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Hi there.

eXTReMe Tracker

June 2nd, 2013

Hi there.

I dou’t know if anyone will see this or not.  But I noticed that some of you, bless your hearts – have posted from time to time and I want to write something.

I have wanted to post so many times… started so many times. But without updates it really seemed very pointless.  It was hard to see the negative comments about there being no updates,  however rare they may have been, and I have felt terrible about the frustration that people have about the story not continuing.

I am frustrated as well. I have rewritten a relaunch to Xylia no less than seven times.  Two of the rewrites have more than two chapters!  But then I’ d get stuck, or waylaid in the real world, then stop writing, go back to what I had and it was ‘all wrong’.

But honestly the biggest problem isn’t time, real life problems,  writer’s block, or  insecurity – and those are all there in multitudes.  The biggest problem is that I have changed.  Profoundly.  The person that wrote the previous chapters of Xylia and the romantic story of Talismen doesn’t really exist.  My life gave me some further rough lessons on love and relationships that make those stories not ring true for me anymore.  I’m not faulting those who DO feel that way, the romantic and hopeful society who I once called myself a member.  But sadly, the repeated heartbreaks I have beaten that outlook out of me.  The idea that some guy would keep searching for some fairy woman in a block of stone seems absolutely ludicrous to me, when I look at my life as a human woman NOT frozen in stone and I can’t even find a man willing to spend a few years with me, forget about LIFETIMES.

I know that Xyliacs will argue with me because you were drawn to this tale (as I would have been once upon a time) BECAUSE of its sweet almost naive hopefulness. The idea that there is such thing as true love between men and women.  And I know that for some that IS true. My parents have been married for 62 years. Many of my friends have been married a long time. And a lot of my friends are in long term relationships or getting married.  In fact MOST of them.  For twelve years I have been alone.  For a time, I thought that loneliness would finally end when I became involved in a long distance relationship which was really just two years of waiting for a hopeful outcome of togetherness with someone that ended up being nothing, and being ultimately rejected and abandoned.  But even during that relationship I was still alone here in Iowa.  Going to weddings, parties, graduations, everything ALONE.  Which I still do now alone- when I go at all. It’s getting really difficult to do that anymore.

I dated a few other times, but each of those ended up being with people who were initially hiding the fact that they were profound substance abusers and that just doesn’t go for me. Ultimately what I’m saying with all this is, when it comes to love or romance, I am profoundly jaded.  So… a story like Claudius and Xylia’s, which was once very personal to me as the projection of what I hoped for and believed might actually be true, makes no sense to me now.  How can I put my heart into something that means nothing to me?

I guess this is problem with doing that in the first place. It’s better to distance yourself more from your creative outlets.  But that just never seemed logical to me.  If you aren’t putting yourself into a creative outlet, it’s not really an outlet, is it?

But- all that aside, I still feel very indebted to the Xyliacs and other internet friends.  You have been loyal and supportive to a fault.  And that’s where my story really lies I think. Not in a love relationship between a man and woman (which is not in my cards, and I’m certain of that) but in friends- not of physically present people, but sort of ether people.  I know you all exist, but most of you I have never seen or talked to.  I know you are very kind in the things you say, but there is still that distance that the web puts between everyone.  But you are still there, you all have said wonderful supportive things, and for that I am very thankful and you are the reason I am trying to figure out how to continue the story.

The only problem.  There are no hugs in the internet.  (I am a very huggy person- that’s the part that’s hardest to do without)  But I’ll figure it out. :)


So stay tuned. I have been writing.  I know what I want to do- but it will be a bit different somehow.  I hope you are all well, and thank you again for reading my story.





  1. Nico

    You do what you need to do, and when you finally have something you want to share again, I look forward to seeing it! :)

  2. Charissa

    Thank you for sharing, I’m sure that wasn’t easy. I have greatly enjoyed your stories, and I’ll be glad if I see anything more from you. If it’s different then it is. You can’t write something that isn’t who you are, and to be honest I bet a lot of your readers are different people from when they read this too. I know I am. I’m willing to wait and see whatever you feel like sharing. :) and even though I know it doesn’t count, Internet ::Hugs:: (I’m a hugger too)

  3. von Corax

    Good to know you’re still here, BL.

    As for the story, well, “Change Happens,” as they say, and I have a fair idea how you feel. Wherever you decide to take it, I know it will be worth reading.

    Please give yourself a hug on my behalf.

  4. Vaidia

    I send you love, good vibes and internet hugs. And a chorus of Ninja back up singers. You have art to you, and a story to tell. I await the day eagerly when you can share them with us again. Until then, smiles, and keep on chipping away.

  5. Canterrain

    I’m here and still believe. We’ve been busy, but still around. Let us know how we can help, the offer never expires.

  6. Nathan

    Good luck and success in your endeavors. We’ll be here when you are ready.

  7. Joseph Volpendesta

    I wa pleasantly surprised to se your pretty face and, gasp, an update Barb, you just keep doing what you believe to be right for you. It appears that you have a loyal following who appreciate your work and, more importantly, love and respect you as a person. Iguess that I understand where you are coming from, at least, in part. I was involved with a lovely lady named Faith. We knew one aonther about a year and a half. She had a number of serious health issues, brought about by an auto accident involving a drunk driver. She was a gentle and wonderful woman who, dspite her own situation, was willing to reach out to others who e afflicted. Last weekend, the Lord saw fit to call her home. I am pleased that she no longer must deal with pain and suffering but, of course, I miss her greatly. A few weeks short of my 74th birthday, I amtrying to see a future around a large empty space in my heart. I have to put all of this into the hands of God and see what happens.

