What’s So Special ~ Outside the Margins with Atom Yang

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Atom Yang goes Outside the Margins today.

Some readers (yes, you five people again–or was that three?) have been asking me what I’m working on right now.

I think it’s a really generous way of asking me why I haven’t put out a new book since Herc & Pyotr came out last March. Oh, man, has it been that long?

Yeah, I’ll compartmentalize that and deal with those feelings later.

Anyway, I’ve been writing an unruly story about three witches. It’s an erotic romance (that’s the plan).

It has a prologue, and I’ve heard about readers who skip prologues–and how does anyone call themselves a reader if they skip prologues? The author wrote that for a reason!–but I’m going to ask (beg) that you don’t skip the prologue in my story.

I mean, you could, but then don’t come crying to me when you don’t know why so-and-so is this way or that. Oh, and the prologue is told in three different perspectives (first person, third person, and second person), as well as in three different time periods.

Okay, you might want to skip the prologue. I know I wanted to skip writing it. I had over twenty thousand words written in the original draft–the first story I was writing before I interrupted it to answer a winter holiday submissions call and write what became Red Envelope–but after I wrote Herc & Pyotr, I felt I learned more about writing and what I wanted to say with my stories that I had to rewrite it.

So I did.

After the prologue, the story goes back to being in the first person, in case anybody felt they needed to preorder their irritation at a story told in three different points of view across three hundred years. You’ll be fine.

However, I said this story was unruly, and it is. I keep paying attention to the world, so I keep getting ideas. Not just what I want to incorporate, but what I want to excise.

Originally, the three witches were special, even among witches–they were (cue dramatic music) The Chosen.

It’s an old idea. I see it a lot in Western stories, compared to Eastern stories, and I think it might be because Christianity is kind of a thing in the West, compared to the East, and the idea that there’s one dude (it’s usually a dude) who is special and chosen will save everybody.

In the East, the idea is more along the lines of, “Work hard, and you will eventually succeed.” Being born talented or from nobility guarantees nothing, and privilege, like success, can fail you.

Buddha had to work at being Buddha. He went and learned things, tried things out, chucked out the stuff that didn’t work for him and kept the stuff that did. And what’s more important is that he advised others to do the same–go figure it out, don’t rely on my experience. I’m sure it’s a meme somewhere, the way there has to be a Buddha statue at a day spa.

So I took that concept out. They were no longer chosen, but they were special because they answered the call to adventure, to be brave and loving and smart and industrious.

I like this kind of story more. I like thinking that any of us, in our imaginations, can imagine ourselves as Jedi Knights and with training and dedication, use the Force and yes, hell yes, a lightsaber; or that we all deserve to go to Hogwarts, and that there’s no species or other kind of separation between Wizards and Muggles.

I like a story that I can run with, that allows me to be a hero, too, without having to disavow some part of me in order to be that hero. We don’t have to be of noble birth to be noble. We don’t have to be chosen to choose to help others.

We can be just us.

~Atom Yang

Title: Herc & Pyotr
Author: Atom Yang
Publisher: MLR Press
Publication Date: 03/24/2016
Cover Artist: Kris Jacen
Genre: Action/Adventure, Apocalyptic/dystopian, Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Humor/Comedy, Romance, Science Fiction


Herc thought he had the perfect life: a great partner and a meaningful career as a psychotherapist—until his partner left him a week ago and Herc became too depressed to see his clients. When a random meteorite punched a tidy hole in his car’s engine, it seemed like the world had it in for him, but bumping into Pyotr, the handsome older man who’s moved in a couple of doors down and happens to study things like falling stars, life might be looking up for Herc—and more may be falling than the skies in this light-hearted, apocalyptic romance.


Herc & Pyotr on Goodreads
MLR Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About Atom Yang

AtomYangPicApril292016Atom was born to Chinese immigrant parents who thought it’d be a hoot to raise him as an immigrant, too–so he grew up estranged in a familiar land, which gives him an interesting perspective. He’s named after a Japanese manga (comic book) character, in case you were wondering.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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6 thoughts on “What’s So Special ~ Outside the Margins with Atom Yang

  1. I had a publisher axe the prologue and epilogue of one of my books, and it still puts my designer briefs in a twist. It bookended the story, and needed to be there. But, I have a feeling one day the rights will fall back into my lap, especially at the rate publishers are closing, and I’ll self-pub it the way I felt it should have been released.

    Not reading a prologue indeed.

  2. Hi Kage!

    First off, thank you so much for reading my posts and commenting–I really appreciate it!

    As for your publisher axing your prologue and epilogue? Jeez. I’m worried that my story will go through some massive editing process that will make it not what I intended. Sometimes editing can be great (not all “director’s cuts” are good), but you know, I would trust your sense that your story benefited from bookending, and I know when you get the rights, you’ll offer a “writer’s cut” that’s going to be better.

    I’ve been seriously considering the self-publishing route. Not that publishers are bad (or closing like every other day), but because we are at a time when we can have control and have access not only to the market, but to top-notch editors, cover designers, etc. Why not break out, especially if we can make a living at it and have a passion for our own product that publishers, maybe in having so many other authors to take care of, aren’t able to lavish the same attention we would on our work?

    Anyway, I might just post the prologue all over the place when it’s ready. Or maybe before. Hm. Maybe I should do it now, in my newsletter!

    • I enjoy your posts, Atom, so I’m happy to reply. =)

      It’s doubtful you’ll have a similar editing situation like I did. This particular publisher is the only one I’ve ever had where I couldn’t override a change. And, believe me, I fought for this one. Every other publisher has allowed the author to say “no” to a change. When that happens with them, though, I’ve always left my editor a note with a quick explanation.

      Honestly, the entire reason I did my first self-pub last year was to learn more about the business. I wanted to choose the editors I worked with, choose the cover artist, have final say on the cover, and learn the process. It was a positive experience.

      Am actually glad I did it now because with Wilde City Press closing, I’m losing 4 of the anthologies I’m part of.

      • Hi Kage,

        Sorry to hear about the personal hit you’re taking with the closing of Wilde City Press. I think preparing for self-publishing is wise–we have to stay agile if we’re too survive as writers.

        I’m surprised that this publisher refused to accept that you didn’t want it changed! What a predicament to be in, and I hope you’re counting down the days when you get the rights back.

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