BOOK REVEAL: Nicholas Conley’s ‘Knight in Paper Armor,’ coming September 15, 2020

This one has been a long time coming. Writing a book is always an amazing experience, but seeing this particular novel finally come to life — from the moment the spark of an idea first hit me, years ago, to the impending reality of its release date — has, honestly, felt transformative.

It’s exciting. Nerve-wracking. Definitely surreal. But here, I’m thrilled to finally pull back the curtain, and announce the release date for my next book: Knight in Paper Armor — coming September 15th, 2020!

Knight in Paper Armor Nicholas Conley

Knight in Paper Armor

by Nicholas Conley

Release Date: September 15, 2020

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

“Good Morning,” says the Dinosaur on the Writing Desk

Here’s to words. Many, many words. Good morning to all of you starting out this Monday at your own desks, and for all you other writers out there — happy writing!

New Journey(s) Ahead!

Hey, everybody.

First of all, sorry about my recent absence from the blogging world. Don’t worry, I have a good reason. Well … three reasons, to be precise.

First up? I moved. We’re still in glorious New Hampshire, but we’ve made the jump from suburban living to the rural woods, and are loving every minute of it.

Secondly, the biggest news: we’re having a baby! This little present will be arriving very soon, and I’m more excited than could possibly be put into words (even though, y’know, words are what I do). This is the main reason I haven’t checked in with you guys on here for a while, and from what I hear, I can say goodbye to sleeping at night. Just thinking about it now, the joyous emotions feel so vivid, the happiness so deep, and the surreal nature of knowing that this new person will be joining the world soon is so fascinating to think about.  Anyhow, onward to the future!

Nicholas Conley Red Adept coffee

Now, third: if you’ve been wondering about my next project after Intraterrestrial, wonder no more! I’m thrilled to announce that I have once again contracted with Red Adept Publishing to produce my next novel, a book titled … ah, that’d be telling, right?

Okay, here’s what I will say: this novel is radically different from anything I’ve done before. Yes, it’s science fiction. Yes, as with Intraterrestrial and Pale Highway, the story tackles contemporary real world issues through a speculative lens, but this time, healthcare isn’t the focus. That’s because, as a writer, I feel it’s important to always challenge yourself: to venture into territory that’s wild, scary, and out of your comfort zone. I’ve been working on this book for years, investing perhaps the most I’ve ever invested into any work, and it’s amazing to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But hey, you know. Early days. From contract to print, there are many steps ahead, so don’t expect to see this new book hit shelves until probably sometime in 2020. In the meantime, watch this space for updates!

Joining the Stack!

Thanks to a cosmic UFO mail delivery, the Intraterrestrial paperbacks are now available! Finally, young Adam gets to claim his own spot on the self alongside Gabriel (Pale Highway), Katie (Clay Tongue: A Novelette), and Ethan (The Cage Legacy).

It’s interesting to imagine what the conversations would be like, if all of them were in the same room: aliens, slugs, golems, and more would certainly come up. Plus, how would they feel about this strange “author” fellow, the invisible figure who seems to keep orchestrating such painful and disastrous circumstances for them? Hmm…

Intraterrestrial: Available on Amazon

Intraterrestrial Pale Highway Clay Tongue Cage Legacy books paperback Nicholas Conley author sci-fi

Coffee Time

It’s been a busy month! Between working on Novel #3 and that upcoming novelette, getting ready for the premiere of my radio play, Something in the Nothing, on August 23rd, the recent publication in the Huffington Post, and the fact that I’m getting married next month, it feels as if the summer is racing by.

But it’s been a fantastic summer so far, and I can’t wait for the months ahead. In the meantime, as I get to work this morning, I’ll start it off with my usual morning joy: a hot cup of black coffee.

So cheers to all of you also enjoying a cup of joe right now — or tea, if that’s your preference — and here’s to more sunny, optimistic, productive days ahead!

Coffee - Nicholas Conley - Red Adept

Coffee Time

 

A Trio of Writing Updates

Happy May, everyone! Between sunny days and random April snow flurries on the East Coast, I think it’s about time to fill everyone in on three writing projects that I have on the way. I’ll start with the obvious one:

UPDATE #1:

First of all, there’s been steady development on my next book, which for now we’ll just call Novel #3. It’s in terrific shape, and I’m excited to show it to you guys; it’s a story that has torn my heart to pieces multiple times, thrown me between the depths of tragedy and the heights of exhilarated joy. For those of you who enjoyed Pale Highway, buckle your seatbelts – because I promise that this next story is going to be just as weird.

I’m predicting that Novel #3 will probably hit sometime next year in 2017. Too early to name a release date, but that’s my guess. I’ll keep the storyline a mystery for now, but I can’t resist the urge to drop clues, so here’s a teaser image:

space

And we’ll leave it that, for now!

UPDATE #2:

In the meantime: for those of you who listened to my interview on Don’t Dis My Ability,  you know that I’m working with Portsmouth Community Radio to write a radio play that will be broadcast later this year, titled Something in the Nothing.

Something in the Nothing will depict one night in the life of a nursing aide, as she spends the end of her shift speaking to an Alzheimer’s patient about his life story, who he was, and who he is now. Something in the Nothing will air on WSCA FM 106.1 later this year, and for non-New Hampshirites, will also be available online via their website. It’s still a ways off, but don’t worry, I’ll keep you guys in the loop.

