January 11th, 2012

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Read "Hellwatch"

While hunting for resources for this weekend's Crowdfunding Creative Jam with its "Disabled Characters" theme, I stumbled across a splendid new crowdfunding project.  "Hellwatch" by Larime Taylor is a supernatural horror novella series, initially crowdfunded through Kickstarter.  The structure resembles that of a television series, which is a cool approach for serial fiction.  The first episode can be downloaded free; the next two, funded by the Kickstarter project, will appear in January and February.  More are planned.

What makes this awesome?  The characters.  I fell in love with them just from the descriptions, and tracked down the story based on that.  They are Ester Vasquez, a hacker-come-demon hunter in a wheelchair; and Sammy Lutui, her live-in care provider and assistant demon hunter.  Ester's ancestors came from Chile and Sammy is Samoan.  Sammy is also gay.  Together they kick much ass.  They have guns and knives and metaphysical science.  Illustrations are in the article, and they are vividly evocative.  Accurate characterization is guaranteed on account of the author/artist being in a wheelchair (with a more severe version of Ester's condition) and living with other disabled folks.

I really enjoyed the pilot episode.  It's a bit slow to start, as the first couple pages of the story introduce the characters and a lot of background information.  (You know how the first few minutes of a pilot go.)  Once the conflict is introduced -- a demon possessing a young boy -- both the pacing and the tension pick up considerably.  The author makes good use of the novella length, laying out a vigorous double-peaked plot with a major confrontation first in Mexico and then again at home.  The description is detailed and gripping.  I particularly admire the rendition of demonic entities: ruthless, suave, devastating, atavistic, and generally creeptastic.  The hairs on the back of my neck gave them a standing ovation.  Highly recommended.

So, go read the scary story with the awesome heroes.  See the nifty art.  If you can spare it, send a donation -- details for that are on the art FAQ page.
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New in Crowdfunding

Two new projects popped up today:

theborgqueen does Tarot readings, herbal tea blends, leather burning, and some other stuff.  She's just starting to look at crowdfunding for possibilities.  She does have a Tarot page up already.

p_m_cryan runs a bookstore that promotes local authors.  She's running a fundraiser on Peerbackers to support further development and outreach.  Help keep independent bookstores alive!
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Hard Things

Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently?
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Watch for "Red Tails"

George Lucas has created a movie, Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen, black heroes from WWII. Apparently most folks don't think this kind of film will make money; Lucas had to produce it independently. If you've got pocket money, and you're into military history, American history, ethnic studies, and/or action-adventure movies then consider buying a ticket to prove them wrong.  Thanks to Steven Barnes for the tip.
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New Crowdfunding Project: My Starz! Astrology

Recently [personal profile] clare_dragonfly mentioned on [community profile] crowdfunding that it would be nice to have a crowdfunded astrology project. Well, my partner Doug does astrology, so he is developing a crowdfunded project.  Go check out [personal profile] my_starz for an introductory post.  There will be some short essays about astrology in general and his thoughts on the art and science of it. Later there will be opportunities to see astrological charts of famous people and to get your own chart done.  A supporting website is also in development.

Please visit [personal profile] my_starz to keep an eye on this project.  Commenting, friending, and boosting the signal will speed the development and get more essays posted sooner.   If you have thoughts on what you'd like to see in a crowdfunded astrology project, input is encouraged.
Fiorenza

Bonus Fishbowl Theme: "Fiorenza the Wisewoman"

There will be a bonus fishbowl on Tuesday, January 17.  The series poll settled on "Fiorenza the Wisewoman" as the theme.  If you want to review Fiorenza's previous adventures, visit the Serial Poetry page.  Thanks to the January 3, 2012 fishbowl reaching its $200 goal, you can also browse a cast list of characters from this series.