MASTRESS ALITA: Do you know what today is, Casanova? …No, it isn’t litterbox day, though I really should get to that before the guests arrive! Today is Mommy’s Blogaversary! It was a year ago today that the first chapter of my story The Cat Chronicles was published on the web! You know, when I think back about it, I originally got the inspiration for that story from watching all your antics around the house, and wondering what must go through that kitty brain of yours, so I have a lot to thank you for, Casanova! Not only are you my companion, but you are also my muse! …Now do be a good kitty for my houseguests, hmmm?
CASANOVA: Mrrrt! Curse you human, stop your monologuing and put the kitty down already!
After a call to the caterer (for this hostess would not subject her guests to her lack of culinary ability, nor endanger any lives with stove fires on this most special occassion), much tidying up around the house, and yes, even cleaning out the litterbox, it was time to greet the guests!
MASTRESS ALITA: Silver Daybreak! Reborn Monster! Silent Wolf! Raerei! I’m so glad some of my fellow SimLit authors were able to make it! You guys are such dear friends to me, have always been so supportive of me and my various projects, and are among the few folks that have actually been brave enough to visit my SimLit IRC Channel! I’m really glad to have you all here!
SILVER DAYBREAK: Hi Mastress! You know I wouldn’t miss this!
REBORN MONSTER: Glad to be here!
SILENT WOLF: This is a welcome break from my homework! Though I can’t stop thinking about that last economics problem, ugh…
RAEREI: I bet this will make an awesome story!
RAEREI’S LEFT HAND: Oh, most definitely!
RAEREI’S RIGHT HAND: It will be epic!
MASTRESS ALITA: …I see your long flight across Sim Nation to be here was complete with a child kicking the back of your seat and a screaming baby beside you the entire way, Rae. You seem a bit… frazzled. But I’m still glad you could make it!
MASTRESS ALITA: Cody, welcome!
CODY: Hey! I brought cookies!
MASTRESS ALITA: You always spoil me! Not only do you make the most amazing cookies in the world, but you were one of the only people who would read my stories and offer encouragement when I first opened Sim Stories back on LiveJournal! That early encouragement really means a lot when an author is just starting out! I’m not sure if I would be here a year later if it hadn’t been for that! I’m lucky to have such a good friend!
MASTRESS ALITA: Hey Todd, thanks for coming!
TODD: Thanks for having me!
MASTRESS ALITA: It would be weird to have a celebration without my BFF! I know you aren’t really into SimLit, but you still offer some great story advice when I’m having writer’s block, like providing the great idea for my short story For the Love of Furbabies, which ended up being my first placing short story in the Short Story Challenges thread on the Sims forums! And you provide me with image hosting for my stories on your server, which I am extremely thankful for! Lately I’ve been seeing so many stories being deleted by their authors just to free up space on their WordPress accounts, which just breaks my librarian heart, and that is something I will never have to worry about thanks to your generosity! Thanks for being such a great friend! …Now could you kindly go set up the A/V equipment for my vlog out in the living room? It’s almost time for my live Q&A session!
TODD: Oh, so that’s the real reason why I was invited!
MASTRESS ALITA (grins mischievously): Love you too.
After much cursing at cabling, digging through closets for extra power adaptors, one false start because the sound wasn’t working, one false start because the video wasn’t working, and another false start because the sound wasn’t working again after fixing the video issue, it was finally time for…
MASTRESS ALITA: Are we good now?
TODD: You’re live! Go forth, and talk about your writing, or whatever you had planned for this!
MASTRESS ALITA: Oooo… Hello there, all my friends, supporters, and readers from across Sim Nation that are tuning in online tonight! I know it can be hard to be here in person, especially since so many of you live in Willow Creek, Oasis Springs, and Newcrest on the other side of Sim Nation and plane fare is tough, so I’m really excited that you can all join me this way tonight… even those of you across the seas all the way in Windenburg! So to all my friends near and far, thank you for tuning in for my first year Blogaversary! I’m joined here with my writing friends SilverDaybreak, SilentWolf101, RebornMonster, and Raerei, that you have probably seen around the Sims and Friends: Share Your Stories!! thread, and two of my close friends, longtime local friend Cody and my vacation buddy Todd, to answer some questions about myself submitted by you lovely people! (Psst! Rae! We’ve started! You can put down the book now!)
