To my incredibly patient followers and readers,
Let me begin by thanking you profusely. Thank you for your continued support and interest, for messaging me, stopping me in the office, or spotting me randomly in a store and asking me when the Hell After Death is going to come out.
It makes me feel terrible for the long wait, but it also makes me feel good that so many people are excited to read this novel on which I’ve now spent ten years of my life.
I apologize for the delay. Much of that is simply out of my hands, as I’m merely one of many talented authors whose work is being developed and published by Inkshares, and each of them are as anxious and as deserving of attention as I.
That said, my number has been called. And over several conversations with Inkshares CEO Adam Gomolin — over email, phone, text, and in person — a plan has been hatched to, yes, once again restructure the novel, this time sharpening its focus on the characters of Cara Lindley and her grandmother Meryem Nurzhan.
The character of Icara Lightfeather and her entire storyline is going to be cut from the book. (Boy am I glad I didn’t pull the trigger on that tattoo of the compass from the map of Icara’s planet!)
Let’s please take a moment to admire the incredible work of artist Andy Gouveia, who created the map for me.
To those beta-readers who considered this aspect of the book their favorite part, I can say only that Icara and her world will most certainly one day see the light of day in some other shape or form (these things almost always eventually do), and that I have every intention of cannibalizing the crucial plot elements from her storyline in service of this more honed concept.
Meryem’s backstory will be expanded even further, going into deeper detail regarding the previous outbreak of the plague in Kazakhstan and her life in the years between then and her emergence as the world’s preeminent expert on the Fever.
Some of the novel’s trippier aspects will survive, but will be made far less prominent, and the book will center more on how three generations of one family were affected by a disease, becoming less Cloud Atlas and more Sharp Objects, which — you know what? — is going to be pretty cool and a lot more accessible.
This will take time, of course. Adam’s hope is that further developmental editing will take eight months or so, with our eyes set on a potential July 2020 release date. Whether that comes to pass obviously depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is my own ability to pull it off.
But I am eternally humbled and grateful to all of you who have stuck by me through this, and who continue to anticipate this novel’s eventual publication. It means so much more to me than you can possibly know, particularly at this moment in my life.
In the meantime, please consider picking up a copy of Writing Bloc’s ESCAPE! An Anthology. It’s packed with twenty gripping tales of escape, including my short story "The Grave Ordeal of Jawbone John South," about an 1885 bank robbery gone very wrong when an outlaw attempts to evade the authorities by ordering his gang to bury him alive with the stolen loot.
If you are so inclined, you can also pick up a copy of my short story "The Equestrian," the slim tale of a jockey and his horse, and the night of horror that would bestow upon both an incredible ability and a terrible curse.
I’ve also gone and uploaded a bunch of my poetry, essays, and film criticism to my website, Dan-Lee.net, including my poem "Ode," which was previously published in the Santa Clara Review literary journal, "Incidents in a Traffic Jam," the piece that made me a California state finalist for the National Poetry Slam, and my critique of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which went unexpectedly viral a couple of years ago.
If you have some free time, please do check that stuff out!
You are all so wonderful. And I can’t say enough how much I appreciate not only your support and patience, but that of the friends I’ve made through being part of the Inkshares community. I’ve never met a more supportive group of writers.
I’ll try to do a better job of updating more frequently, but if you don’t hear from me, please be assured that I am hunkered down, doing the work. And that one day in the not-too-distant future, you will find out what happens After Death.
To all my patient supporters,Two weeks ago I received the first round of developmental notes for AFTER DEATH from my editor Matt Harry. For the most part his notes made a lot of sense, and in discussing with him how best to address his concerns I have decided to restructure the novel.By this I mean that I will take what is currently a three-part story, each part following one incarnation of the protagonist’s soul, and attempt to intercut the lives one chapter at a time. Our hope is that this will result in a draft that is not only tighter, but more surprising, suspenseful, and even more of a mind bender than the book already is.This will take time, of course, and with every day that passes I am increasingly grateful for your continued patience and support.In related news, Nerdist founder, comedian, and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick recently plugged AFTER DEATH on his ID10T podcast! It was incredibly kind of him to do that, and I can’t thank him enough. Click below to check it out!Not only that, but AFTER DEATH recently received this amazing blurb from J. David Pleins, Ph.D., a writer and teacher whose work has been a huge influence on my own:"Daniel Lee’s captivating After Death weaves together time travel, zombie apocalypse, epic battles, zen musings, quantum physics, and timeless archetypes. He plays with an array of afterlife concepts — beliefs of different faiths, tales from different mythologies, icons of pop culture — and forges them into a Grand Unified Theory of the afterlife. It’s both a raucous adventure story and a deep-dive into the human soul. If the great mythographer Joseph Campbell wrote a novel, this would be it!"— J. David Pleins, Ph.D., author of The Evolving God and Professor of Biblical History, Mythology, Science and Religion at Santa Clara UniversityWho could ask for a better blurb than that?Finally, if you’re at all a fan of tabletop games, you probably know that the Kickstarter campaign for Restoration Games’ new reimagining of the classic 1980s board game Fireball Island has been, well, on FIRE. They surpassed their goal within the first hour and have gone on to raise well over $2 million! The team at Restoration Games, aware of my obsession with the game and that I moderate the /r/fireballisland subreddit, asked me if I’d help promote the campaign by teaming up with The Brothers Murph, the former Dice Tower YouTubers with whom they have a sponsorship agreement, and letting them film one of my infamous Fireball Island Night parties. They agreed to my terms (a free copy of the game and that I got to plug my book in the video) and the end result is below. It was a ton of fun! Click the image to check it out!On that note, work on my revisions continues. I’ve already learned a ton from this experience and made many new friends in the Inkshares community of authors. I’d like to give particular shouts out to my fellow Sci-Fi Contest cohorts Katherine Forrister and Ferd Crôtte, whose books Curio Citizen and Mission 51 won the Nerdist contest alongside me. Of the two I’ve so far only read Curio Citizen, and it is excellent. I highly recommend ordering a copy for yourself.Thank you again for sticking by me through this process, and for continuing to spread the word and share the link to my book with friends. It seriously means the world to me.If you don’t already, please follow me on Twitter @dannyboylee. And until next time, be excellent to each other!
Hi, everybody!Time for another update.
A couple of weeks ago, word came down from The Powers That Be that Matt Harry, the suave and debonair head of story development for Inkshares, would at last be turning his attention to the three books that won the Nerdist Sci-Fi Contest.In a month or two I can expect to receive a document from Matt full of suggestions on how to make my story even better than it already is. In the meantime, I’ve swapped manuscripts with the other contest winners — Katherine Forrister, author of CURIO CITIZEN, and Ferd Crôtte, author of MISSION 51 — and over the next several months, these talented writers and I will be working with Matt to make sure our final manuscripts are the best they can possibly be.Once developmental editing is done, whenever that may be, the book will presumably move on to copy editing, cover design, and production design.I will, of course, keep you updated along the way.As always, thank you so, so much for your continued patience and support. I can’t wait for you all to read AFTER DEATH. I promise the wait will be worth it!
To all my patient supporters,Happy New Year!
Over the past several months many of you have reached out to me, or stopped me in passing, to ask about the status of my novel AFTER DEATH. One or two even thought perhaps it had already come out, and that they’d somehow missed it.
An update is long overdue, and today is a good day to write one.
Back in October, the very kind Avalon Radys, director of marketing and publishing operations for my publisher Inkshares, let me know that my book wouldn’t be entering developmental editing until 2018, as their priority had to be books with Spring release dates.
A bit of a bummer, sure, but it made perfect sense to me, and provided me with the opportunity to do a twelfth draft of the novel, with the goal of further tightening the story and reducing the word count as much as possible.
That new draft is now complete and has been sent to Inkshares. So now, my friends, we wait.
Hopefully I’ll be paired with an editor soon, but even then it’s worth keeping in mind that it may still be a while before you are holding a copy of the book in your hands. After developmental editing there will still be copy editing, cover design, book design, and a slew of other steps I don’t even know about, I’m sure. The publishing process, I’m learning, is very slow.
In the meantime, there are a number of ways you can get a fix to tide you over:
1) visit the AFTER DEATH page on the Inkshares website here, where you can watch the updated book trailer, read sample chapters, leave a comment or review, pre-order copies, and recommend the novel to others. You can also sneak a peek at my new novel in progress, KING OF FIRE.
2) listen to the first chapter of AFTER DEATH, as read by actress Jessica Rothert, here (Vimeo) or here (YouTube). While you’re at it, check out the AFTER DEATH YouTube playlist I’ve begun assembling here, which features not only the trailer and first chapter, but also other related videos that hint at the ideas explored in the book.
3) visit and "Like" the AFTER DEATH Facebook page here, where you can stay updated on news, as well as the latest promotional material.
4) follow me on Twitter and Instagram. See photos of my cats.
5) check out more of my work at Dan-Lee.net, including my short story The Equestrian, which is available for a buck on Amazon.
6) check out and support the work of other talented Inkshares authors, among them Katherine Forrister, Matthew Isaac Sobin, Christopher Huang, J. Danielle Dorn, Tal Klein, J-F Dubeau, Kyle Cowan, Jacqui Castle, Evan Graham, Brian Fitzpatrick, Eric Heisner, and Erin Evan, who has written perhaps my most anticipated book of the coming year, The Pirates of Montana.
Thank you all so much for your continued patience and support. This book has been my biggest creative project for nearly nine years, and it’s humbling and thrilling to know that so many people are excited to read it.
I’ll be sure to keep you all updated as things progress. And, as always, it means the world to me anytime you recommend AFTER DEATH to anyone and help spread the word.
Thanks again! You are all amazing!
Happy Eclipse Day, everyone!
A while back, Jessica Rothert, an actress with whom I share a bunch of mutual friends, reached out to me to let me know that, unbeknownst to me, she had decided to record the first chapter of AFTER DEATH for her demo reel, as an example of her reading an audiobook.
She sent me a copy of her recording, and hearing it was such a moving experience for me that I wanted to share it with all of you!
Click the image below to check it out on YouTube:
Give it a listen on your drive home tonight, or on your hike tomorrow, or while you’re working out. If you like what you hear and haven’t yet ordered a copy of the book, please consider doing so!
Thank you so much!
Beneath the falling sky the whites of eyes appear at the far edge of the enormous field before us. I and the other creatures around me bristle at the sight of those cloaked figures rising up from behind the slope of grass and unsheathing huge blades twinned at either end of a long staff. Every man among them carries one, and with their drawing of these weapons their robes are thrown to the ground. And their natural aspects are made known.
These are not men beneath their garments but reptiles, eyes paired primatical affront their faces, clawed fingers wrapped around the staffs and spun with skill to make of them a frontline of chopping blades. Fangs are made bare. Musculature flexed beneath scales of darkest green, these lizards trudge naked upon the gluey grass until, halfway across the field, their weapons are tucked to one side and wielded thus at the ready, poised for our stampede.
We oblige. Each among our mass of hundreds rears back, then descends, every hoof upon the tarlike earth a cannon, and charges at the lizard men. Many times over they are outnumbered, and yet the bipeds themselves lunge forward and tear across the field straight for us. One man slips on the slick grass and falls forward onto his own blade. His brethren behind leap over his corpse and race on.