A Pius Man: What is it?

APM_3D-1The other day, it was mentioned that A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller was coming soon from Silver Empire Press.

At which point, I’m certain that the first question on everyone’s mind is simple … starting with, “Why is pious spelled wrong?”

Now that the book is available for preorder from the publisher, it should probably be spelled out a little better. The really short version is that I am a specific kind of Catholic geek: a history geek. I have a dual BA, in history and Catholic philosophy, and an MA in history — mostly because history has tales more outlandish than any I could come up with while writing thrillers. It was going to be a tool in a writer’s toolbox.

Along the way, I came across the usual BS about and around Pius XII. One of my graduate classes was “The History of Total War,” so I thought I would use it as an excuse to do some research. Three months, miles of microfiche, and a stronger eyeglass prescription later, I had a forty page research paper, with 7 pages of endnotes.

And boy, was I pissed.

I had grown up with a ton of lies around this particular topic, and the best way to piss me off is to lie — to me, about me, it doesn’t matter. And the truth MATTERS. It’s one of the reasons why I loathe politics, since that worships sophistry above truth.

But, I had a solution.

At this point, I had already written about a dozen novels that I hadn’t published yet. I had a universe in my head. It was filled with characters, biographies, events, and how people were linked together. Doesn’t every writer? When I started A Pius Man in 2004, I figured that more people had learned fake history from Dan Brown than they had for the duration of their education. And I had a history degree, experience with fight scenes and shootouts; my characters were already more interesting. I could do this! I can actually slip in history between the fight scenes, and wouldn’t that be awesome? This would be easy.

And then it spiraled.

800 pages later, A Pius Man had every character I had ever created, as well as a small history of World War II, the Cold War, modern Europe and the Middle East, a political science paper, six shootouts in and around the Vatican, a kidnapping, a trial, a full scale invasion, and a body count to rival the entire 24 TV series.

There’s a reason why my writing career can be summed up by “an then it spiraled.”

Before then, I never knew that “I can do better than THAT hack,” is actually writer speak for “hold my beer.” I had apparently created a Spetsnaz Moriarty and didn’t realize it at the time. He just wouldn’t die. Along the way, I wound up with discussions on faith, holding the line when it’s “just principles” at stake, and when it’s more important to die for what you believe in than taking the safe way out. Some of my heroes were normal, everyday folk. Some were just plain insane. So let’s send them up against an Army of Darkness without any chainsaws or Bruce Campbell, because why not?

After wasting time going for a PhD at a Bronx college that shall remain nameless, as well as plenty of rewrites, I had a trilogy on my hands. I ended up with an agent at the worst possible time — when it was slowly becoming evident that Traditional Publishing was dying. Random House had literally had a a minor bloodbath only a few months before, and employees had been fired in the ten-thousand range in one month.

There’s a reason I believe in the Nicene Creed and Murphy’s Law …. usually in that order.

Fast forward through six more years, self publishing, a half-dozen cover changes, five friends who will never talk to me ever again, and we come to last year. After Russell Newquist Silver Empire held a gladiatorial competition between me and Brian Niemeier for his Dragon Award vote, he read A Pius Man. I believe I had joked if he would be interested in it –which would include reediting it, rereleasing, recovering, the whole nine yards.

And here we are.

This is the short version. The long version is … really long.

Over the next few weeks, there will be free sample chapters posted to The Catholic Geeks. You’ve been warned.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
This entry was posted in Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Pius Man: What is it?

  1. carlos10101 says:

    Good Luck with the Re-Release!
    Will the existing Kindle e-books be updated to include the re-editing?


  2. Your novel sounds very interesting, Mr. Finn, but I am a little confused about something you mentioned in your post. I have heard about the so-called “death” of Traditional Publishing before but I do not understand what it means. Traditional publishers like Houghton Mifflin, Tor, Knopf, Scholastic, etc., are still in business; how can they be “dead” or “dying” when they are still publishing? Do Kindle, Createspace, and the rest of these new “indie” publishers help authors to make a better living at writing than the Traditional Publishers do/did? Or do these “indie” publishers help Traditional Publishers to find new authors better than agents do/did?

    This subject is something I wish to understand better. If you could clear up my confusion I would really appreciate it.

    Finally, good luck selling your novel, A Pius Man. It is about time we cleared Pope Pius XII’s name!

    God bless,

    The Mithril Guardian


    • Declan Finn says:

      The really short version? They’re losing a lot of money, and they’re not adapting to business models that reflect the current state of the business. Just look at the price of a new John Scalzi Kindle novel. $13? Really?

      As for dying business …. their model is for a brick and mortar world. Have you seen how those are doing? Not great.

      If the trad publishers were really smart about this, they’d cut overhead. Publish on demand tech means they don’t need to sell millions of books, or stay near big presses. The entire book industry can move out of Manhattan and set up shop in the middle of nowhere. But they don’t. They want to live in the square mile of the most expensive property in the world.

      As for the long version? I’d need to do another blog post on that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much for clearing this up. I have recently become confused about something else, however; non-traditional publishers such as Castalia House and Silver Empire say they do not require exclusive rights for the novels they publish (except in one case for Silver Empire). Does this mean that these non-traditional publishers do not copyright the novels on behalf of their authors, like traditional publishers do, or is this an unstated part of the deal when they publish the authors’ work(s)? Or do the authors copyright their novels before sending their manuscripts to these publishers? I’m very confused.

        Thanks again for the previous explanation about traditional publishers. I appreciate it.

        The Mithril Guardian


        • Declan Finn says:

          This means that the non-trad publishers don’t have a stranglehold on the rights of an author’s work. Think of it like this: some publishers require that they hold the rights for 7 years, rain or shine, whether they’re doing anything with the book or not.


        • Okay, I see your point. Seven years, with or without publishing – wow. I never heard of that. But I am still a little confused; do authors who are accepted by Castalia House or Silver Empire have to copyright their work on their own, or do these companies do that on their behalf?


        • Declan Finn says:

          You’d have to look at their contracts for that. But to give you an example, I had a publisher for Honor at Stake. I asked to be released. It took a weekend.


        • Declan Finn says:

          Also, I recommend Brian Niemeier’s blog. He’s talked about the publishing industry extensively, including the rise and fall. Mostly the slow fall.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks very much – this is a real help! Good luck with your books!


  3. Do you copyright your work before you submit it to a publisher, or is that necessary?


    • Declan Finn says:

      It’s not necessary, and only done for the paranoid. Not even the slimiest of publishers want to steal ones work, lest they incur the wraith of Predators and Editors .com. Let’s face it, a lot of writers are ALREADY twitchy. The vaguest hint of a publisher stealing a product would be game over.


Speak now, or forever hold your comment.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s