lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
I turned in my apocalypse story yesterday morning. I will let you all know what, if anything, becomes of that. It was a good story for me to write. I normally DON'T use writing as therapy, but this one was a good vehicle to work out some of my feelings about my cats' deaths. It was kind of a "the world ends, but you go on anyway" sort of apocalypse.

Now it's time to turn my attention to Unjust Cause and getting that thing in order for Wizard Tower Press.

Last night, we had a guest. Mason has several close friends on his Overwatch Team. One of them is a young person named Græ (pronounced like Gray, and might even be spelled with a 'y' also. That is their online persona, but what Mason calls them, so...), who just happened to be in town with their parents visiting Macalaster College. Mason and Græ arranged to hang out and play video games in the basement. We ordered pizza, because of course, and also Græ is a vegetarian. We got to meet Græ's parents, who I absolutely ADORED. I mean, do you ever have that experience where you start talking to someone and you think, "Oh! This is one my people!" It was like that. Græ and Mason already knew each other, so they got on like a house on fire, as well. I think Græ was here from 4 pm to almost 10 pm, and then we all stood around the living room hanging out for another half hour when it was supposed to be time to pick-up because, yeah, they were all that great.

So that was a lot of fun.

While it Mason and Græ played video games and chatted in the basement, Shawn and I went upstairs and watched "Ant-Man and Wasp," which Shawn hadn't seen before. We started watching some Hong Kong drama called "Iceman," about time traveling Chinese warriors, but Shawn found that just too silly (many wires, much weirdness) and so we switched over to the MCU. Shawn had NOT seen the first Ant-Man, but was introduced to him via "Captain America: Civil War." She really loved the character Luis, so we're going to try and hunt down that first Ant-Man, because I do think she'll like the Luis bits, if nothing else.

Speaking of the MCU, I saw "Captain Marvel" and loved it. Only really a spoiler if you are living under a cave, but I respect cave-dwellers so... )

Over the weekend, we made a double batch of fleischkeukle, which, as my parents pointed out when they called, is something we seem to be doing more often. This is true, partly because we made the decision to make smaller batches more often. Otherwise, it takes ALL DAY. It only took MOST of the day this way.

Uncooked dough meat pockets, like slightly larger pierogi lining a baking pan

People on Facebook asked me what we fill these with. Shawn's family traditionally fills them with hamburger, onions, and spices. Very simple. The dough is really only special because it's a cream-based dough. They still manage to be very delicious, IMHO, particularly when eaten, piping hot, right out of the deep-fat frier.

Same meat filled pockets only deep-fat fried to a golden brown

My D&D group got cancelled on Saturday night, for reasons of a death in the extended family of one of our members. That made me sad for a number of reasons. I really look forward to playing, if nothing else, but the situation reminded me a lot of my (still living) first lover and all those complicated feelings that I will probably carry around my whole life, much like what our member described. 

The only other news is that we moved Shawn in to her new upstairs office on Saturday, while Mason was at work. Mostly this involved carrying plants and all the delicate things not normally trusted to workplace movers. I think her new office looks very nice, very IMPORTANT, befitting a State Archivist and Director of Library and Archives. The only thing she needs more of is art for the big beige industrial walls and she'll be set.

I think that's everything I know. I mean, I could squee at you all about my fannish life, wherein I have a fan of my fan work, who happens to be an artist and who has taken it upon themselves to make a manga-esque comic book out of on of my Bleach fics. As someone who always wanted to grow up to be a comic book artist herself, it thrills me no end to see my words put to pictures in this particular way. In fact, yesterday, I finished another chapter of this work and so I made sure to send a sneak preview to my artist ahead of time in the secret hope that they will feel inspired to draw something from the upcoming action. :-) I don't expect anyone here to be all that curious, but if you are, the permalink to my reblog is: (a note for those who are regular manga readers, this one reads English-language style, left to right.) The story of mine that 'aysmiro' is illustrating is linked to at the bottom of the three page panel spread, too, if you're inspired to check out my work, as well.

