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The official start of the Summer of Sparkler!

Hey there, Sparkler fans!

One week until summer officially begins in our corner of the world, but we’re going to get a jump-start on it, since it’s a particularly exciting one for us here at the Sparkler offices. We’ve got a whopping SEVEN new chapters (all from different series!) out this month, including another new comics serial joining our line-up! The days are nice and long and school’s on break, so it’s the perfect time to dive in your favorite Sparkler stories and maybe even find something new that you love. <3 We’re going to have special deluxe-sized issues all summer, as thanks for all your support over the past year (hooray Magical How Kickstarter! In right under the wire!) and as we prepare for our big yearly Kickstarter for Sparkler Year 5. Woo!

First up, we’re psyched to have Uncanny Valley High joining the magazine! High school is weird enough, but imagine if you were part of a nearly-but-not-quite-real simulation. It’s all the expected problems of grades and romance and angst, but with glitchy software, slow render times, and a near-constant sense that something is just a little off… We’ve also got fresh installments of new favorites Sunshine Boy and Yellow Hearts, the latest chapters of the fantastic light novels Decoy and Retrofit (from creative team powerhouse Bell and Hazel) and the always clever and spooky Dead Endings 2: Dead Leads, and new chapters of old favorites Orange Junk and Knights-Errantwith Louise having a moving father-daughter moment and Oz trying to liquor up Wil, respectively. :3 Plus, we’ve got a brand-new podcast where the Sparkler team is joined by Magical How creator Eurika Yusin Gho and Zoey/Capo of podcast Gutter Queens (and video game Out of Sync) fame to talk Wonder Woman and action/adventure stories told through the Female Gaze.

But that’s not all! We have even more new releases this month: Before You Go story #3 Now and Then is now completed online and available as an ebook; the June Sparkler Survey is up, ready for your feedback and offering a cool raffle at the end; and we’ll have a booth at Connecticon this July, so come see us! And in our pursuit to make the Sparkler experience as fun and convenient as possible, we’re in the process of updating many of our systems, which includes…

A brand-new Patreon option for Sparkler membership, if it’s more convenient for you to sign up there! The Patreon route will get you the same free member issues, VIP files, and Cherry Bomb products you download through membership on our site, just delivered through their system, if you’re already on Patreon and want to grab all your stuff in one place. :D This option was added by popular demand~

Summer fun, here we come!

XOXO,

The Sparkler Staff



Spring has sprung, and the Summer of Sparkler is on the way!

Happy April, Sparkler fans!

We’re thrilled to present our latest issue, headed by the launch of a brand-new Sparkler series! The fantastic Yellow Hearts is moving from Tapastic/Tapas to join our line-up, and it’s over 50 pages long (including 6 brand-new pages) already, all of which can be downloaded in this issue. We’re sure you’re going to love it–Yellow Hearts’ captivating fantasy world, focus on found family, and marvelous character designs all jumped out at us immediately as something we wanted to have in our magazine. Please join us in welcoming the creator Keezy Young to Sparkler! \^o^/

We’ve also got Knights-Errant back after its brief hiatus, with a whopping 8 new pages in the issue, so we’re back to a twice-a-week release schedule on the site. Hooray!! It’s time for some snarky backstory and light torture–our favorite! This issue also has a Magical How? short story, funded by the success of our Sparkler Year 4 Kickstarter–did you ever wonder how Gabe found out that Booker is gay? The answer is a real hoot! Plus, we’re in love with the hilarious and sweet ending to Before You Go: Now and Then while shivering at the thrilling new chapter of Dead LeadsIt’s a fresh batch of chapters for the spring, all ready for you to enjoy!

What’s coming up on the horizon? Well, now that our submissions are complete, you can look forward to a lot of new content starting in the magazine over the next few months, in a little initiative that we’re calling The Summer of Sparkler! It was great to have so many people pitch us such exciting stuff, and we’re psyched to get to share it with all of you. Stay tuned to our social media feeds to make sure you don’t miss a thing. <3

Also, our crew will be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) next month, along with the fantastic Heldrad, creator of Orange Junk…and we may have some fun new merch along with us?! Come by to say hi, get some books signed, and pick up the latest and greatest from the Sparkler Shop!

XOXO,

The Sparkler Team



March Madness!

Where did this month go?! Between conventions and travel and Kickstarters and production delays, it’s been a crazy March here at the Sparkler Offices (in all our varied locations). But we finally have our March issue ready…just in time for April!

This month we have a little blast from the past with Team KaiJu–we’ve got a shiny new ebook of their amazing “Inhabitant of Another Planet” debuting today, so in honor of that, we’ve got a re-release of their complete first story for Sparkler, “The Ring of Saturn,” which is connected to “Inhabitant.” Both stories are part of KaiJu’s epic latest work, Novae, which runs on its own site but also makes an appearance as a special preview in this issue! (“Saturn” is a great intro to what terrific storytellers KaiJu are, and even though it’s set during the early days of World War I, several hundred years after “Inhabitant,” you may see some familiar faces… ;-D)

We’ve also got new chapters of Magical How and Orange Junk, both of which feature some tough conversations (and aaaaall the feeeeels!!), plus a sequel light novel story to our first game project, Out of Sync, continuing after the best ending of the game! We love multimedia storytelling, in case you couldn’t tell. This issue also features our first-ever Cherry Bomb (17+) story to run in Sparkler proper–some tasty Tokyo Demons/Tokyo Ghosts for you all to enjoy! If you like what you see, there’s plenty more Cherry Bomb where that came from.

