Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hayate Reflections: How To Handle Someone Like Nagi

Spoiled, selfish, jealous, clingy, annoying, useless... these are just some of the many negative adjectives which Nagi has been described as in the series -- and undeniably, they are/were true to some extent.

So this week, someone asked me the question: If you had a girlfriend like Nagi, how would you handle her?

Fortunately, the answer is pretty short and straightforward: Quite easily.

This is because while Nagi has several negative characteristics, she is actually rather easy to handle as a person. All you really need to do is to reassure her that you do indeed love her and simply put, don't give her a reason to be insecure about your feelings for her. Yes, she can be jealous, clingy, possessive, and everything in-between, but I don't really count these as points against her. It just really goes to show much she values the person she loves -- and it's not like her feelings remain static throughout the series. This is something that is oft-ignored when people do an analysis of Nagi's personality. They tend to view her as a static character who can only be judged through her outward, tsundere traits.

Nagi goes on several jealous streaks throughout the series regarding Hayate and his easily misunderstood encounters with the other girls -- but in most of these cases, her jealousy is actually justified. You have to look at things from her perspective. In her belief, Hayate is her boyfriend and is madly in love with her -- therefore, what business does he have casually flirting with other girls -- or at least doing things that could be easily misunderstood as flirting when interacting with cute girls in general?

And yet, (as I've mentioned several times before) Nagi gradually grows out of her extremely jealous, clingy, possessive, tsundere self eventually. Her love for Hayate matures beautifully as the manga progresses and she passes the ultimate test at 14 years old when after showing several moments of weakness and the even regressing to her needy, clingy side, she overcomes her selfishness and finally makes the ultimate sacrifice -- which ironically also causes Hayate to finally realize his own love for he: she lets him go as her butler and as her prospective lover so that she can grow and become her own person.


In any case, Hayate was really largely to blame for a lot of Nagi's insecurities and her jealous and sometimes violent streaks (though not so often). We could justify that he's very dense so he never knew, but don't pin the blame on Nagi for that (that's victim blaming). As Nagi would say, "I'm not the one who started all this. He did."

Therefore, if I had a girlfriend like Nagi -- I would cherish her and never really give her a reason to be jealous. If she does get jealous and gets angry with me for some petty reason, then I would do my best to reassure her of my love for her. In short, I wouldn't be the oblivious guy causing all the misunderstandings in the first place.


Certainly, I'm not sure if it would work out, but at the very least, I believe in keeping the girl I love happy. Isn't that what really counts?

Anyway, this week's Hayate reflections was kinda different, so thanks to Mao for the idea. See you next week for sure~

Fanart Corner

For today's fanart corner, we have a painting signed in blood. It's the good old (new?) kabedon meme.

As for signing it in blood -- it's a pretty funny story, really. I'd just finished this painting and then I was getting ready to frame it up. I had to cut off some of the edges to make it fit the frame and I accidentally sliced my thumb open with a box cutter.

As I was nursing my wound, my mother suddenly said, "sign it with your blood."

So I was like, "GREAT IDEA!"

So I took out a 00 brush and signed this thing with my blood. With that said, I'm pretty happy with how this image turned out with or without the blood signature.

This is watercolors on paper for those who are curious.

Just in case you thought I was lying about using my own blood to paint.




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hayate Reflections: The Humor In Hayate No Gotoku!

Time for this week's Hayate Reflections... so yeah, I'm not exactly in the best condition today as I've been sick for the last two days and I'm just recovering.

Anyway, choosing a topic off the top of my head and right now, I'd like to talk a bit about the comedy in Hayate no Gotoku!

While I'm sure many people have fond memories of the comedy aspect of the show -- especially from the many references in S1, people who dropped the manga 300 or so chapters before the finale might have a hard time getting into it again because the focus of the series just changed so much.

Furthermore, even the side characters that both Hayate and Nagi used to hang out with are not really as involved in the weekly stories anymore. I say the weekly stories here because characters like Isumi and Sakuya as well as Nagi's grandfather Mikado still do play major roles in the ongoing plot, but they do not feature as prominently in the weekly stories that mostly revolve around Nagi's daily life.

With that said, I actually stopped finding the series funny quite a long time ago and was in it mainly just to see what happens to Nagi -- yes, I'm that single-minded and I'm glad it worked out for me.

