Under Construction

Hello Folks! The website will be undergoing  some construction over the next several days, possibly weeks, so if you see things changing or not working properly, that is why (but if something is broken for more than a day, please do let me know!).

For now, I’ve updated the banner, added a page for completed works, which now has links to all three currently published books, including Mirrors & Thorns, finally (long overdue!).

Next up is a Coming Soon! page for works for which a contract has been signed, but are not quit available yet. My story “Blind” fits the bill here, to be release in Beach Reads 2: Lost and Found, in March 2018.

Third will be an On Market page for completed works which I am currently marketing out for a home. “Endless Skies” and “Thankful” fit the bill here. Both have been submitted to publishers, but no contract offerings yet.

Fourth and final is a Work In Progress page. I won’t list all of my WIPs here, as many never see completion, but it will provide details on ones near completion. “Not Yet Dark,” “The Californian,” “Waves,” and I am happy to say “Phil” will finally be detailed here. There are plenty of other stories I am working on, including a couple of collaborative works I am very excited about!

As I get closer on my novels, expect pages on them to appear as well.

I have a professional Logo Designer hard at work and revamping the official J.M. Ames Logo, so that should be up soon, too.

Stay Awesome!

~J.M. Ames

The Snow Bride will be available on 10/25/2017.

 

I received official word last night. My third publication will be ‘The Snow Bride,’ to be published in OWS Ink’s anthology Mirrors & Thorns, on October 25th, 2017! Stay tuned for more details…

     “The icy wind outside screeched and wailed like a banshee seeking to devour children’s souls. Frosted windows rattled in their frames so hard the glass threatened to shatter. The camels and horses tied to the posts in front of the Tsas Ber Tavern whickered and spat their displeasure at being left exposed in such inhospitable weather.
     Ajir wrapped his snow-dusted paws around the steaming goblet of spiced wine, thawing them from the painful cold that hadn’t yet left his aching fingers. A fire roared in a large stone hearth and did little to expel the chill of winter that possessed his body. The spicy, pungent aroma wafted into his nostrils and increased his hunger…”

Blind

The intro to Blind, new fiction coming soon!

 

“If you’re leaving, close the door!”

She paused in the doorway, facing the summer sun. Her hair undulated in the breeze like the rolling waves of an ebony sea.

“Look at yourself, Will. I can’t sit by and watch you self-destruct.”

Penny turned as if to say more. Her lips twisted and shook. Her eyes welled with tears that spilled down her cheeks. She set our shell on the mantle.

Tan eyes shone with raw, painful disappointment that bore into my soul and ripped it to shreds. I struggled to sit, but I was too late. Without another word, she turned and sprinted to the taxi waiting outside. Upon her exit, the color in my world faded, the warmth in the room chilled. The only woman I’ve ever loved left me, and it was my own doing.

How could I have been so blind?

I took another swig from the store-brand whiskey bottle and emptied its mind-numbing contents down my throat. Disgusted, I hurled the bottle across the room where it struck a mirror, shattering both. Fitting that so many things shattered that day, myself included.

Breath hitched in my chest, and the lump in my throat wasn’t from the booze. I realized the low moan I heard was emanating from me.

I collapsed on the floor and willed the room to be still. Eyelids shouldn’t be as heavy as mine had become.

The last thing I saw before I passed out was that the damned door was still open.

New bookmarks and business cards are here.

In anticipation of receiving A Haunting of Words in stock for direct sales, I have ordered a fresh batch of the classic A Journey of Words bookmarks, as well as new bookmarks for A Haunting of Words, and brand new business cards. One of each come free with every purchase of either signed anthology direct from me.

 

~J.M. Ames

Intro to ‘Not Yet Dark’

The next story I have in the queue is Not Yet Dark, a story inspired by Bob Dylan’s Master’s of War. It is in the final revisions stage now, then it will be edited and sent out to various publishers. Here is the intro, as it stands now.

When I found my daughter in the still-smoking rubble, her left leg was missing. Nothing but shredded ribbons of bloodied flesh and a shattered stump of bone remained.

Agonized screams pierced the air all around me, but I barely heard them. Dust and smoke stole the air from my lungs, but I hardly noticed. All my attention was on her; nothing else mattered. I lifted her with care, brushed her silky black hair behind an ear, and kissed her forehead.

