Heart is Now Available

Heart is available to listen to on Youtube and Instagram! The artwork for this project was created by my lovely sister @nuggiedraws. You can find her on Instagram!

There are three songs in total: Heart, Artist and Juliet’s Song.

I wrote Heart and Juliet’s Song back when I was in the 10th Grade.

I wrote Juliet’s Song for an animated project I made for my English class at the time. Initially it was played on the piano and yes, it is based on the play Romeo and Juliet. I re-recorded and used the song again in university for one of my Shakespeare course finals…and then decided to return to it again to create an acoustic version on the guitar.

Heart, the title track I wrote the same year. If I’m being honest, it isn’t the most emo song I’ve ever written. It’s pretty sad though. It was one of the first songs I wrote with my guitar. The song kept resurfacing over the years at different points in my life. At times I wish the song were longer, but at the same time I don’t think it needs to be. It always just felt right. It’s definitely the most personal song I’ve released. I actually shared the song when I entered the Zepeto Idol competition on Instagram a while back.

Artist I wrote initially as a poem this year and ended up putting music to it on a whim. I actually wrote the song while procrastinating a chapter edit for my debut. Whenever I get stuck on a scene, I try writing something else, like a poem to inspire me. In this case it worked but then I ended up with this recording hanging out on my laptop…and then, I decided that for once I’d actually share the music I’d written versus a cover song.

I hope you enjoy listening to Heart and that you’ll check out @nuggiedraws (I have her gif on my blogs homepage! Cute right?)

BIPOC Manga’s

After my last post I decided to challenge myself by finding some BIPOC manga and comicbooks to read. I know of some in the works that I’ve been following on Instagram but as for other’s I truthfully never thought to look for more. When I come across them I read them but actively hunting isn’t something I do. I’m the type of reader that likes to wander.

I know a few Middle Grade comics with BIPOC character’s, but I couldn’t think of any for YA or Adult off the top of my head. If you asked me about say, character’s in the DC universe through series I’ve watched I’d have more to list. As for Middle Grade I seen/read Fake Blood, Spider-verse, New Kid and a few others with BIPOC.

I came across a couple of lists, the first being: 10 Manga’s Featuring Black Character’s. Of that list I decided to check out Adorned by Chi. I thought it sounded interesting. I like magical girl stories…which is why I constantly use Sailormoon gifs and memes haha.

I also found a really cute one called Princess Love Pon. I’ve started reading it already. It’s incredibly adorable. Yep. It’s adorable. I hope I can read more of it while I’m on break at work!

Tephlon Funk is a manga I’ve been following through Instagram for a while. I love the art style. It’s not in the kawaii, cutesy magical girl style…so if that’s not your thing, then maybe Tephlon Funk is for you? What drew me to this series was the art. I don’t know what it was about it that just made me go “Wow I wanna read this!” but something clicked. All the characters have so much personality in each individual frame, and the hair! I love hair. I love drawing it so I really admire when other people do a great job drawing it. I can tell how much detail they put into it. I recommend checking it out!

There’s another called Love! Love! Fighting! which looks like a really cute shojo. I’m definitely going to read more about it. The artwork almost gives me a 90s manga vibe.

Then I Woke Up and New Music Coming Soon!

Hi!

I know I’ve posted a lot lately haha. I’ve just been trying to update all of my stuff. I’m really proud of this recording because I’ve been trying really hard to get better at singing and playing the guitar at the same time (multitasking can be hard sometimes!).

I think my guitar teacher would be proud! I miss going to guitar classes…and recording things in person but physical distancing means keeping the people in my life safe and healthy.

I think I was about twelve or thirteen when I first heard this song. It was originally performed by The Clique Girlz. I don’t know what it was about their music, maybe it was that they were around the same age as me, but I connected with them. This song especially. Although I don’t mind babysitting. I’m pretty crafty and I already watch cartoons.

Anyway, I recorded a bunch of original music that I’m really excited to share with you in the near future. I’m also extremely excited because my sister @nuggiedraws is letting me use her artwork for the tracks! You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

I wonder if I can convince my sister to record a track with me? We haven’t made up a silly song together in what seems like ages!

