A week from today, on February 23rd, 2015, Apocalypse Weird will launch out into the world. Apocalypse Weird is the world’s first CCB ~ a Community Created Bookverse ~ a fantastic multi-author created universe which serves as a brand world, much like Marvel is in comics, only for the printed word. My offering to Apocalypse Weird is the collaboration novel Texocalypse Now that I wrote with my good friend Nick Cole. Tex Now will be one of 5 full novels in the AW world released next Monday. Those 5 novels will be followed by 2 more every month, populating the AW world with apocalyptic greatness and telling a larger, overarching story that is every bit as fantastic as it’s scope is grand.
In the creation of the Apocalypse Weird world, just as in the writing of Texocalypse Now, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a man who I think is one of the best fiction writers out there writing today. I’ve said that about Nick Cole before, and sometimes I fear that people think I’m exaggerating when I say that. I’m not. Nick is the real deal.
I first learned about Nick Cole back in 2011. I’d just released my first fiction novel The Last Pilgrims and I knew absolutely nothing about the publishing world, and even less about publishing fiction successfully. I’d written TLP over the summer of ’11 and I figured it would be at least as big as my bestselling non-fiction book Surviving Off Off-Grid. SOOG had taken off like a rocket and when it did I thought, hey, this is easy! I’ll try my hand at writing fiction. How hard can it be? I was finishing up TLP and I started doing what many successful authors do BEFORE they write a book. I started researching the market and trying to learn something about this new Self-Publishing business in fiction that seemed to be just starting to blossom. TLP was classified in Dystopian Fiction, so I looked up at the top of the charts and there was this little book called The Old Man and The Wasteland, by Nick Cole. Wasteland was at the top of the charts and running neck and neck with another little book entitled WOOL, by Hugh Howey.
Now, one of the least well-kept secrets out there is that I’m a total Sci-fi fraud. Never really read it much. I didn’t have any sci-fi street cred, and no experience in the “lingo” everyone uses in Sci-fi. I was a classic fiction guy. I loved Russian Literature, wasn’t a huge fan of American Literature, but I absolutely loved Hemingway and most of the Lost Generation writers. Since I noticed the Hemingway nod in the title of Wasteland, I decided to give it a try.
I was hooked. And I’ve read everything Nick Cole has published since then.
I don’t even remember how Nick and I started talking on line, but somehow we struck up a friendship and he has really mentored me in my publishing life. I read through the whole Wasteland Saga and was dying to read Soda Pop Soldier when I heard about it. Nick sent me a signed pre-release copy and when I read it I was awed. Best thing in the genre I’d read since Ready Player One. Just magnificent.
Anyway, sometime in early 2013 Nick and I started throwing around the idea of writing a book together. That’s when I really got to know how brilliant Nick is. He just oozes great ideas. His idea was for us both to write what we liked within the apoclyptic/dystopian genre. He likes Mad Max scorched desert destruction, and I like survival and the idea of groups banding together to build something and start anew. So we had the idea for Texocalypse Now and we called it Digger. After we’d written a few episodes, Nick just started… well… oozing more good ideas.
Now, Nick at that point had been picked up by Harper Voyager who published the whole Wasteland Saga and Soda Pop Soldier. He was riding in the lap of mainstream pub and knew next to nothing about the Indie world other than what he’d experienced with Old Man. I’d had a few years at that point of shoe leather Indie publishing and had made contacts with a lot of people… pretty much everywhere. Amazon had commissioned me to write my first pre-paid writing gig… a full serialized novel in the world of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. During the writing of that book (Osage Two Diamonds) I got to meet many of the fine folks at Amazon, so I had some contacts there too.
So Nick contacts me one day and apparently his head had exploded and he wanted to make DIGGER into just the biggest thing ever done before. He was talking video games, movies, comics, etc. He knew that Amazon had just started their Amazon Game Studios and he was thinking wayyyyyy ahead of the curve. He asked me if I’d take Digger to the people at Amazon and pitch it as something new. Something that had never been done before. I don’t want to give away all the radical details – because it still hasn’t been done before – but it was super crazy big. Amazon was intrigued and asked for more details. They wanted a story outline, game scripts, you name it. So Nick and I worked on it full time for a long time and came up with a whole crazy business plan for this idea. And we shipped it to Amazon.
Like I’d expected, Amazon loved the idea, but they just were not prepared to do everything that would have to be done to make it happen. It was still too big. Even for Amazon. So Digger got put on the shelf for awhile until we resurrected it in order to make it into this huge, crazy, brand world called Apocalypse Weird.
There is a whole lot more to the story, and Nick and I have spent well over a year. Maybe closer to two years, working on this and other ideas. Texocaylpse Now is that first Digger book (Digger 1.0) and it was a pleasure to write, because I loved working with Nick.
Like I said, Nick is brilliant, and he’s a blast to work with. We worked together pretty seamlessly, and I learned a lot about the craft watching him work and reading his drafts as I’d get them. Something tells me students at some point in the future are going to be studying Nick Cole. That is, if the Apocalypse doesn’t happen first 😉
Make sure to read all of Nick’s stuff. You can find him at www.nickcolebooks.com and follow him on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/nick.cole.1654 Also, Nick has actually written 2.5 books so far for Apocalypse Weird. His first offering, The Red King, is available for free download! The Red King is book one in the WYRD arc of Apocalypse Weird, and Nick’s follow up book The Dark Knight is finished and now available for ORDER!.