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!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More reviews, Dragoncon, Capclave

I've been on vacation the last week, and spent most of the last two days recovering from my bout of relaxation. You know you did a vacation right when you need a vacation to recover from it. So, for those of you who contributed to the Books for Breasts campaign last week, I haven't put books in the mail yet, but I swear they'll get in the mail before the end of the week.

I've had a couple of people ask me about upcoming signings. I don't have any bookstore signings lined up at present, but I will be a guest at Dragoncon in Atlanta over the Labor Day Weekend, then a guest at Capclave near Washington DC in October. I skipped Dragoncon last year, and have never been to Capclave, so I'm looking forward to reconnecting with people I haven't seen in a while and making new friends.

Finally, two Dragon Age book reviews popped up while I was gone. First, Loren Eaton has reviewed Bitterwood at I Saw Lightning Fall. He admires the book for breaking conventions, but dislikes Hezekiah's voice-of-God mode where he quotes the Bible in ALL CAPS. It's a fair criticism; I think it was a fun idea when I had it, but perhaps it was a little too cutesy in retrospect.

Dragonseed got some ink (or photons, I guess) over at Aliette de Bodard's blog. She writes: But what I loved about the previous books, and that I still love about this one, is Maxey’s willingness to handle hard questions about species survival, humanity’s worthiness and the value of faith and religion. Those were themes already explored in Bitterwood and Dragonforge, and I’m glad to see that they’re back, and that Maxey handles them gracefully, without sinking into too much preachiness. Every character has a different view on the matter–and, in the end, it’s only the fanatics such as Prophet Ragnar who might be proved wrong.

More updates soon!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interview, Review, Bitterwood.net, Books for Breasts update

First, I had to delay shipping some of my international "Books for Breasts" because my local post office didn't have any customs forms. I went to a different post office this week to get the forms, and now have all books in the mail. If I owe you a book, and you haven't gotten it by next week, send me an email and I'll get another one out to you.

Second: With the release of Dragonseed, the conversations going on at bitterwood.net are starting t0 pick up. The forum has had 143 members sign up. If you dropped by there when I first mentioned it a month ago, it was pretty sleepy, but now it's definitely worth jumping in if you are looking for a place to discuss the books with fellow fans. This morning, I started a thread where I asked three questions:

1: If genetic engineering reached a point where it was possible to create complex life forms, are there any fantasy beasts you would want to see other than dragons? 2: I decided that humans would hunt the dragons because a lot of our entertainment is built around humans fighting dragons. Do you think, if intelligent dragons existed, we would ever live peacefully with them? Or, would you really welcome the chance to slap on some armor and go out with a lance to try to fight one of these things? 3: Let's drop the "if" from the first question. I think we are probably no more than a century away from understanding the genetic code to the level that creating new creatures from scratch is possible. When that day comes, would you regard it as ethical to create new life forms like dragons or angels? How about reviving life forms, like dodos and velociraptors? Or should we just stay away from playing God?

Third: Another review of Dragonseed has popped up! Author Colin Harvey has just reviewed the book, along with recaps of the previous books. Read it all at Suite101.com.

Finally: There's an interview by Cindy Hannikman at Fantasy Book Critic where I discuss Land of the Lost, Christian-bashing, the fate of mammoths, and the esoteric knowledge that humans have aquired that is even better than magic. Read the whole thing at Fantasy Book Critic.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Anthology Builder Contest

There's been an interesting print-on-demand project helmed by Nancy Fulda called "Anthology Builder." She's collected a large catalog of short stories by some of today's best speculative fiction authors. Visitors to the site can build an anthology by picking stories from their favorite authors. The site has been in a beta testing phase for about a year now, but now she's taking it live.

To celebrate the launch, she's holding a contest. Anthology Builder has a collection of pre-designed covers; she's inviting writers to write a story based on their favorite cover. The winner of the contest will win $200 and publication in the Anthology Builder database. Full details of the contest can be found here.

I've got a both of my Asimov's stories available there. Final Flight of the Blue Bee is a superhero tale; To the East, a Bright Star is a "last-day-of-earth" story about a former circus aerialist. Now that the site is no longer in beta, I'll probably expand my offerings there in the near future.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Books for Breast Update

As of July 1, Team Dragon met its fundraising goal of $1000 for the Susan G. Koman Foundation. I've had 33 contributors, a couple of whom already had copies of Dragonseed, so I still have 20 copies left to give away. But, on the fundraising page, it showed my goal had been met 100%, and donations have pretty much stopped since I hit $1000.

I just raised the goal to $1500. I have mixed feelings about raising the goal. On the plus, it's for a good cause, and I hope the higher limit will encourage people who still learn about this cause to contribute. The only downside is that I dislike moving the goalpost, so to speak. I told my friends and fans I wanted to raise $1000, and you did an amazing job of making that happen in only a week. I don't want to diminish your hard work and dedication by taking away that 100% filled-in goal thermometer. But, in the end, I think the greater good falls toward raising the goal and trying to collect a little more if I can. It may be that the news of this drive has spread as far as it's going to, but if there is someone out there who hears about this in the coming weeks, I don't want them to be confused into thinking the Books for Breasts drive is over. If I can raise even another hundred bucks toward fighting breast cancer, I intend to do so.

Thanks again to everyone who helped meet the initial push toward $1000. I cannot begin to sum up my enormous gratitude for this. As readers of my dragon novels may surmise, I'm not someone who always sees mankind in the sunniest light. The fact that so many people jumped in for this cause so quickly has reminded me that the greatest thing about humans is their humanity. Thank you, thank you, thank you.