Marvellous Adventure: A Word From Our Sponsor

They say that in every dark cloud there’s a silver lining. I like to think of today’s news as a sunny sky with a few clouds on the horizon.

Marvellous Adventure, that loving tribute to the pulps of yesteryear, will indeed be returning in 2013. But the news gets even better than that. It will be returning with a bimonthly schedule instead of a quarterly one as has been the norm. That’s right: you will have to wait only two months between issues instead of three. Isn’t that exciting, kids?

The cloudy horizon I was mentioning earlier is the fact that the next new issue won’t appear until the end of April 2013. There are a couple of reasons for this, one of the most important being that I need to stay ahead of my deadlines — and that means getting a leg up on writing stories. This process is sort of like laying down a railway as the train comes barrelling up behind. So if you’ll indulge me, I need to make my job a bit easier.

The other good reason for the delay is that it gives faithful readers a chance to catch up on The Adventures of Emily Monroe, the periodical’s flagship series. I had some feedback that it was difficult remembering what had happened in previous installments with the three-month wait. So until April, I’ll be highlighting previous issues once a month, alongside some after-reading commentary, with the intention of letting you remember where the story was going.

Incidentally, this is also a great opportunity to spread the word about Marvellous Adventure and what great fun it is. Feel free to post a link on Facebook, send out a tweet, or even do a blurb on your blog if you have one. Remember to let people know they can download issues here, like the official Facebook page, and check this blog for further updates.

So get yourself ready and excited. There’s lots more Marvellous Adventure up ahead. Stay tuned!

(Go past the image below for a fresh look at Issue #1.)

Marvellous Adventure-Cover Photo

Marvellous Adventure No. 1 — “The Agency”

Commentary: This all started with a novel I wrote back in 2009. It was called The Whitehawk Legion and to motivate myself to finish it, I decided to serialize it on a special blog. It was the first appearance of Emily Monroe and her universe. More novels were intended, but I found myself drawn to the idea of a series of short stories; it seemed less daunting and demanding at the time. It also meant I would get to practice with a storytelling form I’ve been considering for quite some time now, which I call a “canon”.

A canon is a series of short stories which are designed to be self-contained but also form a whole, and which appear together in a certain order. Perhaps they follow a character or group of characters (as this series does) or they revolve around a theme or setting. It’s certainly not a new idea in fiction; Ray Bradbury and Rudyard Kipling are two authors who did similar things. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a canon would be the perfect form for some of my story ideas.

The Adventures of Emily Monroe is just such a canon. Novels may come to play a part in this series down the road (and possibly sooner than that phrase usually implies), but for now it’s short stories. At the same time I decided on the format switch I also decided that  this would be a complete reboot of the universe. The fictional world is essentially the same as in my original “pilot novel”, but there were certain things about that book I wasn’t fond of. It was meant to be only a first draft, after all.

This first story is more than just a revision of the novel’s opening. Though many elements are familiar if you compared the two, there are some rather major shifts in plot and setting which eventually develop into a very different direction for the storyline over the next couple of installments. It was fun to discover new possibilities with the characters and the concepts, while at the same time returning to familiar ground. I love that Stephanie Norton came to the forefront of things; that was partly planned and partly a surprise. Richard Newport is largely unchanged; when I realized that he talked like a Dashiell Hammet book, I had his character down pat — or did I? He may come to surprise you. Emily Monroe, oddly enough, remains something of an enigma. I confess I haven’t fully defined her yet, even after writing a biography for the series bible. She doesn’t seem to have a personality all her own…but maybe you can tell me if that’s true or not.

I hope you enjoy The Adventures of Emily Monroe as much as I do.

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