On Christmas Day, 2007, I began work on an epic project to tell the story of a tennis star’s journey from tennis hero to superhero. I had done this first as a comic (in the early ’90s) and again as a computer game (in 2000, with moderate expansion work still in progress). But in 2007, the time came to tell the story as a series of adventure novels, and that meant pulling the randomness of the first two versions together into a deeper, more cohesive tale. The plan was to write ten novels, each comprising of a year of Jimmy Knightly’s life. It quickly ballooned into something as wild as the iterations before it. As much as I’ve tried to tame it, as a living story, it wanted no such thing. I’ve since conceded that each “year” of the story needs to be told in multiple books. Eventually that’ll happen. But each year was designed to follow a theme and a lead villain, so I think there’s still a place for telling each year as a whole unit, even if it doesn’t tell the whole story. There will be time for that in its fourth iteration.
For now, here is Year Two of Jimmy Knightly’s tale. This is an extended edition of the original version of the story (written from Christmas 2008 to December 2009). It will be expanded again to fit a duo of books, each with their own dedicated storyline. This version takes major chunks of that duology to tell a cohesive thematic story about one man’s rise from sidekick to superhero.
This Annual Edition is a Smashwords exclusive (with its respective distribution channels–Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.), and is set for $4.99. Additional volumes will have a price respective to their length. It will be released in May 2016. You can preorder it as soon as each distribution channel receives its store page.
Year Three will tentatively be available for preorder sometime around Year Two’s release, if Year Two sells well enough. If it does well, expect Year Three to be released in or around May 2017.
I have no expected release date for the individual books that will tell the complete story. As of now (December 2015), there are still chunks missing from most of them. When I do release them (if I release them as an indie), they will go to print, and they will go to everyone.
If you need a more practical comparison, think of the Annual Edition books as the theatrical versions of the Lord of the Rings movies and the individual books as the extended editions.
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Fresh off his victory at Cannonball City Hall, Jimmy Knightly has reluctantly agreed to join the elusive team of superheroes called the Risen Ordinaries. He still has no idea what he’s doing here on this island of freaks. After all, his heart belongs to California, and he wants to return to the championship tennis circuit as soon as possible. But he knows he cannot go back, not yet. The Spotless Cowboy is still out there looking to murder him. And even though Jimmy is much better equipped to confront him now, there’s still that nagging question: Can he actually defeat him?
What’s worse is that Jimmy now knows two things that keeps him unsettled at night: 1. The Cowboy knows how to find New Switzerland, and 2. He knows Jimmy has most likely come here. What Jimmy doesn’t know is when or if the Cowboy will make his appearance. So, even though he trains as a sidekick for a respected New Swiss superhero, Jimmy is constantly looking over his shoulder for sign of his tormentor’s presence and is constantly distracted by the possibility that every step he takes in the open is his last. He knows he cannot hide anymore, but at least he takes comfort in knowing that he can mask himself under his new crime-fighter identity and increase his odds of keeping himself out of the crosshair.
Or so, that is until a new villain attempts to unmask all heroes and vigilantes, including Jimmy, and expose their true identities to their friends and family, to the entire nation, and, of course, to their enemies. If he cannot hide under any identity, then he cannot hide, and this causes Jimmy more trouble than he can stand. With superhero politics, a troubled relationship with his neighbor, Julie, and more rebellion than he can shake a fleet of twenty cats at, Jimmy most definitely has a crazy sophomore year in New Switzerland ahead of him.
Please Note: This super-long “Annual Edition” consists of the abridged versions of two consecutive (not-yet-individually-released) “A Modern-day Fantasy” novels. It is arranged to flow seamlessly as a single volume taking up one year of Jimmy Knightly’s heroic adventure.
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