Friday, December 28, 2007

Day Seventeen of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Seventeen, the final stop on my whirlwind virtual tour of the blogosphere, is at Fiction Scribe, a popular writers blog operated by a woman (Jaime) who lives in Australia. (And we all know that Australians love epic fantasy, so this is cool by me!) Click here for the entire interview.

Here is an excerpt:

What character do you relate to the most and why?

Certainly, my main character is my favorite. For one thing, he’s 7 feet tall, weighs 300 pounds, and is extremely handsome and muscular, so I modeled him after myself. (Ha!)

But though he is larger than life physically, emotionally, and spiritually, he is the character (of which there are dozens) who most speaks in my voice and represents my world view.

One of the key aspects of this series is my own exploration of death and the enormous effect it has on the human psyche. My MC is named Torg, and he is called a Death Wizard — or more accurately, a Death-Knower. While deep in meditation, Buddhist monks have had recorded heart rates of less than 10 beats per minute. My main character takes this to the extreme. In an original twist never before seen in this genre, the Death Wizard is able to enter the realm of death during a “temporary suicide.” Through intense concentrative meditation, he stops his heartbeat briefly and feeds on death energy, which provides him with an array of magical powers.

This poem from Book One says it best:

Only a Death-Knower can die.
And live again.

Only a Death-Knower can return
from death.
And remember.

Only a Death-Knower can tell us
what he has seen.

Not all care to listen.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Cal Awards

My publisher is running an internal contest called the Cal Awards, with lucrative prizes going to the top three winners. The three authors who get the most votes via email (through mid-January) will win. All you have to do is send an email to with Cal Awards in the subject line and this pasted into the body of the email:

This is a vote for Jim Melvin's Death Wizard Chronicles.

You can vote only once per email address. (This is not an attempt to collect email addresses for spam purposes.) I doubt I'll win, but what the heck ... it's worth a good-natured try.

-- Jim

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day Sixteen of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Sixteen is a stop at Book Publishing Secrets of Authors. Click here.

Here's an excerpt:

I started out believing that my accomplishments as a journalist would impress the large publishing houses. Man, was I wrong ... at least when it comes to fiction. As far as the editors at the major houses were concerned, I was just another debut novelist writing in an absurdly glutted genre.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jim Melvin interviews Cat Muldoon: Part 2

Did you ever consider the deeper meaning behind what happens in a book? Beyond the action...beyond the emotion...beyond the obvious details?

One of the great advantages of cruising the blogosphere is that you meet a lot of interesting people who share similar interests. One such person I’ve met while on tour is Cat Muldoon, author of Rue the Day: The Undercover Heir Book 1. Cat is the type of author who is destined for stardom. It's only a matter of when. To learn more about her and her writings, please check out her website here. You won't regret it.

Cat was gracious enough to propose an interview with me, and of course I was happy to return the favor. Part 1 of my interview with Cat appeared last Saturday. Part 2 concludes today. And you can read part 2 of her interview with me here.

Are you aiming for a target audience or does The Undercover Heir transcend genres?

One of my readers just described my writing style as a cross between J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkein. That is high praise. If you like those you will like mine.

If you enjoy fantasy, you are likely to enjoy Rue the Day. I would call the book a fantasy suspense, though the publisher dubbed it fantasy romance because there will be a bit more romance in future. I will not write a sickly sweet romance, so each book will be suspenseful and emotionally engaging.

The interesting thing about Rue the Day is that although it is a fantasy, people who do not ordinarily like fantasy enjoy it. I say this because a couple of my relatives have read it, and these are not people who care for books with any fantastical elements. But they liked Rue the Day enough to recommend it to other non-fantasy-readers. Also the critique group I belonged to consisted of people who like only mundane fiction. I was the only person who wrote science fiction and fantasy stories, and they liked my work regardless. Yes, fantasy readers enjoy it too! What a relief!

People who like Terry Goodkind’s books in the Sword of Truth series should like mine, and based on what I have read (my copy has yet to arrive), people who like your books would enjoy mine as well. Isn’t it lovely that novels by different authors can peaceably share a bookshelf? For clarity I will say that my book is more a PG book than an R book. No graphic violence.

Do you prefer sunshine or rain?
I like it all! Sunshine is nice when it is temperate and not too hot, but sunshine all the time would bore me. I adore listening to the rain, especially when it comes at night so that I can fall asleep to it. I even like wild storms providing they are not hurting anyone. But we have been without sunshine for a week, and that is difficult. When the sun peeked out for a few moments earlier (2 minutes tops), I went outside and stood in its rays, giving gratitude. Mind you, it was about 25 degrees at the time.

What are Faeries? And where do they live?
That should be WHO are faeries. They are a different sort of person, from one perspective. Their realm mirrors ours. Time flows differently there, such that a day in Faerie is much longer in mortal terms. You will notice this in the lore. There are various ways one might pass into Faerie, including special mounds and circular groves, and a few other secret ways I had best not reveal.

Are you a much different person now than you were ten years ago?
Interesting question. I don’t believe so. I have learned a few lessons and deepened my desire to make a positive impact on the world, but I do not feel I am significantly different.

Who is your biggest fan?
I have 4 people tussling for the position of biggest fan. One is my web designer Darrell, who said I should give up working for a living and just write novels. That would be lovely! Then there is my friend Seana who has been clamoring for the sequel since she read the last word of Rue, then my friend Bill in Denver who is also eagerly awaiting the sequel, which I will start writing early next year... One of my reviewers, Sadie, couldn’t stop reading the book and wants me to get busy as well.

When you register at my website you might win a set of 4 Celtic music CDs that would be great company as you read Rue the Day. I will give these out next week. You will also receive excerpts of the book and of my stories.

Thank you so much for these insightful questions.


Day Fifteen of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Fifteen is a stop at Buzz the Book. Click here.

Here's an excerpt:

The pit was two hundred cubits deep but only three cubits in diameter. The prisoner lay curled at its bottom like a snake in a well. Fetid dankness swirled about him, creeping in and out of his nostrils as he breathed. A chill like no other clung to his body, freezing his heart.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day Fourteen of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Fourteen of my tour is a stop at Storycrafters. Click here.

