What made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
I actually wanted to be a guest at Outlantacon last year, but it didn't work out due to the double-feature of Outlantacon and Gaylaxicon, so I decided to come as a vendor anyway. I had such a wonderful time last year and wanted to return this year and support what is easily the best GLBT event I have ever attended.
Since my work is highly GLBT-oriented, I like to support the community where I can and especially to meet fans of my work. I like to be accessible as possible and also to support other creative people. Sometimes a simple word of encouragement by someone who has been there can help someone make their dreams come true.
In my mind, Outlantacon is the best place to do all of these things in a safe and pleasant environment. I also love to come to Atlanta, but I only get to do it about once a year.
How did you hear about Outlantacon?
I believe I was looking around at shows to attend last year and found Outlantacon quite by chance. I always look around and ask friends about shows that might be good.
What panel are you looking forward to the most?
I'm really looking forward to the vampire one that I'll be in, and I hope to be able to be one of the guests on the Match Game -- I loved that show and I wanted so badly to be in it last year! I'll probably enjoy any and every panel, especially as I'll be able to talk with the other guests more than last year; I was busy with my vendor table the whole time, so it left very little time to do anything else while the dealer's room was open.
Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
I do! I play many on the computer, of course, since that's more or less the centre of my life in work and leisure. My favourite role-playing games are MU*s -- MUSHes, MUXes, and so forth. I play at a game called Flights 'n Tights, which has a variety of worlds upon which one can play. It runs the gamut from costumed heroes to high fantasy to modern fantasy, like vampires and shifters and so forth. It's one of the few highly gay-friendly games out there.
For less of a time investment, I also like Champions Online. It's free to play and it's highly customisable, as well as being a great deal of fun. I also play Hellgate, and I need to get back to doing that...
As far as tabletop role-playing, I used to play Dungeons and Dragons (and from the first edition onward!) and got a character ascended to godhood. But that's been a long time. I used to have all those wonderful 'find your fate' type books, and I loved them all. We lost them in one of our many moves, over the years. I was devastated.
In the 90s I played a good bit of World of Darkness. I loved second edition everything, and pretty much lost my zeal for the game afterwards. Salubri represent!
The Public Can Find Me Here
Other sites: http://demoninthekitchen.blogspot.com - Incubus Tales character Dhiar's food blog.
http://www.circlet.com/?cat=221 - Incubus Tales: A Thousand Words, serial fiction at Circlet Press.
What new project are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on a project that will take a favourite character from Incubus Tales and involve them in a setting inspired by Berlin of the 1920s. It's quite an ambitious project, and I hope for its success. Currently I'm putting the finishing touches on character designs.
I'm also working on a magazine that will be similar to the horror anthology comics of the 1970s, called Malum Fabula. My co-host for the Randomocity podcast will also be working on it with me, and it will have a wide variety of entertaining and interesting stories. If you liked Eerie, Creepy, Vampirella, anything like that, please do check it out!
How do you come up with ideas?
I usually find myself inspired by things I see in life that I like. I can also be inspired by music, and music is usually one thing that always drives me to create. I always have music playing when I'm working at the drawing table.
I am very often inspired by other beautiful art, especially art nouveau, which is my favourite style of art.
Ideas occur to me most often when I think of something that I would like to see, which doesn't currently exist. Many of my stories and characters have come to be written because it's something that I would like to read myself, but which, as far as I am able to find, do not exist. So it is often up to me to create them and provide that for myself! I think many artists are the same.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
That is a very difficult question. I think the best thing to do is to continue to produce and keep things new and full of energy as possible. Promotion is difficult, but it is also important. Still, I think actually having a product and having a passion for it is crucially important. Without that, it's easy for people to see that the spark is gone, and they move on to something else.
What do you enjoy most about life?
The company of friends and loved ones. Cooking delicious and nutritious food. Helping others. Good wine. Rainy days. Bookshops. Foxes. Music, singing especially.
How do you balance life with deadlines and work?
