“Regarded as the world authority on magical creatures, Newt Scamander is the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which has been an approved textbook at Hogwarts since its publication in 1927 and can be found in most wizarding households.”
Months ago, when a September premiere was first announced, I challenged myself to make one new Outlander painting a week until the premiere. Now we’re less than a week away! As this is my last #droughtlander piece I want to take the time to say THANK YOU to all you wonderful individuals. I’ve been lucky to have met so many incredibly talented
and kind friends
over the past months, and you’ve all helped make Droughtlander
pass so quickly!
To finish, here’s my concept of a S3 poster in the style of S1. Several people mentioned this would be cool to see, and I’ve finally gotten around to trying it :)
Enjoy the new season and thank you all for an amazing year filled with creativity and inspiration!
I’m like so fucking excited for EXO to be on party people because like they’re gonna be chillin there on jyp’s leather couch sipping on champagne and they’re probably gonna talk about what it’s like being the top boy group after debuting for 5 years and then they’re gonna dance power and kokobop and Chansoo are probably gonna perform an English cover with yeol on the guitar and it’s just gonna be so chill and EXO are gonna talk about themselves and probably do some exposing and like I’m just so excited because jyp really does know what fans want and he really has respects for the artists that appear on his show and ahhhh IM SO EXCITED LIKE IVE WANTED THIS SO BAD AND I CANT BELIEVE ITS ACTUALLY HAPPENING
🗣 OUR 🗣 BOY 🗣 KENTA 🗣 IS 🗣 FINALLY 🗣 DEBUTING 🗣 ON 🗣 SEPTEMBER 🗣 10TH 🗣
😫✍️👅🚫💯📢😎👏☠️😜💸 MARK YOUR CALENDARS RIGHT NOW ✍️📅💦 SET UP REMINDERS 📣📝⛔️ A COUNTDOWN 🗓💯⏰ AND EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO REMIND YOU THAT ⚠️📛 SEPTEMBER 10TH ❗️📌 IS REALLY IMPORTANT 💢❗️ WE ARE POPPING CHAMPAGNE ON THIS FINE WEDNESDAY LADIES AND GENTLEMEN 📣🍾❗️👀✔️🤧🚫😫🙌🗓✍️💎📝🍸
I am so excited!!! This little book (well, 264 pages) has been about 9 months in the making, and it’s finally done. Good grief.
Basically, many of my friends at my undergrad university did Creative Writing with me, and for our final project we had to write a 6k word short story and 2k critical commentary - which, by the way, as someone who has done a Master’s since and written a 20k thesis, was just as hard as writing a standard dissertation. As a surprise to everyone, I sneakily got copies of everyone’s short stories by pretending I just wanted to read them and compare them to mine, and I made them all into an anthology, which I gave to everyone at graduation. It was a really fun project to work on, even though it took ages to proof read the entire thing and design the cover and cry over Word formatting. We called ourselves the Come Along Collective because ‘come along’ was kind of a catchphrase of ours and ‘collective’ sounded professional and artistic. Sue us, we had degrees in this shit.
In June last year, about 3 years after we graduated, we met up (a pretty big deal, seeing as one of us now lives in the US!) and decided to do another anthology. Without the immediate option of including our conveniently timed university dissertation equivalents, we agreed that it would be really fun if we all wrote a short story of between 4-15k words - this is actually why I wrote Here, the World Entire, which appears in this anthology in a slightly shorter form! Since I made that first anthology back in 2013 our friendship group has changed a little, and so one contributor to the first anthology isn’t in this one and we have a new contributor, but that’s OK; it kind of charts the progression of everyone’s experiences since university.
So, over the past 9 months or so, we all wrote a story each, and everyone put their all into their stories, despite being 23-25 now and not having the luxury of time that we used to have, and honestly, the stories are amazing. There’s not a single one in there that I wouldn’t read in a literary magazine. One person didn’t do Creative Writing and was really worried about their story not matching up to the others, but it absolutely does. I did a little cry when I read it because it was so good and the writer didn’t think it was (I think they are now aware that they are actually super talented and should definitely write more). That was one of the reasons I’m so happy to have this physical copy as proof that it’s done, and people who thought they couldn’t do it did do it, and they did it fabulously, because every single person wrote something phenomenal.
There was one person in the group who wasn’t able to write anything because they had a lot going on in their life, and so the rest of us prepared a SUPER SECRET SURPRISE, complete with a secret Facebook group chat (which was literally titled THE ONE THAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO KEEP SECRET) in which we collaborated and wrote a story for her instead so that she would still have a story in the anthology. One person wrote a section, then handed it to the next person, and so on. It turned out to be an absolutely hilarious story involving Emily Blunt as an evil sorceress, Jez and Mark from Peep Show as couriers, and our old landlord as an arch villain. It’s pretty rad, not going to lie. That person still gets their name on the cover because the story wouldn’t have been written without them; we basically tried our best to put that person’s personality into a narrative, and that’s why it’s so weird. They are weird, is what I’m saying.
This whole thing was a massive labour of love for all of us. I was literally proof reading it on lunch breaks, and taking graphic design assignments at work so that I could practice for when I made the cover (which I think looks snazzy, if endearingly off-kilter). Everyone was hugely supportive of one another, giving each other prompts and feedback whenever anyone got stuck, and it was such a fantastic experience to make it from start to finish. I’m so, so proud of the end product, and I’m excited to see what our next one will look like!
I have also prepared a super secret special surprise of my own for everyone within this anthology, which I won’t disclose here just in case any of them happen upon this post. It’s rad, though. I’m excited for everyone to see it.
This isn’t available for commercial purchase or anything like that, but it’s a personal project that’s been taking up a lot of my time lately (in a good way!) and it’ll be kind of sad not to have this to work towards. Still, onto the next thing!
“Just set me on fire,” Alya grumbles as she pulls on layer after layer, cocooning herself against the gentle snowfall waiting for her outside the bakery’s front door. “Hey, you even have those little torches for caramelization, you could totally-”
“Not do that,” Marinette finishes with a laugh as she steps in to help. She deftly buttons up the first sweater before wrestling the next sweatshirt over Alya’s head. “Isn’t this overkill? I’m sweating just looking at you.”
“I’m gonna freeze two steps out,” Alya grumbles. She gathers her hat, gloves, and scarf before they get lost in the jumble of the coat rack, and hangs them all on Marinette for safekeeping. “Not all of us are born radiators.”
“I am pretty hot,” Marinette smiles cheekily. She peeks up at Alya from beneath the hat, her blue eyes sparkling as Alya shrugs on an enormous, puffy jacket.
“Well don’t be rude, share some of that heat!” Alya laughs as she sweeps her jacket wide open like wings. She’s not sure who moves first, but then Marinette is right there, strong arms wrapped around her waist, broad smile tickling her neck. Everything else whites out as the wings of her jacket fold over the both of them, enveloping Marinette in her arms.
And Alya swears, she can feel Marinette’s warmth, sinking through all her layers and into her skin. She breathes in the delicate pink, the dizzying scent of sugar and spice, the breathless laughter, and buries her face into the threadbare scarf looped around Marinette’s neck, holding her all the tighter. There’s something like home, something like heart, that Alya finds in Marinette.
It’s always hard, letting go.
“You feeling better?” Marinette chuckles as she rubs circles along her back.
“Yes. You’re the best,” Alya mumbles into her neck. The scarf catches her words and tucks them in between strands of yarn, warming them until they press back against her cheek like a kiss. “I love you.”
“What was that?”
Alya shakes her head. “Stay a little longer.”
“Anything for you,” Marinette hums. “Just for you.”
“Is it a new mic?” Alya asks as she gently shakes the smartly wrapped gift in her hands. Marinette shakes her head. “I know. It’s a new espresso machine.”
Marinette rolls her eyes. “Ok first of all, the box is way too small for that, and second, you don’t need any more help getting caffeine into your system.”
A dramatic gasp escapes Alya as she bolts up straight, excitement burning in her hazel eyes. “It’s a flamethrower.”
This time Marinette doesn’t even bother rolling her eyes, instead burying her face and sighing deeply into the enormous ladybug pillow that Alya gifted her earlier. “Just open it already!”
“Alright, alright,” Alya laughs, finally setting aside her teasing to properly open the gift. She slices through the wrapping paper with practiced cuts and waits until Marinette’s lifted her head to watch before gently lifting the lid of the box.
Alya’s breath catches in her throat as a plush, thick scarf made of sunsets greets her, deep crimsons and burnished oranges and buttery yellows captured in yarn soft enough to be spun from clouds. Streaks of midnight blue and plum purple peek through, blending together so well that deciphering where one colour ends and the other begins is impossible. The scarf loops snugly around her neck, shrouding her with its delightful warmth.
With trembling hands, Alya runs her fingers to the ends of the scarf until she finds the distinctive embroidery of Marinette’s signature. She flips it over to look at properly, and is stunned when she finds, in glittering gold thread, I love you, I love you, I love you.
“You like it, then?” Marinette asks softly. A soft blush blooms on her cheeks as Alya moves close to wind half the scarf carefully, possessively, tenderly around her neck, joining them together.
“Like it?” Alya laughs, pressing a kiss against Marinette’s pink cheek. “Love it.”