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What is Wonder City Stories?

Wonder City Stories is an ongoing serial that explores a richly-populated superhero comic book universe through the eyes of a group of compelling characters who aren't usually seen in comic books: women, elderly people, POCs, LGBTQI people, and more.

It's a universe where the equivalent of Superman is a short, round, middle-aged black woman, and its version of Captain America is a homeless, elderly veteran living out of her van. Where superpowers don't guarantee special treatment, money, or success, and where time continues to flow forward so that most people age and have to live with consequences, with no reboots or retcons.

Wonder City Stories is a cyberfunded creativity project. Cyberfunded creativity allows writers and other artistic creators to sell their goods directly to audiences online, and further allows people to support creators they admire, which encourages those creators to produce more of what their audience members enjoy.

The first volume of the web serial has been published as a novel, and is a Lambda Literary Award finalist!

You can find links to buy it in paperback or electronic form at judemclaughlin.com.

Getting Started in Wonder City

The Table of Contents
The Cast of Characters

Ways to Read WCS
Reviews of Wonder City Stories

Links to Online Serial Fiction and Webcomics

How to Help Power Wonder City Stories

I started writing Wonder City Stories because I wanted to read comic-book-style stories with solid female characters, characters of color, and queer characters, and there weren't many around. I hope that these stories and characters help fill that gap for some of my readers, and provide entertainment for everyone who reads them.

However, the stories can't happen without refills of the brainjuice that powers them! So here's what I'd love to feed the power grid, so I can keep the writing going. If you do any of these things, you are encouraging me to write more.

1. Feedback! Comments to me, on Dreamwidth or personal email (jude DOT mclaughlin AT gmail DOT com) are greatly appreciated.
2. More readers! Please feel free to rec Wonder City Stories to anyone you think might enjoy it.
3. Reviews! Especially for the novel on Amazon, if possible. Honest ones: I hope that means they're pretty good, but definitely honest.
4. Vote for us at Top Web Fiction!
5. Link WCS on your blog or website!
6. Donate! This is cyber-funded creativity. I'm happy to accept tips.

7. Buy the novel!

And if you don't do any of that, please keep reading Wonder City Stories anyway. That's what it's for.
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Here, I am collecting a list of selected reviews of Wonder City Stories:

Life in Wonder City by Palladian
I knew I was going to like Wonder City Stories when it started off with an account of one of our heroines trying to find somewhere to sleep for the night and thwarting someone trying to mug her in the process. One of the things I loved about these stories in general is the way we follow people, many of them with super powers (but not all), and see them in their real, ordinary lives.

Multicultural Superhero Drama by Ysabetwordsmith
"Wonder City Stories" is a slipstream story that blends a number of genres.[...]
The story itself is messy, sweet, tragic, and valiant. It doesn’t have the razor-sharpness of a story in which every detail is planned meticulously in advance. It’s more like real life—people make mistakes and try to compensate for them, which sometimes has the result they want and other times not. It is filled with tiny, plausible moments that make you want to wince and cover your eyes; moments that make you think "aha!" and remember a clever solution for your own use later; little realizations that shift your own worldview just a bit to accommodate something you hadn’t ever noticed before. The characters grow on you until you want to cheer their successes and lament their failures.

Super Hero, Super Serial by Intergal
I first came across Wonder City Stories last week during a cursory check of WFG, and managed to read the entire back catalogue inside of 2 or 3 days.[...]
As for diversity of cast, the serial deals with issues like gender theory and sexuality, disability, peer pressure, mental health and coping with grief. Quite a few web serials claim to deal with ‘difficult’ subjects, but this one actually delivers the goods.

Superhero life has the mundane and profound too, you know by Kyt Dotson
In my reading I fell in love with the history of the characters as much as the history of their entire society—the paranormals and their plight.
Readers who want well-rounded drama stretched over believable, and adorable, characters who dwell in a living, breathing world, will find everything they’re looking for in this story. There’s almost something for everyone.

Visit Wonder City by Jim Zoetewey
Wonder City Stories follows the lives of the people comics leave out and takes seriously the aftereffects of the storylines typically found in your average comic.[...]
Rather than run off and fight bad guys, the characters deal with their everyday lives. It’s surprisingly enjoyable to watch them do it.
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This post lists the Wonder City Stories in order.

Timeframes in the Wonder City universe:
Volume 1: September 2009 - New Year's Eve 2009
Volume 2: Xmas 2009 - Summer 2010
Volume 3: March 2012 - September 2012
Volume 4: April 2015 - ?

Volume 1: Of Gods and Little Fishes )
Volume 2: Deep Freeze )
Volume 3: Trust No #1 )
Volume 4: Whose Dreams Come True )

Interludes )
Compass Rose )
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There are (currently) 6 point-of-view characters for Wonder City Stories. There are also several important recurring characters that they interact with, as well as a widely varied background cast. The list may have a few minor spoilers.
Read more... )
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Sometimes it's hard to find good reading material online. Here's my small contribution to the filter and referral system!
Read more... )
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Hi, all!

