A Word on Style

Hi All:

I thought I’d talk about writing style today, both in general and my own specifically.

Now, every writer has his or her own ‘style’. Some, like C.S. Lewis, are quite simple and stripped-down. He leaves a lot of the details blank to allow readers to fill them in with their own imaginations.

Others, like J.R.R. Tolkien, describe every rock and tree in excruciating detail. You don’t need to imagine anything because he tells you literally everything.

I like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle. My stories are fairly simple, plot-wise. I like a few twists and turns but my heroes usually start over here and end up over there in a somewhat linear way. I like to read stories like that, so I tend to structure mine in the same style.

I’ve read all of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R.R. Martin. His world is rich and thick and, frankly, I tend to choke on so many plot threads. Plus, to be honest, never has a series of books left me so frustrated and downright angry than those have.

Really, George? Having me invest hours and hours of time following beloved characters just to kill them all off? Nice. No, painful actually.

But that works for Martin. It doesn’t work for me. Yes, I’ve killed off a few minor players in my novels. But I consider their deaths carefully before they happen and I agonize over each and every one. None of their lives are throwaway to me. And I can assure my readers that I will never kill off a main character just for shock value. I find that to be crude and manipulative. But hey, I’m not Mr. Martin.

At any rate, I’ve had readers call my style everything from ‘readable’ to ‘overly simplistic’ and everything in between. (I find someone saying my writing is very readable to be an immense compliment, by the way.)

But with my new series: Tales from the New Earth, my style had begun to change somewhat, especially since Book 1. It has to. Epic fantasy is, by definition, more layered than straight-up fantasy. More plot lines have started to weave themselves into the story simply because my world is larger. Indeed, it is a global landscape. not simply a local one and I’ve had to broaden my canvas.

I must admit that it is invigorating to adjust my writing in this way. I am no longer confined by the smaller scope of my earlier works, although the third book in ‘The Titan’s Legacy’ series has become something of a globe-trotting adventure.

My New Earth is bursting with potential. Simon O’Toole, my hero, is that small pebble that can stop the grinding gears of a huge machine. But, oh my, that machine is large. The future of the series is laid out ahead of me in a vast landscape and I’m relishing the books to come.

All of this post is basically to say that writing styles can change. In fact, for a writer who wants to keep producing entertaining and fresh works, they have to. A formulaic writer, like Dan Brown, can keep people interested with his ‘kill someone in the first chapter and then spend the rest of the novel figuring out who and why’. But eventually it all starts to feel the same. And that feels stagnant to me.

So, for those who are looking forward to the next books in ‘The Tales from the New Earth’ series, prepare for some larger plot lines and a lot of surprises. I hope to take Simon on a world-changing adventure and I intend for it to be a wild ride.


Thanks to my readers!

Hi all:

I wanted to write a thank-you post to all of you who picked up my new novel, The Dragons Return. As of this writing, the book is 6th in Amazon’s Teen Sword and Sorcery category. I have to admit that that’s very exciting!

And, because of the popularity of the new book, I’m adjusting my writing schedule somewhat and putting out the next book in that series first, before I release the fourth book in The Titan’s Legacy series.

For those who’ve asked, yes, there will indeed be at least two more books about the new Titans, so fear not. Justin McLeod won’t be left to rot in that underground prison forever.

And I haven’t forgotten about Chris Wright and The Angelic Wars. His journey to Hell is on the horizon, I assure you.

But this post is about you, the reader. I don’t think enough authors thank those who read their works as often as they should. We may feel that we’re writing in a vacuum, but we aren’t, unless we’re writing for ourselves.

I write what I’d want to read, for sure, but it is for the reader’s pleasure too. If I hit both of those goals, then I feel that I’ve succeeded. So thank you for your continued interest and support. Have a great holiday season! The new year is looking bright.


My Latest Release: The Dragons Return

Hi all:

Well, my latest novel, the start of an epic fantasy series, is live and available to purchase.

The Dragons Return is the first book in the series: Tales of the New Earth. Here’s the Link

This one’s been a labor of love, honestly. I wrote the first line several years ago, created a few chapters and then let it lie while I worked on other things. But finally it gnawed on my mind so much, I had to commit and get it done.

