A Soul Siphon Question!?!? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I just finished reading Soul Siphon and was wondering why you were so disappointed with the book that you never wrote a sequel. Do you ever plan on writing one? Also, why does Mary seem to be a lot more fleshed out than any of the other supporting characters?

Thanks,
Mike


Hi Mike,

I’m thrilled that someone has finally come forward after so long that they actually read that book. Now, tell me, what couch leg do you find that under?

Kidding!

Truth be told, I was disappointed in the book for a multitude of reasons. Soul Siphon was going to be my first foray into comic book style super heroes. My original intent was to have a comic illustrator do the cover, preferably someone fairly well known. I wanted the cover to actually look like a comic book cover to then reflect the internal story.

This… fell… flat… on… its… face….

One, the comic creators I reached out to wanted outlandish sums of money, so much so that I would never recoup the costs for writing the book. at least not for several years, even if the book sold really really well. Second, the artist I really wanted to hire for the book never responded to my inquiries. So unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enlist her talents. What’s worse, she’s changed her style to something that looks way too childish where the characters have large heads and even larger eyes.

I began shopping around for an artist and eventually came to Jabari Weathers. I was enamored by his work and thought it anyone could clean up that mess, it would be him. His art speaks for itself. It’s magnificent, but again, not what I was originally going for. Even so, the cover design was so amazing, I was hoping that this would draw in a reader base.

I worked hard to shape interesting characters and attempt to create a group of anti-heroes that, unbeknownst to them, would actually represent the four horsemen of the apocalypse; Death (Mary), Famine (Johnny), War (Vlad), and Conquest (Lihua), with Corban as the catalyst. Essentially, they would be ‘guided’ by an angel disillusioned by the decree of non-interference, forbidding the Choirs of Angels from meddling in the mortal realm. I even brought in a Cameo from my historical fantasy, Damnation, to take up that role later in the book.

It took a lot of writing, rewriting, and work to get this novel on the market. It’s production was a troubled one and took place during a time in my life when I had way too much else going on.

As a result, the book did not sell well at all and my dreams of creating a serial work surrounding these characters died pretty quickly. I had worked on a second novel where the devil was either a damsel in distress or a benevolent character who was simply misunderstood by religious doctrine, but I simply couldn’t figure out how to properly insert that character into the mix. I have several potential outlines ready to go, but each one falls flat on its face in practice.

After a year of writer’s block, I abandoned the story and moved on to something I thought was a bit simpler and safer… which then turned into anything but. Drakin became a pretty big hit for me, pretty much forcing me to write a sequel to that and thus placing the final nail in the coffin for Soul Siphon. I still go back to it every now and then, reread it, and start brainstorming sequels, but there are so many other books I want to write first, that it seems like any chance of ever putting a Soul Siphon sequel out is dead.

It’s my biggest disappointment because I had such high hopes for the book and had pretty grand ideas. Unfortunately, they all fell flat on their face pretty quickly. The cover design should have been a sign that this book might have been better had I simply posted it on Kindle for free.

Oh well.

Now, to answer your second question about Mary. I didn’t really intend Mary to be a supporting character. She’s supposed to be the heroine, arguably more so than Corban is the hero. She’s fleshed out more, because she actually has a historical backstory. Where almost all of my other characters are 100% made up, she is not.

Let me start from the beginning… the idea behind these characters were that they each shared one thing in common, death. They’d all been taken before their times by evil people. When the angel resurrected them, he gave them powers based on how they had been killed. It was sort of a poetic method of revenge. As such…

Johnny was starved to death by his step-mother. He was given the power of famine. Anything he touched, rotted and turned to ash.

Vlad was a former soviet soldier who was assassinated for knowing too much. He was given the ability to manipulate projectiles and his vision could act like a telescope.

Lihua was raped and left to die on a street corner in a Chinese city during the height of the communist regime. Her powers are those of seduction and dominance. She can manipulate the mind of almost any living creature to do her bidding with her pheromone.

Corban died as the result of a failed exorcism. A demon tore him apart from the inside. As a result, his powers are unstable and out of control. He possess demonic energy that he has little to no control over. The powers are incompatible to him and thus take considerable effort to harness and eventually manipulate to his liking.

