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Beachgrass
This is the blog of Alaskan writer/artist Layla Lawlor. Friend/defriend/follow at will.

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All entries to this blog are mirrored at both laylalawlor on Livejournal.com and [personal profile] layla on Dreamwidth.org.

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Kismet is coming back!

Beachgrass


I finally have enough of a page buffer that I can announce this: Sun-Cutter will resume updating in August 2014! I'm so thrilled to be working on it again.

The exact nature of when, where, and how it'll update is still to be determined (I'm thinking probably using Wordpress on my website, but I need to look into options -- that's one reason why the relaunch date is still 3 months out). Updates will be announced here, but the main content will be elsewhere.

I've also created a Tumblr for it: kismetcity.tumblr.com. I still don't know exactly how I will be using the new tumblr, but my current idea is that it'll be a place for posting art, process sketches, and page announcements. I'll let you know.

Here is the announcement I just posted on Tumblr, with links to all applicable Kismet comics/sites.

Although the comic's main blog presence is probably moving to Tumblr due to the site being more active, this LJ/DW will still be kept active and all my progress on the webcomic will be announced here as well. So stay tuned. :) I will almost certainly be posting some questions here, in future weeks, as I work out how my updates are going to work and how to redesign the Kismet site to be more user-friendly and intuitively organized.

YAY KISMET! \o/

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Beachgrass
I think I'm going to try doing it through Patreon.

This is a new service for creators that basically offers an organized way of letting readers "tip" creators for their work. I am committed to keeping all of the Kismet comics available to read online for free (unless I'm forced to do otherwise by circumstances beyond my control), so I will not be locking Sun-Cutter behind a paywall. However, the reason why Sun-Cutter keeps getting pushed back and pushed back is because paying freelance work and fiction that I have a reasonable chance of selling keeps taking priority.

But my ideal has always been to make the comics and get compensated for it somehow, while still keeping them free to read online. I am currently looking into Patreon as a way of doing that. Since I won't be charging for the comics themselves, I will be offering donation incentives like free ebook downloads, reader "cameos" in the backgrounds of crowd scenes, extra pages per week if donations hit certain levels, and so forth. However, you are still entirely welcome to read them for free - the donation levels are just if you want something extra!

I'm still in the very early stages of looking into this and making a plan, so things won't be happening terribly soon, but I've set myself a tentative goal of the end of July to re-launch Sun-Cutter, if I can figure out all the logistics and get a good backlog of pages finished by then. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but the calendar in Kismet is calculated from my birthdate (July 26, 1976) - originally Hunter's Moon took place exactly 500 years in the future (2476), and then when I decided to move it further out and give them a calendar of their own, 2476 became the Year 1 of their new calendar. So the idea of restarting the comic on July 26 has a certain appeal. .... that said, however, I'm not committing 100% to this date because I've broken SO many promises about restarting the comic in the past. I hereby pledge, however, that I will be devoting a lot of time over the next couple of months to working on it and trying to get it restarted.

I also still plan a Hunter's Moon print book, and intend to do a Kickstarter for it, but since it's been so long since HM ended, I want to relaunch Sun-Cutter first to generate some buzz to draw funders to the Kickstarter. That's actually what got me thinking along these lines, because I was working on my long-term goals for the year, and started working backwards from "HM book" to "what do I need to do first" and came up with "relaunch Sun-Cutter and get some readers" as a necessary prerequisite to publishing the HM book.

So that's the plan, you guys. I'll have to see how it goes -- if I can get back into the swing of working on pages, if Patreon works out as I'm hoping, and so forth -- but I'm pretty excited right now!

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Orion found Kismet!

Beachgrass
Orion sent me a link this morning to Salina Turda, a salt mine turned tourist attraction in Romania, with the note that it has a Kismet look. And wow, does it ever. Looking through the pictures, this is my mental image of Kismet EXACTLY. These could be panels from the comic!

... Insert the standard reassurance here that I have not given up on Kismet; I even have about 10 pages of Sun-Cutter drawn that I haven't colored yet. I am going back to it! Actually, one of the biggest reasons why it's been stalled for so long is because I haven't come up with a good platform for it yet. I've experimented with putting the archives up on both Tumblr and Wordpress, but I don't like either one of those. (I think Wordpress with a Comixpress skin would be perfect, but you can't use custom skins on a free Wordpress.com account and I'm already using my main Wordpress install to run my website, so I'd need a secondary installation -- which I do plan to figure out eventually, but I haven't gotten there yet.)