RAEREI: Oh, just let me finish this chapter first! I found a full set of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series and Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series on your shelf!
MASTRESS ALITA: (sigh)
MASTRESS ALITA: My first question comes from Rhoda Bagley here in Riverview! She asks, “Dear Mastress Alita, where did you get such a strange penname? Give us the scoop; who are you really? Note that any personal information will most definitely not be used by the Riverview mafia for nefarious means.” Well, that sounds legit! Sure, Rhoda, I can tell you a bit about myself!
My name is Sara, and I actually don’t mind at all if people use my real name rather than my penname! I’ve always found it a bit more friendly and personal, actually! I’m (coughs) thirty-four-years-old (coughs), and my birthday is St. Patrick’s Day! Before I came to live here in Riverview, I lived in southern Idaho, in a town right along the edge of the Snake River Canyon! One of the biggest tourist draws there was a set of impressive water falls down in the canyon… I guess I moved to Riverview because living along a river felt natural to me, hahaha! Back in Idaho the apartment I was staying in didn’t allow cats, so I had a cockatiel, Kali. Since moving to Riverview, I’m sure you’ve noticed I now have my dream of owning my own cat, Casanova!
Though I love writing, it isn’t what brings home the bacon; I’m a fulltime librarian! I work in the technical services area, which means I mend books that are falling apart, process all new materials before they are ready to go out to the public, and input cataloging information into the system, among other things! There are a lot of “behind the scenes” things that go on to get books ready to be out on the shelves to be checked out by patrons!
As for my penname, I’ve had it as long as I can remember being online… which is since I was about fourteen or so! “Mastress” is a word of my own device, a portmanteau of “master” and “mistress” since I wanted a “gender-neutral” sounding version of the word. “Alita” came to be part of my username from a time when I was just a kid and accidentally got very involved chatting in a chatroom under my sister’s login, and after that, I felt I needed to keep using her handle so everyone would know who I was, hahaha! It’s just sort of stuck with me since then, for all these years, even though that was twenty years ago now! It came from a manga series, Battle Angel Alita.
MASTRESS ALITA: Okay, next question! This comes from Moon in Capricorn, who writes the amazing Sims blog The Jonathan Chronicles, and can also be found around the Sims forums under the username NoWayJose527! “What’s your very earliest memory?”
MASTRESS ALITA: Ooo, I’ll admit, that’s a tough one for me! I have Daily Chronic Headache Syndrome, and all the medication I take in an attempt to manage and deal with the pain has, admittedly, taken a toll on my memory… even on my short-term memory! Though I will say that I remember a time when I got to bottle feed my sister when she was a baby! I can still recall I had a pillow on my lap, and had her little body propped up on it to feed her. Since there is a four-year difference between us, I must have only been four-years-old at the time! I’m really not sure if I remember anything from an earlier age than that!
MASTRESS ALITA: This question comes from miss Katrina Caliente in Oasis Springs! “Why did you decide to start a Sims blog?” That’s a very good question, Katrina!
MASTRESS ALITA: When I first got into The Sims, it was from watching video Let’s Plays on YouTube, such as The English Simmer and The Sim Supply, so I became very invested in the story-telling potential of the game from watching the little stories I’d see unfold just by watching these people play their game, whether it was intentional or not. At the time, my first major household I was playing was a Brothel Challenge household, and the adventures those four Sims would get into constantly amused me, and I always thought, “I really wish I could share these stories, but YouTube just really isn’t my thing.” I don’t even own a web cam or microphone (I’m borrowing all this equipment to stream this Q&A vlog for you all today!) and at the time I had a PC that really struggled to even play Sims 3! But then one day I was searching for information on runaway teen challenges, and somehow found the blog Alice and Kev. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it! This was my first SimLit, but most importantly, I realized… I could do that! I could take screencaps and write a story around them! I thought about all the silly things my cat, Casanova, would get up to, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do a story from the cat’s point of view?” I knew almost immediately I wanted the human in the story to be an elderly woman adopting a kitten to deal with the fresh loss of being a new widow, and that became the first chapter of The Cat Chronicles, posted exactly a year ago today!
