I was shocked to see #Twilight trending on Twitter last night. I mean, that movie is how many years old now? (Four)
I had to snap off a comment, tilting at the windmill of popculture: "Forget #Twilight and read Mythical- way more ass-kicking. Tinyurl.com/Det1039"
Weirdly, when I clicked on #Twilight, I don't see my comment. Which would explain the lack of comments or even the most infinitesimal increase in traffic or book sales.
But let's take my statement and run with it.
As I understand (because I won't read it or watch the movie) Twilight is about a girl in high school who meets a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a vampire. She gets drawn into some kind of conflict with other vampires when he starts to fall in love with her or something (or so my wife tells me).
Ten years ago, "Vampire" would have meant to me action. People getting killed, thrown around like ragdolls, that kind of thing. But these days it seems like vampires are metrosexually-confused wussies trying to act like Don Juan DeMarco with fangs. Is it Anne Rice's fault? Who knows. All I know is that vampires of today suck. They aren't scarey anymore.
The internet is filled with women that would love some vampire to suck on their neck. I don't get it. Vampires are made up- at least our vision of them today is. The old legends and myths paint vampires as monsters intent on using people as a food source, not an escort service.
I've never heard of a gazelle laying around wishing a lion would come eat it. Somewhere along the way Nosferatu has lost his purpose.
What then is Twilight? Romeo and Juliet with fangs and angst? Sounds like it to me.
Mythical doesn't have that problem.
I'll admit that when I first came up with the premise for the book, it was markedly different. I envisioned a GIANT vampire, freed from centuries in chains. I mean, vampires were scarey (once), right? So what about a GIANT vampire. But the whole neck sucking thing was just so cliched. And can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be for a giant, bending over to reach a neck, or lifting his food up to his level? Even undead, his back would be killing him.
I opted for heart eating. It worked for the Aztecs. I mean, what is scarier, Rico Suave, in his finest poofy-sleeved shirt licking at a woman's neck, or a six fingered hand punching into your chest and ripping your heart out in a single, quick, violent act? That's horror. Or at least horrifying.
But back to the ass kicking...
As I read the wikipedia page, I see that some vampire guy named Edward destroys some vampire guy named James, thereby saving the teenager named Bella. Then he sucks on Bella, preventing her from becoming a vampire (which I admit is a nice contrast to sucking to make her a vampire)
I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound like much ass kicking. One vampire vs one vampire? And they're both anemic pantywaists that sparkle in the sunlight?
Mythical has a super soldier who can heal any wound and is super strong. And a master of martial arts. He fights local yocals, FBI agents sent to capture him, a sorceress, and finally the shapeshifting, heart-eating giant (who can also turn into a fire-breathing dragon). There is asskicking galore in Mythical. At least a third of the book is nothing more than fight scenes tinged with drama.
Okay, I admit, there may be some similarities to Twilight. Yes, the main character is a teenage girl who meets a mysterious stranger who isn't normal. Yes, she is drawn into a world she never knew about. Maybe that was on purpose. Maybe it's an often-used plot. But the girl doesn't fall for the stranger- he's old enough to be her grandfather.
Nothing in Mythical sucks. Not the giant, not the hero, not the fight scenes.
Magic, Super powers and a monster. What more does a book need?
First off, Mythical does not have any Adult stuff in it. And by adult, I mean the S-E-X stuff.
Sorry, it's just not there. Nor really any romance.
The description of the book- a super soldier hunting a shapeshifter who rips out people's hearts and eats them- should have given it away that this is a book about action, not luvin'.
Alas, in my reading of the past few days, I see that YA is not the teen and pre-teen friendly genre this dad had hoped it was. It appears there's quite a bit of the whole grown up, PG-13 stuff in the genre that this over-protective dad does not approve of.
So I'm changing the genre listings. Mythical is action adventure now.
Yes, one of the two main characters is an eighteen year old girl who's just graduated high school and finds herself fighting monsters instead of her college GPA, but apparently that isn't enough in the YA market. They want the kissey kissey.
I suppose it's a matter of taste. For me, I've had two kids and reached my quota for kissey kissey and romance. I don't need to read about it, and think about it, and wonder about it. Mystery solved.
I clearly didn't do enough research when I started on "Mythical". I designed it first as a screenplay to fit in with the whole Percy Jackson, Harry Potter etc genre. Then I adapted it into a novel since it turned out so well. And I listed it as Young Adult.
Argh. Now that it's uploaded and propping up the leg of a virtual table somewhere on the internet, I think I have chosen the wrong genre to list it in.
I chose this category as the main character is an 18 year old girl, Josie Winters. She has graduated High School and is about to start her adult life. But instead of going off to college, she finds a dead super soldier in the desert, Mark Kenslir, who comes back to life and gets her help completing his last mission- stopping a shapeshifting giant who rips out people's hearts and eats them to steal their stength, identity and even memories.
