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.


“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.


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. 


“Get it Done Little by Little”–Novella Done

So, first things: good news. I’ve finished, proofed and reviewed by comedy-horror novella. In fact, I’ve just sent it off to a publisher. We’ll see what happens next. There’s not a HUGE market out there for comedy horror, but I’m hopeful.

In other news, I keep on trucking on. I’m getting some good feedback from my other stories and I’ll share things as they develop. I’ll also get back to some of the personal news that’s been getting me down lately in posts to come.

Right now though, I’m outside just enjoying the sun of a Saturday afternoon, blogging, and dreaming about getting back to writing first drafts. I’m so sick of the damn editing! Enough already! It’s time to let the first-draft wild dogs (or is it horses?) out and watch them “lap the Miles.”

More to come…

I was thinking of a song that captured what I felt in finishing this piece. That feeling of being triumphant, but drained. This defiant number from Bob Marley hits it just right.

“Let’s get it done little by little.”

Just remember, Ya’ll. Keep on trucking. Don’t give up.  Finish your piece.

Good Luck,


Proofing and Polishing—While Life Sucks

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I don’t want to get into the reasons why right now, which I’ll save for a longer post later. Suffice to say, personally, things have been up and down lately with more focus on the DOWN. Anyway, I’m soldiering on with the writing. proofreading-marking-critiquing

I’ve got back the manuscript of my comedy-horror novella from my proofreader and I’m going through it now. It looks tight and good so far, so I’m pretty pleased. It’s just tough trying to keep motivated right at the moment. I don’t feel motivated to sit and go through the thing and I don’t feel motivated to blog.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer about this, but I feel I owe myself and you guys the truth. When the writing’s going well I talk about it here. When it’s not, I don’t hide it from you. Same thing with the personal  stuff.

Anyway, the trick right now is not to let the personal stuff allow me to loose focus on the writing I get to sneak in on the weekend (away from that 9-to-5 job). It’s tough. But bit by bit, I’m making it happen.

That’s all for now. I want to reserve what energy I have for reviewing the manuscript and helping family and friends in need. It’s just one of those things.

Take care out there and don’t forget to spend some time with the people that truly matter to you this week.

All the Best,


The Eagle Has Landed: My first published story sees the light of day


Sometimes, people ask me what they can do to support Literature, writing, new writers, etc. One of the best and simplest ways is to buy their stories and support the magazines that publish new writers. So, it turns out this is your lucky day. Kenneth Jobe recently published his 1st piece (ever!) on The Rusty Nail Literary Journal. See his post below for more details. Then, go over to the Rusty Nail’s site or Amazon and buy the issue. And for extra, bonus points and much gratitude from us writers, leave a review or tell your friends (in cyberspace or otherwise). I know Kenneth and a lot of us other writers will be grateful. Thanks! DJ.

Originally posted on The Books of Jobe:

After proudly telling the world (which is, literally, tens of people) I’d finally gotten not one, but two stories accepted for publication last month, next I did the only thing I could—I waited. And waited. I realized that I had no idea when either magazine/journal would actually come out, and started to feel a little uncomfortable that perhaps I’d tooted my own horn a little prematurely. Friday I finally got word that one of them is officially out, on the market and available for sale.


The Rusty Nail Literary Journal May/June issue is out now! Hard copies are available for purchase from Amazon here, and digital downloads are available at their website here. In it you will find my flash fiction piece “Aiden’s Acting Up Again.”

It’s a bit surreal, after all this time finally seeing my name and my words in a real-life, published product. It feels pretty…

View original 167 more words

Off to the North Woods

Hey everybody, I’m going offline for the next week or so. I will be completely out of cell-phone contact and mostly out of Internet contact. Praise be to the Old Gods and Chthonic Muses! That means no posts, Tweets, etc. Things will be quiet and I need that for awhile. North Woods so Inviting

The good news is that the writing is coming along well. Frankly, I’m at a good breaking point. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • “AFTA” – My comedy-horror novella is pretty much wrapped and ready to submit. I just got it back from the proofer and now I just need to review those changes, save it and start submitting it. I have a few smaller publishing houses in mind already, even though it’s a pretty niche genre. If anyone out there has more suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Let me know in the comments section.
  • “The Ghul of Yazd” – This damn piece…Oh, wait sorry! Great piece. Love it, actually. It’s just been a challenge finding a home for it. I’m submitting it to markets that accept simultaneous submissions. It’s been at two of the markets for 75 days as of today. I’ve followed up with them and still no response. I guess this is just the life of a writer, but as a guy who has self-published this seems a long wait. (And I know I don’t have the luxury of every having sat on the other side of the table, working through the never-ending slush pile as still more work comes in. I’m sure 75, 90 or even more days would make much more sense from that perspective.)
  • “B” – A nice piece on a future in which trope-ly enough, computers have taken over. That being said, I also like the piece. I have presented it to the writing workshop I work with and they think it “has potential.” I’m letting it rest (kinda of similar to the process involving steak) before I re-attack. This will let me flesh out the world-building and the motivations of the characters. Once vacation is over and I’ve got that more sorted out I will move onto the all-important 2nd draft.

So, that means one work is being submitted, the other is about ready to be and a third is being prepped for 2nd draft. It’s not a bad place to be. In fact, it’s perfect for a man looking for a little quite relaxation.

See you all in a couple of weeks. Until then…

Keep reading, keep writing,


Done with Comedy-Horror Novella

Just a quick note here, not a post really. Crazy Ash

I’m done with the final draft of my comedy-horror novella, “AFTA.” It’s off to the proofer now and I’ll begin the submission process soon. That’s all. Just wanted to keep you guys updated and let you know I saw this one through.

More to come soon.

A Quick Update on My Writing

Today, just a quick update before I dive back into my writing. I just want to check in and let you  guys know what I’m working on. Cafe Writers

So, this is what’s up:

Jamming on horror comedy novella
The main thing I’m working on right now is FINISHING my comedy horror novella, “AFTA.” Everything is taking a back seat to this. I’ve been pushing off some juicy, tempting short story ideas just to finish editing this and get it off to the proofer. Once I get it back from her, I will do a post announcing it….FINALLLY.

Work shopping my SciFi short story
I was able to workshop a SciFi short I’m working on. The result? They liked it, but the world building could be richer and more consistent. To me, that’s a great response. It means the mechanics (plot, characters, etc.) are solid, but that the story needs some work. Soon as the novella is in the can, I’ll do just that.

Waiting for acceptance of horror short story
Still haven’t heard back from 2 mags on my story, “The Ghul of Yazd.” I reread it the other day and I feel it’s still a solid, well-written story. I’m not giving up on this one. I have a plan B if it gets rejected  by these last two. Essentially, it’s this: Shorten and resubmit it. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

That’s all for now. I leave you with this article from the Atlantic which claims there is a scientific basis for the benefit of writing in cafes. I can’t say much to the science of it, all I know is that it works for me. As I’ve said before, I do all my fiction writing in cafes.

Writing, writing, writing

Busy life, busy writing. My ‘real’ job was CRAZY this week and I’m doing some writer’s group stuff for friends this weekend. So, no time to blog. I will get back to it when I get chance. As of right now, I don’t see having time for the next couple of weeks. But if I do have time to come up for air, I will put up a longer post.

The good news? I’m jamming to finish my latest manuscript (AFTA, my comedy horror novella) and will get back to the blog as soon as I can.

For up-to-date progress, check out my Twitter feed. I always post there when I reach a new milestone.

All for now

100th Post

This, incidentally, was also my 100th post on my blog. Wow.

It all started back in July 2012 with a post announcing the launch of my (then) new book, The Library of Lost Books.

Anyway, I plan to keep writing fiction and keep writing this blog. I’m getting close to finishing a number of new projects and can’t wait to get them done and in your hands.

Keep coming back. The 101st post is just around the corner.


Back to the Writing

Sit tight, everybody. I finally escaped Vegas and after two weeks  off (the other weekend was for RavenCon), I’m back to writing today. That means, I’m not able to blog right now.

It sucks, I know. But, it’s for a good cause: wrapping up editing on my comedy-horror novella. I’m going to keep going until I crush this one. Then, see if I can find a home for it.

Wish me luck. Look for a new post next  week.

Couldn’t leave you guys totally empty handed. This performance blew me away. What kind of genius can take someone else’s song, improve it and make it all seem so natural? Jimi Hendrix, that’s who. 

Hendrix reinterprets Dylan. Monterey Pop Festival, 1967.

The Craft: Write What You Love

[This is part of a continuing series on the art of writing fiction.]

Why do you write?

Every writer has his reasons. I write because I have to. I have a void within me that can only be filled by writing. (And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I stole that vaguely sexual idea from a misattributed Pascal quote.) I 4th_Bn_Royal_Fusiliers_22_August_1914tried to deny it for years, pretend it didn’t exist, but it never went away. And now that I’m back writing fiction again, everything is just fine.

I’ve talked a lot about technical reasons for writing. About how to approach fiction writing with your mind. But what about your heart? Meeting so many people that are inspired to write last week at RavenCon, my brothers- and sisters-in-arms all, has really fired me up. It also got me thinking about the passion behind what we do.

While mulling this stuff, I’ve been not celebrating, but let’s say marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (OK, I’m  a few months early) by reading The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman. It’s a gripping read, despite the fact that you know how it will end. She focuses on the first month of the four-year war, despite her editors urging her to focus on just the battle of Mons. She pulls out the frame just enough to capture the major battles and intrigues of that first month, but no more. Why did she do it that way?

Because for her, that was the most interesting part. And since it was the most interesting part, she would naturally write it more forcefully and vividly. It shows in the writing, too. You can feel  her enthusiasm for her subject. In his foreword to my edition, Robert K Massie, himself a great historian, explains.

People wondered how she did it. In a numbers of speeches and essays…she told them. The first, indispensable quality she declared was ‘being in love with your subject.’ She described on of her professors at Harvard, a man passionately in love with the Magna Carta, remembering ‘how his blue eyes blazed as he discussed it and how I sat on the edge of my seat then too.’ She admitted how depressed  she was years later by meeting an unhappy graduate student forced to write a thesis, not on a subject about which he was enthusiastic, but one which had been suggested by his department as needful of original research. How can it interest others, she wondered, if it doesn’t interest you?

Indeed. Believe me, that passage is underlined in my copy. So what does it mean for me, the fiction writer? It means letting the pen follow where the heart leads. It means writing great fiction and not caring if someone wants to label it “science fiction” or “horror” or “literary fiction.” Let the marketers decide that. It means focusing on the time periods, in the past and future, that most interest me. It means developing ideas that I can’t stop thinking about even if other people don’t seem to realize how intriguing they are…yet. In the end that ‘love’ comes through in the writing.

To a great extent, I already do this, but reading Massie’s foreword just solidified my underlying beliefs. Now, it’s up to me to pick up the pen, keep writing, keep submitting stories and keep getting my stuff out to readers.

I can’t wait to keep that going.

A SHORT NOTE FROM REAL LIFE: After a short break at RavenCon last week, I’m taking some vacation this weekend. When that’s over, it’s time to get back to writing and editing fiction. And to write a blog post about my first Con experience. Stay tuned.