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.


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.