Infuze’s Legacy

INFUZEmag.com may be gone, but its legacy lives on.

Matt Conner, Infuze’s longtime Senior Editor and head of the Music department, continues his coverage of music at the ultra-chic Stereo Subversion. Fans of his music reviews and interviews can get their fix among the tons of great content there.

Sam Gaines, Infuze’s Movies/Film Editor, has started a blog that continues his mission of reviewing the latest cinema with an eye toward issues of faith. It’s called Aspect Ratios, and I highly recommend it.

And Kris Bather, Comics Editor, has started a similar blog called Comic Book Jesus, which looks pretty nifty.

Infuze was special, and I’m glad the dreamers are still dreaming.

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Unleash Your Inner Geek

Today we’re unveiling PopCultureGeek.com, the new website I mentioned to you a few days ago. Yes, this is the next big thing I’ve been working on for a while now, along with my friend Doug Kline.

PCG takes a look at fandom in all its forms and celebrates being a geek (without the irony). It may not be “cool” to be a geek, but it IS okay, and if there’s a “message” at the heart of PCG (and there really isn’t), then that’s about as deep and meaningful as it gets. It’s a fun look at everything from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, current films at the box office, hot TV shows like Battlestar Galactica and Lost, big-name video games, and fun looks at some of us fans who make geekdom what it is. And we really hope to generate lots of conversations and debates among readers and fans.

Best of all, this is the first site I’ve ever been involved with where there’s no corporate interference. Doug and I are free to make and do this however we want. Given the way Infuze ended, this is a breath of fresh air for yours truly.

Please stop by, take a look around, and if it’s your cup of tea, we hope to see you regularly.

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Feeling Odd

It’s a strange thing to find yourself without a daily job, without regular income, after almost fifteen years in the working world.

I don’t miss the hassles of Infuze, but I do miss its mission and purpose and what we tried to do there. And I desperately miss having that outlet to talk about interesting things in pop culture, which is my bread & butter. But more than anything, I miss having a steady, reliable income.

I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I feel like God has led me down the path that I’m on. To the best of my ability, I’ve been faithful to the doors that he’s opened before me. And I wouldn’t trade the time I get to spend with Evan by being at home every day for anything.

But money is a finite resource. And sooner or later, it’s going to run out. Mortgage companies, banks, and insurance agencies really don’t appreciate it when that happens.

So I feel like I’m floundering a bit, while I wait on God to come to our rescue. And it’s not like I haven’t been here before. He’s proven himself to me so many times, in situations much like this one. I guess I just still harbor that same fantasy that we all hold onto, that eventually, some day, life is going to get all sorted out, and Karen and I won’t have to worry about money and bills any more.

Are we living dangerously for not having mutual funds and gigantic savings and all that jazz? (Nevermind the fact that we’ve never had enough money for any of that stuff.) I know so many people who have such mastery over finances, who have pension plans and 401k’s and stocks and bonds and savings out the wazoo. And hey, if you’re good at that thing, then more power to you.

But there’s something about the mentality of financial security that’s always struck me as maybe dipping a toe across the line from “responsible” to “paranoid.” If your entire life is built around securing your own safety, what room is there for faith? Where are you allowing God to come in and do something miraculous for you? What if he’s desperate to show you just how big he is and what he can do for you, but you’re holding so tightly to the reins of your life that he never gets the chance?

I have no answers today. Only ponderings while I take care of my little boy (who has a cold this week) and wait on God to show me the way.

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Welcome, welcome

Hello, dear friends.

I’ve been out of contact for a while now, but I’m finally ready to return to the land of the blogging. You are looking at the brand new permanent home of my personal blog, where I’ll talk about books, writing, and all sorts of life “stuff.” Bookmark it, subscribe to the RSS feed, and all that other wonderful Web 2.0 stuff you can do with it nowadays.

A few housekeeping bits to get out of the way:

  • Yes, INFUZEmag.com is gone. Kaput. No more. Very sad, but also kinda freeing.
  • I am no longer working with XZOOSIA.com. Wasn’t meant to be.
  • I am working on a new website/ezine style project with a friend; he and I will be co-owners, with no corporate oversight or involvement. More on this when we’re ready to unveil. Another week or so, maybe.
  • Merciless is almost here! I got my first copy today, and that metallic chrome cover is just gorgeous.
  • My annual “launch party/book signing” event is set for Saturday, June 28th, from 3-5:PM @ Barnes & Noble of High Point, NC. Please come if you can! I’ll also be appearing sometime at ICRS at the Bethany/Baker Booth for an hour-long signing/book giveaway session, but I haven’t been told exactly when or what day yet. If you’re going to ICRS and would like to hook up, drop me a line at robin-at-robin-parrish-dot-com.
  • I’m signed for three more books from Bethany House, for publication Summer ’09, ’10, and ’11. The first of these will be a standalone science fiction novel entitled Offworld.
  • I have a few other projects brewing as well, including one that’s so cool, I wish I could tell you all about it… but it’s far too early.

So what have I been up to since Infuze’s demise? Mostly I’ve been enjoying being a dad. Little Evan came into the world late last December, and now he’s already almost 6 months old! Hard to believe! He’s the apple of my eye to put it mildly, and I love every minute I spend with him. As a work-at-home writer, I’ve also become a stay-at-home dad to the little guy. He’s precocious, precious, and I can’t get enough of him.