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Short story anthology announcement

Beachgrass
My science fiction short story "Stormrider" appears in the anthology Fierce Family from Crossed Genres, out this month. From the website:
Strong, united families are rarely portrayed in speculative fiction. They’re often dysfunctional, combative, self-destructive, or miserable, when they’re portrayed at all. This is especially true for non-nuclear and adoptive families, single parent families and families with no children, which are easy targets for invalidation.

And QUILTBAG families are almost never portrayed in speculative fiction, regardless of whether their families are loving or falling apart.

15 exhilarating stories of QUILTBAG families experiencing adventure, disaster, and triumph make up Fierce Family. They are families of any constellation: all sizes and configurations, families of choice as well as families by birth. They are caring and connected – when outside conflict arises, they come together to defend and aid one another. Fiercely, and without hesitation.

My contribution, "Stormrider", is action sci-fi about a family who perform search & rescue operations on a storm-torn ice planet, riding native wildlife that resemble giant leafy sea dragons. Because I needed more ice dragons in my life! More info and buy links at the website above.

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2014 Creative Goals

Beachgrass
The "keep it simple" approach worked great for me last year: keep my goals general, with the specifics to be determined as I go forward. So, here are my 2014 goals:

- Match or beat my 2013 word count
- Get a Paypal store set up on my website so people can buy things from me
- Publish the Hunter's Moon book (I plan to keep putting this on the to-do list until it happens!)
- Finish the urban fantasy novel edits & submit to agents
- Revise the urban fantasy sequel
- Sell some short stories
- Sell some romance (match or beat 2013!)
- Write a novel as me
- Write a novel or novella as my romance alias
- Start updating a comic again
- Blog more regularly

This ought to keep me busy!

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Creative Year in Review: 2013

Beachgrass
I usually do these a little closer to New Year's, but I'm in the mood, so let's see how we did on last year's goals.

Goals and results under cutCollapse )

I did better than usual, I think, although it was mostly concentrated in certain areas. The comics and art got badly neglected. Still, I'm pretty happy with my results.

And here's my list of what I sold and/or published in 2013:

Things I sold or published in 2013Collapse )

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Monday in Alaska

Beachgrass
Things look a bit different than the last time I posted pictures.



Winter is definitely here. These pictures were taken early this afternoon.



The plow is on the plow truck ... and the most sunlight we see these days is the sun in the trees at the edge of the yard. Soon we won't even have that. (We're behind a hill, so we get no direct sunlight from November to mid-February.)

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More photos from our weird, warm fall

Beachgrass
Frost-covered dead leaves on rocks.



We have been having still, cold weather for the last few days, which allowed frost to build up on everything until it almost looked like it had snowed. These pictures don't really do it justice; this wasn't morning frost, but an all-day-long frost that got deeper every morning. Anyway, I took this pictures a few days ago, and then last night it warmed up to 50 degrees, and rained all the frost off. Now there are puddles everywhere, and it's back to being brown and dreary again.



We usually would have had snow for a couple of weeks by now. What an odd year it's been.

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Quick drive-by post with a few things

Beachgrass
My long-time comics-making friend Jane Irwin is currently running a Kickstarter for her graphic novel Clockwork Game. This is the print edition of the webcomic Clockwork Game, meticulously researched and beautifully drawn historical fiction with a slight steampunk vibe, about an 18th-century chess-playing automaton and the contemporary PR circus surrounding it. This is a gorgeous labor of love on Jane's part, and I know that the print editions will be excellent quality, because I know Jane and she's very detail-oriented about that sort of thing! There's an introduction by SF & fantasy author Nisi Shawl. It's well worth taking a look; you can check out the comic online at the above link.

My ~14K-word Torn World story "The Lichenwold Crossing" has finished its run on the Torn World website. The story begins here and is a part of the Empire Explores the North storyline.

I ran across this intriguingly creepy link today in which the author Alan Gardner talks about the real-life ghost story behind one of his novels. I don't think I've ever read any of his novels nor heard of this one, but it was a fascinating story anyway! Sometimes life is truly stranger than fiction ...

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