A million thanks again for your support on the Tokyo Demons Kickstarter last month. It was a great success, and voting on the new Stretch Goal merch will start soon. We’ll have more details on the rewards and deliveries for the Orange Junk Kickstarter this month as well–Heldrad is taking April off to work on the new bonus comics for Vol 2-3…and will be joining us at our Dealer’s Table at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May! Come say hi!!

And last but not least, we’re finally done with our submissions review–if you haven’t heard from us, definitely give us a ping. Now we’re talking with an exciting bunch of new talent, and we’re eager to share their work with you all in upcoming months!

Onward and upward!

XOXO,

The Sparkler Team



Feel the Love

Sparkler Monthly Issue #043 (February 2017)Hello, Sparkler Fans!

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! We hope you enjoyed your little Cherry Bomb Valentine’s Treat from Kate Leth and Sarah Winifred Searle. ;-) That was one of the final pieces of our Year 3 Kickstarter, and it’s everything we hoped it would be. :-D

Overseas

For our February update, we’ve got dramatic new pages of Knights-Errant, the exciting and possibly romantic(?!) return of Orange Junk, more booze and death in Dead Endings: Book 2 which is now going under the official title Dead Leads (and has a spectacular cover as well–Nasty Women Unite!!), and a new, surprisingly angsty installment of “Before You Go” while things heat up in a big way in Decoy and Retrofit. So we get to bring you a little romance, a whole lot of drama, and some sex and monsters this time around. Hope you like it!

In other news, we’re running a Kickstarter to fund a print run of the complete Tokyo Demons series–we’re almost at our first goal after just 10 days, so let’s see how far we can go to unlock the really fun Stretch Goals we have planned! Speaking of “far,” two of our Sparkler founders are actually completing this update from Japan as they scout locations for the developing Tokyo Ghosts series (and engage in various fujoshi-related activities), and they recorded this month’s Sparkler Podcast about Kickstarter in Tokyo. We look forward to seeing how all their “research” pays off once we kick into the next big arc of the series. Exciting!!

Tokyo Demons: The Complete Series Kickstarter

In the meantime, we’re plowing through our final round of submissions review as well, so look forward to that in the near future. And as for other travel, we’re looking forward to running a booth at the first-ever BishounenCon in March! We’ve had a blast at YaoiCon for the past few years, and we can’t wait for this inaugural show of its East Coast edition. See you there?!

Come see the Sparkler booth at BishounenCon 2017!

XOXO,

The Sparkler Team



Happy Holidays!!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #041 (December 2016)Whew! Thank you, Sparkler fans, for your enthusiastic support of the Orange Junk Kickstarter, which wrapped up yesterday after meeting its goal! Hooray!! We literally couldn’t have done it without all your likes and reblogs and offers of pole-dancing fanart, and we’re ever so grateful. :-D

It’s been an exciting year here at the Sparkler offices (in all their various locations), and while I’m looking forward to saying “good riddance” to 2016 as a whole, I couldn’t be more proud of the work our amazing creators have put forth, the passion and excitement of our fans, and the many hours our staff members have given to bringing fun, emotional (and sometimes sexy!) Female Gaze content to readers and listeners worldwide. It’s a joy and a privilege to be doing what we do, and your comments, emails, and shares help keep us all motivated. We hope that the stories our creators lovingly produce bring you just as much joy!

For our final issue of the 2016 calendar year, we’ve got some terrific things lined up: the conclusion of Volume 2 of Windrose (cliffhanger, yikes!!), the start of a new chapter of Knights-Errant (backstory?!), horrifying ghost eyeballs in Dead Endings, the next literally explosive installment of Decoy and Retrofit from Always Raining Here guest stars Bell and Hazel, and squeal-worthy romantic progress in Orange JunkAnd for our podcast this month, we have /report host MK (Moonklutz) join us to discuss the Internet’s understandable obsession this winter: the figure-skating anime Yuri on Ice.

What will 2017 bring? We hope to continue to provide the best and brightest in comics, light novels, and audio dramas…and maybe more video games for our fans across the globe! (Which reminds me – those of you who pitched in our last Open Submissions period, our first round of replies has been delayed a bit, but you should receive a response in the next few weeks. Thank you for your patience as we enjoy your submissions!)

XOXO,

Lillian Diaz-Przybyl (comics editor)



Sequels, surprises, and sci-fi!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #040 (November 2016)Hello, Sparkler Fans!

Welcome to our (belated) November update. Feeling post-election blues? Self-medicate with the finest Female Gaze content, with stories from the past to stories set in the future…and a time-skip in our favorite not-so-light novel series, Tokyo Demons – as we segue into the sequel series, Tokyo Ghosts! 

