Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Pretzel Day!

I love pretzels! Especially the soft kind. I used to get pretzel rolls for sandwiches, but got kind of tired of them after a while. It's good to have occasionally. I also like honey mustard and onion nibblers, but can't seem to find them locally anymore. They're little hard pretzels shaped like pillows. They do carry the 'pieces' version of them still. They're like broken bits of the same thing. I like when they're whole. It's harder to portion them out if they're broken. They also have a ranch version, but it's not nearly as good. The plain is just meh. 

This morning, I finally called the Digestive Health Specialists. I was going to reschedule the appointment that was for Monday. It was to see the gastroenterologist that did my colonoscopy. They said when I had made that appointment, I needed to have a follow-up for it. I was going to bring up a bunch of things and talk about my meds. I just stopped taking azathioprine on Monday, after all. So, I'm without a 'safety net'. While I'm in 'clinical' remission, I still have to have something to keep it in check. They say people can flare again at any time, too. I was having weird side effects, and wasn't metabolizing it. 

Anyways, they said he likes morning appointments, and he doesn't have a slot for the afternoon until August. That's too long of a wait. So, they suggested that specialist that I can't stand anymore. They said these are the only 2 who 'specialize' in IBD at their Tacoma location. They said they can ask if one of the nurses that doesn't specialize in it can take me. That one has a lot of slots open for late afternoons. The problem is they have to do some going back and forth before they can schedule an appointment for me this way. They suggested other locations. Finally, I decided I'd make a phone appointment with my primary. I'll see what she has to say about it. I can bring up the other locations. A couple of them actually sounded closer to where I'm coming from. I'm unsure about what to do at the moment with this. I know when I saw my primary recently, she said she'd prefer that I stay in-network and go to their clinic in Seattle. This feels kind of messy...Why did I have to get something like this, when there aren't that many 'specialists' or gastroenterologists near me?

Lately, I've been seeing more things that misrepresent aro aces. It's starting to piss me off a bit. One of the recent comics I saw, that was shared by AVEN's fb page (I of the big pages I follow), was really horrendous. It put romantic aces in a very positive light. I'm cool with that. That's the way it should be for everyone. However, they made the aro ace character a joke. First saying: "Let's not forget aro aces!" Then, off to the side, saying they're "forever alone, and proud". No, that's not what it means! Why do we have to be joked about? All aromantic means is not experiencing romantic attraction to anyone. That's it. It does not mean we want to be 'forever alone'. That phrase is also condescending and makes people look pathetic. Some aro aces do want to be alone their entire life, and that's perfectly fine. But, this also insults them. There was an outcry from a lot of aro aces on this. Many of the romantic aces shot back by saying things like: "I don't know what's the big deal. It's just supposed to be a short and sweet comic." "It doesn't have to be perfect." "It's ok to use stereotypes to get the point across." "They said everyone is different at the end." "It's a good way to introduce new people to it." No! I have ideas where it could have been much shorter and in broader terms. It's not cool to show that to someone that has just started learning about it. They'll get the wrong impression. If the comic misrepresented romantic aces, they would have issues with it, too. And, the 'everyone is different' thing seemed to be saying that about romantic aces. 

I'm amazed that it came from AVEN. I think a lot of aro aces have issues with them, though. I've seen some pretty nasty threads towards aro aces in the past on there. They aren't that often, at least that I've seen. One of the worst was someone saying they couldn't believe that aro aces don't understand love. Saying things like we must have something wrong with us, and we just need to be more open. So much wrong with this! People seem to forget that there are so many different types of love out there. Like, familial love (family in general), parental love, sibling love, neighborly love, platonic love, sexual (for those who are aro and sexual) love, love for one's country, pet love, love of cultures, love of food, etc. I think it's also normal to ask someone about a type of attraction they don't experience. In fact, that brings about some understanding for everyone. When I brought this up, I got a lot of likes, and the op said I opened her eyes. Aro aces shouldn't have to educate everyone about it themselves, though. We're apparently 15-20% of the population of aces on there. A minority within a minority. They shouldn't be saying such negative things about us, still. 

Another one I saw in one of the closed ace fb groups. Someone had posted a chart they found and were confused by it. They recently realized they were ace. It was titled, The Four Primary Attractions. First of all, most people bring up 5. They had sexual, romantic, sensual, and aesthetic on one side. Totally leaving out platonic. I would say, platonic is actually the 3rd major one. Sensual and aesthetic are not touched on that often. At least, not to the degree of sexual, romantic, and platonic. Also, many aro aces go by their platonic attraction, so it kind of erases that. Then, they had asexual, aromantic, and average going across the top. There are huge issues with using 'average'. Better than 'normal', but still...They had x's for what we don't experience, and check marks for what we might. In the romantic part they used having a relationship as part of the example. The aro column had an x with that. It didn't even say something like desire a [romantic] relationship. Somehow we're incapable of having any sort of relationship...I've been in a romantic relationship before, so that's wrong. Also, they must not have known about things like qpr's. It's a relationship based on emotional/platonic love. I would love to be in one. For qpr's, aro aces go by their platonic attraction. This isn't 'just' friends, it's desiring a really close best friend. Mine's pan this way, but others could be things like bi, hetero, homo, etc. this way. Pan, meaning gender doesn't matter, I can be attracted to anyone this way. Some people are actually aplatonic. I can't imagine that for myself, but I'll definitely respect them. About 3 of the aro aces, including me, in the group spoke up about it. I'm going to try and speak up about stuff like this every time I come across it. Might be tiring, but how else are people going to learn?
I also read somewhere that in Bill Nye's new show on Netflix, Bill Nye Saves the World, there's an episode titled The Sexual Spectrum. So, I decided to check it out last night. I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy in junior high. Actually, it was apart of one of my science classes. He's always had a comedic side and tries to make things seem interesting to people. His new show seems to be mainly about debunking things. This episode was really about sex (chromosomes), attraction, gender, and gender expression. I'm surprised that he covered these. I think it would have been better titled The Sexual and Gender Spectrum. Just using 'sexual' gives people the wrong idea. Although, he seemed to use it that way to grab people's attention. I thought it was pretty well done, except for the song at the end. That was a bit much. Funny, but a little too sexual for me. It was very simplified, but I think it's hard to talk about such huge topics in only about 20 minutes. Also, he did say that people are a lot more complex with these aspects. Felt like it was a good starter to look into these things. A jumping off point, and people can look stuff up later. He did mention asexuality and other sexualities that aren't talked about often. Didn't explain them, though. They only covered sexual attraction for the attraction part, which is understandable if they don't have much time. They had a segment on how Kpop is changing views on gender expression. That was interesting. In a way, some subgenres of Jpop have changed those views, too. It doesn't seem to have had the same impact as Kpop, though. I liked his final thoughts at the end. It made the spectrum sound even more beautiful and cool. The panel he had was interesting. One of them was a cultural anthropologist. I wanted to eventually focus on cultural, when I was majoring in anthropology. So, this was cool to see. I don't think I've seen many things in the media that put LGBTQ+ people in such a positive light.

