Sunday, December 16, 2012

author site is hacked

My author's page has been hacked by something called Crazy Hacker. I know whoever does such things is getting a big kick out of it, and I know he/she/they could care less whether someone like me is upset about it. But I, for one, am clueless as to how this person or people benefits from doing things like this. It reminds me of people who purposely squish chameleons with their boots or purposely run over squirrels on the street. It is so senseless and ignorant and ugly. Anyway, I'm working on getting my site back online. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Whew, what a month!

November has been eventful for my series, to say the least. Forged In Death's November promotion on Amazon turned out to be a big success, with Book 1 going as low as 500 or so and staying beneath 2,000 for the entire month. My short story, Torg's First Death (a tale from The Death Wizard Chronicles), also went well below 1,000. And book 2 titled Chained By Fear, which was released on Nov. 28, is also selling well. Plus, reviews -- mostly positive -- are starting to roll in. Overall, the momentum is building, and I'm confident it will continue to build in the months to come.

I do see one potential problem-spot. I think that a lot of today's fantasy readers, more so than in year's past, really like the gritty stuff with heroes that are half good/half bad, as opposed to the loftier, more black/white tone that I've taken, which is more like Tolkien and less like, say, Martin. A few have said that my hero is too strong and that he's not realistic.

Well, here's my argument against that. Let's say you've got three kind of sassy/dirty heroes running through a cave to escape some bad guys. And they find a troll blocking the entrance. It ends up taking the three of them about an hour to finally find a way around the troll, which is fine and fun. But in the meantime, the bad guy's army has about a thousand of these trolls in it. So, how in the world will the good guys stand any chance at all if the toughest of them can't even take on one of the trolls? That to me is as unrealistic to me as a loftier story is to others.

Still, it's a matter of taste, and when a person spends hard-earned time and money on a book, he or she has every right to say whatever they feel about it. It's an honor to the writer, regardless.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Top 100 for November! And purchased nationally by Barnes and Noble

Forged in Death is one of Amazon’s top 100 books for November and will be heavily discounted, so now’s a great time to buy it. Click HERE! for a great deal. Book 1 has also been purchased nationally by Barnes and Noble and will be available in national stores! Forged in Death is also in numerous venues. E-book and/or paperback editions can be purchased at BellebooksAmazon, Barnes&NobleAlibris, KoboBooks, TowerBooksGoogleBooks, NetGalley, iBookStoreRedroom, BetterWorldBooks, WHSmith, BookByte, Overdrive, AbeBooksBetterWorldBooks, IndieBound, Powell’s and SonyBooks, among others. 

Book 2 (Chained by Fear) will debut in late November. Check back for details.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Updates galore!

It has been an eventful past few weeks for both me personally and my fantasy series professionally. This past weekend, I went to St. Petersburg and appeared on Saturday (Oct. 20) at the Times Festival of Reading, where I gave a talk/reading/signing which by all accounts went really well.

Just about 10 minutes before I appeared, I met -- for the first time -- my first grandchild, Jaxson Smith, son of Fred and Jill (my second-oldest daughter) Smith. It was a wonderful time, and Jaxson was awesome! So much fun in so many ways. Can't wait to see him again.

Much is happening with The Death Wizard Chronicles. Book 2, titled Chained By Fear, is set to come out in late November, and Book 1, Forged In Death, will be featured in November as one of Amazon's top 100 books. This should really spur sales and get the series going. In addition, a short story titled Torg's First Death will also be coming out soon (before Book 2). This story is a prequel to book 1 and will be one of three short stories I've written that will be interspersed between the releases of books 1-6 to aid in the promotion and to increase reader interest.

If you've read book 1 and still haven't put a review on my Amazon page, please do! These are huge for new authors and they attract more attention than you might think. I know it's a little bit of a pain to do (I've done plenty myself for other authors), but it means a ton to the author and is just a nice thing to do, especially if you're the type who also writes and/or loves to read. Also, sharing this on Facebook is huge too. Thanks to everyone who's supported me thus far. I know that these constant updates can be annoying, but it's part of today's game in terms of promoting the work.   

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ebooks to the rescue

One of the great things about the ebook explosion is that it has revived hope for thousands of authors who until recently could not attain much success unless they were able to sign with one of the mega-giant publishing houses. Ebooks have evened the playing field and made it possible for new authors to sell lots of books and make lots of money. One of the main reasons for this is the plethora of ebook venues that are available to publishers and authors. For instance, Forged in Death is listed for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Alibris, Kobo, Tower Books, Google Books, Net Gally, the iBookstore, Better World Books, WH Smith, Book Byte, Overdrive, Abe Books, Indie Bound, Powell's and Sony Books, to name just some. That's a lot of bookstores, even if they aren't brick and mortar. Imagine the opportunities for someone like me. Catch fire with just one of these venues, and it'll be off to the races on all the rest.

My publisher Bell Bridge Books was one of the first of the mid-sized/smaller houses to catch on to this potential, and now BBB is downright brilliant at these kinds of sales and marketing techniques. Though I'm like many who prefer to hold a real-life book in my hands, pretty much all of us will one day have to succumb to the lure of Nook and Kindle and various other devices.

As they say, the future is now.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fun time at DragonCon

I had a wonderful time at DragonCon on Sunday. Met the great staff of Bell Bridge Books (both Debs, Brittany and Pam) and several of BBB's top authors, including Parker Blue, Anthony Francis, John Hartness, Buzz Bernard, Trish Milburn and Kalayna Price. We met first at noon for an editors/writers luncheon at the Ellis Hotel. Had a fun time there. Then we gathered at the Hyatt for a Meet the Writers event, where we all introduced ourselves to a large audience and then answered questions. It concluded with a cocktail party at the Hyatt. All in all, a fabulous day for me. I even brought home this giant poster and a bunch of autographed books. Should last me till the end of the year! Everyone was amazingly nice, humble and friendly. I'm so glad to be with Bell Bridge Books. Things will only get better from here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

See you at DragonCon!

I'll be at DragonCon in Atlanta most of Sunday to attend several events being held by Bell Bridge Books. "Meet the Authors" will be at 2:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency. If anyone's going to be around, please look me up!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book 1, Forged in Death, is now available

Book 1 titled Forged in Death is now available in certain venues!!! Kindle and paperback editions are now available on Amazon, and the paperback edition is now available on Bell Bridge Books (the ebook will soon follow). Over the coming month, paperback and/or ebook editions will become available on,,, the Apple book store, Sony's ebook store and Google's bookstore, among others. Please check MY HOME PAGE and MY FACEBOOK PAGE for further updates.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Here's the cover of Book 1!

Debut Day is getting closer and closer. Here's the final cover of Book 1. I really love it! Posing for it was exhausting, though. Those photo shoots are killers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Living the dream

Thirty-eight years ago, I began to envision a novel about a wizard who could will himself to die and then return to live engorged with magical powers. His name would be Torg, and the book would be titled Death-Know. A lot of time passed, and I did a lot more envisioning, but very little writing. In fact, I came to believe that Death-Know was just a dream that never would really come true.

However, the dream refused to die.

Nine years ago, I wrote the first word of what turned out to be a 700,000-word, six-book epic fantasy series. After a failed try with one publisher, book 1 of what is now called The Death Wizard Chronicles is just a few weeks from coming out under a new and much better publisher.

We all have dreams, some small, some large. This one has been mine. I'm sure most of you have dreams too, some of which you've achieved, some of which have remained beyond your grasp.

I'm not saying that what I've done is some momentous thing. Dreams don't have to be overly huge. I'm just saying that if you do have a dream that you haven't yet realized for whatever reasons, then ........... go for it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tightening the screws

I have received the line-edits for book 1. They're great and annoying at the same time. Great because the book will be vastly improved. Annoying because as a writer all these changes always make you feel kind of stupid. Still, everyone needs an editor, right???

Bring on book 1. It won't be long now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Straightening up the bookshelf

I recently did something that we all have to do on occasion: straighten up my bookshelf (which of course has far more books on it than the designer of this piece of furniture ever intended it to hold, hence the bowing shelves).

As you might imagine, my bookshelf is heavily dominated by fantasy, horror and sci fi with some smaller doses of classic literature. Herman Melville and John Updike stand alongside J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin and my three favorite Steves: Stephen King, Steven Erikson and Stephen Donaldson.

But it also contains many of the books that I read to research my own series titled The Death Wizard Chronicles. All together, I counted 74 nonfiction books. (And these are only the ones I've saved.) Some of the titles include Palaces That Changed the World, The Medieval Fortress, Dragonology, Body Armor, The Art of Warfare in Western Europe, The Idiot's Guide to Martial Arts, Horses for Dummies, The Field Guide to Geology and The Ultimate Desert Handbook. Back while I was writing the series, I was like an athlete in his prime in terms of my contextual knowledge. If there ever were to be a book 7, I'd have to get back in shape!

Here's a pix of the cleaned up bookshelf! Not perfect, but it passes muster, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On the verge of something big

It's a strange time in my life. It's been 10 months since I was laid off and I still have no job, which is a first for me in so many ways. I've never even come close to being laid off or fired or even disciplined in the 40-plus years that I've worked. I started mowing yards at 12 years old and never looked back. I fried chicken, bussed tables, parked cars, cleaned movie theaters -- and that was all before I turned 13. (Okay, a bit of an exaggeration). I worked at the St. Petersburg Times for 25 years, took 3 years off to write my novels, then worked at the Greenville News for 3 years before being laid off. Considering I averaged 55 hours a week at the G.N., I feel like that should count for 4 years.

But good times appear on the horizon. My series is coming out Aug. 1, for one thing, which is huge for me, to say the least. I've also decided to take a real estate course at the local tech college and explore that line of work. And there has been recent interest from some employers that might pan out. Regardless, despite a rough past year, there's hope that things will end well.

So . . . fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A taste of what's to come

I have finished writing three short stories that will accompany the six-book series either as teasers leading up to Book 1 or as stories to run between books to keep things active. This hasn't yet been decided, but I'm pleased by the stories -- and I believe that fans of epic fantasy will enjoy them, even as stand-alones.

Torg's First Death describes my main character's ascension to the title of Death-Knower, as he achieves death and then returns to his body filled with magical powers.

The Black Fortress tells the tale of a horrific war between the forces of good and an army of monsters led by a creature called a Stone-Eater, who derives his magic, literally, from eating stone.

Rise of the Sun God describes the ascension of Invictus, the ultra-powerful sorcerer who was raised by a demon.

Of course, many of the characters in the shorts also will appear regularly in books 1-6. For readers who love epic fantasy, these stories will give you a taste of what The DW Chronicles is all about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Got it all covered

Talked cover ideas today with my editor. This is one of the fun parts, as you might imagine. We're going with original illustrations from an excellent artist. I'm very excited.

The editing process for each book is going to be extensive. Which of course is great. I look forward to it.

I'm hoping to debut the series at this year's DragonCon in Atlanta. Should be a blast. Only about seven months away from opening day.

Can't wait!

Friday, January 6, 2012

August 2012

I'm in the void right now, floating along at near light speed toward the life-giving planet I will call my new home.

The name of the planet?

August 2012.

That is when book 1 of The Death Wizard Chronicles will be released by Bell Bridge Books. Editing and cover considerations already are under way. But many light-years (at least it feels that way to this author) lie between now and then.

So I'm waiting. Waiting. In the void.

My plan is to again become active on this blog -- probably around May or so. I know this doesn't mean that thousands will return just because I've deigned to post again. It only means that I'll reawaken once I've reached the outskirts of the galaxy that is home to August 2012.

Some time over the next several months, three short prequels will be released by my publisher to advance the series. I guess I should consider these prequels to be outposts where I'll be refueling my starship. Maybe I can hit the bar while I'm there and hobnob with the natives. Until then ... I stare out the distant stars .....

 And tap my foot.

Tap tap tap tap tap.



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.