A funny trivia note… the next part of The Cat Chronicles came out a month later because that old, crappy computer died shortly after the first part went up! I wasn’t terribly heartbroken, since I replaced it with something that could actually play Sims 3 properly, hahahaha! Not only were my screenshot abilities just plain bad in that first chapter, but you can totally tell looking back at it now that it was from that old PC that had the bad video card in it!
Meanwhile, down in the basement…
CORA: …And if you immolate the corpse you can totally stash the ashes in crappy first year pottery projects, and no one will ever know! Pro tip.
FIA: Hmm, perhaps decorating the Palace of Fire with vases filled with the ashes of the sacrificed slaves isn’t such a bad idea…
ROSE: Someone filmed a cat that is too chubby to fit in a shoebox! What a great idea!
SHADOW: Wrinkly One, can we go back to our warm place? There is a severe lack of things to scratch and swat across the floor in here…
MASTRESS ALITA: Okay, next, from another local author here in Riverview, Constance Shelley asks, “What is your writing process?”
MASTRESS ALITA: Well Constance, before I wrote SimLit, I played on a “play-by-post” forum based on Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels world for a good two years, so I got very used to a writing style based on responding in a “give-and-take” motion between another player — or sometimes several players — on the board. I find that after spending so many years writing in this style, I now simply “think” of the Sims 3 as my co-author, and therefore, I rely on it heavily when I write. I don’t script out exactly what I want and go into game with an aim to make it happen. Usually I have an idea, but I leave it open enough that if the game throws something unexpected my way, I will use it. For that reason, I always go into game first, get all my screenshots, look through them and edit them into something that works, and write very last. And I do this with every piece of SimLit I write… even my short stories!
MASTRESS ALITA: Wow, these have been great questions so far! Mary-Sue Pleasant from Pleasantview asks, “Why don’t you write legacies? Your SimLit has an obvious lack of family play!”
MASTRESS ALITA: Well, I’m not going to deny it! I’ll admit, with my Dislikes Children trait, crying nooboos and potty-training toddlers has never been my favorite aspect of gameplay when it comes to The Sims. That isn’t to say I don’t like families… I just tend to create them with the children already at the child or teen stage, which are just more pleasant for me to play.
Does that mean I’ll never play a legacy? Eh… who knows! Most certainly if I ever do, I would not do a Pinstar-compliant legacy challenge. That just holds no appeal to me at all. I am just too much of a fan of non-traditional families, sexualities, and gender identities, and I feel the traditional legacy challenge, which requires strict genetic ties between founder and all heirs, is a bit too heteronormative and would be too restrictive to my style of play. I need a bit more diversity in my Sims world! But a ten-generation story that throws those rules out the window? That could be a possibility at some point, if something really compelled me. After reading Randomacies for my Weekly Reading Roundup thread, I really think that would probably be the way I’d take it on. There are no shortage of legacy stories out there, and I don’t have any plans to do one in my near future.
ROSE: …And this is a picture of Boo kitten swatting Trixie kitten’s tail, isn’t that just precious?
FIA: …Are your kittens deformed worms?
ROSE: Oh dear, silly me! That’s a picture of my finger across the lens! I still haven’t gotten used to this new-fangled camera phone…
CORA: This locked door disturbs me… it feels as if there is another world on the other side of it, just out of grasp, yet we are slowly being driven to madness in here. …I should use this tactic on my next victim…
MASTRESS ALITA: Hey, we have a caller! You’re on the air!
ALEXANDER GOTH: Hi, this is Alexander Goth in Willow Creek! I’m watching your vlog instead of doing my homework!
