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!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Bitterwood Ebook Covers

So, for about the fifth time, I've decided to revamp my Bitterwood series ebook covers. Ever since I designed the cover for Dawn of Dragons, I've felt that it didn't fit visually with the other books. Paying for new art by the same artist who did the original print Bitterwood covers was way too cost prohibitive, and looking for four related bits of affordable pre-made fantasy art that could be appropriate for all for books proved to be a pointless challenge. Believe me, I've looked at hundreds of fantasy covers on the "pre-made" sites. Sometimes, I'd see art that might be a good fit for Bitterwood, but I couldn't really use the same art four all four books.
The various editions of the covers I've made myself have all had elements I liked, but none really looked professional. I contented myself with the inferior covers because I figured, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble at least, if you search for Bitterwood or James Maxey, the first covers you see are the kick ass print edition covers. The fact the ebook covers weren't as good shouldn't matter, should it?
But, my peers at the Codexwriters' Group weren't impressed by my excuses, and their collective scorn for my previous covers has sent me back to photoshop once more. This time, I think I'm onto something:



Coming soon to an ebook supplier near you!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Progress report

I haven't written a short story in several years. I love the form, but short stories don't make a lot of money and they don't really do a lot to generate publicity for larger works. But, there's some things you do for money and other things you do for love, so in the last month I've cranked out the first drafts of three new short stories. One is a Kiaju story for an anthology I've been invited to take part in, another is a modern magic story for the Codex Halloween contest, and the last is a short story set in the world of Nobody Gets the Girl, telling the story of the first time Amelia (Rail Blade) fought Baby Gun, and exploring the reason that Sarah (the Thrill) played along and became a superhero despite her cynicism about the whole undertaking. 

October marks the tenth anniversary of the official release date of my first novel, Nobody Gets the Girl. In celebration of that date, I plan to release a new deluxe print edition of the novel that will include this short story as a bonus. I may also include another short story set in the same world, something I wrote a few years ago but never found a home for, though I'm on the fence on this one, since it's built around a supernatural event and the world of Nobody is seemingly structured in a way that precludes supernatural intervention. Still, it might be interesting to include it just as a historical curiosity, a document of the strange places my mind sometimes wanders. Also, I think it's a pretty cool story. 

Right now, I plan to include the new material exclusively in the print edition. In recent years, I've started releasing more and more stuff as ebooks, but I feel like celebrating the fact that, when Nobody first saw print, it was, you know, in print, on paper, something I could put on my bookshelf. Ebooks might dominate my reading now, but I still have a certain nostalgia for paper. 

After I have the new version of Nobody ready, I'll be plunging into the rewrite of Accidental Gods/Cut-Up Girl, the novel I wrote last June in just four days. My initial instincts had been to self publish the book this fall, but now I think I'm leaning toward trying my luck with two publishers first, in hopes that they can help the book reach a larger audience than I can on my own. Hopefully, I'll have this redrafted and ready to show to people by the beginning of November, clearing me for a NaNoWriMo. Though, right now, I'm not firmly committed to taking part in that. A lot depends on whether or not I hear back from publishers about my Oz novel, and whether I wind up doing one more draft of that book and try to get a version of it out before the holidays. 

After this, it's back to dragons one last time. The final book of the Dragon Apocalypse, Soulless, is taking shape nicely in my head. I've always known where I wanted to take Stagger and Infidel, not to mention Sorrow and Slate. But, my original vision had been to tell their stories in separate books. Now, I've figured out how to thread both story lines together. Brokenwing, Greatshadow's offspring, will play a major role as well, and of course we'll be seeing the Black Swan and Zetetic the Deceiver. Even Father Ver might put in a return appearance. The one last thread I'm trying to weave in is what to do with the Romer family. I'll figure it out. 

After that, I'm probably done with epic fantasy for a while. By that point, I'll have written eight books about dragons, and there are just too many other stories I want to tell. Most of my short stories fit in the category of urban fantasy, so it's odd that I've never written a novel in the genre, especially when I've got a good one kicking around in my head. And, when I first started writing, I always imagined I'd be writing big, epic science fiction novels with characters zooming around between planets on rocket ships, fighting duels with ray guns, and making sweet, sweet love with busty blue-skinned sisters from other suns. I still want to write one of those! And, again, I've got a good one kicking around in my head. 

Now, it's mainly a matter of finding the time to write. I lost my previous job due to corporate restructuring, and my new job has an hour commute each way, not to mention longer hours. I've gone from spending about 37 hours a week out of the house working a day job to spending close to 50 hours a week out of the house. Those extra 13 hours represent a lot of words I could be churning out. Plus, since I'm in a new job, it's taking a lot of my brain power just to figure out all the new stuff I'm doing, and that's sapping my creative juices. I've gone from cranking out a novel in four days to struggling to finish a short story in two weeks. But, hopefully I'll settle into a new routine soon and return to my old productivity, or, even better, an even higher productivity. I'm almost fifty. There's an infinite amount of stories left to write and a finite amount of time to tell them.