Fireside chat.

Good news, folks!

Fireside Magazine has opened its doors to the public for free online viewing. Traditionally, the magazine has been supported by Kickstarter funding for yearly chunks. However, they’ve wanted to try and move away from Kickstarter and to a more communal funding effort. Thus, the options for subscriptions, contributions, and patreon funding have opened up.

If you want to take a look, check out the magazine’s full catalog over here. If you’re also wanting a direct link to my previously published piece of flash fiction, Reversal, the link is right here. To directly help support Fireside, check out their “Support Us” page.

So yeah, there we go. A couple days late, I know, but things have just been manic. The rig is mostly up and running now, so I’ll be completely on my feet before we know it.

~ James.

First Draft: Done

It’s done.

The first draft of Project: Ember is complete, clocking in at 102,541 words. The project started back on May 18th, so this took almost exactly three months. The average word breakdown comes down to roughly 1,140 WPD.

I might have written down a bit more than I expected to.

Now begins a few days to work on Project: Warcry, but after that, some time off from the writing. A lot of TV shows, movies, games, and so on took a pretty big backseat during this project, so spending a few days to try and catch up on some of it would be nice.

Once that’s over and the editing begins, things are going to get ugly. I need to update my codex on the setting and add in my editing notes, because there’s a lot of work to do in fixing and cleaning it.

The characters have definitely come a long way as well, though it has caused some inconsistencies with the beginning scenes. Intros are always the hardest part for me, not so much the middle or end. The last paragraph or sentence can cause some hang-up for me, but that’s about it.

The characters aren't happy about their treatment.

The characters aren’t happy about their treatment.

Either way, I am thankful to be done with this much of the work. Sure, the long and ugly part is up ahead, but I look forward to seeing a cleaner piece of work come out of it.

Project: Warcry will definitely help tide me over while I work on the editing. Admittedly though, it’s a small project with a very close deadline.

So … yeah, I should probably get working on that.

Either way, one (large) step is done. Now, to move on to the next one and not have a hard time switching processes and story.

I am working on Project: Ember as efficiently as I can, but there’s a lot of work to do on it. Thus, I can’t even begin to guess at what timetable I am looking at for it. I’ll have to get some progress made in the editing process in order to begin guessing at when it might be ready for beta, let alone release.

If you’re itching for some of my own work to tide you over until some of these projects get further along, might I suggest having a gander at Blood in the Machine, or check out Reversal from last month’s issue of Fireside Magazine.

So yeah, here’s to progress. Now, off to take a mini-break for the night before working on Project: Warcry.

Reversal has a Release Date.

That’s right, folks. Reversal, my first project I’ve ever been paid for, has an official release date. So you might be asking, “Well, what is it already? I want to read!”

Well, I’m happy to announce that Reversal will be releasing in July 16th in Fireside Magazine.

I do encourage folks to not only read the issue, but to go through and read as many as you can. Not only has Fireside been featuring other writers like Andrea Speed, James McGee, and Martin Cahill (and many, many others), but each issue also contains a piece of serial content written by none other than the infamous Chuck Wendig.

Yeah, needless to say, having my work in the same publication as “The Wendigo” has my head spinning.

Either way, I thought you lot would like to know that you’ve got something to look forward to. Sorry for the short notice, though I actually only learned the release date a few days ago. After that, I promptly dropped the ball on informing you folks. Life’s got a funny way of burying you then punishing you for forgetting things.

Be that as it may, I hope you all enjoy the issue and the story. I’ll be releasing a State of the Mind address a bit later on, but there’s definitely been lots of progress in various projects.

Until then, however, enjoy.

~ James.

Releasing the machine, and the days to come.

It’s finally happened. You all knew it was coming, that you all should have run in fear, but you didn’t. For some reason, you crazy people actually stuck around.

I’ve gone insane Blood in the Machine is now available on the Kindle store.

Yup, that’s right, I spent all weekend (Literally all of it. Where did the fun go?) working on the post-production for this piece. Now it’s ready and available for everyone to take a look at, so my stressing can begin.

Want a look at the overview and cover, yet don’t want to click the store link? Fine, I’ll oblige.