Character Menu: If your character had a restaurant what would they serve?

Welcome to Tabitha’s Kitchen.

For tonight’s special we have roast beef served with a broccoli salad, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes and of course peas. Remember, you must eat the same amount of vegetables for how old you are. If you don’t, you won’t be able to enjoy the lovely dessert. Served in a pretty little dish, Blanc Mange! A delicious treat, especially as the months grow colder.


Haha! I had fun with this one. It was hard picking the right photos though. It’s also made me a tad hungry…but alas I’m off to bed.

Here’s my latest drawing. It’s for an earlier prompt that I decided to redo. I like it much better.

Character Interview #1: Roland

Question 1: Where is your favourite place to be alone and why?

My favourite place to be alone? I’m not sure I even like being alone–wait! My bed. My bed is my favourite place to be alone. Sleep is precious and shouldn’t be interrupted…but mine is. Constantly. I just want to sleep in till noon. I haven’t been able to do that in forever.

Question 2: What is your favourite holiday?

All Holiday’s that include large meals. Especially if I get desert. It’s important to have a good meal. I wish there was a holiday where all you had to do was eat.

Question 3: Describe your family in 8 words.

Eight? You’re kidding me right? That’s way too many. Okay! Fine, I’ll answer. Um…can I do it per relative? Certain words I reserve for certain people and I’d rather not accidentally associate them with undeserving people. What? I am not complicating this…okay I might be just a little.

Rose, Caspian and Julius are funny, smart and tiring…comforting but I seriously can’t keep up with them anymore. I hate getting older.

Lawrence is imaginative and insane. Mostly insane but in a good way.

My parents? I can’t really use those words here…their not family friendly. How about stiff and strict? That’s all you get. I prefer not to speak to ill of my mother. I haven’t been the easiest…person to deal with. Next question.

Question 4: What is something that people make fun of you for?

A few things. My niece thinks I’m boring…which I’m not. I’m definitely the most interesting person alive. Haha…she’s probably right. I don’t get out much, nor do I want to these days.

I’m also banned from the local pub for a poorly made decision that I’d prefer to never mention aloud…as I barely remember doing this. Okay I do remember. I just don’t want to tell you. Fair?

Question 5: What is the most memorable untrue rumour that has ever been spread about you?

You should hear some of them! Some little girl said I stabbed my parents to death in our parlour. I made sure to let her know that my mother is alive, and that my father wasn’t stabbed he was shot. Next question?

Question 6: Do you have any nicknames? If so which is your favourite and which ones do you hate?

My best friend started calling me Rolly after he had dinner with my family and I and heard my brother say it. I don’t hate it. I prefer that than when he calls me an idiot. We both know I’m the smartest between the two of us. I’m a bad liar…we’re both stupid and impulsive. That’s why we’re friends.

My other nicknames are murderer, handsome devil and a few others I again can’t say with children present.

Oh and my father just called me “boy” all the time. I don’t think he really cared what my name was? I’m named after him too…prick.

Question 7: What are 3 things that you would never do?

Give up sugar, leave Peter in charge of my children for more than an hour, kill people.

No one ever believes the last one…so I don’t blame you if you want to end this interview early. You don’t? Oh. Well okay but I have somewhere to be in about twenty-minutes so let’s keep this short.

Question 8: Whatโ€™s been on your mind lately?

Money. See, I’m broke and I really don’t know how I’m going to be able to afford buying all of these clothes and toys and books and things for the kids. I just realized that I called the kids, my children earlier…I’m not a parent. I’m their uncle. They’re basically mine…but I don’t–I’m single. So if you don’t mind a family of four, living with a rumoured murderer and have some cash on hand to lend me, I’d be willing to change my relationship status.

No really, do you have $30? I want to buy this hat I saw in the window of the dress shop. It’s got a ribbon in the back and I think Rose would like it.

Question 9: What is your favourite season and why?

I used to like Summer. I didn’t have to stay indoors all the time. My friends and I had bonfires by the lake and I’d bring my guitar with me. I’m a lot better at piano but guitars are portable.

Dianna used to try to get me to go swimming…but I don’t know how. I almost drowned as a kid and my parents never let me back in the water.

