There’s a new book on the horizon.
Exactly one year to the day since I released my debut book HUNTERS, I’ll be debuting the first book in a whole brand new series. This one is a SUPERHERO based saga with some Science Fiction overtones. So get ready for…
The Femme Fatales.
If you’re an old friend who used to play City of Heroes with me back in the day, then you may recognize the name. If you’re an avid reader of this website, then you may already know the history of how this series came about. But if you’re not then settle in and I’ll explain everything.
Back in 2005, I started to play a computer game. Called ‘City of Heroes‘.
I was (still am!) a huge comic book geek, so an MMORPG where I could both create and play a superhero… count me the fuck in!!!!g
My dream job had always been to be a comic book writer, so this level of creation was like manna from heaven for me. For the better part of a decade I played this game, creating a huge swathe of characters. More than that though, it’s where I met my wife, and made friends all over the world.
It’s fair to say that this little game was an integral part of my life.
It was a game that attracted both sexes, and allowed for unparalleled customisation options for your characters. Want a female robot ninja with Wolverine claws? You got it. Want an alien Batman in a pink costume? No problem. Want to play as a dog? Or a Chicken? The character creator would allow you the creative tools to do it. Sometimes you just needed a sprinkle of imagination, and the ability to think outside the box a little.
For example… Here are my characters, Glory Hound, and HypnoCow.
This, plus a multitude of character slots, led many players to suffer from Altitis. An affliction which sees the player create dozens and dozens of characters.
I was one of those people.
To be fair, Altitis was encouraged. Not only did the fame provide you with all those character slots, and the means to easily build characters to fill them, but it allowed up to eight players to team up and use their characters abilities to complement each other. This in turn led to you finding a group of friends to play with and sticking with them as a group, teaming up on a regular basis.
The CoH equivalent of ‘Guilds’ was a concept called SuperGroups. Think of it like The Avengers. A collection of individual super-heroes grouped together under one banner. I was in many of these, with many different players.
The Echelon. The Blaze of the Immortals. The Plastic Army. The Debt Squad. The Freak Squad. The Mean Beanz.
And, The Femme Fatales.
Groups very often had their own themes or rules. For example, there was a group called The Reservoir Dolls, who were all female characters dressed in suits and had codenames like Ms Pink, Ms Black, or Ms Crimson. Then there were the Mercenaries of Illuminati, who were all Mastermind class characters (they had pets) and were either soldier themed or robot themed.
We also had our little rituals, or our crazy moments. Like honoring anyone who dinged level 50. Or dressing up at Christmas, or in fancy dress! Or we’d all come together in the hundreds to defeat a big Archvillain like the Hamidon…
But for a long time, the SuperGroup that had the most impact on my playing time and the friends I made, was The Femme Fatales. A supergroup that was made up of exclusively female characters, who had a dress code of black, white and pink, and their insignia was a heart logo. It was more than an SuperGroup, it was a community. We’d play together a lot, chat on our Teamspeak server, and hang out on our forum,
It was the forum where the Femme Fatales made the jump from game…to story.
I started writing a story on the forum. At first it was just a loosely connected series of short stories about our characters, but over time it grew. And grew. Annnnnnnnd grew.
As friends in the SuperGroup started to ask for their characters to be in the story, this little hobby started to get more complex. I put in a storyline. I connected characters in deep and meaningful ways.
I called it ‘The Femme Fatality’ and was the first part of a kind of murder mystery tale that would be resolved in a second story called ‘The Tangled Web.
I then followed that one up with another story called ‘The Uncertain Future’.
All told, I wrote about 500k words.
Bad words. Horribly unedited words. But words nonetheless.
When the notion of writing and getting a book published started to enter my head, I knew that it couldn’t be these books. Which is where the notion of Songbird came from. I had an idea for a new series, so I transplanted a few of the characters (in name only) and created a whole new world for them to play in. One full of supernatural things. Fae, Vampyrii, Werewolves, Trolls, Ice Giants and much more.
But the idea of a Femme Fatales book never left me. Not really.
I started to do a quick and dirty edit on them in order to put them up for free on this website.
But that didn’t satisfy. I wanted to actually write and publish them. Which meant I needed to tweak the story to change the backstory.
Which was when I started to run into issues.
How do I keep the spirit faithful, yet set this series in a world where everything was my own creation. I needed a place where I set the rules and I couldn’t get into any form of trouble by Copyright or Trademarks held by the game.
I needed a new playground for my original characters, and my the characters that my friends had created (more on this later!)
Which led me to the inevitable conclusion that I needed a whole new backdrop for these heroes to play out their stories against.
And I’ll talk more about THAT in part 2 of this post.
Love and Books