Monday, October 6, 2008

Here and there

In the immortal words of a former colleague of mine ...

Many mini thoughts ...

The large publisher considering my series still hasn't responded, which probably isn't a good sign. I feel like someone trying to sell a house that you know is well-designed and in great condition but that no one can afford to buy.

The other night, I got got carded while buying a six-pack of beer. I'm 51. Before showing the cashier my ID, I asked her how old she thought I was. She said 32. My oldest daughter is 25.

Is it just me, or can Nov. 4 come not a moment too soon? That is going to be a sweet night. Go Obama!

Speaking of young looking, my youthful Tampa Bay Rays are in the ALCS. I am so proud of that team. The last time I was at Tropicana Field was in 2003. I left the game in the fifth inning with the then-Devil Rays losing big. And while walking through the concourse, I heard a roar and then a thumping sound. Hopping down the stairs was a shiny white baseball, and it jumped right into my hand. Turns out, it was a home run hit by Rocco Baldelli that had flown into one of the exits and bounced down into the concourse. The ball is autographed and on my mantel right now.

Ever since buying an extremely expensive Tempur-Pedic mattress, I have had zero lower back pain. This comes on top of having had lower back pain for most of my adult life. Awesome.

Since starting my job at the Greenville (S.C.) News five months ago, I haven't written a single word of fiction. But the News' online site, which I help to run, has set three consecutive months of record traffic.

I'm watching Saturday Night Live again after years of paying it no attention. My guess is, you know why.

I have an obsession with Diet Coke, but only between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Otherwise, I only drink water, orange juice, and light beer.

I have a best friend who is a born-again Christian, conservative Republican, and a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. I am none of these things. Yet the friendship remains.

I am such a fanatic about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I cannot watch the games live. Instead, I record the games and watch them only if the Bucs win. I even put a towel over the TV so that I can't sneak a peek as I walk by. My family knows better than to mess with that towel.

Did I mention that I haven't written a word of fiction in five months? Man, do I miss it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Picking up the pieces

It's Day seven or so of post-Rain, and I still find myself depressed over it. I had gotten more used to the idea of being a published novelist with active books on the table than I had realized. Now I feel as if I'm starting from scratch, which I guess I am.

Still, I'm in better shape than many. My agent has agreed to begin resubmissions, despite having had nothing to do with my signing with Rain. So in the long run, I might well end up with a larger house, anyway. But in publishing parlance, "long run" means 12-36 months ... or more. Sigh.

I started Book One of my six-book series in September 2003 and finished Book Six (including revisions) in January 2008. All those months in between, I wrote virtually seven days a week. It became a very large part of how I defined myself. Since the Rain collapse, I find myself unable to write. So I guess that for a time, at least, I am redefining myself.

During the time period that I wrote the series, I was not working, except to play the role of house-husband with three young children. But as of April 14, I am rejoining the workforce as multimedia editor of the Greenville (S.C.) News. It's going to be an exciting but demanding job that will require a huge portion of my creative juices, if I'm to do it justice. Will I have any juices left to write another novel? I have a great idea for a very scary ghost story. So we'll see.

In the living vicariously department, my good friend Dave Scheiber's co-written book entitled Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob is doing extremely well. Bob Delaney, the undercover police officer turned NBA ref who is the subject of the book, hit a grand slam today on the Jim Rome show. You can hear this amazing interview here.

Covert is a big-time book that is close enough to best-seller status to taste. Maybe the appearance on Rome's show, which attracts more than 2-million listeners per week, will push Covert over the top. I certainly hope so.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One-year anniversary of my blog

One year ago today, I created this blog and wrote the first item. Here it is, in its entirety:

Coming Sept. 2007: Book One, The Pit

This is my first-ever posting. I recently signed a contract with Rain Publishing Inc., to publish my six-book epic fantasy series, The Death Wizard Chronicles. Book One, entitled The Pit, will debut September 2007, followed by one book a month after that until February 2008.

You've heard this many times, I'm sure, but for me this is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Now comes the business of getting people like you to read my series. In future blogs, I'll publish details on when and how to buy!

The DW Chronicles is not for children and teenagers -- or the faint of heart. But if you like graphic fantasy that crackles 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 briefly 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 millenium 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.

So ...... what has changed between then and now?

* My blog has received 8,774 hits. This is no world record, of course. Some blogs receive more hits than that in a single day. But it's not terrible, either.

* Four of my six books are in print, with book five due to come out within two weeks and book six not long after that.

* There have been festivals; conventions; book signings; reviews; video, audio, and print interviews; and a virtual tour of the blogosphere, among other promotional events.

* I've received hundreds of emails, comments, and words of encouragement from pleased readers.

* I've met a lot of writers and readers, both in-person and online.

But I have to be honest. Despite all this, sales have been disappointing. The bottom line is, you can market until your head falls off, and if you're not either a) a big name, or b) with a mega-publisher, then the odds of achieving large sales are heavily against you.

My publisher has tried real hard. I've tried real hard. And neither of us has any plans of not continuing to try real hard. In so many ways, this series deserves better. But in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood: "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

To any and all of you who have purchased any or all of my books, I offer my most sincere appreciation. It means the world to me, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

It's still early. It's not over yet. Rain and I have a lot of fight left. We believe in The Death Wizard Chronicles. In our opinion, it ranks with the best epic fantasy available anywhere from anybody.

But convincing the masses ain't easy, I can tell you that. Come on, Clint ... doesn't deserve count for something?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You live, you learn

Things I find comforting:

* Train whistles.
* Warm blankets.
* Good-natured laughter.
* Purring cats.
* Long back scratches.

Things I find disturbing:

* Smokers.
* Rude teenagers.
* Ultra-conservatives.
* Bad tippers.
* People who litter.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meme time

Michael Southard, editor of the popular online fantasy magazine Tower of Light, tagged me with this meme.

1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences and write them down.
4. Invite five friends to do the same.

I chose Chris Stevenson's Once Upon a Goddess.

"Mason went to his bungalow and found Augustus and Felicity seated on the edge of the bed, engrossed with a wrestling Smack Down event. The volume had been turned up unusually high and when Mason glanced around he saw that the furniture had been upended,m and the pillows and bedspread had been flung about. A decorative planter had broken and lay on the floor along with a spray of fertilizer and shards. Augustus had a sleeve missing from his shirt. He and Felicity looked winded."

Okay, I'll tag ... well, Chris.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Book review: The New Feminized Majority

Book Review by Jim Melvin
The New Feminized Majority
By Katherine Adams and Charles Derber
2008 Paradigm Publishers

In one of the most super-charged election years in our nation’s history, along comes a book that will stir up the pot even more.

The New Feminized Majority pulls no punches in its assertions that the “Democratic party can lead America for decades” by embracing the “feminized majority.” Suppressed for most of our nation’s history by male-dominated conservatism, this visionary social movement is on the verge of rocking the political landscape.

Made up mostly of women but also of millions of men, the “feminized majority” represents an “increasingly robust majority of voters in this country who are prepared to support a progressive politics of social justice.” This fundamental shift from masculinized values (competitiveness, aggression, individualism, violence as a tool to solve problems) to feminized values (cooperation, empathy, appreciation for equality, nonviolent solutions to conflicts) will help “transform the country and the world, making a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable planet.”

This is not a book that will convert Evangelical conservatives — or virtually anyone who leans well to the right. In fact, they probably could not read past the first few pages without angrily tossing The New Feminized Majority into the nearest fireplace. But liberals, centrists, and even moderate conservatives will discover a treasure trove of information within these pages. It’s not an easy read, but it’s an enlightening one — as well as being topically cutting edge.

According to the authors, the feminized majority’s rise to power will be tantamount to a second American Revolution. The key to this vitally important uprising will lie in the hands of the Democrats — namely Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. By embracing a strategy based on feminized values, the Democratic Party can return to power not just this year, but for the foreseeable future. And if this happens, the United States — and the world — will have much to celebrate.

The New Feminized Majority was printed on recycled paper. Does this please you? If so, then this book probably will please you, too. How smart do you have to be to care for the environment? To be anti-violence? To want to advance the rights of women and minorities? To desire equality and peace in the world?

How smart do you have to be?

Smart enough to read this book.

Smart enough to agree with it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I need a big favor

Writers always are asking favors of their readers. I'm no exception. To anyone who has purchased any of Books 1-4 on Amazon, would you please leave a reader comment, if you haven't already? This adds a ton to credibility.

Be honest -- in both directions. If you love it, please say so. If you see flaws, feel free to expose them.

Karma is a powerful force. Doing good things for people pays dividends. This would be a good thing ... a very good thing ... for me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Megacon was Megafun

I'm back from Megacon in Orlando. I've done a book festival and a bunch of other personal appearances, but this was my first-ever comics conference. Overall, it went pretty well. I sold 51 books and talked face-to-face to at least 300 people. To any of you who met me in Orlando and/or bought one of my books, thanks so much for your support. It was a lot of fun! And most of you had some very interesting things to say.

I'm not sure of the totals, but I would guess that at least 15,000 people attended the con over the three-day period. There were hundreds of exhibitors selling everything from bookmarks to authentic swords. I saw a variety of mind-blowing costumes and outfits. Needless to say, the "people-watching" was A+++. It sure made the hours pass fast. Just about everyone seemed to know everyone else, and most everyone was younger than I am. But they were friendly and seemed in fantastic moods.

I enjoyed the entire experience.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Please come to visit at the Megacon in Orlando

To anyone who lives in Orlando and/or Central Florida, I will be at the Megacon in Orlando selling heavily discounted copies of Books 1-4 starting Friday March 7 (noon-7) and also on Saturday (10 a.m.-6) and Sunday (10 a.m.-5). I'd be thrilled if you came by to visit. The event is being held at the Orange County Convention Center (The North/South Building) on International Drive.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Makes you wonder

Here's an interesting stat. Sharks killed one human in 2007, while humans killed 38-million sharks.

Here's another one: There are at least 500-billion galaxies in the universe. And many of these galaxies contain billions of stars. Which translates to trillions of planets. Which translates to a heck of a lot of intelligent life, in my book.

The time it takes light (at 186,000 miles per second) to travel from our sun to the nearest star is approximately the same time it would take an ant to walk from Tampa Bay, Fla., to Seattle. Yet there are 40-billion suns in our Milky Way galaxy.

How about: Americans buy 2.7 billion packages of breakfast cereal each year. If laid end to end, the empty cereal boxes from one year's consumption would stretch to the moon and back. Is there enough milk for all that?

The kind of emails that keep you going

Dear Jim,
The third book (which I have already finished) in your six-part series is by far one of the best books I've read, as are the first two. I am almost powerless to put your books down; that's how much I enjoy them. ... I cannot wait to read the rest and undoubtedly will regret when there are no more books. It is exciting and fun to read your books. I am impressed at how fluidly you combine every characters' point of view into the books, and this only adds to the excitement and adventure of the Chronicles.
Alex Evans
Tenafly, N.J.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Top 100 in fantasy

Amazon numbers are as thrilling and as scary as a roller coaster. But this Saturday night, the first four books of my series simultaneously were ranked in the top 100 among fantasy books, with Moon Goddess going as low as No. 38. Thanks to any and all readers who've purchased my books online. You can't imagine how much it means to a debut author.

In other news, I recently added excerpts for all four books to my excerpt blog. Please check it out here.

epic fantasy, Death Wizard, Stephen Donaldson, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Steven Erikson

Friday, February 22, 2008

You either love fantasy or you don't

I once was at a book-signing and attempted to strike up a conversation with a customer who had entered the bookstore.

"Do you like epic fantasy?" I said.

"I gave that up in seventh grade, buddy," he said with a sneer. Then he strode away toward the historical fiction department, quite proud of himself for putting me in my childish place.

From my experience, only about one in five adults enjoy reading epic fantasy. The 20 percent who do are rabid about it. But the 80 percent who don't seem to view epic fantasy as little more than kids stuff.

I remember once describing my work to someone at a party, and I emphasized that a lot of my series is adult in nature, equivalent to an R-rated movie that is borderline X. Not fifteen minutes later, I heard that same person telling someone else that I write "Harry Potter stories."

Not that there's anything wrong with "Harry Potter stories," but you get my gist.

So I've been asking myself, why do I enjoy reading and writing epic fantasy so much? Am I just a kid at heart? It doesn't feel that way to me. A lot of the epic fantasy out there right now is fiction at its highest levels -- and is certainly sophisticated enough to entertain adults.

Obviously, my childhood had a lot to do with my love for the genre. The ideas for my series literally were a lifetime in developing. I grew up on the waterfront in Florida and was lucky to have about ten other boys my age all living on the same street. We hung out morning, noon and night, playing all the usual sports that young boys adore. But we also were obsessed with fantastical games that contained super powers and super heroes. Rather than “grow out of it,” my love for magic and monsters stayed with me into adulthood.

The historical fiction department has some great books, I know, but whenever I grab a cup of coffee and wander through a bookstore, you'll know where to find me. Heck, I gave up historical fiction in the seventh grade.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cast of a lifetime

I think it's safe to say that all readers create images in their minds of their favorite characters. That's why some movies based on books can be such disappointments, because the actor just doesn't match what the reader envisioned during his or her reading. Just for fun, above are the faces I have envisioned for some of my characters while writing this series. I hope this doesn't ruin anything for those of you who are reading the series now. If you have other ideas for Torg or whomever, please let me know!
Torg: Adrian Paul (with long hair)
Laylah: Claire Forlani (with blond hair)
Invictus: Orlando Bloom (with long blond hair)
Vedana: Susan Sarandon (with wild hair and a lot of crazy makeup)
Rathburt: Tim Robbins (with long black hair)
Sobhana: Eva Longoria (just right)
Chieftain Kusala: Gerard Butler (he's perfect)
King Henepola: Samuel Jackson (another perfect match)
Queen Rajinii: Tilda Swinton (awesome for this role)
epic fantasy, Death Wizard, Stephen Donaldson, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Rain Publishing Inc., Adrian Paul, Claire Forlani, Orlando Bloom, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Eva Longoria, Gerard Butler, Samuel Jackson, Tilda Swinton

Another fun interview

If you get a chance, please check out this interview in the February newsletter of Literary Mary.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Starting in March: a free giveaway

Rain Publishing Inc. will be sponsoring a monthly contest for my series and for the rest of its authors starting in March. One copy of Book One (The Pit) will be given away by Rain in March, and Books Two-Six in April-August, respectively. To win a free copy (including shipping) of The Pit, all you'll need to do is correctly answer a question based on one of my blog items. There'll be no purchase necessary. Details to come!

epic fantasy, Death Wizard, Stephen Donaldson, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Rain Publishing Inc.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A moment of reflection

About two weeks ago, I finished the final revision on Book Six of my series. All told, it took me 40 months to write 700,000 words.

As is typical of things like this, the reality didn't live up to the long-imagined hype. I didn't leap from my chair and start jumping around in a fit of frenzy. Instead, I simply let out a long sigh. Bestselling fantasy author Stephen Donaldson often says (and I'm paraphrasing) that books are never really finished. They just sort of fritter away until there finally comes a time when you don't find yourself working on them anymore. In today's age of online marketing, truer words have never been spoken.

I still have to go through the editing process of books 5 and 6, plus look over galleys, etc. So there's a long way to go before my frittering is done. But there's no denying that I reached a milestone in mid-January that few people ever achieve. The series is written, from beginning to end, and I'm plenty proud of it. In my opinion, it's some of the best and most sophisticated fantasy of the past five years, at any level. Of course, that's only my opinion. The readers must decide for themselves.

Thus far, the quality of the reaction has been superb. It's the quantity that needs a little work.

So to any of you who have ever accomplished a large task -- whether writing a book or anything else -- please raise a glass with me.

And whisper ...


epic fantasy, Death Wizard, Stephen Donaldson, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Steven Erikson

Friday, February 1, 2008

After all these years, the flu finally gets me

I'm one of those guys who prides himself on rarely if ever getting sick, at least to the point that it has any kind of effect on my daily life. But I'll be darned if the latest strain of the flu didn't get me yesterday afternoon. And man, is it nasty! I'm sure a lot of you out there can relate.

I had a terrible night last night. The Tylenol cough and could medicine I took barely made a dent, and I had some of the weirdest dreams known to humankind. One dream, which lasted about six hours, involved hundreds of people lining up with a "flu form" and asking me to sign it. When I did, they instantly were cured. But no one would bring me a flu form. In another hourslong dream, hundreds of people brought me balloons and flowers, to the point that my room filled up so much that I could barely breathe.

I slept from 8 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. on my wonderful Tempur-Pedic mattress (it's the only thing that made the experience even halfway bearable), then got up and staggered around the rest of the day, though I did manage to pick up my three youngest daughters from school.

I'm hearing that this thing goes on for a while? Sigh.

And my wife and youngest daughter, who don't have it yet, are headed to Wash. D.C. for a big gymnastics meet this coming Thursday. Could the timing be any worse?

The whole thing makes my head hurt. And I'm one of those guys who prides himself on never having headaches.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A real stretch

When I was in middle school in the early 1970s (we called it junior high), I was a fast runner. I weighed about 80 pounds, and I could run so fast I almost disappeared. Okay, so I almost disappeared even when I wasn't running.

Anyway, in eighth grade, over the course of about two weeks I blew out both my hamstrings while running the junior high version of track. Back then, there was no such thing as MRI's. If you hurt yourself, you limped around for awhile until it healed. In my case, it healed fine -- except for one annoying problem. My hamstrings seemed to shorten, which severely reduced my flexibility. Since then, I have not been able to touch my toes with my knees locked, and it is uncomfortable for me to sit on the floor for any length of time. The lotus position? Forget it. Frequent lower back pain? Yes, dammit. Does stretching help? Not as much as it should.

Am I capable of doing a split? Don't make me laugh. If you ever found me in a split position, I would also have to be dead.

However ...................... my youngest daughter, Lia (above), is sort of the anti-Jim Melvin, at least in terms of flexibility. When I lie on my back, lock my right knee, and raise my leg, I can barely achieve a perpendicular position. Lia, on the other hand, can bend her leg back so far that she could easily kiss her own toes. In fact, she could kiss her own heel. Or calf.

Lia can do a split as easily as I can cross my fingers. She also, in a very short time, has become an extremely good gymnast. In fact, at 8 years old, she is better as a gymnast than I have been at any sport in my life. She can do flips and twist and leaps and jumps that would cause an ordinary mortal to scream in terror.

But there's one problem: the judging. No matter how well she does, how magnificently she performs, the judges seem to give her scores that are lower than I believe she deserves.

Am I just being the overly proud parent?

Or maybe it's just that my hamstrings are short-sighted.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A bestseller on the horizon

No, not my series ... at least not yet. But a dear friend of mine has a book debuting in February that has bestseller written all over it.

Nationally recognized sportswriter Dave Scheiber of the St. Petersburg Times (where I also worked for 25 years) has co-written a book with NBA referee Bob Delaney called Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob. Delaney is a force of nature, and when he enters a room, all eyes turn. He also is a dynamic and polished public speaker. The book will debut on Feb. 1 and is being published by Union Square Press, an imprint of Sterling (which is owned by Barnes and Noble). Needless to say, it should debut high on the nonfiction list and is likely to be headed soon to the big screen.

Here's the description that runs on Amazon.

Book Description
In a riveting page-turner, NBA referee Bob Delaney reveals the clandestine life he led before becoming one of professional basketball’s most respected referees.

In 1975, Delaney had spent only a year and a half as a New Jersey State Trooper when his superiors approached him with a tantalizing yet dangerous undercover assignment: to infiltrate the Mob. Delaney accepted, and became Bobby Covert, the president of Alamo Trucking, a fully-operational business used by law enforcement as flypaper for snagging crooks.

At the height of The Godfather era, Delaney wore a wire and lived among wiseguys who modeled themselves on their on-screen counterparts, quoting lines from “The Movie” and boasting of how often they’d seen it. Delaney even crossed paths with Joe Pistone, the real-life Donnie Brasco (though neither knew the other was undercover), knowing all the while that a single slip could get him killed.

Ultimately gathering enough evidence to convict 30 members of the Bruno and Genovese crime families, Project Alpha was a success, but Delaney struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and traces of Stockholm syndrome after getting too close to those he investigated. Therapy helped him come to terms with all he’d endured during his three tense years undercover, and, once a college basketball star, Delaney began officiating high school and intramural games as a way to rebuild his life—eventually working his way up to the NBA, where he has been a referee for more than two decades.

This is his amazing true story, with a foreword by NBA great and current TV commentator Bill Walton.

My agent, Uwe Stender, represents this book, and Dave mentions me and The Death Wizard Chronicles in the acknowledgements. So, my series will be a bestseller -- at least in that regard!

I've known Dave for more than 30 years, and he is one of the greatest people I have ever met. There is no nicer or more deserving guy on the planet. I wish him the best of luck.

But in this case, Dave doesn't need it. Thanks to Bob Delaney's amazing life and Dave Scheiber's amazing abilities as a writer, Covert is a lock.

Covert, Bob Delaney, Dave Scheiber, blogosphere, Death Wizard, Jim Melvin,

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another keeper review for The DW Chronicles!

Here's another great review for The Pit, this one by Jaime McDougall that appeared on The Book Stacks.

The Death Wizard Chronicles
Book One: The Pit

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.

While war approaches under the direction of the sorcerer Invictus, threatening to completely destroy the peace Triken has known for centuries, Death-Knower wizard Torg is trapped in a pit that is a hell like no other.

Though no ordinary human could survive more than a few hours in the pit, Torg lives on…

Jim Melvin proves himself to be a master storyteller, putting his characters through the worst imaginable hells and showing no mercy. He keeps you turning pages, the reader wondering what the characters could possibly be put through next.

The Pit, the first book of The Death Wizard Chronicles, is an action-packed tale taking place on vibrant three-dimensional world. Triken is a world rich with intricate relationships and a full history on which Melvin has built the lives of many races.

Triken truly comes alive for the reader and is filled with mysteries and places that even the most powerful characters in the book are unaware of. That gives the reader the opportunity to discover and learn with the characters, which makes them easier to identify with.

Melvin has added to the texture of the world by integrating eastern philosophies, giving the magic used not only consistency but depth. He has worked out the details of his magic system so readers can understand where it comes from and how it works.

As a story, The Pit is rich and full; as a book it is addictive and quite an excellent addition to the adult fantasy book shelf. And it is distinctly "adult" fantasy – the scene that redefines "all-consuming orgasm" is enough to lift this from a level suitable for children.

I definitely recommend this book. As the author himself has said, reading this book will make you decide if The Death Wizard Chronicles are for you.

They are for me. All in all, an excellent package

-- Jaime McDougall,

epic fantasy, The Book Stacks, FictionScribe, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Warming up to sex

Hmmmm ... now I'm rethinking the sex thing. I only got 26 hits the first day, but I got 80 hits the second. Maybe it just takes sex a couple of days to get cranked up.

epic fantasy, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, sex, wild sex, kinky sex

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Death Wizard on the Book Connection

Today, The Death Wizard Chronicles is featured on a popular and highly regarded blog: the Book Connection. Please check it out here. There are synopses, excerpts and personal reflections.

A roar for powerful words

I've been tagged by Mary "Lynn" Lewis of the Virtual Wordsmith and been presented with the Roar for Powerful Words award. Now it's your turn. The rules follow:

* Link back to the person who tagged you.

* List three things that you believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.

* Tag five others and comment on their blog informing them that they've been tagged with this award:

1) Do things on purpose: Though the subconscious mind plays a large role in the writing process, it's still imperative to know your themes in advance, and to then use literary devices such as symbolism, metaphor, allegory, dramatic irony, and foreshadowing to back these themes up.

2) Write what pleases you, not what you think will please the reader: Psychologists say this all the time: It's impossible to love anyone, if you don't first love yourself. The same goes for writing. If you try to write for the reader, most often you'll fail. But if you write for yourself -- with passion, honesty, and courage -- the reader will be more likely to enjoy your work.

3) Pull no punches: We all have limits as to what we can tolerate, in terms of joy, sorrow, pleasure and pain. As a writer, you need to push yourselves to your limits -- and beyond.

The five people I choose to carry this on are:

Chris at Alpha Adventures.

Terrie at Kappa no He.

Judy at Welcome to My World of Dreams.

Michael at Avatar Lore.

Jaime at Fiction Scribe.

Note: the image of the lion above can be found here, saved as a jpeg, and uploaded.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sex experiment fails

Well, my experiment of putting the word sex in the title, body copy, and tags of a blog item to see if it would significantly increase my hits turned out to have little effect. I've been averaging about 25-30 hits per day, and over the 24-hour period since I wrote the sex item, I got 26 hits. Hmmm. Maybe if I admit that I'm a big fan of Hillary Clinton (true, I am), then I'll get more hits -- positive and negative.

epic fantasy, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Hillary Clinton

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another 5-star review for The Pit

This review is from J. Kaye Oldner of J. Kaye's Books, one of the top reviewers on the blogosphere.

The Death Wizard Chronicles: The Pit by Jim Melvin
Rating: 5 Stars

Torg, the Death-Knower wizard who is the main character in Jim Melvin’s The Death Wizard Chronicles, is like a mixture of Merlin and Conan, but with a Buddha twist. The Pit is book one of a six-book epic fantasy, where readers get to know Torg, king of the Tugars -- the mystical warriors of the Great Desert.

Torg is up against the evil sorcerer Invictus, who has threatened to engulf the world in darkness. Invictus is the greatest threat the land has ever known, and cannot be defeated by ordinary means. The Death-Knower believes that in order to combat this great evil, he needs to perform an act of virtue, something to even the scales between good and evil. A selfless act of such magnitude would set larger forces into motion.

When the Death-Knower gives up his freedom in order to save the free people of Triken, he does so knowing that this battle will not be fought on an ordinary battlefield. He orders the Asekhas, who are Tugars of the highest rank, to not follow or try to rescue him from the pit in which he is imprisoned. The Death-Knower escapes 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 Invictus? Or will something even more disastrous come to be?

It’s hard to tell. Melvin’s tale is not predictable. We’ll just have to keep on reading to find out.

How hard do you push? (No sex jokes here)

Most of you will be disappointed to learn that -- in terms of pushing hard -- I'm talking marketing, not sex. But I've been told that if you work the word sex into your blog items, your hits will increase dramatically. So I'm going to write the word sex into this item several times and see if my hits rise. Rise, get it? That's another sex reference. Let's just hope it doesn't cause my hits to shrink. (Sex, sex, sex.)

Here are my questions, in terms of marketing: Can you push too hard? Can you become so excited about what you're doing that it turns off the very people you're trying to turn on? For instance, do you as a potential reader become annoyed when you receive emails from publishers or authors regarding purchasing information and updates on their books? Has an email ever prompted you to buy a book? How about reading a blog? What if I told you that my series has sex in it? Would that prompt you to buy? Or not to buy?

The past several months, I have marketed my butt off -- though I mean that figuratively, because without a butt, having sex would be kind of weird.

Sex, sex, sex. Does sex sell? Will it increase the size of my hits counter?

I'll check tomorrow and see, see, see.

epic fantasy, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, sex, wild sex, kinky sex

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Join Jim Melvin live tonight at The Plot

Good evening, everyone! For anyone who might be interested, I'm appearing live tonight (Jan. 9) from 7 till 11 (Eastern Standard) at The Plot. It's Pub Night, so the drinks are on me (figuratively, I'm afraid). If you're an author and/or a reader, please click here and join in the fun.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Judi Moreo, You Are More Than Enough, The Plot

Monday, January 7, 2008

Come meet Torg at The Plot

Today through at least Wednesday, The Death Wizard Chronicles and my main character (Torg) will be featured on a new blog called The Plot. Click here for the bio and here for the excerpt. Today you'll find my bio and an excerpt, and upcoming is a Q/A with Torg and then a very cool comment session called Pub Night that I'm certain will soon develop into a very popular feature on The Plot. So, pull up a chair. It should be a lot of fun. I'll keep you in touch on the where and whens.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Judi Moreo, You Are More Than Enough, The Plot

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday Feast: One Hundred and Seventy-Four

When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?
You know, this is going to sound sad, but I really can't remember a surprise in the mail other than a bill that I wasn't expecting. But when I was a boy, I used to send in the tops of cereal boxes and get all kinds of cool stuff.
If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?
Summer home in Costa Rica. Winter home in Asheville, N.C.
Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.
Love them all dearly, but banana edges orange by a nose.
Main Course:
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.
A business suit that really wasn't that expensive. All my clothes combined are worth less than a thousand dollars. But I do own an expensive set of golf clubs! The problem is, I use my clothes a whole lot more than my clubs.
If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?
That day is yet to come ... but I can feel it, looming like a predator.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The realization of dreams

"Every step I take brings me closer to the realization of my dreams." -- from You Are More Than Enough Achievement Journal by Judi Moreo. (To order Judi's book, click here.)

Throughout January, inspirational author Judi Moreo will embark on a virtual tour of the blogosphere that will include the participation of other authors. Judi is giving people like me a chance to let the world know what steps I've taken to realize my own dreams.

Thanks Judi! Here's what I have to say:

For me, The Death Wizard Chronicles were the culmination of a lifelong dream. From age 20 to 45, I lived and breathed this series in my mind, but none of the words found their way from my fingertips to a keyboard. To be honest, a large part of me believed that I would never write this series and that I would die an old man regretting it.

Instead, I refused to allow that to happen. Rather than work until I turned 65, I took a huge financial risk and stepped out of journalism in my mid-40s so that I could bring the Death Wizard to life. In September 2004, I wrote the first word. Seven-hundred-thousand words later, I'm finishing the last draft of Book 6, the final book of the series.

Realizing this dream truly was a step-by-step process. First, I retired from a job that I had been working at for a quarter-century. Then I moved my family from Florida to the mountains of South Carolina. Then I began an extensive research project, reading more than fifty nonfiction books (on everything from weapons and armor to Horses for Dummies) in little more than three months. Then I disciplined myself to write for at least four hours every day, seven days a week. All told, we're talking more than 5,000 hours of writing and revising.

Now that the series is nearly complete, a good deal of my energy has been transferred from the writing process to the marketing process. Rain Publishing (a mid-sized house based in Canada) and I are working very hard to sell this series, but it's a long, difficult climb up the ladder of success -- literally and figuratively one rung at a time.

"Every step I take brings me closer to the realization of my dreams." Man, ain't that the truth. I'm maybe halfway to where I want to be, so there are a lot of steps to go. But once I got walking in the right direction, I'd have it no other way.

epic fantasy, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, Dorothy Thompson, virtual tour, blogosphere, sexy R-rated, Fear of death, Death Wizard, Judi Moreo, You Are More Than Enough


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.