sanjprep5In 2001 I began a serial space opera called Ramaxia. Set in a star system like ours, it featured a matriarchal dino-sapien society with political and dynastic dramas born of religious differences. I put this ‘I Claudius meets Walking with Dinosaurs’ on hold in 2003 and began writing fan comics with an artist friend from Poland.

Self-publishing fan comics was fun and exciting, but the process took me away from creating original content. When my stories began to eclipse the fan-characters, I started writing original scripts that I sold to graphic-novel publishers. In 2005 my last authored ‘fan comic’ got officially published by gay comics publisher, Class Comics, out of Canada. From there I produced original material for Yaoi Press, DramaQueen, & Iris Print in the US, and shorts and stand-alone stories for German publishers Fireangels Verlag and Cursed Side Publishing. The market tanked, and I ended up self-producing my last graphic novel in 2012.

After all that, I took a job at a bank to get rid of my debt (trust me, when you produce your own comics and attend conventions on your own dime, you accrue some debt). While working at the bank, I returned to writing prose. I wrote a couple of BL (homoerotic) novels for the Polish market, and a novel sequel to my graphic novel Only Words. When it looked like those books were never going to be printed by the publisher, I cracked out the Ramaxia scripts, along with some other things I had tried to sell, but didn’t.

Now pay attention, this how Femitokon was born.

Art by Laura Zel Carboni

My feminist sensibilities, combined with odd experiences in the world of fandom, didn’t allow for a major plot trope in Ramaxia (male pregnancy just doesn’t work, stop doing it!). Deflated, I put Ramaxia aside, and dug out a few of my unsent DC Comics submissions. The first of them was a series set in the world of Batman Beyond. I called it ‘Beyond Wonder’ (original, I know). My character was the daughter of Wonder Woman and Superman (this was the secret to her power). A morally ambiguous soldier in the United States Navy (future-tech mind you), she engaged in some exciting missions. The second series I developed was for a pitch to Tokyo Pop (they hadn’t died yet). Artist Laura Zel and I created a ‘all girl-Gundam’ idea called Terra Goddess (pictured), but without actual mecha; it was more a ‘pure-energy’ style fighter that only worked when the five main women of the series came together to  fight colonial tyranny. That got rejected and so I cannibalized the theme for another DC-oriented mini-series called ‘Crossing the Rubicon.’ That featured a retiring Amanda Waller putting together a team of toughs to protect her from the Justice League. Her team is an Amazon who lost her faith (Phillipus), a misunderstood hero (Cass Cain), a super-strong amnesiac (Little Barda), and an anti-heroic upstart (Rose Wilson). Waller trains them, earns their loyalty, and talks the geneticist daughter of Lucius Fox (Tye Fox – my creation) into fusing their souls (I called them operative energies) into a being called ‘the Goddess.’

The New 52 obliterated any possibility of submitting Crossing the Rubicon, or Beyond Wonder; I was fond of the female soldier hiding from her mother thing, and couldn’t give up on the soul-energy as a weapon. I put the project away and in May of 2007, I started writing a horror story about a bunch of Russians that bore through to Lake Vostok and inadvertently awaken a race of engineered female humanoids. As I developed slumbering race, I gave them a creator; a cyberorganic brain named FEMARPAX. Femarpax engineered my subglacial ladies from the DNA of an ancient civilization and kept them sleeping in their pods in Lake Vostok.

ws_Frozen_Tundra_1920x1200The Femarpax made countless generations but destroyed them before they woke, waiting for the planet to again reach full glaciation. The Russians at Vostok break through the ice and wake these young girls up before they’re scheduled termination; the humans are attacked and the children eventually mature and destroy the Femarpax. Typing out a fake timeline, I explained how the Femarpax came to be, I created origin stories for the awakened, with names stolen from my Ramaxia epic. As the engineered females took on lives of their own, and I gave them a name: Femmar. After I created a language for the awakened, the FEMARPAX became a cyber-neural intelligence called the Femaki’xirpaxul.

I spent my night’s building stories about the descendants of these awakened, and then one day I came up with Sofitakul, a Tenth Generation femmar that … (I wont spoil). Sofita is an unwilling heiress; she has a dead twin who had been loved more than she was (hat tip to C Monaco and her Niklas Synn scenario), and peers she lets down by walking away from her destiny. Those friends, also heirs, Eppis, Laxum, Pitana, Velto, and Fyla, took on lives and personalities of their own the more fleshed out Sofita’s journey became; they got mothers, and in effect, grandmothers. By the end of 2009 I had enough of a world, and characters, to start weaving together Sofita’s missions.

Art by Amelie Belcher

I hammered out what would be Sofita’s mission to Jungwa in two months because it was plot cannibalized from my DC effort, Beyond Wonder. Writing this series and creating its world brought me so much joy–I didn’t mind being away from fandom, social media, or the blogosphere. I ended up connecting the stories to form arcs that began moving toward a definite end. The first, second, fourth, and fifth novels became one big ass first-draft that I managed to finish mid-2013. When my misplaced desire for attention got the better of me, I made a series-pitch to 47 North. They replied with an offer based on what they’d seen of my outline, and this put me in the zone, I won’t lie. Just as things were moving along, my Dell laptop did an unprompted rewrite and destroyed everything I had written. I was devastated; the only thing backed up was my written Bible (I love you WordPress) but failing to back up the manuscripts and stories elsewhere proved my downfall.

Over 325,000 words were gone, just like that.

After much crying, screaming, and soul-searching, I quit my day job at the bank, and focused solely on rewriting my series. I spent every day of 2014 cannibalizing my space opera Ramaxia, picking apart Beyond Wonder and Rubicon and transcribing all of the dialogue I’d written longhand. Using the Bible I’d been smart enough to keep at WordPress, I wrote seven hours a day, five days a week, for almost three years. I rewrote the novels I had lost; and finished first-drafts for all but the series finale (now a WIP). In summer 2016, we moved back to Pennsylvania, from Texas. It took me away from writing and editing for over four months and I just didn’t get back to it.authorpic

I got a script hack job at a production company to cover some expenses (kid going to college – car purchase). I came back to the nets with gusto, and naturally, my ego and need for recognition got the better of me; I tried shopping what I had (first drafts, bible, and outline) to agents before the series was truly ready. It was a classic yutz move, but I managed to get some insight into the current paying market, and some great feedback. I followed one agent’s well-meaning advice and released the Femitokon Series on Patreon. Patreon decided to show its ass with some fee update nonsense, and this forced me to open subscriptions at WordPress via Paypal. Glad I did, I’ve more Subscribers than I do Patrons–but I appreciate everyone one of them. Gumroad proved a perfect outlet for selling collected editions. Once I made enough money to hire an editor, I got episodes 1 – 8 edited and now we’re all caught up with the Femitokon story. I self-produced the series and haven’t shopped it anywhere, nor do I plan too. I haven’t tried to sell anything in a long time, writing at my own pace, and about whatever weird ass thing strikes my muse. It’s been incredibly liberating.

Thank you again for reading.