Life Update: A Huge New Chapter!

Well, friends, it’s been a while since I posted here, and I do apologize for that. If you’re following me on any other social media platforms you’ll know the gist of what’s been going on, and if not, I hope this will catch you up on the deets.

On November 4th, 2017, Drew and I packed up a UHaul van with all of our earthly belongings and hitched his old car Betty to a tow dolly on the back, and we left Chicago. Drew had lived there seven years, and I had been there eleven years, but it was high time for a brand new adventure. So off we went, and two days later we arrived in Orlando, Florida. We moved into our new place, began to buy new furniture (we had none with us) and started to settle in to a brand new city where neither of us had ever lived before.

Drew is working at his old job still – they’re letting him work remotely from a different office of the company. I have been working on some audiobooks for award-winning author Candace J. Thomas and also been preparing for upcoming opportunities here. We’re both auditioning and chasing dreams, and treading water till the next thing happens.

As far as creative pursuits go, Drew and I have spent the last seven or eight months taking a break from Disney Odyssey. We intend to get back to it soon, since we have so many still in the bank from the last round of viewings. But we’ve been very busy with Warda, our real creative brainchild.

Warda is a little bit Game of Thrones, a little bit Downton Abbey, with a dash of Agatha Christie thrown in. It’s luxurious and glamourous on the surface with heartfelt conflict and sociopolitical commentary underneath. It’s been a THRILLING experience to share it with the world for the first time – in May we started doing live streams of a roleplaying game set in the world of Warda (using the FATE system rules) on the One Shot Podcast Network’s channel on Twitch. We stopped doing those live streams in October right before we moved (for obvious reason) BUT the second big thing that came out of this venture is the podcast! You can check it all out here or here, or on your chosen podcasting platform. Even if you don’t know anything about tabletop RPGs, it’s a fantastic story, with great performances by all of our players and Drew as our primary GM (I drop in occasionally myself). Give it a try!

Despite the fact that we moved at the beginning of the month, I made sure to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month. This year’s theme and challenge I gave myself were unique: I wrote down short titles or phrases relating to Warda, one prompt for each day of November, and a few extra just in case. I challenged myself to respond to a new, randomly selected prompt every day, writing at LEAST the minimum of 1667 words (the projected daily minimum to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo). I told myself that I could write as much as I wanted, but I needed to have the minimum on each day’s prompt. This was an awesome plan! I gave myself weird and delightful and interesting prompts and I had FUN writing on each of them as the days trucked along. However, sometime in the middle of the month I found myself picking up each day with the previous day’s prompt, wanting to write more and ‘finish’ the scene, only to have the current day’s prompt yet to write. And sometimes I didn’t get to the current day’s prompt. But I didn’t count this against myself, since I was having fun and not censoring myself. I have several prompt yet to do, despite the month ending tonight (and despite the fact that I’ve passed 50k words!) so I intend to keep writing a bit every day and building those muscles up again to where they once were. I have, as you may know, been having some issues with ‘writer’s block’ and ‘impostor syndrome’ and other such hurdles, and I’m determined to shake it all off – FOR GOOD – and press on in my writing experiences and career. I’m looking forward to meeting some Orlando area writers soon – there appear to be several community groups I can join up with to meet fellow writers, take workshops, and support/be supported. I’ve never had a writing group or community before, not really, so I’m not sure what it will be like, but I’m happy to try it all out and meet some new friends!

The other magical thing that happened recently is small, talkative, and extremely cuddly. Yes, that’s right – we got a cat! Well, the cat got us. Found us. Whatever. On October 1st (with only a month left before we were supposed to move) we found a cat in Chicago. We took her inside for the night, then took her and had her microchip scanned the next day. We spent the next fourteen days frantically reaching out to the owners through the microchip company, but despite multiple voicemails and emails, they never contacted us or the chip company again. After ten days in Illinois, that’s animal abandonment, so we unexpectedly (but very, very happily) welcomed Queen Felicia to the family.

 

She hated the truck ride down to Florida but once we got here she was fine. She has filled our days with love, strange chirps, purrs, and nuzzles, and we love her more than we ever thought possible. She found us, and we’re so, so glad she did.

We are both missing our friends back in Chicago, but we’re eager for this new chapter to really settle into a rhythm. So many opportunities await, so many possibilities. We’re happy we made it here safely and we’re happy to get a chance at things we’ve always dreamed of.

Here’s to big leaps, and big dreams ahead!

~Aly

 

The Big New Year’s Announcement Post for 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Here we all are in 2016, a futuretime beyond our wildest imaginations where terrible things are in the news every single day and our student loan debt continues to threaten to devour us just like Artax in the Swamp of Sadness. And yet also in this futuretime we have some pretty badass ladies in big budget major motion pictures, the triumphant reawakening of Star Wars, the arrival of Doctor Who LEGO sets, the ability to watch cute animal videos on our phones nearly anywhere, the applications to allow us to order food without talking to people on the phone and coloring books for meditation and relaxation.

