It all started with an expensive email. Wait, let me back track. I’m sure the Great Angry Robots Open submission of 2011 is old news now. But in case you don’t follow their every spoken word (like I do), here’s a quick recap. In March 2011, AR had their first open submission ever. Nearly 1000 people submitted works, 65 were asked for full manuscripts and 24 made it to the editors’ desk. Out of those 24, 5 received offers. The End.
Back to the expensive email. In December of 2011, my wife and I were vacationing in Bora Bora, which while a fantastically beautiful place, has perfected the fine art of legalized racketeering. Yes it’s a very small island in the middle of the ocean. We get it. But $24 for a 6oz bottle of bug spray? Yeah, you suck, Mr. convenience store owner. Don’t even ask what sunblock was going for. I could have bought 6oz of plutonium for less. So after a week being disconnected from the internet, we finally caved and bought access for a whopping $40 a day.
My wife and I were watching “The Bounty” starring Mel Gibson (ironically, the movie was filmed on the island – no wonder it came so highly recommended) when an email popped in from a certain Mr. Lee Harris. Now after nine months of pounding my F5 key for my inbox every 15 seconds, this was one long awaited email. I had fully expected a polite rejection like many of the other Anxious Appliances I had befriended (Yay Anxious Appliances!) but alas, Lee teased my heart strings with a “this isn’t what you wanted, but it’s not bad” email. In it, Lee told me he was interested in publishing Prophus Rising (The Lives of Tao at the time) and was pushing it to Acquisitions. I did what anyone wearing a bathrobe in an over-water bungalow would do in that situation. I ran around the room in circles about nine times whooping and crying and making an ass of myself, and then I jumped into the ocean.
The first thing I did when I got back to the states was buy a bottle of scotch, telling myself it was my book signing drink. Unfortunately, I drank most of it during New Years, and then some more when I signed with Russell Galen, my literary agent in March. The signing didn’t come as expected. Lee sent an email back in late Janurary and asked for a rewrite, alongside my friends Laura Lam and Kristal Shaff. The three of us plowed ahead. I rewrote 50k words of Prophus Rising, had it beta-read, and rewrote another 15k all in about three weeks. In Late February, I sent it off to Lee and had a nice heart to heart with God, promising I’d do be a good guy and stop hating cats. (I don’t hate cats anymore, though I know they still do want to eat you if they get a chance)
Well, on March 28th, the offer came. It was another long month of waiting. I had just woken up and was putzing around in my bathrobe (I am in my bathrobe a LOT) and saw the email. More whooping and hollering and crying ensued, and then I busted out the Macallan. Yes it was 8 in the morning and yes that is a sign of alcoholism, but dang it, that’s what it was there for. May I recommend to all of you to never brush your teeth and then drink scotch right away. Not a good experience.
And then finally began the long negotiations between my agent and Lee over how many millions I was going to make. Six weeks later, here we are. Yes, looking back, it is a bit anti-climatic. Wait, fuck that, no it isn’t. This has been a life dream since when I realized that I’m not good looking enough to be a male model or strong-legged enough to be a NFL punter. I can now die in peace, Jean Valjean style.
Now, as an official author, a writer of books who’s actually paid to write, I have an entirely new set of set of challenges, like planning my book release party! Oh yes, and I also need to deliver Genjix Strike (buy all three books yo!) in a year. But first, the party! So, as I tell all my friends: if you missed my wedding, I understand. If you miss my first born’s birth, no biggie. If you miss my funeral, I’m sure you had a good excuse and I forgive you. But if you miss my debut book release party, I will stick needles into a straw doll of you and hold that against you for the rest of your life…until my next book release party that is.
You can see the hilarious press release here.
I’d like to give a big thanks to my wife Paula, my parents Mike and Yukie Chu, my agent Russell Galen, my reader and current Strange Chemistry Editor Amanda Rutter, Lee Harris, and all the good folks over there at Angry Robot Books. And a special thanks to Eva my Airedale Terrier who’s tiny bladder forced me to leave the house at least a few times a day.