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Archive for April, 2017

Upcoming: PLAGUE CITY

April 28, 2017 3 comments

Apparently, news of Stephen Knight’s death was greatly exaggerated.

Meandering its way across my eventual release spectrum like a slowly replicating virus is a work called Plague City, a novel about a very nasty bug that rips through New York City and the world just before Christmas. In the Big Apple alone, millions die a slow and lingering death, trapped in their homes, on the street, in the packed hospitals. A few people are immune, and one of those is Hank Elliot, commander of NYPD’s Precinct 19. After helplessly watching his own family meet their demise, Elliot decides he now has a new mission in life: to save the remaining survivors in NYC from the growing band of criminals that are hunting them down and killing them for sport, for slavery, or even for food. This is a work I’d started years ago, and finally returned to while wrestling with the growing monster that is These Dead Lands: Desolation and the audio book of its predecessor, These Dead Lands: Immolation. By the time it’s released, it’ll stand in at about 120,000 words, or around 300 pages.

But! I need help. I need a suitable death for the book’s villain, a thuggish criminal overlord named Pollard. This is where you folks come in…give me something awesome, and I’ll write it, credit you with it, and give you a role as one of the survivors who help Elliot do the final deed. And you’ll get a code for a free download of the Charges audio book. See, you won’t get nothin’ for somethin’! Leave your most treasured death in the comments, here or on Facebook.

Oh, before I forget. Cover art by Nicklas Gustafsson, cover design by the indefatigable Jereon ten Berge.

Changes…

April 24, 2017 5 comments

As always, change is unavoidable.

One of the truisms perpetuated by the despised traditional publishing industry is that once you’re “branded”—i.e., once you’re known for a certain product lines—breaking out into other products is difficult, in not outright impossible. I’d always thought that was a load of crap, but after several years of plugging away and finding that some of my richer fare doesn’t sell very well…hmm, maybe those “taste makers” in the traditional industry might be onto something.

Yeah, just one thing, so let’s not all get excited. Apparently, every dog really does have his day and a broken clock is right every twelve hours.

This observation isn’t particularly new to me. I have some great product out there under the name Stephen Knight that doesn’t sell at all, like White Tiger and Charges. Both generally have good reviews, but after three or four people buy them, that’s it. I’ve been trying to breathe new life into Charges with a fully immersive audio book, and while that seems to be coming along nicely, it’s also a brand-new release—I need more time to evaluate how successful this very expensive addition to the product line will pan out.

And Stephen Knight is known primarily as a zombie apocalypse guy. It was never meant to be that way, of course—The Gathering Dead was done on a lark. It was just going to be a one-shot deal, done for fun, without a great deal of deliberation behind it. Instead, it spawned a franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. There are worse things a guy can do than provide some high-octane zompoc adventure every now and then. And Earthfall was the single best standalone work I’ve released, so that’s a bright ray of sunshine all by itself. If I released one of those every year, I’d buy the Playboy empire and restore it to its former glory.

Unfortunately for Knight? I’m bored shitless writing about zombies.

After The Last Town and even These Dead Lands: Immolation, I feel that I’m really just writing the same thing over and over and over again. While I do my best to people the stories with different characters, the story line is almost identical: zombies, fear, build, defend, collapse, retreat. Purists complain when you introduce new elements, even though what they complain about is the province of motion picture zombies, not literary. Thank God I have Earthfall 2 on the rack, because otherwise I’d be spending more time browsing vintage collectible tequilas online than I would be writing.

And it comes down to this: I want to write other stuff.

Enter Stephen Moore and Stephen Garrett.

Moore is my real surname; Knight is the professional alias I boosted from my father, as astute followers might have divined by now. Garrett is a family name from my mother’s side of the ancestral tree. For the longest time, I eschewed using my real name, as I a) don’t have an ego that needs to be fed with that kind of exposure, and b) I’m not sure I want to surrender my usual real-life anonymity in meatspace. (And also, Moore just isn’t as cool a moniker as Knight.) But Moore will be the guy who writes the police procedurals and techno-thrillers, and the odd dramatic work that parallels those worlds but doesn’t cross over into them, such as the still-nascent Hackett series. Moore’s first foray, aside from rebranding White Tiger with a new cover to kick things off, will be a police procedural about NYPD Detective Nick Avvento. Been wanting to do this one for years, and I have some great characters and a blood-chilling story line to go with it. There’s also some potential to release an upcoming work, Tribes, under this name; it’s a techno-thriller adventure story that was originally slotted for Knight, but I might change it up.

Garrett will be the hard, clanking science fiction guy. This is my native territory, writing stories about exploration, faraway places, bug-eyed aliens, and the thrill of adventure splashed across a canvas as wide as the universe itself. I’ve touched on it in past works under Knight, but only just barely. I’m itching to get into this. I have a huge series planned here, called The Reaches. Also some more free-booting military SF stuff which I have done, though it’s a bit dated and will need to be refreshed. Most of these are in my Continuum of Conflict story line which I’ve not revealed previously, and will be more “consumer-friendly” than The Reaches. Consider CoC will be more like the works of Robert Heinlein, while TR will be more like those by David Brin.

But it’s far from curtains for Knight. I—he?—still has to finish the next edition of The Retreat, and of course These Dead Lands will need to be completed. Then there’s the final installments of The Gathering Dead series, with the prequel Whispers of the Dead and the finale, Echoes of the Dead. And Earthfall 2, of course, along with the continuation of the Charges trilogy. So that’s like eight books, right there.

Does this sound confusing? It probably does, but it’s out of necessity, not preference. I’ve spent a lot of time getting Stephen Knight established; spinning off into new names doesn’t exactly thrill me.

Hopefully some of you will come along for the ride. I’ll keep you updated here as things begin to manifest themselves, but for the short term, don’t be alarmed.

CHARGES Audio Book Released

All I can say is… finally! This took a long time to get the audio book production of Charges completed, and I hope y’all will enjoy listening to it. It’s an “immersive” audio book, with SFX and an original score by my boy in England, Pip Shepherd. Narrated by a man who serendipitously was a colleague of my late father, Lee Alan. Turns out Lee replaced my dad at WXYZ radio in the early sixties, after my dad left Detroit to return to Texas (he’d fled his great gig in Dallas because he was regrettably linked to Jack Ruby, and had struck out north to gain some distance from all the goings-on in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination). It was odd talking to Lee about my dad’s time in Detroit, as I was only a mere babe and have no recollection of that time. But Lee gave this production his all!

You can find the audio book over at Audible, and of course, on Amazon.