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, December 7, 2013

Year in Classics, a Recap

For 2013, I decided to focus my reading on classic books that I'd somehow missed out on reading before. A lot of them I hadn't read because I thought I knew their stories since I'd seen so many adaptations, things like Dracula, Tarzan of the Apes, and Frankenstein. Others I hadn't read because nothing I'd ever heard about them interested me; a lot of romance novels like Pride and Prejudice fell in this category.

I started out the year mostly intending to stick to public domain novels. I could download them free on Kindle or listen to them free on Librivox, and free has always held a certain charm for me. But, in March, when Bitterwood came out on Audible, I signed up for an Audible account which gives me one download credit a month, so I started adding in classics not in the public domain yet, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I also added a few books I'd read before in high school or college but had only the dimmest memory of, like Old Man and the Sea. I'd intended to count only novels, but wound up with a couple of plays and books of the KJV Bible also making the list. In the end, I read 36 classics:

Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift 
Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne  
The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie 
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë  
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare, William
The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare  
Job, KJV
Ecclesiastes, KJV
King Solomon's Mines, H. Rider Haggard
A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Riders of the Purple Sage, Zane Grey
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck 
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut 
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut 
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë 
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair 
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

These aren't all the books I read this year. I read a couple of novels of recent vintage, and five or six non fiction books (Walden's the only one I felt merited inclusion on my list of classics).

Next year, I'll probably stay focused on classics, since there's still plenty I haven't read, but will probably start adding in more contemporary fiction as well. If you're interested in finding out what I thought were the best and worst of the classics I read, check out my other blog, Jawbone of an Ass, where I'll be publishing my list of the five most deserving and five most overrated classics.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My biggest E-Book sale ever! Get 'em while they're hot!

Did any of you pick up a new tablet, Kindle, or Nook while you were out shopping this weekend? Looking for something to read on it? Or perhaps to load up the device with books for when it's opened later in the month? I'm pleased to announce that for all of December, you can get three of my ebook titles for only $1 each, on both Kindle and Nook platforms!

Bitterwood: The first book of my Dragon Age Quartet, but also a critically acclaimed stand alone novel and by far my most popular title to date, having been through four print editions and translations into French and German. Set in a world where civilized dragons rule and mankind exists only as their slaves, their pets, or their prey, Bitterwood is a legendary dragon-slayer waging a one man war of vengeance against the dragon-king Albekizan. But when he kills Albekizan's beloved son, the dragons respond with an all out war to wipe out humanity. It's non-stop action as a ragged band of refugees fight to save mankind.
Available on Kindle and Nook.

Nobody Gets the Girl: Richard Rogers wakes one day trapped in a world where he was never born, an intangible ghost invisible to everyone save for a family of superheroes. He's recruited to join the superheroes in their battle against an army of meta-human terrorists, operating under the code name Nobody. As the battles escalate, whole cities are wiped off the map, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Who can save us? Nobody!
On Kindle. On Nook.

There is No Wheel: A shark swims through a kitchen. A biology teacher dumps a dead angel onto his grandmother's dining room table. A billion bees swarm the Empire State Building. In an empty attic, a teapot filled with lizards reaches a boil. Everything is understood when a small town sheriff bites into an eyeball. These are the door through which you enter the world of James Maxey's award winning short fiction. Good luck finding your way back out.
Kindle! Nook!

Finally, it's not a dollar, but it's still a great deal: Solaris has bundled all three of the Dragon Apocalypse novels together into a single e-book package and have priced the whole thing at a mere $9.99. This series combines both my love of superheroes and my love of epic fantasy, meshed together by general bad-assery and a generous dose of humor. The first chapter of Greatshadow might just be the best 5000 words I've ever put onto paper. Download a free sample if you doubt me!
For Kindle! for Nook!

Update on the Accidental Gods project

I finished November with just over 50k words written on the second draft of Accidental Gods. I'd really hoped to be done with the draft in November, but this project has started to grow on me. I don't mean 'grow on me' in the sense that I'm feeling greater affection for it--I've hit the stage in writing this book that I hit in almost every book where it slowly dawns on my that, oh, right, this is actual work. It's work that I get a great deal of satisfaction from, but that doesn't make it any less of a mental challenge to try to keep all my plot threads and characters consistent and growing across the chapters.

I mean that the book has grown on me in the sense that the 50k words I've completed on this draft were only 30k words in the first draft, and I wound up completely rewriting all but maybe three scenes of that first draft. I've been doing my best to take a closer look at the supporting cast and the larger world and add more detail and depth. I'm really excited about the possibilities for future stories that keep opening up as I explore all the characters. Seriously, I feel like this one novel has the potential to spawn dozens more. The protagonist, Cut-Up Girl, is part of a larger universe where I've created over 30 original superheroes who either play some role in the plot or are at least referenced as being part of the world.

This is a role call, in a alphabetical order, of the superheroes in the Accidental Gods universe. In future blog posts, I'll start revealing more about who they are. Some have already appeared in my short story Where Their Worm Dieth Not in the Masked Anthology. A few others appeared in a short story I published under the pen name called Tendrils. I'll probably be adding that story as bonus material to some future book in the Accidental Gods Universe. Also, the Final Flight of the Blue Bee is set in this world.

I know just reading a list of superhero names probably isn't particularly satisfying, but here goes:

Big Ape
Blister Betty
Blue Bee
Brain Boy
Crimson Shroud
Cut-Up Girl
Dr. Dragon
Golden Victory
Monkey Boy/Monkey Man
Owl Girl
Queen Kong
Rose Rifle
Screaming Jenny
Sky Clad
Unwelcome Guest
Velvet Mask
X-Ray Robinson

Names in bold either appear in my current project or are at least discussed by other characters. In future blog posts, I plan to flesh out details on all these heroes. Stay tuned!