My work is more or less my life, but I do have time to do things for fun as well. I don't have any children and I also don't live alone. I think I'd go mad if I lived alone. Fortunately since I don't, I have those handy reminders that there is in fact a world outside of my studio, and when I forget to pick up something at the market one week, when someone else goes out later in the week, they'll usually pick it up for me!
|Love is not Fantasy|
I take frequent breaks, although I do marathon too much sometimes. I have instant messengers to talk with friends and colleagues. I'm always abreast on email. And tumblr is a great tool for leisure. I also have been known to watch a film or two, from time to time, and I have Steam for great and affordable games.
But like any other creative person whose career is based on producing, I have to focus for deadlines and shut out anything else for a while. It's just something one grows used to, I think.
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid?
I'm not sure if it was the craziest, but there are two memories I have from childhood that always stick with me.
I used to go on trips with my grandparents when I was younger. It was a nice escape from everyday life at home, and I always liked to see other places. We would make several stops on the way, of course, so as not to exhaust ourselves. For those who haven't experienced them, road trips are exhilarating but very tiring. One must take regular breaks.
One night, we stopped at a restaurant with a large salad bar. At that age, candied apples were my favourite thing to get after building my salad. It was like a sweet that one was allowed to have. Well, I collected my salad and candied apples on the side, and I found my way back to the table and sat down.
I took one bite from the candied apples and very nearly cried, because in fact they were pickled beets. I have nothing against beets, but there is a certain dissonant repulsion when one is expecting something very sweet and mild and instead gets something sour and intense. Although I am not unfond of beets, I have never been able to try pickled beets again. The experience was traumatic!
The other story I remember very well is when we stopped at a little farmers' market and I desperately wanted a plum. It was beautiful, lush, deep and brilliant in colour, and in fact the ideal for what a plum ought to be. I wanted it so badly, so my grandfather bought it for me and we took it along.
I was insistent we keep it, even though we kept getting busy and eating out and by god I wanted that plum. Unfortunately we were so busy and did so much travelling and running around that the plum went bad, and I was never able to eat it. I had planned the whole time to enjoy that plum, but I never did end up getting to it. But it got so many miles on it! We took it everywhere. We have never forgotten the beloved plum, though none of us tasted it.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice about life, what would it be?
Stop ragging on yourself. Enjoy your youth.
Be honest and assertive and when people are full of shit, tell them. Even if you get in trouble for it, be steadfast in your beliefs and don't for a moment step down until or unless they are willing to compromise too. Don't refrain from doing something just because you're afraid of what someone might think of you.
Wear whatever fashions and hairstyles you like. You'll never find out what you like if you don't try them, and you'll never look good wearing things you hate which you know are unbecoming to you anyway. It doesn't matter what you weigh, your body shape, anything. It matters how you wear what you wear, how you move whether you're wearing anything or not, and how you feel about that.
No jealousy. Ever. From you or from anyone you love. Jealousy kills. Jealousy and pettiness destroy.
Savour every moment that you have with people. It could be the last. It's a hard lesson to learn.
Last but not least, have fun whenever, wherever you can.
Do you think keeping secrets is good or bad?
It can be good, and it can be bad. Overall, secrets are something that are essential for any life. One cannot tell everyone every aspect of one's life. It's unrealistic to expect to know everything about any person, anyway. And it's none of anyone else's business, besides.
To use an example pertaining to Outlantacon, some people choose to tell others about their sexual orientation. Many of them, however, do not just blanket-tell everyone they know, because they are aware that not everyone will be able to deal with it, and some simply have no need to know.
In a time where people are ridiculously public with every little thing they do, think, or say, thanks to social media like facebook and twitter, I think it is more important than ever that people understand that keeping some things to themselves is essential. The more we give, the more companies, universities, governments, lovers...the more everyone will take. Keep some secrets. It worked for Greta Garbo, who throughout her life was regarded as mysterious and enchanting. And Mae West, who never 'took it all off' for an audience, but who kept her fiery sexuality to the end. Both of these superstars kept their personal affairs just that: personal. Many secrets existed, and that was part of what made them alluring.
List two authors we would find you reading.
Tsutsumi, author of Praying for Obsolescence, the best and most original sci-fi romance I have ever read. It's ongoing and available online as well.
I have always liked Terry Pratchett's Discworld books regarding the Witches, especially Granny Weatherwax.
