What 20 Years of Publishing Looks Like

I’ve mentioned how I don’t often talk about my creative work.

Darklord | Avestine and Veris in the Castlebejel Library

I don’t have friends IRL who are writers or illustrators. (We share other aspects of my life, so I’m not hurting for company.) That means when I mention some art project I’m working on or something I’ve posted, I get very little feedback.

I understand. If you’re not producing stories and art, you don’t really understand the life or the process or likely even know what questions to ask. You don’t know the time and frustration of practice and production, nor the heartache of critiques and–sometimes worse–crickets. A corollary to all that is that I have very few friends who even read fiction.

I was surprised, however, when a friend recently visited my Webfiction website and commented to me “you’ve been busy.”

Yes, very busy, for about 20 years.

A Life’s Work

Just this week, I finally got all my world-building content posted.

This is the background for the Darklaw Saga, a series that I started planning in the 1990’s. The posted world-building content on my webfiction site (images, illustrations, writings) was produced from 2009-2020.

Darklaw Saga | Sahrdon Coat of Arms

In addition, most of my finished pieces of writing are also posted. This includes lesbian erotica shorts and novellas published in the early 2000’s, Darklaw Saga stories in the 2010’s, and Stilicho’s Son, a story I submitted only once, when it was a short story. My favorite editor suggested I make it a novel. And I did. It is another world I began in the 1990’s with hundreds of research hours and books about the Late Roman Empire. (I wish I had taken a photo of my kitchen table during those years. The final Stilicho’s Son bibliography lists only the books that had their content used.)

I’m still posting the novels Darklaw and Stilicho’s Son in weekly episodes. I have a few previously published speculative fiction novellas yet to post and some erotica, too. Current/ongoing work includes the webcomic Demonrise and the webserial Darklord, both sequels to Darklaw.

Putting It All Together

Darklord – Rook Portrait and Character Bio

I manage my website. I’ve been trying to get a process and online presence like this for years, and I think I’m pretty satisfied.

I may add a section down the road with standalone illustrations–images that aren’t tied to stories. I first learned to draw doing fanart (though we didn’t call it that) of Star Trek and Tarzan, comic books, especially Savage Sword of Conan, and painters like Frazetta and Boris.

I spend money on other creatives’ products (mostly Patreon and Gum Road and personal websites), but my own webfiction is free. Whether to monetize my work is a conversation I have with myself frequently:

  • On the one hand, people often value something more if they have to pay for it and they see it as better quality. But on the other hand, producing writing and art for purchase requires a significant amount of time and expenditure that I’d rather put into more art.
  • On the one hand, my talent and creations are valuable and so I should be compensated for my work just like any worker. On the other hand, my art feels like a privilege, and currently, I don’t need to monetize it to live. I feel rewarded just by being able to do it.
Darklaw Saga | World Map

One day I will make my writing and illustration available in books so fans can have it all in one place, in hand, in paper. But right now, when I think about creating a paywall, producing a product for Kindle, or establishing a Patreon account, it’s just a buzzkill. I lose all excitement.

It’s exciting that I can write and draw and share it a week later on my Webfiction site.

It’s been a prolific 20 years. I hope I get another 20.