The Ghul of Yazd Gets Published

My short story, “The Ghul of Yazd” just got published today in Strangelet’s Journal’s first edition. Click the link to order the print or epub version of the magazine.

800px-Tower_of_silence_Yazd

So, the Ghul finally made it…And just to whet your appetite, here are the first 100 words of the action in the story.

Bashar, Alisher, Yusuf, and Hasan carried a funeral bier. It was little more than a pallet with handles. A child’s body, wound tightly in a sheet so that its body was not exposed, lay in the center of the bier. They rested the handles on the top of their shoulders and carried torches in their free hands. A full moon shone down on the slow procession, casting enough light so that the men could see their next step. On the crest of the hill, the white circular walls of the dakhma, the Parsi burial ground, glowed in the moonlight.

That’s it. The start of the journey. To read the rest, you’ll have to click the link.


A Word of Thanks
I just want to use this opportunity to thank all my Beta readers who gave me encouragement, criticism and help along the way. Daniel, B—, Laura and Matt, I couldn’t have have done it without your reading and critiquing. Your editing—and friendship—mean so much to me.

And thanks to Casey, editor at Strangelet and all their staff readers and editors. Thanks for seeing something in the Ghul. And for believing in my original vision and working with me to see it through to completion. It was a great ride.

,Darius

Works in Progress—Introducing my New Short Story: Breakpoint

Another works in progress post today. No time to waste, so here’s a quick update on each piece. 

Breakpoint
The title of the science fiction story I’ve been working on for some time now is  “Breakpoint.”

It’s set later this century after The Great Wars in which Cumulus, a sentient supercomputer, emerges triumphant. Below Cumulus are programmable Bots and below the Bots are Cyborgs: sentient, modified humans. The protagonist is a Cyborg who is tormented by constant nightmares connected to a ritual known as the Renewal. She doesn’t realize it, but the nightmares hold the key to the secret history of her entire world. 

I have the final manuscript in hand now and will proofread and start to submit it this weekend. My plan is to submit it BEFORE my other story, “The Ghul of Yazd” goes live in Strangelet Journal next week (see below). Let’s hope “Breakpoint” finds a home!  Strangelet Cover

The Ghul of Yazd
This story is finally ready to enter into the hand’s of the public. Strangelet Journal should make print and e-pub editions available next week. The proofs look great (see right) and I can’t wait to get a copy in my hands.

I will do a new post when Strangelet publishes the piece.

AFTA
This comedy-horror novella is still out there and I’m still waiting to hear back. This could take awhile. I’ll let you guys know when/if anything happens.


Going to DragonCon ‘15
I’ve officially signed up for DragonCon 2015. If you’re going, drop me a line or look for me in the writing workshops, I’m sure to attend a couple of those. Just ask around for Darius.

Also, I’ll be posting a list of Cons I’m attending in 2015 in a post at the end of this year. So that you can see which ones I’m planning to attend.

One last thing: The last day for $75 DragonCon memberships is Sept. 15, so sign up soon.

See you next week!

DJ

What Inspired My Latest Short Story

What inspires you? What inspires any author, or any artist? Often times, it’s the odd experience or random thought. Here’s one incident from the history of science, involving the young Galileo:Orientalism

In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. It seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging.

Galileo hurried home, where…

…he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until Christiaan Huygens almost one hundred years later that the tautochrone nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece…

And so, he took another step on the journey from med student to great scientist.

I would like to say it was as quaint for me when it came to writing my latest short story, “The Ghul of Yazd.” I can remember the things I was reading at the time and the final “Aha” moment that led to the basic idea. So, in the interest of getting you as close to the writing process as possible, here’s what happened…


The Reading List
Here’s a look at what I was reading at the time. And a few things I had read LONG before that and suddenly they came back up when the time was right.