There are several kinds of humor used throughout the 568 chapter lifespan of the manga and some of them featured more prominently during certain stages of the development of the series. Now don't expect me to make accurate references while I'm sick... you can help me out, though. I'm pretty sure these are present somewhere in the manga, I just can't pinpoint specific chapter numbers.

Cruel Humor
This was of course present throughout the entirety of the manga, but I think it was a lot more pronounced during the earlier parts. We have the very first chapter wherein Hayate is run over by a car and while seemingly on the verge of death, he still makes like a zombie and asks the kidnappers to free Nagi.

Of course, Hayate isn't the only recipient of violence. There's also Kotetsu whom Hayate is quite happy to inflict all kinds of pain on. Even Sakuya is drop-kicked by Nagi in her very first appearance in the manga.

There's also almost forgotten characters like Robot 8 who is almost always destined to end up as a pile of junk whenever he encounters Hayate -- until one day when he didn't and Hayate needed Ikusa to rescue him.

Sometimes the dark nature of the humor in the series is actually a prelude to a more serious backstory. A good example would be Hayate's parents who are often played out for laughs or Hayate's own miserable situation -- especially at the start of the series. The situation is exaggeratedly so cruel and unfair that it's actually kinda funny -- but of course, when Hata does decide to take things seriously, suddenly, all those jokes seem so much more meaningful.

Crossdressing Humor
While mentioning Ikusa, this brings up another aspect of the humor used in Hayate the Combat Butler, which is the crossdressing aspect. Ikusa himself cross-dresses as a beautiful girl -- which is kind of hard to swallow considering his very muscular physique -- but whatever.

Hayate has a very girly face, which is I think one of his most defining aspects as a character. When my sister once said that Hayate doesn't really qualify as a bishounen, I responded with: of course not, he's obviously a bishoujo.

In fact, he even has his own Hermoine Ayasaki figure, which also comes in nendoroid form. Nagi herself enjoys teasing Hayate and cross dressing him (together with Maria) in both canon and non-canon.


Perhaps at some point, these two actually broke Hayate because he starts cross-dressing by himself in the mangaka arc in order to spy on Nagi and make sure she's all right.

Fanservice Humor
When it comes to fanservice, it has to be Hinagiku. I mean, you can probably count more on doughnut gunso to point out specific chapters on this than me. There were also times when Nagi, Ayumu, Athena and some of the other girls were the target of Hata's lewd humor, but somehow, I think Hinagiku and Maria were often exploited for fanservice much more than the other girls.

Off the top off my head, there's Maria and the first bath scene with Hayate as well as the naked in the greenhouse scene -- which even got an anime version. As for Hina, Hayate himself even realizes this when he says that there's a good chance that whenever he walks into the student council room, he'll find Hina changing. The most memorable moment for me would be the scene where Hina is trying to change into her pajamas while sick and Hayate comes in to help her out because that was almost to love ru level fanservice right there.

With that said, while there are those scattered moments here and there, I would say that Hata treats his female characters with a lot more respect than most modern mangaka -- at least.

Self-Referential Humor



Hata isn't beyond making fun of himself and this is usually done through Nagi and Hayate in the extra omakes included in the manga volumes. Also, some of these make their way into the official manga chapters as well -- especially when Nagi just decides to break the 4th wall from out of nowhere. Personally, I find this type of humor to be the easiest to relate to.  Some of them are pretty direct such as talking about the time he got sued or referencing ad astra per aspera. While others are more subtle, such as Nagi talking about what it means to be an otaku.

Ending With A Gag
This is the infamous "this is the type of manga you are reading" aspect of the series. Personally, I really hate it when Hata goes this route, but it had become so predictable  near the end of the series that it's actually a refreshing break when the gag doesn't come. Like how Hayate's debt was actually permanently paid off, which shows that the status quo was really beginning to change in the series (at last.)

Fumi and Sharna
These two deserve a category all on their own because seriously, they have nothing to do with the main cast except the very faint connection that they go to the main school. They could star in a 4koma manga all by themselves and no one would notice. Personally, I'm fine with their presence as they can be used to effectively break up the serious story arcs every now and then -- but other readers might not be so tolerant.