Started brainstorming my memoir yesterday. I'm still unsure if it'll be an autobiography or a memoir. I know memoirs are about the person's experiences and memories. Autobiographies sound a bit colder and more precise. I don't know, there seems to be a very fine line. I decided that I'll officially decide on which it is after I've written it. Just make it my own, and see later. I came up with a lot of topics. Thinking of using those as chapter titles. There are many layers to most of those topics I could write about. It's an interesting way of thinking about what I've gone through. I'm hoping to do a little of Alliance one day, and a little of the memoir the next. Keep that going for a while.

Finished watching Hotel Bon Sejour on Netflix. It's a Belgian, Flemish-language, supernatural detective show. It was really good and full of surprises. Apparently, they're going to make new seasons focusing on a different murder each time. The person who was killed sticks around until their murder is solved. With this one, only people that saw her on the night she died could see her. It might be that way for the others, too. She tried desperately to find who killed her herself. She was able to leave clues for the ones that could see her. That town was messed up, too. 

Finished watching the anime Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan or Saiki Kusuo's Disastrous Life. It was really good. I liked it pretty much since the first episode. The only problem is they spoke super fast. I found it interesting that Kusuo seemed so aro. Not sure if he's ace. Although, he didn't seem interested in sex, either. He would say that romance was such an alien concept to him. He just didn't understand it, but tried to help his friends if things got weird in their romantic relationships. He really cared about everyone, but kept telling himself that he wanted to be left alone. His friends had a birthday party for him during the last episode. Only, they misheard. It was really his dad's birthday, so he made his father look like him and didn't want to go. After watching for a while, he realized he really should enjoy the party they planned for him. It was nice to see him warm up a bit more to them that way. He never actually spoke out loud. Just talked to people telepathically. However, I saw him ordering stuff over the phone before. How does that work? Is he so powerful, he can 'talk' telepathically over the phone? There's going to be a 2nd season, just no date for it yet. It's still nice to know there will be more at some point.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yom HaShoah

Or, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It'll end tonight. I was really into learning about the Holocaust in my early teens. Now, not so much. I think I became desensitized to the stories/events over time. I still think it's important to never forget what happened. Also, to remember that many other groups were affected by it, too. Although, we seemed to be their biggest 'problem'. People who were LGBTQ+, the Romani, people with disabilities, etc. were some of the other big groups.

Promoted Sweet Endless Terror a bit more on facebook through its page and my new author page. Not surprisingly, that author page goes by my pen name: R C MacDonald. There's not much to it at the moment. I might make people hungry when they see it, considering I'm using one of my food pics as a cover photo. I guess that's not a bad thing, though. 

I also just started writing a sequel to Alliance. Not sure what I'll call it. At the moment, it's Alliance 2. I didn't come up with a name for Alliance until probably 3/4 of the way into writing it. With Sweet Endless Terror, I think it was after I wrote it. Before that, I referred to it as a Nightmare Anthology. Titles are weird. Sometimes, even with chapters, I won't have a title for them until after I write them. Other times, I might have the title before I write the chapter..I think it sounds interesting so far. Only got a couple of pages done. Even though I have notes from a little while ago, I'm still not used to actually writing again. I also have to flesh out those ideas, so it takes longer. I might write a memoir, too. Switching from one to the other, and back again. Normally, I just write one story at a time. Maybe this will keep both of them 'fresh'. Not exactly sure what the memoir's going to be like. Hopefully, these won't take me very long to write, too.

I had an appointment scheduled for today to see the gastroenterologist that did my colonoscopy, as a follow-up. For some reason, I was not feeling up to it. Also, the time was really weird. It takes about an hour to get there, and they wanted me there by 2:30pm. So, I emailed the Digestive Health Specialists Saturday morning, and this morning they cancelled it. 

I do need to see him soon, though. For me, today's the last day of taking azathioprine. So, I'm without a 'safety net' until I'm on a different med. The only meds left are heavier and more potent. They're all stronger immunosuppressants, too. I have a lot more risks for symptoms and complications with them. One of the options is Humira, which is through injections. Someone from a closed fb IBD group live-streamed the first time she self-injected it. Apparently, she said that nurses had to inject her for about 6 months, before she was allowed to do it herself. It looked scary just seeing her set everything up. Another option is Remicade. This one is through an IV infusion. I think I'd handle that better. Nurses hook you up to the IV, and you wait until you've gone through the bag. Kind of like I saw when my mom had chemo. People had snacks, brought books, and messed around on their smartphones while they waited. The chairs were comfy, too. Sometimes, it might need to go slower than normal, since some people's systems can't handle it that fast. I think for the first time, it has to be slow, because they don't know if it'll cause an allergic reaction. It's not often, either. Also, want to bring up the pain and lack of sleep with him. That hasn't been touched on, yet. (And, other symptoms I still have.) After I eventually see him, I have to make a phone appointment with my primary to update her on stuff, and figure out what to do from there.

The manga, Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler has been really intense with the current arc. Every time I think the arc has drawn to a close, something big happens. They managed to take down the group that was performing at the music hall. They found out that that group was collecting blood while people were passed out, and giving that blood to older rich politicians to keep them alive. If they took too much blood from people, and they died; they buried them. That group was also rounded up and sent to jail. Except, no one knows where Bravat, the leader, or Lizzy is. They think Bravat might have moved his 'operation' somewhere else. Lizzy, they know even less about. The most recent chapter, was really sad. One of the shortest, too. With the chapter before, Soma and his butler Agni were essentially watching over the mansion. Agni had put together and looked at a photo that Ciel didn't want anyone to see. He had ripped it into pieces, and threw it in the fireplace. He looked shocked by what he saw. Ciel had said it was a photo of the family when he was a little kid. There's this theory going around that Ciel has an evil twin, and it might have been his twin in the photo. I'm still not sure about that...Anyways, a visitor shows up, and it seemed like Soma recognized them. He let the visitor in, and they pulled out a gun. That chapter ended with a gun shot. With this chapter, it seems there are actually 2 visitors. One uses a gun, and the other a knife. Agni tries to defend Soma, and eventually throws him in a room. Agni closes the door, faces it, and holds the doorknob while the 2 visitors repeatedly stab and shoot him. Eventually, Ciel and Sebastian arrive, and find Agni still holding the doorknob, with lots of knives in his back. Apparently, he died that way. Soma survived, but I think his sunny disposition's going to change after this. They were really close. I think this shocked a lot of fans, too. Agni was an amazing character, and to have him killed off like that was disturbing. Maybe they can still somehow save him? I doubt it, but never know with this series. Soma's in the pic above. We still don't know who those visitors were.