That brings us to Mary. I wanted at least one of my characters to someone of historical significance as each came from a different time period. So I started going back through a history of famous murders. Who could I use? More importantly, who could I use without fear of getting sued by a living family member? This person had to be from pretty far back and relatively young.

It was at this time that I pulled out some papers from when I was in college. Back then, I had a morbid minor-obsession with the Jack the Ripper killings. I went through the victims until I came to the last one… the last of the canonical five; Mary Jane Kelly. She was widely considered beautiful, she was relatively young for the time period, and based on the testimony of the people who knew her, she was a somewhat fiery Irish lass, with a quarrelsome tenancy. This is something I could work with.

So I took the historical information we have on Mary Kelly, made a few embellishments on the rumors that surrounded her early life, and created the skeleton for my character. In my book, Mary is found by the angel and removed from her coffin before burial. She’s pieced back together revived. In exchange for her services as an angelic assassin, she’s given a chance to hunt down and kill Jack the Ripper. However, upon hunting the streets of London, she winds up spending her time protecting other girls from getting roughed up by street thugs and misses her chance.

Jack the Ripper escapes to America on a steamer just as she’s about to track him down. The steamer sinks in a storm, claiming everyone onboard. Come to find out, her killer murdered other women while she was busy protecting the London girls. She’s bitter and grief-stricken, but a deal was a deal. She became an angelic assassin. Because of the way she was killed, her powers were the ability to hide in the shadows, slip around unnoticed, and move at incredible speeds. Her abilities with bladed weapons was also greatly enhanced.

This is why Mary seems so much more fleshed out. This character pretty much wrote herself. An assassin, living with her own personal demons. An ageless woman existing outside of time, bitter, sad, and completely indifferent, or so you’re supposed to believe. When I first wrote out her character, I shook my head thinking that no one would like her. She was rude, sharp-tongued, angry, abrasive, and just downright mean. However, as Corban and the reader go to know her, understood her reasoning and finally got to meet the person below that hard surface, it was my hope the audience would warm to her.

Sadly. I doubt we’ll ever know. I’m debating taking the book off the market, but who knows? I’ll see what happens in the next few months.

If you really liked the book, please leave it some feedback, it helps me out a lot.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin: An Empire of Ashes Question??? #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

Hi Jim,

Me again! I was looking at the book again and was curious about the almost insta-evolution of the dragon species as you’ve set it up. As you’ve said, Qira is a G3/4 drakeas(Dragon) living on Earth. In her, we see the evolutionary changes. She’s smaller, her skin is softer, her mental abilities are stronger, and she has a hairy mane instead of spikes.

In only three to four generations, we saw radical changes happen to the drakeas species. Yet two hundred years later, Nayeli doesn’t seem all that different from Qira. We know based on your writing, she’s only about twenty-something years old, making her around a hundred eighty years younger than Qira. I’m just curious why we saw such radical changes in only three generations, but then centuries later there’s no difference.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Thanks,
Ella


Hi again Ella,

SPOILER ALERT!!

So let’s go back and take a look at the original post I made tackling this subject as I think you may have misunderstood the Drakin definition of generations. In my Drakeas post, I stated that generations do not mean one specific family group; grandfather, father, son = 3 generations. No, it’s more like GenX, Millennial, GenZ, etc.

Generation 1: Original dragons or the dragons born in the first 10 years on Earth.
Generation 2: Dragons born in the next ten years on Earth.
Generation 3: Born a minimum of 20 years after the dragons landed on Earth.
etc.

So when we say she’s Gen3, that doesn’t mean she’s third-generation-Terran-born. Far from it. Given the short amount of time it takes for a dragon to mature, how many litters a dragon can have in the span of a few years, and how quickly dragons bread an army to attempt to take on humanity, it’s likely that Qira’s line has six or more familial-generations that have been born on Earth. Yes, in the beginning, bread quickly and often in order to swell their ranks. This toned down towards the end of the war as many were being born deformed or still-born and the dragons had no idea why. This is why Nylen only had one ling; Qira.

