It is I, Scott, here with news of heroic publishing and daring do!
I just hit the “publish” button on Amazon.com’s Kindle book listing of “Johnny Saturn: Intelligent Redesign.” It warns that it takes about 72 hours to post, and longer than that to get matched up with its print edition. It’s hard to be patient! I want it available now!
And, available it is, on Drivethru Comics! It is published as a PDF, a CBZ, and now a beautiful guided-view Kindle mobi file. It sure looks pretty, popping by frame by frame, on the backlighted and oh-so-high resolution Kindle Fire!
In other news, “Spire City Noir: Hauntings” has waited in line at Comixology for a while, and it should be up for sale on April 26. Like all Comixology comics, this will be in guided-view format.
I’m taking advantage of one of my days off today, and getting a bunch of things finished or (in some cases) begun.
Johnny Saturn: Intelligent Redesign
On this graphic novel, I’ve finished the Guided View Kindle edition, and I’ve already uploaded to Drivethrucomics this morning. I’ve got ths edition uploaded but not yet published on Amazon.com, because I’m letting the wonderful application known as Kindle Samurai sort through potential keywords. Keywords are important because they help people find the book with organic searching.
After much consideration, here are the keywords I’ve arrived at:
I’ve been living with this book for the past week as I’ve gotten it ready for publication, and I fell in love with it all over. Is it OK to love our own books? I sure hope so. Most of the time we spend so much time with our creations that they become sort of background noise to the creator, all but invisible in a way. Enough time has passed since I last worked on Intelligent Redesign that I was able to re-discover it much as a reader would. It is a truly satisfying, cathartic reading experience. The guided view presentation is just awesome, as always.
Spire City Noir 2: The Black Dirigible
Me, Steven Doty (penciler), and Mike Vlasity (inker) have been hard at work on this project for a long time, but we are really close to pulling the first issue together. After some discussion, we decided that the story would be better as two normal sized issues rather than one oversized one. In any case, it’s time for the lettering and coloring to commence. As far as drawing and inking, we have 17 out of the 20 interior pages of the first issue done.
What Media Am I Consuming?
After finished up Marvel’s Iron Fist, I was ready for some time off from fiction. That led to -binge watching documentaries. I’ve watched specials on UFO’s, World War II, Steven Greer and C-Seti, Sacred Geometry, Conspiracy Theory, Noah’s Arc, and Declassified Government Documents that contain some mind-blowing information. Last night I listened to a radio broadcast about the United States Pentagon’s ongoing use of soldiers with psychic ability for information gathering. I was surprised to find out that these kind of operation are rooted in experiments from World War II, and these mostly secret programs continue to this day.
(From what I’ve gleened, our government gave up trying to keep UFOs and the paranormal secret decades ago, and let public disclosure soft-peddle its way into popular knowledge through Freedom of Information Requests. It sounds like the government doesn’t care who knows what, especially since it is only a fringe element of society that really cares.)
I like to keep you up with my creative pursuits, but this has been a week without much of that. Work has been physically challenging, and I’ve been doing things I didn’t think my muscles were capable of, but it has left me worn out. Having said that, I do cram a lot into my day off every week. Today, for example, I finished a commission for a customer, painted with alcohol markers, and prepped three canvases for future acrylic painting. (By “prepping,” I gesso, sand, gesso again, sand, etc. Then, I kill the white by putting down a neutral base color.) Now I’m blogging, and later I will be working on keywords for my graphic novels.
I’m doing my best to stay off my feet, because I wear my legs out every day, and leg and foot pain can be . . . considerable. Strangely enough, those same legs look like weight lifter legs these days! Yesterday, for example, I walked 16,00 steps, being nearly seven miles walked, and did 33 sets of stair cases. No wonder my legs hurt!
I want to draw your attention to a Kickstarter that my good friend A.P. Fuchs is involved in. A.P. has been a close ally of mine in the indie publishing world for many years, and his influence can be felt through many of my of creative projects, and visa versa. He’s done writing and edits for me, and I’ve done covers for him, and it’s a partnership backed up by real friendship. So, please check out his Kickstarter!
I finished the script to issue 2 of Spire City Noir, aka the beginning of the epic “The Black Dirigible.” This story will take two issues to tell, and it’s a mix of actual UFO lore from the 19th century, as well as time travel, shadow people, steampunk, and of course my characters from the Saturnverse and Spire City. Johnny Saturn doesn’t make an appearance, but the Utopian, Staff of Life, and Hotfoot share the spotlight, as well as a bunch of new characters. If you like the mix of history, mythology, paranormal, conspiracy, and genre literature that I usually create, then you will love “The Black Dirigible.”
Recently I’ve been studying why we cannot remember whatever we see in detail and simply draw it from memory. Kim Jung Gi seems to be able to do this, for example. I’m pretty sure Michelangelo and Jack Kirby had this ability as well, and I strongly suspect Gene Colan had a serious measure of it. Well, here is the article that finally made it all clear for me. I draw most of my pictures in this way, using my memory as sort of a live reference, although I am not comparing my skill level to that of people who have this anomalous skill in full. What Kim Jung Gi does is virtually a super power. Check him out here and here, and prepare to have your mind blown.
I finished watching Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix, and I’m sorry to say that my opinion expressed in my last blog post has not changed. It’s a shame.
Also on Netflix, I have been watching Unsealed Alien Files. These cover a lot of well-trodden space, yet each episode also has some updates with new information I had not heard before. It is clear to me that the religion of Ufology is alive and well. Why do I call it a religion? Because it’s a collection of interrelated narratives that survive through the believer’s faith. More on this in the future.
Greetings, my legion of supporters! (I’m feeling optimistic, thus “legion.”)
“Spire City Noir” no. 1 is on the verge of going live on Comixology and Indyplanet, and it already is available on Drivethru Comics. Happy times. My plans for self-published world domination are well underway. Ha ha haa haaaa…
There are three versions of this comic available, being the regular edition, the sketch cover edition, and the black-n-white coloring book version. You can get them in physical or digital formats.
Yesterday I got my copies of “Spire City Noir” no. 1 and the coloring book version of the same. The colors came out beautifully, so I’ll put them up for sale on Indyplanet and format them Drivethrucomics and Comixology. I’ll also order some copies for my collaborators, while I’m at it. I’m really proud of this book.
I just watched “Logan” in the theater. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but this is a very powerful movie, beautifully written and acted. It was not only one of the best superhero movies ever made, but simply one of the best movies in many years. Hugh Jackman is going to be a nearly impossible act to follow.
I’ve also watched more than half of Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix. While the two seasons of Daredevil were instant classics, Jessica Jone quite good, and Luke Cage flawed but ultimately good to watch, then we get Iron Fist. Some of the episodes are quite good. Colleen Wing, a real non-character in the comics, is outstanding in this version. The guy who plays Danny Rand/Iron Fist is unrelateable, uncomfortably naive, and seems like anything but a great warrior. Plus, his curly mop top hair bugs me. The pace is slow, the villains (Harold Meachum, Ward Meachum, Madame Gau) are much more interesting to me than Danny Rand himself. The special effects on the Iron Fist itself are underwhelming too.
This is my first real day off since I changed positions at work. I was so tired I slept till noon, and I ache in every joint south of the equator. Whew! I’m in a smaller department now, but I’ve actually gotten almost twice the steps per day that I had been getting in my old haunts. If you don’t know, walking on concrete for 8 to 10 hours a day is punishing!
I have not seen Logan yet. I understand it is very good, and I know roughly how it ends, but I’m not sure I’m going to have time to see it in the theater. It’s a shame, but eventually I will see it.
The weekend before last, Benita and I went to see the Viking Exhibit at the Cincy Museum. It was amazing, and the volume and quantity of irreplaceable Viking artifacts beyond stunning. Over the years, Benita and I have attended museum exhibits on the Romans, the Early Christians, King Tutankhamen, Cleopatra, and the Chinese, so we are well used to examining the amazing craftsmanship of early peoples, but the Viking exhibit was different in that it was the first time we had looked over the works of a so-called “barbaric” people. It was interesting to me that all the Viking goods and apparel all were strikingly utilitarian and useful. Adornment was fine, but the objects had to be highly practical!
