2021 Writing Log, Part Twelve

The last time I updated my writing log was in the middle of August. During the past month and a half, I’ve created a great deal of writing that I’m not able to share yet. This is partially because I’ve gotten a lot of rejections recently. This is disheartening, of course, but that’s just how it goes. Thankfully, not every shot I’ve taken has been a miss, and I’m going to be able to share some of what I’ve been working on soon. In the meantime…

– I published a zine called Regrowth based on a comic I drew earlier this year. You can download a digital version from Gumroad (here), and there’s a physical version listed (here) on Etsy that includes a vinyl sticker. I printed this minicomic hoping to debut it at the DC Zinefest, but I was waitlisted. I’m not going to lie, I was really looking forward to the event this year, and I cried when I got the news. Still, I’m really proud of how this zine turned out!

– Speaking of comics, I collaborated with LunaArtGallery on a short Legend of Zelda fancomic! You can check it out (here). I’ve been daydreaming about this comic for more than a year, and it’s wonderful to see it exist in the world, especially as drawn by such a brilliant and talented artist.

– I’m excited to have a story called “Mount Hiei” included in White Enso’s 100 Ghost Stories project. “Mount Hiei” is about two young monks at the end of the Heian Period who discover the horrible secret of what Enryaku Temple’s duty to “protect the nation” entails. (Hint: Lovecraft would be proud.) You can read the story online (here).

– “Sparkle,” a piece of flash fiction that’s exactly fifty words long, was published in the “Dollar Store” issue of Blink Ink. You can read story (here), and you can check out Blink Ink on their website (here). It’s a cool little zine, and it’s not expensive at all to subscribe. A subscription includes a few bonus zines featuring themed microfiction, which is a genre I didn’t know I needed in my life. You’d think fifty-word stories would be a gimmick, but this style of writing is nothing short of amazing.  

– I contributed a short illustrated essay to the first issue of the West Philly Zine titled “How to Board the West Philly Ghost Bus.” Although the piece is structured like an essay, I actually made everything up and thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process. The zine is currently analog-only, but I posted my piece (here). I also contributed an illustrated essay to the second issue of the zine, which is going to be debuting at the Philly Comics Expo this Saturday, October 2.

– I reviewed Misumi Kubo’s linked short story collection So We Look to the Sky on my Japanese fiction book review blog (here). So We Look to the Sky is a raunchy soap opera sex comedy that reviewers have been tripping over themselves to describe as “delicate” and “sensitive” and “pressingly real,” which is wild. I hope those reviewers are okay.

– I reviewed Katriona Chapman’s graphic novel Breakwater (here) for the website Women Write about Comics. This book is genuinely “delicate” and “sensitive” and “pressingly real,” especially in its treatment of mental illness. I don’t spoil the ending in the review, but basically, the thirty-something protagonist ends up friend-dumping a coworker because she doesn’t feel equipped to deal with the behaviors induced by his bipolar disorder. I really respect the artist, because “you can’t save everyone” is a difficult story to tell.  

– I’ve been hard at work on an essay for Return to the Planet, an upcoming zine about the original 1997 release of Final Fantasy VII. One of the many things that’s cool and interesting about this zine is that it’s going to include nonfiction as well as art and fanfic. I got a chance to read through everyone’s first drafts for the first progress report check-in, and the contributors are all brilliant. It’s a lot of pressure to perform at such a high standard, but I’m doing my best! The zine is going to start spotlighting contributors soon, and you can follow along on Twitter (here).

– I wrote one short story and two pieces of flash fiction for Goddess Reborn, an upcoming zine celebrating the female (and nonbinary!) characters in the Legend of Zelda series. I have never wanted to be a part of a zine so badly, and I’m so honored to have been accepted as a contributor. Honestly, I cried an entire fairy fountain of big happy tears when I got the acceptance email. We’re only three weeks in, but the work that everyone has put into this project is awe-inspiring. Although the zine’s social media accounts are currently in a quiet phase as the mod and contributors work hard behind the scenes to get everything set up, you can follow Goddess Reborn on Twitter (here).

– While I was filled with Zelda fandom energy, I wrote two short Legend of Zelda horror stories for Halloween. The first is about the Castle Town Ghost Shop in Ocarina of Time, and the second is about a minor character in Breath of the Wild named Magda, who is affectionately known as Flowerblight Ganon. The Ghost Shop story already has a gorgeous illustration from Frankiesbugs, who is my hands-down favorite Legend of Zelda horror artist, and I hope to have a nice Hollywood horror movie style illustration for the Flowerblight story as well. I’m really looking forward to sharing these two stories closer to Halloween!

– Speaking of Halloween, the original Halloween-themed horror anthology Midnight Gathering is just about ready to open pre-orders. The aesthetic of this zine, which is formatted like a glossy print magazine, is colorful and spooky and everything you ever wanted from Halloween, and I’m really proud of the “creepy old lady” story I contributed. Midnight Gathering showcases an incredible range of up-and-coming talent, from professional writers and artists to college students. The zine has been spotlighting contributors during the past three weeks, and you can follow them on Twitter (here) to check out a few previews and be notified when pre-orders open.  

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Eleven

– I posted “A Noble Pursuit,” the story I contributed to the Memorabilia fanzine, on AO3 (here). Memorabilia celebrates the architecture and archaeology of Breath of the Wild, and it’s fitting that the print version is a handsome and extremely well-designed physical object. It’s the size of a paperback novel and has fantastic text formatting, so it’s easy to read the stories as well as appreciate the art. Leftover sales of the zine and its accompanying merch are open until September 5 if you’d like to excavate a copy of your own. You can check out the project on Twitter (here) and visit their online storefront (here).

Fated, another Legend of Zelda fanzine I contributed a story to, has extended preorders to this Sunday, August 15. This zine features a lot of incredible art and stories, and it’s going to be a big and beautiful book. The previews of the merch I’ve seen are also gorgeous! You can check out the project on Twitter (here) and visit their online storefront (here) if you’re interested.

– I posted a review of the YA soft fantasy novel Lonely Castle in the Mirror on my book review blog (here). I read the original Japanese version of this novel over the course of 2020, and its story of teenagers overcoming bullying helped me stay sane as my former colleagues watched me lose my job during the pandemic due to harassment and did nothing. Even though Lonely Castle is staunchly YA fiction, I think anyone who’s ever had the experience of feeling alienated in the face of abuse will be able to appreciate this novel, and I’m grateful it’s received such an excellent translation.

– I also posted brief reviews of a few short indie games that are currently on sale on the Nintendo Switch digital store: the comedic adventure game Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (here), the darkly fantastic and surreal adventure Anodyne (here), the retro survival horror game Mad Father (here), and the wholesome and brightly colored visual romance novel Half Past Fate (here).

– My book Manga Cultures and the Female Gaze received its first academic book review via the comics journal ImageText. This is super exciting to me, especially because ImageText published the first academic book review I wrote as a grad student. The journal is online and completely open-access, and you can read the review in its entirety (here).

– My essay “I Coveted That Wind: Ganondorf, Buddhism, and Hyrule’s Apocalyptic Cycle” was featured in a short review article on the website Playlab. You can read the review (here).   

– My zine Ghost Stories was featured on Broken Pencil magazine’s zine showcase for International Zine Month, along with a half dozen other interesting titles. You can find the article (here), and you can check out the zine itself (here).

– My zine It Never Happened was reviewed on the website Sea Green Zines. I’m not sure how I missed this review when it was posted back in May, because it’s lovely! You can read the review (here) and check out the zine (here).

As always, I’ve been keeping busy writing, submitting, and… waiting! I hope to be able to share some forthcoming stories and comics soon, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for positive responses to my current batch of submissions.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Ten

– I posted the final two chapters of Malice on AO3. It took me almost exactly two years and three months to finish this novel. This may seem like an inordinate amount of time to spend on a Modern AU Breath of the Wild fanfic, but I’m glad I saw it through to the end. I’ve been wanting to write a monster romance story like this for a long time.

– I capped off the project with a “Hyrule Compendium” of all the product and place names in the story, which is accompanied by the lovely illustration from Mirarasol that I posted above. You can find more of the artist’s charming and colorful work on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Tumblr.

– I’m excited to announce that I’ve got a piece in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology coming out from Muswell Press in November. My essay, “Sympathy for the Villain,” is about video game villain fandom, as well as about leaning to love yourself when the world sees you as a monster. You can learn more about the anthology on the press’s website (here) and via an article in The Bookseller (here).  

