Friday, November 29, 2013

Spire City unleashed on the world!

Today is release day! Series premiere!

You can order it in pdf, epub, or mobi straight from the publisher, or from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It's possible there will be other online bookstores added later, but those are the ones I've found so far. So put it on that new Nook you got for cheap or read it on your phone while you wait in line for some crazy deal. But no need to brawl to get this $.99 price.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meet Chels

Next in our series of posts about Spire City is the protagonist Chels. I see the Spire City characters as an ensemble cast in many ways. Each has his or her own reaction to being infected (or in some cases to the infections of others), and each has her or his own arc over the course of the seasons...or as long as they survive. If there's one central character, though, it's Chels. Her arc is central to the story as a whole, even when others dominate a given episode.

At the beginning of the first season, Chels is a young teen orphan. Her mother immigrated to Spire City from another country, so Chels grew up among the Neshini immigrants. Whether her father was also Neshini or not, Chels never knew, though she overheard enough to suspect he wasn't. Her mother was always coy on the matter. Like many of the Neshini women, Chels's mother worked as a seamstress, worked herself to death in fact, trying to fill the never-ending orders for needlework.

The one man she's known as a sort of father figure is Derran, a spire singer. His entire life he spends chained to his spire, yet somehow her mother knew him and had become his friend. She's never quite dared to come out and ask him directly if he is her father or not.

After her mother's death, Chels could have stayed among the Neshini and been cared for, but she didn't feel like she belonged there. She'd never seen Nesh and didn't even really speak the language well. She tried to make it on her own for a while, afraid of a rumored new serum that was infecting people like her and nearly starving. After a few months, she joined up with a group of people, most of them infected with the deadly serum, who'd banded together and lived in an abandoned shop they called the Weave.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An introduction to the city

We are traveling for a few days here. (A book tour? Sure, we'll call it that, if there were any sense in doing a book tour during the week before our release date.) While I'm away I'm hoping to post a couple of things about the people and places of Spire City.

The city itself is the place to begin. As far as most people believe, Spire City takes its name from its architecture, with a spire towering over every few blocks. True as far as it goes, but the spires themselves were inspired by a natural formation that predates the first people to settle here. On the north side of the river, five towers of stone and metal ore rise even over the human-built spires, like the fingers of some vast subterranean being.

Spire City is a city of steam-powered wonders. Steamships fill the harbor, and clockwork factories construct the city's goods. In the streets, steam cars vie with the traditional carriages, pulled by teams of giant beetles. In the skies, winged beetles pull taxis in and out among the spires.

These wonders are built on darker secrets. Factory work destroys many lives, not least the children forced to work among the pipes and presses. Immigrants from the countryside and other lands find that the industrial promise of the city doesn't hold true for them. Trained singers are chained to the peaks of the spires, forced to live above the city and sing all day long. Their voices guide the beetle teams. And the newest threat is the one of infection, a deadly serum invented by a scientist in the city that turns those infected with it into animals.

This is the nature of the city in which Chels and he rest of our cast of characters struggle to survive. Next time I will introduce Chels herself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cover art for Darkside Codex novella too!

In all the focus on Spire City, it's easy to lose track of the upcoming release of the novella I wrote for the Darkside Codex shared world, "The Electro-Addictive Moth Flame." But that's coming out in just over a month as well, and now we have cover art:

Looks great, in my admittedly biased opinion. I'm working through the edits on this right now, and looking forward to it coming out on December 20.

Spire City blurb

We are getting ever closer to the release of episode 1. Episodes 1 and 2 are completely ready with cover art and blurbs and all that, and episode 3 should be finalized fairly soon. There is one scheduling change. We had originally planned to release an episode every 3 weeks, but Musa had so many things scheduled for December 20th that we bumped up the release date for episode 2 to December 13. So the wait between episodes 1 and 2 won't be quite as long. After that, we'll return to the every-three-week schedule we'd been planning on.

I'm hoping over the next week or so to get some more posts up about the characters and about Spire City itself. For now, here's the blurb for the full season:

Spire City is home to mighty machines of steam power and clockwork, and giant beetles pull picturesque carriages over cobbled streets, but there is a darker secret behind these wonders. A deadly infection, created by a mad scientist, is spreading through the city, targeting the poor and powerless, turning them slowly into animals. A group of those infected by the serum join together to survive, to trick the wealthy out of their money, and to fight back.

And specific to episode 1, "A New Infection":

Chels is an immigrant girl who has found a home among the infected, though she is still healthy. She watches new beetles arrive by train and does her part to help the band find food and allies within the city. Infection, though, is always a danger...for her and every one who chooses to help.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cover art!

Our cover art has been finalized, and here it is:

Figuring out where to put all the info--season title, episode title, etc.--made for a lot of back and forth. We've thrown around both using the same exact art and using subtle shifts in the art over the course of the season, so I'm not sure which direction we'll be going with that, but regardless it will all maintain a similar feel throughout.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finessing the pilot episode

By which I mean, we've been working on the edits for the first episode of Spire City, Infected. The first few episodes already, actually. The plan is to stay at least a full month ahead on the final edits, and we're working on pace to stay well ahead of that target for now. The process is going great--I'm thrilled with the suggestions and edits I'm getting to really make these episodes shine (in their grungy, Victorian-era street-orphan way). (Note to self: grungy, Victorian-era street-orphan [whatever] is a great phrase I ought to use more often.) The pilot episode will pack its punch in a much more polished and immersive way.

On a tangent of interest only to some of you...but for the record, when switching between Open Office (which I use) and Microsoft Office (which the various editors at Musa have been using), .rtf formats aren't ideal. They work fine with track changes, but Open Office apparently doesn't play nicely with comments in .rtf files. But as long as we save our documents in .doc format, then we're good to go. So if collaborating with others is why you've hesitated to dump Microsoft Office or other program suites you have to buy, here's my plug for switching to open source Open Office.

Of more interest, we have cover art! Not finalized, so I can't share it here quite yet. Soon, though, we should be able to reveal the cover for Spire City, Infected; Season one; episode 1: "A New Infection." It's getting close, folks!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

"The Immigrant Looks Back" in Songs of Eretz

Part of having a poem in this zine is writing up a bit about the poem itself, so I won't add any more about it here. But go check out the third issue of Songs of Eretz for my poem and a bunch of others.