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!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dragons Gate starts here!

I've hinted a few times before on my blog that I planned to return to the Bitterwood universe for a new series of novels. It's been almost ten years since I was last writing the Bitterwood series, and memory fades. But lately I've been listening to DragonForge on Audible, recorded by the talented Eric Joseph Chancy, and rediscovering the elements that by far make the Bitterwood series my best selling books. The premise still feels fresh--epic fantasy in a post-apocalyptic world, written using the rules of science fiction. But what really connected with me listening to DragonForge were the characters. Bitterwood's growling intensity, Graxen's lovesick mooning, Blasphet's scenery chewing villainy, Pet's growth from pampered man/child into a man willing to die for what he believes. Jandra discovering her powers, Zeeky's fearlessness, and the interplay of the valkryies who guard the Nest all stand out. And on top of all this are Burke and Anza, probably two of the most morally complex characters I've ever put onto the page. Burke hates dragons every bit as much as Bitterwood, but he's too smart to fight a war that can't be won, and deeply feels his responsibility for every life he puts in danger. His role as the reluctant mastermind of the human rebellion still resonates with me.

So, for over a year now, I've been plotting out a new trilogy featuring these characters called Dragons Gate. I kept thinking of scenes where the novel had to begin, but a lot of these scenes felt more like epilogues to the previous novels rather than fresh beginnings. They served as a bridge between the two series, but I worried that the new book might suffer if I spent the first third of the book recounting backstories. So, over the rest of the year, I'll be presenting a series of novelettes, novellas, and short stories collectively called "Dragons Gate: Preludes & Omens." Right now, I've got at least three planned, Hunted, telling the story of Graxen and Nadala, Haunted, following up on Bitterwood's attempt at a new life as a farmer, and Hurt, focusing on Anza. I've got faint inklings for a fourth story as well, but it's still in development, so I'm not quite ready to announce it, and may yet decide to integrate it into the larger trilogy.

The first of the Dragons Gate: Preludes & Omens stories, Hunted, is now available on Kindle. At the end of DragonForge, the sky-dragons Graxen and Nadala fly off, and their fate is never addressed in Dragonseed. This picks up their story several months later. Nadala is pregnant and no longer able to safely fly. They're lost in the Cursed Mountains, looking for shelter in the face of an impending storm. Worst of all, Graxen isn't a great hunter, and now that Nadala is grounded their food is running out. All that's standing between them and starvation is a stag Graxen has spotted at the edge of a forest. What he doesn't know is that as he's hunting the stag, something a lot more dangerous than a dragon is hunting him.

I was nervous about writing characters I hadn't written in so long, but the second I started typing it was like welcoming old friends back into my life. Any worries I had about committing myself to a new epic fantasy trilogy instantly vanished to be replaced with enthusiasm. I can't wait to write these books because I can't wait to read them!

And now, you don't have to wait to get started with the first story in the new series. Read it today on Kindle! And, if you want to read future Dragons Gate: Prelude & Omens stories for free, sign up for my newsletter! Subscribers to my newsletter will be sent links for free downloads for the tales before they go on sale on Amazon. Free and early not enough for you? Send me an email if you want to be a beta reader for future tales.

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