Nowadays, I surprisingly like the Fall. Food tastes better in the Fall and I love the rain. I hate getting caught in it but there’s just something pretty about colourful leaves against a grey sky.

Question 10: What do you want to be remembered for?

What’s the sense in being remembered for anything? We die and are forgotten after a few generations. Do you honestly think I give a damn about those dead people we learned about in school? If I had to choose I’d rather not be remembered. I can’t think of one reason why anyone would want to remember me….

Well actually…it would be nice to be remembered for something. I just don’t want to be remembered as a jerk or a murderer or as stubborn but people only remember the things they think are interesting about you and honestly I’m not that interesting.


Doing this interview was fun but also very difficult. Roland doesn’t cooperate well when he’s hungry or tired…and I think he’s both today. Today I’m going to be drawing him and his best friend. I try to record my drawing process and post that to my Instagram story. If you ever miss a day, I save the stories to my drawing highlights.

Anyway, I hope you liked meeting Roland. I debated interviewing him first but I answer most of the Twitter character questions with him so it made the most sense.

OC-tober Prompts for Blogging and Drawing!

For the month of October I wanted to start introducing my character’s. So on my instagram since it’s #drawtober I’ve decided that for 31 days I’ll be drawing my characters using a variety of prompts. Yesterday’s drawing wasn’t one that I really thought through. I ended up drawing something completely different that I’d initially planned, however going forward I’ll be sticking to my schedule.

I’ll also be doing a blog prompt OC-tober as well! You’re welcome to participate. I’d love to check your your posts, so be sure to leave links to them in the comments for me!

I’m very excited about this and I’m looking forward to taking a bit of time each day to do something creative.

Anyway, here are my prompts! The first list is for drawing and the second is for blogging (or vlogging, whichever your prefer).

OC-Tober

  1. Your OC

2. With a pumpkins

3. On their day off

4. Reading a book

5. With their best friend/squad

6. Eating their favourite food

7. With their family

8. As a toddler

9. Saying their catchphrase

10. Enjoying their favourite drink

11. In Love

12. As a villain

13. In mourning

14. Playing an instrument

15. In their happy place

16. As a student

17. Getting ready for bed

18. With their least favourite person

19. Scared

20. Being mischievous

21. Trying something new

22. At a Fall formal

23. Lost in the woods

24. With a black cat

25. Meeting a ghost

26. Singing their favourite song

27. As your favourite TV/movie character

28. Doing something crazy

29. In their favourite outfit

30. In a fun costume

31. At a party

As for my blog posts. I’ve decided to use some different prompts.

Blog-tober

  1. Novel Inspo board.
  2. Create character interview questions
  3. Character Mood Playlist: Chill Vibes
  4. Character Outfit Board: Fall
  5. Interview a character
  6. Write a poem about your character
  7. Describe one of your favourite moments in the book
  8. Which authors inspire you?
  9. Write a song about your character
  10. Interview another character
  11. What is your writing process like?
  12. Character Mood Playlist: Sad Vibes/What is your character thankful for?
  13. Character Outfit Board: Formal
  14. What is your favourite scene in the book?
  15. What are your top 5 quotes from your book?
  16. Interview another character
  17. Describe an average day in the life of your character
  18. Character Menu: If your character had a restaurant what would they serve?
  19. Do the 16 personalities quiz as one of your characters. Tell us the results!
  20. Character Mood Playlist: Romantic Vibes
  21. What was your character like as a child (if they’re a child what will they be like as an adult?)
  22. Who is the biggest influence in your character’s life and why?
  23. Character Outfit Board: Date night
  24. Write a brief scene between your character and someone they admire.
  25. Write a brief scene between your character and someone who hurt them.
  26. Interview another character.
  27. Character Mood Playlist: Angry Vibes.
  28. Character Bedroom Board (show us how your character would decorate their personal space).
  29. Character Bookshelf (show us what types of books your character might enjoy reading).
  30. Come up with a tagline for your book (if you don’t already have one).
  31. Create a Chapter Playlist and describe what your character might be doing today!

