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Author: Don

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New pages up at http://thecrossover.thecomicseries.com!

Go check out which choice won the auction!
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Free Money!

Hello everyone! THE CROSSOVER (thecrossover.thecomicseries.com) has launched and is doing well. Something I had printed up for the official launch party was a voting coupon you could use to influence which way the story goes; the current arc stops at a cusp point and asks my readers to make a choice. Biddding can be as little as twenty-five cents at a time, and only the winning bids are collected. The coupon was for FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS, which you can use toward any of your bids. But why let just the people who came to the party have all the fun? I'm going to publish the discount code right here, so that you can play too. The code is: AWNZ4NYMH7WG, and the voting site is at: https://the-crossover.myshopify.com. Code is usuable once per person.
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THE CROSSOVER IS NOW LIVE.

Whew. The project I've been working on for the past five years is finally up! Check out my brand-new webcomic THE CROSSOVER at http://thecrossover.thecomicseries.com for the adventures of Liss Liddell, a universe-hopping, alternate-reality, professional thief version of Alice. After an initial two-week launch window, I'll be updating the comic every Wednesday--or Monday, for my Patreon subscribers (did I mention the Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/DDBarant ? My mistake.) There are many cool features to this project, not the least of which is the ability of my readers to influence the course of the action via an auction function at certain cusp points; bids start at a measly twenty-five cents and are both cumulative and co-operative--get your friends to chip in some spare change and you can rule the narrative like a Fictional God! Or, you know, decide the color of someone's hair--depends on what I'm feeling iffy about. Point is, you only pony up actual coinage if your choice wins the auction--if you lose, you pay nothing. Cheap thrills, for sure. Splurge and spend seventy-five cents to decide someone's destiny! Or give them a case of the hiccups. I'm a quirky deity, myself. I had to have an app specially built for this, though, and we're still ironing out the bugs. It should be up and running in a day or two. In honor of the occasion, I'm throwing a launch party on Friday Night at the Northwest's longest-running fan event, V-Con. Drop by and have a multidimensional beverage, on me. I'll have a multimedia display of some of the art I've been using on the project, too.
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A new Post, by Ghawd

There is a new post up at collaborativecomics.com, one which WOULD be up here except that WordPress hates me and the feeling is mutual. I apologize for sending you to another site (because that is tiresome and annoying) but there is nothing for it. I promise you, Treasures Await. Or at least something mysterious and odd, much like myself.
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New Books, Sorta

So I just sent off the contracts for what I call my Cyberfolk trilogy: STEELDRIVER, TIMBERJAK, and V.I. They're going to be reissued as e-books sometime in the next twelve months--I'll post here when I have details. STEEL DRIVER is a science-fiction retelling of the John Henry story, with an eight-foot tall blue cyborg laying maglev track on a remote planet; TIMBERJAK does the same with a mashup of the Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed tall tales, and VI tackles urban legends.
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New Image for Crossover!

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Arty Art-Art

Hello, everybuddddy . . . sorry there was no post last week. I’m trying to do this on Mondays, but you know how Mondays go. Anyway, I’m back. I recently posted this image for some friends of mine, and they seemed to like it so I thought I’d share with a wider audience. I found the original illustration in a collection of Public Domain documents having to do with architectural proposals for a monument celebrating the discoveries of Christopher Columbus. Never built, of course; if you look at the buildings in the foreground, the scale of the thing would put it somewhere around two hundred stories high. I used a program called Style and a filter called Colored Pencils, which added the hues and gave it a more comic-book feel. What do you think? Oh, and if you want an explanation as to what I'm using this giant building for and how it fits into the plot of CROSSOVER, check out my latest post at collaborative comics.com.
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Good News at last!

Though, sadly, it’s not the news everybody is hoping for . . . but I have some thoughts on that at the end of this post. The good news is that some of my older, out-of-print stuff is coming back in electronic form. My Cyberfolk trilogy ( STEELDRIVER, TIMBERJAK and V.I.) written as Don DeBrandt, are going to be released as e-books by Venture Press. No publication date yet, but watch this space for details. The other good news is that the original artwork for some of my previously written-sold-but-never-released work for Marvel is now online at the 2099 Bytes Facebook page (go to the Officalicious DD Barant page for a direct link). It features my creation Doc Houdini, a cyberspace jockey with a penchant for breaking and entering, and a group of South American cyberheroes I called The Unchained. Art by the incomparable Gabriel Morrissette. Got any questions about the story, I’d be glad to answer them. And speaking of questions . . . there’s a certain question all my fans have been dying to have answered. And the thing is, I KNOW what the answer is (though it might not be what you expect). And while I really, really want to share that story, I need to do it as a novel, and right now that just ain’t happening. But then I had a thought, (which I believe I mentioned at the top of this post). What do YOU think happened—and why? Please, let me know. Tell me which way you think Jace jumped, and what her reasons were. Tell me your crazy but brilliant theories. TELL ME. Of course, if y’all just decide to say “Oh, we’ll tell you. . . SOMEDAY” I guess I sort of deserve that.
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Lifting

As a writer, you have to portray every kind of emotion, from the darkest hate to the brightest joy. And just like anything else, the more you do it the better you get, learning through experience. But there’s another process that happens at the same time. Using a muscle over and over doesn’t just build a skill, it builds the muscle itself. You don’t just become better, you become stronger. I realized, not too long ago, that I can use this principle in my own life. Specifically, in dealing with grief. I’ve lost a lot in the last three years. And the weight of that loss, when I think about it, is crushing. So I do what we all do—I try not to think about it. I distract myself with writing, reading, watching Netflix, socializing with friends. But you can’t do that forever; sooner or later it’s just you and your thoughts. And sometimes those thoughts seem intent on kicking the crap out of you. I’m not talking about the negative, self-destructive ones that whisper about how you’re not good enough and you’re going to die alone. That’s a whole different fight. No, I’m talking about the ones that can’t be fought, because they’re true. They’re simple, undeniable facts: Your father is dead. Your marriage is over. You are no longer a young man. These thoughts don’t attack; they just sit on your chest and make it hard to breathe. But here’s the thing. You take a heavy weight and let it rest on your chest, and at first it just hurts. But you do that day after day—on purpose—and you let that weight sit there a little longer each time, and slowly you get used to it. The pain doesn’t lessen, but how you deal with it does. So that’s what I’m doing. Emotional weightlifting. Deliberately letting myself feel that pain instead of avoiding it. Just a bit at a time, whenever I have the strength. Because while grieving is always painful, that pain can be managed. And hopefully, in the end, it’ll make me stronger.
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Operation Recharge

The plan for this summer to was recharge—emotionally, physically, and creatively—and I’m happy to report that things are going well. I’ve spent the last ten days or so in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island with relatives, hanging out and getting back into the groove of writing. I’ve dipped my toe into a few different projects, and am slowly but surely re-establishing a routine. Physically, I’m feeling pretty healthy, though fatigue is still a factor. Emotionally, I’m still healing, but being surrounded by people that love me is doing me a world of good. Creatively, I’m finding that the project that I’m most excited by is my webcomic, CROSSOVER; I’m going to post over at collaborativecomics.com on how that’s going and put up a few images. Hopefully, the fall will see me tackling prose fiction again. BTW, local legend has it that there’s a Cowichan tribe that intermarried with a race of Thunderbirds, a detail I use in my Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot mysteries, (written as Dixie Lyle). So maybe this recharge has a little lightning to it—I swear I saw a spark in the eye of my barista at the local café . . .
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