The Dark Harp on Quarantine

Howdy! Like the rest of the western world, I’ve hunkered down at home for the past twenty or so days in quarantine. I suppose this is noble, what the experts tout, but somewhat contrary to American tradition and sensibility. As a country, we run to help, volunteer, and donate our skills and expertise. Action this day. This is who we are. Decrying our culture’s instinct, I’ve found ways to pass my home bound time. Catch-up on my movie backlog. Carefully allocate my toilet paper supply. Yard work. Work through my reading list. A daily ride to nowhere in the car. Draw. Play Animal Crossing, a family tradition of sorts. Learn the F Major Chord on guitar (Bar chord style).

And I’ve been writing.

For me, writing projects take years, a labor of love. And I write with a certain medium in mind. Hardcover book. Comic. Scroll. This is a fairly common phenomenon. Why do you think the turn of the century writers used long and flowing sentences? Some believe the verbose has to do with quills and writing pieces, the technology at the time. Instead of going back for more ink, making a mess, the theory goes writers wrote until the ink ran dry. The result? Long and verbose sentences with the length dependent on the amount of ink on the tip.

For the Dark Harp, I wanted the book to be completed in bursts, chapters to be read aloud. I wrote the initial text for a kid’s requested Christmas gift, and pushed out the work twenty-two drafts later. I read this work aloud so many times, a test to keep a kid awake. Ultimately, I wanted to give my son some comfort that a troubled Prince could make his way in a hard, challenging world filled with monsters, demanding parents, and other such unnamed beasts only a child’s imagination could conjure from the ether. When finished, I published the book online for free, a chapter each week. A serial story, Dickens style (Stephen King’s Green Mile also came to mind).

Lately, I’ve been playing around with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. If you’re not familiar, this gives folks the ability to read as much as they want and pays the author back on pages read. It’s an imperfect program leading to an influx of pirated books, summary novels (far worse than cliff notes), and romance genre conspiracies (this is a fascinating read).

Since everyone maybe looking for a good book, or new hobby, to pass the time, I thought I’d give the tale away for free again in the Kindle Store (the website has been taken down). If you don’t pay for Kindle Unlimited, no worries, I set up a give away (I can do this in short bursts), which starts on April 10th and ends on April 12th.

So, read Maven’s tale. Better yet, tell your kid a story. Remember, sometimes they come out at night.

And special thanks to all in the medical profession. Appreciate all you do. Stay safe out there.


  • After writing the Dark Harp, my son and I painted the cover. Learn more about the process. Note, if you have time on your hands nothing wrong with picking up a brush. I find this therapeutic.

Available on Kindle: