THE BOOK OF DRAGONS Kickstarter!

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Bronco Ink Publishing has put together an anthology of all-ages comic stories based on E. Nesbit’s A BOOK OF DRAGONS, which was originally published in 1900. With a cover by OFF REGISTRATION cover artist Daniel Govar and a plethora of talented comic creators from around the world, THE BOOK OF DRAGONS is 120 pages of amazing comics.

The stories are all completed and the publisher is raising funds via Kickstarter to cover printing costs for the book and extras as well as some marketing and backend publishing expenses.

The stories included in the collection are as follows:

- THE BOOK OF BEASTS, by Scott O. Brown and Amberin Huq, in which Lionel becomes king and accidentally unleashes a Dragon on his new subjects.
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- UNCLES JAMES, OR THE PURPLE STRANGER, by Ricky-Marcel Pitcher and Kathryn Frizzell, where animals of various sizes, with the help of a Dragon, thwart a conspiracy.
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- THE DELIVERERS OF THEIR COUNTRY, by Jonathan Clode and Russell Hossain, a story where heroes are not what they seem and the dragon invasion is imminent!
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- THE ICE DRAGON, OR DO AS YOU’RE TOLD, by Marc Bryant and Mal Jones, a tale of wonders that befell on the evening of the eleventh of December, when they did what they were told not to do.
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- THE DRAGON TAMER, by Lori Lapormado and John Andrey Portilla, which reveals the great truth of all Dragons.
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- THE FIERY DRAGON, OR THE HEART OF STONE AND THE HEART OF GOLD by Charles Webb and Mal Jones in which we give you Dragons. In. Space.
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- KIND LITTLE EDMUND, OR THE CAVES AND THE COCKATRICE by Shawn Aldridge and Amberin Huq, our final story where Edmund makes a bum deal, unleashing a Dragon where it doesn’t belong.
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- THE ISLAND OF THE NINE WHIRLPOOLS, by Thacher Cleveland (hey that’s me!) and Russell Hossain, in which a dragon is defeated with math in a quest for true love.
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I had a great time writing my story, even if I don’t have a love affair with math. It was nice to write a sweet little story with fantastic beasts, adventure, and that greatest adventure of all: true love. But enough about me, let’s meet the rest of the creative teams:

- Bronco Ink publisher and THE BOOK OF DRAGONS editor, A.C. Brown’s work has appeared in English translations of Osamu Tezuka’s great children’s manga Unico and Triton of the Sea, as well as on www.the-only-living-boy.com

- Shawn Aldridge–Portland, OR based writer/letterer. Current work includes Vic Boone and GoGetters (MonkeyBrain Comics).

- Scott O. Brown, is a Harvey Award winning comics creator from Mobile, AL. His most recent work has appeared in Heavy Metal Magazine and Off Registration.

- Marc Bryant is probably best known as the co-creator of Shangri-La from Image Comics and the constant collaborator of the artist Mal Jones.

- Thacher Cleveland is currently self-publishing the Winston & Churchill paranormal private investigator short story series, working on several comic projects, and is one of the hosts of the Super-Fly Comics & Games podcast. (okay, now enough about me)

- Jonathan Clode is a writer from Wales who co-edited the WWI anthology To End All Wars.

- Mal Jones is an Alexandria, VA based illustrator and designer. Recently he appeared with Marc Bryant in Off-Registration #4, available now for free!

- A veteran writer and narrative designer for both Ubisoft and Microsoft, Charles Webb now contributes to Nerdist and is the managing editor for FreakSugar.com.

- Kathryn Frizzell has worked on Absentee by Inverse Press and The Kill Joy Club by Icarus Wing Productions.

- John Audrey Portilla is a Colombian comic book artist. He has worked as an illustrator designing characters and developing illustrated children’s material for Colombian publishers, also has worked for Heroic Tendencies Studios and for MTG Publishing from Spain.

- Amberin Huq is a freelance illustrator who lives and works in London U.K, she regularly illustrates for Stew magazine and has most recently created work for the children’s theatre production ‘When Spring Comes’.

- Ricky-Marcel Pitcher is a London based comics writer, currently working on his martial arts-horror-adventure epic ‘Zombies Hate Kung Fu’, check out www.VeryGraphicNovels.com for more info.

More information about writer Lori Lapomardo and artist Russell Hossain will be coming shortly.

