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My best self.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the drawing table pictured, wearing the headphones and necklace pictured. The rest is a bit harder to pull off. >.>





So! How was 2018? On the grand social scale, of course, it was a dumpster fire. This is hardly news. All the worst people, frantically trying to destroy not just the USA but the whole world, before it all comes crashing down and they end up shooting themselves in the bunker. It’s as inevitable as it is sad. But those of us who are working to build something better will keep working.





On my own personal front, by comparison, it’s been what you might call a challenging year– not in a drama and angsty way, but in the form of taking on difficult obstacles and working to overcome them. This came mostly through the coach training, which was a deep dive into 49 years of mud and gunk that needed cleaning out, but was also singularly more effective than decades of counseling had been on that front. (Which is not to bag on my counselors over the years, but they just didn’t have the intensive focus of the coach training.)





So, looking back on my plans for the year, how did I do?





  1. Gneech, Life Coach. This is up and running! I have passed my exams with Accomplishment Coaching and I’m about 2/3 of the way to my first ICF certification. Right now I’m working on fluffing up my client base a bit more, and I expect to go on to become a Mentor Coach for next year’s program. I’ve got a coaching blog up and running, and I’m looking forward to big things on this front in 2019.

  2. Help Laurie Get Her Business Running. Well, I did help! She’s still working on it. >.> The business exists, we’re getting our insurance through it, so that’s good! The rest of it is up to her. 🙂

  3. Stable and Reliable Income. This piece is still under construction. As the coaching business grows, it will naturally come to pass.

  4. Figure Out What’s Up With My Writing. Honestly, I just didn’t have time to work on this with the coach training going on. I have a project in place to take this on again in 2019.

  5. Sell. A. Book. Didn’t happen, ‘cos above.

  6. Issues Seven, Eight, and Nine. Seven done. Eight 1/2 way done. Nine will have to come next year.

  7. Continue Fixing the Country. I’ve marched, I’ve voted, I’ve campaigned, I’ve called my reps a million times. It’s an ongoing process.

  8. Take a Vacation. Alas, did not happen.




It essentially boils down to “the coach training was huge and intense and took most of my mental energy.” So a lot of other things didn’t get done while that was happening. I have no regrets, though– this was something I badly needed.





What did happen was that for the first time since I can remember, I really and truly became friends with myself– like, all of myself, even the parts I had not been willing to talk to since I was four. There was a specific moment that I had never forgiven myself or let go of the pain and shame from, which I confronted and processed… finally. Only forty-five years later! But better late than never.





Confronting this moment led to the birth of Nii-chan, about whom I’ve written at length elsewhere. In a lot of ways, she is the best version of me, and whenever I find myself wondering what I want to do about something, or who I should be in a moment, I ask myself “What would Nii-chan do?” She’s like the integrated version of the Three Lions and an Otter, but even her version of Business Guy is a lot happier. (Nii-chan is also practice for my next incarnation, so I can hit the planet running when that comes to pass. I don’t want to waste forty years of my next life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.)





So, yeah. It’s been a big year on that score. But where do I want to go in 2019?





  1. Bring Rough Housing to Its Conclusion. 2019 will be the 20th anniversary of Suburban Jungle, and it seems a fitting place to bring that chapter to a close. My current plan is to finish the story at the end of issue ten. As my hand tremors get worse, it is becoming harder to keep up with what was already an ambitious production schedule, and honestly, I think that story-wise, RH will be done at that point. So I’d rather finish something and feel good about it, than to drag it out to stay within the familiar.

  2. Writing Goals. My goalposts on this front are two short stories sold, an agent secured for Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, a furry novel written for NaNoWriMo, and an anthology project created with FurPlanet.

  3. She-Ra Writing Gig. Seeing Seanan McGuire geek out about landing the writing job on Spider-Gwen made me realize that I wanted that experience in my life. Spider-Gwen is a character that Seanan was pretty much born to write, and honestly, I feel the same about Catra and myself. I have no idea how I’m going to convince the She-Ra writing team to let me on board, but I’ll find a way.