The 1,001 Nights
In a way you could say, “The Ghul” is fan fiction. I wrote the story as if it were a lost tale from the 1,001 Nights that had been found in a monastery in the Sinai. I can’t say I ever read the book growing up, but I couldn’t help to run into its themes and subjects from time to time. I distinctly remember seeing The 7th Voyage of Sinbad on TV during weekend ‘matinees’ as a kid and it never really left me.

Good, clean fun?

Orientalism by Edward Said
We read this in college and for a guy who—up to that point—had not travelled that much, it really struck me. I think the following sums up the book’s basic argument pretty well:  

Said analyzes the cultural representations that are the basis of Orientalism, a term he redefined to refer to the West‘s patronizing perceptions and depictions of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African societies—”the East“. He contended that Orientalist scholarship was, and remains, inextricably tied to the imperialist societies that produced it, which makes much of the work inherently political, servile to power, and thus intellectually suspect.

Wow. So, all these books, all these movies. They were just peddling and rehashing Western stereotypes and tropes? Man. It was something that really struck me at the time. Was Said right? Or was it all just good, clean fun? And wasn’t there something exotic about the “East” for a Westerner, anyway? I filed the book away, too, and never forgot it.

The Thousand and One Nights” essay by Borges
But wait a minute. What if…what if…The Arabs were influencing the West with their book, their 1,001 Nights? And their civilization? What if the opposite of what Said thought was  really going on?

Leave it to Borges to come up with such a beguiling, seductive idea. I read this essay from him recently, in which he talks about his love for the 1,001 Nights:

A major event in the history of the West was the discovery of the East. It would be more precise to speak of a continuing consciousness of the East, comparable to the presence of Persia in Greek history. Within this general consciousness of the Orient — [as]  something vast, immobile, magnificent, incomprehensible…

He continues…

We are speaking in the illustrious dialect of Latin we call Spanish, and it too is an episode of that nostalgia, of that amorous and at times bellicose commerce between Orient and Occident, for the discovery of America is due to the desire to reach the Indies.

Whoa. Arab influence on Western history? On American history? Borges brings in the 1,001 Nights, as an exemplar of “Eastern” culture, saying:

The Thousand and One Nights appears in a mysterious way. It is the work of thousands of authors, and none of them knew that he was helping to construct this illustrious book, one of the most illustrious books in all literature.

He waxes lyrical about the book:

In the title The Thousand and One Nights there is something very important: the suggestion of an infinite book. It practically is. The Arabs say that no one can read The Thousand and One Nights to the end. Not for reasons of boredom: one feels the book is infinite.

And it appears in many translations and some of these translators took liberties, great liberties:

The most famous tale of The Thousand and One Nights is not found in the original version. It is the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp. It appears in [Antoine] Galland’s version, and Burton searched in vain for an Arabic or Persian text. Some have suspected Galland forged the tale. I think the word forged is unjust and malign. Galland had as much right to invent a story as did those confabulatores nocturni. Why shouldn’t we suppose that after having translated so many tales, he wanted to invent one himself, and did?

Hmm…Adding to the 1,001 Nights. Apparently, it continues today:

The Thousand and One Nights has not died. The infinite time of the thousand and one nights continues its course…The Nights will have other translators, and each translator will create a different version of the book…Each of these books is different, because The Thousand and One Nights keeps growing or recreating itself.

Why not, I thought, add another story to it?

The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy
Before I read Borges’s essay, I was reading this tome on medieval Arabic philosophy.  It can be dry, but it has great tidbits like these:

  • The fact that much ancient Greek philosophy was translated into Arabic at the beginning of the Middle Ages and back into Latin at the end of Middles Ages, in some cases preserving works that would have been otherwise lost.
  • The medieval Arabs, had the texts, but not the history and assumed Plato, Aristotle and others were all the same guy.

But most importantly, it showed me the seriousness with which scholars throughout the medieval Arab world pursued and innovated in mathematics, philosophy and proto-science. What if one of them became a character in a book?