Conclusion
While the gags and humor in Hayate were fun for a while, they were not what really hooked me on the series. Or rather, I was hooked on the series initially because of the gags, but I stayed because I liked the character (Nagi). If you were in the series for the laughs, then you would probably find the display of humor inconsistent as Hata's style has definitely changed a lot throughout the manga's run. As I've mentioned before, there are many flaws with the way the story was written and the use of humor could definitely have been done better.

Fanart Corner: Today, I'm corrupting an old classic with my take on it. This was rendered using watercolors on canvas. With that said, I broke my fine tipped brush, so I had to make do with a slightly bigger one on an 8" x 10" canvas since I haven't bought a replacement yet. I couldn't make the lines a bit finer, is what I'm saying. With that aside, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Also, the new watercolor set I'm using is semi moist and takes a long time to dry unless you really press the paint firmly into the canvas -- didn't expect that, but that's part of the fun in painting... the impromptu stuff where you improvise because the paint didn't behave the way you expected it to.


I actually did sketch a full face on Hayate, but I realized I couldn't paint it properly without my fine-tipped brush. You'll have to do with that vaguely happy expression now, Hayate-kun... ain't it sad?







Sunday, September 10, 2017

Getting Back To EVN Development

As you all know, or don't know. I've started writing VNs again recently. Anyway, just a few teaser images for upcoming projects for now. The new VN is not being written by me, by the way.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hayate Reflections: Conflating Love and Lust

One of the most prevalent arguments against the Hayate x Nagi ship is that Hayate has never shown any "romantic attraction" towards Nagi.

Unlike almost every other girl in his harem, Hayate has never seen Nagi as someone that, to put it crudely, he might want to have sex with.

Now you might think that this is a pretty crazy argument, but I can assure you that there are people out there who have explicitly mentioned this as one of the most compelling reasons why Hayate should not have ended up with Nagi. Because Hayate has not shown any sexual attraction towards Nagi (read as "romantic love"), it is therefore very "forced" that he should suddenly fall in love with her at the end of the series.

Apparently, wanting to have sex with someone is the only way one can truly fall in love with someone in a romantic sense. Well, it is true that sexual attraction has some degree of importance -- but I don't believe we should close our doors to the idea that someone can fall in love in a romantic sense with another person and without ever getting sexual about it. While I am not an asexual individual, I think we're placing a bit too much importance on sex in a fictional story in a manga that makes no pretense about being realistic. Yes, Hayate no Gotoku has some relatable characters with some degree of realism, but to claim that their relationships are realistic rather than idealized would be pretty bold indeed.


It would seem that you're conflating love and lust quite a bit if you think this way.

Personally, I have no qualms about admitting that I am in love with Nagi and yes, that includes being sexually attracted to her -- but that is not what initially made me like her. Consider this saying:

"You fall in love with the little things about

someone, like the sound of their laughter
and the way their smile forms."

So yes, it's the little things that really made me fall for her. Those little personality quirks she has, the way she talks in a high and mighty manner, her cute little ways, that domineering attitude, her sincerity and kindness, and yes, even the way she smiles.

Now, look back on the manga and take a good look at Hayate's eyes whenever he's looking at Nagi's smile or remembering something about Nagi. His eyes look almost the same every time -- and it is exactly the way he was looking at her back in the penultimate chapter of the manga as well.

Suffice it to say, if Hata says he meant for Hayate to fall in love with Nagi eventually, then perhaps he really did leave those little clues behind in the manga for us observant readers to find.

Of course, if you're not that observant, then you need the crutch of explicit, direct storytelling and  lines like "At that moment, Hayate Ayasaki had fallen in love with Nagi" or something to that effect, right?

Well, not that it matters. We Nagi shippers were never looking for that type of narrative in the first place. There was always something special about the bond between Hayate and Nagi since day one and it's really gratifying to know that it was indeed love all along.


Fanart Corner: One piece of digital art and a traditional pencil sketch for today. Enjoy and see you next week!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales: ZineZoned Review




It would be rather dishonest of me to say that I bought this zine during ZineZoned, so I won't.

What really happened is that my mother bought the Zine and the glossy cover attracted me, so I decided to give it a read. While by their nature, zines are naturally thin, this one was at least ripe with enough content to justify its publication.

