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STATE OF THE TROUT: Chaotic Creativity Proving More Chaotic Than Previously Expected

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Time for an update, all you weirdos and beautiful freak-outs!

Remember back in July when I wrote and co-directed a music revue? Well, that has now rolled into co-directing a children’s theater musical. My co-director, musical director, choreographer, and I were all in Chicago together, so we know and have worked with each other before. In fact, my musical director and I first met when we were both in the BROADWAY WORLD REGIONAL THEATER AWARD NOMINATED WAR PAINT. Just wanted to throw that in there, every day until I die.

Before I start spilling details about it here, I have to check and make sure what I’m allowed to talk about this early in the process, but the auditions and callbacks are finished and only one staff member has threatened to resign so things are actually going really well for a community theater production!

However, this means an adjustment in my schedule that I was not anticipating, so as of right now, Queen of Hell is delayed so I can focus on the Patreon and our blog features here.

I’ll also be temporarily suspending regular additions to the merch shop because the only time I’ve had to draw lately has been focused on sets and puppets and projection images. But I did add two new items, Keep Calm and Capybara, which is a non-Trout Nation related design (I just like animals), and the shirt that I would have liked to have had ready during the Olympics but I was sidelined by quality/proof issues: Scamlympics. You, too, can walk around wearing the infamous “Las Vegas Olympian” comment, with my favorite parts highlighted in red.

Those might have been the only things I needed to mention. Oh, and if you’re not subscribed to my YouTube channel yet, help me out and subscribe? I’m trying to reach 1,000 subscribers so I can stream from my phone and finally do Fitshaced Fortuneteller again.

Jealous Haters Book Club: Crave, Chapter 6, “No, I Really Don’t Want to Build a Snowman”

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CW: threatened rape

The chapter titles are beginning to wear on me, I gotta admit. Really starting to grind me down. And you’ll see why at the end of this chapter.

In other news, I’m still reading Tracy Wolff’s other book, Royal Treatment. It’s not an epically long book or anything, but the Dune trailer came out and I remembered I wanted to reread that before the movie came out and then I steamrolled right into Dune Messiah and Children of Dune and I binged those.

That’s how I describe reading straight through a book all at once. Because usually, I read the way people watch tv shows. A few chapters here, a few chapters there. And it’s not that Royal Treatment isn’t a good book or enjoyable. It’s just not in the genre I’m interested in reading right now. But still, I see no evidence that Wolff’s of the McGuire/James/Glines school of abuse-me-until-I-love-you.

That said, I have a little bit of an issue with some stuff in this chapter.

CONCUSSED!

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A few days ago, I forget how long now (see title of post) I was awakened at five in the morning, pretty sure I’d been shot in the leg.

Which would be absurd because I’m not important enough to be the first assassination on somebody’s morning schedule.

I woke up in horrible pain, wondering what the hell happened. My first thought was maybe our ceiling fan fell, or that raccoon that’s always on the roof found a soft spot and crashed through. I groped my way to the end of the bed in the dark, confused, wondering if I was about to be attacked by a similarly confused raccoon. And just as I was leaning over, my forehead and orbital bone met the skull of a pit bull in full zoomies.

Zoomies, if you have never owned a dog, is a phenomenon that occurs when a dog rids itself of extraneous energy by running at full speed with no regard for its own safety or the safety of the people who are just trying to sleep because it’s five in the ding dang morning. Pit bulls run around 20-25mph and their heads are like basketballs made of concrete.

Reader, I saw stars. Within a few hours, it was clear that I had a concussion.

The thing is, this is my third concussion, the second in five years. Every progressive concussion is worse than the last, which I had heard before, but since my first concussion happened when I was fifteen or something, so when I got my second one, I had forgotten what the first one was like. Now, having them back to back, I have a comparison.

PROTECT YOUR HEADS.

Not that I think my Trout Nation friends aren’t smart enough to not split their melons. It’s taken me about three hours to get to this point in this post. I can only think for about twenty minutes at a time before I get intensely car sick. This includes watching movies, reading a book, having a conversation, basically anything other than just staring off into space.

CONCUSSIONS ARE BORING AS FUCK.

So, in summation: pit bulls aren’t dangerous because they’ll attack you, they’re dangerous because they pick ridiculous times to do goofy things, concussions are boring, and wear a helmet even when you’re sleeping because you don’t know when a raccoon is gonna crash through your ceiling.

It happens. I’m waiting.

Wear a helmet.

The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp: Chapter Eight

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Need to catch up?

New video, new merch, short update

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Howdy! Still hard at work on a bajillion different projects at once over here, but I took some time out of my busy schedule to torment myself with the game that traumatized and inspired a generation of children to say, “Nah, I’m good. I’ll just keep living where I am.” And today, I am sharing that with you:

Please enjoy the adventures of the Butt family and many, many references to the Donner Party.