Here's an excerpt:

Life has an unusual sense of humor, and for a quarter-century my dreams were put on hold. That said, those 25 years ended up serving a valuable purpose. As a reporter and editor, I learned the craft of writing and met a lot of interesting people, significantly expanding my worldview and talents. When I finally began writing my epic fantasy series, I realized that work and family weren’t to blame for all those lost years. Instead, I simply had not been ready as a writer. Finally, it all jelled. This is my time.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day Thirteen of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Thirteen of my tour stops at two places: Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion (here), hosted by Dorothy Thompson. And a radio interview with Sydney Molare (here), host of "You don't Know Jack!" (I love that title.)

Here is an excerpt from the Pump Up interview.

If you could trade places with any author just for a day, who would it be and why?

Well, I wouldn't trade with Tolkien. He's buried in a cemetery in North Oxford, so that wouldn't be particularly pleasant (just joking!). I probably would trade places with Stephen King, not because I'd want to live his life but because I'd love to be able to peek inside his brain and see how it's wired. Like him or not, the man is a genius.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day Twelve of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Twelve is a stop at Voice of the Angels, a blog hosted by Dyan Garris. Please check it out here and don't forget to read Dyan's fascinating bio.

Here is an excerpt:

3. Do you envision your series as a movie and if so who would star in it?

I love these kinds of questions. For me, the good news is that my books would translate wonderfully into movies, in the sense that they are visual and action-packed. The bad news is that you'd have to give them the Peter Jackson treatment: It would take at least six two-hour movies and hundreds of millions of dollars of special effects to do my series justice.

Here's how some of my characters would break down:

Torg, the Death Wizard: Adrian Paul.
Invictus, the evil sorcerer: Orlando Bloom.
Vedana, the mother of all demons: Susan Sarandon.
Laylah, the beautiful sorceress: Claire Forlani (with blond hair).
King Henepola: Samuel Jackson.
Queen Rajinii: Tilda Swinton.
Chieftain Kusala: Gerard Butler.
Sobhana: Eva Longoria.
Rathburt: Tim Robbins.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Voice of the Angels

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day Eleven of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Eleven is a stop and review at J. Kaye's Book Blog, which has become a very popular site that is well interconnected. Please check out the review here.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

The Death-Knower does escape the pit, but runs into Vedana, a 100,000-year-old demon who is also grandmother of Invictus. Could the product of their brief union be what’s needed to destroy Invicus? Or will something even more disastrous come to be? It’s hard to tell, as Melvin’s tale isn’t predictable. We’ll just have to keep on reading to find out.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, J.Kaye's Blog

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jim Melvin interviews Cat Muldoon

Did you ever consider the deeper meaning behind what happens in a book? Beyond the action...beyond the emotion...beyond the obvious details?

One of the great advantages of cruising the blogosphere is that you meet a lot of interesting people who share similar interests. One such person I’ve met while on tour is Cat Muldoon, author of Rue the Day: The Undercover Heir Book 1. Cat was gracious enough to propose an interview with me, and of course I was happy to return the favor. Part 1 of my interview with Cat can be found below. And you can read part 1 of her interview with me here. Next weekend you will get part 2.

Who is Cat Muldoon?
Cat Muldoon is an award-winning author of magical tales that envelop you in new realities. Many of her stories are suspenseful, some are romantic; few are mundane. You can read some of her tales on her AuthorsDen site She has stories in two anthologies and a couple of magazines. She wrote her first novel in four months; this spring Wings Press released Rue the Day: The Undercover Heir Book 1. She will write the next two books in the series in 2008 and hopes to release them as a set. Read excerpts of her book and register to receive stories and other goodies at her website Purchase Rue the Day from her site or or at I adore writing, because it gives me the opportunity to share the strange and wonderful worlds and characters that come into my mind. I love talking (in person or virtually) with my readers and with other authors. My belief is that by prospering you, you have more to enjoy and more to pass along to prosper someone else. I am a trained massage therapist and energyworker with a keen interest in aromatherapy, chakra and energy balancing and other …shall we say rare forms of healing. Naturally, I’ve held a load of perfectly boring jobs in my life as well.
In fifty words or less, summarize your spiritual beliefs and how they helped to shape your world view and your writing. (Okay, you can go up to seventy-five).
We take each earthwalk to learn and grow. The more we prosper others, the better for all concerned. I honor the powers of life and strive to be a healing presence in the world. My writing will stick with you because spiritually there is always something going on below the surface. My inner life breathes through the stories... That was 58 words.
Is magic real?
Absolutely it is real. Magic is an unseen power inherent in all of life, as natural as breathing and just as automatic. The more we acknowledge it, the more it grows. My tales do not include unseen realities as a device of literary artifice, or just to make a good story. There is an underlying truth to the tales that is evident to those who innately sense magical power.
How accurate is the following statement? You are the type of person that is tuned into and turned on by your physical environment.
That statement is partially accurate. I am tuned in to it, perhaps in part because I am mostly blind. Because of this, I am extremely observant. Whether I am turned on or not depends on the environment. Where I live, I hear birds singing all the time. When the weather is warm, there are tree frogs, crickets and other creatures. If I am in the country, I am what you might call “turned on.” If I am in a crowd or in a city, I am “turned off.” I find crowds and large cities difficult to tolerate. As someone who is psychically sensitive, crowds are troublesome.
Do you prefer dawn or dusk?
If I am up at dawn, I can appreciate being up as long as nature is kind enough to produce a lovely sky. Yes, I am mostly blind but I do see colors and shapes. Ordinarily, I would prefer to be sleeping during dawn. I enjoy dusk and tend to be much more creative at night.
Since we only recently met, I haven't yet had the chance to read Book One of Rue The Day, but it strikes me as a mystical work that has a lot going on between the lines. Could you give us a short summary of The Undercover Heir? What follows Book One?
Let me share something that at first blush may appear to be irrelevant to some readers. It is part of what is happening between the lines.
Are you familiar with Celtic knotwork, the interlace design prevalent in Irish and Scottish artwork? There is a deep spiritual meaning behind this. It is not “just art.” It speaks of the interwoven nature of all life. Not merely are all things connected, but they are all interwoven. Pull on one strand of the weave and you distort the whole. Faerie and the mortal world are mirrors for each other. What happens here happens there. Certainly they don’t have computers in Faerie (at least in my books), but the themes and energies mirror. In this same way, many ancient civilizations believed that the heavens were a mirror for below. This is the basis of astrology. As above, so below. You also find it in Chinese medicine and other places. This notion is woven into the book but not mentioned. It becomes increasingly important in the later books in the series. Now you asked for a summary. A young woman named Aislinn wakes up one misty morning; before dusk, she is nearly killed twice, she meets a strange man in the woods whom she does not trust and is taken against her will to a world that she does not know is her true home. Once “home” in Faerie, she meets the mother the Queen, who abandoned her, her father the King, whom she has never met—and finds that they are all in danger. And to make matters more difficult, they believe she is their only hope. Treachery, deceit, poison, and various forms of mayhem keep you at the edge of your seat even as the rich world of Faerie envelopes you. What's next? The King and Queen, true to Faerie nature, refuse to believe that anything could breach the “impenetrable” shielding around their realm. They quickly find out exactly how mistaken they are. Meanwhile, Aislinn has no desire to use or even to possess the considerable magical abilities she has just discovered, but if she does not learn to control her power, she will be a danger to herself and the entire realm. I believe you will find yourself staying up late to finish the books if I do my job well. There is more to come, but a teaser for book 2 is enough for now.

