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!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Wise-reading differs from critiquing in a few significant ways. First, it’s not reciprocal. In critique groups, you critique the same people who’ll be critiquing you. Even in the fairest of groups, this creates bias. If a writer praised your last story, you might read his next story with the assumption that he’s a writer of great taste and overlook the story’s weaknesses. With wise-readers, I’ve seldom read anything they’ve written. I know they aren’t trying to influence my opinion of their work by saying kind things about my novel.

Second, wise-readers don’t offer solutions. They tell me what’s keeping them interested, as well as what’s boring them to tears. They don’t need to diagnose why. As the writer, it’s my duty to keep them immersed in my world. If they’re not engaged, it’s my duty to fix it.

A final difference between wise-readers and members of critique groups is the sheer volume of reading. A group might tackle two stories at a time, maybe twice a month, seldom needing to read more than 10,000 words per session. With my wise-readers, I throw four to six chapters a week at them and want feedback quickly. I’m not giving them pages of sparkling, polished prose. My second drafts are full of missing words and continuity glitches. Wise-readers breeze past all of these little frustrations and keep their eyes on the big picture. It’s a wonderful skill, and I’m fortunate to have worked with a terrific set of wise-readers on this project.

So, my heartfelt thanks go out to Susan Voss, Mark Barlow, James Marsh, Laurel Amberdine, Cathy Bollinger, and, of course, my lovely wife Cheryl Morgan Maxey. Bad Wizard is a better book because of their hard work and dedication. They waded through a lot of mangled prose and meandering scenes in pursuit of making this a better novel. I’m deeply grateful for their efforts.

And, of course, if you want to get your hands on their work as quickly as possible, Bad Wizard just happens to be available for preorder right now on Amazon!