Also, if you’ve been waiting to see your favorite Jealous Haters Book Club selection immortalized on merchandise, this month I’ve added two new designs, “Pidge” and “#1 Most Jealous (for 24 hours)” to Troutmart. These were the designs that got bumped from June after the proofs didn’t come back in a way I was happy with. Now they’re fine and I highly recommend the “Pidge” throw pillow. Be aware that one of August’s designs will also be an homage to my favorite book about people randomly meeting Carrot Top, so if you want one but can only get one or only want one, wait until August to see if you like that design more because I don’t want to bait and switch you. But I’m having such a good time drawing these between frantically scribbling a thousand different stories all at once in many notebooks that I am most assuredly not looking forward to typing up.

On that note, more The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp will be here tomorrow, after I obsessively make sure I have all the Ancient Greek names spelled correctly.

I Love This Book(s)

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I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a total fangirl weirdo when it comes to the stories written by Leanna Renee Hieber. I’ve posted about her Strangely Beautiful series, but she’s also written the Magic Most Foul series, The Eterna FilesThe Spectral City and the Dark Nest Chronicles

I have to admit, I haven’t read Dark Nest Chronicles yet, but that didn’t cause me any trouble reading her new series set in the same world. Time Immemorial is a trilogy of novellas that tie all of Hieber’s tales together with a hell of a concept: her starship captain, Liz Marlowe, is living numerous lives in various time periods, concurrently. As she bops between various lifetimes, interacting with characters from Hieber’s other works, Liz is accompanied by a friend who has reincarnated over and over, interacting with Liz’s parallel past-present lives.

In other words, Hieber has written a series of novellas about a kind of Clara-Oswald-Kwisatz-Haderach who ties the Hieberverse together in the space opera universe she co-created with Thom Truelove. So, gaslamp space opera?

In other, other words: you’ve never read anything like this.

the silhouette of a woman in profile against the background of a ring of blue light and black, starry space beyond. The text reads: Time Immemorial, a Dark Nest adventure, Leanna Renee Hieber with Thom Truelove

Lizzie Marlowe had as many missions as she had lives.

A masterful tale of multiple timelines; one woman, split between four lives…

Elizabeth Marlowe has always known she was different—even from others with psychic abilities. She doesn’t merely glimpse past or future lives, she lives multiple lives concurrently. She is L’Bet, a druid priestess holding out against the Roman invasion. She is Lizzie, a headstrong Victorian plumbing the depths of both science and Spiritualism. She is Beth, a Royal Air Force pilot fighting in World War II. And she is Captain Liz, a starship commander forging a path through the stars.

But being different comes with danger. Liz is determined to make it on her own, hiding her unusual ability from all but one trusted companion in each life. Yet, she is haunted by an ominous warning from her old mentor, Saire: Someday they’ll fear you. People fear what they cannot understand, and it is only a matter of time before those with psychic powers are targeted for their difference. When that happens, Liz will have to choose between her life of independence and saving the community she rejected long ago.

Return to the world of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Dark Nest trilogy with the start of a new series that spans eras and galaxies!

 

The silhoutte of a woman with her hand on her hip, in front of a purple ring of light and dark space with stars behind her. The text reads: Time Inescapable, A Dark Nest adventure, Leanna Renee Hieber and Thom Truelove

A tale of psychic powers and those who fear them; one woman, stalked by an enemy across the threads of time…

Captain Liz Marlowe has just learned of a horrific Homeworld plot to eradicate the Psychically Augmented population. Though her crew managed to rescue one survivor from the lonely desolation of space, the danger isn’t over yet. In fact, confidential documents from the Homeworld council reveal that Liz is in even more danger than she thought. For Liz has a power that may be the key to erasing the psychic population once and for all … the power of existing throughout time.

Elizabeth Marlowe is aware of living in four eras at once. And in each life—from druidic priestess to starship captain—she nurtures a special connection to the threads of power that crisscross the planet: ley lines. In times of danger she has always been able to draw on the power of these lines and hide herself within them. But recently something has soured the Earth’s beautiful music. Elizabeth is haunted by an eerie dissonance that warns of an encroaching enemy, who seems to be pursuing her throughout each life. And she cannot hide forever. Elizabeth will have to open her heart to new allies and prepare to confront her greatest enemy if there is to be any hope for the survival of her people—and herself.

 

The third installment releases in July, only on Scribd, from Bryant Street Publishing, but you can get the first two now. And if you’re more into audiobooks, good news: Leanna is a real-deal actress (which is a little weird when you know her IRL and she just randomly shows up in the Will Ferrel movie you’re watching) and you can hear her narrating all three titles, also available only on Scribd!

STATE OF THE TROUT: Why have I been so busy edition

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I’ve been a little busy lately. I wanted to get another set of Jealous Haters merch out for yous all, but I didn’t like the way one of the proofs turned out so they’re getting a re-design and release in July. It will be worth the wait, Jealous Disasters and Handbooks for Haters. I haven’t forgotten yous all. But here’s the stuff I’ve been busy with.

