.Editorial - Earth - Last Sanctuary: A SciFi novel by a metalhead

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Chris

This is going to be a long post :). If you don't feel like reading it all, don't hesitate to read the last three paragraphs, I'd be grateful if you did.

Alright some of you might have noticed I haven't exactly been uber productive lately when it came to writing reviews on the site. While we created metalreviews.com with my brother back in January 2000, it had been more difficult to contribute lately. While it is something I still want to do, I discovered over the years that my writing aspiration lies elsewhere. I have in fact been working on a science fiction for the better part of the last decade. While it started as a hobby at first, it took a burnout last year to give me the kick in the butt I needed to do it seriously.

Ah the joy of burnout :). Jokes aside, if there's one thing it was good for, it was to make me think. I of course got fired pretty quickly after it hit me, and other things went awry (my marriage for one) in a very short period of time. Nothing like hitting rock bottom for one to start reflecting on one's life and see where one went wrong. Well at the very least this was the positive thing in all of this and the catalyst to my completion of my first book : Earth - Last Sanctuary. While I was creative from a young age, starting drawing comic books characters (Spidey, Iron Man,...), to manga later on (with a very typed Akira Toriyama style I know :) ), it took me a while to identify what I really wanted to do. In my early twenties, I even sank my teeth into video games, trying to create a new generation of RTS (real time strategy) game, one that would propose much more options than the classics of the time (Warcraft, Starcraft, Command & Conquer) where you could really automatize a lot of the micro management these games have and focus purely on attack and defense strategy. To this date no game ever made these concept a reality (I guess people like to micro manage :) ). Two years in and only a couple of engines to show for, a deal that went nowhere (literally, we didn't even pass the NDA signing part) with Infogrammes, and incalculable amounts of hours spent on graphics, music, engine, and story. Yes story, because besides coding and music, I was in charge of everything else, that game that never saw the light of day, Retaliate, was my first baby. But it was not meant to be... So later on I decided to keep some elements of the story I had imagined for Retaliate and make a crossover between a manga and a comic book (basically a colored manga :) ). The Kyrian Chronicles. Some of you early readers might remember me pushing banners about it on the site perhaps? That too didn't go very far. In 2003, bored to death with my "career" in IT, I had enough and decided to go independent, thinking it would provide me with more time for the chronicles, oh boy was I wrong on that one. The uncertainty of my next pay "check" made things very stressful and I felt like being unproductive when not making things that would bring me some money (including some metal covers I did for bands like Steel Prophet, Manticora and Astral Doors to name only a few). But in 2004, I started Earth - Last Sanctuary as well. From 2004 to 2014, not much happened, I think I wrote about 22000 words in that time frame. Probably in 15-20 writing sessions. The problem wasn't my output (I write at lightning speed) once I sat down, the problem was I needed to sit down and write on a regular basis, not only when I felt bored. Came 2014, an extremely stressful year for reasons I'm not gonna bore you with, but around April things seemed to feel a little better, even if for only a little while. I went in holidays in Greece for Easter and I resumed writing, quite a lot in fact. But it took the burnout in August of that year to shake in me and realize something very important. I was unhappy with my life. In fact when the burnout stroke I even thought about ending it all. My job was stressing me (in IT, system engineer --> CLEARLY not my thing !), unhappy with all these projects I had started and never finished, I felt miserable. You see being an independent in 2004 ended in 2009, and I came back to what I knew to get some sort of financial stability, so I went back to IT in March 2009.

Fast forward to 2014, a month in the burnout, under antidepressants and frequent visits to the shrink, I realized that my main problem was that I wasn't doing what I liked (being creative) and my body said STOP ! I listened, and took back writing. With a vengeance in fact. The more I wrote the less I felt depressed and anxious, I realized I had things to say! I needed to paint a picture but with words. By the end of November of 2014 I had finished the first, very raw draft of my novel at around 90000 words. Not bad considering I had only churned out 22k in ten years before. I found a copy editor to help me morph that first draft into something better, all-the-while continuing the story and starting writing on the second book. And so the book came back, edited, but there were still things that needed changes, so I did the changes. All the while I had hired a very talented artist to make my cover back in December, but after 13 weeks of waiting with too few updates and not feeling like my vision was getting realized the way I wanted to (I can be a control freak that way), I decided end of February to tackle the art cover on my own. I had made illustrations and covers before, so why the hell not. In fact the thinking had been to not lose time on it so I can focus on my second book. But the stress generated with the cover not going how I had hoped, especially not being a cheap artwork for my current predicament (unemployed), I went full on designing my own cover. I wanted something epic and specific but I knew I lacked both the painting skills or 3D modeling skills. But mostly I had lost way too much time already! I simply couldn't afford to spend months on the cover doing everything from scratch. I therefore purchased 3D models that would allow me to compose the image I had in my mind. And so I did. 3 weeks of work, most of it spent on adding as much detail as I could and working in such high resolution (the master is more than 10000 pixels in width for those of you who play with Photoshop), my main computer suffered in the end (even after doubling my RAM to 32Gb, the maximum amount my motherboard can accept), the image reached 7Gb, hundreds of layers in super high definition. In hindsight I might have saved quite some time by not working the image in such a high resolution. But I wanted to be able to print a nice wall-sized poster with as much detail as I could (something I still need to do by the way). Came end of March and I had a cover, finally !