SILVER DAYBREAK: (It’s the Alexander Goth, ohmygosh!)
MASTRESS ALITA: A most excellent way to procrastinate, Alexander! Do you have a question for me? …It better not be a math problem on your homework though, I’m terrible at math!
ALEXANDER GOTH: I feel like I spend so much time on homework every night! How much time do you spend on your Sim projects?
MASTRESS ALITA: Hmm… Well, to be honest, I haven’t been dedicating much time to story projects lately, so that I could dedicate more time to my forum projects, The Stories and Legacies Index and Weekly Reading Roundup. I update the Stories and Legacies Index every evening, and I’d say it takes me at least an hour, sometimes more depending on the amount of updates that were released that day, to compile my list of story updates for all Simmers that have registered with the Index. I sort of have it down to a science, since I’ve been maintaining the Stories and Legacies Index since last August, if you can believe it! I started Weekly Reading Roundup last January as a New Year’s Resolution to read more SimLit, and had no idea when I started that project that it would be soooooooo time consuming! It is the number one reason that currently my stories have been set on the back burner, after my health concerns. I typically start my readings and compiling my edition at the beginning of each week, and I am still “cramming” all day Sunday in order to finish up getting my edition ready for publication before midnight on Sunday! If I’d known it would be such an undertaking, I wouldn’t have named it Weekly Reading Roundup, since in the future, I’m going to have to change the schedule on that in order to be able to dedicate more time into this blog again!
Thank you for your question, Alexander! Good luck on that homework!
MASTRESS ALITA: We have another caller! Hello, welcome to my live blogaversary vlog! Who is this?
PASCAL CURIOUS: Yes, this is Pascal Curious from Strangetown! I love studying science and aliens! I was wondering, what are some of your hobbies?
MASTRESS ALITA: Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to perpetuate the bookwormy librarian stereotype, because I love to read! My favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural… basically novels that take me to another world! I love to sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and read! I’m also a huge geek! I’m really into watching Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, Sherlock, My Little Pony, and anime! I’ve been into anime and Japanese culture since about the age of twelve, and had the biggest collection of anime tapes back in the 90s in my town, and even ran a local anime club in the early 2000s! Now I really love taking vacations to fan conventions!
RAEREI: (Psst! My Bladder Need is getting pretty dire!)
MASTRESS ALITA: (Hey, if you gotta go, you gotta go!)
MASTRESS ALITA: I’m also really into “boys’ love,” Japanese anime and manga that is typically “by women, for women” that are romantic tales between two males… should I be admitting this?
SILVER DAYBREAK: Ack! TMI! TMI!
TODD: That’s the Sara I know! I remember when we went to YaoiCon together back in 2004…
SILENT WOLF: Oh! I have a question!
MASTRESS ALITA: Ooo, yes! What does the author of Sims 3 Stories 2.0 have for me?
SILENT WOLF: I was wondering, what is your favorite type of kitty?
MASTRESS ALITA: Hmm, all cats are pretty amazing! I’ve never been too particular about breeds, though I’m not quite as taken with Manx (I prefer long tails) and Sphinx (I like my kitties furry!) But I have a real soft spot for tabbies! My childhood furbaby was a tabby cat uncreatively named Tabby, and my nephew is a cute ginger tabby that my sister adopted off the streets, Meekus! I spoil my nephew soooo much every time I visit! And of course, my kitty here in Riverview, Casanova, is a gray tabby! I wouldn’t say I’m more attracted to the stripes, but somehow striped kitties just seem attracted to me, hahahaha!
RAEREI: Hmm… Mind closet, water closet, same difference, right?
MASTRESS ALITA: Okay! I have time for one more question! This comes from Brandi Broke in Pleasantview! “What do you consider your biggest achievement and biggest disappointment?” Wow, that’s a really deep question, Brandi!