We saw such evolution in the first three to five period generations because dragons had to adapt to living on Earth. They came from a different planet that had an atmosphere slightly richer in nitrogen. They either adapted or died. If they were still adapting 200 years after the war, the species would likely be dying out by then.

So in this case, the easiest answer is the right one; Qira was the result of that evolutionary shift and dragons going forward from her generation look more like her.

Great question! Hope I answered it to your satisfaction! Please like and comment and we can keep the conversation going!

-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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Essential is the Marriage! #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

A central theme in a lot of your writing seems to be love. I was just wondering, as someone who is trying to get his foot in the door with romance novels, how important is marriage in your books?

Thanks,
Jermaine


Hi Jermaine,

Good question. The truth is that I’m one of a dwindling crowd that still believes in marriage. Do I believe that two people belong together for life? Not in every case, but it can and does happen. If two people love each other enough, they can make it work. One may have to sacrifice here, another may have to make a change there. The problem, as I see it in a lot of cases is that people get set in there ways, aren’t willing to respond to change and are not willing to do the work to keep a marriage stable.
This is almost… (Oh God) ten years of marriage talking. It’s not always easy and it does take a lot of work and patience.

Now, you didn’t write to me for marriage advice, so let me get back on track and answer your question… How important is it? Important, but not the be all, end all.

Keeping in mind, in my latest books there’s only one instance of the characters actually getting married.

SPOILER ALERT!!! 
In Soul Siphon, while two characters are together and love each other, the book ends very early in their relationship.
In The Story of Raiya, Raiya and Jagger drive off into the sunset and refer to each other as ‘partners’. This is a little more alluded to in next book where Jagger refers to Raiya in a more possessive way, which she playfully calls him out on, but still there is no mention of marriage.

In The Orphans of Haven, Radley dies right after Qira tells him how she feels. When their minds merge at the last second, she technically becomes mated to him by imprinting, but that’s more of a physical/mental bond. The emotional concept of marriage doesn’t get a chance to manifest, so it’s never really explored.

An Empire of Ashes is the one time we have two characters marry. Nayeli and Joaquim, after spending years together on the run, decide to get married when she reveals that she’s imprinted on him. Again, this is after years of them being together and after the bond is already established.

So the question should probably be more geared to the idea of a lifelong, loving, partnership between two people. If that’s your definition of marriage, then unless you’re going with a tragic romance or something of a summer fling novel, then IMHO it’s very important.
A lot of people consider marriage itself to be more of a religious/legal bind. I do not agree as I think there’s something more spiritual in it’s affirmation, but if that is the definition we’re going with, then it’s not essential at all.

Anyway, I hope this answers your question. Let’s open it up to see what the readers think.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Music #Metal #Writing

I’m really loving Temperance more and more with each song they put out.

When to listen:  This is general playlist for me. Lot’s of positive energy in this song.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Music #Metal #Writing

I hesitated posting this one because… It’s an acquired taste. I know, not for everyone, but it has a very melodic sound to it.

When to listen: This is a world building song. You can focus on the lyrics or melody, either way, you’re going to get some kind of idea about the world you want to build.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Spoils of Comic Con… #Comics #Marvel #DC #Indie #Fantasy

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought I’d share the adventure with my readers.

To be honest, since having kids, we’ve done less and less of the major area cons (Boston Fan Expo, Connecticon, RI Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Pax East, etc.). We’re considering taking our oldest to one of the larger ones because he’s old enough now to handle it.

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So to feed the comic buzz, we’ve been attending some of the smaller cons. I actually have grown quite fond of some of these. Though not as grand or attention-drawing as some of the bigger cons, they’re ones you can go through in a few hours to a few days, depending on what you want to see and how much you want to take in.

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If you’re looking for an artist or celeb who’s really big and well-known right now, this may not be the place to look. Also, if you’re looking for specific comics that are really rare… you may or may not find them. A lot of dealers only bring limited stock as they don’t typically get a lot of space.  However, if you’re looking to browse or perhaps see an artist you liked as a child, this is the place for you.