Book Talk Episode 17: Illustrated Covers

The other day at work, a co-worker of mine was admiring this beautifully illustrated book cover. I wish I could recall the name of the book so I could show an example, but her comment really made me think. She said, “I’m so glad that they’re going back to the illustrated version of this cover. I hate how boring a lot of covers have been these past few years.”

The two of us then went on to discuss how, since the first Twilight book came out a lot of book covers began to mimic the style and then ultimately readers were bombarded with stock images and lifeless photographs. Now, not to bash the creators of those types of covers…I believe that the covers for Twilight and their simplicity was actually well thought out. The issue that we discussed was that it seemed as though the plan was to get readers to buy a book because it had a similar cover to that of the Twilight series, versus coming up with something significant to the actual story.

I can clearly remember being a 13-15 year old wandering around my favourite bookstores and sighing at the cover art. I know that they say not to judge a book but it’s cover, but it’s the first thing a reader sees, not the review. Not the synopsis. Not the first page. The cover is what’s put on display for us.

Illustrated covers have always captured my attention. For example, the cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s absolutely beautiful. When I saw it, I immediately was drawn to the book! That is what a cover is supposed to do. It’s supposed to capture your attention.

The design itself isn’t too complicated, and yet it captures the eye. It stirs curiosity. It makes you wonder what’s inside.

Illustrated covers, in my personal opinion, do a better job of conveying certain types of stories. Especially within much of fiction. It makes them stand out more.

If you compare the classic horror book covers to current ones, you’ll find yourself greatly disappointed. A few of my friends who are avid horror readers lament over the lack of character given to horror books today in comparison to the ones printed in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Look at this cover of Misery by Stephen King.

The illustrated version of this cover is eye catching, whereas the version with the snow covered cabin doesn’t peak my curiosity as much. It doesn’t pull me in as much. This however, is my personal opinion. I have however, seen some horror book reviewers (along with friends of mine who adore the genre) discuss this in more detail.

I recommend checking out the video, Horror Books Have Lost Their Identity. I’ve linked it below because I think it really summarizes what I’m discussing in this post.

As YouTuber In Praise of Shadows states in the video, book covers are supposed to give the reader some indication of the genre as well as what the story is about. However in recent years they have had to scan the covers for small clues…such as a single word in a review in fine print on the cover like, “haunting,” “shocking” or “disturbing.”

The older covers made it very clear what the books were about. Right now all of the covers, across these vast genres are blending together in a mess of bright colours and large font.

This video really grasps what my co-worker and I were discussing the other day. At some point all the books blend together.

I know many people who believe that The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are the same, simply because of how the covers were designed. People who know nothing about the plots for either series. This assumption came with how the books were marketed. I know that when I first saw the Divergent cover, I thought it was a Hunger Games spin off series. That was until I read the synopsis. I remember being almost…frustrated by how so many of the covers that came out that year, resembled The Hunger Games (and Twilight). I was so frustrated by it I missed out on reading a lot of potentially good books, and lost interest in much of what was published that year.

Now, as someone who also reads comic books and manga, I know how much work has to go into the covers for those. I’ve seen examples of some of the covers done for the more recent releases of the Jughead comics. There were several options done for the front cover, before one was selected by the team as the perfect cover. Guess what? I bought that comic solely based on the cover art.

Based on the cover you already know that Jughead and Sabrina are going to get themselves into some kind of mess (or fun!). Your eyes are draw to the different parts of it. The colours are eye catching. It makes you interested in the story.

When I look at some of the books being printed over the last few years, my curiosity isn’t peaked. A catchy title may draw me in but it’s the cover that makes me flip to the synopsis to learn more. It’s the cover that captivates me visually and draws me into this world created by the author. It’s the cover fills me with excitement.

I’m not saying that today’s covers are boring or lacking creativity. I know that design takes a long time. I just think that the genres are all blending together…to the point where each cover is more or less the same.

Even earlier this morning while I was looking at books. I was trying to guess where they went in the store, solely based on the covers. The adult romance books and the teen romance books were all clearly romance however the contrast between them was almost non-existent. I wasn’t able to tell which was YA and which wasn’t. Normally the shirtless cowboys are a dead giveaway. Not anymore. The majority of the books that I assumed were adult romances were actually YA. Some weren’t even romance books at all. They were coming of age novels. I must’ve blinked the confusion from my face at least 30 times while going through these books.

