Farewell 2017, Welcome 2018

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Well. That year certainly went by fast, didn’t it?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad for it, though. While I won’t resent 2017 as I have the past few years, it was still a tough year to get through. My financial situation is no better than it was (in fact, it’s worse). I’m mentally and physically exhausted 90% of the time, and I rarely have the energy to even socialize these days.

That said, I did accomplish quite a few things in 2017, so I’d like to focus on that.

  • I stayed away from home alone for the first time (like, entirely alone. I had my aunt’s place to myself for nearly three weeks while I was cat-sitting, and that’s kind of a big deal for me because I’ve always had a lot of anxiety around being away in general).
  • I finished and published my TCP short story, We Have Each Other.
  • I relaunched my Patreon, and I’m happy to say that it’s been a success!
  • I drew. A lot. Mostly commissions and sketches, but it was a lot more than I’ve drawn in a good couple of years. And I even managed to squeeze in a few pieces of my own — one full illustration and a couple of book covers.
  • I attended my first Pride Parade.
  • I started cooking/baking a lot more (I always used to go for the simplest meals. As of staying at my aunt’s place, I’ve grown rather fond of experimenting with different recipes and I CAN ACTUALLY MAKE GOOD FOOD NOW).
  • After many months of searching, I finally landed a steady job as a comic colorist.
  • And perhaps most importantly, I started taking better care of myself. 2016 really wreaked havoc on me. I lost a lot of weight that year due to stress. My hands/wrists suffered from overwork, and my whole body suffered from too many hours in my computer chair. Since allowing more time for rest, however, I’ve seen a decrease in back pain. My hands don’t ache as often, and my neck doesn’t stiffen up so easily anymore. So I’m definitely carrying this change into 2018.

And with any luck, 2018 will bring more positive changes. It’s already looking promising!

My mom, my sister, and I are hoping to go into business together this summer. I’ll share more on that later, when the whole thing is a little more set in stone. Right now we’re just waiting to see if we get approved for a business loan — because if we don’t, it isn’t happening.

Oh! Speaking of next summer, here’s a bit of exciting news: I’m gonna be an aunt come June! 😀 I mean, technically I’m already an aunt. I’m a half-aunt to my half-sisters’ kids. BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT. THIS IS MY TWIN SISTER’S KID WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE. And I’m gonna make it my mission to be the best aunt and introduce this little nugget to all the nerdy shit my sister and I have consumed over the years (though, I’m sure she’ll do a damn fine job of that herself. I’m just going to add to the pile).

So yeah, all in all, it’s shaping up to be a good year!

I hope it will be for you guys as well. ❤

With that, here are some of my goals for 2018:

  • Complete PULSE’s final draft
  • Finish revisions on TCP1
  • Draft another short story
  • Draw more original art
  • Hang out with friends/family more? Maybe? HOPEFULLY?
  • Reach some form of financial stability???

 

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THE PLAN #MondayBlogs

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Long time, no see!

Life has been crazy busy for a while now, but I think things are finally starting to stabilize now. Sort of. At least to a point where I feel I can plan ahead. And I figured I would share The Plan with you guys so you know what I’m gonna be up to!

ART STUFF

I recently picked up a comic coloring job, and I’ll have a second one starting in September. With both comics averaging around five pages per month, I’ll have some pretty steady work, so once I’m through my current batch of commissions, I’m going to start limiting slots to one or two per month depending what people want.

The awesome thing about this gig, too, is that I’ll probably have time to actually work on my own stuff again, because coloring jobs are simple and quick — meaning you can expect a lot more original artwork from me in the near future!

CONVENTION PLANS

Sadly, I won’t be exhibiting at any conventions this year due to money troubles and lack of new products. However, I am hoping to return to the exhibition halls of Ottawa Geek Market next year! I’ve actually already been toying with a new table layout, and I have a ton of new products planned (oodles of stickers and buttons and bookmarks  in addition to some fresh prints —  and, of course, my books).

Speaking of which . . .

