Author: James Kendley
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Few villagers are happy when Takuda comes home to investigate a foiled abduction, and local police enlist powerful forces to shut him out. Takuda sacrifices his career and family honor to solve the string of disappearances in the dark and backward valley of his youth, but more than a job is at stake. Behind the conspiracy lurks the Kappa, a monstrous living relic of Japan’s pagan prehistory. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers and now by coldly calculated corporate interests, the Kappa drains the valley’s lifeblood, one villager at a time.
The Drowning God is available for order at
all thanks to a forum troll.
Contests and direct submissions didn’t pan out. But I rested easy because a
troll fulfilled his role. I was inoculated. If my own dear mother had called to
say I should give up this writing business, I would have smiled and nodded and
kept right on doing what I do.
community to complete the first draft of The Drowning God. This community,
music fans of all ages from Scandinavia to the Antipodes, is by far the
wittiest, most knowledgeable and kindest online family it’s ever been my
pleasure to meet. I count several of them as “actual” friends, not
just online friends. It was a pretty tight group.
H0neyc0mb Jack. Jack trolled the “official” forum, but he lurked on the
“friends” forum, which he had chosen not to join.
forum what I’d been up to. Jack responded the next day on the
“official” forum, an entirely different entity:
Good to be back! I’ve been away researching my new novel and its a
spinecrackler! At least three (Count’em, losers) internet publisher ibook
download companies have picked up on the idea and guess what?! I’ve actually
written it and people are telling me it IS good! I cannot believe I am this close to the Booker Prize at age
. My first novel!!!
Based on black and white films catapulted into a Die Hard present mixed with
Sopranos vava voom and tossed off with words written in another style, I cannot
BELIEVE the hum it is stirring
. If you had asked me
at age seventeen when the sap was still rising if I could have written anything
so erudite and funny and musical and in touch; well, I would have said…NO WAY
Thanks for the support guys, because without you all,there is no way I would
have written this
• posting on a different forum for deniability (“Dear boy, my post had
nothing to do with you! Just trumpeting my successes and whatnot. But what is
this? Do you scribble as well? What a coincidence!”)
• exaggerating the target’s claims (“But of course you’re shooting
for the Booker Prize, old sock. What young Turk like yourself would not?”)
• and the troll’s best game, playing on my perceived weaknesses: academia’s
scorn of genre writing, the rapidly changing publishing market, my advanced
years (I was 47 at the time, not 50), my lack of contacts, and my wide-eyed
commiserate about Jack’s unwarranted cross-forum cruelty, but I held my tongue.
That in itself was unusual. At the time, I loved an occasional wee online
dust-up, and I’ve never been one to let a bully have the last word, online or
off. But this was different because there was something to be learned here.
to see how hard he was mocking me.
new baby, three moves, and an overlong sojourn in the barren gulag archipelago
of for-the-love online litmags, I kept on writing and submitting. I joined a
professional writing organization, The Horror Writers Association, and a couple
of local writers’ clubs. I put out 80,000 words of short stories, essays, and
reviews, and I polished The Drowning God to within an inch of its life.
time, the truth in the action dispelled the troll’s lies.
bottom-feeder that turns dead matter and excreta into energy. In the process,
it removes toxins and debris to make room for new life.
environment. They uncover the fears, thus helping to turn toxins and debris
into new energy and new work.
date of his last post. I assumed at the time that he tired of trolling
well-adjusted adults or forum admins finally booted him. However, astute forum
members correlated Jack’s disappearance with the suicide of a music fan with a
similarly troubled online history. H0neyc0mb Jack seems to have taken his own
life. Weirder still: at one point, the troubled fellow in question, the man who
was probably H0neyc0mb Jack, friended me on Facebook.
sad. And I will meet meaner, stronger, smarter trolls. That’s part of the deal.
But the lesson has been learned:
I am rejected.
I am disappointed.
I am rejected.
I am disappointed.
Every dog has his day.
Kendleyness is next to dogliness.
Therefore, I will have my day.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
James Kendley has written and edited professionally for more than 30 years, first as a newspaper reporter and editor, then as a copy editor and translator in Japan (where he taught for eight years at private colleges and universities), and currently as an educational publishing content wrangler living in northern Virginia. He has a taste for the macabre, and he hopes you do, too!
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