Next Saturday: Part Two. Don't miss it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day Ten of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Ten on my virtual tour is a stop at The Book Connection, a popular blog managed by Cheryl Malandrinos. Please check it out here.

Here's an excerpt:

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a time of day when you are more productive than others?

I write seven days a week from about 8 p.m. to midnight, and am definitely most productive during this time slot. I rarely miss a day; probably no more than 20 days during an entire year. When I'm writing the first draft of a novel, I also spend about an hour the following day, usually in the morning, revising what I wrote the night before.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, The Book Connection

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day Nine of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Nine is a stop at Plug Your Book. Click here.

Here's an excerpt:

You are a student of Eastern philosophy and mindfulness meditation, both of which weaved extensively into your work. Can you explain how?

Most people have meditated in one sense or another. Just emptying your mind as you watch a beautiful sunset is a form of meditation. In Buddhism, mindfulness meditation is a technique in which a person intentionally and nonjudgmentally watches his or her thoughts and actions, in the context of the present moment. Often, sessions of meditation begin by watching the breath, but any form of single-minded concentration will do.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day Eight of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Eight of my tour stops at a blog hosted by Theresa Chaze, who is a Wiccan and an author of magical fantasy. Please click here.

Here is an excerpt:

You work has been described as not being for the "faint of heart." Why?

An author — and especially a debut novelist — never wants to lose potential customers. But neither do I want to be dishonest nor offend anyone unnecessarily. When a lot of people hear the words “magical fantasy,” they think Harry Potter — and rightfully so, given the enormous popularity of J.K. Rowling’s ground-breaking series. But people who are more knowledgeable about fantasy know that a lot of it isn’t necessarily kid’s stuff. The Martins, Eriksons, and Donaldsons write for adults, as do I. If my books were made into a series of movies (I wish!), the movies would be R-rated. I describe The Death Wizard Chronicles as a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King – Tolkien because it contains many aspects of epic fantasy, King because it’s pretty darn scary and rough. The Death Wizard Chronicles is a classic tale of good versus evil, with lots of action, monsters, and magic. It also contains a very compelling love story. But it's not for kids. I would say that 18 and older would be okay, though everyone is different in terms of what they might or might not find offensive.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Theresa Chaze

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day seven of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Seven of my virtual tour is at Paperback Writer. Click here.

Here is an excerpt:

What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
First-time fiction is an extremely difficult sell nowadays, especially in the glutted genres such as epic fantasy. My agent and I received a lot of nicely worded rejections from the major houses, most of which only have one or two slots for literally thousands of entries. In some regards, it would be easier to win the lottery, buy the publishing house, appoint yourself president, and then publish your book than it would be to gain an acceptance in the traditional manner.
I can’t say that it doesn’t wear on you. There are times when you feel like the world’s biggest idiot for even attempting such a thing. All you can do is continue to try.

Please check it out.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Paperback Writer

Monday, December 10, 2007

Day six of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day Six finds me at The Writer's Life, hosted by the indomitable Dorothy Thompson. Here, I talk about how my main character, Torg, would fit into today's modern society. My answer might surprise you. Please check it out here.
epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, The Writer's Life

Friday, December 7, 2007

Book Three is available for purchase

Book Three (Eve of War) of my six-book series now is available for purchase on Rain Publishing Inc.'s website. Please click here. It is not yet available on Amazon, but should be available there within a couple of weeks.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Leicester Review of Books

Day five of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day five of my virtual tour is a stop at Leicester Review of Books (here). Here's a snippet from the interview:

Who is your target audience?

My target audience is anyone who likes action-packed epic fantasy, but it extends beyond that.

The DW Chronicles is literary in nature and has a lot going on between the lines in terms of symbolism, foreshadowing, parallel construction, and allegorical elements. So anyone who enjoys reading literature also will enjoy my series. I believe it will stand the test of time. I just hope I’m not one of those authors who dies of old age before my work is discovered by the masses!

Please stop by and read the rest!

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Leicester Review of Books

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day four of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Today's appearance is at Acme Authors Link (here), where I discuss making millions of dollars and spending the summer with green hair. Please check it out.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Acme Authors Link

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day three of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Day three of my virtual tour is an interview with Beyond The Books (here), a popular site about writers and for writers. Please give it a read and leave a comment. I'd much appreciate it.

This taken directly from the site:
"Beyond the Books explores what it is that writers go through for publication and how they keep their heads above the waters of rejection."

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Beyond The Books

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day Two of my virtual tour of the blogosphere

Hey, everybody! I just wanted to keep you in touch on my monthlong whirlwind virtual tour of the blogosphere. Day Two can be found here. I'll be posting something every day until the end of the month, for anyone who might be interested.

By the way, I've mentioned before that my books have sold out on Amazon. More will be on the way, but it's taking longer than anticipated for the next shipment to arrive. So, you could order my books on Amazon here and wait a few weeks for delivery. Or order them directly from my publisher here and get them in time for Christmas.

Either way would be great by me!

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Monday, December 3, 2007

Jim Melvin's virtual tour begins

Day One of my virtual tour of the blogosphere began today. My tour has been arranged by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, run by CEO/Founder Dorothy Thompson. My first of at least 18 stops has been an ongoing visit with The Writer's Life Author Talks, an influential group of writers and readers that was founded in 2004 and that meets regularly on Yahoo. Please check it out here. Up next? I'll let you know first thing tomorrow!

epic fantasy,
Pump Up Your Book Promotion,
Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A virtual tour of the blogosphere by the Death Wizard

Starting on Dec. 3 (Monday), I'll be going on a monthlong virtual tour of the blogosphere, where I'll be visiting at least 18 different websites, blogs, writers' groups, etc. It's going to be a lot of fun, and it should increase interest in The Death Wizard Chronicles by leaps and bounds. Stay tuned, as I'll be running continuous updates. And please check out this link for more information.

epic fantasy, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

The naked truth

Guilt is a powerful emotion.