So cool.

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Yep, Mason and I are still at this... if you're interested in hearing the two of us talk about our favorite manga's current weekly chapters, check us out:

Also, I drew more Renji fan art:

And now I have to run as I have many birthday presents to wrap for a certain manga podcast co-host who is turning 11 tomorrow.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
It's my birthday. I've turned twice 23. The best thing? Shawn is still buying me basically the same things she bought me half my life ago. She bought me art supplies! Only, because Shawn LOVES me, she bought me, very specifically, manga art pens. These are made in Japan and are sold to tourists artist like me who want the mangaka experience.

First thing I drew? Renji.

And there was cranberry-upside down cake with too many candles. Shawn only put on HALF, but that's still twenty-three.

So far it's been a pretty good birthday. I'm getting to feel old as I struggle to understand the new Mac, but we're going to head out to the bookstore in a little bit and see just how many manga I can buy with the money I got (thanks Mom and Dad!). I'm thinking more than one (fingers crossed.) Then, I may spend the day either cursing the new machine and/or drawing some fan art. Either way, it's bound to be fun.

Fan Art

Jul. 21st, 2013 08:59 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Just a quick sketch and an ink of my favorite guy:

renji and table 004

lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
This is the sort of thing that appears as random art on the bottom of the letters I send to my pen pal, Keri, in Seattle. Several years ago (or maybe just a couple years ago), I decided that I missed the sensual, private pleasure of writing personal letters. So I put out a request on Facebook. Keri, a woman I only kinda-sorta knew at the time said, "Oooh, pick me!" So I did. We've been corresponding for at least a year and a half if not two years now and every time I write to her, I usually embellish the letter with a bit of fan art/art.

Here's what I'm sending her this week:

renji all

Pretty nice, huh? I bet you wish you were my pen pal.

Or maybe not. Maybe you'd be pretty sick of all the Renji I send.... Although, tbf, I have actually sent her Ichigo, Kisuke Urahara, Captain Kyouraku, Byakuya, and Gin Ichimaru, so I'm not ENTIRELY one-track fan art-ing her. Though there's a lot of Renji. How do I know? My red colored pencil is little more than a sad little stub.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Because I haven't in a while, and I JUST KNOW that you're craving Renji with his thinking face on, here is some Renji for you. The original makes him look even grumpier. Mason is finally all caught up on the Manga of Bleach, since just yesterday we got 55 from the library. He's decided to read the rest on the iPad and catch up to me, which will be phenomenonal because then I can jump around with someone else besides [ profile] empty_mirrors (not that I'm looking to replace, her, mind, but she does live in a very different time zone.)

Okay, here's my boy:

kitteh 038

The original:


It's like it was drawn by the SAME HAND, neh?

Fan Art

Jan. 13th, 2013 09:01 am
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Last night, Kyell Gold was in town and he invted me and [ profile] naomikritzer to hang out with the folks at SofaWolf.* I had a tremendous time. Perhaps the tiny bit of hard cider I injested helped me be loud and boisterous, and I remember standing at the threshold when it was clearly time to leave still shouting excitedly about Harry Potter. I'm fairly sure they had to shove me out the door and I was still talking to myself as I walked down the drive to my car....

At any rate, I bring this up because among all the things we talked about I was surprised (and extremely pleased) to be asked, "Why Renji?"

pictures of stuff 020

My surprise was that I never expect anyone to be familiar with Bleach. Ever. I know it was on Adult Swim here and plenty of people watched it, but I still always expect blank stares when I try bringing up my fandom. It's too "old" for a lot of the young Anime fans, and it's awfully "boy" for a lot of the folks I know. At any rate, once I got over my shock, I had to try to consider the question seriously.

I don't really know. I mean, my friend Kate always tells me that my personality better matches Shunsui Kyouraku, the boisterous-yet-wise captain of the Eighth (with his hot pink kimono and traveling samurai straw hat). Plus Kyouraku has clearly been in a long-term relationship with Ukitake that rivals that of Shawn and I. So why Renji?

Ultimately, I think I feel a kinship with his indominable spirit. I have always striven to get back up when I'm knocked down, and that's Renji to the core. His backstory is also deeply, deeply compelling to me... and it resonates with some of my personal experience (or at least that of those around me.) I didn't grow up as desperately poor as he did, but the neighborhood I grew up in had a reputation for being "the wrong side of the tracks." Going to college was not necessarily the norm among my neighborhood friends, and when, after redistricting, some of the South Side kids had to go to my high school, I learned all about how people judge each other over class.

Class is something I find endlessly fascinating. The ways in which poverty affects people, too. That's some serious sh*t, as they say.

Plus, I think, as a writer, the other thing that appeals to me about him is the range of his personality as shown in canon--he can be really, really goofy but also very serious. He's personable enough that you could potentially pair him with almost anyone, and all of that that lends itself nicely to a variety of storylines. He's also one of the shinigami that bridges the gap. He's just as comfortable in the Human World as in the Soul Society, so you can put him in either place or let him jump back and forth--which makes him more accessable to a reader, I think, because he can use casual language and modern referrences (and yet can be baffled by certain things for humorous effect). In canon, he's also almost always AT LEAST tangentally involved in all the storylines, so you can pull him from any point in the time-space continuim, depeding on the story you want to explore. Plus, since he's so close to his zanpakuto, he's a great vehicle to explore all the magical sword/soul connections stuff that really gets me going about Bleach.

Anyway, it was great to find someone who would at least nod and smile when I talked about this and they reminded me of the awesome that is Captain Komamura, too. (This one is by Tite Kubo, not me:)


They told me a wonderful story about a cosplayer who surprised Kubo-Sensei by doing a perfect bucket-head costume while ALSO doing the fox-face underneath. And, we spent a lot of time talking about the cool ways in which Bleach can appeal to furry fans, both with Komamura and Yoruichi (and Gin and Renji if you buy my personal head canon.)

Did I meantion I had a blast? I did. What awesome folks! You should all go and check out SofaWolf's website and follow them on Twitter!


* I will remind anyone just now tuning in that you are no longer ever allowed to snicker into your sleeves about furries or furry fandom in my presence. Look, I get it. I used to feel the same way before I met furry folks and realized just how much furry writing I actually enjoy. But, I have never met nicer people then the ones I shared Gaylaxicon with, so just forget it!
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
So yesterday, I was quite convinced that my printer was going to defeat my plans for Mason's Solstice gift. For those of you just tuning in, on Solstice, this pagan family attempts to give gifts that are 'from the heart'--which has come to mean, homemade rather than store bought or of SOME DEEP SIGNIFICANCE. For instance, I once spent quite a bit of money on a pair of earrings for Shawn for Solstice, but they were perfect replicas of a children's story about Raven that we read to Mason when he was quite young. It's the story of Raven stealing the sun and the earrings were Native made and actually included a sun in the raven's beak.

But, so I started out thinking that to make Mason's tee-shirt, I would need to use our printer and heat-transfer paper that I bought at Michael's (a craft store.) This assumed that what I had at home was an InkJet printer... which I thought I had, but it turns out not so much. In fact, the heat-transfer paper nicely went in.... AND PROMPTLY MELTED COMPLETELY, like didn't even come out the other side AT ALL. Very smelly. Very impressive. I do believe, however, that my printer may actually survive this mistreatment. BUT, I had to give up on the printer option. My friends on the Interwebs suggested trying Kinko's, the lady at Kinko's said they had no InkJet printers so, nope, try Office Max. The Office Max helper also said, "No, sorry!"

