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

Featured in Corner Bar Magazine

Nov
07

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Happy November Friends and Fellow Speculators!

I have been working hard on the fourth episode of my epic fantasy series Call of the Guardian. I am hoping we–meaning myself and the other two authors in this StoryVerse will go live in a couple months. We are currently talking about having six episodes (of a ten episode season) complete before we start releasing. I think I am currently the furthest behind schedule. I’m going to have to dig in and get focused now!

While I’ve been working on this project, I received so good news. The story I sent to Corner Bar Magazine is now out in their October 31st Winternacht issue. You can go directly to the mag with this LINK.

I really like Corner Bar Magazine. It’s got a great, professional layout for a free ezine. It also has a nice, old-timey vibe with the styles and image choices. And I love old-timey stuff!

I hope you go check them out.

~J.M.

 

A Horde of Updates

Oct
29
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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.

A Two for One — 3LineTales

Oct
13
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Photo by Austin Chan

For this week’s Three Line Tales I came up with two–rather obvious–responses. You guys can tell me which is better. Here’s the first try:

Cadriel leaned heavily on the bar, sipping his IPA from a tulip glass–having been around since the creating of beer, he was a bit of a connoisseur–pondering his existence. He set his cold drink down hard, watching the fog evaporate off the glass, revealing the image of a sword. Recovering from his shock, the angel of death rose from seat and approached the miscreant biker gang conversing loudly in the room’s opposite corner.

That one derives from the religious connotations of  “looking for a sign,” though with a celestial being swapped for the typical human. Here’s the next one:

Luke Skywalker rubbed away a stain on the old, decrepit bar, staring down a shady twi’lek who still had not paid for his drinks. “The sign’s a joke–an old jedi thought I might be the chosen one,” Luke said to another nearby patron, “but I never really bought that rubbish, and the New Republic hasn’t worked out as I was hoping.” Raising a hand towards the deadbeat twi’lek, Luke said, “You want to pay your bill.”

This one follows on the obvious source of the sign’s wording, which derives from the infamous “These are not the droids you are looking for,” line from the original Star Wars. Though, I’m not one for fanfic, so I don’t know how I feel about this story. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to write it. 

So which one do you prefer?

~J.M.

Only One – 3LineTales

Sep
28
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Photo by Bryan Minear

My breath is heavy; I can’t catch it, nor the blood seeping out from the slash along my side. It was a hard fight, and for a moment I thought it was over for me. But the final blow was mine, and now I can feel…the quickening! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales Week 87 photo prompt. Yes, I know this is technically four lines, but the last bit was mandatory. 

If you like what you read here, why not sign up to join my Rabble? I will be sending out my first letter in the next week, which will include an exclusive cover reveal for one of my upcoming major projects. You can sign up by entering your email in the popup or at the right of the page.

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.

SHARE: Ships Made of Guns, by MV Melcer

Sep
14

This one didn’t hook me until the very end. The beginning seemed a bit conventional, almost as if I had read it before. The final twist was interesting, and the author did a great job getting a full plot into so few words. I was surprised by the completeness of it all.

But because it has a full plot, I was left wondering about the character arc here. Is this a flat arc, where the character doesn’t change the but the world changes around him? If so, it seems to miss the element of doubt that makes the character relate-able. This character feels a bit too self-righteous.

But all in all a decent little story.

~J.M.


Ships Made of Guns

When the invaders appeared, I had no choice. I lowered my head and opened my arms to greet them. Some of us tried to fight, against my warnings, but the orbiting gunships put a quick end to the resistance. I made sure everyone learned the lesson: their ships are made of guns. You cannot stop them…READ MORE

A New Story Out in the Uprising Review

Sep
13

My newest story comes to you care of The Uprising Review, whose motto is “Write Fearlessly.”

Well, I did, and this story quickly became one of my favorites. Unfortunately, many editors did not share my opinion. After revising and resubmitting several times, I finally found a reader who shared my sense of humor and adventure.

This story is, after all, a humorous adventure story, a farcical little tale that begins to reveal my Pratchettosis.

I am very proud of this little story–if that is not already apparent–and I think Uprising took great care of it. They even found a wonderful cover image. I hope you will head over and check it out.

You can find the story HERE.

~J.M.