– Speaking of which, the short story I contributed to the Ties of Time fanzine, “The Flower Thief,” is now up on AO3. This story is about Ganondorf visiting Hyrule as a child and having a fraught encounter with the adult princess who will become Zelda’s mother. You can read the story on AO3 (here) and check out the rest of the zine on Twitter (here).

– I posted a review of Louisa Roy’s Ocarina of Time fancomic Only Power Remains, which is also about Ganondorf coming to Hyrule as a kid. Great minds think alike, and I love the artist’s take on this character and his story. You can read my review (here) and order a copy of the comic zine on Etsy (here).

– I posted a review of Natsuko Imamura’s novella The Woman in the Purple Skirt on my Japanese fiction book review blog (here). This book is about urban anomie and economic precarity with a touch of stalking and obsession, and it’s creepy as hell. I really enjoyed it, and Lucy North’s translation is excellent.

– I queried Women Write About Comics about possibly writing reviews for their site. I query them about once a year, but I never get any sort of concrete response. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that their small press comics editor will get back to me this time around, but I wonder if it’s worth being more persistent…?

– I’m continuing to write and submit original fiction to various venues, and my work continues to be rejected. It’s tough, but that’s just how it goes.

– I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Duotrope, if only to get a better sense of the market.

– I also signed up for a workshop at a local Philadelphia writing center called Blue Stoop. If you’re interested, it’s (this one), “Pitching Nonfiction for Publication.” I’m having serious doubts about the viability of academia in the United States, but I’m still committed to public education that encourages and supports diversity and cultural literacy. That being said, I have no idea how to successfully pitch my work on non-Western media to non-academic venues, so I feel that this workshop is something that I can benefit from. Thankfully, they offer the fee on a sliding scale, so I can actually afford it without going into debt.

– Meanwhile, I started working on the second story arc of The Demon King to keep my spirits up. It feels wonderful to return to these characters and their world after a three-month hiatus. Since this project doesn’t yet seem to be going anywhere in terms of finding representation, I figure that I might as well keep posting it on AO3 for the time being, and I’m looking forward to sharing new chapters soon.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Nine

– I posted Chapter 45 of Malice, a Modern AU Legend of Zelda fanfic based on Breath of the Wild. As you can see from the accompanying illustration created by DiamondWerewolf, it’s dramatic! It took me about two months to finish and polish the chapter, and I’m happy to be able to share it. Only two more chapters to go, and this novel will be finished!

– I published a short minicomic zine called Ballad of the Wind Fish. It’s ostensibly about Link’s Awakening, but it’s really more of a meta exploration of a certain glitch in the original 1993 release of the game, as well as a meditation on nostalgia. You can download it for free from Gumroad (here), and I’m working on getting print copies into my hands soon.

Fated, a Legend of Zelda fanzine I contributed a short story to, has opened pre-orders! The zine sold more than 150 physical copies in the first 24 hours, which was wild. Fated is a big, beautiful, and super high-quality zine with a lot of gorgeous merch, and you can grab a copy (here). You can also check out their Twitter account (here) for previews.

– I’m starting to reconsider the validity of my zines both as publications and as art objects. I think I probably deserve to have a stronger sense of self-confidence, so I submitted two of my original short fiction zines to the Broken Pencil Zine Contest. I’m not thinking about this contest as something I’ll win or lose, but rather as a cool opportunity to share my zines with people who might be interested in reading them. Submitting gets you a subscription to the magazine, which is a wonderful bonus.

– Meanwhile, I’ve been submitting original stories to a lot of venues, and I’ve been getting a lot of rejections. It’s been tough – really tough, actually! – but what can you do.

– What I can do, actually, is support people whose work is a little more niche and doesn’t fall into neat publishing categories. I’d like to start posting short reviews of minicomic zines and small-press comics on this blog, and I’ve already posted my first review of Julia Gfrörer’s short Gothic horror graphic novel Vision. I was blown away by how much I love this book, which I’ve read from cover to cover three times since it arrived earlier this week. It’s brilliant work.

– Speaking of supporting good work, I posted a lengthy review on my Japanese fiction book review blog (here) of Eto Mori’s YA novel Colorful, which is going to be released in English translation by Counterpoint on July 20. This novel has been hugely popular in East Asia since it was first published in 1998, and I think it’s difficult to exaggerate the number of people who have been moved by its message of tolerance and self-acceptance. The translator is a superstar, and I’m overjoyed that the novel is finally available in English. Or, at least, it will be soon! You can find a list of pre-order links on Penguin’s website (here).  