Youtube (it's been a while, and youtube has been on a roll with suggesting interesting vids lately):

Fairy Tail:

Bungou Stray Dogs:



This is one of the best tributes I've seen for the series. It has scenes from all of the first 300 episodes:

Kekkai Sensen:

Pandora Hearts manga:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

I used to hate cheesecake, until I had some with a topping while I was at a Jewish summer camp. Fell in love with it afterwards. I think it had strawberries on top. Cherries are awesome with it, too! Fruit in general usually goes well with it. I think when it's plain, it's too rich of a taste for me. There needs to be something that cuts through it. A few months ago, I remember having a black cherry (they were baked in, not as a topping) and chocolate cheesecake from Safeway, and it was one of the best I've had. I think their cheesecake is supplied by the Cheesecake Factory, so that would make sense. They know their stuff. 

Wow! This is the 900th post to this blog. That's a milestone. I want to post more often, like I used to. This month seems to be the best, in terms of posts this year. 

Sweet Endless Terror is now available in print on Amazon! Yay! It's now linked up with its ebook version. It wasn't for a while. Here's the direct link to it: Sweet Endless Terror. This version isn't quite available to all the global marketplaces yet. I noticed it's in the UK and German one. They did say it might take up to 72 hours to fully be distributed globally. This doesn't take into account their distributors within those marketplaces. So, it'll take a while. I did spread the info about it to several places today. So, maybe people will be interested that way. 

For some reason, I was feeling really down Friday night. Some of my friends are into Snapchat, and I decided to download it and checked it out. Many of the pics my friends have shown have been cute and funny. Why not add a little humor when you're feeling down. Perusing the filters was interesting. I did take a pic with, I think, a bunny with ears down. Some sort of animal, anyways. It had big droopy ears, made my eyes bigger, added a pink nose with whiskers, added more blush to my face, and hearts were floating around. My shirt was crooked, but oh well. I thought it was funny looking, and probably the best one for my face. I don't know. I posted it on fb, and I don't think anyone reacted to it. I've had a couple of people on Instagram like it. Again, not many. It must have fallen under the radar with people. It's rare for me to not have anyone at least like something like that. Now that I think about it, with almost everything I posted Friday night through Saturday (which wasn't much), had no reaction. Weird.

When I posted a reminder yesterday for the local ace group on fb, I got 3 quick likes. Interesting. I hardly ever get reactions to my reminders. It might be that those 3 people will be available, and are interested? That'd be cool. It's an unusual one, considering it's the 5th Saturday. For the local trans group, they have the 5th Wednesday as social/potluck/movie sort of thing. There has only been one other member that's shown up to the local ace group meetings so far. So, I wouldn't do anything 'special' for this one. Not sure what we could do at a cafe that would be different. 

I've tried some of the new anime this season, and quite a few felt like duds. A couple of them I thought would be great if they didn't have just 5 or 10-minute episodes. (Normally with most anime, without the op and ed theme songs, episodes are about 20 minutes.) I can't really get into those. Apparently, a lot of people were complaining that so many shows are that short this season. I wonder why they are? I ended up keeping only 5 of the 'new' anime. 

Uchouten Kazoku or The Eccentric Family's season 2 started. It's just about as weird, interesting, and funny as it was during the 1st season. They do 'weird' right in this series. It seems even darker this time. Although, last time the humans wanted to eat the tanuki. One of the brothers, who has been stuck in a well as a frog for years and can't transform back, might finally be able to get out and return to normal. He was recently given a special medicine that might help. He seems to be the wisest of the brothers, yet something is keeping him down there. I think during the 1st season, they mentioned it might be a mental thing for him. The son of the tengu that Yasaburo takes care of has returned to town. He's very into English things, teatime, dressing in Western clothes, having certain furniture, etc. He doesn't approve of his father. It seems if everything isn't perfect or he doesn't get his way, he snaps and becomes violent. He's extremely polite the rest of the time. Seems really dangerous.

Seikaisuru Kado or Kado: The Right Answer, has been very interesting. The animation's a little weird, but the rest of it has kept me from dropping it. It seems like, what I like to call, a very cerebral show. It's constantly making you think. It's basically about an alien that arrives in a cube, that immediately engulfs an airplane as it lands on Earth. The passengers and crew are going to be stuck inside this cube for a month. Apparently, it takes that long to amass enough energy for that many people to be pushed out. The cube is called Kado. The alien's, Yaha-kui, main objective is to advance mankind. He didn't plan on absorbing the plane in his cube. One of the passengers just so happens to be a well-known negotiator, named Shindo. Yaha-kui is only taking him outside of the cube to help him communicate with the Japanese government. He tried communicating with that negotiator at the beginning telepathically, but all Shindo 'heard' was loud screaming. So, Yaha-kui, learned the basics of how to talk by putting a smartphone in a mini cube and analyzing it briefly. He apparently can make small cubes appear anywhere he wants. He also was first shown naked. I don't think that human form is actually what he looks like. He just uses it so humans won't be afraid, and to appear more 'normal'. Anyways, he recently showed that one of the ways he wants to advance humans, is by using little balls or wam that have an infinite amount of energy. Like batteries, but they never run out of juice. It'll be interesting to see what the government does with them. He wants them to share the wam with the rest of the world. I wonder if there are other things he wants to give humans? He seems very peaceful, but what if he changes his mind or gets pissed off somehow? Or, what if the wam are really something else?

Kabukibu has been interesting, too. I didn't think I'd like it, but it's growing on me. It's about a kabuki school club. At the moment, they're having difficulty getting members to join. I've noticed that they seem to be breaking gender norms/roles, which I think is pretty cool. One of the members used to really be into dance. At some point, he dropped it, thinking it wasn't 'manly' enough. He forced himself to be hyper-masculine (trying to be tough, into weightlifting, etc.), and wasn't happy. After some talking to, he broke down, and showed his feminine side. He finally agreed to join. They're also going over the history of it. It's thought of as an all-male production, but was actually started by a woman. She acted as both genders on stage. Another member that finally gave in to joining is a woman. She has a very masculine look, and is often mistaken as a man. She's also into sports and things that are considered more 'masculine'. One of the clubs she's apart of already is drama, and she's into acting. She wasn't sure if it was ok to join, because most people think only men can do it. She thought the story of the first kabuki actor was cool, and joined after that. The one that wanted to start the club the most has never acted nor danced, but seems to be obsessed with it. The other member that's helping him recruit others is very quiet. Still not sure about his interest in it.

