Magnifica: Gravestalker, Revised Release!!!

Hello everyone!!!

I am so excited to announce that a revised copy of my book, Magnifica Gravestalker is currently set for release tomorrow. For those of you who have already purchased a copy (physical or digital), you’ll be able to download the revised version free of charge. For those who haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll enjoy it. Gravestalker remains the favorite of all the stories I’ve written. Returning to it was a true labor of love and I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy the results.

All I ask is that when you read it, PLEASE leave a review!!! Stars are everything in this business

Hard copies for those of you who are like me can be purchased here.

Digital copies are available here.

They will also be available where ever fantasy books are sold!

Book details:


Sample Chapter:

Chapter I

Toby’s heart froze in his chest as he stood next to his bike, ready to leave the reservation. He was getting sick of Giselle’s rhymes and riddles. All he wanted was a straight answer and if he didn’t get it soon, he was going to explode, “What do you mean Masarabi lied to me? What are you talking about?”

Giselle stepped away from Gishan, lowered her eyes to the ground, and began pacing in a circle, “Toby… you were right when you said that I should have left you and Lia’na alone. I know it’s partially my fault for getting you two mixed up in this awful mess. Had I not asked you for help, the chances are that she would still be alive right now… The Apocalyphe would still exist, but the Filis de Lux would have no way of getting to it. I couldn’t make up for that even if I spent the rest of my life trying.”

“Giselle, really, I’m in no mood for any of this. We all have our regrets, me more so than anyone. I’m sorry, but I can’t play counselor to you right now. If you have a point, would you mind getting to it quicker so I can get the hell out of here?”

“Toby man, take it easy.” Gishan said nervously.

Giselle shook her head as she looked at Gishan, “No, he’s right. –I’m sorry Toby… you’re right… but what if I told you that the elven people weren’t the only ones to salvage Alliance texts? What if I told you the U.S. Government had them in our posession? The Government fears what some of the books represent, so they keep them secret even from their own employees. It got to the point where the only people who knew what was in some of those archives are long since dead. Many of the locked areas of the rare books sections don’t even have keys anymore and are regarded as off-limits.”

“So?” Toby asked, ready to walk away.

“Well… Being an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has its benefits… including access to all of these things without anyone questioning it. What if I told you that after Lia’na died, I went poking around the library on a whim and discovered another book in the archives that may be of some interest to you? What if I told you that I took it… and no one would ever even notice it was gone?”

Toby was now slowly becoming interested. He stepped away from his bike, having temporarily lost the desire to get as far away as fast as he could, “What book?”

“Before I show you… answer me one question. What would you do to get Lia’na back, to be able to hold her, and love her again? How far are you willing to go and what price are you willing to pay?”

A slight breeze swept by that brought the sound of movement with it. The group turned immediately, suspecting that they were being watched. Toby scanned the darkness for a few moments, but there was no one around to be seen. The hair stood up on the back of the friends’ necks, but they ignored it.

Toby turned back to Giselle and looked deep into her brown eyes, letting her know he was serious, “You already know the answer to that. I would bring this entire world to its knees to hold her again, even if it were just for a few moments. I would sell my own soul to the devil for just one day with her. I would go through what we went through a million times over if it meant she’d be waiting for me at the end.”

 

Giselle bit her lower lip and sighed as she pulled out a square shaped package wrapped in brown cloth from under her jacket. Part of her had wished she’d never brought it up, but she knew she owed Toby this much, “Toby… please understand… I could go to prison for the rest of my life for what I’m about to show you…”

Giselle slowly unwrapped the package and held it out to Toby. Inside was an 8”x 10” book. It looked to be around the same age, if not older than the Magnifica or the Apocalyphe, but it was in much better condition than either. The cover was brown leather with golden clasps. There was an eye on the cover that bore a striking resemblance to the Eye of Providence.

 

Toby took it from her and instantaneously felt a charge of spiritual energy flow through his body. Whatever this book was, it was powerful, more so than the Magnifica or the Apocalyphe… possibly combined. He got the feeling that the eye on the cover was watching him as he looked the book over. It was unlike anything he’d ever seen before.

Toby looked up at Giselle as the charge flowed through him. His eyes narrowed as he examined her nervous expression, “What is this?”

The lights from the nearby torches flickered on Giselle’s face as she nervously smiled. Toby continued to look over the book as she spoke, “When I did some digging, I found an old script left by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself.”

Toby looked up in shock, “What would Thomas Jefferson have to do with this?”

“Near as I can tell, this book was out of Europe before the American Revolution. It was handed off to a group of Freemasons for safekeeping. The local masonic lodge didn’t know what to make of this book and feared the stories that they were told.”

