#GivingTuesday

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There has been radio silence from me during the time Black Friday seeped into Thanksgiving, the weekend, and became a whole Black Friday Week. Now it appears Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week. (a/s/l?)

No, I haven’t been shopping. I didn’t do any special sales at my webstore on my books either. I spent way too much time promoting sales last year and did not make one sale. Instead, I used that time recovering from throwing my back out two weeks ago moving furniture, getting caught up on cleaning, and decorating for the holidays. also-availableDuring that time, I also had a breakthrough on figuring out which software to use for the layout of my third book in The Sick Rose Vampires series, The Heart is a Rebel.

I will save you the details, but I had beaucoup problems and frustration putting together my last book. There was time and energy lost with using sub par software when it could have went towards making additional and better quality illustrations. Despite lack of funds and training on the fanciest and current ways of putting together a book or the means to hire someone who can, I may have figured out a way to make this go easier. This has always been a fly by the seat of my pants operation. Without yet saying what I’m specifically using this time around, so far so good.

So, it’s “Giving Tuesday”. A day set aside to make consumerism feel better, if there is money left after Black/Cyber Week/Month/Whatever events to donate to charity. Let’s make giving a part of our lifestyle, and not just because we need to feel better about our spending habits, or because it’s the holidays. If you don’t have the moola, donate your time or skills. Last week I got to spend time with elementary school kids making art.

drawing-for-a-cureI thought today would be a good day for me to announce that I’ve been working with Drawing For A Cure, a non-profit organization of artists who contribute artwork with all sales going towards the American Cancer Society. You may have seen my Joker/Harley fan art as a coloring page. Soon you can get it as a full color print exclusively from Drawing For A Cure, with all proceeds going to a good cause. WIN

Did you do something special for #GivingTuesday? How do you make giving a part of your life the rest of the year?

DollarCon Summer Sale

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I’m still picking up the pieces after having my vehicle stolen two months ago. I haven’t scheduled any conventions or book-signings for the rest of the summer. Why would I do that if I need the money? I don’t think people realize how expensive it can be for an artist or indie author to appear at a convention. Aside from paying for table fees, we have to make sure we have enough stock on hand to actually sell. Most times I am lucky to make back my table fee let alone what it costs to bring the merchandise to you. I am usually paying more to make an appearance. When you’re an indie, that’s the way it goes, and I accept that. But I also need to be realistic right now as I continue to struggle from the financial blow I took to replace my car.

dollarconI’ve decided to try doing some fun sales online in the meantime over the rest of the summer. My first summer deal is DollarCon! I’ve marked down all 8-1/2 x 11 prints in my portfolio to $1.00!!! This will be for an undetermined limited time due to there being VERY limited quantities of prints. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I’m not planning on printing any more. All $1 print orders include a FREE copy of the 2016 #IndieBooksBeSeen catalog for you to pick out some reading material to get through the dog days of summer!

My two books published so far in The Sick Rose Vampires series are still available as a discounted bundle.

You may also help with the car replacement fund at gofundme.com or at my webstore.

I am signed up for two conventions in the fall. Monroe Comic Con and Comique Con in October. Please check my Events page for more information!

Stay tuned for more summer steals from my store, Sick Shoppe!

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#IndiePrideDay 2016

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I have been having a blast working with #IndieBooksBeSeen. It is a great network of self-published authors, and I’ve been having fun being a part of their catalog for 2016. I am so proud to be able to share this catalog at book-signings and provide it for free to my readers. It’s a beautiful catalog with a myriad of book selections.

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#IndieBooksBeSeen catalog at Cosplay Con, Taylor, Michigan on June 4th

#IndieBooksBeSeen is a movement that comes with it’s very own holiday that I am pleased to be participating in this year. It’s a day for us indie authors to take over social media, brag about our work, and offer special deals to our readers. Last year #IndiePrideDay was a top trending topic on Twitter. Let’s do it again, shall we?

