RP 101 – IC vs. OOC

For people new to role playing there are a few things that older players talk about that may confuse you.  I am going to go over a few topics to make sure that you understand what they mean when they say things like IC vs. OOC, metagaming, godmodding, blurring and the like.  Pretty simple stuff, but if you are new, it’s good to have someplace to go to find out what these things mean.

One of the most basic ideas behind role play is that you are playing a character.  There may be aspects of the player that are mirrored in their character, but in the end you are not your character, and your character is not you.  This is an important distinction!  This is one of the biggest problems even seasoned role players have to deal with.

Our characters are going to do things that we as players would never even think about doing!  I would never condone slavery, nor would I murder someone for an insult to my faith.  But my character might.  Being able to distinguish between a player and their character is a big part of the enjoyment of a scene.

In Character actions (Or IC actions, also known as IG or In Game actions) are actions taken by your character.  Nothing that is done IC should be taken personally.  You are not dealing with the player themselves, and in many instances the player could be just as horrified by their character’s actions as you are.  Out of Character actions (Or OOC actions, also known as OOG or Out of Game actions) are done by the player themselves, and in an immersive environment are kept to a minimum.

If my character yells at your character during the course of a scene, it is not that I, the player, am screaming at you, the player.  Some of the best, and most intense role play comes from tension and drama between characters.  Best friends can play the worst enemies, husband and wives can play relationships between other people, and genders could be swapped.  Unless otherwise stated, you can assume that none of those things are real, because it is done between characters.  It is a story that people are telling, not the people themselves.

That being said, IC actions should never trump OOC comfort.  This is a game after all, and if we aren’t all enjoying it, we are losing sight of why we play to begin with.  If you notice that the person you are playing with is uncomfortable there are several different ways to check in with them to make sure the player is okay with continuing the scene.  If it is just the character being uncomfortable, and the player is fine, continue on.  But if the player is no longer okay with the scene then stop, drop out of character and make sure the player is okay.  In this instance it is totally okay to let the other player know that their comfort is more important than the scene itself.  It doesn’t matter why they are uncomfortable, and you shouldn’t try to get them to explain the issues at the time, you simply want to hold a place of compassion for them and let them deal with their issues as they see fit.  If they want to talk about it later, make sure to come at the conversation with respect and understanding.

Making sure to keep IC and OOC separate is the best way to make sure you avoid the most common problems with role playing.  Metagaming and blurring are two of the most common types of problems that happen when you lose track of that hard line between you and your character but we will talk more about those in future RP 101 articles.

Hopefully, that helps to explain what folks are talking about when they discuss IC and OOC actions.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!  Role play can be such a rewarding hobby, all it takes is a little know how and a lot of creativity!

If you have questions about role play that would be good to discuss in an RP 101 type article, please comment below and I’ll add it to the list of discussions to have in the future!

 

 

 

 

Why Create Jewelry?

Helping HandsOne of the things I struggle with in my life is my need to help people.  I have seen people suffer, I have felt suffering myself, and knowing how destructive it is, I have always felt the drive to help people move beyond that suffering.

I had begun to work with beads very early in my life, my family is very artistic and my counselors encouraged me to seek emotional outlets in safe and healthy ways.  Beads allowed me to work through my depressions and sort out my frustrations.

The repetitive nature helped me to focus and calm down when things got too intense.   I had worked my way through drawing comics to crochet and painting, but when it all comes down to it, it is the precision and color of beads that drew me to bead work.  It allowed me to satisfy my need for ‘perfection’ by being perfect for me.  You can count on the shapes of the beads and plan your pattern around them.  All it takes is some thread and time and eventually you will have a thing of beauty. The problem quickly became a question of how did creating jewelry help others?  Let’s be honest it’s an expensive hobby and not nearly as important as food or shelter when it comes down to basic human needs.  Many of the people I found myself surrounded by early in my life were struggling to make ends meet. They couldn’t buy jewelry and it was selfish to want something pretty when you had to save up just to pay rent.  Believing I could make a living by creating jewelry was a dream that I couldn’t afford to strive for. So believing beads held no value for anyone but myself I pursued a career in the medical field. It fulfilled my need to help people, but at the expense of my own sanity.  The hours were long, the work thankless and dirty.  While I enjoyed helping people, I burnt out quickly.

