Today is the day. It has been a long time coming and I’m eager to share the news with you.
But before I do, some backstory, as context can be just as important as the actual announcement. In late 2020, Grimdark Magazine editor Adrian Collins invited me to write a story for his forthcoming anthology, The King Must Fall. I had worked with him before on a different anthology and had a great time, so it was an easy choice to make. I submitted my novella—The King-Killing Queen—and it was accepted. Once done, I moved on to write other things as writers do.
Then in March 2021, I received an email from a major Hollywood company’s CEO. He was eager to partner with my SF&F specialty publishing house Grim Oak Press to produce beautiful and limited editions of a book series they had acquired. I liked the idea immediately. Out of those early discussions though came some interesting requests. The CEO wanted to share my writing catalog—along with books by other authors I felt strongly about—with the multiple divisions of the company: Books, Graphic Novels, Gaming, and of course TV/Film. I gave them copies of my books and books by other writers. I was happy to do it. The more SF&F being adapted in various mediums, the better for us all in my view.
But the thing they liked best was the novella, The King-Killing Queen.
If I could expand upon it.
YOU OBVIOUSLY EXPANDED IT. RIGHT?
Of course, I said I could do that! I’m not dumb. The opportunity to work with super talented people like this doesn’t come along often. And after all, some tales demand a larger telling. The King-Killing Queen was one of them. Four months later, I had a 90,000-word novel. I sent the book to former Del Rey Books editor in chief Betsy Mitchell who has edited a lot of my work. She loved it and edited it. I sent the book to my agent. He said it’s the best thing I’ve written. I felt like I possibly had something.
The Hollywood company agreed, a first step to a much larger plan, now that we have come to terms.
SHAWN! GET TO IT! WHAT COMPANNY IS PUBLISHING THE BOOK?
Skybound Entertainment has been a powerhouse Hollywood company since its formation in 2010. Born out of the success of The Walking Dead, Skybound now features multiple divisions and numerous projects like Fear the Walking Dead, Invincible, and most recently the immersive Impact Winter Audible Original, among others. They also do a lot with graphic novels and gaming. And Amazon Studios has a Hollywood first-look at anything Skybound produces. That now includes The King-Killing Queen.
In case you were wondering, the CEO who emailed me was David Alpert, who has been an executive producer for a long time. He is a SF&F geek like us. His teams are too.
So yes, SKYBOUND! There you have it.
WOW! BUT WHAT WILL THIS LOOK LIKE?
This is a multi-pronged deal. We will launch a Kickstarter in early 2023 featuring regular hardcovers and special editions of The King-Killing Queen. Given the success of the Kickstarter for The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey and Brandon Sanderson’s success with the platform, it feels like a natural fit. Then, later in Fall 2023, we will publish a regular hardcover with wide distribution to Amazon, B&N, and independent bookstores. In this way, if you support the Kickstarter, you get to read the books first. And you can expect the same level of high-quality Grim Oak always delivers as we are partners in this endeavor.
If this one does well, you can expect a great deal more from me and Skybound. First steps first though. Let’s make The King-Killing Queen one of the biggest Kickstarters!
YOU JUST SAID HARDCOVERS? BOOKS? PLURAL! WHAT!?
Yes, I did say hardcovers. And books. Plural. Nice catch! There is a graphic novel prequel in the works too. I’ve written an 11,000-word prequel short story. But given that Skybound does such an excellent job in the graphic novel market, I thought it would be fun to have that short story adapted. That’s what we are working on right now. Long-time friend and comic book writer Robert Napton (Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks) and long-time friend and illustrator Nate Taylor (The Boy Who Loved the Moon by Patrick Rothfuss) are adapting.
In short, it’s looking like we will have two books and a short story to offer during the Kickstarter. Again, the more SF&F, the better, in my opinion.
WHERE IS THE COVER? I KNOW THERE IS A COVER!
There is. I’m pleased to announce that Chesley Award-nominated illustrator Magali Villeneuve has painted stunning wrap-around cover art. I have loved her work for a long time and still cannot believe she is a part of this. Chesley Award-winning artist Donato is working on interiors as we speak. Love his art. And cartographer Jared Blando—who produced the map in the newly-released Daughter of Darkness by Terry Brooks—is working his magic for us as well.
To view Magali’s cover art and its design, click HERE. It leads to a Skybound landing page where you can also sign up to be notified of all things concerning The King-Killing Queen. I highly recommend you do so. Social media can be unreliable, but a newsletter delivered to your email’s inbox is largely a certain thing. Also sign up for my newsletter below.
And finally, thank you for reading all of this. I know it is a lot. And here’s an even bigger THANK YOU for your support over the years. I hope you find all this as exciting as I do. There’s still a lot of work ahead. Join me for it. Because that’s the fun part, right?
Onward with Skybound!
With Light Magic,