By Kevin Bailey
A Time of Dying-Kindle Edition ($4.99 on Amazon) [Download the Kindle App for FREE]
A Time of Dying-Paperback Edition ($9.99 on Amazon)
Previous Chapters on EatPrayVote (These chapters are included in the above versions.)
It was a difficult decision to discontinue the serialization of my novella A Time of Dying after last weekend’s chapters. Micki’s story has been a part of my heart for many years now, and seeing so many people read at least part of my little story (over 1,000 viewed the last chapter I posted, “The Fight”) just means so much to me.
For some context, I started writing this story right after I graduated from college, almost 19 years ago. My father, with whom I was very close, had passed away suddenly one year earlier, shattering my faith, and sending me spiraling into a depression so deep it nearly took my life. Just over a year later, a tragic car accident in the small Kansas town I grew up in took the life of a little boy, and I began to write this story. What started out as something of something of a memoriam to the lives of that little boy and my father (who is an almost one-to-one model for Micki’s father) quickly became much more than that.
In a very real way, this story saved my life. Telling the story of Micki and her family pulled me back from a very dark mental place, in which I wasn’t convinced life was all that worthwhile. Over the course of the next six years, I completed the shell of the story that is now published as A Time of Dying, although the initial conclusion was somewhat different than it became in the ultimate telling of it.
As a Language Arts teacher, I read the story to my classes over the years, and with how much they liked it, I had often considered sending it in to a publishing house. Ultimately however, I never was able to muster the courage to do so. This story felt so personal, and I had poured so much of who I am as a creative person into it that I feared what having it rejected by a publishing house might do to my psyche.
If not for the founder of this website, Jason Taylor, Micki’s story might have always stayed only something that several of my language arts classes had heard portions of, and that some of my closest friends and family had read in its entirety. Earlier this year, Jason contacted me through Twitter, wondering if I might be interested in writing for this website. I was interested, and wrote a few stories, including one so deeply personal that I had previously shared it with only a few of my closest friends.
At this point I decided that perhaps the time was right to try to publish my story about a little girl whose life is turned upside down by happenstance, fate, and cruel irony. I asked Jason to read the first chapter and let me know what he thought. He liked it, and decided we’d release the story in a serialized format similar to The Saturday Evening Post, which at one time would serialize novels from people like Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and many others.
As each successive installment received good feedback from new readers, I began thinking of actually publishing it using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. (I had previously started this process back in 2012, but aborted it mid-process.) This past week, I finally finished formatting the novella for publishing on the KDP platform, and on Thursday, I published it. (You can hit me up on my public Facebook page for a special offer with chance at winning a $50 Amazon gift card available to those with a verified purchase.)
While I strongly considered continuing the serialization, ultimately I decided against it. I have a lot of other work that I’ve begun over the years, but never finished, on which I would like to focus now. For that reason, I’m leaving Micki’s story where it’s at here on EPV: she is in the hospital after “The Fight”, wondering what exactly is wrong, since no one will tell her. Seven of you have already bought the complete story (5 from Kindle and 2 in paperback) on Amazon, and I have very much enjoyed discussing it with you on Twitter and Facebook. I hope others who have loved Micki’s story so far will also do so as well.
One final note: I hope to have another novel ready to begin serialization by next Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t decided yet if it will be completely serialized here on EatPrayVote, or whether it will be partially serialized, as I’ve done with A Time of Dying. I will try to make it clear once I approach the end of the serialization that it’s coming, so no one will be unpleasantly surprised.
Thank you so much to all of you who read and loved Micki’s story. I will always appreciate the time you spent reading my story, and the space you gave her in your hearts. And I will never be able to thank Jason Taylor enough for having given her a place to live outside my writer’s heart.