I thought, perhaps, I was defeated. Because, while I can draw, I normally am baffled by straight lines (which this design would require.) But, I gave it a go anyway:

prexmas 025

I think it turned out pretty well. You may be wondering why I am gifting my son with the number 11 in kanji. The answer is, of course, Bleach related. The 11th Division kicks butt and, since Mason might be wearing this to kuk sool (which requires black tees under the gi) this will give him extra kickiness to his buttness, I'm sure. We already swear in Japanese as part of our key-yop. Luckily, these folks are Korean, so shouting the s-word equivelant really doesn't make much of an impression. Plus, our Japanese is crappy enough I'm SURE no one notices.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
It's been a long time since I've posted my fan art here, so I'm afraid there's a bit of a backlog. First off, I have some "random Renji":

mason and more 043

Then, I have several that go along with a piece of collaborative fan fic which I wrote with fellow Bleach aficionado and writer [ profile] empty_mirrors. Our story picks up shortly after Aizen's betrayal and Ichigo's return to Karakara Town, and Renji has been assigned to the human world under the "care" of Urahara and his fellow outlaws at the shoten. Things go awry, as they say.. You can read what we've posted so far, here:

all the things 375

And, then things get even "worse" for our boy Renji:

all the things 389

Then I had fun imagining newly Vizard!Renji in a moment, I'd like to call, "Surprise, Taicho!"

all the things 446

There are actually a few more, but this is enough for now. Enjoy!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
When I left the house to head for the coffee shop this morning, Loki was still alive.  He's completly shell shocked and hiding under the filter, but so far so good. 

I had a HORRIBLE fish dream last night, though, clearly about the recent fish-related trauma.  I dreamed I had a tiny fish, like a white mountain minnow, who kept flopping out of his tank and I had to try to pick him up off the floor--except in my dream, every time I got my hands on him, he'd slip back out and fall into some horrible new place.  The most memorable image?  Him getting tangled in a huge spiderweb, and when I finally got him out of that he was gasping and covered in dust and webbing.

Clearly, I feel like a terrible fish mommy.

Since I was asked to provide some pictures of the recent house project, I have a couple for you:

home improvement and more 294

This is a view of the picky bits.  It may not be obvious in the photo, but the crown moulding is painted brown.  In the furtherst room visible in the picture is what the real moulding should look like.  But all of the crown moulding in the downstairs was badly mistreated by our previous owners.  They used that popcorn plaster spray on the ceiling and, for reasons known only to the dark recesses of their twisted minds, they sprayed the same crap all over the lovely hardwood moulding.  Possibly because owners previous to them had painted it as well.  I know this because in the golden room, our dining room, I scraped all the popcorn plaster crap from the moulding and then used a heat gun to remove several layers of paint.  Underneath it all is a beautiful dark (red?) maple or possibly even oak.  But that's a sh*tload of work, and not anything resembling a weekend project. Shawn and I have decided that painting the moulding will work for now, and that eventually, when Mason is off to M.I.T. or Yale, we will tackle the messy, arduous project of refinishing the moulding for real.

I also painted the walls, which used to be a dirty, grayish sort of white, but are now a color that doesn't show terribly well in the photos but is a sort of creamy yellowish white.

home improvement and more 295

Here, perhaps, is a slightly better sense of color.  The "new" paint is the lighter colored one.  The other wall of the foyer is the deeper gold of the dining room.  I also painted those radiator pipes going up the wall and the crown moulding you see there.  The ceiling still needs to be done at some point, but that's a little less critical because it's held up fairly well and will be repainted a very similar sort of egg-shell whitish color.

You wouldn't think such tiny bits of wall and moulding would take so long, but I spent nearly all of Sunday working on this stupid project.  The upside is that it really looks quite lovely now, and it's done.  We shouldn't need to repaint for several years.

And, now for something completely different:

home improvement and more 297

Here's the latest of my fan art: Renji and Zabimaru.  Yep.  Still obsessed.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Today, I'll post my most recent fan art.  Tomorrow, I'm planning on updating you all about my exciting trip to LaCrosse to visit the folks and relive my memories of Oktoberfest. 