  4. Full Coaching Client Roster. My goal is 14+ clients by this time next year, including five Creativity Klatch clients and three Mentor Coaching clients.

  5. California Trip. I miss Big Sur like whoa.

  6. 222 Pounds. Something that wasn’t on my 2018 list was losing weight– so naturally I made big strides on that! XD Specifically I lost 30 pounds since May, bringing me to my lowest adult weight yet. I have another 50 pounds to go to be at my goal weight of 222, but I am confident that I will hit it this year.

  7. Continue Continuing to Fix the Country. Keep going ’til it doesn’t suck.




So, yeah. That’s where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. I think 2019 is gonna be a great year. 🙂

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Blacktigr reference sheet commission

Okay, so it turns out that raffles are officially not allowed as Patreon rewards. Like, at all. Some people may still be doing them, but it is technically a violation of TOS (third bullet under All About Being a Creator), so my idea of a raffle is out.


So instead, I’ve decided to invite my subscribers to come up with and vote on a piece of bonus art by describing something they’d like to see me draw over the next few days. Then later this week (probably Weds or Thurs) I’ll bring them all together into a poll and everyone can vote on what they’d like to see. Think of it as a crowdsourced commission. 😉


(Note: This is in addition to the monthly SJ Boogie and other images.)


Ground Rules



  1. It has to be something I’m willing to draw, so all the usual caveats of no gore, cruelty, disempowerment, that kind of jazz apply. Things I’m not willing to draw, simply won’t go onto the poll.

  2. It can involve the SJ cast, OCs, pop culture characters, whatever. It could be another Ponies vs. Daleks piece if that’s what would float your boat.

  3. Maximum three characters, pls.

  4. It can be a NSFW piece (rule 1 still applies), but that would only be available to $5+ subscribers. If a SFW version is feasible, that will be available to all subscribers.


So! Whattya want to see? 🙂 Here are some potential ideas I’ve had, which will also be on the poll:



  • Finished version of Slippery When Wet.

  • Langley: Bikini-top snatcher! And a very irritated Charity.

  • Ponies vs. Daleks: Princess Luna

  • Ponies vs. Daleks: Princess Cadance


Head on over and post your ideas! (Only ideas from subscribers will go into the poll, thanks! ^.^’)


-The Gneech

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Sorry about that! Patreon doesn't like raffles! I'll figure out something else to do!

-TG
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Me and some of my best imaginary friends.

Me and some of my best imaginary friends.


So yeah, my foray into the world of adult art has in fact doubled my Patreon income, which is awesome! Bringing it all the way up to… $176 a month? O.o


Mind you, I’m grateful to all of my supporters, especially those at the top who have gone above and beyond all of the reward tiers and stuck with me for nearly half a decade. You folks are amazing!


But I look at “comparables” doing similar work to mine, and I see…



Clearly, my Patreon is underperforming, and I need to figure out why, and how to change that. Suburban Jungle Boogie was the first step, and it certainly had an impact! The next few months will be building on that success. My Patreon growth goals for 2018 are:



  • June 30: $200

  • July 31: $300

  • August 31: $500

  • October 31: $600

  • November 30: $750

  • December 31: $1,500


How am I gonna do this? I have no idea! So I’d love to hear any input or suggestions from anyone, ranging from creators who have succeeded and how they did it, to supporters who would be willing to tell me why they chose which artists to support and at what level. And once I have it figured out, you can bet I’ll be back here to report how I did it, because I love you. 😉


Meanwhile, please enjoy a word from Leona Lioness…


Leona is not safe for work.

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By no longer showing Looney Tunes, we are failing future generations.


The rest of this year will be a time of big changes for me. I have a plan, which in my usual humble way, I have dubbed Operation: Awesome! It’s designed to integrate my coaching practice and my creative pursuits into a unified, sustainable, and, y’know, lucrative profession, because I cannot very well make the world a better place if I can’t even put food on the table.


