Sunday, October 17, 2010

Haunting development

I continue to make progress on my ghost story. I've finished the first draft and am four-fifths of the way through the first revision. It's going to be relatively short -- probably no more than 85,000 words -- but it's very scary and also very sexy ... maybe too sexy. I'm still considering toning down the graphic aspects of the sex. A few scenes feel gratuitous. (But sometimes gratuituous sex is the most fun of all!)

I'm hoping to begin shopping the novel by early January. With The DW Chronicles still without a second publisher, it's going to be fun to have another player in the game.

DW will always be my masterpiece. I'll never write anything better, and hopefully it will one day get the credit it deserves, even if it is post-Jim Melvin. But like any writer who has failed to strike it rich, all I can do is keep writing.

And that's what I've done.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pour little me

It's raining tonight, really hard. An unexpected rain. I live in an area that's had below-average rainfall for several years now, so whenever it does rain -- no matter how frequently -- it's welcomed. I hope it keeps raining until after I go to bed. Is there anything better than falling asleep to the sound of rain?

I'm 66K into my horror novel. I feel like I've got about 20K to go to wrap it up. It's scary and sexy and wild. It'll be fun when it's finally finished. Maybe this one will hit it big -- and then carry The Death Wizard Chronicles along with it.

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in the mountains. It rained there too.

I so envy the people who can afford to just write.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I'm 120 pages into the ghost story. I can't seem to keep the sex out of it. What's wrong with me?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Back in the saddle

I've begun work on a horror novel that I'm going to call The Bathroom Window. It's going to be a full-blown, sexy, supernatural ghost story that will be R-rated and really scary (at least I hope).

Right now, I'm 60 pages in -- and writing at a much slower pace than I did when I wrote The Death Wizard Chronicles. Back then, I was averaging about 45,000 words a month, and it's taken me a month to write 17,000. But heck, it feels good anyway.

I can't seem to get away from working some sex into my stories. DW has it too. I'm not sure how readers feel about this. "Sex sells" doesn't seem to apply as much to books as it does to movies -- unless an author is writing erotica. So I'm not sure if this is a strike against me or not.

I do have an idea for a young adult fantasy standalone, but can I write young adult for 500 pages? That remains to be seen.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ants in my pants

My house recently was invaded by these annoying little black ants. Under the baseboard they came. Up the side of the kitchen cabinet. All over the granite countertop, dining room table, cat food, etc. My equally black cat was especially annoyed. He'd find a squadron of them marching along my wood floor and swat away.

My wife doesn't like to kill anything. It upsets her to pull a carrot from the ground. She'll catch wasps, roaches and anything else that has found its way into our house in cups and cans and release them outside. Problem is, you can't do that with an army of tiny black ants, each about a fifth the size of a grain of rice.

Enter, me. Husband. A k a Ant Killer!

Okay, so she made me use an organic ant spray, which I squirted along the baseboard. Problem solved.


A few feet down the baseboard, here they came again. Sprayed there. Half a day of relief. More ants. Sprayed again. Again. Again. Finally sprayed all along the outside of the house. Finally, no more ants.

How many did I kill/murder/slaughter? How many did I send to a writhing, hideous death? Many hundreds, at least. I am the Ant Killer!

Tonight, I was sitting out on my back deck. And what did I see? Little black ants crawling on the wooden planks. My right index finger -- the spray finger -- began to twitch. But I held off. For now.

Instead, I sat and watched the hummingbirds feed. Luxuriated in the warm breeze on my face. Drank a cold Corona with a lime. Admired my black cat as he bathed himself.

But the ants ... I watched them too. I see them. Do you?

My finger twitches even now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weighty issues

I was very skinny when I was young. Between May when I graduated from ninth grade and September when I entered 10th, I grew 5 full inches in height -- from 5-7 to 6-0. Yet I didn't gain a pound of weight. At that point, I was 6-0 and weighed about 130 pounds. My pants were 27 waist, 34 inseam. I didn't surpass 150 pounds until my early 30s. And didn't surpass 170 until my early 40s.

I most certainly was one of those types who could eat anything and any amount at any time of day or night. The act of sucking on a straw caused me to lose weight as I drank a 1,000-calorie milkshake. My stomach was as big around as the straw.

However ...........................................................................................................

Metabolism finally caught up to me. Now I'm 190 and battling not to get bigger. My arms and legs are still relatively thin, but my stomach is no longer cooperating. Over the past 10 years ago, I finally have had to watch what I eat. And watch and watch.

And my pants are now 36 waist, 30 inseam. I understand the waist growing, but I don't quite get the inseam shrinking.

