Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Genrefied

So I was looking over a manuscript of mine earlier. It's not a full manuscript, just the first three chapters that the potential agent asked to see. The potential agent and I did not see eye to eye on this one. Such is life. I've had three agents. Two I fired. One left the agenting part of the industry. I've had a lot of novels sold. Mostly by myself, so, you know, it is what it is.

I bring this up mostly because the novel in question doesn't fall into the category of horror, where a lot of my novels end up. It is most decidedly steampunk, with a twist of horror, a dash of political intrigue, a hefty dose of action and just for kicks I've even got a bit of romance tossed in. Like I said, it's steampunk. Sort of.

Another book I'm working on is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel with zombies and worse thrown in. It's the first of three novels planned in a series, and by the time the third book is finished you're decidedly dealing with a fantasy setting.

And then there's the sequel to BLOODSTAINED OZ (BLOODSTAINED WONDERLAND), that I'm working in with Christopher Golden (Yes, I KNOW you've heard that before, but I AM working on it, I'm just taking waaaaaay too long to get my part done. But I mean it, I'm working on it actively right now.).

When I'm done with BLOODSTAINED WONDERLAND I'm going to finish off BOOMTOWN, you know, the western-horror-action fusion that I've been plodding away on for two years.

Of course I just finished my second collaborative novel with Charles R. Rutledge, which is best called a fusion of crime fiction and horror with a side of Southern Gothic thrown in.

and soon the ebook version of my novel FIREWORKS will be coming out. That's the science fiction political thriller I did a while back.

And then there's the SUBJECT SEVEN series. The YA series that's science fiction and action adventure.

A couple of the reviews for BLOOD RED said it was a good vampire story with a surprising romance thrown in. Imagine my surprise. I had no idea I was writing a romance. I'm okay with that, by the way. I had a lot of fun writing it, whatever it was I was writing.

Did I mention the sword and sorcery trilogy? Yep. Got one of those, too.

How about the horror mosaic novel? Or the science fiction mosaic novel?

I spin a lot of plates at any given time. I LIKE spinning a lot of plates the same way that I like playing with many, many characters and subplots when I'm writing a book.

Most people tell me I write horror. A few reviewers have corrected this to say that I write urban fantasy. I'm good with that. Really, at the end of the day, I write stories. I usually leave it for the publishers to decide what to call a story when I'm done. As long as they don't call it "rejected" I'm basically happy.

The thing is, I write stories. Some of them are horror. Some of them aren't. Most of them probably have a few moments designed to generate fear, because I think that fear is important as a driving tool and because I like a good spooky story.

Mostly I write stories. I don't care what label goes on them as long as there's a little logic to it. When FIREWORKS first came out, I suggested calling it a science fiction novel. The published decided to call it horror, because that was where I had the fans. I opted not to complain because, a) the publisher probably knows a bit more about marketing than little old me did at the time and b) I was made absolutely giddy by the notion that I might have fans.

I probably should have argued a bit in hindsight. The story really isn't horror, though, again, there are a few horror elements.

My point is that I write stories. Yes, I'm repeating myself. I think sometimes things should be repeated. I  write stories. Now and then I've had reviewers, fans (YAY!) and publishers who have been uncertain where something should go. I tend to think books are best served by going on nightstands and later on book shelves when the reading is done. Or if you read electronic books, in the proper storage spot where, hopefully, readers will want to revisit the tales I've told.

I have been genrefied. Well, me and bloody near every writer out there.

And I'm okay with that, too, as long as I'm still having fun writing. But I have to tell you, I'm no sooner going to limit what I write than I am going to limit what I read. It might be that I'll never sell some of the things I write, but I will write them just the same. I tend to think some of the best writers out there break away from writing in a single genre, and that in so doing they are pushing the boundaries of what can be written (Who do I mean? Well, for starters, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert RS. McCammon, F Paul Wilson, Tom Piccirilli, Christopher Golden, H.P. Lovecraft,  Tim Lebbon, Robert E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner....the list goes on.)  Do I think I'm one of the best writers out there? Nope. But I want to be. So how can I do less than the ones I admire the most?

Besides, why would I want to limit myself by only ever telling one kind of story? Where would the fun be in that?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

NIght Eyes

So, Charles Rutledge and yours truly have pubished a short story through Amazon.com, called "Night Eyes." It's a tale of Wellman, Georgia, the fictitious town that is also the setting for BLIND SHADOWS and the follow up novel CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD. The story is free for the next few days, from 8/26 through 8/30.

You can get it right here: Night Eyes

And just for fun, here's the cover art:

Neil Armstrong

I just heard that Neil Armstrong has passed away and I am a bit saddened by that fact. Only a bit. I must confess I never met the man. I am saddened not because he has left the world, but because I never got to meet him. And I am saddened, of course, for his family.
He was and is one of my heroes. He and Buzz Aldrin, along with every other astronaut ever to brave the stars, inspired me and millions of others. And at times when my life has seemed truly overwhelming, I have looked at the accomplishments of those folks and realized that no matter how daunting the world may seem, obstacles are made to be overcome.
And they can be overcome. That's the important part. So a moment of thanks for the fine folks who have reached for the stars and found them. Thank you so very much for the inspiration.
And welcome back to the heavens, Mr. Armstrong. We never met, but you will be missed.

Neil Armstrong

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Night eyes

So a while back Charles R. Rutledge and yours truly wrote BLIND SHADOWS and then we wrote a small promotional story last year and put it up on my website for all of a month. And then it went away. 

And now, we're gonna put it up as a free read on Amazon.com. 

Why? Because we can. And because stories should be read. And because it promotes BLIND SHADOWS. And because we can. 

I'll post the link as soon as it becomes actively available. 

And just in case you feel like surfing a bit, here are a couple of links to reviews for BLIND SHADOWS. 

http://famousmonstersoffilmland.com


http://horrorworld.org

And from Baryon-Online:


Monday, July 2, 2012


Blind Shadows

BLIND SHADOWS, James A Moore and Charles R Rutledge, Arcane Wisdom, $49, limited to 150 signed and numbered copies, 300 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

I’m more impressed with the writing of James A Moore with each new book of his that comes into my library. He has also had some marvelous collaborations and this one is no exception. This may be the best of all and I’m ready for a sequel or three featuring the characters I met in this Gothic Georgia tale.

Sheriff Carl Price calls his friend, Wade Griffin - a sometime private investigator, to the scene of a murder outside the town of Wellman, Georgia. The victim is a friend of theirs and has been ritualistically killed with stakes through his eyes and genitals, lashed to a St Andrews’ cross and embellished with strange characters carved into his body. The worst thing about it was that he was still alive when it took place.

Wade takes pictures of the carvings and seeks help from Charon, who runs the local magic shop and has knowledge of many arcane subjects. Sheriff Price follows his investigation by questioning Merle Blackbourne, the patriarch of a clan well known for meth making and other lawless pursuits.

Charon uses her computer skills and knowledge to track down an expert in the arcane and she and Wade visit him to gain more information. Carter DeCamp aides them in translating parts of the symbols, but does appear to know more than he lets on.

The backstory of the history of the area and the Blackbourne family make for interesting reading and give an historical feel to the events of today and make it more real to the reader. Moore and Rutledge do a delightful job in the creation of the setting and for those of us who live in Georgia can almost pinpoint where the events take place.

Meanwhile Sheriff Price receives a clue, but is attacked by Frank Blackbourne, a mountain of a man who has supposedly been dead for over twenty years. Other strange things begin to happen and the story gains speed and begins to move at a breakneck speed as stolen cars, missing people, the Old Ones, and interdimensional beings enter the puzzle.

Moore and Rutledge have created a marvelous tale that would find a home in the tales by Lovecraft or Manly Wade Wellman. It is a story of re-opening gateways, human sacrifice, the return of the Old Ones, and plenty of action.

