Well, I’ve put my first short story up for free on Smashwords.com, and I feel pretty good about that. I have written ever since I was old enough to know which end of the pencil not to stick up my nose. (Turns out it’s both. Who knew?) But before I completed The Affair of the Atil Artifact, I had never actually finished any story I had ever started to write. That’s changing, now. I’m not precisely certain what it was, but something has given me more focus, and I am concentrating. I used to just write bits and pieces of stories and then say to myself: “Meh, connect them together later.” But the problem there is that it turns out that my plots tend to develop as I write, and so the bits and pieces I write here-and-there wind up not belonging to the story on which I’m working. I’m sure every other writer has a similar problem: dozens if not hundreds of little story-snippets on sheets of paper or word processing files, fugitives from the aether of the imagination, given form but no function, waiting to belong. I always feel like I owe those pieces; I brought them into the world, and I need to find a place for them. And I will. Eventually.
But Affair of the Atil Artifact was not like that. No, I sat down one day, a light-bulb clicked on, and then I was off! I churned out the full story in about a day and a half, and then spent months going through it, cleaning it up, making it make sense. I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to check back soon for the ongoing adventures of the British Museum’s Division of Curious Devices and Remarkable Artifacts!