my art

/Tag: my art

I survived #Conflux12 and all I got was…

(…this badly photographed pile of awesome stuff!)

So yeah. I survived my second year of Conflux; go me!

Special big shout-outs this year to:

  • Elizabeth, for babysitting me and letting me crash her Dungeon World game1
  • Alex, for listening to me rant about Marxism, Evil Ernie, and pro wrestling
  • Rivqa, for WoW squeeing and letting me hijack her Ancillary Justice panel with my this-book-is-really-about-the-American-War-of-Independence/-Civil-War conspiracy theory
  • and Elanor, for sharing my love of Paul McGann’s Doctor and rage over Children of Earth.

I didn’t end up going to very many panels this year, mostly because I kept getting sidetracked by ranting at people in the bar (lots of ranting… lots and lots of ranting). On the other hand, I did get to do a workshop on the Friday where I had to create a YA character and book plot on the fly while being live critiqued by a panel of teenagers, and that was kind of traumatising, not gonna lie, so I pretty much needed the rest of the three days to recover.

Since it wouldn’t be a Conflux without a book haul, you can find the full list at GoodReads. I’m super-jazzed about Tansy Rayner Roberts‘ Mocklore books and Kaaron Warren‘s The Grief Hole in particular (and also super-jazzed that I got them signed). Tansy’s one of those people I secretly stalk online and absolutely fail at talking to in real life because I’m too busy dying of squee, while I fell in love with Kaaron’s writing after the last Conflux because ohmigod Australian female horror writer gimmie gimmie gimmie.

My other discovery this year was Meri Amber, who’s both adorable and writes adorable geek-pop you should totally go and listen to. She’s also the one who sold me my single most expensive purchase of the con: a set of metal rainbow Level Up Dice. Because seriously nothing says “beware the DM” like when she destroys your dining table by rolling her razor-sharp, heavy-as-shit, candy-coloured metal dice across it.

Zoltan says, "Showing up is METAL!"

Zoltan the Dungeon World Bard says, “Showing up is METAL!”

Metal was actually a bit of a theme of the con, I guess. Poor Zoltan, the Elf Bard with the power of METAL!. We hardly knew ye. (Also, I’m kinda glad you got killed off halfway through because holy shit was my voice wrecked from death growling the next day. Good thing I had no panels on the Saturday!)

Oh, and next year? Next year, we’re getting ribbons.

  1. Even if she did kill me. Twice.
2018-11-26T08:05:27+10:004th October, 2016|Tags: books, conflux, cons, fandom, my art, xp|

So this is why I finally bought PhotoShop.

I tried using my old tablet the other day only to find it apparently doesn’t work with Windows 10. It was really old, so that’s not unexpected, but still a bummer.

I’ve had the iPad Pro sitting around for a while. I’ve drawn with it a bit using Procreate, which is a great app, but I still sometimes missed having the full PS experience.

Anyway, so my version of PhotoShop was an ancient version on my PC I’d “borrowed” from my “friend” Ms. Internet like a decade ago. It still worked, so I figured I’d try and hook the iPad Pro up to the PC. The app I tried was Duet Display, and it destroyed my computer. Like, I dunno what happened, but something about the driver did not like my computer, and I ended up having to rebuild Windows.

Which, of course, blatted that copy of PhotoShop.

So, anyway. Long story short: I finally bought PhotoShop CC and grabbed Astropad for my Mac. Eternal blessings to the Spirit of Steve Jobs, because it Just Worked, and ten minutes later I was sketching. Huzzah!

This is Elias, for the record. Hopefully you’ll be seeing some more of him later…

2017-09-02T08:42:02+10:0025th September, 2016|Tags: my art, tech|

More old sketchbook nonsense…

Other random things in my sketchbook:

  • Justice (from DA:O) at a party with the caption “social Justice”, and in shuttershades with the caption “celebrity Justice”
  • Karkat from Homestuck
  • Agent Coulson jumping in the air holding a giant gun
  • Lain getting angry at a laptop
  • Lain getting angry at a Nintendo DS
  • Lain running away from Slender Man
  • a sexy naga
  • my character from The Secret World petting a giant centipede monster
  • lots of otherwise okay pictures ruined by super disproportionate character heads
  • old designs for LIESMITH characters

… and pretty much a different art style on every page. Go figure.

2017-06-14T07:57:05+10:0017th September, 2016|Tags: my art|

Poor Anders…

Here’s like an entire DA2 comic. The text reads:

HAWKE: Hey, Anders? Protip: whenever I’m tempted to do something magically stupid? I ask myself…
ANDERS: (How am I still alive?)
FENRIS: (I hate everything except Hawke. And killing mages that aren’t Hawke.)

HAWKE: … “would doing this force Februs to punch my heart out whilst crying bitter tears of betrayal?”
(Fenris disapproves -1,000,000)

HAWKE: And if the answer is “yes”, I don’t do that thing. Try it sometime, okay?
HAWKE: Except, like, imagine it’s Ser Pounce-a-lot instead or something, okay?
ANDERS: (imagining Hawke)
FENRIS: (imagining the Sword of Mercy)

2017-09-02T08:47:58+10:0017th September, 2016|Tags: art, comic, dragon age 2, gaming, my art, sketch, video games|

Publishing “diversity” (with an aside on The Wyrd #3).

Crane Hana on the state of diversity in publishing.

I haven’t really spoken about it much, because I’ve essentially been putting off making an “official announcement” for the last six months, but this is effectively what happened to BAD MEME, the third Wyrdverse book. It exists and is written, but didn’t push the Lain/Sigmund m/m hard enough for the publisher. BAD MEME is more of a supernatural thriller (I guess?) set in Melbourne, and while Lain is the lens through which the story is told, it’s mostly about a group of three friends–Roxx, Bich (a.k.a. Brianna), and Taylor–who make a creeypasta YouTube series called vicwalks. The antagonist of vicwalks is a monster called the Tooth Girl who, because this is the Wyrdverse, is summoned into reality by the show (hence Lain’s involvement).

Sketch of Bich from BAD MEME.

The problem with the BAD MEME is that the entire conflict revolves around the different things Roxx, Bich, and Taylor want to get out of vicwalks. Roxx, an abuse survivor, uses the story as a way to deal with her past pain. Bich wants to be “internet famous” and get movie deals in Hollywood. Taylor is a young tans boy at an all-girls school, who’s looking for a hobby away from the suffocating femininity of his home life. Meanwhile, Lain spends most of the book as “Elle” after Bich reads his gender as female when they first meet.

So on the scale of “queer urban fantasy”, BAD MEME still fits into that box. The box it doesn’t fit into is “m/m romance”: Sigmund only appears as a cameo character in a few scenes, and the few hints of romance that do exist mostly come from Bich crushing on “Elle”.

Unfortunately for yours truly, the publishing contract for the Wyrd series was more on the “m/m paranormal” side of the scale than the “urban fantasy with queer protagonists” side. The publisher didn’t want BAD MEME as-is, and requested I rewrite large sections of the book to include Lain/Sig. I ultimately decided I didn’t want to do this; BAD MEME deals with some heavy themes (i.e. abuse survival, gender dysphoria) that I felt it would be inappropriate to sideline in favour of writing relationship melodrama between two dudes. My other option was to write another book entirely; essentially selling the fourth Wyrd book in place of the third. I outlined something (codename: TRUTHTELLER) that ended up being like 95% love triangle. The problem was it didn’t really have a villain. Because, yeah. The other thing BAD MEME did was establish the long-term antagonist for the Wyrd series.

So TRUTHTELLER got trunked alongside BAD MEME, and that was the end of that: for the foreseeable future, the Books of the Wyrd will number two.

… That turned out into much more of an update than I intended. Oh well.

Finally, for anyone who’s interested: have an excerpt from BAD MEME, in which Bich and Elle encounter the Tooth Girl. Enjoy!

2018-11-26T08:16:53+10:0012th September, 2016|Tags: my art, publishing, wyrdverse|

LIESMITH: Release month freak-out edition.

Wow. So… yeah. October. How did that happen?

One year ago today I was, more-or-less, a nervous wreck. I had exactly one novel and about twenty rejections from literary agents, and a bunch more still sitting in the works. My thirtieth birthday was looming on the horizon, as a sort of artificial deadline I’d irrationally imposed on myself for “being an author”, like suddenly my fingers would all drop off and my brain would stop telling stories if I got to thirty-and-one-day without a publishing contract sitting in front of me.

As it turned out, that didn’t happen. I know this, because my agent’s offer of representation came four days after my 30th birthday, and, well. I still have all my fingers.

Eleven months later, and I’m staring down the release date for that novel. Back then, it was called WYRDTOUCHED.

Nowadays, it’s called Liesmith. Y’all might’ve heard me talk about it before.

So… yeah. This is the part where I prepare for things to get crazy again, I guess. Which is weird, because I still wake up every morning and get dressed and go to work–my day job, office work–and it’s like 99% of my life is still exactly the same. But that 1%…

I had a poster at a vendor booth a Comic Con. Did I mention that? I did, but I’m gonna mention it again. Because holy shit guys I’ve never even fucking been to Comic Con, and my fucking novel had a fucking poster up at one. Robin Hobb signed stuff in front of it. Robin fucking Hobb, man. I used to read her books when I was a kid, back when dad convinced me she was a bloke because “not many women write fantasy”. And now we’re in the same freakin’ vendor booth? What. The. Fuck. That is some serious alternate universe bullshit going on right there, she thinks, sitting at the dull beige desk in her dull beige cubicle, while somewhere off in the aether Alis Franklin, Professional Author, looks at marketing plans and promo art.

Basically, what I’m getting at is that the last eleven months have been an endless mantra of “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. Because if I stop, and let things catch up to me…


Let’s start over.

Black and white photo book cover of a young man in a hoodie, holding a spear. The text "LIESMITH" appears at the height of his chest, written in red. The name of the author, Alis Franklin, and the publisher's logo, Hydra, appear at the bottom of the image.

Cover for Liesmith by Alis Franklin.

So hey. Did you hear I have a book out soon? It’s called Liesmith. It’s about Loki, sort of, and the mythos of Silicon Valley, sort of, and family and identity, definitely, and love. Always love, right?

It’s about nerds and geeks and about being who you are and being proud of who you are, because who you are is pretty damn great, even the bits that aren’t.

It’s about a boy who meets a boy, and the things that happen after. It’s also about a girl, and how far she’s prepared to go to rewrite a story she doesn’t like.

It’s about a seven foot tall anthropomorphic archaeopteryx, and a talking raven, and walls made from flesh, and a pair of goths, and the gods of death.

It’s about a guy who couldn’t shoot the broad side of a barn from five paces. Watch that one, it’s a spoiler.

But mostly, Liesmith‘s about having fun. I had fun writing it. And maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky, you’ll have fun reading it, too.

If all goes to plan, Liesmith should be out next week, on October 7. If books about queer geeks, geeky gods, and Norse mythology are your thing, you might like to shelve the book on GoodReads (where you can also read a bunch of early reviews). If you’re feeling even more generous, you might even like to preorder:

US/Canada: Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Books-a-Million, Amazon.

Australia/New Zealand: Bookworld, Angus & Robertson.


As they say in publishing: more soon.

It’s gonna be one Hel of a month…

2019-04-29T11:47:16+10:001st October, 2014|Tags: gonzo author stories, liesmith, my art, wyrdverse, xp|