  8. Maera Fey

    It’s great to hear you didn’t completely abandon storytelling. As long as it is told by you, I’ll be glad to hear any story, even if it isn’t about true love. Honesty, I don’t think I was here for the romance in the first place. It was the world which you created that kept me excited.

  9. Sora Hjort

    Well, us Ether people can still give hugs, but not physical hugs, but ether hugs. We also don’t get physically tired in doing so! So Ether hugs 24/7 for all!

  10. Kyrinthic

    I am sorry to hear of your plight, but it is good to see an old comic I haven’t seen in a long while pop up on my feed. I hope you find your muse again, perhaps with a different story, or perhaps a twist on the one you already have. Life hands out a lot of crap, don’t let it change you for the worse. But whatever you do, keep us in the loop!

  11. Phaeton99

    Ah, bittersweet life: the inspiration for creativity and the chief obstacle for its realization…

    Take care. It is clear those still watching do understand even if they are out of arms reach. 😀

  12. Lex-Kat

    I was happily surprised to find an update. *Hugs* for you Barb. I wish I was there to give them in person. I’m sure if you appeared at a convention of some kind, you’d get many physical ones as well. :)

  13. HadEnuf

    Barb, I’m just grateful to hear from you, and to have happened by just after you posted. As much as I loved what you were doing with the story of Claudius and Xylia, and the other lives intertwined with theirs, I’ve always been enchanted even more by your art (and, frankly, by the occasional photo–something in your eyes), and look forward to whatever you choose to share. While I can’t give physical hugs, from nearly four states away (or even the neighboring state where I lived a few years ago), know that I’m sending thoughts of them your way, all the same.

  14. Andreas

    A story is the perfect way to find one’s way, I’d say. Even if the goal might change along the way.

  15. Cimoryn

    It is your story to tell, and I suspect most would prefer you to tell a story that is true to you than one you force out. Be brave and take courage. We are here!

  16. Miamistax

    I nearly jumped out of my skin when the NEXT button worked! O my web goddess, it is so good to hear from you again. I agree with all the above comments. It isn’t easy to write under present circumstances. But I would gladly read anything you want to post. I would love to give you a real hug if we were in the same place, despite my wife likely giving me the evil eye for hugging a pretty woman. Alas you’re in Iowa which is very far from me. I drove through your State once. Very pretty. Captain Kirk’s home State. So, since I can’t be there, I give the the very best ether-hug I can muster and in absentia, dinner’s on me!

  17. Stonewalker

    Life is hard. Relationships are hard. I’m sorry for your pain, but pleased to see your return to YOUR site. Post when you like, what you like, how you like. We remain, your faithful readers and well-wishers. It is in the darkest place that we see the smallest light.

  18. Thomas

    I’m of the same opinion of Andreas, story’s are way find one self or help others. Joseph Campbell has talked a lot about this in things like Power of Myth and the Hero of a Thousand Faces.

    Maybe there are ways to turn this into a story that is true and still up lifting. And though parts are important in all really great stories. Maybe Claudius finding Xylia is the easy part, and staying together the hard one. Or maybe Claudius becomes jaded but motivated by other things (sense of duty or his own growth). Other characters may be a way to explore your talents without creating something phony.

  19. Ralf

    Barb, I can understand the way you are feeling as I too have been alone for more then 10 years. And though I can not heal the pain that you feel, please know that you do not suffer alone. If you do not wish to continue the story I’m sure that everyone would understand. I just wanted to speak to you from one writer to another. In my own stories I find that the love that my characters share brings me a kind of joy that I’m otherwise missing in my real life. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s enough because it isn’t, but it does help. I have hope that you too will be able to find some of that as well in your own story, and maybe it will give you the strength to keep looking for that special man. I’m sure he’s out there waiting for you somewhere. Looking forward to hearing more from you and thank you for being YOU.

  20. Harena

    Oh, Barb, you don’t know how happy I am to see a post from you! I do check by this site at least once every couple of weeks (if not every week) to see if there’s any news. I admit that I was a bit worried about you because I know we have negvox in common and I know what they can do to a person when they are isolated from external influences. I am really really glad to hear you are writing and I look forward to seeing any and all of what you feel up to sharing! And don’t you dare take that as pressure to hurry up and perform! Take the time that you need & I will be here when it’s ready.

    I am *so* relieved you are okay!

    *hgugles muchly*

  21. Joe

    BOSSLADY!!!!! *falls over self in excitement* I’m so glad to have you back! I still check in every day, just in case, and probably always will. If your storytelling changes to something completely different, so be it. I’m here because you’re awesome, not because Xylia is awesome (although it totally is).

    I’m here, for whatever, because my greedy little brain needs to see what’s inside yours. And no hugs on the internet? Psh. Please.

    SUPER INTERNET HUG!!!! Hah. Take that.

  22. Lunaroki

    How wonderful to hear from you again! I know I’ve never been the most talkative person here. Honestly, I can’t even recall myself if I’ve ever posted here before. I have, however, loved Xylia ever since I first stumbled upon it. I was greatly saddened when it ceased so long ago. Your storytelling is evocative and moving. I fell in love with Claudius and Xylia and even Tychia. (I can hardly believe I still remember her name!) I’ve kept the link on my RSS feed all this time and was delighted to see a new entry pop up on it. (Which evidently happened 4 days ago. Heh. I’m observant.)

    I’m truly sorry to hear that life has put your heart through the wringer, and that as a result you won’t be able to continue Xylia. I understand though. A good story should never be forced, and if you’re unable to feel the story anymore then it’s finished. I do hope that someday the love you deserve finally comes your way. Some people do wait a lifetime for love. Some may even wait for more than one. In the meantime I’ll look forward to whatever new direction your writing takes.

    Wishing you all the best life has to offer.


