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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 two volumes of the web serial have been published as novels, and Wonder City Stories was a 2015 Lambda Literary Award finalist!


You can find links to buy them 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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A one-card reading for Vicki!

Read more... )
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Hi, all!

If you donated to Leah's GoFundMe and would like a reading from Madame, you need to let me know here (or at jude DOT mclaughlin AT gmail) that you did so. I'm not the administrator for the GoFundMe. :)

Here's my latest:
If you want a single-card draw from Madame Destiny, for a general day read or a specific question, you can get it for the low, low cost of $5 -- and even better, I will match your donation for every single-card reading requested until midnight Saturday April 22 (eastern daylight time) up to $100.

Get a reading from Madame! Double your donation!

CLICK THIS GIANT BUTTON TO DONATE:





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And now a 5-card Trylon and Perisphere reading for Amy.

Read more... )
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First reading from Madame Destiny is a 10-card full reading for Jen:
Read more... )

Fundraiser!

Mar. 9th, 2017 08:52 pm
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Hi, all,

My long-time friend Leah -- the original person upon whom the character of Lucid, the dream courier, in Wonder City Stories and Ephemera (and the rest of the web serial) was based -- has just been diagnosed with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer. She is disabled and has not been able to get federal disability, so she doesn't have income.

She has already started chemo, because her particular form of cancer is very aggressive and they need to knock it down ASAP. In the near future, she's facing surgery and probably radiation.

For more details, check out her Youcaring fundraiser.

To help her out, Madame and I are running a fundraiser. ALL proceeds go to Leah.

What you get for what you donate:
$10: A single card draw interpreted by Madame Destiny.

$25: Either a 3-card answer to a specific question or a 5-card general reading, interpreted by Madame Destiny.

$50: A full 10-card reading interpreted by Madame Destiny.

$100+: A full 10-card reading interpreted by Madame Destiny AND a signed copy of Wonder City Stories, Ephemera, OR Absolute Power!: Tales of Queer Villainy (only 5 of this last book available)

$500+: A full 10-card reading interpreted by Madame Destiny, signed copies of all three books, AND a thank-you in the acknowledgements of my next Wonder City Stories book.


You can leave a comment here, in the PayPal donation, or send me email if you don't want me to post your reading on Dreamwidth and would rather have me email it to you.

Here are links to some of the earlier readings Madame and I did:
One-card Readings, Part 1
One-card Readings, Part 2
One-card Readings, Part 3
One-card Readings, Part 4
Full reading #1
Full reading #2
Full reading #3

If you're not interested in a Madame Destiny reading, please do contribute to the Youcaring fundraiser and/or signal boost it and this one.

CLICK THIS GIANT BUTTON TO DONATE:





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In celebration of Louisa May Alcott's birthday tomorrow, if you want to pick up a copy of either Wonder City Stories or Ephemera, use discount code 7NTY4Z54 for $2 off only in their respective Createspace stores (Wonder City Stories and Ephemera).

I'm not sure whether you can stack the discount to make one purchase, or if one has to purchase separately. Createspace isn't particularly clear about it. :)

Discounts will stay until this Friday, 12/2.

Let me know if the code doesn't work -- I'll work on a fix asap.

EPHEMERA

Oct. 31st, 2016 11:50 am
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EPHEMERA is here!



Megan Amazon has a world of problems, and the fact that her girlfriend is possessed by the ghost of a wannabe superhero is at least 90% of them. Nereid's girlfriend's soul has gone on walkabout to Faerie. Simon Canis has joined the cast of It's a Wonderful House, and it wouldn't be reality TV without a boatload of roommate drama. There's also a serial killer stalking Wonder City, and Suzanne and Ira Feldstein are just a few steps behind him.

And then there's Renata Scott: the most powerful telepath in the world, who lives in a bunker a mile beneath Wonder City for her own sanity. Yet somehow she's now in the center of this messy Venn diagram: ghost stories and fairy tales and serial killers and an addictive trainwreck of a reality TV show.

Love, lies, murder, and a long con collide with a band of reluctant heroes in an explosive battle to save the world, Wonder City-style.
***
Ephemera deals frankly with sexual consent, homophobia, transphobia, racism, death and injury, and graphic onscreen death.


Print book available now here, Amazon to come.
eBooks available ASAP for Kindle and non-Kindle ereaders
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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.

PSA

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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