MASTRESS ALITA: My biggest disappointment is definitely that I’m not able to release content more regularly. I know a lot of authors that update frequently and keep to a consistent schedule, and I really wish that I could be like that, but when you have a persistent pain syndrome, I’ve found that trying to keep to a strict schedule just set me up for failure, and then I’d get really morose about it. So I just have to do the best that I can do, even if that is only a few updates a month, until I’m able to do more! I’m really thankful for all my readers that stick with me and support me despite this. I know it can be really frustrating!
MASTRESS ALITA: My biggest achievement… I know a lot of people would say it’s the amount of views they get, or how many followers they have, or how many likes or comments they receive. While I certainly appreciate these things, because it lets me know there are people out there checking out my work, I honestly don’t think about them much, and I certainly don’t consider the growth that I’ve made in these regards over the last year “my biggest achievement.” My biggest achievement is that, after a year, I’m still here doing this… I’m still writing! As the maintainer of The Stories and Legacies Index, I see over and over story sites that never make it past three months before they give up. So I think that is something to be proud of, and I really hope that you all continue to check out my work–
MASTRESS ALITA: –in the years to come……… Wha?
SILENT WOLF: (gasps)
SILVER DAYBREAK: Look, new guests!
MASTRESS ALITA: Who is responsible for this?
CODY: Does your homeowners insurance cover yandere-related accidents?
RAEREI: (smiles innocently)
CORA: This show isn’t over yet! I’ve got a question!
MASTRESS ALITA: (gulps)
CORA: Why the hell hasn’t The Yandere Diaries been updated since last November? I mean, seriously?
MASTRESS ALITA: Ya, about that…
CORA: Don’t you love me anymore?
MASTRESS ALITA (obviously guilt-ridden): Of course I still love you! I have no intention of dropping The Yandere Diaries (even if it is my most unpopular work…)
CORA: What was that?
MASTRESS ALITA: Err… I mean… You see, such an amazing piece of literature deserves better! When I tried a new writing style out on the most recent part, I decided I liked it better. But being a bit OCD about these things, it’s hard for me to just switch styles halfway through a piece, and use the new style going forward, so I intend to go back and re-write the previous chapters in the new style, and maybe also include some new Simbook and iPhone conversations, as well. I just feel the added dialogue will help to create a better attachment to the rest of the cast, so, you know… it will be more impactful when… you… do your yandere thing.
CORA: But I’m still the star, right?
MASTRESS ALITA: Always!
SHADOW: The two-legger is clearly insane! The star of this place is and always will be my feline self. Naturally.
CASANOVA (hisses): You wish! You wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for me! I’m a muse! Clearly I’m the superior cat! Go back to the closet where you belong!
SHADOW (hisses back): Superior? Ha! I have my own series! What are you good for? Knocking shit over on holiday cards?
MASTRESS ALITA (glaring): Kitties! Enough hissing in the corner! Play nice or I’ll hide the treats!
FIA: Aren’t you forgetting someone?
MASTRESS ALITA: Ffffff… Fia, you aren’t supposed to be out of the Mind Closet yet! No! Get… get back in there! Now!
REBORN MONSTER: Hey Mastress, who is this?
RAEREI: Ooo, she’s from that Amazon Challenge you told me about, isn’t she?
MASTRESS ALITA: Gyaaa… I guess the cat is — quite literally — out of the bag now! Yes, this is Fia Tigris, a tribe leader for a fantasy-inspired Amazon Challenge I have in the works! It’s really a future endeavor at the moment though… I have a lot of world-building to do yet!
REBORN MONSTER: She looks awesome!
RAEREI: Yay, new character!
With the vlog wrapped up and signed off, it was time to get on with the Blogaversary celebrations! Fortunately the camera was still rolling…
MASTRESS ALITA: Ah, would you look at that spread! The caterers did a nice job, but Cody’s cookies are the real delicacy…
SILVER DAYBREAK: (intent)
REBORN MONSTER: Sim Animals: Africa is Serious Business!
CODY: You know, I have a pretty awesome Vegan cookie recipe… and it’s gluten and soy free, too!
SHADOW: Hmm… we seem to have a problem, two-legger. There is something in your lap, and it is not a cat. I think we need to rectify this problem…
RAEREI: It’s the controller’s fault!