Now, 6-0 and 190 doesn't exactly make me a porker. But guys like me who gain weight only in their stomachs also end up gaining things like cholesterol and blood pressure and blood sugar.

So, we exercise. And we don't eat after dinner. And, my gawd, we don't get within a mile of a milkshake.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Colonoscopy: wanna talk?

I'm 52.

I had a colonoscopy yesterday, just to make sure everything's okay. The day-before purging wasn't so much fun, but the actual event wasn't bad at all. Great drugs, at least. And pretty nurses (who winked at me afterward and handed me phone numbers crumpled up on scraps of paper).

One thing that amazed me about the entire thing was how many people I know who also have had the procedure. They came to me in droves, sharing all kinds of amazing stories about loopiness and toilet seats and polyps. (The more you say that word, the cooler it sounds.) It's almost like a cult! There are the Colonoscopers and the ... others.

My group is fascinating! The others? Well, they're just kind of b-o-r-i-n-g.

Any other Colonoscopers out there?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The one talent

I recently was reading a poem by Steven Erikson (see post below) that had a simple yet provocative theme:

The painter must be mute
The sculptor deaf
Talents are passed out
As everyone knows
Oh let them dabble
We smile our indulgence
No end to our talent
For allowances
But talents are passed out
We permit you one
Worth lauding
The rest may do service
In servicable fashion
But greatness?
That is a title passed out
Don't be greedy
Over trying our indulgence
Belongs to us
Behind the makeshift wall --
The bricks of our
Reasonable scepticism.

This poem spoke to me. Each and every one of us is born with one talent that supercedes all of our other talents.

That's not to say that there aren't people out there who are multitalented. We see that all the time. Tiger Woods is multitalented. Cough.

Sorry, couldn't pass that up.

Anyway, when I really explored deeply into this concept, I found it to be fascinating. My guess is that some of us never truly uncover this superlative skill. It could be the woman who sounds so great singing in the shower could have bested Mariah Carey, had the cards fallen right for her. Or the dad who blew by all the neighbor kids in the race from the garbage can to the mailbox might have been able to blow by Usain Bolt.

For me, this is very clear. By far my best talent is writing epic fantasy. Nothing else comes close. I'm an average singer at best. I can't dance a lick (though I wish I could). There are third-graders who can outdraw me. And my best athletic endeavor ever has been bowling, though gawd knows I wish I could have been better at golf.

But I can do the epic fantasy thing. And you know what? I'd prefer to be a best-selling writer of epic fantasy than an actor, rock star, politician, sports great or anything else. Heck, I'd rather be a best-selling writer of epic fantasy than a pro golfer, and that's saying something.

I have the one talent.

But I also have enough talent left to dream.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Here comes the s-p+a*m

After a couple of years with no spam at all, I'm starting to get a lot of it in my comments. So I've had to turn on comment moderation, which I normally find annoying in other blogs.

Is there anything that can be done about blog spam besides comment moderation?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Erikson: best of the best?

I've just now begun to read Book Nine (Dust of Dreams) of Steven Erikson's magnificent Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and once again I'm transfixed.

Before starting Dust of Dreams, I recently finished reading, for the first time, Clive Barker's Imajica, and though Barker's work is grand in scope and quite excellent, it nonetheless pales in comparison to the Malazan series -- in all regards (IMO).

I have to say that I think Erikson's series has risen above all others in the epic fantasy genre. He has no peers. He has created the single greatest epic of our time.

An astounding work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New direction for The DW Chronicles

After a long and excellent relationship, my agent (Dr. Uwe Stender) and I have amicably agreed to part ways. We remain friends. Uwe is a class act, by any standard.

I am now actively seeking agent representation.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where does epic fantasy stand?

I often wonder what percentage of the reading population enjoys epic fantasy. When I first began my series, I felt confident that my favorite genre was quite popular among the general reading population. For the most part I still think this is true, but maybe fantasy isn't as popular as I thought. Or maybe its popularity is on a down cycle right now.

Any opinions on this?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet and sour

When I first lie down at night to go to sleep, I almost always envision that I'm huddled inside a small log cabin in the middle of the wilderness. Outside, a blizzard is raging. But the door to the cabin is locked and its windows are shuttered, and though I can hear the howling wind, it can't get to me. I'm safely tucked into a small, warm bed with plenty of blankets.

Somehow this contrast is comforting to me. All the bad stuff outside, all the good stuff inside. What good is warmth without cold? Comfort without discomfort? Safety without danger? The sweetest things are contrasted with the sourest. It's the way it has to be.

Sleep comes.

Followed by dreams.

The cabin is replaced by a slew of other images as raging as a blizzard.

The wind continues to howl, but this time it's inside.


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.