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Eight

– I posted Chapter 44 of Malice, a Breath of the Wild Modern AU fanfic. In this chapter, I restated and emphasized the themes and conflicts associated with Zelda’s character so that the reader will understand the decisions she’s going to make in the closing chapters. You can find the story on AO3 (here).

– I posted a review of Aoko Matsuda’s short suspense novel The Cat in the Coffin, which is about a young housekeeper’s intense relationship with her sexy employer’s uncanny daughter. I’ve been a fan of this book since it was first published in English translation in 2009, and I’m happy that I finally had a chance to write a review. You can find it on my Japanese fiction book review blog (here).

– My short story “At the Edge of the Garden” was published in 3 Moon Magazine. I was inspired by the theme of their seventh issue, “Growing Malcontent,” and the concept for the story jumped into my head fully formed. “At the Edge of the Garden” is about watching a place that should be familiar and comforting grow wild and strange. This is one of my favorite imaginative spaces to explore, so it’s fitting that it’s the theme of my first piece of formally published creative fiction. The editors at 3 Moon Magazine were wonderful to work with, and the magazine itself is beautiful and powerful and just the right amount of creepy. You can download all of the issues for free on their website (here).

– I submitted an original short story called “The Fish” to Boneyard Soup, a new horror magazine (here) with an interesting sense of style. I’m starting to get the sense that this story, which is primarily about the intersections between body image and economic precarity, is probably going to be a hard sell for a horror magazine, and I’m considering submitting it to more “literary” venues that are open to genre-crossing work. Although I’m expecting a hard rejection from Boneyard Soup, I’m very interested in the magazine, especially its short nonfiction articles. I also appreciate that its stories are illustrated, and I’m thinking that it might be worthwhile to send a query to serve as an illustrator myself.  

– Speaking of which, the illustration that I submitted to Analogies & Allegories was accepted for publication! This magazine has a lovely aesthetic, and I submitted the piece to them just because I wanted to express appreciation for the theme of their most recent issue, “Rejuvenation.” You can access a digital version of the magazine (here), and the editors were kind enough to allow me to share my illustration via Twitter (here).       

– I edited, reformatted, and reprinted It Never Happened, a collection of strange and creepy flash fiction. I relisted it on Etsy (here). I also edited Ghost Stories again and sent the third edition of the zine to the printer. If all goes well, I should be able to relist this title next weekend. It’s a bit embarrassing that it took me five months, but I’m happy that all of my zines are finally back in print.

– Along those lines, I set up a page (here) that has short summaries of all my zines, as well as links to where you can find them.

– I sold my third piece of original art on Etsy! This is so, so cool. If you’re curious, you can find the listing (here).

– And finally! I’ve recently been replaying the 2017 story exploration game Night in the Woods, whose depopulated and mostly abandoned Rust Belt setting feels very relevant to the summer of 2021, when people are beginning to go outside and take stock of neglected public spaces that have been transformed by evictions and business closures. I’ve been interested in the pandemic-related work published in Entropy, which is one of my favorite online magazines, so I decided to submit a short essay about Night in the Woods to their indie games editor. He got back to me right away with excellent feedback, and the essay was just published (here).

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Seven

– I posted Chapter 43 of Malice, a Modern AU Legend of Zelda fanfic novel based on Breath of the Wild. This chapter marks the beginning of the final story arc, and it’s accompanied by a gorgeous illustration by Mehkuno (who is on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Tumblr) that depicts Zelda, Link, and Ganondorf descending into the sewer tunnels underneath Hyrule’s central government office towers. You can find the chapter on AO3 (here).

– I submitted the final draft of my story “The Legend We Create” to Fated, a Legend of Zelda fanzine about the relationship between Zelda and Link. The zine is very close to entering its production stage, and its social media team is doing an amazing job promoting the project. You can follow along on Twitter (here).

– I submitted the final draft of my short story “Ms. Weaver’s Halloween Candy” to Midnight Gathering, a forthcoming anthology of original horror fiction and illustrations. I’ve gotten a chance to preview most of the work that will appear in the publication, and it’s bright and colorful and refreshingly different from the usual “horror” aesthetic of many small-press magazines and anthologies. I’ll post links to the project’s social media when it goes live closer to Halloween season, because it looks amazing.

