Six articles later, and I think I've exhausted my supply of hot air. With nothing left to fuel pontification, it's time to get back to work. I'm finally poised to begin serious production on 'Volume 3' of the Dreamkeepers series! Cue applause.
But considering 'Volume 2' released just about a year ago, it may be natural to wonder... What exactly have I been up to in the interim? (Besides penning reactionary megalomaniacal articles about the funnies.)
Well if you're curious, I'll lay it out below. But considering my resolute personal need to make headway, this catalogue is as much to bolster my own sanity as anything else. Enjoy!
* Volume 2 came back from the printers in April of 2008 - Liz and I spent the next solid month hand-burning custom paper sleeves, signing & numbering books with custom sketches included, and packaging them for trips to the local post office. By the middle of the second month, we'd officially earned the 'Oh God not them again' look from the mail clerks.
After mailing out all the pre-orders, I had two basic tasks on my mind: Make the website no longer suck, and start Volume 3!
* Liz and I finalized the story for Volume 3, and went through script drafts for Chapter 7. Meanwhile, I realized that technology is my enemy.
* After failing spectacularly to learn PHP on my own, I was fortunate to receive lessons from the talented Ed Mason - bringing my competence level from 'I like Trix' to 'So that's the code viewer!' This transition took some time, and superhuman teaching ability.
* Scripting completed, I drafted page thumbnails for Chapter 7, which Liz and I reviewed and revised together. By this time, things were going along well, so it was necessary to get distracted.
* Suddenly realizing I wanted to make something out of leather (sniff sniff - maaanly!) I opted to create a really, really unnecessarily cool prints binder for the Anthrocon - along with a few new art prints to add a little life to the old lineup. I sacrificed a coat, and spent a couple of weeks with an exacto knife and a hot glue gun.
* After the Anthrocon in July, Liz and I started getting ready for our wedding. This involved a lot of me being on my best behavior, so that she wouldn't have second thoughts until it was too late... Mission accomplished.
* Our wedding was absolutely fantastic - the best I've ever had!
* After the wedding, I finalized some more website pages, and celebrated by opening commissions in August, with what I confidently believed to be prohibitive prices.
* My original intent was to crank out the commissions at a nice brisk rate - but I'd keep stopping and saying, 'Oh, well, this is a really neat idea - I have to take a little more time with it.' On every one.
* In October, I took a quick break from commissions to create the web page and prizes for the annual Halloween fanart contest. That was exceptionally fun in every dimension, and a lot of really cool work came in. But, curiously, I had more commissions pending in early November than I'd had back in October. People were still ordering more.
* After Midwest Furfest in mid NO!-vember, I finally had to close commissions. I was swamped. Initially expecting like ten or twenty orders back in August, I think the final came to over 50 - and most of them were 'full background' commissions, to boot! I now realize a great truth; Most of the world is not as cheap as me.
* Commissions kept me occupied through the winter, and early spring. It was a lot of fun creating them, and I had the privilege of working with some original and interesting material. But I was increasingly getting twitchy about the standstill on Volume 3 and the website.
* In late February, with commissions nearly done, Liz and I took some time off to finally go on our honeymoon. To Disneyworld! Turns out I like Disneyworld. It’s even better than Ohio. Who knew?
* Returning in March, we completed and mailed the last commissions - and just in time for tax season!
* By this point, the old war-horse (My computer) was having some trouble. Enduring years of (looking back, increasingly pointless) college projects, my year of freelance and CG animation, and two high-res graphic novel projects, the half-decade-old thing was about as twitchy as a tegu on taurine. We backed up our files, re-organized things into some semblance of order, and finally replaced the workstation.
* Capping April, we attended the Furry Connection North, and I spent this last week assassinating the surviving stragglers on my 'to-do' list.
Annnd, that less-than fascinating catalogue brings us roughly up to present! Also dispersed within the above timeframe, I was busy researching marketing options and writing articles, drafting a specific business plan to pull Vivid into a profitable range of production, creating video tutorials for local library presentations (and YouTube), drafting a new look for the Vivid Publishing website (which mainly serves as a placeholder until I earn more capital), keeping up with Prelude every week, filling orders and ordering small-runs of the graphic novels, and solidifying our Dreamkeeper backstories and character arcs into a writing bible with a consistent timeline, which resulted in improving and polishing some parts of the story.
So although visible progress is nil, a lot of necessary foundation has been laid; both on the creative and business side. At least, it's consoling to entertain that notion.
Now my plate is cleared, and I need to focus on the two linchpins of my future; Volume 3, the revenue from which will launch Vivid at a professional scale, and completing the website, the hub for all my planned marketing efforts. For those who've been waiting patiently on the next book, thanks for sticking with me! Next blog update, I'll have some Sneak Peaks at the new work being done on Chapter 7... Meaning pictures. Meaning more fun than what you just read.