In fact, I can honestly say that it is a lot more attractive than my zine. Fortunately, there is no need for me to draw comparisons between myself and the author of this booklet, because as I've discovered, we write in very different, contrasting genres.

General Impressions

I read every piece in the Zine except for Sirena -- for the simple reason that it was the only story written in Tagalog and reading such a story would be more of a chore than a leisurely endeavor for me.

Anyway, from my readings of the pieces including in this particular publication, I got the impression that the author has a very Lovecraftian style of writing. The narrative style actually changes a bit with each story, but the elements of her stories always have this eerie, otherworldly feel to them.


In short, this book has some very atmospheric stories. While I will never really want to write these types of stories, I can definitely appreciate them.

Here are the two that really stuck in my head, along with some mild critique.

Pleiades Upon The Stones

This is the titular story and it definitely has that epic feel to it. It follows the journey of one Asper as he discovers a forbidden city of legend and is invited to the other world by a majestic woman seated upon a glass throne.

While the tale seems to be one of wish fulfillment and traveling to another world -- there is a dark twist at the end.

The piece was very well written over-all and I really have no complaints about the writer's facility of the English language. In fact, I'm pretty sure that even native speakers would not be able to tell the difference.

With that out of the way, I had the impression that everything around the story was built towards making that final reveal at the end (which I will not spoil, of course.) -- and it was fine, because it takes a little bit of time for the meaning of the final paragraph to actually set in. While the storytelling is seemingly straightforward, it does hide some clever symbolism in-between.

Also, the allusion to the eye of providence should serve as enough warning to the reader that this was not an ordinary fairy tale story.

It gave me this feeling of emptiness at the end -- like a glimpse of what one might feel from reading an Anne Rice novel or an Alan Moore comic (call them "graphic novels" if you want to be pedantic about it.)

Needless to say, it was an enjoyable read.

My one complaint: I felt that Asper's final decision could have been foreshadowed more throughout the piece by revealing bits and pieces about his personality. This is a very minor complaint, though.


Shoreline

If you have ever seen any of those modern Japanese horror stories that they sometimes show on TV, then you'll know what to expect with Shoreline.

This story is told through the eyes of Emily, who has some kind of connection with her cousin, Elias. As a character, Emily's main concern in her narrations would be her relationship with her cousin Elias.

This particular tale makes no pretense at the very start. It begins inside a drinking establishment where the main character is getting drunk with her female friends with her cousin Elias (who was not yet aware of her presence) who was engaging in obscene, drunken talk with his male buddies. There is tension in their initial encounter because of this type of setting.

Yet, even though Emily often tells the reader how she would like to be rid of Elias, it is pretty obvious that she does not really hate him.

Of course, the story then takes another turn for the strange when the supernatural elements are introduced. Personally, these moments were the best parts of the story because it broke up the monotony of the false expectation that this would be some nearly incestuous love story between kissing cousins -- fortunately, Shoreline is not that type of story -- and prospective readers would do well not to underestimate the author by presuming as much until they've read the piece in its entirety.

I would say that this story was my personal favorite in the zine -- although again, it is definitely not the type of story that I would write myself.

Conclusion

It is not my nature to give a numerical rating as that doesn't say anything about how you actually felt about the piece.

Therefore, I will conclude by saying that Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales is well-recommended if you like seemingly everyday stories with a dark, Filipino lower mythology twist.

The author's blog can be found here: http://malditanglibrarian.blogspot.com 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ZineZoned3: Iloilo ZineFest 2017



"There are two kinds of writers. The people who write, and the people who only write about writing."

Ponder this statement as you read this blog post.

Last August 26-27, I participated in a local comiket-like event called ZineZoned: Iloilo ZineFest. 

As far as I know, the main focus of the event is to empower writers of all levels to write by providing them with a venue to self-publish and showcase their short literary works in small books/booklets called zines. Published authors from Iloilo City may also sell their actual books.

The environment is pretty much like comiket really, because you can sell just about any creative work that you want to in your booth including framed artworks and art prints, and even software -- which is what I did.

Initial Hitches

On day one, there were several hitches which almost made me quit.

First of all, here are the guidelines for the event.