SILVER DAYBREAK: So if we sit here and chat in the Mind Closet, does that mean we’ll get our own story on Sim Stories?
REBORN MONSTER: It doesn’t hurt to try!
FIA: Oh, my poor, domesticated brethren. Look at how you bow for a simple treat!
SHADOW: Stop teasing me, you confusing feline-two-legger! Can’t you smell that it’s the tuna-flavored kind?
FIA: So, you’re going to read The Therion Saga when it comes out, right?
RAEREI: I should probably agree, look at those claws!
ROSE: …And then he left me a dead snake!
TODD: At least you don’t have to worry about them knocking your vintage AT-AT model off the shelf!
ROSE: An AT-what? …Hey, have I shown you pictures of my grand-daughter yet?
TODD: No, please do!
RAEREI: Haha, I have found Mastress’s stash of Pokemon collectables! Now if I could just find her collection of My Little Ponies…
REBORN MONSTER: Daww, hi Casanova kitty!
SILENT WOLF: Aww ya, I’m foosball champion!
SILENT WOLF (sigh): But I can’t put off that homework forever…
MASTRESS ALITA: Ahh, the water feels nice, doesn’t it?
TODD: Too bad you don’t have a hottub, though.
MASTRESS ALITA: What do I look like, a Landgraab?
CORA: That damn Shadow, stealing the limelight on the site… I think he needs to meet an “unfortunate accident,” hehehehe…
SHADOW: Heeeeeeey two-legger, you appear to be focused on something that isn’t a cat, so I’m coming to distract you!
FIA: So how is the Therion world-building going?
MASTRESS ALITA: Well, I have a ton of custom-content downloaded, and have started making some characters, but it’s really a matter of just needing more time to really get into it…
CORA (staring creepily through the window): No, she doesn’t need a new story to distract her from Yandere Diaries! That Fia needs to go as well…
CASANOVA: Get away from my food bowl!
SHADOW: Fine then, I’ll just go get my smell all over your two-legger’s bedding!
CASANOVA: You wouldn’t dare!
TODD: Mmm, I’m so glad Sara thought to get Vegan-friendly stir-fry!
SILVER DAYBREAK: Mmmm… The cake may be a lie, but Cody cookies are not!
MASTRESS ALITA (shivers): Why do I get the feeling I’m being watched…?
CASANOVA: Just to let you all know how happy I am to have you in my home, I’ll sit here right where you’re eating and lick my genitals. Mmm, tasty. Just let that sink in while you enjoy your dinner.
MASTRESS ALITA (cleaning up): Ah, I think that party was a success! Everyone liked the food and seemed to have a good time– Wait a minute, is that Rose still in the pool? And… naked? ……Actually, I think it would be more surprising if she had clothes on, considering her… uh… “shedding” problem…
And who was the VIP of the party?
…This guy, obviously!
Thank you, Mr. Squirrel, for crashing the big event. Next year you’ll be invited properly, the guests couldn’t get enough of you!
This was written for the one year anniversary of this blog, and features not only my Simself, but the Simselves of @SilverDaybreak, @RebornMonster, @SilentWolf101, @ra3rei, and my non-Simming friends Cody and Todd! Thank you all so much for allowing your Sims to be used in my game! Also featured are Rose and Shadow Hatcher from my story The Cat Chronicles, Cora Samaras from my story The Yandere Diaries, and Fia Tigris from my upcoming story The Therion Saga.
I would just like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you that visits my blog, has checked out any of my work, uses my forum threads The Stories and Legacies Index and Weekly Reading Roundup, or simply is friendly, welcoming, and kind to me on the Sims forums in any of the threads I haunt in the Stories and Legacies and Sims 4 Stories and Legacies sections. I didn’t get many questions submitted ahead of time, so I decided to use famous Sims and come up with some on my own, so if you have one now you’d like to ask, by all means, feel free to ask and I’d be more than happy to answer! Thanks so much for all your support, keep on reading, keep on writing, and keep on Simming!