-- Long Time No See? --
Oh, hi. It's been a while, hasn't it?
Truth be told I've been trying to write this blog post for two weeks, but trying to find a way to express what I wanted to say - and nailing down what it actually is I wanted to say - proved difficult. Trying to fit over a year of silence into one blog post, and trying to piece together a dream of the future... Oof. So maybe we'll get back to that someday. It's a lot to unpack.
For now, I just really want to get out some official news on my lately projects, what they're about, when you can expect them, and all that fun stuff. There's four major announcements, so it's going to get long. I apologize.
-- Project #1: In the Deluge, a book of poetry --
I have wanted to publish a collection of poetry for some time now, but never felt like I had enough in both quantity and quality. However, I have had a big bout of inspiration to write poetry lately, so there's a lot more to work with. There's enough here, at least, for me to announce the intentions of releasing a collection in the near future. I will release it as an e-book and paperback, and maybe an Amazon hardback (a poetry collection doesn't seem fancy enough to go to Ingram Spark to do a special dust jacket hardback).
I chose the name In the Deluge because 1) I've always been fascinated by the word "deluge" itself, as well as what it means both literally and in ancient history and 2) the collection is going to be broken down into sections whose titles will be named after bodies of water. This isn't to say that this is a poetry collection about water, or even nature. This collection is primarily based around emotion, and strong emotions at that, in part because being overwhelmed with powerful emotions is often when I write poetry. My first working title was "Drowning in the Deluge," or "Lost in the Flood," but all that sounded a little too dark (even for me), so In the Deluge it is! It still implies being over-your-head, but doesn't convey the sense of panic or hopelessness the other titles do. In the Deluge won't be all doom and gloom. There will be some hope and love, too. Think of it as a "flood of emotion."
Above is a mock book cover I whipped up. As a reminder, a mock cover is just a visual representation of the intended project, and the official release cover may end up looking differently (I'm not a graphic artist, but I do like dabbling by making mocks). I like having mock covers for projects because it makes them more real and tangible, and therefore makes it feel more attainable. Title may also change, who knows!
-- Project #2: An Angel Falls, a sci-fi alien survival --
This is a strange project for me. I wouldn't call myself a sci-fi writer, since I often get tripped up in the science and technicalities. Unlike fantasy where you can just use the excuse "well, it's magic, that's why," sci-fi can get a little more nit-picky. It has to sound real, and ideally be grounded in (or at least based) on real science.
So why am I writing a sci-fi story? While it will be classified as science fiction, technically, this idea of mine is grounded more in wilderness survival than epic space battles, and the theme fits well with what I primarily write about: what does it mean to be human, or in this case, to be real?
An Angel Falls is about an alien robot with advanced artificial intelligence that crash lands his ship on a feral jungle planet. Alone and limited on supplies, he has to survive in this hostile world, fix his ship, and return home. With this story I hope to pose the question of why does this AI want to survive; because he has a programmed directive to complete, or because does he not want to die?
Also, the idea of a highly advanced robot crafting a primitive spear to protect itself from a giant alien jungle cat gave me a good chuckle. It's going to be a great "fish out of water" story. A sophisticated robot has no business being in dense, untamed nature. I think it's going to be a fun experiment, too, on making a very non-human character feel alive, even more so than my normal choice of monster characters. In fact, the entire story is going to be entirely alien – the robot, the planet, all of it, has never made contact with humankind. There will be no humans or human influences at all. Imagine that.
Why the title An Angel Falls? Right now it's mostly a placeholder title. To keep my inspiration focused, I defaulted to theming anything that needed to be named with my vast knowledge of angel mythology. I actually started out with Greek theming, but since I intend to have no human influence in the story, all these naming themes may change. But for now, the idea of an alien AI robot race being called Angels sounds amusing to me (note this is not implying Biblical angels are alien robots, however, that is a fantastic theory).