Operation: Awesome! has four major components:



  1. The coaching practice itself: paying clients at various tiers, pro-bono clients, and side projects such as speaking engagements

  2. Blog income: ProudToBeAFurry.org; a coaching blog I’ll be launching later this year

  3. Art/comics/convention income: AnthroCon, Midwest Furfest, book sales, etc.

  4. Patreon: new goals and reward tiers, expanding my reach


Creating the plan for Operation: Awesome! was much like planning a car trip: I decided where I wanted to be, and when I wanted to get there, and then worked backwards to figure out the route, creating “milestones” along the way that would let me know I was on the right track.


Next, I made a list of the resources I had on hand to get me started on the journey– including my own skills and material resources; my network of friends, family, and social contacts; and services I could call on. Since I was planning from the future, this part was particularly important because it showed me what I didn’t need to “go shopping for” as part of the plan.


Finally, I created a timeline based on my milestones. Here’s a chunk of it:


Project Awesome! A small piece.


Notice the “income source TBD” chunks. This is a working roadmap, not set in stone, and I fully expect to tweak, alter, or revise it as things change. I don’t know where that “$2,200 TBD” in August is going to come from yet, just that I intend to figure something out by then. I might be making that much in blog income by then. I might come up with a great idea for group seminars. I might have blown the doors off my $300 Patreon goal. But the point is, now I know that I will need to work on that.


At this level, the project plan doesn’t include “action items”– that’s deliberate, because it’s where a lot of people get mired in details and sent into overwhelm. The plan is a roadmap, not a turn-by-turn set of instructions. Once you have the plan in place, you only create action items for the next milestone.


July is two months away, and my situation or needs may very well have changed by then, so coming up with action items for then might very well be a waste of energy that I could better spend on what I’m doing today. Right now, I’m aiming for the May 31st milestone, so I have created a “to do” list based on that and started to put thought into June. August and September aren’t even on my radar.


Anyone can come up with their own project plan, but honestly I recommend getting someone to go through it with you. Project: Awesome! was a collaboration between myself and my own coach. It requires a certain amount of time and brainstorming, so in my own coaching practice I like to devote two sessions to it. But the benefits are huge, and well worth the time investment.


With my project plan in place I am more confident of success, I am more aware of potential pitfalls and how to avoid them, and I have a clear vision of what “success” will look like. By planning it from the future, it feels like “Future Me” has reached backwards in time and told me how he got where he is, and that I am now calling that into existence by putting in the work.


Let’s rock this thing. 😉


-The Gneech

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New Year's Resolutions by Grant Snider for Evernote

What to say about 2017? I mean, yeah, lots of the perfectly-predictable awful shit that we were yelling about in 2016 came to pass right on schedule. But most of the adults in the room, once it was clear that it was all going to happen, turned their efforts to slowing, fighting, or just mitigating it as best they could. If 2016 was the year of yelling "Look out, there's a train wreck coming!" then 2017 was the year of hitting the brakes and getting as many people off the train as we could, and 2018 will be the year of cleaning up the mess– and sending as many of those engineers and switch operators to jail (or at least to exile in disgrace) as possible.

And for all the usual suspects wailing and gnashing their teeth on social media that 2017 was the Worst Year Ever, it had its good points. Bee populations have increased by 27%. The snow leopard has been taken off the endangered species list. Scientists have successfully re-bred sections of the Great Barrier Reef.

But on my own personal front? 2017 for me was largely about getting back my mojo (thanks, Austin) and, just as Kimmie predicted, a year for new beginnings.

Austin Powers wishes you a happy new year, you sexy bastard.

So, reviewing my goals for 2017...

  1. Issues Five and Six, Plus the First Collection. Nailed it. Very pleased. :)


  2. Publish That Book! Nope. -.- Revised it, kept sending it out, still nope. Somebody else published my book. I nearly hulked out and tore the place down. It was not pretty. I don't know what's going on here, the energy around it has turned all weird. This needs addressing.


