Issue 92 Creators’ Notes

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    • #10032
      ssbb-admin
      Keymaster

      This is a thread for the creators’ notes for Issue 92!

      Usually, we like to use the SSBB wiki to give authors and artists a chance to leave commentary, notes, links, and other useful information about their stories. However, since the wiki is down, this thread is intended as a temporary holding place for those things. Once the wiki is revived, any material left here will be transferred over there.

    • #10033
      Iron Eater
      Guest

      Notes for Iron Eater’s August 2021 submission, <i>Leo Equum Domitor</i>:

      <b>FIRST THINGS FIRST:</b> This story contains extreme content, most of which is sexually charged, which may not be enjoyable for all readers. The framed verse in the first illustration following the title card is meant as a direct warning of said (in addition to being a secondary story element), but in the event it’s not clear enough: the first chapter and its accompanying illustration deal directly with violence, gore, and bloodplay, while the last chapter and ITS accompanying illustration are built around body horror. Both are implied to be positive things for their participants. There are also arguments involving whether or not people with specific physical conditions should be treated as less than human and assorted themes of historical-flavored classism. I write horror-romance with a brick on the gas pedal. If these don’t sound like elements you’re comfortable engaging with, I hope you enjoy the rest of the issue!

      Moving on, this is the fourth story in the Ward & Wainwright series, the previous three being (in both publication and chronological order) <i>Cruorem Veritas</i>, <i>In Ossa Venenum</i>, and <i>Mare Testimonii</i>, all of which are available in previous issues of S2B2. Familiarity with previous stories is not required to understand this story! The title this time around translates to “The Lion Tamer” and has nothing to do with horses. I know, I was surprised, too.

      This was the first time I wrote anything longer than a few paragraphs from Mr. Ward’s POV, and it was truly strange referring to him by his given name all the time. As Mr. Ward is also intentionally a distant, somewhat unknowable figure, I went out of my way to never actually share details that couldn’t be gleaned by an outside observer, which meant not only no internal monologue but no description of tastes, tactile sensations, or even emotional states. If it feels like he was gated off from the reader this was absolutely intentional. If nothing else it was a good way to practice more subtle forms of characterization; one will note his peers were referred to in the text by surname alone, while Hugh always had that “Mr.” of his. We can also once more note when Mr. Ward will refer to Hugh as “the professor” (or “Professor Wainwright”) and when he’ll use “Mr. Wainwright”, in context potentially more obvious than in <i>Mare Testimonii</i>.

      This was originally going to be a five-chapter story, with Mr. Ward going off on the other handlers as early as the second chapter and floating the concept of Hugh accompanying him immediately afterwards. For pacing reasons I added two more; establishing a solid status quo is important for original settings, especially weird ones that don’t feel like explaining things very much, and I also wanted to get a chance to write Hugh happily playing the role of sugar daddy for his absolute favorite person in the world. The botanical gardens were chosen as homage to some brainstorming sessions I ran through AI Dungeon several months back. As for Hugh getting horny for not-Bernini statuary, that fell into place once I needed for them to walk around more on their little date, and once I realized I wanted the chance to describe Mr. Ward’s slightly dumpy build via a callback to said statues I knew I’d made the right decision. Finding a natural way for two very, very formal characters to talk about sexually formative experiences was an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up.

      I fully admit to shaping the story I wanted to write to fit into a theme-shaped hole rather than organically matching the issue concept, with the handlers’ debates feeling appropriate for having people fight like the eponymous creatures. Blurring the line as to how one should properly treat an unstable shapeshifting murder machine, to say nothing of just how human Hugh actually <i>is</i> (extraordinarily) and whether it’s appropriate for Mr. Ward to treat him as he does (probably not!), fell into place later. This entire series is shaped the way it is because I needed an ominous butler character to honor the concept of a past October issue so “ehhh, I’m sure it’ll be a better fit the more I work on it” is something of a running theme. The couple that boldly engages in ethics violations together stays together…?

      Will these two be showing up again? Oh, absolutely, barring disaster; they’ve got a metaplot in place and it’s only going to get worse. Watch this space in 2022.