The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam by Lewis
An Orientalist book masquerading as unbiased scholarship? Perhaps. But it’s a great read. It highlights the history and working of the “Assassins” a group active in the medieval Middle East. According to Lewis, they were known for their use of targeted assassination as a political weapon. As part of their recruiting process, Lewis continues, they would drug initiates and have them wake up in a “paradise” of beautiful gardens, fountains and beautiful women.

That was another scene I filed away…

Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism
I was reading this book out of an interest with ancient religions. The book has a great section on the burial practices of the Zoroastrians, the dakhma, a sort of open-air sky burial practiced by the sect. I thought nothing of it at the time, but the image of the dakhma stuck with me. And one of the best preserved examples happened to be in Yazd, Iran…

The city of Fez itself
You also travel and learn. I knew I wanted my protagonist, Yusuf, to come from medieval Cordoba, Spain. And perhaps the closest in the modern world that we can get to that is the old town of Fez, Morocco. I traveled there a few years ago and the magic of it never really left me.

Morocco’s jewel, Fez.

Now I know, there’s something “Orientalist” about that. A Westerner getting caught up in the beauty and romance of a city where—by the looks of things—most people were just trying to survive day to day.

Fair enough.

But don’t tell that to a fiction writer. Never tell that to a fiction writer.

What if, as a fiction writer, I just decided to piss everybody off? What if I wrote a story that ticked off the Edward Saids of the world and emphasized the exoticism of “the East”? And what if I ticked off the dreamers and Orientalists—those who wanted to emphasize the exoticism and difference of the East—and included a protagonist who was an Arabic philosopher? A man who was well-read, a great traveler and skeptical of religion and folk tales? A la South Park, I would have offended everyone equally—left, right and center. An Orientalist story fit for the 1,001 Nights with a philosopher hero at the center who holds all the moving parts together? Yeah, that would be cool, I thought.


The Aha Moment Strikes
So, I chewed over some ideas. A bunch of loose threads with nothing to pull them together. I thought and thought. And then it just hit me. What if similar to the Assassin paradise of Lewis, there was an Assassin hell? What would it be? How would it look?

I immediately latched onto the idea of the dakhma.

Then, it was just a question of getting a character from ‘heaven’ to ‘hell.’ I landed on Rasul,  a young Assassin recruit from the Caucasus, to play the role. I just had to figure out how to get him from point A to B and put it in a narrative structure.

I fleshed out the plot and characters and I started to write…It ended 11,000 words later.


What It All Means
So, what’s the upshot of all this? What did I learn?

I think the most important thing is that every writer has to be open as they go through life. You have to read, widely, yes, that’s been said a million times. But you also have to be open to new experiences, new friends, new travel and new ideas. You have to go places and read things that you’ve never read or seen before and the more foreign or different, the better. (More on that later.)

Then, you have to be patient. Let all these influences stew in the subconscious. And just be ready. Be ready for that “Aha” moment and write it down when it happens. Write it down at the gym, write it down during your commute, write it down during that meeting at the office. I won’t tell. Flesh the initial idea out and then get ready to write. At least, that’s how it works for me.

Anyway, the story should drop next week in Strangelet Journal. Then, we’ll see what everyone thinks. And the 1,001 Nights—that ‘infinite book’—will add yet another story to itself…So, until next time.

Keep reading, keep writing,

Darius

Works in Progress—Stories and Novella

In following with a plan laid out in an earlier post, this week’s post will just be a little update on where my writing is at. Here we go:

The Ghul of Yazd
This story should be published in the next two weeks by Strangelet Journal. I will likely do a separate post here when it goes live. I can’t wait for this horror/undead/suspense thriller to come out. In the meantime, Strangelet has already revealed the cover art (right) and you can pre-order “Issue 0” now on their website. Strangelet_FrontCover

B” – a science fiction story.
This is set in the year 2070 after a series of conflicts known as “The Great Wars.” It was influence by Dante, a song by Ellie Goulding and T.E. Lawrence. I just finished the 2nd draft and this weekend I plan to wrap up the 3rd draft. After that, it should be pretty close to done and ready to submit. It will be nice to have something done (knock on wood) before the Ghul gets published.

