Once again, one of the best things about writing and putting it out there is you have no idea what will be accepted and by who. It could be an editor, intern, fellow writer from a workshop, or just a distant stranger checking out your blog for the first time. This mystery is a tremendous motivation for me. Recently, at a convention, and in a previous post about understanding whether a certain book or story would be popular in the public eye, I said my favorite tale I have ever created was Beware the Ills. A reader and friend of mine approached me at Marscon and reminded me how much he enjoyed the book, and I told him it was my most beloved thing I’ve ever written. I love all my stories, they all have bits and pieces of me in them, but this one was special.
It took me six years to write Beware the Ills. I wrote most the book on receipts and in a moleskin journal between customers making deposits and withdrawals at the bank. When I finished it, I celebrated with a trip to the bar, but I still had to transcribe the damn thing to a computer. This process took me another few years. I finished my book right before a long-term relationship ended. Right before I lost the house I was living in. I lost pieces of myself. I ended up moving back into my parent’s basement at the age of 28.
I was so depressed. I would look around my folk’s basement at the boxes and the dust of my old life, and I would feel like a failure. I was caged in by my broken dreams. I would look at Facebook and all my friend’s lives, and they seemed infinitely better. Every standard society had given me, all the superficial titles and all the designations that accompany you with age had all failed. I felt like I was the same irritable child of years gone by. So, I took a plunge and self-published Beware the Ills.
It is a fantastic book. The entire story is through the POV of a man on an island who feels an unnatural compulsion to kill and protect the snowy shores. He has been doing it all his life and he is starting to not only tire of the scenario, but he also understands that a life of violence is unsustainable. The setting is a mixture of dark fantasy and steampunk. There are sword fights, massive walking machines, airships, monsters, cannibals, and berserkers. Here is the actual book description:
For the last 30 years he has been the sole protector of the legendary Diamond Town. Every hour it snows, howls, and storms. Every week, wave after wave of invaders crawl through the woods scouring for a bit of fame and glory on this lost island — and he cuts them all down with indiscriminate slashes of his sword. No one has survived being the Guardian as long as him, and the shadows are seething with vengeance in the forests and mountains.
A vengeful cannibal from a lost invasion, ancient beasts stalking about the mountains waiting to attack, and a fresh new batch of invaders with a beautiful berserker and emotionless captain are just a few of the festering plagues on this cursed island. There will be no respite. There will be no end to the war and strife. The winters are growing longer, the cold harsher, and the enemies bolder. Take a walk in the footsteps of the Diamond Town’s Guardian and his world, through his own blood-weary eyes. Count your footsteps and mind the silence, it’s time to hunt, and to fill the graveyard again.
Once again, the book is only a buck through the Kindle store. You can download it here. The story might read a little better knowing where it came from. I’m working on the sequel, but since it took me six years to write the first one, so I’ve got some time. Thank you for the support everyone.