  3. Finish Another Book! Also didn't happen, despite starting two and putting more work into the the not-Tolkien book from last year as well. As with publishing the Sky Pirates novel, I feel like there's something weird going on with me and my writing, and I need to devote some time to diagnosing and fixing the problem in order to move forward next year.


  4. Start a Company. Progress... but not in the direction we were going at the time. XD The project [personal profile] laurie_robey and I were working on at the time was going to be a sort of "lifestyle magazine/blog/podcast" kind of thing where we highlighted local features, organizations, points of interest, hidden treasures and the like, a more mainstream "Here's cool stuff about [city]!" kinda like ProudToBeAFurry.org was intended to be for the furry fandom. That particular project ended up not having any legs, as evidenced by how easily we got distracted onto other things... but it was replaced by the serious pursuit of commercial drone photography on her part, and life coaching on mine. Go fig! More about those below.


  5. Move to California. Well... no. We moved back to Virginia instead. XD But honestly, I'm fine with that, and I'll tell you why: there was too much baggage. I was fixated on going to California like Thorin fixated on the Arkenstone, and it was completely messing with my head. That fixation drove my willingness to sell the Hobbit Hole (which was a mistake it took me three years to realize how much I regretted), caused a lot of stress to our relationship, and was leading me down paths that would have led to me being just as miserable in California as I ever was in Virginia or Maryland. And if nothing else, being in Maryland highlighted a lot of the good things about Virginia that I knew I would miss, but didn't truly realize how much. Now, we may still go out there someday. I love Big Sur like crazy and will probably continue to nurse daydreams of Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. But if/when that happens, I want it to be for the fun and joy of it, not the kind of desperation that was making me stupid about it before.


  6. Stronger faster slimmer better. Didn't happen this time around. I have lost some weight at the B&N job by virtue of salads for lunch and being on my feet all day, but I spent a lot of time in Maryland sitting like a lump eating comfort food.


  7. Bring the Awesome! This has been working! And paying dividends. My mood is up, we are in a new place we like better, we're making progress on careers. The "Unsuck Our Lives" project is paying off!


  8. Edit Myself Less. This is kind of a hard one to report on, because it hasn't come up as much as I expected. I mean, I have been pretty much speaking my mind when I felt like it needed to be spoken, so mission accomplished? But I also haven't been in as many situations where the inclination to keep things to myself was a problem, so it hasn't been that much of a challenge. Honestly? I'm fine with that.


  9. Reverse course and mitigate/repair damage to the country. Been doing this. Lots of marching, calling various reps, supporting grassroots organizations and spreading the word. And it is helping, in ways both big and small. We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but there are more good people in this country than there are assholes, and we're going to win.


So, a mixed year, but definitely more positive than negative for me.

Where to in 2018?

  1. Gneech, Life Coach. Next weekend is a "trial session" of professional training from Accomplishment Coaching, and assuming that goes well, I will be enrolled for a year's course leading towards my first level of certification by the ICF. Life coaching is a bit like the I.T. world, where there's no legal requirements and anyone can hang out a shingle and get freelance work, but accreditation by professional organizations definitely helps you build both your skills and your reputation. The Accomplishment Coaching program is also designed to get you up and running with a practice quickly– which means having income again. This is a good thing. ;) I have some ideas about where I'd like to go with the career, but they're all fairly vague right now and I have a lot to learn first. But I'm excited to get into it!


  2. Help Laurie Get Her Business Running. I'm probably too close to Laurie to be an effective life coach for her– but I can support her, help provide resources, and so on.


  3. Stable and Reliable Income. Items one and two, combined, become this. ;) Followed up with clearing debts, building savings, and getting back to investment.


  4. Figure Out What's Up With My Writing. Seriously. My hard drive is littered with perfectly-sellable books that for whatever reason I'm not getting anywhere on. Sky Pirates of Calypsitania is now something like four years old without selling, while other authors are succeeding with it. It's a lot like the whole thing of people looking at Suburban Jungle, saying the art is great, and then not buying the book. Do I have something weird going on psychologically with making money from creative pursuits?


  5. Sell. A. Book. Pursuant to above.


  6. Issues Seven, Eight, and Nine. Because that would be awesome.


  7. Continue Fixing the Country. 2018 elections are going to be huge and important and I'm going to work with Flippable, Indivisible, and others to kick serious ass in this department.


  8. Take a Vacation. Laurie wants to see New England, and I'd enjoy that too. Maybe in the fall? We'll see how finances and schedule can be arranged.


In a lot of ways, these feel a lot less "dramatic" than previous years' goals, but also less melodramatic, too. Instead of going into 2018 with dread, terror, or even guns blazing, I've got a feeling of calm purposefulness, and I think that will serve me well. This year's post isn't a manifesto, it's a game plan, and I kinda like it that way.

It's a little early for bedtime, so I'll just say "Good afternoon, world, and have an awesome new year." ;)

-The Gneech
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Midwest Furfest 2017 was awesome!


Hello, all you awesome readers, and thanks for your November support! It’s been kind of a nutso month for me… I started a part-time job, moved (AGAIN) for what I hope will be the last time for a while, got about halfway through NaNoWriMo before I had to punt, and of course got Issue Six and the first trade collection done in time for Midwest Furfest. So, yeah, just a little busy there. ^.^’


December is hopefully going to be less frantic, but there will still be some big stuff going on. I’ll be starting work on issue seven, hopefully to begin posting late in the month or in January. I will also keep working on Child of the Tower (and posting it to the writing WIP tier for my Patreon subscribers). Finally, I am looking at creating another Patreon tier for art going in a completely new direction than I have done before, but I don’t want to say too much about that until I’ve got all the kinks worked out.


So tl;dr version, thanks for a great November, and watch for more great stuff coming in December! Thanks, everyone. You rock!


-The Gneech


PS: Commission Queue as of December 7, 2017!



  • LKCMSL NaNo cover. Paid: Yes; Due: ASAP

  • Redliox/Blue Shenanigans, again! Paid: No; Due: Dec/Jan

  • Joey Gatorman SJ AU. Paid: No; Due: TBD

  • COMMISSIONS ARE OPEN!

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    I believe this is current. Please let me know if I've missed something!

    • Ace 8th Doctor

    • Dipper/Maxgoof

    • Rufo/Parker silliness

    • Tiffany as Wonder Woman


    -The Gneech
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    So recently, at Barnes & Noble, my attention was drawn to a hardback on the “fantasy new releases” table, featuring what was described as “flintlock fantasy with airships, a touch of humor, and an engaging female hero.”


    I nearly burned the place down. ¬.¬


    After the writing, revising, submitting, re-revising, submitting again, and so forth that Sky Pirates of Calypsitania has gone through, to see this thing sitting there made me want to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS SHOULD BE MY BOOK!”


    So. Yeah. I was upset. Deep breaths. Let’s work this thing out.


    On the positive side, clearly someone must think there’s a market for the kind of books I want to write. I mean, there it is. But I have to connect to it.


    And to be clear, I’m pretty sure that the author of that book worked just as long and just as hard on it as I did on mine. My own personal green-eyed-monster popping out notwithstanding, I wish them success.


    That doesn’t alter the fact that I had this extreme, intensely emotional reaction to seeing “my book with someone else’s name on it” right there on the very table where I have been trying to get my book for years now. What I have to do, is direct that energy in a positive direction.


    If this is the team that put the book on the table, I reasoned, then it could serve me well to hook up with that team. A little research turned up the agent of not-my-book. I went back and rewrote the opening, again, to address feedback the book had received on the previous round, getting thumbs-ups from my beta readers, and sent it to that agent. Given that this particular agent has a strict “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” policy, however, the response could easily range from an excited followup any day, to chirping crickets until forever.


    I don’t intend to wait. As far as I’ve been able to make out, the main thing that makes a writing career succeed (besides lightning in a bottle) is sheer volume. The most popular and well-paid writers I know get that way by writing a lot of books. And as much as I love Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, it is only the one.