And long-lasting.

About twenty years ago, I did something that still haunts me.

Back then, I worked an evening shift -- 4 to 1 -- at the St. Petersburg Times. On this particular weekday, it was around noon, and since my wife worked a day shift and both my young daughters were in school, I was alone at the house.

Our washer and drier were in the garage. I had just gotten out of the shower and was starting to dress when I realized that I was out of clean underwear. But no problem. The previous evening, my wife had done a load of underwear, and it now was sitting in the drier, waiting to be folded. Since no one was around, I dried myself off and walked naked into the garage.

The bare cement felt cold on my feet. Halfway to the drier, I sensed movement in my peripheral vision. To my horror, a rat came charging out of nowhere. And then, to my even worse horror, it attempted to run up my leg.

If anyone at that moment had had a video camera and had filmed what occurred next, that person would be a millionaire a dozen times over. I did the Jim Melvin version of the Wattusi, hopping and squealing as the rat attempted -- with great deliberation -- to clamber up my bare leg. Finally, it gave up and skittered away, hiding itself amid my shovels and rakes. Somehow I managed to rush to the drier, grab the underwear, and then escape into the safety of my house. It might well have been the closest I've ever come to having a heart attack.

The next day, I was in the garage -- this time fully dressed -- and the rat charged out and again tried to climb up my leg. I hopped and skipped and escaped.

The day after that, I heard my wife squeal. This time she had been attacked.

It was time to draw the line. The rat had taken control of my garage, and I needed to get it back.

Being a good American, I bought rat poison. Lots of it. And put it in several places. Soon after, I discovered that one of the boxes had been "tampered" with.

The next day, just before my family was to sit at our dining room table for a meal of roasted chicken, potatoes, and salad, I discovered the rat trembling in the center of the garage, in almost the identical place of the original attack. He was dying.

Only ... he wasn't a rat. Now that I could get a close look at him, I realized that he was a gerbil. And quite a cute one at that. My young daughters were horrified. As was I. Later that evening, I buried him in our back yard.

Two days later, there was a knock at my door. A well-dressed dad and his young daughter were standing on my porch. The little girl spoke first. "We live in the house behind yours. My pet gerbil, Hermy, got out of his cage. Have you seen him?"

"Uh ... no."

They left.

To this day, I'm not sure what's worse. Killing the gerbil. Or lying to that little girl.

epic fantasy, virtual tour

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mystified at 50

It happened again. I'm 50 years old, and have a 24-year-old daughter. Though I'm not what you would describe as balding, the hair on the back of my head has thinned noticeably. And I've grown a beard that is at least 20 percent gray. Yet I was carded again today, this time at a Wal-Mart, while buying a six-pack of beer. Could anyone tell me what the heck is going on????

epic fantasy, virtual tour

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More radio

Here's another radio show, this one from

epic fantasy, virtual tour

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update on ordering books one, two, and three

For reasons I can't discern, Amazon has not yet ordered more copies of books one (The Pit) and two (Moon Goddess). Book one already sold out through its first stock, but more have not yet been ordered, which has created a waiting period that really seems to have hampered sales.

If any of you are waiting for this to be resolved before you place an order, you also can order books one and two directly from the Rain website (click here). And book three will be available there in just a couple of days. I'll put in another update when the Amazon situation is resolved.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

In other news, I was mentioned on a as a new arrival.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another talk with Michele

Please check out my recent radio interview on Michele Paivo's insightful show, Off the Mat.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Never enough sleep

Sleep is such an important part of our lives. So many of our body's dynamics depend on it. But I find that I can never seem to get enough of it. Because I'm so damn busy, I'm rarely able to get to bed at a decent time. I usually average about six hours of sleep, while my body craves more like eight. I've always thought that if days were 26 hours long instead of 24, I'd be in great shape.

Insomnia has never been my problem. I'm almost always asleep within five minutes of lying down and usually much quicker than that. But over the past 10 years, I found that I was sleeping less and less comfortably and that I could no longer remember my dreams. To make matters worse, I would wake up most mornings with back pain and stiff joints.

About six months ago, my wife and I gave up on our futon mattress and spent more than we should have on one of those space-age foam mattresses that "conform to the contours of your body." My wife was against buying it. She despises anything unnatural or made with "chemicals." But I put my foot down, arguing that the futon was literally killing me.

The first night I slept on the new mattress, I couldn't stop smiling. Never before had I slept so comfortably. Even my wife had to admit that it was fantastic. Since that night, it's only gotten better. I often find myself waking up in the same position that I fell asleep in, while before I would toss and turn all over the place. And I'm remembering my dreams again. I must be sleeping far more deeply.

It's not all good news, though. I still don't go to bed early enough. It's almost midnight right now as I'm typing this. And my wife and I have become so spoiled by the mattress, we don't sleep well anywhere else. Twice recently we've been to nice hotels, and both times the beds felt lumpy and awkward. Too bad our mattress, a super-king, is too damn big to carry around with us.

Well, I'm off to bed. Since tomorrow's Sunday, I should be able to squeeze in a full eight hours! Still, Sunday night is looming, followed by the much-dreaded Monday morning.

Is there any way we can pass some sort of resolution to lengthen days to 26 hours?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A big day for me

I finally got around to downloading some photos from my Oct. 27 talk and reading before 55 people at the Times Festival of Reading in St. Petersburg, Fla. It was a lot of fun and the audience response was sensational. Signing autographs for a long line of people buying copies of books one and two was a big thrill for me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Plusses and minuses

Though I have published many articles as a journalist in my lifetime, The Death Wizard Chronicles represents my debut as a novelist. Since (and actually long before) Book One came out in early September, I have been marketing the series like crazy.

Thus far, here's what seems to have worked well and not so well:

1: I attended a large book festival in Florida, had 55 people at my talk, and sold about 40 books. No world record, obviously, but I count that in the plus column.

2: I did an interview for the St. Petersburg Times (Florida's largest newspaper) that ran on the cover of its features section. A big plus.

3: I received a very positive review in the Tampa Tribune, another large Florida newspaper. Another big plus.

