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!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Somebody Gets the Girl... in October!

The five year anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, Nobody Gets the Girl, is near! Officially released October 28, 2003, Nobody Gets the Girl was a superhero novel that hit bookshelves when stand-alone superhero novels were a true rarity. The book immediately ran into marketing problems... bookstores didn't know where to store it. I'd find it sometimes in the graphic novel section of bookstores, which must have been a shock for people picking up the book and finding there were no pictures inside. I went to a used bookstore called Edward McKay's in Greensboro just last week and found a copy in the graphic novel section, so the confusion continues to this day.

Yet, five years later, people are still discovering the novel and I continue to get emails and people coming up to me at conventions telling me how much they enjoyed the book. It's slowly built up a loyal following among fans of superhero fiction who appreciate the tone of the book--it's more tribute than parody, taking a serious look at the possibility of superheroes tackling some of the world's biggest problems, yet maintaining the playful, anything-goes feeling of the comic books I loved when I was a kid (and, okay, still love).

Here's the premise: Richard Rogers, an average Joe with dreams of being a stand-up comic, wakes up one morning in a bed that isn't his own. Worse, he's in bed with two complete strangers who carry on with their morning as if they don't notice him, because, he soon discovers, he's become a ghost, invisible and intangible. As confusing as his situation is, things take a darker turn when he discovers what's really going on. A theoretical physicist named Dr. Knowbokov shows up and informs Richard that his life has been erased by a time machine accident. When Dr. Knowbokov made a voyage back in time, a chance interaction with a man he never even laid eyes on wound up altering the chain of events that led to Richard's conception. Richard is now trapped in a reality in which he was never born, a ghost who isn't even remembered by his own parents or his former wife. Dr. Knowbokov is the only man who can still see him... until it's discovered that the good Doctor's two daughters also possess the ability to see, hear, and touch Richard, due to the geneticly similar brain structures they share with their father. Oh, and the two daughters are also superheroes. The eldest is Rail Blade, who has the power of ferokenisis, the ability to control all iron, and even to create iron out of then air by manipulating the quantum froth of reality. Rail Blade is a deadly serious, grim and gritty soldier type superhero, aware that her great powers give her great responsibility and feeling as if the weight of the world is on her shoulders. The younger sister, the Thrill, has been born with the power to make anyone who obeys her feel intense waves of pleasure. It's not quite mind control, but few people ever have the willpower to say no to the Thrill. The Thrill is in many ways the opposite of her sister--sarcastic rather than serious, more concerned with fun than with duty, and not above using her powers for petty reasons.

Richard gets recruited by Dr. Knowbokov to join his odd little superhero clan, serving as the unseen, untouchable spy codenamed Nobody. Richard is soon swept up into a war against superpowered terrorists organized by the mysterious mastermind Rex Monday. The book is a fast paced thrill ride as Richard winds up making life and death decisions in which the stakes grow increasingly high; cities will fall and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

In the end, who can save us?

Nobody.

To celebrate the anniversary, I'm giving away copies of Nobody Gets the Girl every Tuesday in October. On the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th, I'll reactivate Robo-Bobo, the name-picking monkey to draw names out of the virtual hat. If you want to enter, just shoot an email to nobodynovelwriter@yahoo.com with the header "Nobody Giveaway." Also, to celebrate all things superheroic in October, I'm soliciting superhero haiku! Just as I published dragon themed haiku in June to celebrate the release of Dragonforge, I'm looking for a few good lines celebrating everyone's favorite men in tights. For those of you who need a refresher, haiku is a type of poetry that consists of three lines, five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. You don't have to send in a poem to enter the contest, but if you do, and your name is drawn, I'll not only send you a free copy of Nobody, I'll throw in a very rare, limited-edition, signed chapbook of my superhero tale Final Flight of the Blue Bee. How rare? I'm only printing 4 copies. How's that for rare?

To warm you up, here's a few superhero haiku of my own:

What makes felons flee?
Underwear worn over tights.
Batman's true power.

--

Sirens at midnight
the earth shakes as a man leaps
and catches a train

--

Skyscraper swinging
Spiderman's greatest joy
He hates the suburbs

I'm hoping you can do better! Bring it on!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Daikaijuzine

My short story "Final Flight of the Blue Bee," which first appeared in Asimov's, has been reprinted online at Diakaijuzine. It's a superhero story, so if any of you are fans of Nobody Gets the Girl, you're likely to enjoy this story as well. It's also a story about emotionally screwed up people striving hard to live their lives in a way that makes sense to them even though it makes no sense to any sane person - in other words, it's a James Maxey story. Check it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm now a book reviewer at IGMS

I've agreed to write a bi-monthly book review column at Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. I'm sharing the duties with my fellow Codexian Alethea Kontis, author of the best-selling books Alpha-Oops and the Dark Hunter Companion--two books that probably don't share a lot of audience overlap.

