An ode to Gravitation

I just finished re-reading Gravitation, and I’m so full of feelings, I ended up sitting up all night writing this long-ass post.
[This post will contain spoilers if you haven’t read the Gravitation manga, so please steer clear if that’s the case.]

Raise your hand if Gravitation was your first BL!

Actually, I can’t testify that Gravitation was my first BL at all, for some reason my memory is a bit hazy on how and when I got into BL, or at least on what my first reads were…. I have a feeling it was mostly doujin and random one-shots first, but in any case Gravitation was the first BL I actually owned. And it was published in Norwegian at that. Can you imagine?
I remember stepping into a Narvesen (kiosk that sells mainly magazines and various lottery tickets) at the mall, and there it was, volume one. I nearly died. And the worst thing is that while the Norwegian translation might be…. Awkward, it actually suits the characters well. Maybe because they are all so crazy, and the Norwegian used in the translation is also kind of all over the place? I don’t know, it’s been ten years since I read them. Unfortunately the Norwegian serialization was discontinued when the publisher went bankrupt, and we were left at volume 6. So I had to get them all in English.

Anyway. From the very first moment, I was completely taken with this series. And this week, I re-read the twelve original volumes for the first time in years.
It’s funny. I have read hundreds of BL manga, both fluffy shonen-ai and hardcore yaoi since my first encounter with this series, and while there are so many things you could say about this series in comparison to other, perhaps better series (technically speaking)….I absolutely adore Gravitation till this day.

Sure, it is complete crack. Murakami-sensei, the mangaka spends every author’s note talking down herself, her art and her plots – she is well aware of the craziness and often the lack of consistency, and apologizes profusely to her adoring fans with each chapter.
The art changes constantly with each volume, and we find Shuichi, our protagonist to change from an awkwardly drawn young adult into a much better drawn, but somehow shota-ish creation, which is funny, considering Shuichi grows older over the span of the series, while his looks seem to be moving back in time..?

Gravitation_(manga)_vol01_Cover

Gravitation, Vol.1 (1996)

EX

Gravitation EX, Vol.1 (2004)

I think there are many people out there who absolutely abhor Gravitation, perhaps for all of the above reasons, and then there are those who look back and seemingly ridicule themselves about having had “a Gravitation phase”. This makes me sad. Maybe I’m biased but… There’s much more to Gravitation than meets the eye. And this post is going to be less of a review, and more of a reasoning to why I love this series so much.

Again, the author herself does admit to her own flaws and the flaws in her writing. And I have to admit, when I first returned to the series this week – I have watched the anime multiple times over the course of the last ten years, but the manga is better by far, I did have my doubts about whether I would still love it. It took a bit of time getting back into it, mostly because of Murakami-sensei’s erratic art style in the first few volumes, and how vastly different Gravitation is from most other manga in its genre. However, I have been squealing and laughing out loud to myself nightly as I’ve been reading, delighted to find that yup, it’s still got that immense charm that drew me into it all those years ago. Boys Kissing
I choose to label Gravitation as BL, but it could easily have been characterized a gag manga where the protagonists just happen to be two gay men – and maybe that is precisely where half the genius lies (Formally, Gravitation states to be comedy/shonen-ai).
I’m not saying that Gravitation doesn’t have a fling with the typical BL conflict “Omg we’re both men” , but out of all of the conflicts in the series, it is the one that matters the least.  Gravitation flirts with the idea of two guys getting it on right from the first chapter, where Shuichi and Hiro use it as a ploy to get out of chores at school, and it also plays on fujoshi-mentality and the attractive taboo of homosexuality in pop culture as a gimmick throughout the series, but as far as the relationship between Yuki and Shuichi goes? Their conflicts have deeper roots, although sometimes they are just flat out idiotic and hilarious.

HOMOS

There is no such thing as ‘no homo’ here.

Still, with all the BL I have read, and none of them even remotely close to Gravitation in silliness, this manga still stands out to me in the way it handles the issues at hand. Often the serious themes will be drowned out by such antics as people getting shot in the face (only to be perfectly fine two seconds later), a giant Panda demolishing New York City, or people getting kicked out of the house in the middle of the night for showing too many feelings—to mention a few, but it is still quite remarkable how this manga can tug at your heartstrings despite all of these things. The emotional trauma from Yuki’s past, and Shuichi’s desperation to break through to him runs as a recurring theme throughout, and grave seriousness often follows it regardless of how crazy the surrounding panels will get.

Panda

If I have to pick some favorite scenes from this series, there are a few that stand out and that get me every.single.time:

“When did I say that I rejected you because you’re a man?”
This slightly abbreviated line is spoken by Yuki in one of the earlier volumes, where he has tried to break it off with Shuichi, who gets the idea that Yuki has left him because he is a womanizer who can’t accept being in love with a man. In the anime, this is a very important line, as the storyline is significantly shorter and less complex, and thus seemingly deals a lot more with the typical conflict than its manga counterpart. In this scene, Yuki dismisses this overly cliched problem, and though it is vaguely touched upon a couple times more, he nips it in the bud here.

“Yuki is miiiiiiineeeee!”
This might be my favorite scene of all times. Shuichi’s impulse control completely falls apart as he is taken with violent jealousy upon seeing his beloved Yuki with his fiancée, Ayaka. So what does he do? He stops his own concert only to scream out his affection in a chock-full concert hall and cause a small riot in the crowd. Yuki’s response? A smile.
This scene is one of the many moments of pure honesty that makes me love these characters so much and at the same time, just crazy enough to make you laugh with glee every time.

Lovers“Yes, we are lovers.”
Again, slightly abbreviated and closer to the anime adaptation. But this is fairly self explanatory. While most BL is colored by the Japanese society and its archaic view on homosexuality, Gravitation’s characters never have any problem admitting that they are in fact, gay, at least not in the majority of the chapters. Early on, a young and confused Shuichi clearly states that he is into women, but that Yuki is special, but he soon changes his tune and screams at anyone willing to listen that he is in fact, gay.
Yuki on the other hand lives in denial of his own feelings due to his trauma, as well as to keep Shuichi at a distance (for the same reason), and that’s why this is so huge. Admitting you’re a couple on national television? How’s that for honesty.

I realize all three of these are scenes from the earlier part of the series, and that they are quite similar. I could go on, especially because there are some really emotional moments later on.
The fact that Gravitation so easily brushes off things that would commonly become huge issues in other BL stories (or shoujo for that matter), is incredibly refreshing.
There’s a scene in one of the last volumes, where Shuichi and Yuki get into an argument for no reason, because Yuki is embarrassed about having been honest about his feelings, where Shuichi shuts the whole argument down by simply stating that they keep getting into stupid fights because of so-and-so instead of beating around the bush and hoping that the other person will be a mind reader.

Complications

The darker side of Gravitation, dealing with emotional trauma, murder and rape can at first glance seem to be something that blows over quickly and is only thrown in by Murakami where she sees fit to create some drama, but are all recurring themes that help shape and explain the characters, and the scenes, albeit short and barely graphical are still immensely painful and well done.

It wouldn’t be entirely honest to say that Gravitation is progressive in terms of BL, I don’t think Murakami-sensei was trying to have any serious effect on society or people’s views when she wrote the story, but it deals with these themes in such an honest, straightforward and refreshing way, and I can only admire her for how she combines absolute hilarity with underlying seriousness. Although she continuously gripes about her terrible art in the comments, there are panels and illustrations, particularly of the characters when they’re on stage, or of Yuki, which are mind-bogglingly sexy.

on stage
And speaking of sexy, though Gravitation lacks in the sex department, and barely allows us to see a handful of kisses throughout the series, Murakami and her circle write their own doujinshi, with some of the most hardcore yaoi you will ever see. Some of it is disturbing, and some of it is completely “off its rockers” to quote K. And some of it, is even canon. Hiyoko mix is one of the recent releases, which elaborates on Yuki and Shuichi’s first time, which is everything you hoped for – and more than you bargained for, and slips right into the scene it was taking out of in volume 2, with the exception of the art which is vastly different.

But here’s the thing – Gravitation’s lack of sex is ultimately what lands it as being categorized as shonen-ai, and by all means, sex isnBodytalk’t necessarily what makes a BL manga (or any manga) good. However, if you’re like me, you want to see all aspects of the couple’s life together, and as most BL tends to be quite shallow and (on account of) being on a tight time line, you want to see the sex, and you want it to be hot. Often, BL without any physical developments in the relationship department gets tedious and boring, and you find yourself just waiting for something to happen. But even now, I don’t get that restless feeling with Gravitation. Of course, with its wild and over the top plotline, it could never get boring, but Yuki and Shuichi’s relationship alone is so challenging and complex, that the story works even without the sex. In fact, that seems to be the one thing that works out for them!

