Waaaaaay back in June I was in London for some TCGTE shows and an awesome listener gave me this mysterious prop from the yet-to-be-released Series 9 of Doctor Who. For months I had no idea what it actually was until this past weekend when I saw it stuck to the Doctor's guitar amp. As far as cool nerd stuff goes, this is way up there. (Thanks Elaine!)
I've been so busy editing that I completely forgot to mention something on my blog here: BOOK THREE IN THE META SERIES HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED! The new book is called Rise of The Circle and it will be out November 30, 2015. Head on over to Amazon to check out the cover and description and pre-order starting now. I originally planned to have this out a little earlier, but the story grew and grew so I figured it’d be better to delay the release a little bit to get the longer story into shape rather than try to split it up or cut things out. Right now the book is about the same length as Meta and The Second Wave combined (that might change after the next round of edits).
The description is purposefully a little vague, but since you’re diehard enough to sign up for the newsletter I’ll tell you that a lot of answers are in this book. I should specify that I mean answers to questions from the first two books, not answers to the meaning of life or anything. Just want to be clear so no one’s disappointed.
Rise of the Circle is up now for ebook pre-order exclusively through Amazon for release November 30, 2015. Closer to the release Amazon will open up orders for print copies and I'm hoping to offer up signed copies for sale on here around then too.
I'm going to try to blog more (famous last blog words) so this site is a little more than just old announcement posts. Rather than try to write about anything too heady, here's some media I've consumed lately that I've liked. (The next Meta book is being announced this week or next, sign up for my newsletter if you wanna hear about it first.) Book: The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold (Amazon or Your Local Library)
One of those short novels that is exactly as long as it needs to be (144 pages). It's a time travel story, but an incredibly personal one. Gerrold does a great job laying out the complex rules it sets up for how time travel works within the story and uses that to arrive at some very unexpected places dealing with the nature of free will and causality. Definitely not a kid's time travel story though, be warned.
One of the best, terrible-looking movies I've ever seen. The special effects look like something you could make yourself in iMovie and there's some very shaky acting, but the story itself is fascinating if you love conspiracy theory stuff. It's like Going Clear meets Blair Witch Project, with 1/1000th the budget of either.
TV: The Americans (Free on Prime Instant)
Not sure why this one took me so long to dive into, but I'm glad there were already three seasons in the can when I did. Somehow they've managed to pack the best spy stories you've ever seen into a show that is really mostly about how hard marriage is, even when it's arranged by the KGB.
Podcast: The Late Show Podcast (Free on iTunes)
Last week I was lucky enough to attend the first test show for the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show itself was great and I can't wait for it to start, but in the meantime these podcasts are the next best thing. Colbert is a big process guy, so hearing his, as well as his co-workers, insights into putting together a whole new show that respects but doesn't rip off the two shows that preceded it (Late Show with David Letterman and Colbert Report) is fascinating. I don't think they're planning on keeping the podcast running once the show itself starts but I hope they change their mind about that. One of the rare instances where you want to hear how the sausage is made.
A little over a year ago today I received the worst phone call of my life while standing 3,500 miles from home. My father had died at work. The words didn't make sense to me when I first heard them, and now even a year later there isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear those words and feel the same feeling of disbelief that I did that day. This isn't a post about how devastating that day was to me though. This is about two ways that my Dad led me toward writing that I think about a lot now.
Before I was born, my Dad had done a few different jobs. The ones I heard about most were when he was a clam digger on Long Island and when he was a bouncer at a rowdy bar. By the time I was born he had started a career in construction as a Steamfitter. You would think with that kind of background I would have been brought up "tough", especially when it became obvious that I was going to wind up tall like he was. But that was never, ever the case.
My Dad introduced me to comic books at a young age, happily indulging me in trips to the comic book store, almost always picking up a few for himself. He grew up a Superman fan, but I started taking to Batman at a young age. Comic books might be really cool now, but they were definitely not when I was a kid. I never knew that though, because my interest in them was never questioned. I was never told that it was nerdy, or that I should take up other interests which were seen as more manly, or "normal". I was simply allowed to follow my interests without question.
