A series of Unearthly Tales starting in 2014

Posted on September 24, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)

Plans for a new series of books have been solidifying in my head over the last month. I've had several mushy ideas back there for a year or so, but finally it's all coming together.

Back in August I blogged about Books I'll be publishing in the next few months. That plan is holding up. FRACTURED (BOOK 1) is now published. QUINCY'S CURSE is being beta read right now and is on schedule for publication in October. VALLEY OF MONSTERS (the 7th Island of Fog book) is coming along and still planned for publication in November. And then there's the other stuff...

My short story for Brian Clopper's WONDERSTORMS project is half written. This features three characters named Liam (12), Ant (12), and Madison (14) in a freaky tale that I'm writing as a "pilot" episode for my forthcoming series starting around springtime next year. I mentioned this in my previous post as the FREQUENCY series, but that was a working title and actually it's going to be called the UNEARTHLY TALES series as it was always intended. If you're thinking, "Wait a minute, that's the name of your blog!" then you'd be right. It's no coincidence.

Many years ago, I wrote a couple of (unpublished) short stories in which Madison and her younger brother visited local haunts and "solved" the mysterious occurrences just as Scooby-Doo and the gang might (only a little less cartoony). Those were my original "Unearthly Tales," and I'd planned to get a few together and publish them as a compilation.

More recently I've had several unconnected ideas for standalone novels. But I prefer connecting things. I like the idea of a series of books, and plus it's always nice to pick up with the same characters in new adventures. This is better from a marketing point of view as well. Hook a reader on the first book and maybe they'll buy the rest of the series. So it occurred to me that my unconnected standalone novels could in fact feature the same characters and be part of a series, though each would remain a standalone story so that a reader could jump in anywhere and buy them in any order.

This is where the UNEARTHLY TALES series comes in. Liam and Ant will meet Madison in the first book, SLEEP WRITER, and forever after will be involved in weird adventures spanning the realms of fantasy and science fiction. Just for inspiration and a way of solidifying some ideas, I put together some mock-up covers that show (roughly) how things might look four books into the series...

Unearthly Tales Concept

I'm fairly certain SLEEP WRITER and ROBOT BLOOD will venture forth just as they're planned in my head. The other two need more thought and may or may not happen, but you get the idea. How long will this series be? I have no idea. It's an open-ended idea that could wrap after a few or keep going into double figures! It depends on how well they're received and how many ideas I can come up with.

What I like is that I can take almost any idea that pops into my head and turn it into an Unearthly Tale for our intrepid trio. I won't need to worry about thinking up new protagonists; I can slip back into their lives and get on with the story.

How does this affect the ISLAND OF FOG series? It doesn't. I'll be wrapping up that series after nine books no matter what, and there will be a set of short stories (webisodes) to go alongside. In fact, I have great ideas for Book 8 and 9... but that's for another post. :-)

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Thursday, October 3, 2013...

I am so excited that these characters and this inventive concept are going to debut in my book Wonderstorms. Thanks so much for making this anthology book special!

Comment by ANONYMOUS on Sunday, October 6, 2013...

Cool. I love your books.

Comment by SARAH on Wednesday, October 23, 2013...

Hi Keith,
I was just reading your blog and saw that there are going to be nine books in the Island of Fog series!! Well, I am absolutely thrilled because it was going to end at six, however...and this is just a thought, but I think 10 is just a much better number "o )
I'm sure it's no biggie just to whip up another book right?
Eating and sleeping are overrated anyway.
But seriously you are very talented and I really love your books!
I can't wait until Nov.2nd to beta read Valley of Monsters.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, October 23, 2013...

Ha! Nice one, Sarah. "10 is a much better number" indeed... The thing is, the series will be three trilogies when it's all finished. Each trilogy has an arcing storyline, and it just happens that the end of the second trilogy (Book 6) leads straight into the third. In any case, I have already Books 8 and 9 planned, and it's going to be epic. :-)

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