News & Updates

10 • January • 2013 || Legends of an Honorable Mage Cover Kickstarter
Using Kickstarter to Fund a Cover Painting Project.

I'm working to support a publishing project on Kickstarter.com that will hire me to create a book cover for a young author's first novel.

Last year, Dendron Chamberlain (writing as Rachel Oranger) contacted me about her book project. She had seen my name in the Huffington Post's list of 50 transgender icons for 2012 (which is another story altogether) and done some research. She liked my older cover art, particularly my work with TSR. She also like the fact that I was Trans* (transsexual) because it's relevant to her novel. Her book, written under the pen-name Rachel Oranger, deals with transgender themes at its core and having a cover artist who understood that and could convey nuances about it in her art just sold her on having me do the cover for her first book.

I suggested that she run a Kickstarter to raise the money to cover my fees. And she did. Here's the link. As I write this it has 6 days to run (ends January 16th, 2013) ... and realistically speaking, the funding is well behind where it should be. Cover Art for Book 1 of Legends of an Honorable Mage

This is NOT a request for a donation, though you could do that if you want. Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/) is currently one of the most successful forms of "crowd-funding", getting people to invest in projects (not companies) that specifically interest them. Support a project, be rewarded with something you want in return, whether it's a book, a poster, a game, or just a good feeling about helping an author and an artist.

So, please, do three things for me. Check out the Kickstarter page for the proejct. Share the link for the kickstarter with your own social media on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, email, web forums and so on. Feel free to share this note or parts of it and tell about your relationship with me. And finally, if you can, please back the Kick Starter financially, even if only for a dollar (or the $9.00 that gets you an ebook version of the final book). It's pretty easy to do, especially if you have done business with Amazon.com in the past (Kick Starter works through Amazon).

Funding this project means a lot to me.

17 • December • 2012 || My First Full Year of Life
One Year. One Full Year


That old saw about today being the first day of the rest of your life … well, for me, that was a year ago today, December 17th 2011. Just one year ago. In terms of my life, my transition, and my future, this past year was supposed to be that official and challenging test as to whether I could live in my identified gender for a year. The “Real Life Test.”

Just my opinion, but I think I passed the test. I’m certainly happier now.
In fact, the reality of this past year has been … How did I EVER manage to live as a MALE? Especially since the best descriptive word that I have for how I feel about myself now is “Normal.” It’s definitely a loaded word, one that is often wielded negatively like a weapon. For me, it has a personal, very specific meaning. "Normal" is how I feel now. It feels “right.” With each passing day, my old life seems less and less like I was the person who actually lived it.
I feel that I am living life far more fully than I did before accepting that I was Trans*.

Just to recap, it has been about 20 months since I finally accepted that I was transsexual and was confirmed as having Gender Identity Dysphoria by my therapist. I actually knew that something like this was the case all my life, but was unwilling to face that truth. Acceptance meant owning that I would have to “other” myself to much of the rest of the world. Acceptance meant risking everything. That was nearly two years ago. I had resisted so long. Fearful of having my life and everything I love destroyed when I finally shared the news of it.

Except, that didn’t happen. Not to me.

Eight months later, in December of 2011, I “came out” to the world in a very public manner, sharing that I would be changing my gender from male to female. I had already come out to my family … and been told that what I had to share didn’t matter. They still loved me. Instead of being eaten alive as I expected (I called it my “shark week.”), I was accepted as Jennell … and praised for my courage… and cheered onward. And with a few hiccups that is what the past year has been like. The rest of my world (though not whole world) told me it was OK to be who I was, even if that meant they had to adjust their concept of me.

Those I most feared losing, my family, my children, and many of my friends; have been my biggest supporters. But there were losses. A couple fans tried “reparative therapy” arguments on me. There were haters. Several of my best friends have been noticeably silent … as in, not responding to me anymore.

And events spun past me like a whirlwind … to the point where even the good things were overwhelming … to the point where sometimes things were beyond my ability to cope. And yet, with help from others, I got through the year.

So here, at the end of the first year of my new life, I find myself not worrying about who I am, or whether people will accept me, or even whether I “pass” in public. I just am. And it feels good.