I was sure this sounded YA, it had a teen, facing an important issue: the change from childhood to adulthood. I even threw in the girl having a life-long best friend- a boy (Jimmy Kane) who had unrequited love for her, and therefore was all angsty about Josie helping out the super soldier (the older, mysterious man).
Now I'm starting to think it's more pulp.
I've done more reading, and I'm now seeing that YA seems to be a female genre. Which is odd, because the fast flowing writing style and the shorter novel lengths really remind me of the pulps I grew up reading (Doc Savage, Tarzan, etc.)
This makes me wonder- YA for girls or is it the new Pulp, with a bit of teenage drama thrown in for good measure? Should I list "Mythical" under a new genre to bring it out of internet ebook obscurity? Or do I hang in there and see if Month #2, and a sequel in the works will do better?
While it's barely been a month since "Mythical" went up as an ebook, the sequel is firmly underway. In fact, it's going much faster than I anticipated.
My first inclination was not to mention this, but I've been reading a lot lately about how readers of self-published series are hesitant to pick up a new series until they know for sure it is going to be continued. I can understand that. In this modern era of instant publishing, why wait for a sequel? Pick a series that's out and read them back to back, with no waiting.
So here I am, confirming what I said in an earlier post- "Mythical: Brothers in Stone" is fast becoming a reality. Plotting out the story, doing research and preparing to write took a few weeks, but now I'm actually down to the nuts and bolts of writing it out. And it's going fast, despite the opressive heat here in the midwest that makes me want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep until winter.
At the current rate of sweaty writing, I anticipate "Brothers in Stone"'s first draft will be done within a week. Then it's time for some polishing, proof reading and a final typo hunt before I put it up- probably by August 1. Maybe sooner.
So here's a clever idea I just read- letting fans submit their names to authors to have characters named after them in upcoming novels.
Now, I have only had Mythical self-published for about a month now, so I doubt I have any actual fans yet. But I would definitely be open to putting readers' names in the remainder of the trilogy. Coming up with new names is one of the hardest things for me as a writer.
Let's make this an ongoing, open thing. If you want a character named after you in a Mythical novel, comment below with your first and last name and your physical description (hair color, build, eye color, etc). Please realize half of the names I get will more than likely get killed off in any novel- Mythical has some pretty evil antagonists.
Now that the trilogy of Mythical is firmly plotted out and I've begun work on Book #2, I had to wonder- will the trilogy complete the adventures of Josie Winters and the super soldiers of Detachment 1039?
I suppose that it could. The final book will wrap things up nicely, finishing off the shapeshifters once and for all. But it will leave Josie and her new friends just beginning a life of protecting America from the secret supernatural forces in the world.
I went back and dusted off some of the early ideas I had for telling stories about Detachment 1039- Colonel Kenslir's adventures before he became a father figure for a new generation of super soldiers. I briefly considered going back to those 1980s tales. But that would still leave Josie hanging.
Instead, it looks like I have the beginnings of a great fourth book plotted out. And a working title: Legendary: The Curse Eater. A swell story about super-powered clones, a serial killer, an angry ghost from Col. Kenslir's past, and a 14 year old boy who learns he's not just an average kid after all.
But do I want to write this? I have other projects lined up- like a horror-comedy about a father who has to embrace the family werewolf curse to save his own family from an uprising of zombies. It started as a screenplay in 2010, and I got about halfway through novelizing it.
I guess sales will decide.
If Mythical 1, 2 & 3 start selling, and I get some feedback that yes, readers want more, Legendary might just become the next Detachment 1039 trilogy.
In the process of plotting out and researching Book 2 (Brothers in Stone) I also did a lot of work on the third upcoming Mythical novel, Blood and Stone. It will round out the trilogy started in Mythical, and see the saga of the antediluvian shapeshifters come to a close.
Here's a sneak peak of Blood and Stone's plot, which will hopefully be completed around October 2012.
Another antediluvian shapeshifting giant is on the loose, having escaped after his raid on Detachment 1039's base of operations in Miami, Florida. Josie Winters, with her new powers still developing, is impatient to hunt down the monster, but training comes first.
Josie joins Victor Hornbeck, the newest stone soldier, in private training with Colonel Kenslir, forming the newest generation of America's secret super soldiers. But will their be training be complete before the last shapeshifter can gather the hearts and powers of some of America's deadliest civilian parahumans?
The research is done, and I start work today on Mythical #2, continuing the story of Josie Winters, Jimmy Kane and their new mentor, Colonel Mark Kenslir.
Here's a sneak preview of the events of Book 2:
Josie Winters is settling into her new job at Detachment 1039, learning the secret history of the U.S. Armed Forces war against supernatural threats. Jimmy Kane remains petrified, a stone statue of himself, only able to communicate with the outside world by means of a telepath.
But word soon arrives- the shapeshifting giant, Ketzkahtel may be dead and in a freezer at Detachment 1039's headquarters, but someone else is on the loose, in Arizona, ripping the hearts out of hapless victims.
Josie and Colonel Kenslir travel west again, to join up with the FBI's special task force on the "Valentine Killer".