Big News!

Yesterday, I crossed something off my bucket list… I published a poem! Better than that, I even won a contest with it. I was pretty shocked and elated. 🙂

ViviLnk

The poem will be published in Sibyl’s Scriptorium, Volume 5.

I’m also thrilled that my story, Pre-Screening Test, as part of the GameLit Expansion Pack box set has spent some time as number 1 on Amazon’s chart for Virtual Reality! If you haven’t read it yet, get it now!

 

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Pre-screening Test Trailer

Pre-screening Test

Cover Reveal! I just finished the cover for my story in the GameLit Expansion Pack Box Set! I’m especially excited about it because I made the whole cover myself. I’ve always loved book covers. I hoped to make one sometime, but I never had the right opportunity before. I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  🙂

GameLit Expansion PackThe box set has a cover already, of course. That’s what people will see on Amazon when they go to buy it. My book cover will be inside with my story. It’s the most amazing and artistic collection of interior art I’ve ever seen. One for each of the nine stories included, in addition to the one for the set.

It’s available for pre-order now– just 99 cents. Also, it will be a limited run. So you don’t want to wait too long before you pick it up. Here’s the trailer for the box set.

Also, there is a book trailer on YouTube, just for my story! Just 80 seconds long. It’s really a great little video, put together by Richard M. Mulder. You absolutely HAVE to see it! And you can hear the first part of my story on #FFF podcast.

VR & PR

VR & PR

In just two weeks, my story Pre-screening Test will be out as part of the GameLit Expansion Pack. You can pre-order it now. As a teaser, an excerpt of that story, called VR & PR has been turned into an audio book like production for Flash Fiction Friday by Immortal Works Press. Read by Jon Grundvig. It’s available on the IW #FFF website, or on YouTube. Give it a listen!

GameLit Expansion Pack Box Set

GameLit Expansion Pack

GameLit Expansion Pack

Cover Reveal!

Now a story from my writing past…

When I started writing, I only wrote novels. I’d written ten or twelve of them when I started seriously querying publishers. After a LOOOOONG stretch of nobody interested, I heard people say sometimes you can break in by writing short stories and publishing those first to build up a writer resume. So I tried my hand at shorter form fiction.

I entered the Writers of the Future contest a few times and submitted to the big sci-fi magazines. Even those were a little above my level at the time. Eventually, I found some “for exposure” anthologies and managed to get three stories in. Soon after, I sold my first steampunk story for money ($20.00). And “won” a contest that included getting another story published and fifty bucks.20130530-222635.jpg

With this new resume, I began querying again. I saw Curiosity Quills calling for subs on Twitter, and they accepted my first book. That book, Theocracide, is GameLit. Only, at the time, nobody used that label.

The first label I heard of was LitRPG. My publisher caught a trend and wanted to brand the Actuator series accordingly. It worked well, boosting sales. But as the fans of LitRPG fleshed out what that really meant, the definition didn’t really fit my work. To be LitRPG, having a role-playing game the books are set in and including scenes where people go into video game realities isn’t enough. They wanted actual game statistics in the book. So my publisher re-branded the Actuator series as GameLit, where it belongs.

Actuator Series Wallpaper

I wasn’t excited by LitRPG books I read where they say things like, “Adarian leveled up when he killed the troll, gaining 6 hit points and better fighting skills.” It just pulls me out of the story. Clearly a lot of other authors felt the same way. So, they created a label to separate game-based literature from stories that literally describe the game terms. The new subgenre, of course, is GameLit.

actuator-rpg-e-book-coverAs I talked with other authors interested in these themes, and supported their facebook pages, Indie Illuminati issued me an invitation to put a story into an anthology designed to raise awareness of this new genre. Several authors writing in that field were each preparing novelettes (15,000 – 20,000 words) to go with GameLit books they’d written. One of the contributing authors dropped out and they asked me to fill the void.

It just so happened that my current work in progress, Virtues & Virtual Reality, is a GameLit book. If not, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to such a large side project on such a short deadline. Anyway, I immediately knew what story I’d tell for this antho, and I’m over 10,000 words into it now. That story: Pre-screening Test.

Since the rest of them are ahead, they already started advertising. The cover (top) is out and they have it available for pre-order on Amazon. When I looked it up today, I saw it’s already ranking on the Amazon charts! You should get it now while it’s cheap, BTW. Only 99 cents!

GameLit XP 03-2018 #45 Anthologies b

They have a “Pre-release Party” page up on Facebook, too. They’re giving away books every week until the release. (Go check it out!)

Also, there is a book trailer! (Watch it now!)

What struck me about this situation is how everything fell into place so neatly. After years spinning my wheels and never getting any kind of interest from publishers, I’m now to the point where invitations come to me. It feels pretty great.

So, if you’re an aspiring author, keep at it! Write a lot of books and stories. Write what you love. Submit like crazy. Most of all, keep writing. Once you break in, things get a lot easier. 🙂

GameLit Expansion Pack Box Set

 

The Road So Far

All Covers 2017

Five years.

The Last Key came out  five years after my first book and short story in print.

The full score is 6 Novels, 1 Novella, 3 Anthologies I edited, 1 RPG manual with 2 short stories in it), short stories in 18 Anthologies edited by other people (including 3 reprints), and comics in 2 episodes of 1 magazine.

