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December 16, 2016
VINDICATION!

Earlier this month, Writer's Digest emailed CS7 commentary about its entry in the 24th Annual Self-Published Book Awards, with Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation.

SOTC (revised from 2004) did better than twelve years ago, when Skies Over Tomorrow entered the competition. Granted, a new category (1 of 6) emerged at some point during this time, in which SOTC faired so-so. However, its scores in the other catergories show that its author achieved his goal: to do the title justice as to have it be better than the original.

Here's how SOTC scored and some of the commentary about it:

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
Plot and Story Appeal: 4
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 4

One judge of the 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards said:

"Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation by Kelly B. Johnson is a collection of short stories that will delight readers of space tech fiction. Each story begins and ends in the right place, providing readers with a page-turning experience.
The front cover is attractive... The back cover copy is good.
Johnson is a competent author who shows confidence in the writing. The characters are well drawn and have adequate motivation for their actions. Most of the dialogue is good and comes across in a natural manner. However, some of the narrative in the middle of conversations slows down the pacing.
[Otherwise], this is a fun book...
"



November 25, 2016
CLOUDBURST EXTENDED

As promised, Cloudburst is available at www.chaosstudio7.com/sotc, in its original 8-page form, titled Cloudburst (extended). It can be downloaded for FREEEEEEE! Please enjoy it. :)



November 22, 2016
CLOUDBURST

The Womb has evolved to be renamed. The new title is Cloudburst. There are two versions of it: a 1,500 word edition (or 1,483 to be exact), which was submitted for competition; and the original, extended version. The difference between the two is a matter of 2 pages, with the later being 8 pages.

It is a short short origin piece to Alien Femme, as featured in Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation. The themes presented in it vary but are heavy. It reflects the writer's position as an observer in society as to objectively take issues (of today and yesterday) and fuse them as to objectively comment on humanity.

Cloudburst will be available for free downloading this week.



September 10, 2016
STAYING STRONG

Despite the ordeal of being the target of racism\personal vendetta (in the form of a modern-day mob attacks) that reached a crescendo this past summer (or so I would like to think), the next title from CS7, Dream Synthesis*, has gotten underway, to which this morning was an early start to finalize The Womb. It is a short origin piece to the short story, Alien Femme, as featured in Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation. It also reveals more about the Galactic Federation of Mars.

As it is seven pages (double spaced), this piece is being considered as a giveaway and or for submission.

*—working title.

UPDATE(11/22/16): It seems haters will hate; but to the extreme presented, one would appear insane to talk about it in detail.



September 5, 2016
REPRESENTIN', YO!

As Chaos Studio Seven's creator, representation has been contemplated of late. Thoughts on the definition of this term from convention experiences have lead to the conclusion that the work of CS7— its creator—can not and has never been limited to just race (i.e. skin color). At least not literally or in a tangible sense. That is to say a black protagonist, or antagonist, in an black universe of some tale is not enough to "represent"—not for this stuido.

In fact, representation in and of work from CS7 (its creator) is two-fold. First, any and all work produced is "black" by default simply because of the creator is black, and in that regard, it represents. Second, representation goes beyond race, encompassing themes of the black experience (in both the U.S. and the world) to which the artist\writer of color has the freedom and right to express his\her perspective in an imaginative way—even if that way is designed for non-blacks to easily digest the black experience. How else can the racial divide be bridged as to provide reflection and understanding through creative works?

For example, Alien Femme (from Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation) is short tale of struggle for freedom in a oppressive society. Of course, black folks can better relate to this, but as it is told in the first person voice of a predominately Caucasian female, does it mean the work is not representing? What if it is then known, the main character went through a few iterations of study since 1993, where at first she was a red-head Asian a couple of times (first Chinese, then Japanese); and then black, and then finally a bi-racial (Euro-asian) red-head with a Japanese name?

Well, that's the character finally "cast" for the role, as to best fit the universe of the Galactic Federation of Mars, conceptualized as a society that went to the extremes of self-preservation. (Does it sounds familiar compared to today?) Even more, with some foresight of the future, the story (and related stories) were primed for today—in terms of genre and its audience while having universal appeal.

With all of this said, it is with purpose and for the purpose of being true to a story (for its entertainment value) and delivering its message(s) effectively that CS7 and its creator produces work. That's all that matters at the end of the day.



April 16, 2016
GREAT NEWS!

Of the awards lined up for Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation, it's one for one (with a third still out with the jury), as SOTC has been nominated for the 2016 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. While fingers are crossed, this is awesome.



