J.D. Stone and The Juniper Tales Project – “I Ain’t New Morality”

No, really, I did really did write “I ain’t New Morality” in response to J.D. Stone asking if he could submit a story for The Juniper Tales Project. I was only looking for published authors, and this was invite only. However, I like it when people ask, looking for nos. I love it. So I said yes.

Mr. Stone said yes when I asked him if he would write a blog post about his experience. So yeses all around! Hope you enjoy this blog and his story. I love it!


magpiesfinalI’m a hobbyist writer. I’ve pecked out my share of fan fiction, read books about writing, taken classes, attended conferences. However, a combination of life circumstance, awkward vision, inability to self compromise, lackadaisical attitude and old-fashioned fear of getting it wrong has prevented my novel from getting past eight chapters or so.

One of the things I picked up while pursuing my expensive hobby is an association with resident author superstar Aaron Michael Ritchey. I consequently wound up with an ARC of “Dandelion Iron.” When I read that note at the end, that described how other authors had been invited to expand the already rich universe of the Juniper, I decided to ask in.

Ritchey goes to a lot of cons, signings, workshops and the like. I was just another aspiring writer looking to latch onto his duster. For all either of us knew, I was a terrible writer. Odds were strong I’d be wasting his time, so he had every reason to gently say “no.” Instead he said, “I ain’t New Morality,” and allowed me to submit.

Of course all the normal fears crossed my mind. What if I’m terrible, what if I’m boring, if my voice doesn’t fit the universe? I was never concerned about that comical, over-the-top villain behavior where the editor cackles as he burns the manuscript in a fire and tells me to go back to the Warcraft message boards like a good little fanboy which is, now that I type it, an oddly specific thing to not be concerned about. But I was very much afraid of something worse. What if he’s indifferent?

The worst that could happen, though, would be a polite refusal. He’d let me down gently and besides, perverse as it sounds, it’s always been my ambition to be rejected. A rejection means a submission, and for all the time, effort and money I’ve poured into craft, I’d never finished and submitted. A milestone was in reach regardless of the result, so that is why I was brazen and presumed on Ritchey’s effusive good nature. That’s why I rushed to produce a draft. The only way I could lose this writer’s game was to not play.

I think it’s worth noting that I always wanted to be a published author, but it took more than writing to get me there. I had to be sociable, otherwise I never would have met Ritchey. I had to be an active member of the community, otherwise I never would have received and read that ARC. I had to be a little (or maybe a lot) audacious to talk my way into a closed circle. Only then did the writing matter.

Don’t misread me, the writing does matter. It matters a lot. But it wouldn’t matter at all without those other elements, which can all be summed up in the quality of risk. I had to suspend my fear to ask for a chance. Ritchey had to be generous with his time to give it. We’re both pretty happy we did, and I hope you will be, too.

J.D. Stone

To see the summary of his story and links to the download click here!