So Imma party down tonight and will do my best to epub the Dark Lady tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of me as Bizarro!
So after a big summer cover art contest, I seemed to retreat into the shadows. I was feeling great, people were dropping by the site and I was getting amped about featuring all the artists here on the site. And then my computer died.
I was crushed.
I put on a happy face and tried to regroup. I did some writing and looked forward to a few summer events. Then the hours dropped to a trickle at work, and I just didn’t have the money to pump into printing books and marketing material. So again, I switched to a much lower gear and tried to be happy just attending the events and take notes on plans for next year.
I focused on my Spiral Legion Prelude Anthology, and, after FSFW fearless leader toff provided me with a laptop to keep me going, I dug my heels into the dirt and got some serious writing done.
Forsaken Stars celebrated four years online on October 9th, and now, as Halloween fast approaches (heck, most people have already had their parties this past weekend), and I haven’t updated the actual comic in FOREVER, I felt that I should do SOMETHING to celebrate the reason Forsaken Stars exists.
Earlier this summer, one of the cover art contest winners submitted her version of the Dark Lady, and since the Dark Lady doesn’t really figure in that issue, but the art is just SO COOL, I decided the next volume of Forsaken Stars Tales would feature her art on the cover. But since another volume of tales is probably a year or more away, I decided to write The Dark Lady and publish it as a solo short and contribute a few pieces of art for the interior, including a new dark lady piece of my own, featured above–so yes, I’m drawing again! Anyway, the story is formatted and I’m just waiting for Skye’s final touches to upload the ebook to amazon for purchase.
So come on over to the Forsaken Stars facebook page or my twitter page and enjoy Halloween with me, I’d love to see your party photos, I’d love to hear about your favorite horror films, and I’d love to share one of my favorite holidays with you.
Oh, and here is an excerpt of the Dark Lady. Let me know what you think in the comments section!
The Dark Lady
A Forsaken Stars Tale
by Rob Lopez
They say she is a young woman with black hair and a dress that glitters with stars, and that she waits by the side of the road with a suitcase at her feet or in hand. She doesn’t wave, she rarely moves, but she is looking for something or someone. As you pass and look in your rearview or sideview mirrors, she’s in them, but if you slow down or stop and look back, she’s no longer there, as if she vanished. I’ve always wondered what would happen if you slowed down and looked in your mirror and backed up, never taking your eye off her image. Might you drive up to her then and be able to offer her a ride? Maybe that’s the trick…
“Did you see that, Andre?” Volkov asked as he pulled himself into the cockpit of The Last Sheila, a creaky old Zanthium Ore hauler the brothers were borrowing while their pride and joy was undergoing repairs sustained from catching the wrong side of a solar flare storm.
“Did I see what, Volkov?” Andre asked back while going over the adjustment equations from their last arc-jump and eating a pastrami and cabbage pita sleeve.
Volkov didn’t answer right away, but cleared his throat.
Andre turned to look at him. “Well?” He said.
“You’re going to think I am crazy.”
“I already think you are crazy.”
“I saw a woman.”
“I saw a woman.”
“Where? When? At our last stop? And now, what, don’t tell me, your balls burn like a core breach—”
“No, Andre, I saw a woman outside, in the Indigo Nebula as we passed it. Just now.”
Andre stared at him. Then his eyes fell to the silver cylinder in Volkov’s hand.
“I—I took a drink after I saw her, brother, not before.”
Andre set his pad and pita on the master console and reached for the cylinder. Volkov handed it to him. Andre smelled the rim, and took a draught. “Show me.”
Volkov brightened at this, scratched at his close-cropped graying head of hair and turned, leading his brother quickly through the tunnels of the crew section of the hauler towards one of the exterior corridors. Volkov led Andre to one of the long slender viewports that faced the Indigo Nebula.
“Here, I was passing through here and there she was, right outside the ship, the nebula cloud gases swirling around her. She was beautiful, Andre, slender and tall—”
“Wait, you could see how she looked through her spacesuit?”
“She wasn’t wearing a spacesuit.”
Volkov slapped Andre’s chestplate. “That is what I am trying to tell you, brother, she was wearing the cosmos.”
“Is this fauxdka or rocket fuel?” Andre said, pointing his gauntlet at the silver cylinder.
“I am telling you the truth! I am telling you what I saw.”
“You saw a nude woman floating outside this port?”
“No, Andre, she was wearing the cosmos like a dress. It was a long black dress, low cut and had a slit up one side and it glittered like stars against the darkness. A valise or box of some kind floated by her feet.”
Andre’s face went pale. He turned from Volkov and ran back to the cockpit.
“What? What’s wrong? You still don’t believe me?”
Volkov followed his brother. Andre moved quickly, flicking switches, pulling levers, both prepping the ship for the next arc-jump while running external and internal sensors.
“What are you doing? We can’t jump yet, we’re not in position!” Volkov said, and then, “Are you picking anything up on the arrays?”
Andre put on an over-sized pair of headphones and gestured for Volkov to shut up.
After nearly a minute, Volkov whispered, “Anything?”
“Hello, boys,” a sensual voice greeted them from the entrance to the cockpit.
Their stale, recycled air suddenly felt charged, brisk, and their own familiar odors replaced with something just as carnal, yet sweet, like black licorice, and something very faint beneath it—death?
Andre and Volkov turned slowly. A woman stood in the doorway, black hair cascading down her face and shoulders, black dress, low cut to reveal the curve of ample breasts, and a slit up the side revealing a long, sculpted leg. Her skin, a stark contrast to her dress, was so pale that it glowed. Her eyes shone an ocean blue and her smile glistening blood red.