A couple of things I'd like to draw your attention to:

1. DANGEROUS WOMEN is an anthology of queer women supervillain stories, and I have a Wonder City short story in it! Our Kickstarter is nearly funded, but we would love to hit our stretch goals, which include author bonuses and an audiobook!

2. EPHEMERA is, universe willing an' the crick don't rise, going to be available on OCTOBER 31.
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I have a short story in the upcoming anthology Dangerous Women and our Kickstarter has launched!

We're more than 20% backed -- please come back us and claim your copy of Dangerous Women, an anthology of queer women who happen to be supervillains!

You can also find me in the video, should you be interested. :)
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I have a story in the upcoming anthology Dangerous Women! It's a Wonder City universe story, starring a couple of folks' favorite characters, and will fit into the novel timeline between Ephemera (COMING THIS MONTH) and the third novel (from the story arc currently titled "Trust No #1").

The Kickstarter launches this Saturday, so please consider supporting us and/or signal-boosting!

(Please? I even filmed video segments for the Kickstarter video... :) )
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I am updating volume 3 to excise Angelica's "other job" (i.e., sex work) because, in my continuing education and attempts to be a cis ally, I (finally) realized that it was a harmful stereotype, as well as the relatively minor issue of not adding anything to the story.

When I publish volume 3 as a novel, it will be completely gone, and in the meantime, I am trying to make this version less problematic. If you happen to be reading (or rereading) volume 3 and stumble on a reference to her studio or other job, please please drop a comment to mark it so I can update it.

I apologize for not realizing and fixing this sooner.
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1. Ephemera will be out this September, Universe willing and the crick don't rise. :)

2. I just released an edited/updated version of "Experto Crede" for Kindle!

3. Writer's block is STUPID.


May. 15th, 2016 07:53 pm
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Hi, all!

Things have continued hectic, and my writer's block has been thawing slowly. Still, I'm pleased to say that there has been some progress on new episodes for volume 4, even if not as much as I'd like.

I've been writing Wonder City Stories for SEVEN years now! WOOT.

I'll be doing a reading with some of my fellow Broad Universe members at Wiscon 40: 1 PM in Conference 2 on Saturday (alas, opposite Nalo Hopkinson's reading!).

My other two Wiscon panels are:
- Hequisitor, Shequisitor, Theyquisitor: The Queer Gaming Experience, 4 PM Friday, Conference 5
- Writing and Tabletop Role Playing Gaming: Intersections and Divergences, 4 PM Saturday, Conference 4

I will be attending the Lambda Literary Awards Gala on June 6 to see whether or not Wonder City wins its category. Keep your fingers crossed; I'm up against seven other finalists in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror category!

I'm hoping that Ephemera will be ready to go by July. I've seen the gorgeous pencils for the cover, and am aching to see the completed version. :)

Lastly, I have posted a cleaned-up and edited version of "Truth, Lady Justice, and the American Way" for Kindle. Amazon reviews, if you're so inclined, would be fantastic!
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Hi, all!

Today is my birthday: if you feel inclined toward it, more reviews at Amazon or GoodReads are always welcome gifts!

This winter has been a combination of travel, tons of freelancing, stupid colds, and writer's block. Wheeeeee! I'm slowly working on more episodes for volume 4, but it's going to be a bit longer before I've gotten the story hammered into the shape I want it to be. I'm hoping to start posting in mid-March.

In other news, my cover artist, the wondrous Alex Heberling, is going to be starting on the cover for the next book, Ephemera (volume #2) soon! I still plan to get that book out this summer -- whether that will be early summer (and in time for WisCon) or late summer remains to be seen. :}

Still, I'm part of the Broad Universe RapidFire Reading at WisCon this year, so if you'll be at WisCon, please include us in your panel/reading plans!

I'm going to haul my butt back into blogging on my author site too, so at least there's that to look forward to? And more volume 4. Hopefully as the weather evens out and improves, my writer's block will start to dissolve!

Hope you all are doing well, and I'll see you soon!

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As last week, this is Ira as presented in the novel. If you haven't checked out the novel yet, see my website at judemclaughlin.com for links for the print and ebooks! The novel could also use some more reviews at Amazon and Good Reads, if you have a few moments to write and/or rate!

Ira Solomon Feldstein

Birthdate: 9 April 1928

Height: 5'10" (in prime)

Weight: about 175 lbs

Race: Hebrew (as they say in the old census records!)

Spandex name: Mister Metropolitan (retired)

Sign: Aries

Blood type: B

College degree: Accounting, Wonder City Business College

Paranormal powers
- Strength: Class 4
- Invulnerability: Class 5

Other notes
In my original timeline, I was married to Elizabeth McCallum, a.k.a Tin Lizzie, and we had one child, Joshua. In this timeline, though, I was originally married to Andrea Prinz, who was Mrs. Metropolitan for a while, and she was the mother of Joshua. Apparently, I cheated on Andrea with Violet Stein, and ended up divorcing Andrea and marrying Violet for a decade or so of misery before we divorced. I don't remember any of the stuff that happened in the current timeline, but everyone else does. As far as I'm concerned, I've been a widower since Lizzie went into the Great Gulf in 1984.
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I'm going to take January to do some catch-up writing, since the holidays tapped my last buffer. In the meantime, I'll cross-post the short character overviews I'm doing over on my blog at here for your amusement. This is Megan as presented in the novel. :)

From Parapedia Staff:
We sent out short surveys to many characters in Wonder City Stories to see what information they might be willing to share. Our first survey came back from Megan Amazon!

