This month marks a year since I dove head first into full time writing, and the mysterious, often befuddling, but always creatively satisfying world of self publishing. I’d like to take this moment to thank you, dear reader, for coming along for the ride.
Part of this brave new world is made up of numbers. As of this post there are 874 of you on my Twitter account, 304 of you ‘like’ my Facebook author page and 39 of you are friends on Goodreads. It took us all a year to get together. Knowing that you’re out there really does make me happy. Knowing that you’re out there helps to make me a better writer. Thank you for that too.
It’s been an interesting year. I’ve learned a lot. Still am. I still don’t understand it all. Probably never will. This ever growing indie book world is a whole new thing. Publishing veterans don’t even understand it. This coming quarter will show that ebooks are outselling traditional hardcover books for the first time ever, and they’re doing so in large numbers. We’re talking frontier outpost, moon base alpha stuff here.
Most of us indie ebook writers are out here poking around in the dark. We’re all trying to give you the best books we can. We’re all trying new things to get your attention. We’re all trying to figure out how the hell Amazon determines their sales rankings. I don’t care what anybody says, we are never going to figure that one out. It’s like the Holy Grail. We’re just supposed to believe. All the writers I have come to know over this year are good hard working people. I’m a better artist for knowing them, and they have my thanks too.
My favorite moment this year came as a complete fluke.
In order to promote myself as a writer I pulled out a dark, romantic, poem I had written some time back while I was dating a brilliant and lovely witch. I took a class with her called Storytelling With Tarot. The concept was simple. Pull a card. Write a story. We had gifted each other a Gothic Tarot deck for the class. I pulled the emperor card. I drove and parked my car at the beach. I took out a pad and pen and started writing. That’s how my poem, The Emperor’s Nocturne was born.
Sadly we broke up. These things happen. So I put the poem away. Then came the time that I had to find material to offer my readers as a freebie. I found Nocturne in my files. I polished and tweaked it. I posted it as a freebie and sent out a tweet. Within an hour I heard from Dr. Alex Scully.
Dr. Scully was publishing a horror anthology called Enter At Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices, and she wanted to include my poem. It’s an amazing book folks. It’s full of great stories by great writers. I will always be grateful to her for finding me, enjoying my writing, and for pairing me with Edgar Allan Poe. She, like you dear reader, made my year.
In my personal life a milestone is celebrated with a good bottle of wine, a delicious meal and a gift. I can’t invite you all over for dinner, not yet at least, but I can gift to you the most valuable thing a writer has to offer… well crafted words.
Here, for your enjoyment, The Emperor’s Nocturne…
The stroke of midnight.
The reflection of moonlight.
The beckoning of the graveyard.
All these seemingly glorious things disturbed the Emperor this night.
Down below, in their bedchamber, the Empress played her pipe organ. Even the full rich tones extending from her fingers could not soothe him this night.
This was their ritual.
When she wanted him, truly wanted him, she would play and he would come.
Wherever he was, in whatever state his mind, he would hear her nocturne for him.
The organ’s music moaned past every hall, and through every room, until it reached his deepest, darkest places.
But not tonight.
Tonight she would have to wait.
Tonight the Emperor was full of longings. Three wicked longings, to be specific, for three wicked women.
He was searching for an answer to a questions best kept to himself.
It was only once a century or so that the Emperor found himself in this particular state.
Every once in a great while, he would doubt himself. The subject of this concern was always different, but the effect was the same.
This was never a good thing, and the less the others in his world knew about the matters on his mind, the better.
The Emperor ruled over a devoutly dark empire.
There was some light provided by the permanent tri-lunar eclipse that hung in the pitch black sky. It was just enough to bathe everything in shadows, and in those shadows his people flourished.
They walked on a carpet of blue-black leaves that covered the ground. The ever blooming, ever barren trees provided them places to lurk, and the constant, ever swirling wind carried their whispers.
Those whispers could not include his doubts.
That would make him vulnerable.
So tonight he did what he always did in times of trouble. He summoned his counselor, and while he waited he pondered deeply.
How could he love another, and another, and another, while still loving his Empress?
The three sisters had played with his black heart from the very beginning.
Together they were indomitable. His closest allies and confidantes. Separately, they were deadly Venuses to his appetites.
The first came to him one midnight.
In his chambers.
While the Empress slept at his side.
Her long black hair brushed his face as she put her finger to his lips to silence him. She mounted him, there in the royal bed and he was lost in her quiet passions.
The Empress never stirred.
The second came to him as he swam in the deep purple ocean that surrounded his empire.
He loved to see the blood-like waters cascading off of his pale flesh.
That night the light from the edge of the moons lit the naked form of what was to be his next wicked indiscretion.
She swam out to him and when she reached him, she put her finger to his lips to silence him.
She put her lips to his open mouth and began to provide him with the only air he would breathe as they both sank to the ocean floor.
The third visited him while he visited the graves of his parents.
He had killed them both in a rage, and they became the subject of a passed counselor’s counseling.
He was there to tell them that their deaths were just and justified.
When he finished, he saw her.
She was naked and lying on the cold granite slab that marked her own grave.
When he reached her, she reached out to him. She pulled him onto her, and as he slid inside her, she put a finger to her own lips.
To silence herself.
No matter what he did to her that night on that slab, no matter how hard he loved her, she never let out a sound.
But in her constantly open eyes, he saw his own lust. He saw own vicious passions reflected.
All separate passions, all separate indiscretions and yet, all the same.
Each of the sisters said the same as they walked away.
We are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.
The organ music stopped, and there was silence.
Had the Empress heard his thoughts?
Had he been revealed?
In that moment, he heard his beloved’s voice in his mind.
They are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.
The organ music began again.
The Emperor smiled.
His nocturnal goddess had left him a balm in his mind.
She left him the realization that all three sisters were a manifestation of her. His devoutly dark mistress had created them all for both their pleasures.
The Emperor sank deeply into his red velvet throne with the announcement that the counselor had arrived.
His problem was solved.
There were no indiscretions.
The women that haunted him were one and the same.
There was no need for a counselor.
The Emperor decided he would kill him, just as he had killed the others before him.
He would feed off of his black blood and leave the carcass for his pets to nosh.
The Emperor felt much better.
He was himself again.