So I think it's pretty clear here that the booth space should be 2x2 meters and that a 2x7 ft. table would be provided. Anyway, upon arrival, I discovered that the table was actually two 1x2 tables put together, or a total space of 2x4 meters, now this was mostly fine, but here's the clincher: the booth space would have to be shared by 4 participants. That means we'd be crammed into a 2x4 booth space. So that leaves just one meter lengthwise of space for a single participant. Well... the problem is that I brought a lot of stuff to display. Fortunately, we brought my own table to the event -- which was allowed.

This wasn't the only problem, however.
You see, I had planned to sell an installer disc with 8 of my visual novels included. I burned 20 mini-discs for this purpose selling them for a hundred pesos each ($2.00) along with my zine (which contains some of my very short stories ) for 50 pesos each ($1.00). 

In order to show prospective buyers what my visual novels were all about, I set up my laptop with a desktop launcher that would allow them to browse and try out my VNs before they buy. Also, as a bonus for buying either the Zine or the Installer disc, I offered a free installation on android phones (via sideload or email) of my visual novel on Google Play: "A Million Promises."

So I paid for two days of electricity, but then there were problems because there was no power outlet near my booth. It took about an hour for the managers of the event to provide for electricity and by then, my laptop (which is old) had almost run out of power.

Although the problem was eventually resolved, I had to buy my own extension cord from the hardware store in the mall so that the mall's engineers could use it to extend their line to my laptop.

Now I'm not sure... maybe this is what happens when you deal with "real people," because someone apparently has this notion that because I write in fantasy that I don't deal with "real people," but I hope you'll forgive my delusions if I think that the way this situation was handled gave me the impression that these were real unprofessional "real people."

At this point, I was just about ready to give up and leave the event but then... someone came along and browsed my zine. I told her about the phone app offer and showed her what A Million Promises looks like via my laptop -- and I got my first sale. Oh, and I also offered a free quick sketch with each sale.



Anyway, my first customer was someone nicknamed Pirin and she asked me to draw her original character from her webcomic. I distinctly remember that she said it was Athena and she looked a bit like Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate except with grey eyes and hoplite's helmet. I got asked to draw quite a few things along the way, such as Ponyo from some Studio Ghibli anime and Louise from Zero no Tsukaima.

After my first sale, I decided that this event wouldn't be so bad after all... and actually, I'm glad I stuck it out. Over-all, I sold 16/18 CDs and 16/20 Zines and several art prints. Not a sell-out, but considering that the buyers were mostly total strangers, I was very happy with my products' performances.

Special Moments

There were quite a few memorable moments that I experienced during this event. Here are some of them:

1. Nagi Doll, The Poem, and The Actresss

First of all, I brought Nagi doll along and some kid couldn't resist clawing at her. As a result, I wrote this little poem.



But that's not all. You see, I needed a reference for the clothing and pose for that drawing of Nagi with the poem. So I looked for the first pic of a cute girl that I could find -- and it happened to be this poster of a Korean model which was on the window of a BENCH clothing store right across my booth. So after the event, I had a little chat with my friend, Roop Banerjee and when I told her that the model's name was Park Shin Hye, she said that there's something that I should know because it's just too much of a coincidence... well, as it turns out, Park Shin Hye actually played Nagi in the live action Korean version of Hayate The Combat Butler -- I told you guys I love Nagi! Look at that CONNECTION! How did I even do that!? ... I am awesome :)

2. Someone likes my art!

One of the people browsing my booth on Day 1 was a member of the Iloilo Comic Con group. Anyway, he was super interested in this one painting of Nagi that I did. He told me to set a price because he wanted to buy it. The thing is, I'll never sell any of my manually painted Nagi artworks... ever! It's not that I think that highly of my art -- it's just that I will never forgive myself if I sell a painting that I worked so hard on and the subject of that painting was Nagi. I love her that much, you see.

So it turns out that one of the main reasons why he wanted that painting so much is because his birthday actually falls on the date that I completed the painting... wow!

Still, I ain't selling this one! An art print is fine, but there's no way I'm parting with the original.



3. Straight From The Heart

On day 2, just as I was preparing to leave because I'd just about sold out and I was a bit tired, there was an unexpected little guest. It was a little girl that I'd pegged to be about 7-8 years old who was together with her grandparent. At first, I thought that she was too young for any of my stories, but I showed her Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart on my laptop.

