Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It's a Crapstorm! It's a Crapstorm!

Over at Deviant Art, all hell is breaking loose about their new Core membership, a double-the-price rebranding of the old Premium membership.  They've literally doubled their premium membership, from $25 to $50, with no added benefits to moderate the sticker shock.

Okay, so why does that bring me back here after all these neglected years?  Simple--I may need a new home for my Snoops while I find some new community in which I can post stories with illustrations, and hopefully get views and replies to my efforts, and what better place than this old bolt-hole?  I'll be posting something up on my dA account soon, with directions on how to get here.  Meanwhile, I'm looking around this old mess of a place and determining what to do with it while Deviant Art crumbles and burns.  They doubled their prices in order to raise revenue to deal with a cash crunch, but will probably find themselves killing themselves as premium members bail out in the face of the staggering expense of the memberships.  I don't think it too far-fetched that dA will fold within a year, leaving me no place to host my Snoops--except here.  I'll be doing some dusting and straightening, and I hope the place will be fit for habitation soon!

Oh, and since it's been so long, and as a bit of a tease for the chapter-illustration project I've been doing over at the soon-to-be-defunct dA, here's an illustration from the prequel tale to my Snoop adventures, The Snowden Snoops.  Who else should be featured but the very first Snowden Snoop I created, Tricia Dwight in Chapter Seven of the story, captured and bound up in a secret cubbyhole in old Snowden High--she's just been found, but is it too late?  Has she suffocated?
Okay, since she has been in nearly every Snoop tale since, we know she survived, but it was still a little spooky, wasn't it?  Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Illustration and Poll!

Here it is, the winner from the Stolen Santas poll, from Chapter 9, "Dashing Through the Snow," of the tale:
The bad guy has captured the last of the Snoops, Tricia and Krysten, and is stuffing them into the back of Trish's mom's stolen van to take them and all the Snoops on a deadly ride to Cold Water Lake!  But can Trish leave a message to their would-be rescuers before the villain takes them away?

The poll only got two votes here, but twenty at dA, so perhaps you're voting there.  But just remember to vote early and often, especially for the next poll, which is...

Secret Admirers Gone Deadly!

As one of my early Snowden Snoop heroines finds out in the story The Snowden Snoops and the Case of the Secret Admirer!  It was my first Snoop tale to center on a Snoop beyond the Dwight family, with big, buxom, statuesque Alyson Carson taking the lead.

It is the winter after the events of The Stolen Santas, and Alyson Carson’s late grandmother has left her granddaughter an inheritance of a ancient clasp brooch which was, according to old Carson family legend, supposed to be extremely valuable.  Under her friend Megan Dwight’s encouragement, eternally-boyfriendless Alyson decides to wear the brooch to school for group picture day at Snowden High.  It is that very day that Alyson discovers a note in her locker sent by a secret admirer dithyrambizing about how beautiful she was that day.  Intrigued by a mystery which for once promises romance instead of danger, Alyson and Megan turn their Snoop wits to discovering the identity of Alyson’s secret admirer.  A creative little gambit by Megan reveals the identity of the secret admirer as one Damien Bielznap, an intensely awkward and shy new classmate of theirs.  Another creative gambit on Megan’s part introduced the shy Alyson to the even shyer Damien, and their quick warming to each other left Megan thinking she had settled the little case perfectly.

But of course, things begin to go sour for the Snoops, with mysterious complications.  As Alyson becomes more and more withdrawn from Alyson’s sister Amber and best friend Megan in favor of her boyfriend Damien, Megan philosophizes that Alyson is simply in the thrall of young love, but Amber has had her suspicions raised about Alyson’s new love which Megan quickly comes to share.  Meanwhile, Megan’s kid sister Tricia and her bestie Krysten Parker are suffering through the middle-school trials involved in finding a date to the Snowden Middle School Junior Sweetheart Dance, and just to make things more interesting, the Carson family lawyer has her office invaded and rifled by a burglar who seems to be seeking something important.  Tricia and Krysten bet Amber and Megan that the burglary has to do with Alyson’s supposedly valuable brooch, a bet which Amber and Megan accept.  

While the bet seems to go in Megan’s favor, Tricia is not yet convinced, but with her attention distracted by the task of snagging a date to the Junior Sweetheart Dance, Trish asks to borrow Alyson’s brooch to wear.  Still badly distracted by Damien and growing more and more irritably divided from sister and friend by Damien’s attentions, Alyson allows Trish to borrow the brooch, but cannot find it and sends Trish home empty-handed.  And on her way home, mystery and danger erupts upon her when a masked man abducts her to a nearby parklet, ties her to a tree, and rifles her purse for something he cannot find.  

