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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where in the...

Yes, I'm here. It's that time of year when my life gets super crazy and there's not much time for anything else. Even my family has to make appointments to spend time together. Anyway, I won't be posting much until the new year, but want everyone to know that my mind is as creative as ever. I've got plenty of great book ideas cruising around in my head and lots and lots of good stuff for revisions that I've been picking at during these past several weeks. Next year will definitely be exciting for new projects and super fun announcements. Until then, happy holidays.

Jamie

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Odd Things

I'm a writer. I write what's on my mind, when and where it reaches me. Sometimes, that's in the kitchen. Other times, at the park. Often, in the bedroom. Better yet, inspiration finds me while I'm at work. I'm at work right now and the muse is talking, which is a good thing. I work at a place that encourages my creativity.
While I'm sitting at my desk, typing away, I'm noticing how strange a place my office is. There's more here than just a photo of my family, a stapler, and a phone. There's also adventure and mystery. I'm surrounded by hundreds of objects that add life and color to my working environment. Here are a few of those objects I'm looking at:
A telescope.
A pillow with an embroidered dog on it
An empty flask
A Viking hat
A painting of a dragonfly
A leather purse
A diamond ring
A light bulb

Imagine the fantastic stories that one could create using these objects. The possibilities are neverending. I guess that's why my mind is always spinning, because there's always something odd to inspire me.
How about you? What odd things can you see right now?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fitting In


I’m not a social butterfly. Nope. Never have been. Probably never will be. If there’s an event happening, chances are I’m off in a corner somewhere away from the excitement. I don’t need attention, I don’t want attention, and I certainly don’t go looking for attention. This should not be taken to mean that I don’t like people or I’m anti-social. I’m really quite friendly. I’m also comfortable in my own skin.

When I was in fourth grade, a substitute teacher was giving us a lesson about fitting in. “How many of you would like to be constantly teased?” she asked.

I raised my hand. I had been teased for as long as I could remember. To me, it was part of life. When I grew up, Jamie was not a common name for boys.

The substitute called on me and asked again, “You wouldn’t mind if everyone teased you?”

I shook my head. “It wouldn’t bother me,” I answered.

Trying to prove a point, the teacher told everyone in the class that they could tease me during the next recess. She might have thought I playing the role of the class clown and would back down, or she might have thought I would come sulking back from recess, sorry for my answer. (Of course, in today’s world, she’d be fired for what she did before the school day was done.) Regardless of her reason, she did it. She told the class to tease me during the next recess. They teased as best they could. I was called every name imaginable. I was chased and laughed at and had fingers pointed at me. Guess what? Recess ended, the teasing ended, and life went on. I didn’t cry, or sulk, or write everyone’s name down to seek revenge later in life. I took my lumps and moved on. (One girl tried teasing me after recess and I did get angry then because that wasn’t in the rules the teacher had given.) After that day, I don’t remember being teased again. Ever.

My point to this is that all of us are different for a reason. I think of the human race as a giant puzzle. We’re all pieces of that puzzle: some might have a straight edge or two; others none; while all have unique shapes that vary in subtle ways. We each have varying needs and wants and likes and appearances. And there’s a place for all of us in the puzzle—that’s what fitting in means. Alone, each piece is only part of the big picture, and without every piece, the puzzle isn’t complete.

Being a non-social type of person, I am inspired by stories of those who stand up to bullying and teasing. It’s hard to deal with such abuse and even harder to face it with strength. There’s no place for cruelty toward others in this world, and I believe that those who overcome such things are the champions of humanity.

Sometimes I’m good with words; I don’t think I was today. I just want people to know that humankind is better than those who choose to not let people fit in.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunset and Sky

 
Have you ever sat on the edge of a cliff and watched the sunset take over the landscape? That’s how I feel right now. There’s nothing special or magnificent about anything in particular that I want to share, only the love and the peace that I find when exploring my imagination. I think that’s why I enjoy writing. It’s a chance for me to open my mind and let ideas create my vision. There are no rules, no guidelines, and no limits to what can be formed. Find peace in your craft and you’ll never want for ideas again.
Happy dreaming.
~ Jamie


Monday, September 24, 2012

So Close...

FROM RISING FLAMES is coming. The final edits are close. The cover is close. The formatting for paperback is close. The money to pay for it all is close. The blurb is...well, it is...um...okay, it's not so close. It's not that I've procrastinated, it's that I hate writing the thing. Month after month, week after week, day after day, I've put off doing one of the most important parts of the novel. Slap my wrists. Admittedly, I'm no good at cover blurbs. I know it and I've been avoiding it.

I am working through my fears, however, and have a rough draft of a blurb completed. It needs some work, and some love, and better words, and everything else--but it's done. The rough draft, that is. Want to see it? I posted my blurb on my facebook page. I'd love to know what you think. Be honest.I would love to get some feedback. Thanks for stopping by and...

Happy Reading.

~ Jamie

***
UPDATE 9/25/12

I am posting my latest version below so it's easier for everyone to see. Please let me know your thoughts; it's a tremendous help. If you want to see my original rough draft, that's still on my facebook author page. I know it's a short blurb. Personally, I get turned away by long, synopsis type descriptions on the back cover--I never read through all of them. My goal is to draw readers in quickly with some of the voice and give a hint of the mystery behind the book. Thanks again for any comments or feedback.

Rhiannon thought the worst part of her life was over—she was wrong.

She lost everything last season; her rights in the Fae, her passion, and her love. Still grappling with the loss of her fiancé, and determined to solve the mystery behind his death, Rhiannon wants nothing more than forgiveness from the Fae she betrayed. But a raging fire threatens to destroy her village and the bandit responsible for her pain has escaped—and he’s coming after her.

