Whenever I turn in a manuscript to an editor or publisher, and the project is basically complete from my end, I do a final clean-up of my research links and material. Lately I’ve been thinking that people might be interested in seeing a bit more of my process, and how I do brainstorming and free association to generate ideas for characters, settings and themes. This, for example, is Konjo Oni, a character I recently created for P U P P E T L A N D™, "a storytelling game with strings in a grim world of make-believe". Konjo Oni is a warrior marionette from Japan, and this real world puppet was my visual reference for the character. The real puppet is a theater-quality puppet from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912. It was put up for auction by the Zacke Gallerie recently, and comes from a Viennese private collection. In the scenario I created for Puppetland, Konjo Oni is known as “The Flower Demon”. The back of his head looks significantly different than the real puppet seen here. But I’ll let that be a surprise for those who get the book! The upshot of this post is simply that I take great joy in writing, and one of the things I love most about my writing is the inspiration and pleasure that comes from my research. I find the real world around me endlessly fascinating and magical. And I try to share that feeling with my readers. In the upcoming week, I'm returning to standard fiction. This year thanks to my Patreon supporters I'll have three independent published short stories in two separate anthologies, and three game scenarios written for a role-playing game. Since I reached the short story level last month, this month I'll be posting a new completed tale and some free fragments and tidbits from Sword of the Stars and other video game projects. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. It is making a difference!