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.

Upcoming release: Reversal.

Well, the good news just rolled in!

Recall yesterday, in this article, where I mentioned that I had two pieces of flash fiction out for submission? Well, an hour after I wrote that article, I got word back on one of them. My first story in flash fiction, titled “Reversal”, has just been accepted for publication by Fireside Magazine.

Fireside has been known to attract a high caliber of writers, including Tobias Buckell, Chuck Wendig, Kat Howard, and Stephen Blackmoore amongst many others. Writers who’s actual job isn’t spent at some other building that’s two bad commutes away from home, but actually write fiction for a living.

Needless to say, knowing that my work has been accepted by a publication who deals with such writers is beyond simply being mind-blowing. I am quite humbled and honored to be a part of this effort, and am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes of this great event.

So, what is “Reversal” you ask?

Besides being the first piece of flash fiction that I’ve written, it is a piece of contemporary fantasy that is a spin on the idea of second chances.

Unfortunately, due to the size (or lack thereof) of the story, I can’t really disclose much more on the piece without ruining it. What I can say is that I am proud of the piece that resulted from the work that went into it, and I hope that you all enjoy it when it releases.

Brian, the editor in chief for Fireside, will be putting together the schedule for the issue in the weeks coming up. Until that gets taken care of, the publication date is still to be planned. Trust me when I say, however, that as soon as a date is finalized and disclosed, I’ll be shouting it from the hilltops. You know, what hilltops I actually got around these parts.

New release: When Death Comes.

Today we welcome a new member to the “published” family. This newcomer is titled When Death Comes, a Paranormal Fantasy. It has officially released with eFiction Magazine‘s  March issue.

A story about a man living up to the consequences of his life and his actions therein, it brings me great pleasure to see it become my third published piece (not counting the two free pieces on my website). In a way, I figured I’d never see this piece actually make its way to market.

I’m all too glad to be wrong.

As I mentioned in this prior article, this story had a bit of a troublesome streak to it. It was my first piece to ever earn me not only a rejection, but actually two separate denials. With those rejections in hand, along with dealing with NaNoWriMo at the time, I wondered if anyone would pick it up at all. Luckily enough, eFiction did.

So yes, by this point, the Kindle copies of the March issue should be up and ready for your download an enjoyment. The eFiction website has yet to explicitly list the March issue, but they should be up shortly.

I hope you all enjoy the story. As always, feel free to let me know what you think of it. Until then, however, it’s back to the grind.

Upcoming release: When Death Comes.

A story of mine that I’d written awhile back, When Death Comes, was originally rejected by Fireside Magazine. I’d written it, initially, just for them and it was meant to fit into their guidelines.

Now, Fireside only had a couple of slots for their seldom released issues, and they had an absolute ton of people apply for those spots. With their previous line-up including such names as Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig, however, I knew I was throwing myself to pure-blooded wolves.

It was, however, my first actual form rejection. While I had braced for rejections before, it hit me in a different way than I had expected. Instead of the gut-wrenching “I am a miserable sack of crap that shouldn’t bother writing” idea, it subtly made me slow down on sending out other material or even opening Scrivener. It was slow, it was subtle, and it was toxic.

After I got that first rejection, I looked at this story and it made me second guess the whole thing. “This story is just … too much of a sharp turn,” I remember thinking. I thought it would be impossible to have someone pick it up.

So then I sent it out to another magazine, Petrichor Machine. It took a couple months, but I was finally handed a personal rejection there. While I took comfort in that it was personalized, it was still a rejection none the less.

After that, the feelings from earlier had been renewed. Again I found myself staring at the story, wondering just what in the hell I’d actually bothered to write, to create.

Then, come January, I found myself getting back into my writing circles. That isn’t to say I found myself leaving a reclusive lifestyle, since this hobby of mine lends itself to the reclusive attention-whores like myself. Either way, I found myself chatting with Doug Lance, Editor in Chief with eFiction Magazine. We talked and bantered, then I remembered I hadn’t sent him anything in awhile.

Resolving that I needed to get something out, I took another look at When Death Comes. I liked what I had, even if I knew it was a bit different towards the end. Call it creator’s bias or what have you, but I decided I’d send it to Doug and see if he could make something of it.

It was at the tail-end of January that I sent him the story. On Friday, 2/22/13, I signed the contract with eFiction for them to pick the story up for their March 1st issue. I haven’t heard explicitly why they chose to pick it up, but I can only imagine if they’d seen the same thing in the story that I did when I wrote it.

So yes, Ladies and Gents, When Death Comes will reside in the March 1st issue of eFiction Magazine. If you want to have a read at it, you’ll be able to pick up a copy this Friday (the 1st) from their website, Amazone, Barnes & Noble, ect.

The story itself is about a man waiting to have a face-off with three other partner’s in crime, but recounting his actions that led him there to a strange woman who shows up at his doorstep. I tried to drop a few hints and allusions to what comes later in the story, including using one character’s name as an anagram, so keep your eye open.

Until the release, and for some time afterward, I get to contemplate how my seeming failure has turned into another success. For the immediate and foreseeable future, however, it’s back to work on a mixture of Under a Falling Sky and Blood in the Machine.

What the hell is wrong with me, and how come nothing seems to stay a failure?

New release: Eyes of Madness.

Hey folks! Remember a few days ago where I made that absolutely ludicrous promise to release a new short story, for free, as a Christmas gift for you all?

Well, it’s here. In truth, it’s on the Download page as well, but the link goes to the same place.

So what is the story? It’s a brief glimpse at one of my earlier characters, Alec Rho, as he’s being questioned by an official with the FBI. What’s his deal? Well, he had an … “incident” where he wound up with a runic scar on his shoulder, his eyes turned from brown to glowing silver, and he now sees Seraph (angels) and Demons. He’s got a couple other tricks up his sleeves, but in reality, he’s an average guy given a few extra tools and stuck in a horrible situation.

How did I come up with this story? Well, Alec is actually the product of the first full-length novel I’d written, but the book was mothballed before it ever saw the light of day. Pacing was horribly off, I needed to rewrite the thing anyway but nothing was working, ect. So the story and character have sat in storage for some time.

When it came time to pen a new story for this challenge, however, my thoughts drifted back to Alec. There was no where I could conceivably write his origin-story again, not with the limited time frame, but a teaser seemed possible. From there, the story took shape and became what it is.

I had put out a single call for beta readers but nobody responded. Let’s face it, most rational folks are busy doing Christmas-y stuff that would demand their attention, so I most certainly couldn’t blame them.

Instead, I took the liberty of doing what editing work I could, along with formatting. Am I as confident in its quality as if it’d been put through a workshop? No, of course not, but the circumstances demanded it.

That said, give it a read. It’s a free download, it’s only about 3,800 words in totality, and it’s the most recent “finished” product of mine.

I hope you enjoy this story, as well as have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.