The fact that myself and many other readers are excited to see these unique, illustrated book covers just shows how much is lacking on the shelves. We want books that upon first glance make us excited, curious and capture our attention. We want to run our hands along the covers as we examine every detail, before continuing our individual book choosing rituals. Reading is an experience and for those like myself who read a lot and collect books it is extremely sad when books lack character in their design.

Sure, we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but covers convey so much. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

A Girl on the Shore – Manga Review

I bought A Girl on the Shore about three or four years ago and finally got around to reading it. Now, I’d like to start off by saying this book was extremely graphic. My naive self at the time of purchase hadn’t realized that manga and graphic novels that were wrapped in plastic were usually very heavy in adult content. I just assumed that because the book had a pretty cover it was wrapped to prevent damage.

Once I started working in a bookstore I learned the whole plastic wrap = adult content thing. They don’t want little eyes flipping through those books (face-palm).

When I finally unwrapped it, I was like “How bad can it be?” and then proceeded to open it up to a random page. I burst out laughing, mainly due to surprise. It was definitely not what I had imagined.

Honestly, perhaps it was a good thing that I didn’t read this book back when I was 20. I think I would have had a cow.

I mean, sure I giggled like a 14 year old during sex-ed but still. I actually focused more on the art versus the fact that as I went on to read the rest of the book, I found it to be…85% adult content. I think this is because I draw. Seeing nudity in art doesn’t bother me. Although if people flipped through my sketchbooks when I was younger and the people I drew had no clothes I was extremely embarrassed.

Now I just draw underwear on the naked people…mainly because my niece flips through my sketchbooks.

Back to the book, it turned out to be fairly good. The artwork was beautiful but on top of that the plot was fairly engaging…is it something I would read again or recommend to everyone? No.

Mainly because, if you’re familiar with my recent reads I don’t like reading erotica. I especially wish I could re-wrap this book because my niece likes to flip through my manga collection when she visits. Much of what I read is that cutesy, innocent, first love kind of stuff…and if there is sex in a book it’s like 1 scene, with stylistically (safe 14A) angles and needs to actually effect the plot. Otherwise I skim over it and move on.

Still, I think I’d actually give this book a 4 star rating. Like…just look at the artwork (I’ll share the PG versions)!

I think I’ve spoken a lot about the graphic content of the book, so now I’d like to get into the plot, and then continue on with my overall thoughts.

Trigger warning! This book has discussions of sexual assault, suicide and toxic relationships.

Plot

The story follows junior high schooler Koume, who after being forced into a sexual act with an older boy on her first date asks another classmate of hers, Keisuke to take her virginity.

Keisuke has problems of his own which he tries to mask through his casual hookups with Koume. To make matters more complicated Keisuke previously confessed his love for Koume and had been rejected. He wants a real relationship with her but she doesn’t even want to be seen with him in public. He claims to be okay with their arrangement but it is clear as the story progresses that what he really needs is healing from his emotional wounds.

Koume continues to use Keisuke throughout, especially when thoughts about the boy who forced himself on her, Masaki, come back. She wants to forget all about Masaki, as he only viewed her as some girl he could just throw away. The day after their date he claims that he never intended on being her boyfriend and stated she “wasn’t his type.”

Koume believes that she could never fall in love with someone like Keisuke because to her, he is unattractive and tells him this.

This is something that she says to him more than once, which is a direct reflection of what Masaki said to her. The only difference is that Koume has reversed the roles, and is now using someone who clearly likes her for her own benefit, despite not actually wanting to build a relationship with them.

Keisuke on the other hand, is broken. His parents are never around and he feels as though his family had always been fake, as if they were playing roles and not actually active participants in each others lives. His thoughts stem from the sudden death of his older brother, who after being bullied everyday at school, ends up taking his own life. Keisuke destroys his brothers suicide note before his parents or the police can find it, out of fear that the news that his brother drowning wasn’t an accident will tear them apart. This however, leaves him with the desire to not only avenge his brother but also to take his own life.