It’s not romantic in the traditional way, and yes, occasionally, Yuki might come across as your typical borderline abusive seme-character (not at all helped out by Murakami’s shotafication of Shuichi as her style changes, but keep in mind that Shuichi IS in fact 18+ throughout the series despite his looks), but somehow all the little

He said no

threads come together and explain his behavior nicely, without making excuses for him. Though there is a slight feeling of non-con about their first sexual encounter, Shuichi later dismisses this “fact”, something which is further confirmed in the Hiyoko doujin.
Yuki also really respects Shuichi, though he has a hard time voicing it – he is a spoiled brat who is used to getting anything he points at with just a bat of his eyes, but when Shuichi tells him he’s not coming back home with him – Yuki respects that, and leaves him alone although Shuichi’s really only fishing for an apology and some begging, and really does want to come with him.

Another thing worth mentioning here, is the existence of the (seemingly, I say seemingly because the character isn’t very clear on their own gender) transgendered character Yoshiki, whose role grows unexpectedly large over the latter course of the manga. Introducing such a character in a series that abuses its entire character gallery could be dangerous, and characters like Yoshiki are often bound to becoming one-dimensional, and ultimately the butt of the joke in gag manga. However, in the sense that Gravitation deals with anything tastefully, or fleshes out its random side-characters, Yoshiki’s gender, while causing some confusion (often deliberately, and much due to Murakami’s habit of using characters to push the plot along, even if it means altering them entirely) amongst the characters, doesn’t define them, but leaves that up to Yoshiki’s actions and involvement in the conflict at hand.
Again, maybe not progressive and revolutionary, but in this manga of crazy characters, Yoshiki doesn’t particularly stand out, and becomes one of the more normal characters in the series, as opposed to what they might have in other manga. Just worth noting.
Yoshiki
I think one of the things I love the most is how flawed these characters are, and how they not only work through it, but they talk these things out and they learn to deal with them, and it never feels like a quick-fix solution either, despite how haphazard much of this storyline is.
It’s also interesting to note that while Shuichi clearly possesses the looks of a typical uke-character (at least beyond the third volume), he is an immensely strong character. He cries easily, and he freaks out about tiny details, but he also holds it together when Yuki falls apart, and is willing to put his life on the line for the man he loves. He can be extremely dominant when needed – or when lust overcomes him (see Gravitation CD Dramas), at which point he will challenge Yuki for the top spot. But he also takes the lead of their relationship in other ways, not least romantically, confidently enticing Yuki both sexually, as well as in other matters where Yuki might not always seem to know how to deal with a situation.

AggressiveShu Shallowsolution

It’s not smut, or fluff, or slice of life, and it’s not pure comedy. Gravitation is unique.
In its genre, I don’t think there will ever be anything that can compare to this sentimental insanity.

I would like to say that I understand why people might dislike it but… I actually don’t. I’m far too biased I’m sure. But I am also of the firm belief that Murakami’s Gravitation has too much going for it for someone to dislike it entirely, in all aspects. And whenever the cliches or flaws sneak in, they’re easy to dismiss because of the humorous nature of the manga  – as mentioned earlier, Murakami utilizes her characters relentlessly to get her plot through, so it’s hard to take many of the twists particularly serious, which means it doesn’t kill the fun!

So yeah, I’ve written over 2500 words, and I’m not sure I’ve expressed everything I wanted to say. In fact, I could probably go on for another 2000 words to be honest. But it’s five in the morning.
Somehow, I ended up writing up some kind of defense here… I’m just overcome with feelings after having plunged into this universe once again, and feeling like it’s been so unfairly treated by so many people over the years.

Plus, if you’ve only watched the anime, you are really missing out. Not only in terms of plot development, but also on the characters and their true personalities.

Silly boyfriends

Silly boyfriends. Manga! Yuki is practically as crazy as his lover. And surprisingly dumb.

Please give it a read, it’s well worth it.
Ah, but stay away from its sequel: Gravitation EX. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but…..Somehow I doubt we will ever see the end of it, and as it stands right now, I am buried in a hole of depression, having fallen from the mother of all cliffhangers. ヽ(≧Д≦)ノ ウワァァン!!

