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Yes, you read the headline correctly. I am destroying the planet Earth and putting its pesky humans through a painful Armageddon and a number of trials and tribulations. And I will be doing so a in a grandly weird way.
You might have heard of the Apocalypse Weird brand across the crazy interwebs, or through the number of reviews I’ve done on the books released thus far (spoiler alert: they’re all pretty damn good entries). Maybe you saw Damien Walters’ article on the AW bookverse in The Guardian recently, or caught wind of it via Michael Bunker’s blog where he answers the question, “What is this Apocalypse Weird that everyone is talking about?“, or maybe you saw the series of blogs from Nick Cole on this very same subject. You might have heard one of several AW-related podcasts conducted by author Hank Garner (his latest features Stefan Bolz, who’s Apocalypse Weird book, Genesis, released earlier this week).
The gist of it is this: Apocalypse Weird is a massive undertaking, a series of prose novels connected under a single umbrella, embedded with the sense of fun and scope of Marvel or DC Comics. Both Marvel and DC have their core universe that all of their properties live in, with individual titles like X-Men or Batman living alongside of, but operating somewhat independently while still being interconnected to books like, The Avengers or Justice League respectively. And sometimes those books cross paths with alternate metaverse titles like Marvel’s Ultimate brand or DC’s Earth-2.
And that’s kind of like what’s going in Apocalypse Weird. There’s all these different book series, like Cole’s WYRD series or Chris Pourteau’s Serenity line and Stefan Bolz’s White Dragon books, each existing in their own metaverse, or their own version of Earth. Yet they are all connected by the AW umbrella and each story exists within a much larger 5-year story arc. There’s also a strong flavor of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower for good measure.
All of these apocalyptic stories books will begin intersecting to form a strange, bold new world…a Wyrd World.
I’ve been a comic book fan all my life, and writing for Marvel Comic was one of my humongous life-goals as a young lad. So, being able to get in on the whole Apocalypse Weird experience is a bit of a dream come true in some ways, big and small, professionally and personally.
When Nick Cole first released The Red King, the opening volume that kickstarted this whole bookverse into proper gear, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the series concept as a whole. Now, don’t get me wrong – I liked the book, but I just wasn’t sure how the overarching ideas were going to translate out of it and what shape this universe was going to take. I couldn’t quite see the forest for the trees. But, the more of these books that I read, the more I realized that it was a universe I wanted and needed to be a part of. And I really wanted my name attached to one of those awesome Mike Corley covers, damn it!
Getting accepted into the Apocalypse Weird world and be given the chance to run wild with my crazy, off-the-wall ideas for it is a tremendous honor. It’s also pretty damn cool to be creating a sandbox that other writers could be able to come in and use, either through canon spin-offs or fan-fiction. Like I said, this AW thing is big!
I started writing my book in between the pitch and acceptance, and have just begun scratching the surface of what I want to do with it. The ideas are coming fast and furious and I’m constantly itching to dive back into this developing world. I think it’s going to be a big and wild story, and if readers have even half as much fun reading it as I am writing it, then this could be a really special project.
If you have been following the Apocalypse Weird books, you’ve seen stories of violent and mystical storms ruining Louisiana, genetically modified killers raging through Texas, demonic biker gangs, an alien invasion in Arizona, and a Florida under tyrannical rule and populated by smugglers, zombies, and sea monsters.
Each author picks a region to play around with and wreak havoc in. There is already a number of established authors and works established to date, with more on the way. In addition to myself, there’s also a number of other authors who were revealed today that will soon be
marking their territory destroying their own regions, including my friend, fellow sci-fi author, and No Way Home collaborator Lucas Bale, along with Angie Cavanaugh, Blue Cole, Eamon Ambrose, Bob Williams, and Alex Myers.
For my story, I’m taking the apocalypse to heights thus far unseen and much farther north than any of the stories currently on offer. I’m taking the end of the world straight up into orbit and ruining the lives of an international team of astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.
And, in case that weren’t cool enough, I’m also fucking up Montana big-time. Sorry, Montana, but you’ve just gotten too big for your britches and need to get taken down a peg or three!
While both of my DRMR novels, Convergence and Emergence, have a bit of dystopian elements, they are more cyberpunk mystery/thrillers. And Consumption, firmly rooted in Lovecraftian horror, has a bit of a bleak outlook in its themes, as well. Still, I haven’t gone full on apocalyptic, end of the world crazy until now.
Objects in Motion will be my first official foray into what will likely be The Worst Day Ever for some very nice fictional people. I will also be bringing a little bit of my own techno-flair to the table, as well, but in a completely bat-shit crazy kind of way.
I don’t want to say too much about Objects in Motion just yet, and I actually think I’ve said enough for the moment. You’ll get more details soon, so stayed tuned. Be aware though – The End Is Near!
If you haven’t dived into the Apocalypse Weird world yet, now is a good time to get started. Go download Nick Cole’s opening gambit, the book that set the ball for an entire metaverse rolling, The Red King for free.
And, if you’ve got a buck or two (or more!) to spare and can help this little-massive collective going, there’s a month-long IndieGoGo campaign running. There are various tiers of rewards and all sorts of goodies on offer, with even more coming soon! This fundraiser will help get more Apocalypse Weird books released and pay for cover design, artwork, and editors, all in an effort to make these books the best they can be. You can read all about the campaign and its goals and purpose over here.
For more information on Apocalypse Weird, visit http://apocalypseweird.com/
Back in November, I supported the Writer Emergency Pack as a Kickstarter project and received the final print deck in December. I was absolutely thrilled with the final card deck, and wrote about it a bit back then and posted a couple pieces of iPhoneography to go with it.
Tuesday night, I received the Kickstarter backer-exclusive Dark Mode deck, which is basically the same as the regular pack but printed on sleek all-black cards and a much darker box. It’s really nice looking and a fun little change of pace from the standard cards. The Emergency Pack crew even added the delightful little touch of wrapping the Dark Mode deck in black tissue paper, helping to emphasize the stygian nature of this updated deck.
Although these decks started out as a Kickstarter project, the Emergency crew is now making the standard decks available on a wider scale. Every writer can (and should!) now buy them via Amazon.
Here’s the review I posted on their product page:
This is a terrific and easy-to-use resource for writers both established and up-and-coming, designed to help storytellers get out of whatever corners they’ve written themselves into or to brainstorm ways of reinvigorating stalled ideas.
The Emergency Pack is designed to look and feel like your average deck of cards, like Bicycle playing cards, but for authors in a jam. Using these cards is very simple and is outlined on a 3-step “Emergency Procedures” card at the front of the deck: focus on your writing conundrum, draw an illustrated Idea card at random, read it and then read the corresponding Detail card. Maybe the ideas will help, or maybe they won’t, but the goal is get you asking “what if?” and to hopefully get you drifting back into the right territory. Some random cards might be “What Would Indy Do?”, “Switch Genres”, or “Kill The Hero.” The accompanying illustrations are well-drawn, detailed, and amusing (and sometimes even downright irreverent).
Shuffling through the deck during one of my own jams helped me brainstorm a finale to a recent short story that I had no idea how to finish. The writing had gone smoothly throughout, right up until the climax. And while the fix ended up being fairly simple, it wasn’t really until I’d played around with these cards that I realized how helpful the Emergency Pack truly was. It gave me a much-needed kick in the rear, helped me think my way through a muddled segment of story, and wrap up my project in a way that I found both useful, true to the story, and a worked as a satisfying finish.
The Writer Emergency Pack is a fun little tool for writers, and it’s small size – the same as your average deck of playing cards – makes it’s conveniently portable for authors on the go. If you’re the type to write while traveling or at your local coffee shop, you can easily incorporate this pack into your writing routine at any place, at any time. You might not always need it, but, then again, it is for emergencies, and you never know when it might come in handy. It very well could save your entire story, although some of your characters may never forgive you.
I’ll have a new short story printed in an upcoming anthology (currently slated for Aug./Sept. time-frame), and I absolutely did use these cards to drum up that piece’s finale. They were a total lifesaver (well, for me, as an author anyway. Less of a lifesaver for some poor fictional schmucks, but whatever). I’ll let you be the judge on how well I did with that story later this year, but as far as I’m concerned the Writer Emergency Pack has proved to be an excellent investment already. I’m keeping these cards handy and close to the keyboard when I write, just in case.
And if you want some more info on these cards, check out www.writeremergency.com/
Apparently, this is a very good day for author-spurred contests!
I know there’s at least one person who follows this blog and has some artistic talent, and who thinks, like I do, that the term Social Justice Warrior is a badge of honor instead of an insulting pejorative.