On the publishing front, I used the very excellent tool, Kindle Samurai, to generate better keywords for “City of the Broken Gate.” When I checked the keywords I had assigned to the book, I found that I had effectively banned the title to invisibility! Making the book easier to search for should help my sales, I think. Soon, I will do this for all my other books as well.
Benita picked me up a DVD of Doctor Strange. I loved this movie the first time I saw it, and I imagine I will get more from it every time I see it. I didn’t know much about Benjamin Cumberbatch before this film, but he embodied Stephen Strange wonderfully. Besides, I like the idea of a superhero (of sorts) who learns all his powers through study and book learning.
Hello, Hello! (Imagine I’m saying it like Steven Fry on QI did)
Me, Benita, and Bob Hickey from 2013
Stuff (not in order):
I just ran my keywords for “City of the Broken Gate” on a keyword analyzer known as Kindle Samurai, and I discovered that the search terms I had entered on Amazon.com are pure rubbish. This is terrible, and it leads me to think that all my books probably have terrible keywords. Clearly, this must be rectified in a timely manner!
I have decided that choosing the medium for my stories that will most likely have the largest and longest lasting influence is pure insanity. None of us can actually know which medium will reach the most people and be remembered best. If anything, this kind of delusional thinking is unwittingly pandering to the future. That never works.
If you choose what kind of stories to write based upon what is popular, then that is being a hack. I would never knowingly be a hack. In other words, money cannot be the first reason that I write a story. This has a freezing effect on my creatively, and it kills what could be great stories.
Here are some videos I liked from Youtube that covers some similar points:
For the artists out there, this is from an exceptional art teacher Clayton Barton:
Greetings! What follows is a short list of thoughts that bedevil me:
I can’t seem to access some of my older reviews on Amazon.com as it relates to my graphic novels. What gives with that? Very frustrating.
A friend of mine felt the need to defend his use of corporate characters in making fan art. I’ve come down pretty hard on fan art over the years, but if other people want to do it that’s fine. It’s just not for me.
I watched the first two episodes of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” It’s suitably creepy and intriguing, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to watch any more episodes.
Bill Paxton R.I.P. 61 is just way too young to pass away. I like him in everything I’ve seen him in. Godspeed.
I’ve been catching up with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I hadn’t seen any of this season, and it’s good to have this back in my life. It’s interesting for me to contrast the difference between Marvel TV shows and the CW’s DC TV shows.
This has been a tough week for me, because a minor procedure on Tuesday resulted in an extremely painful throat infection. I would almost rather have my foot broken again than go through this.
I’ve been hearing a lot about the Mandela Effect, where perhaps two timelines have gotten merged, or something has been editing actual history but not people’s memories of the way it used to be pre-edit. While I’m sure there are numerous explanations for this, such as mass faulty memories or some such, a part of me wonders if there could be some validity to it. You can see lots of videos on this on Youtube.
Hello, my fabulous friends and conspicuous confreres!
If any of you would do me the honor of reviewing my by graphic novels on Amazon.com, I will send you the download links free of charge. This way, you can read these books as PDFs, CBZs, or Kindle books (which have the wonderful guided-view function and look great on your tablet computers). Email me at email@example.com, and I’ll get you the links. Amazon reviews are terrifically important to authors, because they increase our author’s ranks and help convince would-be readers to purchase our books. It costs you nothing to write an Amazon review, after all.
Synns of the Father was my first foray into the enigmatic and fun world of Johnny Saturn. Created by Scott and Benita Story, readers are introduced to a wondrous setting where superheroes and villains remain colorful and enjoyable.
A former detective with the Spire City Police Department, Johnny has become so much more. With a skill set that rivals many of the iconic comic book vigilantes of our time, Johnny is capable of hammering out punishment to even the most powerful characters within this world. And that is something that is not often seen in main stream comics.
Driven by an innate sense of justice and a passion to bring the criminals to an end, Johnny Saturn is a no-nonsense take-it-straight-to-the-bad guy character. One who has paid for his passion in physical punishment beyond what ordinary men could endure. Despite an addiction to pain killers, Johnny Saturn enters a dose of reality into a world where angels, demons, and meta-humans are no better or worse than the populace at large-and yet capable of so much more.
Johnny Saturn is a fast paced fun ride that has been salted with psychotic and often sociopathic villainy. In this, Johnny Saturn is a unique character capable of feats beyond the human capacity in a world where super powered individuals appear as a commonality.
For me, Johnny Saturn harkens back to the days when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Savage Dragon, and Freak Force could be watched on Saturday mornings – then takes it to a whole new level.
I truly enjoyed the mixture of written prose in addition to sequential storytelling that offered a deeper insight into the characterization contained within this exciting tale. In many ways, it is very much a bountiful marriage of novel and graphic novel into one.
Johnny Saturn: Synns of the Father has become a welcome addition to my library of graphic novels, comics, and literature.
Another great graphic novel by Scott A. Story. I really liked the first in the series, and this, the second, continued on right where the first left off. I like the story-line, the writing and the art. The author/artist has some serious talent.
At first, I was a bit skeptical about this story. The dialogue in the first part of the book was a bit weak in my humble opinion, but the more I read, the more it grew on me. Knowing the author is also a comic writer, it felt as it he was writing short sentences to fit into a text bubble. But that didn’t last long.
I was immediately drawn into this story. It had so much involved; heroes, meta-heroes, aliens, ancient beings, ancient technologies, myths, legends, conspiracy theories…what’s not to like? But would it be too much for one book? Turns out no. There were parts of this book that were simply brilliant. I would have never put all these things together as the author has. It still felt like a graphic novel/comic, but that didn’t detract from the whole. I recommend this novel to anyone that enjoys Fantasy, Science Fiction, Pulp Fiction, Graphic Novels and Comics with heroes.
This is from the blog Lurking In the Shadows by indie author Mike Wolff. As you will read below, Mike actually works at the same hardware store I work at. It’s a small world kind of thing. Please check out Mike’s novels, widely available online.
Today on the blog we have a first!
I had something weird happen at my part time job the other day. I found out that I work with another author. Not only is he an author, but he’s also a cartoonist and graphic novelist (our first on the blog). Wow. Small world. After talking a bit, I bought one of his books later that night and gave it a read. I was impressed. So I asked him for an interview.
Please give a warm blog welcome to Scott A. Story.
Thanks, Mike—my pleasure!
Scott, can you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, what you do, where you’re from…that sort of stuff?
I was born on a military base in Spain, but have spent my whole life here in the Midwest USA. I have a wonderful wife, Benita Story, who is my co-plotter on my graphic novels, and we’ve been together for 32 years so far. I got my college degrees in Medieval History and Creative Writing. Like most nerdy kids, I grew up a child of the media, and I was exposed to tons of novels, comics, television shows, movies, and any other type of Pop culture. I began to read early, and devoured all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books early on, and developed an early passion for the fantasy and science fiction of Michael Moorcock. There are many other writers who made a strong impression on me, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Paul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Katherine Kurtz, Stephen R. Donaldson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a long list of others.
Even as a little kid I wrote a bunch of prose stories and drew stacks of horrendous minicomics.
How did you get started drawing? Has your art been published?
As I mentioned, I drew as a kid and teenager, but pretty much let it go as I discovered girls, cars, and parties, and then later got married and went to college. My love of medieval history stems directly from my passion for medieval fantasy books and Dungeons and Dragons.
When I was thirty, I went through something of an existential crisis when my dad passed away, and I began drawing in earnest. Initially I set my goal as drawing for the big comic publishers, Marvel and DC, but I quickly outgrew that and developed my skill base into becoming an all-around illustrator. I didn’t go to art school, but taught myself with whatever how-to books and articles I could find and lots and lots of practice. To this day, I have a habit of keeping and filling sketchbooks with studies and ideas in development, and I number these books and treat them as almost art journals of sorts, full of notes, studies, and finished art.
I began to do semi-professional work when I was thirty-two, moving quickly into indie-level professional work, and over the next decade I drew hundreds of pages of comics for publishers like Image Comics, Arrow, Digital Webbing, Amp, and many more. I also created book covers, CD covers, band posters, advertising art, website graphics, and much more. I worked as a real-estate title searcher during the day during this period, and didn’t quit and become a full-time artist until around age 39 or 40.
When you decided to add writing to you repertoire, how did you make that decision? Was it easy, or did you have to talk yourself into it?
I’ve written for as long as I’ve drawn, and prose is second nature to me. While I self-published my “Johnny Saturn” comics and graphic novels, I also wrote a long list of supplemental short prose short stories set in the same Saturnverse world. Before this, all my novels and short stories had been set in medieval fantasy worlds, but I found writing for our contemporary world and indulging in the odd form of science fiction I create was very natural for me. I had a lifetime of watching Star Trek that influenced this move, as well as other science fiction that I had read or watched. I had always been fascinated by magic, and by this point I had arrived at my belief that magic is simply a mental science from the Ancient or Antediluvian world. You can see that idea pop up throughout my comics and prose.
Your first (traditional) novel, City of the Broken Gate, revolves around the same characters that are in your graphic novels. First off, can you give us a short introduction to the world you’ve created and the characters? Then can you give us an idea of what we’ll find in that first novel?
You can call it the Saturnverse or the Spire City world, but essentially it a combination of urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the superhero genre. The protagonists are classic superheroes, but the setting they operate in is a mix of ancient aliens, the paranormal, cutting edge science, Nazi villains, and everything from stargates, angels, demons, zeppelins, cyborgs zombies, and gang wars. I also explore mental illness, addiction, and dysfunctional family dynamics. All this may sound too disparate to be cohesive, but it is. I guess it sort of mirrors the way I think. I have a lot of interests, I suppose.
How much time do you allow each week for writing? Drawing?
I write when I can find some quiet time with my computer, often late at night. When I write, I have to have silence, and I have to be in a collected mood. I have to be somewhat inspired, because if I force it then I’ll simply produce garbage. Because of all this, I often go weeks or months without writing. When the story is ready to come to me, and I cannot deny it—then it’s time to get to work. I know lots of writers of various levels of success who write every day, have a set schedule, and report their word count every day online. That is not me. For me, words are a kind of magic, not tennis shoes I pull on every day to go to work. Creativity is sacred to me, and I have no wish to dilute it and discredit it by forcing myself to hack out material.
On the flip side of the coin, I draw a little every day. I have to for sanity reasons. If nothing else, I have a sketchbook in my car and I draw in the parking lot outside work before I go in and clock in. The endorphin rush and the serenity that comes from this form of artistic meditation is tremendous. It keeps me balanced and sane in an environment where I am constantly assaulted by interruptions and general psychic chaos.
I try to put at least one fun question into every interview, so we can really get to know you, so here it is. Which of your characters would you want to go have lunch with most? Where would you go, and what would they have to eat?
I would sit down and have a long talk with Greg Buchanan, aka Johnny Saturn II. He’s a bit of a super shaman, and I believe he could shed light on some of the mysteries in life that have wondered about over the years. Greg is a cheeseburger kind of guy, probably with onion rings or cheese fries.
What motivates you to continue your craft?
I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, but ultimately I’ve come to the conclusion that creative people are wired differently than everyone else and they simply have to create or they become depressed and unstable. We have to do something or we’ll break up. If I don’t draw some every day, I get depressed and my mental state gets out of whack. Because of this creative drive, I also play and sing music, and I have a passion for guitar and other stringed instruments. I practice meditation to keep focused and clear my mind, otherwise the noisy mental clutter will drown out any sort of objective thought. I have to draw and write. It’s not a choice for me.
I should also add that I have a lot of unusual ideas and observations, and the only way that I effectively share them is by clothing them in fiction. The graphic artist sees the world in a starkly different way than does everyone else, and the writer sees patterns and themes in life that most people are oblivious to.