4: I did an internet podcast/interview with Mr. Media that has been linked to sites literally all over the world. I would have to think that at least several hundred people have listened to at least parts of the interview, so I count another in the big plus column.

5: I've done two radio interviews, after which my amazon sales seemed to pick up for a day or so ... so another plus.

6: I did one internet/video interview, and again amazon sales seemed to pick up temporarily. A plus.

7: I did six in-person book-signing appearances. Despite a large amount of advance publicity for each signing, these did not go particularly well. I never sold more than nine books at any appearance. About the only good news was that I spoke, face to face, with several hundred people all told, so perhaps some residual benefits will come from that. Still, at this point the bookstore appearances have to go in the negative column. If you're not a big name, it's difficult to attract attention.

8: I have had one great review and two Q/A's on two popular blogs, plus several mentions of my series on others. So, another plus.

Overall, the plusses far outweight the minuses. Again, I'll have to wait and see how much any of this will impact sales, not so much in the short run but in the long run. My fingers are crossed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Making a big splash

I don't play golf anymore. Since I moved from Florida to South Carolina four years ago, I've only played two times. I used to play once a week. I was never that good. In my heyday I struggled to break 90, and now I'd be lucky to break 105. But I love the game and miss it.

I didn't take up the game until I was in my late 20s when I was living in Dallas. My first real round of golf came on a large, difficult course that was a test for very good golfers, much less for myself. It was the middle of the summer, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, and my foursome chose to walk and carry our bags. To make matters even worse, the course was very crowded.

The third hole was a long par 3. About 40 yards from the tee box, a narrow creek disected the fairway. The three guys I was playing with each hit nice shots onto the green, but I dribbled a terrible shot way off to the right and short of the creek. It was humiliating to have to walk over to the ball -- especially with another foursome already on the teebox behind me. To my amazement, I hit a good second shot over the creek that almost rolled onto the green. But now I was faced with a long walk along the creek to reach the bridge that crossed over it.

I looked at the creek. It was barely a channel, really, no more than 4 feet wide ... but deep. Could I jump it? I thought that I could, so I slung my bag over my shoulder, tested the side of the bank, and decided to jump. The bank collapsed. Head over heels, I tumbled into the water. All but the brim of my cap and the last 2 inches of my scalp were submerged. I was horrified. With two titanic steps, I heaved myself and my clubs out of the water. I did so with such speed, my body barely had time to get wet. Then, I walked over to the green, dripping with clay-ridden water.

The foursome on the teebox, waiting for its turn to hit, fell upon its backs and went into a fit of hysteria. I still remember seeing one of them lying on his back and kicking his legs into the air like a wounded cockroach. I spent the rest of the round first soaked and then dried like clay in a furnace. To this day, I am humiliated.

Still, I miss golf. Very much.

Do you blame me?

-- Jim

Friday, November 9, 2007

Another radio interview

I did another radio interview today, this one with Michele Paiva on her blogtalk radio show called Off The Mat. If you get a free moment, please check it our here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This morning, I'm having breakfast in a Chick-fil-A in booming Seneca, S.C. Off to my left is a group of about 30 senior citizens playing Bingo. Man, they're having a blast! When somebody wins, there's huge excitement. I'm 50 now. Will I be that way when I'm 70? For me to get excited over Bingo, there has to be a little cash involved. Black Jack's more my thing, I guess, though I haven't been to a casino or gambled in any fashion in many years. I just don't have the luck for it.

Wait .. there's another winner! B-3 did the trick. Wooo-hooooo!

Maybe I'll ask if I can join in.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What does it all mean?

What does it mean to be confident? To sincerely believe that my work is strong? That it has a lot going on between the lines? That it ranks with the best that's out there?

Does it mean that I'm deluded? That I'm a conceited fool? That I'm naive?

Does it mean that people will love my work after my death -- but not before?

Does it mean that the publishing industry is heavily weighted against newcomers, despite their abilities?

Does it mean that I have to work harder and learn more and write better? That is what most successful novelists would say.

What does it all mean?

We shall see what we shall see.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

October was quite a month!

As you can see from some of my posts below, October was a busy month for me. I appeared at a major book festival, did six appearances at bookstores, appeared in about a dozen different newspaper venues (including one very positive review from a major newspaper), appeared on several different prominent blogs (including one very positive view from a respected freelancer/editor), and did one video and two audio interviews. Plus, I'm on the verge of several other newspaper reviews and will soon be embarking on an ambitious "virtual tour." All of this is good, of course. But the kind of success I'm striving for is still far from guaranteed. An unknown writer with a small or mid-sized publisher faces long odds and an uphill battle. Despite many victories, there also are depressing defeats.

For me, the best news is the reaction I've gotten from the people who have read my book or who have listened to me speak. At the festival, I got loads of applause, especially for my reading. And just about everyone who has read Book One has told me they love it, some quite passionately. It makes me believe that if I can spread the word enough, I've got a good chance.

My Amazon numbers have been steady if unspectacular, often dipping below 40,000 and rarely going above 250,000 (knock on my desktop). But profits for both the publisher and writer are minimal with Amazon, unless the sales come in large numbers. Whenever I'm asked, I encourage people who are interested in my books to order them directly from my publisher (click here) or from bookstores.

For anyone from the Tampa Bay area (my old haunting grounds), books one and two are available at the Barnes and Nobles in downtown St. Petersburg and Tyrone.

For anyone from the Clemson area (my new haunting grounds), books one and two are available at Books and Baskets in Pendleton, McClure's in Clemson, Cyrano's in Highlands, and the Open Book in Greenville.

Anyway ... to anyone who has supported me thus far by buying my books or by coming to see me in person, thanksssssssssssssssssssss!!! You can't imagine how much it means to me.

-- Jim

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The philosophy behind the Chronicles

For anyone who might be interested in hearing, in detail, some of the philosophical aspects behind the creation of The Death Wizard Chronicles, please check out this radio podcast and also this video interview from interviews conducted earlier this week. Also, check out this feature in The St. Petersburg Times.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More positive press!

I finally scored my first review in a large newspaper, this one from the Tampa Tribune. Click here.

Here's what else is happening this week:

* I'm doing an interview with the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday for a story that should run later this week. I worked at the Times for 25 years.
* A radio spot with on Wednesday at noon (you can listen live online or catch it on archive later). Special thanks to my publisher for setting this up.
* A video appearance with Tampa Digital Studios on Thursday at 6 p.m. (you also can listen live online or catch it on archive later).
* A banquet entitled Novel Night associated with the Times Festival of Reading in St. Petersburg on Friday at 7 p.m.
* A talk, reading, and signing at the Times Festival of Reading in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday at 1 p.m.
* And a book signing at the Tyrone Barnes and Noble in St. Petersburg on Sunday at 1 p.m.

And finally, this from someone I met at a recent bookstore appearance:


I don't know if you remember me. I met you in Highlands, N.C., at your signing.

It was interesting, our meeting. At first, I listened. Here sat another aspiring author, blowing air on (and around) his books to keep the dust off boxes of unread, unworthy books, doomed for the lower shelves in the furthest corners of the stores. WRONG!!! I am so glad you kept my attention and piqued my interest. I told you of the juvenile book I had just read in hopes for the next great series to quench my thirst ... for faraway travels of my mind, my break from this world ... The Death Wizard Chronicles, The Pit, had everything I was thirsting for. The detail in which you wrote was exquisite and left me longing for more! I am sure, there will be lines waiting to meet you with the hope of getting a glimpse of Torg and the future of Triken. You are an impressive writer ...

Your Newest Fan,
Julie Robinson

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My first audio interview!

I recently was interviewed by Bob Andelman, the author or co-author of several best-selling biographical, business, management and sports books, including Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.

As one of the top freelance writers in the U.S., Andelman is in high demand -- and he has written ten books as well as countless magazine and newspaper articles. On his Mr. Media online site, Andelman also conducts exclusive interviews with newsmakers in TV, radio, movies, music, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, and comics. In the past, he has interviewed Billy Bob Thornton, Larry Thomas of Seinfeld fame, and Seth Bauer of National Geographic, to name a few.

Bob's interview with me is now online, and he asked some great questions about The Death Wizard Chronicles. Please check it out here.

And for those of you who might have missed my recent Q/A and review on the Virtual Wordsmith, please give them a look, as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Writing strengths

Lynn tagged me with a writing meme. I'm supposed to write about my writing strengths. Since someone asked ...

My greatest strength is that I write from the heart. My deepest thoughts are laid bare, often subtly, but laid bare, nonetheless.

I am persistent and start what I finish. And I am single-minded in that pursuit. Plus, I'm a journalist by trade, so I consider myself a professional.

Chris, you're it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Q/A about my series and me

A Q/A with editor, writer, and reviewer Mary "Lynn" Lewis can be found on the Virtual Wordsmith. Please give it a look!

Monday, October 8, 2007

A fabulous review!

This from The Virtual Wordsmith, a blog written by Mary "Lynn" Lewis, who is an editor and freelance writer. Read her review below and check out her blog here and her website here.

"The Pit
is the first of a six-book epic fantasy series called The Death Wizard Chronicles. It is an incredibly dark, yet inspiring book that turns the typical good versus evil parable right on its ear.

After reading the first five pages of The Pit, I wasn't sure I was going to get through it. By page six, Jim Melvin was off and running, creating a new world, new theories, new perspectives -- a new twist on the age old story of good versus evil. I was hooked!

I should probably, in the interest of full disclosure, tell you I'm not a huge fan of the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Sure, I've read Tolkien, McCaffrey and Robert Jordan, but the only reason I stayed with them was the amazing writing, the vivid descriptions and the sheer entertainment value of each. And, oh yeah, the fact that those particular authors have always left me thinking long after I closed the books.

The Pit is beautiful -- gorgeous, even -- yet it is also dark and deep and vibrant. There is a fine line between love and hate. The distinction can be a bit foggy at times. Jim has illustrated that fine line. It is possible to feel sympathy for someone you hate, as well as despise someone you love.

I fell into this book. Time disappeared, as well as the chores that needed to be done, the bills that needed to be paid, and virtually everything else that had been chasing itself around in my head. This book is inspiring, entertaining, and I want to say absolute escapism, but after I finished reading I found myself pondering what I had just read. Escapism doesn't typically elicit that reaction in me.

I am purposely not sharing much about the story or the plot, because anything I say could quite possibly take away from the pleasure of discovering this book on your own. The Pit is fabulous, but don't take my word for it. Go get a copy, set aside some time and fall in love the way you did with the first book that truly grabbed you!

-- Mary "Lynn" Lewis

Monday, October 1, 2007

Now available: Book Two

Book Two, Moon Goddess, now can be ordered here on

Also, I will be in Waynesville, N.C., this Saturday (Oct. 6) from 3-5 p.m. for a reading/signing at Osondu Booksellers, which is one of the more prestigious independent bookstores in all of N.C. For more information, go to here. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by! I'd love to meet you.

AW Blogchain #11

Thanks, Jen, for the baton. I'll run like hell with it.

Wow! To this point you guys have blown me away. Though some of this chain has been relatively light-hearted, much of it has dug deep into some very sensitive areas: obsessiveness, dysfunction, psychological damage ... with a few teaspoonfuls of depression tossed in to add some emotional spice. What I never saw, however, was hopelessness or weakness.

What causes our distresses? Is it our upbringing? Our insecurities? Our physical appearance? All of the above and much, much more? Depending on our spiritual views and level of education, we all have our own theories.

I am a practitioner of mindfulness meditation. This involves sitting in a quiet, peaceful place and watching my inhalations and exhalations. But it goes much deeper than that. The mindful meditator watches not just the breath but everything that comes within his or her vision, including the full gambit of emotions: love, hate, jealousy, anger, fear. And what he or she eventually learns is that all things are impermanent.

All things.

If something is impermanent, is there really such a need to sweat it?

At the height of meditation, when the frenetic inner workings of the mind have been silenced, there arises a joyous peacefulness that renders all else meaningless. At our core is something lovely and grand. And each and every one of us, regardless of our circumstances, contains this grandness. It is, in truth, who we are. Everything else is illusion.

For anyone who might like to learn the basics of mindfulness meditate, check out this book. Regardless of whom you are or what you believe, meditation can help ease your pain and unclutter your mind. It's like exercise for the mind.

A wise man once said:

“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”

Your turn, Gillian.

Virtual Wordsmith

(The Blog Formerly Known as) Taosbound

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!

