Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. 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. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Signing in Greensboro, December 5

Just a reminder that I'll be in Greensboro on Friday, December 5, at the Barnes and Noble at 7pm. Orson Scott Card is the main attraction, with Ed Schubert, Scott Roberts, and yours truly participating in the signing of the Intergalactic Medicine Show anthology, as well as pimping our own books.

In other news, a podcast of part of my lecture to the Odyssey Fantasy Writer's Workshop this summer is now online. To quote from the site: James Maxey was a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2008. During his visit, James shared the struggles and successes of his writing career and offered a lot of great advice to developing writers. In this podcast, James explains that editors don't judge a piece by a new writer the same way they judge a piece by a successful writer. Because a new writer has to prove his competence, a strong opening is critical. To create a strong opening, an author must engage multiple senses and provide vivid descriptions to bring the reader into the story. James reviews the many tasks that an opening must accomplish and explores some of the ways that the author can accomplish these tasks. He describes some of the traps that authors fall into when writing openings. He also reveals a simple and powerful technique to draw the reader in and reveal key information in an opening.

If you'd like to hear it for youself, click here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dragon Biology

Peggy at the science fiction in biology blog mentioned Bitterwood today in a post about biologically plausible dragons. Alas, the link she points readers to is broken. I suspect she was directing them to a post I wrote over a year ago called "Building a Better Dragon." This essay examines some of the underlying biological plausibility of my beasties, such as why I went with a four limbed dragon instead of a six limbed one, and why my dragons don't breathe fire.

Peggy's article mainly talks about an Animal Planet fake documentary about dragons that came out a few years ago. I saw it right around the time Bitterwood came out. It was interesting, but they really bent over backwards to explain the dragon fire-breathing. They are correct to point out that animals can produce methane and hydrogen in their digestive tracks, but, as Peggy's blog points out, what's going to ignite it when the dragon burps it up? Cow's burp out enough methane to be potential firebreathing menaces, but they have failed, alas, to develop teeth made from flint and steel.

However! Frat boys have for many years lit their farts with lighters. Suppose you had a vegetarian dinosaur that could belch out twenty times as much methane as a cow, and suppose that that dinosaur had evolved to tool-using intelligence. If it could learn to flick a zippo with it's tongue... hmm. Perhaps a mix of biological fuel and technological ignition could make a plausible fire-breather after all.

Damn. I might have to write another book to explore this possiblity. An alternate earth ruled by super-intelligent giant bovines who fight their former primate overlords with fiery belches. On that world, the most chilling sound any man can hear is "mooo-fwhooosh!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Mission Statement

I was invited by John Ottinger at "Grasping for the Wind" to write a guest blog about the themes in my writing. He's just posted the article, in which I reveal my mission statement.

The actual mission statement is this:

James Maxey is committed to delivering to readers aged fifteen and older fast-paced, adventure-driven fiction interwoven with subversive philosophies intended to overthrow the dominant social order and tear down ideas that many people consider sacred.

In the essay I break it down into its various elements. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bonus Chapbooks!

I had to wait for Robo-Bobo to get back from the polls. He created quite a fuss when he found out that imaginary cybernetic monkeys weren't allowed to vote in North Carolina. He's currently retreated to the attic with a large bottle of rum, a blender, and a whole crate of bananas.

But, before he slinked off, he drew two names from the hat, haikuists who will receive the two Final Flight of the Blue Bee chapbooks. The winners are:

Corey Redekop and Liz Tetley!

Liz had a poem in the Young Heroes in Love anthology and Corey, being an overachiever, has had at least one haiku in each of the other anthos.

Right now, I'm going to sign off and go sample a banana rum smoothie while I watch the election results. However, keep watching this space for news in the coming days. I've some Dragonseed related news coming up soon, and some superhero news in development as well.