Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, the author of the Bitterwood fantasy quartet, Bitterwood, Dragonforge, Dragonseed, and Dawn of Dragons, as well as a pair of superhero novels, Nobody Gets the Girl and Burn Baby Burn. (Click on the titles to be taken to Amazon.) My Dragon Apocalypse series combines both superheroes and epic fantasy, and so far three books have been published, Greatshadow, Hush, and Witchbreaker. The fourth book in the series, Soulless, is still under construction, but, I swear, it will see the light of day! I've also published numerous short stories, the best of which are reprinted in my collection, There is No Wheel.

This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public.

Coming out in 2014 will be my Oz inspired novel Bad Wizard, published by Antimatter Press. I'm currently working hard to finish up another superhero novel, Cut Up Girl. Watch this space for news!


Monday, September 29, 2014

THANK YOU TO MY WISE-READERS

Wise-reading differs from critiquing in a few significant ways. First, it’s not reciprocal. In critique groups, you critique the same people who’ll be critiquing you. Even in the fairest of groups, this creates bias. If a writer praised your last story, you might read his next story with the assumption that he’s a writer of great taste and overlook the story’s weaknesses. With wise-readers, I’ve seldom read anything they’ve written. I know they aren’t trying to influence my opinion of their work by saying kind things about my novel.

Second, wise-readers don’t offer solutions. They tell me what’s keeping them interested, as well as what’s boring them to tears. They don’t need to diagnose why. As the writer, it’s my duty to keep them immersed in my world. If they’re not engaged, it’s my duty to fix it.

A final difference between wise-readers and members of critique groups is the sheer volume of reading. A group might tackle two stories at a time, maybe twice a month, seldom needing to read more than 10,000 words per session. With my wise-readers, I throw four to six chapters a week at them and want feedback quickly. I’m not giving them pages of sparkling, polished prose. My second drafts are full of missing words and continuity glitches. Wise-readers breeze past all of these little frustrations and keep their eyes on the big picture. It’s a wonderful skill, and I’m fortunate to have worked with a terrific set of wise-readers on this project.

So, my heartfelt thanks go out to Susan Voss, Mark Barlow, James Marsh, Laurel Amberdine, Cathy Bollinger, and, of course, my lovely wife Cheryl Morgan Maxey. Bad Wizard is a better book because of their hard work and dedication. They waded through a lot of mangled prose and meandering scenes in pursuit of making this a better novel. I’m deeply grateful for their efforts.

And, of course, if you want to get your hands on their work as quickly as possible, Bad Wizard just happens to be available for preorder right now on Amazon!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bad Wizard: The Cover Revealed!

 

Jeremy Cavin's amazing cover revealed in its full glory. You should be able to click on the above image to see a higher resolution version of it. Bad Wizard is on track to be available for sale on October 1. If you're interested in reading the book prior to publication in order to review it, please email me at james(at)jamesmaxey.net. Line edits are still being finalized, but I can provide an advanced review copy in an electronic format of your choice. Advance readers will get rewarded with a Bad Wizard poster!
 
The story:
 
In 1894, Oscar Zoroaster Diggs walks into Topeka with every pocket of his suit stuffed full of high quality emeralds. Overnight he's the richest man in Kansas. With his winning smile and gift for gab, he's quickly befriended by the governor and appointed as one the state's US Senators. While in Washington, he befriends Theodore Roosevelt, and when Roosevelt becomes president, Diggs become the Secretary of War. Now, in 1904, he's overseeing the construction of a fleet of zeppelins to be used to spread democracy to the far corners of the earth.
 
One woman knows Diggs true goals, however. Her name is Dorothy Gale, a reporter for the Kansas Ear. She's hounding Diggs with articles showing him to be a corrupt conman. She has a talent for getting her hands on sensitive documents to expose his shady dealings, but so far Diggs hasn't been harmed by her charges of corruption. In her quest to expose the truth about Diggs, Dorothy is hampered by her inability to tell the full truth. She alone knows the truth of how Diggs acquired his fortune -- she met him ten years ago in Oz, where he ruled as the Wizard. She also knows his true purpose for building the fleet of airships -- he plans to return to Oz to rule once more. But she can't go to her editor and explain that Diggs is planning to invade an invisible sky island ruled by witches. Nor can she explain that she gets her sensitive documents not from connections in Washington, but by using her magic silver slippers to travel cross country in the blink of an eye.
 
