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.
…now if only there was a finished book to go along with it! With titles…
…and without. Great work by Singapore’s finest, Marc Lee!
But don’t despair! You can still join the adventure at These Dead Lands: Immolation and prepare for the next odyssey into the land of the dead!
I’ve gotten some pretty good reviews in the past, and my collaboration with Scott Wolf has received more than its fair share of good ones. But this is the first time a reader has loved a book I’ve worked on and then expressed a desire for it not to be made into a film! 🙂
As always, These Dead Lands: Immolation remains on sale at Amazon in both ebook and print formats, and we hope the audio version is out by the end of the year. In the meantime, These Dead Lands: Desolation continues its journey through the, ah, birthing process. Stay tuned!
For your consideration… I have twelve paperback editions of These Dead Lands: Immolation signed by myself and the erstwhile Scott Wolf. I’m notoriously crummy when it comes to things like this, but at the moment, I do have twelve books to pass on. That’s 519 pages of military-on-zombie goodness!
If interested, the cost (including shipping) is $26.99. Payment can be made through PayPal to immolationllc at gmail.
In the not-so-distant future, I’ll be providing poster-sized versions of Marc Lee’s fabulous artwork, without title text–just troops bugging out in CH-47Fs while the hordes close in. It’s bangin’ artwork, I gotta say!
Been lying low in the trenches as of late, but managed to churn out the final part of THESE DEAD LANDS: IMMOLATION to the tune of over 180,000 words, which is one fat book. Scott Wolf is interested in halving it, which would keep print production costs down. I’m considering it, but we haven’t made a final determination yet.
As of now, the product has been proofed by the erstwhile Dianna Cox, and it’s currently in the able hands of Lynn McNamee, who is my editor of choice, since she’s ex-Army and isn’t put off by acronyms and military maneuvers in general. She’s also direct and to the point, which is something I like. For those of you who have read the works of Keith Blackmore, she has done many of his titles as well. I anticipate the product being returned to me within a week’s time, after which we’ll import the corrections. Scott and I will gather around and do a final salience review and whatever rewrites are indicated, and then it will go back to Lynn for a second once-over and final proof. Without having seen the first edits yet, I don’t know how much work lies in store for us, but I remain optimistic for an April release. The tremendously talented Marc Lee continues to work out the cover, and I present his latest work for your perusal here.
That’s all for now, other than to mention I’ll have a flurry of releases coming up, along with IMMOLATION: THE LAST TOWN #3, DEAD IN THE CITY OF ANGELS, with Jarret Liotta, and the post-EMP adventure story CHARGES, which will eventually pave the way for its sequel, RAVAGERS. And near the end of the year, EARTHFALL 2 should trundle across the post-nuclear landscape, bringing Andrews, Mulligan, Leona, Laird, Jordello, and some new SCEV team members into contact with one of the last bastions of human society. Don’t worry–Rachel Andrews gets left in Harmony this time.
And, of course, THE RETREAT series is in motion again, with Joe McKinney doing his magic as I write this, and Craig DiLouie has already plotted release #4.
For myself, my little boy was diagnosed with autism when he was about three. He doesn’t speak, has some emotional distress conditions, but he’s beautiful and happy. Poppa Knight and Momma Knight ship him off to the best schools in the area, and we keep him growing and learning as best as we can. Despite everything we do, though, his road will be a hard one. So give a kid a hand and tell folks there’s this little book out there that might add some pennies to the war effort, eh?
I don’t normally post personal pictures and the like here, but I’ll bust open the piggy bank this time. Say hello to my son, Brian.
Here’s some of what Craig has to say about Earthfall:
[Knight] raises the technical and military detail in his books completely off the Michael Crichton scale and to the point of fetish, which is good for me as a reader, because I love a tense, action-packed apocalyptic story told with extreme realism. On every page, you know you are being told a story by a guy who knows his business. The all-terrain fighting machines the Harmony explorers use to cross the wastelands are virtually characters in the book, and I loved every minute of screen time they had. They’re fantastic–the ultimate ROAD WARRIOR vehicles. Knight’s attention to detail and realism also means his characters don’t do anything that has you slapping your head in disbelief. From the steady Captain Andrews to the haunted veteran Mulligan, they’re stark, likable, tough.
Thanks a million, bro!