Things are super busy at our various Sparkler locations this month, heading into an exciting holiday season. We’re thrilled to welcome a brand-new series to the Sparkler Distro program: Hotblood by Toril Orlesky, the fascinating comic about a centaur in the American Old West most of you already know and love. Fresh off its Kickstarter, you can now purchase the Omnibus paperback and companion art book from the Sparkler Shop! In addition, we’ve added the TJ and Amal epilogue comic “Five Years Ago and Three Thousand Miles Away” (to go with the TJ and Amal Omnibus) to the Sparkler Shop, and remember – buy $60 worth of stuff (digital and/or print) and get free USA shipping, which is a deal we won’t be able to offer for much longer. Stock up on your favorite webcomics for the holidays!

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We’ve also launched the Orange Junk Kickstarter at last! \^o^/ We’ve got MULTIPLE volumes of that series ready to be printed if we can raise the funds on Kickstarter, and Heldrad has done some fantastic merchandise bonuses (including the fan-decided keychain from October and even…a customizable sexy body pillow case)?! Get your Orange Junk fix and help us bring Volumes 2 – 4 into print, because Volume 5 is starting soon!! *shriek*

Speaking of Kickstarter, we’ve also got Kickstarters being completed, as print volumes of Knights-Errant Volume 1 will ship this month. :D (The ebook is already available!) We’ve continued to enjoy all the fabulous submissions we received earlier this fall – the biggest influx of pitches we’ve ever had. It’s incredible that we’ve got so many talented and passionate fans! The first round of replies will be coming out in November, and thank you for your patience as we make our first decisions.

Orange Junk paperback Kickstarter - running now!

In the meantime, cuddle up with some cocoa or a favorite hot beverage of choice (as long as you’re not in Los Angeles, where it’s still 85 degrees out), and check out our new issue! We’ve got a hell of a plot twist in Knights-Errant, passionate confessions (?!) in Orange Junk, attempts to grow wiser while growing older in the prequel story to Tokyo Ghosts, dark pasts and shivery secrets in Magical How, and…the first installment of Decoy and Retrofit, the terrific new BL light novel from Hazel & Bell, creators of Always Raining Here and The Prison Tower! This was a goal in our Year 4 Kickstarter, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with a team as fresh and original as Hazel & Bell. We hope you all enjoy this story as much as we do!

XOXO,

Lillian Diaz-Przybyl (comics editor)



Spooky, scary, sexy!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #039 (October 2016)Happy October, Sparkler fans!

In honor of the rapidly impending Halloween, we’ve got a spooky, sexy, scary issue for you this month! Cailen and Everett are introduced to the world of ghost whisperers in Dead Endings, Wil’s run-in with the Margrave turns personal in Knights-Errant, a sinister stranger appears in Magical How, Tara is stuck in a horrific hell-mire in Nine Circles, and in Orange Junk…someone’s moving in for a kiss?! Read the Orange Junk chapter that has the whole Sparkler staff in a shrieking frenzy! :-D Plus, man on man, look at that awesome masquerade ball cover. I love it when characters play dress-up!  oj_keychain_option1-584x543

On the topic of Orange Junk, we’re also celebrating the season by turning the site orange in its honor…and to promote its upcoming Kickstarter! We’re long overdue to get Orange Junk Volumes 2 and 3 (and maybe 4!) into print so you can line them up on your shelf in all their shojo glory, so stay tuned to hear more about that in the next few weeks. As a little taste of what’s to come, don’t miss Heldrad’s special Orange Junk merch livestream on Sunday, October 16th, where you can prompt Heldrad for the chibi of your dreams, and we’ll turn the winner into a keychain. :-D Orange Junk is also moving to five free pages per week on the site until Issue #040 comes out–to help you free readers catch up to the magazine faster–and Heldrad is even the guest of this month’s podcast! She’s a joy to talk to, so listen in for some juicy insight into making modern, Western shojo, including her ridiculous production pace!

Dead Endings paperback Goodreads Giveaway (Oct 2016)
Orange Junk mania isn’t the only exciting event we have happening this month, either. We’re also running a special Halloween Goodreads Giveaway for copies of the Dead Endings paperback right here (free to enter!), and our ongoing Tokyo Demons fanstory contest is open until October 21st, where your story can win you a prize pack and get the voice cast to perform an audio version of your entry!

These are just a few ways to thank you all for being such awesome fans. :-D We couldn’t run this place without your support.

XOXO,

-Lillian (comics editor)

P.S. We got some fantastic submissions in last month–more than 90 of them, in fact! We’re busy reviewing them, and are having a great time doing so. XD



A breath of fresh air…

Sparkler Monthly Issue #038 (September 2016)Hello, Sparkler fans!