 

Giselle felt chills travel down her spine as she continued, “One of the masons at that time, a man named Benjamin McConnel, was a skilled linguist. He was able to translate part of the text. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for them to figure out what this book was used for. When they realized its implications, the freemasons panicked. They tried to destroy the book, but when they failed, they decided it needed to be hidden away. They gave it to then-president Thomas Jefferson for safe keeping. Jefferson held on to the book for a few years, but after a couple of suspected break-ins at his home, he donated the book, along with the rest of his collection to the Library of Congress after Washington was set ablaze during the war of 1812.”

Giselle sucked in one last deep breath as she nervously finished her history lesson, “The message he wrote said that he truly believes great evil surrounds this book and it must be kept hidden and secret at all times.”

Gishan took a nervous step back as Toby opened the book and looked at the ancient hieroglyphics, “This isn’t Alliance writing. It looks totally different.”

Giselle shook her head, “True, but you should be able to manipulate it the same way as you did with the Magnifica.”

 

Toby quickly focused his mind as he stared at the page. He waved his hand over the book and watched as the lettering rearranged itself to modern English. His mind ached as he worked. Some of the letters were similar to what he saw in the Magnifica, but others were totally different. There was no way to know if the book would completely translate or if it would come out as complete gibberish.

As the enchantment worked, Toby looked up at Giselle, “What is this?”

“The Necronexus. From what I was able to find out, this book was written by an unknown sect outside of the Alliance. No one knew about it until the Alliance raided their lands. When they discovered what it was, they also tried to destroy it, but the book resisted all spells, charms, and enchantments. Nothing appeared to do the job. When they failed to dispose of it, the Alliance Council took the book and hid it in the southernmost part of their territory. They wanted to make sure that it was completely forgotten.”

Toby listened as Giselle gave him yet another history lesson, “It is believed that the Egyptians later found the book, successfully translated it, and used its spells in their books of the dead. Since then, the Necronexus has made its way around history without really being noticed. It found its way into the hands of the Knights Templar, who feared what it may be and locked it away after they themselves failed to destroy it.”

Gishan sighed, “So that would explain how it found its way into the hands of the Freemasons.”

“Yeah that’s right.”

Toby shook his head while he looked at the spell book, “This… resurrection and regeneration enchantment looks like exactly what we want… but it’s complicated… It looks like we’re going to need quite a few things, most of which look more symbolic than anything. I hate the idea of having to wait… but I’ll need a week or so just to make sure I get it right. Even then there appears to be a lot of risk. These enchantments are unlike anything I’ve done before.”

Gishan nodded, “Tell me what you need, if I can’t get it, I’ll know someone who can. We’ll find everything on there as long as it still exists. Don’t worry man. Just promise me one thing.”

“Go ahead, I’m listening, what’s up?”

“Don’t be stupid about this. It sucks what happened to Lia’na and she deserves a second chance… so do you. You’re like a brother to me and I know she made you happy like no one else could… but screwing with nature… I don’t know man. Take your time and make sure you get it right. That’s all I ask.”

“Don’t worry, Gishan, I learned my lesson after the last time. I’m not going to be doing anything that might put another person in jeopardy that I promise you. I’ve lost too much already from making that mistake.”

“I want to be there too.” Giselle added. “You never know what might happen and you’ll need all the help you can get. That book is considerably older than the Magnifica and is apparently impossible to destroy. We know a lot less than we should about it. What we do know is that it could be easily misused if it falls into the wrong hands. We need to be extra cautious.”

“Agreed. So we’re all in on this then?”

“Yeah.” Gishan replied.

Giselle hesitated for a moment before answering, “Yes… but on one condition.”

“Only one?” Toby asked. “What’s that?”

“Once you’ve brought her back, you never use the book again. I know your uncle and your father were taken from you… and I understand the temptation to try to save them. Lord knows there are people I’d love to see again, but that book is too dangerous to keep around. You never know what else could be waiting to come through from the other side. I will allow you to take that risk once, and only once. So once you’ve gotten what you want, you need to find a way to destroy the book.”

The look in Giselle’s eyes was absolutely serious. Toby could see that if he tried to negotiate or refuse to destroy the book, there was no way she’d let him use it. He also knew that there would be risks and as much as he loved his uncle, he knew that he owed Lia’na a second chance.

Giselle sighed as she finished her terms, “I won’t take it back to the Library, nor will I leave it in your hands. Not after what we saw with the Apocalyphe. Messing with the metaphysical goes way beyond simple enchanting, and is too dangerous. I won’t risk our existence by allowing it to fall into the wrong hands… as if there were any such thing as right hands in this case. This is my price, one use, and then I want it destroyed.”