Nearly every time he’s with Koume he tells her his time is limited, dropping little hints about his plans to die. However, Koume is so busy ranting about Masaki and using Keisuke that she doesn’t take notice.

When Keisuke finally gets fed up with being Koume’s “toy” she ends up trying to date Masaki again, thinking that by going on a group date things would be alright. However the event is nothing like she expected and he attempts to assault her. She’s told by another girl present to “stop killing the mood” as she tries to flee and tells the girl they should leave, not realizing that this girl knew exactly what Masaki and his friends had in mind for this “get together.”

Throughout the story, both Koume and Keisuke continue their cycles, using each other as a distraction from their frustrations with life, family, school and relationships.

Overall Thoughts

I felt that this book handled Koume and Keisuke’s relationship in a mature manner, especially given the ages of the characters. Despite as well as the depictions of sex being fairly graphic and unsettling they were used to progress the plot. Rather than it be entirely erotic, these scenes played a role in the plot, which is why I didn’t give up on the book a few pages in.

The artwork was lovely and the story itself was heartbreaking. I couldn’t stop thinking about it once I finished…and honestly I finished it in one sitting. I could not put this book down. I just wanted these kids to be okay in the end. I didn’t necessarily want a happy shojo-romance style ending, because it would have ruined the story but I did want for Koume and Keisuke to find some sort of healing.

Keisuke was fairly interesting, as his character goes on to become angrier as time goes by. I’ll try to keep things spoiler free but his progression had me worried. I kept begging Koume to acknowledge what he was saying to her as Keisuke had no other friends and it was clear he desperately needed someone to talk to.

Koume on the other hand, made me angry at times. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely didn’t hate her or anything. She kept putting on this act with Keisuke where she was shallow and selfish, mirroring Masaki, whereas with her friends she played this other version of herself. There she appeared more passive and sweet…but also socially absent at times as if she were lost in her own head (which she was). I found this flaw in her, this flaw that made me angry, is what really made her character believable…and likeable. She wasn’t this sweet, perfect girl as she pretended to be, nor was she this sex crazed, only cares about looks, shallow girl.

Her true nature slowly reveals itself to Keisuke as the story progresses, which is frustrating for the reader, simply because he acknowledges who she really is while she continues to ignore all of the big red, flashing signs when it comes to Keisuke and what’s happening to him internally.

The story lingers with the reader…leaving them with this sense of…emptiness…or possibly loneliness. As these two characters are so secretive to those around them, whether it be friends and family, and don’t know how to communicate their feelings of trauma. This manga made me feel just as helpless and vulnerable as the character’s at times…but in the end I didn’t feel sad once I finished it. Instead I was left with this faint sense of relief.

I will most likely avoid plastic sealed manga in the future. Although I’m an adult, I don’t want to risk spending $20-$30 on a manga of this nature and end up hating it. As I mentioned before erotic books aren’t my thing. However, if they’re something you’re interested in reading, and the other content in this book aren’t too triggering I would recommend it.

I definitely do not recommend reading this if you are currently struggling with your mental health. I feel it would be irresponsible to do so. If I couldn’t recommend this to friends who’ve dealt with some of the topics discussed in this book, then I will apply that to anyone reading this review as well. Please take care of your mental health first. If you still choose to check out this book, I would advise that you pace yourself and stop reading if certain scenes are overwhelming.

Now, I also definitely do not recommend this manga to anyone under the ages of 18. That is a hard NO. I understand that there are younger people who are mature and have read YA sex scenes or books dealing with mental health…but as this book is graphic. It is listed as and was published by a company that specializes in erotic manga.

Honestly, I hate to be that person…I don’t like to act as a gatekeeper or anything like that but I can’t recommend this kind of content to people who are trying to manage their mental health, or to younger readers. If you’re interested in the book, you can read it when you’re 18 and once your health is in a better place.

I believe I mentioned this earlier but, surprisingly…especially to myself, I’m rating this book 4 stars.

It’s something that I bought years ago, during one of my many book binge buys, that I probably wouldn’t have even considered buying now…and I’m kind of glad that the me of four years ago made that naive mistake because it allowed me to find something I ended up liking…in a genre I never read.

Who knew?