Re:Creators has been better than expected, too. It's about characters from anime/video games/books/etc. that suddenly appear in the real world. They call the real world the Land of the G-ds. They know their creators live in that world. One of them, I think, might be planning to gather all the 'characters', and have them kill their creators. She's attacking everyone, though. I think she might actually be the main character's (from our world) 'creation'. He just doesn't recognize her. He draws in his free time, and one of the incomplete drawings looked a lot like that character. Still don't really know. He's just helping a couple of those characters at the moment. The first character he met, just found her creator and interacted with him. They think their creators can help put them back in their worlds somehow. Also, many of these characters have powers, but when they use them in the real world, they follow this world's physics. So, something that might not have hurt people in their world, might kill them in this world. 

Boruto has been decent. Again, I'm mainly watching it to see what happened to the characters from Naruto. Who got together, if they had kids who are they, what are they up to now, etc. After seeing that stuff, I'll probably drop it. It's interesting that the next generation seems to be more talented. However, a lot of it is kind of recycled stuff. The first few minutes of the first episode, showed a much older Boruto fighting someone. It seemed like Konoha was deserted, and Boruto ended up being a rogue ninja. That does sound like it'll be a different 'thing', but it's a while into the future. How many episodes will it take to get to that point? Are they thinking of making this really long like Naruto? I don't know. 

Almost done with Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan, or the Disastrous Life of Saiki Kusuo. I've really liked this one. Although, they talk super fast. It's apparently going to have a 2nd season soon. So, that'll be nice. 

Almost finished with Handa-kun, too. I'm conflicted with this one. There's a lot of misunderstandings, and even if there weren't, it still seems like his classmates are cruel to him at times. He's paranoid of everyone, and thinks everyone hates him. The only person he trusts is a childhood friend, but I think he's the worst one towards him. He essentially created this complex that Handa has, and thinks it's funny. (Although, there have been moments where he felt horrible about it.) To everyone else, Handa is the most popular, some worship him, he has his own fan club, and people think he says amazing uplifting things. In reality, he's constantly trying to figure out ways that'll keep people from bullying him (in his mind), and people will leave him alone. He's not trying to sound profound or anything. This is apparently a prequel to another series, Barakamon, where he has an opposite personality. Or, that's how some have described it. They say it's better, too. I might watch that one in the future.

Friday, April 21, 2017

National Garlic Day!

The holiday was actually on Wednesday. I love garlic! Nice that there's a holiday for it. I'm not sure if it's still there, but a while ago there was a shop downtown entirely devoted to garlic. It smelled amazing inside! There were garlic cookbooks, oils, salad dressings, storage for garlic, clothing, and I think there were even garlic candles. 

Several hours ago, I finished setting up a print version of Sweet Endless Terror, and submitted it to Amazon. They have to review it before actually publishing it, and that could take about 12 hours. Probably will end up being late at night tonight for the US marketplace, and in a couple of days globally. I must have gotten used to formatting Alliance's manuscript for its print version, since I finished Sweet Endless Terror's in one day. (It was probably an hour or 2, technically.) Also, finished the cover the next day. (Even shorter amount of time.) Turns out the smallest size they have for the standard size is 5" x 8". Standard, meaning the size that most of their distributors will accept, as well. An inch smaller both ways than Alliance is. Still, it ended up being 255 pages. I thought it'd be shorter. 

It was interesting to see how long each story was in that new format. The shortest story is The Head, at 7 pages. It's the first story. The longest is Ribbon, at 37 pages. I still think that's a short story. Each story has a different 'feel' to it. 

I like how the cover turned out, except the bar code is going to cover the tip of the knife, as well as the bottom part of the ribbon and the blood pooling around it. It won't exactly have the same effect. At least, most of the knife, ribbon, and some of the blood is visible. I kept the front cover the same as the ebook version. That has my colored in drawing of a skull with a lit candle. The font is the same color as the flame. The spine just has the main part of the title and my pen name in the same font color as the front. Also, all of it has a black background. The back is my colored in drawing of the bloody knife and red ribbon flowing over it. I put the description on the back. The font is the same color as the ribbon/blood. Kind of cliche, but why not? I made it so the titles of the stories seemed to flow (or ooze?) closely over the knife and ribbon. I like the effect it ended up creating. I think it's easier to read than the back cover of Alliance. I had a totally different type of background to mess with, though.

I decided to have this one as a glossy paperback. Alliance is a matte paperback. Amazon suggested it for if I want the dark colors to be darker, sharper, and the overall cover to be shiny. Then, they said usually textbooks, children's books, and non-fiction books prefer it. Mine doesn't fall under those categories, but I think it would have a better impact than the matte. Read a bit about other horror books with a glossy finish, and apparently it is popular that way. Interesting. It's supposedly more expensive to make. Maybe that's why they try to push the matte finish for other books? 

Anyways, it worked out that this one will be cheaper to make than Alliance. Might be because it's smaller in its overall size? Alliance costs about $4.50 to make/print, and Sweet Endless Terror will cost about $3.90. I looked up and compared prices of books that are similar to Sweet Endless Terror. Decided $13.99 would be good. $1 less than Alliance, and exactly $10 more than its ebook version. Just like before...Interestingly, since it costs less to make, the royalties I'll get back with each sell, will be about the same amount as Alliance. Yay! 

I'm getting really excited about this one, too! I've read it also takes a while for books to globally circulate and their distributors to get it. So, I don't know how they're really going to do this way. Already had 2 new likes recently for the ebook version of Sweet Endless Terror on fb. That might be a sign. I think this might be the better of the 2, but they seem so different.

Went to the local trans group on Wednesday, like usual. During my check-in (which I don't usually say much), I did bring up that I might be non-binary, and agender to be more exact. I'm still questioning it. I'm going in circles between genderfluid (between female and agender), agender, or downplaying it and thinking I'm overthinking it. Feeling like I'm really cis, but overthinking it. It's weird. I'm starting to feel the overthinking part less, but it still goes through my head. It's not like I'm always thinking about it. Just questioning it with things, remembering how I've felt in the past about stuff, being more aware, etc. That's the thing, I feel so vague normally about my own gender. Might be a sign...The member that I know is non-binary wasn't in the room when I brought this up. They did come back towards the end, and I told them. They seemed excited about it, and their partner thought it was great. We didn't get to talk much, since it was so close to the end, and everyone was getting ready to leave. Maybe next time.

