My Thanks to SFR and Galaxy Express

Hello, all! Happy February! Things have been so busy lately, but it is lovely to take a break in it all to peek in with with good news. I am honored that my story Luminous from The Book Smugglers was included in their wonderfully quirky, so-much-fun SFR Galaxy Awards roster. Each piece they choose receives its own customized reward. My RL friend Cassandra Chandler’s delightful novella Gray Card garnered the “Funniest Nerdgirl Love Affair” award. Fantastic! I’m proud that Luminous was recognized with the delicious, tears of my readers title “Biggest Tearjerker Per Page.” YESSSSSSSS. I mean, thank you so very much to Lee Koven and SFR and the Galaxy Express for this love for Luminous, and for creating such a unique and fun series of awards. All of you who enjoy some good sci-fi romance should head on over to the blog and check out these titles–the fate of the universe may well depend on it. :D

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Slow Boat to Fast City Is My Jam

What is better than a good anthology? Hmm. Lemme think…oh yeah, a good anthology with a freaking fantastic OST! Slow Boat to Fast City  from Pine Float Press features works by Sean Demory, Marshall Edwards, Orrin Grey, Steven Saunders and my own story, War Paint. It was rad to start with. And now, it has a dedicated, specially crafted soundtrack by Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders–music hinting of Barsoomists, horrors masked in the ever-present red dust, and the pitched war between them. Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders have pressed some chill-strange, catchy and atmospheric tracks for Pine Float’s ray-gun pulp, Mars-themed anthology. It’s available to pay as you please on Bandcamp. Sean Demory, Pine Float’s Overlord (I mean editor) has this to say:

It’s musically fascinating, layering propulsive, tough-guy Naked City jazz riffs with insistent, anachronistic subsonics and stutter-stop percussion. It’s not comfortable music, but that’s as it should be. It’s insistent, it’s relentless and it’s at odds with itself. It’s music that’s being invaded by aliens.

And Demory’s right. Saunders’ tracks get under the skin and sift into the cracks like that never-ending Mars red dust. Go check it out–you won’t regret it. Better yet, let these tracks play while you read the anthology itself…it’s a fantastic experience. Go, listen. Read. Do it.

You know you wanna…

Thriving Artists

Hey, creatives–Imma say a thing. *ahem* Once upon a time last year, a fellow writer cautioned me, telling me that I shouldn’t ever expect to get paid for my work.  No. No, no. No. No? No. NO! Nooooooooooooo. Newp. I keep running across this same issue with other writers, jewelers, artists, musicians, sculptors, and so many other creatives (forgive me if I’m leaving you out–I’m keeping this brief for the sake of impact). Now, I understand that exposure for your project or product is a good and right thing. Free samples, demonstrations, or sales on affordable commission all make good sense. They make even better sense when you offer them from an already existing creative platform such as your portfolio website or your writer’s blog where it’s clear that you are not just some kid in a sandbox offering to build a moat, but a creative professional with a valuable product to offer. I know some of you will wince at the word “product” and maybe even legit barf when you hear “branding,” but it’s true. Not just true, but necessary if you want to be paid for creative work which in my humble opinion, is healthy and just as it should be. We don’t question paying for someone to cook our food, for getting our hair done did, for having our cars cleaned and detailed, for personal trainers. Why do we devalue our own work, then? Work that takes hours to produce and hone, that takes a lifetime to get just right?

If you start to feel like what you’re doing is not valuable, please address this feeling with a Stuart Smalley-esque pep talk, and look at this graphic I made for ya’ll (use it any-damn-where you want) and remember that what you do is important to the world, that it takes time, resources (sometimes expensive resources) and more time, and that getting paid for it is as it should be. The “starving artist” mentality is not what we should be keeping in the collective consciousness when it comes to creativity–I’ll go with thriving artist any day. <3

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Luminous Release–My Heartfelt Thanks!

Last week, The Book Smugglers officially released my story Luminous on their site and through a variety of retailers in addition to the Amazon release. So many people have said wonderful and interesting things about the piece that it’s mind-boggling. The feedback, ya’ll–it’s been AMAZING. I am humbled by the warm reception my words have found out there in the big wide world, and I’m deeply thankful to all of you who have taken the time to read, comment, tweet, share, or review. The discussions around my story and the diverse and extremely thought-provoking reviews I’m seeing make me remember why I started writing in the first place. I never dreamed this experience would be so awesome. From Plastic Skeleton George and me, we offer you thanks from the bottom of our comically giant plastic hearts–seriously, I am thankful beyond what I can articulate without resorting to Porky-Pig blathering and interpretive dance. <3

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The Luminous Cover Is Here! And MORE!

I am so over-the-moon to share this awesomeness with the world! The absolutely stunning cover for my sci-fi romance, Luminous, is out there and shining in all its glory. YA’LL, YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS! *____* The art is everything I could have wanted and more I didn’t even realize I would adore. Yasmin Khudari has given my characters and world so much beautiful life in her cover art. West and Jyothi are PEFECT! You can check her out on Twitter as @executeyk, or look at more of Yasmin’s lovely work here on Tumblr–so rad!

