No Way Home Paperback Cover and Launch Party!

We’re only a few days out from launching the science fiction anthology, No Way Home. You should see it go live on Amazon this Monday! In the meantime, here’s a look at the cover art for the paperback edition, designed by Jason Gurley. Give it a click for the full-size version to best soak it all in.

No Way Home CS IMGTo celebrate the release, we’ll be hosting a Facebook Launch Party throughout the day on Monday where we’ll be giving away signed copies of our novels and talking about the No Way Home anthology and all-things sci-fi.

And, be sure to keep an eye on the No Way Home Goodreads page for our giveaway contest. The contest should go live tomorrow and will run until March 12. Five lucky winners will get a free paperback copy! Feel free to click Want to Read in the meantime, though.

No Way Home Paperback Cover and Launch Party!

2014 Writing In Review

2014 was a fairly productive period for my first year as an author. In late February, I released Convergence, and it’s since been featured as a Kobo Next Read Selection in their Science Fiction & Fantasy category, and was just recently a Book of the Week over at SciFi365.net. I’m pretty proud of this work, and reviewers have been responding favorably. I’ve heard from several readers who have greatly enjoyed it, and that alone has made this indie venture worthwhile. The title itself has raked up 10 reviews at Amazon, with a 4.8 out of 5 star average. On Goodreads, it’s accumulated an average of 4.42 out of 5 stars. It’s also made the Top 100 in Amazon’s Cyberpunk category multiple times since its release in both the US and the UK, which was very, very exciting to see.

My productivity hit its peak over the spring and summer, when I finished the first draft of Emergence and then dove into a short horror story, Consumption. Between those two works, I broke more than 110K in word-count over roughly three months.

Consumption released in October, and is currently standing at a 4.4 out of 5 star average among nine reviewers at Amazon, 4.15 on Goodreads. Again, I’ve been really happy with the reader reactions to this one. I was a bit nervous releasing it, as it’s so very different from Convergence, and is a bit off the wall. Horror is a genre I love, and I plan on dabbling in that end of the writing pool again in the (near?) future. I’ve got a few ideas I’m toying around with, but for the time being I’m heavily involved in my next novel.

And that next novel is, as I mentioned above, Emergence. This sequel to Convergence has been undergoing some serious editing and rewriting throughout the back-half of 2014. I recently received some beta reader feedback, which I think has helped tremendously, and it was great to get yet another set of eyeballs on this work. My content developer had terrific notes and suggestions, as well, and between those two readers I really do think Emergence is going to be one heck of a strong book. I’m hoping a few more betas will chime in soon. The next step is line edits, and I know my editor is going to have some more mighty fine suggestions, and that, in some ways, the work is only really just getting started.

Once those line edits are done, it’ll be onto the proofreading stage, and then art design and formatting. I’m eying a late first quarter or early second quarter release for 2015.

That’s not all, though! With Consumption out, and Emergence close to wrapping up, I was invited to take part in an anthology. There’s been a few kinks to work out on the scheduling for that one, but I have a 10,000 word short story, Revolver, that will be in the mix. Current plans are to have that one out for the spring, and I got an early look at the cover art and some of the story ideas from my fellow contributors. This should be a really great anthology, and I’m looking forward to sharing more details as we get closer to release.

I’m also in the very early stages of sorting out ideas for book three in the DRMR series, which will follow-up on some of the plot developments that occur in Emergence. I’m still a little bit away from hammering out all of the story details, but have settled on some interesting ideas that help expand on some of the conflicts seen in Convergence. I’m about five thousand words in and things are just starting to gel, so lots and lots of work ahead of me on this one.

On the blog side of things, I published 258 posts. These drew in more than 11 thousand views, across close to eight thousand visitors. Not a bad first year for this site (note: posts prior to 2014 were imported from a previous blog). I’m going to hedge my bets and say, conservatively, that between this blog and all the story writing, I probably produced close to 300 thousand words this year.

So, 2014 was busy, and I’m expecting 2015 to be equally productive. Keep an eye out for more news, more reviews, and new releases in the coming New Year.

