Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Wrap-up, 2018 Announcements

2017 is now over, so I thought now might be a good time to recap the year for those interested.
On a personal level, this year was an incredibly mixed bag. In February my best friend, Daniel, took his own life. This severely impacted my ability to write, and it wasn’t really until almost June that I was able to work on any of my projects with any sort of consistency. It was made worse by the fact that in every one of my series I have a character based on him.
In March I had a table at Salt Lake FanX. It was an incredible experience. Met a lot of cool people and sold a nice pile of books. After the show I donated a third of my profits to a local suicide awareness charity, in honor of Daniel. I plan on doing the same thing in 2018 and every year after, as long as people are still willing to give me money for my words.
Book sales this year have been fairly consistent, and I wish I could personally thank everybody who grabbed a copy, so I hope this blanket gratitude works: THANK YOU!
Seriously, I owe you all so much.
I also entered both Son of Thunder and Fixer in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off(SPFBO). At the time of writing this Fixer has just been announced as a finalist, which is surreal. So many amazing books in that competition. In fact, I encourage everyone to check it out. It’s likely you’ll find a new favorite.
Despite my slow start this year, I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished. Not much in way of releases, just one novella, but I made progress on a lot of projects that I’m very excited about.
I’ve set a very ambitious schedule for myself next year, but I’m confident I’ll be able to stick to it.
So, bearing in mind that all of this is subject to change, based on major life events, illness, crazy coyote attacks, etc, here’s a little peek at what’s coming down the road:
July 2018:
The Stovemaker 
The story behind this one is unique. In my family, we draw names around the holidays for who we are each responsible for giving gifts to. This year, I got my sister. When I asked what she wanted she asked if I’d write a book for her. I think she may have been half-joking, but I took the request seriously. 
I sat down with her and created a checklist of everything she likes to read. What was on that list is not what ended up in the finished product… she wanted a cozy mystery that she could read late at night without getting scared… It started that way. 
Here’s the cover I threw together for it:
You’ll notice I’m calling it a “Cozy Horror.” It’s a classic whodunnit, except the murder weapon is an unspeakable horror summoned from another dimension… It also has pixies and a fox who likes scarves and a tree full of elves. It’s basically a cozy mystery the only way I’m capable of writing it.
I’m planning on having my final draft and full edits done in time to release the book on my sister’s birthday. This saves me having to get her a gift then, too. 
It’s different from what a lot of people might expect from me, but I hope you’ll give it a shot when it releases. 
August 2018:
Knights of the Dead God:
This is another one that I think might surprise a few of my readers. Or not. I kind of hope you guys are able to just roll with whatever I decide to throw your way.
This book is the start of a new series. A spin-off from my Jack Bloodfist books. I know it might seem weird to release a spin-off before I’ve even released a second book in the main series, but, well, don’t worry about it too much. I have no argument except that it made sense to me.
This series follows the antagonist from Jack Bloodfist: Fixer as he returns to his home world and must protect a young half-orc girl from his former order. I won’t say anymore about the story for the sake of those who have yet to read Fixer. But this one is a story I’ve been very excited to tell. I’ve tried to make it completely stand-alone, so it should be a safe read for anyone not interested in Jack’s story but might want a more traditional Sword and Sorcery novel(with a little portal fantasy thrown in).
Also, here’s a cover! (might change slightly before the release)
October:
Gods of the Broken Sea
This is the sequel to Knights of the Dead God. That’s right. Two books from the same series releasing in the same year. What’s going on!? Well, Knights is a fairly short book, but it’s far from the end of that story. Plus, I outlined them at the same time and have been writing them together. So finishing one is about as good as finishing both.
In this one you’ll see Arthur Shield as a pirate. An empire declaring war. Ancient gods stirring. You know, good old fashioned, family fun.
I plan on releasing this one on Halloween. Best way to celebrate, I’d say. It’s also a nice little treat for Orctober. 
November:
Alright, this is a big one. *Deep breath* This is my planned release for Thunder’s War book 2. The sequel to Son of Thunder. I still haven’t settled on the perfect title yet, but I’m leaning toward Lightning’s Price. This one has been a beast to get through. Son of Thunder has far and away been my most successful book. Getting the sequel ready for everybody has been harder than I’d ever have imagined. I just want to make sure it’s done right. But I love what I have and I think everyone that enjoyed SOT is going to love this one, too.
This book finds Berun as a Thunder Priest in the city of Severen in Maviern and dealing with everyday life as a mage. Galan working as a detective investigating a series of mysterious murders. And Dan suffering from the consequences of the power he awakened in the first book.
It’s basically just more of everything I loved about SOT, which hopefully means it’ll be more of everything you guys liked.
December:
This one is long overdue, and I apologize profusely for the unnecessary wait. On Christmas day 2018 I am releasing Jack Bloodfist: Freelancer.
Why Christmas? Because this is the closest I will likely ever come to writing a Christmas story. The book takes place during the holiday season, features Jack facing off against an angel with big aspirations, and may or may not involve a certain magic spear…
It’s got everything: Orcs, werewolves, zombies, angels and demons, high-speed-car-chases. It’s gonna be great.
Well, that’s it. Those are my plans for 2018. Things might not work out exactly as planned, but I still think it’s going to be a good year. And I hope all of you will follow along for the ride. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

First Fixer

First Fixer is officially up for pre-order! The book will be released on July 31st.



Garack Bloodfist is an orc. A former bandit, warrior, monster hunter. His name is legend in the country of his birth. You can call him Gary.
In the year since they were forced to relocate to Summervale, Virginia Gary has made it his mission to help his extended family of orcs and goblins assimilate into American society.
When he learns of a job opportunity with a construction company Gary wastes no time in securing the positions for some of his fellow orcs. But he soon learns that there were only openings because something had happened to the old crew.
He finds the cause of the crews disappearance when some of them show up, changed, with eyes that turn red and teeth that are a little too sharp.
Gary takes it upon himself to fix the problem, because if he doesn’t who will? He is particularly suited to solving the problem. He does have some experience with stakes and fire after all.
First Fixer is a prequel novella to Jack Bloodfist: Fixer, and the first story to star Gary Bloodfist, Summervale’s first orc fixer.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Time

I feel like every one of my blog posts lately have been announcements of some kind. Not that I'm complaining. I like announcing things, I just hope you guys don't hate reading them... I'll try to post something that's not an announcement in the near future. But, if you're interested in reading something that's not me telling you about a new development of some kind, well, maybe check out my Patreon? I've currently got a post for every tier, with a packed schedule of awesomeness. Lore posts, sneak peeks, downloads, all the good stuff. Even polls so you can help determine what I work on next.

That's a good segue to the announcement itself:

Starting on June 20th I will be writing full time.

There are a lot of things that factored into this decision, but the primary one being this is the only thing I've ever wanted to do with my life and it's about damn time I actually start treating that dream with the respect and time it deserves.

So that's what I'm doing.

Being able to work on my writing full time means I should be able to release more, quicker, while still being able to put in the necessary time to keep, and hopefully raise, the quality of the work.

Now, of course, I wouldn't be able to do this if it weren't for the support of the readers. So, those of you that have purchased my books: Thank you. You have no idea how much your support means to me. And I hope I can count on you to continue to support me as I release more writing into the wild.

That's all I have for you as far as text goes, so here, have a picture of my weirdo dog:


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

So Many Things!

It's been a minute, guys. Sorry for the absence, those of you that actually care. I've been busy with writing all those books and things you all love so much, and as a result have sort of pushed everything else very much into the background, and that includes any posting here.

But now I have news! Several pieces of news, in fact, so I'm going to share those with all of you. 

First, an update on the writing front. I am about halfway through the first draft of Son of Thunder's sequel(Working title is Lightning's Chosen) I'm very happy with where the book's going, and initial feedback from early readers is positive.

Interested in maybe reading some of that goodness early? Well, I have some news that might interest you a little later in this post.

Next up: SPFBO! Don't know what that is? That's okay, I'm gonna tell you.


As that banner states, it's The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. The blog-off, as that banner suggests, involves 300 fantasy novels and 10 book review blogs. Each blog gets 30 books. In the first round 290 books will be eliminated from the competition. Each blogger gets to pick one from their batch of 30 to send to the finals. Then the other 9 blogs read that finalist and all ten books are reviewed by all ten blogs. The book with the highest overall score is deemed the winner. What does the winner get you ask? Well, beyond prestige and the chance to be reviewed by 10 bloggers(Which is actually a huge deal) they get this

I was lucky enough to get both Fixer and Son of Thunder into the competition this year.  I have absolutely no expectation of winning. I am up against some damn good writers. I strongly encourage everyone to check out the awesome lineup of books and blogs. Maybe add some to your own to be read piles?

I'm stoked to see what happens this year, and regardless of how quickly I'm knocked out of the running, I'm excited to follow along and read my share of the other entries. A lot of them are already sitting on my kindle and waiting for me when I have time, and I have a feeling a lot more of them might be added here pretty soon.