    • #10036
      Togi Kayako
      Guest

      Notes for Moonstricken:

      F/F, 15k of pretty much pure fluffy indulgence. It’s a sugary-sweet sort of slow burn that I dubbed “idiots to lovers” before I’d even named the characters, and a love letter to anyone who’s ever been really, really dumb about their crush.

      The original idea had more obvious bits stolen from Little Red Riding Hood, and Jasper was more of a cold, brooding loner monster hunter type. I’m happy I went to a lighter concept, because this whole thing turned out adorable and I’m quite pleased with it. The only gripe I have is that I didn’t have time to make it even longer for extra slow burn.

      Some trivia that didn’t make it into the story proper:

      • Jasper’s grandmother Jade is the one that started the family themed naming. She will probably get her way for a fourth generation if Jasper ever has children.
      • While I’m not sure about the exact circumstances, Jet very much wanted to be a dad and sought out someone who was willing to help him have a kid while being chill about the ace thing.
      • Jasper’s mom is an adventurous jet-setter type and more of a cool aunt to Jasper. She tends to drop by unexpectedly with awesome gifts, hang out with the family for a little bit, and then head out again.
      • Kay’s wolf form is based on the maned wolf. She’s just very leggy all around!
      • The carpet bits in Kay’s shed have various scents on them. She (like me) undoubtedly spent some time searching for enrichment ideas for wolves in captivity.
      • Saturn Arising is a 100% absolutely totally original concept, and definitely not wish fulfillment for a film I wanted to be a series so it could have expanded on its world-building.
    • #10037
      TOFU+BEAST
      Guest

      Hi, I’m TOFU+BEAST.

      This time, I was tapped to do the cover page.

      When I first accepted the gig, I was sweating buckets. This was only my third time contributing, and I’m being asked to do a cover?!

      The theme of “Like Cats And Dogs” couldn’t have come at a better time, however, since I had recently gotten into a couple of danmei series that featured that kitty/doggy antagonistic dynamic with their lead couples.

      With that in mind, I decided to just let my simpler instincts take over and put down the things I wanted to see.

      I really wanted a more risque piece than the art I previously submitted, and I absolutely had to have a 40+ year old salaryman ossan in there. I had to! It’s required! I did restrain myself a bit though, since this is supposed to be a cover page.

      I think what I ended up with is a bit softer than what I was originally going for, but I hope that it at least makes someone happy to see. I certainly smiled while drawing Mr. Wanchan’s jockstrap, www.

      Thank you editorial team for having me on SSBB again, and I hope to see you in the next issue!

    • #10038
      Julian Crowe
      Guest

      Notes for Tom’s Men:
      The goal of this illustration was to take a piece by Tom of Finland and make the men trans. I wanted to challenge the stereotypical image of trans men that people get from porn- pussyboy bottoms (not that there’s anything wrong with being a bottom or using that term for yourself but the fact that trans men are typecast as this is extremely disheartening). Trans men are rarely depicted with bottom surgery as well, so the left and center characters have two different types of srs. The center character is Kake, Tom’s main recurring character. He has thigh scars from alt phalloplasty, which was very important for me to depict on a man who’s the archetypal hypermasculine queer male. Phallo scars used to scare me, and it’s not helped by the abundant fear-mongering within and outside the community, so seeing them on such an icon was empowering. The left character has metoidioplasty; my bf has told me how he felt meta was lesser, and in general, how men with smaller penises are treated as shit, it all makes me very angry so I was happy to draw an attractive male figure with a sexy small cock. Though all 3 men have hyperdicks due to the style of Tom’s, which I wanted to learn from. The man on the right is wearing a packer or 3-in-1 prosthetic, whichever you prefer to imagine. He also has keyhole scars instead of the more common DI scars.
      One last note- the 3D line effect I added is the trans flag colors, I prefer subtle you-have-to-be-in-the-know or looking-for-it pride, so I added that extra bit. Plus I like playing with fun effects on my art.

    • #10041
      TK Hoshikuzu
      Guest

      Notes for Sula from HR, Sophie from Accounting –

      F/F story about an extrovert and introvert. Writing for me nowadays means indulgence, which means (kinda magical) realism and grounded characters, but I hope the two smut scenes are good offerings. Fun fact, Sophie has had a huge crush on Sula for a long time, and she thinks she’s too drab for her. She thought her social awkwardness blew any chances with her, so it was a dream when they started hanging out.