I make jewelry because I have walked through darkness.  I have felt despair like ice beneath my skin. Whether it be negative criticism about the quality of my work, or complaints about who I am ‘supposed’ to be or even the isolation of being in an abusive relationship.  I have felt the deep depression of one who has spent way to much time staring into the abyss. I believed the lies that because I enjoyed ‘girlie’ things I was lesser in some ways. I believed that by wanting beauty in my life I was selfish and greedy. The thing about the abyss is once you are in ensconced in the darkness, it’s easy to remain there.  It’s misery can be deceptively comfortable.  The idea of hope suddenly becomes foolish because the bullies tell you it is.  The darkness becomes your new accepted reality. “Creating beauty isn’t helping people.”

I believed that for a very long time. But for me making beautiful things allows me to drive away the sorrow and pain of daily life so that I can see that the world isn’t a horrible place.  There is beauty still out there, there is still a reason to hope for the best, even if it is just for today, even if it is for just one, more, day. If my jewelry can do that for me, then perhaps it can do that for others.  If it gives even one other person the ability to hope for a better day, then surely that person sees it as helpful.  Surely it can be their talisman for hope in a better life. Through all my careers, through a failed marriage, through the ups and downs in life, beads have helped carry me over the troubled waters.  They have become an armor I wear against the darkness, who’s hateful lies tell me that suffering is the only thing I can do in this life.  It drives away the thought that being called ‘girly’ means you are weaker, dumber, or of less value, that seeking out positive things means you aren’t focused on ‘the reality of the world’ when, in fact, reality includes those positive things too.  Creating jewelry, for me, drives away the thought that I am not good enough to be loved for who I am simply because I don’t meet some constantly shifting set of societal ‘standards’.  I wear jewelry because it makes me feel pretty in a world that says I am not pretty enough. For me, life has gotten so much better. I have beauty I can wear on the outside that reminds me that it is the light that we have on the inside that makes us truly beautiful.

I have someone who loves me to remind me that I had to love myself first.

I have compassion for those who suffer because I have suffered and seek to ease their pain in the best way I can. To you who read this I want you to know: It is not foolish to hope.  No matter what society says, you don’t have to focus on the negativity in the world.  Bad things happen, but they aren’t the ONLY things happening.  Good works are going on all around you, they are just quieter and usually more humble.  I want you to know that you are beautiful and it is okay to think yourself as such.  Even if your hair isn’t the right color or your teeth don’t line up or your ‘too fat’ or you don’t make enough money.  If you are constantly working on who you are as a person, your light will shine through. In this world, hope is not a luxury we can take for granted. And that, my friends, is why I create jewelry.

Upcycling your Jewelry

2015.07.16 - Beading BasicsI hate to see people throw away their jewelry.  Even the costume kind.  Mardi gras beads are about the only type of jewelry that I will throw away or recycle.  Those are less beads and more plastic on a string.  Everything else can be remade into something fun and more fashionable.  Beads can be restrung, chain can be used in various different ways.  It can all be shifted about and made into something you find beautiful again. Here are some tips for upcycling your old jewelry:

  1. Chains can be cut and the pieces can be made into pendants, earrings or used between beads on bracelets and necklaces.
  2. Beads can be cut from their original cording and restrung with different beads and findings to create a totally different look.
  3. Look for quality components even if you don’t like the original design, you can always take apart something of quality, you can’t make something of quality out of shoddy materials.
  4. Be creative!  Even if you have something you don’t think would ever look good, think outside the box to make it something fun and funky!  Taking a few beads to make earrings is a great way to break up a stash.
  5. Try switching from one strand necklaces to multi-strand necklaces or vice versa!  Adding or subtracting beads can change the whole look of a piece.
  6. Don’t be afraid to combine gold and silver.  Done well it’s totally a thing.  Be brave!
  7. Browse the internet!  Get ideas!  Pintrest is super fun for feeding your imagination.  Just be sure not to copy a design, folks work hard on designing their pieces, be original and create one of your own!
  8. Beadweaving can be upcycled too, though it can be a bit more difficult with the smaller beads.  Making a bracelet a necklace is always a fun way to spice up a piece! Or if the piece is too plain you can always add more stuff!
  9. Check out rummage sales, garage sales, and flea markets for old jewelry.  You can find some great deals!
  10. Have fun!  Designing is all about tapping into what makes you feel pretty, what you decide is beautiful.  If you are not enjoying it, you are doing it wrong!

