Category Archives: IseTher (Light-ish Novellas)

I… have not made a mistake, and yet

subhead: One way the sausage is made, if you can’t draw but need to hire someone who can

Now that book 4 of Therapist is almost ready, I turned toward preparing the omnibus edition. This will consist of all 4 novellas in the series, packaged together for print and possibly ebook.

I’ve really liked the individual novella covers I’ve commissioned so far, but a wraparound cover for a paperback is an entirely different kettle of fish. I knew I’d have to start fresh, because as far as I can tell, the cover artist for 1/2/4 isn’t doing complicated-background stuff right now. (Hey, I could be wrong!)

Anyway, I laid out the combo package for print (which is just a long, tedious, but IMO satisfying process in Word) and got the template for the cover from Amazon. This is a layout graphic based on the size of the finished paperback, not only the trim size (trade paperback, etc.) but the width of the spine, which is dependent on the number of pages. So. I added this to the reference document I’d put together, which is a description of the kind of vibe and scene I’m looking for, the art I already have of the character who appears on this cover as well, and examples of similar art that I’ve found out there online. [I always dreaded this process because I thought I had to have preexisting art of the characters, but so far the ref docs I’ve assembled seem to have worked for the artists I’ve commissioned, even when I didn’t have preexisting art. So I think it’s working??]

I posted on r/artcommissions last night, which is a lively community at the slowest of times. I woke up to 56 comments and 7 direct messages from artists, and I think some more came in today. Now, I’m sure some people throw their hat in the ring whenever they can even if their style isn’t what was asked for, and I kind of don’t fault them for that. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and all of that. Plus, I posted a budget that I honestly think is commensurate with the scope of the project, and not lowballing probably helps my chances.

But um. I am currently eyeball-deep in fantastic art portfolios. I wish I could hire them all. Honestly, though, I am going to bookmark every single one and keep them in mind for future projects. Y’ALL ARE SO TALENTED, I CANNOT HANDLE IT.

My old sneaking impulse to commission some more Healers art is bouncing around my brain, too — not for covers, just to frame and hang in my house. I commissioned a piece years and years ago when I was tabling at anime conventions, but so far that’s the only Healers visual media that exists besides the amigurumi I made (because I’m a sentimental dork). The space right over my writing desk is all vaporwave-ish space stuff currently (the vertical poster here and this Lego set), but we are assembling a fantasy-nerd gaming room, so y’know. It could also go there.

Anyhow, I’ve got some art to look at, woo hoo.

Edit to add: Watchlist-wise, we finished Bocchi the Rock! — recommend, alarmingly relatable — and I just watched the first episode of Land of the Lustrous. Boy, this series is pretty. Also, let’s note that I have rambled here before about wanting to write about a character that everyone inherently/instinctively dislikes, even though they haven’t done anything particularly wrong; they just have something naturally repellent about them. I’m like this IRL, but so rarely see this type in fiction (people are just as repelled from fictional characters like this, I guess). It’s a very lonely feeling. (The What We Do in the Shadows TV series has one, but he thrives on others’ discomfort. While this is funny, I do not thrive on being this way IRL. It really, really sucks.)

Enter Cinnabar from LotL, an alien who uncontrollably exudes literal poison (mercury, to be exact) and is exiled from the rest of their species because of it. Hi, Cinnabar. I don’t think this will end well for you, but I’m paying attention.

Quest fully launched.

Writing
Therapist 3 now has a Gumroad link, so the release is now complete. Part 4’s editing process continues with reasonable success. The cover commission is in the works, and it looks great.

I’m still on track to complete this series by the end of the summer. Now, the omnibus/print cover is going to be A Whole Other Thing, and I will need to wait and see whether Reddit implodes under its own corporate greed before I can start that search. (Deep sigh.) But I can get the four novellas out in any case.

I’ve been thinking a lot about What Next, but I think the answer is “one step at a time, fool.”

Other updates:

Games
Harvestella Got Weird in a manner reminiscent of another JRPG series after all. (implied spoilers inherent in that link) I’m in chapter 7, which I think is near the end of the storyline, and just hit the beginning of year 2. I’m still enjoying it. It took until chapter 6 or so for the script to start spouting complete JRPG word salad. That’s pretty impressive. (and look, I’ve played this genre for 30 years, and play over 100 hours a year of them to this day. I love them. I can slag on them if I want.)