    In the end, the only person that can make you happy is you. No outside influence can give you true joy, happiness? yes, intimacy? yes! But true peace and joy must come from inside. Obviously you have gone through quite a few ups and downs in your life, but that seams to be the lot of the artistically talented. However, if you wish to find your true “soul mate” and all your previous avenues are dead ends, then take the road untraveled, go down a different path. You are a very physically beautiful woman and a deep soul, there is someone out there who will not only appreciate those attributes, but will reciprocate and let them fly free. As for this glimpse into your soul that is Xylia tales, those of us who have stayed tuned to this site for your long absence look forward to the resumption of the tale, no matter what direction, or untraveled road it goes down.

    God Bless

  24. Canterrain

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had the privilege to say this….

    Xyliacs are literally the most awesome people ever. (And yes, Barb, that was a little bit inspired by your facebook 😉 )

  25. Fusella

    Barb, I periodically check the Xylia website, as it’s still in my comic favorites list, just on the off chance that there’ll be something new. Ever hopeful, I am. I was pleasantly surprised tonight when I clicked and found something new, even though it was “only” a post from you. I love your artwork, and look forward to reading whatever story you choose to share with us adoring masses, whether it includes the Xylia cast, or you decide to go down a completely new road. Best of luck whichever way you choose, and virtual hugs go with you.

  26. Kat

    look up the nearest church under ‘the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints’. Call on a Sunday morning and ask to speak to someone in the bishopric, let them know you are looking for info on the local single adult activities. There are dances, potlucks, get together’s for Monday night activities that can be anything from baking to watching movies ect. You may not find a guy, but you most likely will find friends and who knows, maybe someone is waiting for you. ^_^

  27. Amanda T.

    I’d been wondering how you were doing. I’m glad that – though life hasn’t been roses and kittens and rainbows – yer alive and well. *hug* I hope things in the non-romance sectors of yer life are looking up, tho =)

  28. Wayfarer

    I’ve often wondered how you’ve been doing. And though it sounds like things have been more difficult for you than otherwise, at least in some areas of life, it’s good to hear from you. I’m another who will be around, checking back for whatever you might choose to create.

    In the meantime, in the absence of RL hugs, I hereby give you a kitten hug: http://i1360.photobucket.com/albums/r645/lostmymindn01/Cats/kitten-hug_zps2a613f77.jpg .

  29. Orion Fury

    I’m still here, via RSS at least. I liked your artwork and your writing. So what if it’s not the same, you’re good at what you do. So please continue in it.

  30. Hawk

    Hey Barb,

    I can honestly say that I have followed your art since talismen and have been repeatedly dismayed that art set in a world with so much promise of magical fantasy never semed to pan out.

    I’ve never criticised you for not updating not that i would EVER express it because you don’t owe me anything and your life takes precedence. But I apologise for Feeling it nevertheless. I’d also apologise on behalf of the tasteless lot who did.

    I think webcomics can be a distraction for others who share similar lives of messy mundaneness and having that dependance yanked away…only forces them to scramble for more distraction or face their lives and issues.

    I’ve come to VALUE what you’ve shared in your blog updates – snippets of your life. And I can certainly respect the sincerity behind your words and your candid admission about your deepest held beliefs about love. And how it would be senseless to express Xylia in any form.

    It’s what moved me to reply.

    I’m sorry about the people you trusted, you loved who let you down. I’m sorry you feel alone. But there are a lot of formerly romantic idealists like you who pretty much got chewed up over time.
    I’m glad you still possess insight that true love exists for others regardless of how you may feel about how likely you are to get it.

    If I could you offer some thoughts that have helped me and that have probably occured to you but you just omitted in order to avoid a TLDR post like this:
    1.Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
    If the whole point of love is to touch another’s live and to experience intimacy, you don’t have to restrict yourself to a narrowly defined version of it.
    I’ve certainly been touched by your art and words…. and i’m pretty sure i’ll stay touched even if future dementia robs me of this particular memory. And what you’ve shared about your son, his music, him moving out and your passion for your characters and the doom of their romance – it’s certainly intimate.

    You get to be as intimate with as many as you can emotionally bear; and touch as many lives in as many creative ways you can fathom for the rest of your days. May not be the love you dreamed about….:(
    But in its own fragile way it’s still love.
    If THAT doesn’t workout, you can always go back to feeling sorry for yourself. It’ll be like time never passed.

    2.Love yourself
    and if there are things about you that you don’t – then change. It’s a lot easier for ppl to love someone who really loves themselves. Forget about all the mistakes you made in the ppl you picked. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s not a competition and if there weren’t crappy ppl – there really wouldn’t be contrast for the good ones. IT’s bloody fortunate that they were phases rather than something permanent slowly killing us.

    And even in the worst case scenario where you NEVER meet someone, you’d still be a better person than you were. You’d still touch all the lives waiting to be touched (not counting the ones you already have) and you’d have their love in return. And the world’d be better off for having you.

    So thanks for all the love. and the hug:)
    and i hope this touches you back in a small way.

  31. Musical_Life

    An update! Huzzah!!!

    With that being said, feel free to contact me if you need a soundboard or just want to talk!

  32. Joe

    Also, point of interest, the reason we’re here isn’t because of updates. It’s because we love you. And because you love us back. We love each other. It’s a love thing. Love….

    I think I once had a point to all this, but it’s gone now.

    See? Pointless is okay. We still love you.