After a steamy, sultry summer full of new issues, Kickstarters, and other craziness, I’m really looking forward to fall’s cool breezes, crisp weather, and tasty seasonal beverages! And what better way to enjoy a seasonal beverage than while reviewing a fresh and exciting pile of submissions. :-D That’s right–for the month of September, Sparkler is open for submissions in both our comics and prose departments, and we can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Along with the refreshing change of seasons, we’re looking to refresh our line-up a bit, so this is a great opportunity for those of you who are looking to publish media online and would value editorial and logistical support. ;-) (All info at http://sparklermonthly.com/about/submissions/)

See Sparkler at Yaoicon 2016!And if you’re in San Francisco this weekend, come to YaoiCon–we’ll have a Sparkler table in the Dealer’s Room, packed with our books (and Sparkler Distro books!) along with a lot of fun merch. That includes some brand-new stuff that’s not on sale yet but we have special preview copies of, ho ho~.

We’ve got another great issue for you this month! Knights-Errant is back with exciting battles and intrigue, Orange Junk hits the “budding romance” button nice and hard, Nine Circles puts the “terror” in “time-share” (shut up, I know that’s not how it works…), we get new friends (?!) and scandalous backstory in Magical How?…and to wrap it all up, we’ve got a special standalone Skyglass story that takes place after the end of the novel!

Our Sparkler Podcast this month is about visual novels, the type of video game we just released with last month’s Out of Sync. We have special guest (and Sparkler staff member!) Pachi joining our roundtable of Jill, Lianne, and Leah to discuss Out of Sync, Japanese otome games, indie visual novels (and Ren’Py), dating sims you can buy in English on your smartphone…the whole shebang. You’ll probably learn something interesting and/or hilarious from this broad discussion, whether you’re an experienced gamer or total newbie.

So go outside with your favorite reading device and enjoy the wonderful fall air while indulging in the latest and greatest from Sparkler…knowing that soon, someone like YOU could be published here as well!

Sparkler Submissions Sept 2016!

XOXO,

-Lillian Diaz-Przybyl (comics editor)



Year 4!! Video games, submissions, and finales, oh my!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #037 (August 2016, start of Year 4)Hello, Sparkler Fans!

Thanks to all your reblogs, sharing, and support, we’re primed and ready for a killer Year 4 of Sparkler Monthly! Woo hoo! On the docket we’ve got video games, new audio dramas, new series, more of the great content you’ve come to expect from us…and…we’re opening submissions again! The biggest debut of Year 4 could be YOU!

To celebrate the success of our Year 4 Kickstarter, we’re thrilled to announce that this first issue of the year…is ABSOLUTELY FREE TO DOWNLOAD! Free readers, lurkers, newbies, friends you’ve been pushing to try Sparkler – everyone can get their copy without paying a dime to see the sort of monthly delights we offer our members. And what an issue it is…

Out of Sync keychain by Romy-chan!

Issue #037 includes our very first video game with dev team Paper Star StudiosOut of Sync is a BL visual novel about two J-pop idols (in separate boy bands) who reconnect after being separated by the industry, and boy, does it get hot. So hot, in fact, that we have a “complete” version in our Cherry Bomb line that includes extended versions of the two fade-to-black love scenes, for you older fans who want to see everything. :) Also included in this issue is an exclusive 50-page booklet to go with the game, which includes Out of Sync game art, a preview of the script, and bonus art and pin-ups by head artist Cap o’Rushes! We even released a super cute keychain by team artist Romy-chan as part of this launch!

Also in this issue: the series finale of Tokyo Demons after 5+ years of serialization (get the tissues), a scream-worthy new chapter of Windrose with more shocking romantic developments, and a heartfelt chapter of Orange Junk that reveals something…that a lot of you have been hoping for more of in the pages of Sparkler. :D And our podcast of the month is with Eurika Yusin Gho, the hilarious creator of Magical How? who sits with her Sparkler editors and discusses boys in skirts and the future of the series!

Yaoicon 2016, woo!In addition, Sparkler will have a Dealer’s Booth at Yaoicon in a few weeks, and it looks like our three department heads–Lillian (comics), Lianne (prose), and Rebecca (audio)–will all be there, along with sparly piles of Sparkler books and merch. Come see us. :D

Since Year 4 has some open slots in the magazine, open submissions will start again in September (for the first time in almost 2 years), so prep your ideas! We’ll be releasing updated guidelines in the next week or two, so be sure to follow us on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, and/or Facebook) for the newest info. You’ve got until the end of September to send us your short story, comics series, and short prose pitches.

Onward and upward!

-The Sparkler Team



Happy LGBT History/Pride Month!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #035 (June 2016)Hello, Sparkler fans!

This was totally coincidental, since every month at Sparkler is at least a little bit queer, but I’m super happy that our cover for June (also known as LGBT History Month and/or Pride Month) is the two amazing women from Windrose sharing a romantic moment. Thanks for providing us with this glorious (and very timely) illustration, Studio Kosen! It was no contest in choosing what was going to get our cover spot this time around. The rest of the chapter is fabulous, too, with angsty backstory, hurt-comfort, and present-day shenanigans, so we hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

What else is on the table for this month’s issue? A horrifying and beautiful Knights-Errant bonus story (funded by the Kickstarter!) about Anton and Beppe, the final(!) fight in Tokyo Demons, awkward and awful confessions in Orange Junk, and a little coffee klatch with the new team of short-skirted and stylish magicals in Magical How! (But seriously, we need to put, like, a zillion trigger warnings on that Knights-Errant story… If only it didn’t hurt so good!)