I launched my column this week with a review of Mur Lafferty's terrific new superhero novel, Playing for Keeps. I intend to focus my reviews on books that might slip under the reviewing radar for various reasons. I hope to include a lot of small press books, plus anthologies, maybe even the occasional original graphic novel.

In other writing news, I've finished my first short story in six months. I tend to get out of short-story mode when I'm working on novels. I'd say more about it, but I'm keeping the details secret because I'm entering it anonymously in the Codex Halloween Contest at the end of the month. The Codex contests have been fruitful for me. I've sold three stories I've written for these contests... Final Flight of the Blue Bee to Asimov's, Silent as Dust and To Know All Things that are In The Earth to IGMS. I have reason to be confident that this one will see print too. I'll keep y'all posted.

This weekend, I'm doing one more polish of Dragonseed based on the initial editor's feedback. Hopefully I'll get this sent off Monday. Then... it's time to concentrate on proposals for my next books! And, yes, these proposals will feature dragons.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How David Drake Led Me To Break One of the Ten Commandments


Jo Drake was kind enough to snap this photo of my shared signing this week with Mark van Name and Lisa Shearin. I'm the guy with the glasses; standing in the back with Lisa is best-selling author David Drake, who wasn't part of the signing but was there showing some support. David sells more books in the time it takes him to tie his shoes than I have in my life. One of the moments in my life when I realized just how badly I wanted to be a writer came about seven years ago when I went to his house as a guest of a guest to a barbeque he was holding. I was unpublished at the time; I had written Nobody Gets the Girl but hadn't yet shown it to the folks at Phobos. David has written scores of books and several of the walls of his house were decorated with framed covers of his novels. Seeing this made me want my own wall of book covers; I can honestly say I coveted those walls far more than I've ever coveted my neighbor's ass. But some time it's hard to separate envy from goal setting. I think until I was confronted with the wall of covers, I was focused on the idea of writing a single book and considering that a major accomplishment. I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't know what that really meant. Afterwards, I began to think more of writing in the context of producing not only a series of books, but an entire body of work. Because you don't get to fill your walls just by dabbling, turning out a book every few years or so. If you want that book wall, you've got to plant your butt in your chair and write. I don't think I even met David Drake at that cookout. But, I walked away with a lesson in being a writer that was just as powerful as anything I took away from the Odyssey Fantasy Writer's Workshop.

Speaking of writing lessons, Lisa runs a terrific blog that she updates faithfully and discusses many of the aspects of the writing life. The same is true of Mark van Name. I highly recommend checking them out.

I recently had it pointed out that I don't have a link to my own personal blog here! I have a second blog, jawbone of an ass, where I rant about politics and religion and other topics that readers of my dragon books may or may not be interested in. I'm going to be doing some redesign of this site soon. Christian Dunn at Solaris has already got back to me with edits on Dragonseed, so getting it edited is my next goal. After that, I've got to write some sample chapters and an outline for my next project so that my agent can have an actual product to try to sell instead of mere rumors of said project. Then, blog updates. I promise!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dragonseed Done! Signing in Cary!

Yesterday I turned in the third part of the Bitterwood trilogy, Dragonseed. I can't stand it that I have to wait ten more months before the world gets to read it. There's such a strange disconnect between writing a book and seeing it in print. By the time my books see print, I've already moved on to my next project. I'm wanting to jabber on about the book I've just written and can't because hardly anyone is read it yet. But, once the editors at Solaris have their way with the manuscript, I promise I'll start posting sample chapters here.

Dragonseed picks up only a few days after Dragonforge closes. The human rebels who've seized Dragon Forge quickly discover that winning a battle isn't the same as winning a war. Humans throughout the kingdom fall victim to reprisals. The land is in turmoil, full of refugees. In the middle of all this chaos, we follow Jandra's adventures as she attempts to regain her genie, the source of her seemingly magical abilities. Along as her bodyguard is Anza, the mute daughter of Burke the Machinist, trained from infancy as an unstoppable warrior. And, of course, Bitterwood is back... and Jandra has released him from his vow not to kill her former friend, the sun-dragon Hex. Bitterwood versus Hex. You know you want to see that fight. Order now! Oh, wait, you can't. Take heart: July 2009 will be here before you know it.

Speaking of being here before you know it, I have a book signing barely a week away! I'll be at the Barnes and Noble in Cary, NC, on Tuesday, September 9, at 7:00pm. This is a joint SF/Fantasy panel with authors Lisa Shearin, author of Armed and Magical and Mark van Name, author of the Jon and Lobo series. I'll be giving away Dragonforge buttons. Come on out; I promise a good time.