April 8, 2016
VIRTUAL EXHIBIT

Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation has been entered into the Book Expo of America (BEA) New Titles virtual exhibit. Hopefully this will provide it greater exposure. (Search for 'Chaos Studio Seven' under the 'All Publishers' drop down list.)



April 5, 2016
THE NEXT INSTALLMENT

With better than expected results in doing Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation justice, a new endeavor has begun. Illustrations and outlines are being hashed for the next project, Dream Synthesis*.

*—working title.



April 2, 2016
ONE OF A KIND

Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation received its first editorial (commercial) review last night. It should be understood that such a review is a service or a type of R4R (read for review) that is paid for. Now where some may see ethical issues with paid reviews, its benefit surpasses the actual review, and even the author-reviewer relationship, which should be professional enough to treat the work objectively. If a book is good, then it is good. If it is not, then it is not. In either case, the last words exchanged should be "thank you" when the review is complete. The review itself then becomes an "official stamp" of sorts, in helping a reader decide if a particular work is worth the investment and time.

That said, while SOTC received a very positive review, it is somewhat challenging to remain impartial to its review, as it did not provide the level of criticism expected. While "exemplary", commentary on writing style and the like is missing (or so it feels that way). The review is interesting in that it uses information already existing online (because Chaos Studio Seven put it out there) and re-writes it in the words of the reviewer. In so doing, some interpretations\opinions are a surprise, off just a little, or were never conceived before. Even so, there was more expected from it. Still, the summary of the review is concise and very flattering:

"The skills of the author as an artist and a writer are exemplary, making this book one of a kind."

Perhaps a gift horse shouldn't be looked in the mouth, or is this a case of getting what one pays for? In any case, perhaps it will be readers who will have to provide the desired honest, critical feedback. Read the full review here: SOTC review.



March 22, 2016
FIRST ONLINE AUTHOR INTERVIEW POST

The third of an online author interview was the first to be posted, by author\blogger Mercedes Fox. The interview can be read here: Meet Author, Kelly B. Johnson.

This is tandem with the Goodreads giveaway of ten Advance Review Copies of Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation. If one has a Goodreads account, be sure to find the book and enter the giveaway for a chance to get a free copy. It'll run from March 25th to April 25th. What better way to check out a read before spending money on it?



March 21, 2016
TIPTREE

This years nomination, or recommendation for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, was stumbled upon with reading A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction. Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation was recommended for this award, to which even if it doesn't win it, hopefully it'll make the Tiptree honor or short list.

UPDATE: 4/2/16—OOOPS! It would seem recommendation SOTC for the Tiptree was premature, as the award is given to a body or bodies of work published in the previous year. (Confirmation is currently being sought.)

UPDATE: 4/8/16—According to the Tiptree folks, bodies of work are reviewed from the previous year as a measure of not having missed a potentially good story; but the award is geared toward works of the current year. So, recommedning SOTC was a good thing.



March 12, 2016
YEAH, SEX SELLS...

It was decided to remove Hoku Ellison from the Character Profiles section of the SOTC page. While she is rendered in a see-through body suit, with advisory pages preceeding her actual page, as of late, it was realized that there is more to her character and role. Drawing from the inspiration of participating in and attending a couple conventions, Hoku is more than a woman who embodies freedom of expression and is extremely comfortable with her sexuality. If it was not apparent from reading The Mars Conspiracy, then she has a mysterious side. In fact, it is safe to say, she has a mystical side that is to be revealed in Dream Synthesis*. So much so, that the "bare-it-all" rendering was no-longer reflective of who she is and role in the big scheme of things.

*—working title.



March 08, 2016
PUBLICATION DATE

FOR THE RECORD: The publication date for Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation is April 1, 2016.

Between the rush CS7 was in and the oversight of the distributor, the publication date of February 7, 2015 is incorrect. CS7 is reaching out to online retailers to request the pub date be updated,as a listing is found; but as a the distrubtion primarily has control over the e-book appearing on the web, the effort to correct it is tough. The lesson here is to slow it down.



March 5, 2016
ASFE RECON

The Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo was identified as one convention that could expose Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation (as well as the studio) to people from all walks of life. However, as fate would have it, discovering it came too late, and despite an attempt to comminucate with the host of the event (Challenges), the studio unfortunately missed vending at this great opportunity. Still, it went to check it out and attend a panel on world building with author Milton Davis. He provided an interesting insight on how take history and alter it for a story's need. A thorough examination of how to answer "what if". As ASFE is a two day, it would have also provided more convention experience.