Will she redeem the mistakes of her past, or will everything she’s known and has left to love be consumed by rising flames?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Little Things Make Me Smile

I love this season. Cold nights sneak through open windows, brilliant leaves color the mountain landscape, and never-ending lines of birds plot courses to warmer places to announce that the world is ready to sleep for a while. It’s been a busy summer; I’ve played hard and have worked hard. I finished one book, wrote another, and sent a third to the editor’s desk. I camped and swam and ate more than my share of picnic lunches. The time has come for new challenges and fresh opportunities. While the nights grow longer and the days wear thin, I wish that this time of year could last forever. I want it to last forever. Another reason: a tiny piece of heaven called candy corn. I love candy corn—almost as much as I love this season. I’m a simple guy with simple tastes, and it’s the little things in life that make me smile. Here’s to a great week and a wonderful season.

~ Jamie

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Really?

I’m been fighting this blog post for a couple days now. Usually I try to stay away from controversy and don’t want to make waves, but I’ve had enough. There’s only so much I can take and, frankly, I’m sick of everything that’s going around on the subject. Everywhere I look these days, it seems like there’s an opinion. I can’t even walk down my own driveway without being instantly bombarded with propaganda. Then today at work, I was confronted again—right outside my office. It’s not that I’m afraid of conflict; I just don’t want to take a side. I mean, really? Is it necessary to choose? With all that’s going on in the world today, you would think (well, most people would think) that we could get some peace and rest from it all. Aren’t there more important things? Nooooo! I guess not. So, here’s my take:

Yes, I think those little rollie pollies are cute and fun to play with. J Have a great week everyone.

~ Jamie

(p.s. No rollie pollies were injured during the inspiration of this post. One was rolled down the hall at work, though.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Favorite Statue


Those who have been to the Louvre have seen this statue. It’s called Winged Victory of Samothrace, or Nike of Samothrace. I always forget the fancy name at the end and call it Winged Victory.

I saw the statue for the first time in the summer of 1993. I didn’t know anything about it then, but fell in love instantly. It’s displayed right across some steps once you’re in the museum so you can’t miss it. I spent a lot of time at the Louvre while I lived in Paris. I must have gone there two or three times a week. I went early in the morning, the middle of the day, and even late at night. I went when the museum was closed, I snuck into secret underground excavation sections, and I walked around the thing too many times to count. I even have specific memories of the Louvre tied to smell. When I pick up a certain scent, I’m reminded of the metro station right at the castle. I can’t describe the scent; I just know it when I smell it. There are a lot of things I love about the Louvre, but this statue is my favorite. I love how it tells a story. I love how it’s imperfect. I love that it has survived 2,200 years.

There aren’t any words of advice or deep meaning in today’s post. I just wanted to share something that I love and hope you’ll find inspiration from it, too.

 ~ Jamie

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Clearing my Head


You may have heard the advice to step away from your novel once you’ve finished. I’ve followed that rule for the last three books and found the return back exhilarating. I love the fresh perspective gained by simply getting away and clearing my head. This summer, when I finished the first draft of UNDER DARKENED SKIES, I immediately shielded myself from the book and moved on to outlining book four. It was a break away from the book, but not from the characters—the story continued. After several weeks, I returned to UNDER DARKENED SKIES and started editing.

Then on Tuesday, August 14th, a new idea came to me. It was so off the wall crazy that I instantly fell in love with it. I outlined the entire novel that night and committed to stay awake until I finished writing the first chapter. Four days later, I have penned 12,000 words with a goal to finish the novel by the middle of September.

I was feeling good before this week, and thought I was in a great place in regards to my writing motivation. But then I got involved in this new story. To say it’s been refreshing is an understatement. I’m different today, in a good way.  Honestly, I’ve been involved with Rhiannon’s story for three years now and never realized how much it was affecting me. Writing in first person from a girl is freakin’ tough for me! While writing this new book, (from a boy’s point of view, by the way) I’m able to be more like me—I’m a little zany and a whole lot giddy. The experience these last few days can best be described as me letting the creative monster loose. I’m not holding back; it’s a “no holds barred” writing experience. No matter how crazy or out of this world an idea sounds, I’m exploring it—and having a blast in the process.

I’ve never had this much fun writing. Never. (For the record, I’ve always enjoyed writing—just not this much.) Anyway, in a month or so I’ll be back to normal and will be preparing the final details for the release of FROM RISING FLAMES. I’m hoping to have a cover by the end of September. Until then, I’m howlin’ at the moon and running with the pack. Let the creative beast run free. *howls for effect*

(p.s. There are no faeries or vampires or wolves in this book I'm writing. Only zombies. Yes, zombies. And they’re freakin’ fantastic the way I’m writing them! If you want a hint, find my post on zombies and you'll see I have a different perspective on that sort of thing.)
 
Happy reading.

~ Jamie

Monday, August 13, 2012

"What If?" Fairytale Madness Blogfest

I'm participating in the "What if?" Fairytale Madness Blogfest hosted by Morgan Shamy. It's been a while since I've written flash fiction, so I thought this would be a fun break from my novels. There are several categories and the hosts are offering prizes!

  • Best Plot Twist
  • Best Love Story
  • Best Tragedy
  • Best Comic Relief



I chose to enter the Plot Twist category, imagining if my story took place today, how would Cinderella really act? I'm limited to 300 words, so here it is:


“But you shall go, my darling,” said the old woman, “or I am not queen of the faeries or your Godmother.”
Cinderella had heard her father talk of her godmother, and tell her that she was one of those good faeries who protect children. “Where have you been?” she asked, wiping her eyes.
“I have been close. And I am here now. Let us prepare you for the ball.”
Cinderella’s face flushed. “I asked where you have been. While I’ve lived this horrible life, trapped with my step-mother and evil step-sisters, where were you?”
The old woman raised her wand and touched Cinderella gently on the shoulder. “Go, my dear, fetch me a pumpkin from the garden.”
“A pumpkin!” Cinderella’s misery quickly turned to anger. “My father told me you would protect me, and now you wish me to fetch a pumpkin?”
“You must have a coach much handsomer than your sisters,” insisted the woman. “Do not fret; I have come to help you.”
The long wished evening had changed into a nightmare. Cinderella thought of nothing that this woman could do for her. A pumpkin indeed. For a carriage? Next the old woman might ask for rats to become horseman. Cinderella dropped to her knees and buried her face into her palms. “I want you to leave,” she said. “You have brought me nothing but nonsense.”
“But I’m your faery godmother,” said the woman. “With a dash of magic and a pinch of luck, we’ll make you the woman worthy of the king’s son. But we must hurry, for we only have until midnight.”
“Midnight? Why?”
“That’s when the magic will wear off, darling.”
Cinderella was so angry that she shoved the old woman in front of her and rushed her out of the door. “Midnight indeed," she muttered.


Happy reading.
~ Jamie

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Character Profile: Nia Dorsey


The second character I want to profile is Rhiannon’s best and most trusted friend, Nia. When I first created Aisling and its world, Nia was my initial introduction to the people who lived there. The chapter I wrote included her and a captured bandit. The interaction between them was quiet and tense, but her eyes stole the scene. Brilliant and green, Nia’s eyes were mesmerizing and offered great contrast to her straight black hair. One day, I might release the scene—it’s still one of my favorites.

A lot of people don’t know what to make of Nia. Many have told me they don’t trust her; some think she’s behind all the trouble that happens. I understand their feelings. She’s mysterious—a hint of deceit lies under everything she does, but honest desires command her words and actions. Nia is the youngest of three daughters. She wants to be a faerie more than anything and has dreamed about becoming one of Aisling’s chosen few for as long as she can remember. Her oldest sister, Madeline, is a faerie and is married to the Chief Elder. Nia views Madeline’s life as the personification of success and is jealous that Rhiannon is following a similar “perfect” path.

Nia lost her mother to illness when she was a small child. Both her sisters are much older than she, so Nia has grown up under the care of her father, who never remarried and is extremely protective. Nia hasn’t had a maternal figure in her home for many years, but has learned a lot from servants and Rhiannon’s mother.

Many young men in Aisling work for Nia’s father. She sought comfort with some of them in the past, but discovered nothing honest in their wanting. Because of this, she quietly despises the men in Aisling and worries about her future there. When a smart young man from DarMattey stays at her home, a romance grows. He is nothing like the young men she knows and offers an escape from the life she fears.

Since a young age, Rhiannon Phillips has been Nia’s closest friend. Nia calls her Rhia—a name chosen when they were younger to denote their similarities. But Nia and Rhiannon have changed over the years, and Nia knows this. If faeries are perfect, and Rhiannon is a faerie, then Nia thinks she is far from worthy of acceptance into the Fae. Rhiannon’s reaction to the tragedy of the season surprises Nia and it makes her guarded. She wants to help, but Rhiannon seems to push her away. Nia doesn’t want to lose her friend and doesn’t know what to do.

The season takes a toll on Nia, and the more complicated her life becomes, the more she wants to leave Aisling.

I enjoy the relationship between Nia and Rhiannon because, when all is said and done, they are still best friends. There are secrets they keep from each other and they both don’t trust one another at times, but that’s the dynamic part of it. Both young women are headed in different paths, but fate will eventually bring them together again. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheering for the Underdog

I hate predictable endings—can’t stand them. If I’m watching a movie or reading a book that feels predictable, I’m likely to find an excuse to not to finish. The book might be great; the movie might be an award winner. I don’t care. If it’s predictable, I don’t like it. That also applies to heroes. If the hero was already great, and success was expected, I’m not enthralled. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them, it just means I’ll be less impressed when they win.
On the other hand, I’m a sucker for underdogs. Show me an unheralded protagonist with everything against them and I’m likely to be interested. Give me a hero who was never meant to be and I’ll cheer for them every day. There’s a part of me that’s drawn to underdogs. I can’t get enough.
This is one reason why I love watching the Olympics. Anything can happen; anyone can be a winner; heroes rise from obscurity. There are champions and titans, winners and heroes. I’ll be cheering for every event, but chances are I’ll cheer loudest for the underdogs.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blue Jays, Canoes, and a Squirrel

I spent the last couple days camping deep in the middle of bear country. It’s always refreshing to get away, especially when away means no cell phone service. I was able to leave the world we live in and escape into a place where the loudest sound was river water over stones and the brightest lights at night were the stars.

This trip also provided great writing research in a few ways. First, I went canoeing. The last time I rode in a canoe was during the great river adventure that inspired me to write—over twenty years ago. I was on a lake this time, so the feeling was different than the rushing chaos of a river run, but I loved how the memories came flooding back. I was surprised at how cold the water was. I had forgotten. Thinking back to that great adventure, it’s more incredible to me that everything turned out okay then. There are pieces from that adventure that have made it into my series. Watch for some great river adventures in book three!

Second, I came face to face with a beautiful doe near our camp. She was huge, standing as tall as me. We stared at each other and then she strolled into the trees, having determined that I wasn’t a threat. Her face was so calm, so accepting of my presence. It’s rare to have a moment like that in the wild, so I’ll always remember it. There’s a scene in FROM RISING FLAMES with a doe. I may tweak it a bit based on this experience.

I love the tranquility of the night forest. I wandered through the tree, sans flashlight, listening and observing everything. Every shadow, every whisper of wind, and every rustle in the bushes was enlightening. High above, the stars glowed bright and clear, touching the treetops with their truth of how large the universe is. In the middle of the night, a raccoon found our garbage bag. After a couple tries, it tore a hole in the bag, spilling a few paper plates and aluminum cans to the ground. It played with one can in the dirt for a while and then scuttled down the riverbank.

Thankfully, no bears found our camp, but there were plenty of squirrels and Blue Jays to keep us company. Magnificent streaks of blue glided silently from tree to tree while angry little squirrels screamed their annoyance at our disruption to their day. One big fat, furry squirrel decided that the crumbs from our spilt garbage bag (raccoon’s evil doing) were a tasty snack. He slinked and crawled close to me before quickly discovering that I’m a sneaky trapper as well. J Had he not been the world’s biggest squirrel, he wouldn’t have escaped, though!

So that’s my travelogue and a glimpse into the wondering impulses inside of me. I love the outdoors and enjoy incorporating my little adventures into fantasy books. Enjoy your week and happy reading.

~ Jamie

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Faeries?

