I think it is the challenge of the thing.
The writing field today is flush with would-be writers bolstered by the ease of various types of publishing and the readiness of social media to help an author connect to an audience.
Competition is fierce. It is arguably the worst possible time to try to be an author, unless your talents are prodigious and your skin thick as a rhino’s. Which may be exactly why I’ve chosen now to take my own writing more seriously. It is the challenge of the thing.
So here is how it stands; my name is Desmond Manny and I am an author of fiction. Unpublished, untested, unbowed.
I am currently working on a series of noir-fantasy stories. Because there aren’t enough of those in the market, yes?
Think Raymond Chandler meets the Bros. Grimm. Though truthfully Chandler comes out better in the exchange.
Still, the truism holds and it is better to show than tell so I’m including a brief excerpt from a novelette titled Follow the Lady.
Follow the Lady (an excerpt)
HOW the djinn told it the grift was a slick one. The ice was low in It’s glass and It glowered at it like a man wronged. I motioned the barkeep with a quick nod. The old devil got brisk again at the top off.
“It was the Whesker runt all right.” the words came out hard, lips flecked with spittle. The djinn followed with a drink. It swallowed hard too. A tongue the same shade of red as a pistachio nut peeked out and patted the upper lip to tidy up. “He was the one with the plan and his neighbors’ wife all ready to covet.”
Glass to lips and another swallow. Hard again and with feeling. Then another to help the first find its way.
I waited. The barkeep, lean and with that expression of barkeeps the world over of being bored with all humanity has to offer, was straining not to hear us. Between swallows the djinn was being sullen.
“The wish thing is always a pain. They aren’t handouts. We gotta be juiced one way or the other. If you want it straight.”
When you thought about it the djinn were essentially slaves. Prisoners to the desires of others, desperate for freedom that can only come at the expense of one of their master’s wishes. Bound not only by magick but basic human greed. I thought of the stories you hear about someone who gets his hand on a lamp, bottle, or what have you, and a djinn and makes the wishes only to have them backfire in usually painful ways.
There are no free lunches. Magick comes at a price.
“Flattery works if you got the chops…or the curves,” and It grinned that toothy djinn grin. Straight, pointed teeth the color of sun-bleached stone and too much gum the color of raw meat. The teeth made me think of butcher’s tools, bright and gleaming and made for the sole purpose of separating flesh from bone.
“Especially the curves. Otherwise trickery is the ticket, but we djinn are damned hard to put one over on. The runt pulled a nice trick.” When the djinn stopped talking I let the silence drift between us at the bar. I didn’t want to push it. Just letting the booze work was the best finesse I had. From behind the bar the barkeep raised his eyebrow toward me asking if it was time for another top off. I ignored him, took a small sip from my own glass, intently studied the bar-top and made a point of not looking at the djinn. Seconds passed and each one seemed to swell into minutes, hours, and days. The bar was empty but for us. It was nothing special, a working man’s place for the kind of men who worked hard and got dirty and never quite could get the dirt from under their nails and eventually stopped trying. There was a big fan hung from a corner of the room but the barkeep kept it off, at least until a crowd showed. The room was hot and the barkeep and the djinn were getting annoyed at the silence. Not me though. I was on the job but to look at me I had all the time in the world.
“Skinny little bastard.” the djinn put Its glass back on the bar-top and placed a hand each side of it. It straightened It’s back as though steeling itself and then turned those eyes, those smoldering eyes, on me. “I’d like to see the runt get what’s his, shamus. I really would. So I will help you. I will tell you my secrets, I will lend you my crafts. You will find the runt and give him what’s coming. For my indignity, and for Paul Loran.”
Mentioning the client’s name was just to let me know It wasn’t stupid, and I had no reason to doubt it. Djinn may be many things but they are not stupid and this one had let a mortal trick it and imprison it and was set on a road to revenge. For the moment that road converged with my own. I also had no reason to believe there was any love lost between the djinn and Paul Loran. A slave rarely loves his master.
Copyright 2012 Desmond Manny
So there you go. A little taste of what I’m working on and I will update as things progress.