The one… where I admit I’m a slacker… kinda.

I just moderated a comment from a new fan and I realized I have not posted to this blog in forever. I’m getting questions about what I am up to and what is coming. I can only say I am very sorry. I guess it is time for some confessions and an update.

Last year I lost my day job. Since then it has been a financial struggle to keep my home and so forth. Trying to find another job is difficult since my experience knocks me out of opening positions, and equal positions are often jealously guarded. It has, however, allowed me to work on more novels than I thought possible.

I am working on a contract for Heroes’ Tears. The novel is a Fantasy, set in a war torn historical era of this RPG. It should be out next year.

I finished the sequel to I Know Not, the Legacy of Fox Crow. This one, The Opus Discordia, deals with Crow after leaving (running) from his recent successes and gets saddled with an apprentice, gets involved in a three hundred year old plot to overthrow a kingdom, and is haunted by a ghostly composer as well as a new crop of assassins. It is in the hands of the Publisher, who has it out for editing, and is awaiting the cover still.

That being said, I have not been resting on my laurels (such as they are). I am working on a sequel to Whispering of Dragons called The Clash of Souls. It is in progress, and I hope to have the manuscript in the hands of the publisher soon

Next I finished a new fantasy novel, a whole new story in a new fantasy series. This one is a departure from my standard fantasy work, and I hope to have it ready by April 1st. I say departure and I mean it: It is epic fantasy instead of dark fantasy, it is going to be self published (mostly due to my desperate need for cash, pretty fast), and it has… other qualities that set it apart. More will be announced soon, but for more updates keep an eye on THIS PAGE.

So I’m working pretty hard, and a lot of stuff is falling by the wayside. This blog amongst them. I want to do another Radiation Angels Novel. I want to finish another Fox Crow. There’s a lot to do, and now it is all very important.

See, every purchase used to be an important acknowledgement of my work. Now it is my life blood. I eat, my lights stay on, depending on my wife going to work, and the work I put out to give everyone a few minutes respite and entertainment. You are all keeping me alive, and for that I want to say thank you. I am truly humbled.
Now, if I can ask, please leave a review on goodreads or amazon. Please blog about what of my books you have read, recommend them to friends. I feel like I am imposing on friends and family, but I have to ask. I’m just starting to climb and air getting thin out here already.

Always remember you can keep up with my work on my Amazon Author Page.

You can like James Daniel Ross if you facebook.

But, overall if you have bought books, I thank you.
Now it is my mission to write faster than any of you can read.
And do it so well you curse me for it.

Wolf

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the one where I become part of a meme

The Next Best Thing Meme

1) Answer the 10 questions below.

2) Spread the fun and tag 5 more awesome people to participate.

The undeniable force of parties and vengeful retribution, KT Pinto, asked me to be a part of this meme, and I have to say I am honored.

1. What is the title of your latest book/WIP?

The Last Dragoon from Dark Quest Books

Since the first fantasy novel I had written, I Know Not, did so well, the publisher asked  me for another. It is not a sequel, but is set in the same world.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Honestly, after writing about a complete scoundrel in I Know Not, I wanted something softer, something honorable, even something that felt a bit like a fairy tale.
3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s firmly in fantasy, but since there are lots of creepy crawlies I suppose dark fantasy, or even Gothic fantasy would be better.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow,

Matthias Reinhart: Viggo Mortensen would do an excellent tortured soul.

Sergeant Bilford: Oh we would have to rip Jerry Doyle from his radio microphone and get him back into acting for this one.

Cassildra: For the young novice of the God of Death, Wow that’s hard. Hailee Steinfeld would be good in the role, but Cassildra is described quite specifically as a very heavy girl. Finding someone willing to buck Hollywood standards of beauty (or getting them to leave it in the movie version in the first place) would be beyond belief.

Ansarin: For the deranged necromancer artist, I think Benedict Cumberbatch from BBCs new Sherlock adaptation.

5. What is the book blurb for your book?

The Ivy City is dying. It flails under a sea of the risen dead, the holy churches broken, the nobles largely destroyed, the population leaderless and alone, the city itself is bleeding and growing cold. Tattered crimson ribbons of blood fill the gutters. A despicable wizard, scion of the noble line, has shoved the Ivy City to the brink of death as he seeks what he sees as his rightful throne.

Doomed by his forbidden love, discarded by the crown, forgotten by the people, a disgraced hero rises from the ashes to combat the rising darkness. Accompanied by a novice of the god of death, this armored savior will crash headlong into the ranks of the undead. As the legions of the unliving surround and entrap him, he faces the dark truths of his own failures, and discovers the limits of his warrior will.

He will fight because of his oaths to the crown and because of his oaths to the city. But, in the end, he will fight against a horde of nightmares because he has sworn with the totality of his soul to the crown princess, whom he has vowed to love forever.

The only questions that remains are:

What is the raw power of the human soul?

And can it be enough against an army of the dead?

 
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Once you take out the lost few weeks for editing other projects, and writing a novella on a bet, I believe it was only a hair over 4 months.
7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Wow, it’s a mix of Sleeping Beauty, The tale of Lancelot, and any given hopeless opera you care to name. I used to joke that it was the anti-twilight, but I’m not sure I can keep watch over my shoulder for that many angry soccer moms and substitute teachers.
8. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It is full of things I want my children, my friends – and myself most of all- to know, to remember. It has at its heart that we are often too hard on ourselves. More often the hero we are looking for is inside of each of us.
9. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Lord knows I’m action oriented, but I really was able to ramp up the battle scenes in a way I’ve never been able to before. Once my hero was no longer mortal, or even possible, I had fun pushing the limits of impossible without ripping apart the world around him.
And now I choose these five authors to also do this Meme:

Jeff Young      –           invisible-tv.livejournal.com

Jon Sprunk      –           www.jonsprunk.com

Feo Amante    –           www.feoamante.com

Chuck Gannon            – http://www.charlesegannon.com

And Elektra Hammond          –           www.facebook.com/elektra.hammond

the one about blogs, Balticon, and back cover text.

I have been more or less blogless week after week. It’s  not for lack of things to say, after all with the current political and intellectual climate as of late there’s plenty of stuff to make me laugh or cry going on. I just have been without any kind of time. No, seriously. People look  at writing as some kind of hobby. Well, my hobby is beginning to pay off (thanks to all of you out there), and the more it pays off, the more it becomes a job.

I have been referring for months to my latest novel, The Last Dragoon, and since I’ve been silent the novel has been submitted, and has been accepted for publication through Dark Quest Books. Editing has started, and I am taking even greater care than on past projects to avoid any grammatical travesties that may have crept into the manuscript. I’ve got a few cover art ideas to the publisher – though that kind of thing is largely up to the artist – and the back cover text first draft.

 

                The Ivy City is dying. It flails under a sea of the risen dead, the holy churches broken, the nobles largely destroyed, the population leaderless and alone. A despicable wizard, scion of the noble line, has shoved the Ivy City to the brink of death as he seeks what he sees as his rightful throne. The city itself is bleeding and growing cold. Tattered crimson ribbons of blood fill the gutters.

                Doomed by his forbidden love, discarded by the crown, forgotten by the people, a disgraced hero rises from the ashes to combat the rising darkness. Accompanied by a novice of the god of death, this armored savior will crash headlong into the ranks of the undead. As the legions of the unliving surround and entrap him, he faces the dark truths of his own failures, and discovers the limits of his warrior will.

                He will fight because of his oaths to the crown and because of his oaths to the city. But, in the end, he will fight against a horde of nightmares because he has sworn with the totality of his soul to the crown princess, whom he has vowed to love forever.

                The only questions that remains are:

                What if ‘I will love you’ forever meant forever?

                What is the raw power of the human soul?

                And can it be enough against an army of the dead?

 

And I picked out the teaser text from the main manuscript:

                Again I adjusted the helmet, hefted the axe, and met up with Bilford. He nodded to me as we walked, shoulder to shoulder, through the ranks of men toward the front line.

                “Shouldn’t you stay back to direct the battle?”

                He snorted, “Have you ever seen a man lead from the back that was worth a dead dog’s danglies?”

                Despite myself, I chuckled at the ribald soldier, “You have a point.”

                We took a few more steps, progress slowed in the crush of men. The closer to the front we got, the more the electric currents of fear and rage thrummed from soldier to soldier. The sergeant looked me up and down. “Beautiful armor. Family heirloom?”

