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.