Here are some ideas to get you going!

Upcycling Old Jewelry with Enamel

Upcycled, Recycled and Repurposed Jewelry Tutorials

DIY Upcycle Improve Old Cheap Jewelry Accessories Tutorial

Here is an example of a piece I re-purposed from two different necklaces.  It was fun and I can’t wait to wear it!

Sun Necklace

Image Comics

Are you a fan of comics?  If you are Humble Bundles are your friends.  I’m not getting paid to say that, I just want to share a great way of exploring comics without breaking the bank.

So one of the hardest things for me to do is to justify spending money on a comic series if I don’t know anything about it.  What is it about?  How is the artwork?  Is the story worthwhile?  If you haven’t done any research on the series you won’t know.  This means that unless you do a lot of research, expanding your comic repertoire is difficult.  I want to explore comics!  I want to read off the beaten path stories.  I tend to shy away from your usual titles, Batman, Superman, The Avengers, X-men.  They are all great comics, but they aren’t what I’m looking for.  Give me the weird and unusual, give me the original and unique.  Tell me a story I haven’t heard before.

It’s really hard to find if you don’t already know what you are looking for, lemme tell ya.  So when Humble Bundle provides a group of comics I usually snap them right up, because hey, I don’t have to invest my life savings AND I get to explore comics I may not have heard of yet.  Win/win!

While not every comic I end up getting is a four star gem, there is still a few that are worthwhile that I hadn’t even heard about before I got the bundle.  Good stuff!

Back in January I downloaded their Image at 25 bundle hoping to find a few of those hidden gems.  I already knew about RatQueens (amazing), and Saga (WELL worth the read) and I had just finished reading The Wicked and the Divine (Beautiful and well written), so I figured they had a good chance of having even more comics I might enjoy.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.  I was right! Image Comics immediately jumped to my number 1 spot as my favorite comic publisher.

From the bundle I now have a list of comics I plan on following, or at least catching up on.

Limbo

A detective with no memory, no identity, and no manners. A femme fatale seeking escape from a powerful crime lord. A voodoo queen with a penchant for mixtapes and hi-tops. A goat-eating TV… A surreal neon-noir fusing hardboiled pulp with an 80’s VHS visual aesthetic, dripping with neon and static.

This trippy little gem is sure to keep you guessing to the end, and while it’s full of magic and realm hopping it’s presented in a way so it doesn’t become confusing.  Love it.

East of West

This is the world. It is not the one we wanted, but it is the one we deserved. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam the Earth, signaling the End Times for humanity, and our best hope for life, lies in DEATH.

I’m not a big fan of westerns.  Not really my type of story.  So when I first opened this one up I was kinda, meh.  But it isn’t a western, it is SO much more.  It ropes you in early and keeps the pages turning to the end.

Black Road

1000 CE. When a Vatican official under is murdered on the infamous “Black Road” while under the care of Magnus The Black, Magnus uncovers a secret so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe.

Historical Comics are something I have explored only briefly as my usual comic of choice is sci-fi or fantasy.  This comic will be on my list for a number of reasons.  It is a slowly unfolding saga that, when paired with the artwork, tells a gripping story you won’t want to put down.

Pretty Deadly

KELLY SUE DECONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) & EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) reunite to bring you an all-new ongoing series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

This one caught me by surprise.  I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as it starts out as a another Western-like story.  But just like East of West it really isn’t a western.  Add a couple of strong female characters and you’ve got me hooked.

