The Halfling and the Spaceman

A Conversation with James and Anita Young

January 22, 2023 Roger & Janet Season 2 Episode 4
A Conversation with James and Anita Young
The Halfling and the Spaceman
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The Halfling and the Spaceman
A Conversation with James and Anita Young
Jan 22, 2023 Season 2 Episode 4
Roger & Janet

Join us today as we talk with James and Anita Young.  A terrific conversation with a creative couple.  He’ll be talking about his military science fiction, and she’ll be talking about her work as an artist.  What’s inspired each of them, and how do they manage life as a creative couple?  Find out!  It promises to be a fun episode.

References and Links:

Show Notes Transcript

Join us today as we talk with James and Anita Young.  A terrific conversation with a creative couple.  He’ll be talking about his military science fiction, and she’ll be talking about her work as an artist.  What’s inspired each of them, and how do they manage life as a creative couple?  Find out!  It promises to be a fun episode.

References and Links:

A Conversation with James and Anita Young

[00:00:00] Halfling: .Thank you all for tuning into the Halfling and the Spaceman. If you're new to our show, we welcome you and hope you are entertained and inspired to start your own journey into active fandom. And if you're returning listener, thank you for choosing to spend some more time with us. And today we are excited to be talking with James and Anita Young, they're a creative couple.

[00:00:21] Halfling: One is a renowned writer, the other renowned artist. They'll be talking about their crafts and how they went from being fans to becoming an inspirational couple. Welcome to the show, James and Anita.

[00:00:33] Anita Young: Thank you. Thank you.

[00:00:35] Halfling: We're glad to have you. And I have to say, you're the first couple that we've had, so things will probably get a little interesting. 

[00:00:42] Anita Young: Nice 

[00:00:43] James Young: Oh this. This could be a never again, or, oh, that was kind cool situation.

[00:00:48] Halfling: Never say never. All right. Let's just go ahead and get started. James, I'm gonna start with you actually, because you're a writer of science fiction and alternate histories. Tell us a little bit about your background.

[00:01:02] James Young: I grew up in Missouri. My dad was Air Force and he retired outta Whiteman Air Force Base. So we had a small farm, out there just right outside the runway. And, because of that there, there's a lot of idiosyncrasies that come into place with that, you had to learn how to entertain myself fairly early on because the nearest neighbor of my age was a couple miles away.

[00:01:22] James Young: It's a lot of time on a school bus and everything else. Both my parents were Sci-fi fans. There were always books in the house. And then, with my dad, two things would always listen to were Bill Cosby himself, and we also listened to the Star Wars radio play, because he had got the big old LP of that when it came out.

[00:01:39] James Young: So that was always on and you also always watched Star Trek. We had one of those big old, you know, the old slide in disc players.

[00:01:48] Halfling: laser disc

[00:01:49] Halfling: Uhhuh, 

[00:01:50] James Young: I mean, the going way back, the old RCAs,

[00:01:53] Spaceman: Oh yeah, the rca, um, oh, the, yeah, the one that was like a record album in a plastic case.

[00:02:00] James Young: case. So we had, Heidi, I remember the two disks we had were Heidi and Jaws. Jaws too. And we had those, because my dad had picked them up, I think for a buck total.

[00:02:14] Halfling: Oh.

[00:02:15] James Young: But we also were able to rent them from a small place in town. It was like an electronic shop.

[00:02:21] James Young: And so back when that was, well, it's gonna be VHS or it's gonna be these disks, that was basically the Bblockbuster of the town was you could go in there and I saw Battle Beyond the Stars, Ice Pirates, some of the old, and we're talking, if you want to go eighties, B movies, that's where we were.

[00:02:39] Halfling: Yeah, we've watched a few of those.

[00:02:42] Spaceman: More than a few. More than a few.

[00:02:47] Halfling: Anita, I guess same question for you. You are an artist that promotes art for mental health, but you've also specialized in pet portraits and you're also a writer. Of paranormal time. , you do a little bit, all of it. So tell us a little bit about your background.

[00:03:06] Anita Young: Oh goodness. Well, since he started with where he grew up, I grew up in Canada. I was born and raised there. In some ways that has colored everything because even though James and I speak the same language, obviously the amount of differences in our backgrounds means that there's a lot of metaphors.

[00:03:25] Anita Young: And since it's like day one of our dating, well, day one since we've known each other, is there's been a lot of metaphors. That's how we communicate . So it seems kind of obvious that that's the way my art would go. So in my art, there is so many metaphors. There's. Symbolism everywhere. And that is the way I seem to have connected with people because other people can look at the same piece and see a different thing, which is amazing and powerful.

[00:03:55] Anita Young: My writing on the other hand, , I don't really have a background in that. My background in that was just James was writing all the time and I'm like, well, I dunno if he's doing it, I might as well do it too. Yeah, I mean I have, my writing is more, it's urban fantasy, but it's very heavy biology and that's partially cause I have a biology degree, and a clinical laboratory science degree. So it I went into that a little bit more than probably is interesting to most people, but it was my first series and I really enjoyed it. So yeah,

[00:04:37] Spaceman: So Anita, does that mean we're not getting any sparkly vampires out of your work?

[00:04:43] Anita Young: no, no sparkly vampires. You'll find some weird mermaid like things and some, scientific explanations for vampirism. So the entire reason I started writing other than just James was because James was like the seed, and then my favorite author at the time was like, you can't explain Vampirism scientifically.

[00:05:07] Anita Young: And I was like, the hell, you can't So I said about doing just that.

[00:05:13] Halfling: That actually makes me think of when I ran a Vampire of the Masquerade game on our R P G. Unbeknownst announced to me, there was already in the works, a new clan, but with the game that I ran because at the time, vampire, the masquerade was fairly new. 

[00:05:35] Spaceman: Yeah, we're talking about like 1991 or

[00:05:38] Spaceman: something. Yeah. 

[00:05:39] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:05:39] Halfling: Um, yeah. Yeah. Um, and yeah,

[00:05:43] James Young: teen of the nineties. I,

[00:05:44] Halfling: right there, there you go. Represent that but I was running a vampire game and I came up with a new clan who were vampires, but they were fighting Vampirism through science. They were looking for a scientific cure and so I created this clan.

[00:06:08] Halfling: And then of course, white wolf came out with something similar. Yeah, very similar. . I thought, I swear it was me. It really was me. I wasn't plagiarizing.

[00:06:20] Spaceman: you also invented pants, so

[00:06:22] Halfling: uh, yes, I have pants too, by the way.

[00:06:28] Anita Young: Yeah, I can relate to that.

[00:06:31] Spaceman: Talking to you guys, it's good to meet other, couples who work together on things, even if, when they're working together separately. Halfling and I have been together for 40 years. Married for 35 and, so we're really interested in how you guys met and how long have you guys been together?

[00:06:45] James Young: We met on the dark days of the internet. Yeah, you had to like type in the IP addresses, so 

[00:06:50] Anita Young: I was, where the pictures were made up of all the flashes and dots. . 

[00:06:56] James Young: Yeah. So I was at West Point and all my friends back in Missouri, there was this chat called down under, and that's where all of us, like, I'm not, but many of us hung out and we just happened to meet in passing.

[00:07:11] James Young: I'm trying to think. I met someone else in your family first. I can't remember who it was, but it was a, it was very much a case of deep sarcasm. The very first time we met, I insulted Canada at least five times.

[00:07:25] Halfling: Oh, oh, lovely.

[00:07:27] Anita Young: like him. He was my least favorite person in the world.

[00:07:31] James Young: Yeah. Yeah. So clearly she got over that. And on my part, I always joke there was that one time when we knew each other, I very specifically said, you will never be the next Mrs. Young, Yeah. Ha having been, married, long-term yourself and everything else. I don't need to explain how things you can say will be held against you. 

[00:07:52] Anita Young: Yeah. So that's how Canadian and American meant on a Australian beast.

[00:07:59] Halfling: Okay. I know there's a sip coming there somewhere there. There's

[00:08:02] Halfling: gotta 

[00:08:03] Anita Young: know, right? Or joke, there's gotta be the punchline. I don't know. . 

[00:08:06] James Young: Yeah, we could go for days. There is not nearly enough time in this interview to cover that but yet we have been together since 1997. So we have been married since 2000

[00:08:18] James Young: and 

[00:08:18] Anita Young: we thank you back in

[00:08:21] Halfling: Uh, very good.

[00:08:25] Anita Young: Yeah. I think, well, we first met online, we didn't meet in person until his graduation, but 

[00:08:33] James Young: and, and even then, that was a fluke, as well as not a fluke, but 

[00:08:38] Anita Young: say, you hardly say it was a fluke when you literally sent me an invitation.

[00:08:41] Anita Young: Fluke implies, oh, I just happened to be in the neighborhood, . So 

[00:08:46] James Young: with that being, so there's a picture of me getting pinned, which is when you, they put your gold bars on you and my friend, Buck is having to do it because my parents are stuck in the traffic dam jam coming down from Mikey Stadium because Bill Clinton, did the address.

[00:09:01] James Young: So, of course, you can't leave the stadium until the president leaves and there's all these rules about driving and everything. And someone tried to, tell my mother this, I come by my stubbornness as a maternal trait. 

[00:09:16] Anita Young: Considering your grandmother was smuggling hams, whole hams into it. I mean, 

[00:09:22] James Young: yeah, yeah.

[00:09:23] James Young: That also happened 

[00:09:25] Anita Young: in her purse. 

[00:09:26] James Young: Yes. The secret service is searching my grandmother's purse and there's like literally a small ham in it. And my grandmother's like, well, in case everybody had to get hungry.

[00:09:35] Spaceman: A perfectly practical thing to do,

[00:09:38] James Young: Yes. Yeah. When she passed early this year, she was 93.

[00:09:40] James Young: She was very practical her entire life. So that's not something you sit in there and say, oh, wow. That was really outta character for her. That's like 

[00:09:49] Anita Young: practical, eccentric, I mean, tomato, tomato. 

[00:09:52] James Young: Tomorrow, one of my best friends who has known me since 91, she came out for graduation and she said that 30 minutes in the car with both my parents, my sister, and my grandparents, was basically like the Rosetta Stone for Oh, okay.

[00:10:09] James Young: I understand every one of his idiosyncrasies now, so, 

[00:10:14] Anita Young: yeah. But yeah, when getting pinned the photograph, I'm like literally in the background, like, I don't know, I'm supposed to meet this dude somewhere. 

[00:10:23] James Young: Yeah, has pictures of me. But of course, We're all cadets, all people out, getting changed and everything else.

[00:10:28] James Young: But yeah, her and her mother are sitting on, let's see, we got pinned, near Patton statue. I think you guys are actually sitting at the base of the statue in the background of several of my pinning pictures. Yeah.

[00:10:40] Halfling: Hmm. Okay.

[00:10:41] James Young: course it's not just gonna walk up to these tra are you? Because we'd already arranged to meet later.

[00:10:46] Anita Young: Yeah.

[00:10:48] Halfling: Okay.

[00:10:49] Anita Young: was a big old, confusing mess and yeah,

[00:10:54] Halfling: Well,

[00:10:55] James Young: like to joke, my parents didn't make my pinning, but my wife did.

[00:11:02] Halfling: Luckily everything worked out. You guys did get together and been married since 2000. So again, congratulations. So I wanna give each of you an opportunity to tell us what does fandom mean to you and what are you fans of? So whichever one of you wants to go first.

[00:11:26] James Young: I'm getting the look that says you threw the doorway first. Idiot. So the, Fans Sci-fi history, obviously. I mean, the background is blurred, but basically all those shapes you see back here are bookshelves. Uh, got my doctorate history a few years back, so I went whole hog into the the history fandom.

[00:11:47] James Young: Uh, I'm gonna 

[00:11:47] Anita Young: have to interrupt you first and say, no, no, no, no, no. You are understating your office. You're like, you have all your walls lined with bookshelves. You're like, desk is actually in the closet so that you can have more bookshelves. And then you have a straight bookshelf sticking into the center of the room.

[00:12:03] Anita Young: He's just a little bit of a fan or... 

[00:12:06] James Young: Now, to be fair, some of that is D&D books, which is the other fandom. Dungeons and Dragons. We both play, we both DM, we're both Fifth Edition nerds. The traditional, sci-fi as well as some, eccentric things like, I'm a fan of Robotech, which, you know, half your listeners will probably say that's a very strange way to say Macross.

[00:12:25] James Young: Be quiet people. Battle Tech also, I was introduced to Battle Tech as a teenager. Big fan of the clans versus the inner sphere, you know, things of that nature. So it shows up in my writing. The alternate history mainly was a star front beer and pretzel conversation when I was a member of the war games committee.

[00:12:43] James Young: You know, the standard, well, what does the Germans win? World War ii. And it's, well, not a, what did the Germans win, but mine is, uh, very much a "what if Adolf Hitler dies early?" I mean, cause you know, everybody's always like, oh, if you kill him in July, 1944, you know the no, no. If you kill him in July, 1944, we're just arguing about how many Russians are gonna die taking Berlin.

[00:13:03] James Young: This isn't really gonna make a difference. I do him in 1940 and that basically allows you to change a lot more things. But that's pretty much my fandom. And I will, of course, with impeccable timing as she's taking a drink, hand it over to my wife . 

[00:13:19] Anita Young: Well, as already said, D&D is one of my favorite things. As far as things to watch and things I really enjoy there's Star Trek, there's Dr. Who, there's pretty like Lord of the Rings. If you think of something geeky, I'm probably interested in it. I love video games, I love movies.

[00:13:38] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:13:39] Anita Young: Um, as to what it means to me. To me. And I think in some ways this is like my art, to me, fandom is a way to connect to people, have a common dialogue and shared experiences.

[00:13:53] Anita Young: And in a lot of ways that's exactly what I'm trying to do with my mental health art. I mean, in order to have these conversations and realize you're not alone, which is hugely powerful.

[00:14:04] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:05] Anita Young: That's why I create art. So yeah, even my pet portraits, even those, I mean, it seems like totally off the wall, totally separate, but it's not because you get to hear these wonderful stories.

[00:14:15] Anita Young: They get to share their love of their animals, and they're having this intense connection with you, and you as the artist get to share their story with all of the least listeners, and it's pretty amazing. So that's what fandom means to me and

[00:14:30] Halfling: Oh.

[00:14:31] Spaceman: You know, it's funny because we're doing this podcast for a very similar reason. We want to connect with people and help people connect with each other, by learning people's stories and what they do and how they started it. And they can help other people to get started.

[00:14:45] Spaceman: That's one of our drivers. So it's great to hear that.

[00:14:48] Anita Young: Yeah. 

[00:14:49] James Young: This is the point where I realized I missed half the essay question, which was the fandom part,

[00:14:55] Halfling: well, no, not, no, not really because you talked about, you enjoy your sci-fi and your history 

[00:15:01] Spaceman: and, your 5e. 

[00:15:02] Halfling: And D&D, so that's all fan stuff. What else? You, what else you got?

[00:15:08] James Young: Well, I was gonna say, the fandom to me is, it's part of the larger culture. I'm, you know, again, a history nerd reference. I remember at one point they tell, Winston Churchill wanting to cut the budget for the arts, during World War II, because they're like, no, really we need to have everything going towards war effort.

[00:15:24] James Young: They've won the Battle of Britain, but they're still getting ready to fight Germany all by themselves, or so they think and he says, if we cut the yards, we get rid of the yards. What are we fighting for, guys? That to me is part of what fandom is, is that it's a body politic of culture where, a thousand years from now, people may not remember different stuff, they're gonna remember, what did you watch? What were the shows that were made and everything else. We're still talking about Shakespeare all these years on, you still have all the Aesops, fables, nobody can tell you who the mayor of Athens was and whatever, BC but people can tell you about, a fox being mad about some grapes, that sort of thing.

[00:15:59] Spaceman: That makes me want to ask you a question. As a historian, who is the Shakespeare of science fiction? If 500 years from now, they were looking back on our time, who do you think that they would say is the definitive voice of science fiction of our time, both the 20th and 21st century.

[00:16:18] James Young: So ironically, in my sci-fi series, Humanity splits and one of the splits is very much into culture and everything else, and I pretty much give a shout out in it to Michael Stackpole, not because he's necessarily in and of himself. The Shakespeare, but because he's in so many different people's universes and everybody's universe, you bring Michael Stackpole in, you better understand that he's going to write 10 novels.