Oh my god, I just keep adding to this draft, and now it’s nearly 3000 words, not to mention all the pictures…. Honestly, when picking out illustrations to this entry, I ended up using half the manga….. I just want to include everything, because it’s amazing, okay.
Somehow, I doubt I’ve shed any positive light on this schizophrenic piece of manga….. if anything, I think I’ve found my inner Murakami. (・ω・ )
But there it is, just a fraction of all the reasons why I will never stop loving Gravitation, and why you should read it too~

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Love Addict E-Store open! Special release discount!

I had this idea that I was going to hold off releasing Love Addict through the webshop until we’d revamped my website and made it more functional.
These days, I mostly use Facebook or Tumblr to advertise my writing, so there’s not even a speck of info on the website about Love Addict… And frankly, the CS webstore isn’t very functional either, since there’s a separate web store for each book.

But, there hasn’t been much time to think of a functional way of refurbishing the site, much less pulling it off… And I know that my international readers are waiting for the webstore to be launched. At least I hope you haven’t given up on me yet!

So I decided to go ahead and open the webstore, almost five months after Love Addict’s initial release date.

You can now purchase Love Addict here!

However, to make it up to all of you who were patient enough to wait for me, I’ve decided that as an apology, Love Addict will be sold at a special discount of $8 off until March 7th!
All you need to do is to apply the following discount code: 7SW6E3Q3 when placing your order.
Remember that if you want to place an order through CreateSpace, you’ll need to make an account, which takes about 5 minutes, so please do that first!

I am so sorry it took so long to get the webstore on its feet, but I hope it was worth the wait!

Please don’t hesitate to share this offer with all your BL-lovng friends as well!
If you’d like to place an order for either ‘SNOW’ or ‘Jaded’, you’ll find links to their webstores in the sidebar to the right.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2014 Digest

Another year has passed, and much like I feared, I didn’t blog at all in 2014. I hope that wasn’t a resolution for the past year? Let’s say it wasn’t.

When I think of 2014 in retrospect, I tend to think that it was a very uneventful year, at least compared to 2013! My friends and I have many annual traditions, so it often seems like the most memorable things from the year that went, are usually the same every year. And yet very different.
It kind of feels like 2014 was half good old traditions, and half intense studying for so many exams, I can’t even remember anymore.
But when I look a little closer, it was much more than that. The latter part of 2014 in particular, came with some huge changes in my life.

Love Addict was released of course, long overdue, and with my heart trembling at the thought of sharing this (for now) last piece of the Jaded SNOW project with everyone. And, being what it was, I was extremely nervous about how people would take to this story in comparison to the first two.

As much as I’d love to, I can’t live on my writing alone, so I work on the side. In September, I suddenly had no time for writing (not that there had been much of that anyway, with all the exam preparations all year through), because I had to work full-time. And then in October it came to a very abrupt halt when my workplace was closed down.
November came with NaNoWriMo, and job hunting. By December, I had a new job, which doesn’t suit me at all, but is challenging and fun all the same.

The biggest change though, is something I can’t really say that I feel on my body, to use that term of expression; it’s not something that is visible, and I can’t say it’s changed me as a person. But, it’s changed my course in life.
On December 1st, I got my diploma. In Norwegian, that would be Vitnemål, which is loosely the same as a High School Diploma, but different.
This is something I haven’t talked about. It’s not that I’ve been ashamed – I’ve written before about bullying and personal illness which forced me to drop out of school at 17. At times, I’ve felt left behind, and the inferiority complex at watching my peers and even their younger siblings rise through upper secondary and university, while I remained in the same spot, has been gnawing at my mind, but at the same time I’ve known that there’s been a reason for why my life turned out the way it did. I’ve not been ashamed, but it’s been too personal to want to talk much about it .
And this journey towards actually completing school, has been a long, winding path, complete with fighting the bureaucracy and my own demons. It’s taken a very long time compared to what it should have, and all along I’ve been terrified to tell anyone what I was doing, because if I failed, I felt like things would get so much worse.
In a society where everyone wants you to be perfect, and where everyone expects you to follow a certain path, it’s not accepted to fall behind the way I did, and I’ve had a lot of condescending comments from ignorant people along the way.

