So these past couple years I have been diving back into the world of writing, an aspect of self I’d let languish for far too long after an unfortunate stint as a content writer for an ill-fated content mill. Roleplay with friends reinvigorated the love of writing creatively, and I dusted off a ten year old unfinished manuscript, read it, scowled at it, and rewrote it into a 165K draft that is still sitting in time out and thinking about what it’s done.
In the midst of that draft, I was preparing for my first JordanCon. I’d gotten into the art show, and it was going to be my first convention back from the pandemic shutdown. Even without the shutdown, it had been a while since I was last in a hanging show as opposed to a dealer’s room situation, so I was nervous in a lot of different directions and I wanted to create some cool new things for it.
In pursuit of ideas, I scribbled several very rough thumbnails and one caught my eye: a rough figure with big ears and a stack of books. I played around with the composition until I had a pose I liked and began roughing in some features, bringing the figure more in line with my vision for my favorite fey creature, the puca. But the composition was missing something, some element of focus to tie it back together. I like a lot of my illustrations to feature some kind of relationship, some story between two characters or at the very least a character and a tasty looking pastry. So I added a mouse on his shoulder. No idea why. I just felt like there needed to be a mouse maybe and also that the mouse would be holding a quill.
But as I continued refining details and adding costuming and color, these two characters started gripping me further and I found myself musing on their possible story. By the time I finished the piece, generically titled “Book Hoarder” in my files, I had the beginnings of their story in my head. As I searched for names, that story solidified and begged to be told.
It took me another couple of months to finish the novel draft I was working on before my mind was free and clear enough to think on any other subject matter. But when I put the draft away and started considering some short stories, there they were waiting for me.
And now, a little less than a year after they came to life for this convention, they have been accepted into the 2023 anthology! I think it only fitting that the publication where these characters make their debut is connected to the convention that is, at least tangentially, responsible for their existence. I am so excited to introduce these two characters who have demanded a significant portion of my brain’s real estate for the past year.
Pre-orders for the anthology are available here: https://www.jordancon.org/product/jordancon-2023-anthology/
Do note that they are not shipping these, but rather ordering them for pickup at the convention. It’s a great convention and I highly recommend it, but if you are unable to go it’ll be a matter of waiting to see if there are extra copies that they’ll be selling online. I’ll likely be releasing the story at some future date in a different format, so you won’t miss it entirely, but the anthology has the benefit of getting to read a lot of different writers and see some incredible artwork. I don’t have the full list of authors and artists represented, but Madolyn Locke, mentioned on the cover, is a friend and phenomenal fantasy photographer and always worth a view!