Prophet

On distant future Earth, changed by time and alien influence, John Prophet awakens from cryosleep. His mission: to climb the the towers of Thauili Van and restart the Earth empire. But, news of the Empire’s return brings old foes and allies out of the recesses of the vast cosmos.

Aliens that aren’t remotely human?  Strange worlds that aren’t anything like earth?  A story that keeps you wondering what the heck is going on?  Ooooo boy, I’m gonna be reading this one for a while.

These are just a few of the titles that made Image Comics a fascinating follow.  Anyone else have some comics from Image that they recommend?  Let me know in the comments below!

Types of Beads

2015.07.16 - Beading BasicsI wanted to create a list of beads currently available for beaders who do stitchwork.  So I sat down and started making the list, adding definitions and pondering taking pictures to link to each type of bead when I realized that this was a monumental task.  There are SO many beads out there that stitchworkers can use it would take ages to put them all in one spot.

So I have decided to create a list of beads that I have worked with, or that I would like to work with in the future.  That is still a huge list, but it is much more manageable than trying to get all the beads available.  Feel free to list beads in the comments that you think I might enjoy working with that I have missed off the list and I will do my best to research them.  If you would like to see what the beads look like, I have linked the company’s website I gathered the information off of.  These are not necessarily the best websites to ~buy~ these beads at however, so if you would like to purchase the beads, there are other websites that work best for that.  These websites are the company’s websites and usually only deal with other realtors who can afford to buy in bulk.  I make no money advertising for these folks, they are simply the companies that make the beads we know and love.

With all that out of the way, we can start with the good stuff!

First, let’s get some information on each type of bead.

All quotes are from Wikipedia:

Seed beads:

Seed beads are uniformly shaped, spheroidal beads ranging in size from under a millimeter to several millimeters. Most contemporary high-quality seed beads are made in Japan, India, or the Czech Republic. The largest size of a seed bead is 1° (“one-aught”, sometimes written 1/0) and the smallest is 24°, about the size of a grain of sand.[1] However, seed beads that are size 5° or 6° are usually called “pony beads” rather than “seed beads”; the next larger class of seed beads, from 3° to 4°, are usually called “trade beads”; the largest class of seed beads, including 1°, 2°, and anything larger, are usually referred to as “crow beads.” Most modern seed bead work is done using seed beads ranging in sizes 6°, 8°, 11°, 12°, 13° and 15°. Sizes 6°, 8° and 11° are often used in beaded knitting, as well as bead knitting. The extremely small class of seed beads smaller than 15° have not been in production since the 1890s and any in existence are usually considered antiques.[2] Japanese seed beads are generally more uniform in size, shape, and finish as well as having larger holes than Czech seed beads of the same size, but the Japanese make fewer styles.

Cylinder Beads:

During the last decade, a new shape of Japanese seed bead, the cylinder bead, has become increasingly popular. They were invented by Masayoshi Katsuoka of the Miyuki Shoji Company in the 1980s.[1] Unlike regular rounded seed beads, the cylinder beads are quite uniform in shape and size and have large holes for their size. Their flattened ends mean that work created with cylinder beads has a flat, smooth texture. Rows and columns in weaving line up more uniformly, so pattern work comes out more accurate and even. These beads are often more expensive than round seed beads.

There are now three versions of cylinder beads:

– Delica made by Miyuki. Delicas are currently made in four sizes:
– Treasures (formerly Antiques) is the brand name of cylindrical beads made by Toho[1]
– Aiko – an new, precise-cut bead made by Toho, that comes in hundreds of colors,[1] introduced in 2005.

Bugle beads:

Bugle beads are longer than they are thick, creating a tubular shape. They have different lengths but often range from 1/2″ to 2″ in length, and may be twisted.

On to the Lists!  Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list.  This is just beads I have used to make my creations in the past, and a few I have my eyes on for making things in the future.