Kappa No He

Playing With Words

A Thoughtful Life

Mad About Kites

Confessions of a Fat Chick

The Death Wizard Chronicles

Food History

A View From The Waterfront

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ghosts left behind

My wife and I own two houses: one that we're living in, and another that we're trying to sell. The off-kilter real estate market has hit upstate South Carolina particularly hard, and the old house -- a beautiful two-story, four-bedroom on 20 wooded acres -- will not sell. In fact, we can't even get people to look at it. I've owned and sold more than a dozen houses in my lifetime, and never run into this problem before.

However, just because it's sitting empty doesn't mean that the grass doesn't grow. At least twice a month, I've been going over to the old house by myself and mowing, weed-eating, edging, blowing, and trimming -- in what to this point has been an unrewarding attempt to keep the property looking nice. About 1,500 feet of the acreage fronts a relatively busy country road, so I also have to spend about a half-hour along the road picking up cans, bottles, trash, and countless, countless cigarette butts.

My family and I moved because my wife took a job that was an hour's drive away. So we bought another house much closer to her work, not realizing that months later we still wouldn't have sold the first one. The new house is very nice, but it's in a traditional development; i.e, neighbors on all sides. We quickly discovered that once you become used to privacy, it's hard on the psyche to give it up.

The old house sits in the middle of twenty wooded acres. When I stand in the yard, all I can see are trees: oaks, poplars, dogwoods, magnolias, pines ... you name it, I have it. Not to mention a magnificent variety of bushes and flowers. The air is so oxygen-enriched, it makes me dizzy to breathe it.

Now, when I go alone to do my chores, I feel strange. The inside of the house, which is in perfect condition, is empty of all furnishings and valuables. But when I walk around inside, it doesn't feel empty of memories. Though we only lived there for about three years, I still remember things that happened in every room: cooking in the kitchen, sitting by the fireplace in the living room, watching the moon rise in our Carolina room, writing most of my series in the downstairs office, waking up in the master bedroom in the early morning to the singing of birds. It's as if these memories are ghosts clinging to the walls with sticky fingers and watching me with sadness as I wander from room to room.

Outside, I churn around on a riding mower, surrounded by the dense, colorful, fragrant woods. Sometimes I think I see ghosts peering out from the trees, as well. But they don't seem threatening.

It's so private, I sometimes take off my clothes after I'm done with my work and stand naked in the sun, arms upraised, just breathing.

When I drive away, the house looms behind me like a living thing.

Watching ... and waiting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Soon to come: Book Two!

Book Two, Moon Goddess, is on the verge of heading to the printers and should be available for purchase by early October. Here's the cover. I really love it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Book signings and appearances

Here's a list of appearances I'll be making, starting today. A lot more are in the works. If any of you can make it to any of these places, please do! It'll be a pleasure to talk with you.

Thursday (Sept. 13) from 5:30-7 p.m.: Reading and signing, Pendleton Books and Baskets, Pendleton, S.C. (864-646-5893)

Oct. 6 from 3-5 p.m.: Reading and signing, Osondu Booksellers, Waynesville, N.C. (828-456-8062)

Oct. 14 from 1-3 p.m.*: Signing, Cyrano's Bookshop, Highlands, N.C. (828-526-5488)

Oct. 20 from 2-4 p.m.: Reading and signing, The Open Book, Greenville, S.C. (864-235-9651)

Oct. 27 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Reading and signing, Times Festival of Reading, St. Petersburg, FL (727-893-8523)

Oct. 28 from 3-5 p.m.: Signing, Barnes and Noble, St. Petersburg, FL (727-384-5200)

* This was changed from Oct. 13 from noon-2.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can I see your ID?

I turned 50 on Aug. 26.

Yet ... earlier this very evening, I was asked to show my ID at a gas station while buying a six-pack of beer.

Huh? My oldest daughter is 24. When I was last underaged, Jimmy Carter was president. (I've always liked Jimmy Carter.)

Most people would consider this wonderful. In fact, in most ways I suppose I do. But it's also a little annoying. Yes, I have a boyish face. But not boyish skin! Annnnnnd ... I have quite a bit less hair than I used to. Like Jesse Ventura used to say, "Grass doesn't grow on a busy street." (I only know that because my wife once did a big feature on him for the St. Pete Times.)

I guess the one reason I don't like being carded is because I've always been young-looking for my age. Being carded at 50 is kinda cool! But being carded at 30 isn't. The insult lingers.

What's next? Will I get carded when I'm 90 years old, entirely bald, and staggering into a gas station on a cane? Maybe after I die and I'm partying with the rest of the gang at the cemetery, I'll have to show my ID before they let me hit the keg. Maybe I'll have to convince one of my grandchildren to buy a six-pack for me while I linger guiltily outside the store.

I'm 50 friggin' years old!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I don't look it, thank you very much :) ....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My first contest

I'm getting a decent level of hits and comments on my main blog, but not very many on my Extended Excerpts blog. So starting today, anyone who leaves a halfway-intelligent-sounding comment on my Excerpts blog will be entered in a contest to win a free, autographed copy of Book One (The Pit) shipped to your address of choice at my expense. The contest will close on Sept. 30, and I promise it will be legit (as in drawn out of a hat by a fair-minded third party).

So, please comment away here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Behold! Book One of The Death Wizard Chronicles officially is available at and The Pit begins my epic fantasy. It is by far the shortest of the six books (only 290 pages), so it's an easy introduction to the much-larger saga.

If you like action-packed fantasy with a sexy tone, you'll love my series.

If you have any interest in Asian spiritual philosophy (especially meditation), you'll love my series.

If you like reading literature with a lot going on between the lines, you'll love my series.

If Harry Potter scared the dickens out of you, you probably won't like my series -- because it's a whole lot scarier than that.

I sure hope fantasy fans will give it a try. I give you my word that it will be worth your time and expense -- and then some.

May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful.

-- Jim

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hmmmmm ......

Human beings are the only animals on Earth aware of their own mortality.

Suppose a supernatural being came to you and said, "I know the day you are going to die. Do you want me to tell you?"

What would you say?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Absolute Write Blogchain #10

This also is my first time in a blogchain. It reminds me of the game we used to play as kids where someone would whisper a sentence or two in someone else's ear and so on. Ten people later, the end result would be hysterical. (I know ... I'm stating the obvious.)

I'm going to stick mostly with the food theme. Several years ago, my wife and I adopted three girls from Cambodia. Both of us are fresh-vegetable fanatics, and we've passed that along to our children, though I suppose they already had inherited it from their native country, where rice and fresh vegetables were staples of their diet.