Promotion is an important part of being an Indie Artist. What techniques have you used that worked? What hasn’t worked? What, if anything, do you plan on trying in the future?
I’m still rather new to working in the traditional prose market, so there is not a lot for me to say there. Promoting a comic, however, is different. It’s a big mix of paid advertising, social media, interviews, podcasts, cross-promoting with more popular comics, book signings, reviewers, conventions, webcomics, and so much more. With over twenty years in comics, and over ten in self-publishing, I can also attest that the nature of the promotion game has changed radically over time. The internet grew up and came into its own at the same time, and opportunities and dead ends came and went with increasing rapidity. What works now has no guarantee to be working in a year’s time.
Comics are different also in that promotion comes with a healthy dose of desperation. It is a constant battle to grab the readers’ eyes when you are in a virtual ocean of other comics trying to get those same eyes on their work. Promotion is an almost daily chore, and it seems as if you are treading water in rough seas with your hands and feet tied. It’s a battle, no joke.
Publishing: Graphicl Novel vs. Traditional Novel…which was harder and why?
It probably comes as no surprise that creating a graphic novel is several magnitudes more difficult than a traditional prose novel. It takes a long time to write, draw, ink, color, and letter a comic page. In fact, if you have a full-time day job, it takes about a week per page. Add to this that sequential storytelling is a rather specific art form with its own rules and approaches. While writing long-form prose is no less easy, it is far less labor intensive. Prose allows you to decompress your storytelling quite a bit and explore the tale in a deeper way.
One last question, what advice would you give any aspiring artists/authors out there?
Before I answer that, there are a few things that need to be said here. If someone is set on becoming an artist or author, there is nothing that you can say that will effect their decision. Even if they are not good, they will pursue it. Also, you can explain the difficult economic realities awaiting artists and writers, but this will fall on deaf ears too. Every would-be creative person believes that they will be the exception, that they will find great success where others have fallen. This is not a bad thing, because they could possibly be right. An artist with limited talent may have just the drive and the artistic voice to take them to the top of their field and really make a difference. I’ve made a point of mentoring a lot of artists over the years, and at least two of them have gone on to much greater success than I have. That makes me feel good in ways you cannot believe.
Art school can help develop an artist, but at the same time if the artist has the drive then all the educational materials in the world are out on the web for free. I believe it’s better to educate yourself. In all my years of free-lance illustration, no one, and by this I mean absolutely no one, has ever asked what art school I got a degree from. Customers don’t care. All they care about is what you can do for them right now, and either you’ve got it or you don’t. If you feel you need to go to art school, fine, but in my way of thinking you are building up tuition debt that will follow you for years, and it won’t change the end product that much.
I got a degree in Creative Writing and have also read probably a hundred how-to books on writing and all its sub-skills (dialogue, plot, world creation, etc.) As far as I am concerned, a little of this is good, and too much clouds your judgement and restricts your writing. Because of this, I have not read any writing how-to books in about a quarter of a century. My feeling is that you should go write a lot, and learn on the job, and not read about writing instead. Find your own way. Be your own teacher. Observe the world and stories by other writers. This is as close as I get to writing advice.
Scott, I want to thank you for your time. We’ve enjoyed getting to know you a bit more. I wish you all the success in the world. Readers, you can follow Scott at the links below.
After many delays, “Spire City Noir” no. 1 is available. You can only get it right now on Drivethrucomics.com as a PDF or CBZ, but soon the hard copy will be available from Indyplanet.com and the guided-view version from Comixology.
This full-color, standalone issue comic is written and colored by Scott A. Story, penciled and inked by Les Lindon Garner, the cover is colored by Mike Harper, and edited by Benita G. Story. It’s got 18 pages of story and a sketchbook page.
“Johnny Saturn was already prowling the streets of Spire City long before the events of “Johnny Saturn: Synns of the Father,” and this is the story of one of his early adventures. Written by series writer Scott A. Story, and drawn by the super-talented Les Lindon Garner, this is a hard-boiled tale of revenge and redemption. Even the grave’s cold embrace is not enough to keep one young woman from finding justice!”