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But there’s even MORE news–and I promise you, I’m exploding into glitter as I write this–Luminous is now available for purchase on Amazon. WOO! IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIVE! Click here for the Book Smugglers’ official cover release post. If you want to purchase a copy–and oh please pretty please, I hope you do–it’s available exclusively on Kindle here. You’ll get the story itself, an essay about what inspired/influenced me to write it in the first place, the The Book Smugglers patented awesome author interview, and a lovely note from Yasmin Khudari, the mad-talented cover artist. ALL THE EXTRAS!  Thank you to the Book Smugglers for allowing me this opportunity to realease the Kraken my work into the world. And to all who readers who take the time to engage, you have my luminous gratitude (it looks kinda like the light from a yellow dwarf star). <3

Luminous, Almost Night and Making Monsters

Salut, denizens of Terra, this third planet from Sol! Things have been busy for this human citizen lately. For REASONS. So I’ll just get right down to this updatey thing…

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-130610 (1)I’m happy to announce that next Monday, 7/13 (ONE WEEK FROM NOW ZOMG), I’ll be rolling out the cover reveal for Luminous, my piece to be included in The Book Smugglers’ First Contact series. This is so exciting, ya’ll! The pieces from the collection I’ve read so far are thoroughly for the WIN, and I’m proud to be a part of this fantastic roster. I’ll be sharing the cover and hype for Luminous starting Monday 7/13 and I promise you, I am so excited to foist this story and everything about it up on the world!  >:-D

14444I’m also stoked to announce that Almost Night, a collection of my creppy! spoopy! poetry will be available from Pine Float Press this fall. I’ll announce the publication date when it’s set, but for now, Sean Demory of Pine Float has released a teaser poem from the collection, and oh, sweet world, be wary. I’ll talk about the collection in more detail later, but for now know that poems of creeping dread snaking like kudzu over the seemingly mundane trappings of suburbia will hit (virtual and otherwise) shelves during the waning of this 2015 year and I could not be more pleased (nor can the eldritch horrors commanding the project into existence in the first place, ha, jk, really, sorta, heh…).

And now, I present to you, How To Make A Monster: Basic Recipe, a teaser from Almost Night:

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Prairie City Response: Interview With Marshall Edwards

This Middle Of West I call home can be a wonderful place–home of my Little Lair On The Prairie, if you will. One of the best parts about living here? The other amazing writers , artists, and just all-around fascinating folks I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by. Today, I interviewed one such Person of Note—Marshall Edwards, who I met after we both had pieces included in Pine Float Press’s Slow Boat to Fast City anthology. Right now, at this VERY PRECISE MOMENT, Marshall has some exciting things going on—namely, the super-awesome Kickstarter campaign for volume two of Prairie City Response, a comic I need NOW.

pcrPrairie City Response, volume 1 was a fast-paced, tightly-written and beautifully illustrated read. The dialogue is real and pacy, and artists Marquez and Mohler bring on the shine in a big way. I feel like I’ve gotten a mere glimpse of what’s really going on in this powered-folks occupied, dangerous new Midwest–and I want more. The world-building is easeful and natural, the characters hooked me from the get-go (character-driven is the only way to go) and already in this first volume, there are some Big Ideas about the high price of power. Which is why Kickstarting the second needs to be a thing, and soon. In light of his current crowd-funding efforts and my legit excitement for the second volume, I asked the author about why people out there should donate, and what he’s doing that maybe other comics/graphic novels might not be.

Marshall had this to say:

I want people to know that Prairie City Response is a character-driven story with dynamic action and a very modern twist.  Like other celebrities, they live in a glass house – everything they do is analyzed by the public and torn apart by their enemies.  There’s of course a lot of punching people in the face and fights high above the city, but I can’t help thinking there’d be a lot of image-managing if heroes were in our reality.

So – you get three powerful, greenhorn heroes, put them in a kettle, turn up the heat and tell world to turn in.  The result should be drama, action, and more than a little comedy.

When I first started the series, I had a lot of concerns about private armies and police forces, and about the degrading treatment of global migrants.  You can see this in the alien refugees in the city and their harassment by the Sweetwater people.

Awesome. Now, I can has moar?

Which brought me to my next question for Marshall…soooooo…where are you going with this project in the long-run? To which he replied,

The plan is to finish up this introductory story arc – four issues – and then try to get a publishing company on board.  In those four issues, I want keep raising the pressure on the heroes, keep introducing problems from the heroes’ past.  And at least once in that arc, tensions between the alien refugees and the human population will boil over, and the team will have to take a stand regarding the conflict.  This will be a deciding moment in the direction of the series, and I’m not gonna say anymore than that :P After the first arc is complete, I want to get PCR to a publisher with my fan-base and story-telling nouse as leverage.

If I’ve not yet hooked you, wander on over to Amazon for volume one and see for yourself why this is a project worth backing. Seriously–I know the coolest people. Speaking of, follow Marshall over on Twitter at @PrairieCityPost. You won’t regret it.