Here's Renji, and in a twist, his hair is down and his clothes are ON.  I know, weird, right?

lacrosse 051
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Because, you know, it occurs to me that maybe my Facebook friends don't want all my half-naked Renji pictures.  (What?  NO WAY.)
Thus, I inficted half-nakedness on YOU, my LJ friends.

outdoor reading day 042

So, there you go.  Enjoy.

Like, Art

Sep. 17th, 2012 06:41 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
I have a penpal who lives in Seatle, WA.  Sometime ago, I decided that she needed not just my scintilating words, but also my art.  So, when you see the picture I'm about to post, imagine the top blank section filled with words of greeting, well wishes, tales of my life, tribulations, etc.

Don't you wish YOU were my penpal?

mason and more 020

Although, you wouldn't right now.  I just sent this lovely picture of Renji to my penpal filled with tales of woe, mostly.  I've been contemplating what I might have to do if a book contract doesn't pan out soon.  Today, I'm working parttime over the High Holidays to help out a friend with her dog walking business.  It's not going to pull the "big bucks," but, well, a year without income has kind of sucked for me.  Turns out that starving artist gig really only works best if you don't have a family or a kid.  :-)

But, like Renji, I'm not beaten yet.  I've got a really cool idea for the proposal (the one I went Kelly Barnhill on) and I think with a bit more work, it will be ready for the big league.  Fingers crossed my editor agrees with me.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
I'm going to post a little fan art for now, and then come back to writing about my life.  The pictures below were inspired by myself again.  This one is called, "The Demon Stare" (and it's part 26 of the Curse of the Nue series)  Here is the inked, colored version.  As I think I expressed before, I'm pretty happy with a lot of what's been coming out of this fan art obsession.  I'm having a kind of break-through in terms of "oh, hey, I didn't need to look at a picture to draw this."  So, this came completely out of my head, which makes it extra-special in my opinion.  I had some trouble, however, taking a decent picture of this-- in the original you can see a bit of Zabimaru's tail (he's the striped ape-looking thing, there, in case you're wondering.)

renji and zabi 108

For your edification, here's the sketch (you lose a bit of Renji's arm, but you can see the snake-tail here.):

renji and zabi 105
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
So, the problem with art, like writing, is that sometimes the good one gets away.  There are some characters I CAN NOT DRAW no matter how many times I try.  I struggle with Byakuya.  His cold beauty eludes me.  However, I wrote a scene in which a couple of images of him kept sticking in my brain, so I gave it a go.

I'm not happy with these, thus they remain sketches.  Also, I have to apologize for the quality of the photo.  The camera I usually use is off for "First Day of Fourth Grade" pictures, so I had to try us the iPad's camera feature to somewhat dubious affect. 

Here is Byakuya and Yachiru as they sit on the bridge at the Kuchiki estate discussing the fact that Byakuya's life has been rather friendless and sad. I kind of like Byakuya here, and his expression.  Yachiru looks too old, alas.  She's surprisingly difficult to draw, though I think I got her hair.  (She's wearing kitty ears, and doesn't come with them.  This is a reference to a Bleach omake in which she is clearly stealing the carp from the Kuchiki estate dressed in a kitty costume.)

Below is a later moment when she talks him into trying to go to a party.

I'd really wanted to include Byakuya's muddy feet, because that figures so strongly into the story (which, btw, you can read at:  But, apparently I suck at getting the whole body onto the page.  Ah well. I think sometimes it's good to share our failures as well.  I hope you enjoy seeing these attempts.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
I have two versions of this newest bit of fan art.  First, the sketch, and then the colored piece.  I like them both for different reasons.  I also have to note that this is one of the fist times I drew a picture of Renji based SOLELY on the image in my head.  I didn't even borrow the body from someone else.  This is kind of a big step for me, and I'm ridiculously proud of the results (so if my perspective is off, don't tell me.  I want to bask in the glory for a while.)

