#WitchyShit is my favorite. Witches have been kind to me. They’ve been with me from the beginning. Yet, my benefactors remain hidden. Lynn-Cee Faulk and I did not invoke nor avail ourselves to any tradition or entity in the mysteries when working on #TheSeekersTarot. However, we had some assistance. Our hands and words felt guided by an unnamed presence. Was it witches? I don’t know.
The way I see magical acts everywhere is something you can do too.
The Seekers’ Tarot (book) is the illustrated companion book to the tarot deck, sold separately. It contains explorations of faith, biographical notes, and images from Lynn-Cee Faulk and Micah Chaim Thomas, around this deck we made and mysticism generally.
The book is hardcover. Gorgeous. An inspired object of magical intent. More preorder links will be available in the weeks leading up to Halloween when the thing is officially released. Distribution will not be limited to amazon, but globally through many online retailers.
The Seekers’ Tarot is nearly ready to announce a release date. Author and artist Lynn-Cee Faulk and I are overflowing with excitement to share our dual works: the deck and the book. Links will be located here, very soon. Final fixes and adjustments to formatting this week. Go mark the book as “want to read” on #Goodreads! Test prints have been extremely satisfactory. See video below:
I’m thinking about vampires as I work on this vampire novel, The Malcontent. As a teenager, I was saturated in the mid90s vampire revival, Poppy Z Brite, Anne Rice, goth subculture, nostalgia for Fright Night, Lost Boys, and Near Dark, and of course, Vampire: Masquerade.
What am I possibly hoping to add to the body of vampire myth that hasn’t already been said? Does it even matter if I don’t?
There is a proximity to the film Shadow of the Vampire. What drew me in about that movie is that there’s no vampire society. No complex rules of monster conduct. No magic in the brutality. I’m not innately against vampire tropes as they have evolved in fiction, but those narratives are not speaking to me as much as an intellectually uncurious immortal predator who is very old and completely alone. Perhaps, I am also drawn to the vampires of 30 Days of Night in that similar dogma of harsh survival.
My current draft is written in a way to not reveal any interior life or thoughts of the vampire. They simply are.
Do you know about Stefanie Simpson, the author and artist? This creator is an exceptional talent. She writes Romance and Urban Fantasy. I’m honored to consider her a friend.
She and I are the same age with a similar history of subculture and counter culture influences. Goths. Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux, Trent Reznor, Sisters of Mercy. We didn’t know this about each other when we met, both fairly reserved, guarded, and curated behind authentic, but presentation barriers to our public author personas. Finding a friend like Stefanie opened me up to being a friend full stop. I’ve had trouble maintaining relationships. I’ve had trouble getting over my walls to the first step in a friendship. Stefanie made it so easy.
As an author, Stefanie demonstrates a level of thoughtful control in her work. As a reader, I feel like I’m in good hands even if I’m not sure where we are going initially. The work is competent and full of linguistic delight. A master of pacing, characterization, and story. These are things I hold in high value in books and she does it all with mastery.
You really can’t go wrong clicking on any of the below links to her portals. Engage her world. Find some cheer and love and longing in these dark days. If you do, you should also find some way of letting her know that the work got to you.
Stefanie Simpson has a YouTube channel where she talks about books and other topics in her mellifluous voice. I believe this work of hers to be ASMR ready.
Books & Amazing Cover Art
If you peruse her Amazon book page, you will see intriguing, rock solid, Romance works with cover art done by author, entirely independent, and within self-publishing, a maverick of the highest order. They look good. They are good.
Witworth Doom Baby
March 13, 2020, Stefanie Simpson released Witworth Doom Baby, a novel. I had the unique experience of not quite beta reading, but an early read of this book. I was so moved by the contents, a Gothic story, a goth story, GenX, magic, old wood, old gods, I begged to write an introduction for the thing. I couldn’t let it go. I then begged to contribute artwork to the Helwent Shop, which are images reflecting themes, locations, and characters from the book.
I love it. The reviews (link to Goodreads), though not nearly as many as there should be, reflect the 5 star quality of the book
I often said that I would never be blogging about writing nor journal in public spaces because I don’t have anything to say. That my thought shapes, the ones winding up in books and in art, don’t translate into this medium. Can’t tell if I was wrong about that.
My thinking mechanism is either too simple to reveal or not compelling enough what when revealed it feels like nothing happened.
So, here are some blog-type words about what I’m writing these days: Current works are expressing themes of old world creatures and old-world thinks still exercising dead hand control in the world. Some of these are cute. Most of them are monsters.
The first in line is The Witch and The Cyclops. Here’s a draft image for this children’s illustrated book.
Cute right? I don’t have any art for the vampire novel, but a fragment of a dream took my pen to draw this little piece and suddenly, I have almost enough story in mind to get it started. I have no title, but the story revolves around 3 siblings.
Life without social media for a week has been productive in many ways. I’ve generated a lot of art and fresh words. I’ve had the opportunity to focus on my personal life in a way I’d neglected when I was checking for likes and retweets and yeah, potentially for sales of my books.
I miss my friends. I miss the interaction.
In my teens and early twenties, I didn’t have consistent access to a computer or the internet. I was also fairly busy in terms of meat space social life. Then, at the tail end of my undergraduate experience, I was on Myspace for a hot minute. Going to law school ended that little experiment. At the time, we were warned of the ways in which our internet forms of expression would reflect back on our ability to represent clients. Like some archaic warning that visible tattoos would render you unemployable, I skipped social media during the hay day of my age group.
In 2017, I rejoined the race. I was preparing to launch my self publishing career and followed the advice out there to have social media presence, facebook author page, twitter, and instagram. Aaaaand, people liked me pretty much right away. So much validation. After being offline for ~15 years, I believed I wouldn’t have much relatability or affability or anything people would enjoy. I’d already made up my mind that I wouldn’t find meaningful friendships, but that I’d treat it like a job. A means to an end.
For 3 years, I composed my thoughts and feelings into tweet length statements and shared art like my resources to create were infinite. I learned several things after the first year.
Social media can augment existing distribution/socialization of a public figure (artist, writer, whatever), but almost never nurtures a new entrant through social media alone.
Likes on social media do not translate to conversion sales or link clicks at a ratio above 1-5%. This meant I worked my ass off for very little return.
I can be an unreliable but true friend to ~5 people at a time. I can not scale love or attention. I was spread too thin.
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings
It’s funny. Connection with people is my one truly enjoyable experience. Yet, due to a combination of over-zealous empathy, mental health issues, limited emotional resource, I often require long periods of isolation to put my mind back together. Those who tolerate me and call me friend put up with a lot of shit. This ghosting of mine is one of the most painful. In meat space, I might be your best friend for a year, then, I left state in the middle of the night with no forwarding address. I did this from ages 1-35. I’m not sure I know how to stop.
I’m a cat meme. A contradiction wanting attention and connection and then hiding under beds or running away never to return. Both are true.
There were many things about social media which became toxic to me. I couldn’t hang. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t voluntarily stop either. The compulsion to check. To post. To check. To check. To check. Naw. I had to quit. But where does that leave someone who makes art and writing ostensibly for consumers to discover and enjoy?
I don’t know. I’m watching the SEO analysis as I write this god forsaken post. It says I’m doing it wrong. That no one will find this “content” because of how I’m writing it. What am I supposed to do?
Art is undefinable. Any efforts to place definition brackets around art are gatekeeping and I want no part of it. An individual artist may well have a statement of vision, purpose, intents, and themes. I do… sometimes.
I like drawing faces, hands, and bodies. I somewhat enjoy animals. After 25 years of drawing and painting, mostly in oil on canvas, lately is digital mixed media, I’ve so often skipped landscapes, environments, structures, objects, and the paraphernalia and artifacts which ground a composition. This glaring weak spot is a combination of laziness and lack of interest.
Instead, I fuck around. I play. I free draw with a sense of the themes and forms. I have several recurrent ones lately.
The shitpost – doing something that makes me laugh.
The lewd – doing something I find hot in a weird way, always weird
The critique – repositioning the gaze to subvert expectations, position subject autonomy, criticize scrolling/viewing/ocular acquisition of body with eyes.
The cute – just cute and colorful
I offer these images as prints for sale and on merchandise of so many types via Redbubble and canvas originals. Still, I can’t really make a sale. I’m not sure why. Sharing to social media didn’t help at all. Anyways, here’s some new pieces up on the store.