The sidequests remain a highlight, although I get the frustration some players have with their bite-size structure. It’s just fun to see a range of topics from “I am a Dark Angsty Dude Seeking Revenge for my Slaughtered Village” to “I am a robot trying to figure out human emotions, so I became an advice columnist”. It’s like each and every sidekick character is coming from a different genre, and I love it.

Oh! And the SNES emulator on the Switch just released the original Harvest Moon. Which is neat. But the new port of Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is also coming out, so between [Mostly Action-JRPG Stuff and A Little Farming] and [All Farming All the Time], I’m probably going to take a break with something other than a farming game.

Anime
Skip and Loafer remains excellent, and I will miss it when the season ends in a couple of weeks. I have still not started the second cour of GWitch. But I finally finished up The Executioner and Her Way of Life — my previous treadmill show — so the decks are clear to get started.

Executioner displayed the problem inherent in making an adaptation of an ongoing work and also the problem inherent in the light novel format, where nothing meaningful ever gets resolved so that the series can run forever. In other words, nothing meaningful gets resolved in this one-cour series. Which I pretty much knew going in. There’s a setup, a couple of small arcs, and then it just kind of ends. But it was fine. I don’t regret watching it.

Button pushed.

Therapist 3 is processing on Amazon now, meaning that it should be available within 72 hours. I’ll put up links as soon as I get them, or ~The Algorithm~ will probably (hopefully?) push it at anyone who has read 2. There are still another couple of steps to set it up on Gumroad.

I really like this one, actually. It’s fun.

[edit: also, I didn’t plan for this to land at the beginning of Pride Month, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Book 3 has a lot of “entire D&D party of queer weirdos” energy, probably moreso than any of the other volumes. It also introduces one of my other-other favorite side characters, a cranky triple-A druid/mage]

Next, working on edits/rewrites for part 4. Sticking a landing is always difficult, you know?

Meanwhile, something that happened recently: My birthday was yesterday (spoiler: I’m old. And an atypical Gemini, I guess), and my spouse got me a nice 4-part picture frame with the two Therapist cover arts that were completed at the time and spaces for 3 and 4.

It’s very sweet. It feels like a promise on my part to finish the series, which I do intend to do. But it also feels like a vote of confidence. They always say not to have friends/family/spouses read your work, and I’ve always made sure to get additional readers during the editing process. But that support means so much to me. I’ll break that rule for that reason alone. Besides, talking about our projects is priceless, and (at least to me) never gets old.

Anyway. New novella soon. <3

Edit: Okay, it’s up! See the sticky post. Or the algorithm. Or the Light-ish Novels page. Thank you and goodnight.

Edit 2: And the next day (6/2), I finished the first draft of one of the Therapist side stories. Yeesh. It’s been a week, hasn’t it.

Whew.

As per uzhe, the setup of Therapist book 2 is proceeding in slightly borked fashion, at least on Amazon – the price is not what I intended, and the author name is backwards. \o/

Hopefully it will be up properly within a day or so.

Edit: It’s up. Woo.

Book 3 is with a beta reader now. I’m still sitting on book 4 before editing it, and in the meantime, rabbiting after a goofy sidestory idea in that universe. I have four of those lined up, potentially, meaning that the sidestories will be fully as long as the main series. Which sounds fun.

Edit 2: Spring anime: Trying out Skip and Loafer, Yuri is My Job!, and possibly, depending on early reviews, Too Cute Crisis. Skip and Loafer is definitely a winner.

The finish line always feels weird

The first draft of the fourth/”last” book of Therapist is done. Which means that I just wrote… back of the envelope calculation… about 130,000 words in six months. October through March. I’ve written or edited every day since Christmas Eve.

What? Truly. What?

Only the first book is out so far; the second is waiting on title design; the third is with a beta reader now. I guess now I’ll set this aside for a bit and, most likely, work on my unfinished non-A&K project in the Healers-verse before coming back to edit this one.

I say “last” in scare quotes because the one thing this series has in common with Healers (except for a level of earnestness that is truly unbearable for most) is the number of loose ends left lying around for potential side stories and sequels. I’m conflicted about the idea of adding extra hashtag-content for an omnibus edition. I’d rather just release some extras online or put together a compilation later. The omnibus should just be an omnibus, I think. It’s probably bad business, but whatever. I don’t like the idea of pressuring people to rebuy something they already have.

Anyway, it’s been a hell of a lot of fun, and I look forward to getting it out there whether or not it has a reader base. Just to get it out there. Just in case.

