry on. I really like this book– even if it weren’t my own it would be one of my favorites– and I honestly think it’s as good as anything out there. I know that steampunk is a long shot, and I know that first-time novelists always have a tough hill to climb. Yes, I’m disappointed, but I’m going to put it away for the weekend and then, come Monday, pull up the next three agents on my list and send it out again.


It is, as has been observed, a tough racket.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Writing)

Hey, hey! Every once in a random period, I put up a little post welcoming my new readers and keeping everyone abreast of what’s coming up!


Welcome New Readers!


<3 <3 <3


…Not a lot more to say about that, actually. Got questions? Comments? Suggestions? I’d love to hear ’em, in the comments or via e-mail (thegneech at gmail dot com)! I’d also love to know how you came to be here. Suburban Jungle? Are you a Twitter follower? WHOOOO ARRRRRE YOOOOU?


Suburban Jungle Issue Five!


The cover is up! I’m going start drawing pages this week, with my current plan being for the issue to begin running September 5. I’m not going to set that date into stone yet tho, just in case things randomly go pear-shaped, as they have a tendency to do around here.


Sky Pirates of Calypsitania and NaNoWriMo


There is some hopeful activity on the novel front! Alas, I can say no more for fear of jinxing it, but I am excited and hope it works out! In the meantime, I am working on an outline for a sequel novel, under the working title of Eternal Promises, with an eye towards writing the actual manuscript (or at least large chunks of it) over the course of NaNoWriMo. (Which means, among other things, I need to get as much of issue five done as possible by the end of October!) Eternal Promises will finally bring the intended-but-never-produced first story from Arclight Adventures to the light of day, which makes me happy.


Overwatch Play of the Game Badges and Videos


There are only a few badge commissions left, but I do have a complete “Victory Poses Plus Badges” group commission that I will be trying to finish over August and September. (Because let’s face it, I won’t be drawing enough, right? ¬.¬ ) I only have footage for one more Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch video right now, which will probably go up sometime this week, but I imagine that series will be going for a bit longer. I’d love to know what (if anything) people think of it, beyond the obvious “There’s a watermark on the video and your microphone is wonky.” Think of those elements as… uh… charmingly kitschy? I don’t have the budget to fix them at the moment. 😉


Convention Schedule


My next convention will be Midwest Furfest in December, where you should be able to find me in the Artist Alley most of the time. Due to budget constraints, I am currently trying to find someone to take over my Dragon*Con room; if that doesn’t happen, it’s entirely possible I’ll end up going to that as well, even though I really can’t afford it, on the grounds that the money is committed so I might as well enjoy it.


So that’s the State of the Gneech at the moment. Busy, busy, busy, but creating a lot of stuff that I hope you’ll check out and enjoy. Life is good.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
For my own ref. :)

  1. Organize desk

  2. Gryphon_2 potg badge (need refs!)

  3. Loupy potg badge

  4. Script for issue five (cot'd)

  5. Issue five layouts

  6. Mail Kamau's power cord

  7. FurPlanet commish

  8. Sky Pirates 2 outline

  9. Record footage for "Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch"

  10. Clean up gneech.com bibliography, about page, and categories

  11. Clean sinks


-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)
So here's the thing. I think of myself as a funny guy. One reason I do so much in the comics medium is because I have an inherent tendency to generally not take things seriously if I can avoid it.

But I have discovered, of late, that I lack skill in just coming up with funny bits for the sake of them being funny bits. This has been a recurring problem with Rough Housing, which was conceived with the intention of having lots of things that were just funny bits. But it also informs a lot of the issues I've had with Brigid and Greg and several other projects. I think I have been fundamentally approaching them wrong.

What I do well (I think) is to put a funny spin on a serious (or at least "played straight") situation. Take for example Ghostbusters (the 1984 one): if you just outlined its story, it wouldn't be that far off from a standard Lovecraftian horror tale [1]. What makes it a comedy is the fact that the characters are all oddballs with quirky behavior. When he witnesses Dana Barrett transformed into a snarling hell-beast, does Venkman descend into madness? No. He busts out a Rodney Dangerfield impression. That's what I mean by funny spin.

This explains, I think, why I keep having big holes in my scripts that say things like "LANGLEY DOES SOMETHING FUNNY HERE." If I was part of a bullpen of writers where someone else could polish up jokes while I worked on character development or something, it would be different, but flying solo I just can't write that way and I need to stop trying. What I need to do instead is focus on the characters and have them do what they will do. It can be a frustrating process, as the characters often want to go off and do things that completely negate everything I've been building towards or whatever, but generally the characters know their story better than I do.

-The Gneech

[1] With the premise inverted such that human ingenuity can totally kick the cosmic horror's ass. But still.
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Okay. I need to get myself together here, as I've been sorta scattered lately. So here we go.

  1. Contact Jacky Paisley

  2. Deposit checks

  3. Resolve insurance

  4. Pick up prescriptions

  5. RH Bonus Stuff

  6. PotG badges to Patreon?

  7. Lia commish

  8. Sky Pirates agent pitches, round three

  9. Redliox potg badge

  10. Gryphon_2 potg badge (need refs!)

  11. Welof potg badge

  12. Loupy potg badge

  13. Script for issue five

  14. Mail Kamau's power cord

  15. FurPlanet commish

  16. Sky Pirates 2 outline

  17. Record footage for "Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch"

  18. Clean up gneech.com bibliography, about page, and categories

  19. Clean sinks


That should keep me busy for at least the afternoon. ¬.¬

-The Gneech

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