Z 2136 is Here!

Z 2136 is Here!

Do you know the one thing we’ve never done at Collective Inkwell? Through nearly three years, six series, 13 seasons, and 78 episodes, we’ve yet to end a story — until now. Well, that’s not completely true. We did write 19 short Dark Crossings stories, all which had proper endings, but among our full-length works, we’ve yet to end something, until now. That ending starts this week with the release of the first episode (of six) of Z 2136 on Kindle Serials. Z 2136 is the end of the Z trilogy which began with Z 2134. Writing serials with cliffhanger endings has meant that we’ve never had to give a proper ending to a book. I love mystery. I love that wondering of what’s next? But when a series ends you have to give resolution and find the right balance of being true to both the story and the characters, and giving readers what they want. All while still keeping the mystery alive until the end. A tricky thing to pull off well, but I think Sean and I did it. Judging from email, though, readers don’t seem as concerned whether we’ll pull off the ending as they are with who will live and who will die. Given our penchant for sometimes killing main characters, one of the questions we’re getting a lot is: “Who will die in Z 2136? You better not kill (insert name here.)”  I won’t say. The other question we’re getting is: “Will there be a happy ending?” Again, I won’t say. I’ll simply say that this is the ending that the series deserves, and...
Z 2136 and FAQs

Z 2136 and FAQs

We can finally reveal the cover for the Kindle Serial, Z 2136, along with the synopsis. We were given a few covers ideas to choose from. The first ones didn’t work for us. So I had an idea — what if we go black? Using colors as the themes of the overall series, it breaks down like so: Z 2134: the first book is yellow and black, with just a bit of red on the spine. Bright, with a bit of mystery. Z 2135: the second book is mostly red (it has spread from the spine to the cover) with some black and yellow. All hell is breaking loose. Things are not good. Z 2136: the last book in the trilogy is all black, with some red. The darkness has taken over. All hope is lost. This is the end. That’s how I see it, anyway. And I think it will look awesome in print! Warning: if you’ve not read Z 2134 or Z 2135, you probably shouldn’t read the stuff below as it gives away details from those two books. The Games may be ending, but now the real battle begins. In the stunning finale of the Z 2134 series, lingering questions will be answered, vengeance will be sought, and lives will be lost in a dystopian world where the boundaries of humanity are tested. Several months after events of Z 2135, Adam Lovecraft is once again following in his father’s footsteps, this time as a contestant in the infamous Darwin Games. In The State’s latest iteration of The Games, the odds of survival are slimmer than ever before, and Adam...
Fuck it

Fuck it

When I was a child, I was certain that my family would die if I thought bad thoughts as I went through doorways. Yes, you read that right. I even had specific and elaborate scenes play out in my head on how they would die, ranging from car crashes to random acts of violence you saw on the news all the time. And the only way I could save them was to reverse the bad thoughts while I went backwards through the offending door. Repeatedly. My days were ARE filled with many such rituals designed to keep bad things from happening to people I love. Whether it be unthinking things, blinking, sniffing, or any other number of things that made me look weird, I had to do them … or else. It’s like the whole “step on a crack break your mother’s back,” on meth. I had no idea what was wrong with me. My affliction didn’t have a name back then. Today, we call it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is a disorder where you have an obsessive thought which grows increasingly harder to ignore, like an itch you can’t quite scratch. And the only way to find relief is to act in some compulsive manner, a ritual. Rituals can be physical — washing hands, touching objects, walking backwards through doors; or mental — counting, praying, reciting words in your head, and more. Or even a dizzying array of both. Again, those are but just a few, and I’ve done hundreds of odd rituals to ease the obsessive thoughts. For many OCD sufferers, it’s all too easy to get caught...