    What this boils down to is, I need to work on another book. I’ll keep shopping Sky Pirates around as long as it takes, but I can’t leave my career on hold waiting for any one project to move.


    I have been trying to write a more “mainstream” fantasy, and I got maybe a third of it done as part of last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I keep running into a fundamental paradox: in trying to adhere to more standard tropes in order to make the book “sellable,” I feel like I’m just aping other people’s work, which in turn makes for a book that I’m not sure I would read, myself.


    Of course, it’s just the first draft of said book, and so there’s an argument that I should just finish the thing, with “rip out all the Tolkien” being one of the goals of the second draft. But if I know all the Tolkien needs to come out anyway, then leaving it in there for the first draft feels like creating work I don’t need to do.


    So perhaps I should just leave that one in the drafts folder and start a whole new project that’s more like what I want to write.


    But I need to do something. I need to get somewhere.


    -The Gneech

    Mercy Me

    Aug. 9th, 2017 01:25 pm
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    Draaaaaag.

    Me, in the summertime.


    It’s weird how I go through these phases. Like, I haven’t played a game of Overwatch in months. I have signed on once or twice to update the app, but I haven’t actually played any.


    It’s a side-effect of energy level. Since the heat wave around AnthroCon, I have spent most of my time pretty much as pictured above. What productivity and energy I’ve had has focused on my writing, because that mostly uses my brain and my fingertips. When I log into a game, it’s Lords of the Rings Online, for the same reason. (And also because LotRO finally got to Mordor, and there are lots of rumblings about the state of the game and the company that runs it. There’s a non-zero chance LotRO may not be around forever, and I want to get the most out of it while I still can.)


    I still like Overwatch and at some point I’m sure I’ll get excited about it again. I’m a little surprised the Summer Games event hasn’t lit that spark, considering how much I loved Lucioball the first time around. But right now I’m just not feelin’ it.


    But one thing this has definitely taught me: I am not cut out to be YouTuber/streamer. Not in the way the industry exists right now, anyway. I can’t (and don’t really want to) knock myself out trying to grind out 10+ minutes of content to post as-close-to-daily-as-possible. As a general rule I dive deep into projects and come up for air weeks or months later, producing something big when I’m finished (e.g., that D&D map, or a novel).


    This has always been the biggest challenge of doing a comic, fighting with having to keep feeding the beast when there are other things I want to do instead. The only reason the comic actually keeps going is because a) I love it, and b) there are too few good furry comics as it is.


    I’m sure that when the Overwatch bug bites again, I’ll be streaming and posting and all that jazz just as I’ve been, but purely for the fun of it. I’m not going to chase viewers or subscriptions. There’s a fair chance I won’t hit master level with Mercy because I’m not competing enough, and eh, that’s okay. It’s an artificial goal designed to give me a destination anyway, not something I had a driving passion for in and of itself. I’m still going to do my best. 🙂


    But only when it’s fun. ;P


    -The Gneech

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    I’ve added a new tier to my Patreon page, specifically for people interested in checking out my writing projects, including the Sky Pirates of Calypsitania and By Elves Abandoned series, plus whatever else I get rolling in the future.


    Besides serializing the novel draft (posting a scene every week or so), I’ll also be posting items for feedback, looking for suggestions or ideas, and so on. If/when the novel is finally published I’ll make some kind of arrangements to reward Patreon subscribers who helped with it as well, but that’s something I’ll have to figure out when the time comes. XD


    This tier is for supporters at the $3/month level. I believe that $3/month subscribers should start seeing the posts immediately (the first one will come later today or tomorrow), but you might want to edit your subscription to select the Writing WIP tier just in case.


    Thanks as always, awesome subscribers! <3

    REMINDER! All Patreon subscribers are eligible for commission discounts and early access to Suburban Jungle comics!

    the_gneech: (Default)

    Commission prices by type and size.