[00:16:46] James Young: Everybody else has one. And second of all, if you do not, if you tell him, I need you to build a world, or I need you to do some, framework for me, he's gonna do it. Everything from the X-Wing novels in Star Wars, basically he creates most of Battle Tech for FASA

[00:17:02] James Young: There's another fan. It was there and it's gone. But there's another fandom where they brought him in for like three novels and he basically, oh, here have an entire half of a universe. I gift it to you. And the makers were like, wow, okay. We had no idea what we were gonna go with that, but, okay, Michael, you took some seeds and now we have crops from millions.

[00:17:20] James Young: So if I had to throw somebody down, like, you know, the one person, he's gonna be it simply based on the breadth and width of everything. Just perfect. Gene Roddenberry will be a close second simply because Star Trek

[00:17:33] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:35] Anita Young: I, you know, I grew up on it. Leave me alone. Oh, yeah.

[00:17:38] James Young: Yeah. I will just say at least one of two people on this end of the conversation was an avid Trekie. People are always, like, if they're not fans of Star Trek, they think I'm a Trekie because I can cite different things. Most of that's from internet arguments and learn.

[00:17:52] James Young: You had to learn how to poke at people. You had to learn where the pressure points are. Ergo you learn a lot about the universe and then there's actually people who have ships. For their location. They have different things like uniforms, go to conventions. I have friends and family who do that, and I'm like, no, I'm not a Trekie.

[00:18:12] James Young: I am a fan, but I know Trekies I know people who are truly steeped in the fandom.

[00:18:19] Spaceman: We used to play around with Star Fleet Command a little bit. We never got uniforms, but we dabbled

[00:18:25] Halfling: Yeah,

[00:18:25] Anita Young: I can't say the same in, I had a uniform, but I did not do . It doesn't count. 

[00:18:31] James Young: I was gonna let her confess. I wasn't gonna throw her under the bus. I had to survive after this camera gets turned off But yeah, I was chumming those waters saying, okay, need second Now we're gonna need a bigger boat.

[00:18:45] Anita Young: I can't quote like episodes like your friend can that Yes. , that's where I draw the line. . 

[00:18:51] James Young: Yes. I have a friend, Lisa Breyers, who writes Prolific Trekk, , which is a blog. It's kind of a little bit, defunct now. But where that got started was she tried to watch, and this is, I think the first Abrams movie had come out, maybe the second.

[00:19:06] James Young: We weren't into, any of the stuff with Paramount now., but she was trying to watch all Star Trek content in a year.

[00:19:14] Spaceman: Oh,

[00:19:14] Spaceman: wow.

[00:19:15] James Young: Yeah, and I think she nearly made it. She talked about all the different stuff, and we're talking the cartoon, which I've forgotten. It was a cartoon, original series, next Generation, enterprise, Steve, space nine, you know, all of it. And she nearly made it. She had tried it a couple of times and she can tell you a lot about the arc and everything else.

[00:19:36] James Young: When I tell people like, yeah, I know Trekkies, I mean, , I know hardcore Trekkies. I'm just a guy who seems to keep showing up at conventions where William Shatner's at. But you know, 

[00:19:45] Anita Young: when's true.

[00:19:47] Halfling: the Shat.

[00:19:49] Spaceman: Yes. Yes. Yeah. I'm surprised the man is still with us. He's 91.

[00:19:53] Halfling: Yeah. 

[00:19:54] James Young: Uh, is it 91? Gotta be up there. I'm, yeah. Cause I mean, I remember everybody was freaking out about him going to space. 

[00:20:00] James Young: I do vendings at cons. I take the books and everything else.

[00:20:02] James Young: We used to both do it and we figured out was Anita made more money actually doing pet portraits at the house rather than, me having to spike the flask and bring her out with people . But with doing the cons, he was just at one in September and I helped one of my friends, check off her bucket list of getting Bill signed.

[00:20:22] James Young: Cause I, she had her small daughter with her and her daughter wouldn't wait in line. But I managed to bribe the child, Hey, just let your mom wait in line and he's gonna be there in March at Casey Planet again. And I'm just like, every time, William Shatner shows up, it's usually a good convention because everybody comes.

[00:20:38] James Young: Cause he's getting up there. I mean, he is

[00:20:41] Halfling: Uh,

[00:20:41] James Young: at that age. So,

[00:20:43] Halfling: Yeah,

[00:20:43] Spaceman: Yeah. So James, transitioning over to talk about your work a little bit. How did your interest in science fiction develop into you becoming a writer? Because a lot of people think about making that transition, but they don't ever do it.

[00:20:56] James Young: I don't remember exactly when I started writing. If my mother was here, she swears it was six because she had to tell me, okay. You know, I'm not reading all your stories. Sorry. Just no, and her defense, she had a long commute and then she was in law school and then was just like, no.

[00:21:15] James Young: So I started Did you make 

[00:21:17] Anita Young: audiobooks for her? , 

[00:21:19] James Young: right? For the listening audience. Uh making audiobooks with, meant basically getting a cassette. I was gonna say 

[00:21:29] Anita Young: cassette back then. . 

[00:21:31] James Young: Yeah. Okay. You've heard my reading voice. So I just started writing and I don't, I think it was a teenager before I started writing sci-fi.

[00:21:43] James Young: Cause I originally started out with Action Adventure slash this being the eighties, hypothetical World War III s and everything else. I mean, the ladies at the library I remember would always like look at my parents funny cuz there I am in this section with all the military like books coming up and checking things out.

[00:22:01] James Young: And then I'd also like dabble in the sci-fi books in the adult section. I mean the adult as in Trails Regional Library where I grew up. You had the kids section on one side, cuz it was basically maybe 1500 square feet of space in a building, you had a kids section on one side, most of the library headquarters in the tables, and then all the adult section on the far side.

[00:22:22] James Young: And that way the librarian were able to basically see if you're under 18, you should not be passing this line. Cuz you're, you're up here with, the Niven and the Asamov and this, and you may see something that's gonna scar you. My parents very early on were like, Hey look, if he pulls off the shelf, whatever.

[00:22:36] James Young: And she's laughing because stories about my parents can go for days, we have very different views on what you should tell kids when, and one of the things she always holds against my parents is I didn't believe in Santa Claus after six, so just did the math and said, no, there's no way that's happening. So as a team, I kind of said, okay, well I'll start writing. And I think the first thing I wrote was I played FASA Star Trek, which is kind of like Star Fleet command, but a lot simplified. And I started writing a Star Trek Fanfic. That was a split in the Federation because I was always saying, you know, the federation was too goody two shoes.

[00:23:19] James Young: Eventually that's gonna make somebody split. And, now that I'm older, know about bad morals. Basically I wrote, you know, like bad morals on steroids, , and that's what got me started.

[00:23:29] Halfling: So Anita, basically the same question for you. What sparked your interest in the things that you do, your art and your writing and which actually came first. I guess your art did first, is that right?

[00:23:41] Anita Young: Actually, it was my writing that came first. Believe it or not, I did my best to ignore my 

[00:23:45] James Young: art. I point, point of order. Are we counting high school art Because I mean there's a door she painted that is just absolutely gorgeous. Plus another painting. We still had absolutely gorgeous. That was from high school, which was technically before her writing. But please you wanna say that? 

[00:24:02] Anita Young: No, because technically I was doing weird collaborative writing with my best friend at the time, and we're just not going down that road.

[00:24:10] Anita Young: That was just some.

[00:24:11] Spaceman: So we're doing some fandom archeology 

[00:24:13] Spaceman: here,

[00:24:13] Halfling: Okay.

[00:24:14] James Young: Yes, Indiana Jones is running for his life. 

[00:24:18] Anita Young: kinda. Then it was like weird

[00:24:21] Spaceman: Bum.

[00:24:22] Anita Young: kinda, I don't know. So ignoring pre-high school stuff,, my writing came first because I did my best to avoid art because I decided that wasn't practical and if I'm anything, I'm practical. So I did not do anything until I was actually working at the hospital and was about seven years, six or seven years in.

[00:24:47] Anita Young: I'm like, you know, I feel like there's something missing in my life. and then I started art. But my writing, as I already said, it came from seeing James writing all the time. And then this is my favorite author saying, you can't do vampirism scientifically. So that part happened there. And my mental health art, cuz originally I went to school, to art school.

[00:25:12] Anita Young: There's, I have too many degrees. But anyway, so I gotta specify. I went to art school, to do graphic design and digital art, which is hilarious now because, I didn't wanna do anything with painting because I hated paintings. Cuz what are you supposed to do with these paintings after the fact?

[00:25:30] Anita Young: You've got a canvas. Digital is nice. You, it's, if you don't wanna put it, have it out, you put a file away, you don't have stuff cluttering up. And somehow I came out doing painting the most. But, yeah, so my mental health art started with actually one of my required classes, my required drawing classes.

[00:25:50] Anita Young: We had to do some sort of surrealism art.

[00:25:54] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:25:55] Anita Young: And my first suggestion that I did, I can't remember even what it was, but my art teacher said, nope, not even kind of, that's not surrealism. Go back to the drawing board and do it again. Um,

[00:26:08] Spaceman: Not enough molten clock.

[00:26:11] Anita Young: It was kinda brutal. I'm not gonna lie. He was like, wow, 

[00:26:15] James Young: okay.

[00:26:15] James Young: Yeah, I remember you came home and Yeah, he took no prisoners.

[00:26:19] Anita Young: Yeah. I mean he was one of my best teachers ever, but he was brutal. So I dug deeper and I was really struggling with depression at the time because when you deny an entire part of yourself, that tends to happen

[00:26:32] Halfling: Yeah. Sure.

[00:26:34] Anita Young: So I was like, fine, I will do a piece on my depression with symbolism and surrealism.

[00:26:41] Anita Young: And that's where it was gonna stop. It was just gonna be that one piece, moving on. This is a required class, meh, , I don't care. This is not what I'm here for. And then I went to one of the many cons that James went to with this piece. The connection people had to bring back to connection, set me on a whole path where I ended up creating an entire show about mental health and actually had two gallery showings with those.

[00:27:06] Anita Young: And it's just every time I show those pieces, I have just amazing stories. I get to hear from other people and the connections and the tears, there's often tears, and that's why I am where I am today.

[00:27:24] Halfling: That's gotta be something very rewarding because I think a lot of times people deny themselves the opportunity to make those connections and part of it is you have to be bold enough to seek out those connections and sometimes you have to be bold enough to be the first one.

[00:27:47] Halfling: And so something like the art that you have produced, the mental health art that you produced is a great cornerstone. It's a great foundation for that. I can only imagine the reactions and the stories that you have gotten through that.

[00:28:01] Halfling: That's wonderful.

[00:28:03] Anita Young: Yeah, and it's like you said, it can be very scary. In fact, the first, I don't know, two years after showing that piece, I wouldn't tell people the title of it, and I sure as hell wasn't telling people that it was my depression that I was drawing. It was abstract. This isn't a thing. But the more people that connected with it, I realized I need to own this.

[00:28:22] Anita Young: we need to have conversations about this. This needs to be a way to speak about this thing that's happening. So yeah, I mean exactly. It can be scary, but it's definitely worth 

[00:28:34] James Young: it. And she's being modest. She took a Best In Show for the piece. Yeah. So, and also got a scholarship for the whole body of mental health work,

[00:28:44] Halfling: All right. That's wonderful. That's

[00:28:47] James Young: So, the Malva Museum here in town at Washburn has took one of her pieces. 

[00:28:53] Anita Young: Yeah, they own one. It's like I said, my pieces are kind of the eye of the beholder and the interpretation. My interpretation of it is this was meant to be somebody who was experiencing dementia and losing their memories.

[00:29:07] Anita Young: It's a person looking at photos and there's puzzle pieces floating out from them. And the puzzle pieces are them. It's like literally cutting out cookie cutter from the person. So yeah, that one's now at the Mulva Art Museum. So they have that one, that one was hard to let go. I like, but, but, but

[00:29:26] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:29:27] Anita Young: and it was like a 30 by 40 painting, so it's ginormous.

[00:29:30] Anita Young: I mean, it's not like I got room for to my house, but . 

[00:29:35] James Young: Yeah. Yeah. That, that, that's always one of the things where I tell people Yeah, you know, win the lottery gonna be a nice hermetically sealed, climate controlled room for her art to go in, as opposed to, well, it's down in our basement cuz we live in Kansas and, you know, occasionally the Oz transit system will come through your house.

[00:29:51] James Young: So best to have it safest placed in the house. As long as our sump pump doesn't stop working. That's not our story.

[00:29:59] Spaceman: Which strangely tends to happen during storms.

[00:30:01] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:30:02] James Young: Yes, yes. Yes. You see things that are, or more on vacation . 

[00:30:07] James Young: Yeah. The last time we had a flood, the guy who came to the sump pump, he had been a plumber for 25 years, and he said he had seen it all except for what happened with us, which was a piece of debris got stuck in it.

[00:30:21] James Young: And, that prevented the floater from going up.

[00:30:24] James Young: uh,

[00:30:24] James Young: we now have alarm drawn to sump pumps for that, but he said, I've never seen that in 25 years. And of course, as I'm standing there in water up about halfway up my calf. Well, I'm glad that we were able to do that for you. And now you can, leave with a complete plumbing career.

[00:30:36] Halfling: Would you fix this, please?

[00:30:38] James Young: Oh no. He was able, all he had to do was go back there and jimmy it and the debris knocked loose. 

[00:30:42] James Young: And that's when the sump pumps started. And it was like the water's receding so quickly. I learned a lesson there. That's why we have alarms, lot of sump pumps now. You could just go down there and jimmy it real quick.

[00:30:55] James Young: Of course last, the very last time we had, 

[00:30:56] Anita Young: oh, real quick. You gotta go through a crawlspace of doom. It's terrifying 

[00:31:01] James Young: back there. Well, yes, OK . And we have talked about tying off a rope, so just we had to do is just tug it like underneath the doorway, between the crawl space and the finished basement.

[00:31:12] James Young: There have been lots of talks about countermeasures. So I guess I shouldn't say this real quick, but it's just a Jimmy and well, it's dislodged, here we go.

[00:31:20] Spaceman: Coming soon from award-winning writer James Young, the crawl space of doom. 

[00:31:29] James Young: I think I should caveat here that I do not write terror. 

[00:31:32] Anita Young: Uh oh. Whatever. You do your little, like weird spinoffs that are like, this is why you're so good for Twitter. You'll do these like little mini stories. 

[00:31:41] James Young: Yes. Well yeah, that's true. There's the one, one of my friends calls it crack fiction.

[00:31:45] James Young: Yes. Where someone will make a comment and I'll make like a little side conversation That's exactly building 

[00:31:50] Anita Young: their comments. I'm like, oh no. Here he goes. He's gonna, next thing you know, there's gonna be a little Yeah. Little fiction of that.

[00:31:58] Spaceman: Okay. I have a digression. I have a question and I've been looking for somebody to answer this question and you guys seem to be the perfect folks who may or may not be able to help me out.

[00:32:10] Halfling: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

[00:32:14] Anita Young: This feels like some of the James Young suggestions. Oh, no.

[00:32:18] Spaceman: We have recently discovered there is a type of fiction called RPG LitFic. We had never heard of it, and we've read lots of books. Do you guys know anything about that? What is it? 

[00:32:30] Halfling: What is that?

[00:32:32] James Young: Basically it is, you literally take like, a statted up character and you have them involved in a fiction event. So you'll have people like basically have the John Carter of Mars where suck through a portal into like their D&D game or into a similar system because you know, you, you don't wanna get too crazy because Wizard of the Coast will hunt you down.

[00:32:55] James Young: They're not quite, you know, Disney with the Mouse ninjas. But Wizards of the Coast will come for you. But that's basically you have someone who gets involved in their own role playing universe. The author I know who does it is, HP Hollo, who is related to Jacob Hollo, who writes with David Webber, I shouldn't say related. They're husband and wife. So she has a LitRPG series called Monster Punk. I know a couple other people who do it, but I can't remember the names of their series, but that's how I'm familiar with it.

[00:33:26] James Young: Just in passing, I have had a couple people poke me and say, as much as you do, I'm 

[00:33:30] Anita Young: going to say, no, no, no. We've had a few dinner conversations where you're like, no, no, no. Perhaps maybe I could, I've been doing this D&D session for at least, I don't know why. This is the voice I'm giving you, but whatever it's the voice, you know, we're going with it.

[00:33:45] James Young: Cause that's the way 

[00:33:46] Anita Young: she always give. Four years, I could write it . 

[00:33:50] James Young: So yes, I have thought about it. But that sound you hear is on rushing. You know, roar of people who are waiting for me to finish this alternate history series or the sci-fi series before I start anything else, because there are only so many hours in a day and I have a day job.