“Thank you ever so much for the lift,” she said, with a voice feigning innocence but resonating with power.
The brothers looked at each other and swallowed hard.
“Well, isn’t one of you going to carry my case and show me to my room?”
Volkov started to move towards her. Andre grabbed him by the arm and drew him close and said in his ear, “Are you mad? What are you doing?”
“M-maybe she just needs safe passage. A ghost caught in the solar winds looking for a station in which to take shelter,” Volkov said.
“My naïve brother. Either we are hallucinating, or she is a space wraith looking to suck our souls through our eyes!”
She strode over to them and stroked Volkov’s stubbly cheek, “Do I feel like a ghost?” She turned to Andre, “I’d like to think I’m much prettier than a space wraith.”
Andre reached for his blast gun, holstered at his hip. She glanced down at his creeping hand and shook her head.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Besides, is that any way to treat a guest?”
She took Volkov’s hand and led him out of the cockpit. “Come, Volkov, show me where I’ll be sleeping. I’m dreadfully tired.”
Volkov tried to speak, but his words stuck in his throat.
Andre started after them, but she called back, “But more than tired, I’m starving. Do prepare something wonderful for us, won’t you, Andre? I love a good steak, medium rare. And wine, if you have any. Thank you, darling.”
That’s all you get for now! Once again, let me know what you think in the comments below! And keep your eyes peeled for the ebook due out THIS WEEK!
“Love and prince,
Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;
For blood begins,
But naught can be put right by blood alone.”
One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened
on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine
her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle
to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.
The Stone Kingdom
Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales
<> ~ <> ~ <>
An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;
A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;
Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –
All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.
You’ve heard the stories –
of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist
the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns
appearing just in time for a midnight ball;
of frog princes, and swan princes,
and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.
Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.
Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales.
Know them now as Wilderhark’s.
About the Author:
Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it atwww.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.
Full Title: “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”
Genre: Young Adult Fairytale
Length: Novella (179 pages)
Release Date: September 20th, 2013
Future availability: Paperback (Amazon.com) and eBook (Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com)
These are the fine folks that are going to help me choose the cover art for Forsaken Stars Issue Six!
Alisha Vargas is a Fresno, California native, born and raised. She has a BA in public relations from CSU Fresno and occasionally works as a freelance editor. Her first big editing credit, Rise of the Penguins, is out now! Her current challenge is reading and reviewing 52 books in the next year, and you can check her progress at her blog, Literary Living.
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Sloane Davis is a 19 year old college student from Alberta, Canada. A lover of beautiful and interesting things, she has always been drawn to creative outlets such as film, art, music, theater, and written works. Although she has never had any artistic training, she continues to draw and appreciate art on her DeviantArt account: http://marskitty.deviantart.com/
Sloane is very excited to be a judge for the Great Forsaken Stars Cover Contest and wishes everyone the best of luck!
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John East, Author of The Legend of the Knyghtmare, lives in a small town in Indiana. He lives with his wife, their Red Nose Pitbull, and two psychotic cats. He enjoys all things comic book be it actual comics, cartoons, movies or video games, and is an avid Batman fan. You can see more of his work at http://knyghtmare2021.deviantart.com/
* * *
What makes these folks qualified to help me decide the fate of my comic?
Intense 3D fan art by John East, that eventually led to a Forsaken Stars/Legend of the Knyghtmare crossover. Check it out here.
Hela cute Azzi and Sera fan art by Sloane, a favorite of mine. She loves anime and she’s Canadian!
Ali, of course, is my muse, the inspiration for Miranda, she’s freaking brilliant, and she’s always steered me right. Also, she’s up for silly stuff like this.
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There’s still time for facebook fans to vote! Fb voting ends July 1, 2013, then I turn it over to the Superfan Judges! Let your voice be heard! And let the artists know how wonderful and awesome their work is! Official entries are here!
The Great Forsaken Stars Cover Art Contest to determine the Variant Cover to Forsaken Stars Issue #6 allows fans of the comic to help determine the winner by liking and commenting on the art posted on the Forsaken Stars facebook page!
We’re in the final week of facebook voting, which ends on July 1, 2013 (11:59 Pacific Standard Time). This is a chance for the followers of Forsaken Stars to support their favorite artist and/or tell each of the artists what they think of their art. I created this contest as a way to get people interacting on the Forsaken Stars facebook page, to get other artists involved in my comic, and basically to invest in my comic again, as well as in some cool artists. We webcomic artists usually don’t do this for the money, but we all could use an extra buck now and again. And a little competition gets the blood flowing.
But I also want the fans to have some fun and compete too, so there are prizes for you too! We just had a comment contest to encourage folks to leave comments for their favorite cover art and the winners will be posted shortly.
There may be a giveaway or two left before the week is out, so I highly encourage you to like the Forsaken Stars page and vote for your favorite cover art!
Here is the link to the cover art album: The Great Forsaken Stars Cover Art Contest Official Entries.
We’ve had a wonderful response from the contest, doubling the likes the FS fb page started with, so I’ve posted some thank you art in response.
There’s more to come on the Forsaken Stars fb page, including concept art for the upcoming Issue #6.
After the cover art contest voting is over, the next phase will be the Superfan Judges deliberations. The Superfans are my PR wizard and Space Goddess Alisha Vargas, Canadian college student/artist/singer Sloane Davis, and comic creator and 3D artist (Legend of the Knyghtmare) John East. More on them later!
They’re going to have a very tough job, and though I do have the last word on which cover art is chosen, I’m really looking to the fans and superfan judges to help me make the right choice!
It’s shaping up to be a Hot Summer – In a very cool way.