I first posted this last year, but though it was good enough to share again. Enjoy. ~ Jamie

The words of Wilson Rawls captivated me when I was a child, especially one brief passage about a fairy ring.
A few years ago, I found a fairy ring; perhaps it found me.
Only days after moving into our current home, I saw something on the front lawn. Tiny mushrooms forming a circle. I didn’t jump up and down and exclaim that I had solved the meaning of the universe, but I was fascinated. A Fairy Ring. Immediately, the words I had read years earlier repeated inside of me. I took a photo with my phone and captured the memory of the moment. Then I looked around, discreetly stepped inside the circle, and made a wish.

A year later, while plotting my first novel, I discovered that some of the characters were flat. In fact, I hated them. If the author doesn’t like what is written, then certainly the reader never would. I tried changing their descriptions, their names, even imagining different voices to make them unique. Still, they were boring. Then I remembered my little fairy ring. Perfect.

I studied fairies—their history, the myths, and writings about them. I quickly realized that my own mental images differed completely from everything I found. There was nothing close and that wasn’t a bad thing. I wanted my creation to be unique.

So, I’ve kept the FAERIES, using the old world name to more accurately match the characters involved. Characters that I love. With a different edge and a remake of history, I’m trying to share their stories in a way that takes the reader to a place they’ve never been.

What about you? Is there something in nature that inspires your creativity? What are your thoughts of Faeries?

Friday, July 6, 2012

From Rising Flames, Page One

According to Blogger, this is my 100th post. It's amazing how time flies. It seems as if yesterday I announced to the world that I was writing. Now, ON FALLEN WINGS is out and its sequel is en route to a late summer/early fall release. To mark the occasion, I've decided to reveal the first (unofficial) page of FROM RISING FLAMES.

Before that, I want to express what a fabulous journey this writing venture has become. It's awakened parts of me that I thought had died long ago. I've met new friends and learned how small the world can be. There are so many talented people out there, all working hard to share their stories with others. Discovering those voices has been exhilarating. I'm proud to associate and interact with everyone. I know that I'm hit and miss in my social networking, and that I rarely comment on other blogs, but it's not for any reason other than I've been working hard on this series and spending as much time as possible with my family. I promise, if I'm following your blog, I'm reading your posts.

Writing has made me a better person, I believe, and it's brought out all the emotions that normal people try to keep hidden. I've cherished the emotional roller coaster, using the moments to capture feelings in my words. Many people who have given feedback on my writing have called it "lyrical." I like to think that my heart is singing onto the pages I write. I get into the characters, I dive into the story. When you read my words and feel something stir inside of you, know that I felt that same emotion a hundred times while creating the scene. Life is about creating memories that last. I hope my stories will last. ~ Jamie

FROM RISING FLAMES, Page One:


The Man in the Meadow


Maeia sensed trouble was coming. Restless during the past few weeks, she kept staring east, toward Taylor’s Ridge, as if tragedy loomed on the mountain. She was wrong; she had to be. Storms came from the west, and the worst season of my life had already passed. Summer life in Aisling had become ordinary and pleasant; filled with so much work that no discontent could find space between the sun and the moon.

“It’s all right, Maeia,” I said, patting the nose of my gentle mare. “There’s nothing out there.”

Maeia insisted on her mischief, pawing at the dirt, revealing the same hole I had covered over many times, and snorting at the mountain. Her white coat was frazzled and mangy, caked in dried mud and thorns that hurt when I removed them with my fingers. I wished I knew what bothered her, but there were some things even I didn’t understand about horses.

Offering the only support I could, I chose a small violet flower from the grass and weaved its stem into Maeia’s mane. “If you promise to behave,” I whispered. “I’ll let you keep this.”

She didn’t answer, and chose to snort at me before galloping away, leaving me in a cloud of dust.

Muttering a frustrated curse, I wiped the dirt from my face with the bottom of my dress and returned to the stable. There, an unfamiliar scent in the warm breeze caught my attention. Something was wrong. I turned around, unsure of what to expect, and searched the meadow. Far in the distance, a man ran toward me. I couldn’t see his face, but I didn’t need to; his blue shirt gave him away. Darian.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tearing up the Pages

Not literally. I’m talking about editing—that painful process that every written work must go through. During this latest round of self-edits for FROM RISING FLAMES, I’ve become picky. Too picky, I suppose. While I’m used to critiquing every word, scrutinizing every phrase, and adding/cutting sentences here and there to improve the flow of the story, something I didn’t expect found its way into my work—the voice of my editor.
I’ve never met my editor, nor have I heard her voice, but it’s in my head. I hear her telling me that a scene doesn’t make sense and I see little notes on the side of my word document, questioning my reason for a certain plot point. It’s like she’s here, over my shoulder, challenging me while I work. I don’t know that I like it.
In a few weeks, she’s going to get the manuscript and will have the opportunity to tear my book to shreds while she makes it shiny and bright. She’ll get her chance. So why is she in my freakin’ head? You know the answer and I know the answer: I’m self conscious and doubting the work I’ve done. It’s inevitable, I suppose, that I would feel this way, and I think the feeling is a good thing. Fear tends to make me more alert and focused. It heightens my senses and allows me clarity I don’t generally possess.
While working on this round of edits, voice in my head and all, I’ve made changes that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s an odd sensation, which is why I’m not sure I like it. This morning, I took a pleasant happy scene and added a bunch of tension because that voice in my head told me to. That’s my dilemma. I liked the scene the way it was before; however, I understand the reasoning behind the tension. Which leads me to this: later tonight, I will post the before and after of this scene I mentioned. I want to receive your input on both versions. Tell me what you like/don’t like. Tell me what you hate. Tell me that I’m crazy. Tell me anything about this scene that you want to. Tell me which version you prefer.

ONE NOTE: The scene is about 60 pages into FROM RISING FLAMES and does not take place in Aisling. I know you’ll have plenty of questions about where Rhiannon is, why she is there, why people are acting a certain way toward her. These details are explained in the chapters and scenes before, which I won’t be posting. Thank you in advance for your comments and look forward to giving you a fantastic sequel to ON FALLEN WINGS. 'Til tonight.

~ Jamie

Monday, June 25, 2012

Whisper in the Wind

Every so often, a tiny voice—like the sound of a leaf falling—finds its way to my comprehension. Sometimes it’s a laugh, other times a song; always so subtle that I barely notice, even if I’m listening. It’s a whisper, and you cannot prepare for it or anticipate its coming. Like the breeze that carries the delicate message, the moment isn’t planned, it happens. And as quickly as it comes, it fades. Seize it and enjoy the peace it brings.

~ Jamie


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Lucky 7 Meme Award

Special thanks goes to Vicki Orians from Page after Page for tagging me with an award. I had been avoiding blogging today as I struggled to decide whether or not to post an excerpt from book two. This made my decision easy.

It's called The Lucky 7 Meme Award, and rules are:

1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your work in progress.
2. Go to the 7th line of the page.
3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs. Remember, they must be as they are typed.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know they’re it!

Since I’m currently working on the rough draft of book three while also editing FROM RISING FLAMES, I decided to share a little from both.

Book Three, pg. 77

I ran to her and motioned that she could come near us, but Colin pointed to his own home.
“Get her inside.” Colin’s voice was strange. I had never heard him speak with such authority or measure. He guided the children after him and opened his door.
Mother rushed across the road to help name and her children into Colin’s home while I ran up the road to investigate.
Colin followed me. “Be careful,” he warned. “There’s trouble that way.”
As he spoke, more yells erupted from the western forest. Then name arrived from the main road.
“Men,” he said, panting as he reached us. “Men from Morgan.”
The attack we feared for more than a season had reached us.


From Rising Flames, pg. 7

Father’s hands started shaking and he quickly turned away. As if ignoring Mother’s question, he knelt down and lit a tiny fire in the hearth. He sighed loudly before resuming his place at the table.
I didn’t have an answer, and it was obvious that he didn’t either. Mother ceased her attack and walked behind him. With masterful strokes of her fingers, she massaged his neck until a faint smile appeared underneath Father’s beard. Remembering the meal, I left them and resumed my work in the kitchen. Leila remained in her place, shivering from her own fears, until pounding on the front door jolted her away.
My young sister dashed toward the hall, but the door remained closed, and the pounding didn’t cease.
“Leila?” Father broke free from his trance.
“She’s gone upstairs, I think,” answered Mother. “She’s frightened.”
“I’ll get the door,” said Ethan. He scrambled from the bench near the window. His actions saved us all from another jolting outburst of pounding.
As the door creaked, I gripped the handle of the chopping knife tighter in my palm. It seemed to offer comfort.

There you go. I’ll have to tag 7 authors later (when I’m not at work.)

~ Jamie

Monday, June 11, 2012

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

Most messages I receive regarding ON FALLEN WINGS refer to the sequel. When is it coming out? I can’t wait to read more! I want to know what happens to Rhiannon. Get to work on the sequel. I can’t wait either. FROM RISING FLAMES is currently on its last round of self-edits. I’ll send it off for professional editing this summer. It should be ready for release in September/October.

In the early versions of ON FALLEN WINGS, I didn’t list the series name. It wasn’t an oversight or an error; I wasn’t sure what I would call the series. I was also torn at the time because the name I had chosen gave too much away. I felt like it took away some of the magic ON FALLEN WINGS offered to its readers. At the end of the book, I wanted the reader to understand who Rhiannon was and what she had gone through. I wanted the reader to have the same questions she had at the end of the book. Now that the book has been out and plenty of great folks have read it, I can reveal the series name: STONE PORTALS. ON FALLEN WINGS is book one and there are six books in the series. FROM RISING FLAMES is book two.
In FROM RISING FLAMES, Rhiannon discovers how much trouble exists in Aisling and that Sean’s disappearance was only the beginning. There’s more adventure in this book, more tension, more surprises, and still plenty of love. The Fae have a prominent role in this story, and will throughout the series. Some questions from book one will be answered while more questions will be introduced. If you’re itching for some more information, I listed the chapter names for FROM RISING FLAMES here: http://jamiemchenry.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-love-sequel-more.html and posted a piece of flash fiction based on the book here: http://jamiemchenry.blogspot.com/2012/02/from-rising-flames.html

Hopefully that’s enough to keep everyone excited for a while. I’ll post page one soon.

~ Jamie

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I Want

Until today, I have never been angry about the publishing process. No rejection letter ever made me frustrated. Critiques never caused my blood to boil. I haven't cried though my laptop has been dead for 2 months. Even the 1 1/2 month delay to  release ON FALLEN WINGS didn't make me mad. What makes me more than angry is that I don't get what I want.

What do I want? I want to offer ON FALLEN WINGS on every electronic device. I want it easily accessible--no tricky steps to add to an e-reader from some obscure website most people haven't heard of. I want to offer my book for free at times, not all the time, but as often as I want. I don't get what I want.

After a 2 weeks of trying to work out an easy process for distribution to all e-readers, applying the goals listed above, I've given up. For now, I'm returning to publishing exclusively with Amazon. Honestly, I'm pissed about it (sorry about the language.) Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the Amazon experience. Their services and website are great. But I want nook owners to have a copy. Own a Sony E-reader? I want you to get my book. Use Ibooks? I'd love for you to be able to download directly from there.

**screams and yells at Smashwords**more screams, this time directed at Sony**more yells**tosses a virtual book at Barnes and Noble**uses a made up curse and stomps feet like a toddler**cancels online order for IPad**sighs**

If you have an e-reader that doesn't support kindle, simply send a kindly worded request to onfallenwings at gmail dot com. Tell me the device you use and I'll send you the file--free. I'm sorry, that's the best I can do right now. And don't worry about me. With a box of chocolates and some Dr. Pepper, I'll get over my frustration. I've read ON FALLEN WINGS and think you should get the chance, too.

~ Jamie

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Never Gives Up

Today's special post is courtesy of an email my 10 year old daughter sent me this morning. It's all the inspiration I'll ever need.

My Dad

       My dad can feel the motivating thought of pursuing his dream. He will always be my father, he will always be a very creative writer. He has his own qualities that make him who he is right now. 

     I look up to him as my role model. He knows that he has a daughter that understands him. He has a family that loves him.

     His mind has a way of expressing his feelings and never gives up.  
 
 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Future of E-books

In January, 1997 I attended CES in Las Vegas. The highlight of that conference was a demonstration about movies on a CD sized disk called DVD. Movies on CD had existed before then, but the new technology brought clarity to both the vision of sound of the movie experience. Later that year, DVD movies hit the market. The “establishment” was outraged that such a clear, crisp version of film could be placed into the public’s hands. Pirating would get out of control and motion picture studios would lose money. Because of the risks, many movie studios refused to introduce their films to DVD, insisting that video cassette was and should remain the format for the home.

Has anyone purchased a VHS tape lately? How about a DVD?

Technology changes. It’s inevitable. It’s wanted. It’s a good thing. Just like the commotion over DVD, the e-reader has shaken things up a bit. Soon, e-readers as we know them will soon no longer exist. The days of simply reading words on a screen will go the way of the VCR. Interactive reading experiences are coming. Actually, they’re here.

Imagine opening your favorite book to a menu of music, video, and more options than a simple chapter list.

·                     Watch the book trailer.
·                     Play games or answer trivia about your favorite characters.
·                     Enjoy an introduction presented by the author.
·                     Enter contests or giveaways
·                     Learn about similar titles

When you open to the first chapter, a song sets the mood of the scene. Depending on what options you’ve chosen, that music will fade away or continue until you end the chapter. At certain scenes, small video clips of the action or romance will entice your senses and encourage a more interactive experience.

Can you imagine the possibilities with this technology? Like it or not, changes are coming fast, so hang on tight.

Happy reading.

~ Jamie

Monday, May 14, 2012

River Trip

My very first blog post mentioned the moment when I first decided to write. Since that moment, I've plotted and planned how to recreate the scene so that everyone who reads it feels what I went through. That day happened in 1989 and I still remember every detail, every thought, every taste, smell, sight, feeling, and emotion. It's so vivid in my mind that there are nights when it's all I dream about. I hear songs from that summer and am instantly transported back to the moment. Capturing the moment right is a big deal to me. No, it's a huge deal. Because I wanted to get it right, I never tried writing it before. Today, 23 years later, I'm finally putting it on a page; it will be a scene in book 3. Forgive me for the short message. I'm busy writing.

Have a great week. Happy reading.

~ Jamie

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Love the Sequel More

In the middle of writing a scene for book three today, I opened the FROM RISING FLAMES file. HUGE mistake. No work on book three continued after that. I love this book!

I love ON FALLEN WINGS, but not like this. FROM RISING FLAMES is my baby. It's my love. This is the book when all things introduced in ON FALLEN WINGS start to make sense. Once you read this book, you'll know where the series is headed, you'll know the evil plan I've been building all along, you'll know why certain things happened in book one. (Those who have read ON FALLEN WINGS know what I'm referring to.)

It shouldn't be normal. It can't be normal. But, it's my reality. Perhaps my writing improved. Maybe this book is more my style. I honestly don't know why I love the sequel more than the original. Still, I do. Giddy as I've been for the last few hours since looking at the words of this book, I've decided to share the chapter names with you. These may change a little by the time edits are finally done.

Take a peek into FROM RISING FLAMES. Here are the chapter titles:

·         The Man in the Meadow
·         Hallowed Places
·         Over the Mountain
·         Brilliance
·         A Wedding Day to Forget
·         Homecoming
·         Sun Season
·         Flames
·         Escape from Aisling
·         Morgan
·         The Enemy beside Me
·         Flight
·         Common Ground
·         Thorns and Roses
·         Taya Zhan
·         Echoes in the Dark
·         Sanctuary
·         Forever Night
·         Fortune
·         Shattered
·         Stone Meadow Secret
·         Cael Bauer
·         The Crimson Faerie
·         Given

I'm excited, I'm excited, I'm excited! I had to share, I just had to. Did I mention I love FROM RISING FLAMES? The Fall can't come soon enough.

Happy reading.

~ Jamie

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pure Energy

To quote myself: "That was freakin' awesome!"

Yeah, that's the kind of week I had. Didn't get much writing done, but I'm not bothered by that. It was a week to recharge my batteries and add true inspiration to this endeavor. It was the kind of week that can't be categorized, so I'm calling it "Pure Energy."

First, work was a good time. Most people don't/won't say that, but I will. I enjoy what I do for a living and especially like the times when special projects come my way. I also LOVE that I can write while working. My boss totally supports me, which helps. I haven't told you what I do and where I work because it's too ubercool to share in this forum.

Second, I spent Friday at LDStorymakers in Provo, Utah. Pure, fanatical, geek loving joy. I couldn't imagine a better day of writing energy. I reconnected with a lot of writerly friends and met a bunch of new ones. It was fun to mingle with "famous" writers and a couple editors who I've met before. Since I have self-published, there wasn't any pressure to try to "sell" my book to anyone, which made a big difference in my attitude. Filled with phenomenal classes, StoryMakers is a set date on my schedule every year.

Third, my 12 year old son participated in a harp festival at BYU. This kid blows my mind. He's only been playing for a couple months and he's getting really good. Since I'm not musically inclined, I'm always impressed at the talent of my children. Great music.

Fourth, and this wasn't even the best part, I met some friends from StoryMakers and saw the Avengers in IMAX 3D. "Freakin' Awesome!" Go see it. Go see it. Go see it!

Fifth, I took a nap on Sunday afternoon to recover from my late night at the movies. (No, the nap isn't the best part.) When I woke, however, I had an amazing new book idea pop into my mind. It's so amazing that I don't feel qualified to write it. Really. I need to study some things and develop some new skills to write it. It's not anything that I read or know about, but the book idea sounds groundbreaking. I bounced the idea off my wife and children and luckily they agreed, which means additional support for yet another project. This last point is a big deal to me because I've always felt that taking a break or stepping away is the best way to inspire creativity. After more than three years invested in the Stone Portals series, and knowing that there's another few years before I finish it, the weight of it all is bearing down on me. Sunday's inspiration reminded me why I started this adventure.

Yeah, it's been that kind of week.

I held a giveaway about a week and a half ago. Since there were only two entries (inserts sad face), I decided to award a signed copy of ON FALLEN WINGS to both participants. Angela and Esther, congratulations! Send me the address you'd like your book sent to and I'll mail it right away. onfallenwings @ gmail . com

I also decided to join Pinterest. It's a great place for me to visually explain who I am. I've created a board specifically for ON FALLEN WINGS, so if you'd like another peek inside my mind, check it out. I'll add more photos as I find them. Jamie McHenry on Pinterest.

Have a great week. Happy reading!

~ Jamie

Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week

I've waited a year for this.
  • This is the week when I escape my writing cave. I'll shield my eyes from the brightness of the sun and then walk into a room filled with hundreds of strangers.
  • This is the week that replenishes my creative spirit. I'll listen to stories of inspiration and hear the tales of success and publication.
  • This is the week that reminds me that I'm not alone in this writing endeavor. So many others take the same path; I just never see them, as the rest of the year I'm locked away in my fortress.
  • This is the week that confirms I'm a little bit crazy for all the work I do. With success and failure abound, I'll be surrounded by more writing degrees than Publishers Weekly. It's intimidating to think that my work will be compared against theirs. 
  • This is the week that tells me it's worth it. I learned last year that my writing strikes a chord with people; that its lyrical flow and sensual prose encourages curious investigation.
This week, I'll learn new skills. This week, I'll make new friends. This week, I'll discover new books. This week is LDStorymakers. See you there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Own Pace

In another life, at another time, I was a runner—a sprinter. I ran the 100m, the 200m, and the 400m. My favorite race was the 200m; however, my best race was the 400m.

The guys I raced typically competed in the same events, and they were faster than me in the quick sprints. In the 100m, they beat me easily. I didn’t have the takeoff speed needed to excel in that race and, usually, I was speeding up at the finish line. In the 200m, we were more equally matched. I would start off slower than them and then make up what I had lost in the turn around the home stretch. One particular race we had a five way tie for the win. The photo finish was incredible. It looked like one runner with several arms and legs flailing from their torso.

Then there was the 400m. Imagine sprinting for a quarter mile and you can imagine my chagrin every time I lined up for that race. It was about 50 seconds of speed and several hours of misery afterward. To this day, I cringe at the memories of the pain that came after the finish line. Win or no, that race was torture!

Most of the 400m runners didn’t understand that the race required strategy. From the gun, they would give everything they had, sprinting as fast as they could around the track. At the end of 200m, they would hit a “wall” and lose all the advantage they had built up. By 300m, there was nothing left for those racers but burning lungs and regret about entering the race in the first place. Not me. I sprinted at full speed for the first 100m and then slowed down and “coasted” along the straightaway. That may sound strange to you, considering this was a sprint, but that was the plan. My abilities required a different strategy than my competition. I ran at my own pace.

At 200m, I turned on my wheels. Giving everything I had again felt like a brand new race. I easily passed one or two runners before the end of the curve and slowly gained ground on the other 3 during the last 100m. By the finish, I was hurting (oh, you can’t imagine the pain), and either won the race or came in second. I never finished third.

I share this story because life is a lot like the 400m. Most people will try sprinting as fast as they can, attempting to run through life at the same speed as the person next to them. Some will keep up for a while, but then their lack of preparation, planning, or ability catches up to them and they hit the “wall,” unable to advance at the swift speeds of which they began. Soon they are passed by and left to struggle just to finish. Those people become forgettable and often change goals and ambitions.

I admit: falling into last place for that second 200m was torture. I imagined horrible things that people in the stadium must have been thinking as they watched me run. To them, I was the loser at that point. To fall behind so early must have meant that I was slow or unqualified for the event. Why had I even entered? After a couple races, however, the 400m became mine. Why? Because I ran at my own pace.

I encourage you all to take note of what you can do. know your abilities. Be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. Be honest with yourself and proceed through life at a pace that you determine, not your competition. Set a strategy and stick to it. When you reach your goal, the race will have been yours to claim.

~ Jamie

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Contest Winners

I’m pleased to announce several contest winners.

First, from the contest a couple week ago: Jamie won a signed copy of ON FALLEN WINGS! Jamie has already received her copy. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of the book.

The correct answer for the $20 giftcard to amazon.com is twenty-seven. Aisling has twenty-seven faeries. Congratulations to Becky!
This week’s winner of a signed copy of ON FALLEN WINGS is Laura. Way to go!
The winner of a Signed ON FALLEN WINGS bookmark is Esther. Woohoo!
The winner of an ON FALLEN WINGS mouse pad is Nicole. Yay!

The giving isn’t over. I’ll announce another contest here next week. If you have any ideas for cool swag that you would like to see in a contest, leave a comment below. I can have almost anything made up, and I’m happy to do it. There’s also a giveaway on goodreads. Here are the details for that one.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

On Fallen Wings by Jamie McHenry

On Fallen Wings

by Jamie McHenry

Giveaway ends May 08, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


Have a great day. Until next time, happy reading!
~ Jamie

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Backstory

Hidden deep in my files is the first book I wrote, SUN SEASON BANDITS, which will never be published. The story follows two brothers who are mysteriously transported to an ancient village, Aisling. I wrote the book during the spring and summer of 2009. The writing wasn’t very good; however, this book began my re-introduction to writing and allowed me to discover that I could create a full-length novel. As I built the plot and the characters, more and more questions came to me regarding the history of this place. There are three scenes in this book where the main character, Sam, meets and interacts with a sad young woman, Rhiannon.
I want to share a piece of one of those scenes with you. It’s important because, at the time I wrote this, I had no idea what her story was. What you see here is what I saw. Once I answered the questions posed in the background of this scene, I discovered that her tale was more interesting than the one I had already penned. Incidentally, Sam Teagan is named after my youngest son. He makes an appearance in FROM RISING FLAMES and will have an important role later in the series.

“Don’t tell yourself that, Sam. You’re better than that.” Rhiannon leaned back, took a deep sustaining breath, and then stared at the sky before looking back at him. “You are what you choose to be, what you act upon. No birthright or assigned order of life determines how you will act when the moment of challenge arrives in your path. Everything that you are inside, at that moment, will blossom and fantastic consequences that only you may imagine will emerge. Heroes are chosen by their challenges. Sam, your destiny is built by the course you set, by the deeds you weave, and by the trail that you leave behind you.”
“What should I do?”
“Confront the challenge,” said Rhiannon. “Find your brother and help him escape. You will be successful.”
Sam grinned. His fingers shook. Her encouragement created a small burning flame near his stomach that warmed his blood with anxiety. No one had ever given him this much encouragement; it felt satisfying. He leaned forward and closed his eyes, allowing ideas to flood his mind.
Sam lifted his head and smiled intently at Rhiannon. “I know what to do.”
She smiled back and then tousled Sam’s hair with her fingers. “You will be our hero. You, Sam Teagan, will save us from this nightmare. Because tonight, under these stars and in the village of dreams, you made the choice to be strong.” Rhiannon gripped his hands and smiled before standing to leave. “You should rest. Tomorrow is going to be very exciting.”
“Rhiannon?” he asked. “What about Darian? Who is he?”
“He’s a stranger. He doesn’t belong here.”
“He said something about scrolls,” said Sam.
Rhiannon sniffled and fought back tears, but answered him. “They are the Fae Scrolls,” she said. “They are very special. They contain our history and sacred rites. They were taken, stolen, long before you arrived.” She covered her mouth as tears crept down each cheek.

Every story has a beginning. ON FALLEN WINGS began here. Happy reading.

~ Jamie

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Reward

Something has been tugging at me, pulling me down the last several days. I haven't felt myself. I tried to sit down last night and couldn't. Today, I figured out what it was. You see, I'm a thinker, a planner. If I see X and then Y, then together they must add up to something. The analytical side of me has this subconscious calculator that says I spent such and such amount of time writing, plus such and such amount of money to publish, that must equal less than so many book sales x so much royalty dollars per sale. Or something like that. The thinker in me expects a return on the investment I made.

That's not why I wrote ON FALLEN WINGS. It isn't.

A friend at work sent me an email today. She was at home and her message to me said something like this. "I'm sitting here bawling. I just finished your book and it was wonderful. You better not make me wait very long for the sequel. I'm so proud and amazed that you created this. I felt like I walked and lived with the characters. Thank you."

I made my friend cry. My book made my friend cry.

A couple days ago, my wife's sister emailed her and said that she had yelled at Rhiannon at one point in the book. Yelled. She was so caught up in the story and could see what might happen next, that she was telling the character in my story to stop.

I don't think I'm that different from anyone who wants to be successful as a writer. My book is out so I keep checking back to see my rankings, to measure how I'm doing against other works like mine. I want to be at the top. I want to be the best. Who measures the best? Amazon? NO. As an artist, my reward is knowing that I stirred something in my audience. To see their tears; to hear their yells; to discover that what I did inspired them to react is better than any amount of money I'll ever make in this adventure. Today, I got my reward. Thank you.

It's time to write.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why I Write (again)


I’m stepping back in time today and sharing some words I first posted last April. There have been a lot of new visitors to the site recently, and I feel like it’s important that you know the reason why ON FALLEN WINGS is written in first person.

Here’s a link to the original post: Why I Write

When I started this adventure, I knew nothing about writing a novel. Nothing. I figured that all it took was a unique story, the determination to capture it, and then the knowhow to send it to a publisher to print. Many years before, I had filled my days writing stories and poems, so I thought I could pick up a pen—or a laptop—and let the words flow to publication. Then I started writing.

The more I wrote, the more I realized how little I knew—about EVERYTHING. The grammar was horrible, the story was flat, and the future of my naïve ambitions had been exaggerated. Still, I wrote. Every page I keyed told me something about the characters inside and a little bit about myself. I was learning. I started studying the rules again, paying attention to the grammar I had forsaken and shunned, and learning about the industry. I played with my outlines and worked to develop subplots and complex characters. I challenged myself to write better and more often. I kept writing.

Slowly, a habit formed. I had to write. It wasn’t an option anymore. Like breathing and eating, the need to create wrapped around my schedule and took every moment I could spare. I made mistakes. I edited. I chopped entire chapters and threw away complete scenes that didn’t make sense. (Incidentally, I keep all of those cut pieces in a file. You never know.) New characters found their way into me and the story continued to grow. Then I had it, my first novel. 68,331 words and a story that had a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s nothing great, in fact, I’ll never publish it, but it gave me the start of something that has overwhelmed and changed me.

The stories inside are screaming to escape. Soon after finishing the first book, I started on a sequel. I even wrote outlines for a third and a fourth book. The plot was amazing and captivating. Then a month or two into that, I changed my mind. I decided that I could write a better story about another character, someone who had appeared briefly in the first book. Immediately, I started On Fallen Wings. At first, I tried to write the book in third person. I was hooked to that point of view and despised reading books written any other way. I thought it was the ideal way to tell a story. Why not? Who doesn’t want to know everything that’s going on? The freedom of multiple point of view allowed me the chance to explore the story in creative ways.

Then one night, I tried writing in first person. The experience was amazing. I felt that expressing the needs and emotions through first person was a better fit. I found it easier to connect with the character and the story. This was also painful for me. My main character is a seventeen-year-old girl. I constantly read the words, “write what you know.” Teenage girls are not something I know much about and can relate to easily. Also, I was 35,000 words into the novel. Changing the POV at that point meant I was starting over. So, I did.

I decided that this would challenge me and was willing to suffer for the sake of the story I wanted to tell. I started over, weaving the same plot into the new point of view, discovering more about my character and her motivations in the process. Three months later, I completed the first draft.

I say it often because I believe it. Life is about experiencing the journey. For me, writing is no different. I’m a different person than I was two years ago. I’m also a different writer. Years from now, I’ll look back and say the same thing. I’m writing a new book now. When it’s finished, I’ll write another. I write for the same reason I live; I want to discover what’s on the next page.