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Issue #023, and Happy Birthday to ME!

sparklermag-june2015Hi Sparkler Fans,

Guess what?! It’s my birthday this month! And guess who just completely coincidentally made all my birthday wishes come true? Jen Lee Quick, that’s who! Returning to Off*Beat for a little encore, this month features a brand new chapter, set in the middle of Volume 3. Cut from the original release of the series, we thought it’d be fun to bring it out now, and give all you fans a taste of this little missing interlude. It’s so great to see the old gang back together again… I couldn’t have asked for a better present. *sob*  You get a little sample this week in Sparkler Monthly Issue #023, with the rest of the chapter going live on June 15th. Hooray!

In other Jen-Quick-related news, Gatesmith is going on a hiatus for a bit so that Jen can return to drawing Witch’s Quarry–we’ll be updating with new pages starting in August, so from now until then we’ll be blitzing through the chapters that were previously posted on Inkblazers and SmackJeeves, getting all you Sparkler readers caught up and ready for the latest and greatest! There’s lots of excitement in store, starting with a drakkun fight in Chapter 4! It’s awesome to see Vee in action doing knight-ly things…

And speaking of knights, things get a little rough for poor Wilfrid in Knights-Errant this month. Ouch…  Plus, the modeling competition reaches its final stage in Orange Junk, all hell breaks loose in Tokyo Demons, and the healing begins and gets very interrupted in Skyglass! Not to mention our Membership Exclusive of the month is a Sparkler School from Lianne, author and English-adaptation-expert extraordinaire about writing dialogue. You don’t want to miss it!

<3

The Sparkler Team



May the Fourth (er…Fifth…) Be With You!

(I’m not just a manga nerd! I’m an all-around nerd! :-D )

Ah, I’m so excited about our May issue!! After folding the first 40 pages of Jennifer Doyle’s amazing political drama Knights-Errant into the magazine last month, we finally get to update with new pages!! I’m super psyched to be working with Jen, and even more psyched to bring you all the next phase of this fantastic story. And in honor of the new start, this month’s Member Exclusive is a behind-the-scenes podcast chat with me (and Becca) and Jen—listen in as we basically shoot the breeze for an hour, revealing both my internet lurker tendencies, and Jen and my respective overly-educated liberal arts backgrounds! Yesss…

But that’s not all we’ve got on the comics front. “For Peace” wraps up its mini-series run this month, with a lovely and charming conclusion (lady truckers are so sweet to each other!), and volume 1 of Windrose ends in a seriously epic, classic manga fashion! You’re going to love this amazing finish! Plus there’s a hilarious new installment of Orange Junk and the latest thrilling chapter of Skyglass.

So when do you get to read all this great stuff? Well, paid members can download either high-rez PDFs or ebook files of the full issue right away—not to mention get access to our Membership exclusive, which is the above-mentioned podcast with Jennifer Doyle. For folks reading for free, comics update either Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday and Thursday, depending on the series. So you’ll get to read everything, it’ll just take a little patience!

The flip side is that this means we still have a bunch of amazing comics continuing from last month as well—from the eerie finale of the first volume of Gatesmith to the mind-blowing magical battle of Mahou Josei Chimaka, our ongoing comics are not to be missed! And that’s not even counting Lettera and Witch’s Quarry which are still going strong!

In other news, most of the Sparkler team, plus several Sparkler creators will all be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival the weekend of May 10th and 11th—stop by, say hi, and pick up some Sparkler goodies, including print copies of The Ring of Saturn, hot off the presses! Exciting!!

In other, other news, we passed 200 members last week in our Membership Drive, but we’re still a long way from where we want to be in order to keep the company stable, let alone growing—the thing we need the most now, though, is just more awareness. So if you like what we do here, recommend us to a friend! Tell them about your favorite comic, get them to try out one of our awesome audio dramas, sit on them and read them the first chapter of one of our fabulous prose series… We hope they’ll find something that they love about Sparkler too, and then pass it along to the next future fan!