Two wolves, as usual:

One is worried about burning out

The other is excited about seeing a project through in fewer than 4 years for once

Just started Therapist volume 4, the last one I’ve planned out. I keep saying that because I’d like to leave the door open for other stories or projects in the future, but I will have finished what I set out to do.

There’s more road ahead: books 2 and 3, written back to back, still need edits and beta reads. But I think I’m good for it. I’m on day 65 of writing every day, averaging about 1,300 words a day; 85,000 total across this series, a little bit of Healers, and some errata. Reminding myself that I’ve done longer streaks than that. Just not lately.

Sure, plenty of people write 5,000 or 10,000 words every single day. We call them Real Serious Authors. Let’s note that I’m not one of those. I’m just some asshole with a keyboard. I’m working on establishing better habits like outlining and consistency. I’m learning how to put together a story that moves from point A to point B in a linear fashion, but also gives enough (but not too much) time for the story to breathe. It’s really hard, y’all. Hah.

Not really Fire Emblem: Three Houses spoilers; just rambling

February: January II

Therapist volume 3 has one more chapter left in the first draft. I think I have the skeleton of an outline for volume 4, which should be the last, at least in this hell-bent sprint I’ve been doing. (55 days of writing every day, totaling about 65,000 words across various projects. Which is a slightly-slower-than-Nanowrimo pace.)

I’ve accepted internally that at least some of this is a way to get my mind off the not-catastrophic, just-moderately-annoying, probably-permanent health stuff I’ve been dealing with. I’m pursuing medical care as far as I can, but day to day, sending myself off into a mostly-fluffy fantasy story sure beats stewing in my own worries.

One of the themes of volume 3 is how escapism can become unhealthy. Self-own.

More: Fire Emblem: Three Houses (minor Golden Deer House spoilers)

Two notes: print and WTF

Just two things before I forget, it’s been a long day:

  • Took print off the agenda for Therapist. I did a print layout, but the spine is so tiny that I can’t get a reasonably readable title to fit on it. It feels like a silly outcome, but oh well. I plan to continue with ebook releases and then put together a print edition if (when!!) the four novellas are done. An omnibus would be comfortably book-sized.
  • In the anime roundup, I forgot to mention another back-catalog series we started: Kemono Michi: Rise Up. Boy, where to even begin. Pro wrestling. Magical animal loving. Isekai. Yeah, I guess you begin there. Nearly every character is wholesomely dumb as a bag of hammers, especially the lead, who lives to a) pet every animal b) cause cartoonish bodily harm to anyone who harms animals and c) nothing else, that’s all, that’s the whole list. This was Spouse’s choice (as a pro wrestling fan), but I’m surprised how much it’s made me laugh. Who knew?

New record

Everything was ready, as far as I could tell, so I went through the set-up process on Amazon, uploaded the new book file, and hit save. It went along its merry way of … doing whatever it does for 72 hours, probably making sure it’s not plagiarized or something.

And I realized

The title page still says “published on [date]”

New record: Stupidest possible mistake

Ughhhhhhh

So… new non-Healers, “light-ish novel” book will be out tomorrow, hopefully. This is just for the ebook so far, so I just have to re-upload it. It’s…. …. …fine. It’s fine.

It’s fine.

EDIT, next day: Okay, it’s fixed. It’s up on Gumroad as pay-what-you-want, because I wanted to experiment with that option. So… next would be print formatting, which is a complete self-indulgent bit of nonsense, but hey, so is this whole project!
EDIT, the day after that (11/30): Print formatting done. Ordered a proof. Amazon lost the cute font I was using for the chapter headers, so I’m a little salty, but I really should have known better. Oh well. We’ll see how it looks in the proof.

“I paid for Crunchyroll and I’m using it, dammit”

We’re about a week out from my self-declared due date for novella feedback, which means that if all goes well, I can launch it within a couple of weeks?!

  • collect any other feedback
  • make some more edits based on that (I’ve gotten some great comments already!)
  • finalize text, test digital version again, lay out for print
  • design paperback spine/cover (have the digital/front cover now)
  • Today I’ve managed to outline most of 5 novellas in the series, to complete the overplot that’s teased in this first one. ???? I mean, none of this existed even in the slightest glimmer 3 months ago. I’m consciously deciding not to question it, and to run with this as long as it lasts.

Still working on outlining the next Healers book, too. I feel like I’m still in the “dump out all the Legos on the floor and sort through them” phase.

Fall 2022 Anime Rambling