AFTA” – a comic-horror novella.
Man, does it take a long time for a novella to get reviewed and accepted/rejected…After submitting a couple of query letters to some horror publishing imprints, I’m still waiting to hear back. I guess it’s just getting used to novella/novel submission time frames vs. short story submission time. I will keep you posted on what happens.


That’s all for now. Tune in next week when I write the next BIG post on the craft of writing or come back two weeks from now for another update on my works in progress. It’s up to you. I hope this new blog schedule works for everyone. It’s definitely making things easier for me.

The Craft: Conflict and Metamorphosis

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes a short story not just good, but great. Why do some reach out and grab you and others leave you cold? Well, I think I’ve hit on one of those things that compels you to keep reading: conflict leading to metamorphosis.

I began to suspect this was an important thing when Kenneth Jobe, another writer I follow, said that it was strange that his stories that were accepted both had characters in them that didn’t die.

My story ‘Tale of the Revolution’ is in there, and like my other story to be published so far, it’s a bit of an anomaly. Once again, it’s the rare story where no one dies and there are no curse words.

“Both stories where no one died?” I thought. That got me to thinking about an editor who said that he preferred to accept stories in which the protagonist DID NOT die, but was rather changed by what they experienced. Then, something else clicked: I remembered that at the writing workshop I took at RavenCon, Allen Wold said that a story was a tale with a plot, setting and characters in which the characters, the world or both change in some fundamental way.

So, like writers do, I mused a bit more on this. I turned it over and thought about it: Did my stories contain characters that metamorphosed, that changed? Yes, they did. Both of my accepted works featured protagonists that underwent major changes by the end of the story. How and why did this change happen? In every case, it was because of pressure, because of conflict.

The HatchlingsAntonio_del_Pollaiolo_Apollo_and_Daphne
In “The Hatchlings,” the narrator, Pharos, must decide whether to witness the horrendous Zakir ritual in the arena from start to finish or to walk out. The tension or conflict is: Will he stay or will he leave? He decides to stay and is forever changed by it.

The Ghul of Yazd
In “The Ghul of Yazd(to be published by Strangelet Journal in Sept.), Rasul must decide whether to assassinate a child, knowing that failing to do so means he will betray the hashashin brotherhood. In the end, he balks, setting in motion a long series of events and personal transformations…More on that later, once the story goes live…


It made me think of the story I’m working on right now, “B.” This story passes the metamorphosis test as the main character changes profoundly by learning the truth about the world she inhabits and deciding to DO something about it. She is a completely different person from the one she was a mere 4,000 words earlier. That’s no guarantee an editor will like it, but it’s a good start.

So, as you write this week, think about that. How do your characters—acting under pressure and in the midst of conflict—change? It works as a device in literature because, in the end, that’s what life is. Who is the same as they were 10 years ago? Who is the same person that they were this morning? We are constantly changing (or resisting change) in response to pressure. Characters in literature should be no different. After all, as Borges wrote:

The universe, like you, is Proteus.

or in the original Spanish:

el universo es, como tú, Proteo.


PS…Don’t forget to break the rules. I’m toying around right now with a protagonist for a new story who NEVER changes. I can just see him saying, almost spitting out this line of dialogue: “Me? Change? I don’t change. I never change. Let the world change. I remain constant.”

Of course, the delicious thing about this character is that a person with such an attitude immediately creates conflict wherever he goes. He will either force the world to change or have to bend to IT as a result. There you have it: Tension and conflict leading to change. We’ll have to see how the story turns out…That’s a post for another time.

Giveaway and Blog Tweaks

So, first, a business item: My Weird West tale, “The Truck Stop” and a historical novella, “The Man Who Ran from God” are both free this weekend (Aug. 16 and 17) on the Kindle. Stop by and check them out. You don’t need a Kindle to get them, just the Kindle app.


