Look What Washed Up

While sitting at a beautiful spot by the water in First Landing State Park, I pointed out to a fisherman out on the water. Thus distracted, Laura didn't notice me place a small, round, wooden container at her feet. When she noticed the strange object, I said, "What a strange piece of driftwood, it must have just washed up!"

Inside was a silver moonstone ring... And she said yes! We had a wonderful walk back through the forest, talking about the kind of life we want together. I feel very happy and lucky!
- Nalin

Writing Update

The major writing update for the month is that I was accepted into the fall Fiction Studio with Michael Khandelwal at The Muse Writing Center! The studio entails eight meetings with a small group of fellow writers, all actively working on a project. We will blend exercises to improve our writing craft with discussions and round-robin critique of everyone's work in progress. I know the collaborative focus and group accountability to continue producing work will be very helpful. I'm looking forward to using the studio to spur on my in-progress novel Rassam's Eye over the course of October through December, still targeting a complete first draft by the end of the calendar year.

That said, I'm taking a break from novel writing for the next few weeks while I work on a short story that responds to the anthology call "Mirror Mirror: Modern Myths" by Word Fire Press. It's been awhile since I've written a new short story, and historically it seems I do best at these when responding to a theme. The prompt immediately started some wheels turning (literally and figuratively) in my imagination, so I decided to pursue this one, which has a deadline of October 15th.

My short story Anpo (The Dawn), which I announced last month had been re-submitted to a new market... was rejected again. In total, this story has been rejected seventeen times over three years, with various tweaks and outright revisions over the same period. Kinda over it. I think it's a good story, so I plan to self-publish this one as a free ebook via Smashwords and move on. Working with an artist friend on a cover now... hoping to release this in the next month or so!

Fiction Consumed This Month

  • Finished Gardens of the Moon (Book 1 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series), by Steven Erikson. Hard to review without spoilers, but I think I can say it came SO CLOSE to being my favorite fantasy novel of all time... then fell flat at the end due to some disappointing choices I think the author made that undercut two of the major plot arcs right at the climax! Overall, I'd give it a 4 out of 5, but it's really a shame that the last 40 or so pages can kill an otherwise utterly fantastic 700+ pages. Writing lesson noted.
  • Now reading City of Brass, by S.A. Chakraborty. Especially reading this right after a Malazan book (known for their layers and complexity), the dialogue seems very forced and expository, and the plot feels like it moves pretty directly in the forward direction. However, those are minor complaints, as it certainly is taking less active concentration to read than Gardens. I also love that the author chose a medieval Islamic aesthetic and mythological space to work in for the magic and fantastical elements. It's an engaging change and interesting counterpoint to all the Tolkien clones out there. Currently at about 40%.
What have you been reading or watching? Any recommendations for me?
I do love getting your feedback and comments, so please continue to reach out. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next issue!