renji and zabi 041

So here's the sketch.  This is my boy Renji and the externalization of his zanpaktou, Zabimaru.  Zabimaru is a nue demon, which is described on Wikipedia as a demon who has the arms and legs of a tiger, the body of a tanuki, the head of a monkey and the tail of a snake.  Kubo-sensei, however, has always drawn Zabimaru as looking mostly like an albino gorrilla with a snake-head tail.  Renji, interestingly, has chosen to tattoo his arms with tiger stripes (he also has them on his legs), and he's from a district in the Soul Society called "Hang Dog," Inuzuri, and always gets harrassed for being a dog (which seems to be the same sort of insult to the Japanese as it would be in English to an American)--of course, the ony NATIVE dog to Japan is the tanuki. 

Now for the colored version of the same:

colored renji 002

This image was inspired by my own fan fiction again, I have to admit.  This time from a scene in which our hero is contemplating his relationship with his captain and getting some advice from his zanpaktou.  If you're curious, you can check out:

I hope you enjoy!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Okay, apparently, I had about three more pictures of Renji-as-grrl in me.  So here they are.  If you are super-senstive about things that are Not Safe For Work, I will warn you now that there is a minty-fresh kiss at the very end of this set.  Don't look if it will get you in trouble, but it's very PG-13.

Here's Renji-grrl bankai:
the kiss 001

Now, this one I wan't entirely pleased with, but I will post it because there are things I still like about it.  For one, I wanted to show the difference in the height between Renji and her lover-captain, Byakuya.

the kiss 003

Okay, so close your eyes if you're not up for this...

the kiss 006
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Oh my goodness, I really have been terrible about keeping up over here, haven't I?  Well, to be fair, Mason's summer vacation has started and that means I've been spending a lot of my time at the beach.  I can take my laptop a lot of places, but not there.  Although I really should post the picture of what I did to my last laptop., broke it.  With a frozen turkey. 

I'd say "long story," but it really is that simple.  I had it outside of its usual backpack, sitting in the footwell of the backseat of our car, when, after grocery shopping, I dropped a 13 pound frozen turkey on it and cracked the screen.  It still works, but the screen is completely busted.  You can't see to type.  BUT, I was able to quickly pull everything off the laptop and transfer it to a USB drive, so even though we were out the cost of a new computer, I didn't lose anything  was working on.

Because, you know, it's important to have stuff like this:

tattoos 001

So, what this is, is that my friend Kate and I were emailing back and forth about my Anime obsession and she basically asked the question:  What if your favorite character were a girl instead of a boy?  Suddenly, I had to draw it.  The above is actually my second piece, because I wanted to see what 'she' looked like with her tattoos showing.  Below, was the first attempt.

girl renji and so much more 821

I found, to my surprise, that drawing Renji-as-a-grrl was actually easier on my brain in a way.  She's a scary lady (dude's a scary guy,) but I'm pleased how sexy she looks, how her determinaton shows through, in a way that I struggle to show on him.  If she's JUST like him, she's also six foot two.  It would be interesting to show her "in situ" with Byakuya (who is 5'11") still as a guy.  It would be fun to draw the both of them with Renji-as-grrl because Byakuya is SO PRETTY, and while Renji is sexy in either gender, s/he's never supposed to be pretty, per se.

I also may draw her in bankai, because I think she'd rock the fur collar in a way Renji-boy never quite does.  :-)

Fan Art

Jul. 26th, 2012 09:23 am
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
I don't have much, but since I am writing to my pen pal again, I attempted a new picture of Renji.  Not entirely happy with the results, though:

mug shots 108
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
For the first one, I've got a recently colored version of my first half-naked Renji (with bankai Zabimaru). Both of these represent my attempts to break from drawing directly from the Manga. The colored picture is a pose from the Manga, but I took Renji's clothes off (nice of me, right?)

This one is a funny combination of the St. Paul firefighter calendar and Manga, but completely original.

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