Blog TweaksCover_1_kindle_1_5_12
Next, I just want to talk about this blog. I’ve been trying my best to update it every week. I haven’t always succeeded and it’s been tough feeding the beast with all my other commitments (job, family, life and fiction writing). I don’t think I will be able to deliver every week.

So, here’s the deal: I will TRY my best to do a post EVERY week, with more substantive posts coming every other week, starting NEXT week on Aug. 22. That is, unless there’s a major life event or emergency. I will try to keep those posts bigger, more substantive. Musings on the craft of writing, the state of publishing, philosophical tirades, etc. The off-week posts sandwiched between the substantive posts will be more prosaic posts about where my writing work is at. Today’s post is an example of the later: just a writing update post.


Writing Update
So here’s the first writing update. You can learn more about the works referenced here in last week’s post or my Works in Progress page.
  • I have resubmitted my comedy-horror novella, “AFTA” to a couple of new places. Not a single squeak out of them yet, but, hey, this is a novella submission, so it takes time. Right?…Right. It’s also a cross-genre piece, which I imagine editors picking up with tweezers or fire tongs, hoping they won’t get burned, infected or mutilated. Oh well. Comedy horror can work and it’s a damn fun genre. Problem is, it’s too funny for some horror publishing houses that want “suspense” and too dark for comedy houses looking for light comedy. But there’s someone out there that will fall for “AFTA,” I just know it.
  • I am about half way done editing my science fiction short story, “B.” I’m also working through (FINALLY!) the notes from the writing group (hosted by Lisa Mistry and Jason Van Gumster) that was kind enough to read a beta version of the story. I will polish this one up and start submitting it.
  • Strangelet Journal just put together the Table of Contents for their first issue, with my story, “The Ghul of Yazd” in it. You can follow Strangelet on Twitter as the publication day approaches. I, for one, am super-excited to share my story. Can’t wait.


Musical Interlude
It’s been too long since we’ve had music on this blog. For some reason, I’ve been wandering through the Renaissance and Baroque composers lately…Don’t ask. I love this track, (“O Dolce Vita Mia” by Willaert) especially the beginning note. There’s something undeniably “spacey” about it. Enjoy.

The sounds of Gothic deep space.

Back to the Writing

All right, getting back at it. Just a short post to let you know I’m still alive, kicking and writing. Here’s what I have on my plate today:

ResubmittingWriting Man
I have to take a little time today to resubmit my comedy-horror novella, “AFTA.” It hasn’t been rejected once already, but I’m not deterred. It has a number of rejections ahead I’m sure, but, hey, that’s writing.

I hate to take time out to do this, but I know “AFTA” will find a home, I just need to find the right market. Often, this involves writing query letters, a wholly new activity for me. I don’t understand why you just can’t send the manuscript like you do for short stories. If anyone out there has a good explanation for this, I’d love to hear it in the Comments section below. Any tips on potential markets are also appreciated. 

Prewriting.
I have TONS….TONS of ideas for short stories. I also have some scoped-out novels that I keep adding tidbits to like filling in a painting with more and more detailed brushstrokes. Pretty soon you have characters, a structure, scenes, dialogue…But I digress…

The challenge is to get these ideas down, before they fly away. I have the ideas stored in hardware (on my mobile phone) and wetware (in my head). I need to dedicate serious time this afternoon to transferring the good ones from both.

Editing.
My new Sci-Fi story “B” has been patiently waiting my editing for months. I had to go back and do some rewriting of my “Ghul of Yazd” story, so I was held back a bit. No more. I will be getting to editing the 1st draft today or this weekend at the latest.


There you have it, the life of a writer when he isn’t exactly writing: Submitting, prewriting and editing. I’m starting to get anxious because I can’t wait to get back to what I really love: writing first drafts. It’s this editing and other stuff where I feel I get bogged down. (Those writers that LOVE to edit always annoy me and—I admit—make me jealous). Still, it needs to get done. If I believe in anything as a writer, it’s giving readers a quality finished product. I want to see my name attached to quality stuff.

That’s it. It’s time to get to work. I just wanted to keep you guys updated and let you know what’s coming next. Until next time…

Keep reading, keep writing,

Darius

“The Ghul of Yazd” Finds A Home

Finally. My story “The Ghul of Yazd” has been picked up by Strangelet Journal for publication in its first issue due this fall.

I always believed in the “Ghul,” in the story. I knew no matter how many times he got rejected—no  matter how many stabs and bludgeons he absorbed, he’d get back up and resubmit himself. And one day, slowly lurching along in his unique way, he’d find a  home. After all, ghuls are hard to fricking kill. The-ghoul-poster1

So, today, I’m very excited. It’s my second story to be picked up by a magazine after “The Hatchlings.” The “Ghul” helps  show that my writing’s not a fluke or a one-off. More importantly, I think Strangelet will be a great place for it. It seems that the new mag will be right in that “literary speculative fiction” niche I like to be in. It’s also cool to be part of a new mag’s inaugural edition. And finally, the editors aligned with my long-term vision for the story since its inception (a happy marriage of artistic vision there) as a piece of found fiction a la Potocki’s magnificent Manuscript Found in Zaragoza.

I will provide more details in the coming weeks as the publication date approaches. For now, check out my “Rejectionable Ghoul” page for more details. I will only add that the manuscript was rejected seven times before being accepted. So, fellow writers out there on the InterWebs, wherever you are—keep at it. You never know when that next acceptance letter will come.

This Blog Reaches 100 Followers–Plus Shoutouts

Ye olde blog here just reached 100 followers. Not bad. And it comes right after passing its 2nd anniversary of the blog.

I was feeling pretty awesome about this when, the other day, I decided to visit my sister-in-law’s blog and found she had about 3 times as many visitors in a comparable time period. And I’m the one who’s supposed to be the writer here. Oh well…


Shoutouts
…Still, it’s quite an accomplishment. I couldn’t be happier knowing that 100 people out there check out my blog on a regular basis. To celebrate, I’m going to give a shout-out to some of my blog followers today. Especially those that are doing the same thiPower, Money, Art Patronage. It's good to be the Pope.ng I’m doing: writing fiction.

But first, let me ask a little favor: Please stop by THEIR blogs and check them out. And if they have books or stories available, please consider BUYING them and leaving a review. And when you stop by their blogs, don’t be afraid to COMMENT on a post. They won’t bite… hard…as Austin Powers said. Trust me!

Remember, you may not be Pope Julius II, but you can patronize the arts and support real artists just the same with a few dollars and a few clicks. So, thanks in advance for supporting the art of writing and now…Drumroll please. Here they are are in reverse order, with those who most recently followed the blog coming first and the original, Back-in-the-Day followers coming last. 

Grady P. Brown (Blog Follower #100)
I’ve jut “met” Grady virtually via the blog, so I haven’t had a chance to get to know him or his writing. On his blog, he says he’s a “science fiction author who is diagnosed with high functioning autism” and “a connoisseur of the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero genres.” His superhero novel set in Los Angeles, The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell is out now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Anna Bayes (Blog Follower #96)
On her blog, Anna says that “sex is not the only thing she writes about, but mind-shattering, great sex makes her feel alive, and so it has become a topic she writes about with gusto.” She also “admires how a story with multiple layers of meaning can be packed into just a few hundred words” and “aspires to produce good work in the short story form.”

It is very, very difficult to write good erotica (I have dabbled and failed) and the little I’ve read of her stuff is top notch. Her latest piece is Love Letter available on Amazon Kindle. (The story is for the 18+ crowd, so be advised.)

Tim W. Burke (Blog Follower #89)
This guy I actually met in the flesh at RavenCon. Speaking of flesh, his latest book, The Flesh Sutra is out and has already garnered some great reviews. He has a blog where he self publishes some stuff and a Facebook page. He’s published a lot of stories in top-notch magazines and there are more to come. Look forward to reading a lot more horror (Tim, please include the dark humor too. I love that stuff!!!) from him.

Kenneth Jobe (Blog Follower #28)
Watch this guy. He’s just getting started, but his writing makes you feel like he’s been doing this a long time. His blog, The Books of Jobe, covers writing, music, movies and everyday life. It’s hilarious and insightful at the same time. He recently published “Tale of the Revolution” in Nebula Rift and “Aiden’s Acting Up Again” in The Rusty Nail Literary Journal of May/June 2014.

I can’t wait to see where his writing goes next.

Lita Burke (Blog Follower #3)
Lita was one my first followers on this blog. She is an “Indie fantasy writer” and writes about the worlds she creates on her blog. Her latest novel is Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane and is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.


Apologies to those I passed over this time. There are a lot of great writers out there and I would have loved to highlight you all. In time, I hope to write about more of you.

Until next time…Keep reading, keep writing,

Darius Jones

Two Years of My Blog + A Giveaway

Well, it’s been two years since I started this blog, “A Writer Begins.” On July 20, 2012 I wrote my very first post. Here it is, in its entirety:


My New Novel

[Jul 20 by dariusjones]

Well, here goes nothing.

My first novel has just been published. It’s on the Amazon Kindle store here. It’s also on Goodreads.

Please take the time to leave a review. And a big thank you to all of you who have already got it and are reading it.

,D


“Well, here goes nothing”??? Wow. I’ve come a long way since then. Here are some of the best things that have happened in my past two years of writing:

  • I sold at least 200 copies of The Library of Lost Books (haven’t counted sales in over a year).
  • I gave away at least 1,600 copies of The Library of Lost Books.
  • Fiction Vortex published my short story, “The Hatchlings.” And it won 3rd place in their Reader’s Choice Award for that month.
  • Self-published an historical novella: The Man Who Ran from God.
  • Finished and submitted a new comedy-horror novella. (Let’s hope the publisher likes it!)
  • Wrote and submitted and submitted and submitted a historical horror fiction piece, “The Ghul of Yazd.” I believe in the Ghul and know he will find a home someday…
  • Written 107 blog posts and had 1,500 views of the blog.
  • Watched followers for this blog grow from 0 to 96.
  • Connected with over 500 Twitter followers. Really loving the interaction with readers and fellow writers over there.
  • Went to my first Con, RavenCon, where I attended all the writing panels I could and a writing workshop.  I plan to be their next year in April. It’s totally kickass, so you should go. Just look for me in the writing panels, I should be there.
  • Switched my writing strategy from purely self-publishing to writing mostly for traditionally-published markets. This means I’m writing my stuff and submitting it to magazines instead of putting it up on Kindle.

I want you to know that I’ve done all of this while keeping down a full-time, pretty stressful job. I write mostly on the weekends (on Sundays) and do the business and blog end of stuff at night when I can. The reason I’m telling you this is not to pat myself on the back, but to make all you guys out there stuck in a 40-hour (or more) a-week job, know that you can do it. You can write in your spare time and make real progress. I know, I’ve done it. The trick is having the discipline and self-confidence to stick to it.

So, I keep writing and you guys keep reading my stuff and supporting me.

Mayan Writer

In my darkest hours, at those times I’ve wanted to quit, to give up the writing gig entirely…There’s been one thing that has kept me going—the fans. I can count a number of times when a glowing review, an enthusiastic note or a kind comment struck me and shook me to the core. So, thank you. Your encouragement counts for more than you’ll ever know.


Giveaway

As a small sign of appreciation I’m celebrating by running a giveaway this weekend. I’m doing a 2-day (July 19 and 20) giveaway of The Man Who Ran from God and “The Truck Stop” on the Amazon Kindle. So, if you haven’t had a chance to get them, grab them while you can.

As for the future, well, one can never tell. But I’m going to keep writing and giving my best every weekend. There’s lots more to come, so stay tuned.

And once again—thank you all for keeping the faith. 

Darius