Reason #1:

me, with messy hair, holding three kittens up to my face

On the condition that my brother and sister get their cat spayed, I agreed to foster these beasts. Which quickly turned into, “I will keep two of these.” From L-R, that’s Frankenstein, Dracula, and Ed. Obviously, Frankenstein and Dracula are mine. Once Ed is old enough (they’re eight weeks old now, we got them at six weeks because Momma cat peaced out on the whole parenting thing), he’ll live with Baba. In the meantime, all three of them are here, to the bone-chilling terror of our largest pit bull, who trembles and flees any time we open the porch door because one of them hissed at her once and she has yet to recover.

Reason #2

One of the towers of the Mackinac Bridge, taken from right at its base looking up

I went on my annual U.P. writing retreat where, unfortunately, I spent most of the time in agonizing pain and missed out on seeing my friend’s new baby. But I did get more writing done than I usually do at home, and I always use that week as a benchmark to figure out how my publishing schedule is gonna go for the rest of the year. I feel like BARRING ANY POTENTIAL BREAKDOWNS CAN I GO ONE GODDAMN YEAR WITHOUT A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS, I’ll be releasing both Queen of Hell and the rewritten version of In The Blood on Halloween. Because I’m spooky like that.

 

Reason #3

You ever get a chance to do something you’ve always dreamed about but never had the chance to do? And then you get the chance and you throw literally everything else in your life to one side because this is all that matters until July 9, 2021? Well, that’s what happened to me. I got the chance to write a musical revue. It’s free, it’s outdoors, and it’s with my very favorite theater family, Center Stage in Kalamazoo, MI. If you live in the SW Michigan area and you’d like to see a show on the 9th, 10th, or 11th of July after a year of no theater, you can get ticket info here!   

So, that’s what’s been going on lately. Check back this week for a rec/review of a really great series from one of my most favorite authors, Leanna Renee Hieber, and possibly other stuff. I’m not 100% sure that my ass is unkicked yet from the trip.

$ PRIDE $ (and why I don’t think cops belong there)

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Am I introducing Pride merch like a god damn conglomerate? You’re 100% right. If Lego can cash in, so can I. Except, when LGBTQA+ creators do it, it’s like when you hand money to the dude in the sleeping bag on the sidewalk instead of the dude ringing the bell to get money to run through the hands of the CEO before making the dude in the sleeping bag sit through a gospel reading to get a bowl of oatmeal and a roll of toilet paper.

Moving on.

Before I shamelessly hawk my wears, let me explain this shit like a fucking recipe blog.

I don’t think cops should be a presence at Pride. Not just because cops routinely raided gay bars and checked people’s genitals and counted how many pieces of “gender appropriate” clothing they were wearing and beat them and outed them and humiliated them etc. until Marsha fucking snapped and chucked that brick, but also because of how the police have weaponized their presence to prevent events and protests from even happening. Cities have tried to use, “but you have to pay for the police to protect you!” as an excuse to withhold permits and contracts from event organizers who couldn’t raise the funds. And “protection” from police at Pride has sometimes meant open harassment and violence against the people paying for their protection in the first place.

Just because marriage equality passed in the United States doesn’t mean LGBTQA+ people are safe and all our problems have been solved. We’re still considered “less-dead” in criminology terms: victims more vulnerable to becoming cold cases due to marginalized status.

The situation is somewhat similar to what happens to Black Lives Matter protests: Pay us to protect you at the protests you organize in remembrance of how we, specifically, have historically victimized you. Oh, and while we’re here, why not let us make you feel incredibly unsafe.

In the United States, there’s a flag that’s become a popular substitute for the traitor (confederate) flag. It’s a version of the American flag in black and white. One stripe is blue, to signify the “thin blue line,” the mythical concept that without the police to brutalize citizens, the workers will undermine the fruits of their labor or something dystopian like that.

In my area, they usually fly just above “Trump 2024” or “Fuck Biden” MAGA flags.

I fucking hate them.

Like, whenever I hear a firetruck, I fantasize that it’s one of those houses.

So, as with many, many things in my life, I was motivated by spite to make a flag for LGBTQA+ Americans who don’t want cops at Pride, based on the bootlicker flag:

The "No Cops At Pride" flag is based off the American flag, but with rainbow stripes and the gray asexual flag stripe instead of red ones. The field of stars is black, with NO COPS in block letters in the pink and blue of the transgender flag.

This image file is huge, by the way, so that you can use it on what you want. Put it in your Cricut machine and make stickers and sell ’em on etsy. Make it a real flag, I don’t care. Put it on your FB, print it out and write love letters on it, whatever blows your skirt up. Monetize it. Get that cash, gaybies.

What I’m not cool with would be if someone not a member of the LGBTQA+ community decided to be an ally by making money off it. Or a corporation. That would disappoint me and I would lose respect for that person or entity. But I want it to be available for everyone so I’m not gonna copyright it or anything.

But I’m gonna sell merch!

Over at TroutMartyou can find this design, as well as a limited edition, super gayed-out version of our favorite misogynistic insult that will only be available during the month of June.

Giving queer people money is allyship, right?

Anyway, a very merry Pride to you, remember the people who died so you could watch cis straight actors pretend to be them in the biopic.

No Cops At Pride.