MIYUKI Beads:
15/0 Round Rocailles
11/0 Round Rocailles
8/0 Round Rocailles
6/0 Round Rocailles
5/0 Round Rocailles
1/0 Round Rocailles
11/0 Hexagon
8/0 Hexagon
3mm Bugle
6mm Bugle
12mm Bugle
30mm Long Bugle
2.8mm Drop Beads
3.4mm Drop Beads
3.4 Long Drop Beads
3mm Magatama Beads
4mm Magatama Beads
5mm Magatama Beads
4x7mm Long Magatama Beads
10/0 Triangle Beads
8/0 Triangle Beads
5/0 Triangle Beads
10/0 Sharp Triangle
8/0 Sharp Triangle
5/0 Sharp Triangle
1.8×1.8×1.8 Square Beads
3x3x3 Square Beads
4x4x4 Square Beads
2.0x6mm Twist Bugle Beads
2.0x9mm Twist Bugle Beads
2.0x12mm Twist Bugle Beads
2.7x12mm Twist Bugle Beads
3.4x12mm Twist Bugle Beads
2.7x20mm Twist Bugle Beads
3.4x20mm Twist Bugle Beads
10/0 Twist Bead
Macrame Beads
15/0 Delicas
15/0 Cut Delicas
11/0 Delicas
11/0 Cut Delicas
10/0 Delicas
10/0 Cut Delicas
8/0 Delicas
8/0 Cut Delicas
10/0 3 Cut Beads
Tila Beads
Half Tila Beads
Berry Beads

Swarovski Beads:
2mm Bicone 5301
3mm Bicone 5301
4mm Bicone 5301
6mm Bicone 5301
8mm Bicone 5301
12mm Bicone 5301
2mm Bicone Xilion 5328
3mm Bicone Xilion 5328
4mm Bicone Xilion 5328
5mm Bicone Xilion 5328
6mm Bicone Xilion 5328
8mm Bicone Xilion 5328
10mm Bicone Xillion 5328
4mm Cube 5601
6mm Cube 5601
8mm Cube 5601
10mm Cube 5601
12mm Cube 5601
4mm Helix 5020
6mm Helix 5020
8mm Helix 5020
10mm Helix 5020
12mm Helix 5020
2mm Rounds 5000
3mm Rounds 5000
4mm Rounds 5000
6mm Rounds 5000
8mm Rounds 5000
10mm Rounds 5000
12mm Rounds 5000
14mm Rounds 5000
8mm Chessboard Round 5005
12mm Chessboard Round 5005
16mm Chessboard Round 5005

Swarovski Pearls:
3mm Round Pearls
4mm Round Pearls
5mm Round Pearls
6mm Round Pearls
8mm Round Pearls
Teardrop Pearls

TOHO:
15/0 Round
11/0 Round
6/0 Round
3/0 Round
8/0 Round
1.5mm Cubes
3mm Cubes
4mm Cubes
3mm Magatamas
4mm Magatamas
11/0 Triangle
8/0 Triangle
11/0 Hex
8/0 Hex
11/0 Treasures
3mm Treasures
#1 Bugle
#2 Bugle
#3 Bugle
#3 Twisted Bugle
2mm Bugle

Czech Pressed Beads:
Tiles
Quadratile
Melons
Lentil
QuadraLentil
Bricks
Crescent
Daggers
Two-Hole Daggers
Triangles
Bars
Leaves
Rondell
Stars
Tear Drops
Angel Wings
Dime beads
Cubes
Flowers
Pinch Beads
Donuts
Duck Bills
Rulla
Rose Petals
Coin
Rizo
Super Duos
Super Unos
Mini Duos
O-Beads
6mm Two Hole Pyramid Studs
8mm Two Hole Pyramid Studs
12mm Two Hole Pyramid Studs

Czech Firepolished:
2mm
3mm
4mm
6mm
8mm
12mm
Rondell
Gemstone Donut
Teardrop
Nugget
Antique Style Facetted
Antique Style Octagonal
Facetted Crow
Antique Style Triangle
German Style Triangle
Faceted Cubes
Renaissance
Rosebud
Fluted

Czech Machine Cut Beads:
3/3mm Bicone
4/4mm Bicone
5/5mm Bicone
6/6mm Bicone
5/3mm Spacer
4mm Round
6mm Round
6/10mm Teardrop
9/18mm Teardrop

Bead Colors and Finishes

2015.07.16 - Beading BasicsWhen you work with glass to make beads, you have a variety of different ways you can accent your basic color of glass.  There are ways to put color beneath the main color, and ways to overlay other colors on top of your main color.  You can have a blue glass base, and add an Aurora Borealis topcoat to totally change the whole look of the bead.  Though, it will typically also change the price.