<3

The Sparkler Team



A little spring cleaning!

sparkler-april2015Hi, Sparkler fans! We hope you enjoy our delightfully orange color this month to celebrate Orange Junk‘s debut in our magazine with the all-new Chapter 8, available in this month’s issue! And welcome to the digital pages of our magazine, Heldrad. <3

We figured it was time to do a little spring cleaning around here. Hope you like the new look of the site as much as we all do! This is the last in a long string of site updates that have been in progress since the start of this year—but I think we’re finally done for a while! Whew!

While the front page obviously looks different, hopefully your overall experience continues to be as good, if not better than ever. A lot of the changes were done behind the scenes, as we streamline the back end of the site to make maintenance easier, but the most important thing is that you readers can find what you’re looking for, enjoy it, and then share it with others!

But probably the most exciting thing about this update is that we wound up with nearly 100 pages of new comics for you all to enjoy in Issue #021 this month! No wonder I’m so tired. :) Between the end of Gatesmith vol. 1, the magical finale of “Mahou Josei Chimaka,” a silly and sexy Dead Endings side story (our Membership Exclusive of the month), the hilarious new chapter of Orange Junk, plus ongoing updates of Lettera and Witch’s Quarry, we’ve got more amazing comics than you can shake a mop at! And that’s not counting the finale of Dusk in Kalevia on the light novels front, plus a new installment of The Cat Lover’s Circumstances!

The best part, too, is that now we’re in countdown mode to new pages from Knights-Errant as well! Our next issue goes up on May 4th, and in addition to our regular stellar line-up, we’ll be starting the new and ongoing serialization of Jennifer Doyle’s dark historical drama. I, for one, am super stoked!

Anyway, we’re gearing up to head into Year 3 of the magazine this summer, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your enthusiastic support. We hope that you continue to enjoy what our teams are creating, and that you help spread the word about Sparkler and the great work our artists and writers have been producing! This can’t happen without you all, and we’re eager to start Year 3 off strong!

-Lillian (head of comics)



Share the Love!

Apologies for the delayed update this month. The latest round of snow on the East Coast took out our main office (internet went down for the count…), and I actually don’t know how to launch the new issues by myself! (Lianne and co. do all the heavy lifting on the website. I’m just here to be snarky and edit comics…)

Anyway, love is definitely in the air this month, with the big news being the launch of our brand new original audio drama, The Cat-Lover’s Circumstances! Help us welcome new creative team Lamp (writer) and Aiwa (illustrator) to the Sparkler Monthly line-up! We’re super excited about this series, since it’s our first audio drama to come in over the transom as part of our pitch process, and we think it’s the perfect fit for Sparkler! Cute girls? Cute guys? Cute kitties?! Sold! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

But romance is blossoming all over the magazine in February, and not just the love between a girl and her cat—we’ve got a new chapter of Skyglass, the second installments of short comics series “For Peace” and “Mahou Josei Chimaka,” and Tokyo Demons even features a surprise wedding, of all things! Plus some psychically-influenced lovey-dovey feelings all around (except maybe for Touya, and seriously, %&* that guy).

Probably the only non-romantic thing we’re releasing this month is Jen Quick’s Gatesmith side-story/pilot chapter, “Hungry,” which is our Membership Exclusive of the month. It’s hard to have hot make-outs at an almost-witch-burning… OR IS IT?! (Too soon?)  Either way, it’s a great short story, and it will segue nicely into the next installment of Gatesmith, coming in March. Look forward to it! And that’s not the only thing you’ll be getting from Jen this month,so stay tuned! :-D

Anyway, the best Valentine you can give us is that if you like the stuff we make, tell someone else about it! Our entire archive is now free to read, so it’s easier than ever to share the love and bring a little sparkle to someone’s day with fun original series written for women by women (Mostly! We actually have our first dude creator in the line-up now. :-) ). Our goal is to spread the feels as much as possible, and you, our fans, are the best advocates for the work we’re doing. Enjoy!

<3, as always,

The Sparkler Team



A New Year and New Ideas!

Welcome to 2015–may it be a bright and prosperous one all around!

