A Note of Thanks

Hi all:

I wanted to post a huge thank you to my readers who picked up a copy of my latest book, The Dragons Revenge. It has exceeded my expectations in every way and reinforced my belief that if you write what you are passionate about, it will resonate with your audience.

I love epic fantasy; always have, always will. World building (or in this case, New Earth building) is such a challenge and so much fun that the stories seem to write themselves. And yes, I know that’s a cliche. It’s also true sometimes.

Even though the book’s only been out for a couple of weeks, the response has been even greater than for the first book in the series, The Dragons Return. That tells me that some people were waiting to see if I was serious about writing a new series and, when they saw that I’d released a second book set in the same world, decided to jump in and begin exploring my work. I could not be more pleased.

I’d like to send a shout out to my readers from India. I had no idea that there was such an enthusiastic appetite for epic fantasy in your country, but I wanted to thank you for your lovely support.

The third book in the series is well underway. As I did for the last book, I’ll be releasing a picture of the cover and title a few days before the book goes online for sale, so I hope you like it.

Thanks again for the support from all of you. After all, if you write a book and no one reads it, you’re just talking to yourself. It’s much more fun to share.

Take care,

J.J.

My New Novel, The Dragons Revenge, is out!

Hi all:

My new novel is now available. Tales from the New Earth, Book 2: The Dragons Revenge is online now and here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UGUMA7K. Or click on the cover to the right of this post.

My hero, Simon O’Toole, is still trying to find his feet as a novice wizard and the New Earth is becoming an ever more dangerous place. This world that I’ve created is so much fun for me to visit and explore, I think I’ll be spending a lot of time there.

However, for those who have written to me, asking if I’ve abandoned my first two series, let me reassure you that I haven’t. Unfortunately, I can only focus on and write one book at a time, but I know where each of those series is going and I’ve done some writing for both, so please, hang in there!

I want to thank all of my readers for their continued support. My main joy in life is creating characters and worlds and discovering, along with everyone else, what happens next. I really hope you have a great time with the new book!

Take care,

J.J.

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.

J.J.

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.

J.J.

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.

J.J.