“The year is 2022. Poverty has run rampant in the aftermath of war. First-world nations now receive support from various aid groups. In the middle of the chaos, cybernetic augmentation has become a reality.

In trying to find a way to help support his wife, NYPD officer Alex Rowan signs onto the police security detail for the head of the world’s largest cybernetics corporation. Over the course of his week-long escort detail, his simple assignment becomes a challenge that will test how far he will go for his wife.

The first solo piece published by James Darrow, Blood in the Machine is a novella of 18,500 words in length.”

Cover art for "Blood in the Machine".

Cover art for “Blood in the Machine”.

There we have it – my first solo, commercial release. Sure, we’ve had the odd short story or two before, but this is entirely different. This marks the first time I’ve ever went off on my own and done something this massive as an actual release, both in size and in behind-the-scenes work.

At the same time, I thought it best to limit myself to something smaller than a full-blown novel. It helped focus all of the back-end work and limit costs, yet will hopefully have given me something solid to build a foundation upon.

With this release will also come some changes to how this website will flow and operate. Release announcements for chapters of The Veil will be taken down and no longer uploaded. If there is a delay in chapter postings, it will be over social media.

In short, as much as this place could be described as a blog to most people, I still want to keep it relatively well organized and clean. That means cutting some of the fat and being better about structuring the articles.

What will I be working on next, you ask? I am still working on Beyond the Rift, a scifi novel that I began in November and have made good headway on. It seems like as good of a place as any to focus on, and given the amount already done, it makes the most sense.

At the same time, I’m going to have to try and spread the word that Blood in the Machine is now a real thing that people can sink their teeth into. You know, without becoming a walking, talking billboard.

So there we have it, folks. Please, feel free to check out Blood in the Machine and help spread the word. Since this is entirely new territory to me and I’m an unknown element, I would appreciate all the help and support I can get.

I’ll be keeping busy, don’t worry about that, so the next piece shouldn’t be overly far out. Plus, given the things I’ve learned and setup with this piece, it should be smoother sailings from here. Until next time, however, I hope you enjoy the story.

~ James.

Announcing: The Veil.

Time for some fun. Well, for you guys anyway. For me, it’s fun, stress, anxiety, urgency, obsessiveness, ect. Hell, I’m even still wondering how I managed to think I could pull this off, but we’ll see.

I’m here, today, to reveal my latest project, one that you guys will be able to experience a bit more frequently than most of my pieces.

TheVeil

(That cover artwork is temporary, I assure you.)

Today I am announcing The Veil, an episodic piece of urban fantasy content that will be available for anyone and everyone to read *for free.*

So what is The Veil about?

~*~

Alec Rho is a normal guy who went camping for the weekend but woke up in the hospital after a strange series of events took place that altered parts of his body. Upon waking, his definition of reality starts to warp as he not only sees but is also hunted by demons.

Breaking ties to his former life, Alec strikes out on his own so that he can come to grips with the changes he has to endure. In doing so, he winds up becoming the prey in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse pitting him against a manipulative demon who wants him dead and a pair of FBI agents who want the truth.

With only the help of a guardian angel who treats this more as a training exercise than anything, Alec must survive the hunt long enough to try and stop it. With foes both of the Human world and from beyond, the odds are stacked against him as he tries to understand what lies beyond the veil.

~*~

I know you lot probably have some questions, so let’s bop straight into the (anticipated) Q&A then, just to get the details hammered out in a slightly stylish manner. It also lets me throw out lots of details and plans without looking like I’m giving some scripted speech from a podium.

Question: What does the title mean? How does a veil play into this story?

Answer: The Veil, in terms of in-story narrative, is the barrier that shields Mankind from the creatures (Demons and Seraph) on the other side. That said, it’s more akin to something that blocks one from noticing them, rather than stopping them from interfering with us. As such, it’s similar to a veil, and thus the title.

Q: I’ve been a longtime reader of yours and am familiar with this story. Why the balls should I care about you re-doing it?

A: If you’ve been with me for that long, you know just how bad this story was the first time around. Horribly (and I do mean horribly) constructed, long sequences with nothing happening or things happening for little to no good reason, ect. The very first version of this story, written about three years ago now, was a damn train-wreck.

This time around, that won’t happen (as badly). Between the time that’s passed by, the works I’ve published, and the feedback I’ve gotten, The Veil will be something to be proud of. The pace will be fixed, the characters will have more meaning and personality, and Alec will be less passive and at the whim of everything around him.

Q: You could have just made a new story, rather than recycle your old idea. Why are you bothering us with this?

A: Plain and simple, this is a story that I’ve never been able to let go of. Even over a year after I mothballed the story concept, it’s still something that constantly nags at my thoughts and demands for me to tell it. At the same time, hardly anybody ever saw it back in its original form, so it’ll still be fresh and new content for many members of the audience here and now.

Q: Okay, fine, but what makes this a serial project rather than just another novel?

A: It was brought up as an idea that I introduce some new free content on this site in order to give a taste of my style, along with try and draw in new readers. I figured what better way than try and release a piece of content that readers both old and new can look forward to at set times.

To that end, I’m aiming at 12 to 15 chapters which will be written every week, examined and given a read over on my end, then posted online every Wednesday (starting on 6/19). Think of it as an extended, more polished version of NaNoWriMo that you all get to see the results of on a weekly basis.

Q: Dude, you don’t have the best track record for an attention span or releasing material on time. Why should we be anticipating that you’ll actually stick to this time schedule?

A: This type of rigid timeline should hopefully allow me to focus myself better. If I am analyzing myself correctly, I’ll likely have the first draft of a chapter written in the first few days. That should allow me to spend a couple days on edits and revisions, then to continue my work on other projects as well.

Q: So, wait, what’s getting stuck on hold for this? You’ve obviously gotta be sticking something on the back-burner so you can do this project.

A: Nope, everything remains on track. This is entirely in addition to the other projects and work I currently have, so you’ll miss nothing and gain something new.

Q: You said before that you’ll release this as a paid thing after you finish. That mean you’re gonna just post up a chapter and yank the previous one down so nobody can access them later on?

A: That’s not how this will work. You’ll always be able to read The Veil on this website for free, no chapters excluded. Hell, once the story is completed and it’s edited by a third party, I’ll go back and post up the newer versions of chapters for free as well. I want you lot to be able to see and experience this story, in full, for free at any time.

The paid option you’re thinking about is a premium option for this story. It’ll be up to you to decide to read it on your kindle or phone using the app, get the bonus material, or just decide to contribute. What it’ll be is the story in a completed and edited form, as on this website, complete with cover art, some material that takes place directly after the story but doesn’t affect it, and other things as I imagine them.

Q: So how do we read it? WordPress has pretty shitty formatting for actual story content, and I don’t want to be arsed with a dozen individual file downloads.

A: Right now, I’m looking at using Google’s Drive system to host the chapters individually. That way, you can just read them straight off the web without too much hassle, yet it still retains proper formatting.

Q: Let me guess, you’re gonna charge $10 for the premium version because you can.

A: Nope, I’m gonna charge the lowest possible amount (99 cents) because I can.

Q: Bullshit.

A: Cry moar.

Q: You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?

A: Quite a lot.

Q: This sounds like you’re gonna get a bit preachy with your story, can I take this to my Sunday Service and recommend it?

A: You’ll probably get a few strange glances if you do. Make no mistake about it, this is straight-up fiction, not the, “God saves All,” kind. We’re talking about violent deaths, the ruining of lives, the effects of violent zealotry, ect. Hell, even the Seraph (think Angels) aren’t exactly lining up for their photo with Hallmark. The Veil takes some concepts used in modern day religions, but it’s more of my spin on those elements in my style of story.

So there you have it, folks. The Veil is a reality and it’ll be coming your way sooner than you might have thought. The versions that get posted online, along with that cover art I posted earlier, are not final versions. If you want to contribute to this project in one way or another, feel free to send me an email at james@jamesdarrow.com.

Until next time, it’s best I get cracking. Just when I thought I could have my week-nights back…