If you like fantasy, dragons, all ages comics, fun, true love, space, ice, math, fantastic beasts, conspiracies, invasions, anthologies, small press stuff or things that are just plain great please consider backing this Kickstarter! All of the stories have been completed and Bronco Ink has done some great stuff with their previous collections (including Monstrology, assembled and co-edited with Rachel Deering, which I also have a story in *cheap plug*)

So yeah. Help us bring you better, awesome comics!

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07 2014

C2E2 2014: Selling Books Like a Big Boy

Another year, and another C2E2 in the books. It’s probably the biggest show I’ve gone to regularly (having attended it since its first show) and after a couple of years of being there in a press capacity with Panels on Pages, this year I was back selling stuff at the Super-Fly Comics booth. In addition to putting on my comic retailer’s hat once again and having to call my old business partner Tony Barry “boss” (and we ended up dubbing him Super-Fly Tyrion Lannister since he’s had such a great character arc this past decade or so I’ve known him) I was also finally able to have a forum where I could sell the comp copies of the horror anthology MONSTROLOGY that my first published comic story is in.

I went in with pretty high hopes but an undercurrent of worry. Having moved recently my money game was not exactly “on point” (as the kids say) and since I was staying at the hotel with the crew to be close to work I knew I was going to have a fair amount of expenses. If the books didn’t sell…well, there’d be some questions that needed to be asked. Like, “can I pay rent with comics?” or “How healthy is it to eat a graphic novel?” and “Is a hardcover more nutritious than a paperback?” Alright, things weren’t that bad but it still weighed heavily on my mind. I didn’t have an artist alley table, just a spot in a booth in with the other comic shops and the knowledge that I also had to work to sell Super-Fly’s products too.

Thankfully, everything went very well. Of the twenty copies I had I sold 18 of them, some to friends but more to strangers. It was kind of wild to put a thing that I helped make into someone else’s hands and have them go “Yes, I want to use my money for this good as opposed to other goods and/or services.” There was even a little kid, maybe ten or so at the most, who bought a copy with his Dad on Sunday, saying that he loved everything monsters and wanted to make that the thing he got that day. That was kind of a great feeling although hopefully they don’t read it, become horrified and then sue me. What am I talking about, I’ve never sold anything to any kid ever.

Given convention economics (hooray for nearly $4 bottles of Dasani water!) I ended up pretty much breaking even with everything but the experience of selling and talking to people completely obliterated the “Oh man if I sell them all I’ll make X amount of monies and make it rain all over McCormick place!” It’s been a long time coming but I can say “Hey, I’ve hand sold something I made” and I know that it’s not going to be the last time. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m thankfully for everyone who picked the book up. I did sell copies to a couple of stores, like Super-Fly Comics & Games (naturally) and First Aid Comics here in Chicago’s Hyde Park. It’s a small start and I know tons of other comic people do it all the time but I’m still basking in its “new to me” feeling.

Other than that I didn’t get to see a whole bunch more of the show. I went to two panels about making comics, one about pitching to editors and another about how to use Kickstarter to fund your comic and both had a lot of good information that also got me feeling like thing things are very attainable. I even tracked down a couple of panelists (which sounds super creepy) and talked to them in Artist’s Alley further about stuff and they were very encouraging.

All told this was a great year for me. In all the chaos of apartment hunting and moving that was late March until…now, I guess, there’s been so much going on that even though I’ve been able to keep up with writing I haven’t had much of a chance to do something with it or talk about it much. My girlfriend and I are still unpacking boxes and getting acclimated to new schedules but as things calm down taking all of this stuff to the next level is in the forefront of my mind. C2E2 has always had a special place in my heart, but now it’s that much better.

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04 2014

Moving, Super-Fly Podcasts & C2E2

What with the apartment hunting and my work schedule being odd I’ve been kind of off my game a bit lately when it comes to the internets. So here’s info on the last two episodes of the Super-Fly Podcast…

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The Super-Fly Podcast Episode 53

This week, Tony and Jared are running the show. They talk up Hellboy Day, Tony making a fireman tap out, tourist time starting up in town and whether or not Ewoks were cool or not. Maybe it’s a drunkcast, Maybe it’s the Super-Fly Podcast.

The Super-Fly Podcast: It’s hard out here for a comic retailer.

Closing music: Phon.o – Moonwalk

The Super-Fly Podcast Episode 54

This week is the monthly Previews Preview show, where we talk about the good, bad and weird in this month’s Diamond Preview catalog. On top of all that, we talk how to make death a real meaningful thing in comics again, Tony fights the good fight against enemies real and imagined, Travis doesn’t know how to buy alcohol and almost kills Tad and Tony with revelations. Everybody stay away from my ass, it’s the Super-Fly Podcast.