Coloring books, you guys. Coloring books and GrubHub. This is basically Utopia.

But there’s more than that. The Internet is a shocking place both in good ways and bad. On the better end of that spectrum, we have amazing abilities to connect not just through social media, but through community fundraising websites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, and other variations. Artists, musicians, writers, performers, producers, and other creators can reach out to one another and their audiences online and come together in a totally new way to reinvent the relationship between artist and patron.

Since the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the concept of patronage has provided circulation of funds from the wealthy or powerful to those who require assistance to create new things. Artists weren’t the only ones who received funding from patrons – scientists, scholars, astronomers and alchemists have all benefited from the financial backing of wealthy nobles or government officials throughout the ages. Here in the modern era, we’ve confused the act of patronage with the popular concept of “lazy artist people begging for money,” but there are a lot of folks who are working their butts off to change that cultural concept to a better model for creators and consumers alike.

Enter Patreon.

If you aren’t familiar with Patreon, it is an online platform for creators to build a community with their supporters, fans, and fellow creators. A creator can open up their metaphorical toy box to the fans, who then offer up whatever monetary amount they’d like to support that creator’s ongoing projects. Unlike Kickstarter or IndieGoGo which are limited-time fundraisers for a single focused project or event, Patreon allows for continual funds, thus creating a constant flow between created content and the patrons’ financial contributions. A creator can ask for support on a monthly basis, or they can choose to have their patrons offer money “per Thing created.” A patron can edit their contribution at any time, and if it’s per Thing, they can limit how much per month they allow their contributions to amount to, that way nobody is donating more than they’d like to, or more than they can afford to.

What’s the bottom line here?

The bottom line is that through Patreon, patrons can have an opportunity to connect on a much more personal level with their favorite creators, and have the immense golden satisfaction of personally contributing to those creators’ success. Through Patreon, creators have the chance to connect with the people who like their work and want to support them, and get paid to keep making new things.

Creators get paid for the things they create by people who love them and want to help them keep making cool things.

Mindblowing? Yes.

Awesome? Definitely!

So here it is, my big New Year’s Resolution Revolution:

I’m launching a Patreon!

Since I was a little kid, I have always known that I wanted to tell stories. I wrote them and acted them out for family all the time – so it makes sense that I grew up a little bit and became an actor and an author. I have spent the last several years performing and growing as an actor as well as writing and publishing my first novel and sundry short stories. People keep asking me what’s next, and I can finally tell you that I have a ton of ideas to share and cultivate and create. There is so much that I want to write, perform, produce, and release into the wild.

These ideas include (but are not limited to):

  • two (count ’em: TWO) audio fiction productions
    • one of them is a space comedy about pirates, tiny hats, talking plants, and bipedal corgis
    • one of them is a Waiting For Guffman-meets-Lord of the Rings public radio program about an orc-based community theatre company
  • a customizable choose-your-format fiction commission program
    • does your tabletop RPG need background content? letters? songs for your bard? a short story featuring your character(s)? a legend or folktale about an object/ruined temple/ancient hero/MacGuffin? I will write it for you.
  • MORE DISNEY ODYSSEY!
    • including the much-hyped Audio Commentary tracks
    • very MST3K
    • much wow
  • a brand-new serial fiction project set in a fantasy world that I’m creating completely from scratch… The Fella will run a D&D 5e game set in this world, and I will write up the fictionalized accounts of gameplay for your reading pleasure. There will also be short stories, flash fiction, and even (gasp) possibly a novel or two down the line.

All of this is really, really exciting, you guys. I am thrilled that the blog has gotten so much positive feedback this year, and I am really looking forward to continuing with Disney Odyssey and regularly scheduled blog content as well as tackling these big new awesome projects… but none of this is possible without your help.

I currently work a full-time day job. I’m able to continue producing blog content on the regular with that job schedule, but adding these new projects will require time. Time to write, record, edit, and produce. Time to research, play, create, and explore. I am chomping at the bit to get started – in fact, brainstorming and writing has already begun on several of these new projects. These are things I am going to work on no matter what – but the support you give through Patreon will help expedite and smooth out the process of making new stuff, and making it all bigger and better than ever before.

And on top of that, you’ll get sweet perks for being a patron, including early access to blog posts, the audio commentaries, voting rights, Altered Egos for access to RPG/original character fiction commissions, monthly Google Hangouts, unique one-of-a-kind ukulele ballads, and so much more!

Get excited. Get in. Get on it. I’m really pumped to build, create, move it, and share it all with you.

*orchestral arrangement of “A Whole New World” starts playing as underscore*

Let me share this whole new world with you….

Click click click to check out my Patreon page and choose your contribution level. I cannot wait to see you all there!

 ❤