“Barabanchik” also features great new cover art from Die Welle Design:
Isn’t that just grand? Just grand!?
I’m also doing a giveaway to celebrate its release: It’s free today and the next few of days (September 15-17) on the Kindle store.
The inspiration for this story came to me when I was living in Moscow near Profsoyuznaya Metro Station. Well, I had to get back out East (again!) to Kazan and went to buy tickets at Kazansky Station. Well, one day I showed up, went upstairs and bought a ticket, no problem, in about 15 minutes. It was well-organized, quick, and efficient. I went back the next week to pick up another ticket and…Guess what? It was an excruciating hour-plus ordeal, with a long line, and unrepetantly surly service. This story was my best attempt to explain this phenomena: What had the Russian Soul wrought to achieve such a huge discrepancy in outcomes? This story is my best conjecture.
The story also features the elusive, but much celebrated (among certain crowds) Russian prison tattoo. Now, from time to time at Russian train stations, Metro cars, and трактиры, you will encounter some fairly wizened individuals sporting tattoos on their hands and fingers. It is best to give these gentlemen a wide berth as these embellishments are a tell-tale sign of having done time in the Russian penal system (not exactly a five-star resort destination!). In fact, these tattoos are a secret language not for you, of course, but for…Well, those who need to know (their various business associates and peers)… So, that quickly and easily, on meeting their colleagues, assess how they ended up in prison and what they were put in for. Here’s one example:
If you know a little Russian, you can start to decode what these are about. If not, you shouldn’t aggravate yourself too much, it will pass! That is…unless you decide to visit Russia. But really, who has the werewithal and gumption to do such a foolhardy thing these days? (Just keep a reasonable space between you and any guys you see sporting them, alright?). As they say: меньше знаешь, легче спи́шь. So, mind your own business!
As for the story, here’s are the first few lines to pique your interest:
His given name was Rustim Leonidovych Shamiev, but everyone at Kazansky Station in Moscow called him Barabanchik.
Barabanchik entered the men’s washroom through an open door and a miasma of odor wrapped itself around him. The scent was a mix of body odor, stale urine, and feces overlaid on a foundation of nasal-tingling bleach. It was a smell which Barabanchik didn’t notice anymore. He shuffled forward, his boots sliding across the slick floor, and stopped in front of one of the bathroom mirrors...
IMPORTANT NOTE: You do NOT need a Kindle device to read the story. All you need is the Kindle App downloaded onto your PC, Mac, or phone (or even onto your Kindle, if you have one!) If you have an Internet connection and a device, you should be able to download and read this story anywhere in the world.
And if you do get it, please, please, please leave a short review (good, bad or indifferent) when you’re done with it on Amazon or Goodreads!
First Author Interview – Now Live on YouTube
Last month, I also had my first author interview ever. It was with the good folks over at Kyanite Publishing and we talked about my story Breakpoint. We discussed the inspiration for the story, how closely to follow (or not follow) your characters, and what I am working on now. Check it out here.