    • #10070
      codeArgentum
      Guest

      Notes for The Thin Line Between Love and Hate:

      I saw the backstory for these two (currently nameless) characters as soon as I saw the prompt: not quite enemies, <i>definitely</i> not friends, but there sure is a whole lot of Something between them. Intense antagonistic attraction is a favorite trope of mine, so I dialed it up to eleven as much as I could. <b>As much as I could.</b>

      I’ve become very fond of these two; I’d like to know more! Something tells me that even though they drive each other up the wall, their lives would be emptier without the other in it.

      I have a special place in my heart for limited palettes, One Bright Color, and lots of spot black inking. I never get to do it; I saw my chance here.

      Men in suits. ☆

      Thank you very much for the opportunity!

    • #10111
      spitkitten
      Participant

      Notes for sturm und drang:

      Does anybody actually say ‘raining cats and dogs’ anymore? I suspect not, but they were definitely still saying it in 1820.

      I was determined to submit something this year and when this silly interpretation of August’s theme popped into my head, I knew I had to go for it because a) I found it funny and b) rain is sexy. So the rain came first, then the artist angle, and then Phil – and then before I knew it I’d written a very long, very sappy, very idiots-in-love celebration of Enthusiasm, and of being brave enough to be cringe. You want artistic fulfilment? You want the dizzying rewards of true romance? Then you have to go through the mortifying ordeal of being earnest! Them’s the breaks.

      Apologies to anybody who knows anything about the Romantic movement and practical art techniques at the dawn of the 19th century. You’ll notice that I chose to write from the perspective of a character who explicitly /doesn’t/ paint: kindly pretend that anything I got hilariously wrong was a deliberate expression of Phil’s inexpertise… And though there are similar titles out there, as far as I know there isn’t actually a song called The Bishop of Ely’s Fancy – sorry, I know it sounds like an absolute banger.

      On the other hand, Rubens did a couple of Ganymede paintings – here’s one: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_The_Abduction_of_Ganymede_-_WGA20282.jpg And there are a few paintings of Io like the one Phil describes, but I was mostly thinking of John Hoppner’s Jupiter and Io: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jupiter_and_Io)_by_John_Hoppner,_RA.jpg It was painted in 1785, and Hoppner really was a Royal Academy artist – so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that an art enthusiast in London in the early 1800s could have seen it. Any other historical accuracies are probably accidental!

      I’ve heard sturm und drang translated variously as ‘storm and stress’, ‘storm and urge’ and ‘storm and desire’ – I think they all apply here! It’s also the name of the German literary movement that kickstarted romanticism in Europe, and to which Goethe’s early work – the kind of sensibility-above-all-else stuff that Phil definitely has read and internalised – belonged. Oh, and any mention of Shakespeare is in reference to The Tempest, which starts with a big storm raised by a prickish magician with the help of his mercurial spirit assistant, Ariel. Further familiarity with either is absolutely NOT essential!

      Enormous thanks to the editorial team for kindly shepherding a nervous idiot through her first time submission – and thanks to anybody who gives it a read! I had such a lot of fun writing this so I’ll be thrilled if others enjoy it too <3

    • #10114
      juou no zan
      Guest

      Creator’s Notes for “Mutually Beneficial”

      When S2B2 initially made the switch from m/m content with special f/f and all-queer-content issues to all-queer-content-all-the-time, I joked I was only going to write about trans people from now on. This is my third submission in a row with a major trans character, so, you know, it took me a while, but I was only sort of joking!

      I love arranged marriage stories. There’s something so satisfying about people building a relationship on purpose and working towards shared goals together. Like, you’ve got to make this work on SOME level, but everything beyond “functional” is up in the air. Plus, there’s kind of a mirror of that tension that comes with crushing on a friend–like no matter what happens here, you’re going to have to stay married, so you better be PRETTY SURE things are going to work out, or that you can at least move past it if it doesn’t.

      Not that this story goes into a lot of detail about that part. I wanted to write a t4t story that was positive about PIV sex and pregnancy. It felt like something I didn’t see much, even though I am a trans person who has only had t4t sex that has mostly been PIV (which also puts my sex partners in the same position), so it couldn’t be THAT rare. (Not that there’s anything wrong with not enjoying PIV sex, but often in porn it feels like it’s maybe for the convenience/comfort of the cis characters and/or audience.) I also like to show trans people who do have dysphoria, but it’s mostly social dysphoria, because it has been my experience that it’s a hell of a lot easier to like my own body when I know the other people in the room aren’t going to be weird about it. I think Zodwa and Kabelo both have things about their own bodies they don’t necessarily love or would change if they could, but most of their insecurities come from appearances and the fear of being judged by other people. With each other, they can set aside most of those insecurities and focus on what feels good.

      Initially this story had a vague Regency setting in my head, but then I thought, why make a story about white people when you don’t need to, and picked out some more African-flavored names and fashion references. Frankly, it was a lot more fun to look at African mens’ fashion than to draw another European-style suit.

      Also I finished this story ages ago, and then took my time with the family portrait at the end, because I knew I had a different story that would fit the “Be Gay Do Crimes” issue way better than this one, which makes this the longest I’ve sat on a S2B2 story after finishing it…at least until December. Because that story is already finished, but is too long to go anywhere but the December issue. Apparently some people write 100k of porn to cope, and I’m some people.

    • #10121
      The Burning King
      Guest

      Artist’s Notes for “Puppy Training”

      To be completely honest, this was NOT the image I had in mind. Very early on, I had a very specific image planned but somehow real life got in the way and next thing I knew I had a week to the deadline.

      This piece is practically a love letter to the works of Yang Eun Ji, Haikibutsushorijou, and that one twitter that show cases heavy BDSM and has kinks aligned almost exactly with mine. I took the theme a little bit more literally this time and indulged in kemonomimi.

      What I ended up with is an older cat daddy and his puppy boy who have a playroom with all the necessary toys. This can be read as t4t, omegaverse, t4t omegaverse, or whatever your mind wants. I just wanted a lot of fluids catching the light. The palette is inspired by pictures of a Tokyo streets with all sorts of lights and shadows.

      I love my final product. The colors really pushed me out of my comfort zone, I got to draw a older/younger pair, and I got to draw excessive fluids. Big thanks to everyone who allowed me to work through my spitballing stage and who encouraged the neon colors.

    • #10133
      arson
      Guest

      Notes for Hosing down the public fuckhole

      ~The shockingly soft story of an unassuming space station janitor and the cute sex worker behind the public fuckhole installation~

      Content notes: this story contains public sex, free use kink, hidden identity (character mistaken for an inanimate object), and passing descriptions of degradation, rough/painful sex, and dehumanization. None of the last three occur between the main pairing. It also contains gender fuckery, tenderness, space age genitals, a catboy, and some really cushy working conditions that the author is frankly jealous of.

      Thank you to the mods for assuring me this was not too weird for ssbb and to the groupchat for cheering me on!

    • #10134
      cloven
      Guest

      Notes for Fox Tale:

      This illo depicts a kitsune and a nekomata; while kabuki mask symbolism for kitsune is pretty widespread, nekomata are a bit less represented, so I went with a more rounded and catty shape. The biggest difference between them is of course the tails–while kitsune can have nine tails, that’s generally something that comes with age. This kitsune is just at the four-tail level, but I believe in him. Nekomata traditionally have two tails (not to be confused with bakeneko, which are more standard cat-shaped).

      Nekomata traditionally evoke the geisha and are generally depicted with a shamisen and long, flowing hair. My nekomata here tends more toward the kagema side of the courtesan spectrum. Full disclosure: everything happening here is completely consensual and they are both very into it behind those masks.

    • #10140
      Runny
      Guest

      Notes for Heroic Himbone and the Purrverse Pussy:

      My first thought when I started brainstorming was “boy wouldn’t it be funny if the top had a barbed strap on” and everything else fell so neatly in place I had to keep it. The Purrverse Pussy certainly has a sadistic streak! I really enjoyed researching different inspiration sources for their outfits, from fetishwear to superhero costumes to the cats musical. I spent a long time trying to name them, and I’m still a little mad the working title Pussyboy and the Red Rocket didn’t work for their roles, but their names are still punny and campy so it’s all good.

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