I’m No Hugh Howey

So a while ago, Hugh Howey did a dance video when he reached 100 reviews for a little book you might of heard of called Wool. While our series Yesterday’s Gone: Season One has more than 600 something reviews (thanks, Goners!), WhiteSpace: Season One was taking F O R E V E R to get to 100 reviews, so I took a page from Hugh, and decided I’d bribe our readers with some sexy dance moves. I said that once WhiteSpace: Season One got 100 reviews, I’d make an ass out of myself to the song they chose. They chose Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. And then many months passed. I thought maybe people had forgotten. And I was relieved, as I hate dancing. Namely because I suck at it, and I’m a big giant fat guy with the grace of an elephant… an elephant with broken legs. Then last week, Donald Wells emailed me to say, “Hey, I left the 100th review! You owe me a dance.” Bastard! Er, I mean, thank you, Donald. I emailed Donald back, may have called him a bastard, and he said not to worry, he wouldn’t hold me to it. I said, no, I promised to make an ass of myself, and… An ass I do make of myself. So, here you go, Donald, and everyone else who left a review. Before you watch, I should warn you: when I showed this video to my wife, she stared at it through closed fingers like you would a car accident, scary movie, or natural disaster. Frankly, I think this is worse...
Do you believe in ghosts?

Do you believe in ghosts?

The first death which truly affected me was that of my maternal grandfather. I was eight or nine. I remember people coming over to the house and talking in hushed whispers around me, pretending everything was okay. But I knew it wasn’t. My mother eventually broke the news to me, which was tough for her as it was her father, and she knew how much I loved him. He was a tough old guy who had survived World War 2, a heart attack, electrocution, and diabetes. He also spoke his mind no matter who he pissed off. But he was always kind to me, and his loss cut deep. Even decades later, I see how much his death impacted his offspring and their families in negative ways. We’re never the same when someone close to us dies. We’re never really whole again. For months after his death, I waited for his ghost to return, to say goodbye to me. At the time I was reading lots of ghost stories, and truly believed ghosts might exist, if you just allowed yourself to see them. The problem with adults, I’d figured, was that they couldn’t see ghosts among us because they’d stopped believing in such things. But I was wide-eyed, young, and ready to believe. I oftentimes went to bed, watching, waiting, thinking every noise and movement in my dark room might be him. I was both afraid and excited at the prospect of seeing my grandfather again. Even though I was too young to recognize it, I needed closure. So I waited every night for his ghost to come. While...
Bullies Suck

Bullies Suck

(Note: This is the author’s note from our short story, Monsters, and was written in 2012. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers.) Last week my wife and I (Dave) brought my son to his first day of kindergarten. He held my hand as we made our way up the sidewalk to his school. As we approached a set of double doors to go inside, we had to pass a group of kids outside, aged between six and 10. All eyes were on us as we walked past the kids. Being shy, my son looked down, not meeting any of their eyes. And yet, the kids didn’t take their eyes off of us. We were early, and the only new people there at the moment, so obviously, we were the center of attention. I watched as the children looked him up and down, judging him, seeing how he fit into their world. And I had flashbacks to my own childhood, that feeling of being the new kid. Being judged on a first impression and being cast in some role or another. And it all came back to me in a flood of memories and sensations. Suddenly I wanted to grab my son, hold him close, and bring him home, so he never has to deal with the difficulties of being judged, singled out, or picked on. Of course I didn’t do that. For one, my wife would freak out. For two, I’ve got to let my son find his feet and his own way. And I didn’t want to kick off my son’s first school year by being the most embarrassing...
The Best Dystopian Deal You’ll Probably Ever See!

The Best Dystopian Deal You’ll Probably Ever See!

You know those .99 romance book bundles you see at the top of the charts ALL THE TIME?  Nothing against romance box sets, as I’m friends with quite a few romance authors, but I’d LOVE to see a dystopian box set at the top of the charts! Well, some authors on the Kindle Boards decided to make that set. And … Yesterday’s Gone: Season One is one of 11 books included in this GIANT dystopian box set released today called A Taste of Tomorrow. And when I say GIANT, I mean this thing is MASSIVE — like 3,000 pages! Now, I know what you’re saying — I already read Yesterday’s Gone: Season One. Why are you telling me to get this? Glad you asked! Well, first off, we wrote a brand new author’s foreword for this edition, talking about Yesterday’s Gone’s place in both our careers, and in dystopian fiction. But wait, that’s not all! You’re also getting 11 books from some of the best writers in dystopian fiction! Are you ready to buy? A Taste of Tomorrow — The Dystopian Box Set Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HPM3PDA/ Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HPM3PDA/ What? Not convinced yet? How about a list of authors and stories included? OK. Here ya’ go: Sand: Part 1 – The Belt of the Buried Gods by Hugh Howey (40 Pages) Yesterday’s Gone: Season One by Sean Platt and David Wright (503 pages) Apocalypse Drift by Joe Nobody (314 pages) Contamination Zero by T.W. Piperbrook (95 pages) Artificial Evil by Colin F. Barnes (272 pages) The Tube Riders by Chris Ward (449 pages) Halfskin by Tony Bertauski (260 pages)...
How Austin Kleon Pulled Me From the Darkness

