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!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Word Balloon Books Middle Grade Anthologies

Note: Concept covers. Final covers to be revealed. 

My first ever independently published novel was Burn Baby Burn, which I released back in 2011, under my own imprint of Word Balloon Books. I've gone on to publish or republish 23 of my own books, and have built up a healthy portfolio of skills in book design and marketing. Now, it's time to put these skills to use for new audiences and new authors. I'm pleased to announce that in 2022, Word Balloon Books will be releasing three anthologies of fantasy and science fiction geared toward middle grade readers. 

The titles we currently have planned are Rockets & Robots, Paradoxical Pets, and Beware the Bugs. We're looking for stories appropriate for readers 10 and up. Violence, sex, and language should be G-rated. That said, we're open to challenging themes and topics. We're also open to reprints! Pay rates will be at least $.01 per word, but we're hoping to improve that. We have no firm word count limit, but under 3k is preferred. Child or teen protagonists also preferred. We're open to any solid story that fits into our overall themes. 

The initial deadline for all books is February 11, 2022, but that will likely be extended for two of the titles once we have enough submissions that we can determine which one we'll be publishing first. 

Email submission to submissions@inorbit.com. Please indicate which anthology you're submitting to, and if the story is previously published. 

More on the individual titles:

Rockets & Robots: These should be science fiction adventures set in the future, in outer space, or on alien worlds. No fantasy! 

Paradoxical Pets: Looking for stories about unusual pets. They might be aliens, ghosts, mythical creatures, robots, or just a dog or cat with some weird power. Fantasy or science fiction is fine. 

Beware the Bugs! Think of 1950s B-movies where giant ants terrorize cities. Or, Lord of the Rings, where hobbits battle enormous spiders. Either science fiction or fantasy is fine, the story just needs to feature some enormous creepy-crawly critter! 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Dragonsgate: Spirits and The Map of the Drowned City

After some delays caused by medical difficulties over the winter (COVID, followed by my gallbladder quitting my body without a two week notice), I finally buckled down and finished the first draft of Dragonsgate: Spirits. The book came together nicely once I got my momentum back. 

Now, I'm launching into the second draft! There are still many months of work ahead before I knit my crazy tangle of plotlines into a coherent tapestry, but I feel like the opening is tied together sufficiently to start showing it to people as as standalone novelette, The Map of the Drowned City. This is sort of the "secret origin" story for Elspeth Howell, Commander of the Salt Fleet, who was a bit of an enigma in the first book. Her actions had a huge impact on the plot, but there were no scenes from her point of view. In Dragonsgate: Spirits, we'll finally get inside her head and see what she wants and how she plans to get it. Even if you haven't read any of my previous work, The Map of the Drowned City is still a rousing tale of a young girl battling a monster during a quest for treasure. Good stuff!  You can read it free with a link in my next newsletter!

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