“So that’s the deal then? Lia’na’s life for this book’s destruction?”

“You could look at it that way.”

“I am, and you don’t need to worry.I don’t know what I can do that the ancient enchanters didn’t already try, but once she’s back in my arms and all is said and done… I’m getting rid of the Fragmentum, this book, and possibly even the Magnifica. When I’m done, I’m ridding the world of magic. There is just no place for it anymore. Lia’na deserves the normal life she was robbed of. That doesn’t seem possible as long as enchanters still exist.”

“Good…” Giselle said in approval. “Then count me in all the way!”

Toby smiled for the first time in days. The pain of Lia’na’s death was still with him, but hopefully it wouldn’t be something he’d have to live with for the rest of his life, “Then let’s head back to Massachusetts and get started. I need to study these writings while you get the supplies we’ll need. The sooner we get everything together, the sooner she’ll be back with us.”

“Right, so let’s all meet back at Toby’s condo tomorrow and figure out what we need.” Gishan replied.

Toby turned away and hid the book in the left leather pouch on the side of his bike. He tapped the odometer to wake it up as he got on. The bike revved its engine, as though asking a question.

“No I’m feeling better now.” Toby said in response. “It looks like the story isn’t quite over yet.”

Vroom!

“I know that… but we’re going to get her back. I’ll fill you in on the way home.”

Vroomroom!

“I know… I miss her too, but I said I’d do anything to save her and I meant it. So let’s get going, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Cerererer!

“I can’t wait to have her back either. She would be in my arms right now if there were any justice in the world. It’s just not fair.”

The bike slowly rolled forward as Toby rested his arms on the handle bars, “Come on. Let’s go home…”

Gishan waved as Toby disappeared into a dust cloud that was kicked up by the bike’s tires, “Good luck, Toby! See you tomorrow!”

Toby had hoped that he would be able to learn the enchantments quickly and bring her back within a day or two. However his hopes were shattered when he saw what would be needed to conduct the ritual. Aside from procedures and mental preparations, there were some rare items that they would also need.

As promised, Giselle and Gishan showed up at Toby’s house the day after the funeral. Toby had spent the entire night going over the book and had gotten no sleep. His eyes had heavy bags undernieth them and his skin was pale.

Giselle noticed his disheveled appearance the moment she entered the living room, “Good God, Toby. You’re not going to be able to save her if you run yourself into the ground like this.”

Toby rubbed his eyes as he spoke, “No, I know that… but every time I close my eyes, I see her face… the look she gave me during the last few minutes before she died. I just can’t stand it.”

Gishan frowned, “I know how you feel buddy, but you need to be healthy. How ya going to conduct this ritual if you’re falling asleep?”

“Fine. Let’s figure out what we need for the ritual and then I’ll go to bed.”

“Sounds good to me.” Gishan said as he sat down next to Toby and rested his stubby legs. “Let’s get started.”

Over the next few days, Giselle and Gishan worked diligently to get everything they would need. Gishan worked especially hard as he knew better than Giselle how badly this was killing Toby. They were brothers as far as the young dwarf was concerned and there was little he wouldn’t do for Toby. He knew that he would have to hurry before his friend collapsed from exhaustion.

The few nights where Toby was able to sleep, he was forced to watch the horror unfold once again. No matter how hard he tried, he could not expel the dream for even a single moment of relief. It would continue to haunt him and continue to make him face the grim reality that she was dead because he was powerless to save her.

Every night, it was the same thing; Toby watched in horror as Lia’na placed her hand on the Apocalyphe. He tried to run to her, but a wall of energy blocked his path. He tried everything from slamming his body into it, to trying to go around, to blasting it with both light and dark enchantments. Nothing worked and there was nothing he could do except watch helplessly as the release of energy from the book killed her.

Lia’na began to shake as the powers of the Fragmentum and the book ripped into her soul. The book was destroyed and a bolt of light hit Lia’na. Blood poured from her abdomen as she looked up at Toby with a sympathetic expression.

The light drained from her eyes and tears flowed as she cried out, “Toby… help me… please! It hurts…”

Finally he was able to run to her and try to restore her wounds. Each time he tried, the wounds just got worse. She scowled as she looked at him, “You… should have listened to me. This is your fault…”

One morning, Toby’s eyes shot open to the sounds of a kettle in the kitchen screaming that its contents were hot. He jolted upwards into a sitting position and fell off the couch. His left hip ached in pain as he struggled back into his spot.

“Oh, sorry about that,” A voice appeared behind him, “I didn’t think the kettle would be that loud!”

