Winter Break

THANK YOU to everyone who bought a paperback copy of my three books. I was ecstatic to sell nine copies in December! Author party time!!!

The biggest help to a self-published writer are authentic book reviews and rating on Amazon or Goodreads. For everyone who purchased a paperback book, please consider creating a review or rating.

Below is my Amazon author page.

Below is my Goodreads author page.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/13847996.James_W_Aries

I’ve been blessed to get a lot of editing time over winter break! I’m still working through Robin Puelma’s comments after her second reading BACK OF BEYOND, THE LEGOND OF SPOON: #2. There are currently 40 chapters in BACK OF BEYOND.

Here is my BACK OF BEYOND playlist I created on Spotify if you want a hear the music that motivates me write.

I dream about being a full-time writer, but for now I’m grateful for a job that provides for my family and allows me large chunks of time off throughout the year . I’m hoping I’ll still be able to find time to write even after getting back to teaching.

I hope your 2020 is off to a good start, whether that’s productive or taking some time to rest. Happy New Year!

BEST HALLOWEEN EVER!

Well, I think I leveled up as an author this Halloween. (That’s a thing, right?!) I am always am happy to hear people are reading my book, but I never imagined anyone dressing up like one of my characters.

I have a couple of friends who have read VERVE STONES to their children. Hearing how much they loved the story (and how they would beg their parents to read on after my cliffhanger chapter endings) warmed my heart. However, having my friend’s son create his own costume for Ethan Spooner, the main character of VERVE STONES, was perhaps one of my favorite author moments ever! There are a million costume opportunities out there and the fact that he would consider dressing up as Ethan Spooner means more to me than he will probably ever know.

I’M IN AUTHOR HEAVEN!!! Now, I’m going to use this emotional high to fuel some writing time.

Encouraging Words Go a Long Way

I recently got some encouraging words from Brady on my last blog post.

It’s been almost 2 years (maybe 3) since I’ve first read the first edition of ‘Verve Stones’ and I can say with confidence that I am just as excited for the next book. After rereading the book again this summer, I can’t wait for the next book! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the little things as you have been.

Brady’s comment warmed my heart. (Thanks, Brady!) I’ve been waking up early a (between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m) to carve out writing time all summer. The BACK OF BEYOND is lightyears better. I’m a third of the way through Robin’s edits. Somehow, I will find times to write during the first couple months of school!

It’s inspiring to know I have such a dedicated reader rooting for me! I cannot tell you how grateful it makes me feel.

What encouraging words have you experienced? Leave your comments below.

Progress is Being Made

Things are moving forward on BACK Of BEYOND (LEGOND OF SPOON BOOK 2), never as fast as my readers wish, or more accurately I wish, but I’m making progress. The voices in my head keep berating me that I should have published this book a year ago. They are loud and overwhelming. <insert frustrated groan> Actually, I don’t really groan. I’m more of a quiet sulker, but I digress. I’m doing my best to transform my attitude from negative to positive even though this is no easy task. I’m making progress and that’s always a good thing. Like most people, writers are too hard on themselves. Is there a small success you should be celebrating instead of berating yourself? Please share below.

I’m Back to Writing

Robin Puelma returned my second set of edits and feedback over a month ago. My excuses for not diving in as soon as possible include the Seahawks, fantasy football, school stuff, spending time with friends, rewatching The West Wing with my lovely wife, walking to the park with my daughter, and a lot of family time. I’ve reached the part of the school year where I don’t need to stare at a wall every night to recover the energy I lost teaching third graders in the middle of a school remodel. (So glad to finally have finally passed the “beginning of the school year exhaustion” and happy that my classroom remodel is almost done!) I can’t spend the hours on it that I want to, but I can now at least squeeze in ten minutes of editing here and a thirty minutes of revising there!

Things I’m looking to make happen in my writing world:

First, placing UNDER, NINTH NIGHT, and VERVE STONES on the local author’s shelf at the Lacy Timberland Library. Next, finishing Robin’s feedback and changes and sending the polished draft to another friend who wants to edit and revise. Last, I’m very excited to share the finished BACK OF BEYOND’s cover finished art from Jake at J Celeb Design. He created my VERVE STONE cover art. He outdid himself with his new latest cover. Truly, it is always even better than I can imagine (and I imagine it being very cool).