When I sat with the woman from the church, along with my mother and brother to discuss my Dad's arrangements, she asked us what he was like. We talked about his hobbies and interests, his family and his heritage, but then I brought up his sense of right and wrong. He never lied. He never stole. He never took advantage of another person. Most importantly he never turned his back on a person or situation that he felt was wrong just because it "wasn't his business." Even in the year before he died, I heard a story about him confronting a man on the train who was threatening to hit his girlfriend. It was a packed train and everyone else ignored the situation, pretended they didn't see it happening, or assumed someone else would say something. Even though my Dad was in his 60's, and surely not the most capable person on that train, he was the one who stood up. He never sought out a fight, but he was the only person on that train to tell this man that if he didn't leave his girlfriend alone he'd have to deal with him.
Back to the church lady; she recounted her own story of right and wrong, and how when she was younger she'd accidentally left Macy's with a bracelet she had tried on still around her wrist. She told us how she considered keeping it since she had gotten away with it already, but then imagined her nephew falling in front of a subway. Punishment from God for her act of theft. I immediately became indignant. I explained to this woman how that was nothing like my Dad. My Dad didn't do "the right thing" because he was afraid of God, or out of guilt, or fear of being caught. He did the right thing for absolutely no other reason than it was the right thing. It really was just as simple as that.
I realized that day that this was where my obsession with superheroes came from, because to me that's always what my Dad was. He did what was right without fear, and without expectation of reward. He did what was right even when that was the hardest option. I'm not half the man he was, but I grew up with a role model that would have been impossible to emulate.
And that brings me to the other thing that I think about most now. I was lucky beyond words to have grown up with the friends I did. I'm still close with many of them to this day, and I think one of the bonds we share is having had parents who supported us no matter what. The idea of a disapproving mother or father was something I grew up thinking was just a trope of movies and television.
I've written about it before, but when I lost my job a little over two years ago, it hit me really hard. After a few months of frustration I decided I would change my attitude. I would take the time to do what I'd wanted to since I was 5 years old and write a book. I told very few people about it at the time, but I was surprised by some of the reactions. There was concern and doubt. A relationship ended at least partially as a result of my decision to take this somewhat risky move and I started to seriously doubt what I was doing.
A response that I heard often after I told people what I had been working on instead of trying to find a job was, "sooooo, what do your parents think?" It was a way to signal that they thought it was bad idea without having to say so outright. The thing was though, I never understood the question. It's not that I didn't understand the concern, I knew it was not the most reasonable thing to do. But to me, the answer was always that my parents never really said whether they thought it was a good idea or a bad one. They just supported me. That didn't mean sending me money or anything like that, although they would have in a heartbeat if I'd ever asked, it just meant listening.
And they did listen, because I sure as hell was not sure about what I was doing at all. There was no one more dubious about my plan than me, and they listened to every anxiety and concern I had. But I remember one day in particular, talking to my Dad on the phone when he told me the most heartening thing I could have heard at that moment. It was simple, but more powerful than anything else I could have imagined. I was explaining to him what I had left in savings, what my expenses were, what I could cut out, what I could sell, what jobs I would look into after the book was finished, etc. He let me finish and then just said, "you know, your Mom and I don't worry about you." I asked what he meant by that, and he just repeated it. He told me that they'd be there for me if I ever needed it, but that they didn't worry about me. That they knew I'd figure it out because I always did.
I'd felt like I was at a low point in my life and that my prospects were dire, but here was someone who I had shared all the details with telling me that he wasn't concerned. It wasn't a grandiose statement, nor was it dismissive. He understood how concerned I was and reacted by telling me the truest thing he could say at that moment. It's a cliche, but he believed in me more than I believed in myself, and without that I have no doubt that I never would have finished my first book.
I remember talking to him months after the release, when the response had been so overwhelming positive that it was clear writing was what I should focus on right now. I read him some of the emails I'd received from readers, and told him how happy I was when I was writing. He told me that he'd always suspected that this was what I would be happy with. That he always thought I wasn't cut out for working for some big company, that I would do best on my own and working creatively. He rarely gave advice, he wasn't the type of person who pretended like he knew what was best for other people, but when he did it was often the truth.
I finished writing The Second Wave after he died and struggled with whether I should dedicate it to him. The truth is that I honestly don't know if I'll ever be happy enough with something I write to feel like it lives up to being dedicated to him. Maybe that's just my own insecurities, maybe in time it will pass. In a way everything I write will always be dedicated to him, because without his love and encouragement, I would have never written a word.
Thank you, Dad. For everything.
