J.M. Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

Pre-orders Now Open

Nov
17

The PRE-ORDER PAGE for The Adventures of Iric is now live on Amazon. I’d like to think it will be the same page for regular sales, once the release date arrives, but I’m not sure.

Justin Cover

Thanks to everyone for all the support you’ve given me over the past year here on the blog, on Facebook, and all the places I’ve been published. Finally things are starting to take shape in the way I had expected when I started on this writing adventure over a year ago.

~JM

The Adventures of Iric–Release Date Set!

Nov
17

Well, I did it. I pushed the button that handed my baby over to Amazon. The official release date is set for Monday, November 20th. But it should be available for pre-order some time soon.

Without further ado, here is the cover:

Justin Cover

That’s pretty decent, right? E. Rachael Hardcastle did a good job. I wasn’t actually trying hard or hoping for much with this collection, since it’s a first and just collection of my blog stories. But it came out very nice. I was shocked when I found the stock photo with this guy. I almost shouted to myself, “It’s Iric!” Really close to what I had in my head when I started writing him.

I struggled a lot trying to decide on the right pricing for the book. In the end, I decided to go a bit lower than what I thought was right. I’m hoping to use this book to build my brand, so I think I need to preference distribution over income. Accordingly, the book will be priced at $2.99 (US) and whatever the equivalent is in other currencies. The length is about average for a novella and seems longer than many flash collections out there.

I have put a lot of work into making this a great collection. All of the stories have been revised, some significantly. For many, this happened during the editing process when they were published across the web in a variety of magazines, ezines, and flash sites. For the rest, I revised and edited as I added each to the collection.

Though this is primarily an Iric collection, there are some bonus stories at the end, featuring my other flash fiction characters from the same setting: Sparrow and Faline.

I really hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of the book when it drops. And if you do give it a read, please give me an honest review on Amazon!

This is just the beginning. I’ve got several more projects coming up soon. Keep an eye on this blog for further news. Things are starting to get busy!

~JM

To J.M. or not to J.M.?

Nov
16

Dear Friends and Followers,

I have a quick question. As I wrap up the formatting for my Adventures of Iric collection, I’ve been reconsidering the way I write my name. These second thoughts (read: doubts) came to me when I received the cover for the book (done by the wonderful E. Rachael Hardcastle).

You see, for stylistic purposes she left the periods out of the first part of my name. She wrote “JM Williams” instead of “J.M. Williams.” And you know what? I think I like it. There are a lot of author names out there that use the initial-period-initial-period style, but few if any that use just the initial-initial style.

Also, there are already a few people listed on Amazon as “J.M. Williams” (with initials), including THIS GUY. And yet, I don’t see any with the formatting “JM Williams.”

Well, thanks for your advice. I think I’m pretty much sold at this point. Good thing I made the choice before my first book was released! It would have been trouble hunting down the 20-or-less sold print copies and whiting them out.

PS> I will be revealing the cover for the collection soon, so stay tuned!

~JM

A Horde of Updates

Oct
29
29268105_s

Brace Yourselves!

It seems I should take business trips more often. In the past two weeks, while I was away from home and my computer, I received a flurry of publication news. November is turning out to be a big month for me. I could bore you with the details of my trip and my feelings at receiving several acceptance letters while in the middle of doing something totally different. Instead, I’ll keep this short and jump right into the juicy bits.

First, my story “Innocence Lost, Innocence Found” will be dropping on Flash Fiction Magazine on October 31st. Halloween is the perfect day for a good old vampire story.

My story “The Sorcerer” will soon be out in Bards and Sages Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics. The publisher has announced the book should be released on or about the 1st of November. An extract of another story in the anthology can be read here.

I will have another Iric flash story released on Eternal Remedy on or around the 5th of November. I loved what they did with my last one, the site and accompanying illustrations having a great vibe and not being something I would have chosen to use on my own.

A few weeks ago, I submitted a Storm Hamilton flash story to Akashic Books’ “Mondays are Murder” flash fiction series. In fact, I wrote the story specifically for that series. Interestingly, the publisher accepted the story but wants to use it for a band new flash series they are calling “Fri-Sci-Fi.” I’m going to go ahead and take full credit for spurring them to create a new series.

My horror tragedy story “Last Night” will be dropping on Roane Publishing’s Flash Fiction Fridays on or about December 1st. This one has been hard to place, in part because it is not a very happy story. Be forewarned.

Also, my next story with Antipodean SF should come out the month in both text and audio. Like the last one, I recorded the audio myself for their Anti SF Radio Show. This time I sent them a mildly humorous Iric story. The text version can be found here.

Lastly, I have been working hard compiling my “Adventures of Iric” flash stories into a collection, which I will be self-publishing as an ebook (not yet sure if I will bother with print-on-demand with this one). This was, in part, spurred on by Roane asking me for a personal sale link, of which, of course, I have none yet. It would be nice to have something on Kindle by the time the story drops so they can send some business my way.

Well, that’s all for now. I will, as usual, post direct links to all the stories once they drop. Except for that, though, I will likely be away from the blog for some time still. I need to get back to work on drafting the fourth episode of Call of the Guardian (those of you who subscribed to my newsletter have already seen the cover), as my co-authors and I get closer to going live with our StoryVerse. I will also have some edits to do with my novella soon.

No rest for the wicked.

~J.M.

Going AWOL

Oct
17

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be AWOL for a little bit. I am attending a legal symposium for the military–so I guess it’s the opposite of AWOL. But regardless, I am away from my computer.

Moreover, when I return in a week or so I will need to get hard to work on the next episode of Call of the Guardian and other projects that I have let slide recently. I am just starting episode four of that series, and our group has decided we need at least five episodes complete apiece before we even think about going live. I also need to finalize The Adventures of Iric for Kindle publication before December. The blog, and social media, have been a bit of a distraction lately, so I will be setting them aside for a while until I get caught back up.

So don’t take my silence to be anything ominous. It’s just a temporary shift of priorities.

~J.M.

Exclusive Cover Reveal Coming Soon!

Sep
30

I just recently received the cover images for my upcoming epic fantasy series being released by Fiction Vortex. I don’t want to say much before the big reveal. I will offer some details about the series and the story at that time.

Working with Fiction Vortex has been a great experience so far. I work with two other fantasy authors, and together we are creating a shared universe in which all our stories will take place. Fiction Vortex has coined the term StoryVerse to describe this concept, which most of their new content is built around.

The company seems just about ready to explode right now–in a good way. We have something like 80 authors now under the Fiction Vortex banner. The marketing team has promotional deals all lined up. Management has multiple publishing angles worked out. (A fellow author, Jeremy C. Schofield, who I briefly had the opportunity to work with, just discovered his book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.) I feel very lucky to be here for the start of this.

I am going to be revealing a bit about my project soon. But there’s a catch. The first reveal, and first details will be going out to the Rabble. If you want to be in the know, you got to sign up!

I expect to be sending out the first letter in the middle of next week. I was planning to do it this weekend, but things came up and I had to delay. That just means you have a couple more days to sign up!

I am really looking forward to sharing this with you. Thanks to everyone in the blogosphere who has encouraged or supported me over the last year. It took a while to get spun up, but I feel like things are finally moving now.

~J.M.

The Adventures of Iric Collection

Sep
25

If you have followed my blog since the beginning, you will be familiar with my “Adventures of Iric” series of flash stories, many of which have been published elsewhere. This series represents a substantial amount of work on my part, and I feel it is time to do something more significant with it.

I have compiled all the stories into a single document. It’s just over 19k words now, and I’m sure it will break 20k once I add in the necessary descriptions and character development that is required of a novella-length work but was missing in the flash stories.

I plan for this work to be my first self-published book. It will take some time, though–a couple stories are still awaiting external publication, and I will need to get a cover made and do more revisions. Still, I hope to have it done and on Amazon by the end of the year.

The Iric series began as a world-building exercise for my first book In the Valley of Magic, but grew into something more. I still have not received any positive replies from agents on the book, and I am becoming convinced that the unconventional structure of the book is a deal-breaker for them. Agents are risk-averse by nature; they want something easy to sell. They are not looking to roll the dice on innovation. Thus, I may have to go the self-publishing route on that book as well, despite my resistance.

For now, I am going to focus on The Adventures of Iric, as a preview of the world of In the Valley of Magic. I also have my novella, The Nightingale, being released by Fantasia Divinity early next year. We just completed the cover and have to finish editing now. I also have my episodic fantasy series Call of the Guardian, coming out soon on Fiction Vortex. I am three 10k word episodes in to a 10-episode series, so I have a long way to go with that one. Man, I am busy, ain’t I? I think the novel can wait.

I’ve become very fond of Iric as a character, and I hope you will join me in celebration when his adventures are formally released.

~J.M.

Writers of the Future, Quarter 3 Results

Sep
15

Writers_Winner_1stQ

The results for the third quarter of the 2017 Writers of the Future Contest are now posted. The announcement page can be found HERE.

While I did not win, I did earn an Honorable Mention, which is still pretty cool. They will be sending me a certificate, which is doubly cool. The certificate also has a winter and ice motif, which is triply cool.

All in all, a rather cool day today. Well, besides the weather. What’s with the sun this afternoon? Go away, dude.

I am prepping another submission that I will send off by the end of the month, just in time to meet the current quarter’s deadline. It would be nice to move up in the ranks next time.

Thanks for all the support!

~J.M.

 

A Few Quotes from Discworld 37

Sep
12

 

1.jpg

It’s no secret I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan. Ever since I read, er…listened to the first book I was taken in by his whimsical world. I’m sure his influence can be readily seen in my work, either in humor or concept.

 

I just started Discworld book number 37, Unseen Academicals, and have been struck by just how good the prose is.  I  wanted to share a couple gems from the opening pages:

Mr Scattering then got a job in a pet shop in Pellicool Steps, but left after three days because the way the kittens stared at him gave him nightmares.

Classic Pratchet humor to turn mundane things on their head. I have no idea what sort of look from a kitten could cause nightmares, only that I never wish to see it.

There was so much silence you could hear it. Everywhere it went, it stuffed the ears with invisible fluff.  -and- Silence listened with its mouth open.

Silence can be a powerful tool for creating atmosphere or tension, or simply setting a scene. But all too often, the words come out cliche. “Dead silent” or “eerily silent” or countless other variations–many of which I’m sure I’ve used–fall flat. Leave it to Sir Pratchett to find clever new ways to convey an old idea.

From somewhere in the distance came a sound like a large duck being trodden on, followed by a cry of ‘Ho, the Megapode!’ And then all hell eventuated. -and- Then the thing disappeared down another gloomy corridor, incessantly making that flat honking noise of the sort duck hunters make just before they are shot by other duck hunters.

Sound is an important sense and one that is difficult to convey in words without going full-on phonetic, which can be off-putting. Here Pratchett manages to convey a distinct sound clearly, at least to me, and provide a laugh at the same time. Plus I just love the phrase “All hell eventuated.” Though, that might just be due to the fact that we don’t really use “eventuated” in that manner in American English.

Well those are just a couple bits that stood out to me, though the pages as a whole thus far have generally been great. It would take too much space to remark on all the little phrases that lit me up.

~J.M.

Write Like Hell!

Sep
11

Ray Bradbury seems to come up a lot in writing advice columns. That’s probably because he’s had a lot to say about writing and it has often proved useful to people like me.

One of the things that he seemed to say a lot was that sucess at writing takes a lot time, and practice. I find this incredibly reassuring, seeing as I am still struggling to “break-in” to professional writing. I wonder if I am rushing my expectations, or even if I know what breaking-in really means.

One of the many things Bradbury supposedly said was:

“If you can write one short story a week, it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start – at least you’re practicing. At the end of the year you have 52 short stories. And I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done. After 30 or 40 weeks, all of a sudden a story will come that is wonderful – just wonderful. That’s what happened to me…”

It’s great to know that I have been working much in the manner he suggested, even without having heard this bit of advice in advance. My story publication tracker has about 55 stories on it from the last year, just about on target with Bradbury’s suggested goal. 28 of these have already been accepted for publication, so I’m not doing too bad.

If you’d like to read the full article the above quote appears in, here’s the link:

Ray Bradbury’s Words of Wisdom – Write Like Hell!

I wholeheartedly suggest you do as Bradbury says and write like hell! There’s worse things you could do with your time.

~J.M.