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

Some Details About Me Posted Elsewhere

Nov
04

Some comments I wrote on my relationship with writing were posted by fellow blogger Richie Billing. My blurb is accompanied by that of another writer named Paul Freemanwho I had not heard about before now.

Richie is planning a series of posts like this, and I think it’s a interesting concept–looking at how writers got started in the craft and what keeps them going. I find it interesting that Paul Freeman responded to someone’s sarcastic jab by going all in on a book. My fall into writing was much more gradual.

Anyway, head over and read the post.

~J.M.

A Dog Named Trouble – What Pegman Saw

Oct
04
casablanca

Casablanca, Morocco © Google Maps

Lâche-moi!” the woman shouted, before any further cries were muffled by a gloved hand.

She struggled to free herself from her captor, who was double her size but–as betrayed by his disheveled and broken clothes–only half as civilized.

Samuel Thacker remained in the shadows, under an old, stone arch on one side of the narrow alley. He had come to the Mediterranean to find his progenitors, to find answers. But trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went like a sickly dog.

The man had his arm around the woman’s throat, dragging her away from the main road, towards where Samuel hid.

The vampire grabbed the thug by his heavy collar, lifting him off his feet, breaking his grip on the woman. Samuel slammed the man into the stone wall, and once the témoin féminin had fled from view, he took a bite.

*Written as a response to the What Pegman Saw prompt for September 30. This story features the same lead character as my flash story that will be released by Flash Fiction Magazine on Halloween. A prefect day for a vampire story, eh?

~J.M.

I hope you enjoyed the story. If you like what you’re reading here, why not join the Rabble, my little mailing group? I will be sending out the first exclusive bits in the next couple days, including the first reveal of the cover for my upcoming epic fantasy serial, Call of the Guardian!

What a Word! – 3LineTales

Sep
24
tltweek86

Photo by Ben White

The wonders of reading still struck Tommy like wild kicks from rowdy kangaroos; by the age of three he had moved on from pretty pictures to the colorful world of words. One such word now drew his full attention, forcing his eyes and mouth open in shock. It was a word his father had once said in frustration, had warned Tommy never to utter; Tommy mouthed it silently, defiantly–poppycock!

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales Week 86 photo prompt.

Hey there! Have you signed up to join the Rabble? In a week or so, I will be sending out the first bit of exclusive content, including the first reveal of the cover for my soon to be released series with Fiction Vortex! You don’t want to miss it. Sign up by putting your email address in the box to the right.

Where to Publish? – The Centropic Oracle

Sep
21

1

Continuing my series of publisher recommendations, I’ll like to highlight another audio-story venue. The Centropic Oracle is a online publisher who focuses on science fiction and fantasy stories with some sort of emotional depth. On their submissions page they suggest that “good fiction – particularly SF and Fantasy – should challenge us to examine our own lives and beliefs. It should force us to reflect on how we fit into the world and what it takes to make the world a better place by our being in it.”

This is likely the reason I had so much trouble getting an acceptance from them early on. My stories are less thinky and more punchy. But I knew from the first time I came across their page, that I wanted them to audio-ify one of my stories. I had five stories rejected by them–five!–before one finally made it through. I think the trouble was that I did not write the sort of philisophical stuff they were looking for. Most of my stories were, and still are, very pulpy. That is, until on a whim I wrote “A Brief Glimpse of Everything.”

The productions are pretty darn good, and they also are also a paying venue (CAD$0.01/word). Even better, they only ask for audio rights and do not consider works only published in print to be reprints. So you can send them stories from your blog or that have been published in print-only venues. Or you can print publish something they have already published in audio for you.

Speaking of which, I should try to get “A Brief Glimpse” printed somewhere…

Like AntiSF, the editor at The Centropic Oracle is kind and easy to work with. With my last one they accepted, I forgot several times to send them the signed contract. The editor was well within her rights to chew my head off, but she was very patient with forgetful old me.

Right now they only accept flash stories, since they have too many shorts and those take more time and resources to turn into audio productions. Even so, if you have a SF/F flash story that has an emotional or philosophical slant to it, you would be doing yourself a favor by submitting. There are no submission fees and the turn around time is pretty quick (a few weeks at most).

Give it a try!

~J.M.

Beggars Would Ride (Flash Fiction)

Sep
20

In honor of my story being published in The Uprising Review, I decided to write another flash story featuring the same characters. This one was inspired by the unwanted thoughts of horses I had all day, after hearing a particularly funny line in Unseen Academicals, the book I am currently audio-reading. I’m not sure if this story is as funny as Jaron and Bren’s last, but the I think the same sense of satire is there.

Enjoy!

~J.M.


Beggars Would Ride

By J.M. Williams

Jaron felt himself fly through the air, tossed unceremoniously onto the stone floor of the jail cell. The guard’s fat grimy hand locked the door, then yanked to ensure its security.

Jaron was still shaking off a constellation of stars when Bren approached the guard.

“Please, sir. There must be some misunderstanding,” Bren said.

“No misunderstanding. We caught ya with your hands on the merchandise. Er heads…well doing something with the damn beast. Dirty horse theives.”

“Horse thieves? Pray sir, we are no thieves.”

“Then how’s it you was standing right next to the horse when we caught ya? Eh? A horse that somehow jus’ disappeared from Mr. Bolton’s fenced-in ranch, several farms down the line mind, ya…”

“I wish you would just let me explain what happened.”

“Well, if wishes were horses,” the fat guard laughed.

“If they were, somebody’d be damn close to a kick in the nuggets…” 

“What’s that?”

“The law says you must give us a chance to defend ourselves.”

“We don’t give no chances to horse thieves around here.” The guard growled. Bren’s face contorted when hit by the rotten air.

“It followed us.” Bren put his hands together, pleading. “We didn’t steal it. Please, you must listen.”

“Enough of your blabberin’. This town hadn’t a good hangin’ in a while. It’ll be good for folks to get out for a show.”

“Hanging?” Bren looked like he would faint. He put an hand to his forehead in a melodramatic show.

“See you two in the morning,” the hairy man said with a laugh, as he swaggered off to the adjoining room.

“You dirty son of a…” Bren’s act of begging and supplication had ended, now only anger could be seen on his face.

Jaron rose to his feet and brushed the dust off his shoulders and arms. He put a hand to his head and groaned.

“Dammit. Fat bastard messed up my hair,” Jaron shouted, hoping the man would hear.

“I don’t think this is the time to worry about your hair. They’re going to hang us.”

“Don’t be so sure.”

“Do you have something to pick the lock?”

Jaron patted his pockets and felt underneath his leather armor. His tools were gone.

“No. Must have fallen out, when the guards jumped us.”

“We’re doomed.”

Bren sat down on one end of a long wooden bench that ran along the far wall, under a window with widely spaced metal bars. Sunlight drifted into the room between the bars, casting blocky shadows. The stink of dirt and horse manure betrayed the road just beyond, a road to freedom that now lay at an uncrossable distance.

“I’m sure our doom is only tentative,” Jaron said.

“Why do you think that horse was following us, anyway?” Bren asked.

“If I had to guess, I bet it’s the honey wax I put in my hair this morning.”

Jaron brushed the large square lock of the cell door, polishing it until he could see his image. Watching his reflection, he rearranged the hair on the right half of his head, making the short brown locks curl outwards. Then he spun around on a heel and dropped onto the bench, the top of his head resting just below the window.

“I don’t really care for the idea of being dead,” Bren said.

“I’m sure the gods will come through for us once again.”

“It was never the gods. It was always you.”

“Are you so sure?”

Jaron leaned back against the wall, feeling the breeze pass over his head, pondering the dilemma. Something clanked against the window bars. He jumped around to see the toothy grin of a horse in the window.

“By the gods, is that the same one?” Bren asked.

“Seems like it.”

“Didn’t they lock it back up at the ranch? This thing must really love your hair wax.”

“Hmm…” Jaron hummed as he leaned towards the window. A long, sticky tongue reached out for his head.

The horse’s mouth was wrapped in a bridle, but its mouth opened and closed freely. It looked as though it were trying to chew through the bars. Jaron reached his fingers through the bars and scratched under the beast’s chin.

“There, there boy,” he said. “You don’t want to chew that. You’ll bust your teeth.”

Jaron’s fingers crawled along the horse’s jaw until they felt something hard. He gripped the object and yanked. A curved metal pin slid out of one of the bridle’s bindings.

“I told you the gods were watching us,” he said to Bren, brandishing the pin.

Jaron went to work on the lock, and in mere minutes had it open. He heard the horse snort encouragingly from the window. The door slid open with only a soft creak, one that could have easily been mistaken for a bird.

Waving his friend forward, he led Bred into the next room, where the fat guard was passed out, face down on a round wooden table. There were several loose coins lying next to the man and Jaron’s hand reached out instinctively, until he felt Bren’s knuckles digging into his back.

The pair crept across the room, keeping a close eye on the sleeping guard. Jaron cracked the door and peered outside. The door opened to a narrow road, across which were several buildings, including the tavern they had visited the night before. The sun was high in the sky, bathing the avenue in light.

Seeing nothing of concern, he swung the door open. It screeched like a banshee.

Jaron grabbed Bren by the collar and dragged him into the street. Behind his friend, he could see the fat guard stirring to life. The man glared at him. Jaron slammed the door and took off running.

He could heard the clanging of an alarm bell from behind as he dragged Bren down the side streets and alleys. All the while, he chastised himself for not heading the other way, to the clearing where the horse had been, outside the jail window.

Eventually, they did arrive at a clearing, but the space was far from clear. A semi-circle formation of villagers blocked their escape. The people brandished pitchforks and pikes, like a proper mob, and their eyes were filled with hunger.

“Thieves! Hang ’em!” the people shouted a bit too cheerily for Jaron’s liking.

“We haven’t had a good hanging in a while,” one of the pitchfork owners shouted.

There was no where left to go. The mob would be impossible to outrun. Jaron closed his eyes in surrender. Then he felt something chewing on his hair. He smiled.

As the horse galloped away from the village, Jaron driving it on, Bren holding on for dear life, Bren shouted in Jaron’s ear, “I guess we can’t come back here again.”

“No bother,” Jaron replied. “The ale here is piss.”

THE END

It’s Been a While

Sep
18

I just spent some five hours revising a short story. I got a rejection with a rewrite offer from a publisher a couple months back, so of course I was going to heed their feedback and resubmit.

I just spent five hours writing and revising. Last night I had a muse, took a bunch of notes and went to bed thinking about my story. This morning I woke up and couldn’t wait to get started. Even when I had to take a break to drive somewhere around noonish, the story was stuck in my head. I finished the story. I think it’s much better now that the previous draft I submitted. But even though I’m done with it, it’s still stuck in my head.

I just spent the last five hours writing, and never realized that it’s almost 4pm and I haven’t eaten anything today. Not a crumb. Damn, I’m hungry.

It’s been a long time since I had as good a day of writing as this.

~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.