I have 2 Novels ready to go whenever I decide to buckle down and send them in, and 4 short stories going into Anthologies coming out in the future (including 1 reprint). I’m currently working on a new novel, which I paused to experiment with a serial story.

I hope this doesn’t come off as bragging. I’m just taking stock of where I’ve been, as a way of deciding where I want to go next. It’s been a rough year, and I think I need a little direction and motivation before I start to build up momentum again. Seeing this block of covers really makes me happy.

A writer’s only real success is the readers, of course. I’m immensely grateful to my readers, fans, friends, and family. I’ll leave you with some eye candy from the first test version of The Last Key by cover artist Eugene Teplitsky.

Here’s to the next five years!

cover 4 test cropped

 

Call for Submissions: Press Forward, Saints

CotS CoverD. J. Butler is the leading, if not only, author in “Mormon Steampunk.” His four book series, City of the Saints, is now an omnibus that reaches a very wide and eclectic audience. Since its publication, a large number of readers have asked for more and a good group of authors have expressed interest in writing something similar. In 2018 he decided to collect short stories in the same genre and put together an anthology. I’m thrilled to be working with him as co-editor on this project.

PRESS FORWARD, SAINTS Call for Submissions

Immortal Works (editors James Wymore and D.J. Butler) hereby call for submissions for an anthology of MORMON STEAMPUNK to be called PRESS FORWARD, SAINTS.

Here is the deal:

1. The writer’s religious affiliation is completely irrelevant. We don’t care; we don’t even want to know.

2. The story does not have to be set in any particular world. The story must be in some sense “Mormon” and in some sense “Steampunk.” We’ll try to interpret those categories both broadly.

3. If your story is faith-promoting (Mormonism is “true” in the story), we’ll stop reading it. If it is mean-spirited (Mormons are all idiots), we’ll also stop reading it.

4. Stories should be at least 2,000 words long and generally no more than 8,000 words.

5. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2018.

6. Authors will not receive up-front payments. Authors will share in the revenues from sales of the book over time and will receive one (1) complimentary author copy.

7. Send submissions to david.john.butler (at) hotmail.com. Include the words “PRESS FORWARD SAINTS SUBMISSION” in the subject line.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at jameswymore (at) gmail.com as well. If you aren’t sure what Steampunk is, check some of these references…

schism-e-book-cover   Under a Brass Moon Coveractuator-1-e-book-cover

Now Available: Valcoria Awakenings

Valcoria Awakenings

Now Avaliable: VALCORIA AWAKENINGS!

The battle for Amigus is over, and orphan-turned-hero, Yuiv, is settling into his life as junior lord of the house of Trauel. The loving family and peaceful life he’s so long yearned for seems to be within his grasp; that is until Yuiv starts having vivid nightmares. His glowing Kalyra eyes mark these dreams as supernatural, proof that he has the gift of Farsight—a power held only by the Al’Kalyra or Arch Sage.

As frightening as the idea of being Valcoria’s prophesied savior is, the terror of what Yuiv witnesses in his sleep is much worse. Pain, grief, blood and death descend upon him as he sees through the eyes of men, women, and even children who have been touched by the light of YaJiann.

The Children of the Crystal Star are awakening, rising above turmoil and strife to embrace their destinies as defenders of Valcoria. But all light casts a shadow, and with the heroes come the horrors born of blood and shadow. A dark threat looms; monsters that are far closer than anyone realizes—anyone except for Yuiv. And the revelation is nearly too hard for him to bear as it can mean only one thing.

The battle with the darkness is not over. It has only just begun.

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This anthology is part of the Valcoria series. So you may want to start with Book 1: Children of the Crystal Star— but it’s not necessary. However, as a promotion, it’s only 99 cents. So why not grab it as well?Crown of Darkness

Jason King is my favorite high fantasy author. I discovered his work with the Age of the Infinite trilogy, which is probably my favorite fantasy story to date.  Valcoria is a much more dynamic setting with trains and guns… which makes it feel fresh in an overwritten genre. In fact, it has one of my all time favorite short stories to launch the series. You should definitely read the Prelude: Crown of Darkness. Also only 99 cents!

Whether or not you get into the entire series, my short story in this collection, Ice Witch, has some personal significance. I wrote it not long after my Grandmother passed away. She was very proud of her Icelandic heritage, some of which rubbed off on me. So for this story I named the main character after her, but I gave a lot of her traits to the mentor. I must have done something right because that story was put first in the anthology (and Jason has suggested he wants to incorporate the character from this story into the series later on).

If you love a good fantasy, get Valcoria Awakenings now!

Divergent FatesFor those of you who aren’t into fantasy, how about some Cyberpunk? Divergent Fates, the anthology set in the dystopia dreamed up by Matthew Cox, is on sale for just 99 cents this week.

Cox is my favorite Cyberpunk author, weaving three huge series together in this mind expanding world. (All on sale for 99 cents this week!) I set this story, Special Project, in Korea. I spent two years there on a mission for my church and I had a lot of fun revisiting that culture as I imagined their place in this broken future.

So both of these anthologies are me bridging significant people and events from my life and using them to write in other authors’ sand boxes. Also, many of the authors featured in these collections are good friends and associates. Cox even wrote one of the stories in Valcoria Awakenings. If you love a good short story, or need to get back to some fresh short story reading, pick up one or both of these awesome anthologies. (And between all these links, you should have PLENTY of cheap books to get you through the long, cold winter!)