The Kindle Vella Experiment

Last year, Amazon launched a new web fiction platform geared toward episodic, serialized storytelling called Kindle Vella. This week, I have thrown my hat into the ring as a Vella author. However, rather then tell one serialized story, I decided to experiment with using it as an outlet for my short stories. Thus, I have launched a new anthology series called Millers Grove, based on an idea I’ve long had to compile my short stories into a Twilight Zone-ish anthology centered around a single small town.

I have so far published five episodes, with five more to come later this year based on interest and engagement. From what I have read, Vella is not likely to be a lucrative platform for the average writer, but at the very least it gives me the opportunity to release some of my content that may not otherwise fit into traditional formats while testing the viability of the platform. One complaint I have so far is that Amazon does not let you link Vella content to your Amazon author page, which is a big missed opportunity for cross-promotion with your other published work. It seems that Amazon wants to keep Vella as a self-contained ecosystem that its users never leave. I hope that is something they change one day.

If you feel inclined to give my anthology a look-see, I would be grateful for any reviews—or for thumbs up on individual stories that you may enjoy 🙂. The first three episodes are free. Subsequent episodes are unlocked with tokens. If you are new to the platform, you can claim 200 free tokens. While Kindle Vella is designed to be read within the Kindle app on mobile devices, you can also read the stories in a web browser.

Here is the synopsis:

Nestled deep in the heart of the Pine Barrens, a spooky stretch of New Jersey wilderness made famous by the Jersey Devil, is the mysterious community of Millers Grove. On the surface it looks like any other small town, but something sinister lurks beneath the veneer, setting the stage for this multi-genre anthology series of tales exploring themes ranging from the wonder of the fantastical to the drama of the real world, from the horror of the supernatural to the mortal darkness within humanity.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Dubrovnik: A Tour of King’s Landing (and other locations)

When I visited the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia in November of 2011, I had no idea that one of my favorite television shows, Game of Thrones, had just recently finished filming its second season there. When the season premiere aired four months later, I realized that Dubrovnik had been used to depict King’s Landing (though I also recognized a few other parts of the city in other scenes, such as those in Qarth).

The strange sensation of seeing the city walls I had so recently walked and photographed being used to represent this fantasy world led to some occasional difficulty suspending disbelief, but I nevertheless thought it was quite cool to have actually stood in the same locations as the characters in the show.

I will write much more about my visit to the magnificent city of Dubrovnik in my travelogue, but for now I thought I would just share some of my photos that match up with locations from the television series (based on my foggy memory from seeing Season 2 nearly a year ago).  Very minor spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched the second season . . .

A CGI-enhanced version of this city line stands in for King’s Landing in the show.
The island in the background was used for some of the scenes with Daenerys in Qarth.
Streets of Dubrovnik, err, I mean King’s Landing.
This area was used for some external King’s Landing scenes.
The tower to the right was used to depict the
outside of the House of the Undying in Qarth.
Daenerys walked along this area before entering.
You can see why Dubrovnik makes such a perfect shooting location for a fantasy show.
Many scenes were filmed along these walls that surround the entire city.
This angle is similar to one used in the show, with
a CGI-enhanced version of the fort in the background.
The fort itself was heavily used for King’s Landing exterior scenes.
These hobbit-like doors built into the hill underneath the fort were featured during
the montage in which Joffrey had all of King Robert’s bastard sons murdered.
The interior of the fort was used for several scenes in and around the castle.
Another interior fort shot. Cersei and Littlefinger had a conversation in this hall.
This fort courtyard was frequently used.
This upper level of the fort was one of the main exterior filming locations for King’s Landing.
The fact that the background is all water and sky probably made the fort the easiest
location to use in terms of not needing to hide a bunch of stuff or crop it out with CGI.
A closer look at the island that stood in for Qarth (i.e., the Daenerys scenes).
The area among the trees down by the water was also used for a few King’s Landing scenes.

I’m sure there were several other areas used for filming that I’m not recalling at the moment, but I don’t feel like re-watching the entire season right now to find them :-), so I’ll just leave you with one final long-exposure night shot that feels a bit like a fantasy photo with the smoothness of the water:

See more photos from Dubrovnik

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