I had a great time at Soda City Comic Con, as always! My booth may have been at the best location yet - lunch service never could find us but everyone else did!
For the first time, everyone really saw and noticed my Hatchable Dragon Eggs and several people bought kits with coin jars so their new little dragons could have a lovely hoard. Those are going to be collectible, because I can't keep casting resin lids like I've been doing. That's just too much time to spend on lids when I could be making more dragons. Pop is working on a solution for better lids for me.
I have a pegboard now - we happened to go by a BI-LO that was going out of business and got a terrific deal on it. Now I don't have to worry nearly so much about table space. I've been experimenting with packaging and making backer cards, so with the help of a hole punch, I can get most things hung up nicely. Not only that, but with the magazine rack attached to the bottom, I can display and sell comics! I bought a big stack of Alterna Comics' all-ages and young adult comics to fill it. I sold out of Lilith Dark, that was a fun series.
I finally made those nice new aviator hats I've been planning forever! They are brown faux-leather vinyl with snap-in removable faux sheepskin liners, and pockets! The larger size I made already sold, so I'd better make a couple more like it.
I got to meet most of the fabulous Amazing Age team - their comic is one of Alterna's biggest series, and I had their comic series on the rack too.
I like Alterna's newsprint idea and the tireless efforts of the owner, Peter Simeti, who pushes relentlessly to get his comics into more stores and who thanks each and every person who @'s Alterna on Twitter with the news that they bought one (or more!) of Alterna's comics. So I'd love to either publish SoulBound with them or else have them help me get it printed. Like I said in a previous post, I don't care what kind of paper my stories are on - it's getting to readers that's important! And these comics can be printed so cheap, they retail for only $1.50!
And that reminds me about the news regarding that... but that's another post.
This has been an incredible year! I've been crazy busy and the Bloggery has been neglected. On the upside, there is a lot to write about!
Way, way, way back in the day, I called my blog From Slush to Pulp because I was submitting stories to the “slush pile” and hoping to get published, and “pulp” is what the old sci-fi/fantasy/adventure/weird stories were called because they were printed on cheap paper and churned out for thousands of eager readers. Well, I didn't care what kind of paper my stories made it to! The story is the important part, and the readers are what matters!
I brought back my blog title because I still feel that way. I'd quit using it in the first place because I felt awful about not trying to get my stories out anymore. There was a long period of time when I lost hope and life was just too complicated to ever have time to sit down and write fun stories just for myself.
Every now and then, I'd come across a magazine or an anthology that sounded interesting and like my stories would fit in there, and I'd write and polish and submit. And I got some very nice rejections in response. Several asked me to keep submitting to them, but I was writing so rarely that I hardly ever did.
I was not very nice to myself in those days. I was taking care of my family, but not myself. I let myself get anxious and worked up over every little detail both in my control and out of it. I had awful brain fog and was easily distracted. I couldn't get in the zone to save my life.
Gradually, I worked my way out of it. A big part of that was getting published in the Paragons anthology by Silver Empire Press. I'd been returning to Pen and Kail's story in my mind so often, they were like friends. It was such a thrill to see more people get to meet them that I asked the publisher if they were interested in the rest of their story. And they said yes, send it in when it's ready!
Suddenly, my writing was not a selfish thing that I did only for myself that took away from every little thing that I “ought” to be doing (that I worried I was failing at and was the very opposite of fun). My writing was wanted somewhere, even a tenuous, tiny bit. And I had just promised these people I'd have a novel, or nearly a novel, ready by spring. My little story about the lives of two people trying to overcome horrible childhood circumstances to become heroes, whether it was likely or not, had at least one reader who believed in it and wanted more.
It was like a switch flipped and channeled my nervous energy into something productive, and more importantly, fun. I was worried it wouldn't be enough to really be a whole novel because in the past, I edited as I wrote and pared things down to nearly nothing. But now, getting the thing finished was more important than making it realistic. I went for reasonably plausible and occasionally outrageously crazy instead, which is perfect for a superhero novel anyway. Any idea I had while writing that made me laugh got in. Any idea that made me cry – yes, there really were some scenes that I cried for – got in. Whatever made my heart pound got in. I had no time to worry about hypothetical other people maybe thinking a piece of my story – my heart – was stupid. The rest of the writing was just flow and making sure it made sense as it went.
There was a lot more there than I first thought in my story. So much that I had to break it in the middle and write an ending that I hadn't planned on being the ending, just so I could end on a note that resolved the first page's problem. There's a whole other book or two to go before Pen and Kail are done!
I finished book one and sent it on, I think, the last day of spring. Or at least close. I hope so, so that I technically kept my promise!
I went on a lot of long, argumentative walks with myself during the wait to hear back. I told myself that I'd given it an honest shot and that it was a solid story, not perfect, but once the rejection came back I could use my savings to hire an editor and try self-publishing it. I designed a whole backup plan, picked out my first and second choice freelance editors, knew what self-pub company I would go with, finished drawing my cover art and got started on the colors.
And then, Silver Empire sent me an email saying they liked my story but... they had a very big superhero novel project called Heroes Unleashed they were working on that they wanted my story for, and since that wasn't the traditional standalone novel deal, they wanted to know if I was interested in that.
Now listen. I am essentially nobody, due to my rare story subs, and at the time I was actually getting more paying gigs as an artist. I'm far below anybody's radar. And they want me to join their biggest project, with the most push they can get behind it, to launch a whole series, alongside their best, better known authors who will also be launching series and cross-promoting mine too and eventually working together to do crossovers.
Oh and by the way, my story was practically complete and ready to go, nice work, just need to tidy up the pacing in the last half and bring in a bit more foreshadowing early on (side effect of just going with fun stuff as it occurred to me), maybe a couple more things to help continuity in the universe. It should be next in the queue after the initial set of series is launched.
Are you kidding me. I thought I'd sent in a solid story, yes, but SO MUCH was in it that was just what I personally had fun with. Maybe my sense of “fun” wasn't weird and defective. Maybe it was worth something. I'd been trying to make myself believe that for awhile, but now that I really acted like I believed it and actually put it in the story, things happened.
During those long walks arguing with myself, I'd already worked through how sad I'd be if my novel was rejected by my first choice publisher. I'd resigned myself to a long and expensive slog of figuring out what I'd missed in my edits and how to get my book self-published and promoting it all by myself. And now I don't even need that plan because the first plan had come through and it was even better than I'd thought? Of course I was interested! Yes!!! It's like my series will have cousins to play with!
Here is the Kickstarter link for the first set of series getting launched - http://kck.st/2weqnbH
My characters have a cameo in the first book, Heroes Fall by Morgon Newquist!
I'm so excited to see everyone involved in this project succeed. We are going to bring a massive new universe of incredible heroes to read. Best of all, this is not a depressing anti-hero project. Superhero stories are where the good guys struggle but in the end, they win. That's hope. We all need that.
Hi everybody! The biggest, most exciting project of my life is live now – the Heroes Unleashed Kickstarter!
This is a massive universe of superhero stories, told as a collection of interconnected novel series from different authors following their own characters in the same world. Cameos and crossovers will abound! Silver Empire Press is planning on releasing a novel a month so there will be plenty of stories for you binge readers out there. To make them all easy to find, even though each series has a different author, all the Heroes Unleashed stories will share a co-author: Thomas Plutarch, who lives in-universe and has his own superpower, the power of perfect recall.
Silver Empire is running Kickstarter campaigns to launch five series at a time. They are changing print and distribution services so that they get better quality books, but the downside is that the new place takes 90 days to pay royalties. Silver Empire wants to treat their authors well and pay them as soon as possible. So the Kickstarter acts as a preorder system so the authors can start getting paid for their books a lot sooner. This whole project has some meticulous and brilliant planning behind it!
The first series starts with Heroes Fall by Morgan Newquist, and two of my characters have a cameo in it! A young hero must solve the mystery of the tragedy that left one of the great heroes of Serenity City dead and another out of his mind and imprisoned while their former friend is the last remaining of the famous Triumvirate that once protected the city.
The next series is Gemini Warrior by J.D. Cowan. Two men are joined by the power of the Gemini Bracelets and are thrown into another world where magic exists. They must work together to save two worlds that want them both dead.
Then Hugo Award and Dragon Award nominee Kai Wai Cheah has a huge series planned, starting with Hollow City about a superhero police officer forced to turn vigilante. It's a grittier story but his writing is so good!
The Phoenix Ring by Jon Mollison follows a superspy as he takes down a massive conspiracy in this world of superheroes and mayhem.
Atlantean Archons: Apprentice by Richard Watts is about the last Knight of Atlantis, who has guarded the world against unimaginable horrors for thousands of years, and is now dying. But he and his unready apprentice have uncovered a plot to rouse a sleeping chaos god...
All this is just Phase 1 to make sure the first five series get a proper sendoff. At this point in the campaign, any pledge – even just a dollar – gets you the first chapter of almost every novel, right away. But the other pledge rewards include bundles of ebooks, signed paperbacks, and even signed special Kickstarter edition hardbacks. Check it out!
And guess what is most exciting for me personally – I get to be in Phase 2! My superhero novel series about Pen and Kail will get in a Kickstarter just like this, because my book got accepted as part of Heroes Unleashed too! I can't wait until I find out who else is in with me.
Come back tomorrow for my post on how that happened!
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.