Her grandmother said that she was actually 10 years old and I was like, "Oh, that's fine then. She might enjoy this story."

Anyway, she started reading most of chapter 1 of the story and I saw her eyes light up and I also saw her give a little smile and a slight giggle every now and then. She said she really liked the story, so her grandmother bought the zine and I installed the app on her phone. I made it clear that this VN was still a demo version, but that I'd definitely send the full version for free once it was completed. Of course, I've finally made good on that promise. Anyway, here is a message from my little fan on facebook.


From the bottom of my heart, even if I had received just a single comment like this one for the entire event -- it would have been all worth it.


The Negatives

1. Prejudice

Of course, not everything about the event itself was good. For one, there was definitely a whole lot of prejudice regarding my works -- especially from older individuals. There were a few friends of my mother's who stopped by the booth. Many of them responded to my works with "oh... anime..." without even actually browsing the zine or any of my visual novels on my laptop. It's as if the cover and in-story illustrations being done in "anime style" just instantly flipped a switch in their brains that I dunno... my works are derivative, mediocre, lacking in depth? I'm not sure what they were thinking, but I am pretty sure the art itself just chased them away from my booth and in a hurry.

Seriously, and I'm sure one of those people was a high brow, literary figure in the local circles -- in short, a celebrated writer who might have won a Palanca award or two or whatever.

Well, although it is a bit frustrating, I suppose my works were never really meant for such prejudiced individuals in the first place -- so it's not such a bad thing after all.

I did make sure to point out this perceived prejudice when it was my time to speak up on stage though.

Seriously, I would think that award-winning writers and critics would be well beyond judging a book by its cover, but apparently not. I'm not generalizing here, but if I saw the same reaction 6/8 times, then I think I'm rather justified in feeling there must be some sort of consensus.

It's really sad that this prejudice exists within the local writer's circles, which by itself is already a niche kept alive by writers buying other writer's publications. Just because my art looks different from what people are used to, they've already established a preconceived concept in their heads about my depth as a writer. At least give my stories a chance to prove themselves, eh?

2. Noise

The event was noisy -- far too noisy to be conducive for interacting with prospective readers. Now I'm fine with a little mood music as well as the speeches by the guest lectureres and some live performances by some extremely skilled musicians/national artists -- however, what really annoyed me is that they hired some barker/emcee/host to remind everyone in the mall in a loud, booming voice about what the zinezoned event was all about like every 10 minutes. This, along with the blaring music in-between the barking made it almost impossible to communicate orally with the prospective buyers. I had to resort to showing them a document with my sales pitch contained inside just to tell them that they would be getting just more than a zine if they bought from me.

A Positive Experience Over-all

Of course, do not let my complaints mislead you. I am a person who will honestly complain and point out the negatives in something, but that doesn't mean I disliked the event. In fact, I would say that it was a great experience over-all because I got my stories out to a few people who genuinely bought my stuff based on what they saw at the event... this was really all I was after with this event and on this simple, selfish wish of mine, it has certainly delivered.



If you are interested in reading my story, Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart, do give it a download on Google Play. Click on the button to get to the download page. ($2.99). For more info on the app, click here.
Get it on Google Play

Friday, September 1, 2017

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart: The Visual Novel -- Android Version


The full version of my new kinetic novel, "Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart" should be up on Google Play anytime soon. I'll update this post once it's there.

Samantha and the Pieces of a Heart follows the journey of little Samantha, a girl without a heart.

As a "heartless girl," Samantha is on a quest to find the seven pieces of a heart so that she may have her own. Samantha will meet many people from all walks of life in her journey and at the end of it all, she will discover just where the heart truly exists.

This is a children's story that is meant to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. You can read the text version of this story right here: http://www.jaded-perspectives.com/2017/07/samantha-and-pieces-of-heart-chapter-1.html 

If the story is to your liking, then please consider buying the visual novel version on Google Play.

Thank you very much and see you soon in a future stories to come!

Get it on Google Play

Also,  if a more traditional visual novel is more to your liking, please do consider buying "A Million Promises" on Google Play.

You can try the demo (full chapter 1 which works as a stand-alone story) of A Million Promises by clicking here