I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again now: I fully intended A Place Outside the Wild to be a standalone novel. I wrote it to get the beast out of my head, so I could focus on the Paxton books (which have been living in my head, in one for or another, for about twenty-five years now. Maybe one day I’ll dig around and see if I can find the first story I wrote in the universe for entertainment purposes. It’s basically Die Hard in a police precinct with Pax standing in for John McClane and vampires instead of terrorists.)
Back to Z-Day, somewhere along the way I realized I’d not only left things hanging for the reader, I had a huge chunk of story left to tell. Man plans, and all that. To keep things from getting too crazy long, I ended A Place Called Hope on a cliffhanger. (One reviewer groused that I did so because I didn’t know where the story was going. Gave me a pretty good laugh.) With book three, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I’d mostly wrapped it up in a nice little bow … except for the ever-present question in a writer’s head.
I’ve been working on the Z-Day anthology on-and-off for over a year now., and the marathon is almost over – We should have a pre-order link up soon. It’s been a unique experience, because while I have control over the overarching canon, I’ve also brought nearly another ten writers on board with their own unique voices and takes on certain things. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun work. That feeling is apparently mutual as a few of the authors have expressed interest in doing stand-alones in the universe to further explore their themes and characters. So, look forward to that down the pike, because it’s certainly something I’m interested in exploring.
One of the big limits I put on the authors I brought on board was the time period. Anything up to the end point of A Place for War was fair game, but what comes next is all mine.
To that end, I’ve bracketed the stories in the anthology. I open the collection with a story set a few short weeks after Z-Day, and close it with one set six years after VZ-Day. You can call that story an appetizer of sorts; it’s a preview of things to come.
You’ll have to check out the antho for that one, but just for fun, here’s the opening story, with more than a few familiar names. Enjoy.