The Super-Fly Podcast: That Ganondorf statue looks like Kanye.

Closing music: Aphex Twin – Ptolemy

Got a question you want answered by Super-Fly? Send us an email at SuperFlyComics@gmail.com Talking about us on Twitter? Use the official show hashtag #SuperFlyPodcast. Want to join the conversation? Check out the official Super-Fly Podcast thread on the forums

Follow the store on twitter @superflycomics and visit us at superflycomics.com. Listeners of the show get 20% off their purchases at the store, in person or via mail order.

Subscribe to the Super-Fly Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! Click the link and leave us an awesome review, won’t you?

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In other non-podcast news the apartment hunt is finally over and Gwyn and I will be moving on the 19th to Rogers Park. So I’m probably not going to be on the show that week. BUT the following weekend is C2E2 and we’ve got some big plans for that weekend! Are you going to C2E2? You’ll be able to find me and the Super-Fly crew at the Super-Fly booth and if you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to be a part of Super-Fly Podcast history. Details soon! 

But yeah, things are still crazy, still hectic but all in the best ways. Apartment hunting is the worst kind of way to basically put your entire life on trial. The amount of hoop jumping you have to go through when your credit is shitty is kind of amazing. You’d think after being broke for as long as I’ve been and having such shit credit for as long as I have that I’d get used to it, but you’d be surprised. Anyway, I’m excited to get this move done and get things back on track. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now and I feel like I’m not giving any of them my close attention. The first draft of the next Winston & Churchill story (Injuries of the Past) is done and clocks in at 19,531 words, which is a lot. It’ll need some extensive trimming but I’m generally pleased with it. I’ve got some other writing and pitch stuff to try to work out before the move goes into high gear, so I’ll need to conjure all of my reserves of will power and focus for that.

We’ll see how that goes…

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04 2014

Rusty Nail



“For all your transport, courier and shipping needs inside and out of Ten Islands, look no further than Rusty Nail Transport! We’ll get it there or die trying!*

*Crew member deaths will result in forfeiture of hazardous transport deposit and may result in additional fees

 

-From Rusty Nail Transport & Shipping Co. ads in Ten Islands NewsWire, week of 14/24/635

The ladies of  the Rusty Nail Transport & Shipping will fly anything and anyone anywhere…for price. On a world where the humans of the Ten Islands Association are stuck between the fascistic and weasel-like Verrid Empire and the reptilian fanatics of the Ghavian Brotherhood every journey could be their last. Nilah, Shannon and Tina are going to need every bit of brains, brawn and bullets to survive their latest job: tracking down a lost expedition that was in search of an artifact coveted by Verrid Sky Pirates and Ghavian Inquisitors.

Artwork from the Rusty Nail, a comic by me and artist Michelle Sciuto. I’m excited for folks to see this come to fruition. :)

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03 2014

Here’s some things

- I’ve now passed into the phase where I hate looking for apartments. The thrill of “oh maybe we’ll live here!” has passed and turned into “I guess this place is alright I’ll apply but if they give me shit about credit I’ll burn it down and salt the earth. I’ve never been evicted from anywhere and have had good landlord relations the entire time I’ve lived in Chicago.” Plus actually getting the apartment will be financially crippling for the next month and a half (move in fees! credit checks! Paying May rent in March! Bullshit!)

- I haven’t read comics in…three weeks now? I’ve been really broke and worried (see above) but also I haven’t bought my girlfriend her birthday present yet and I don’t want to spend any money on myself until I spend it on her.

- I’m not sure what’s going on with writing and comics and stories and all that. I’m still plugging away at the next Winston & Churchill story (nearly 20,000 words in the first draft, which is looooong). I should be punching up that webseries script (but I’m not) I should be writing more Rusty Nail script and formatting it for pitching (but I’m not) I should be trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the Robozoic Age (but I’m not) and I should be writing out some pitches for a company because how else am I going to make my life successful (but I’m not). Everything is work and apartment hunting. It’s eclipsed my life.