I’m a huge fan of the special finishes and most of my work will have some fancy colors throughout the piece.  Because of this I compiled a list of what kind of special finishes you can find and use in your beadwork.

Some of these finishes are permanent, some will wear off with continued contact with the skin.  (Skin is very acidic!) You can treat some of the beads with outside finishes so your special finishes don’t wear off as quickly.   It’s good to know what finishes are on your bead so that you can create jewelry that will look good for as long as it can!

Swarovski Crystal has its own types of finishes and there are companies out there who specialize in creating unique finishes on the base Swarovski beads.  Keep in mind, Swarovski discontinues colors and finishes on a fairly regular basis so it can be hard to find some of the older finishes.

Honestly, it’s hard to keep track of all the different colors and specialized finishes, so this is not an exhaustive list.  You will need to check with a store to see if any of the effects have been discontinued.  I would love to keep this list up to date so if you notice anythign that needs to be changed let me know!

Glass Beads:

  • AB or aurora borealis – a rainbow effect applied to the surface of a seed bead.
  • Bronze-lined – a bronzy coating which reflects a brown light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Ceylon – A pearl luster finish. Sometimes the color of this bead fades when exposed to strong sunlight.
  • Color lined – a color coating is applied inside the beads; sometimes this is not very durable and the color of finished work may appear very different in a short time.
  • Copper-lined – a coppery coating which reflects a reddish light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Duracoat – “Duracoat®” is durable clear coating for outside dyed or galvanized beads. It is thicker and stronger coating than traditional one.
  • Iris – An iridescent coating with multiple hues, usually on dark, opaque beads.
  • Luster or lustre – a transparent “pearl” effect applied to the surface of the seed bead.
  • Marea – Same process as AB but results in a primarily orange/yellow reflection.
  • Matte – the bead is textured on a microscopic level to result in a matte finish.
  • Metallic or Galvanized – A shiny, very reflective coating that gives the bead a look of metal.
  • Metal – seed beads made of metal. These beads have sharper edges than most seed beads, so use of a stronger thread is recommended. Metal seed beads have larger holes and function well as an inexpensive alternative to spacer beads.
  • Opaque – the solid color prevents light from passing through the bead.
  • Picasso Coating – gives a speckled multi-colored effect over a solid color bead.
  • Rainbow – An iridescent coating on the outside of either opaque or transparent beads.
  • Silver-lined – a silvery coating which reflects light is applied to the inside of the seed bead.
  • Satin – fiber-optic tubular seed bead with slight striations. Made from a different type of glass than other seed beads, satin seed beads have sharper edges, so use of a strong thread is recommended.
  • Opal – semi-translucent finish that is often achieved with a dye on the surface. This finish is at risk of wearing away or fading.
  • Dyed – seed beads are coated with a dye that is often impermanent. Dyed seed beads in bright pinks, purples and reds are less stable and more likely to wear and fade.
  • Transparent – the glass is see-through.  You will need to use similar color thread with these beads if you do not want it seen.
  • Translucent – one can see light through the bead, although the light is diffused.
  • Vitrail – Same process as AB but results in a primarily pink/green reflection.

Swarovski Finishes:

  • AB
  • Ab2x
  • Satin
  • Blue Shade
  • Golden Shadow
  • Silver Night
  • Lilac Shadow
  • Paradise Shine
  • Antique Pink
  • Luminous Green
  • Moonlight
  • Silver Shade
  • Red Magma
  • Copper
  • Vitrail Medium
  • Comet Argent Light
  • Hematite 2x
  • Metallic Light Gold 2x
  • Crystal Rose Gold
  • Crystal Rose Gold 2x
  • Iridescent Green
  • Metallic Sunshine
  • Dorado 2x
  • Hematite
  • Metallic Blue 2x
  • Bronze Shade
  • Astral Pink
  • Heliotrope
  • Mahogany
  • Purple Haze
  • Chili Pepper
  • Nut 2x
  • Electra I
  • Summer Blush
  • Bronze Shade 2x
  • Aurum 2x
  • Sky Blue
  • Crystal Iridescent Green 2x
  • Metallic Sunshine 2x
  • Star Shine
  • Volcano
  • Dorado
  • Metallic Blue

These are two of my favorite stores.  They have some great information about seed beads and the durability of their finishes.  Between these two stores I can find pretty much anything I need.

Fire Mountain Gems

Fusion Beads Blog

Face Lifts and Updates

I tend to compartmentalize my life.  For a very long time I assumed that was the only way to survive.  This is shown most clearly in my websites.  I’ve got The Ephemeral Prosaist, a blog for my writings, The Jeweled Heron, a shop to showcase my Jewelry, The Prophet’s Web, a website for my ongoing comic and just yesterday I was contemplating another blog for my LARP related writings.  My brain then took to wild imaginings of what else I would enjoy writing about and what blogs I might need for those.

I really don’t have time to devote to 4+ blogs.  I really don’t.

So why do I feel the need to compartmentalize so much?  Fear that folks might see the entirety of my being?  That folks who buy my jewelry might be shocked to find out I create a comic?  That I run a LARP?  Honestly?

Having a centralized location to showcase my work will in turn, let everyone see more of me than just the writings I have done or the Jewelry I have created.  It will allow me to update the blog more than once a quarter because I can post about what inspires me at the time and not have to worry about writing for ALL the topics because what inevitably happens is I’ll get passionate about one topic, and simply blank on another.  By condensing my blogs into one that showcases all that I do, you will get to know me a little better and, I hope, I will get to know you a little better too.

I have many passions and hobbies I want to share with people and I think that this webpage will be a great place to do this.

So, it’s time for some spring cleaning!

The webpage got a face lift, a new theme, some new artwork and a reorganization of the navigation bar.  The About the Author page has been rewritten to reflect the change of direction I am taking with this page.

I will be shutting down my jewelry website.  There is a number of reasons for this I won’t get into here but I have made the decision to simply showcase my work and focus on teaching the joys of beading instead.  I love sharing my passion.  Watching folks get as excited about beads, and more generally, the act of creation, is an absolute delight.  I don’t need to sell my works to share that excitement.

My comic, based in the world of the Demon Chronicles and my novella Dreaming of White Marble Tombstones, will continue to have it’s own webpage, but I will be cross-posting extras and comic related talk here.  My love for the comic genre is deep, and thanks to Humble Bundle’s generous comic offerings, I have been able to explore comics I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  I’ll share with you what I find!

Of course I will post on my LARP business and my other hobbies as well, exploring the world of Steampunk, Second Life fashion and helping new folks learn to avoid the most common role play mistakes.  I’ll still post my short stories and poems as I create them.

All in all, I think that this change will make this page busy again, and give me some ability to focus, rather than compartmentalize myself to the point of insanity.

I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

{DR} – Bitter Cold

Zell-Ann hated this time of year, not just because of the bitter cold, the kind of cold that felt like it tore ribbons of flesh from any exposed skin, but because she had to leave the town. It was bad enough that she had to live away from the warm love of her family, but then to be forced to leave the only place she had ties to here in this cold hell as well?

It made her feel rootless, drifting in a sea of blood and bureaucracy.

Nothing would stop the paperwork. She had no doubt that when the gravemind finally took her the only memory of her that would remain would be her signature on the mountains of paperwork she would leave behind.