[00:34:06] James Young: Anita's tagline used to be at Cons. She would say, you know, we had somebody who was wavering between our two books. What are they gonna buy? She would always say, well, just remember, I can finish a series. 

[00:34:16] Halfling: Oh,

[00:34:16] Spaceman: Oh, oh, 

[00:34:18] James Young: Yep. 

[00:34:19] Spaceman: burn.

[00:34:19] Spaceman: Halfling. I don't think you've ever burned me that bad.

[00:34:22] Halfling: Nah, no. Oh my

[00:34:26] Halfling: goodness. Okay. 

[00:34:28] James Young: Oh, no, without mercy. And, and in her defense, there was a reason, because of course, me being at Cons, I had to go to panels, you know, be on panels, do different stuff. She'd had to deal with like the five or six people who would always inevitably come by and be like, oh, has he finished next book yet?

[00:34:40] James Young: Has he finished next book yet? Has he finished next book yet? And mind you, this is why the dissertation is ongoing. So, There, there are a lot of irons in a fire. What I've realized is, A), don't cross your genres finish one, not the other. , B) And now special projects. Special projects may arise. You had to take opportunities as they present themselves, 

[00:35:05] Anita Young: like to point out coil.

[00:35:07] Anita Young: Totally not that. When you first started writing these two series, we had an entire conversation on the way back from Colorado and you were like, I don't know, should I go back and forth? I really wanna write this, you know, other series. And I'm like, just finish the one you started and you know I was right.

[00:35:22] Anita Young: Told you so

[00:35:25] Halfling: We're always right, James. We're always

[00:35:29] Halfling: right. 

[00:35:29] Anita Young: dunno about that, but this time I was definitely right. , 

[00:35:32] James Young: you, you, you can, you can tell that there has been some psychological trauma involved in this discussion because of things that have happened. 

[00:35:43] Anita Young: especially when you were doing your dissertation, that was just like, oh my gosh. You know that scene from, Stephen King?

[00:35:50] Anita Young: The 

[00:35:51] James Young: Shining? 

[00:35:51] Anita Young: The Shining, yes. No work. No play.

[00:35:55] Anita Young: Yeah. 

[00:35:56] James Young: yes, I've been told I had the Jack Nicholson gaze down pat. I mean, it doesn't make an appearance much anymore cause the dissertation is done. But she would open the door and I would give her the look like Jack gives Wendy during the Shining like, 

[00:36:10] James Young: Yes. 

[00:36:11] Anita Young: It doesn't look like that. Don't try. Yeah. The second part is more like it the head turns all the way around. Slow motion. It was

[00:36:22] James Young: Nope. I, don't do that on command and I also don't do that when we're doing zooms with people , because that's scary. People don't like when I'm scary.

[00:36:34] Halfling: Well, I won't watch that. I, I won't watch that movie anymore since I know what he did to Shelly Duvall. 

[00:36:41] Halfling: Yeah. While they were filming it. You know, 

[00:36:43] Halfling: I lost pretty much all respect I had for him, and she's not the only case. But anyway, that's a side issue

[00:36:49] Spaceman: so I take it we won't be discussing Stanley Kubrick fandom anytime soon.

[00:36:54] Halfling: and

[00:36:55] James Young: I, yeah, about the extent I talk about

[00:36:57] Halfling: not with me, not with me involved. If you wanna do a show by yourself, go for it. 

[00:37:03] Spaceman: Um, 

[00:37:03] Halfling: So, james, I had a question for you about your writing though because you have written and you are writing solo. Do you also do collaboration though too, don't you 

[00:37:15] James Young: So I've been an editor for three alternate history anthologies with Chris Kennedy Press.

[00:37:22] Halfling: Okay.

[00:37:23] James Young: But as far as collaborations go, no, I don't usually do colabs because, like I'll write in other people's universes in different things. I'm gonna say you've written in people's, so that's that. You want to count that?

[00:37:34] James Young: Yes. But, what I have found, and it's more knock on me, anybody else, is that I don't play well with others when we're writing a universe. Like, if you have a universe and you let me come into it, the first thing I'll ask for is a universe Bible simply cause I wanna know where my left and right limits are

[00:37:50] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:37:51] James Young: coming into my universe.

[00:37:54] James Young: I have left and right limits, but I'm not always like ready to enforce them because what I don't want to have happen. And one of famous cases I remember this is David Webber said this in a panel. He brought, I think it was John Ringo and Eric Flint into his universe. And they did several things that basically David had to write his way out of.

[00:38:12] Halfling: Hmm.

[00:38:13] James Young: And that's what I wanna try to avoid is that, you know, I have a couple of authors who wanted do alternate stories in my universe and I've just been like, Fellas would love to, but anything that you do, what I do not want to do is be down the road two years and sit there and say to you, Hey guys, I basically had to light your story on fire because I did not think that what you did was going to interfere with what I did.

[00:38:38] James Young: But here we are.

[00:38:39] Halfling: right?

[00:38:41] Anita Young: In other words, he's a bit of a control freak.

[00:38:42] Halfling: uh Yeah, I can see that being a problem. I mean, 

[00:38:50] James Young: You know, it's like Superman two in the opening when they're putting the ole-Zod and the gang and light the gas. You know the glass thing? Yeah. Guilty. Guilty. Yes. I'm guilty of being,

[00:38:59] Halfling: Uh,

[00:39:02] Spaceman: Oh, 

[00:39:02] James Young: put me in the glass. I'm gonna get shattered on the moon. All bad things are gonna happen after that. You know? Let's just get it done. All I confess,

[00:39:11] Spaceman: And ultimately you wind up with Jesse Eisenberg playing Lex Luthor and the, you know,

[00:39:17] Halfling: And, and 

[00:39:17] Spaceman: no and no good can come of 

[00:39:19] Spaceman: that.

[00:39:20] Halfling: No. 

[00:39:21] Halfling: Uh uh.

[00:39:23] Halfling: Anita, have you ever illustrated any of his books?

[00:39:27] Anita Young: uh, yes, I've done the covers. I've also done the type setting, but I, and the maps, I can't. Yeah. And the maps. So, yes, . I don't do them all. I'll say that. Especially since when he started writing I was denying art. So that definitely wasn't happening.

[00:39:46] Halfling: Okay.

[00:39:46] Anita Young: But, I don't know how many I've done. I've lost track, honestly.

[00:39:50] Anita Young: Shh. If I had to guess, like somewhere between three and six. 

[00:39:54] James Young: Yeah. You've done the, cover for, well, I mean, depending on how you counted. She's done the cover for all three of the alternate history, books because Acts of War, so if you see the hard copy cover, it's, uh, artist from Nevada named Williams Scar Posse, who did see there's a painting of the USS Arizona being attacked at sea, which isn't historically how it happened.

[00:40:16] James Young: And that kind of sets the tone for the series , but she did a wonderful cover for the ebook, which is basically you have a Dutch East-Indies Spitfire shooting down a Japanese fighter. And what's ironic about all this is, my counterpart here will swear that she cannot draw planes, then she cannot draw ships.

[00:40:37] James Young: But I have evidence, if you look the coverage of my books, that she is lying. So 

[00:40:45] Anita Young: I'm not lying. I have a different definition. It's like, Okay, I can draw a cat, whether I have a cat sitting in front of me, I can draw cats from imagination. I can't draw planes from imagination. , that is not a thing. I have to have a reference photo.

[00:41:03] James Young: So what I'll do sometimes is I'll use a flight simulator I own and I'll basically manipulate the scenario editor to get to the point where I can give her a reference photo for the image. And that's what she'll go with. I mean, if you can get, I'll also, 

[00:41:16] Anita Young: I can do Photoshop to do things Yeah. And like that sort of stuff, but I have to have a reference photo, some 

[00:41:22] James Young: sort.

[00:41:23] James Young: And I'll do the same thing with the ship. So I'll bring in pictures of the ship sort of else and say, yeah, this is what it need like to cover for the third, book is you have, a US Navy dive bomber diving on the French Cruiser suffering and you know, this of course never happened historically.

[00:41:37] James Young: Much less in the way that it's happening in the book, but. You now we have that image 

[00:41:42] Anita Young: Collisions of the damned. That was a historical black and white image, I think. 

[00:41:46] James Young: Yeah, you colorized it. So that's And the fourth thing, fourth 

[00:41:49] Anita Young: book's gonna be, well I did more than colorize it. I redrew it, but hey, whatever.

