Reading my Very First Story, IN COSTUME, for Jay Lake

Most of you know the background. Author Jay Lake has been fighting colon cancer for four years, and he’s running out of treatment options. Catherine Shaffer and Mary Robinette Kowal put together a fundraiser to try to pay for whole genome sequencing for Jay, which might suggest other ways of attacking the cancer. They rallied various people from the SF/F community to perform various “acts of whimsy” as rewards for meeting fundraising goals.

I volunteered to read excerpts from the very first story I ever wrote, a 50,000 word piece of Dungeons & Dragons-inspired sword & sorcery, starring Nakor the Purple, a character I totally-didn’t-rip-off-from-Raymond-Feist. Not only that, but I would read this IN COSTUME as Nakor. You see, back in college, our D&D group put together Halloween costumes of our characters, and it was awesome. Because that’s how we rolled back in 1995.

Sadly, I no longer have the prosthetic elf ears, and I couldn’t get the sword to stay on when I sat down to read. I also think I looked better in this costume back when I had long hair. But ah well–any excuse to wear a cloak!

I won’t lie to you. The story is pretty bad. I’m tempted to make a drinking game. “For every unnecessary adverb, take a drink. Every time a character raises an eyebrow, take a drink. Every time the villains sit around waiting for the heroes to do something, take a drink.”

The first time I went to record, our dog Casey heroically tried to save you from having to watch. And then, after waiting three hours for the video to upload,  YouTube deleted it because I had a setting configured wrong. But as you know, you can’t stop the signal, and I eventually got 42 minutes of bad fantasy uploaded for all the world to see.

For everyone who believes the myth that professional authors were just born knowing how to write, I offer you the following proof that you could not be more wrong…

Jay’s fundraiser runs through the end of the month, and while they’ve already raised enough for the genetic sequencing, four years of cancer leads to some serious medical expenses, even with insurance. Click on over, check out the other acts of whimsy, and consider donating.

I guess I can’t stall anymore. I present to you now, Jim C. Hines reading the first chapter, a scene from the middle, and the climactic battle from his very first story.

And please remember. I got better!

If the embedding doesn’t work, click through to YouTube at: