For the past year and a half, I’ve alluded to a secret project/a new book, I’ve been working on. However, apart from hinting and teasing, I haven’t said anything…which I’m sure is kind of annoying.
All of that ends today! Right now, in fact.
Well, actually, in a few minutes. I want to first tell you how it came to be.
In 1987, I had an idea for an amazing science fiction story. Every year, I would tinker with it, change things, and the size and scope of the story changed dramatically. In the mid-2000s, I began writing in earnest, and in 2009 I had completed the book, entitled, 2492. At 350 pages, it was the first of a four-book, epic story following the space-faring adventures of Bryn Struse. After it was finished, I wanted to get it published, so I began sending out query letters to literary agents looking for representation. (As a side-note, in the world of literary fiction, you cannot just go to a publisher with your book. If you do, they’ll tell you to first get an agent to represent your book.) A year and a half passed, and so did every agent I contacted.
In early 2011, I was thinking about 2492 and had gotten discouraged. Eventually, it occurred to me that the book might have been passed over for reasons other than for the writing. I went to Amazon and looked at how well sci-fi books were selling.
Sub-genres within the science-fiction family were selling extremely well…space-based sci-fi? Not so much. The top-selling sci-fi sub-genres included: zombies, vampires, paranormal romance, steampunk, and historical-mashups.
The “Can-Do!” part of me said, “What the heck, I can write that stuff. In fact, I’m going to write a book that combines all of those sub-genres into the most irresistible book ever.” What would the setting be? Hm. Well, it would have to take place in the past because of the whole historical-mashup thing.
Ok, who would it be about? How about someone local. At the time, I lived in Northampton, Massachusetts. My cartoon-like mind bounded far into the air, across the Connecticut River, and landed two towns over in Amherst. More specifically, on the front lawn of the Emily Dickinson Museum.
I laughed loudly. Emily Dickinson? She would be the single worst person to write an action-filled book about. I mean, come on! The woman was viewed by the town as a nutty recluse who didn’t leave her house for decades. I can’t think of a more sedentary historical figure. What an awful choice!
The “Can-Do!” part of my mind, still chiding me for thinking of Emily, started to move on, but a tiny thought managed to bubble up: “Well…that would be a great cover for a superhero.”
Some people describe what feels like a light bulb clicking on when they get a great idea. For me, it was like a supernova exploded in my head.
Emily Dickinson, Superhero.
I dove for the nearest pen, and snatched a pad of paper off a passing table. They combined, and I tried to keep up with the overwhelming flood of ideas and situations.
It’s now a year and a half later, and I am excited beyond words to not only be sitting on the completed first novel in the Emily Dickinson, Superhero series, but also finally able to tell you about it. First off, here’s the cover:
Emily Dickinson, Superhero – Vol. 1 is, what I call, a trivella™, or a book comprised of three novellas. The stories are:
Tomb and Graves
Creation of a Superhero
Austin in Boston
I have set the book up this way to give some flexibility to the readers. If you want to buy the whole book, great! If you find the notion of a 300-page book too daunting, no biggie, you can download each story individually. If you are a cautious reader and are apprehensive about spending your hard-earned money on an intriguing, but unknown story, don’t worry, the first story, Tomb and Graves is free. Nothing beats free.
Because I am so excited about the notion of Emily Dickinson as a superhero, I went ahead and wrote the outlines for six books (each with three stories). This is another reason I wanted to go the trivella™ route; when I finish writing a story, I can release it immediately without having to wait until the entire book is done. That means there’ll be a new Emily story every few months. In fact, I am currently writing the first story of the second book. It’s called, Angel of the Oxbow, and it should be available in December.
You may be wondering why I didn’t choose to go with a traditional publisher with this project. Actually, I did, and this is what happened…
I sent a query letter for the first Emily book to an agent, who was very excited and signed on to represent it. At the time, only the first story was complete, and based on the strength of that first story, she sent it to every major publisher in the United States. I held my breath for two months and my agent gave me the news: “They all passed on it, but these are, hands down, the best rejection letters I’ve ever seen.” In short, they loved it; the concept, the story, the writing; everything…except for one thing. They all pretty much said, “Zombies are so last year.”
Personally, I’m not much a fan of zombie stories (however, World War Z was one of the best books I read in 2011), but they work really well in the first story of Emily Dickinson, Superhero – Vol. 1. None of the other stories I’ve written, or are planning on writing, are about zombies. I can attest that out of the eighteen Emily stories, this is the one and only that has anything to do with the walking dead.
In the happy aftermath of being turned down (awesomely) by over forty editors, I had to make a decision on which direction my writing career would go. Earlier, when I was waiting for my agent to get replies from the publishers, I was working on my chick-lit novel, Winters in Boston. I thought that I could finish that book and see what publishers thought of it. Or, I could give 2492 a hearty edit and try sending that out instead.
While both were good options, my heart, without hesitation, reached out and tapped Emily. I just knew in my gut that I not only needed to finish it, but get it in your hands any way possible, even if it meant I had to self-publish it. So, I cleared my calendar of pretty much everything fun, and got to work. Now, it’s done, and I’m doing the final formatting, tinkering, and other non-story, stuff.
When will it be released? Soon! I’m thinking early October, but I won’t know an exact date until I upload it to Amazon (sidenote: I discovered that being able to get a specific release date for a book is only reserved for the major publishers, not for independent publishers). Emily Dickinson, Superhero will be available for your e-reader in Kindle and ePub formats. These two formats…well, I should say that the ePub format covers almost every e-reader device, while the Kindle format just covers Kindle (but, it supposedly has 60% of the e-reader market share). So between these two, pretty much every reader is covered.
For those who like the look, feel, and taste of a physical book, I am currently working with a print-on-demand company, and I will let you know when it is ready.
Emily Dickinson, Superhero – Vol. 1
Episode 1 - Tomb and Graves
In 1852, a secret society at Amherst College succeeded in bringing the dead back to life…and quickly lost control. Emily Dickinson, a young woman imbued with superpowers, teamed up with the town’s new police officer to fight the supernatural hordes attacking the annual Cattle Show.
Emily Dickinson, Superhero – Vol. 1
Episode 2 – Creation of a Superhero
Emily tells her sister, Lavinia, and Officer Lawless the origins story of her abilities. From her time training with a ninja while a student at Mount Holyoke, to her becoming a patient of Dr. Jackson, and dealing with the superpowers she received in the process, Emily has to quickly adapt to deal with a crime gang threatening Boston.
Emily Dickinson, Superhero – Vol. 1
Episode 3 – Austin in Boston
In January of 1853, Emily travels to Boston to visit her brother, Austin, enrolled at Harvard Law School. While there, the Boston Supers Group asks for Emily’s help in catching an unknown super terrorizing the city. Not wanting to get involved, Emily declined, but soon found herself drawn in by an old adversary and his gang bent on a single-minded determination to get revenge.
For more Emily Dickinson, Superhero, check out the following places on the internet tubes:
Also, sign up for my email list (top right corner of this site). I might send out emails once every few months about what’s going on with my various projects (like Emily, 2492, poetry, short stories, speaking engagements, etc).
So, that’s what’s been going on for the past while in my life. As soon as the book is ready, you’ll be the first to know. Be sure to download the free copy of the first Emily story! If you enjoyed it please leave a review and let others know why you liked it.
Thank you, and enjoy!
What I’m listening to: Dramarama – Until The Next Time