- I’m actually exercising and trying to loose a little of the spare-tire belly weight and I feel like it might kinda be working? I’m also doing a thing that reminds me of that rule of thumb where if you don’t want to tell people about it then you know that you know that you’re doing something wrong? But yeah I started taking a supplement thing that supposedly aids in weight loss and typing that out-loud makes me feel so stupid but…look, I’m just not into the whole “pregnant man” look, okay? Better to try to nip it in the bud by exercising and trying to change my diet and yes taking this stuff now than be unable to do it later. I dunno, man. I’m just running out of pants that fit, okay? I can’t even fit into the vest of my three-piece suit anymore.

- I’ve totally stumbled on the whole weekly goals thing. That makes me sad. I’m focusing a little more on my six month goals, some of which are realistic and others are…not. But it’s something. Things are moving forward. I’ve already written half the entire word count I had last year. That’s important. My relationship is strong. That’s really important. My new job is good, like really good. It’s just that things are kind of difficult and frustrating right now in some ways but that’s temporary. Forward, onward, upward, right?

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03 2014

A WOLF IN WOLF’S CLOTHING now available


The latest Winston & Churchill story, A WOLF IN WOLF’S CLOTHING, is now available for 99 cents on Smashwords. It’s the sixth installment in the series and the mid point of the twelve stories that I have planned that constitute what I guess could be called, god help me, season one of the Winston & Churchill Case files.

Those of you have followed the series will no doubt notice that at the end of the last story, (A SHADOW UPON THE SCENES, still available at better eBook retailers) it stated that this would be available in June. Obviously that didn’t happen. If you’re just hearing about the series now pretend I didn’t say anything about it.

We’re getting back on track, I promise. I’ll spare you the “stuff happens” speech because everyone has stuff and it’s always happening. What I will say is that one of the things that makes writing this series difficult sometimes is that we’re still struggling to find an audience. Sales on the individual stories have not been great, although NEVER LET GO (the first story which is still free on Amazon & Smashwords) averages a download a day.

I know I’ve got to do more outreach & marketing, but it’s often pretty time consuming and fairly intimidating. The internet is big, y’know? Now subtract the people that read things digitally and then subtract the people that would be interested in reading supernatural private investigator stories. Where do those folks hang out?

I’ve tried not to worry to much about Lexie & Henry’s “marketability.” That way lies madness. Yes, paranormal and urban fantasy stiff is big, but a lot of that tends to have a pretty strong romance component. I’m not saying there’s no room for romance in their lives, but that’s not going to be something we focus on a lot. So outside of that, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of things out there like this, with the exception of the Dresden Files. Here’s the part where I disappoint people by saying I’ve never read them and only saw a smattering of the the TV show.

Maybe the fact that I’m working in a bookstore again has gotten me thinking about this again. Either way, I need to do better to find an audience for these stories. I like them, I like their world and I’d be content to wrote about them for a very very long time. Right now I’m the only person who has a say in that, which is great. But I also want writing to be my sole source of income and I’m a long way from that.

So let’s go out there and change that, hmmmm?

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12 2013

Holiday Fiction Sales!

This holiday season I’m running some deals on the stuff that I write. For the month of December my novel, SHADOW OF THE PAST, is only 99 cents on Smashwords (which means it’s available in every eBook format there is).

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Mark Watson thought high school was hell enough as it was, but when he starts seeing visions of a young boy from the 50’s that was kidnapped and forced to watch a series of grisly murders, he’ll find out that the supernatural force behind those killings has plans to show him that there are worse hells than bullies and gym class.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to him. Everything has always been against Mark. He’s poor, unpopular, orphaned to an uncaring uncle and with zero prospects for the future. It seemed like that was going to change when he literally runs into Christine Baker, a new girl at school who doesn’t know anything about Mark’s embarrassing past and begins showing interest in him. He’s falling in love for the first time, his bullying nemesis at school is out for blood, and his best friend is eying his new girlfriend and the few loved ones he has are being picked off by a supernatural force of darkness and fire. There’s no peace anywhere he turns, and that looks to be exactly where the resurrected killer wants him: broken, alone, and facing his end in the house that saw the deaths of four children and still holds a terrible evil waiting to be reborn. Cover by Zane Reichert.

You can read a sample of SHADOW OF THE PAST and you can buy it for $2.99 on Smashwords.com or Amazon

Through December 16th the first collection of the paranormal private investigator series I write, the Winston & Churchill case files, is 99 cents on Amazon. The first story, NEVER LET GO, is always free on Smashwords and Amazon and the stories themselves are normally 99 cents and come out about once a month, with a new story about to be released (in the next week or so).