It took another few months with the rewrite of the parts that needed changing and bouts of spell checking and proof reading. In the end I hired yet another proof reader to make sure the book had as little mistakes as humanly possible. After all those who read my reviews here know I can be heavy on the typos sometimes :). Then it was time to turn 40 on June the 15th and the three weeks preceding this event was spent preparing my place for the big party, something that took way too much time but de cluttering my place is something I'm very happy to have done in the end. But I digress. With the birthday party over last week-end, I was now ready to publish the book, and so I did.

So yesterday June 21st, the book finally hit amazon kindle. It had been a really long process, but one where I learned many things on how to do such a task but also a journey about discovering myself. If I want to be happy I need to do what I love. I can only hope my stories will appeal to enough people so one day, I can live from what I really want to be, a storyteller. I always tried to tell stories, by drawing, by trying with video games, I just didn't realize until not so long ago that my perfect medium was staring me in the face, the written word.

Metal has played a role in the creation of this book. Having being diagnosed with ADHD too in 2014, for me to stay focused on task, my brain needs to be distracted, or mostly engaged I guess, so no external stimuli can come and break my concentration. Unlike most writers, I believe, who need calm to write; I need the loudest, purest and best breed of metal during my writing sessions. While I sometimes manage to write with silence as well (at night mostly), I much prefer the former method. After all I was used doing that too here, putting the albums loud while writing the reviews. Being a lover of all things metal I also wanted to make a nod to that in my book, and so I named some of the starships after metal bands (with their permission of course). I'd like to thank the following bands: Iron Fire, Axxis, Euphoreon and Far Beyond for letting me borrow their band names and name my ships after them.

I won't lie to you, I don't consider myself a very good reviewer. It's one thing to tell a story and another to describe music with words, but I am extremely grateful for metalreviews.com cause it gave me the opportunity to write, and little by little improve my command of the English language. I mean take a look at my first reviews (those from 2000) and compare them to this editorial. I am sure progress should be evident. At least I sure hope so :D. So while I know I put too much emotion in my reviews, I think it's because I need to pour my emotions into my writing, something not always perfectly suited to writing reviews, but hopefully more useful in telling a fiction novel.

I apologize for my long editorial, but those who know me know I can write a lot, especially about things I love. But then again I'm trying to start a career as a writer so maybe there is a reason behind my compulsion to write long proses.

If you like fiction novels, mostly science fiction in the space opera genre, I would be really humbled if you took the time to check out my book, the first in a series. It's called Earth - Last Sanctuary, and the series Universe in Flames. You can check the artwork and even the first chapter on my website www.christiankallias.com and of course directly on amazon, where you can download a sample (that should contain even more content) and see if my writing is to your liking or not. I have no doubt that metalreviews.com was instrumental into me eventually realizing that writing is what I want to do with my life. The work isn't over of course, this is just but the beginning of my journey, but damn it feels good to have a finished product! I have to see how to propose a printed version of the book as well in the coming days. I think Amazon has the necessary tools to make that on-demand but I must dig into it and set it up. Next of course is continuing this story, the first book being only the beginning of this SciFi tale. I've already written a third of the second book but I really need to get back to it now, and publish it in 2015 still so there is a lot of work to be done in very little time as I don't intend to publish a book every 10 years, but instead try and reach for 2-3 books a year, at the very least, from now on.

Thank you if you managed to read this entire editorial, I hope it was an interesting read.

Link to the website about my book(s) : www.christiankallias.com
Link to my author's page on Amazon (and the book itself).

In Metal We Trust... Always! \m/- -\m/

Killing Songs :
Chris quoted
Other albums by .Editorial that we have reviewed:
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.Editorial - Making an iOS app for iPad - Dragon Alliance HD project reviewed by Chris and quoted
.Editorial - Home made best of - Legendary Warriors of Metal vol. I reviewed by Chris and quoted
.Editorial - Erock - You Tube Metal Sensation(al) : Eric Calderone ! Everything sounds better when it's METAL !!!! reviewed by Chris and quoted
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