In 2001 I began a serial space opera called Ramaxia. Set in a star system like ours, it was a dino-sapien political and dynastic drama with matriarchal intrigue 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 fanwork 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 were produced as manga-style graphic novels.
In 2005 my last fan comic was officially published by Class Comics in Canada. From there I produced original material for Yaoi Press, DramaQueen, & Iris Print in the US, and shorts and stand-alones for German publishers Fireangels Verlag and Cursed Side Publishing. After self-producing my last graphic novel in 2012, 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, the Japanese-style comics market went into a slump. I returned to writing prose and one day cracked out the Ramaxia scripts, along with some other things.
Now pay attention, this how Femitokon was born.
My feminist sensibilities, combined with odd experiences in the world of fandom, didn’t allow for the central plot trope I’d indulged while writing Ramaxia (male pregnancy just doesn’t work!). 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 New 52 obliterated any possibility of polishing Beyond Wonder for submission, but I was fond of the female soldier hiding in the shadow of her mother, and resenting the hell out of it.
Another DC-oriented idea of mine was a mini-series called ‘Crossing the Rubicon.’ It 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.’ Again, the New 52 kicked its ass before it even started.
In May of 2007, I began writing a short horror story about a bunch of Russians that bore through to Lake Vostok and inadvertently awaken a race of engineered 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. The 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 them up before she can destroy them; 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, many stolen from my Ramaxia epic. As the engineered females took on lives of their own, and I gave them a name: Femmar. When 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 my favorite character became a Tenth Generation subject named Sofitakul.
Sofita was an unwilling heiress; she had a dead twin that was loved more than she was (hat tip to Caroline Monaco and her Niklas Synn scenario), and fellow peers she let down by walking away from her destiny. Fellow heirs, Eppis, Laxum, Pitana, Velto, and Fyla, soon took on lives and personalities of their own. I created their mothers, and in effect, their grandmothers because complicated, tragic, and crazy, aren’t spontaneous.
By the end of 2009 I had enough of a world, and characters, to start weaving together my many short stories. I hammered out what would be Sofita’s mission to Jungwa (then Chinasia), in two months because it was plot cannibalized from my DC effort, Beyond Wonder. More stories came after I quit comics altogether in 2012. Writing this series and creating its world brought me so much joy. I didn’t mind being out of the blogosphere because I was psyched to be writing again. The stories soon combined with one another to form arcs that led toward an ending. The first, second, fourth, and fifth novels became one big ass first-draft that I managed to finish mid-2013.
My misplaced desire for attention got the better of me, and I made a series-pitch to 47 North. They replied with an offer based on what they’d seen of my outline. That 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. I had backed up my written Bible to digital (I love you WordPress) but failed to back up the manuscripts and stories. 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. I got a script hack job at a production company to cover some expenses in our future (kid going to college – house 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 here at WordPress via Paypal. Glad I did, I’ve more Subscribers than I do Patrons–but I appreciate everyone one of them.
So that’s the story of Femitokon!