Do you have a time of year that you are least productive? Fall is obviously mine! I am so glad that that time is passing.

Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere (Vol. 1)

Like I tell my students, Inspiration can come from anywhere. You just need to be on the lookout.

Everywhere I turn I see and hear inspiration. I can often be seen jotting down a quick note in case at some point I want to use something I’ve observed in one of my books. These notes help me to enhance a scene, a character, a setting, a plot, or even a book title.

Sometimes there is a scene from a movie or show that I love so much that I can’t wait to put my own twist on it. During an old Jurassic Park movie, the people fled from raptors through very tall grass. Several people were pulled below the tips of grass, never to be seen again. I loved that it was not gory and yet more terrifying than if it had been. It was so intense. I wanted to create a similarly powerful scene in VERVE STONES. If you’ve read it, you may recall a leaping nygar (a giant lizard) attacking from beneath the cover of tall grass. I hope that others get that same tense feeling from my story that I got when I first watched Jurassic Park.

Fellow writers, where do you get inspiration? I’d love to hear.

Thanks Dad

My dad’s message about purchasing a copy of VERVE STONES for his library at the middle school he works at brought a smile to my face.

“Look, your book now sits on our library shelf for students to read.”

Thank you for your love, generosity, and support, Dad!

Superhero Stories in Disguise

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I believe many popular shows, movies, and books are superpower stories in disguise.

I LOVE superpowers! I grew up watching Spiderman, Batman, and the X-men cartoons just to name a few (otherwise the list would be too long). I wait eagerly for Superhero movies to be released and try to watch them in theaters as soon as they come out. I have always enjoyed learning how each hero got their powers. I am captivated by the evolution of the characters, watching them fail, train, and then grow into the heroes they needed to be to save the day. I love superheroes so much that my wife helped me decorate my classroom with a superhero theme. (She has tried to decorate it in all sorts of things before, but cutesy doesn’t work for me. This is much more my style! Thanks, Wifey!)

Every super hero has an origin story depicting how they obtained superpowers. Spiderman received his powers from a radioactive spider. Wonder Woman discovers she’s a demigod. Tony Stark keeps shrapnel out of his heart by building an arc-reactor that he later uses to power a suit of armor. Captain America receives super soldier serum. Batman trains his mind and body in order to gain superhero abilities. You get the idea.

I see other popular shows, movies, and books in the same light. In Harry Potter, characters use wands to produce superpowers. The Lord of the Rings, the rings of power give their wearers superpowers. The Stormlight Chronicles have superpowers in the form of shardblade or bonding with a spren. Mistbornhas superpowers from burning metals in their bodies. Naruto uses chakra. Gummy Bears use gummy bear juice. Ninja Turtles use ooze. Dragon Ball Z uses ki. I could go on and on. I have a feeling I could find superpowers even in some of those cheesy Hallmark movies my wife watches.

My love of superpowers means that I can’t help but have them in my stories, too. When I go to write a story, they are usually the first thing I research. I create worlds and storylines with superpowers in mind. In VERVE STONES, rare characters can access verve stones which give a variety of superpower abilities. In NINTH NIGHT, I included the mystery of a mythological creature so there is at least a possibility of a superpower. In UNDER, Boyd uses a superpower from the Glide-Suits. In a story in production, superpowers are passed down from descendants. For example, King Midas passes on his golden touch.

I nerd out about superheroes. What is your thing? What could you talk for hours on end about?

Actual Ending

So excited BACK OF BEYOND has an actual real life ending! No jarring cliffhanger without a resolution for a rookie writer like in VERVE STONES. A climax that provides resolution to Spoon’s dilemma, wraps most plot points, and gently lays the groundwork for THE LEGEND OF SPOON #3. Now to send it to Robin Puelma for revisions and editing to see if she agrees.