layla: grass at sunset (Default)

Things have been busy around here on the self-publishing front lately. I can finally say with certainty that there is going to be a Freebird book! In fact – soon! There was a years-long delay involving a publishing deal that wasn’t, but ultimately, aside from being later with the book than I would have hoped, there’s no harm, no foul — I never signed away any rights and I’m still on excellent terms with everyone involved, but now I’ve pulled out completely and I’m all set to self-publish. I’ve spent the last week typesetting files and getting price quotes, and barring circumstances unforeseen, I plan to have the book out in November (using POD through Amazon’s CreateSpace), for the holiday shopping season. Unfortunately I am traveling for most of October — well, it’s not unfortunate at all, really, because I’m greatly looking forward to the vacation, but it’s making it difficult to figure out exactly when the book will be available. Right now I’m aiming for early to mid November; at the very least it will be available by mid-November from Amazon, from me, and (hopefully) from stores in Fairbanks. I’m going to try to do a couple of holiday bazaars and book signings, but this is all quite tentative since I just today worked out a rough publication schedule/plan and haven’t started contacting anyone yet.

The book will be 80 pages, 8.5×11″, with about 30 pages of new (i.e. not online) strips and bonus material. Retail price will be either $10 or $12; that’s another thing I’m still working out. (Currently leaning towards $10, depending on how my cost calculations come out.) I’ll keep you guys posted here, of course.

And here’s the cover:

ETA: And after the Freebird book will be the Kismet: Hunter’s Moon book … at long last! I’m doing Freebird first because the timing is just too good to pass up — Freebird is a book that I think might work very well as a holiday gift (plus I think it’ll sell well locally). So Hunter’s Moon will be a project for early 2013. But at long last, it’s gonna happen.

Originally published at Layla's Wordpress blog. You can comment here or there.

layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Next in the series of introduction posts - Freebird!

Freebird website on (currently little more than a portal to the main archive)
Freebird archive on

Compared to the sprawling epics I tend to write, Freebird is much simpler and more self-contained (not to mention complete!). Freebird was a series of Fairbanks-centric comic strips that I drew for a local entertainment weekly paper, fbx square, from 2006-2007: the story of Karen Bird, brand-new Alaska resident, getting to know her quirky, oddball neighbors. When square went under, I put all the strips online and drew a bunch of new ones to wrap up the storyline. That's what's here at the moment: the square strips, plus some new ones to bring Karen's story to a conclusion of sorts.

But there's actually more Freebird than the part of it that's online. I entered into talks with a local publisher in 2009 to put together a Freebird book. At that point, there were some 70-80 Freebird strips; I forget the exact number, but it would have made for a very short book. Since the publisher wanted more material, I drew some 30-odd new strips in early 2010 to pad out the page count, fleshing out some of the storylines and revealing more about Karen and the other characters, as well as giving the comic the ending that it was originally planned to have before the demise of square threw things out of whack. Then, for various reasons (I'm not blaming my publisher for this; things are complicated), the project stalled out a bit and the book is currently in limbo. I have my fingers crossed that the book will move forward this year, though! Eventually the whole thing will see the light of day. In the meantime, the online part of the comic is basically complete (at least, it shouldn't feel incomplete). The "missing" strips are just little additions in and around what's already there.

Unlike a lot of what I write, Freebird has no sci-fi or fantasy content, and no explosions. *g* I guess you could describe it as humor/slice-of-life with a little romance on the side.

layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Now that Freebird is winding down on the final deathmarch-to-the-finish (except for the cover, oh god, the cover *cries*), I think there might be a nascent novel nibbling at my brain. Last night I got hit with a very visual scene, and before I knew it I'd written 3000 words of this thing. It involves characters from long ago that I still love intensely, and an urban fantasy idea that I don't think has actually been done yet. The plot's a snarled mess, and I still want to work on the other novel that I was talking to Jane about, but this one is nipping at my heels and wanting to be written. (And this one, unlike the other, has characters! Characters are always a plus!)

Oh choices, choices ...

Also, I'm currently working on ideas for backup stories for the Freebird book (to fill out the page count, basically). Are there any Freebird characters you're just dying to know more about? (The archive is here in case you need a refresher.) I'm already doing some filling-in of the blank spots in the characters' personalities and histories in the new strips -- there are about 30 all-new strips for the book, plus some of the old ones have been rewritten. So some of your questions might already be answered in the book! But I'd be very interested to know if anyone has anything specifically that they want to know about the characters, either in the present or the past, or any areas that they'd like to see explored.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Um, hi. *waves* Freebird is coming along; I've finished a ton of minor edits and 30 new strips for the book (20 strips plus a 10-page backup story), which means I'm actually pretty close to done with the new material! I'd like to do another backup story, but I haven't figured out *what*, exactly -- the one that I just finished deals with Matt's backstory, so I kinda want to feature another character, but I'm not exactly sure who. I'm thinking either a young Karen, or a young Richard with his first wife, Sheila. (The idea of just stopping here is also awfully tempting, but I really like the idea of having little glimpses of several characters at the end -- a bunch of the little character moments that I never got to work into the main body of the comic for various reasons.)

There is one scene that I really *REALLY* need to rewrite (I've already rewritten/relettered the damn thing at least three times, so I'm not eager to jump into it), which will probably entail adding a page or two of new material. And then all that's left (well, the only major things that are left, anyhow) are the cover and the other backup story, if I decide to do it. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't think it's a train ...

I promised a long time ago to post snippets of Freebird as I worked on it, and well ... obviously, I guess, I haven't. How about one of the new strips?

Richard and Rainbow, being snarky, as usual - plus random commentary )
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I'm uploading Freebird comics today! \o/ The strip will begin updating twice weekly (Sundays and Thursdays) on Nov. 16 and will run through Christmas, wrapping up the major storylines and bringing it to a tidy stopping place rather than the mid-story-arc cliffhanger where I broke off when "square" stopped publishing and I lost my dead-tree venue for it.

The strips are all drawn and scanned; I just have to finish toning them. (The only reason why I'm not starting 'til November is so that it will end on Christmas; the last strip takes place on Christmas, in their universe, so it's nicely synchronous to have it fall on Christmas in our 'verse too.) And then I'll be able to check a major item off my creative to-do list. I hate wandering away and leaving a creative project unfinished -- I may waffle between them frequently, but it's nice to leave each one in a good stopping place before I waffle off to something else.

It feels so good to be making comics again! *eyes Kismet to-do pile*


layla: grass at sunset (Default)

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