What I'm really trying to say here is: Maybe buy some books? You'd make someone's day. Trust me.

I have one more announcement. This one feels kinda weird to talk about, but I'm just gonna lay it all out there for you guys. You may have noticed a new addition to the site. That little button on the right there that says, "Become a patron?" Well, if you know what that means, you know that I have a Patreon page now.

For those that might not know what that means: Patreon is a way for creators to receive support from their fans. Said fans have the option of pledging to pay x-dollars every month as a way of helping out the creator. It's a way for creators to gain that much more financial stability doing what they love. For me it means the chance of spending more time writing instead of whatever it is I'm supposed to do at work everyday.

Of course, this support doesn't come without rewards. In fact, if you didn't get something for your patronage, there'd be no point, right? For $1 a month you get early access to any blog posts for this site, as well as Patreon exclusive posts. I've posted the first one already. It's a detailed post about the different mages that exist in the world of Son of Thunder. At the $5 tier you get early access to my current projects. That means full chapters and scenes from whatever project I am currently working on. And, if you're feeling really generous, the $25 tier gets everything from the other two, plus free ebooks every time I release something new, and the ability to vote on what my next project should be.

Now, of course, I'm not going to be offended if you can't support me. I don't want anyone to think I'm begging. If you've bought my book and told your friends, you've done the most amazing thing anyone can do for a writer. Only thing better would be leaving a review.(hint hint)

But if you want to join me on this crazy journey, if you want to help me live that dream, or even if you just want early access to cool stuff, I would be eternally grateful. I will even name a child after you. Not mine, that would be weird, but some kid somewhere. Probably a fictional one... That's a nice gesture, right?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Weekly Recommendation - Short Fiction

I've decided to do something new. Once a week, instead of trying to convince you to buy my book, I'm going to recommend someone else's book. Or books. I might settle on a theme for the week and throw a bunch at you, like I'm going to do this time. Hell, I might even go as far as actually reviewing the books I'm recommending beyond just saying, "It's really good, guys." But I'll probably still say that a lot.

This week I decided I'd focus on some short fiction. I have two short stories and a short story/poetry collection. All reads that you can likely finish in under an hour each. Two from writers I know, and really think you might like as well, and one I only recently discovered, but who might be a little better known.

Let's begin, shall we?

First up is a little piece anyone that knows me might be familiar with already:

Demon: The Dark House


I have to start this recommendation by pointing out that I know the author of this one. He's an old friend, and one of my most trusted beta-readers. So I'm biased and I know it. Doesn't mean I don't actually love this story. Because I do love this story. Not only for what it is, but for what it's going to be. This story, on the surface, at least, is a simple action piece. A man hunting a pair of demons through a dark house using a sword forged from his own soul. For every demon he kills, his sword grows darker, and the voices of those he's killed torment him, slowly pushing him closer to insanity.
I talk to Mayne on a regular basis, and I always enjoy turning the conversation to the follow up story he's currently working on. If it even comes close to matching my expectations, we're all in for a treat.

Next on this week's list:

Regurgitations


Again, I have to give a disclaimer. I also know Austin James. I know, I know, I must really be a big deal. Well, I appreciate you all thinking that. But I only know him because of this collection of stories and poems, so you don't have to accuse me of being totally biased. I helped with some of the ebook formatting and I got to write an awesome blurb you can read on the book's amazon page: 
"The stories and poems in this collection all have an edge. The kind that can cut. All previously published, these are Austin James’s regurgitations. Reflections on human emotion and experience. Stories about the failings of love and the sharp, twisting knife of loss. Poetry that reveals the tragedy that is winter, the painting that is the rearview mirror, and the feeling in the stomach that only the right nutmeg blonde can produce. In this collection are two short stories and three poems, each ready to impart something, maybe wisdom, to the reader."
And I meant every word. While not what anyone would call genre fiction, which is my usual wheel house, I would still heartily recommend this short collection to anybody. I've been lucky enough to read a few more of James's stories, and the guy knows what he's doing. Do yourself a favor and drop the $0.99 for this quick read.