But you know, I did it. In my own way, by my own terms and in my own time.
Although people tell me that “someone as clever as you should’ve done that long ago” or “You’re so clever! You should go onto studying at university!”, it irks me that they’ve chosen not to look past the image of me being clever – yes, I am, but there are underlying factors, and reasons to why this has taken so long. And you know what? Although I wish I could’ve been finished earlier, I don’t regret a single thing, even though falling behind wasn’t a conscious choice I made. In the meantime, I have done so many things that I know I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I’ve published three novels, I’ve learned a language, I’ve developed in all kinds of ways.
Regret changes nothing. And the reason I wanted to write this long-ass ramble, was that I know many of you are struggling with various things, and feeling like you’re not good enough, or not doing things right – and that is not true.
Three years ago, I never thought I’d get a diploma. Five years ago, I didn’t want one. I’d given up, and settled on my future as a “failure”.
This is me telling you that sometimes you have to take the long way around, and nobody can tell you that that’s wrong!

I don’t feel any different really. But knowing that I completed that step in my life – that feels good. And I’m very proud of myself. So that’s probably the most important thing that’s happened in 2014!

I also experienced loss this year. My wonderful bunny passed away. I’d had him for almost nine years, more or less since the day he was born, so that was a huge blow, and incredibly difficult, not only for me, but for everyone who knew and loved him. Being a rabbit who loved everyone, there were a lot of people who were saddened by it.
Although I wasn’t planning on it, I ended up adopting a new bunny a while later, and teeny little Seira became a member of ours household.

Much like last year, I also kept a Jar of Lovely Things again in 2014, and though I slacked off and probably forgot to add a bunch of things over the course of the year, I stacked up on some wonderful memories!
The lovely things in the jar range from bacon to fangirling to huge turning points in life.
Some (very random) extracts from 2014 include, in no particular order:

Lovely things 14

Turns out 2014 was pretty eventful after all, and full of new experiences. Most of them were good ones. I already have great plans for 2015, so bring it on!

Thanks for sticking with me for this past year. I hope for your support again in 2015~
Happy New Year everyone! ♡

Manga Recommendation: Koe no Katachi

I wrote up this review a couple of weeks back, but forgot to publish it.

This isn’t a BL manga, but I feel like reviewing it after all. Most of the non-BL manga I read, I pick up completely on a whim, often based on having seen it on the front page of some manga site, and being reeled in by its title, or color art work. With Koe no Katachi, both of these spoke to me; the color cover art was lovely, and the name of the manga provoked my curiosity.


Koe no Katachi is a shonen manga, but very different from the shonen I’ve read before. Though the description also labels the story as “slice of life”, “comedy” and “romantic comedy”, there’s not a whole lot of fun in this manga. This is a story about being different, and most of all; it’s a story of bullying.

To start with, Koe no Katachi was released as a one shot, which tells the story of Nishimiya Shouko, a deaf girl who transfers to a “normal” elementary school class, where she is bullied for being different. One of the bullies is class mate Ishida Shouya, who is a rambunctious, loud mouthed young boy.
Despite trying her best to become friends with her class, Nishimiya ends up transferring out, because of the bullying.

This story won the 80th Weekly Shounen Magazine Newbie Best Mangaka, despite being a one-shot. It was then published as a serialization from August 2013, in Weekly Shonen Magazine.

I’ve previously written about my experiences of being bullied, and reviewed ‘LIFE’, a manga that stands very close to my heart, even though it crushed it thoroughly, and while that one is absolutely gruesome, it’s also a shojou, and so it stretches things a bit far in certain aspects. In comparison, Koe no Katachi is more realistic. It’s simpler, and the story itself is fairly short, although it spans over 7 volumes total.
The interesting thing is, that as a person, and as a former victim of bullying, I find it hard to empathize with the bullies: If you make it your life goal to ruin someone else’s life, then you’re scum. That’s the general attitude I have to the subject of bullying. In that sense, Koe no Katachi is very interesting, because after Nishimiya’s transfer, Ishida finds that the tables are turned, and he becomes the victim. The serialization takes a different turn, and we follow Ishida through a transformation from top dog, to victim. The Ishida we met in the one shot is a very different Ishida from the one we read about in the serialization.

Koe no Katachi shows in a most brutal and realistic way how double standards and saving one’s own skin are powerful factors within a class room, and how your position can never be secure. We witness former bullies as they become the victims, ostracized and ignored, and how they learn from their own mistakes and face the harsh truth. It’s a story about double-crossing your old friends, and not having the guts to admit that you were wrong, but regretting your mistakes deep down, while at the same time being a story about changes and redemption. Some of the characters are impossible to forgive, even when they attempt to redeem themselves, while others have some surprising transformations throughout the series.

This is a manga that really hurts to read in many aspects. While reading it over these past couple of months, I’ve been frustrated and angry at so many of the characters; I’ve drowned from feels, cried with the characters, and laughed with them as well.

Now, I’m sitting down to read the final chapter which was uploaded today, anxious to see how it all wraps up.
(Author’s note: This review was written weeks ago)

It’s hard to tell a story like Ishida’s, but Koe no Katachi does it very well. Art wise, the manga is a nice mix of gorgeous imagery and the sketchier, rougher feel of a shonen manga.

If you like more serious and realistic manga, I definitely recommend this series!
It’s scheduled to be released in English from January 2015, so you can buy it at your local comic book shop from next quarter! I know I’ll be ready to collect the volumes!

Apparently, it has also been cleared for an anime release! Since the manga just wrapped up, I’m hoping they’ll adapt the entire series in the anime version as well.

Whether you choose to wait for the anime, or pick up the manga, I highly recommend that you check it out!

Love Addict Mail Orders!

Okay so I am a horrible person for having forgotten all about this! Love Addict has been out for two months, and I have yet to open my webstore – This has to do with the fact that we’re planning on revamping my website, in order to make purchasing novels easier. As you know, ordering from CreateSpace means that you’ll need an account on there, and I think many people aren’t up for that, which isn’t helping my sales.

So, what I’m finally going to do, is that I’ll open for mail orders!
This means that you can order the novel directly from me, and get it signed!

How to do this:

* Send an e-mail to carola@jadedsnow.com, with the subject “Love Addict Mail Order”

* Fill in the following:

Your Name:
How many copies:
Address:
Country
Paypal Address:

What message you want written in the book (Optional)

* Mail orders will be open until December 25th!

* The books will be $28 (NOK 200;-) a piece, ex. shipping. Shipment costs depends on where you live in the world.

Radio☆Star!

Well not really.

But I was on the radio today! Along with fellow Torucon representative Aurora, and my cosplayer friends Kim  and Andrea.

We were interviewed last week for a reportage on Cosplay by the national channel, for their daily feature ‘Kveldsåpent’, who sent their reporter in to talk with us about cosplay as a phenomenon, why we cosplay and what it means to us, as well as to allow her to watch while we got dressed up and styled ourselves.
A lolita, Suzuya Juuzou, Mikey from TMNT and Frozen’s Elsa were soon ready for action in Andrea’s living room, and we had such a good time, talking to the reporter about all kinds of cosplay-related things! It’s a rarity that reporters truly take their time when it comes to this hobby, at least in my experience as a PR-officer, so we were really enjoying the casual interview and conversation we were having, while being taped.

Unfortunately, despite the programme itself spanning over three hours, the feature on cosplay barely filled a few minutes, which yes, was disappointing, considering how many good questions were asked, and how in-depth the interview really went.

Still, it was a really cool experience to have, and it was interesting to get to explore our own views as well in the process, to compare experiences and talk about our own perceptions. So even if only a fraction it actually made it on-air, I’m glad to have been a part of it.
There might also be a feature article on NRK’s website, so crossing our fingers for that.
Meanwhile, the segment can be found Here. It’s supposed to be available for download as a podcast, but that doesn’t seem to work.
They also posted some photos from the interview on their facebook page, including this really snazzy one where I was mid-makeup, because Suzuya’s stitches take hours to apply, so I had to go to Andrea’s in half-costume, and with my hair pinned out of my stitches… Exactly what I wanted on the internet ♡
The things I do for Torucon, you guys!

Anyway, I should be in bed as I’m writing this post, so I probably won’t share it until tomorrow afternoon.
Hn, I have another post waiting, and yet another one after that~ Augh, so busy!
11 days and counting down until my final exam unless I decide to apply to uni!
So basically studying takes up all my life these days; or it would, if there wasn’t so much other stuff going on at the same time. I’ll try to get back on top of things.

Cosplayers represent! Photo: Julie Bendos, NRK.

Cosplayers represent! Photo: Julie Bendos, NRK.