The mystery revs up when Trish’s Snoop friend Hannah Watson realizes that Tricia, who somehow managed to rescue herself from her temporary captivity, had been bound and gagged by materials similar to those used to bind and gag the Carsons’ lawyer; combined with the fact that the burglar failed to steal the money that had been in Tricia’s purse, suspicion begins to rise that the brooch was the burglar’s target.  As the younger Snoops start investigating the case, Alyson becomes more and more withdrawn and quarrelsome with her friends as she begins to believe they suspect Damien of being the burglar who had taken Trish.  And as Trish, Hannah, Krysten, and Missy visit Megan and Amber at Amber and Alyson’s house to detail the results of their investigation, a trio of masked home invaders—a man, a woman, and a young man—break into the house, tightly tie up its Snoop occupants, and tear the house apart  Trish, unable to resist the burglars but putting her power of observation to good use, identifies the young man as Damien Bielznap himself, which information she reveals to the Snoops when they free themselves after the home invaders leave emptyhanded because Alyson had lent Trish the brooch that morning.  The accusation angers Alyson, who completely breaks off from her sister, her best friend, and her young Snoop friends in favor of Damien, whom she is convinced is innocent of anything and is merely being accused in order to break her up from him.

Convinced that Damien is behind the burglaries and also convinced that the brooch is his target, Megan and Alyson try to follow Alyson in order to protect her from her boyfriend, and they and the younger Snoops try to determine what the Bielznaps are planning to do to steal the brooch from Alyson.  While the younger Snoops are distracted by the Junior Sweetheart Dance—Hannah has an unwanted date with awkward young Tristan Shulbert while Krysten is sulking because she wanted Tricia’s brother Tyler to ask her out—and arguing among themselves, Megan and Amber’s plan to keep Alyson and Damien under surveillance at the Snowden High Sweetheart Dance comes apart as their dates—twin brothers—have their tires wrecked by some well-placed broken beer bottles.  The Junior Sweetheart Dance at the middle school turns out disastrously for most of the younger Snoops—except for Missy, who consoles Hannah’s heartbroken date after she breaks up with him—and biggest Dwight brother Travis, dateless to the Snowden High dance because his crush Clarissa Simpson was not interested in him, is sent to both bring Tricia home and deliver Megan, Alyson, and their dates to the high-school dance at the local country club.  Hearing of the trap the brothers fell into, while Megan and Amber search the club for Alyson and Damien, the younger girls search the golf course and surrounding buildings for the missing couple.  The search ends in a storage room beneath the club where Damien has invited Alyson, wearing the brooch, for some alone time—and danger awaits!  

This tale is the first connection between the petite little redhead Krysten and Tricia’s brother Tyler Dwight, and hints at a future romance between Travis and his classmate and friend Dru Pennington.  The outlines of future Snoop relationships start to take shape; even the future friendship between Trish and her romantic nemesis Bobby Martin is explored, but that one can wait for a future case…

And the entrants for the Secret Admirer chapter-illustration poll are…

1. Chapter 4 “The Game Afoot”; Lawyer Ms. Goodley describing how the office burglar left her tied up and gagged in her office.
2. Chapter 5 “More Strangeness”; Tricia tied to a tree and gagged in the parklet by the masked mugger
3. Chapter 6 “Coincidences”; Tricia getting her bound self loose from the tree
4. Chapter 6 “Coincidences”; Tricia showing up on her back porch bound and gagged
5. Chapter 7 “Return Engagement”; Home invaders tying up and gagging Amber, Alyson, Megan, Tricia, Krysten, Hannah, and Missy
6. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; One of the invaders threatens a helpless Amber Carson
7. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; Bound-and-gagged Amber turning on a light switch with her chin
8. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; Hannah tripping as she tries to hop to the kitchen to retrieve a knife to untie herself and her friends
9. Chapter 11 “The Last Dance”; Alyson sitting bound and gagged in the storage room at the country club
10. Chapter 11 “The Last Dance”; Tricia and Krysten at bay with bound-and-gagged Alyson

As always, vote early and often!…

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Case of the Stolen Santas!

Is the title of the next story to get a chapter illustration!  Only two votes here for the last poll, but seventeen at the deviantArt site, so maybe I need to concentrate on there more than on here.  In any case…

The story is set in the Christmastime of Tricia and her little sleuthing gang’s seventh-grade year.  On Black Friday, Trish (who else?) discovers that someone has stolen plastic Santa statues from the big K at the Allen Valley Mall, then cut them to ribbons on the store’s loading dock.  What was merely interesting to Trish and the gang becomes more interesting when Santa statues all around Allen County end up vandalized, and even more personal when Snowden Snoop Missy Bonhart has her family’s Santa statue likewise shredded!  The Snoops now seriously set out to figure out who the Santa vandal is, and Snoop peril, as always, commences!  One night, while Alyson is detained (in more ways than one, of course!) sitting the Hartman kids, Megan goes out alone to stake out a family which owns a copy of the one particular type of Santa statue that is getting vandalized.  It is just her bad Snooping luck that instead of discovering the vandal, she is captured by a marauding home invader!  Only Alyson’s belated realization that Megan was alone on her stakeout saves her, only to deliver her into the hands of her frazzled mother Nancy.  Nancy describes to her apologetic daughters that their adventures reminded her of her own, and Nancy herself gets into the case to help her daughters.