Now, back to writing…

2014 Writing In Review

CONVERGENCE is SciFi365’s Book of the Week

Breaking news: CONVERGENCE was chosen as SciFi365’s Book of the Week. I’m absolutely thrilled by this. They write:

Our new book of the week, ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks, is one of those where it’s summary just doesn’t do justice to how good it is. It is truly an excellent Sci Fi novel and a worthy ‘Book of the Week’.

A cyberpunk thrillride…. The conflict between the humanity of the main character, Jonah, and the things he has had to do to survive in this harsh new world makes ‘Convergence’ an absolute pleasure to read.

Again, just sheer delight from me, and many thanks to the SciFi365 team for their support and their kind words.

CONVERGENCE is still on sale, for a limited time, for only 99 cents, so go feed your eReader!

| Kindle | Nook | Kobo |

Also, be sure to check out SciFi365 and sign up for their mailing list. I’ve found lots of great suggestions from their e-mails, and plenty of good deals. You can subscribe right here.

CONVERGENCE is SciFi365’s Book of the Week

Writer Emergency Pack

Last month, I was proud to back the Writer Emergency Kickstarter. Well, John August really delivered on this one, a full four months early, in fact!

On Monday night, I got home from work to find this beautiful card pack of survival tips and suggestions waiting for me in the mailbox. Not only are they useful, but there are some damn great illustrations on these suckers. Exclusive to Kickstarter supporters is the Dark Mode pack, a one-time use only code, and you can be sure I ordered them pronto. I cannot wait to see how they turn out!

Here’s a couple quick photos of the unboxing:

Be sure to sign up for news on the official release at Writer Emergency and get your hands on a pack or two as soon as possible. It’s well worth the expense, and a nifty little deck of cards to boot.

Writer Emergency Pack

eBook Sci-Fi Sale (But It Won’t Last Long!)

Hey there, readers!

I’m happy to announce that, for a limited time (i.e. today and tomorrow), you can grab some great sci-fi reads for cheap, including my book, CONVERGENCE, over at Amazon. Just click the links below to buy, but act fast because this won’t last for very long.

Convergence-800 Cover reveal and Promotional99 cents!

| Kindle | Nook | Kobo |


hereticFree!


whatitmeanstosurviveFree!


defiance99 cents!


And, as always, my short horror story CONSUMPTION is only 99 cents as well. Just don’t read this one on a full stomach…

consumption-complete99 cents!

| Amazon | Kobo | Nook |

eBook Sci-Fi Sale (But It Won’t Last Long!)

Sci-Fi November: Review: Apocalypse Weird: The Red King (WYRD Book 1) by Nick Cole

RedKingAbout The Red King

The end of the world is only the beginning as an odd band of survivors pull together to construct a modern-day castle amid the burning ruins of suburbia lost. As undead hordes and strange otherworldly monsters ravage what’s left of civilization, things begin to go from worse to weird as each survivor’s dark past unfolds, revealing that reality might be more than anyone ever thought, and that an ancient force from the outer dark has finally arrived to conquer. Stephen King’s The Stand meets Lost in an epic confrontation between good and evil that spans history, time, and space. The Red King is the first full story to be released in the wild world of Apocalypse Weird, and it is book one of the Apocalypse Weird – WYRD arc by Nick Cole.


About the Author

Nick Cole is a working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can often be found as a guard for King Phillip the Second of Spain in the Opera Don Carlo at Los Angeles Opera or some similar role. Nick Cole has been writing for most of his life and acting in Hollywood after serving in the U.S. Army.


My Thoughts

(I received an ARC of this book via the Apocalypse Weird website.)

Holiday is an alcoholic and spends several days on a booze and cigarettes bender, completely missing the zombie apocalypse happening outside his condo. By the time he starts to sober up, the only thing on TV is an Emergency Broadcast Warning and evacuation orders from the president. He can hear the gunshots from outside, the unending bleat of a car horn, and the nice looking female jogger he’s noticed on a few occasions now has a thirst for blood. As he begins to sober up, he realizes he’s one of the very few survivors of this weird apocalypse.

The Red King opens the Apocalypse Weird line of books, which is set to be part of a shared world of various strange apocalyptic tropes written by various authors, beginning here with Nick Cole. It’s a solid idea for a new “bookverse” series that promises to deliver everything from zombies (as detailed in this book) to kaiju attacks, mutants, cyborgs, and strange weather phenomena.