Toby looked up to see what was going on. His eyes were only half open and his vision was badly blurred. He tried to make the fuzz go away by rubbing them a few times and eventually succeeded, “It’s all right Giselle… you probably just did me a favor.”

Giselle was standing over the stove in her pink pajama pants and one of the long tshirts she had brought with her. The shirt looked huge on her, but wasn’t long enough to cover her legs, so the pajamas took care of the rest. She frowned as she poured the hot water into a mug, “Still having the same nightmare?”

“Yeah… I can’t get her out of my head. It’s driving me insane!”

“I know, I’ve been through it myself and I understand what that’s like. The only comfort I can offer is that it does get easier over time.”

“I find that hard to believe…”

“I know… but either way, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We’re almost ready to get started on the ritual.”

“I just don’t understand how I can’t even get one decent night’s rest.”

Giselle gave him a sympathetic smile, “The amount you’ve been drinking lately probably hasn’t helped anything! When’s the last time you actually slept in your bed?”

“A few days…” Toby admitted.

“You see? I’m sure that’s part of it! Lying face down on this leather sofa like you passed out cannot be comfortable. You need to be in your own bed.”

Giselle walked over to a small box on the counter and plucked a teabag out of it. The water in the mug steamed as she added the bag and a drop of honey from the bottle next to the stove. The mug made a faint sound resembling a bell as she stirred the tea.

“It still smells like her. It’s even harder to sleep there. When I close my eyes, it’s like she’s still there.”

Giselle sighed, “As much as I hate to say it, maybe it’s time to replace the sheets then? If it drives you that insane, then it might be time.”

“Maybe…”

“Definitely.”

A concerned look came over her face like she wanted to say something, but was afraid of what Toby would say. She took a step closer and spoke, “Toby, I hate to bring this up now… I know you have high hopes for the enchantment. I do too, but we have to accept the possibility that it may not work.”

“I don’t want to think about that right now.”

“You have to. You have to consider what you’ll do if we can’t bring her back. A hard choice will have to be made.”

“What are you talking about?”

“If we can’t bring her back, you’re going to have to let her go. That involves moving her out.”

Toby looked at her oddly, “She’s up in New Hampshire having her bones laid to rest, or didn’t you notice?”

Giselle sighed. She knew that what she was about to say would hurt, but Toby needed to hear it, “No, what’s up there is an empty shell of what used to be Lia’na. Her spirit never left us. She’s here, right now… in her smells, her clothes, and the decorations she brought here when she moved in. She’ll continue to linger here as long as you hold on to her. For now that’s fine, but if we fail… eventually you’re going to have to let go and let her move to the next life.”

“Enough, I don’t want to hear this… not now.”

Once her mug was empty, Giselle walked over and sat next to Toby on the couch. The moment her hand touched the moist leather, she shot up, “Aw gross, thanks for warning me, Toby!”

“I can’t help it if I sweat.”

“Yeah, but its leather, it doesn’t absorb the sweat, it just let’s the stuff pool!”

“Sorry.”

“Ugh, this is what I mean! Toby, as your friend, I’m telling you right now, you need to get out of here! Go ride your bike up and down the road or go walk around Arcanus. I don’t care, just do something! This is not healthy.”

Giselle cleaned herself off and sat down in the armchair next to the couch, refusing to go anywhere near where Toby was again, “Gishan should be back in another day or two with the corpse flower we need. I’m sorry it’s taken us so long to get the ingredients, but some of this stuff is complicated and very rare. We’re actually lucky that none of it is extinct.”

She picked up an odd looking knife from the side table, “I mean look at this! We needed ebony to hand-carve a ceremonial knife for the ritual, we also needed a bit of her remains, which the elves were not going to give up willingly. Sneaking back on to the reservation before they buried her wasn’t easy! Then we needed candles made from pure whale fat! Seriously, whale fat? No one even uses that anymore… Now we need an extinct flower, which has a different species growing in South America, and hopefully that will be it!”

“I know that, and it didn’t help that it took me so long to translate the Necronexus. The damn book drained me of my energy for days! I’ve never seen an ancient text so complicated that it actually took more than a simple decipher enchantment to translate it! It was more like trying to web a network of unknown lines and dialogue together to make something partially coherent!”

“I remember…. I watched you struggling with it. You were off your feet for two days after! I would have helped you if I could have, but that was way beyond anything I could have done. I also had to coordinate Gishan’s trip to get the flower.”

She broke her gaze momentarily to look down at her mug as she sipped the tea before continuing, “It should have been me going after that flower. It would have been… but after the chaos in Washington, and our little incident in the Netherlands, I’ve been on conference call after conference call with my superiors and have been essentially grounded. Even so… I should never have let Gishan go to Malaysia alone.”

