The five year anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, Nobody Gets the Girl, is near! Officially released October 28, 2003, Nobody Gets the Girl was a superhero novel that hit bookshelves when stand-alone superhero novels were a true rarity. The book immediately ran into marketing problems... bookstores didn't know where to store it. I'd find it sometimes in the graphic novel section of bookstores, which must have been a shock for people picking up the book and finding there were no pictures inside. I went to a used bookstore called Edward McKay's in Greensboro just last week and found a copy in the graphic novel section, so the confusion continues to this day.
Yet, five years later, people are still discovering the novel and I continue to get emails and people coming up to me at conventions telling me how much they enjoyed the book. It's slowly built up a loyal following among fans of superhero fiction who appreciate the tone of the book--it's more tribute than parody, taking a serious look at the possibility of superheroes tackling some of the world's biggest problems, yet maintaining the playful, anything-goes feeling of the comic books I loved when I was a kid (and, okay, still love).
Here's the premise: Richard Rogers, an average Joe with dreams of being a stand-up comic, wakes up one morning in a bed that isn't his own. Worse, he's in bed with two complete strangers who carry on with their morning as if they don't notice him, because, he soon discovers, he's become a ghost, invisible and intangible. As confusing as his situation is, things take a darker turn when he discovers what's really going on. A theoretical physicist named Dr. Knowbokov shows up and informs Richard that his life has been erased by a time machine accident. When Dr. Knowbokov made a voyage back in time, a chance interaction with a man he never even laid eyes on wound up altering the chain of events that led to Richard's conception. Richard is now trapped in a reality in which he was never born, a ghost who isn't even remembered by his own parents or his former wife. Dr. Knowbokov is the only man who can still see him... until it's discovered that the good Doctor's two daughters also possess the ability to see, hear, and touch Richard, due to the geneticly similar brain structures they share with their father. Oh, and the two daughters are also superheroes. The eldest is Rail Blade, who has the power of ferokenisis, the ability to control all iron, and even to create iron out of then air by manipulating the quantum froth of reality. Rail Blade is a deadly serious, grim and gritty soldier type superhero, aware that her great powers give her great responsibility and feeling as if the weight of the world is on her shoulders. The younger sister, the Thrill, has been born with the power to make anyone who obeys her feel intense waves of pleasure. It's not quite mind control, but few people ever have the willpower to say no to the Thrill. The Thrill is in many ways the opposite of her sister--sarcastic rather than serious, more concerned with fun than with duty, and not above using her powers for petty reasons.
Richard gets recruited by Dr. Knowbokov to join his odd little superhero clan, serving as the unseen, untouchable spy codenamed Nobody. Richard is soon swept up into a war against superpowered terrorists organized by the mysterious mastermind Rex Monday. The book is a fast paced thrill ride as Richard winds up making life and death decisions in which the stakes grow increasingly high; cities will fall and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
In the end, who can save us?
To celebrate the anniversary, I'm giving away copies of Nobody Gets the Girl every Tuesday in October. On the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th, I'll reactivate Robo-Bobo, the name-picking monkey to draw names out of the virtual hat. If you want to enter, just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the header "Nobody Giveaway." Also, to celebrate all things superheroic in October, I'm soliciting superhero haiku! Just as I published dragon themed haiku in June to celebrate the release of Dragonforge, I'm looking for a few good lines celebrating everyone's favorite men in tights. For those of you who need a refresher, haiku is a type of poetry that consists of three lines, five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. You don't have to send in a poem to enter the contest, but if you do, and your name is drawn, I'll not only send you a free copy of Nobody, I'll throw in a very rare, limited-edition, signed chapbook of my superhero tale Final Flight of the Blue Bee. How rare? I'm only printing 4 copies. How's that for rare?
To warm you up, here's a few superhero haiku of my own:
What makes felons flee?
Underwear worn over tights.
Batman's true power.
Sirens at midnight
the earth shakes as a man leaps
and catches a train
Spiderman's greatest joy
He hates the suburbs
I'm hoping you can do better! Bring it on!
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!