An Angel Falls is planned to be a Kindle Vella creation, released in parts, and perhaps potentially also as a podcast. I've always wanted to write/produce a fiction podcast, and the way this story will be segmented into episodes seems like it would be a great candidate. I will release An Angel Falls as a physical book (probably as a "season" or "volume" of sorts) once I have enough content, and assuming I will have the right to. I still need to do some research on Kindle Vella and what exclusive rights they may have, if any. I assume they would have exclusive ebook rights, but print and audio would stay with me. But I'll check!
As with the poetry collection, here is a quick mock-up cover. This one is very basic general "oh look it's a sci-fi book" because the real cover I have in mind would feature a depiction of the robot himself (probably fighting that giant alien cat mentioned above), which I'll likely have to have commissioned (also didn't I mention I'm not a real graphic artist?).
-- Project #3: The Blood Knight, coming soon? --
What, The Blood Knight? But you already know about that project, I hear you saying. Yes, yes, this has been my major project for over a year now, the next full-length novel I am wanting to publish. But I have made some major decisions with it that I want to share.
Up until now I was querying the whole Blood Knights trilogy to publishers. I may or may not have shared that I did actually get a 3 book series contract offer on it, which was super exciting! I got to read a real publishing contract, which was an enlightening experience. However, the offer came from a small publisher. That would have been fine for something small like The Un-Life, but it's not worth giving away my rights to the greater Knights universe. In addition, this small publisher was only offering print-on-demand publishing, which I can already accomplish on my own by self-publishing with Amazon and Ingram Spark, without giving my rights and a huge chunk of my royalties away.
Which leads me to the announcement. Ultimately, with as large as I'm wanting to make the greater Knights universe, starting out with self-publishing for the first trilogy may be the best route to go. It will give me the creative freedom to set the foundation for the entire extended universe the way that I want it to be laid out. Besides, there's always the option/chance to be picked up by a traditional publisher with the next Knights trilogy if Blood Knights works out well.
So with that said, The Blood Knight is now on my docket for self-publishing. The first official draft is done, which I am now going over with some alpha reader feedback. I may open up the story to beta readers in the near future, so look out for that if you're interested! I hope to have The Blood Knight published in one year (in fact, it will probably be my major New Year's Resolution next year), preferably before the next Archon St. Louis. It feels like it's been a long time coming, and I'm super excited to finally share this story with the world!
-- Project #4: The Un-Life of William Moore, Hardback Edition --
Lastly, I want all of you to know I'll likely be releasing a hardback version of The Un-Life soon! As you may or may not know, Amazon has recently rolled out their first ever print-on-demand hardback covers. Their options are limited to only a hard art cover; so no fancy dust jackets. So here's the game plan:
I will continue to search for an illustrator and work on extra content (a bonus chapter, perhaps?) for a Special Edition dust jacket hardback of The Un-Life, (published through Ingram Spark), for those who want a collectable version of the book. Ingram Spark hardbacks are much more costly, but have more fancy options like dust jackets (and you don't understand, I NEED to have my books in dust jackets to know I made it as an author, okay? Trust me).
This is the best of both worlds. An option for both kinds of readers.
I don't know for sure when that Amazon hardback will be released, but let's just count on soon! I will try to push for a Christmastime release. If not then, then early Spring.
In other Un-Life news, I have a free Amazon ebook giveaway scheduled from October 29 to November 2, 2021. Get you a free copy! Spread the word! In July we managed to give away over 800 free copies and placed #1 in two categories. We almost got in the Top 100 Free in the entire Kindle Store (that's amongst millions of books!). Let's do even better this time, shall we?
-- Conclusion: Are You Still Here? --
That was a lot of news. I'll keep the send-off brief.
Aside from the projects announced above, I am still working on the second Blood Knights book. I'm also working with the Hannibal Writers Guild to achieve non-profit status so we can publish anthologies, which I'll be included in. Short stories, poems, you name it.
And that's literally it. No more news from me. Hopefully I'll be back to blogging soon.
Thanks for sticking with me.