Well, it’s the start of a new year, so it’s time to look back on the last one and recap and attempt to make some sort of sense out of it.
My understanding is that most people had a pretty crap 2011. The economy is still hurting, people are out of work, students are gradutating and can’t find jobs. It’s a tough time. I was lucky. I found a job in 2010 and so far it’s been the most positive work situation of my life. I am, of course talking about my employment at 38 Studios, the video game studio started up by former Boston Redsox pitcher, Curt Schilling, which features the creative talents of R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarland. The fruits of my labor there won’t be seen for some time, and I don’t feel comfortable discussing them publicly at this time, but I will say that it’s awesome and I’m looking forward to the veil being lifted in the future. In the mean time, I’m very much looking forward to playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which will be released in a couple months.
The other major thing that happened in 2011 is that I finished my novel Echoes of Olympus, and have brought it to a state of completion. Echoes was originally going to be released through Monumental Works Publishing when I first conceived the idea of starting up an e-publishing company. Then my research led me to believe that a publishing company for e-books was kind of a pointless endeavor since authors could bring their own works to the public fairly easily through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets. I also found that I lacked the time to be both an author and an editor of other people’s works, so I scrapped that idea. In 2010, when I landed my job with 38 Studios, I definitely lacked the time to devote to it, so Monumental Works Publishing was officially dead. The novel was not, however.
Right now, most people who know me associate my name with publishing in the roleplaying game field. To be brutally honest, while I’ve always been a huge roleplaying game fan, my first love always has been fiction. I more or less fell into roleplaying game design, and the longer I did it, the more frustrated I became with the fact that I was spending so much time writing games and not enough time telling stories. I always had intended to get going on a novel, but it was nearly impossible to do so when I was constantly trying to keep up with my RPG deadlines. The solution was simple: I had to put RPGs on hold in order to focus on fiction, and in 2011, RPGs were mostly on hold.
Despite this, I wasn’t completely out of the game in 2011. My IP, Reign of Discordia was being developed for the Savage Worlds system through Gun Metal Games. Unfortunately, David Jarvis has suffered serious some health problems this year, and Reign of Discordia was one of the casualties of his new situation. That really didn’t affect me a great deal since my role in the project was mainly to supervise the creation of the new edition. With Gun Metal Games out, the rights to the IP reverted back to me. Despite this setback, another publisher (currently unannounced) pounced on the property. It’s back in development, and I’m excited to see what the final book will look like. I can say that they have a full product line planned, and it includes the development of several things that I had planned on from the beginning of the IP.
But back to my novel. Yes, it is a big deal for me. Yes, I am excited about it. Yes, it has a publisher that isn’t me. Again, I can’t talk about the details until I have a contract in hand (and maybe not even then), but a smaller publisher has expressed interest in it, and after hearing about their level of sales on their current titles, their marketing efforts, and the specifics of the publishing agreement itself, I decided to go with them. At this time, the book has been completely edited by Daniel Rider, the front cover art was done by Jason Walton, and the cover design is by Zoë Brookes. If I were releasing it myself, it could go at any time.
I’m also starting my second novel in the series, Pearls of Atlantis. There isn’t much I can say about it right now because I’m about to lay down the first chapter. In the mean time, I can say that the Prelude is a self contained story called Servants of the Titan, which can already be found in the collection of short stories called Dreams in Shadow, which is up for sale on Amazon.com.
You might notice that the name of the publisher is Monumental Works Group, which bears a striking similarity to Monumental Works Publishing. This is no coincidence. One of the other things I did in 2011 was start a writer’s group called Monumental Works Group. It’s not a publishing house (OK, I guess it is somewhat since we do have an anthology now, and it’s up for sale, but that isn’t really the underlying intent). Instead, it’s a collection of talented writers who are working on carving out a niche for themselves in the publishing business, whether that be in traditional publishing or non-traditional publishing. I can say with confidence that every single person involved is talented and produces top-quality work, and I’m proud that each and every one of them has decided to get involved in this group.
There were a few things about the year that were not so great. I started out the year with pneumonia. Fortunately, having had it in 2009, I knew what the symptoms were and I was able to get it treated before it progressed to the point where it was life-threatening. Also, in December, we lost my 17 year-old cat, Tabitha, just a couple weeks before Christmas. We miss her a great deal, but she did have a nice long life for a cat, and she was loved by the entire family. We would have liked some warning that she was about to go so that we could say goodbye to her properly, but that wasn’t how she wanted it. In the end, she walked out of the house one night and most likely found a quiet and peaceful place to expire.
That unpleasantness aside, I also made it back to Washington State twice this year. The first time was to go hang out with my good friend Shayne. This is turning into a yearly thing for us, and I’m hoping to make it back again this year. The second time was for my twenty year high school reunion. It was really wonderful being able to reconnect with all of those people who I’d lost touch with over the years. I was, overall, impressed with the level of success that my old class has found. The Pullman Washington school district was once rates as one of the top 100 in the nation, and judging by the people it produced, I’d have to say that the ranking is well-deserved.
So what can we look forward to for 2012? I’m confident that we will not see the end of the world this year. Call it a hunch. Or, as it turns out that the Mayan calendar has actually ended twelve time already. We will finally see the full release of Echoes of Olympus (when will be up to the publisher). I anticipate a challenging and rewarding year with 38 Studios. And I would also like to make it back to Washington at least once, if not twice. I also intend to not only finish my sequel book Pearls of Atlantis as well as the final book in the trilogy sometime this year. With luck, we’ll be seeing one or both of those released in late 2012.
So Happy New Year! I hope this year turns out to be more positive for people than 2011 was. I guess we’ll see how it goes for me in my year-end-retrospective twelve months from now.