What does the future hold? Work. Between Olde Skuul and Dragongirl Studios, I have a lot of it. Marriage … probably in the spring, very likely a private ceremony … perhaps in a redwood forest glade with a friend officiating. If my financial situation works out (and there is hope in that arena), maybe rescheduling that medical tourism trip to Argentina that I had to cancel for facial surgery. After that, who knows? Becky loves to travel and I love to be with Becky wherever she goes.

Just being Jennell has a lot of attraction to it, regardless of what I do.


04 • March • 2012 || Hitting Reset
Punching the reset button. *Tap* *Tap* *Tap* Apparently the mic is live. And we are ... go.

Greetings to everyone from the other side of the gender curtain. To be honest (finally), I've always been on this side. It just took a while for me to recognize it, accept it, embrace it, and pull back the curtain for the rest of the world to see. So ... (*little wave*) Hi! I did most of my "Coming Out" back in December of 2011 on Face Book ... just about as publicly as I could. I know I surprised a lot of people. I don't know if it helps to hear this, but I was one of them. Denial does that to you.

In case you're wondering what the HELL I'm talking about. My name is Jennell Jaquays. Up until December 17, 2011, you used to know me as "Paul". I have long history in Fantasy Role Playing, video game development, and game education. I'm kinda famous ... at least in some circles. When the need to transition (from living as a male to living as a female) became the most important thing in my life, I chose to do it publicly and just get it over with. So, Hi, I'm Jennell. So glad to be hear, finally. You know that campaign that's been going around about how "It gets better"? They're right. It does.

Of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, the same day that I came out, the computer which hosts all my website data became infected with a virus. It took a while to sort out ... and I've been pretty busy since. Any given moment of my day has about 3 ways it could be best spent. I don't always make the right choice.

I'm not sure what direction the public portions of this site will take. Parts of it, like the GAME ART RESOURCES are pretty much obsolete, having been created to support a game that shipped 12 years ago. Yes, it's been that long since Quake 3 Arena shipped. Damn. GAME ART RESOURCES is likely to still be kept active, but will never be supported again.

Look for news of my Professional Life. That's what this News page mostly covered ... and will likely continue to do so. For my personal life, there's FaceBook.

There will very likely be "gender content." One does not go from conservative, somewhat outspoken, publicly visible, former church deacon, heterosexual male game developer to (still fairly conservative) transsexual lesbian female game developer who is still publicly visible without having some things to talk about. When you do that "on camera" as I did, you discover that you are now A) a trans-activist, and B) a role model. Whoa. Yeah. That's a lot to lay on someone. Role Model. Not just for other closeted trans folk but ANYONE who needs encouragement in making difficult but necessary life changes. Hopefully, I can keep it all positive, even when dealing with roadbumps (and I hit my first big one this past week).

Portfolio. I'll have a public one. Up until the past few months, all my work has been done under my old name. Takes time to change the art files associated with stuff (somebody copyright stamped all his portfolio slides with his full name ... ).

My Resume or CV and professional portfolio. Yes, I'm still employed, but the lesson that I learned from the Microsoft layoff in 2009 (that "got me") and the CCP layoff in 2011 (that didn't) is "Always be ready, regardless." Just don't look for any World of Darkness content to be publicly visible.

Store that sells art and stuff. For now, I'm going to link to my Etsy store. I'm still going to be auctioning off my Deities & Demigods art (Yes THAT ART from the Nehwon section) through a private auction soon. The pressure to raise cash for a medical procedure has slackened (that's actually personal life ... or maybe a gender topic) so I'm shifting focus to other parts of my life ... like this webpage.

Links. These are links to things or people or I like. Note to self ... remove the one to my ex-wife's business (and to be fair some other expired pages).


04 • March • 2012 || My WikiPedia Page Needs Some Love
My wikipedia page needs someone to adopt it and update it. For starters, it now has the completely wrong name and a photo that should go away. :). Find it at Paul Jaquays wikipedia page. I'll be happy to point you towards updated information links, photos, etc.

05 • December • 2009 || Gaming's Renaissance (Wo)Man
I'll keep this around for a bit as a link to my past. In 2009, Allen Varney, a regular contributor to the Escapist (a regular online-magazine devoted to popular media, and in particular role play games) did an interview with me for his "High Adventure" column. Find it on the Escapist's website at Gaming's Renaissance Man.



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