Greetings, Aenya fans!!! I am back with another super-exciting update . . .
OK, let’s be honest, I am not getting a ton of followers here, and it’s not hard to see why. I can’t compete with the billion-dollar algorithms put out by Facebook, Instagram, TickTok, etc., or whatever new thing will be turning kids into zombies in the next few months. People don’t read blogs these days . . . BUT even as a child, long before computers were a thing, you would have found me by my lonesome in a booth at my father’s restaurant, making book ads in crayon for no one in particular, which got me psyched for the story I was writing. My fans, while few, are extremely dedicated. They make custom figures for my characters, frame Aenya-illustrations on their walls, and the other day, someone told me she was making a dedicated Aenya book shelf!!! This means a heck of a lot more to me than getting a million clicks because I baited some people with a catchy title. As someone devoted to real literature, I have always only cared about substance, meaning, art that stands the rigors of time. Storytelling has been with us for millennia, it’s what inspires us, moves us, gives our lives meaning, and it will be with us when every social media fad goes the way of America Online.
ABANDONING NATURISM / LOSING THE ALGORITHM RACE
When I started the Writer’s Disease ten years ago, it was intended as a LITERARY blog. Then, as a fluke in 2012, I started writing about naturism, in part to express myself, but also, as a means to promote Ages of Aenya. Problem is, my nudist/naturist readers only care about the articles, and not much about storytelling, despite my efforts at cross pollinating the two. Nudist book buyers on Amazon don’t read much fantasy either, so the algorithm started pairing Ages of Aenya with smut and travel guides. My book disappointed a lot of nudists, I think, once they discovered that it was, you know . . . an actual novel, and not a thinly disguised argument for their lifestyle. Ages of Aenya is 90% A Game of Thrones, 10% naturist philosophy.
I am not a naturist author, like many writers I know, nor are my subsequent, full-length books naturist related. Knowing how the algorithm works (I highly recommend watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix if you don’t), it may be suicidal for me to drop the label. My nudie articles receive tens of thousands of views, while book reviews net me tens (no kidding, tens!). People are driven by sensationalism (look, naked people!) while substantive content is outright ignored. But this is the world we live in, where Trump gets elected for spewing crazy conspiracies and Flat Earth videos go viral. Naturism bolstered my rankings on Google, but I am giving that up, the algorithm be damned. Art has never been about clicks.
MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Move your cursor to my list of pages and you’ll find a link to my YouTube channel. I’ll admit, the future of media is in video, because people are too lazy to read. Honestly, why are you even reading this? I wouldn’t be. You can find everything on YouTube these days, including book reviewers. My channel, while still very small, features a number of playlists, including Tales from Aenya, showcasing all things Aenya related, from book trailers and readings to character discussion; Nat 20 Reviews, where I review role-playing content; Let’s Play D&D, where I share my miniature creations and offer gaming advice as a thirty-year D&D veteran; Lilliea’s and Rose’s D&D Adventures, where you can watch a play-by-play reenactment of our ongoing 5-year campaign; and finally, a fully animated cartoon series I’ve started with my daughter, a humorous retelling of the story we have been playing in 2D&D Adventures.
This video (below) intersects all the things I love, from nudism to storytelling to D&D! Watch me bring Thelana to life with this original, 1″ figure, with a little help from HeroForge Custom Miniatures. Since almost every artist I work with ends up giving me a Playboy pinup, this design is the closest I’ve come to perfectly capturing her look, straight from my imagination to 3D. Check it out!
THE FERAL GIRL UPDATE
I was eager to make a Thelana figure because she is my favorite creation, whose latest adventure, The Feral Girl, is halfway complete and should be available for your Kindle device first quarter 2021. As a prequel to Ages of Aenya, The Feral Girl explores Thelana’s early years, from the time she leaves home to the when she is recruited into the Kratan army, as she struggles to survive the unforgiving, 800 kilometer Wildwood (that’s roughly the size of France!), where resources are scarce and dinosaurs roam freely.
Check out this NEW, in-depth map of the Wildwood, detailing Thelana’s perilous journey!
This tough, shameless heroine, sprinting like a nymph without a stitch to her name, has occupied my brain for decades. She came to me in a vision when I was just a teenager, long before Thelana even existed, and I have been trying to bring her to life ever since. Yes, I know Jungle Girl is a thing, but aside from the implausible, anachronistic, and entirely unnecessary fur bikini she is wearing, the female Tarzans of literature fail as literature, serving as little more than fetishizations for adholescent boys to drool over. Sex appeal is a big part of what makes us human, but to be truly sexy, a character has to feel real. No offense to Jungle Girl fans, but to me, she comes across like a blowup doll. What I am offering is a protagonist with depth, someone you can feel for on an emotional level, a relatable hero for male and female readers.
The Feral Girl will also feature all original artwork from my good friend and superfan, Heather Zanitsch.
I have started working on the cover (below). The focus on the face, I hope, will convey my intent for the story, which is neither pro-nudist, nor erotica, nor (Goddess forbid) dinosaur porn, which I am sure would garner me more readers, readers I don’t want. And even here, I had to go through many revisions with the artist, who kept sending me sexy “come hither” expressions <<sigh>>. The look I am going for: FEAR.
Which one do you like best? Let me know in the comments!!!!
click to expand cover