I hope you really enjoy it, because I expect this series to explore the four corners of the Earth before it’s done. This is the blurb from the book:

Over 3 years ago, the old Earth began to die. Technology started to break down. Electricity failed. Machines stopped working. Planes, trains and cars became useless hunks of metal. And then the dragons came. On the Night of Burning, the world’s great cities were reduced to slag and rubble by dragon fire. Civilization, as we knew it. ceased to be.
But before the end came, there were the Changlings. A few humans, children and adults alike, began to mutate into…something else. Ears became pointed, fingers fused or elongated. Their old languages were lost to them and they began to babble in unknown tongues. Perhaps one in a hundred thousand Changed. Simon O’Toole was one of them.
Back then, he was a large middle-aged man. Now he’s a skinny, awkward teenager, Simon has lost everything; his family, his friends, the world that he knew. But he has gained something as well. Through hints in dreams, he has learned magical runes that can summon elementals. He can cast fireballs and lightning. In short, Simon has become a wizard.
Slowly, carefully, he is learning to use this new power. It will take years to master his magic. Years that Simon may not have.
The dragons are still on the hunt. They search for survivors of the human race, and when they have been exterminated, the dragons will turn on the last remnants of humanity: the Changlings themselves.
Thanks to those readers who have stuck with me since I started this crazy journey as a writer. I assure you that books from my first two series are in the works and will be available in 2015. Enjoy the novel and we’ll speak again soon. All the best.
J. J.

Product Details

On Writing Epic Fantasy

Hi all:

Just wanted to post a little something about my attempt to write epic fantasy, which is what my latest novel will be. At least, I think so.

There are so many different variations of books in the “epic fantasy” genre that it’s hard to really pin it down. But for me, epic fantasy is set in a world where magic exists. There is a protagonist who may start out as your average person and then, through whatever combination of luck, or skill, or, heck, divine intervention, slowly grows into a genuine hero.

Certainly that is the type of story that I have written. I’ve always been a fan of epic fantasy. From Andre Norton and her witches to Anne McCaffrey and the Dragons of Pern, any and all good works in this genre have captured my imagination through the years.

And now, with some hubris I suppose, I’ve set about creating my own alternative universe and releasing it into the world. It’s a big step, at least for me. Some would say that my previous works have all presented at least some aspects of epic fantasy and I can’t really dispute that. But it wasn’t intentional. I simply wrote what I wrote because I wanted to write it. Good rules to live by for any aspiring writer, I should think.

However, now I’ve consciously built a world, not too different from our own, but different enough and watched my characters grow within it. Is it epic fantasy? God, I hope so. But whatever others may think it is, for me it fulfills my definition of the genre, and that is enough.

I’ll be releasing my new novel near the end of this month (November) and we’ll see if my little dragonet can actually fly. Or it could flap twice and land headfirst on the rocks below. I hope not. I’ve loved writing this one, I really have.

I hope those of you who read it will love it too.

Stay tuned.


Dragons? What do you mean, dragons?

Hi all!

I wanted to drop by and talk a little about my next novel. I know there are people waiting for either the next book in The Titan’s Legacy or The Angelic Wars series and I’m thrilled that folks enjoy these series so much.

Be assured that I’m working on the next books in both series. But I also want to expand my vision and stretch myself at all times. So, naturally, I’m also working on a new series. Go figure! :)

As the title of the post indicates, my new series has dragons in it. Yeah, I know. What’s up with that? Well, I’ve been a fan of sword and sorcery novels since I was a teen, oh so many years ago. But I didn’t want to write the typical slogging through dungeons, hacking at monsters, yada yada story. I wanted an original plot and cast of characters. And I think, or at least hope, that I’ve found it.

Actually I began writing this story several years ago, shelved it for a while, wrote some more, shelved it again. etc.

But now I’ve finally gotten down to finishing the darned thing. It’s been a blast to write and I’m having a great time. Sometimes I think that a writer needs to step away from writing the same thing day in, day out, and start something fresh. Clears the head and, at least in my case, re-energizes the imagination.

I won’t give away details just yet, but since I’ve received questions in my inbox about the other two series, I wanted to let folks know what was going on.

So not to worry. Justin McLeod and Chris Wright are not forgotten and will continue their adventures. Thanks for all of the concern about them, but they are not disappearing into the abyss.

Take care and keep on reading!


A New Release! Second Book in the Angelic Wars Series

Hi all:

I’ve just released my newest novel. It’s the second book on The Angelic Wars series. It’s called The Rise of the Fallen. You can find it here.

Here is the synopsis…

Thirteen year old Christopher Wright was a kid from the streets. When word got out that he could heal with a touch, a gang known as Talon tried to recruit him. When Chris turned them down, the gang attempted to take him by force. On the run, Chris met Judge Hawkes, the head of a mysterious group known as the Angelic Dominion. The judge informed the skeptical teen that he was one of a group of young people who had been born with the souls of angels. They had been sent to Earth to stop the forces of Hell from bringing about the Apocalypse.
To escape Talon, Chris reluctantly accompanied the judge back to his home to learn that he had, in fact, been telling the truth. He met others like himself and discovered that he wasn’t simply the bearer of an angel’s soul. His was the soul of one of the very first archangels: Sariel, brother of Michael and Lucifer.
Doomed to dwell in Purgatory and guard the Gates of Heaven, Sariel is determined to stop his Fallen brother’s forces here on Earth before they can destroy humanity and march on Heaven itself.

I hope you check it out. Thanks for your time.

Happy reading!