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, April 22, 2017

Covenant Update: 24 chapters down, ten to go on second draft

So, the bad news is that starting tomorrow I'm on vacation. No, wait, that's good news! It really is. Cheryl and I are going to bike chunks of the C&O Canal, plus a few other greenways in Virginia and Maryland, for a weeklong getaway doing our favorite pastime. I need this vacation more than I can express. It's been a stressful few months at work, combined with designing brochures and planning events for the Friends of the Orange County Library, combined with rewriting a novel, combined with getting two audiobooks into production. (More on that soon!) A week away from computers is going to be exactly what I need.

The only downside is that I didn't hit my personal deadline of finishing the second draft in time to get the book ready for publication in time for ConCarolinas in early June. But, I knew that was an aggressive deadline when I set it. I should still be done with the second draft early in June, and my new target is to get this put together in time to debut at SuperCon in early July.

The good news is that the second draft is pulling together really well. The characters are getting sharper and more detailed, and the subplots are weaving together much better than they did the first time around. The plot hole keep getting smaller and smaller. I still have a distant villain problem. The master villain really doesn't get revealed until the last ten chapters, and while I don't feel like the revelation is going to come completely out of nowhere, it's also tough to get into a villain's head when they are so far removed from the overall plot. The villain's minions are present, of course, but they don't do much to reveal the true motives of the mastermind. Solving this so that the bad guy seems like a genuine threat instead of someone sending out cannon fodder villains for no apparent reason in the early pages is so far going to be my biggest challenge in the next draft.

Hopefully, when I get back from vacation, the way forward will be apparent.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Covenant V2 progress: Six more chapters!

Six more chapters done this week. That's 12 done, on a book with 36 chapters, so progress is moving at a nice clip. If I have one critique of my own story it's that, as a team book, I feel like the story is currently somewhat fragmented. All the characters have their arcs, but I keep jumping between all the team members and I'm worried that the motivations for individual characters might be getting muddied as characters step in and out of the spot light. But, I'm working on this in fragments, focusing intently on small segments. I'm hoping that when I finally read the book as a coherent whole, it will flow smoothly.

Another update next Sunday!