Northeast Comic Con had the pleasure of hosting everyone from Marvel/DC veterans, to Jim Henson Productions artists, to actual Disney animators! Ergo, there was plenty to see and do.

My first stop when I got there was to see Mark Mckenna. Known for his work across the comic board, he did quite a few of the Old Republic Star Wars books back in the day, so I knew I wanted a piece done by him.

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I found him to be a very friendly, talkative individual who knew the material and really seemed to appreciate his fans. I’ve met a lot of artists and they don’t always appreciate talking shop, but he certainly did. I had him do one of my favorites; Ahsoka Tano. I was not disappointed by the results.

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(I still maintain to this day that whomever came up with the idea for sketch covers was a genius!!!)

For years, I’ve had a list of characters that I wanted to get done. I could now cross Ahsoka Tano off that list.

However, one of the other characters I’d wanted to get done was a tough one… Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE fan of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the James Cameron movie!). While there are some graphic novels, the Avatar library is comparatively limited and the artists don’t seem to do conventions around here. So it seemed like one of the commissions I wanted; Katara, would likely never get done.

Then I spot one particularly jolly individual sitting in the corner…

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You all know the man. Yes, you do. No I’m serious. Even if you don’t recognize him, you know his work. Look up his IMDB page. He’s worked on several major Disney and Don Bluth works, as well as several other animated productions. He was one of the people who created Gaston’s character in Beauty and the Beast, he worked on the Little Mermaid, and a little known Disney film that happens to be one of my favorites; The Black Cauldron.

Let me just say that this man is a larger than life character with a LOT of heart. He really has an aura about him, an affinity for kids, and really seems to love what he does. I spent a lot of time at his booth chatting about his work and looking through his offerings.

At that point, there was no way I could walk away without having him do a commission for me. I was tempted to have him do a Disney piece, but that’s not really my thing, and while I liked Don Bluth’s work, I wasn’t really huge on any of them. Still I wanted to get a sketch done by him… but what? What could I have him do?

He’d done Disney and Bluth films, but I didn’t see any Nickelodeon productions… would he really be willing to do it? Well… not only was he willing, he was happy to. He asked me if I wanted a specific pose or anything in particular. I told him no. Typically, I let the artists figure that one out. The less direction, the better the piece.

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The end result speaks for itself! He went with her Fire Nation disguise and the whole thing came out really amazing! This actually might be my most valuable piece. I’m currently looking to get it preserved and framed.

Because our kids tired easily, we only spent one day there instead of the three it was open for. However, we got a lot done, got to check out a lot of the puppet work and peruse the comic/collectibles areas. We spent way more money than we should have, but can’t complain! It was a fun time and I’m definitely going back next year.


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

Favorite Book! #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I took a look at your library on Amazon and was wondering, which of the books you’ve written is your favorite?

Thanks,
Lacey


Hi Lacey,

It’s a tough question to answer. Asking a writer to choose his favorite book is often like asking him to choose his favorite child. It’s hard to do. You love them all and often for different reasons.

Still… if I had to choose, two of my books come to mind…

Out of all the books I’ve ever written, Gravestalker was definitely the one I had the most fun writing. It was the final book of the Magnifica trilogy and a fun redemption story. There admittedly wasn’t a whole lot of depth to it, but it finished off all the plot lines and tied things up pretty perfectly. In the end, it was easy to write and I was very happy with it.

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The other one that really stood out to me was The Orphans of Haven from my Drakin series. I wrote that book while the Story of Raiya was going through editing. I had an idea and it just flowed like water. Admittedly when I first started writing it, I didn’t put much thought into it. I figured it would be a world-building throwaway novel like so many midway sequels are. However… I have to admit that as the story went on… it kind of took on a life of its own. Qira went from a damsel in distress to a strong character that dealt with a ton of adversity and a dark past. She became strong as a result of it and the echoes of what she did carried over into the next book where she was even stronger a character. So this one was a surprise for me… but it actually turned out to be arguably my best book.

drakin-orphans-of-haven-poster-final

Anyway, I hope that answers your question. Writers, do you have a particular piece you’ve written that you love more than the rest? Feel free to share it down in the comments.



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim