Friday, September 12, 2014

Interview with fellow author Blakely Benett

Please check out my interview with Blakely Bennett at http://bit.ly/1wiifzq
as we discuss The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy. Blakely and her husband Dana are both novelists who write sensual and historical romance, as well as suspense novels. Blakely regularly interviews fellow authors on her popular site, which is always an awesome thing to do! Please check out her books, as well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Check out this excellent contemporary romance

We authors stick together, and Jill Prand is an great example of this. She is the first to unselfishly promote another author's work, while remaining humble about her own. So it's time for one author to return the favor to another. If you are into contemporary romance, please check out two of Jill Prand's excellent books: "Watch Me Walk Away" and "Walk Into Me." Both are on sale through Sunday for 99 cents. So, truly, at that price, what do you have to lose? Go to  http://amzn.com/B00D9UVAX4 and http://amzn.com/B00JYP9BJI. The writing, by the way, is excellent.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Watch my interview on Mr. Media!








I recently had the pleasure of appearing on Mr. Media, a podcast site that is the brainchild of longtime friend Bob Andelman. Bob is the author of a slew of best-selling books. But that is only one of his many talents. As Mr. Media, he has interviewed more than a thousand celebrities, including actors, musicians, athletes and writers. And now ... me. Please watch my lively video interview with Bob about The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back and relax, and go to www.mrmedia.com. You can even buy my books straight off his site. I had a lot of fun doing the interview and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun watching it. And please share on Facebook and elsewhere. :) Thanks so much.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Newly released Book 5 (Blinded in Power) has been reduced to $4.39. The first four books are $1.99 each. This might be the best bargain in the WORLD! :) The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy, for mature audiences. Monsters, magic and mayhem -- and sexy too. The finale of the series, Book 6 (Healed by Hope), should be out by fall. Please share!!!!!  http://amzn.to/1qcq5Yx 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Listen to my interview on ETV Radio

Today  I appeared on Your Day to discuss "The Death Wizard Chronicles" during an interview with Anna Simon. For those of you who might not know, Your Day is a statewide (and very popular) program aired by South Carolina ETV Radio. 

Listen to the podcast HERE. And visit Your Day HERE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Listen to my Your Day radio interview live!

On Monday (June 23) some time between noon and 1 p.m. (ET), I will appear on Your Day to discuss "The Death Wizard Chronicles" during an interview with Anna Simon. For those of you who might not know, Your Day is a statewide (and very popular) program aired by South Carolina ETV Radio. For more information, visit http://yourday.clemson.edu/

The interview can be heard on the following stations, and for those who miss it, I'll post a podcast link:

ETV Radio Stations:
WRJA-FM/88.1 Sumter
WNSC-FM/88.9 Rock Hill
WLJK-FM/89.1 Aiken
WJWJ-FM/89.9 Beaufort
WHMC-FM/90.1 Conway
WSCI-FM/89.3 Charleston
WEPR-FM/90.1 Greenville
WLTR-FM/91.3 Columbia

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bhayatupa The Great is slowly coming to life

I'm now 12,000 words into "Bhayatupa The Great: The Dragon Wars," a prequel to The Death Wizard Chronicles that occurs 30,000 years in the past. It stars Bhayatupa, the most magnificent dragon who has ever lived but who is haunted (in a larger than life way ... get the symbolism? wink, wink) by the fear of death. It also will contain many of DW's most popular and long-lived characters: Vedana the demon, Izumo the dracool, Slag the Stone-Eater, Urbana the vampire, Chal the Warlish witch, etc. And even the snow giants and cave monkeys. But it will be written in a way that it will be able to be read as a standalone, so that you won't have to have read DW to read this book. I'm still uncertain whether this will be a single book or a series. If a single book, it will be quite long, because I have a lot of ideas and a lot of area to cover. I'm aiming to be finished before the end of the year.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book 5 is now available!!!

To my friends and dear readers .... Book 5, Blinded by Power, is now available on Amazon! For just $3.99. You can purchase it HERE! Please share and spread the word! Anyone who shares gets to borrow a Tugarian warrior for one day to kick the ass of anyone you choose. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Books 1-4 still $1.99 each

Today at Jimmy John's, I got a sub, chips and soda for $8.50. You can get the first four books of The Death Wizard Chronicles for less than that. Pretty amazing, if you think about it. Order them HERE.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Forged in Death just $1.99 on May 2-3

NEWS ALERT: Starting at 7 p.m. Eastern time on May 2 (Friday) and continuing through 7 p.m. on May 3 (Saturday), book 1 of The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy, will be featured on Kindle Boards' "Book Discovery Day." The Kindle version of Forged in Death will be reduced to just $1.99 on May 2-3, and books 2-4 (Chained by FearShadowed by Demons and Torn by War) also will be reduced to $1.99. Forged in Death reached best-seller status earlier this year on Amazon. The best place to purchase book 1 and also the other three books is HERE!. An announcement will be coming soon on the release of book 5 (Blinded by Power). Book 6 (Healed by Hope) is planned for a late summer or early fall release. Please take advantage of this great promotion! And leave reviews. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Epic fantasy takes an epic ride

The Death Wizard Chronicles has been on a wild ride lately. Book 1 (Forged in Death) of the six-book series became an Amazon best-seller on March 9. Books 2 (Chained by Fear), 3 (Shadowed by Demons) and 4 (Torn by War) also have been selling well, on a variety of venues. Book 5 (Blinded by Power) will be out in just a few weeks. and maybe sooner. And Book 6 (Healed by Hope) is waiting in the wings, chomping at the bit. This series is action-packed, and definitely heavy on magic and monsters. If you prefer epic fantasy that only uses magic as a fringe element, then my series probably isn't the best for you. But if you like epic fantasy that is bursting with magic -- not to mention monsters, zombies, vampires, trolls and a wide variety of new creations -- then you should be all in! There's a lot going on between the lines, but also a lot of fun going on on the surface.

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 the world what he's seen. Not all care to listen.

http://amzn.to/1nqxYbA

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Black Fortress wins award

One of my free short prequels to The Death Wizard Chronicles series titled The Black Fortress has won a top award for cover design at the EPIC Awards. Congrats to BBB's Debra Dixon.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book 1 (Torn by War) becomes a No. 1 best-seller

Torn by War reached No. 1 on March 9 (Sunday) on Amazon's best-seller list for epic fantasy/magic and wizards!


Epic Fantasy Daily Deal now in full swing on Amazon for Death Wizard Chronicles

My Death Wizard Chronicles Amazon Daily Deal at http://amzn.to/1n8RsF9 is now in full swing. Please check it out. Scroll to science fiction and fantasy on the left or go directly to http://amzn.to/1kFIs8H. Books 1-4 will be featured all day for just $1.99 apiece. Anyone who'd be willing to share this would be doing me a huge favor. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

DW newsletter

To any who would be interested in receiving an occasional newsletter about the series, please sign up at www.jim-melvin.com. Newsletter members will be the first to know about the release date of books 5 and 6 as well as any related discounts and promotions. Your emails will be fully protected and not given to anyone else, and there will be an "opt-out" button for anyone who decides it's not for them.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The frenzy to finish book 5

In addition to my quite-demanding day job (which is actually a 4-midnight kind of job), I have been in an editing frenzy. At the advice of my editor at Bell Bridge Books, I did a very large structural reworking of Book 5 (which should be out within a few weeks). The restructuring took a long time and was frustrating, but the book is definitely the better for it. I hate to say that my editor was right, but to this point she always has been, so I pretty much need to give up and just do what she says without any moaning. :) Anyway, in a few more days my series will be featured in yet another promotion, and this one will be the biggest yet in terms of the exposure the series will receive. I'll post updates as the event nears. Thanks to any and all who follow this page. Every person who has ever read one or all of my series has provided me a special honor, and it is much appreciated.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thanks to readers everywhere

The KBoards promotion is over, although all four books remain reasonably priced. Thanks so much to all who purchased one or more of the books. For me, it's an honor each and every time.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Big promotion on KBoards!

Books 1-4 of The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy, are now being featured on the very popular Kindle Boards site. For a short time only, Book 1 is 99 cents, and books 2-4 are only $1.99. Get all four for less than $7. Please check it out HERE. Also, please go to my author's website.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Favorite lines you use in real life

One of my favorite all-time lines in epic fantasy came in "Fellowship of the Ring," when the monstrous Balrog finally makes its appearance, and Gandalf reacts to Legolas' frightened comments by saying, "A Balrog. Now I understand. ... And I am already weary."

Ever since reading that line, I've used it myself for whenever something bad happens .... like .... "I have to do my taxes. And I am already weary."

Anyone else have any favorite lines that they recite in their ordinary lives?

Monday, February 3, 2014

The final characters (part 13)

Last but not least (in alphabetical order)

Asēkhas: The most powerful and revered of the Tugar desert warriors (see below). There are always twenty, and when one dies or retires, another takes his or her place.

Badaalataa: Carnivorous vines brought to the Realm of Life by the demon Vedana and then permitted to multiply. They exist mostly in the mountains north of the Gap of Gamana (see Map of Triken).  Badaalataa are similar in appearance to ordinary laurel and in fact often hide within large stands of laurel, but they are deadly and devour flesh either quickly or at their leisure, depending on their mood. Only the greatest of beings—Invictus himself or perhaps Bhayatupa—would be able to survive an assault by a large number of these vines.

Bard: A tall, handsome trapper with a thick black beard and piercing blue eyes. He lives in the northern wilds near Mount Asubha with his friend Ugga and is often seen with the white-haired woman named Jord.