While Nancy investigates the source of the Santa statues, tracing them to a local plastics plant, Tricia, spotting one of the statues in the Snowden Middle School music studio, concocts a plan to trap the villain by luring him to the school with the statue.  Nancy meets the company’s IT director Rose Hansen and her second-in-command Ryan Tipton, while Tricia and Krysten get a picture taken for the newspaper of them with the statue.  While Rose and Ryan try to trace the statues, Tricia and the Snoops stake out the school on the night of the Christmas concert to trap the vandal.  But the vandal turns the tables on the Nancy-reinforced Snoops, capturing them one by one and hauling them out to nearby Cold Water Lake on snowy roads with evil intent for his captives.  Meanwhile, Ryan remembers an incident in which a corporate spy tried to escape the plant with secret company information saved on a CD, and realizes what the Snoops are up against.  Rose, Missy, and Ryan, discovering the abduction of the other Snoops, race time and snowy roads to stop the vandal before he can harm their friends, leading to a final deadly confrontation on icy Cold Water Lake!

I had created a bit of a short-lived tradition with this tale; a Christmas mystery based on a Sherlock Holmes story.  Homes aficionados will, of course, recognize the plot of Stolen Santas as that of the Holmes short story “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons,” which one of the Snoops herself also recognizes in the story’s aftermath.  Later Snoop Christmas tales include The Baby Doll Mystery, in which a Feed-Me Baby doll takes the place of a rare precious stone in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”; The Very First Snoop and the Case of the Part-Time Santa, in which a local grocer from young Nancy Morgan’s Stoneville childhood hometown of Stoneville fills the role of Jabez Wilson from “The Red-Headed League”; and The Snowden Baby Snoops: The Missing-Present Caper!, in which a missing monetary Christmas gift for everyone favorite babysitter Cora Peabody leads the Baby Snoops into an adventure very much like “The Case of the Second Stain.”  I still try to motivate myself to do another one—any ideas out there for a new Holmes Christmas-mystery Snoop short story?…

Anyhoo, the entrants for the Stolen Santas chapter-illustration poll are…

1) Chapter 4 “Oops…”; Megan captured and tied to a tree by a home invader
2) Chapter 4 “Oops…”; Alyson remembering being hogtied by the Hartman kids
3) Chapter 8 “Their Own Petard”; Megan tied up in the Dwights’ van
4) Chapter 8 “Their Own Petard”’; Hannah tied up in the van with Megan
5) Chapter 8 “Their Own Petard”; Tricia and Krysten captured by the bad guy
6) Chapter 9 “Dashing Through the Snow”; Bound-and-gagged Tricia and Krysten packed into the van while Trish leaves a message in the snow
7) Chapter 9 “Dashing Through the Snow”; Tricia and Krysten being tied together and lashed to a cinder block on the Cold Water Lake pier
8) Chapter 10 “Beyond the Edge”; Tricia and Krysten drowning in Cold Water Lake

Vote early and often, kids, either here or at my deviantArt page!…

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Second up...

The Snatched Sitters  is actually the first Snowden Snoops tale, predating the Prequel by some months.  It carried over a few things from its Abductor.com progenitors—in particular one of the aims of the bad guys—but handles them in as PG-13 a fashion as I could.  I’d already made use of the old mining tunnels under Snowden in earlier Abductor tales, and I put them to use again in this debut Snoops tale.  This was the tale in which I first developed Tricia’s and Megan’s characters aside from their cameos in earlier Abductor tales, in particular Little Girl Lost, and changed them somewhat for their new place in the center of the spotlight.  It was also the tale in which I introduced their sidekicks Krysten, Hannah, Amber, and Alyson, all of whom managed to find themselves in damsel-in-distress peril at carious points in the story.  There was much more DiD in this tale than the prequel, so we might have to pick out the best of the best for our vote this time!  To wit…

Which scene do you most want illustrated from The Snatched Sitters?  Check out the link above and check them out!

1) Chapter 2 “Then the Worse News”; antagonist babysitter Katie Simpson discovering she is bound and gagged in a strange subterranean place
2) Chapter 3 “Fool Me Once, Shame on You…”; Krysten hogtied by the Hartman kids
3) Chapter 4 “Hitting Home”; babysitter Brianne Hatcher hogtied in a tunnel
4) Chapter 6 “The Sting”; Krysten bound and gagged watching Tricia being captured
5) Chapter 6 “The Sting”; Tricia being captured and bound
6) Chapter 7 “The Sting II”; Bound-and-gagged Tricia and Krysten being taken to the bad guys’ lair
7) Chapter 7 “The Sting II”; Megan and Alyson captured, bound and gagged, and led to the bad guys’ lair
8) Chapter 8 “Coming Together”; Megan and Alyson put with the other captives
9) Chapter 9 “The Last Moment”; Amber defeated and bound by the bad guys

As always, vote early and often!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our First Poll Winner Illustration!

Here it is, the first winner of my Snoop Illustrations poll!  From Chapter 5 of The Snowden Snoops Prequel, the "ghost" has rounded up three of our brand-new Snoops in one of the girls' rest rooms in old Snowden High, and is tauntingly wondering to his captive girl-sleuths just what to do with them!
While Megan in her sweater-and-skirt outfit kneels helplessly on the floor, the "ghost" taunts blonde Hannah in her sweater and slacks, and Krysten in her little red top and denim skirt as they hang bound and gagged from a rest room stall!  What evil does he have planned for them?

Don't worry, they all make it out of their first case alive and well!  But that will only lead to an upcoming new poll--this time, for The Case of the Snatched Sitters, which will have even more girl-sleuth-in-peril choices to choose from!  Check back often--the new poll will be here soon!...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We have a winner...

...and eight total votes!  Quite an improvement from the last polls I conducted so long ago!  Maybe there's something coming to life here indeed!

And our winner is the scene in Chapter 4 where the "ghost" has Megan, Hannah, and Krysten all tied up in a girls' bathroom at old Snowden High.  I suspected that it would be our winner, so I already have a pencil sketch made up, ready to be inked and colored.  I'll post it here when ready, and also at dA (in my gallery) and on that chapter in my GDIT string.  Thanks to everyone who voted!

The next one up will be The Snowden Snoops and the Case of the Snatched Sitters, and I'll have a new poll up soon.  Don't forget the comments if you have any suggestions about the scenes, such as how you think the illustrations should look, and so on.  I always enjoy comments!

Anyhoo, I'll be back with a new poll soon, and the Prequel illustration when it's ready...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Return to Life...

Okay, okay, not quite as dramatic as Dr. Manette in A Tale of Two Cities, but I've made it back here after more than a year!  Mostly I've been distracted by (besides the always-popular Real Life) the comings and goings at my deviantArt page and the move of the GDIT forum to their new Yuku host.  I've made those changes to my links, and I hope you make good use of them!

Further, I've added a new link for a blog started by an old deviantArt friend who used to haunt those districts, known there as Torpedo585, called the Damsel Preservation League!  Like me, he has a fine appreciation for the damsel in distress, and has a new and growing blog to prove it.  Check it out!

And yes, I have a new poll for a new idea over at dA!  To wit...
If you’ve been following me on deviantArt, or even seen the pictures I’ve been posting at our new Yuku GDIT site, you know I’ve been busily drawing and coloring (thanks to the miracle of GIMP) not only Snoop story faux book covers, but some chapter illustrations as well.  And now that the book cover series is finished (at least until I start a new Snowden Snoop franchise story), I find myself wanting to do chapter illustrations for old tales.  And let’s be honest here, folks—we like peril scenes, don’t we?  Not that I don’t enjoy drawing up illustrations showing my characters not tied up and imperiled, but come on, admit it—we enjoy our damsels distressed, don’t we?

Problem is, which stories, and which scenes, should get the damsel-in-distress chapter-illustration treatment?  I’ve put the Snoops, Junior Snoops, Snoop Mommies, Darius Allen Detectives, and Snowden State Snoops through a whole world of peril, and to try to do them all would make my big old book-cover project look like nothing in comparison!  So…

Let’s start small, shall we?  As in, well start at the Snoops beginning in the Prequel.  And how about a little poll asking which detectives-in-distress scene you would most like see become an illustration?  Well, it’s my blog, so why not?  So…here goes!  For your Snoop damsel-viewing pleasure, we have:

1) Chapter 4 “Cat and Mice”; Brianne Hatcher discovering herself bound to a post in the hidden room, gagged, and blindfolded
2) Chapter 4 “Cat and Mice”; Amber Carson tied to a chair and gagged in the light booth
3) Chapter 4 “Cat and Mice”; Krysten and Hannah tied to a rest room stall frame
4) Chapter 5 “Mice and Cat”; Tricia discovering herself bound to a post and gagged in the same hidden room as Brianne
5) Chapter 5 “Mice and Cat”; Megan, Krysten, and Hannah all bound and gagged in the girls’ rest room
6) Chapter 6 “Ghostbusters”; Alyson, bound and gagged, being forcibly marched down the corridor by the fake ghost.

Check out the poll, and vote early and often!