Lexie Winston & Henry Churchill are private investigators who specialize in paranormal and occult phenomenon. From people that think they or their loved ones are the victims of black magic to finding missing people that have had a run-ins with all manner of supernatural creatures to exorcisms to mystical artifact retrieval and disposal. This pair of mismatched detectives is ready to face anything the secret world of the supernatural can throw at them…for a price. Even if it’s their souls.

NEVER LET GO (Winston & Churchill #1) When Lexie and Henry are contacted by a man who’s worried about his wife after the loss of their son, they realize some people will go to any lengths to be reunited with the ones they love. Beyond murder, beyond sanity and into the realm of pure evil. Cover by Jason Knize of The 11th Hour. Available for free on AmazonSmashwords and Goodreads. Rate it on Goodreads.

A LOVE SUPREME (Winston & Churchill #2) A young woman’s father hires the two private investigators after his daughter goes missing, last seen in an underground nightclub dazed and drugged out of her mind. To get her back they’re going to have to shoot, kick, stab and magic their way past a small army of thugs and their boss, a man with blood red eyes, razor white teeth and a voice that can make anyone do anything he wants. Cover by Jason Knize of The 11th Hour. Available for 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords Rate it on Goodreads

HEART OF SUFFERING (Winston & Churchill #3) When a young woman is stalked by her ex-boyfriend who’s taken to magic as the means for revenge over a heart break, Lexie Winston & Henry Churchill have to divide and conquer against two threats that jeopardize not only their lives but their souls as they face demons, danger and desperation. Available for 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords. Rate it on Goodreads

AN EQUAL SHARING OF MISERIES (Winston & Churchill #4) In the aftermath of a botched immigration raid, a supernatural force that preys on the living is released. Lexie Winston & Henry Churchill must figure out what it is with the help of a grief-stricken ICE agent out for revenge. Can they save an man’s life from being devoured while protecting an innocent victim while facing the doubts and lack of trust creeping into their partnership? Cover by Jason Knize of The 11th Hour. Available for 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords

Any help spreading the word about these sales would be great. It’s been kind of challenging lately finding new avenues to promote my work and I’m trying not to send the same messages to the same people over and over again. If you have read any of the stuff above please consider leaving a nice review so that others may be inclined to check them out if they stumble across them. Ideally I don’t want folks just stumbling across them but seeking them out, so if you know someone that likes horror and supernatural adventure fiction then please consider pointing them my way. If there’s something about them that you don’t like or don’t think works, feel free to send me a message. I’d love to hear any constructive criticism you’ve got. If there’s something I can change, the beauty of digital is that it’s easy to do so!

Running sales on creator owned, self-published stuff is tricky since you’re trying to get new folks in the mix and generally there isn’t that much of a leap from 99 cents to $2.99 but every little bit helps. Getting reviews from book bloggers is nice but generally they’re quite backed up and take several months to get the word out there. That’s fine and I’m willing to play the long game for these, but finding bloggers that fit my particular niches can tend to be a little rough. People who’ve read SHADOW OF THE PAST often comment to me that it’d make good young-adult horror…if it wasn’t as gory or violent. I get that (and also the criticism that Mark is a bit hard on himself. I wonder where he gets that from?) but that’s a big part of the story for me. Those could be toned down, but then again I’ve read (and still do) plenty of things about teenagers as an adult and read more than my share of Stephen King when I was a teenager.

With the Winston & Churchill series I wanted to try my hand at a serial and while the individual stories, for the most part, stand alone they are all part of a larger narrative. I’ve been doing the smaller collections as a way to bundle up stuff in one quick and easy to buy package (and at a discount once the second collection comes out), but I think when I’m done with this first years worth of stories I’ll work on the novel length ideas I’ve got for them. I’ve been trying to reign myself in word-count wise on these (the first draft of the latest story was 15,657 words and the second was about 11,600), but with them averaging 10,000 words a month a 120,000 collection of the first years stories would be quite hefty in print. That is, of course, if we get to print. I’d like to do that for both of these things one of these days, but that opens up a whole new kettle of fish.

So yeah, rambling aside, those are some deals I’ve got going on. I need to push myself a lot more on the business aspect of writing in 2014. I’ve got some comic book stuff lined up but that tends to take quite a while to get produced. I’ll be running a Kickstarter for the ROBOZOIC AGE in January and perhaps another one for another project after that (we’ll see how things line up).

Thanks for reading. Anything you’d like to see from me or ideas you may have or help you can offer I’m happy to hear what you have to say. 

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12 2013