  33. Henrike

    It`s an update, YAY! I`m so happy you`ve not giving up storytelling Barb. Even if you have no inspiration for this story at the moment, or anymore, know that I will be happy to see you and your art on the web anyway, no matter the form. I`ve taken some time off my own comic idea for a while and started another for which I have much more ideas and inspiration. Maybe you could try some other things if you feel like it, or a short story or something. What gave me a real boost in my creative process was this podcast: http://www.paperwingspodcast.com Some great insights and inspiration there.
    I`m sorry life didn`t turn out the way you hoped, or at least not yet. I can imagine you`re feeling this way if you`ve had such negative experiences. I`m miles away, but still: here is a virtual hug for you (and I`m not even a huggy person, haha. 😛 ) *hugs Barb*

  34. Julie


    Obviously it’s terrible to hear that your own experiences with love have led you to not feel capable of telling a sweetly “naive” romance anymore. I know that negative emotions that are in any way connected to art can prevent the artist from being able to face that art or continue it. It’s happened to me…it’s obviously happened to you several times…and it’s happened to the “big name” creative types out there (just Google “Midnight Sun” to see what happened to the Twilight author’s attempt to write her series from the vampire’s POV for an example). That said, I’m a little sad to say goodbye to the story that you were writing…but I’m still super-stoked to see how it evolves if you ever pick it up again! :)

    Also, I saw a banner ad on another comic I read that made me do a double-take, because it looked like your art. o_O It linked to a three-part video series on YouTube about a little girl who lost her shadow. I didn’t get to watch it (I was at work), but I stared at the video for a long time trying to convince myself of whether or not I was imagining your involvement. I probably could check your FB page more to find the answer to this little mystery, but I will confess to being a bad cyber-friend. :( I never check anyone’s FB without being directed there…not even my husband’s. 😛

    In any event, I hope that life, in it’s new form and vision, continues to treat you well, Lady. I know that you will find your happiness and fulfillment…with or without the “love” that you believe is unattainable. *MEGA-HUGS!!!*

  35. Stygma

    It’s sad to know that you’ve lost your muse because art and writing are a wonderful way to make a change from an ordinary boring life. Fiction is a way to revamp the world the way we would like it to be. I am that fool with this unique unbreakable love for the one I can’t have. I might die alone for the sake of this everlasting love.

    Losing interest in a story happens everytime, especially for those who write for a hobby. We don’t have much incentive to finish besides pleasing a bunch of total strangers. You don’t owe your watchers anything. I appreciate that you took the time to tell us about your reasons and not let us wait forever for an ending that will never be.

    Take care of yourself.

  36. Tabitha

    Hey Barb
    I’m so glad to see a blog post from you.
    After reading your post I feel like you are preparing for something even better than what you had originally planned out! something that makes the story turn around and perhaps be a bit more of a tragedy with a self searching streak and a middle ground happy-ish ending. I don’t know, just a feeling.
    Either way, no matter what you do, I really love your style of writing and story telling; I’m simply excited to see that you still think of making something more! And, whether this is the general consensus or not, I am even more excited that it will be different than what we all expected before!
    If in the end you do completely drop Xylia, I hope very much that you choose to begin something else that we can all enjoy! More than anything I just want to read more of your work.
    Stay healthy and try to be positive, I’m sure I am not the only one who regards you kindly and thinks of your well being. ^_^
    Thank you for the update!

  37. Francisco

    First of all I apologise for not spotting this when it went up.

    Just remember that we’re here for you and if you don’t feel like writing Xylia you can always write something else. I’ve put my big project on hold to write other stories.

  38. Francisco

    I just re-read your post and I look forward to seeing/reading what your new project is.

  39. Charles

    Maybe move on to a new story and come back to this when you feel it tug at you. We’re fans of your art and storytelling in general, not just Xyliatales. Do you have other stories in mind?

    I saw the unending love in Claudius and Xylia but for me the rescue of himself and Xylia was also a big driver for Claud. Maybe you feel the story should be destined for more of a bitter-sweet ending than a fully happy one?

    Whatever the case, take care and I hope you find your tale in your journey.

    P.S. @all: Jamie Robertson’s “Clan of the Cats” just turned 14! And he’s now 49. As some will know, the poor bloke has struggled with his comic in the last 3 years thanks to bouts of blindness, other health and life/motivation in general so if you have the time please head on over and give him a hoy to cheer his spirit.

  40. Chris TenEyck

    Speaking as someone who’s been writing and rewriting and re-rewriting stories for a long while (all the while never getting any of them done), I feel your pain. Time will pass after I’ve started on something and I’ll realize things just don’t… click the way they used to. There are times when I, someone who is sometimes too scared and anxious to step foot outside my own house, find the idea of writing characters who travel the globe while having much more pressing things to worry and panic about than who might stare or if they can remain calm enough to keep their stomach from performing abstract aerobics to be absolutely ludicrous and outside of my comfort or experience to dare try to speak on the matter.

    I think it’s key to remember that we never stop growing up, no matter how old you get; and on that same vein, that it’s okay to not act like a grown up (well, from time to time anyway.) Our stories will change as we do; no matter how much fantasy and imagination you throw into something, there’s always a part of you there. While reflecting personal experiences are a good way to get things off your chest and relate to others who share your feelings, the nice part about fiction is that it allows us to daydream and, if only for a few moments, distract ourselves with the nevers and what-ifs and “I wish”s. I guess when you get into the idea of the unwavering, soul bound, centuries-long search for true love it sounds a bit farfetched, but when you boil it down to pressing on and seeing things through for the sake of what you love — it doesn’t have to be a beautiful faerie, or even a lover; maybe it’s a child, or a hobby, or just an idea — I think it’s a respectable ambition and set of feelings that everyone can relate to on one scale or another.

    I suppose I’m a bit on the young side of things, just barely 25, so maybe I have no idea what I’m going on about, haha. I guess what I’m trying to say (just in general; I don’t think many, if anyone would hold it against you if you put Xylia on hold indefinitely to pursue something else) is that it’s okay to write about something you personally feel is out of your league for one reason or another; that’s what stories are for! Don’t feel ashamed to change things up, and try not to get so hung up on an idea even though it seems silly or stupid or just plain incorrect. (Which I hope this doesn’t come off as too insensitive and ignorant, because I’ve had my own share of, “Just stop worrying about it,” but I trust anyone reading this will sort of get my gist; it’s a hard thing to put into words.)

    I have faith that no matter what path you take in your endeavors, you’ll do fine. I know this is just a webcomic, but it makes me feel honored and loved that you’d spend this much time and stress on trying to work out a solution that suits the current you for the sake of those of us who came and stayed rather than drop it entirely. I look forward to whatever you have in store!

  41. Lyrax

    I wish I could give you a real hug. I’m sure you’d get a lot of them if you could.
    You are a valuable person, and you are loved.

  42. charles

    ARGH! Only just spotted this KICKSTARTER project that Barb is set to be the artist for. Mere days to go on it but Still time to make the minimum level and see the project go ahead.

    Children’s book with Barb’s art if I’m not mistaken. Hardcover so should be decent quality.



  43. Julie

    @Chris TenEyck – Well said! :)

    @charles- AHA!! I wasn’t crazy! :) The YouTube “video” with Barb’s art was real! :) I saw it in a banner ad on The Dreamland Chronicles page and immediately said to myself, “Holy poo on toast, Batman! That’s Barb’s work! Why didn’t I already know about this??” :) I can’t join the Kickstarter campaign on this one (my hubby still hasn’t forgiven me for jumping into my last Kickstarter campaign without talking to him about it first…plus we’re on a tight budget while trying to save for a downpayment on our first house), but everyone else who can afford to throw money at a Barb-Project should!!

  44. nsanelilmunky

    :/ Living in Nebraska, I have the opinion that most men in this area aren’t the ones that are good material for creative types.

    Whatever you choose to do, we’ll be waiting. …And if you’re ever in the Lincoln area and up for a cup of coffee, look me up :)

  45. J

    Keep going.

  46. hailfire

    just read through the entire comic… i’ve got to say it is an awsome read… i understand that emotions with a comic can change over time. but the story is something that i think would be needed to be told. its got so many touches that were awsome. even if it ends up as a re-write the story as well as the art has been a growing process for you from what i can see.

    which is always worth it.

  47. Tigershark06

    Hi Barb. Boy I should have checked back with this sooner than now.

    OOF outgrowing pursuits. Yes I think we’ve all been through that. I can understand how your life experiences could really sour your outlook on previous joyous, hopeful story lines. I hope that you can find an approach that fits better and feels truer to you I know you’ll get there. Anyone who can do it seven times and still keep coming back….that’s some serious dedication.

    Good luck on your future endeavors – whether a reboot of Xylia or another altogether different story. You’re a great storyteller and an awesome artist…

    I’ve very much missed reading this comic../(in fact I think I lost your link for like the third time or something. Shame on me…)

  48. Slamlander

    Oh wow! Yes, I follow you on Facebook as well 😉 When I first ran into you, my 2nd marriage had fallen apart. The romantic part of your story therefore never really clicked with me, it was your world building that hooked me good. Think about that for a moment and realize that was almost 10 years ago. I still like the Xylia universe, I can see many potential stories there and none of them are love tales. I write too and love is only an incidental. By far the majority of life is all about life and our survival of it. Pick any natural conflict (Church v State, Capitalism v socialism v Communism, Magic v Mundane, Scientists v Luddites) any of those you can wrap characters and stories around and place them somehow in the Xylia Tales universe. The grander the conflict, the better the story 😉 In fact, I would recommend staying away from the love stories for you and for now. You have too much of an open wound there and it needs to heal first.

    Yes, I missed your last post.
    Yes, I am now married again (5 years now)
    Yes, I am still in Switzerland (my wife’s Swiss)
    Yes, my daughter still lives in California.

    You may or may not find someone to suit you, support each other when you do. Cherish it when you have it, Don’t be afraid to let it go if/when it is time.
    Anger (not mine) ended my 1st two marriages. Just as life is too short to drink bad wine, it is also too short to suffer a bad relationship.
    Don’t be afraid to get back on that horse when it throws you.
    The future is, by definition, uncertain.
    You can’t be loved without loving yourself first.
    Having a chip on the shoulder chases away more than flies.
    I’ll see you on Facebook 😉

  49. HelenaRe

    I’m usually a silent reader; I always loved you’re art.

    Have you read much Jane Austen? Some like to say that’s she’s a Romantic. But she’s not; she was more of a realist. A while back a friend of mine was reading a book either by Jane Austen or about her. The text explained that Austen made a difference between “Romance” and “romance.” “Romance” would be what you consider ludicrous. However, there is still “romance” as what you parents have. If you’re still interested in writing romance, despite feeling jaded about it and questioning it, maybe this author can give you some answers and ideas. Something that makes more sense to you. But whatever you do, don’t lose hope. Also, don’t fear being alone; there’s nothing “wrong” with being alone. And too soon it can be gone. Cherish you days no matter what your day is like.

    *hugs* Best wishes.

  50. Ashe Skyler

    Thank you for the closure, Barb. I’ve checked off and on for the past few years wondering if everything was alright and it’s a huge relief to see a proper farewell on a discontinued webcomic for once.

    Relationships are bloody evil. Like eating blackberries fresh off the bush. They may all look mostly the same, but you can’t tell which ones are the sour ones until you’ve bit into it. Can’t say I have any relationship advice for you, I’m only capable of finding those that either tell me to kill myself or they threaten to kill me outright and by this point I don’t think a tender relationship is meant for me. But I will be holding out hope that you get a sweet blackberry someday. Until then, do what you gotta do to recharge your batteries, even if it’s at the risk of Xylia being put on the backburner indefinitely.

