See You At RavenCon!

This weekend, I’m heading to RavenCon in Richmond, Virginia. It will be my first Con, so I’m quite excited.

RavenCon

If you’re there and trying to track me down, look for me in some of the writing workshops  or writing-themed gatherings. I’ll be the guy named Darius somewhere near the back of the room (my normal habit). I will also try to follow these suggestions for first time Con goers who happen to be writers.

I’m finishing up work stuff before I head out, so I don’t have time for a longer post. I may post to my Twitter feed periodically during the weekend. Otherwise, check back with the blog as I hope to share my thoughts a little further down the road.

Hope to see you there!

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A Great One Passes–Farewell to Gabo

Well, I intended this post to be about something else, but as usual events intervened.

As I’ve noted on this blog before, I’ve enjoyed my trips down to South America. Last year I was in Peru and the year Gabobefore that, Argentina. I have to say the Argentina trip was partially motivated by my (unhealthy?) obsession with Jorge Luis Borges and other Argentine writers. But as I dove further into Borges and the Argentines I realized there were many talented writers in Latin America outside Argentina. And  that there was that whole Latin Boom thing, which my liberal arts degree somehow seemed to skip.

Anyway, we lost one of the great writers of the Boom, Gabriel García Márquez yesterday. First, a confession from this writer: I’ve never read one of his works. I have bought a couple, sure, but I never got around to reading them.

So, why write about a guy you’ve never read? That’s a good question. Because some writers—and I think Marquez qualifies—are such giants that even if you’ve never read them, they have an impact on literature and on anyone who is writing fiction. I feel the influence of Marquez and the other Latin Boom writers every day. I like the things they let loose in literature. They ventured into the depths and knocked on the giant assumptions of literature. Finding them hollow, they reemerged and started afresh. They knocked down linear narrative, packed their prose thick with style and even played with notions  of reality itself. It was a kick that literature needed and was based on certain precedents, but they took it all in new directions.

I’m still trying to learn and absorb all the stuff from Latin American writers, whether they’re from the Boom or not. It’s a huge and massive literary heritage that keeps growing every day as younger Latin American writers emerge. But that’s a post for another day.

Almost every daily newspaper in Latin America has Marquez, “Gabo” as they endearingly call him, on its cover today. Here’s El Comercio and La Republica in Peru, Clarin in Argentina, El Mercurio in Chile. And here’s El Tiempo and El Espactador (where he worked as a young journalist) in Colombia, Marquez’s birthplace. It’s nice to see a writer get some front page coverage, even if it is only after they pass. It’s hard to imagine any writer from the USA receiving such a homage and makes me a little wistfully jealous for the esteem in which writers are held throughout Latin America.

As for me, I’m going to finally crack open that old copy of 100 Years of Solitude on my shelf and get ready to learn. That’ll be my tribute to the passing of a great master of fiction. I hope you’ll join me.


On final thing. In the English-language press, I enjoyed the NY Times and Guardian tributes to Gabo the best.

Another Giveaway Weekend

For you blog readers who want to check out my writing—here’s your chance. I’m running a giveaway this weekend.

My historical novella, The Man Who Ran from God and my short story, “The Truck Stop” are free all weekend long (April 12 and 13) on the Kindle store.

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And remember, you don’t need a Kindle to download and read the stories.

Enjoy!

Where I’m At—Works in Progress

It’s been awhile since I’ve given an update on my writing. So, today, instead of talking about the craft of writing I’m going to let you know what’s going on with my work.

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First thing: I keep on writing every weekend (after I escape from my day job) so the word counts keep adding up. Second, I’m going create a new sub page on the blog called, “Works in Progress.” You will be able to see that on the upper right from any page on the blog. It’s where I will keep a running update on the status of all my works in progress from from 1st draft through to final publication. That way, I won’t have to answer as many: So-how’s-the-writing-going questions. It’ll be all right here.

For you wondering where those works are right now, here’s a quick piece-by-piece breakdown.


The Ghul of Yazd
This is done and I keep submitting it. It’s an Orientalist horror novellete set in medieval Persia in the city of Yazd. I’m keeping a running tab on rejections in the UnRejectionable Ghul section on this blog. It has been rejected six times which is, believe it or not, not too bad. I’ll keep submitting it and let you know where it ends up.

“AFTA”
Excited about this one. It’s in the 2nd draft. It is a comedy horror (think Evil Dead) novella set in present-day Northern Virginia.  This is the main  focus of my work now and I can’t wait to wrestle  the manuscript into a final draft. I will have a formal announcement of the name here on the blog when it’s ready in the next couple of months.

WWBD? What would Bruce do?

Our Better Angels
Just finished this piece and sent if off to a couple of mags. It’s the first flash fiction piece I ever wrote. It’s a piece of historical fiction set in Virginia during the U.S. Civil War. It ends with a bit of a fantasy feel. I also blogged my experience of writing it.

“B”
This is a hard science fiction (to me that means no fantasy elements) short story. It’s in the first draft right now. I will edit it this weekend and next. Then, it’s off for some proofreading and time to submit.


A Pricing Update
Finally, a small housekeeping item. I’m going to update to a new pricing regime for my works on Kindle:

  • $2.99 for novels
  • $0.99 for novellas and short stories.

Why is that? Well, I’m trying to keep my works at low prices, because, frankly, I want to get my works out there. Thing is, Amazon gives me a 70% cut of royalties if I price my stuff at $2.99 and a 30% cut if I price it less. So, there’s an incentive to price it at $2.99. But, I feel $3 is too much to pay for a short story, but 99 cents seems about right. $2.99 also strikes me as imminently reasonable for a digital book. And besides, writing a novel is hard work, people. Just try it sometime. It seems only fair that the creator of such a piece gets to keep 70% of the revenue generated by their creation, instead of just 30%.

All right, that’s it. I’m out. Until next time…

Keep reading, keep writing,

Darius