Hi! Long time, no blog. There's a good reason though: I've been busy actually writing books. Recently there seems to be a real uptick in people asking about Meta Book 3 (no, it doesn't have a real name yet) and when it'll be out so I thought I'd offer an update. Currently the goal is to get book 3 out there in the fall, which right now looks like it'll probably be October-ish. I don't have too much to share plot-wise right now, other than as of right now the story picks up a few days after the end of The Second Wave. This book looks like it'll be longer than Meta and The Second Wave and although I'm hoping to keep writing more Meta books for awhile, this one will be the conclusion to an unofficial trilogy in a lot of ways, i.e. lots of mysteries will be explained and lots of set-ups get paid off.
One of the other questions I get a lot is when The Second Wave will be available as an audiobook. Recording Meta was way harder than I anticipated which put The Second Wave on the backburner for awhile. I considered having someone else read it, but that seemed kinda silly since I have the recording equipment and people seemed to like the way I read Meta. As of right now, the plan is to record The Second Wave right after Book 3 goes to the editor in the next couple of months. I'll need a break from writing by then anyway and that way taking time to do the recording won't sidetrack Book 3.
There's two other projects in pipeline too, one which I've mentioned a few times that is a sci-fi, alien abduction mystery-type thing and a short story or novella set in the Meta universe. The first draft of the mystery novel has been done for awhile but needs some serious work. The Meta novella (Metavella?) I have some really fun ideas about too. I'm really, really hoping to get both out around the end of 2015.
As always, make sure to sign up to my mailing list if you want to make sure you hear about this stuff first. I won't bother you with other garbage on it, just my personal garbage.
Starting in Germany is like starting all over again. While I could be patient and and continue to have native German speakers find Meta Die Verwandlung on their own, I'm not patient and I'm too excited about having a book I wrote in another language. For that reason, I'm making the German-language version of Meta, translated by the immensely talented Daniela Mansfield free on Amazon Kindle this weekend, starting on today. It'll be free worldwide, so no matter what country you're in you'll be able to grab the German version (I'm looking at you Austria and Switzerland.) So if you speak German, or know someone who does that might enjoy Meta, be sure to let them know.
I'm on this week's Rocking Self Publishing podcast talking about writing and podcasting. It's a pretty long interview where I talk a bit about how I got into podcasting with The Complete Guide to Everything and how that eventually lead to me trying my hand at writing a novel about superheroes (there is actually a thread there). I also talk a bit about how I write and how writing The Second Wave was different than writing Meta. Check out the interview in the embed below or grab it for free on iTunes.
The Second Wave is out today exclusively on Kindle (Kindle iOS, Android apps) and Paperback! Here are some questions that I've been frequently asked and some answers. FAQ:
Do we find out if [BLANK] is actually [BLANK]???
I will try not to give any spoilers away, but I will tell you that there is a character we’ve not seen without a mask that is unmasked. We also find out how some of the people closest to Connor spend their time when he’s busy being Omni.
Why is the book exclusive to Amazon? Why can’t I get it on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc?
Here’s the deal. Pre-orders went 6 weeks ago on Amazon Kindle and iBooks. As of a few weeks ago the number of Kindle pre-orders was 100 times the number of iBooks pre-orders. I don’t mean “they were double” or “they were quadruple”, they were literally 100 times higher, as in centuple. Going exclusive with Amazon meant people with Prime and Kindle Unlimited could read The Second Wave for “free”. I don’t make as much money that way, but it means more people are able to find Meta and The Second Wave which is way more important for me as a new author.
You can read The Second Wave in the Kindle app for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, pretty much everything so I didn’t think anyone would miss out. If I’m wrong though, email me and I’ll fix it for you.
Can I get this book printed on dead trees?
Yes. It should be up in paperback on Amazon any time now, if it’s not already. If you order it through them I’ve set it so they’ll give you the Kindle version for free, which is awesome if you want to give the paperback to someone as a gift and still get the digital version for yourself. You can also have any book store order it for you very easily too if you want to support your local indie.
This is the best book I’ve ever read. It changed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I’m already planning on naming my first born child “Tom Reynolds”, but what else could I possibly do to repay you?
Wow. Thank you so much. Honestly, I think you might be going overboard and I’m hesitant to ask for anything else, but if you liked the book that much and would like to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads I’d appreciate it more than you would ever know. The entire reason I’m able to do this for a living now is because of the generosity of people taking the time out of their days to leave a review and recommend it to others.
There will be more in the Meta series in 2015. I’m also planning on releasing some short stories and a thriller-ish thing with a sci-fi element to it early next year.
Thanks again so much for reading what I write and supporting me. Hope you love The Second Wave today.