“He’ll be fine… he always is. That dwarf has talked himself out of trouble more times than he’d ever admit to.”

“I hope you’re right.” Giselle replied as she headed for the guest room to change. “You know him better than I do, but I still worry.”

Toby stared blankly at the frame on his end table. It was a beautiful picture of Lia’na and Toby at Revere Beach. He would never forget that day. Lia’na had asked a dwarf that was passing by to take the picture for them.

Toby had expected Lia’na to stand next to him, but instead, she jumped on his back. Her legs hugged his hips and her arms were loosely draped around his neck. Toby’s arms were holding Lia’na’s legs in place as the two of them stood there smiling.

After a few moments, Toby could no longer stand looking at it. He grabbed the pictured and turned it over so that he didn’t have to see the smiling faces. That was nothing more than a piece of history now.

Giselle noticed it and frowned, “I know you miss her Toby. We’re going to do everything we can to get her back.”

Toby stood up and headed for the bathroom, “I know that… Thank you…”

Without another word, Toby closed the door to his bedroom and headed into the shower. Giselle shook her head as he disappeared from view. Her heart sank in her chest. It’s just not right.

Toby shut the door to the bathroom.  His skin was oily and itched as he stripped off the tshirt and boxers he’d been wearing for the last two days. Part of him just wanted to throw out the clothes, given how badly they smelled, but he knew that they could be salvaged if washed soon.

The water pouring out of the shower head didn’t offer him any comfort as 48 hours of sweat washed away. The soap that came off of his body was tinted gray and he had to vigorously run the shampoo through his hair to get the plastic feeling of greese to go away. He was getting clean, but it didn’t feel any better.

Toby leaned down and turned off the shower. He stood in place for a few moments, letting the water drip away as he stared at the steam that whisked by his face. He leaned on the wall, not ready to move. He was completely paralyzed as he remembered the joy of looking forward to showers when Lia’na lived with him.

After more than ten minutes, Toby got out of the shower and grabbed a towel. His mind was completely blank as he dried off and got dressed. He threw on some black jeans and a red tshirt before grabbing his keys and heading for the bedroom door.

Giselle was now sitting in the living room chair, sipping another cup of tea as Toby opened the door to the bedroom. The TV was on and she was keeping an eye on the restoration projects efforts aimed at bringing Boston back to it’s glory. She was interrupted by the creaking sound as Toby’s door opened.

“There, now that looks better. You look like a new man now that you’ve cleaned up a little.”

“I don’t feel like a new man.” Toby replied as he slowly started moving towards the front door.

“Going somewhere?”

“Yeah, I’m heading for Revere Beach. I’ll be back in a while.”

A worried expression appeared on Giselle’s face, “Toby, I know I told you to get out, but are you sure that Revere Beach is a good idea?”

“What do you want from me? It’s where I used to go when I needed to clear my head. There is no place that I can go now where she won’t be haunting me.”

“Yeah I know that, but now… I mean given how much time you two spent there. I’m just worried… Look just promise me you won’t have a meltdown until you’re off your bike, okay?”

“Fine.” Toby replied as he closed the door behind him without even looking up.

Giselle sighed as he disappeared from view. She feared that Toby would wind up coming back in traction, but that was a risk she ran no matter where he went. In the end, she knew there was nothing she could do about it. Damn it.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Powering Through!

I’ve got a question about writing.
I’ve currently got a novel in the works but I am currently finding it hard to continue. How do you power through the finishing stories?

Hi Bahanehm,

Good question. I actually get asked this one quite a bit. Its a little hard to answer without knowing exactly what’s stopping you, so I’ll try to give a few general tips that have helped me in the past.
1. STOP WRITING! Don’t try to power through it because you’re not going to get very far, and trust me there is nothing worse than reading a novel that the author was clearly unenthusiastic about. Don’t… PLEASE don’t write if you’re just doing it to get it done. Your audience WILL pick up on it.
2. Reflect: What made you write this novel? What made you initially want to write it? Was it a movie you saw? A book you read? Perhaps a discussion you had with someone? Go back to whatever it was that inspired you to write and rediscover what made you do so in the first place.
3. Go do something else: Not kidding, go listen to music (I’ve posted several playlist options), go read a book, go watch a movie, or go out an experience the world. Get a refresh and then come back.
4. Reread what you already wrote: You’re going to need to do this anyway… multiple times. Go back, read, make corrections, and then try to pick up where you were.
5. Write an alternate path: Try creating a different storyline, say have your characters make different decisions and see where the story goes.
6. Write something else: Have another story in mind? Perhaps this is what’s stopping you from finishing your first one. Well, get it down on paper and then go back to your old one.
Hopefully these will help you get your mind back on track and help you start up again.
I’ll also open it up to my readers and let them offer any suggestions that they may also have. They’re usually pretty good about it.
Thanks,
Jim H.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

New Musical Inspiration From an ‘Old Friend.’

