State of the Crazy.

It’s like the State of the Union address, except for the demented thoughts in my head!

In all seriousness, I thought I’d give an update as to what’s going on. It’s been a little while, some things have come up, and I’ve been working on my vanishing act for the last week or so. Needless to say, I owe you guys something.

First off, I’ve been trying to stay busy with the writing, though the day job is kicking my ass six-ways-from-sunday. I’ve been squeezing in my writing during the lunch breaks, but by the time I get home, I wind up crashing on the couch. Trying to fix this, and it should pass come the middle of next week, but it’s hampering me at the moment.

I have, however, not stopped on progress. I’ve actually – just recently – submitted a short story into Fireside Magazine. They ran a Kickstarter for their second quarterly issue – and beyond – but also recently opened to submissions.

Fireside’s been exclusively an invitation-only publication, featuring such writers as Chuck Wendig, Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, and more. Needless to say, I feel like I’ve thrown myself to the wolves with this one. I wrote this entry with the intention of putting out a great story, but I’m keeping my expectations being picked quite low.

Because of Fireside’s submission guideline, as well, a welcome challenge was created. You see, with eFiction Magazine, the word ceiling is at 10,000 for a short story. With Fireside, however, it’s 4,000. Breaking my normal ceiling and working under the constraint having a limit that was less than half of my prior works was a rather exciting and fun challenge. I even managed to go under their limit, having the story clock in around 3,100 words.

Take that, adversity!

Secondly, are you familiar with King of the Web? Maybe you are, maybe you’re not, but hear me out. It’s essentially a popularity contest with internet personalities. It doesn’t cost anything to participate, but the rewards can be pretty substantial.

TotalBiscuit, one of the largest YouTube gaming commentators – if not the largest – out there, is currently running in King of the Web’s “Battle Royale”. Here’s the thing, he’s running with the intention of donating his entire prize to Charity: Water. C:W, in short, is a charity designed to provide clean water and wells to third-world nations and their people.

TotalBiscuit has a history with C:W, having already managed to raise and donate over $20,000 to them before with his earlier KotW campaign. I’m going to be voting for TB in this Battle Royale – and through him, Charity: Water.

If you want to help chip in with King of the Web, check out his campaign page. As I said before, it’s all free and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to setup and vote.

Personally, I’ve followed TB for a number of years and recall listening to him during the first run of Blue Plz! on WoW Radio. Seeing him willing to take on this contest explicitly for charity makes me happy, so I want to continue to support him.

Thirdly, progress for Crimson Sands. The word count is lower than I would have liked to be at, but I’m continuing regardless. Things are accelerating in the story and the characters are being fleshed out, so that helps. Introductions have never been my strong point, so here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing from here.

I am aiming to be sending it off for editing by the end of the year, so that’s my deadline that I’m sticking to. That means completing the first draft, getting some beta input, going over and fixing as many grammatical mistakes as I can find, ect.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to publicly release Crimson Sands next year alongside Under a Falling Sky, my planned NaNoWriMo novel. Let’s face it, it pays to come out of the gate swinging.

Fourthly, I’ve been having a slightly awkward moment when dealing with my social media feeds. It used to be that, back when I got started with writing seriously, I was actively searching for publications and magazines to try and submit to. Now, after having submitted to eFiction for some time and just having recently submitted to Fireside, it’s changed.

I’ve now noticed some publications and magazines seem to search for me. I now see multiple magazines and publications find and follow me. Just today I got followed by World Weaver Press over on twitter. Hell, I found out about Fireside Magazine simply because they followed me on twitter. There’s been a few more, but it’s giving me a strange feeling.

Oh the times, how they are changing.

Anyways, I’ll keep busy with the multitude of projects I have to work on for the moment. I’ll also keep you all as informed as I can – within reason, of course.

Now where did I put my straight-jacket …


Remember, remember, (the fifth of) November …

You might be wondering why I decided to throw in a V for Vendetta quote. It was simply the fact that mentioned November, so I went with it.

Now for why you’re here!

I’ve recently signed up on NaNoWriMo with the intention of entering this November. If you want to check out my profile over there, I’m going to be writing under “James Darrow” over there. Shocking, am I right?

For those that aren’t aware, NaNoWriMo – or “National Novel Writing Month” – is both an event and a non-profit organization (under the name “The Office of Letters and Light”).

As a non-profit, NaNoWriMo helps bring creative writing software, supplies, writing ideas and lesson plans to classrooms from kindergarten through high-school. If you want to help, you can make a tax-deductible donation or buy items such as T-shirts, mugs, ect.

As an event, run by the same non-profit, it is the equivalent of a literary marathon. From the crack of dawn on November 1st till midnight on the 30th, participants are tasked with writing a 50,000 (or more) word novel. The average to beat the requirement is 1,667 words-per-day.

What is the prize for crossing the finish line? A printable certificate of completion, some badges you can put on your blog/site/ect, a coupon for 50% off a copy of Scrivener (already own it), and another coupon for five free prints of your story on the CreateSpace platform.

Plus, you know, the satisfaction that you’ve basically written a whole damn novel inside of thirty days.

I’ve already got a story in mind that I am mentally piecing together. It’s got a working title of “Under A Falling Sky”, and will be a SciFi Fantasy mix. By “Scifi Fantasy”, I do actually mean “Guns and jets mixed with magic and spells”. ‘Tis a rare genre, but one that I love.

I won’t be penning a single word of this story till November, so it’s driving me mad as it is. It does, however, give me more time to work on Crimson Sands, which is advancing at a solid pace.

I’ll keep ya’ll advised as to what’s going on as they come up, but for now, it’s gonna be a hectic and chaotic period.

What’s new for the readers?

A Debt of Lead is released, the Prayer to the Exiled has since been posted. We’ve managed to get lots of action, hopefully a bit of exposition for the Dark Stars universe, and gotten our first taste of Jacob Wilkens.

So what’s next?

I’ll be very forward here, I have big plans for the Dark Stars universe. I made it as a sandbox that I could take a wide variety of stories and character, then place them inside and tell their tales. As such, I’ve even managed to conceptually adapt a number of my older stories that didn’t quite work, and fit them in the Dark Stars setting.

How many story ideas does this sandbox leave me with, you might wonder?

Eight novels, at least. Yes, you heard me right. And yes, ambition might be playing against me, but I don’t care.

I have, at least, two series planned right now that fit into the setting. The first is a consistently growing series about two mercenaries – Jacob Wilkens and Vaerys Tyrus Dirion – and the jobs they work. The second is firmly a trilogy about a unique TAC (the main human government) SpecForce team.

So what’s in the oven right now?

Crimson Sands, the first full-length novel in the Dark Stars setting, is being started. This novel will follow the events of A Debt of Lead, and will star the aforementioned mercenaries and how they begin to work together.

It will also be the first time that a Vashari – in the form of Vaerys – has ever been a main character in the Dark Stars universe, so the idea of showcasing her and her culture is very exciting for me.

So stay tuned, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the show has only just begun.