Here I go, diving into the whole blogging thing for the first time. Those who know me might be surprised that it took me this long to ascend into the blogosphere (which I believe stretches from 10,000 to 55,000 feet above the Earth’s surface). Those who know me very well are less surprised, as I can be a bit private, bordering on shy. But the thing is, I’ve written these books—six of them, to be exact—and I think they’re a great deal of fun. I’ve received great feedback from the people who have read them, and I’d like a great many more people to read them.
If you haven’t yet given them a try, here’s a bit of detail. Collectively, they’re called The Messenger Series. Individually, the titles are: Don’t Kill the Messenger; The Messenger Adrift; Messenger in a Battle; Instant Messenger; A Messenger So Dark; and the newest entry, The Messenger Conflicted. They chronicle the story of a man named Tristan Shays, CEO of a company that makes LEDs—light-emitting diodes—which his late father invented. One day, without warning, Tristan starts receiving visions of people in peril—some individuals he knows, others he doesn’t—and enough information to prevent the peril from taking place. There’s a catch: if he doesn’t warn the person in time to prevent the catastrophe, he’s overcome with crippling pain.
So we have the concept of altruism as analgesic. Tristan isn’t a bad person, but he doesn’t see himself as the type who would put his very busy life aside to chase all over the country and warn people that they’re going to die horribly if they go to the fruit stand. (Just for example.) Not without the outside motivator of the pain. Over the course of six books, we see the evolution of his commitment to this calling. It is, after all, a thankless job, and one that offers no tangible benefits. Most of the time, he doesn’t even stick around to see if his warnings are heeded. Such is the life of the messenger.
When I tell people about the premise, they sometimes remind me of a TV series from 1996 called Early Edition; you may remember it. Painfully earnest Kyle Chandler gets each day’s Chicago Sun-Times delivered a day early by a mysterious cat, and he has one day to prevent the tragedies he reads about in the newspaper. Problem solved, the day ends with the return of the cat. Meow, plop; next day’s paper. It all starts over again.
I had seen a few episodes of this show seventeen years ago, but it wasn’t in my thoughts when I was creating The Messenger Series. I wanted to investigate the nature of personal interaction. I wanted readers to ask themselves, “What would I do if someone gave me a warning like this?” Tristan learns that delivering lifesaving warnings isn’t like delivering pizza. No one asks for them; there’s no monetary value you can place on them; and you can’t hold the warning in your hand and smell its cheesy, tomatoey happiness. As such, Tristan trades the physical pain before he delivers the warning for the emotional pain after he delivers it.
Lest you think it’s six volumes of existential dread, I should point out that I unleash my sense of humor on the writing, in an effort to keep things light. I always love to hear someone laugh when they’re reading my book, so I’ve provided lots of opportunities within the books for that to happen. I hope it inspires plenty of laughter along the way.
People ask me, which one should I read first? Well, you have a choice. The first trilogy contains Don’t Kill the Messenger, followed by The Messenger Adrift and Messenger in a Battle. The second trilogy consists of Instant Messenger, A Messenger So Dark, and The Messenger Conflicted. The second trilogy is the prequels to the first, so you can start with Instant Messenger if you want to follow Tristan’s gifts from their inception; or you could begin with Don’t Kill the Messenger to follow the story in the order that it was written. Either path offers something enjoyable.
I’m going to do something radical, right here, right now. I’m going to give away electronic copies of Don’t Kill the Messenger to anyone who wants them. Honest. All you have to do is go to the home page of my website, www.joelpierson.com and download a PDF version of the book that you can read on your computer, your eReader; heck, if you’re a traditionalist, you can even print them out on paper and read them the old-fashioned way. All I ask is this: if you like the book, tell people. Write about it on Facebook, leave a review on Amazon.com, share your thoughts on Goodreads. Or pick up the phone and call your cousin. You are my network, and I’m hoping you’ll spread the word.
If you like book one and want to buy the others, they’re available directly from http://www.joelpierson.com or at amazon.com. I hope you’ll be moved to purchase all six, either in paperback or electronic form.
In the meantime, I’ll strive to update this blog at least once a week, and I’ll also create webisodes here on the site, continuing the adventures of Tristan and pals. Stay tuned for those. The weekly blog will also contain a fun factlet about the books for your diversion … starting right now.
FUN FACTLET: Scott Schirmer, the director of Found and other independent films, created a screenplay for the Messenger Series, which is currently being shopped to production studios. Keep your fingers crossed for a Messenger movie or TV series in the not-too-distant future (la-la-la)!