Oh, and I also had a book to finish. This little title you may have heard of called Merciless — aka, the big grand-slam finale to the trilogy I’ve been writing for the last four years. Finally holding a copy of the end of this story in my hands today for the first time… I can’t even describe the sense of accomplishment. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more, and I only hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m having a hard time resisting hyping this one out the wazoo, ’cause I’m just so darn happy with it, but I’m going to be strong and resist and let the novel speak for itself.

By the way, Bethany House told me that the book was printed earlier than was expected and has already been released from the warehouse, so there’s a good chance you might see it starting to show up in your local bookstores soon. Ask for it!

This place you’re looking at is just one part of the brand new robinparrish.com, and like the rest of the site, will grow and expand over time. I have saved copies of all of my old blog entries from Infuze, and I’ll be importing them here over time, as well as sprucing up the look and feel of the place to something much cooler and more original. Aside from this blog, the new site is going to incorporate all sorts of goodies, such as extra fiction writings by yours truly (like short stories), downloads (wallpaper, video, icons, etc.), and quite possibly, an exhaustive online encyclopedia chronicling all of the minutia of the Dominion Trilogy.

In the meantime, please spread the word. I’m back. I’m at blog.robinparrish.com. And I look forward to talking with you.

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Trivia

My original plan for the Dominion Trilogy book titles were (in order): Bringer, Guardian, and Oblivion. If you’ve read the books, you know that these are all titles applied to the main character in each respective book. But this plan was vetoed by Bethany House, who felt that Bringer especially would not grab enough attention on store shelves.

They suggested the new title for Book One, and I followed their lead by coming up with the new titles for Books Two and Three.

In Relentless, in the scene where Drexel is about to enter the interrogation room to talk to Payton, someone tells him that the FBI have an interest in the man they’ve captured (Payton) and want to talk to him (Drexel) about it. In a near-final draft of the book, the FBI agent was mentioned by name — “FBI Special Agent Ethan Cooke.” I stuck in this reference to add continuity for what would become a major character, but the reference was ultimately cut for space and relevance. Ethan went on to be properly introduced in Fearless and featured prominently both there and in the final book.

Every character changed and deviated from the original story arc I had planned for them, except for one. Payton entered my mind fully formed and never deviated from that original vision. The character who changed the most from my original plan? Daniel.

As many readers have noticed, there’s a printing error in Relentless. In Chapter 48 (page 324), there’s a scene where Daniel is chatting with someone online, and I alternated black-on-white text and white-on-black text to differentiate between Daniel and his friend. It didn’t turn out that great in printed form; the margins are all wonky, the black backgrounds run a little over the next lines of black text. The worst part is the end of the chat, where the last black background completely obscures the first line of the next paragraph of the story.

As it appears in the book, that paragraph begins mid-sentence with:

who was in the kitchen, but the sentiment was there all the same.

It should read:

Daniel pounded a fist on the desk. Lightly, so as not to alarm Lisa, who was in the kitchen, but the sentiment was there all the same.

To signify the culmination of the trilogy with the final book, Bethany House went to extra lengths to ensure it would have a unique presentation. The process used to create the dust jacket cover for Merciless was a first for the publishing industry, in the way it was achieved. Various color printing passes were applied onto silver foil paper, and the graphic designers and printers at Bethany House didn’t know if this would work until they tried it.

The original outline for the trilogy had Grant choosing to become evil in the third book, Anakin Skywalker style. After finishing work on Relentless, I realized this was no longer in keeping with the person he’d become, since he had basically overcome his personal demons in that book. Revisiting that inner struggle felt like it would just be an unsatisfying rehash (though I still featured him pushing back the negative internal influence of the Ring in order to create uncertainty around the “is he causing the global disasters?” question).

Rather than rewind the character this way, I wanted to turn the page and move forward with him, so I decided that the emergence of Oblivion would be yet another thing that happens to Grant that’s a manipulation by outside forces, and ultimately beyond of his control. Once again, the world pulls the rug out from under him just as he’s gotten his footing. This rang true thematically, and it gave me the opportunity to move Grant further forward than I’d originally imagined possible.

Grant is the underdog character I repeatedly did the most nasty things to — changing his identity, killing off people he loves, twisting him into something evil against his will — but what was essential to me (and what was one of the major themes of the entire trilogy) was how he chose to react to each of those things.

It was always part of the plan that Book One would be the “hero’s journey”/coming-of-age tale, Book Two would be a superhero story, and Book Three would be an end-of-the-world/”disaster movie” kind of thing. Each book had to achieve this while still maintaining the sense of continuity of telling one big story in three books.

Fearless was the toughest entry in the trilogy to write. It’s the middle of the story with no true beginning or ending, so there’s no real resolution to anything. Relentless kind of burst from my head in this steady stream of wild ideas; it was probably the easiest to write. Merciless was the most gut-wrenching, because I had to put these characters who I’d been with for so long through such hardships and darkness. I was more meticulous with the final book than either of the others, and it’s by far my favorite of the three.

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