So you’ve probably already noticed some changes to our site… While I think they’re mostly subtle tweaks, there were some pretty big structural shifts happening behind the scenes, facilitated very much thanks to our hard-working support staff! (Great work, ladies.) We hope they’ve made it easier for you to navigate our site, enjoy your stay, and share our content with fellow fangirls-at-heart!

In that vein, we’re officially dropping our paid archive model. :) The plan was to do away with the paywall if we hit 750 members, but the paywall itself prevents us from reaching new readers as well, so this was our compromise to make things easier on the public. So now it’s gone, and our entire chapter archive is free to read! Which means if you’re new to the site, you can go right now and read the entirety of Off*Beat for free! Or check out our two awesome short prose stories. Or read all of Jess Chavez’s spooky Dead Endings, and maybe consider buying a print copy (coming soon!). (Or listen to Awake, but actually, that’s been free to enjoy pretty much all along. Although you can now purchase an awesome digital download of the full series, which has a ton of bonus content!)

Sparkler Membership still conveys what we hope are meaningful benefits–early access to new content (now about a month earlier than free readers), multi-format digital downloads of the current issue, Member Exclusive bonuses, and for VIP Members, we’ve sweetened the pot again: now every single Cherry Bomb story is yours for no additional charge! But most importantly, your membership dollars pretty much go straight to our creative teams, and help keep the magazine afloat! We’re proud of the fact that we pay people up front for the great content they make for us, but we can’t do it without you. In the coming months (and years!), we need to get our readership high enough to sustain this place. We want our magazine to be something you value, and while we think we’re getting there (we’re already incredibly proud of the work our creative teams have done!), your feedback is always welcome, so let us know what you’d like to see in the future to make that paid membership precious to you.

(From a personal perspective, I’m really psyched that each of our short comics series get their own series page now! You can really see how much great stuff our teams have produced in the last year! More about that in our podcast this month. ;-) )

On the content front, this month we’re bringing out new chapters of Skyglass, Dusk in Kalevia, Windrose, Gatesmith, and Tokyo Demons for you to enjoy! Plus our Sexy Couples Calendar from last month will soon be available as a series of spiffy downloadable desktop backgrounds for members. We’ll have a team podcast with our editorial staff, talking about highlights of 2014, and what we’re all looking forward to in the new year!

As always, thanks a million for your enthusiasm and support! 2014 was a really exciting year for us, and we think we’re on track to make 2015 even better!

<3

The Sparkler Team



The end of the year is upon us…

Happy Holidays from all of us at Sparkler!

Gracing our cover this month are Sadie and Robin, here by popular request for a special holiday sequel to “Before You Go,” one of our short comics series from earlier this year. They’re bringing a touch of winter romance to our pages this month, and we hope you’re all as happy to see them again as we are! ^_^

Also on the comics front is a new installment of Gatesmith, launching a new story arc in the frontier town of Edgeward, plus the first installment (after a terrific teaser in November!) of KaiJu’s new short series Mahou Josei Chimaka, a little Sparkler-style magical woman series.

On the prose side, things (FINALLY!!) take a sexy turn in Dusk in Kalevia, and both the drama and the romance ramp up in Skyglass!

Last but not least, our Member Exclusive of the month will be a new podcast, wherein the Sparkler team (and perhaps some special guests!) discuss writing love, romance and sexy stuff for a female audience. *wink* Don’t forget to send us your questions via our social media channels!

And even more important, don’t forget that throughout December you can get 10% off on everything in the Sparkler Shop, including memberships and Distro titles, using the code: HOLIDAY

Among the things that will be available this month are paperback editions of both Gauntlet and a pre-order of Tokyo Demons Volume 2, plus the complete digital edition of Awake, our first original audio drama, which includes an hour and a half of all-new bonus material. Just in time for all your holiday needs! <3

On a more business-like note, we’ve been doing a ton of site upgrades lately–if you haven’t checked us out on mobile recently, our mobile experience is sleeker than ever. You also may have noticed that Sparkler Monthly comes with the comforting green lock to make sure you know that we’re a secure site–we’re excited to announce that this change comes because you can now subscribe to the magazine directing through our site, no PayPal account required! And if you want your local store, library, or club to order any of our books (and quite a few of our Distro books), we just launched our first quarterly catalog. There will be additional changes to the site over the next month or so, so stay tuned for more details!