March 3, 2016
INSPIRED TRACTION

For whatever reason, marketing was proviving to be like some adventure to prove that unicorns do exist. There was the idea of how it should be working and what needed to be done, but developing that "road map" as guide to how to get access and recognition was becoming a defeat. Then, in the midst of research, one "roap map" revealed itself to which came the realization that marketing can employ multiple guides to garnering exposure. On this day, a pseudo tour of fairs and conventions became very apparent, and in this day and age, very doable without breaking the bank. It was in this moment that the sails of marketing Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation caught wind and inspired hope that it (and the studio) will be known.

All that said, with a mix up with the publication date of the advanced release of SOTC online (WHICH IS 04/01/16!), a search was conducted on the title and it was found that it had been distributed or acquired online by a few global retailers. (Yay!) From the Netherlands\Belgium to Japan; and communication with Angus & Robertson of Australia, concerning their updating of the title on there website, was successful.

At this point, list of clubs and organizations (including the press) is being compiled for a planned press release. This marketing thing is a strange creature once traction is obtained...



February 19, 2016
MILD MILESTONES REACHED

This week, the actual business license came in and the e-book for Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation hit Amazon. The e-book is expected to be online with other e-tailers (B&N, Apple, etc.) by March 2nd. After the experience with Onyxcon, targetting more conventions and ramping up marketing will be the objective for 2016.



February 13, 2016
ONYXCON 2016 WAS AWESOME!

The experience of vending at the first of many conventions was a very exciting experience. Gained a lot of insight from the numerous interactions. As the only author at the comic convention, it was also satisfying to have encountered readers. Chaos Studio Seven will have to make an appearance at a convention geared toward books and readership, but that's not to say comic conventions are off the table. Given that the writings of the studio is viewed as art medium, they are right at home with comic conventions.



January 28, 2016
IT's OFFICIAL.

Chaos Studio Seven, as a tradename and a independent publisher, has been officially registered with the local county. This goes a long away to bolstering confidence in 'doing business as'. The next step is to secure its own tax ID number.



January 27, 2016
E-INTEGRATION.

In preparation of the electronic distribution of Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation, a button to the title on Atlasbooks.com has been added to the SOTC mainpage. Clicking on it will the purchase of the title in either the ePUB or ePDF format. The former is most common among e-readers while the later is for Apple and desktop apps.



January 25, 2016
A TIME TO LET GO.

As it's been twelve years since the publication of Skies Over Tomorrow, and given the title has been revised for 2016 while in pursuit of legitimizing Chaos Studio Seven as an independent entity, the remaining bulk of its print run was recycled today. A sad day.



January 21, 2016
A CHANGE OF DATE.

Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation official and final publication date has been set to April 1st, 2016. It will be released in advanced on February 13th.



January 18, 2016
QUICK TURN AROUND.

It's official. Chaos Studio Seven will be present at Onyxcon: Sankofa 2016 on February 13th. Its review board approved the application to participate.



January 17, 2016
WETTING OF THE FEET.

With perusing Facebook, a friend posted a link to a convention being held next month. It is Onyxcon: Sankofa 2016. A request has been submitted for participation, so who knows? Nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

The trick now would to be plan around the production schedule of SOTC.



January 15, 2016
NOOOOOOOOO!!!

As it would so happen, with SOTC in production and undergoing an approval process, there was one little typo that caused the entire body of work to be scrubbed again. In the end, 20 pages (out of 258) needed to be corrected. This has pushed back the release date to 02/15/2016.



January 12, 2016
IFRAME INTEGRATION COMPLETE.

After four days of bewildering coding, the drop "up" menu at the bottom of the main page has been achieved—again, with some effort. Seemingly, the site is catching up to the latest in HTML and CSS.

With the integration of iframes, this site is fickle, so to speak, with some pages on mobile devices. Given the ecletic nature of its old and new code style and the fact that some new elements are not yet supported by mobile operating systems, this site's mobile experience will be less than what it was before, when it utilized frames\framesets and rudimentary coding. On the other hand, its user experience will certainly be improved on the desktop\laptop platform; it's beautiful. The site has retained its basic layout since inception, but the coding is ever evolving. All in all, iframes have paved the way for a more dynamic website.

In other news, the release for Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation has been pushed back to February 15th, 2016. However, pre-order of the ebook may be available sooner, with some e-retailers.



January 08, 2016
MAJOR TWEAKS, AND NO MORE FRAMES!

The website has undergone a major tune up, so to speak, as to improve the main page's navigation with the elimination of its frames. In its place, an iframe has been implemented which makes the overall presentation of the display quite nice. At this point, all framesets on this site will be upgraded to iframes.



January 01, 2016
WELCOMING THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY

Here's looking to good fortune this coming year. Happy New Year!

A reminder: Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation will officially be released February 7th, 2016.