Bonus Bernie! I've uploaded it as a vote incentive to TWC, so now there's new content there AND a blurb explaining why bonuses are rarer now (for those who click without being up to date on news posts). Please do go vote for Precocious here to see it, as traffic from being higher up on TWC always helps, but I will also edit it into the commentary and background tidbit blog post for the Weekend at Bernie's/I Survived the Weekend epic story when I do my next update. (If you haven't checked it in a while, or ever, there's so much extra insight, plus links to various continuity references, so please go look!)
There are two more updates to make to that blog, I believe. One for the "epilogue" week, and (maybe) a final summary of my summer epic. Yes, "SUMMER!" I started it four weeks later than planned because I wanted to be sure my health would allow me to draw the whole thing without interruption, so, length-wise, it only ran two weeks long - and one was this bonus week I felt like adding. My planning was excellent, if not for that whole cowardice delay thing.
So what's the deal with much-rarer bonus work? Health. Same as it's been all year. Things went seriously downhill in March, and it's been slow going to improve things since. (There's hope, but in a "probably won't see notable improvement for five more months" form.) It's not like I'm avoiding doing extra work by CHOICE. 1)I ENJOY doing that work. 2)These things help with reader involvement and gaining positive word of mouth, which is vital for expansion. 3)If I don't put out my books, I DON'T HAVE AN INCOME. That last one is especially important!
I have the ability to keep daily updates going, but the key difference is I rarely have energy left over after to do all the other work I'm accustomed to doing. (Even writing updates like this one is VERY difficult, because working on the computer - especially with writing - hurts me.) That's why I can't reassure every curious person over and over, even though I miss being social and chatty, so please know I've got a plan, I'm doing the right things to keep me intact, and it's just a time thing to see if/when it works.
If I have energy left over after daily comic work and house/personal/doctor obligation time, the first priority is owed work - nearly all from periods when I was doing well, and no one had any clue things would be bottoming out. I haven't forgotten anyone, and I chip away when I can - but I can't chip until I know Precocious is safe, so I gotta build a buffer first. Once those are covered, I must focus on money. Since I can't do things like talk or leave the house without painsplosions, cartooning is ALL I CAN DO with any hope of earning enough to survive, so I MUST put out new books. Ideally, a Patreon-ish program will begin at some point, but I want to be confident about it. I know it's supposed to be about "Keep doing what you're doing" and not "I am buying exclusive services" but I want to be able to do some nice things! So, yeah... save up? For now, however, I'd be happy with word of mouth boosts and, if the impossible dream can be made manifest, getting a group to take on the Precocious Wiki, so it's not so sadly outdated.
Those comics may contain swear words and adults discussing being adults. For you teens out there, that mostly means "OH GOD I'M OLD AND EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE!" or "I'm acting like a crazy kid because who's gonna punish me NOW?" As all three of these have real-people behind the "characters," the versions in Precocious are Precocized, so treat them as just an homage - a Precociousverse character inspired by the real ones.
The post below on the main Precocious page has lots of neat info about the origins of the Weekend of Bernie's story, how the Curtailed crossover managed to work its way into it, and how Miri's character was enhanced/inspired by knowing Kat Feet's daughter, the real-life version of her. but there are more little snippets of background info to share. Rather than make a big, bloated news page, I'm putting a link right here to go read more tidbits! Read that to find out where Bruno the staff member came from, and see all the little call backs to earlier stories.
(Edit: And I'm keeping track of which commenters are clearly not paying attention... I know most folks rarely check the front page, so those who do should post a link to the information as a reminder whenever someone asks a question I've already answered.)
I've decided to treat this little experiment like a Patreon test drive, in which blogs with story insights would be posted. I'm trying to find new stuff to share every day for this one, as long as I have someone to say. Maybe they're interesting notes, maybe they're not, but it's a view into how the comics come together. This is a story that was brewing in the back of my head for years and years, and between the two posts you get a look at all the neat flavors it's picked up from the experiences I've had since its inception!
Click the pic to revisit the Precocious/Curtailed crossover!
(UPDATE: Since this post is already too long, I added even MORE backstory and random tidbits to a second post. Click here to go read it!)
I like to make summers in Precocious a little bit epic. Figuring this is when people either take breaks from their computers, or have the time to invest more online reading effort, I use it as an opportunity to write longer stories with lots of callbacks and continuity nods. If you're not paying attention, or paying EXTRA attention to details from the archvies, you'll find a big, rich story waiting for you to consume all at once. I see it as a reward for long-term, dedicated readers, and indulgent fun for me! (I have enough long-term readers that I'm confident any needed callback/reference link will end up in the comments section eventually.)
Aunt Bernie's visit was a story I deliberately sat on for YEARS, until the timing was right AND I had the full story set in my mind. (Take a look at Uncle Mike's mis-remembered names of Sky's twins, from nearly four and a half years ago.) Every so often during these years, I'd get a Bernie idea and add it to my notes. As that foundation built up, so did inspirations. In this post, I'm covering the two big ones: Miri and the pub!
Two years ago, I walked into the Small Press Expo and met Kat Feete, fellow SpiderForest member and creator of Sunset Grill. (Comic not for kiddies.) I also got to meet her lovely family, including her IMPOSSIBLY CUTE daughter. I told Kat about a character I was working on for a future story, who was so cute she drove Autumn mad, and Kat began to share stories of how her Kidlet was able to melt hearts and do "this can't be real" adorable things. At the next SPX, she had even more tales to share! Both the links above were directly adapted from real-life stories told to me by Kat. Now that the story has finally been unleashed, coming with Bernie was a cute little girl named Miriam, whose look is a direct Precocizing of the almighty Kidlet. You can find several more stories I want to steal on her Kidlet Roundup.
I had a problem with Bernie's story, that caused it to sit half-finished for so long. I was missing an element to make it worthy of the wait, and, since I intend to let Precocious go as long as I have stories to tell, I felt no pressure to rush it out before it was ready. Near the end of last year, I finally hit upon The Plan. Slowly but surely, Act II began to come together in my notes - and Act II eventually required a visit to a bar.
With me being an unlovable and broken shut-in, I only know two people who are socially adept enough to visit bars, and they happen to be the creators of a certain amazing comic! I'd written Mandy long ago about adopting Seley and Fox as expanded-universe characters in Precocious - Meaning, they're not *actually* the characters from their comic, but strong inspirations for Precociousverse evil twins who take the roles of what would have otherwise gone to one-off random characters. When I finally got to meet them in-person (naturally, at a bar!) I gave them the overview of the bar section from the Bernie story, allowing them to take those roles if they approved. (Makes sense, as The two visited the kids' bar when they appeared in the Fall Festival arc, so now the kids visit THEIR bar.) They gave me tips of what their bar would look like (the name was Fox's idea) and I tried to match things up where the story (and my crummy bar-drawing ability) allowed. I'm not sure how Nerd Night-y they'd actually go, but it's an important element for a side story that will likely be a stretch goal incentive for the next book preorder. Perhaps Precociousverse duplicate Fox and Seley are a little bit lamer than their source comic, counterparts, but, well, that's really a given - seeing as *I'm* writing for them instead of Fox: The Worlds Most Interesting Man.)
Since I'm still fighting the health stuff, my life is mostly about keeping pace and ensuring Precocious updates every day. (Thanks so much to Jason McDonald for helping with coloring to give me some pressure relief! I'm chipping away at the few remaining bits of owed work I took on before I kerploded thanks to him.) Very little time/energy is left to do much else, and that "else" is currently a massive house set-up maintenance project... and this surprise visitor. (You can click on most pics for larger versions.)
This cat is 50% tail. Photos can't do it justice.
The Paulsen family is full of super softies. If we see a kitten without a home we will try to help them. For example: One time I walked into my boss' office (back when I was doing website maintenance) and told him, "My mother saw a kitten behind Taco Bell. I have to go." He knew better than to try and stop me. (That's when we got Jerkcat, by the way.) When I pulled up to the new house late one night and saw a mother cat with kittens, no way I couldn't start feeding them and try to make their lives better.
I was feeding the strays, and then one walked inside! (Why wait for me to toss food when he could simply go up to the dish holding the chicken?) As you can see in those eyes above, both of us were very surprised and confused at this development.
He (well, we think it's a he) is starting to adjust to this fostering situation. Currently at kitty bi-polar state, starting half our interactions with a hiss/cry before conceding, "OK, I really want to be petted."
Giant ears. Big paws. Tail a mile long. Very lanky. Totally looks like a long coat coming in. This cat will grow up to be giant and MAJESTIC. (This photo courtesy of my mother.)
At peace (for now). He'll soon meet my other kitties, and then we'll see what happens.
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Precocious is copyright 2008-2015 Christopher J. Paulsen