And finally:

The Litany of Earth


The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys is a short story, or Novelette if you want to get fancy, inspired by the Lovecraft mythos. The narrator, Aphra, is one of the last surviving residents of Innsmouth(yes that Innsmouth) trying to start her life over after everything was taken from her.
Anyone familiar with the Lovecraft's stories will know what I mean when I say she has the "Innsmouth look," and I have to say, I loved the fact that the protagonist is a character that in almost any other story inspired by Lovecraft likely would have been cast as the villain.
I mean, she worships Cthulhu. You know, Cthulhu? Yeah, you know him. But the whole time I read this story I just sympathized with her. I almost understood why someone would want to worship a massive winged-squid-faced-monster-of-madness. I won't say too much about the story, other than to tell you that you can read it for free on Tor.com. I recommend it. 
I really enjoyed this story, and upon completion was super excited with the news that there is a full length novel just released starring Aphra. Winter Tide. In fact, apparently, there's a whole series planned. Winter Tide has moved up on my reading list pretty fast, and it's likely going to be one of the next books I read. Fingers crossed that I like it as much as Litany.

Alright, everybody, those are my recommendations this week. Read them. Or don't. I'm not the boss of you. I just thought you might enjoy them. 

Have your own recommendations? Got a short story(or novel, or tv show, I'm not going to regulate this) you love more than life itself? Please share.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sales and Charity

This is not going to be a long post. I just wanted to give a quick status update.
It's been two months since my friend Daniel took his own life. It's been a rough two months. Daniel was, and will always be, my nerd friend. He was the guy I relied on to get excited with me anytime something surfaced for me to be excited about. You have no idea how hard it was not being able to text or call him when that The Last Jedi trailer was released.
I know that might sound shallow, but it's those little things everyday that drive home the fact that he's not around anymore.
A few days ago another friend of mine received word that a good friend of his had made the same decision and ended his life. Even separated from that situation, it hurt.
The news motivated me to expedite my plans to donate to a local suicide prevention charity. I'd been planning on waiting until next month so I could include my March royalty payments in the donation, but I decided that I would instead just use February's. Sales that month were better anyway.
In the end, I decided to go with Hope4Utah. You can follow that link if you want to learn more about them. I decided to go with them, because I thought, maybe if they'd been around when Daniel was in high school, if there wasn't such a stigma around talking about it, he might have been willing to share with us how he was feeling. Maybe he would have been more inclined to look for help.
Maybe is a painful word, but if my small donation can only maybe help someone, I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Announcement

There are phone calls that can change everything. There are moments that make every other moment of the day, or year, or however you want to measure time, seem unimportant and banal.
I got that call recently. That moment doesn't seem to want to end.

My good friend Daniel committed suicide a little over a week ago.

Anyone that's lost someone this way knows how it feels. The surreal haze that just settles over everything. And every time someone asks how you're holding up, the wall cracks a little more, and nothing feels like it will ever be the same again.

Every night when I sit down to write, I find that I just can't. It doesn't help that both of my current projects feature characters based on him. If you've read Son of Thunder, the character of Dan is basically just Daniel in a Fantasy setting. The thought of working on scenes featuring him is a little terrifying. What if it's wrong? What if the words don't honor him the way they should?

The thought of writing like I normally do doesn't sit right. I know that'll go away, but right now? Right now it's impossible for me to work. Last night I started writing a comic book script because it was different enough that it felt safe. It's probably horrible, but at least I was able to work on something.

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. It's more of an announcement than anything, I just wanted to share that news to help explain this next part.

As you may or may not know, I have a table at Salt Lake FanX, March 17-18. I'll be selling copies of both Fixer and Son of Thunder. And, in memory of Daniel, I will be donating a portion of the sales to a charity that benefits suicide prevention. I don't know which one yet, but research is being done, and phone calls/emails are being made. And it won't just be sales made at the convention. Any online sales for the duration of the show and at least the following week(likely longer) will be factored into that donation. This applies to ebook, paperback, and audio format.

And it's not just me. Another good friend, Joshua Mayne, has a short story that will be available on Kindle in the next week or so, and he's generously offered to include a portion of his sales for that time as well. In fact, for the duration of the show, Josh is planning on donating 100% of his sales. So, please, tell your friends. You get an awesome story, and you get to help with a worthy cause.


Stay tuned for more news as we get closer to show, including a link for Joshua's story when it goes live.

And even if you feel like you can't purchase anything at this time, you can still help. How? By being good to each other. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them. Let everyone in your life know that they would be missed if they weren't there anymore. Try your damnedest to brighten someone's day. And if you find yourself in a dark place without any sign of light, reach out. You don't have to be alone. There is always, always, someone willing to listen. I promise.