In addition, you get a new podcast episode in which our editorial team talks about our plans for Year 4 of the magazine – and its upcoming Kickstarter. Sparkler defines itself as being a “female gaze” publication, which I feel we, the founders, often translate pretty directly into “stuff we like and want to publish” since we’re also the target audience. :-D But regardless, I take a lot of pride in having a diversity of stories in our line-up, featuring not just characters of a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds, but a variety of gender expressions and sexual orientations as well. And I’m proud that our audience has always responded not just positively, but enthusiastically to the full spectrum of stories that we present.

As we close Year 3 and look forward to Year 4, that’s a goal of ours that I’m eager to continue, and maybe even expand! Details on that will be rolling out over the next few weeks with our Year 4 Kickstarter, so stay tuned… But in the meantime, have fun with the new issue!

XOXO

-Lillian (comics editor)



May flowers and resting on our laurels (just for a minute!)

Sparkler Monthly Issue #034 (May 2016)Greetings, Sparkler friends!

Happy May! We’ve got a great issue for you, with new pages from Knights-Errant, fresh from its incredibly successful Kickstarter (a Beppe & Anton short story, foil emboss, AND an Oz and Kadeen story?! Your generosity has blessed us all!). Beyond that, things are getting “drama”-tic in Orange Junk, an above-average number of scary bees in Tokyo Demons, and the marvelous conclusion to KaiJu’s latest short, “Inhabitant of Another Planet.” Cue gross sobbing…

Our additional features for this issue are audio, and include a downloadable Sparkler Soundtrack of original music that Becca, our audio department head, has composed for our various projects over the last few years. Neat! Becca works her butt off on the audio side of the magazine, so this is an exciting way to highlight how much she’s put into that initiative, and how much we all appreciate it. Hope you all enjoy it as well!

Plus we have our latest podcast, featuring Emily Compton and Onorobo of Dusk in KaleviaThese two charmers put out a terrific supernatural spy novel with us, but they’ve also worked on other amazing projects, including Hiveswap and Starfighter: Eclipse. Hearing them talk is a real treat.

If you’re in a shopping mood, we also have two new products in the Sparkler Shop: the ebook for Lettera Volume 2 by Studio Kôsen, which is something like 40 pages(!) ahead of the free online serialization, and an especially awesome Sparkler Distro hardcover: Small Town Witch: Love & Wonder by Little Foolery! Get ’em while they’re hot. And stay tuned for the return of the Sparkler RPG: ESPU this month, with our next session streaming LIVE on May 28th!

TCAFLogo

It’s been a series of busy months for the whole Sparkler team, between day jobs and everything we do here, so we’re looking forward to sitting back a bit and celebrating some of our accomplishments once this issue is out. Most of our staff is off to TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival) this weekend, which is always a great time – so if you’re in town, we hope you stop by our table and say hello! We’ll have all our books and most of our merch there for sale. It’s like a little working vacation for our crew, but it’s a great way to recharge and get in touch with our readers to see what you’re enjoying, and what you’d like to see more of in the future. We’re all doing this because we love it, but we want to make sure you all love it, too.

XOXO

-Lillian (comics editor)



Fun, family, friends and fingers!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #033 (April 2016)

Hello hello, Sparkler friends!

Since our last update, we launched a hugely exciting Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of Volume 1 of Jennifer Doyle’s fantastic historical drama Knights-Errant, and we’ve already hit our funding goal! Woo! With three weeks left to go, we’re super close to our first stretch goal (hooray for bookmarks!), and there are even more exciting things in our plans, depending on our ongoing support from you fans. If you haven’t already pledged, it’s certainly not too late! Not only can you get a book, you can get an autograph, adorable keychains, or even a Wil/Oz body pillow! I mean, who doesn’t want to cuddle up with a couple of surly mercenaries? Check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chromaticpress/knights-errant-volume-1-by-jennifer-doyle/

Knights-Errant Vol 1 paperback on Kickstarter now!

And for our April issue, we’re diving into the second volume of Knights-Errant, with the first six pages of Chapter 4! Things are off to a *killer* start, if you’ll pardon the pun. ;-) Get ready and get set for the whole crew to go to war!!

On a lighter note, Bruce stews over whether to step into a new role as an actor/model in Orange Junk, the Gleam Team brings the intensity (and glitter!) in Magical How?, Vee’s backstory concludes as she befriends her long-lost (adorable) brother in Witch’s Quarry, and we get a special Tokyo Demons side story–a tale featuring Ayase and Nick, specially requested by loyal Sparkler fan Hanna Paquette!

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In Sparkler Podcast #16 this month, we have another creator roundtable: this time with Kate Rhodes and Jennifer Xu, the two members of comic creation team KaiJu (Mahou Josei Chimaka, Inhabitant of Another Planet, and The Ring of Saturn)! We obviously love their work here at Sparkler, and it was great to sit down with them and discuss their process, especially since collaboration is different for every creative pair. As a bonus, they also discuss their upcoming series: the epic comic Novaein the same world as Inhabitant and Ring of Saturn!

As always, our crew is running a big table and participating in panels at TCAF in early May, so if you’re in Toronto for that, stop by the Sparkler booth (usually on the second floor) and say hi! We’ll be at the table covered in sparkles.



March Madness!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #032 (March 2016)Hello hello!

It’s almost spring, and things are coming up roses here at Sparkler Headquarters. This month we’ve got a glorious new chapter of KaiJu’s historical masterpiece “Inhabitant of Another Planet,” a thrilling costume-and-intrigue addition to Windrose, the hilarious second chapter of a new school-club arc in Orange Junk, crazy timeline espionage in Tokyo Demons, plus an oblivious confession and a surprise sibling in Witch’s Quarry!

To top it off, we’ve got a new podcast this month featuring Jennifer Doyle (Knights-Errant), Lianne Sentar (Tokyo Demons), and me talking about why we love characters suffering in fiction, and our favorite stories that excel at it! Also featuring delightful teasers for future Knights-Errant and Tokyo Demons/Ghosts chapters. Just to get this out there, Doyle is a phenomenal person to do podcasts with, and what should have been an hour-long conversation ran nearly 3 hours. I don’t even know what the reasonable edit came out to be, but y’all definitely don’t want to miss this one.

But why Jennifer Doyle in particular for this podcast, aside from the fact that Knights-Errant is pretty demonstrably about making characters suffer for the greater good/i.e. reader entertainment & high-pitched shrieks? Well, we’ve got some good news about that series later this month, so just stay tuned! ;-)

Sparkler Memberships discounted for March!
The other madness of March is the resurgence of our ongoing Membership Drive! We’ve been letting it quietly simmer for a while, but it’s time to bring it back to the forefront–our goal has always been to make this magazine self-sustaining, and while we do get some revenue from site ads and books/merchandise, your membership dollars are the bulk of our income, and thus a significant pillar of our overall stability. If you like what we do here and want to see it continue…or even expand, your support is crucial to the process!

If you’ve been considering signing up for a membership, this is a great time to do so: since we’re discounting our memberships up to 20% off for the month of March! And in exchange, you’ll not only receive the satisfaction of supporting (paid) independent artists and creators, but you’ll get your pages much earlier than the free readers, downloadable issues, and bonus content.

Help us sow the seeds for the future by making a monthly contribution, and we’ll reward you with awesome comics, prose, and audio for years to come.

<3 <3 <3

-Lillian Diaz-Przybyl (comics editor)



Sweet Nothings…

Sparkler Monthly Issue #031 (Feb 2016)Happy almost-Valentine’s Day, Sparkler fans!

So the philosophy behind Sparkler has always been MAXIMUM FEELS, and since this is a month for romance, we’ve got some extra special feels for all of you! <3 <3 <3

This month we’re bringing you a fun one-shot project – originally announced during our Year 3 Kickstarter – that ought to set everyone’s hearts aflutter: it’s the Bad Chemistry Situation Audio Drama! If you’ve never heard of Drama or Situation/Talk CDs, our podcast this month will give you a terrific overview and intro, but the gist of it is you get to have a honey-voiced gentleman (or not-so-gentle-man) whisper directly into your waiting ear. In this particular scenario, you, the listener, are trying to pass your university chem class with your grumpy (but handsome!) lab partner. *swoon*

We’ve also got a new installment of Witch’s Quarry (with some blushing romantic hints of its own! Poor besotted Vee…), a new enemy and some very pastel new allies emerging in Magical How?, the start of a new arc in Orange Junk (featuring the Music Club!), and the wrap-up of Chapter 3 of Knights-Errant…with a surprising emotional twist, no less!

For those of you looking for some romantic new books to put on your bookshelf, we recently released the Mahou Josei Chimaka paperback (and adorable surprise keychain!) and the steamy Tokyo Demons Cherry Bomb Collection (also available as an ebook…that’s free for VIP members). And don’t forget the lovey-dovey team-ups we’ve been doing with other creators and publishers: you can find the TJ & Amal Complete Omnibus in the Sparkler Shop now (squee!), along with a special BOGO promotion with Fresh Romance digital magazine, where you can buy a starter bundle for Sparkler and get a starter bundle of Fresh Romance absolutely free! Perfect as a Valentine’s gift for the comic-lover in your life. And, now through February 21st, we’ve got a bunch of our sexiest, steamiest, and most feels-ful romances on sale for 20% off in the Sparkler Shop, including a new Cherry Bomb short story: this prologue to Dusk in Kalevia follows Demyan – an angelic embodiment of human fear – through a KGB mission during the lavender scare. *heavy breathing*

If you prefer Galentine’s to Valentine’s, we’ve got you covered there as well: join us for the next live session of the Sparkler RPG: ESPU on February 17th, where anyone is welcome to contribute to the game! And while you’re at it, check out the sexy official art by Angeline Mauri that was only posted a few weeks ago. <3

And who knows…there may be another surprise or two for Valentine’s Day itself, so stay tuned to sparklermonthly.com all this month for timely romantic surprises. :)

Love and Kisses,

Lillian (comics editor)



All Comics, all the Time!

Sparkler Monthly: Issue #029Happy Holidays, loyal readers, whichever winter-solstice-timed ones you may be celebrating. :-) Our present for you this month is an issue entirely jam-packed with exciting new comics content–our first all-comics issue ever! Starting with the conclusion of the Christmas arc in Orange Junk, we also have a thrilling new chapter of Windrose, adorable updates in Magical How?, supreme awkwardness in Knights-Errant, and the beginning of Veolynn’s backstory in Witch’s Quarryafter YOU voted for her in the reader’s choice poll! Our Sparkler Podcast of the month features two of our lovely prose authors discussing their work: Ellery Prime of Gauntlet and Jenn Grunigen of Skyglass. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff in there for both fans and aspiring writers, so check it out!

For those who may have missed the first round, this month we started a (hopefully) regular Sparkler RPG campaign, using an original tabletop RPG system created by the talented Rebecca, GM’ed by Lianne, and featuring Jen Lee Quick, Rebecca, and me as students at a university for people with psychic powers. Expect many shenanigans, and probably a lot of smooching and crying, if Lianne’s past campaigns are anything to go by. You can watch/listen to our character creation session here: http://sparklermonthly.com/sparkler-rpg/ And the next installment (the start of the story) will be streamed live on Saturday, December 12th, at 7:30 PM EST! Join us and contribute to the game through the chatroom!

In the spirit of the holidays, we also have a bunch of new print and ebooks for you all to enjoy…and maybe share with your loved ones! If you like what we do here at Sparkler, the best way to keep us going is to pick up some of our paperbacks (Dusk in Kalevia and Dead Endings are now in stock!!), check out our ebooks on Comixology or in our own shop, or even get some merch like our adorable keychains, so you can have Wil and Oz fight each other on your backpack.

So to further our capitalistic gains, we’re doing a 10% discount in our shop through the end of December with the coupon code HOLIDAY. Time is flying, and you don’t want to miss out!

What’s on the agenda for 2016? You’ll just have to wait and see, but I’m personally very excited for January already, since we’ll have an exciting new short comic series from the fabulous KaiJu, plus the launch of the second volume of Dead Endings, one of our premiere prose series! Have a wonderful close to 2015 in the meantime.

-Lillian, comics editor



Giving Thanks

Sparkler Monthly Issue #028 (Nov 2015)So November brings us American Thanksgiving (our Canadian contingent already celebrated this past month), and I’m definitely thankful for a lot of things this year!

I’m thankful that I get to work with such terrific people making comics–I wasn’t all that sorry to leave TOKYOPOP five years ago (I knew it was coming; see below), but I knew I’d miss the creative side of working with artists and writers on stories that I cared about, and I couldn’t be happier that Sparkler provided me the opportunity to keep doing just that. I’m thankful that we’ve seen Sparkler grow and flourish this year, adding new series and new talent, and that we succeeded in our Year 3 Kickstarter this summer! I’m thankful that fans are eager to read stories featuring diverse characters, created by people from diverse backgrounds–there are more voices in the comics world these days than ever before (and in media in general!), and while there’s still a great deal of work to be done, I think it’s only going to get better from here on out. And I’m thankful that I finally have enough time in my schedule to finish up print editions of a bunch of our titles. Whew! I’m sure you’re all ready to see those long-awaited pre-orders come to fruition this month. :-)

What sorts of things are you thankful for?

On the release side of things, this month we welcome a new series to the Sparkler line-up! The hilarious magical boys series Magical How? by Eurika Yusin Gho (eyugho) is joining the magazine, and we think you’re going to get a huge kick out of it. Thanks, Internet, for allowing us to find and work with awesome, creative people all over the globe!

We’ve also got new chapters of Orange Junk, Tokyo Demons, Knights-Errant, and the conclusion of Volume 2 of Witch’s Quarry! Which means it’s time to vote on whose backstory you’d like to see next. It’s Veolynn vs. Deia; so far the competition is pretty fierce!

And I’m on our Sparkler Podcast this month with Lianne, our prose editor/managing editor, and Lissa, our print and web designer extraordinaire, talking about our experiences working in the licensed manga industry. Speaking of things I’m grateful for, if TOKYOPOP hadn’t hired me straight out of college a decade ago, I certainly wouldn’t have had the career that I’ve enjoyed. I talk about this a bit in the podcast itself, but you never know what will lead to a big opportunity, and you never know where an opportunity will lead you in return. I’m grateful that I was open to the opportunity when it came, and I’m grateful that it worked out the way it has, even with the various bumps along the way.

Keep your eyes open and your ears peeled, folks–and I hope you, too, can be grateful about whatever good things come your way!