Not everything is great about living in South Carolina, but there are plenty of places to get excellent organic vegetables. We are members of a Clemson University co-op, and once a week we pick up whatever is in season. My personal favorite is fresh tomatoes, but our family loves pretty much everything grown in the ground.

My kids will eat as much as you put in front of them: mountains of rice and plates full of healthy stir-fries. I make what our family calls shrimp stew: shrimp, tomatoes, carrots, corn, broccoli, greens, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onions stir-fried with tamari and served with crusty bread.

We also frequent a farmer's market held every Thursday in a quaint little town square surrounded by ancient oaks. The vegetables are excellent, as well as the crafts, and the tomato-eating contests are hysterical. Once you've eaten fresh-grown tomatoes, the ones from the grocery story taste like wet cardboard.

I'm glad that my daughters aren't picky eaters. Picky eaters annoy me more than they should. How can people consider themselves truly rounded if they don't eat a variety of healthy foods? It's like saying you're well-read when all you read is the Sunday comics. Maybe picky eating is inherited? If so, I apologize. Regardless, you're missing out big-time if you don't like fresh vegetables.

That's not to say that I always eat well. When you live in the deep south, it's almost impossible for a meat-eater to resist barbecue, fried chicken, etc. And I'm the type who has to eat pizza at least once a week. For some reason, though, a large percentage of South Carolinians live amazingly long lives. My wife's mom is 91 and still living comfortably on her own. Heck, I'd take 80 in a heartbeat!

Up next, appropriately, is a food expert!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Turning points

I turned 50 years old today, and also today I just finished looking over the final proof for Book One. The funny thing is, I consider the latter a more monumental occurrence in my life.

As a teenager and then a man in my 20s, I always looked younger than I was. When I was 16 years old and had just gotten my driver's license, I was pulled over by a disbelieving police officer convinced that some 12-year-old had sped off in his parents' car. Even into my early 30s, I was continually carded whenever I purchased a six-pack of beer. So in some regards, aging has been a blessing to me. About the only thing I don't like about being 50 is that my hair has thinned considerably, which annoys me to no end. Otherwise, being a mature person both in personality and appearance has benefits that I enjoy.

Being so close to the publication of Book One of my series is huge to me. If all goes as planned, printing of The Pit will begin this Tuesday, and it will become available for purchase the first week of September. I'm also within two weeks of finishing the final revisions of Book Five, which will leave just Book Six (currently a finished first draft) to go.

A lifelong dream ... so close.

It only took me 50 years to achieve it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday's Feast 157

Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?

I'd go with Anthony Hopkins. He is cool beyond cool.

Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)

Paint everything crimson and navy.

If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?

Without question, the '60s. You could have wild sex with just about anyone of the opposite sex without any fear of catching a disease that penicillin wouldn't cure.

Main course:
Name a song that brings back memories for you.

Our House, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (from my teenage years).
Too Early for the Sun by Kenny Loggins (from my adults years).

Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

Warm, absolutely. Make that hot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Playing god

I own two houses -- not by choice. My family and I recently moved from a country home (on 20 wooded acres) to a new home (on one acre) to be closer to my wife's work. In the meantime, the housing market went berserk, and now the first home, though gorgeous, won't sell.

Today, I went to my first home to do a bunch of yardwork. At 8 a.m., it already was at least 90 degrees, and by the time I finished it was past 100.

While I was picking up some debris in the front yard, I almost walked into a monster spiderweb that had been cast between the branches of a magnolia tree. Trapped within the web was a Monarch butterfly, still alive and struggling to escape. But a hideous spider, half as large as my fist, had the beautiful insect in its jaws. There was nothing I could do.

Or was there? As I reflect on it now, I'm not certain.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who is my audience?

Harry Potter has redefined the fantasy audience. J.K. Rowling proved that it's possible to write novels that appeal as much to 12-year-olds as 72-year-olds. Though her subject matter became grittier as she progressed deeper into her series, it remained pretty tame when compared to darker, more violent fantasies. Yet, it outsold them all by an absurd margin.

If my only goal had been to sell books, I would have written a series appropriate for young adults. Certainly there is a massive built-in audience for YA fantasy. That doesn't mean, of course, that anything YA is a guaranteed success, but it's a big step forward.

My series is not for young adults. As I've said several times in this blog, if The DW Chronicles were made into a series of movies, they would be R-rated. To be honest, my series contains violence and sex inappropriate for young adults. Some 15-year-olds are more mature than 25-year-olds, but I tell people that my series is for people 18 and above.

So where does this leave me? Well, my hope is that there is a large segment of fantasy readers out there that think like me. They are the types that enjoy Stephen King more than J.K. Rowling. They are the types that aren't offended by a John Updike sex scene. They are the types who throw out an F-bomb or two when they accidentally smash their thumbs with a hammer. They are the types who enjoy books appropriate for adults, not children. They are the types whose religious preferences don't get in the way of their artistic preferences.

And yes, a novel or series of novels can contain graphic descriptions of fantastical wars and supernatural sex and still be artistic. Believe me, The DW Chronicles has plenty going on between the lines. In fact, that is what truly makes it a read worthy of your time and expense.

Are there people/readers out there like me? If not, maybe I've screwed up.

Then again, being the person I am, maybe I didn't have a choice.


The Death Wizard Chronicles is a sexy, action-packed six-book epic fantasy series: Book One (Forged by Death), Book Two (Chained by Fear), Book Three (Eve of War), Book Four (World on Fire), Book Five (Sun God), Book Six (Death-Know).

The DW Chronicles is not for children and teenagers -- or the faint of heart. But if you like graphic fantasy that is bursting with excitement yet still has a lot going on between the lines, I think you'll love my series.

In a groundbreaking paradox, the Death Wizard, a champion of good, derives his power from a source traditionally seen as negative -- death. His nemesis, an evil sorcerer, derives his power from the sun, the benevolent source of all life. Their struggle to control the fate of the planet Triken will take your breath away.

In an original twist never before seen in this genre, the Death Wizard is able to enter the realm of death during a "temporary suicide." Through intense concentration, he stops his heartbeat and feeds on death energy, which provides him with an array of magical powers.

The series also is a love triangle involving two desperate characters attempting to come together despite the machinations of an all-powerful psychopath with incestuous cravings.

Graphic and action-packed, spanning a millennium of turmoil, The DW Chronicles carries readers on a journey they will never forget.

Do you fear death? The Death Wizard does not. Find out why.

-- Please go to for more details.

About Me

My photo
Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.