A lot of writers have a playlist of music to help them write and I am no exception. The tempo and mood of the music help them describe and convey emotion as we write what we hear. The lyrics guide us on the direction of the plot, the chorus gives us strength to continue, and the changeup inspires the story climax!

With this in mind, I often share new music that I’ve added to my playlist with my readers and fellow writers.

But Jim, aren’t you worried that someone will come up with the same ideas that you do?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! AHHHH!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ah… no! I’d actually be very disturbed if someone else was able to conjure up the same stuff that goes on in my head.

Okay, on topic.

Having listened to pretty much all of the bands I love pretty much to death and unable to find any new bands really bringing anything to the table in terms of metal… I heard the song ‘Crawling’ on the radio and decided to see what Linkin Park, a band I’d listened to throughout middle school and part of High School, had done recently…

… I think I need to reacquaint myself with this old friend.

Linkin Park, you almost never disappoint!

linkin_park_reanimation

I said almost never!! Sigh…

The video is beautifully choreographed, the background music and beat sound like something out of Tron Legacy (Yes, I am one of the 49% that love Tron Legacy), the singing is spot on. It’s actually a very mild sound for someone known for far more rough vocals. The harmony, my God the harmony was spot on.

This song has been added to my writing playlist. A true rarity for non-metal music, but as most metalheads do, I have a few exceptions. Happy to have this as one, and I recommend everyone add it who likes rock music!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing History?

Hi Jim,

I just finished reading Soul Siphon and really liked your character, Mary. As I kept reading, she started talking about historical events that she was involved in, namely the Jack the Ripper killings. I’m not a history buff, so I decided to google the Whitechapel killings to get a little context.

To my surprise, you took Mary directly from the history books! I was really shocked to find out that she was an actual living person. As a writer, I’m curious how you were able to write her. You don’t know what she was like when she was alive, so how can you hope to portray her correctly? Not only that, don’t you think her descendants would object to you using her in your book, especially given some of the things she does?

I’m not trying to accuse you of anything, I’m just wondering as I find her usage intersting and potentially something I’d like to do.

Thanks,
Jeanette


Hi Jeannette,

No attack implied.

So let’s tackle your questions one at a time…

As a writer, I’m curious how you were able to write her. You don’t know what she was like when she was alive, so how can you hope to portray her correctly?

A very good question. The unfortunate answer is that I can’t. My character may be WAY off on what Mary was really like. So where did my approximation come from?
Well what do we know about Mary?
– She was Irish.
– She went by the nickname ‘Black Mary’ for starting brawls.
– She was known for getting heavily intoxicated and singing Irish songs… very loudly.
– She worked at a brothel.

So that’s all we know. So I took that and added in a level of frustration, sadness, and a high level of bitterness not only from being murdered, but (SPOILER ALERT) not being able to hunt down and reap vengeance on the man responsible. (/SPOILER)

So really that’s basically all I had to work with, if you checked out her history, you saw that that information on her is very limited. Some historians even dispute her hair color. So when you don’t have much to work with, you do your best to fill in the blanks where ever you can. That’s where the frustration, bitterness, and sadness came in.

Simply put, you do the best you can with what little you have to work with. Take what situational information you have the person, find out as much as you can about what they’ve done, how their lives were, and how they reacted to people, and build off of that.

Not only that, don’t you think her descendants would object to you using her in your book, especially given some of the things she does?

I worry about that every time I write a historical character into my stories. However we have no definitive confirmation of any descendants in the case of Mary. Some people have come forward claiming to be a granddaughter, great-niece, etc. None have been confirmed, and too often many are trying to sell books…

Honestly, if we had confirmation of someone being related to her or one of the other historical characters that I’d written about in the past, I’d absolutely contact them first. Not only to ask permission to use their names and identities, but also for some information on their ancestor. It’s courtesy and it makes sense.

So I hope that helps, this is how I create a character from a historical person where we have limited information about them.

Readers, do you have another method? Have you written about a Historical person? How do you tackle the hurdles mentioned above?




Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beating the Writer’s Block

Hi Jim,

I saw your posts inviting people to ask for advice, so I thought I’d ask… How do you deal with writer’s block? Right now, I’m having issues with it. I had a great idea, I’ve gotten about half way into writing my story, but now I’ve just run out of steam. I can’t even get myself behind the keyboard to type because I’m dreading it. I don’t want to type page after page of filler, but I don’t know how else to deal with this. Please help! I have a deadline coming up that I need to reach.