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I’ve decided to do something really crazy for this special day. It’s something I’ve never done before and will only be available on July 1st. Well, here it is:

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Get #BOGO here!

Take advantage of this insane offer in the name of Indie Pride! I’m being brave and offering a DEEP discount even though I’m still trying to get a new vehicle after mine was stolen about a month ago. You may track my progress of obtaining a replacement ride and contribute here. Supporting my writing and art helps too! Please buy my stuff here! Thank you so very much!

BONUS: For #IndiePrideDay I am also offering you direct access to a SUPER-natural deal from paranormal romance author, Sharon Lipman. Check back here one week from tomorrow to see what it is. I promise, it’s good!

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The Tale of Batty Bat

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Once in a while as some of you may know, I volunteer with elementary level art classes. It’s how I can get in some kid time, have fun with art, and relax. My favorite projects to do are around Halloween (my favorite holiday). This past Halloween I made a bat out of a toilet paper roll with the little ones. This bat has come with me to all my comic book shows since then. Whether or not people noticed him at my booth, he was a permanent fixture there. His name was Batty Bat.

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Me pictured with my stolen display and Batty Bat

When my truck was stolen almost a month ago, much of my comic book convention supplies were inside: shelving, display hooks, posters, and signs. I was hesitant to confirm all of what exactly was lost with the setup. All I knew for certain was all the big stuff was gone. While I was organizing things to bring to Cosplay Con last Friday night, I got a pleasant surprise!

Batty Bat was still here! My vehicle was gone. All the fancy signage and display was gone, but my TP roll bat attached to a Popsicle stick was here! Sometimes it’s the little things.

Did you see Batty Bat in my set-up at Cosplay Con? Taylor, Michigan, June 4th

Thank you to everyone who chipped in to help make my first book signing appearance since the theft a smooth success.

You may help me replace my stolen vehicle by donating to my gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/replacerachelsride

You may also help by purchasing items, including my new book “Skin of the Night”, from my webstore.

The Sick Rose Vampires is “Bleeding Cool” on Comics Day

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This morning I woke up to the kindness of strangers and my story being featured on international comic book news and rumors website, Bleeding Cool. More people are stepping up to support me getting a replacement vehicle and convention gear. For every troll trying to thwart my plea, there is someone out there who “gets it”. Many of these people are artists, vendors, or somehow related to the comics world themselves and understand the hustle like no one else can. My donors and those offering moral support and sympathy are helping me stay strong. They are making it okay to ask for help, when doing so is so scary.

A big shout out to my Comic Book Industry Adviser, Verlon Murray, for taking my story to Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool. Verlon has been on my team since day one, from consulting me on the layout of my first book to helping me at my first book signing. He has helped me to evolve stylistically in my work, and expand my visual representation at comic book shows. He also assisted with the popular advertising “selfie” campaign used for Book I. I’m optimistic that fans will appreciate the new look of Book II! Skin of the Night has incorporated more traditional comic book elements without taking away from the prose and features some of my new and improved digital coloring techniques.

xtravacon ad smallYou may read the Bleeding Cool article here.

You may support my gofundme page here.

You may PREORDER a signed copy of my new book here.

You may come out to this place and give me a hug here:

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They Can Take My Ride But They Can’t Take My Dreams

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I’ve been throwing myself into finishing and promoting the publication of Skin of the Night as a way of coping with some bad news that I’ve been reluctant to share publicly. My vehicle was stolen last week with my convention set-up gear inside. I was also waiting to see if my truck would be found. To answer a question posted before my gofundme page was removed from the Artist Alley International group on facebook, the police are involved.

You may read the rest of what happened here.

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The photo above shows what I mean as far as convention gear. The shelving unit, sign, illuminated bat, extension chords and promo posters were taken with the truck.

I am humbly appealing to my fans, the over 600 of you following my blog, to help me get back on track. My next book-signing/comic convention appearance is in 11 days. My display might be less than impressive, but I will be there. The book is done. The bad guys will not stop me.

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Thank you everyone for your financial and moral support. Thank you for sharing my story. Thank you for being a fan.

Multiracial Media

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The Sick Rose Vampires Book I: Blood & Alcohol is currently on the front page of the new website Multiracial Media! The site focuses on the multiracial experience in all different aspects of the arts.

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I was so flattered when Sarah Ratliff, co-author of the book Being Biracial: Where Our Secret Worlds Collide, invited me to be a part of the launch. I was introduced to Sarah, Bryony Sutherland, and their book last year through Twitter. They were gracious enough to provide feedback on my first book and my representation of biracial characters in my work.

The book Being Biracial has become a learning tool to not only help me write for my characters, but enlighten me as a human being. What has left the biggest mark on me from reading the book is how mixed raced individuals within the same multicultural family can become divided when their self-identity differs more strongly toward one aspect of their race than another. For example, if there are biracial (black/white) siblings, not only could one identify more with the African-American side of their culture, prefer it, and even resent their white side, the other sibling in the same family could feel a pull in the opposite direction.  Maybe the other sibling relates more to white culture, or being biracial as their culture. There’s a lot of different dynamics there that I haven’t thought about as someone who identifies as one race.

Now throw into the mix a person being another species, say a vampire, and things can get really complicated! Without revealing any spoilers in The Sick Rose Vampires, there is no doubt Being Biracial has been essential reading for me, and it’s influence will show up in my future work.

I am pleased to be a part of Multiracial Media because being multiracial is a big part of The Sick Rose Vampires. So pleased am I in fact that you may now read Book I: Blood & Alcohol in it’s entirety for free at Multiracial Media! This is really exciting because Book II: Skin of the Night is nearing completion! I have at least one more drawing to do, a little more editing, and then it’s off to the beta-readers!

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Sick Shoppe is back!

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I survived this crazy month of two comic book conventions!

The DoctorsFirst was Comique Con, which afforded me priceless networking opportunities with other lady comic book creators and women involved in making comic books. I was also able to attend an intersectionality and diversity in comics panel which set me on a researching mission to learn more about representing biracial main characters in The Sick Rose Vampires. I will be looking forward to reporting back on that later.

cosplay judge Rich GarlandLast weekend was Taylor Town Comic Con held during a snow storm in Michigan. The turn out was a reflection of the weather, but again allowed me to make new friends and touch base with old ones. And I had an absolute blast judging the cosplay contest!

I’m happy and grateful that I made it through doing conventions and now will have more time to get back to finishing Skin of the Night.  However, the most important thing that I wanted to share with this post is that the Sick Shoppe is back up and running for the holidays! So if you weren’t able to make it out to a con or saw something there that you liked, you can now order it online! I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on everything through Cyber Monday!

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Happy Fangsgiving

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Happy Shopping!

Click to be redirected to the online store

Click to be redirected to the online store

Bird is the Word

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Ian Smith of Weekly Entertainment TV

Still by Ian Smith of Weekly Entertainment TV

I was jealous of my best friend Meghan at 4th grade recess. We would play “Batman” on the playground based off the old Adam West reruns, and she always got to be Catwoman as she supplied her own cat ears.  She graciously lent me a rubber toucan nose with an elastic string attached and said I could be Penguin. So I ended up carrying an extra straw with me from the school cafeteria and perfecting Burgess Meredith’s evil laugh/quack at the age of 9 or 10.

Meanwhile behind the umbrella factory…

Fast forward about 23 years later and I am winning third prize with my boyfriend as Lady Penguin and Catman at the Redford Comic Con Cosplay Contest! This was my second go at cosplay and my first time entering a contest for it. Why Lady Penguin? As you can see, it has nostalgia attached to it. I was able to modify my Zatanna costume and use it again. Most of both costumes were items I already owned (including a rhinestone studded cigarette holder thanks to a two decade long obsession with Audrey Hepburn).  It was also great for a gender-swapped villainous duo cosplay. And I like purple! 🙂

This was just the beginning to an epic bird-themed weekend of fun! But while we’re talking Batman ’66, allow me to mention that Franchi’s Radio Funhouse also premiered on Saturday (the same day as the con). This may be part of the reason why I was a little late (it was) because I was listening to hear how to win a complete DVD set of the Batman ’66 TV Series. It could not have been more appropriate listening to the show while I was getting ready. It’s a new radio show hosted by Christopher Franchi featuring my friend Lizmo as co-host.  They talk comics, horror, movies, collectibles and all things geeky. Please follow their radio show page on facebook!

Franchi's Radio Fun House

Franchi’s Radio Fun House

I had a legitimate reason to be late to Redford Comic Con (my winning the DVDs is TBD), and I was still able to enter the cosplay contest and pick up a nice little haul of goodies. I took a chance on one of those little Funko mystery boxes with the vinyl figure inside and ended up with this tiny surprise, foreshadowing an upcoming costume. Too cute and perfect! You’ll have to wait to find out what the costume is! Redford had a nice local, smaller-scale, affordable and FUN con. I would like to become involved with them as an exhibitor in the future.

After the con, it was off the meet legendary film actress Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie.” I attended a VIP dessert with her at Redford Theater where I ate wayyy too many sweets and got to hear her talk about her experience working with Alfred Hitchcock and all the humanitarian work she has devoted her life to. What and amazing and stunningly beautiful human-being inside and out. It was a pleasure to get to sit with her and chat about “Marnie”. She signed my two DVDs and took a picture with me. 

The VIP Dessert ticket included an 8×10 signed glossy and entry into Saturday night’s showing of “Marnie” and Friday or Sunday’s showing of “The Birds.” Tippi was present at all movies to talk about the films before they started and during intermission. I enjoyed the Sunday afternoon viewing of “The Birds”. It was the perfect way to wrap up my exciting weekend!

With all this fun going on, I’m beginning to accept the postponing of the release of Skin of the Night. With Halloween being basically my Christmas I am SO busy right now. I put my first round of orders in for items that will be available for purchase at ComiqueCon next month. This may be my only book signing for 2015 and also the debut of my line of geeky original fan art merchandise. Please come out and support me and also be a part of making history: this is the first ever comic book convention devoted to women comic book creators! I am honored to be a part of such an elite event and grateful it is so close to home. Mark your calendars! I will be posting more details and also what I’m bringing soon!

And The Winner Is…

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The stress ball contest has ended and I have my winner. Because there wouldn’t have been a contest without the help of my two participants, they both will have a reserved signed copy of Skin of the Night shipped to them upon publication.

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The giveaway was in celebration of my first published book turning one year old. The sequel will be coming out around Halloween. You may purchase book one, Blood & Alcohol, at amazon and look forward to more giveaways after book two, Skin of the Night, is published.

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Progress on Skin of the Night is happening. I’m about halfway through the number of drawings I was shooting for with this book.  The writing was completed earlier this year and will be ready to go to beta readers with drawings around mid-October. I am truly grateful that one of my fabulous editors from my last book has signed on to do this one too. Of course I picked my most favorite time of year, Halloween/fall, for the final push to get my book out. There is so much going on right now, it’s been challenging making time for everything and staying balanced and not burning out.

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In other news, there seems to be some movement on the Mini PI tank top that I ordered back on July 1st and got lost in the mail. The design was ultimately intended to be included in my product line of geeky fan art in The Sick Shoppe, the online store I created to sell The Sick Rose merchandise and am expanding to include other items featuring my original artwork and signed copies of my books. Fingers crossed that I finally get the tank one day, you know, before winter, but I’ve already decided it’s probably best to go through another company. I will be devoting more time to reopening the store after Skin of the Night comes out.

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This weekend I will be hanging out at Monroe Comic Con as Zatanna and meeting the Red Ranger and whatnot. Geeky shenanigans to ensue.