“You’re fine, it’s going to be okay,” I lied, trying my best to smile.

Blood flowed from her body and into the mud of the now torn-apart street as tears flowed from my face and onto hers. She blinked at them and croaked “Daddy,” before another squadron of death planes roared overhead. I ducked under a broken, leaning wall that had been part of the market just minutes before, sheltering her body with mine. The ground shook as more bombs dropped and continued to level the city. The ringing in my ears drowned out all sound. Black mushrooms of soot sprouted from the devastation and into the heavens.

I looked at the girl in my arms, and saw the rise and fall of her chest had ceased. A check of her pulse confirmed my worst fear. My searing eyes dropped to her new handmade doll that lay abandoned on what remained of the road, smudged with ash and blood. She had turned four, two days prior.

It wasn’t until my breath ran out that I realized I had been screaming her name.

 

~J.M. Ames

Life and News

It has been a very trying past six months for me and my family. We’ve lost many members of our family, friends, and more that I will not go into. I’m normally a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy, but this has been a long string of very hard impacts, and the seeing the profound affect it has had on my family has made it much more difficult. It takes a lot to take me down, and even more for it to keep me there for this length of time. As a result, I’ve been neglectful in my writing, blogging, and just being social in general for quite some time. Time to get caught up.

I have slowly been changing this website to handle multiple books, not just ‘A Journey of Words.’ I’ve also made changes to the J.M. Ames Author Facebook page – setting up a shop within it where you can get direct links to purchase my books. I’m not quite done making said changes, so expect the evolution to continue.

I am in the process of working out a deal with the Orange County Public Library system, to see if they can carry ‘A Journey of Words.’ If this comes to fruition, I will let you know. Goal is to have at least 1 copy in stock in all ~30 libraries in the county (does not include the large Huntington Beach Library, as they are separate).

The ‘A Haunting of Words’ anthology, which features my story Only the Dead Go Free on the cover, is available for preorder now from the publisher. You can do so here. It should be available for purchase within a few weeks, and like ‘A Journey of Words,’ it will be available through me, or the publisher, or all major online book distributors such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This one will also be available as a true audiobook via Audible.

I have another story which has been tentatively accepted into a different anthology. Once we’ve worked out the details and have a signed contract, I will post the specifics.

There are two other stories I am actively sending out to other publishers (Thankful and Waves), and several more partially written. Will get back into writing and finishing them up soon. First up will likely be Endless Skies (inspired by Planet Caravan, by Black Sabbath), and Not Yet Dark (inspired by Masters of War, by Bob Dylan). These are already on their third draft.

Another of these stories is something I have head in my head for about a year or so now, called The River Sticks. My good friend Jess Jerome drew a pretty cool pic for the story. You should check out her site for her amazing work.

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~J.M. Ames

Dark Writings

It was mentioned to me by more than one of my fellow authors this past week that my recent writing has taken a decidedly darker bent. While not intentional, on stepping back it makes sense. Death has been swirling around me – and not in remote ways. In the past four months, my family has suffered not one but two devastating losses – one expected, the other not at all. My close neighbor friend’s daughter slipped in the shower, hit her head and died. We’ve just passed the one year anniversary of one of my childhood friend’s death. I won’t mention the ongoing death stories in the news.

As a result, emotions have been pretty raw with everyone under this roof. I honestly expected this would push me into a writing slump, but it would appear to have had the opposite effect, spurring me to write more than usual – albeit with darker subject matter. Writing is cathartic in several ways. Escaping into a fantasy world is how it starts, but I’ve noticed no matter how innocent or light it is intended, it goes dark. Someone dies, and the characters left have to figure out a way to pick up the pieces and move on. I guess this has become my way of figuring out how to do that for myself, and how to help my wife and children heal from the enormous and unfair wounds that life has ripped into them.

Those of you who express yourselves in writing, music, art, or other ways I am sure are familiar with the process, or something akin to it. Those of you who enjoy reading should be prepared for some darker material from me for awhile. Like all things in life, this will be temporary.

Peace and love to all of you and your families. Put nothing off, leave nothing unsaid, and ensure your loved ones are well taken care of. You never know if today will be your last.

– J.M. Ames

Free Samples!

Who doesn’t like the free food samples you get when at the supermarket? Here are a couple of song-based tidbits I have cooking (bonus points if you can guess the songs upon which they were based):

Endless Skies:
The air vents sighed and the ship vibrated as it departed Earth’s atmosphere. They gazed out the portal at what had been their home. Umber, verdant land masses and cerulean seas, spotted with swirling ivory clouds. A bright, purple blaze shone from the eastern seaboard of the United States, where the bombs had been detonated. A sapphire haze had spread across a third of the globe, snuffing life’s flame from everything it touched. Earth would be barren within hours.
Toni sighed and plopped into a beanbag in the corner with her guitar. Her shaking hands carefully rolled a joint. A silvery beam of moonlight illuminated her as if she were performing on stage.
“I think we need some sweet leaf to free our minds of this.”
Teri nodded, grabbed her bongos, and joined her.

Not Dark Yet:
When I found my daughter in the still-smoking rubble, her left leg was missing. Nothing but shredded ribbons of bloodied flesh and a shattered stump of bone remained.
Agonized screams pierced the air all around me, but I barely heard them. Dust and smoke stole the air from my lungs, but I hardly noticed. All my attention was on her; nothing else mattered. I lifted her with care, brushed her silky black hair behind an ear, and kissed her forehead.
“You’re fine, it’s going to be okay,” I lied, trying my best to smile.
 Blood flowed from her body and into the mud of the now torn-apart road as tears flowed from my face and onto hers. She blinked at them and croaked out my name before another squadron of death planes roared overhead. I ducked under a broken, leaning wall that had been part of the market just minutes before. The ground shook as more bombs dropped and continued to level the city. The ringing in my ears drowned out all sound.
I looked down at the girl in my arms and saw the rise and fall of her chest had ceased. A check of her pulse confirmed my worst fear. My searing eyes dropped to her new handmade doll that lay abandoned on what remained of the road, smudged with ash and blood. She had turned four, two days prior.

Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Eight

Who do you ‘channel’ when you write?

Usually, it is me – either something from my past or just one or more of the facets of my personality. Other times I think inspiration hits based on either what I am going through at that moment, or by a song, or sometimes even just seeing an Open Submissions call for a themed anthology. We all have had different life experiences. Most of us have been in love, have been hurt, have hurt others. These experiences are what I channel most.

The Last Ride is straight from my past – so much that I consider that story to be Creative Nonfiction – all the events are nonfiction (to the best of my recollection), but the canine POV is clearly fictional.Thankful is also based on my past working in retail decades ago. Waves is based on my late Grandfather’s past.

Only the Dead Go Free and Endless Skies are both inspired by songs. Only the Dead Go Free was further spurred by an Open Submission Call for an anthology called A Haunting of Words, and Endless Skies by an Open Submissions Call for a writing contest with parameters which met the theme I already had planned for it.

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#AmWriting

#OTDGF

Author Confessions, Day Twenty

Do you have writing pals or do you ride solo?

It really depends on the story. In general, I write solo, and after I have revised enough so that either I am happy with it or just plain tired of looking at it, I turn it over to my Beta Reader team. I gather feedback from them, and if I agree with their suggestions (or the majority feel strongly one way) I make adjustments accordingly.

In some cases, I employ a few Alpha readers earlier in the process. I did this with Only the Dead Go Free as I wrote it with a particular themed anthology in mind, and I wanted to ensure it met the requirements. It’s also my first completed horror, so I checked with a few experts early on to make sure I was on the right track.

While most of my works will be just by me, I do have a few WIPs in which I am collaborating with other writers:

  1. My first planned novel, Ursa Major, will have a ‘crossover’ scene with a novel fellow Scribe Lauren Nalls is working on. We were talking about our stories and discovered we both have a scene in them which takes place in 1983 Big Bear, California. We decided that in both novels the MCs would meet the MCs of the other novel.
  2. My eldest daughter and I are working on a coming-of-age superhero novella together. This will be targeted at middle-school age kids and is the closest thing to a Children’s book in my queue.
  3. I am working on a biography of my lifelong friend with him. This story chronicles the physical, legal, emotional, and societal injuries he sustained from a horrible accident, and how he has been recovering from them.

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#AmWriting

#OTDGF

#Flooded