Black knights: The defenders of the fortress Nissaya, which is located in the eastern maw of the Gap of Gati (see Map of Triken). Also called the Kalakhattiya. They are large, powerful men and women with black hair, skin and eyes who wear black armor. Supremely skilled swordsmen and archers. Many women also attain the status of knight and fight alongside the men.

Black mountain wolves: The largest and most dangerous of all wolves, most being as large as horses, with a bristly, black coat and fangs that ooze poison. These wolves are intelligent but also evil—and they are in league with demons, witches, and Mogols.

Bonny: A pirate woman from Duccarita, the City of Thieves. She is round-faced with short red hair, crooked teeth and dark eyes—and she is muscular and beautiful.

Efrits: Invisible creatures that dwell in the Realm of the Undead. When summoned to the Realm of Life by demons or witches, they voraciously devour the internal organs of living beings.

Elu: The diminutive partner of Rathburt is a Svakaran warrior who stands only about three feet tall. Though small in stature, Elu is muscular, strong, and fearless. He also is perpetually good-natured.

Ghouls: Human-sized and shaped creatures that are hideous in odor and appearance. Not particularly strong or dangerous, but definitely on the side of evil.

Gillygaloos: Enchanters and enchantresses from Kincara, the large forest located south of Jivita and west of the Kolankold Mountains (see Map of Triken). They stand only two feet tall, but wield powerful magic wands that make them far more formidable than they appear. They are round-faced with red lips and are good-natured. The most famous of all the Gillygaloos is Burly Boulogne, who has traveled the world and is a dear friend of the Death-Knower wizard Torg. Burly maintains a saloon in Jivita, the White City.

Golden soldiers: Human-like soldiers each created from a single drop of the evil blood of the sorcerer Invictus. All mimic the sorcerer in size and appearance, with blond hair and brown eyes. In the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, they numbered more than one hundred and sixty thousand. They are called golden soldiers because they wear magnificent golden armor.

Jord: White-haired woman of mysterious origin who is the longtime companion of Bard and Ugga.

King Henepola: The king of the fortress Nissaya during the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles. Nissayans have black skin and black hair, but Henepola has long white hair cast about his shoulders, marking him as a magical conjurer as well as a king, which is a formidable combination.

Kojins: Enormous ogresses with six arms and bulbous heads that stand more than 12 feet tall. Kojins are imbued with a purple-colored magic that makes their flesh almost impervious to harm, and they are nearly as strong as snow giants. They are long-lived beings, existing for many millennia, and at one time more than two hundred roamed the forests of Triken. But during the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, fewer than a dozen remained. Kojins rank among the most dangerous and evil creatures on Triken.

Kusala: The chieftain of the Asēkhas, the highest-ranked of the Tugars, during the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles. Kusala is considered to be the greatest chieftain in Tugarian history.

Lucius Annaeus: Began as the general of Invictus’ legions before he was usurped by Mala and then became a traitor. Lucius is called the firstborn, because he was the first golden soldier born magically from a drop of the evil blood of Invictus. Lucius has shoulder-length blond hair and brown eyes and resembles Invictus in appearance, though not in personality.

Mogols: Warrior race that dwells in Mahaggata Mountains (see Map of Triken). Longtime worshippers of the dragon Bhayatupa and the demon Vedana. Ancient enemies of the black knights of Nissaya.

Pabbajja: Homeless people who live on the fringes of the dark forest called Java (see Map of Triken). Little is known of their history or habits, but they are short and squat and covered head to feet with scraggly hair. They are long-lived creatures that carry magical tridents capable of great destruction.

Queen Rajiini: During the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, she was the queen of Jivita, the White City. All pure-blooded Jivitans are pale-skinned with white hair, but Jivitan necromancers are pale-skinned with black hair, as is Rajiini, making her a necromancer queen, rare much in the way that King Henepola of Nissaya is rare.

Rathburt: The only other living Death-Knower in the world besides Torg. But Rathburt is no warrior, preferring the mastery of plants over the mastery of flesh.

Sister Tathagata: The High Nun of Dibbu-Loka, the stone city that lies west of the desert Tējo that is home to the monks and nuns called the Noble Ones (see Map of Triken). Tathagata is three thousand years old.

Sōbhana: A brave Tugarian warrior who has achieved the rank of Asēkha. Sōbhana is about a finger-length shorter than the average Tugarian woman, about 6 feet 2 instead of 6 feet 6, but she is extraordinarily strong and flexible and is an extremely dangerous fighter, capable of defeating most Tugar men.

Tasēti: Second in command to Chieftain Kusala and the most formidable female Tugar that has ever existed, surpassing even Sōbhana.

