I’ve posted the first of several novels I’ve written over the years and then ignored, allowing them to languish on my hard drive while I am distracted by a bumble bee. This is writing I did mainly for me, without a whole lot of consideration for market factors or wondering who the audience for the work might be. I presume the audience for the work is anybody reading this website, and, at a buck ninety-nine, how much of a risk could it possibly be?

I’ve found the only way to break writer’s block is to write, which seems self-defeating because, when you have writer’s block, writing is the very last thing you want to do. Since I couldn’t make any progress at all with the screenplay, I decided to write something else. I just started writing and kept writing, no matter how awful it was, until the ink began to flow from the pen once again. It took maybe a couple weeks of writing absolute gibberish before I finally managed to break through: I was a writer again, I was enjoying myself again. My writing exercise became the novel Zion.

The exercise yielded a love-hate story wrapped in a procedural crime drama. Much like the cancelled-before-it-ever-shipped Concrete Jungle: Legend of The Black Lion, Zion is a cynical urban fable about bad guys and worse guys. A world painted entirely in shades of gray, Zion is populated with quirky, complex, and deeply flawed characters in an overarching theme which deconstructs the meaning of love and the relevance of faith.

I’ve published it under the name “James Priest” to avoid further confusion with the British novelist Christopher Priest, whom I am quite certain has been driven insane from typing, “No, I don’t write Black Panther” thousands of times.

Read Full Essay Here


  1. Thad says:

    Does it have Kindle DRM? If so, any chance of a DRM-free version at a later date?

    (I’m not trying to start a debate on the merits of DRM; the Internet’s got plenty of ’em and doesn’t need another. But I’ve got my ebooks arranged the way I like ’em — Calibre Reader on my desktop and FBReader on my tablet — and I’d just as soon not have to worry about separate proprietary formats and readers.)

    I remember Concrete Jungle; I’ve got the first/only issue. I suppose new Valiant probably owns the rights at this point?

    • Priest Priest says:

      Thad: the book has DRM on it. If you buy it, just email me and I’ll send you a nice ePub version w/o it. And leave a comment– lie if you have to. 🙂 Thanks.

      Oh, and, I have no idea who owns the rights to CJ. That’s a good question… I should find out.

  2. Dave Van Domelen says:

    Bought. I’m fine reading on Kindle, the app on my iPhone works okay (I read PAD’s “Artful” on it a few weeks ago).

    • Priest Priest says:

      OK, but LMK. IMO the book reads MUCH better on iBooks app. Kindle format is really crude, like 1998 HTML. Will not break lines, ruins the embedded art, etc.

      • Dave Van Domelen says:

        So far (about halfway into Chapter 1), the only problem was that Chip’s note wrapped a bit. The iOS Kindle app may fix some of the formatting flaws.

        • Priest Priest says:

          iOS Kindle App: on my iPad, it just looks boring and wrong compared to ePub format on iBooks App. I wasted a couple weeks tweaking Kindle code futilely trying to coax it to do my bidding.

          • Dave Van Domelen says:

            Well, I’m reading it on the iPhone, not iPad. I do most of my novel reading while on my morning exercise walk. My only real complaint about the Kindle app is that it doesn’t display the time, so I have to check my watch like a neo-luddite to know when I’ve been doing laps of the building long enough. 😉

            Also, Hosun is VERY not Yao Ming.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Oh, BTW: Hosun S. Lee is a co-star of the book (with his permission). He shows up, ummm, in Chapter 2. –cjp

      • Dave Van Domelen says:

        Although the real Hosun isn’t quite so free with race-based complaints, you’ve definitely captured his textual voice. Although I have yet to see him claim to have lost all respect for someone. 😉

  3. Ralf Haring says:

    Please consider releasing a version via Google Books as well.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Google has books…? Never heard of “Google Books.” 🙂

      Right now, I am at the training wheels stage of epublishing, and still have 1 of my little Christian rant books to format and a second novel, “Dual,” to rewrite and edit before Santa arrives. For now, this stuff is exclusive to Amazon and on sale dirt cheap while I figure this stuff out. My plan, currently, is to expand the eBooks distro through various channels starting 2Q 2015 and to have print-on-demand actual tree books by 3Q 2015, and maybe some comics work next year as well after the QW mini. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into GB and see what’s what.

  4. circ says:

    Any chance you have a pdf of this for purchasers?

    • Priest Priest says:

      A PDF of the novel? Sure, I guess I could send you one… but why would you want it? If you buy the book, I can send it to you in ePub if you prefer, much better than .mobi or .pdf.

      • Circ says:

        Still a pdf fan. If epub doesn’t require any apps, I’ll try it. Thanks!

        • Priest Priest says:

          LOL! Circ: ePub requires an app of some kind to read it. In iPad, you need iBooks is free. In Android, you’ll want Google Play Books. Both are free. You can download the free Kindle app and read the book in Kindle (.mobi) format, but I personally prefer ePub format because the Kndle format does not allow auto line breaks, so the paragraphs get chunky which is hard on my eyes. The text flows much more naturally in ePub. I would need to send you the ePub file after you’ve purchased the book thru Kindle, just let me know.

          I think, once you acclimate yourself to one of the above formats, you’ll never, as in ever, go back to PDFs. Sheesh… PDFS… –cjp

          • circ says:

            Book bought. What POP (proof o’ purchase) do I need to show you?

            I’ll give the ePUB a try, but a sidexside comparison of the pdf would be awesome.

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