“Fall” in love with Sparkler!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #027 (Oct 2015)The seasons are changing, and thus the thoughts of the Sparkler staff turn to endings and beginning. We’re only in October, but it’s going to be 2016 before we know it, which means we’re busy setting up our schedule for the end of the year…and into the new year! As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we look forward to finishing up the first half of Year 3 strong, and starting off 2016 with a bang, from new prose to new comics. We’re really looking forward to it, and we hope you are as well!

But first things first! This month we welcome back Knights-Errant from a brief hiatus–if any Kickstarter backers haven’t received Jen Doyle’s amazing desktop background yet, definitely let us know so we can hook you up! It’s the perfect way to bedeck an electronic device of your choice with a little autumnal splendor. :-) And it features the hapless Anton and Beppe, so it’s appropriate for this month’s installment as well. Hee hee!

Also this month: we have the attack of the witches in Witch’s Quarry, the devastating aftermath of major plot developments in Tokyo Demons, the requisite adorableness of The Cat Lover’s Circumstances, and the start of a new holiday arc for Orange Junk! With a mix of drama, comedy, and romance (with a few doses of body horror, just for kicks…), there’s something for everyone in the latest round of Sparkler series.

Our podcast for October is a discussion of creating female characters, and what we like to see from fictional ladies in our various media of choice. It’s always a fun topic, so we hope you get a kick out of it as well! And, as per our podcast last month, we’re hoping to start our new Sparkler RPG stream in October or November, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.

Speaking of role-playing (of sorts), Lillian had a great chat with a cosplayer at YaoiCon a few weeks ago–someone who had done a Knights-Errant cosplay with a friend. We would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see more Sparkler series cosplay, especially with Halloween right around the corner, so if you do come up with something you’d like to share, tag us on your social media platform of choice (Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr) and we’ll reply/reblog/retweet with many squeals of ecstasy! :-D

<3

The Sparkler Team



Labor (Day) of Love

sparklermag-sept2015v3-forwebIt’s Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada, where our company is based, and so I wanted to celebrate by recognizing all the endless hard work and hours that our fantastic team puts in. From our web/graphics team of Lissa and Pachi who do everything from site design and coding fixes to helping put up new pages on time; to Becca, who handles pretty much all of the Sparkler Shop (on top of editing our audio dramas!!); to Leah and Cat, our amazing production and design assistants; to Jill, who gets everyone (who gets paid) paid when she’s not running the podcast or newsletter; our newest additions of Joseph and Hiveworks, who are boosting us with their incredible marketing prowess; and Lianne, who does basically everything else and then some… It’s a great crew of people we’ve assembled behind the scenes to keep Sparkler up and running, day after day, month after month, year after year. (Editor’s note: Let’s not forget Lillian, either, who’s the head of all our precious comics!)

And that’s not counting our wonderful and talented creators as well! Every one of you gives it your all every month, and it’s such a privilege to get to work with you and read the wonderful things you bring to life.

knightserrant_keychain_imagesAnd that brings us to our September issue (#026)! This month, Windrose returns with the explosive start of Volume 2, Skyglass reaches its incredible conclusion, Orange Junk is back from its one-month hiatus, we all get to enjoy a charming new installment of The Cat Lover’s Circumstances, and everyone girds themselves for battle in Witch’s Quarry! Our podcast this month is about Tabletop RPGs, and includes an announcement of Sparkler’s next gaming project. :D

Knights-Errant is taking a month off (as is Tokyo Demons), but we’ll have some fun guest comics going up in its absence, and you can comfort yourself by purchasing these fabulous Knights-Errant keychains, now available in the Sparkler Shop! Or, if you happen to be going to YaoiCon this month, you can buy them in person (from me, not Jenn, sadly) at the Sparkler table. Huzzah!

-Lillian (comics editor)



Issue #024–Summer heats up, and so does our Kickstarter!

sparklermag-july2015Hello all!

I’m done with Anime Expo and moving on to Comicon, but in-between, we have a great issue for you all! New chapters of Skyglass, Knights-Errant, and Orange Junk this month, plus HUGE changes in Tokyo Demons, and a whopping pile of Witch’s Quarry, to prepare for its new pages to start in August! Whew! Plus, our Membership Exclusive of the month is a 62-page side story to Witch’s Quarry–“Rogue x Knight” covers a bit of Wesyng’s backstory, or at least the part of it that overlaps with what Deshad was up to when he came up with his crazy prince-and-the-pauper scheme. It’s sexy and funny and dramatic, and you’re gonna love it.

So the other big news of the month, which technically started last month and is now continuing, is that we’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund Year 3 of the magazine. We’ve always had great support from our loyal fans, but we want to push for more stability, and maybe even be able to grow and expand a bit more in the coming year! Our creators have been incredibly generous with their offerings in the rewards tiers, and its their work that you’re funding with your precious Kickstarter dollars, so if you like what we do here and you want to see more of it, check it out, share it around, and think about donating! We can’t do this without you. <3 <3 <3

frontpage_kickstarter

Check out the Year 3 Kickstarter here!

Onward and upward!

Lillian (head of comics)



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