    Looking forward to your next project!

  51. Shulta

    I don’t know if you’ll see this but I feel compelled to say something. I don’t post often on anything… but here goes something. I started reading while you were still updating and have ben waiting for you. It was an amazing story that I couldn’t help but be attached to.

    That said I understand your situation and why you can’t continue writing the story and though it saddens me I hope you get happiness and that your future projects go well and who knows I might run into you again. I hope so you do great work. I’m glad I ran into xylia and though i’m a couple of months late I wish you luck and thank you.

  52. David

    Interesting thoughts. Is there any character from the Xylia-cosmos whose perspective you would like to narrate?

  53. Danielle C


    I just wanted to join all of the other people on this comment thread wishing you well. I haven’t been following your blog posts as much as I might wish I have, but I have tremendous respect for you, both as a person (it’s HARD putting yourself out there on the internet!) and also as a writer and artist.

    And, as I know other people that have the creative spark too, I know that you will always be writing stories, even if their tenor changes. And I really look forward to seeing what you do next!

    I could offer words of wisdom on the relationship front, but I don’t imagine they’d do much good, as I’m just one lone voice from the Internet. So I’ll offer some words of hope instead: you will eventually get what you yearn for. The world isn’t fair, it’s true, and there’s no timeline on these sorts of things — meeting people IS random, luck-of-the-draw stuff. But we can (and do) tilt the world in our favor, every day, in tiny tiny ways. Every time you make a friendship or a connection with someone who shares your worldview, you solidify your presence in this world. Every time you make yourself better in even the tiniest way, whether by healing from old scars or by stretching your limits, you make a better impression on the people around you, which in turn will reflect back on you. And every time you make a decision based on your desires, you are using your presence and your strength to tip the scales in your favor. The world responds to that. Not quickly, not on any set timeline, but it does.

    And you will keep bettering yourself, and you will keep connecting, because that’s an unavoidable part of what makes us human. And if you come to find that being a better, more-present person makes you happier even on its own, then the wait won’t even be a wait, it will just be beautiful, glorious life.

    I really hope you find your happiness! And if you ever find yourself in the Boston area, feel free to reach out for hugs!

  54. MJ

    Your story… that sounds just like my sister. It even sounds a bit like… me. I have been married for ten years, I have two kids both under 6 years old, my outlet is training horses but I haven’t been able to go out there and do it for months and when I have it has been sort and unproductive. I can’t count on my husband for anything except financial support and fun in the bedroom. I know there should be more and it seemed like we had more for a long time. I am going to stubbornly decide that this is just a rough patch brought on by a VERY stressful year, but I can’t help but wonder where the intensity of our love went. When did we start loosing interest in the one anothers lives? I never expected a fairy tail but I do expect the one I love to want to be around me and want to make me happy just the same as I do him. Even getting married and having a long term relationship doesn’t make it easy. It is an every day, love with all you’ve got thing, or it ends up being nothing at all… just loneliness.
    As for you and my sister, I KNOW there is someone longing for you just as you long for him. In today people are broken ground down things who are either lonely or who have given up and let themselves become a dark and moody thing… not in the cool way either. Don’t give up and let your heart sink. I am lonely, I am sad, and I feel like the one person who should care about me most doesn’t really like it when I am around, but I know there is more, I’ve felt it, you have felt it. I know it doesn’t seem to have lasted as long as we thought it was going to, but I have seen it last before. Somewhere is the other half of your soul, you may never find him in this life, but you be complete some day. Just think who he may have been or is now. Maybe his is an Australian rancher, rugged, hansom, silent. Maybe he has already passed from this life. He was a dancer in wing tip shoes. His shaggy hair hides in a wide brimmed blue hat with a velvet band and sharp feather over his bright eyes and quick smile. He played the saxophone or violin. He tragically died in a car accident as illegal beer runners were in a high speed chase with the local law. Who knows. Love is too strong not to be real, but sometimes it is just not now… not for a long time. Don’t settle, don’t give up, and don’t stop loving yourself so that you wont miss it if you do find him. There are a lot of damaged people out there, I don’t want to be one of them. I want to be able to love, no matter what, I want to love.
    That is all I have, I hope it helps.

  55. Frogsnack

    Well, I’ve never posted here, and in truth I’ve only seen the pages of Xyliatales from time to time, and only bookmarked it today (9-30-2013), after reading through the archives and finding the story to be budding and full of potential. (If you’re curious, I came across the link from Lady Yates’ site Earthsong).

    I don’t know if it makes me a cruel person to say, after the challenges you’ve shared so openly, that I’m one of those people you mentioned who is very much in love and will always believe in it. I truly believe that even if you had a soulmate, but you’ve changed as a person or they are no longer with you that God will design another one for you and you will never be without potential happiness.
    However I say this because of my believe in God and that and that he came to give us ‘abundant life’, not just ‘life’, I don’t say it because of any trust in man. I feel (personally) that it’s impossible to love others without knowing God who is love himself. Granted, that’s a very broad statement and I understand if it sounds haughty or self-righteous, and sincerely I apologize if it sounds that way.

    A bit of background on me, (so you know I wouldn’t write all of this just to blow hot air but instead out of hope for your future happiness) I became a Christian when I was about five years old, didn’t really get to know God until I was in my early teens, had the amazing blessing of meeting my current husband at youth group when I was 15, we dated for 9 ½ years before getting married, and we just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We don’t have any children, and even though we both love children we have selfishly put off having any so we could be happy in one another, which may be an important difference between you and I. (But I can tell you it’s possible to find great men at church!)