Most of what I read is online and the work of my friends and colleagues. Adrastus, CARP, TJ and Amal, and so many more that I can't name them all. You know who you are. You're probably all linked at some point or another from Incubus Tales or my tumblr!
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
'Witchy Bitch in Retro Kitsch'
How do you respond to negative people?
Negatively, generally speaking.
What's the best way to say no?
Analyse the situation, find what you have the power to include or exclude from it. Sometimes people don't understand unless something is literally removed from a situation. So if it's your presence, then remove it. Say no, and stop being there. If it's your money, if you're supporting someone who is doing something you don't agree with, take it away. If it's your promotion or other public support, stop doing it.
It's one thing to say no. You can say no and not mean it at all. However, if you're willing to back it up by at least taking what you can from the situation and not continuing to support it, then it will send a much more decisive and powerful message.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
|Art by Hushicho Phoenix|
I would love most to live in a big house with all of my friends and loved ones, so that I can be there for them and provide them with everything they need to be happy. I would never be sad again if I could do that.
And probably somewhere on the side, I'd open a fox rescue and spend my days surrounded by foxes also.
What song would best describe your life?
Music is one of the most pervasive and important factors of my life, so it would be very, very difficult for me to choose only one song for the whole thing; some songs are best to describe certain parts, whereas others will be more appropriate to other parts. The selection changes as I think on it. Some songs that were important at one time have gone, and been replaced by others.
Kate Bush's 'Under the Ivy' persists, as does 'And Dream of Sheep'. Moritaka Chisato's 'Michi', 'Tsumetai Tsuki', and 'SNOW AGAIN'. Ishikawa Sayuri's 'Tsugaru Kaikyou ~Fuyugeshiki~' will always be with me as my choice enka ballad at karaoke boxes, associated with me by every friend who went with me to the karaoke box. Yashiro Aki's 'Onore Michi'. ZARD's 'Don't You See!' doesn't describe my life so much as complement the feel.
Dusty Springfield's 'Magic Garden', which is so very, very much me and has been for some time. Of all the songs I could list, that one probably is most descriptive of me.
I will always have a special place in my heart for tommy february6's 'KISS ONE MORE TIME'.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Probably something that can't be discussed in polite company.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Probably a good bit of food and cooking utensils. Comics, especially funny and gay-friendly ones. Sweets and sweet things, naturally! And flowers, especially roses. There would be a special section just for rose-flavoured and rose-scented things.
I'd also have a section full of little, heartfelt gifts that one can buy for special people. There's nothing quite like an unexpected gift from someone you care about.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
That it ended.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Warning: May engage in long philosophical discussion. Hushicho with alcohol may lead to sentimental and open affection. Do not mix the Hushicho with animal products. Side effects include spontaneous glitter, otsumami, sudden astral projections, enka, and potent introspection. Regular Hushicho intake may lead to hallucinations of gourmet cooking.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
Please fill in the blanks
I love pizza with black olives and green peppers, eaten with friends.
I'm always ready for enka.
When I'm alone, I do my best work.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm a folklorist and demonologist.
If I had a halo it would be jauntily-angled and covered in cream roses with pink tips.
If I could afford it I'd move all my friends into a lovely house on an island somewhere, and just take care of all of us for the rest of our lives.
|Art by Hushicho Phoenix|
I can never forget people because even knowing someone for a short time is still a special bond.
I'm working on Malum Fabula, of course, with my co-host Dragonbrusher from Randomocity. It's a horror anthology homage to the 70s anthology magazines. I've also got another comic slotted that will be set in Berlin in the 20s, with plenty of supernatural excitement. Additionally, I'm working on my grimoire-themed artbook The Pandaemonium Renaissance, which was successfully funded through Kickstarter. Last but not least, I'm working on a cookbook, Demon in the Kitchen, based on Incubus Tales hero Dhiar's food blog, and a book on male anatomy -- including the naughty bits that most books ignore!
I hope to count on my kind readers' generous support in future, as they have supported me up to now, for which I am very grateful.
Thank you for taking part in the Outlantacon Interview on Romance Lives Forever.
Thank you so much for having me!