 



Brrr!

The days are getting shorter and it’s starting to feel like winter outside, but we’ve got plenty of sizzling stuff this month to keep you warm, first and foremost being an amazing, fiery cover by the fantastic Asia Kendrick-Horton. Things are going to heat up in Skyglass Chapter 6 this month, but Phoenix is always smokin’. *wink wonk*

Gatesmith and Dusk in Kalevia are both taking a month off, but our line-up this month is still super exciting. We’ve got a thrilling new installment of Windrose, the dramatic next section of Tokyo Demons Vol. 3, the start of the brand-new mini-series For Peace from Dinner Ditz‘s Alexis Cooke (featuring lady truckers in loooove!), plus a teaser of a new KaiJu magical-woman mini-series that will launch in our December issue: Mahou Josei Chimaka!

That’s to say nothing of DNA-RW, a dark prose short by two creators we’re happy to welcome to Sparkler: Sarah “Neila” Elkins of Here There Be Monsters, and Ru Xu of Saint for Rent! Nel has an unusual ability–she can copy DNA and rewrite her own DNA to match it. When she decides to use this shape-shifting skill to help find a serial kidnapper, she swiftly finds herself in over her(?) head.

And last but certainly not least, our Member Exclusive of the month will be a behind-the-scenes chat with the actors from Awake, our first original audio drama! Stay tuned for that in Week 3 this month. ^_^ It’s to celebrate the release of the complete Awake series set coming to the Sparkler Shop in Week 4. And speaking of the shop, we recently released a limited run of Sparkler mini sketchbooks that are available now!

BTW, if you don’t follow our Tumblr or Facebook, you might have missed that we’ve got a bunch of our comics up on Comixology now, if you like reading things that way. (I know I do! The Ring of Saturn looks particularly great on my tablet. ;-) And if you’re looking for the perfect ebook to curl up with on a gloomy day with your hot beverage of choice, Dead Endings is now up and available in a new complete edition (with a bonus story!) from our shop, or via Amazon!

In other news, Gauntlet has been sent to press, and Tokyo Demons vol. 2 isn’t far behind! We should have those available in spiffy print editions for all your holiday shopping needs before too long. <3



Back to School with Sparkler!

It’s the end of summer, much to our dismay, but you can start the school year off right with some fine original fiction from Sparkler! This month we have the second installments of our two new comics series, Gatesmith and Windrose, plus things get even messier in Kalevia, Phoenix tries her hand at something ambitious in Skyglass…and we reach the emotional finale of Awake!

Our subscriber exclusive for the month will be a podcast with Off*Beat and Gatesmith creator Jen Lee Quick—we’re recording it next weekend, so please feel free to send us your questions for Jen via social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, take your pick!) so we can include them in the podcast!

Plus, Gauntlet is now available as an ebook in our Shop—print version coming soon! And later this month, we’ll get the ebook of both Tokyo Demons: Book 2 and Dead Endings!

And thanks so much for your support so far in getting the word out about our Membership Drive! Your help here is invaluable. Keep up the great work on your end, and we’ll be able to provide you with even more great content on our end. As always, your feedback is very welcome as well–this is the second month where we’re releasing all our content at once (minus the member exclusive, which comes on the third Monday of the month), and we’re curious to see what you all think! Plus, we’ve changed our member downloads to have all comics and all prose in a single file (or one giant PDF!), and “series-so-far” downloads for individual series for VIP members. Is this something you’re all using? Are you enjoying it? Let us know what you think and how we can make your experience with Sparkler easier and ever more enjoyable!

<3 The Sparkler Monthly Team

P.S. There are many fine things about living in Southern California, but I really, really miss New England autumns…