I’m currently in Saskatoon, Canada, the spiritual home of Jack and Sync City. Thursday morning at 7:50 am (CST), I’m going to be on the CBC Saskatoon morning radio show to talk about the book.
If you’re in Saskatoon, you can find it at 94.1 FM. If you are not in Saskatoon, then the following link will get you there: CBC Saskatoon Morning. You can find the live stream in the top right hand corner.
As I mentioned, the time is 7:50 am (CST) - you’ll have to work your local time out yourself!!
Enjoy the day.
Friends, Readers, and Sorcerers All,
Today’s big announcement has almost nothing to do with Tantalus Depths, but it is still a very big announcement.
As many of you already know, Inkshares is teaming up with Nerdist right now to host a science fiction novel contest. The top three books at the end of the contest will win the full publishing treatment, the same deal we earned for Tantalus Depths last year, but without the agonizing process of having to round up 750 preorders first.
I deliberated for weeks about whether I should enter the contest or not. The book I wanted to enter is one of my boldest endeavors and I’m incredibly proud of it, but in many ways I feel like I’m still recovering from my last campaign, and I’m definitely not excited about taking that plunge once more. But ultimately the deciding factor that made me decide to go ahead and go for it was the competition. Right now, with just 20 days to go, the pre-order numbers on the current leaderboard are unusually low for a contest like this. At the time of writing this, I could make it to the top 3 with less than 50 pre-orders. That’s a far cry from 750, and I feel I must capitalize on this opportunity.
So I’ve entered the fray: my second full novel, Proteus, is now available for pre-order. It’s a sci-fi psychological thriller set in the same universe as Tantalus Depths, but featuring completely different characters and events. It’s ambitious to the point of impertinence, as it is a direct adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Richard III that also deals with themes of wartime PTSD, transhumanism, and the duality of man.
I can’t do anything halfway, it seems.
Here is the link, please check it out. There will be a wealth of new information coming every day for the duration of this intense but very short campaign. I wouldn’t have entered this contest yet if I didn’t think we could win it. The support we raised for Tantalus Depths was simply mind-blowing, and if we can recapture just one fifteenth of that miracle again, we’ll have not one but two books entering the production process. This could make the difference between me being an author as a hobby and me being an author as a career.
Before you go, I want to pre-emptively answer some questions I expect will be raised by this announcement:
Q: You jerk, I already ordered a book and I still don’t have it. WHERE’S MA BOOK???
A: It’s coming! I sent the manuscript in about a month ago. It takes months for a book to go through the production process, and that timer doesn’t begin until the manuscript is submitted. Tantalus Depths will probably not be released until the end of the year at the absolute earliest, more likely early next year. BUT anyone who’s ordered it and is particularly eager to get their hands on a copy and doesn’t want to wait until then, I will happily send you the current draft upon request. If you don’t mind reading an in-process manuscript, that is.
Q: What happens if you lose the contest?
A: You get your money back. If I fail to place in the top three, I could continue to campaign the normal way until I raise enough pre-orders (that’s exactly what happened with Tantalus Depths) but there’s no way I’m putting myself through that right now. I’ve set my campaign to only run one week past the end of the contest, at which point it will expire and anyone who ordered a copy will be immediately refunded. Either I win this contest, or nothing. Not until a future date when I’m more ready for it.
Q: How will this campaign affect the production of Tantalus Depths?
A: It won’t. Tantalus Depths is top priority. The only reason I have time to campaign right now is because I’m still waiting to be assigned a production team; at the moment, there’s nothing I can do for Tantalus. During the production process, there is a lot of going back and forth between me and my editor, so there will be patches of time when I will be working on Tantalus and when I won’t be. Any time I have to choose between working on Tantalus and working on Proteus, Tantalus will always take priority.
Any other questions or concerns, feel free to message me about them.
(before you start reading, there is a surprise at the end)
Friends, it has been a while
You may have heard that my absence in the hallways of Inkshares is due to my adventures around the world gathering material for my memoir: Eat, Drink and Pass Out. You may have also heard that I got a job at NASA and I’ll be the first rainbow flag waving queen to put foot on Mars. All lies, friends. All fabrications from one of my multiple personalities.
The truth is I’ve been ridiculously busy juggling a new job, a cranky brain that insists on not working properly and writing Bad Medicine, a novel that I think you will love.
A couple of things have happened since the last time we talked:
1. I finished the manuscript, but then I read it again and decided it needed a lot of work. Characters needed to be stronger, motivations had to be clearer, and villains needed more evil running through their veins.
2. I changed the name of the novel. I thought the tagline “Slay it Queen!” didn’t convey clearly what the novel is about, so I changed it to Bad Medicine: Zombie Slaying Queen! Sometimes straight to the point is best.
3. I started practicing meditation and mindfulness (I won’t be offended if you roll your eyes now) and had an epiphany (roll them again) the goal of this journey is not publishing a novel, the goal is creating art. Taking the ideas bubbling in my chest, shaping them and then surrendering them to you.
Yes, I want to see my book on bookstores but more than anything I want to feel confident that every drop of creativity inside of me labeled Bad Medicine, is out of my system and ready for the world to love, hate, ignored or adored.
In the large puzzle of the publishing process, I have only one job, and I am planning to do it well. I have to write a great novel.
I guess I am asking you for patience and trust. Your novel is coming. I don’t know when, but Inkshares and I will work hard to make sure you feel great about the investment you made six months ago.
In the meantime, since you have some waiting to do, I created a playlist called “Essential Drag” below are songs and videos where I find inspiration for Bad Medicine. Even if you are not writing a novel about a zombie slaying drag queen, these are just fun songs to listen to.
Until the next time...
Today is Publication Day for the Bones of the Past!
It has been a very, very long road to get to this point: I started writing what would eventually become the Books of Dust and Bone in January 2010. I made my way to Inkshares in late 2015 and launched my funding campaign on December 18. With support from you, my readers, I managed to place in the top 3 of the Sword and Laser contest (The Sequel) and on January 15, 2016 won a publication deal. Today, the book is available in hundreds of brick and mortar stores across North America, not to mention a number of online retailers worldwide.
I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the final product!
Once you have had a chance to read The Bones of the Past, I would really appreciate a review! Reviews are the single most important factor in the continued success of a book. Just a short note (a sentence or 2 is all it takes!) to tell other people what you thought really can make all the difference. Those who would like to help even more – please copy and paste your review to all of the sites listed below!
Thank you all yet again!!!
Which do you want first: the Good News, or the Good-er News?
Fine. Good news is I’ve finally had the epiphany I should’ve reached months ago (which, by the way, is why you’re receiving another update so soon after the last). I’ve decided to SPLIT THE ANIMAL IN MAN IN TWO. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Fellow authors, publishing industry gurus, inkshares itself, close friends and relatives - all these folks had been asking me for so long “why not just split the novel? Honestly, my dear animals, working on The Animal in Man had become a lot like sculpting pottery: the wheel spins and spins at a constant, but the larger the pot I was trying to make, the more likely it was to start coming apart and ultimately wind up an unrecognizable ruin. I’d rather make something beautiful - keep the pattern intact - and I figured you’d rather read it that way.
So what’s the Good-er News?
I re-submitted the manuscript last week! This means the ball is now in the publisher’s side of the court. I’ve done a little research that should make all parties involved (including you and me) much happier: An author with multiple books develops a better readership. Trilogies sit better on store shelves and are more likely to be stocked & re-stocked by booksellers. Imagine you’re just Joe-Schmoe Bookreader at the B&N down your street, just browsing the Sci-Fi Fantasy section like you always do, and you spot book one, book two, and book three of The Animal in Man all side-by-side. You are more likely to wonder what you’re missing out on when you discover a trilogy for the first time.
Yes, I said “trilogy.” That, in fact, was the straw that broke this camel’s back. The original, monstrously-oversized Animal in Man ended on a the mother of all cliffhangers, and I’d originally intended to leave it as-is (frankly I like unfinished endings, like Watchmen or Inception). But the ideas just kept gestating in the dark, warm, moist recesses of my brain, fed by the questions. What would happen to so-and-so? Did so-and-so make it out alive, and if he did, what would he do next?
Stay tuned to find out. Because of the decision to split the book, it won’t be as long of a wait.
In the meantime, check out some of the AMAZING sci-fi novels burning up the leaderboards on Inkshares’ Nerdist Contest. The second I read the description of Jenny Graham-Jones “1000 Faces” I knew I had to have a copy. That kind of dystopian, bleak-future vision of our world - where everyone wears a mask and all is never as it seems - is my kind of jam. Take a look at the submissions, you’re sure to find something great.
Until next time, my dear animals.
The Punch Escrow is hitting bookstores on July 25 — less than 2 months from today. I wanted to give you guys an update on where things stand based on the increasing number of inbound questions:
- Book Tour: We have one. I hope one of our stops is in your town. You can check out the list of places and dates here: https://www.facebook.com/thepunchescrow/posts/1951228528444487:0 (if you haven’t already, please give The Punch Escrow a "Like" on FB when you’re there)
- Cover Design: It’s done and I will share the full cover as soon as we approve the proofs from the printer. It’s lovely and iconic. I couldn’t be happier! This book will be a lot of fun to hold. We’ve been very picky about materials and inks.
- Pre-sales: Some of you may have gotten an email stating that you’ve "backed a winner!" - yes, I’m super thrilled we’re moving a lot of pre-order units. I’m very happy the book is picking up steam. I don’t know what else to say about that other than: THANK YOU! and maybe also WOOHOO!
- The movie: I can’t really say anything about the movie other than tell you that Lionsgate didn’t only option the book, they optioned The Punch Escrow’s entire world or, as I like to call it, "The Future." What this means is that if things go well, there will be many other stories to come through various mediums, not just film. I continue to have very productive meetings with the creative team at Lionsgate, and I believe "The Future" is in very good hands.
- Blurbs: Here are all the amazing blurbs we’ve gotten for the book so far. The reviews are also starting to come in to the book’s Goodreads page from advance readers and reviewers:
“I read a lot of books but haven’t enjoyed one as much as The Punch Escrow in a long time. I picked it up for a cross-country flight and didn’t put it down until we landed in New York. Tal Klein creates a plausibly real future that sucks you in. He powers his story with action, twists, and a dash of humor. Young actors will be lining up to play the lead character, and any director worth his salt would kill (or at least teleport) for a chance to adapt The Punch Escrow.” —Andy Lewis, Book Editor, The Hollywood Reporter
“A compelling, approachable human narrative wrapped around a classic hard sci-fi nugget, The Punch Escrow dives into deep philosophical territory—the ethical limits of technology, and what it means to be human. Cinematically paced yet filled with smart asides, Klein pulls off the slick trick of giving readers plenty to think about in a suspenseful, entertaining package.” —Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica
“An alt-futuristic hard-science thriller with twists and turns you’ll never see coming. I couldn’t put it down.” —Felicia Day, author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
“Klein transports us to a beautifully rendered near-future world. This is refreshingly original and immersive hard sci-fi. You’ll turn the last page and yearn for Joel Byram’s next chapter.” —Ben Brock Johnson, host of Codebreaker podcast and Marketplace Tech
“A headlong ride through a future where ‘huge international corporate conspiracy’ is a box you check on a form and teleportation takes you anywhere—it just blows you to bits first.” —Quentin Hardy, Head of Editorial, Google Cloud (formerly Deputy Tech Editor for The New York Times)
"The Punch Escrow has a cool high concept and an action-packed story that will leave your head spinning." —Daniel H. Wilson, The New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse and Clockwork Dynasty
“If I lived in the world of The Punch Escrow, I’d teleport around the world shoving copies of Tal M. Klein’s thrilling, hilarious, and whip-smart debut into everyone’s hands. Save me the trip—buy this novel now.” —Duane Swierczynski, author of Revolver and the bestselling Level 26 series
“A fast-paced near-future sci-fi adventure peppered with exotic technology and cultural references ranging from Karma Chameleon to the Ship of Theseus, The Punch Escrow will have you rooting for its plucky, sarcastic hero as he bounces between religious fanatics, secret agents, corporate hacks, and megalomaniacs in a quest to get his life back. If you’ve ever wanted to get Scotty drunk and ask him some tough questions about how those transporters work exactly, The Punch Escrow is the book for you.” —Robert Kroese, author of The Big Sheep and its sequel, The Last Iota
“This book angered me to my core, because it’s based on an idea that should have occurred to me. The fact that Tal executed it so well, and made such a page-turner out of it, just adds insult to injury.” —Scott Meyer, author of the Magic 2.0 series
“Some writers take us to the future so we can question the effects that technology can have on humanity on a global and personal scale, along with the impact upon the social fabric. Others do it to take us on a wild ride made all the more fantastic by pushing the boundaries of what we can expect from the world of tomorrow. Tal M. Klein masterfully balances both and sets it all to the beat of an 80s soundtrack. An excellent piece of contemporary science fiction.” —J-F. Dubeau, author of A God in the Shed and The Life Engineered