    (click through for full size)


    Trying to make my prices a little more easy-to-calculate and a little less “pulled a number out of Buster’s shell.” 😀 Subscribers to my Patreon get a 5% discount.


    When not at conventions, I can still sell the books and buttons but they’re easier to get through their respective publishers:


    Books: http://furplanet.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=196


    Buttons: https://snerksandquirks.com/


    Enjoy! 🙂


    -The Gneech

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    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
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    With the recent decisions and actions taken by LiveJournal’s owners, many people are migrating their personal blogs to Dreamwidth, a “LiveJournal-like” blog that uses a very similar interface and can import existing LJ posts, comments, and settings to make the transition easier.


    Unfortunately, Dreamwidth lacks some features of LiveJournal, including direct Twitter integration. But if you would like to have a script that will automatically post a tweet to your followers, there’s an easy workaround, thanks to a handy website called IFTTT (or, “If This, Then That”). IFTTT requires creating a free login, but is more than useful enough to be worth it.


    The following steps assume you already have Dreamwidth, Twitter, and IFTTT accounts up and running.


    Step One: Find Your Dreamwidth RSS Feed


    Find your Dreamwidth RSS feed.A website’s RSS feed (short for “RDF Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”) is a tagged XML file of posts made to that website, designed to make it easy for other services to “consume” the page.


    Every time you post to your Dreamwidth account, your RSS feed updates, and that will be the trigger for IFTTT to send a post to Twitter. Most Dreamwidth styles have a button labeled “RSS” somewhere on your blog posts page. You can either click through the button, or right-click (contextual click) to find and copy the feed URL. If you can’t find it, try simply appending “/data/rss” to the end of your Dreamwidth account’s URL.


     


    Step Two: Create a New IFTTT Applet


    On IFTTT, go to the user menu on the upper right and select the “New Applet” option. That will take you to the “Applet Maker” screen.

    Start a new applet on IFTTT.


     


    Step Three: Choose the RSS Feed Source


    Click on the blue “+this” link to choose a source, and from there click on “Feed” to select the RSS feed option.

    The IFTTT Applet Maker page.


    Select the RSS feed option.


    New feed item trigger selectionThat will take you to the “Choose Trigger” page. Select “New feed item” to have the service scan for new post entries, and when prompted, copy and paste the RSS feed link from your Dreamwidth account (found in Step One) into the Feed URL field.


     


    Step Four: Choose the Twitter Posting Result


    Submitting the feed URL should take you to the next step of the IFTTT applet builder, giving you a prompt that looks like this:

     

    "If (feed) then +" button

     

    Click on the blue “+that” link to select your output destination, and then select “Twitter” as your action service.

     

    Choose the Twitter output destination.


    "Post a Tweet" selection and options.

     

    This will send you to a screen asking what action you want to perform on Twitter. Select “Post a Tweet,” which will take you to a screen showing your various posting options.


    A simple entry of “EntryTitle EntryUrl” will tweet the title of your Dreamwidth post followed by a link to that post, but you have several other options as well, including a timestamp (“EntryPublished”) or free text of your choice.


    For my own Dreamwidth account, I entered “Dreamwidth: EntryTitle EntryUrl”, which produces a result like this:

    My auto-posted tweet!


     


    Step Five: Finish!


    Finish your applet!

    Once you have your tweet format set up the way you want it, click on “Create action” and you’re done! You’ll be given the chance to review your applet and make any final edits you might want. Once you approve the applet, it will go into the “My Applets” library. Then all you have to do is add a new post to your Dreamwidth journal, and your Twitter followers will be notified.


    This same method can be used to create a wide variety of “cross-posters,” which is handy for anyone who runs more than one blog or other content creation service. The results may vary from service to service— different blogs have different methods of consuming and posting RSS feeds— but it is very flexible tool.


    -The Gneech

    the_gneech: (Default)

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


    Skip a week for the holidays, and suddenly I have a billion things to talk about! Let’s jump right in!


