The problem I have with writing blog entries is that I tend to wait until I have something momentous –subjectively speaking, of course—to write about.
As many of my creative-type colleagues will attest, sometimes there’s really nothing all that interesting on the work front. Currently, I’m involved in a couple of projects, both of which I can’t really talk about until they’re close to completion…so, there’s not much news there.
On, the other hand, as I write this—April 20th—I’m observing something of a milestone. According to my unreliable memory and notes, it was 20 years ago this week I began writing Exile To Hell in full-blown earnest—the first novel in my OUTLANDERS series.
I’d been working on it sporadically since the previous December, but I was already contracted to write three other novels for the Gold Eagle imprint and those needed to be finished first.
Spring of 1996 was an odd period of dislocation and transition for Melissa and I. We were still recovering from a devastating car accident less than a year before. We lived on an isolated horse ranch in Central Florida and I recall the daily routine as filled with heat, sweat, a lot of pain, the smell of horse poop and long hours sitting at keyboards or scribbling in notebooks.
In retrospect, I suppose the isolation was a good thing. Except for Melissa, I had far more interaction with horses than I did with humans. Which was okay. ..I didn’t need the distractions.
I certainly I didn’t realize at the time that OUTLANDERS would turn out to be one of the last of the mass market paperback “men’s adventure” series which had once ruled the publishing industry’s midlist. Nor did I realize just what a complex and long-running saga I was in the process of creating with that first book.
I most definitely didn’t expect OUTLANDERS to last eighteen and a half years…particularly since I had been front-loaded by the Gold Eagle senior editor not to be disappointed when the series was cancelled after the first year, which had been the imprint’s drill for the previous decade.
Very few of the ongoing mass market paperback series were consecutively published for as long as OUTLANDERS…they can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. Granted, as I mentioned elsewhere such an accomplishment isn’t likely to get me featured in a historical retrospective, but it’s interesting when you consider the mind-boggling number of MMP series published between 1970 and 1995.
The majority of them are long gone and forgotten—most of them deservedly so—but matters of taste aside, those kind of series supported the publishing industry for decades. That’s a dollars and cents fact.
As I’ve posted before, in crafting the OUTLANDERS milieu and characters I wasn’t influenced by other post-nuke novel series, like the execrable Ashes or the developmentally-challenged Guardians series. There were still plenty of those pulp redneck power fantasies filling up 7-11 spinner racks and I had zero interest in adding one more to the pile.
Other than an eleventh hour, back-door connection to Deathlands (a series which of course I’d written for), the whole so-called survivalist trend in men’s adventure fiction had little impact on OUTLANDERS except in the most tangential way.
Although the OUTLANDERS backstory went through a couple of different incarnations, the basic premise and core cast of characters and concepts I created always remained the same.
True, as OUTLANDERS continued for years and years, it went in directions which it definitely should not have. There was considerable damage done to my concepts and severe injury inflicted upon my characters…intentionally, I have reason to suspect.
I’m happy to report the characters and concepts of my creation are healed and repaired.
More on that later.
(Jeez, even I find that tease irritating)
In the interim, those of you who enjoyed THE SPUR: LOKI’S ROCK and who’ve been asking me about the second book in the series…well, the Kindle edition of THE SPUR: HELLDORADO is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com!
I apologize for taking so long, but other projects occupied most of my creative energies over the last couple of years.
Here’s the description:
ON LOKI, LIFE IS CHEAP AND DEATH COMES FAST
Colonel Quentin Crockett and his Offworld Operations team learn that the bloodiest way possible when they defend the isolated settlement of Crowbait Crossing from the murderous horde of the Red Cadre.
Responding to another plea for help, Crockett and his crew enter a hidden valley where the descendants of Loki’s First People are one with Nature.
But hidden deep in the valley is an awesome power, a force that will heal the planet…or utterly destroy it…
On Loki, all life is locked in savage combat—and there can never be a winner.
If you’re not familiar with THE SPUR, check out this link:
And of course the first book, Loki’s Rock, is still available as both ebook and paperback!
HELLDORADO is full of my trademark blazin’ action, bad attitudes and as Boyd Crowder of Justified once famously declared “I may not know a hell of a lot but one thing I do know is how to blow shit up!”
In June, once THE SPUR: HELLDORADO is out—in ebook and paperback—I’ll make another announcement.