How Austin Kleon Pulled Me From the Darkness

If you’ve looked inside our book Z 2135, out in paperback today by the way, you may have noticed we’ve dedicated the title to another writer. “To Austin Kleon for his book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, and the countless storytellers before us.” Austin, in case you’re not familiar with him, found popularity with his Newspaper Blackout collection where he took pages from The New York Times and blacked out all but a few words to create poetry with oftentimes poignant effect. But it was his book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative that inspired me when I (Dave) needed it most. As I wrote before, we got slammed by some reviewers on Z 2134, who called us everything from plagiarists to Satan’s spawn. People were pissed because we were stupid enough to mash up The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, and 1984. You’d think we made a Fifty Shades of Jesus book or something. (Note to self: million dollar idea!) As a creator (first a cartoonist, and then a writer), I’ve always prided myself on my creativity. Being called a “plagiarist” made my stomach turn. Even though I’d only read the first half or so of The Hunger Games, and we only outright lifted the opening part where everyone scrambles like crazy to get the good shit, I still felt sick in my gut, and defensive, as if I were guilty. That all ideas should be New and Completely Original. Forget that The Hunger Games was slammed for “ripping off” Battle Royale. Forget that our...
Yesterday’s Gone: Now on Audible

Yesterday’s Gone: Now on Audible

We’re thrilled to announce that Yesterday’s Gone: Season One is now available on Audible! One of the questions we’re most often asked is when will we do more audio books? We flirted briefly with reading Yesterday’s Gone via a podcast, but it was a ton of work (hundreds of hours of reading, recording, and then creating the files, and the monthly cost of hosting them) and in the end, after some iTunes issues, it was just a giant pain in the ass. If we’re going to spend hundreds of hours and dollars on something, we’d rather be bringing you another book. Plus, Sean and I hate our reading voices. Still, we know there are tons of audio fans who either a) don’t know us or b) are waiting for our books to be available in audio format. Then Podium Publishing approached us, asking if we’d be interested in audio books for WhiteSpace. Yes, they were fans of WhiteSpace before Yesterday’s Gone, which was thrilling to us! We didn’t want to sign our audio rights away to just anyone, though. We had lots of questions, and liked everything they had to say. It also helped that they’d recently done an audio version of the first book in our buddy Ed Robertson’s Breakers series. Podium decided to hit the harder of the two books first, Yesterday’s Gone: Season One. And we LOVE how it turned out! They’ve got several voice actors playing the various roles of our characters. Great voice actors, too! Hearing the guy who does Boricio Wolfe is worth the price of admission alone! Seriously, I wonder if the...

Yesterday’s Gone Podcast: Episode 17 The Finale

Hey Goners, Sorry that I didn’t get this posted before. I thought I’d scheduled this, but God knows what happened. Anyway, here’s the finale of the Yesterday’s Gone podcast. This wraps up Season One and will be the last Yesterday’s Gone book we’ll be reading. Right click and save: Episode 17 The Finale Please download it before Jan. 5 as we’re removing the podcast from our site and iTunes thanks to a deal we signed to bring actual PROFESSIONAL quality audio books to you. More on that in this post. Thank you to everyone who downloaded and enjoyed our reading of Yesterday’s Gone, and put up with our tech issues, wrote reviews on iTunes, and helped spread the word. While we can’t possibly continue to read these ourselves, we’ve now got a partner in Podium Publishing who will do these series the way they should be done, and deliver you the top notch quality audio version you deserve! Thank you, David...