Welcome! I am L.S. Johnson, award-nominated author of dark fantasy and weird fiction, and this is my ongoing series Prima Materia, which an author friend described as "the vampire War & Peace" ... and honestly I still haven't come up with a better logline for it, so thank you again, Cath. :) Prima Materia is about warring vampires, the alchemists who want their blood, and maybe—just maybe—the return of a serpent god; it's about the ethics of violence and the nature of faith; it's got found families, dry wit, and an awful lot of blood and biting; it's set in a diverse, queer, grubby, bawdy Enlightenment Europe both like and unlike our own, where "science" and "reason" are often in the eye of the beholder and beings not quite human walk among us. Every writer, I think, has a passion project, the one where we throw every trope and element we love into a story and run with it. Prima Materia is mine.
However, when I first sat down and realized just how many books it would take to tell the whole story ... phew. I had a stiff drink, and then I thought, how the heck can I get through this. Quitting was not an option. I wrote the first words of this series in 2011: it was the story that brought me back to writing, it's gotten me through many dark periods in my life. But I knew if I tried to publish it book by book I might well lose my nerve—and it would be a struggle to maintain an audience through the long months between installments.
Serializing was always in the back of my mind, but the serials I had read were tightly written, episodic tales; Prima Materia is anything but. I hemmed and hawed, but in the end I realized that this format gave me what I needed most to see this project through: regular deadlines. Whether for an audience of 1 or 1000, the accountability could prove priceless.
So here, then, is Prima Materia. The plan is to post installments every two weeks, several thousand words at a time. At the end of each volume, paying members will get the ebook and a signed paperback, plus any other swag, chapbooks, etc. I happen to make. In the meantime, your subscription will help to keep a roof over my head, and defray the production costs for each book—editing and design aren't cheap, nor should they be.
In addition to the serial, the website will also include character and conlang guides, notes on research and craft, galleries of visuals, the soundtrack I'm working with ... all the different materials that are currently stuffing my notebooks and folders. You'll be able to access all the secondary material with a free subscription; only the serialized books will require a paying subscription.
Questions? Let's see if they're answered here ...
How will I know if this is something I want to read, much less pay for? The opening chapters of both Seeds of Truer Natures (complete, and you'll get the final ebook if you subscribe) and Prima Materia (serializing now) will be available to all. Try before you buy!
But L.S., I don’t care about these darn vampire books, I’m only interested in your short stories/Chase and Daniels novellas! Then please check out my main website and consider signing up for my monthly newsletter, which includes updates on all my work. However, keep in mind that Prima Materia subscriptions support my writing and research, and that includes other projects. Many of my short stories and the Chase and Daniels series all came out of Prima Materia research.
What if I don’t want to sign up for something, but I’d like to make a one-time donation? That’s lovely of you, thank you! You can always donate via Ko-Fi or Paypal. All monies go to support my writing.
Still have questions? Contact me and I will do my best to answer them.