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, August 21, 2009

WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction finalists

The Washington Science Fiction Association is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2009 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction:

"Drinking Problem" by K.D. Wentworth, published in Seeds of Change, edited by John Joseph Adams, Prime Books (August, 2008).

"Hard Rain at the Fortean Café" by Lavie Tidhar, published in issue 14 of Aeon Speculative Fiction Magazine, edited by Bridget McKenna.

"His Last Arrow" by Christopher Sequeira, published in Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Jeff Campbell and Charles Prepolec, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, (October, 2008).

"Silent as Dust" by James Maxey, published in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, edited by Edmund R. Schubert, Hatrack Publishing.

"Spider the Artist" by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, published in Seeds of Change, edited by John Joseph Adams, Prime Books (August, 2008)

"The Absence of Stars: Part 1" by Greg Siewert, published in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, edited by Edmund R. Schubert, Hatrack Publishing.

"The Toy Car" by Luisa Maria Garcia Velasco, (translated from Spanish by Ian Watson) published in April 2008 edition of Aberrant Dreams, edited by Joseph W. Dickerson.

The award honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year (2008). An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author (and publisher) hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story.The winner is chosen by the members of the Washington Science Fiction Association (www.wsfa.org) and will be presented at their annual convention, Capclave (www.capclave.org), held this year on October 16-18th in Rockville, Maryland.
By chance, I had already signed up as a guest at Capclave for my first time ever. Ed Schubert, the editor of IGMS who's responsible for publishing two stories on this list, had recommended the con to me several times. Lucky coincidence, or good omen?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Name that Sword!

I've got a long short story (or a short novella) appearing soon in an anthololgy called Blood and Devotion from Fantasist Enterprises. Outside of my Dragon Age books, it's my only short story about a dragon. In this case, the dragon is called Greatshadow; he's the exact literary opposite of my Dragon Age dragons. These, I built to obey the laws of physics and biology. Greatshadow, I designed to obey the laws of myth. He's a big, honking, six-limbed, fire-breathing beast with a wing-span a half mile across and a propensity for piling up large heaps of gold, silver, and jewels to nap on.

I'm currently writing a fantasy novel that expands on the short story, unfolding in this alternate reality where dragons breathe fire and wizards perform magic by telling lies to the universe and making the universe believe them. The big picture of the story is that the adventurers are on a quest to kill Greatshadow, the primal dragon of fire, a three-thousand year old beast that is more of an elemental force than a flesh and blood creature. The thing that makes killing the dragon possible is a magic sword. In the short story I'm basing the novel on, the sword is called "Frostbite." It's a blade of enchanted ice that's sort of kryptonite to a dragon of fire. My problem is, for the book, the name "Frostbite" seems overused. While I can't think of a specific instance, I'm pretty certain that in the 10,000 fantasy novels on the shelf already, someone has already used the name Frostbite for a magic sword.

I thought of calling it the "Winter Fang." But, I googled that, and sure enough, that's also already been used. In the book, the legend behind the sword is that it's been carved from the tooth of Hush, the dragon of ice, the opposite force to the dragon of fire. The sword is formed of a substance known as "false matter*," and is, essentially, a sword shaped vacuum of absolute zero that disintegrates any "true matter" it touches. I thought of calling it the Nulfang, but I don't like the look or sound of the word. And, other ideas I come up with all die beneath the crushing force of Google: I think I have something, but when I google it I find that some game or book already is using the name for a sword.

So, I though I'd throw it out to you guys. What would be a good name for a really, really cold magic weapon? It doesn't have to be a sword: I suppose the plot works just as well if it's a spear or an axe, but I'd like to keep it a hand-held weapon: the climax needs to have the hero within arms reach of the dragon, so, no holy handgrenades. Any ideas?

I don't want to turn this into a formal contest, but if you suggest a name and I use it in the book, you will, of course, wind up in the acknowledgements to the book, and get a free copy. However, since the book isn't written, and has no publisher lined up, it might be a while before that reward materializes; the non-existence of an prize is why I'm not making this an official contest. Just post your suggestions in the comments section. Feel free to make more than one suggestion.

*In this world, there are four essential forces that blend together to form reality: Matter, Spirit, Truth, and Lies. Most of the physical world - chairs, mountains, hammers, rain, and lollypops- are made of true matter. Dragons, according the the church, are made of false spirit matter. Most things are combinations of two of the forces; humans are the only things known to be made from all four forces, which either makes them the most balanced thing under the sun, or the most unstable.