– I finished the first draft of “The Kumo Diary,” the story I’m submitting to the Carpe Noctem zine of historical vampire fiction. I have to admit that I’m not actually all that into vampires, but I’ve been wanting to write a story about a Heian-period vampire for years now. I mean listen, Prince Genji somehow managed to survive his many anonymous encounters intact, but the only reason he wasn’t lured inside a creepy mansion and eaten was because he was lucky. In any case, I’m thrilled to have such an amazing opportunity to bring my self-indulgent dream of writing this story to its sordid fruition. The anthology is currently showcasing its contributing writers and artists, and you can follow along on Twitter (here).

– I applied to be a writer for the upcoming Breath of the Wild Fairytale Zine (on Twitter here). I’m really excited about this project, as well as the two pitches I submitted to them. The first is a retelling of the Minotaur myth with Zelda and Link cast in the roles of Ariadne and Theseus, but with a more gentle tone in line with the Hayao Miyazaki movies that inspired the world of Breath of the Wild. The second is a silly play on the Yamata no Oroshi myth from the Kojiki as told by the incorrigible Master Kohga, who will clearly be making the “legend” up as he goes along.

– I edited the horror-themed flash fiction stories in my Haunted Houses zine, made a few cosmetic edits to the layout, and printed a second edition. If you’re interested, you can grab a copy on Etsy (here).

– I also edited and reformatted my Haunted Haiku zine, which I relisted on Etsy (here). Although this zine was popular enough for a second print run, I allowed it to sell out because it was expensive to send via first-class mail. Now that I’m shipping everything with Media Mail (which is cheaper and faster than first class and allows me to use rigid mailers), the relatively larger size of the zine (in terms of its page count and perfect softcover binding) is no longer a problem.   

– I sold my second piece of original art on Etsy! This was the original Copic marker piece that I used as the base of the digital version (here), and the listing is (here) if you’re curious. I’m honored that someone would value my work enough to spend actual money on it, and I’m filled with gratitude and motivation.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part 6

– I presented a paper titled “Link Is Not Silent: Queer Disability Positivity in Breath of the Wild Fancomics” at this year’s (online) meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. My paper was part of a panel called “Representations of Disability in Japanese Videogames,” and I was honored to have my work included with that of Rachael Hutchinson, Mimi Okabe, and Ben Whaley, all of whom are luminaries in the field. Perhaps it’s weird to say this about a panel at an academic conference, but we had a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the lively discussion during and after the broadcast.

– My review of Yoshiko Okuyama’s monograph Reframing Disability in Manga is up on the Pacific Affairs website (here). This insightful and highly accessible book offers both fascinating case studies and thorough discussions of social and legal contexts. The author’s emphasis on positivity, as well as her candidness regarding her own positionality, provides a nice window into Disability Studies, and the textual format of the book facilitates its accessibility to a diversity of readers, including readers outside the field of Japan Studies. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested for a number of reasons, but it would probably be better just to say “please check out my short review” rather than try to summarize them here.

– I published, promoted, and mailed out copies of The Legend of Haiku, a Legend of Zelda fanzine that I’ve been working on editing and formatting for a few months now. This was a huge project, and it was an incredible experience to work with so many talented poets and artists. You can read more about the zine and find links to download a free copy on the blog post I made about it (here).

– I submitted a short story called “Mount Hiei” to Fantasy Magazine. “Mount Hiei” is a story about two young monks apprenticed at Enryaku Temple who discover something awful inside the mountains north of Kyoto, and it’s a Ken Asamatsu style Lovecraftian twist on Japanese folklore very loosely based on the childhood of two characters from the medieval war epic The Tales of the Heike. I think this heterogeny of influence might be a hard sell because it’s a difficult sort of “diversity” to get behind, but I’m still submitting the story to big-name magazines because I’ve been working on it for years and would like to share it with people. It’s actually really good, if I do say so myself.

– I submitted another short story called “Don’t Eat the Fish” to Frost Zone Zine. The zine (which is actually a professionally edited print magazine that’s also published as a digital edition) has a distinct editorial voice that privileges the sort of quiet and literary dark fiction I’m interested in, and I hope this story will be a good fit for the publication.

– I submitted a piece of flash fiction to the online magazine Burnt Breakfast. I really admire the format of Burnt Breakfast, which pairs fiction and poetry with striking images in a way that facilitates appreciation of creative work on social media. I’ve been following them on their Instagram account, and it’s been a lot of fun to get occasional bits of strange and interesting flash fiction in my feed.   