Hectic lifestyle

Augh, is there ever anything such as enough time in this world?

My absence lately can largely be credited to some massive changes in my life, as well as the preparation and execution of Torucon’s Halloween event ‘Toruween’ which I was one of the leaders behind. Despite some chaotic days of rigging beforehand, we managed to finish the event safely and successfully on Friday night!
I had such a good time playing host up on stage, together with Aurora for once, and having been half of the leading team, and an in-promptu member of the deco crew, I have learned a lot of new things, and gained some more insight into what other parts of our crew do as well, which is definitely a good experience to have. Hopefully, it can help me become a better crew member overall!

It was also fun to be allowed to cosplay as part of the crew for once. I had been wanting to do this cosplay ever since the Hallween Party PV came out, so I was very excited about it~

IMG_3589

Among the decorations, we had a fandom graveyard to set off the feels of all our attendees right off the bat. 
I decided to break my own heart a little, so I ordered the decoration crew to make Maaya’s grave stone as well.
141101-000732

…and brought it home with me

Because I was busy helping with shopping for materials, building a haunted house and decorations, the event itself and then taking it all down again on Monday, I’ve barely had any time to be online.

In addition, I was working on my quinque for my Halloween cosplay at Outland for Saturday, every free moment I got outside of Toruween preparation, to the point where we got there two hours before closing time, just because the damned thing wasn’t done in time. So much stress! By the time I got there, the other cosplayers were long since gone, and my poor friends had been waiting for me for like three hours…. Σ(^∀^;)
But I am so pleased with how the whole cosplay came out! And I managed to win the cosplay contest, which was really cool since I’ve never won anything in my life. So that was fun.
I hope you all had a great Halloween as well!

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Saturday’s cosplay was Suzuya Juuzou from Tokyo Ghoul, but our dawdling resulted in a photo shoot after sundown, with very little light. Though, I’m very happy with how the photos came out, despite the high ISO!

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I don’t really use my dA much anymore, but I’ll be uploading more of these, so please check them out~☆

To top it off, it’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month.
I really wasn’t going to do it this year – especially since I have an exam on December first, in a foreign language, so I really should be focusing on that. But all of a sudden I had extra time on my hands…. And here we are. I started a day late, and I’m behind my usual schedule. I tend to finish NaNo really fast, but this year I’m so stressed, I have a hard time sitting down to focus. Which is why I am writing this blog post, rather than actually writing….

I’ve been on the move all day, and when I finally made it home, I fell asleep…. So I have yet to write a single word today. Which is why I’ve cracked open a can of Rockstar, and plan to sit up until I’ve jotted down an adequate amount of filler words…..

So basically that’s what’s been going on. . And then I need to get working on my webstore, I am so sorry that it’s not up and running yet.
I still want to do the whole mail order thing with Love Addict, but I’m finding it difficult to get a response from my darling readers that’s you.
So please be patient with me. I’ll make a separate post for that in a short while
Didn’t I say that last time too?
Feel free to nag me for these things you know!

Anyone else doing NaNo by the way?
And by all means – I need pointers on what to write for this years Advent Calendar as well! Amuse me; the comment section is here for a reason!

Almost there..

The other night, I wrote a blog post, added it to drafts…and scrapped the whole thing.

There is something peculiar about the feeling as a release date approaches. As an avid fan of pre-ordering, the final weeks or days for me are mostly spent waiting; an exhausting, agonizing wait with frequent trips to the mail box, hoping that today….

As an author, the same period of time looks a little bit different.

I can’t really recall how I felt before the releases of SNOW and Jaded. I think… With SNOW it was all so sudden, I didn’t have time to prepare. While Jaded was more like finally.

Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t think much of the release at all. Maybe I’m getting used to doing these kind of events, or maybe it’s just because I am so busy these days, I hardly have time to sit down and think; I mostly find myself running around frantically trying to cram more hours into my day.

But when I sat down and tried to think and feel.. There’s definitely something there.
It’s anticipation, and admittedly, some nerves.
The latter didn’t exactly decrease when I stumbled across a rather cross review. As an author I am prepared for all kinds of opinions; and all books are not for all people. Still, that’s not to say it didn’t hurt. That said, it’s something that’s probably unavoidable, even though I wish I hadn’t come across it only days before a new release.