Monday, April 17, 2017

8th Night of Pesach!

Pesach or Passover ends at sunset tomorrow. Tonight's the last night. I stopped with the holiday's specific dietary restrictions on the 6th day, though. So, I guess I kind of ended the holiday early that way? The problem with that diet, especially following Ashkenazi (Jews that came from Germany and Eastern Europe) tradition, is it's difficult to keep up if you have digestive issues. For me, specifically, with the IBD or colitis. Even though I may be in remission, things still affect me. (What it might aggravate most now is the scarring left behind in my colon.) Anyways, my diet's restricted a bit normally because of this. Also, the change in food and some of the specific foods I don't eat normally messes with it. Especially if I do that for a while. I made it through most of the holiday, which is a plus. It's one of my fave holidays, too. I'll still try to finish most of the Pesach stuff that we have left. It just might take me a little while. Already finished quite a bit of it today. Although, I just noticed that I never touched the kosher for Pesach noodles. They're based on potato starch, and can seem sticky and somewhat gelatinous. (Especially if you cook it like a minute too long.) Sounds gross, but I love it, and was looking forward to having it. So, I don't know why I forgot about them...Just means I can enjoy them now.

I finished setting up the print version of Alliance on Amazon, and they published it on the 14th. I remember reading that it might take up to today for it to be available on their global marketplaces. I think even if people purchased a copy that day, they wouldn't get it until today. I don't think I get paid for it until they get it, either. So, we'll see how this goes. Here's the link to it: Alliance. It's a paperback. I think it might have been better if it was a hardcover book. The only the option they have is paperback at the moment. They might have more in the future, since it's still in beta.

It took a while to get the formatting just right, and I ended up using their template for it. A whole different mindset for everything compared to the ebook. You first have to decide the trim size. I thought the 6" x 9" would be best, and they said that was standard. Looking at other paperbacks in their catalog, they seem to be smaller than that though. I decided to have it as black ink and cream colored pages. I think that's easier on the eyes than white is. There was an option for color ink, but I didn't have any pics or colored text in it. It's also more expensive to do, and you have to add a bleed. With a bleed, it's formatted slightly different. 

The template made it so the document in Word was the trim size you specified. So, that was cool to see. The margins are different depending on how long the book is. Had a bit of difficulty, at first, with figuring out the headers. How to keep the title of a chapter in the header part of its pages, and not have it for the entire document that way. Once I figured it out, it kind of became mind numbing, because you have to add 'stops' and 'starts' for every single one. The other header, which had the title of the book, didn't change for the pages it was supposed to be on. (Either the odd or even page numbers, unless a chapter started on it.) That made it easier. Also, copy and pasting 20 chapters from the Word doc that had the ebook version, took a while. Had to change the text formatting almost every time...

I like how the full cover turned out. They had another template for that, as well. It went both by the trim size and the number of pages. It ended up being 300 pages. I remember reading that if it's 100 pages or less, there's no spine, which was interesting. I think their max is somewhere around 2000 pages. I highly doubt I would ever write something that big...Still with 300 pages, the spine looks rather thick. I used photoshop with the template. I already had the front cover done. The spine has a marbling effect, which looked like shadows of trees/leaves. The back is a distorted version of the whole pic that's used in the teardrop on the front. The pic, that I shot, is from a local reserve/park I went to a while ago. I thought it was a nice one. 

A major theme throughout is that nothing is as it seems. The front is kind of from the humans' (in the story) perspective, looking through the teardrop towards the demons' side. It looks much better than the darkened brick wall and ashen ground side. The spine is where the wall ends. The back is the actual demons' side. It's a distorted view. I used white font for the front and spine, and black for the font of the description on the back. Kind of on the idea of thinking things are just simple and white and black. This gives a deeper meaning than just seeing the front cover. 

The preview proof before publishing it was kind of fun to see. They have a 3-D version of the outside that you can twirl around. It looked thick. Also, it was good seeing the 'guts' as it would be physically. It actually costs to get a print (physical) proof copy for the author. So, after I sell some copies, I'll order that. It's kind of backwards this way, but I want it still. 

It was also tough deciding on a price. I didn't want it to be too expensive, and I didn't want to cheapen myself. The minimum amount I could do was close to $7.50. It apparently costs about $4.50 to make and ship it. The most I could charge was $250. That's waaay too much. So, with this stuff in mind, I looked at similar books on Amazon. Ones that were a similar size, were in the fantasy genre, similar length, etc. It looked like most of them were around $13 to $16. The ones that were in the 20s range had at least 400 pages. So, that would be too much. I ended up deciding on $14.99. Interestingly, many had an ending of .95 or .20. I just went with the mindset of what Smashwords would say in order to be included in many of its distributors' catalogs. Usually, most need to be .99. I don't know if it really matters this way or not, but it's one idea I kept. This makes the print version exactly $10 more than the ebook. I think that's reasonable. I worked out that I'll end up getting 30% of the sales as royalties. I'll still end up with about a $1 more than the ebook for each copy.

I've promoted/announced it in several places online. Partially, to share my happy news about it. I, just in case, decided to tell one of the closed ace groups on fb. I thought it would immediately be taken down, since they don't allow ads. But, it wasn't really an ad to me. Just good news. Anyways, many people liked it and asked for the link. When I gave it, many were interested in it. Saying they really liked the premise. So, yay! That might have worked in a surprising way. I'm still deciding if I should let some of the other groups know...People seemed to really like the back cover on Instagram, too. 

I also had a lot of sudden ideas for a sequel of Alliance. It struck me late at night recently. I couldn't just ignore it, and so many ideas were flooding into my head. I don't think I got everything, but it's most of it. I typed it out in Notes on my phone this time. I think if I had written it out, my hand might have hurt more afterwards. I'm definitely going to start that sequel soon. I might do something like a memoir at the same time. That's something that's been on my list for a while. We'll see.

Next, I'll start making a print version of Sweet Endless Terror. This will have to be a little different. For one thing, it's much shorter than Alliance. So, I'll use a smaller trim size. Not sure how much smaller. (It'll be interesting if I pick something that's half the size.) It has short stories instead of chapters. I suppose that wouldn't make much of a difference. Just the table of contents will be slightly different. It might be cheaper, too. Although, it's a horror anthology. Not sure if they tend to be more expensive or not. I'll have to look into that when I get to it.

We had one other person show up again at the local ace meeting on Saturday. At least, someone showed up. I'm happy about that fact on its own. Hopefully, more people will start coming to them. I think they're nervous about it. We made it to 14 members on the fb group! Yay! For so long it was at 9. Hopefully, with our numbers growing, more people will go. Another incentive, too. I don't think the cafe could accommodate if every member showed up. Although, there's hardly anyone there when we go. There's plenty of room in the back, too. It's kind of secluded back there. I also decided to have it end an hour before the cafe closes, so we could have somewhat of a social time if we want. 

I've also been thinking more about gender lately. To be honest, I never thought about how I actually felt about it. When someone tells me their gender, I automatically get who they are that way. I understand it, I guess. When it comes to myself...not so much. I don't think I've felt like many of the women I've been around throughout my life. I've also been apart of several women's groups in the past, so I've had some experience with that. Most of the time, I just feel nothing for it. I like to occasionally dress up, wear makeup, do my nails, etc. However, it's like fun and pretty decoration. I don't necessarily 'feel' like a woman with that stuff. And, most of the time, I don't feel like doing that stuff. So, I'm thinking I might be non-binary. There are a lot of different orientations within it. I might be genderfluid or agender. I'm leaning a lot more towards the latter, but I don't know...Agender means that the person doesn't experience (or doesn't have) a gender. There are subcategories within that. After watching some youtube vids about being agender, I've felt I can relate to a lot of it. It's a scary idea to me. Maybe more so than figuring out I was aro ace. A triple 'A' would be interesting. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just thinking too much about it, but then realize I didn't think much about it before. So, why not think a little about it? I also don't want to feel like I'm invading a space I don't belong. I don't really know if I am. Just questioning it, I guess. I might bring this stuff up at the next local trans meeting on Wednesday. I've just always thought of myself as an ally, and to bring something like this up is different. Although, I wanted so badly to just be straight, and I wasn't. So, maybe this is a similar thing. Who knows? I know one person that's non-binary there that might give some insight. I'm also nervous that since I don't feel much of anything about gender, that it'll make the people who actually are a certain gender feel like I'm somehow invalidating them. I'm so not trying to do that, though. It's just different for me personally.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

3rd Night of Pesach!

The 1st night of Pesach or Passover was on Monday.  (The days of our holidays always start at night. So, technically, tonight's the start of the 3rd day.) Pesach is a holiday where we retell and symbolically reenact the story of when we were freed from slavery in Egypt. Basically the story of Exodus. We usually have 2 seders or ritual dinners for the first 2 nights. Seder lit. means order, so there's a particular order to these dinners. There's a seder plate full of things that symbolically represent certain aspects of it. Those being: lamb shank bone for the Pesach offering, horseradish for the harshness of slavery, parsley dipped in saltwater for the tears shed when we were slaves (and the green part for Spring), charoset (usually a fruit/nut mixture) for the mortar we made, roasted egg for the holiday offering when the Temple stood, for mourning of the Temple's destruction, and for the life cycle, lettuce for a 2nd 'bitter herb' that also represents that harshness, and a more modern one being an orange representing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Jews. 

The matzo kind of represents both our slavery and freedom. When we were told to leave Egypt, we didn't have enough time to bake leavened bread/cakes, so we made unleavened bread. We eat this throughout the holiday, which lasts for 8 days. There are different forms of it that we can use, though. It can be smashed into pieces to make farfel, which can be good for making things like granola or stuffing. It can be pulverized into a sort of powder to become matzo meal. This is used in a lot of things. Like, in matzo balls, gefilte fish (acts somewhat like a binder), cakes, popovers, and more. Of course, there are uses for using the matzo as is, too. It's like a giant cracker. Some people make a matzo pizza, have melted margarine on it, sometimes honey on it, use it in lasagna, use it in a spinach pie, in matzo brei (basically a fried egg/matzo mixture. Can be either sweet or savory. I usually like the savory kind more), for sandwiches, etc. 

This is my wallpaper for April. It's Rin from Ao no Exorcist or Blue Exorcist. Thought it was cute. I thought, since I actually really like Pesach food, it would make sense to have this as my wallpaper. He looks like this when he sees really good food. (Or, when someone compliments him...) 

My Pusheen calendar features Pusheen as a unicorn. There's a rainbow with clouds on either end behind her. Her horn is sticking straight up, like a party hat. And, she has a mane in blue, yellow, and pink. Kind of reminds me of the pansexual flag. Her tail has pink, green, and purple in it. There's also a big yellow star below. Cute, and interesting for this month.

The month-long holidays for April are: National Garlic Month, National Grilled Cheese Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Garden Month, National Pet Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. I love garlic, grilled cheese sandwiches, and soft pretzels! My kind of month. Pets are important too, but shouldn't they be celebrated every day?

I didn't expect it to be just me at my seder for the 1st night. It was actually an interesting experience. More personal. I still read things out loud, and went through all the motions. I was the leader, 'participant', and group altogether. I even hid the afikomen. The afikomen is supposed to be the last thing you eat for the night. It's matzo that the leader hid towards the beginning of the seder. Kids are usually the ones that search for it. They might get a reward like money if they find it. I got a Hebrew picture dictionary one year. It was fun back then, but kids also got really competitive with it. I also had a seder playlist on youtube full of seder songs. It feels weird to sing alone, so it was nice to sing along to something.

Interestingly, Rosie stayed by my side most of the night. When she wasn't near me, she was on a sectional watching me. She really wanted the food, too. I ended up giving her a little chicken and a tiny piece of matzo. She was kind of like a participant. After mouthing the matzo for a bit, then suddenly chomping it down, it seemed like she liked it. Yesterday and today, with whatever I've eaten, she's been begging for it. She doesn't normally beg like this. Maybe Pesach food's especially good to her.

I made hard-boiled eggs. One that I roasted, another as an appetizer, and the rest for a couple of sandwiches during the week. Roasted a beet instead of a shank bone. We had to throw out the shank bone, that we used for years, when the refrigerator had issues a couple of months before the holiday last year. Roasting a beet is what a lot of vegetarians/vegans do for the seder. It seems easier, too. The juices do look kind of like blood, and that was used during the story on the doorposts. I think it was a bloody lamb shank bone they used to smear it. So, it's a really similar concept. I don't think it was roasted enough, but the juice did come out.

Instead of the usual chopped apples, crushed walnuts, grape juice, and cinnamon mix for the charoset; I did an applesauce, creamy peanut butter, grape juice, and cinnamon mix. This was because of my digestive issues. The hard part about this is peanut butter is kitinyot, which for Ashkenazi Jews (their ancestors came from Germany and Eastern Europe) isn't kosher for Pesach. I thought since it was to help keep me from being sick, it would be ok. Health always is more important. I used shredded lettuce for the 2nd bitter herb, but it looked like it was going bad. We don't usually eat what's on the plate anyways.

