A MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE OF COMICS, PROSE AND AUDIO

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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)



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)



New Year, New Series!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #030 (Jan 2016)Hello, hello, Sparkler fans! How’s 2016 treating you so far? I can’t believe that this time last year we were just switching from a paywall model to the entire site being free to read, but I’m so glad we made that change…and look how we grew in 2015! We brought a bunch of existing series in under the Sparkler fold, and did a ton of new shorts and mini-series as well. What will 2016 have in store?

Well, to start: this month we’re kicking off the second book of Dead Endings, our fabulously snarky supernatural prose series! Cailen is finally giving in to guidance on how to deal with her ghost-seeing powers, with Gabriella’s vivacious help…but first, time for a round of drinks!

Plus, the terrific team KaiJu is sharing a stand-alone prequel to “The Ring of Saturn,” called “Inhabitant of Another Planet“–which also serves as a direct prequel to their new ongoing series that will kick off this spring! (Not through Sparkler, but we’ll be sure to link to it when it launches.) A three-chapter mini-series set in Paris in the late 1600s, “Inhabitant” has gratuitous costumes, another probable first-for-manga cameo of Christiaan Huygens (to go with Gustav Holst’s appearance in KaiJu’s “Saturn”), plus romance, heartbreak,and poor Raziol trying so hard to find love…

In another “first” for Sparkler, this is actually the first month where ALL of our comics are in full color! Along with “Inhabitant,” we also have new installments of Witch’s Quarry and Knights-Errant. Is this a trend people would like to see continue? We’ve generally aimed more for black and white material, since we have a heavy manga influence, but it’s really fun to see artists like Jen Lee Quick and KaiJu go back and forth between the two styles. Your voice can definitely influence where we go from here!

We’re rounding out our line-up this month with the return of Tokyo Demonswhich is getting close to the end of Book 3, astonishingly. And we’ve got a new podcast, where our team discusses our Sparkler RPG, along with our plans for the future of both the game system itself and the new campaign we’re running with it: ESPU!

Stay tuned for some great stuff this year, folks! We’re all super excited about it, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

~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



“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