I’m excited to finally share Love Addict with you, but at the same time it’s kind of terrifying.
It always is.
There’s something really strange about having kept something to yourself for so long, something that has been yours alone for so long, and then allowing people to parttake in it; to read it and form an opinion on it.

I’m excited, but also nervous. Maybe because Love Addict is so different from the other two novels?
But it would be. All my novels are shaped by the characters that parttake in the story. Although Love Addict has the same universe and characters as Jaded, it’s a vastly different story, because Aki and Miya are such different people. The characters’ personalities and traits ultimately shape the narrative and the story.
I find that rather fascinating.

Love Addict was really fun to work on, compared to the struggles I had with Jaded and Aki’s complex nature. Miya is simpler and way more honest, so it was really relieving to write this story.
Hopefully, you will enjoy reading it as well!

Part of me is terrified to let this project go and see it in other people’s hands, but I know how great this is all going to feel tomorrow, when the release event commences.
There’s definitely a peculiar feeling on the night before a release, but I don’t think I’d want to miss out on it. Not at all.

If you’re in Trondheim, don’t hesitate to drop by Outland! I’ll be there signing books from 12:00 pm!
And if you’re on time, you can leave with a bunch of these sexy freebies as well:

Imagination

There’s something in the air.
This past year has been long and dreary on my part. I’ve been too busy to think, to busy to breathe. And by breathe….I mean write.
Horrified, I realized the other day that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually sat down and wrote something. Up until August, I don’t think I’d written a single creative word since November 2013. That’s a very long time for someone whose head explodes unless it gets some kind of release for all the ideas and stories that are floating around inside.

I’ve written small pieces, and while you never forget how to ride a bicycle, isn’t the truth that when you haven’t been on one for a very, very long time, your balance will be a bit off? Your pedaling will be hesitant and awkward? That’s what it felt like. And even when writing the characters that I now so well, I couldn’t connect with them properly.
It takes time if you want to get back in the saddle again. So although I am swamped, I will write more from here on. Autumn is the perfect season for melancholic music and unpaved virtual roads.

It’s also the time to start gearing up for NaNo. I’m dreading it to be honest. This year I haven’t got a clue what I’ll be writing, or if I will have any time to write at all. To begin with, I’ll fall behind right off the bat, as I’m busy on the first weekend. So we’ll see how that goes. But even when I tell myself “No, I’m not doing it this year.” I end up doing it anyway. I know myself. So I need to practice, to allow myself to tamper with plots and characters and let the ideas flow.

I ran into some kids today – and spoke with them for quite a long time. I’m no good with children, but my hair always attracts them. Of course, it helps when these kids are students at my own school, and I’m already conversing with teachers who worked there when I was a kid their age. It also helps when I happen to know the families of some of these kids, and we actually have something to talk about.
This little girl, whose family I’m very fond of, asked me – because I knew her family, if I could give her a present. I told her that I have no money because I’m an adult. She wanted something still, so I asked if she wanted a story – to which she replied “NO.”
Then I told her that I write novels. Suddenly, they all wanted a story. As expected, one about princesses, and princes, a scary dragon and a terrifying vampire. And by all means, I don’t know the faintest thing about children’s stories. I don’t think the kind of stuff I do is suited for anyone who haven’t yet fallen into the pits of temptation that adolescence offers. And I said that I couldn’t make it up right then and there, but I could feel the wheels turning. Perhaps I’m way out of my field here, but maybe I’ll do it. I did kind of promise them. And challenging oneself out of the comfort zone is never a bad thing, right?
It’s just a lovely feeling to have the creativity flowing again, to be able to utilize it, and let it free.

Speaking of coming out of the comfort zone; the release for Love Addict is steadily approaching, and I’m sort of terrified.
I’ve more or less picked the winners of the give-away.
The release date has been decided.
And right as I’m typing up this entry, I am making arrangements with Outland, laying out the details.

It’s such an odd feeling, when you’re about to share something with the world that you haven’t shared with anyone before. Even though there are more people involved in the process, I always want to try to keep the project to myself for as long as I can – to protect it. To treasure it.
But we’re at the end of the road here. I want to share Love Addict with you all. I want Miya’s determination, his trials and his challenges to reach all of you, to make you smile (and maybe cry).
It’s time. And still I anxiously hesitate before opening my e-mails, before opening an IM window with work-related messages, or before sending out a message to a fan.

It’s such an odd and exciting time.