To meet Jake Marley is to encounter joy in its purest form. First there is the smile that comes to his face, and then the fact that the first thing you’re likely to hear from him is something like “I’m so happy!”
So, yeah, Jake fills a room.
After a while, you discover that within the various genres of speculative fiction, he’s also one of the most well-read new writers you’ll find. This comes from a combination of his basic passion for the field and the fact that he’s got hours on the road as he drives through Southern California as his employment, hours that he fills with listening to audio books. Regardless of where it comes from, he’s the kind of guy who can drop names of writers and stories into conversation like they’re salt or oregano. The recipe is always enticing.
“It’s all a show,” he says. “The fact is that I’m terribly introverted, but I’m always pressing myself to be more out there.”
I suppose it’s not too surprising to find any writer is fundamentally introverted, but when I find that every person who meets Jake has the same response—that Jake is a remarkable person to be around, and that he makes people happy without saying a word—well, let’s just say that there is more to him than he seems to want to let on.
Bottom line: some of the other contest winners began calling him “Jake the Great.”
Given this, you might be surprised to find his fiction can carry an edgy, darker tone—as is the case with “Acquisition,” his Golden Pen award-winning story that is currently published in the 33rd Annual Writers of the Future anthology. The events of the story start with a jolt, but the story of the story slides into your mind like a silent shiv, then he incessantly turns the knife in ways that … well … that aren’t like the Jake you meet and hug.
Guest blogger, Ron Collins. Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com.