BOOK STUFF

My TCP short story, WE HAVE EACH OTHER, is officially out in the wild! You can read it now on Wattpad, and I’ll be releasing it on Amazon sometime in October (it would’ve been published on Amazon already if I hadn’t entered it into a contest, but the contest rules don’t allow me to upload it to certain places, so I have to wait. At least I was able to upload it somewhere, though).

The story will also be available in paperback form at some point, and they will be tiny and cute as hell. Might even have some Darcy & Liz stickers to go along with them if I do exhibit at Geek Market next year!

Now, with that little story out of the way, I’ve hopped back into PULSE and TCP 1 revisions. And seeing as the revisions have been hogging my attention of late, I think I’m just going to focus on them.  My goal is to have them done by December, and to have the second edition of the book out by the middle of 2018. Once that’s out of my hands, I can put all of my writing energy into PULSE — which is looking like it’s probably on track for my later ETA of 2019.

Of course, things might go faster if my Patreon takes off.

*segues like a t-rex on a unicycle into that subject*

PATREON

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CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE PAGE

I’ve just done a complete overhaul on the page. New rewards have been added to all tiers, goals have been altered slightly, and the whole thing is now equally focused on both my artwork and writing!

Tiers start at just $1 USD. However, if you can’t or don’t want to spare the funds but would still like to help out, you can always share this post around the internet. Word of mouth can be an incredibly powerful tool!

Cheers, lovelies ♥

 

Extreme Makeover: Book Edition

Hello, m’lovelies!

As I teased on Twitter and Facebook yesterday, I have some book news to share.

I decided on a whim to redesign the covers for both The Calypsis Project and TCP II: Rebirth, and I actually have some rough mock-ups done already. So without further ado . . .

BEHOLD, THE SHINIES

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Pardon the shoddy quality. My sketches are tiny. These work-in-progress shots are actually only 367px in height, so I had to zoom in and take a screenshot to embiggen them without losing too much quality.

Anyhoo . . .

What’s the reason for the redesign? Well, I was never really satisfied with Rebirth‘s cover. It’s not that I don’t like the piece itself. I do. It just didn’t feel cover-worthy. And since none of the simpler changes I made seemed to make any difference, I thought: why not just redo the entire thing?

So I did, and I loved it so much I decided to whip up a new cover for TCP1 as well (which would have been necessary anyway, otherwise the books would have looked like they belonged to two different series). I feel like these designs show off the characters better whilst maintaining that air of mystery the originals held. Plus, I am a sucker for color-coded novels. This allows me to indulge in that a bit more.

It’ll probably be a couple months yet before these are finished, and a few months still before you see them in print. I’m also planning to revamp the interior design of both books. And seeing as TCP1 is undergoing post-publication revisions, I may wait until those are done to update things—however, that is dependent on how fast the revisions go. If TCP1 v2 is still far from completion by the time the new covers are ready, I’ll just go ahead with the visual updates.

Either way, I’ll keep you guys in the loop.

Character Focus with R. Curtis Venture #MondayBlogs

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Welcome to another character-focused Monday! I’m super excited about this week’s interview, because the character we’re focusing on today features the lead from one of my favourite science fiction stories. ❤

So let’s get to it, shall we?

THE AUTHOR

rcurtisventureR. Curtis Venture is the creator of the Armada Wars universe, and currently the only writer living in it. He was born in Taplow, Bucks, and currently resides in the United Kingdom. He has worked in the entertainment industry, business change and development, intelligence analysis, and the legal sector.

His hobbies include (amongst others) photography, film, reading, countryside walks, and world foods. He has eclectic tastes for books, films, music, food, and web culture.

THE BOOK

mkiii-cover-1000STEAL FROM THE DEVIL

For almost six centuries the First Unified Imperial Combine has ruled the Orion arm of the galaxy in the name of Earth. But things are about to go horribly, horribly wrong…
All alone at the very edge of human territory, a clandestine Imperial facility has fallen silent for reasons unknown, and special operative Elm Caden has been tasked by the Empress herself to find out why. All Caden wants is a straightforward mission with a simple conclusion; what he finds is a woman whose mind is missing.
As the evidence begins to point to a hostile incursion, and the Imperial Combine rallies to mobilise a retaliatory strike against a neighbouring power, Caden and his companions discover a web of intrigue which becomes steadily more disturbing. Out there, in the darkness between the bright arms of the galaxy, something subversive and malignant has set its gaze upon the many worlds of the Empire.
Fill the Silence.

THE INTERVIEW

1. Tell me a bit about your character. Who are they, how old are they? What do they look like?
My principal character is Elm Caden. He’s 34 when the story opens in 3745. He’s a nondescript sort of guy, tall but with a fairly lean body. You would look at him and probably not remember. Brown hair and eyes, no tan, no facial hair or distinguishing marks… just a face in the crowd.

2. Does he have any strange or unique physical traits?
He has no odd traits or behaviours physically speaking. Everything about him screams “I’m normal”, which is exactly what he wants you to think.

3. Does he have any quirk or powers?
Caden has no powers whatsoever. He is however somewhat more intelligent than many of the people around him, if that counts as a power. His one quirk is that since a young age he has been deliberately and systematically burying negative emotions into a “void space” he calls the Emptiness. Soon after we meet Caden, that Emptiness becomes his inner voice. And it doesn’t like him very much.

4. Where does he live? What’s it like there?
Caden was raised on a planet called Damastion, which is singularly the most Earth-like planet humans have ever found. It’s considered a paradise world, and only the rich, affluent, and influential can get anywhere near holding real estate there. Day to day, however, he works wherever he is sent. He spends a great deal of time on different starships, and occasionally gets to go to the various worlds of the Imperial Combine.

5. Of all the places he’s visited, which would be his favourite? Why?
It’s clear from all our encounters with Caden that none of the Many Worlds of the empire hold a candle to his homeworld of Damastion. It’s not hard to see why, since Damastion is the only truly Earth-like planet ever colonised by humanity, and it is a truly beautiful planet. Its official categorisation is “Class Zero: Paradise World”, which puts it in a whole different league to most of the colony worlds.

5. What does he do for a living?
Caden is an Imperial Shard. This is an elite operative who works directly for the Empress, and is outside the all the other chains of command. His job is basically to do what she says, with almost unlimited latitude. Need someone taking out? Use a Shard. An ambassador requests close protection? Use a Shard. Something dastardly needs investigating? Use a Shard. You get the idea.

6. A high line of work indeed. Has he ever encountered anything particularly strange on the job? The sort of strange that would later make for a good story?
Being an Imperial operative Elm Caden is not at liberty to turn his work into stories. But if he did… oh boy, would he have some stories to tell. Most of his missions are quite cut-and-dry affairs, dealing with internal threats to the Imperial Combine or gathering information about the various hazards posed by the other major governments. But in the current timeline, he has indeed come across something very strange… an entity he named Voice. It is still not clear exactly what Voice is, but Caden has established that amongst its capabilities is the ability to control the actions of others at distance and use them as ‘mouthpieces’. Voice appears to be behind a large-scale invasion of human territory, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Whatever it is, it is entirely alien to anything Caden has encountered before.

6.  And what does Caden do for fun?
We’ve not seen Caden going out of his way to have fun yet — he’s in the middle of an invasion crisis and has no time to stop. He’s laughed with his companions, but that’s about it. Even when he visited a bar on Earth he was miserable. We will at some point see him relaxing, but he will have one eye on the door even then.

7. Sounds like someone needs a vacation! Is he the sort to thrive in chaos, or does he operate better in the calmer settings?
Caden lives for order. His whole reason for existing is to bring the orderly wishes of the Empress into reality, to smooth out the wrinkles in the fabric of Imperial society, and to prevent disorder before it occurs. But this is not to say that he cannot function in a chaotic environment: his calm, reasoned approach lets him operate efficiently and effectively even when the walls of reality are crashing down around him.

7. What is his greatest weakness, his greatest strength?
Caden’s greatest weakness is probably his self doubt, and the Emptiness exacerbates that. He is well aware that he is becoming institutionalised, but cannot envisage himself being anyone else. As far as strengths go he’s very, very good at identifying the hidden strategies behind others’ words and actions, and he is an excellent problem solver. He also has an unshakeable moral centre.

8. What is the best thing that ever happened to him? The worst?
The worst thing that happened to Caden was losing Rendir Throam, his ‘counterpart’ soldier. The two had worked together for ten years, and Caden was closer to him than he was to his own brother. The best thing that has happened is difficult to say, since it’s all been pretty grim so far. He was very pleased to be appointed as a Shard, that’s for certain.

9. Now for a “fun” question. What’s Caden’s favourite weapon?
We’ve not yet seen Caden favouring any particular weapon, but certainly his most used weapon is his automatic rifle. He has quietly rolled his eyes while other members of his team joyfully heft their own favourite hand-cannons, so it may well be that he just views weapons as tools and finds it a bit silly when others become reliant on — or forge emotional attachments to — a particular device.

10. And the question I like to ask everyone: Many writers attach songs to their characters. Does Caden have a “theme” song (or several)?
Caden is a subtly complex character and it’s difficult to attribute a theme song to him without indicating (and spoiling) future developments. As I write his scenes for From Shattered Stars, and think about how they will propel him into Whom Gods Shall Fear, I have in my head ‘This is the End’ by The Doors. But for Caden overall, maybe Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ is more appropriate.

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If you want to learn more about Caden, the Shards, and this wonderful little universe, be sure to check out STEAL FROM THE DEVIL. If epic sci-fi is your thing, you will not be disappointed!
Amazon (US)
Goodreads

R. Curtis Venture can be followed via the links below.
Armada Wars Facebook Page
Steal from the Devil Facebook Page
Goodreads
Twitter
Official Webstie

Character Focus with Sophia Beaumont #MondayBlogs

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It’s a new year, and it’s time for more Character Focus! This time, however, interviews will offer a much more personal look into the lives of our guest characters, with additional questions being tailored specifically to the character in the spotlight.

First up, we have Sophia Beaumont with her character: Evie Capelli!

THE AUTHOR

Having always lived predominantly in her imagination, Sophia Beaumont turned to writing and art at an early age. After discovering a fine art degree was not the decisive career move expected, she parlayed her artistic experience into the design of hand-knitting patterns, and now focuses her creative energies on writing fiction, primarily historical fiction and fantasy.

She resides in Ohio with two cats, more books and yarn than a sane human should reasonably have, and a burning desire to one day live in a place that has a palm tree in the front yard.

THE BOOK

spiderswebsmallTHE SPIDER’S WEB

After being released from a Toronto psych ward, Evie decides that her life needs a drastic change. Moving 500 kilometers east to stay with her aunt in Montreal, however, is not turning out as expected. Though she loves the city, she can’t outrun the problems that drove her to the edge in the first place.

Recovery might be a little easier if not for Micha. Handsome, kind, always willing to help Evie or cheer her on–and completely invisible to everyone else. He seems to think he’s some kind of guardian angel, and she might need one now that things have gone from bad to just plain weird.

It started with the spiders. Then the owls started following her. Ghosts, goddesses, and secret societies are just the icing on the cake. She’s going to need help from some very powerful friends if she wants to make it to her next birthday, but when one of those friends is the goddess of the underworld, her guardian angel might have to start working overtime.

THE INTERVIEW

1. Tell me a bit about your character. Who are they, how old are they? What do they look like?
Evie Cappelli is just shy of her 18th birthday when the story starts. Born and raised in Toronto, she’s 3rd generation Italian-Canadian, so she’s got the whole Mediterranean look going–olive skin, black hair. 5’7″, with grey-blue eyes.

2. Do they have any strange or unique physical traits?
In The Spider’s Web, Evie has recently been released from an in-patient mental health facility. She’s still on the road to recovery, and very self conscious. Even in summer, she wears long sleeves or arm warmers to cover the scars on her wrists. She usually wears black, just because it’s easy to care for and she doesn’t like drawing attention to herself.

3. Does the character have any quirk or powers?
She does! She has the power to manipulate fibers/textiles, and she can also see the dead.

4. Oh, interesting! Was she born with these abilities, or did they pop up later in life?
Evie has had these powers through many incarnations, but they show up at different times. Sometimes they show up at birth, sometimes they need a “trigger” of sorts. This time, it was a near-death experience that jump-started her powers.

5. Are there other people like her, or is she the only one?
She is not the only one, but most of the people with similar powers are trying to catch her.

6.  Is anyone else aware of her powers?
 Yes. Notably, the cult of Athena is trying to capture/kill her. Her best friend, Adam, also knows.

7. Where do they live? What’s it like there?
Though she grew up in Toronto, Evie now lives in Montreal with her aunt. It’s a bright, vibrant city. July is festival season, so there’s always something going on. It’s a great mix of history–some of it dating back to the 1600s–and modern sensibilities.

8. What do they do for a living?
She works part time at a book store, but mostly she’s concentrating on her recovery, and not getting killed by the cult trying to hunt her down.

9. What do they do for fun?
Evie loves to knit and make things with her hands. She also loves to read–her aunt is a writer and Evie is her alpha reader, going through all of her manuscripts as she writes them and giving her opinion. She also finds a lot of typos. 🙂 The television is usually on at her aunt’s place, so she also picks up a lot of television and movie references through osmosis.

10. Lovely! What’s her favorite genre to read?
Well, it used to be fantasy, but now that she’s suddenly been surrounded by magic she’s starting to rethink that.

11. What is their greatest weakness, their greatest strength?
Evie’s greatest weakness is her self-confidence. She suffers from anxiety and depression, and back in Toronto she didn’t really have a support system. This really did a number on the way she looks at herself and her place in the world. Now that she is in a better place and finding that support, it’s allowing her to start to grow and gain the confidence she needs to stand up for herself and survive.

Her greatest strength is her ability to put aside her own pain to help people when there’s a need. Being brave, being a hero, isn’t something that comes easily to her. She’d much rather run and hide. But if someone else is in trouble, she will find a way to help them.

12. What is the best that ever happened to them? The worst?
Best and worst things to happen to Evie are almost one in the same.

After an attempt at suicide fails, Evie finally gets the resources she needs to improve her life. She moves away from a toxic family situation and into a home where she is loved and welcome. She’s able to start making friends. She’s able to take something really horrible, and turn it around. Her life isn’t perfect by a long shot, but she’s getting better, moving forward, and discovering the good things amidst all the bad. Sometimes it’s something really small, but those little things are what’s worth getting up for in the morning.

13. It’s awesome to see some good representation for mental illness. Evie sounds like an extraordinarily strong girl. Actually at the time I was writing her first draft (back in 2007), I did have two songs picked out. I was listening to a lot of Papa Roach (I’d just gotten one of their albums), and I thought What Do You Do? would be the perfect opening theme song and Roses on My Grave would be for the ending credits. Basically, that entire album (The Paramour Sessions) made me think of her. Of course, that version of Evie was also a lot darker and more morbid–her book was completely rewritten several times over the course of ten years, but those songs still resonate with me when I work on her.

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Aaa, such excellent song choices. Thanks, Sophia, for introducing me to your lovely heroine! I had a blast getting to know her.

If you want to learn more about Evie, be sure to check out THE SPIDER’S WEB today!
Amazon (US)
Goodreads

Sophia Beaumont can be followed via the links below.
Twitter
Blog

Character Focus – Interview with Kristin Vincent #MondayBlogs

THE AUTHOR

 

Hi there! My name’s Kristin and I’m a fantasy author. I started writing a couple years ago and have now completed four books – another three on the way! I’m also the owner of many pets: Five cats, two dogs and many tropical fish – There’s also a frog that lives outside in my pond. Besides writing and my pets, I like making bracelets and earrings with beads.

THE BOOK

Image1r2.pngERADEN TALES and the Sword of Black Light

It all started with the sword his grandfather had given to him so many years back. Only in recent days, something strange had come over that blade. Streaks of dark gray ran across the once white blade. Why this was? The boy wouldn’t stop until he found out. And he would; and with it begins what would be the boy’s destiny: The quest to restore the blade that is Eraden’s strength and battle the one who sought Eraden’s conquest hundreds of years ago.

Along the way, Cadfayel will meet new friends and allies such as a cheery dwarf, an obnoxious little goblin, a mysterious dark elf, the most nervous diplomat the lands had ever seen, a swordsman with a hidden past, and an adventurous, brave-hearted girl called Tenri. Friends and plenty of enemies as well; one who is none other than the dark East King himself and his army behind him.

Join Cadfayel and his friends as they set off through forests, up towering mountains, deep within an ancient maze – fighting against those who desire nothing more than to blot out the future’s light – to ensure Eraden’s future and freedom.

THE INTERVIEW

1. Tell me a bit about your character. Who are they, how old are they? What do they look like?
His name is Cadfayel, he’s a young man of about eighteen with dark brown hair that just touches his shoulders. He has brown eyes and fair skin.

2. Do they have any strange or unique physical traits?
No, he’d pretty basic and easy to relate to.

3. Does the character have any quirks?
He does have quirks. He can be very dry in irritating situations, and he thinks – a lot. He hates waiting and silence because he has the tendency to over think things.

4. Where do they live? What’s it like there?
He comes from a village built in a the middle of a forest far to the continent’s west. It’s pretty warm there and never snows. It also rains a lot. It’s a lot like the Hoh Rainforest in Washington state.

 

5. What is their role in the story? Are they the protagonist/antagonist, a supporting character?
He’s the stories main protagonist. Eraden Tales actually had two protagonists, the second one has a more hidden role however.

6. What do they do for a living?
Now that’s an interesting question! When the story starts, he actually has no real job. Instead he finds someone who has a task they need done and helps them out for a few coins – such as gathering ingredients for a local tavern owner’s dishes. When his quest starts, he doesn’t have much time for this, but at the start of book 2 he’s at it again 🙂

7. What do they do for fun?
His favorite thing to do is seeing all the different towns during his travels, and checking out what they’re selling in their markets. There are lots of open markets in Eraden.

8. What is their greatest weakness, their greatest strength?
His greatest weakness might be dealing with the unknown – but by no means does he let that slow him down. His determination is his greatest strength and with it he is able to fight past his weaknesses.

9. What is the best that ever happened to them? The worst?
Being a bit dry at times, Cadfayel will probably tell you it’s getting stuck traveling with a little goblin by the name of Jac. He’s obnoxious, he nags him all the time and doesn’t know a thing about battle. He is pretty good at getting into trouble though, usually self-caused trouble.

But in all honesty, crossing paths with the evil East King was probably the worst thing that happened to him.

10. What do they want from life? What are their goals?
His main thing he wants is to be a good swordsman like his grandfather. His goals are much deeper. Somewhere into the story, he finds out that the freedom of the world rests on his shoulders, assuring that freedom becomes his goal.

11. And to wrap things up, does this character have a “theme” song (or several)?
Well not a theme exactly, but I like writing to this song a lot: Epic Heroic Battle Music – The Trail of Heroes

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If you want to find out more about Cadfayel, pick up your copy of ERADEN TALES today!
Amazon (US)
Goodreads

Kristin Vincent can be followed via the links below.
Twitter

LAUNCH DAY!!

echo-derp

I totally didn’t forget to post this yesterday. Nope. Mm-mm.

Ahem. Anyway . . .

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE!

Nearly three years after the release of The Calypsis Project, TCP II: Rebirth—the conclusion to the Echo-Alpha Duology—is finally out in the world, and it feels awesome.

When I set out to publish this series, I never imagined it would draw as much attention as it has. Sure, it’s no huge hit. It hasn’t won any awards or hit any bestseller lists (yet, anyway – says the hopeful little gremlin in my brain). But the response has been greater than I ever expected, and for that I have you, my lovely readers, to thank. ❤

And to celebrate this release, I’ve got some sweet deals on!

The Calypsis Project is currently FREE on Amazon Kindle (until the 21st), and TCP II will remain at its 99c price point until the 24th. So if you’re only just hearing of the series, or if you’ve been eyeing it for a while, now is a fantastic time to jump in! And if you’re just here for the sequel, now’s a good time to grab that too.

The Calypsis Project (Amazon US)
TCP II: Rebirth (Amazon US)

And now, enjoy a dump of all the fancy teasers I used to promote the book in the weeks leading up to release.