[00:41:53] James Young: I mean, , well of course, yeah. Cause we have basically the collision of the damned is, there's a surface knife flight, or surface battle rather, happening on the front of the screen. There's a, uh, 

[00:42:03] Anita Young: oh, the battle arguments we had about that. He was like, it needs to be darker cuz it's night. And I'm like, it won't make sense artistically,

[00:42:11] Anita Young: We went back and forth so much. . 

[00:42:14] James Young: If you are an aspiring author and you're listening to this, this is the point where listen to your cover artist, there's a reason you hired them. Generally if your cover artist is saying something will not work, believe me when I tell you they're right. , it's not gonna work.

[00:42:31] James Young: And you're going to be very upset when you like, see the image that you thought you wanted and you're like, oh, okay. No, that doesn't work at all and in the case of if you're not married to your cover artist, that's gonna cost you a pretty penny to fix. So have a journal concept, or learn how to do digital art yourself.

[00:42:49] James Young: Because if you go to a cover artist, again, this is something that you're paying someone to do. You're paying them for their expertise. Trust the expert. You don't tell your surgeon how to cut you. You don't tell your cover artist how to change the image. 

[00:43:03] Anita Young: Interestingly, I've never actually painted a cover for you.

[00:43:05] Anita Young: I've always just done the digital. I just realized that 

[00:43:11] James Young: there's always time , 

[00:43:13] Anita Young: good . Then we have a painting that I don't have one in the house that I'm gonna send with you to sell.

[00:43:18] Spaceman: Now. Now Anita, you did do a cover for Joelle Presby though didn't you?

[00:43:22] Anita Young: Yes, yes, I did just do, oh, I can't remember the name. I'm sorry. My mind's gone blank. Um, 

[00:43:28] James Young: um, so it wasn't The Dabare Snake Launcher, just to be clear. It was her short story that she did.

[00:43:33] Halfling: Oh, okay. 

[00:43:34] James Young: Joelle did a short story, that's basically her feeder story for her website. 

[00:43:38] Anita Young: What goes up, sorry, I 

[00:43:39] James Young: had to look it up.

[00:43:40] James Young: There you go. I, I, yes, I was stalling so you could look it up. you probably had it close by. 

[00:43:44] Anita Young: Yeah. So, um, yeah, so yeah, I did that one for her. She had a loose idea of what she wanted, and there was a couple, um, iterations of that. But she's wonderful to work with. Not at all like James was in the beginning,

[00:44:00] Halfling: But it sounds like he's learned his lesson to trust you.

[00:44:04] James Young: and again, I'm going into the glass. I mean, this is

[00:44:09] Halfling: No, I mean, I think what you said James was actually really great advice, which falls under the heading of things you should know before you get started, 

[00:44:17] Spaceman: Yeah. And that's one of the things we wanna kind of explore a little bit with you guys. 

[00:44:21] Spaceman: Do you have any advice or things that you wish you knew when you got started? Or advice you can give aspiring artists or authors?

[00:44:28] Anita Young: For me it's more of a practical thing. One thing I was not aware of was how fragile, I feel like that's not quite the right word, but you have to be careful with your wrists. As an artist, it is very easy to damage them and , you just tell yourself to push through the pain because you know, it's like a muscle.

[00:44:48] Anita Young: It, you know how don't get stronger. It's like, no, you can really, really, really damage it. So listen to the pain in your wrist and stop and wear a brace if you need to. Like, if you start experiencing pain, wear a brace. I had to learn how to redraw because that means I can't turn my wrist. I'm having to draw from the shoulder, which is technically what they're supposed to do anyway,

[00:45:12] Anita Young: But I had to relearn an entire style. There's like, uh, my art style went from very organic to very linear because I could only do up and down motions and it's not bad. But it did impact how I created art for a while. I more or less, Adjusted for that now with learning to draw from the shoulder.

[00:45:35] Anita Young: But that's the biggest thing I would say is listen to your body.

[00:45:39] Anita Young: Don't be tough. Don't push through it. 

[00:45:44] Halfling: Mm-hmm. 

[00:45:45] Anita Young: you don't wanna do irreparable damage to the thing that you want to do with your life. So that's my biggest thing.

[00:45:53] Halfling: Okay. Okay. I think that's a good piece of advice and not something I would've considered. But that's your tool, that really is your main tool, so you definitely gotta protect it.

[00:46:03] Anita Young: Exactly. Tool is a great term for that. Yes. Because yeah, you wouldn't, you know, let your dog chew on a brush. So don't abuse your wrist, it's your tool, take care of it.

[00:46:15] Halfling: There, there you go and James, what about in terms of somebody who might wanna pursue a writing career? Because you mentioned something which I thought was really good about listening to your cover artist. But do you have any advice for somebody who wants to get into writing,

[00:46:31] James Young: So the biggest thing I always tell people is that understand first, you gotta write the story. So butt in seat, hand on the keyboard. I'm bad about that myself sometimes. You don't need to give yourself a concussion, shaking or nodding your head enthusiastically, honey.

[00:46:46] James Young: You know, people can't see it. , I know , but no, but once your story is done, a lot of the business aspects, there are things out there for you to be able to find, that you can learn from the mistakes and lessons of others. 20 books to 50 K is a group on Facebook. That's a lot of information I'll be given out for free.

[00:47:08] James Young: Remember a lot of people who sit there and say, there's no such thing as an overnight success. As someone is telling you buy my book, you'll be an overnight success. Understand, you are their overnight success. they're basically going to become a millionaire off people like you who are like, oh, I want a short trip to this.

[00:47:25] James Young: There are no shortcuts. There is dumb luck. And that is a big thing that people need to understand that, sometimes you, you're gonna have good luck and you're gonna have bad luck. And that's just, you can do everything someone tells you and you just keep rolling snake eyes.

[00:47:41] James Young: It happens. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. Don't get discouraged or if you're at the point where it's mentally traumatizing, you, it may be time to stop and try again later. You know, come back to it. Don't continue to inflict trauma on yourself saying, my books aren't selling.

[00:47:57] James Young: My books aren't selling, my books aren't selling. There are a lot of low dollar ways to get there from here. I will caution against like, the biggest trend now is if we're like, oh, use the AI art. I will caution against that. Remember, the AI art does not create images. It uses copyrighted images.

[00:48:15] James Young: Nothing, and copyright and trademark are the two things that will kill you dead. I mean, I joke about people coming for you, but I was like, yeah, you, you do not want to, especially any of the leviathans in industry, you do not want their baleful glaze looking at you because they feel like you plagiarized their work or you started playing around in their copyright. Copyright is one of those things where I tell people, there are various YouTube out there about copyright. Pay attention to it. Make sure you do try to copyright your stuff. You don't actually have to do a formal copyright just by publishing something that a lot of people don't realize that gives you a lot of copyright, legally.

[00:48:51] James Young: And then again, all this advice is not supposed to supplant a lawyer. I'm just saying off the top of my head things that, you know, I wish I had known. Two things you pay for, pay for your editor first, and then your cover art. So, to put this in perspective, if you only have a hundred dollars for your name, you gotta get this book started.

[00:49:09] James Young: 60 of it should be going to your editor. $40 of it should be going to your cover art. Your cover art will be what catches the eye. Your editor will be what keeps people from giving you a one star because you misspelled like, uh, you know, elephant 2050, you know, times in your book. Mm-hmm. That'll be what kills you.

[00:49:26] James Young: I know people who will give you a one star for one typo. Ignore those folks. What you're trying to avoid is people will give you one star because you've consistently done something that it's an editor should have caught this and you cannot edit yourself as well as someone else can. 

[00:49:41] Anita Young: And I will say, my one caveat on in the AI art is that as an artist, if you bring me something like you can use it to create a character so that I have a general idea of what you are wanting, like you can use it to create something.

[00:49:59] Anita Young: I am not going to take that image and just stick it on a cover, but at least I have a starting point. It's like, this is how my characters look and okay, cool, that helps. Or this is the landscape I want. So it's a nice inspiration, but it shouldn't be used as the cover. So that's my one. AI cover art.

[00:50:21] James Young: Oh, copyright cover art. That just reminded me when you talk to your cover artist, also make sure that this is a solitary thing that is being done for you. There are unscrupulous cover artist who will get you all pay 50 bucks for a photo, and all I'll do is change the background and everything else. And I'll read you this cover like 10 times.