Trolls: There are two kinds—cave trolls and mountain trolls. Both are extremely large and physically powerful, but cave trolls are the greater of the two, standing as tall as 10 feet and weighing more than one thousand pounds. They wield no overt magic, but their hides are as tough as canvas and they are extremely difficult to kill. They are hideous to behold and they stink. Trolls can hurl boulders hundreds of feet.

Tugars: The famed desert warriors of Tējo, called Kantaara Yodhas in the ancient tongue. To become a warrior, a Tugar has to train for fifty years under the guidance of a Vasi master. Tugar men stand about seven feet tall and women are usually only about six inches shorter. They are deeply tanned with shoulder-length black hair and deep-blue eyes and are similar in appearance, at least to those who are not Tugars.

Ugga: A crossbreed creature—part man, part bear—who lives in the northern wilds with his friend Bard. Ugga stands more than 7 feet tall and weighs close to 400 pounds. He has a temper, but for the most part is perpetually good-natured. He is often seen with the white-haired woman named Jord.

Vampires: One of the lesser monsters on Triken. Far stronger than an ordinary human, but no match for most magical creatures. For instance, a single Tugar could easily slay a dozen vampires. They drink blood and eat flesh, but their bite is not infective. Vampires are born as vampires and do not have the ability to create others. They are long-lived—some existing for tens of thousands of years—and they are pale, haggard and dark-eyed but otherwise human in appearance.

White horsemen: The defenders of Jivita, the White City that is in the Green Plains west of the Gap of Gati (see Map of Triken). During the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, they numbered close to forty thousand. They are pale-skinned with white hair, and they wear white armor. They ride massive, barded destriers and are masters of battle in the open plains. Few can withstand their lance and bowmanship. Women fight alongside the men and are typically superior with the bow.

Zombies: Unlike vampires, zombies are ordinary humans that have been transformed into flesh-eating monsters by demonic creatures called undines. They are stronger than ordinary humans, but a single zombie is not particularly dangerous. It is when they are massed in great numbers that they become dangerous. They are hideous to behold and stink even worse than trolls. And again unlike vampires, their bite is infective. A single zombie can creates hundreds more.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The characters (part 12)

THE CAVE MONKEYS

(This is the twelfth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who are the cave monkeys and what is the worm monster?

Cave monkeys are small creatures (about two feet tall and weighing around twenty pounds) that more resemble lemurs than monkeys. But they were given the name cave monkeys by the Torg, the Death-Knower wizard, because he could think of no other. These clever and wondrous creatures live in caves and tunnels deep in the bowels of Mount Asubha, several leagues beneath the surface.

The colony of cave monkeys that Torg encountered numbered about fifty, though the wizard never knew their exact number. They were furry creatures, with pointy noses and mouths filled with flat teeth, and they had long, bushy tails. Their most striking physical feature was their bioluminescent eyes that glowed in the dark. They were supremely athletic and energetic, but also kind and gentle, and they communicated between themselves and with Torg using a very powerful yet noninvasive telepathy.

Also residing beneath Mount Asubha was a titanic creature called the worm monster, which was most likely the largest living being on Triken. Somewhere hidden far beyond finding was the monster’s core body, but extending from it were hundreds of thick tentacles, each more than a mile long and each containing a fang-filled mouth at its tip that was capable of devouring anything it found in the underworld, including cave monkeys. But the worm monster was not particularly intelligent, more an eating machine than anything else, while the cave monkeys were brilliant creatures by any standard. And in an ironic reversal of fortune, the cave monkeys were able—using stone daggers—to leap about just out of reach of the tentacles’ mouths and carve pieces of flesh from the tentacles. This flesh was quite tasty, and it was the cave monkey’s main source of sustenance, along with mushrooms. With these ingredients and a few others, they made delicious soups that Torg quickly grew to adore.

Cave monkeys also were wonderful artists, and they decorated the stone walls of their underground home with intricate drawings using mineral extracts and worm fats to create multicolored pigments.

Was the colony Torg encountered beneath Mount Asubha the only one in existence? And was there only one worm monster on Triken? Or did each large mountain on Triken have its own version of these creatures living deep beneath the surface? The answer to this was beyond Torg’s knowledge.

Photo by Dreamstime.

Up next: the final installment, which will be a list of other characters, both ordinary and magical, with short descriptions of each.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The characters (part 11)


THE DAASA

Photo by Dreamstime
(This is the eleventh in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who are the Daasa and why was Invictus the sorcerer able to control them?

The Daasa are a peace-loving and intelligent race of beings who live on the other side of the Akasa Ocean, several thousand miles from the western coast of the land called Triken. Only the Daasa themselves know how many of their kind exist in the world, but in the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, they numbered close to one million. They communicate with barks, squeals and whistles instead of words, and they prefer forests to mountains or plains, though they also love oceans, lakes and rivers and are excellent swimmers. Nuts and fruits are their main source of nourishment. Like the druids of Dhutanga, they are stewards of the forest, and though the Daasa are not evil like the druids, they also resemble them in the way they psychically interrelate, moving about in single-minded droves.

In their normal state, the Daasa resemble extremely large pigs with purple eyes, and they are adorable. But like Warlish witches, they have the ability, when threatened, to transform into deadly monsters. Thorny spikes rise from their soft flesh, fangs erupt from their mouths, claws spring from their toes, and they growl like rabid wolves. In this state, a single Daasa is capable of killing a cave troll.

In the days of Invictus, a terrible creature resided within a city named Duccarita, more commonly known as the City of Thieves. This being, called the Mahanta pEpa—which in the ancient tongue meant The Great Evil—had come from across the ocean. Once on Triken, Invictus gave it free rein, and the Mahanta pEpa grew to epic proportions with supremely powerful psychic powers that enabled it to control the Daasa en masse—even those who lived across the ocean. So when the sorcerer sent his slave ships, the Daasa clambered on compliantly. Eventually Invictus managed to transport more than one hundred thousand Daasa from their homeland to Triken, where he used them for evil purposes better not discussed here.

Up next: the cave monkeys.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The characters (part 10)

THE STONE-EATERS

(This is the tenth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who are the Stone-Eaters and do they really eat stone?

Stone-Eaters are relatively small yet extremely dangerous creatures that inhabit the interiors of mountains but that often roam the lands, taking sides with whatever evil presence is most powerful at the time.

They rarely attain five feet in height, yet they are stout and physically strong, and their bodies literally burn with magic. A lone Stone-Eater is more than a match for a Warlish witch, making these creatures among the most deadly on Triken. Flames flare from their flat nostrils, smoke seeps from their ears, and their hides are the texture of an elephant halfway turned to stone. Their main sustenance is obsidian, which they eat as easily as a human might snack on an ear of corn. Yet the black volcanic glass fills them with fiery energy, and they are able to vomit foul liquids the thickness and temperature of magma.

Though they appear crude and ugly, Stone-Eaters are not unintelligent. But they crave power and are constantly scheming—both with and against their allies—to attain dominion over others. Like most of the magical creatures on Triken, Stone-Eaters are long-lived, though most do not survive more than ten millennia.

Stone-Eaters are not numerous. At the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, there were fewer than two hundred Stone-Eaters in the world.

Photo by Dreamstime.


Up next: the Daasa.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The characters (part 9)

MALA AND THE SNOW GIANTS

(This is the ninth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who is Mala and why is he called a ruined snow giant?

There are beings called snow giants who live in the frozen peaks of Okkanti, a desolate mountain range located above the Salt Sea in northeastern Triken. (See map at www.jim-melvin.com.) At times in Triken’s history, there were as many as twenty snow giants, but at the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, there fewer than a dozen.

Snow giants were extremely long-lived beings, rivaling the dracools and even the great dragons. Some, including their leader Yama-Deva, were more than 50,000 years old. Male snow giants stood 15 feet tall and weighed more than half a ton. Their physical strength was extraordinary, and they were capable of bashing boulders into dust with their bare hands. Their bodies burst with magic, which could heal or destroy, and they were beautiful creatures, with broad faces, pointed ears and long, white manes that ran down the length of their spines. Despite living in temperatures well below freezing, they wore only crude loin cloths. Cold had little effect on them; in fact, they rarely strayed from the mountaintops—it was heat that made them uncomfortable.

Yama-Deva was one of the few snow giants who ever dared to come down from peaks and explore the lowlands, and it was there that he was captured by one of the evil sorcerer Invictus’ slave-hunting parties. Being a benign and gentle creature. Deva did not resist his capture (though he most certainly could have) because he did not wish to harm those who would enslave him.

Deva was taken from Okkanti and brought before Invictus in the Golden City of Avici, and though the snow giant was the mightiest of his kind, even he was no match for the sorcerer. Even then, it took ten years of torture for Invictus to finally break Deva’s will and turn him into a monster, hence “ruining” the most magnificent snow giant to ever live.

Invictus named him Mala, which in the ancient tongue meant monster, but Mala was also known as the Chain Man, because Invictus—using dreadful sorcery—had encased Mala in a single chain that wrapped around his shoulders, crisscrossed at his waist and lower back, and rode down his hips before looping around his bulky thighs. The chain had six-inch-thick links of gold blended with magical alloys, making it supernaturally strong. It glowed incessantly with a golden fire that appeared as hot as magma, burning Mala’s thick hide and causing a stink that was reminiscent of rotten meat cooked over an open fire. This caused him incessant pain, which led to a cruel and ruthless madness. The only beauty Mala retained from his previous existence was his silky white mane. Everything else was hideous to behold. His eyes were now red and swollen; vile liquid oozed from their sockets. Two blood-stained fangs hung over his lower lip; venom dripped from their pointed tips. His tongue was long and black; it probed and fluttered like a snake’s.

Surpassed only by Invictus and Bhayatupa (the great dragon) in might and magic, Mala became one of the most feared beings on Triken, and he was named the leader of the sorcerer’s army of monsters and golden soldiers. Once one of the most wondrous beings on Triken, he had been transformed into one of the most vile and dangerous creatures to ever exist.

Illustration courtesy of fantasy artist Tracy Pittman.

Up next: the Stone-Eaters.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The characters (part 8)

THE DRUIDS

(This is the eighth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who are the druids and are they evil?

Druids are insect-like monsters that dwell in the dark forest called Dhutanga, which is the largest forest on Triken. Druids stand more than ten feet tall, and though they are thin and angular, they are deceptively strong. Their outer flesh looks more like bark than skin, and they have fiery eyes and large mouths, with black holes where there should be ears.

The druids are indeed evil, because they are the creation of the druid queen, a bulbous and hideous creature that resembles a maggot the size of a great dragon. Though the druid queen is filled with malice and dread, she has a terrifically powerful mind, and she uses her psychic sway to control the druids en masse, forcing them to do her bidding. They are her slaves, but they love her, nonetheless.

At the time of The Death Wizard Chronicles, there were more than 100,000 druids, given birth one at a time over the centuries by their queen. They are the caretakers of Dhutanga, and literally eat wood for their sustenance and magic. In addition to their physical strength, they are able to spew corrosive acids from their mouths that devour flesh and burn through armor.

Photo by Dreamstime.

Up next: Mala and the snow giants

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The characters (part 7)

THE DRACOOLS

(This is the seventh in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

What are dracools and why are they called ‘baby dragons’?

The dracools are an ancient race of dragon-like beings that are much smaller than great dragons. A typical dracool stands about 10 feet tall and weighs about 600 pounds. They are called baby dragons because of their similarity in appearance yet great difference in size to their larger cousins, but they are terrifically strong and can fly almost as fast a great dragons.

Dracools are not numerous. During the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, there were fewer than 300 in the world.

Unlike full-sized dragons, dracools can walk on their hind legs. Their heavy muscles are covered with scales and they have enormous snouts overflowing with fangs.

Dracools claim to be the most learned beings alive, and they classify great dragons as crude bullies. Groups of dracools are sometimes able to kill great dragons in battle.

Some dracools have lived as long as fifty millennia, and these have had witnessed the rise and fall of many kingdoms. Like mercenaries, they tend to ally themselves with whoever appears most powerful at the time. They do not give much credence to the concepts of good and evil.

A gathering of dracools is called a flock, and they are psychically interconnected.

Photo by Dreamstime

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The characters (part 6)

THE GREAT DRAGON

(This is the sixth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who is Bhayatupa and what is a great dragon?

Bhayatupa is, by all accounts, the single most powerful and feared dragon to ever exist on Triken. The great dragons differ from the lesser dragons and the dracools because of their immense size and fantastic magical powers.

At the time of The Death Wizard Chronicles, Bhayatupa was more than eighty thousand years old, second in age only to Vedana and a few other demons. He was almost 300 feet long from snout to tail and weighed close to 30,000 pounds. His scales were a bright crimson and impervious to injury, and he breathed fire and spewed liquid flame. His brain alone was the size of a boulder, though his extreme intelligence was dwarfed by his selfishness and deceit.

Until the appearance of Invictus, Bhayatupa had feared no being and was called Mahaasupanna, which meant “mightiest of all” in the ancient tongue—and for millennia beyond count he had ruled vast kingdoms and was revered by everyone, including the other great dragons. Even Vedana, the mother of all demons, feared Bhayatupa the Great, though she boasted that he was her creation, a claim that Bhayatupa treated with disdain.

Despite his immense size, Bhayatupa could fly higher, faster and more gracefully than any other being. This was due partially to his wide, strong wings, but more likely was made possible by magic, for surely no being of such girth could move quickly on the ground, much less fly. Bhayatupa also had very flexible jaws and a thick, red tongue, and he was able to speak in the same way that a human could speak, being fluent in hundreds of languages, many long forgotten. He also was wise in the ways of the demons and knew all their spells. His physical strength alone would have made him deadly, but when combined with his magic, he was powerful beyond ordinary comprehension.

Bhayatupa’s lone weakness was an insufferable fear of death. Because of his unbridled narcissism, Bhayatupa could not bear the thought of his existence ever coming to an end, and he obsessed over it every waking second.

Photo by Shutterstock.

Up next: the dracools.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The characters (part 5)

THE SORCERER

(This is the fifth in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy.)

Who is Invictus and why is he so powerful?

Invictus is the grandson (knowingly) of Vedana, the mother of al demons. As mentioned before, Vedana has spent tens of thousands of years breeding with mortal men in an attempt to perfect the bloodline that would lead to the birth/creation of a Sun God. In Invictus, she finally succeeded.

Invictus derives his magic from the absorption of sunlight, which makes him the most powerful being in the world. He wields a yellow-gold, liquid fire that spurts from his fingers, hands and eyes and that also shields his body from physical harm. The golden fire disintegrates anything it touches, including solid granite. He is so powerful, not even a great dragon can stand against him. He also is a master of the dark arts, and knows things that even the demons do not. He has surpassed all beings on Triken—and perhaps any living being that has ever been.

Photo by Shutterstock
In fact, Invictus’ puissance threatens the universe itself, because he has the power to break the fabric between the three universal realms—Life, Death, and Undeath.

Invictus was taken from his parents (the father of whom was an unknowing offspring of Vedana’s machinations) by Vedana when he was just 2 years old, and she raised him herself, teaching him all kinds of evil spells and incantations. She did this in hopes of controlling him and using him to free her from the Realm of Undeath where she and the other demons reside, but when Invictus became a teenager he realizes the extent of his power, which exceeded even Vedana’s. And so he struck out on his own, determined to create his own kingdom and eventually rule the world.

Because of Vedana’s influence, Invictus has become depraved, perverted, and devilishly immature. He has a severe temper and will destroy anyone or anything that dares to thwart him, taking delight in torture and depravity.

During the time-frame of The Death Wizard Chronicles, Invictus is one hundred years old, but he appears as a boyishly handsome man of about 30. He has long blond hair and is average in height and build. But his stature is the only thing average about him. Otherwise, he is everyone’s worst nightmare and a threat to all beings.

Up next: Bhayatupa the Great

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A visit with the author of Vision of Shadows!


My friend Vincent Morrone has debuted with the first book of an urban fantasy series titled Vision of Shadows. He and Entranced Publishing are currently hosting an online tour of his delightful new novel, which I read in two days and thoroughly enjoyed. 

In addition to being an excellent writer, Vince is very generous in the writing community, being the first to help out fellow authors in their quests to increase sales and popularity. So it's with great pleasure that I post this on my own blog and on my Facebook page in an attempt to return the many favors he has done for me. But more importantly, Vision of Shadows is just a great book, especially for fans of urban fantasy.

So ... read on:

Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life...or her killer? 

After the death of her parents, Bristol Blackburn's life is thrown into chaos and she's forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne McKnight. Soon she’ll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it — and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.

And that's not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they're up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.


You can add Vision of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads:

You can find more about Vision of Shadows on the Entranced site, you can also find the buy links here as soon as Vision of Shadows is available:


Information about the book:
Title: Vision of Shadows
Series: Vision series
Author: Vincent Morrone
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 30, 2013

You can view the whole tour schedule on Vincent Morrone his website: http://vincentmorrone.com/?p=762


Want to chat with Bristol, the main character of this series? Well she has her own twitter account: https://twitter.com/BristolBlackbur


Excerpt #1:

Journal of Bristol Blackburn
Sunday, March 17th

There are times when being psychic really bites, and this is one of them. Here it is, three in the morning, and all I can think about is the boy who will eventually have his hands on me.
I have no idea what his name is. We’ve never met, but I feel like we’ve grown up together. I’ve had visions of him since I was six years old. Now, eleven years later, I know we’re getting closer and closer to finally meeting. I think it’s going to happen any day now.


And the thought scares the hell out of me.
I know what Dream Boy will look like. In a word: hot. Dark hair that falls loosely over his deep blue eyes. He has an angel’s face and the devil’s grin.
I know he’s got a bad boy attitude. Half the time, I get flashes of him getting hurt. Sometimes he’s playing the hero. Other times, he’s just being an idiot. Many times, it seems like there’s someone who enjoys hurting him.
What I don’t know is what he’ll be to me.
There are times when he seems to love me. Don’t ask me why. But he’ll look at me with nothing but love and contentment in his eyes. Earlier tonight, I had one of those dreams. One where he couldn’t keep his hands off of me. Weird that I know every inch of his body, yet I have no idea what his name is, huh?
Then there’s the other vision. It was the first one I had of him, and the one I have most often. It’s the one I woke from tonight, the feeling of his hands still on my skin.
In that vision, he doesn’t look at me with love, but with hatred. He has his hands wrapped around my neck as he slowly squeezes the life out of me.
So any day now, I’m about to meet the boy of my dreams —literally. Then I get to see if he’s going to be the love of my life or the end of it.
Funny thing is, I’m not sure which idea scares the crap out of me more.




Excerpt #2

        “I’ve never met anyone like you before in my life,” Payne said.
        Now it was my turn to grin. “Yeah, girls who talk to ghosts are rather unique.”
        “That’s not what I mean,” Payne insisted. “You’ve never told anyone about your secret before, have you?”
        I didn’t answer, but I didn’t need to.
        “I cannot begin to tell you how touched I am,” Payne said. “Not only that you’re helping me, but also that you trust me. I know how big a deal it is.”
        “It’s not.” I shrugged. “Not really.”
        Now Payne touched my cheek, and my skin tingled underneath his fingers. “It is. Bristol, you’re braver than I am.”
        I looked up into Payne’s magnificently dark blue eyes and saw it. The emotion that I always saw in my Payne loves me dreams. It was the look in his eyes he got when we were making love, or at least would get if we ever did. There was a connection between us that went beyond anything I’d ever known. I knew Payne could feel it, too.
        Payne brought his other hand up, gently caressing both sides of my face. In that moment there was no doubt he would kiss me. I was ready. I didn’t care about anything else. 
        When I heard the laughter from behind me of a little boy, it took me a second to blink back into reality. I backed away, and Payne’s face fell.
        “We’re not alone,” I explained.
        Jared McKnight had appeared, his little dog sitting obediently by his feet, its tail whipping back and forth. Jared had his hands by his eyes as if ready to cover them. A huge smile was plastered on his face.
        “I can’t believe Payne was gonna kiss a girl!”
        I closed my eyes and sighed. Well, he was!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The characters (part 4)

THE WARLISH WITCHES


Photo by Dreamstime
What are Warlish witches and what makes them ‘special’?

Warlish witches are living beings created by the magic of Vedana, the mother of all demons. As mentioned earlier, Vedana conceitedly claims to have created all magical beings—and there is some truth to this and some stretching of the truth—but there is little doubt or debate that it is Vedana who gave birth to Warlish witches.

In the ancient tongue, Warlish means “transform.” And indeed, full-blooded Warlish witches are able to transform at will between being exquisitely beautiful and hideously ugly—in appearance, voice and odor. They are prideful and deceitful, and cannot be trusted. They also wield powerful magic and are able to blast crimson flames from their eyes, mouth and hands, while vomiting poisons that can devour flesh to the bone and bubble through the hardest armor. They are physically strong and can move with great speed and athleticism. One witch alone is formidable, but when they fight in groups, they rank among the most dangerous beings on Triken. They often carry tall wooden staffs that spew fire and ruin.

“Failed” Warlish witches—in other words, ones that cannot transform—are perpetually trapped in only one state, either beautiful or ugly. But neither is preferred over the other, because both beauty and ugliness carry their own brands of fright and power. Failed witches are called hags, and they are faithful servants of true witches and will fight to the death on their behalf.

Warlish witches and their hags are filled with demon blood and are therefore long-lived beings, with the most ancient of them surpassing fifty thousand years in age. At the time of The Death Wizard Chronicles, there were believed to be between two and three hundred witches in existence, though their exact numbers were known by only a few. Even Vedana lacked this knowledge.


Photo by Dreamstime.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The characters (part 3)

This is the third in a series of character descriptions from The Death Wizard Chronicles, my six-book epic fantasy. 

THE DEMON


Who is Vedana and why is she so evil?

Vedana is an ancient demon—more than one hundred thousand years old—who is known as the mother of all demons. Vedana takes the credit for the creation of all magical creatures on Triken, including the other demons, as well as dragons, dracools, witches, vampires and trolls, etc. The dragons and dracools dispute this, being far too proud to believe such a thing. But it is not debated, at least, that Vedana created the Warlish witches, who will be featured in the next vignette.

Vedana exists within the Realm of Undeath, the only one of the three realms that exists outside the rules of karma. In her realm of purgatory-like despair, she is the undisputed master—and she appears as a writhing black worm that is even darker than darkness. But Vedana, like all demons, is able to bleed a portion of her essence into the Realm of Life and exist among the living—in Vedana’s case, as a devilish woman with salt-and-pepper hair in her mid-50s. She is unkempt and wears scraggly robes, and her flesh is sometimes so transparent that you can see her heart and bones.

Vedana is a rascal of the highest order, always causing mischief and constantly attempting to manipulate living beings, which she views with disdain. But at the same time, she is utterly consumed with the desire to be freed from her realm and become a true living being in the Realm of Life. There, she believes she would become all-powerful and rule all realms—Life, Death, and Undeath.

However, the only being powerful enough to break the fabric between dimensions and release her from her prison is a Sun God, a sorcerer who derives his magic from the absorption of sunlight. But the karmic process of creating such a being is fantastically complicated, and Vedana has spent many millennia scheming to do so by mating—using drugs and seduction—with thousands of human males in an attempt to create the perfect bloodline that would give birth to a Sun God.

Up next: the Warlish witches.

Synopsis

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 www.jim-melvin.com 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.