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. 

12

12 2013

Getting Down to Business

I’ve been chugging along on a lot of different things lately. Some might say too many things and those people I’d say…well, I’d say you were probably right. Between the vagaries of the personal life and my day job I’ve been trying to get ready for the Robozoic Age Kickstarter, work on a pitch for Rusty Nail, finish the next Winston & Churchill story and start poking at something new to pitch as well. It’s kind of nuts but that’s just how I roll I guess. It’s not entirely fun mind you, bouncing back and forth from task to task but that’s just sort of how my brain works at this point and I think I’m better off not fighting it and just going with the flow of what’s working and what isn’t.

To that end, first first draft of the next Winston & Churchill story (A WOLF IN WOLF’S CLOTHING) is done and I’ll hopefully finish editing it over the course of the next week. This one kind of got away from me and is the longest W&C story to date at the moment sitting at a whopping 15,000 words. There’s some stuff I can trim from that but that’s a bunch. I try to shoot for them being 10,000 at the most but those that know me know that I tend to get a little…verbose. I think with some judicious hacking I can get it down a bit but it may still end up sitting at the top of the “wordy” pile. I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about the Winston & Churchill stories lately and how to get them in front of more people and what the “end game” for that is, plus trying to figure out if they’re going to be in print and if so how and all that jazz. It’s vexing.

The Rusty Nail pitch is mostly done and off to Michelle to see what she thinks. Sending stuff to artists is often a special kind of anxiety because no matter what they say initially there’s always that fear that at some point they’ll read something of yours and go “Wait, what?” and then that’ll be the end of it.

As for the Robozoic Age Kickstarter I’m still tweaking some stuff, getting quotes from places, waiting on artwork and trying to get folks lined up to talk about it when it comes out. I can assure you there’s something completely and totally terrifying about trying to do this Kickstarter and get things as funded as possible. We’re asking for a very modest amount ($1,700 is the goal, but $6,500 will fund the all 6 issues) so I’m not too worried…but at the same time I’m stressed out of my mind about it. I’m trying to cover all my bases and make sure every little bit is accounted for but there have been plenty of stories about folks letting stuff slip through the cracks. It’s nuts, but there you go. We’ve already been pushed back a little bit, but we’re getting close now.

To that end, here’s a preview of Tony and I’s labors: the first seven pages of Robozoic Age. Enjoy!

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03

11 2013

Not the smartest smart in the smart (but hey here’s some pretty art)

Never let it be said that I’m very smart.

I like to think I am, and sometimes I actually make good on it, but a lot of the time I find myself fumbling about going “Oh man, that wasn’t such a very good idea, was it?” I’ve been trying to cut down on that lately, but I’ve found that when it comes to writing I’m not the brightest bulb there is. I’m not talking about the actual writing itself (although I hope I’m not) but how I actually go about it. For those that have been paying attention, you know that I’ve got a comic miniseries called THE ROBOZOIC AGE that’ll be published shortly by Alterna Comics and I’ve been dolling out preview art from new artist Tony Dennison. In fact, let’s do some more of that.

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Here’s the main cast of characters that appear in the first issue. It’s a motley crew to be sure but I’m sure you’ll come to love them as I do. However, that’s not what I’m talking about when I say I’m not that smart. Sure, I’ve got THE ROBOZOIC AGE going on and getting ready to be (hopefully) fully funded via Kickstarter, but in the meantime I’ve been plugging away on another project. It’s nowhere near as complete as Robozoic but it’s somethign that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In a moment of sheer guts (and I have so few of those) I emailed an artist who’s work I’ve enjoyed immensely in places like Tumblr and Project Rooftop and asked if she was available for commissions and sequential work. We emailed back and forth a couple of times and I laid out an idea that had been percolating in my head for a while and she seemed very receptive to it. When I sent her some character notes she sent me back some amazing work which propelled me to write the first chunk of the story while I was visiting my folks this past July.

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So here’s Nilah, by artist Michelle Sciuto. Be sure to visit her website and follow her on tumblr so that you can say “I knew her when.” Nilah is one of the main characters in RUSTY NAIL, which will be coming t you folks in mid to late 2014. Here’s what I had to say about RUSTY NAIL on tumblr:

Here’s the first look at a character from the comic “Rusty Nail” that Michelle and I are working on together for release in 2014. This 72-page(ish) adventure/SF series is kind of a Indiana Jones meets Tale Spin premise, with sky-pirates, sea planes, hidden ruins, airships, ancient robots and other awesome kinds of daring-do. It should be a lot of fun and I’m very glad that Michelle wanted to be a part of it. She’s a fantastic artist and she absolutely nailed (some pun intended) Nilah’s look from my first barrage of character descriptions. I can’t wait to show you folks more.

2014 is going to be a good year for comics. :)

I stand by what I said. So yeah, my whole “I’m not smart” thing comes from me dipping my toes into a third comic project that’ll see the light of day in 2014, come hell or high water.

Wait, did I say “third” project? Didn’t I only talk about two of them. Yeah.

How about that. ;)

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09 2013