– I submitted an illustration titled “Ruins and Regrowth” to another online magazine called Analogies & Allegories, which is also active on social media. I follow their Instagram account and love their aesthetic, and the “Regrowth” theme of the next issue spoke to me, especially because I wasn’t quite ready to stop exploring this theme after my “Different” comic (posted here) about trauma and recovery. This is the first illustration I’ve formally submitted to a publication that’s not a zine, and I’m a little nervous. Even if I’m rejected, though, the art still exists, and I can still post it on my personal accounts.

– I posted my first listing for original art on Etsy (here). It was an ACEO card with ink and Copic marker fan art of the character Sensei from the dark fantasy manga Girl from the Other Side, which is one of the weirdest and saddest yet most wholesome stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. A friend bought it along with a copy of the Legend of Haiku zine, and I’m incredibly grateful for their kindness. This is my first art sale, and it’s a big step forward for me! I’m currently working on two more ACEO cards that I hope to post listings for soon, and I’m curious to see whether there will be any interest.

– Now that I’m taking steps away from a purely academic career, I decided to post an alternative CV in the form of a page called “Creative Work” (here) on this blog. Considering that I only started submitting my stories and comics to various venues about six months ago, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Five

– I edited chapters one through four of The Demon King, an original fantasy novella about a garbage wizard and his awful friends. I sustained heavy psychic damage from some of the typos and inconsistencies I found, but the story isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s really fun to read, but I don’t know whether I’m saying this because the story is actually good or because it’s bespoke to my specific set of interests. In any case, you can read the draft (here) as I continue to edit.

– While I was in editing mode, I went back and edited the stories in Night of the Final Day, a collection of five short pieces based on Majora’s Mask. I know it’s a bit weird to say this about my own work, but these stories are pretty good, especially the last one. I planned for this series to include thirteen stories, but I ended up dropping a lot of side projects when I started writing The Demon King in November. I might return to this series one day, but I figure that it’s probably for the best to go ahead and label it as complete for the time being.

– I wrote and submitted the first draft of my story for Fated, a Legend of Zelda fanzine. You can follow the zine’s progress on Twitter (here).

– I finished an almost-final draft “Ms. Weaver’s Halloween Candy,” the short story I’m submitting to Midnight Gathering, an upcoming collection of original horror fiction, comics, and illustrations. I’m really proud of this story, which is the most Stephen King thing I’ve ever written. More on this project as it unfolds.

– I wrote and submitted an outline for “The Kumo Diary,” the short story I’m putting together for Carpe Noctem, an upcoming collection of illustrated historical fiction about vampires. The outline was approved by the editors, so I started writing the story, which is about a Meiji-era scholar who has discovered an interesting medieval manuscript. This is something I’ve been wanting to write for years, and I’m enjoying myself immensely. You can follow the project on Twitter (here).

– I submitted a review of Yoshiko Okuyama’s monograph Reframing Disability in Manga to an academic journal called Pacific Affairs. I’ll post a link to the review once it’s live, but let me summarize by saying that it’s a wonderful book and an extremely welcome addition to the body of scholarship on Japanese media and popular culture.

– I posted a review of the game Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (here).

– I recorded my panel for the 2021 Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, which involved a ton of preparation in terms of editing my paper, putting together a slideshow, and practicing the presentation itself. I’ll post more about this closer to the conference itself, which is at the end of March.

– I redrew an illustration of Balthazar from The Demon King to track how much progress I’ve made on my art style during the past year. When I put the images side by side on Twitter (here), the difference is striking. I mentioned this on the tweet thread, but being able to leave a toxic work environment made such a world of difference to my self-confidence, which in turn bolstered my level of creative energy. So much of developing a creative style involves experimentation, and it’s hard to take risks in any aspect of your life when you’re constantly being judged and criticized. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that changing my job changed my entire life.

– I started drawing three comics during the past few days. I made something of a breakthrough when I realized that, ironically, it’s much easier for me to visualize images through words. I therefore started writing out formal scripts along with storyboard-style annotated thumbnails, and this has made it much more comfortable for me to make progress on the art side.

– And finally! I picked up the Legend of Haiku zine project again! I don’t want to jinx it, but it feels good to be making progress again.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Four

– I finished the tenth and final chapter of The Demon King! This is only the first story arc of a much longer project, but this is a good point to step back, do some editing, and then take a breather. I’m going to start editing next week; and, while I do that, I’m also going to start thinking about how to create graphics to showcase each chapter. In the meantime, you can find the story and its illustrations on AO3 (here).