                I shook my head. “It belongs to my order, who entrusted to me.”

                He frowned, puffing on the stub of the harsh tube of leafs, “Have you ever actually seen battle, nobleman?”

                I simply nodded. “Many times.”

                “Anywhere I may have heard of?”

                “Some of us have been fighting these things all night already without benefit of a gate or an army,” I shot back.

                That put a rock in his shoe, and he hefted his axe and turned to face me pugnaciously, “Who did you say you fought with?”

                “The dragoons,” I said.

                The sergeant, all warmth gone, growled, “You think you are a Silver Dragoon?”

                I nodded, feeling a chill run across the crowd at my back, “Yes. I am the last.”

                “Wait, you think you are Reinhart? That Reinhart?”

                “I am.”

                “You are a madman!”

                And then the next blow came, and it was too much for the venerated shields of the people. The doors cracked, and hinges screamed in protest as they twisted under titanic forces. They fell slowly, too grand and prideful to admit their time had finally come. They slammed into the ground with a reverberating slap that nearly deafened everyone for a block in every direction. Beyond, restrained by two man-thick crossbars, was a nauseating giant. The fires seemed to die back in fear, hiding from the sky-rattling noise of the beast.

                Four times the height of a man, greasy and leaking blood, with blackened juices oozing from every exposed muscle, the cobbled together thing leaned heavily on lower arms made of the desecrated statues of two of the holy gods. The heavy stone rams were what had felled the mighty gates, and even now it contemplated the bars that imprisoned it and prepared to smash them to pieces. Beneath the barrier, sewn together out of man-sized shapes, pieces and parts, the dead hissed and shrieked.

                I pointed to the colossal monstrosity with my axe, feeling my whole being suffuse with the very essence of battle. I roared, “You had better hope I am a sane man, Sergeant!”

                Then the dead charged.

 

 A new editing pass for I Know Not has just been completed, a new cover has been designed, and even more exciting plans are in place for the re-release. I’m starting on the sequel now that Dragoon is largely done. Even more, Galactic Creatures has gone to press and shown up in stores! If you are in the area, come to Balticon and join in the launch party! I get to hobnob with a lot of more accomplished authors, and beg work from publishers.

 

Image

Wish me luck!

the one in which I make an important request

Preditors and Editors (see what they did there?) has put up the Annual Reader’s choice poll!

I’m actually nominatable (nominable? Nomi-? Nom-? I am eligible) for several categories. I am asking – well begging – for votes in order to try to claim any of these areas.

The process is simple, well simple-ish. Click on the link, look for my name or the title for I Know Not, click the bubble, then at the bottom fill out your name and  email address. Once you hit the submit button, you will get an email confirmation. Click the link in the confirmation, and your vote is then cast (this last to prevent spamming).

I am overjoyed at the performance of I Know Not. I adore my fans. I love readers. But moving forward, I need some recognition from official channels, which will lead to more conventions, more interviews, exposure. It is one small part of my next step, and to take it I need the help of you, your friends, your mom, her coffee klatch, your school mates, my school mates, and so on.

The polls are open only for seven more days, and thank you for your support.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Novel Category – http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml –
I Know Not, by James Daniel Ross
Currently Nominated – Dark Quest Books (my publisher)
Currently Nominated – James Daniel Ross
And also, if you could see your way clear, please consider voting for a woman that has helped me greatly:
Writer’s Resource or Information Site – http://critters.org/predpoll/writerinfo.shtml
Currently Nominated – The Literary Handyman Blog (Danielle Ackley-McPhail)
Currently Nominated: No Man’s Land, edited by Mike McPhail

The one where I sound slightly mad(der)

Forgive me, this one could be will be disjointed and rambling.

It’s not wholly my fault. I am like a marathon runner that long ago smashed the runner’s wall, only to get knocked from his feet halfway through the race. I am battered and bloody, and something salty is dripping into my eyes and mouth. Every time I try to get up, something else trips over me and puts me back on the asphalt. This is my first, small attempt to get to my knees. Yes, my knees. Giggle if you want, but I am proud to kneel if it is on my way to standing again.

Not making much sense, am I? Told you that would happen.

Let me chain myself to reality for a few precious seconds and try again.

130-odd days ago I Know Not was released. As I announced, It sold an unprecedented (for me) 1,000 copies in 97 days.

A party was had, and my publisher (the precog) said: “And lo, you should-eth get-eth me-eth another fantasy novel soon! For as people purchase-eth and enjoy-eth, they shalt google-eth.”

Which, once I deleted the -eth’s, made perfect sense. I launched into a new novel: The Last Dragoon, with an idea of fast-tracking it into production. For a industry that normally works in years and centuries (at best) fast tracking means months.

I am still working a full schedule at the day job, but I kept myself to a fairly harsh word count requirement: 2,000 words a day. A little more than the average term paper, every day, rain or shine. That’s what I meant to do.

Well, in October, more news came in. IKN had tripled sales, selling 960 copies in 30 days. This would be a massive disappointment to Stephen King or Terry Pratchett, but to me it’s like hitting the lottery. I am hoping against hope the people who like the novel will tell friends and acquaintances about the book, and push more sales. I can’t do much to help that along (like blog consistently, for instance) because I am working full time at the day job and (say it with me) writing 2,000 words a night.

Odd things have come from it, though. I have posted my nightly word counts on Facebook as a kind of public service, extolling others to keep writing, and give hope to those faced with writer’s block. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about it, and I’m hopeful that the words are worth the announcements. That brings up an interesting… thingie.

National Write a Novel Month is November, every year. The idea is ostensibly to write a novel, to prove it can be done. Really it’s about setting goals, sticking to them, and blowing past all the mental blocks that are, when you get down to it just mental.

That being said, in one month I had 50,000 words, not quite up to my goal, but I knew it was ambitious. Then, well, the US government stepped in.

At work, we go through a semi-unscheduled yearly audit from the US government. I can’t resent the need, just the timing. My weekends have been cancelled. I’ve worked probably 42-44 hours in the last four days. We’re just prepping for the audit that begins in earnest tomorrow. It should only last 7-14 days, and then I can get back to writing. In the meantime most of my hours and nearly all my neurons are spent prepping for a semi-surprise audit that can shut the store down if we fail.

Granted, we prep all year to stay ahead of the power curve, but it’s still a time for controlled panic.

That is the update for, despite all my needs and wants that burn inside me like the rumbling heart of thundercloud, I owe it to my coworkers to do my best to put the best face forward for the store. Then I can get back to my dream.

I just find it slightly maddening that during NaNoWriMo I will wind up putting fewer words on paper than last month, as pressure to put material out continues to skyrocket. Plus there is the stress, which has both made me incredibly creative and inversely (perversely?) dry up of words like a severed tongue in the desert.

So excuse me if I’m going slightly mad. It is my natural state.

 

Oh, and I did have some fun just before my life exploded. I was able to stage a book cover for The Last Ride of the Iron Cowboy, an upcoming steampunk novella.

They came out great, thanks to Joe Cowles.

The Last Ride of the Iron Cowboy
Trouble brewing in Nowhere, Indiana.

The one where I do the blog equivalent of a drive by

Must do this fast, because things are happening fast, and I have to be off again before… well before.

You see, today my publisher got his email from Amazon and it recommended I Know Not. That is, needless to say, advertising you cannot buy. As of this moment Here are the rankings:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,596 Paid in Kindle Store

#17 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Magic & Wizards
#32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Epic
#45 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic

I’ve crested 1,000 copies, and sales are going strong. That being said, people are sifting through and buying copies of other books I have released. That is BIG. Now my only problem is… well… I don’t have enough books out. So I finished the shorts I had committed to, and have started on my next novel. I’ve given myself 60 days to get 120K words. Yep, kinda short time frame, but I have to build a base and I have to do it fast. If these people buy the book and like it, they will need to have more before they forget who I am. I want to write for a living. That means lots and lots of writing. I must produce.

And that seems what they will carve on my tombstone.

It helps, though, because I keep getting a little notes from people. They see my tweets, my FB updates, and they say: I write more because of your updates.

And for those of you that think this is a small thing, I just have to say that it is not. The hardest thing for a writer to do is actually sit down and write. Seems odd, but it is so personal, so exposing, so intimate a thing, putting your thoughts and beliefs on paper – no matter how veiled – has given birth to a whole set of jokes about avoiding doing what you love most that only writers understand.

But I can’t give into that. I have to keep running, and as always, accelerating.