I know what you’re thinking: it’s been at least a couple of weeks since you last released a book, John, so what gives? I know, mysterious stranger. Crazy, huh? So, as part of my plan to win at self-publishing by sheer force of numbers, here’s DAY ZERO for you - in the UK, the US, and Kobo, with other outlets to follow in the fullness of time.

Day Zero

There it is. Lovely, no?

(And yes, this should’ve been happening yesterday because Saturday is a poor time to do anything online, but both sites were grindingly slow at letting stuff go live so time slipped. Be prepared for annoying “reminder” tweets to compensate on Monday as people return to work. Sorry.)

You may have noticed that it’s not the next writer’s cut novel but another Sean Cregan, and well done for spotting that. A run of colds and other minor illnesses, and extra work shifts for my wife last week, made it less likely I’d have the editing on the next Rourke done in time for Friday, while this book - the book formerly known as Submission Thing - needed only a final proof and a cover. The cover meant flexing my rusty matte painting skills (and the resources available to them; I’m sure there’s another post there on the topic of jacket design/production), but I got there in the end. The second recut Rourke novel will follow very soon.

So what is DAY ZERO?

It’s YA, it’s sci-fi, and it’s about three 16-year-olds caught up in a sudden, overwhelming alien assault that destroys Philadelphia and leaves most of the city’s people dead, fleeing in panic, or, in the case of its children, taken. It’s about surviving the apocalypse as it happens. It’s about facing the loss of everyone you ever loved and forming new bonds in the aftermath.

It’s also about human greed and ambition cut free of society’s restraints, and about one of the invaders coming to terms with what he is, what he’s doing, and how he might stop it.

You can see the official movie-announcer-voice jacket blurb type material at yonder ebook emporium if you’re so inclined.

And why didn’t it make it on submission? Is it just rubbish?

Mostly it fell down at marketing rather than editorial (everything being done by committee at the moment, it seems): principally because it was perhaps too ‘crossover’, too much adult-centered material from the POV of the human villains to be true YA, or because it wasn’t world-buildy enough. Which in fairness it’s not; this is world-destroy-y; creating the new order of things, explaining and developing the reasons for what’s happened, that all comes after.

Further random factoid: only when I came to give it a final proofing so soon after finishing TTOG did I realize that several partial character names are reused here. By sheer coincidence - mostly I take my names from footballers (surnames) and “popular/unpopular boy/girl names for year X” lists. But the main threesome contains the “Flint” surname, the “Stef” first name, and an “Alex”, though this one’s a girl. Pure chance, but odd nonetheless.

Further random factoid #2: there’s a reference to the ‘Newport’ novels in the name of the ultimate owner of the villainous corporation. This one’s deliberate.

One last credit/comment: the base cover image is this one by Mihai Bojin (cc-by licensed). The amount of work done on it was considerable.