    The Gneech on a surfboard shape with the title Bringin' the Awesome


    So you remember I wasn’t satisfied with the “Three Lions and an Otter” motif because it was too close to M.C.A. Hogarth’s “Three Jaguars?” Sure ya do, it’s like the next post down from here. Anyway! I happened to be looking at my LinkedIn page and noticed a little thing I had dropped into my bio: “I’m all about bringin’ the awesome.”


    Well… yeah. 😀


    So that’s gonna be my thing. Expect a lot more bringin’ the awesome in 2017! The three lions and an otter are still there– they’re how I organize my workflow and my thoughts– but they’ll probably fade into the background a bit.


    Commission Price Reorganization


    My last price list update was in the summer and was pretty vague and incomplete. Pricing your own art is always tough– it’s kinda like a magic trick, and knowing how it’s done makes you forget the work and practice that actually went into it. I was told by a few artists I respect that I was undercharging, and I think it may have actually been hurting my sales, if the table at Midwest Furfest is an indicator.


    So this is a heads-up, my prices will be going up a bit later this month, but they’ll also be more clearly defined, so it’ll be easier to look at what I offer, compare it to your budget, and decide what’s right for you.


    “Learn To Use Copics” Sale!


    Also! Part of my holiday splurge was to pick up something I’ve wanted for a while now: I bought myself twenty shiny new Copic markers, and I’m itching to learn how to use them! So in a week or two I’m going to open up slots for full-color real-media commissions at a crazy discount price, with the proviso that your piece will be a guinea pig for Copic practice, so the colors might be a little all-over-the-map. XD


    Streaming Is a Thing!


    The Gneech Streaming on TigerdileSo I have settled on Tigerdile as my streaming service of choice, and they’ve been pretty great so far. They’ve been responsive and friendly, and the site has a lot of nice features, with more coming in the new year. I’ll be streaming pretty regularly on Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday nights, starting around 7:30 p.m. EST, working on commissions, the next comic page, or whatever else happens to be going on at any given time.


    Phew! I think that’s everything for now? If not, I’ll let you know. 😉 Thanks for reading, and stay awesome!


    -The Gneech


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    the_gneech: (Default)

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


    As mentioned last week, I’m in the midst of something of a “brand overhaul,” which includes everything from my comics and art, to my novel writing career, to my business writing and graphic design efforts. Each of these categories need a slightly different approach, and I’m still banging out a strategy for that, but today I’m concentrating on the art end of things. Because this past week I set up a TigerDile streaming page, for which I needed some graphics to spruce up the place. To that end, I tossed together this banner image:


    Three Lions and an Otter! Art by John 'The Gneech' Robey


    Honestly? I like it. I like it a lot, in fact, except there’s one big problem, and that’s using “Three Lions and an Otter” as the central motif. It’s a handy model and I think there’s value in it as a touchstone for myself, but it’s not what I want to use for my “brand identity.”


    As I took pains to point out when I first started using it, the idea was shamelessly stolen from inspired by M.C.A. Hogarth’s Three Jaguars. This is not a secret. In fact, it’s kinda the whole point. It was intended as a respectful nod towards a brilliant conceit. But what do I immediately get every time I reference “Three Lions and an Otter”?


    “Say, are you familiar with Maggie Hogarth?”


    “Y’know, M.C.A. Hogarth did something similar. You should check it out.”


    “Have you seen Three Jaguars?”


    Okay, world. I get it. Message received. XD


    So I’m still casting about for a proper umbrella term to use for my “personal brand.” Don’t be surprised to see me “trying on” a few different ideas in the upcoming weeks! Some great ones I’ve seen over the years besides “Three Jaguars” include Michele Light’s Light Bright Studios, the OzFoxes, and so on.


    I thought about simply broadening “Suburban Jungle” to reference the body of my work, with the original comic and Rough Housing simply being two projects flying under that banner, but I worry that might be too confusing. Those two projects share a history and a continuity, which random bits of furry art or whatever might not.


    So… still chewing on it. I’m open to suggestions if you have any!


    -The Gneech


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    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: (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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