Thanks,
Jeff!


Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the email! Writer’s block is a nuisance that has plagued us all at one point or another, and, like the hiccups, we all have different ways of getting rid of it. Realistically, there is no right or wrong way. It’s all about what works for you. I hate to say this, but writers block in some cases has been known to last people years. It’s an unfortunate fact.

Since you mentioned that you’re on a deadline, I’ll give you a few tips…

  1. Rediscover what gave you your initial inspiration. Go play a game, read a book, see a movie, whatever it was, go back down that original path again.
  2. Star over. No, I’m not kidding. If you’ve hit a roadblock, start over and try taking it from a different direction. Keep the original in case you want to go back to it, but start over and try taking your characters down another path. It’s better than sitting there staring blankly at the screen.
  3. Take a break… Don’t think about writing, put it out of your head for a few days and give yourself time to reflect.

If all else fails, I’d say that your best bet is to talk to your publisher/agent and see if the due date can be renegotiated. I’ve found there to be some wiggle room in the past.

Hope this helps,

I’ll open it up to my readers as well, maybe they’ll have some insight here. What does everyone think? Do you have any tips for Jeff to break his writers block?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars Dark Disciple Review

I don’t usually do book reviews. I don’t like criticizing fellow authors’ work… usually I’m not one to talk, but this is one book that I cannot keep quiet about. Why you may ask? Because it is amazing!

With the fall of the expanded universe into ‘Legend,’ several new books have risen out of what is being euphemistically called ‘New Canon.’ Which basically means it’s canon and universe-correct… until the next movie comes out and messes it all up. (Don’t think it could happen? Heh, look into the controversey surrounding Lucas and Karen Traviss. That got nasty real quick.)
How are these books? Ehh… depends on which ones you’re reading. Lost Stars was great, albeit a little rushed and many of the others are getting mixed reviews.

Before I continue on with my review, I want to explain what I consider to be cano and what is not… since these days it’s far more subjective than it has EVER been.

Here goes…

  1. KOTOR and many of the other Old Republic stories. Yes, I’d say they survived the TFA purge, simply because nothing really came out in these movies that would discredit them. Malachor has been confirmed to exist by Rebels, (K)Morriban has been confirmed to exist, so we still have those worlds, and a number of others have gotten honorable mention. So it’s logical to assume that anything from prior to Episode 1 could still withstand the canon test.
  2. The movies. This goes without saying, but still the movies have the official seal and no matter how much we may love or hate a few of them, THEY ARE THE PRIMARY SOURCE. So that means that all 9 current Star Wars movies are canon:
    1. Phantom Menace
    2. Attack of the Clones
    3. Revenge of the Sith
    4. A New Hope
    5. Empire Strikes Back
    6. Return of the Jedi
    7. Sigh… The Ewok Adventure
    8. The Battle for Endor (God help me now)
  3. Both Clone Wars cartoons. I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of the originals. Their animation and style just wasn’t my thing, but they are more of a summary of events that take place in the actual TV show.
  4. The old Droids and Ewoks cartoons… I didn’t want the Ewoks one, but it’s Lucasfilm… and so it counts. Droids was pretty good though.
  5. Even though I’m sure to get lynched for this… the Wookie Holiday Special.
    Yes, THIS Holiday Special:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX0x-I06Fpc
    (If you click the link, it’s your own fault!)
  6. Star Wars Rebels
  7.  Anything that came out DURING the movies. This includes Clone Wars novels, Shadows of the Empire, etc.
  8.  Anything that came out after the movies and has both Lucasfilm and Diseny’s stamp of approval.

So that brings us to Dark Disciple. It is a Clone Wars novel and based on unproduced episodes of the TV series. Given that, it more than qualifies as canon.

I’m going to warn everyone now that there are spoilers in this review!

Book info from Amazon:

Plot:
Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this new novel features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroes in the Star Wars galaxy.
 
The only way to bring down the Sith’s most dangerous warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.


My Review:

What can I say? The book was amazing and has been enshrined on my shelf as one of my favorite novels of all time. Christie Golden hit it out of the park on this one. The novel features the adventures of two very well-known characters in the Star Wars Universe… 1. Quinlan Vos 2. Asajj Ventress. So already, you have the hurdle of accurately portraying these characters who both have very distinct personalities.

I admit that I went into this novel being skeptical. Ventress was one of my favorite characters in the Clone Wars series even from the time of the original Clone Wars short. I had secretly hoped that she would appear in Revenge of the Sith… but Lucas disappointed me, yet again!

Anyway, I’m happy to say that the character is not only well-portrayed, she’s been improved upon. Christie does an incredible job of showing Ventress as a former sith apprentice (I won’t say reformed as I’m not sure that’s the correct word) turned bounty hunter. She’s dedicated to her work, fair and surprisingly honest, though she’s focused on the job more than anything and isn’t one to expect mercy from… at first. There is also a great deal of backstory on her in this book so technically you can read it without watching the show (though I really do not recommend this.)

Vos is the other main character and definitely strikes me as a vagabond who doesn’t really fit into the Jedi role so well, even though he is technically a master. I feel… and the novel really confirms this, that he was a war time promotion who was granted the title of master more out of necessity than anything else.

So an out-of-place Jedi is tasked with the mission of assassinating Count Dooku… a black op if ever there was one and not something we’d typically see the Jedi do, as this is not there way. It’s a task that has many objections, but as the Jedi watch helplessly as Dooku massacres more and more people, they believe that they have no other choice.

Vos is tasked with getting Ventress to assist him as she’d have intimate knowledge of how to get close to Dooku… and if anyone in the galaxy wants him dead…

Anyway, they meet up and start working together. Their partnership is anything but smooth. It’s later revealed that Ventress figured out pretty quickly who he really was, at which point, she is informed of his true mission. She takes to it pretty easily, but does not believe that Vos can take Dooku on in his present state. This takes them to her Homeworld of Dathomir where she begins to train him in the dark side of the force.

One key aspect of the book that I liked comes up here. It’s at this point that we see how Ventress became the person that she currently is. She tries to teach Vos how to wield the dark side and use it to make himself stronger, without being consumed by it. This is a teaching that is apparently very common on Dathomir, but something that Jedi typically avoid and Sith… well they speak for themselves.

At this point we come to what I believe to be the weakest part of the novel… yes even one that I thoroughly loved can have its weak points. If it’s not plainly obvious from the cover, this book is a Romance under Fire story. Yes, Vos and Ventress become lovers. Both reluctant, but it happens. My only issue with it is that the whole thing feels rushed. There isn’t much exposition about their emotion, or how their feelings really develop. You could argue that this is done to keep the novel’s pace going and I guess that’s a legitimate point, however there is no rule that a face-paced novel can’t slow down at certain points. Still it does touch on everything it needs to and really it’s more of a minor gripe from someone who’s a sucker for action romance, so I’ll move on.

Eventually they go to confront Dooku. The fact that they fail is obviously no spoiler as he appears in Revenge of the Sith. However, what happens next is a shocker. Vos is captures and Ventress is forced to retreat.

She makes an attempt to rescue him, only to find that Dooku used what Ventress had taught him, and pushed him the rest of the way by revealing to him that Ventress was the one who killed his old master. Again, she is forced to retreat.

Leaving him haunts Ventress to the point where she does something she never thought she’d do; she contacts Obi-Wan Kenobi, goes before the council, telling them everything she knows and accepting the Jedi offer of clemency in exchange for her help.

They do eventually succeed in rescuing Vos. They find him beaten and near death. However, despite the Jedi’s belief that he has not totally fallen to the dark side, Ventress senses something far more nefarious within and refuses to believe Vos.

Vos attempts to convince her over and over, and eventually she takes him at his word. The mission to assassinate Dooku is resumed and this time, Ventress and Vos have the help of the other Jedi.

I’m going to stop here and just say that the ending is extremely sad… EXTREMELY sad. However it is a fitting end to the story and despite what happens, Ventress is successful in saving Vos from the dark side and showing the Jedi Council the error of their ways. In the end, she is honored by them as nothing short of a hero.

So there you go… what is my overall assessment of the book? AMAZING!

The action scenes were amazing, the book was fast-paced and hard to put down. In many other Star Wars story that I’ve read, I found myself skipping over paragraphs with lengthy descriptions and exposition without losing anything. In DD, I couldn’t imagine skipping anything. The book successfully keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire read. Yes the pace of the story means cutting down on a bit of the detail that I thought the book could have benefited from, but that’s not really enough to detract from the story in my opinion.

So with that in mind, what is my overall rating?
For a book this good? Four and a Half out of Five stars! I can’t wait to check out some of Ms. Golden’s other work!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A Request From The Author

Hi All, Soul Siphon has been doing great from what I’ve seen thus far in terms of readership. I’d like to thank everyone who has purchased a copy and even those who are considering it. One thing I would ask is that upon completion of the novel, PLEASE leave a review, preferably on Amazon, but any book selling site would be great! Word of mouth is everything in the business and your help would be greatly appreciated!

DSC_2044

Thanks friends!
-Jim



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim