There’s a story I read that was so haunting in its description, I felt compelled to share it with students and friends. When it was removed from the Internet, I hunted down the author online and begged for a copy of it. I’d pay to read it again, I wrote, just name your price. Chris Ruz wrote back that no payment was necessary and attached the story to the e-mail. After that, I was hooked.
For a while now, I’ve followed the work of Chris Ruz. His short stories are full of such rich detail, I can’t even begin to imagine how lush the description would be in a novel written by him. Well, now I no longer have to imagine because he has written a novel.
I am very impressed with the work Chris has completed on his novel Century of Sand. I know 3 years sound like a long time, but Chris has completed college, worked full time, and written dozens of short stories at the same time as working on Century of Sand. He is my real-life superhero and role-model. Knowing he can create great literature while trying to live a life full of school, work, and friends gives me hope that I can too.
This post does double-duty, highlight a great writer and the need for feedback. I have a handful of friends who let me know within hours of publishing each blog post if I have a spelling or grammar error somewhere in the post, which is why my posts are as error-free as they are. Unless you’re writing a diary entry, writing is a group effort with readers providing feedback and writers incorporating that feedback into the final draft or into future writing projects. So help a writer out and let Chris Ruz know what you think about his work. He has made the entire draft of Century of Sand available for download on his website in pdf format. EDIT: Century of Sand is no longer available on Chris’ website as he is trying to get it published. Good luck, Chris!!!
He has 2 Kindle compilations out for a very reasonable price of $0.99 each. That’s a scandalous price for the quality of work you’ll be receiving if you buy them. Some of my favorite imagery is contained within them. One of my favorite examples comes from the story “Black Rain”: “The sky through the bedroom window was the black of caverns and blind children.” Wow. What strange and fantastic kind of imagination does a person need to be able to describe the color black as the darkness blind children see? See what I mean when I say this is great stuff? I even read several of his stories aloud to a friend to make absolutely positive he didn’t miss out on really great literature.
If the thought of work filled with imagery so vibrant it jumps off the page appeals to you, then head on over to Amazon.com and get a copy of either Past the Borders or The King and Other Stories by Christopher Ruz. Heck, for a dollar each, you could easily afford to get both and never feel it in your wallet. If his short stories whet your appetite for something more substantial from him, stop by Chris’ webpage and download a preview copy of Century of Sand. Whatever you do, though, make absolutely sure you drop Chris some feedback about his work. Artists thrive on feedback and it’s essential for continued growth.
By the way, that haunting story I hunted Chris down for all those years ago is “The Long Way Home” and you can find it in The King and Other Stories. All of his stories are hauntingly good, though, and will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them.