Fellow author Jennifer Foehner Wells has started this awesome t-shirt contest, and you can show off your talents! Your design could make it onto a tee-shirt and you walk away with $100 and insane bragging rights.
If you maybe need some inspiration to kick the creative gears turning, check out this post by Joseph Scrimshaw.
Check out the details at her contest page, and good luck!
Chuck Wendig is running a cool little contest to pick a winner for some terribleminds-inspired wallpaper graphics.
This one is Chuck’s personal favorite, and mine too, incidentally. It’s designed by Rebekeh Turner and is just absolutely terrific. I love it badly and I totally plan on saving and sharing this far and wide (with proper credit given and due, of course!), and you can view the full-size version here.
For the full list of contenders, hit up Wendig’s blog and cast your vote over there.
If your curious, I voted for #3, but #5 really caught my eye, too. It’s a tough decision, but I really like the simplistic minimalism of #3. But, #5 has a cup of coffee and some sage advice. This was a very difficult ballot to cast…
The gallery of artist’s submissions is on Flickr.
This is the story of the very beginning of an apocalyptic event as seen through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old girl. Nothing could have prepared her for what is about to happen and she has to face some seriously tough stuff before the end.
During the thirty-six hours of terror that turn Kasey Byrne’s life upside down and strip her of everything dear to her, something inside her awakens. It is gift and curse alike for it can destroy her or turn her into the most powerful weapon against the evil that has reached the shores of our world.
About the Author
I remember back in Germany, I must have been around twelve years old when I began to read, or, better, devour, weekly 66-page novellas about ghost hunters, paranormal phenomenons, demons and vampires. I’d buy one on a Friday from my allowance (the other part of it went to seeing Kung Fu movies) and then would read it on Saturday morning before getting up. Later on, during my mid to late teens, came Alistair MacLean and Robert Ludlum who made me dream about becoming an international spy or a double agent. “Where Eagles Dare” or “The Matarese Circle” captured my imagination and I traveled with my heroes to all the exotic locations around the world, with danger lurking at every turn. It was then, at the age of seventeen, when I first realized that I wanted to write. It took me twenty years to actually start doing it and another ten before I wrote my first novel. Never give up.
Check out my youtube channel at
[Note: I received an ARC from the Apocalypse Weird crew for review.]
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the Apocalypse Weird bookverse is that it has been a wonderful gateway to a lot of new authors I might not have otherwise found. Nick Cole and Michael Bunker are pretty well known names, but it’s been a real treat discovering writers like Chris Pourteau, Jennifer Ellis, Kim Wells, and Forbes West, among others. The latest to join the AW roster is Stefan Bolz, with Genesis.
Right from the start, Bolz had me deeply invested in his primary character, Kasey Byrne, who we meet as a child with a rebellious streak. There’s a terrific bit of insight into Kasey’s young mindset that quickly brings us up to speed on who this girl is in a very short span. When her 18-year-old self takes the reins, I was already deeply invested and quite attached to Kasey and her role in the constantly-building apocalypse.
So far, each of the AW writer’s have been able to put a suitable spin on each of their regional catastrophes, going bonkers with time travel, alien invasions, demonic motorcycle clubs, zombie bears, the mysterious and clearly crazy Dr. Midnite, and more. Bolz adds to the mix a New Jersey gone insane with mass suicides, a cool spin on the demonic motorcycle riders — dubbed here as Blood Riders — and a nasty shape shifter.
Stefan takes the intriguing route of filtering his story through a young adult fantasy tale, the climax of which will no doubt have readers clamoring for book two. The White Dragon itself becomes an intriguing component of the finale, and promises to have a much grander role as this particular series progresses. And Kasey’s overarching role in the apocalypse writ-large, and the developing myth-arc shaping up in the background in each of these books, promises to be epic. There is a definite sense of the Hero’s Journey in Kasey Byrne’s life, and I’m very eager to see it take shape.
In a few more weeks, Emergence will be making its way onto reader’s Kindles (or hands, if they prefer print). I’ll also be sending copies off to advanced reviewers and my newsletter subscribers (hint: you can sign-up for that here) prior to the official release on May 4.
A little bit of time has passed between Convergence and this sequel, in both the real world and in my little DRMR bookverse, but Emergence is very much a continuation of the story begun in the prior novel. This is definitely a Read In Order kind of series. But, Emergence is also a little bit different than its predecessor – there’s lots more action, a good deal of technological horrors run amok, and a bit of a shake-up to the cast. Jonah Everitt was the main protag in Convergence, but his daughter, Mesa, is the central lead this time around.