Bitter? Yes. But undoubtedly true.
She hadn’t seen her brothers and sisters in over 10 years and it was this time of year that had that familiar ache rising to the surface of her skin, as if the cold drew it out, wringing it from her soul. It seemed to hold them up in front of her eyes and laugh at her attempts to focus on her work.

She threw another log on the fire and cursed silently.

Well, at least she was going to go home now. But to what? None of the shipments had arrived on schedule and the navy said they had nothing left to spare. It was the dead times. When the cold of your flesh fought with the ache in your belly for attention. When even the animals had started dying for lack of food.

She had told them to prepare, she only hoped it would be enough.

She began placing bets with herself on who would make it through the cold season, like she did every year. It was a morbid game that helped keep her mind off her missing family and the creeping numbness that nipped at her fingers.

“Hmmm…” she murmurs softly, “The most prepared for the cold this year would have to be…”

She was still trying to decide when the raiders crept out of the wood line.

The cold was suddenly the least of her problems.

{DR} Alice Returns to SHC

2016-08-04-14-27-59b
Primus was sitting on the outside seat, if you could call it a seat. Alice would have called it a crate, but what did she know? The conductor made it sound like the lap of luxury. They paid a pretty penny to have it, and she wasn’t about to show how spoiled she was having been traveling with Armani.

Primus, her grumpy old protector. The leader of the Poets of the Fall. She smiled at him wistfully, thinking of all their years together. They must make a strange sight, a lumbering retrograde with a fearsome mask, giant bone club and an attitude to match. She, with her hood up to cover her ascension markings, black robes under her leather trench coat, only a dagger, and a med bag by her side.

She leaned against the window, eyes watching the landscape slide by and as usually happens when she has a moment of quiet, the music begins to play.

“It’s a bad trip on a sinking ship, when no-one seems responsible
Scapegoat to rock the boat, yeah, we need someone expendable”

Were they doing the right thing? She had heard rumors that the Fort was gone, that everyone had moved to the Landing. She didn’t believe half of what was spoken about, but the folks there were certainly crazy enough to make such a move. This new town, Steel Horse Crossing, full of Rovers and DJs, seemed like a far fetched dream. She had visited only briefly before, but Kai and Armani spoke highly of it.

“Is there a hero somewhere, someone who appears and saves the day
Someone who holds out a hand and turns back time
Is there a hero somewhere, someone who will never walk away
Who doesn’t turn a blind eye to a crime”

The Poets were far from heros, despite their best efforts. Yet the music demanded they try.

She closed her eyes, listening to the thumping beat, and matched her pulse to it’s rhythm.

If the music demanded it. She would make damned sure it got done. She was the music, she was a Poet, and she would do what was right.

But what was the right thing to do?

“Vengeance is mine
Vengeance is mine, mine, mine
To forgive is divine
But vengeance is mine, mine, mine”

Her lips curled into a wicked semblance of a smile, and the beat grew louder until it roared above even the sound of the train.

Hours later Primus shifted next to her with a grunt and she nodded, pulling her Doctor’s bag close. They were almost there.

Zombie Moon

Iron Hard
In the silence
between painful gasps
that draws the blood in a gathered drip
when your pulse slows
and your heart gives
one
final
beat
It is in that silence when you finally hear a shifting in the woods.
a subtle rustle of the bushes where animals refuse to tread
or a loud crack of a twig from a mindless step.Relentless steps that you cannot run from.
They never tire, they never slow.

And you, with no weapon to defend yourself
no light to guide your way in the dark forest
only the frantic sound of your terror
beating in your ears.

Dare you to run, wounded and blind?
Dare you to stay, and hope they cannot smell your fear?

Dare you?

It is in the silence
between painful gasps
when the blood gathers in your wounds
that you decide if your
heart will give
one
final
beat

As it spills it’s life into the mouth of the already dead
while you scream for a mercy it has no mind to give.

Or if it will run, as you run,
thumping frantically, like a frightened rabbit,
dashing away from the sound into the unknown,
a prayer of safer places,
of heavier hands to protect you,
to heal your wounds.

You hear a crack.
Closer
A final warning.
Your eyes widen with fear.

Dare you?