Introducing you to Above the Ground

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Now that it’s public, I am excited to talk about the novel I wrote last year.

As you may recall, I was asked to step in and complete Paul Antony Jones’ This Alien Earth trilogy for Aethon Books. They were happy enough with the finished product that I was recommended to Matt Medney, CEO of Heavy Metal Entertainment.

Matt’s been reviving the legendary title and has worked with him a number of folks I have worked with at DC, including David Erwin, Kris Longo, Joie Illidge, and Keith Champagne. So, when Matt heard my name, he ran it by these fine folk, who all enthusiastically endorsed me.

Matt and I got to know each other via video chats and then he shared his outline and early work on the prose. I read it and considered what I could bring to the story. After letting it settle, I tried a sample rewrite for Chapter One, which Matt loved.

I signed on and spent last spring/summer writing the novel. There was a lot of historic, anthropological, and scientific research that was required, stretching me in some new ways. I also had to get a handle on the quartet of protagonists Matt created as well as the lead antagonist, rounding them out and putting some of me in there. Writing the project proved an interesting experience.

Matt did a pass in the fall, and we locked the manuscript around Christmas. We’re both fairly happy with the result.

As he did the final polish, I took our notes for book two and expanded them into a full outline and I will be working on that starting this spring.

In a nice bit of serendipity. Maria Carbado, who I worked with both at DC and at Quarto on the 100 Greatest Moments books, was brought in to design the book.

Here’s how Simon & Schuster describes it:

Post apocalyptic adventure brought forth by nuclear annihilation. Layering in reverse racial inequality, and the advancements of science & technology only achievable by a civilization that has no suffering. We examine what is, what was, and what could be.

100 years ago, they vanished. No one knew why, no one knew how — no one knew anything. The scientists were stunned, hell the world was stunned, and as for myself, I knew it was a moment that would haunt our history.

My name is Betty Anders, a small-town teacher with an intrepid husband. David and I lived our peaceful, uneventful lives in Nebraska: I taught, while he pursued his research in biogenetic engineering. His breakthrough discovery — quantum entangled botany — gave us hope for a brighter, more sustainable future…  which turned to utter fear when the government took it too far. Of course they did. 

Our remaining peace evaporated when the missiles started falling, fired by cruelly-intentioned leaders of the Alliance. I know what you’re thinking… WHAT freaking missiles? But bare with me, there’s a lot to cover, and not a lot of time. Soon we found ourselves confined to David’s bunker, frantically searching for any information. Who was left? How had the fallout altered the landscape? I couldn’t help my mind go to the simple prevailing truth that my husband’s scientific breakthrough is now the most important piece of knowledge on the planet. 

As we brace ourselves to leave the bunker, I wonder, above all, if these events are somehow linked to the great mystery of what happened with the Native Americans those 100 years ago.

While David and I find our place in this post-apocalyptic world, we need your help in summoning the courage to push forward as I have a feeling that the lines of history are all converging on this moment in time.

You can get it in trade paperback from S&S on October 4. Here’s the pre-order link.

My understanding is that Aethon Books will release the eBook, but the pre-order link is not yet public. I’ll keep you posted.

Meantime, I also tripped over the news about The Spider-Man Vault, which I co-wrote with Peter David. Becker & Mayer is updating it and re-releasing it under the title Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade. Rather than ask us to do the updating, they turned to Matthew Manning, who I previously worked with on The Batman Vault.

The new edition will have a different cover, but it has not been released as of now.

Becker & Mayer describes it this:

In this complete biography of one of Marvel’s most beloved super heroes, explore Spider-Man’s development through behind-the-scenes anecdotes, images, and rarely-seen interviews.

From the comic page to the big screen and beyond, Spider-Man has thrilled fans for generations. Since swinging onto the scene in 1961, in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the world’s most famous wall-crawler has captivated the world, starring in millions of comics, over twenty different films and animated series, numerous blockbuster video games, and one Broadway show, as well as appearances in countless other mediums.

In celebration of his illustrious and expansive history, Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade is a comprehensive collection of exciting art and expert commentary that brings Spidey’s backstory out of the archive and into the arms of fans worldwide. Organized by decade, you will:

  • Relive the origin and adaptations of Spider-Man, along with his friends and enemies, through comic books, films, TV shows, toys, and more.
  • Spark your memory with “remember when?” moments (the Spider-Mobile, anyone?).
  • Recall the most interesting and shocking plot points of the comic.
  • Meet the creators who worked on Spider-Man’s adventures throughout the years.
  • Illustrated with images from the comics, movies, and another Spider-Man–related items, this collection is a must-have for any fan of the web-slinger.

The preorder link is now live and the book comes out on September 6.

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