In my own opinion, I think Emergence is a stronger work. I had so much fun writing this book, and I think (and hope!) that shines through. Mesa is a great character to write, and unfortunately we didn’t get to see too much of her last time around. Now, she’s right where she belongs and plays a much more integral role to the crazy shenanigans. This is her book, her story, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you haven’t checked out Convergence yet, you’ve got a couple weeks to get caught up. You can buy it here, or check it out for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member or have a free borrow available for this month via the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
Onward with the show then. Directly below is the skinny of Emergence, and then the cover art! Scroll on down!
Still recovering from the events that befell her in Los Angeles, Mesa Everitt is learning how to rebuild her life.
The murder of a memorialist enclave changes all of that and sets into motion a series of violence that forces her into hiding.
Hunted by a squad of corporate mercenaries, with the lives of her friends and family in danger, Mesa has no one to turn to, but she holds a dark secret inside her skull. She has no knowledge of that secret, but it is worth killing for.
The ghosts of her haunted, forgotten past are about to emerge.
Any accolades for the cover are due entirely to Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics for the wonderful design.
The first order of business was to keep the cover in line with what had come before, and to help define a sort of branding look for this still-young DRMR series, but to also give it a different spin and a certain freshness. Mission accomplished, I think, and I absolutely love the look and feel of the art here.
What say you, keen readers? Feel free to share your thoughts below!
In 2174 authors are obsolete. With the exception of a few human ‘Author’ titles printed in the small basement and back room Libraries, all stories are created by the Artificial Intelligence of the Archive. Most believe the ‘Authors’ are only brands to lure people into spending their credits on print. One woman believes that one of them, author Hugh Howey, is real, and still alive. Her Librarian feeds her belief that Hugh Howey is still sailing around the world, uploading his work to the Archive. Convinced she has found clues in his stories as to where he now resides, she and her girlfriend sail to an island, where she believes Hugh Howey lives.
About the Author
Daniel Arthur Smith is the author of the international bestsellers THE CATHARI TREASURE, THE SOMALI DECEPTION, and a few other novels and short stories.
He was raised in Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University where he studied philosophy, with focus on cognitive science, meta-physics, and comparative religion. He began his career as a bartender, barista, poetry house proprietor, teacher, and then became a technologist and futurist for the Fortune 100 across the Americas and Europe.
Daniel has traveled to over 300 cities in 22 countries, residing in Los Angeles, Kalamazoo, Prague, Crete, and now writes in Manhattan where he lives with his wife and young sons.
For more information, visit danielarthursmith.com
Readers who subscribe to Daniel’s newsletter receive a FREE SHORT STORY and free copies of his books, usually before they are published: danielarthursmith.com/newsletter
[Note: I received an ARC of this title from the author for review.]
Hugh Howey Lives is the first title I’ve read by Daniel Arthur Smith, and I was greatly impressed with the sci-fi concepts at play here. Readers will get treated to human synthetics, bioinformatics, and a good dose of light philosophy, but the real draw here, and what kept me engaged the most, was the tremendous breadth of heart that went into the work.
Yes, the book is an ode to indie publishing’s biggest success and the author of the wildly popular Wool series. For indie authors, Howey’s name has a certain cache to it, and the man has proven himself to be a tremendous writer in his own right, in addition to helping popularize ebooks and the author-publisher landscape into forces to be reckoned with. But Hugh Howey Lives is also a heck of a lot more than a simple homage to a single particular author, and really Smith could have picked any novelist to grace his book’s pages and come up with a story equally solid and compelling.
While Howey’s name is checked numerous times throughout, the real meat of the story is about authors and writing in general, and the true ode here goes to the wordsmiths and literary artists who create the books we love so very much. There’s plenty of wonderfully developed themes to munch on here – from the process of creation and the God-like abilities authors possess in their world-building, to the books and authors that shape and inspire other writer’s, and the balance between creating art and sacrificing ourselves for that necessary good, right down to immortality itself.
Hugh Howey Lives is a short book, a bit over a hundred pages or so, but Smith packs an awful lot of depth into it and kept me riveted throughout. There’s a few surprises in store for readers here, which I refuse to spoil, but I will warn you: you may want to keep the Kleenex handy for the finale, just in case.