The orange has even more significance for me this year, considering I fully realized I was ace back in June and aro back in November. They are considered apart of the LGBTQ+ community. The orange might also symbolize the struggles within the greater LGBTQ+ community. Every letter has its own struggles. Especially, since people think the default or what's 'normal' is heteroromantic heterosexual cis people. Anything outside of that, is considered abnormal, inhuman (by some), or something that needs to be fixed. The orange, on the other hand, basically says you belong and nothing's wrong with you for being LGBTQ+. I think that's beautiful. When I was looking at oranges at the grocery store, all of them were so huge! Ended up getting a few anyways. The one I used dwarfed everything in comparison. Almost took up the entire middle area.

For the appetizer, I had a hard-boiled egg, gefilte fish, and matzo ball soup. The gefilte fish is like a fish loaf made of usually 3 different types of fish, and it's normally chilled. Many people are put off by it when they see it for the first time. Some really hate it. I love it. It's full of protein and good fish. I don't see what's wrong with it besides the gel that might be in the jar and the loaf shape. That gel's just to keep it fresh. When it's at room temperature, it's not the best. Yet again, I forget to put it in the refrigerator early enough before the seder, and it was just slightly cooler than room temperature. Still tasty, though.

Made the matzo balls from a mix, and they came out big and fluffy. For the soup part, I used chicken broth, carrots, and parsley. This is only the 2nd time I've made it like this. In the past, I sometimes would get it already made in a jar, or one of my parents would make it. Dad came home towards the end of the seder, and asked if she could have some of it. I, of course, said sure. She said she would have added onions, or shallots, or garlic, or celery. I was thinking of adding dried onions, but ended up forgetting about them while I was hectically cooking. She also said I should make it my own. Well, I think I did, don't you think? Except for the dried onions, anyway. It's supposed to be simple. The main attraction's the matzo balls. She did say it was good.

For the main dinner part, I had roasted chicken, salad greens with a garlic dressing, and 'savory' herb stuffing. We got a full roasted chicken like we sometimes do on Fridays. So, we just left a little bit for the seder. It was more than I expected, and I only had half of what was left, but it was still good. The garlic dressing seemed decent. I was surprised by how much the stuffing looked and tasted like regular stuffing. It used farfel as its base. They had me saute that in vegetable oil, add boiling water after it sat, add seasoning, and let it simmer until the liquid was gone. Very interesting.

For dessert, I wanted to try a little of everything. I tried to slice the chocolate chip cake as thinly as I could, so I wouldn't be too full to try the other stuff. That was even better than I remembered! Had a toffee crunch macaroon, a triple chocolate macaroon, a marshmallow, a candy fruit slice, and a chunk of the dark chocolate seder plate. I've had the toffee crunch macaroons and fruit slices before. In fact, those fruit slices are usually what we get. Although, some years we skip them. We usually get candied orange peels, too. I either didn't see them or remember them. The rest of the stuff was basically new for me. The triple chocolate macaroon is a chocolate-coconut macaroon with chocolate chips and is covered in chocolate. Surprisingly, really good. The marshmallow is super dense, and kind of has a more marshmallow flavor than a regular one. If that's possible. The seder plate was difficult to break and it's super thick. It has a beautiful and intricate design. Probably will take a while to eat...I think I still ended up eating too much, even though I tried to give myself small portions of things.

Last night we went to our friends' seder. I think there were about 10 of us in total. A pretty large group. The dogs were really happy to see us again, although they seemed less energized.

I did end up making the popovers, even though I really wasn't feeling it this year. It wouldn't have mattered if I modified it more, it's still the same thing essentially. My mom made them and brought them for a few years. Then, she stopped when she started to get really sick. I ended up making them during that time, and have kept it going. I just realized, I probably have been making them longer than my mom did...So, they're more of my thing than it was for her. Yet, I think people want them every year because it reminds them of her...I think they were originally from her grandmother's recipe, and she ended up writing it down at some point? I don't know why she didn't start making them sooner.

The only thing I didn't really care for was their matzo ball soup during the meal. I normally don't like it anyways. I always end up adding a lot of salt to it. The chicken broth, I think, is homemade but there's no flavor to it. Normally, homemade stuff is better. Their matzo balls always end up too big and fluffy, and not really shaped like balls. More like they're shaped like mountains. Not much flavor in those either. I usually have it, because I don't want them to feel bad. It usually looks like they spend a lot of time on it. The appetizer before the seder was chopped liver and matzo. I hate chopped liver, so I stayed away from it. Usually, there's an alternative to something like that. Anyways, there was brisket, my popovers, the salad greens we brought with some dressings, a vegetable blend (kind of like a bake), hard-boiled eggs, and gefilte fish for the dinner. For dessert, there were chocolate covered marshmallows with nuts on top, candy fruit slices, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a fruit salad. The cookies always look like mounds of chocolate chip cookie dough. They're super good, and still kosher for Pesach.

It was nice to see everyone there. Haven't seen at least one of them for a few years. She seemed to gush over me at one point, which I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or feel uncomfortable. It was a weird feeling, but I know she meant well about it. All in all, it was a nice seder.

I recently was messaged in fb's instant messenger, from someone who's apart of 2 of the closed ace groups I'm apart of. I know I had recently posted about 2 things in one of those groups, so I thought either they wanted to talk about those or they wanted to be friends. It was a guy who said it would be an honor to get to know such an amazing woman. Since I was thinking this came from an ace person, that they just really wanted to get to know me. So, I gave him a chance. Notice, he never said he was actually ace during the entire conversation. That should have been a flag early on. Eventually, the topic turned to relationships. I said I was aro ace, and would love to be in a qpr. I had to explain what a qpr was, which was understandable. Eventually, he said he wouldn't do anything I wasn't comfortable with. That was my cue to leave. Just the wording of it seemed odd. I don't know if he was actually a romantic ace or not ace at all. I'm leaning towards not ace at all. But, then again I've never dealt with a romantic ace like that before...There are quite a few allies in every fb ace group I'm in. Some of these 'allies' tend to be people who try to 'fix' us, which is scary stuff. I've already read about a few people who have been kicked out and banned from those groups because of that sort of behavior. Even if they might have been a romantic ace, they were really pushing the romance on me. The aro part of me was getting really uncomfortable. So, I stopped talking to him, and banned him so he couldn't bug me anymore.