[00:50:42] James Young: And then embarrassing things happen. Like I know one case where there's a very famous writer who will remain nameless, who someone actually reported them to Amazon. They're a famous indie, someone reported them for Amazon for cover infringement. The cover artist had literally taken the main element of that cover and just changed it from green for the famous artist to orange for the second person.

[00:51:07] James Young: That was a huge mess. It nearly got the more famous writer, nearly got all their books Frozen and which there are mini, and at which point you can imagine how happy he was about that. And then the younger or the newer writer just came off looking like a total idiot and also that cover artist, that became known in indie circles, who that cover artist was.

[00:51:27] James Young: And they really had trouble from that point on getting work

[00:51:30] Spaceman: Right. In a lot of ways we trade on our reputations.

[00:51:33] James Young: Yes. And if you've done that to someone because that writer had to go back and basically, he had to get all new cover art for that series. Cause, he found out their other thing covers and he's just like, Nope, nope.

[00:51:43] James Young: I'm at the point now where I've banked my bones, I can afford to have someone else redo the cover art for this series. And he did. And it was a lesson learned because you just, yeah. And if you're a artist who's wanting to be a cover artist, don't ever do that to your authors. You know, do not ever, ever, ever do that to your authors.

[00:51:59] James Young: Make sure you give them an individual specific cover, because that's gonna be like, basically that brand for that book. Hmm.

[00:52:06] Spaceman: Right?

[00:52:06] Halfling: Well, that makes sense.

[00:52:08] Spaceman: Do you guys have any exciting projects coming up? Anything that we need to know about? Anything that our listeners would just chomp at the bit to get to?

[00:52:15] James Young: Um, 

[00:52:16] Anita Young: There is a project turning around in my mind and it's going to be like a comic strip of...

[00:52:24] Anita Young: feel like I need to back up because this is already like, I need to explain the, to explain, to explain . So one of the biggest problems with my mental health art is, well it does to connect to people and people really have an impact is. To quote somebody who was brutally honest, I don't wanna hang it on my wall, So I'm trying to find a way to create something that is visually pleasing while still maintaining the connection. And one of the little things floating around in my head, probably cuz I've been working with animals so much, is that I wanna create like a little comic strip type thing where the main character has all these facets of emotions and feelings and, you know, symptoms and et cetera.

[00:53:12] Anita Young: And these are gonna be personified by little animals that will have conversations, you know, the voice in your head talking about, how angry you are that coworker was talking bad about you or whatever, and so it's gonna be little scenarios like that. It's my thought process. We'll see how it works out.

[00:53:31] Anita Young: But yeah, I'm thinking I'm gonna call that one facet. So we'll see.

[00:53:36] Halfling: That sounds cool. 

[00:53:38] Halfling: That sounds really, that sounds really cool.

[00:53:40] Spaceman: Yeah, we would love to see a copy when it's done.

[00:53:44] Halfling: uh, 

[00:53:44] Anita Young: Definitely

[00:53:45] Halfling: And James, what about you? 

[00:53:47] James Young: In January, Flametree Press, which is a British press, is putting out a anthology of alternate history and the origin story for my alternate history universe, will be in there and that's a unique thing cause I always used to just obliquely refer to, yeah, I kill Hitler with a RAF bomb, this is a short story that explains exactly how that happens, so that's gonna be coming out next month. The other thing that I have cooking is, oh, I'm gonna do a Kickstarter. I got the first two books of the US Service Award Universe done, several years ago for various reasons.

[00:54:26] James Young: Getting them redone, by audio award-winning, narrator or Jennifer Aria. And what the plan is going to do a Kickstarter basically, where if you want to be first in line for CDs and everything else to get the series on audio, we'll have it on reduced rates. There'll be other things like some of the artwork that goes with the series.

[00:54:47] James Young: Where we're talking various things like, you know, Jennifer is just amazing. I do various voices for people's voicemail, like if you wanna have a voicemail message with a Russian accent or whatever else, things like that. That's kind of things we're batting around.

[00:55:00] James Young: The reason we're waiting until, next year to start it is, you know, found out very through other people's pain, which is, you know, always my favorite way to find out, that Kickstarter, you have to watch the taxes because the last thing you wanna do is have a very good Kickstarter before you do any of your expenses.

[00:55:18] James Young: You're sitting there and you made, like, say, as I know, one person, uh, they made $70,000 on the Kickstarter, had no idea that was going to happen. The problem is that happened in November. You make $70,000 on the Kickstarter in November. Mr. Taxman's coming for you because that's income.

[00:55:36] Halfling: Ah, yeah.

[00:55:37] James Young: you have had no chance doing expenses and everything else, and you just moved up a couple of tax brackets.

[00:55:42] James Young: Guess how ugly that gets around April?

[00:55:44] Halfling: Oh, oh, 

[00:55:46] Spaceman: And planning a Kickstarter is not an easy thing because you have to project your cost for the whole project, including shipping sometimes internationally.

[00:55:56] James Young: Yes. And that is one of the things that we, you know I've been, people around me have started doing Kickstarters and some people started doing YouTubes for and everything else. That's part of the research I'm going to be doing after I have another secret project I had to finish after that project gets done,

[00:56:12] Spaceman: Okay, well when you're ready to announce, let us know. 

[00:56:15] Halfling: Yeah. 

[00:56:16] James Young: Oh, will do.

[00:56:16] James Young: Yes. I am always a fan of telling people when I've done something, I'll put it on my Facebook and also on the blog. That is actually the problem with the blog is that's I'm really bad about updating it, especially this last year but I also have a newsletter.

[00:56:28] James Young: If you go to my blog, which is, I'm trying to make sure that's the right one. Yes. When you go to my blog, if you gotta set up where it will give you a chance to sign up for a newsletter. You sign up for a newsletter, perfect opportunity to find out everything when it happens.

[00:56:46] James Young: Also my Facebook, I know nobody still uses Facebook, but I do, 

[00:56:51] Spaceman: Look, I'm an old dude. I use Facebook. 

[00:56:53] Halfling: Yeah. I'm old school. 

[00:56:55] James Young: My demographic uses Facebook. Gonna say, my demographic also, you know, folks, it's time to go ahead and accept that you're gonna need those bifocals. 

[00:57:02] Anita Young: I take offense to that. I had to use bifocals when I was like 14 years old. Man.

[00:57:07] James Young: some of us fought that, as you know, and some of us got encouraged to finally get bifocals because 

[00:57:12] Anita Young: You mean, because you're doing this time.

[00:57:15] James Young: Yeah. She, she got tired of seeing that at D&D night every night. Like, what's this creature do? Uh, yes. Stop fighting it. Just get the bifocals. Just do it, folks. The matches on your 

[00:57:25] James Young: forehead, that's not where they belong. 

[00:57:26] James Young: Yeah. Just, just do it. Your life will be vastly changed. Just go ahead and accept you need 'em, and it'll be okay.

[00:57:34] Spaceman: Okay. It's a good segue, . So where can our listeners learn more about, James and Anita Young? Where can they find your work online and if they wanted to learn more, where can you win 'em?

[00:57:49] Anita Young: For me, my website's super easy. It's an . I would lucked out . And you can find me pretty much everywhere. I'm on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Patreon, you name it, I'm there, and my website links you to all those things. And I'm actually going to start putting my own videos that I'm already doing.

[00:58:12] Anita Young: Cause I do videos every single day on my website because people have recommended that. So you may be able to, in the near future, get all that just straight from my website.

[00:58:23] Halfling: Okay. Okay. And James, you've already mentioned your blog, but what else? 

[00:58:28] James Young: So on Facebook as James Young and the cover art is basically if you see a James Young like page that has like a military plane or something, that's probably me. The curse, I'm not lucky like Anita is because if you try to find me, you'll either find the gynecologist, which that was funny when Good Reads merged our accounts, or you'll find the other African American historian who's about 20 years older than me, which I only found out about.

[00:58:57] James Young: Cause the librarian, the local library was doing something and they were looking at my bio and they're like, when the librarian's like, wow, you're really well preserved. And I'm like, okay, that's kind of weird. They're like, yeah, I didn't realize how old you were. And I'm like, what are you talking about?

[00:59:11] James Young: You know, I was born in, you know, 75 and they're like, you're a good re spouse, says you were born in 54. And I'm like,

[00:59:18] Spaceman: So

[00:59:18] James Young: that's odd.

[00:59:19] Spaceman: so does James young 54, like Star Trek, too?

[00:59:23] James Young: You know, I don't know , if he sometimes he somehow listens to this. I think he's changed his biopic since then. If you look at his biopic and you squint really hard, I guess you could think it was us, because he has like a full like, you know, civil war beard going Cause that's this area of expertise.

[00:59:39] James Young: You used to have 

[00:59:39] Anita Young: a big honk 

[00:59:40] James Young: in beard going too. Well, I, I, no, I used to, that's the thing. I used to have a beard, but his is a lot more salt and pepper at the time and a lot more, 54th Massachusetts as they say. My beard does not come in like that. That is one of the things I really wish it did. Like I could go to full, you know, uh, angry Moses beard, but that's, no, that does not happen. Uh oh, thank you. 

[01:00:06] Anita Young: Your mom said you looked like a terrorist when you grew. 

[01:00:08] James Young: Yes. Yes. My, my mother and I had a beard, threatened to turn me in as Matata Aldar, for the 25 million. She used to joke that, you know, uh, you'll be at Gitmo and they'll be writing us a check before anybody stops ache or think, and, you know, 25 million. We've told you what happens, which is you show up at the house and there's a blonde-haired, blue-eyed family living in it, and they're like, oh, we don't know where they went.

[01:00:29] James Young: They just gave us this house That was always a threat when I went away to college.

[01:00:36] Spaceman: And I thought my mom was bad,

[01:00:39] James Young: Oh no. I will stop with this short story. My father was sick, with leukemia. And I just, I had to tell this to explain the levels of how I grew up so the doctor comes in and basically they tell my dad, raise reasons.

[01:00:51] James Young: He's got 50 50 chance of not making it to the night. So this is a Saturday. , and this was kind of a surprise. He does make it another year. But this, so the spoiler alert, just to get to the, but at the time the doctor says 50 50 chance. So this is Saturday. My master's defense is scheduled for Tuesday.

[01:01:08] James Young: I look my mother dead in the face and say, I've gotta reschedule my defense. I mean, the doctor just, you know, can't I, we just all just saw that news, that interaction. And my mom looks at me and what total, like, you know, straight just looks at me like I am crazy. Like I've got, like, you know, I just tattooed Mike Tyson's like eye patch on my face says, why don't we reschedule your defense?

[01:01:30] James Young: And I said, did I just hallucinate that doctor just said, dad has a 50 50 chance of living it through tonight. And she says, I don't understand what that means about you having to reschedule your defense. I'm like, well, I think if dad dies, I might like not be, you know, I, I thinking I'm gonna need to reschedule my defense.

[01:01:47] James Young: And she says, when's your defense again? I was like, mom, it's Tuesday. No. What time? Well, it's one o'clock. She says, okay, well today's Saturday. If your dad dies, we'll have a funeral Tuesday morning. It's how long the Manhattan, new Manhattan, Kansas were. I went to K State. She's like, how long is the Manhattan from, you know Holden where I grew up?

[01:02:06] James Young: And I'm like, well, probably four hours. What are you crazy? She's like, well, if it's four hours, your defense is at one. It'll be an early funeral. You can wear the same clothes,

[01:02:18] James Young: but you're going to do your defense on

[01:02:19] James Young: Tuesday. And and my dad, my dad, sick as he is at this time is noting vigorously like, yeah, no, that's exactly what we're gonna do.

[01:02:27] James Young: I mean, if I'm dead, I'm, you know. And you know, she's basically like, I mean, he's not gonna get any better. And dad of course is still nodding vigorously. And I'm like sitting here like looking at these two people that raised me and I'm like,

[01:02:37] Halfling: Yeah. 

[01:02:38] James Young: Are you people? Cr they're dead serious. Like my mom is not joking.

[01:02:41] James Young: She is dead serious. She is like, you are defending your master thesis on Tuesday short of a nuclear apocalypse. That, and that was it. That was the discussion. Thankfully, dad pulls through, does all, remains a hypothetical. I defend my thesis, my major professor, to his credit didn't even blink. He's like, well, your mom's right.

[01:02:58] James Young: I guess, I mean you. She says, that's what's gonna happen. I would hate to see her frog walk you in here

[01:03:05] James Young: because he had heard all the stories by this point. So, yeah, no, that, that, that's pretty much how I was raised.

[01:03:11] Halfling: Yeah. Well, Well, I, 

[01:03:13] Halfling:

[01:03:14] Halfling: have a, I kinda have a similar story about my grandmother, before she passed away. She was 93, and it was her choice. It was her choice. She said, I'm not taking any more medications. I'm not eating anymore. I'll have some ice chips and then we'll be done and my cousin was scheduled to go to Florida for this week long seminar meeting, you know, type thing.

[01:03:41] Halfling: And she was like, I, I can't go. I can't go. She told, my grandmother, said, I can't go. And my grandmother was exactly the same way. She was like, why? She's like, I want you to go that, and I want you to take one of those days off and go to Disney. Damn it, I mean, you know, and you know, she said, she said,

[01:04:02] Anita Young: Are you 

[01:04:03] Halfling: gonna, 

[01:04:03] Anita Young: you guys aren't related

[01:04:04] Halfling: I mean, well, I mean, she just, you know, it was like, whatever's gonna happen.

[01:04:09] Halfling: It's not gonna change if you're here or 

[01:04:11] James Young: Yeah. Yeah. You're gonna be crying on Space Mountain, but you're gonna go to Disney 

[01:04:16] Halfling: I mean, you know, so that was my grandmother. My mom was just as practical, but that's another story.

[01:04:22] Spaceman: well, you, you know, an Anita, it could be possible, you know that the Halfling over here does play D&D.

[01:04:28] Anita Young: I mean, they're striking similarities. I'm 

[01:04:31] Anita Young: just saying 

[01:04:32] Halfling: That's not my preferred game system though but a long time since we played D&D. Uh, but anyway, 

[01:04:42] Anita Young: it's been about a week for us, 

[01:04:45] James Young: I, I, I just remembered I got a prep for tomorrow night. My monday campaign. We had to cancel last week cause the new dog, forgot how hard integrating a new dog is. But, uh, yeah, nope. Uh, Monday, my Monday campaign, I need to plan for their doom. I mean, uh, their, their session.

[01:05:01] James Young: Mm-hmm. 

[01:05:02] Spaceman: Yes. When the game Master Cackles maniacally, you know you're in trouble.

[01:05:06] Anita Young: Yes. 

[01:05:08] James Young: Yes. 

[01:05:09] James Young: My players swear I have a look. 

[01:05:13] Anita Young: No, it's not just that. It's all the memes and stuff that you send and like, oh, I'm listening to this song, while I plot your demise!

[01:05:23] Spaceman: Oh, 

[01:05:24] Spaceman: oh,

[01:05:25] Anita Young: There is so much psychological terror that he likes to implant. In part. Prior to session,

[01:05:32] James Young: I found this interesting monster, this new book I have. It's not anything like you guys will be dealing with now, but it just tells you the kind of book I have.

[01:05:40] Spaceman: one, one of our earlier guests was a game designer, James Watts of Independence games, and they do a Traveller derivative. And we were talking about gaming, horror stories. And we're gonna do a show where we just get together and we talk about gaming horror stories at some point.

[01:05:56] Spaceman: So, you know, we'll reach out to you,

[01:06:01] James Young: When you said Traveller, I'm like, yeah, the game, you can die during character creation. Yes. Yes.

[01:06:06] Spaceman: Well, I, I think that's been fixed in modern editions, but I still have the old version,

[01:06:11] James Young: that, of course, going back, you know, when I first heard about it, when someone told me that, I said, yeah, that's a big nope for me. I'm sorry. I mean, you know, I, I accept that I can die, but if I'm gonna die in character creation, what's the point?

[01:06:24] Anita Young: that's a little brutal.

[01:06:25] Spaceman: All right. Well guys, we've really appreciated having you on the show today, and we really want to thank you a lot for coming on. I've thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. How about you, halfling?

[01:06:36] Halfling: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It's been a blast. We've had a great time meeting you guys. And like he said, we appreciate you coming on. I wanna give you a huge thanks,

[01:06:44] Anita Young: Well, thank you for having us. Thanks for having us

[01:06:47] Spaceman: yeah.

[01:06:48] Spaceman: Yeah. And you guys are always welcome at the Halfling and the Spaceman's.

[01:06:53] Anita Young: Aw, thank you.

[01:06:55] Spaceman: So this is the Spaceman of the Halfling and the Spaceman signing off.