"Blast Bern"

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News from Chrispy! Listen up!

I needed a fresh news post on this site, so here!

This is me playing around with a little gimmick. Since I'm taking care of a feral cat family, and bribing them so they'll trust me enough that I can catch them and take them to the vets to get fixed, I've been going through a lot of canned cat food. One brand I use has these little cardboard pieces in the cases, and I chose to save them for doodle material. Please enjoy these pics of cat-form characters drawn on cat food box dividers! The goal was to do something nifty, but also quick and loose enough that I can feasibly fit some drawing in during the 5 minutes of upright time I get per day that's not used on keeping this comic updating daily. When life throws hindrances at you, you must learn to adapt. If small sketches are all I can do, then I want them to be special enough to be coveted.

Since I cut the dividers in half, they can fit in standard envelopes and go to anyone who wants to buy one. (International orders are fine. I have special stamps!) Use the PayPal/Donate button... wherever it is on this page. (Or just PayPal to the email on the contact page.) Anything given will be put to medical bills, so let's set a $10 minimum, ok?

These aren't commissions - more like rewards for charity? You'll get whatever's on top of the pile at the time. Sizes are around 5x3.75 inches, and materials can shift if I practice with other stuff. (These are brush pen and the handful of colored pencils I use for convention sketches.) Apologies in advance if I'm slow or very short with emails. Writing on the computer is very painful for me, so someone might get their card before an email reply.

(FYI: Health-wise I'm still in a holding pattern until my muscles stop turning to stone at the first twitch, and triggering strong migraines. If I don't have time/energy to do a Copper Road each week, I also don't have time to do the equivalent work elsewhere. It ain't laziness, folks.)

I thought it'd be neat, tidy and memorable if I launched my new comic on New Year's Day, so Precocious posted its first update on January 1st, 2009.  (It started with the full Gender Wars story in the archive, so people would have a lot to read from the get-go, hence those 2008 copyrights in the archive.)

As the comic aged, I quickly discovered this was a stupid time for an anniversary, as no one was paying attention on a holiday, but what's done is done - and it's probably the only way I'd remember my *own* anniversary. There's always an "Oh yeah!" moment, sometimes the day of, when I remember it's time. (Usually followed by a mad dash to fix the copyright date at the bottom of January comics I uploaded in December - which I am doing after scheduling this post. "Oh yeah!") And it's INCONVENIENT when the 1st doesn't land on a Sunday or Monday, for more neat and tidy storytelling. (Since starting something when no one's around is silly, I'm having fun with New Year's-themed updates until a new story starts on Monday.)

2015 was very cruel year to me. My health continued to deteriorate. I couldn't make a new book. I couldn't do paid work - and, since the downturns were sudden and without warning, I got stuck with a handful of pre-paid obligations that I'm still not able to finish - which means daily guilt! (And I can't take new paid work until the old is done, so I'm HIGHLY motivated to catch up.) I had to scale back ALL the extras, because I simply didn't have the energy. But Precocious didn't stop - and that's the key. As long as this keeps updating, eyes will be there for my eventual return to productivity. Not to mention it's the one thing I love that I can still DO, even if I'm slower at it, and it's what keeps me motivated.

(Please don't write me with advice or asking more Q's - writing emails is one of the hardest things for me to do, so if you get a reply at all it'll be very late. Heck, even my Twitter is mostly one-way, with me spending a few seconds drive-by posting and not sticking around to see replies.)

As for 2016? I am not going anywhere, so it'd better learn it's not worth it to fight against my will, and then fall in line. I've committed to selling at Anthrocon '16 - and I've set a goal of releasing a new book then. (If dreaming big, maybe a double-sized one, making up for the big financial hole that is 2015?) I have lots of thing on my 2016 wish list - starting at the book, covering other big stuff like a Patreon campaign, and more "frivolous" stuff like some long-overdue cosmetic and functional upgrades to the website. It's all ambitious, and all will take a lot of miracles - but I am DUE for miracles. Time will tell how many extras happen in addition to the comic, which will reliably continue, but I promise you I'll continue to maximize myself, giving you 100% of what I can give - so it's time for my body to catch up with my mind and soul.

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.

Edit: The above link has all the good stuff, but I'll add prominent front-page links to the guest stars of the Weekend at Bernie's story here, if you want to follow them back to the source material.

Seley and Fox are from the comic, Curtailed.
Mat is the avatar of the creator of Badly Drawn Kitties.

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!