Dorothy's plans to thwart Diggs are complicated when he kidnaps her to take back to Oz as insurance that the Scarecrow will hand over the throne of the Emerald City. When she escapes his clutches in Oz, she must navigate a dangerous magical landscape in order to rescue her the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion. But even when they are finally united, will they be too late to stop Diggs from conquering the Emerald City with his aerial navy?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bad Wizard Cover Tease #3


Zooming out a bit further, full title banner can be seen, with Esau's wings serving as the "W" in Bad Wizard. The spires of a crystalline city are becoming apparent, and the fact that Esau is falling from a gray sky into a full color landscape reflects gives further hints to the setting.

This Sunday, I'll reveal the full cover online in all it's glory! If, by chance, you are near Hillsborough this Friday (August 29) and want to get your hands on a poster of the cover, come by Purple Crow Books during the Last Friday street festival between 6 and 8 pm. I'll be set up out front selling books and will have a limited number of posters on hand to give away. If you aren't in the Hillsborough area, don't despair! Everyone will have a shot at getting a free copy of the poster next month. Stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bad Wizard Cover Tease #2

 
As we pull out from Esau's face, it should be obvious why he performs under the name "The Winged Monkey." To draw crowd's to his mother's temperance rallies, Esau goes a mile into the sky in a balloon then leaps. Instead of a parachute, he relies on a folding mechanical glider that he opens in mid-leap. Esau designed and built his wings himself, but is currently being sued by the estate of Otto Lilienthal, one of the first developers of a glider, for patent infringement. Esau's defense is that his device only resembles Lilienthal's to the extent that both are based on the wings of raptors. Still, his legal problems are one reason that Esau, a committed pacifist, winds up agreeing to work for Oscar Diggs, the Secretary of War, who promises to make the lawsuits against Esau go away if he'll help train an aerial navy in the use of the folding glider.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bad Wizard Cover Tease #1


The front cover of Bad Wizard has been decided on by Antimatter Press. The art by master illustrator Jeremy Cavin is filled with amazing detail, so I'm going to reveal it in stages, so there's time to marvel at all the tiny touches that make up the jaw-dropping whole. Pictured above is Esau Bejano, a.k.a. the Winged Monkey, the acrobatic engineering-genius temperance crusader who winds up as Dorothy Gales biggest ally in her struggle against Oscar Zoroaster Diggs, the former Wizard of Oz.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is that a novel in your pocket or are you happy to see me?


I've delayed starting typing on my next novel until early September. I thought that I'd be done with Bad Wizard by this point, but I won't be getting the final line edits until this Friday. Once those are done, I need to work on getting the print edition set up, since Antimatter Press is only handling the ebook edition. In addition, I'm also working on a secret project that I'm not yet ready to announce, but that I will unveil before the end of this month.

The fact that I'm not typing doesn't mean I'm not writing. I've taken to carrying a thick stack of notecards in my front pocket. Anytime I get even small ideas about the next book, I'm jotting them down. When I am ready to start typing, all I need to do is organize my notes into the correct sequence and I'll have a functional outline I can follow. My big challenge at the moment is figuring out how to integrate the villain's back story. I'm currently planning a single POV, but the villain's motives are complicated, and it sure would be a lot easier if I could tell things from her POV. Hopefully, I'll be able to avoid the standard villain explains her motives and master plan monologue.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Heat up your summer with FREE Burn Baby Burn!


For my summer special, I'm offering the ebook edition of Burn Baby Burn for free! You can download it for Kindle from Amazon or at an epub from the Nook store. You can also download it from Smashwords in both formats plus PDF.

Burn Baby Burn is perhaps the most heartfelt book I ever wrote. It's a love story unlike any you've read before, a book with protagonists who can diplomatically be described as complicated, or bluntly described as cold-blooded killers. But, hopefully I dig down into the core humanity of both characters. Oh, and I should also mention the book is pretty much non-stop crazy superhuman action. Check it out!