Vote over at TWC…and you can see the same incentive as yesterday! Because it’s the end of the month. I’ll try and put something up for tomorrow to drag you guys back to vote for me when it counts lol.

Saturday is HTBAW’s 3 year anniversary! I forgot to do anything last year oops. I am slowly but surely forgetting to do anything this year, but I’m going to make an attempt. Even if it means a messy sketch with a giant 3 on it posted on Twitter. I’d do a better job, but I’ve been busting ass to get stuff ready for C2E2, so I haven’t had time to worry about anniversaries. I also really need to get out of the house today because it’s kind of my day off? Not really? I have stuff to do, but I need to take it easy when I can.

If you are very smart, you’ll recognize those first two panels from a page back in Chapter 3 :). I always liked those panels, and they felt appropriate here…five chapters later.

GUESS WHO’S IN NEXT WEEK’S PAGES? I somehow managed to set up this chapter so the most important exposition of this whole comic is just sort of tossed into the beginning of the chapter, and then other stuff happens lol. It’s the only way any of this works in the end, though. Because you need to understand who Connie really is as a person for the end of this chapter to make sense, and then next chapter you’ll need to understand what she’s afraid of for the next chapter after that to make sense. Or something.

I had a few people wonder why Sara would wander off to a landscaping conference when she’s just discovered her mom is living in a creepy house in the woods. Well, the unfortunate realities of being an adult who has to make money and lead a company is that she’s heading into spring, which is primo landscaping business time, and she can’t throw away all her other obligations to take immediate action on finding her mom. Ziva’s a tough old broad, obviously, and for all Sara knows, this might be her choice. She needs more information before charging in there, and a better plan with more back up if possible. Also, storywise, I need Sara out of the way most of the time. She’s too powerful compared to our core group of twenty-somethings (and Marin and Marisa in their early 30s), and I need her to be mired in bureaucracy and other commitments so she doesn’t become a giant deus ex machina charging in and obliterating everyone’s problems. Sort of the same reason I’ve been keeping her away from Malaya. At Mal’s current frame of mind, she’s mildly concerned about Aubrey and company and would like to help them, but if Sara charged in and said she would take care of everything, Mal would absolutely let her. As far as Malaya is concerned, her territory is her house and the coffeeshop, and she’s not worried about defending or putting a formal claim on the rest of town. Werewolf politics aren’t of interest to her, and she’s only just started accepting the whole “werewolf thing” is something she can actually handle instead of repress and ignore. She’ll need a larger catalyst to get her to go above and beyond her current comfort zone, which is already miles ahead of her previous comfort zone. (She went to the mall! It was a big step!) Anyway, most of this won’t be explicitly stated in the comic itself, but that’s the behind-the-scenes peek into my thought process as we move along here.

I would note that most stories get around the “powerful mentor should just solve it themselves” problem by going the Chosen One route. Why can’t Dumbledore kill Voldemort? Well, because Harry Potter is supposed to! Why? IDK, he was chosen! Destiny! Don’t worry about it! And then it works out in the end. Or, you go the Hunger Games route where everyone has very specific skills, and the thing that stands out about Katniss is her handful of well-developed childhood survival skills combined with the shred of humanity she’s managed to maintain despite being a broken shell of a person. She’s not the chosen one, but there’s also no one waiting in the wings who’s more powerful and capable who can save her. But in a story like this one, I’ve got to keep Malaya motivated to continue to grow, which largely stems from her interactions with Aubrey’s pack. I also need Elias to have incentive to grow, which stems from his interactions with his mom and Malaya, as well as Vincent sort of. But having his mom save the day or get more involved than necessary jams up the works. Sara will still make an effort, because she’s invested now, but I’ll be trying to keep her from doing so lol.