– I published an illustration in Hello 2021/Goodbye 2020, a collaborative zine put together by the organizers of the DC Zinefest. You can download the full zine for free from the DC Zinefest website (here).

– I wrote a lengthy review of Hades (here). To summarize my 2,200-word post, I think the game is amazing.

– I submitted my translation of Hiromi Kawakami’s short story “Summer Break” along with a short introductory essay to the Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies. You can check out the back issues of the journal on their website (here).

– I submitted a short story to 3 Moon Magazine, which I learned about from their account on Instagram (here). I appreciate that this is more of a zine than a “literary journal,” and I love their aesthetic. You can download back issues of the magazine from their website (here).

– I submitted a writer application for Sealing the Darkness, a Legend of Zelda fanzine put together by some of the people who run the Linktober art challenge. This involved writing three pitches for stories based on their prompts, and I had a lot of fun. Since they’re only including five writers, I’m almost positive that my application won’t be accepted, but honestly, I think I’m okay with that. I’m probably going to write the stories anyway, and the zine already has a lot of amazing people onboard. The social media game of the creative team behind the zine is strong, and you can follow the project on Twitter (here) and on Instagram (here).

– I’m super excited to announce that pre-orders are open for The History of Light and Dark, a fanzine devoted to Ganondorf. I contributed a short story and a short comic about Wind Waker Ganondorf to the zine, which is suitably powerful and massive. You can follow the zine on Twitter (here) and pick up a copy from their online store (here).

– Pre-orders are also open for Memorabilia, a stylish fanzine about the archaeology and architecture of Breath of the Wild. I’ve got a story about the Akkala Citadel Ruins there, and the other stories, essays, and illustrations are gorgeous. You can follow the zine on Twitter (here) and pick up a copy from their online store (here).

– Pre-orders are still open for Ties of Time, a sweet and charming fanzine celebrating Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. I contributed a short story about ten-year-old Ganondorf sneaking into Hyrule Castle, and the other stories and illustrations are similar journeys into the unexplored corners of Hyrule. You can follow the zine on Twitter (here) and pick up a copy from their online store (here).

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2021 Writing Log, Part Three

– I had a conversation with Dr. Colleen Laird about the Takashi Miike film Audition, and I had a lot of fun chatting with a good friend and respected colleague about gender and horror. Colleen wrote a grant to be able to professionally edit and produce a series about Japanese horror, and all of the videos are amazing. You can find Colleen’s YouTube channel (here).

– I participated in an online panel about the cultural impact and legacy of Sailor Moon. I was fortunate to be joined by two fellow academics and the translator of the Sailor Moon manga, and we had a wonderful time. The panel was sponsored by the Japan Foundation, and you can find the video on their YouTube channel (here).

These two projects occupied the bulk of my time during the past two weeks, but I also managed to get some writing done.

– I finished Chapter 9 of The Demon King, an original fantasy novella that I’m posting on AO3 (here).

– I’m still working on my story for Midnight Gathering, a zine of original horror fiction and illustrations. I’ll have more to write about this when it’s done, but let it suffice to say that it goes to some places.

– I had the immense honor of being accepted as a writer for Fated, a Legend of Zelda fanzine about the relationship between Zelda and Link. (You can follow the project on Twitter here.) I was nervous when I started my piece, because I haven’t written much Zelink fanfic, but the story is all but writing itself. Apparently I have some feelings about The Wind Waker, who would have thought.

– I submitted my final piece for Memorabilia, a Legend of Zelda fanzine about the archaeology and architecture of Breath of the Wild. Both the writing and the art in this zine are absolutely spectacular, and I still can’t believe I get to be a part of such an incredible project. You can follow the zine on Twitter (here) and pre-order a copy (here).

– Pre-orders for the Ties of Time fanzine, a collection of art and stories based on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, are now open too! You can preview the zine on Twitter (here) and grab a copy for yourself (here). You can see a short excerpt from my story (here). I had the pleasure of joining a number of spirited conversations about the deep lore and character development of the two games on the zine’s Discord server, and I think this passion for worldbuilding and symbolism is beautifully expressed by everyone’s work. I’m really looking forward to being able to read through the complete zine!

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )