Sufferborn Book 3, Fist Draft Done!

Merry Christmas to all! I feel compelled to write this blog right now as a way to get out of a sort of funk I’ve been suffering with. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything online, besides spend money :} . It has been a bad 2 years for me, but this Christmas season, so far, is a lovely one.

My first announcement for today is that the third installment of Sufferborn has been written! It’s only the first draft and will be followed by a long few months of editing, starting in January, but the project is halfway complete at this point. It took me 11 whole months to write it and it is nearly 230,000 words long, whew! For the first two books, it only took about 3 and a half months to write their first drafts, but this year was different. I had trouble focusing. I took on a big computer building side project, two of my relatives died, and I continued to deal with publishing-related woes that are hard to explain to those who don’t work in this business. I was spread thin, and 11 months got the job done.

I’m psyched about Sufferborn book 3! This book is VERY important in the series as it’s at the center of the entire composition and it stands as a pretty big mid-series climax. So buckle your seatbelts, Sufferborn fans. By now, you all know that I don’t write slow books, haha! My books are full of action and drama.

Since I finished the book a little later than expected (LOL), I’m, of course, having to push back the release date. So I’m hoping for mid 2022 now. It’s a very big book and shouldn’t be rushed. I’ll do my best and keep you informed.

I also finished the front cover painting for book 3! Another very big task done. There will, as always, be a back cover painting too, but I’ve yet to decide on a subject. I’m currently working to create a reference and…

Dah-da-na-naaaaahhhh! This brings me to my other bit of big news: I am writing this post on a bitchin’, badass, new custom-built computer—the first computer I’ve ever created with my own hands! It’s beautiful. I talked about this project in a previous post, you might remember, but the finished project turned out slightly different. What I have learned is that building a computer is quite a twisty-turny adventure. You really have to be in tune with what you’re doing and trying to accomplish. But I did it, and it’s just fabulous. This computer is the new center of my publishing company, and not a moment too soon. As it turned out, I wound up deciding to get a Ryzen 5950x, which has 16 cores, instead of my original plan of getting a threadripper. I made this decision after discussing it with someone online who convinced me I didn’t need a threadripper for what I was trying to do, lol. Alongside it, I wound up getting a Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card. Obviously, I would have gotten a higher tier, but the current graphics card situation was insane, and I just decided to get the best thing I could get my hands on. To be honest, my 3070 is AWESOME. Computer people in the youtube videos act like it has to be a 3090 or you’re just not at the best level, but all that talk is silly. I’m here to tell you this if you are currently trying to get a graphics card. My computer is amazing thanks to my 3070. I managed to get it by watching the Newegg website closely, checking its stock about three times a day (so not too closely, hahahah!) When I happened to catch this 3070 in stock, from a reputable American seller, I jumped on it. Ok, I didn’t even jump on it that quickly lol. I hemmed and hawed for about an hour. I asked my mom if she thought I should get it lol. And THEN I bought it. I paid about 800 dollars more than its retail value, as these were ridiculously inflated this year. My decision was justified though, because it’s for business. I really wanted my workflow to improve. And it has.

The book and the computer were the best things to come out of 2021 for me. I’m really hoping things will be different in 2022. I’m feeling good these days. I get a winter vacation, since I’m letting the book simmer before reading it with fresh eyes. And my day job has lightened up considerably, because this is a slow season for the work I do. So finally, I’m getting some rest and feeling at peace, after a long, grueling year of deaths and penny pinching and emotions coming from places both external and internal.

I hope for now, my suffering is over. And I’m excited about Christmas. How about you?

Merry Christmas.

There’s the magnificent bastard now–my computer! XD

3D Printed Sufferborn Figurine by J.C. Hartcarver and Mixed Dimensions

How’s everybody doing on this fine day in 2021? I just wanted to take a moment to show you how I like to waste my time—haha! Just kidding, I don’t actually consider it a waste. I just love doing crafty things. It’s what gives my life meaning and purpose. Truly, I live from project to project. That’s how I like it. And I’m always thinking of crazy new ways to get paint all over my hands. This time I made a figurine. Check it out…

This is Wikshen (my favorite Sufferborn character. Shhh, don’t tell the others). If you haven’t noticed already, Sufferborn is kinda about him, to be honest. He’s more than a novel character to me, though, he’s an artistic outlet. If I’m trying out a new medium—of any type—you can count on seeing Wikshen appear in that medium. Anyway, about this figurine…

The very first step was sculpting him in the Daz Studio software. I just LOVE that software! I sculpted him using various morphing tools I had to buy to get the job done. I guess you can say he was expensive even to digitally sculpt. And then I used the GamePrint plugin to send my sculpture to the printing company, Mixed Dimensions, to get my sculpture created in real life 3D. It was not cheap, I must say, hahah! This was a high-end pricy little project. He stands at about 9 inches tall and his skin color was printed as well. I only added a few painted elements of my own to enhance his eyes and add his side brand and arm bands, and etc. Some parts of his clothing didn’t print in the color I needed, so I went over those with my own black paint. Consider this post to be a glowing review of all of those services I mentioned: Daz Studio, GamePrint plugin for Daz Studio, and Mixed Dimensions—all highly recommended!

What I actually submitted for printing was an incomplete figure. He had no hair and only wore his underwear. Notice his hair and “battleshift” are both made from organic materials. I wanted this figurine to be partially a hands-on art project for my own personal joy and satisfaction. I had to create the base he is standing on—not because I wanted to, but because I had no idea how the printing process would play out—if I would get a complimentary base or not. It turned out that I was not given a base by default. He arrived as a loose figure who couldn’t stand on his own (poor fella!), so I went to all the trouble to pick out a wooden oval thing from the craft store, stain it, sculpt the rocks and soil using a two-part apoxie, paint it, and added moss for a realistic terrain effect. The finished product turned out better than expected.

And that hair! Thanks to my history of enthusing in the world of Asian ball-jointed dolls, and honing my process for creating wigs, I was able to craft this for the figurine. This part I knew would be a better option than printing his hair from the resin material he’s made of. If I had done that, the figure probably would’ve cost $100 more than it did! I did run through the shopping cart process a few times to figure out my options. So making the hair saved me money, and it looks 100 times better too. I was able to use hand-dyed suri alpaca hair that was left over from a past wig I made (because I totally made a ball-jointed doll of him in the past!). This also makes his hair removeable so I can replace it in case of damage or whatever.

Look at that dirty bastard! The last thing I applied was his battleshift which is made from a scrap of linen I had kicking around. Did I also mention I’m a seamstress? Well, I didn’t actually sew this together, I “sculpted” this garment by cutting and gluing pieces directly onto the figure, so this one is not removeable. His battleshift hides the wire that I used to stabilize the figure to the base, using nothing short of caulk to secure him down, which includes under his feet.

I’m not going to say this project was “simple” or “easy” but it probably wasn’t an expert-level project either. I was able to alleviate my chores a bit by ordering a color printed sculpture instead of primed. The tasks I did take on required a bit of planning and know-how. For instance, I also had to invent a way to let the figure stand safely on his own without facing the risk of falling and breaking off one of those gorgeous, tiny fingers while I worked on him. To do this, I glued a Styrofoam “brick” to a flat piece of cardboard, carved foot holes into the Styrofoam and, voila, he had a temporary stand to prop him up while I crafted his wig.

I have a few mixed feelings about continuing this as a hobby. 1. Yes, of course I want to do another one! He looks lonely without his Kalea to stand there being impressed (or horrified) by his antics, heehee! 2. But it was such an “extra” thing for me to juggle. It took a long time to finish just because each session was spread out across weeks and weeks. I could only work on it a little bit at a time each weekend, sometimes skipping weekends. 3. It’s an expensive hobby…But who am I kidding? I LOVE doing arts and crafts and don’t mind spending money on a project! 4. Um…there isn’t really a fourth feeling. I enjoyed doing this but it’s not very convenient. I’ll just play it by ear. Maybe you’ll see a Kalea figurine in the next year, who knows? Until then I have a Book 3 to finish and a computer to build. Yep, I’m still working on that computer. It will make my future of using Daz Studio a bright one.

Thank you for reading this! If you catch me at a convention in the future, I will most likely have this little guy on my table to make it look cool. He’s a one of a kind.

God Bless!

P.S. I did a little filming as I worked on this project, so you can expect a creation video on Youtube soon…just gotta get that new computer running (*sigh*).

Growing Pains and Sufferborn Book 3

As it is close to the middle of the year, I feel it’s appropriate to give you all an update to the progress of Sufferborn book 3.

I’m expecting its release to be around early 2022—but please don’t think that sounds bad, it’s really not. For the past two years in a row, I’ve managed to release book 1, Sufferborn, and then book 2, Unwilling Deity, in the fall of each year. There is a certain rhythm I intend to keep for my book releases, and as a result, the starting and ending points of each book creation will land a little later in the year, each year (for example, Sufferborn came out in October of 2019 and Unwilling Deity came out in November 2020). After taking my annual “between books break” in 2020, I started writing book 3 (title to be announced) on January 1, 2021. So far, it is taking a bit longer to write this one than the previous two, and I think that is due to my trying to juggle it with various different things like marketing and such. But I am hopeful that the book’s first draft will be finished soon and I will proceed with its publishing tasks.

However! There is one thing in this year that could possibly delay book 3’s release, backing it up a little farther into 2022: I am building my first high-powered workstation computer.

Let’s put an emphasis on “possibly,” because I’m not entirely sure if my pc building venture will actually delay the book. I am having to work more hours at my day job to come up with the money, and my new workstation will not be cheap. As long as I can keep up my discipline and wake up extra early every morning, I shouldn’t lose any writing time. But the cost of pc building will have to be juggled with the cost of publishing (and this year I have to buy another 10 pack of ISBN numbers. Yay :[ ).

The thing about pc building is that in order to make a workstation, and not a gaming pc, I need better/faster components and lots of memory. I want to do this right, so my pc will work faster, longer, and allow me to do complex operations like 3d rendering. I’m EXTREMEMLY excited about what I will be able to do with my new pc—the art I will make—the new software and media I will try! Right now, I’m working on a pc that has a 4-core AMD processor and was the cheapest pc in Best Buy 6 or 7 years ago. I am planning to put a 24-core threadripper CPU into my new computer, so I’m expecting the difference to be like night and day.

As far as pc building goes, there are circumstantial complications for this year: a shortage of graphics cards and insanely high inflation for them in both retail and on the second hand market. As far as getting a graphics card goes, I’m biding my time as I have to save for all my other expensive pc parts, but it’s still a worry. In 2021, building a pc costs more money than ever before. Between it and my busy life, I’m estimating Sufferborn book 3 may release in February 2022. That’s my best guess-timation, but I will follow up if I foresee any developments.

I might also show a few pics of my new workstation pc when it’s complete. I think my Sufferborn art, book covers, and marketing graphics are about to get a LOT better. Art is my favorite part of life. It’s half the reason why I’m in this business. ❤