    Statistically I shouldn’t be happy, as my parents divorced when I was very young. My mother still has neck and back problems from living with my father, as he actually broke her neck during a particularly bad fight. My only request of God in my life was to have marital happiness, and I prayed every prayer I could think of about the kind of husband I would have and what we would be to each other. Eventually (after 3-4 years of praying several times a week about it), I concluded that God wasn’t deaf and I should trust him and wait patiently. If you can imagine I was a very lonely child (we moved a lot chasing my single mom’s jobs), so when I felt that familiar tug of bitter isolation I changed my prayer to one of assumed thanks ‘Thank you God so much for the amazing husband I will share my life with (etc etc)’, and it became an act of faith.

    Even as you’ve put it that there is a dark side to yourself you will not share again (sorry to paraphrase), all of that God knows as he knows your heart, and your desires better than anyone. When you don’t feel you can have faith in man, that’s okay. You may not need it. The bible calls us to be ‘wise as serpents and harmless as doves’, which allows for a lot of room to be hopeful, but not repetitive. Wisdom comes with the price of the pain of learning, and love can be a wise choice (just as you may be angry when your child does something silly, but you still will choose to love them anyway). That also means love can go hand in hand with sorrow. The more you share, the more you risk (you could probably teach me a thing or two I’m sure as well about this).

    I’d also like to say it’s significant that you are able to strengthen so many other people by posting your internal conflicts on your blog, and I can definitely appreciate your honesty.

    Ironically, I intended this comment to be in praise of your work and to encourage you to follow your dreams, so again please forgive me for the ‘believing in God’ tangent, but he really did make the difference in my life, whereas any expectations I’ve had of man result inconclusively or in failure.

    So to get back to the initial reason- Xyliatales is well thought out and would be a lot of fun to read again. However- what you’ve said about how long it takes to create a page is so true (I’ve struggled a lot to find my current style myself), especially when using several computer programs to color etc.

    Have you thought of uploading black and white pages, or uploading chapters you’ve rewritten to save some time and ease back in? It seems a lot of people who follow Xylia’s story would love to see the progression of your story as you develop it. I’m a huge fan of Goblins, and the early work Tarol Hunt did was seriously sketchy and at times downright awkward, but for a reader who gets to see the whole development, it can be thrilling.
    I recently cut my illustration time in half by using the Japanese g-pen and inkwells for my own comic, just to give you another option- one little $2 nib and $16 of ink replaced about $75 in markers instantly, although it did take a bit of time to get used to- immediately I learned why it’s so exclusive to manga in Japan. If you’re curious, you can buy them from the deleter mangashop (http://deleter-mangashop.com/index_en_usd.html)- they are a high end ink manufacturer. There are also many tutorials on youtube for use of the g-pen.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your fans who’ve said you can work truth into the story you have here without rewriting. If that’s the ‘other main character’ you were plugging awhile back more power to you- the best solution may be to create a character that you can act out your frustrations through.

    Sorry this was so long, I’m not really a bloggy person but you shared so much of what you’ve gone through I just wanted to be of help in some way- if any of this offends or doesn’t apply, please feel free to disregard it, not post it, etcetera.

    Also- whatever you decide- I support you in it!! Good luck and God bless you! (Feel free to email me if you like).

    -Lisa Z (scholar.smackjeeves.com) (frogsnack.deviantart.com)

  56. Aquila audax

    Wishing you happiness in whatever you do! Best Wishes!

  57. Just Joe

    Yay! The site is back from whatever the heck that was!

  58. Miamistax

    It’s time once again for DINNER FOR BARB! I’m going to try to make this an ongoing tradition for our resident Bosslady Web Goddess. Y’all go scroll up to the big wide CLICK HERE TO DONATE button near the top and give your $1, $5, $10, whatever you can spare. Merry Christmas, Barb, and to all the Xyliacs out there as well. Let’s share the love with the sweetest, most giving webcomic creator in the history of this genre.

  59. Luposian

    If Xylia is an income earner for you, then do it for the money! There’s no shame in that. In fact, if you allow alternative currencies (Bitcoins, Litecoins, Dogecoins, Devcoins, Lottocoins, or Infinitecoins), I would even be willing to pitch in a few every comic! By the way, if anyone goes to my site, listen to my music. If you like it, feel free to send me a “tip”, in any of the listed currencies or send me a little money via PayPal.

    Just remember, if a comic is TOO personal, it dies as soon as the source of inspiration is lost. That kills readership and loss of income (if people are donating). Stop looking at Xylia as an extension of yourself and your dreams and do it, just because it’s an awesome story/comic, period! Get into the character’s lives and do it for THEM! Do it for US, who want to see how it turns out.

    But, whatever you do… just DO IT!!! 😀

  60. Adge

    I’m just happy that you’ve created for us what you did. I know what depression can be like, I know what happens when there’s too much on your shoulders – and yet you’ve given us Xylia. Don’t listen to the moaners, above all, don’t beat yourself up. When you want to blog, then blog; when you want to write, then write. We’re right behind you.

  61. TC

    It sounds like you are actually Claudius and not Xylia. I think a good chapter would be about Claudius wishing he was Xylia. For Xylia trapped in her stone her fairy tale ending comes in a blink of an eye. Everyone else has to do the hard work and then gets to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.. If I was Claudius I would get mad and fustrated.

