While 2016 was a rough year for me personally (outside of the dismay shared by the world last year), 2017 is already turning around. Last week, I was cleared of a brain tumor and life altering disease a doctor previously told me I had. The chaotic emotions that plagued my summer, caused by some kind of chemical imbalance, has faded. And big things are afoot…that I can’t yet talk about. What I CAN talk about is Centurion, the third and likely final Continuum book.
Why the last?
When things got rough over the summer, I realized I had been pushing myself too hard for a long time. In 20 years, I had taken exactly zero vacations. Over the next year (maybe two) all of my series will come to an end, mostly to create open patches in my schedule when I can relax, and to let me focus on standalone novels which are the more creatively rewarding (and better selling). More on that another time. Let’s get to the fun stuff!
A few years back, as The Antarktos Saga came to a close with The Last Hunter – Onslaught, I started getting e-mails from people wondering if the series would continue. As much as I wanted it to, I had other projects I needed to get out of my head, and time is short. The conclusion I came to, as I have with other series, is that to continue, I would need a co-author. But the character of Solomon was based on my son, and his daughters, Aquila and Norah, are based on my daughters (weird, I know, but just roll with it). Writing them has always been a personal experience for me, and I believe it’s part of why Solomon is so real to readers, despite the fantastical world he exists in. How could a co-author capture them the same way?
The answer happened to be growing up alongside my children. Tori Paquette has babysat the Robinson clan since she was barely old enough to not need a babysitter herself. In all that time, she’s also been writing with a dedication and willingness to learn that I have rarely seen in adults trying to become authors. The result has been dramatic progress culminating in a writer, whose skills at 17, are professional. Doubtful about that? Pick up The Last Valkyrie and see for yourself. She not only managed to capture the characters, she studied and recreated the world of Antarktos, adding her own very cool mythos to the realm.
I have little doubt that Tori’s writing career will surpass my own, and I’m thrilled to be part of kicking it off. Now, on to the story!
For years, I have said that The Last Hunter is my favorite series. I have fond memories of writing the novel, still miss the characters years later, and when it comes to adaptations (comic books or movie) am very protective of the story. But I can no longer say The Last Hunter is my favorite book. Favorite series, sure, but The Distance is now my favorite novel (of mine). Keep reading to find out why!
The Distance’s path to publication has been tumultuous, not because no one wanted it, but because I didn’t have faith in publishers to do it right. When the book was written, it was under contract with a “big five” publisher imprint. But after novels published under my own imprint, Breakneck Media, started selling better than those published by the big publisher, I returned the advance and got the rights back. After that, another big five publisher offered to take the book, and tried to woo me with bestselling sales projections, but their covers were abysmal and I wasn’t convinced they could do a better job than I could…which is really what a writer should expect from a publisher.
So, in the end, two years after the book was completed, I decided to go it alone, which is a little nerve-wracking for me because it’s my wife’s first novel, and I turned down a big five publisher…twice. What does this mean for the book? In terms of production quality, nothing. I was hired to do the cover for the original publisher, so the packaging would be the same. As for the interior design, we’re creating a premium experience, both for the print book and the e-book, which is priced $6 LESS than either publisher had planned.
A month ago I announced that several of my series would be coming to an end, in part because the stories have reached natural ending points, and like the best TV shows, I want to end their runs before they become hum drum. Better to go out on a bang, I think. The Nemesis Saga is the first of those stories to reach its finale, and it’s the mother of all finales, crossing over with a good number of my other novels, and series, some of which have already ended. This is a bittersweet newsletter, but I think once you read the epic craziness that is Project Legion, you’ll agree that it’s the perfect way to end the most successful Kaiju Thriller series in American literary history. So let’s jump right in to the book description, followed by crossover details.
The fifth and final Nemesis novel completes the story arc started in Project Nemesis… Wait, no, that’s not accurate. The story arc for Project Legion was started TEN years ago, in my second novel, Raising the Past. That’s right, for the past ten years, I’ve been seeding the plot for Project Legion, hinting at clues along the way and revealing the story in a larger way, starting at the end of Project Hyperion, which connected the dots. And now, with Project Legion, I bring together characters from several novels, starting with my very first to some of my most recent. I don’t link all 50+ novels, but there has NEVER been a literary crossover event like this outside of comic books. For more details on the crossover, and which novels are linked to Project Legion, check out the next article.
Going into RobinsonFest 2016, I had two fears. The first was that, given my recent personal challenges, I wouldn’t feel up to being social; that people would feel they’d wasted their money to hang out with a mopey, boring dude. The second was that the magic that was the first RobinsonFest wouldn’t be repeatable, and again, people wouldn’t have a good time.
It’s now been two days since RobinsonFest ended, and I can pretty confidently say that both of my fears were unfounded. While I’m still afraid I didn’t get to really connect with everyone who attended, I think everyone had a great time, and the magic that was the inaugural RobinsonFest returned in full force, despite the screwballs thrown our way by the weather.
RobinsonFest isn’t a sterile event where the author is held at a distance, exchanging platitudes and small talk. In addition to the ridiculous child-like fun, we also openly talked about our lives, the good and the bad, and how we’re coping. As a result, I now have a large number of new friends, and deeper relationships with those who attended last year. Given my mental state for the last few months, I was extremely grateful for this.
Okay, enough with the blathering! Here’s a breakdown of the event, and gobs of photos (in a randomly ordered gallery below).