All of this makes reviewing a work like The Red King a bit tricky. While I did enjoy the book for the most part, portions of the book are meant to set-up the playing field for other writers and future installments in Cole’s WYRD arc. Ultimately, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a very incomplete reading experience.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a good series read. But, it’s becoming a bit of a pet peeve of mine when an entry fails to work well enough as a stand alone. Let me use Lee Child’s recent Jack Reacher novels as an illustration. During four books, Child used a overarching narrative of Jack Reacher traveling cross-country to meet up with Susan Turner. It’s a hook that connects the individual books, yet each of those four work well enough on their own and the central plot to each novel gets cleaned up sufficiently, yet leaves room to maneuver within this overarching “meet-up” story arc for the next book. Or, if you want to keep things in the zombie genre, check out Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, which, again, has an overarching narrative but the conflicts at the core of each individual novel feel like a complete experience, while also saving enough of the connective narrative arch to draw you back for subsequent installments. While I appreciate the sense of scope at play here in Cole’s book, certain plot threads feel like missed opportunities that get introduced only to be entirely dropped from the narrative.

For instance, Cole spends a fair amount of time weaving multiple narratives. The book opens and closes with a chess game between The Red King and his Opponent. That works well enough as a book end and could have been a terrific way to tease the next book if there had only been some modicum of closure with the larger issues raised in between. Just as Cole has begun to lay the groundwork of Holiday’s survival story, and his developing relationship with his neighbor, Frank, he cuts away to tell the story of a spy under orders to infiltrate what I presume is a domestic terror operation. It’s a jarring change in narrative and a bit unexpected, introducing a bit of conspiracy to the zombie epidemic that seems promising at first but fails to congeal or offer any bit of temporary resolution. Another diversion involves the thumping presence of a massive, yet always unseen monster, who upsets the scenes a few times only to disappear entirely from the narrative.

By book’s end, I couldn’t help but wonder, what was the point of any of that? Obviously those scenes are there simply to connect this book to the work of other authors, but they feel too misplaced, and raise too many unanswered questions while offering nothing in the way of even minor resolution, to feel like necessary detours. If the question is ‘why are those scenes in this book’ and the answer is ‘wait until the next book to find out,’ well, I don’t feel like that’s a sufficient enough answer. It frustrates me when I begin to realize that a particular story exists only to tease the next part of the story, and spends more time setting up future installments rather than focusing on the present details and providing at least the appearance of resolution. Let’s get some closure to the weird story threads introduced here, just enough to feel natural and significant, and then blow things wide open again in the next book.

There’s my big complaint out of the way. And, thankfully, what is here and what does get resolved works well enough enough to keep me happy. The characters are pretty strong and relateable, and I was rooting for the trio of survivors at the book’s core all the way through.

I really liked Cole’s depiction of Holiday, giving the man enough of a solid character voice and heroic actions to make him sympathetic, but also giving him a very serious flaw that forces him into one questionable act after another. He’s a great flawed protagonist whose inner-demons help drive some of the conflict in the narrative, and whose choices have damaging repercussions. His alcoholism plays an integral role to the narrative, and it gives the book some much needed dimension to help set it apart from other zombie books.

I also really liked the relationship between Holiday, his neighbor Frank, and a female survivor named Ash. They make a fine trio, and there’s a terrific sense of camaraderie and a building trust as they rely on one another to survive and work together. I also found the resolution to the relationship side of their story to be particularly strong and necessarily damning. There’s a lot of heart in their final scenes together, and it works wonderfully.

The big question then, is, am I willing to check out what else Apocalypse Weird has in store during the coming months, and the answer is a resounding yes. Despite my quibble’s with some of the subplot developments occurring in The Red King, it certainly sounds like there are some terrific ideas coming through the pipeline and some very intriguing stories happening within the overarching premise of the Apocalypse Weird universe. I’m more than willing to check out the next installment to see how things shake loose and to see if I can get a better handle on what, exactly, is happening in this lineup of novels. The Red King may not have satisfied me 100 percent, but as an opening gambit to something much larger, it certainly has my attention.

buy Apocalypse weird: The REd King (WYRD book 1) at amazon
Sci-Fi November: Review: Apocalypse Weird: The Red King (WYRD Book 1) by Nick Cole