  62. Ari

    Barb, please do what will make YOU happy. I know it is difficult when love is the only thing you really want. I have the same problem now. It has been three years for me plus I moved to a different country which means no friends either. I am lonely like hell. I know how it feels when you are juggling between being down-heated, angry (what is wrong with me that I cannot have this?), depressed and frustrated. All people around me are getting married and I get a lot of “good advices” that more sound like preaching – you are too demanding, you should not… OR being hit by the endless questions: oh, you are such a nice, kind girl, HOW SO you do not have a partner??? Eventually very “cheerful” opinions: all good men are taken at age 25 (thank you very much, I am over 30 you now!). None of them tell me where to find a good man who would love me, value me and want me though..
    It is a deep sharp pain to see all the pitiful looks that you are the only one who keeps being alone. And you are also the only one who knows, how warm, loving and beautiful your heart is and how strong you are.
    I do not have any recipe for you (nor for myself). I have just a silent support and understanding. And – even though my hopes are wavering towards “it will never happen for me ever again”, there is still the silent voice that keeps saying – it will. I just do not know when. There are 7mld. people on this planet. I just do not believe that there is no-one who would be happy for what I can offer. The same goes for you. I am not saying this to comfort you or give you false hopes because I cannot influence your life at all. I just wish to bring you a hope. The hope that neither you or me currently have but the hope both of us need badly to keep on going towards the life we want to lead and deserve.

    Lot of hugs for you!

  63. Gary

    Thank you for sharing your vision with us as long as it ran. You are a talented, creative and deeply human person and I will miss stopping by to catch up on Xylia from time to time. It is a sad truth about web comics that one rarely gets to see the end of a story. Like knowing someone in the real world, we meet characters somewhere in the middle of their lives and we follow them until our paths drift apart.

    I wish you the best of luck on your path and a happy ending to your own story.

  64. Luna

    As others have said about you are Claudius, this is exactly as he would feel. The one you are missing could be anywhere now, lost like Xylia. Not lost forever, but for now… there is no telling when they will reappear, but you must always retain that hope and believe so that you won’t be blind to them when they do. If you lose your heart, you will never even notice them! Try to remain openminded and hopeful, in case that they are still out there waiting for you to save them! However, you just have to encourage the universe to help you out… maybe it isn’t meant to be now, because the one for you has already gone somewhere else, and it merely has to wait…

  65. Teagan

    I just wanted to add my voice to the positive folks here. I check back to the site every once in a while in hopes that the art has continued. Like many above mentioned, your craftsmanship, of both art and character, drew me into the story. I am a romantic, but I’m also a realist. I enjoy fluffy silly love stories, because it is a nice thought. However I realize, real life? Not that easy. Even in my happy relationships both members have had to work, and work hard sometimes. Communication is important. But even more important- and a major reason I am writing. You need to have a love story with YOURSELF first. If you are coming into a relationship with empty bags- expecting your partner to fill them; or with so much un-dealt with baggage that, as soon as you start to feel safe, you unload and bury your partner- you are creating imbalance. You need a PARTNER, someone who walks beside you, doesn’t lead or follow. Who holds your hand when you need support, and slaps your ass when you need to get moving again. They are not easy to find. BUT the times I have found (I am now 2 years into the healthiest relationship of my life, though we still have our struggles and obstacles), or SEEN success, are those people who know who they are, accept who they are, and most of all- LOVE who they are; before they enter a relationship. We shouldn’t change to suit our partner, they should compliment us, and us them. Growth happens together. Find your personal love story first, find what brings you joy and live in THAT. Be complete alone, so that when someone comes to join you, you don’t need to fall into them, or support them. You are an incredibly talented and passionate person (your story shows it, even if your focus has changed), so love yourself, and say F*ck it, to the people who say you NEED a partner. That is their own fear of being alone… But if you don’t love yourself first, how can you expect anyone else to love you?
    <3 Sending you lots of love, and looking forward to whatever you share next.

  66. Annamaria

    New reader here, and I’ve very much enjoyed Xylia. Coming from a place of struggling with problems interfering with creativity and output, I’d suggest that if you ever choose to continue this comic, it may be cathartic for you to drastically change the direction rather than rewrite it entirely. It seems too linked up with who you used to be, and the past “is what it is” – but one can always direct which way the future goes.

  67. Jazz

    I try to check in every now and then. I really do hope you find the time and interest again to work on this series. It’s one of my favorites and I was sad to see it end.

  68. Syncline

    When no new updates came, I stopped coming to the site after awhile. Until today. To see anything posted is wonderful, even if what I see now is so raw and painful. I’ve loved your work and hope to see it again.
    Barb, we don’t choose our life stories. We make choices, but those choices are not even the majority vote in how our lives turn out. We can rail at the randomness of fate and choose to be miserable, or we can accept the turn of the seasons and the cards of fate, live in hope and choose to be happy. So much unhappiness and bitterness grows out of expecting the world to provide something for us or believing we are owed something. The world owes us nothing. NOTHING.
    We take nothing of this world away with us when we leave it. What we give to the world is what matters. Hope and gratitude for what we each do have is the simple secret to real happiness. It’s hard to have ideals and to hope in a world of randomness and cruelty, and yet only those people with idealism and hope have ever made the world a better place for anyone but themselves. Whatever good or bad comes your way, you have given so many people a little happiness, a little idealism, a little hope with your work. I am so sorry to see you grow cynical and bitter about the human condition. But I’m telling you now that your work here, the gift you have made of your hopes is the key to your own happiness.

  69. Julie

    Hi Lady! Just letting you know that some of us are still here, checking in, and wishing you happiness and prosperity! :) Glad to hear that there’s a chance your Talisman story will be coming out in print!!

  70. Sharda Hull

    Still here! And so are many others

  71. Job

    Just came here to check if there were any new updates…
    A lot of us still keep checking the site! Which is a good sign right?

    Hope you are doing well Barb!

  72. Bathbomber

    Hi Barb,
    I miss reading your comics. I know money has been one of the reasons you struggle to keep it going. Wondering if you have considered using Patreon, then Xylia will be a source of income and not just something you do in the precious little spare time you have. I would happily support you if you get Patreon :)

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