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UPDATE #3:

I know Novel #3 in 2017 is still a ways off, and so I’ve also been working on a smaller project that I’m aiming to release for you all this year.

Sometime this year, either in the summer or fall, I’ll be releasing a new short novelette, a surrealistic fantasy in the vein of Pale Highway, but smaller in scope. I’ve been working on this novelette as a side project for some years, and after falling in love with the characters, concept, and story, I just knew that I had to put it out there for all of you to read.

I look forward to sharing more details about his upcoming novelette soon, and I thank all of you for following along, reading, writing, and sharing coffees as this amazing journey continues. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

True Tales Radio

For those who didn’t get the chance to tune in to 106.1’s True Tales radio program, I’m happy to report that you can still hear it today. The official WSCA website has the whole program online, so if you want to hear it – and it’s a great show, with amazing stories – you can roll on over to the archives section of WSCA’s official site, and check out the 2-23-2016 edition of audio theater.

Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you can listen to my interview and story in the following videos!  The first one is my true story – “Past the Horizon Line” – and it’s followed by an interview with Jon Nash, where he asks me about my work, my coffee obsession, and my habit of wearing Hawaiian shirts. Thanks for listening, and I hope all of you have a great weekend.

 

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Right from the Oven – 2/1/16

It just wouldn’t be Writings, Readings, and Coffee Addictions without a regular dose of coffee-fueled obsession, so here it is: few things are quite so shiny as fresh roasted coffee beans, and I’ve always wanted to try roasting them at home.

After discussing the idea of roasting coffee beans in the oven for some time, my friend and I decided to give it a shot. It was an experiment, with some trial and error, but the end result was an excellent cup of coffee: dark, a strong flavor profile, with just the right amount of zing to make it pop. Looking forward to trying out other methods; as you can tell from the size of the bag, there are still a lot of beans left!

The Proof has Arrived

Though Pale Highway is still a little ways from release day, the first prototype copy of the book finally arrived on my doorstep yesterday, direct from Red Adept Publishing. It’s impossible to describe what a cathartic feeling it is to see the story fully realized; what was once just an idea in my mind is now a physical object, a gateway to a world that has moved beyond the grasp of its creator and will soon belong to the readers far more than it belongs to me.

Out of everything that I’ve ever written, Pale Highway has been the story that has impacted me the most. It’s truly amazing to be able to share it with the world this way, and I can’t wait until it’s finally available for others.

pale_proof

What’s Your Background Music?

The creative process is often a solitary affair, wherein the creator must form a bubble around themselves, delve inward, and then tangle with their demons. While musicians have an obvious soundtrack to the creative process—I mean, their act of creation is to make that soundtrack—us less-than-musical creatives, if we desire background music, will have to look toward the work of others.

Writers, painters, woodworkers, mathematicians, jewelry makers, and more; we all tap into the same process.  For me, as a storyteller, my soundtrack operates on a scene by scene basis. Sometimes, the best soundtrack is simply the world outside my window, and I’ll use the sounds of the breeze, passing cars and voices on the street to create my world.

But at the same time, when I begin delving deeper into the storyline, I always create a musical soundtrack for every book I write: a list of songs, put together, that capture the tone of my work.  These soundtracks can get quite long, as I do a lot of writing, but I’ll give a few examples.

Art by Shelley C

Art by Shelley C

For The Cage Legacy, my soundtrack was suitably dark, angry and tragic, as would befit the story of a serial killer’s teenage son. There was a lot of Clint Mansell.  Some Smashing Pumpkins, as well. As Ethan is the kind of brooding 2000s-era high school millennial that nostalgically listens to 90s grunge, some of that made its way on there.

One piece in particular that I kept coming back to was Peter Gabriel’s dark, moody take on Arcade Fire’s song, “My Body is a Cage.”  Unsurprisingly, the whole “cage” thing in the title was definitely what led me to the song, but even today, it captures a certain emotion that always takes me right back into Ethan’s story.

PALE HIGHWAY

Now, this brings us to Pale Highway, which possesses a different tone altogether.

Whereas The Cage Legacy was about adolescence, Pale Highway is about an older man nearing the end of a long life. Pale Highway is a contemplative character study of this brilliant man losing himself to an unbeatable disease, while racing against the clock to do one last good thing for the world before his dementia claims him.

For Pale Highway’s soundtrack, the music that I kept coming back to was the work of The Album Leaf, an ambient post-rock project by Jimmy Lavalle. There’s something so unique about the Album Leaf’s sound that totally captures the tone I envisioned in my head when crafting Pale Highway.  The two albums that most influenced me were 2001’s One Day I’ll be On Time and 2006’s Into the Blue Again; in order to fully appreciate both albums, both should be listened to in their entirety, where every track builds upon the last.  For the purpose of this post, however, these are the parts that had the most impact on me:

Naturally, as I write this post I’m listening to “Gust of…,” sipping on some coffee and enjoying the view of life outside my window.  Autumn is just starting to whisper clues about its arrival, but that beaming summer sun looks to be holding strong for at least another few weeks.

So, that’s me.  What about you guys?  When you’re working on your various creative projects, whatever they may be, what sort of soundtrack do you have?