Another thing I've noticed, there was also a recent article I've read about it, is that ace stuff seems to be centered on romantic aces. Even some ace activists will say things like: "We're not broken, we still fall in love!" This makes aro aces feel even more broken than they might already feel. Also, I recently saw a positivity meme lumping heteroromantic aces, aro heterosexuals, and aro aces together. I don't care what it was about, it seemed wrong to throw aro aces in there. I understand putting the first 2 in there and telling them they belong or whatever. But, being aro ace, there is no hetero in there. It's basically saying the default is 'straight', which hurts everyone. I have rarely heard people say aro aces are 'basically' straight. It's only been a few people on tumblr to be exact. A lot of people just don't know what to make of us. Also, read an article where someone seemed to think you couldn't be both aro and ace. They weren't either of those, by the way. It still felt so wrong to me.

There's an interesting app that people keep talking about called GayBFF. It's basically a platonic dating app for LGBTQ+ people. My type of thing. I so wanted to somehow find someone for a qpr, and this sounded like it'd help. The main focus in a qpr is emotional/platonic attraction. In a 'normal' relationship, it seems the main focus is romantic and/or sexual attraction. 2 attractions I don't have. Oh, and platonic attraction is a lot more than 'just friends'. So, this would have been perfect. Anyways, I created my profile, and looked at my matches. The closest ones were in Seattle. No one on this side of the water. That's too far for me, and people shouldn't have to go all the way out there for it. (Or, for everything for that matter.) What I put for people I'm looking for was really open. All the orientations, genders, etc. Just no one who smokes or is a heavy drinker. The other side of this is they didn't have ace listed, but they did have 'other'. I noticed there were a few aro aces that said it in their profile. So, that's not bad. I'm happy I saw those few, actually. The app might be so new that people locally might not know about it or are thinking about it. So, maybe in the future I'll try it again. Kind of sad, though.

Since no one showed up to the local ace meeting last time, I started an ace media list while I was there. Things like books, movies, TV shows, music, plays, podcasts, etc. Those that have either asexuality as a theme, or characters that are ace, musicians who are, etc. I've been weeding out the ones that make fun of asexuality, or the creator didn't understand what it really meant, or it was vaguely 'implied'. So, they're more authentic. I also want a representation of ones on the spectrum, and different romantic orientations (that includes aces who are aro and people on that spectrum). One site had a huge list of stuff, and that was a good starter for me.

I'm surprised by how many anime characters there are. I know the most recent one was when the creator of One Piece basically said during an interview that Luffy is aro ace. Luffy is the main character of the series. It's considered one of the most popular anime/manga in history. (It's also one of the longest running.) One of the reasons why I was reluctant to try the anime, actually. I don't think the creator actually used the words aromantic and asexual during the interview. However, he said that Luffy isn't attracted to anyone romantically or sexually. His loves are adventure and food. His friends are his family. So, he's very close with them. After hearing about this, I actually like Luffy more now. I think I mentioned a lot of this last time, but it's still interesting. And, that was before I looked at the list.

I actually found a handful of asexuality-themed songs. One is rather hokey, and there was one that I thought was really good. The others were so-so.

This list could actually be a really good thing to do. Raising awareness, and saying there is some representation out there. Might be good for people who don't know about asexuality. Might change people's minds about it, too. I could share it in many different places online eventually. I want some input from the local ace group I started on fb. Hopefully, in person during our offline meetings. I might bring it up again soon. Maybe show what's on there already when I do. Or, I could also make it like an open document where people add stuff they know about. Maybe both? It can be flexible.

We're now up to 13 members. Yay! One person asked to join, and I noticed they were a swinger. A lot of their profile page was very sexual. Even their profile pic was. So, I ignored that one. First time I had to decide on it like that. Then, yesterday, another person asked to join. There was no sexual content, so I approved them. If there is sexual content, or it's suggested, or I see they're something like a swinger; I'm not going to approve it. Some aces are into things like bdsm, work in the 'adult' industry, or are apart of organizations like the Center for Sex Positive Culture. We have different views with these, though. With the Center for Sex Positive Culture, they seem to be truly sex positive. Meaning they look at all orientations in a positive light. The one in Seattle has some ace related events. They would actually like feedback for more ideas on events. I'm somewhat interested in going to those events, actually. Many aces are sex-positive. Even if they're sex-repulsed when it involves themselves. Also, in general, many groups on fb don't approve people with such content. I'm happy we've made it to 13, though. For a while we were at 9. There's a lot of people I don't know in the group now, which I think is pretty cool. I'm glad we have some allies, as well. They can help the group just by learning about it, spreading the word about the group, seeing what they can do, etc.

Also, someone mentioned bringing up ace stuff at a diversity conference. I'd be really nervous to talk in front of a lot of people like that. But, I'm slightly interested in talking/presenting at events in the future. I'd probably have to make a powerpoint or at least have lots of notes. I wouldn't be sure where to begin. How else are people going to learn about it, if they don't hear from people who actually are ace? There aren't that many people presenting on it in general. I think people will like to hear from actual aces, rather than from people who've just researched it. Maybe sharing personal experiences will help, too. At least, to show that we're not all the same.

I'm almost ready to publish the print version of Alliance on Amazon. I essentially just have to go over the proof preview, and then move on to the pricing. (I've always thought the first sentence sounded awkward, so I'll change that first. I think I've figured out a better way to word it...) I briefly looked at that proof a few days ago. It was really cool to see the cover, spine, and back art put together. You can twirl the outside of the book around and see it from several angles.

I like the overall concept for the entire cover. There's a wall with a grey-ish and black dirty looking floor on the front. A teardrop is in the middle, and it shows part of a garden scene. The teardrop has a glowing effect on the wall. The spine is made to look like it's where the wall ends, and it has a 'marble' effect that to me looks like a shadow of trees/leaves. The back is the full pic of the garden that's lighter, and somewhat glows itself. I distorted the actual pic a little. It's of a pic I took when I went to a local park/garden a while ago. Thought it was a cool looking scene. The lettering on the front and spine is white, and on the back it's black. A lot of the theme of the book is nothing is as it seems. The humans seem to have it more difficult than the demons do. So, it's like the humans are looking through the teardrop side. But, things might not be so great on the other side. It's kind of an abstract thing. I think with just having the front cover, it didn't illustrate the full meaning. So, this might work better. It's interesting to see the guts of it, too. I'm getting excited about it!

Sweet Endless Terror will be a bit different. I might have it about half the size of Alliance, since it's roughly half as long in Word. It's also 12 short stories, so there's no actual 'chapters' to it. Should be interesting. The front cover will be the same with the skull and candle I drew/colored, and the black background. The lettering on the front is the same color as the flame. The spine will be black with the same color/font text. The back will have my drawing of a bloody knife standing on its tip with a red ribbon flowing down/over it. I thought that looked cool. The knife and the ribbon (separately) have big roles in 2 of the stories. Maybe I'll make the back cover text the same color as the blood? It'll also have a black background. I'm adding a description to this on the back, like I did for Alliance.