Miss you, man.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Announcements and Whatnot

Only a few weeks until Salt Lake FanX. I love Salt Lake Comic Con, and I'm pretty excited/terrified about the fact that I will have a table this year. That map up there points to my tiny table in the corner of the show. Just a small speck amidst a sea of awesome, but if you happen to be attending, come find me. I'd love to talk books and all manner of geekiness with anyone that wants to. I'll even have copies of both my books, Fixer and Son of Thunder. I'll also have random stuff to give away. Nothing too exciting, bookmarks, autographs, oh, and Audible promo codes for both Son of Thunder and Fixer. I may also have minions patrolling the halls with instructions to reward their favorite cosplayers of the show with said codes. We'll see.

In other news: I just approved the proof for Son of Thunder's paperback edition. FINALLY. It took me way longer to get that one right than I expected, but I'm happy with the final product. So if you've been waiting for that, it should be available soon.

There's also a new paperback version of Fixer out in the wild. There were a few typos in the previous version that I had to fix up. Also changed the books measurements a little. I don't know if anyone besides me cares about that, but there it is.

I also really wanted to thank anyone and everyone that's been grabbing the Son of Thunder audiobook. In just a few weeks it's already sold more copies than Fixer has in over a year. Which kind of makes me sad for Jack, but I'm glad people seem to be enjoying Berun's story. Hopefully you'll come back for the next one. There's a storm on the horizon for the Thunder Mage, and I really think you'll all enjoy watching where the lightning strikes.

And finally, here's a picture of my weird dog:


That is all.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Overdue Announcements for 2017

So with January almost over, I decided it was time to let everyone know my plans for the year. I want to be as transparent as possible with those of you that care to know more about what's happening on the writing front. So that's what this post is for. It includes some fun stuff, some maybe disappointing stuff, and some stuff that you'll probably just "meh" at.

First order of business: Paperback and Audio format for Son of Thunder.

Paperback editions of Son of Thunder should be available for purchase by the end of the month. You might be asking why it's coming so long after the release of the ebook. That's a reasonable question. Mostly it's because I've done my best to make sure the paperback has more to offer than the e-book.
I commissioned an artist for some illustrations, and we added some chapter headers. You're only going to see those in the physical copy of the book.
Here's a taste of what you can expect:

I'm pretty sure it's been worth the wait. I'll announce it when it's officially available, but expect it soon.

Audio edition of Son of Thunder is so close.
I just finished listening to the narration, and guys, it's good. Like, really good. I know I'm biased, but trust me, it's pretty great.
My first step in getting this audio book ready, was to open it up for auditions. I got some amazing auditions. So many talented people submitted. It almost physically hurt me to make the final decision. Because picking one of them meant I was denying other talent. It got worse when I shared the auditions with friends and family and the vote was split. Same number of votes for all the front runners. In the end I chose Sean Tivenan. In situations where I only have good choices and I can't just have everything, I trust my gut. After listening to Sean's performance, I'm glad I did. I think you'll agree when you hear it.
I'm not sure when this will be available. A few hoops to jump through, but once Audible has approved it, you'll be able to grab your own copy.


Now onto other news. Namely, sequels.

Some of you might be familiar with an orc by the name of Jack Bloodfist. I'm still working on his second adventure. I'd originally promised that would be available last year. Well... Turns out I lied. I swore I wouldn't be that guy, but... Sorry. I'm pushing myself to have it ready this year. I do have a good chunk done, and if there's enough interest, I would be happy to share a few peeks into Jack's next adventure. I just wanted to assure everyone that it is coming.
The second Jack Bloodfist novel is going to be titled Freelancer. In this one, you're gonna get to see Jack face off with a powerful necromancer, angry angels, a renegade demon, and maybe a werewolf or two. It's going to be bigger and better than the first one in every way.
I just hope we all get to enjoy it sooner rather than later...

The other sequel on my plate is, you guessed it, the second book in Thunder's War. Son of Thunder has only been out for a few months, but I've been working on this series for longer than I care to admit. Which means, it's all outlined. Book 3's outline is still kind of rough, but book 2(Working title is Lightning's Chosen) is just begging me to start writing it in earnest. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this beat Freelancer to the printer.

I have other projects in the works, as well, but as far as 2017 goes, I think it's safe to assume that either Freelancer or Lightning's Chosen will show up first. Hell, maybe we'll even see both of them if I manage to write as much as I want to this year. But, don't be surprised if you see something random show up instead. I do have that pirate novel I want to write...

One final piece of news for the year: I have a table at Salt Lake Comic Con Fan X this March. This is my first time as a vendor at this con. My first time as James Jakins the author, and not just attendee #20,346. I'll be selling copies of both Son of Thunder and Fixer. I'll even use my non-existent artistic talent to draw orcs if requested. Doesn't even have to be in one of my books. I'll deface anything if you ask.

That's it everybody. Have a great 2017!