Getting a chance (and having the time) to rewrite some problematic novels from the past is one of the great joys of retirement. This post first ran in 2015, and I mostly left it as is.
In order to introduce my latest re-release, Warlord of Maldrinium (World After Death: Book One), I have to go way back in time. I’m talking 1978, just about when humankind discovered fire. At least movable type had been invented by then, because in that year I published the first couple of my two dozen-plus novels, The Prisoner of Reglathium and The Conquerors of Reglathium.
Okay, so what do those two books have to do with Warlord of Maldrinium? Simple answer: Warlord IS those two books, together again as they were originally meant to be. I shall endeavor to explain.
SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME
In 1977 I began writing novels in earnest, and toward the end of that year I had written three, all of which were currently being shopped around. I began work on a fourth book, which I titled Prisoner of Reglathium, a sword & planet story “in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs,” my muse. Hoping for a series—quite common for this genre—I subtitled it “Dannus: Book One.” Dannus was this strange world’s name for my main character, Eric Wayne, a young man from Iowa who arrives on Reglathium in a most compelling way: he dies on Earth in the first chapter and is reborn whole and uninjured on this deadly planet. That’s when the adventures begin.
Given the oddities of the publishing business, the fourth book that I wrote became the first one to find print. A New York City publishing house—now defunct but at the time a prolific publisher of mass paperback genre fiction—offered to take on this 90,000-word novel. One problem, though: the books they published needed to be 60,000-65,000 words in length, so Mike, can you cut out 25,000 words or more?
Believing this to be the start of something big, I boldly countered their request with this idea: how about if I add 30,000 or more words to what I have, and then we’ll have a Book One and a Book Two to begin the series? Good idea, Mike—go for it. Needless to say, I got all pumped up, went ahead and wrote the new material, and the first two books were published within months of each other. These were followed by three more Dannus books and two sword & sorcery novels, before I finally wised up with regard to this publisher. Well, we all have to start somewhere.
A CHANCE AT REDEMPTION
I won’t detail everything that went wrong with this working relationship; that would take way too long and read like a real bitch-and-moan session. I’ll take the blame for the first issue: the quality—or lack thereof—of the writing. Even with four manuscripts under my belt, I still had a great deal to learn about effective writing. Oftentimes an experienced editor at a publishing house can do good things for a writer in that regard—but it wasn’t about to happen here. So that was on me. But I did submit a nearly pristine manuscript from an editing standpoint, which didn’t matter. These were the days of typesetting, and both books—actually, all seven—got published with multiple typos in just about every paragraph. Not something to be proud of, ya think?
But that’s what second chances are all about, and late last year, as well as earlier this year, I spent more time editing and rewriting these two books than it took me to actually write them back in the 1970s. Now, the end result—Warlord of Maldrinium (World After Death: Book One)—is a story of which I can be proud.
AN ELEVATOR SYNOPSIS
Eric Wayne is the victim of a deadly accident while riding his motorcycle on a California freeway. Near death on a hospital operating room table, he sees a passage of light, where long-deceased loved ones await him for an eternity of peace. But a second passage will also appear.
In Eric’s own words: A feeling of dark, foreboding mystery emanated from the depths of this frightening tunnel. I should have averted my eyes from the almost hypnotic beckoning of the aura, but at first I could not. Finally I did, and only then did I realize the power of the hold it had on me.
Beyond this passage he will be reborn as Dannus Erekwane upon the strange and deadly world of Maldrinium, a land where great danger at every turn threatens to destroy him—once again.
Warlord of Maldrinium, an Atoris Press book, is available from Amazon in both paperback and eBook. Enjoy! The second book in the series, Caves of Maldrinium, as well as the third and fourth, Dark Seas of Maldrinium and Slaves of Maldrinium, are also available.