Megan Pantariste Amazon

Birthdate: 30 November 1986

Height: 7'11.5"

Weight: None of anyone's business

Race: Biracial at least, your guess is as good as mine

Spandex name: FUCK NO

Sign: "No Trespassing"

Zodiac sign (put "Western" in there, you ethnocentric jerks): Sagittarius

Blood type: O negative (yes, ha ha, let's laugh at the universal donor who can't donate blood)

College degree: BA in Psychology from University of California, Berkeley

Paranormal powers:
- Strength: Class 6
- Invulnerability: Class 6

Other notes: Why am I doing this again?

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Last episode of 2015! Thank you for all your continued support, and the kind reviews I've been seeing around the web! I hope 2016 is kinder to you than 2015, whether you had a great 2015 or a terrible one (or an okay one, like I did).

Print and ebook versions of
Wonder City Stories available! Find links to sites where you can buy them at judemclaughlin.com!

A Man Does What He Can; A Woman Does What a Man Cannot

"Guys," Nereid said into the general hubbub of the Young Cosmics meeting room. The loud conversations—particularly from Mercury holding court—continued unabated. "Guys?" she said again.

Sophie looked over at her and raised her eyebrows. Mercury was playing his boyfriends Gemini and Deflector off against each other in some sort of flex-off. Gemini had just done his power trick, making his two muscular brown arms into four, and Deflector was peeling his shirt off to reveal his pale but muscular chest. Vector was egging them on, to the annoyance of her girlfriend Meridian, who had not just turned away, but turned her entire wheelchair toward a conversation with Tin Lizzie, giving the gayboy display the cut direct. Wildstar, their featureless mask off for a change, revealing their androgynous tan face and short black hair, was chatting with Citizen Pain. Pay was giving Nereid side glances of attentiveness, but was also trying to be polite to Wildstar, their newest member. Wire was leaning back in her chair, arms crossed, one foot braced against the edge of the table, scowling at her boot, with her blue forelock drifting distractingly across her face.

Irritation bloomed and spread inside Nereid, making her feel like her skin was stretched taut with fury. Why did they elect me commander if they had no goddamn intention of paying attention to me? She fumed in silence for a few more moments, until Deflector was reaching for his belt, apparently to drop trou, and the anger exploded into her vision. She came to her feet, slammed both hands on the tabletop, and bellowed, "This meeting of the Young Cosmics will come to order."
Read more... )

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... a review of the novel on Amazon, Good Reads, or your own platform, wherever that might be, would go a long way toward making this season more joyous for me. :)

If you're celebrating holidays, I hope they're lovely to you.

If you're not celebrating holidays, I hope you have a restful several weeks.

If you're transitioning between celebrating and not celebrating, I hope you can do a lot of nice things for yourself.

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No offense meant to any Kelly Greens in the reading audience. Tatyana is just being critical of everything.

Print and ebook versions of
Wonder City Stories linked to sites where you can buy them at judemclaughlin.com!

An Entertaining Labyrinth of Side-issues

As she stood near the incident site, waiting for her new Bureau intern, Tatyana kept her face in what she thought of as a neutral expression. Apparently, some of the other Bureau staff referred to her default expression as "resting bitchface." I wonder if they would say that about a white American woman, she thought.

Interns, in Tatyana's experience, were either Bureau spies to keep an eye on agents the higher-ups feared, or they were actual bumblers who she generally had to keep from accidentally ending up dead. Time would tell her which kind of liability this new one—conveniently assigned just as she started this big case—was.

The Wonder City police who were stationed around the site perimeter were beginning to talk amongst themselves while aiming significant glances in her direction. She didn't recognize any of the officers on duty—It has been a few minutes since my last major case—and suspected she was going to have to go ahead and move in without her pet albatross.
Read more... )

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Print and ebook versions of Wonder City Stories linked to sites where you can buy them at judemclaughlin.com!

Names Your Mother Never Called You

"That's… really unfair," Simon said, glowering at Nereid.

"I know!" Nereid exclaimed in her alarmingly deep voice. "Why did it have to happen to me when there are people who want this kind of thing?"

"Have you told your parents?" Simon said.

"They remember me as… a guy, like you do," Nereid said, running her too-large hands over oddly bumpy and hard thighs, remembering her mother fondly calling her "Pace"—short for Pacific, of course. I never got a nickname as a girl, she thought, not-quite-bitterly. "So, no. Though, I mean, it's not like Mom and Dad haven't been through weird para shit before. Not as much as your parents, but still."
Read more... )


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