Monday, September 21, 2015

The Game Changer - The Recipient Set For International Distribution.

Okay, so I have some news from this end that I wanted to give you about The Recipient.

The news is bad and good.

The bad news is - A little while ago, I had a long and pretty comprehensive Skype chat with my publisher which ran for, I think, about 2 hours. 

The result of this call is that we've had to make the decision to hold off releasing The Recipient on our original October 25 date and push back the release date until early next year.

Now, the reason for this - which is the good news - is that my publisher has just signed a sales and distribution deal with Independent Publisher's Group (IPG) in Chicago.

IPG is a major sales and distribution corporation who handle titles exclusively for independent publishers the States, Canada, the UK and Australia. They have distribution channels with the major bricks and mortar book sellers internationally - as well as digital distributors - and they have a proven track record in sales and marketing. 

Along with several titles slated for release by Central Avenue Publishing, they are going to be marketing and selling The Recipient on our behalf.

In short - This. Is. Huge. 

Think of it like George Lucas signing with 20th Century Fox back in the 70's to sell and distribute Star Wars around the world - although, I don't expect to ever scale the heights of George Lucas. IPG have arrangements with all the major book chains, both bricks and mortar and digital, and they have contacts with all of the major review outlets. It means that we won't have to go it completely alone - as we have done to date - trying to attract reviewers or sales channels because IPG do it all and most of the time, before breakfast. 

Central Avenue and IPG haven't formally announced it yet so I've had to keep it on the down low until they release a joint statement. However, I am able to release this news to my email subscribers in advance.

I'm bummed that The Recipient won't see a release for a while yet and I am sorry. Things were progressing pretty quickly towards our original release date but, when this opportunity came up, both myself and my publisher agreed that we could not pass on it. It is, potentially, a huge step forward for me and Central Avenue Publishing. 

I'll be continuing to share news and updates via my exclusive subscribers portal "Journey To The Recipient". Please do sign up for these updates as I'll be announcing some exciting pre-release content and competitions as we move towards the new release date. 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Unpacking The Aftermath - Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.

Aftermath (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.

Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting… 

I approached Chuck Wendig's Aftermath, the first post Return Of The Jedi title in the new Star Wars canon, trying to suspend as much expectation as I could. I was never a huge Expanded Universe geek. I did read some of the titles therein. Some were good but a lot were terrible so, I was one of those who treated the news of the relegation of the former Expanded Universe to Legends status with relief.

There has been a lot riding on this novel as a result. I was aware of the early reviews coming out about it and I was a little trepidatious but I chose to ignore anything Aftermath related until I could actually sit down and read it for myself.

Nana Mayes bought me Aftermath for my birthday a couple weeks ago.

Having turned the final page over the weekend, I've gotta say, this is some of the best Star Wars fiction I have read in years. The story is unexpectedly original. It was suggested to me to go into the story with a keen eye on the machinations of the fractured Empire after their defeat at Endor and, that turned out to be one of the most fascinating threads in story. How the Imperial Remnant and their command structure try to regroup is explored with a keen eye on personality and those character traits that drive ambition and a lust for power in face of defeat and I really liked that. It was bold and Wendig pulls it off easily.

I was reminded of a 'what if' scenario I remember reading about a while back where the idea was posed -"what if the command structure of Adolf Hitler's Reich escaped Germany at the conclusion of WW2 and gathered in South America a'la Boys From Brazil to plan for a strike back?"

The absence of key Star Wars characters in Aftermath turns out to be not at all disappointing (although there are some exciting hints as to what the major players are upto via the Interludes that pepper the story). The focus for Aftermath is on a rebel pilot and freedom fighter Norra Wexley who returns to the planet Akiva in the hopes of reconciling with her estranged son Temmin.

This relationship and it's command over the narrative was one that I found powerful and involving. With the addition of a turncoat Imperial Officer and a dislocated Bounty Hunter, they become a ragtag team intent on repelling the Imperial Remnant from that planet. They are an attractive team, filled with nuance and contradiction and, for the first time in a long time, they are a cast worth investing in. I really came to like these protagonists.

Wendig's style is also something completely new for a Star Wars novel. It is told in the third person/present tense and what this does is it makes the story really immediate and easy to access visually. It achieves a cinematic quality, essential to Star Wars fiction, by dropping you right into the action in way that makes you feel you're embedded in it - like a documentary film maker. It works. It totally works and I look forward to seeing more of this style from Wendig in the two sequel novels that have been slated.

Possibly my most favorite aspect of Aftermath was the inclusion of a series of Interludes throughout the story. These Interludes break up the central story and provide a glimpse into events that are occurring all across the galaxy in the wake of the Alliance triumph at the Battle of Endor and they feature characters - both familiar and unfamiliar - who react to galactic events in interesting ways. Potentially, these could have been a distracting element but I found them informative and tantalizing. I saw these as clues, hinting at what is to come for the galaxy, The Alliance and The Imperial Remnant as we approach the cinematic release of The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: Aftermath is an important title in the Star Wars canon. It is also perhaps one of the most successful titles. Aside from its engaging story, its well rounded cast and satisfying settings, Aftermath is actually a thought provoking study in war and what happens at the conclusion of a major conflict. There are real world analogies throughout the book which one could readily look up and indeed, I spent a little time afterwards doing just that.

Chuck Wendig's Aftermath is a masterful piece of Star Wars fiction.


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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Talking Star Wars & Revenge Of The Sith With Jogcast Radio.

On Sunday afternoon Down Under, I guested on Australian Star Wars and pop culture podcast Jogcast Radio with Adam P. O'Brien in which we recorded an epic film commentary of Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Sith. 

As part of Jogcast Radio's "brutally honest" podcast series on the prequel trilogy, we dissected the final film in the trilogy with a critical surgeon's knife but, at the same time, we unavoidably affectionate. Adam marveled at how Ewan McGregor carried his character, we both agreed that Ian McDiarmid should have been nominated for an Academy Award and I defended Hayden Christensen way too much.

This commentary was just one part of a massive 4 and a half hours of ‪Star Wars audio goodness featuring a cast of Australian ‪‎fan boy Rogues including Ryan Stampfli and 'My Saga's' Adam Harris.

Oh & during the episode, I dropped a massive bit of news about my upcoming novel "The Recipient".

Download the episode here. (Right click and Save As...)

Check out Jogcast Radio on iTunes here.

Connect with Adam P. O'Brien here


Check out The Unfortunate Irishman by Alan R. Ryan - available now for Kindle.