Don’t let this one get away. There are only 150 available and it should sell out quickly. Check out the specifics at www.miskatonicbooks.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Copper

BBC America aired the first episode of Copper on Sunday. I was very suitably impressed. Not only do they have the settings down beautifully--relatively as a lot of the settings are slums--they also seemed to have a no-holds-barred mentality on handling the darker aspects of the show. There are police shoot outs, murders, racial tensions, prostitutes, child prostitutes, class warfare considerations and, of course, police corruption, and none of them done in a sensationalist way, but rather handled with a sort of quiet determination.

I genuinely can't imagine a show quite like Copper running on regular television in the US. I don't think it would have been handled as well. Premium cable channels, maybe, but not on regular television.

The show is set back when the western expansion was in full swing, but it takes place in New York City. It's interesting to see someone take on the wild wild east for a change of pace.

I'm looking forward to watching the show develop. If you have chance to catch it, I'd recommend you give it a shot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lovecraft Territory

So today marks the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft, a man called by none other than Stephen King "The twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." Considering the source, that's some mighty high praise.

It's also justified. There have certainly been a plethora of influential writers, but I think anyone remotely familiar with the genre can see Lovecraft's influences (though I've run across a few writers who vehemently denied being influenced even as they were following in the man's footsteps.).  He's had an impact on Hollywood, on video games, on comic books, television and fiction in general over the years. I will not say he stands alone in his influences, but he most certainly had an impact on me over the years. My short story "A Place Where There is Peace" and the novel DEEPER would not exist without Lovecraft's seminal tale "A Shadow Over Innsmouth," and I daresay a good number of other authors have been heavily influenced over the years. I'll do youi one better: one of my favorite movies of all time is the old classic "The Creature From The Black Lagoon, (Universal, 1954) and I know a lot of other writers who would agree. I don't think that movie could exist in the form that was eventually presented without that very same tale by Lovecraft, and that's just one example of how much influence the man has had over the years.

One of the things I always liked best about Lovecraft (or at least the tales I've heard about him) was that he genuinely seemed to enjoy the notion of having people dabble in the areas where he was defining himself as a writer. He encouraged a good number of younger writers over the course of his life, and he corresponded with many a fellow writer to the point where volumes of his collected letters have been put together over the years and published repeatedly.

Here's the part that  like best: 122 years after he was born, I saw dozens, literally dozens, of notes posted to Facebook reminding people that today was his birthday.  I like to think Mr. Lovecraft would have been pleasantly surprised by the influence he's had.

Sometime within the next couple of months, by the way, I'll be starting the sequel to DEEPER. It's called FROM A LOWER DEEP and I've already written it in my head. I just have to get it down in a more easily accessible format.

I truly hope I can do justice to Lovecraft's legacy.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tony Scott

Tony Scott, the director and producer of countless movies, many of them blockbusters, has apparently committed suicide.
What a misery. He was a brilliant man. He created some truly phenomenal works and I hope he is remembered properly for those and that his passing doesn't create the sort of footnote that takes away from the life he lived, the works he created and the people he touched through the years.
My condolences to his family and his loved ones, for what little that might be worth.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attack of the Funky Werepig

So, I'll be online tomorrow night for an interview with the Funky Werepig.
Yes, the Funky Werepig.

Actually his name is Greg and he does online interviews.

I'm to be his latest victim. Friday night at 9 PM

Anyone interested in joining in can listen in to the bloodshed via www.tmvcafe.com.

Just so you know.

Jim


Sunday, August 12, 2012

THE LONG BLACK TRAIN

Okay, I'll make this short and sweet: Most of what I want to say can be found here: Singular Points review-The Long Black Train.

I need to add a few things though: Damn. What a wonderful surprise. It's nice to see a tightly written, dark tale from time to time and even nicer when it surprises me with the intensity of the writing. Before I read the above review by Charles R. Rutledge (you know, my coauthor on BLIND SHADOWS and CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD) I had never heard of Heath Lowrance. Not surprising, really, as there are a lot of good authors I've never heard of. What was surprising was just exactly how good he is. Mr. Lowrance has won an instant fan. And like my coauthor before me, I broke down and bought the previous story with Hawthorne, our anti-hero. I'll be reading it soon, too. It went right to the top of my list.

Should you want to know more about the author or his works you can check out his blog right here: Heath Lowrance.

What? You thought I was kidding about reading a few westerns?

I'll also be watching the season finale of LONGMIRE tonight, when I'm done editing on BOOMTOWN, and then I'll be watching HELL ON WHEELS, the season two premiere.  I am an equal opportunity geek. If I like it, I'll watch it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Going West

A while back I started a novel called BOOMTOWN. I got a good ways into it and was moving along at a solid pace. Okay, I wrote 74,000 words worth of novel. I was cooking hard and fast on this bad boy. And then I stopped.

The biggest problem I had with the process was me. The publisher was happy with the progress and the story and the work you see above is the cover for the novel. Seriously, the book was almost done when I stopped. I didn't lose interest exactly, but I lost faith in the work. The problem came down to this: I simply was not happy with the way the story was going: Lots of action, some nice character development, subplots, etc. But the damned story wasn't working for me.  And when I don't have faith in the work, I can't continue. To do so would make me a liar. I can't abide liars. It's one thing to tell a tale and another to lie in the process. If that doesn't make sense to you, I'll simply have to ask you to trust me on that one.

And now it's time to get back to it. I have people who have been waiting for the final book for a while now and the biggest challenge for me is whether or not I'll be starting from scratch or working through what I'd already written and deciding whether or not I should try to salvage any of it.
I'm not sure yet. I have to actually read the entire bloody thing first and decide.

This much I know: it's a western and there are cowboys, indians, gunslingers, undertakers, miners, dynamite, horses, monsters, skinwalkers...Yeah, I know. But it's still mostly a western.
Either way, it's going to be the same basic story. I know what I want to say. I just am not sure exactly how I want to say it.

As an added bonus, I'm having fun watching a lot of westerns to get me in the proper mood. Tonight's fare was True Grit by the Coen Brothers. As directors and writers they have never done me wrong. I'm also reading a lot of westerns right now. Why? Inspiration and to avoid duplication. Same as I read almost anything. I want to write a western, but I want to write MY western. And I want to make sure that what I'm writing isn't a bad pastiche. So to that end, I'm doing a lot of reading. And I'm loving every bloody second of it.

Back in the saddle again, indeed.

I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you suddenly find you want to read a few westerns of your own, there are places where you can look. Here are a couple of links to add to the numerous ones you'll find to the right of this blog entry: http://westernfictioneers.blogspot.com and http://westernfictioneers.com are good starting points with a few more links to help you along the way.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homestead

Now and then you write a story and you think "Well, that was different," and you hope it turns out all right.

And then somebody comes along and says it doesn't suck. Example given: this review from Baryon about Homestead.

I am officially pleased.

The illustrations that I've sen for it are gorgeous, but that's no surprise. Alex McVey is amazing.

Should you be interested in checking this one out for yourself, you can order it here.

SERENITY FALLS BOOK ONE: WRIT IN BLOOD

So the limited edition of the Serenity Falls Trilogy will be coming out soon from DarkFuse Publications. By soon, I mean early next year. 


With that in mind I thought I'd pull out some of the reviews from when it was first released and show them to you. Well, snippets, really. But here they are:



"In Serenity Falls, James A. Moore has written a novel where all hell breaks loose-literally. His descriptions of small town quirks and foibles hit the mark on all cylinders. DO NOT be intimidated by the phone book size of this one. The book is a quick read with very little filler." -- James Argendeli, CNN Headline News

"Moore creates and develops a whole population's worth of memorable characters, dealing with a myriad of personal and societal ills through their experiences. Chief among those characters is the appealingly enigmatic Hunter, Jonathan Crowley, previously introduced in Under the Overtree. He's also created an entire history for the town: working in the past incidents that haunt the town in just the right places to maintain suspense and menace, yet not derail the forward momentum of his narrative drive. Indeed, the novel's structural integrity is among its finest points. The shear complexity of his numerous plots and subplots, set in the present and the past, could have overwhelmed his story had he not pieced it together so perfectly. Imagine a book with the scope of Stephen King's It not hampered by clumsy construction (something King himself readily admits to) and you might get some idea of the magnitude of Moore's accomplishment with this book.

"As of this writing (June 3, 2003), this is easily the best horror novel to appear this year. It's more ambitious and thorough than the last three horror novels you've read put together. If there's any justice in the world, James A. Moore will be the genre's next superstar. He's the only horror author out there who's already writing at the level of the modern greats, with the same mainstream sensibilities that made bestsellers of them all. There really hasn't been a new horror superstar to take that leap into big time mainstream success since Dan Simmons. So remember, you heard it here first: the name James A. Moore will soon be spoken in the same reverent tones we now speak of King, Straub and Koontz. Count on it."-- Garrett Peck--Cemetery Dance Magazine


"Although this might sound like a steep price tag for a paperback novel, you're going to get your money's worth with this one, in terms of both quality and quantity. It runs well over eight hundred pages, and for the most part it's very tightly plotted and integrated. A comparison to early Stephen King is inevitable, because it's the kind of novel King might have written. A mysterious force arrives in a small town and occupies the body of one of its residents. Once established, it sets out to bring about the systematic destruction of the entire community through violence, mistrust, hatred, and fear. The relentless efforts of the antagonist are opposed by a young boy who slowly wakens to the danger while those around him remain oblivious. You'll become immersed very quickly, and once caught up in the story, you'll find it difficult to put the book away until you've finished it."--Don D'Ammassa, Chronicle Magazine issue 234 



"SERENITY FALLS is quite possibly the best horror novel since SALEMS' LOT. How's that for a strong recommendation? I have solid proof to offer - 800+ pages that will grab and horrify you while maintaining a death grip on your interest throughout. This is the ultimate page-turner." -- Jim Brock, Baryon Magazine



Oh, and just to add to the fun, I have a neat new cover piece for it!

See? 




Saturday, August 4, 2012

The home stretch

We're almost done with the collaboration. Charles R. Rutledge and me, that is. The second collaboration. We're planning a few more, because we're both having a blast working with characters of Griffin and Price.
And messing with them.
Half of the fun here is the realization that the characters you're creating are as flawed and frail as the people who created them. I know that sounds odd, but I think it's the truth. In this book particularly we've sort of opened a few running wounds and watched the characters bleed. And I need to clarify something here, I don't just mean we've put a hurting on them physically (that's almost guaranteed with the sort of book we're writing) but also that we've made them reassess themselves as human beings. Sometimes that happens and you're aware of it and other times it sneaks past you, but in this case it's been different because we've actually had discussions about it. Okay, some of those came down to Charles looking at me and saying "You're not being very nice to Carl." Often followed by me nodding vigorously because, damn, I've been beating on the lad this time around. What can I say? Sometimes I'm an angry god. Sometimes I'm just not at all nice to the characters I create.
That's okay. They always get out of it alive.
Well, okay. That's just plain a lie. Sometimes they get out of it alive. Seldom unscathed.
At any rate, we'e on the home stretch of a book that deals with a lot of darkness. We'll be doing a bit more rewriting this time around, because the story isn't quite as straightforward as the lat one. This too is okay. it's not the same book. It was never meant to be the same book. What would be the point of writing the same book twice?
And yes, as I said we're already planning more books with the same characters and you know what? They won't be the same book either.
By the time we get together in the middle of next week the odds are good the first draft will be finished.  We'll discuss what changes we think we need to make while we're signing the signature sheets for BLIND SHADOWS.




Which is due out in October from Arcane Wisdom.


The second book, by the way, is called CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD Where does the title come from? Proverbs 21:16: "The man who wandereth out of the way of wisdom shall abide in the congregation of the dead." That should not be taken to mean that the book is a careful analysis of the Bible, just for the record.