Friday, March 7, 2014

Spotlight on Art: Darko Tomic

Anyone that reads my blog, or looks at my Facebook page, knows I am a fan of Darko Tomic. He is an amazing artist. I first met Darko on a graphic design web site, and since then he has done several of my book covers. The newest one was for my novel, Wrath of the Fallen.

Recently, Darko was kind enough to agree to an interview with me. I am excited to share that with you today, so you can get to know this talented artist better. Enjoy!

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Belgrade, Serbia.
I grew up in the capital’s suburb surrounded by nature and had a happy and active childhood.
I think of myself as a simple man with simple ambitions. I do not like a lot of the urban lifestyle.
I love nature, animals, music and art.
I live with my wife (a magnificent artist, wife and mother), our two wonderful and unusual kids and our two dogs.

Saturday, November 9, 2013



I got the Wrath paperback version uploaded on January 4th, so it should be available for purchase in 3 to 5 days on Amazon! Thank you for your patience while I got it finished :)

Hey everyone, Wrath of the Fallen actually published a day early, but DON'T BUY IT YET!

Okay, I'm doing a soft launch so I can give it away to fans for 2 days starting tomorrow and ending Monday night on Amazon. So that is November 10th and 11th.

Hope you enjoy the read, and thanks for coming on the adventure with me!

Until next time, may your life be full of fantasy and unlimited bowls of chips and salsa :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thrill-Fest Book Sale!

Halloween marks the winding down of the year’s clockwork, a slowing of the blood through veins. Leaves turn and begin to fall, the sunlight struggles to warm the day, and cold north winds hoot and howl around the eaves. Disembodied things start going bump-bumpity-bump in the night, and voices rise up from the other side of the veil to whisper freaky stuff in your ear when no else one is around—don’t lie, I know you’ve heard them, and that’s okay … except when it’s not … and then you’d better run....

This is also the season when I go into full-on reading mode, and what better way to pay homage to the Great Reading Spirits than by putting all my novels on sale for .99 cents?

Okay, I know I’m a fantasy writer, but in my fantasies demons wear the skins of men, sorcerers weave the blackest spells when the light of day perishes, and monsters and other assorted creepy-crawlies stalk shadows that never die. Did I mention insane cannibals and soul-hungry wights? You’ll find a few of those in my tales, as well. 

But it’s all in good fun. 


And the good guys win. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who Am I?

Disclaimer: Recently I have been doing a blog series about myself. I realize that may seem a bit narcissistic, but I promise my only intention was to help new readers get to know my writing style a bit better! This is the last post in that series, and if you are interested in the other ones you can read them here, here, and here. One is about my dog, and honestly out of the two of us he is the cooler one :)

So who is James A. West?

In short, I’m a relatively new fantasy author, but lately I’ve started branching out. In fantasy, I prefer to write plots heavy with emotional and physical conflict, rather than endless recitations of food, clothing, and court intrigue. Those things have their place in any good tale, and I’m not saying I’ll never go there, but bottom-line, I like a story to move forward. I enjoy writing grittier characters who get tangled in dire situations. Some folks call that Grimdark. Until recently, I’d never heard the term, but once I found out what it meant, I realized that best describes my writing style.  

Now, a brief overview of my work.

My epic fantasy series Heirs of the Fallen is complete at four novels (the last book is still with my editor, and my cover artist is also hard at work). Songs of the Scorpion, on the other hand, is not a fantasy series in the regular sense, but rather a continuing sequence of adventures with recurring characters—more on that in a minute.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Honesty in Writing

Honesty played a big part in writing Wrath of the Fallen, the fourth and last installment of my epic fantasy series Heirs of the Fallen. Not that I tried to inject any super-secret wisdom or life affirming lessons into the novel, but the end result had to stay true to the storyline, and yet still allow me to more fully embrace my natural writing style. All this without upsetting the three or four fans of the series by not going full-bore Grimdark, as is my wont.

So … honesty in writing.

In my last post I talked about settling for what feels safe and comfortable in writing, and why that is hazardous for me. The problem is that cozy gets boring. When I’m bored, I often find myself doing anything I can to avoid the task of creating stories. Dusting the ceiling fans in my house (even my neighbor’s, if they’d let me) becomes a quest for the Holy Grail and El Dorado, all in one. Scrubbing the toilet bowl is like grabbing a trident and standing tall next to Poseidon. Picking up dog poo? Well, now, that is akin to curing every disease known to humankind—you didn’t really expect me to make a landmine joke, did you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Can A Leopard Change Its Spots?

Before I get to the nut of this post, I want to give you a heads up that what follows is long, and maybe soul-suckingly boring. I hope not. I just wanted to reveal some of my recent experiences and epiphanies as a writer and a human, all of which segues into a non-fantasy book reveal that I never intended to publish for fear of rejection.

So I’ve been writing for twenty-plus years. In the beginning, my stories revolved around horror, and evolved to thriller/dystopian science fiction. About ten years ago, I settled on epic fantasy. Settled is the word I want to focus on, and why most people shouldn’t.

I settled for a lot of reasons, but mainly because fantasy is comfortable and safe for me, probably because I’ve always found ancient history interesting. Fantasy gave me some wiggle room to invent new worlds, but had definite boundaries. Heroes with swords, damsels in distress, horses, armies, a little magic, a dash of romance, a pinch of danger—actually, there’s a lot of danger in my writing.

The problem is, I’m not much of a guideline and boundary person when it comes to anything, let alone writing. But I gave in to self-doubt, got caught up in writing fantasy the way I thought I was supposed to write it, and forced myself into an artificial mold. There are a lot of problems with this approach, first and foremost being ... I’m not really a contemporary fantasy fan.

“Holy sheep-shit, an imposter!” you say, and I duck my head in shame. Before you pull out the long knives and eviscerate me, let me back up a bit and explain myself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hello, My Name is Jonesy...

Actually Jonesy is my dog’s name :)  He is one of the most important members of my family, next to my wife (gotta stay out of the doghouse…sorry, couldn’t resist!). Since he is the coolest dog ever, I really want everyone to meet him. But he doesn’t play well with others, so I decided the best way for you to do that was to interview him. Hey, I figure if we authors can interview our characters, surely we can interview our pets ;)

Ready? Here we go!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, how you got such an interesting name, etc.

Hmmm, let’s see. Well, I’m 63 years old and, oh wait, I need to convert that to people years. Okay, I’m 9 years old and I’m a Mini-Schnauzer. At least, that is what humans call my breed. I refer to myself as Wolf Beast, but whatever works for you guys. I’m a native of Montana, and I live here with you and Julie, who I call Omega. I’m named after the boxer (person, not dog) Roy Jones Jr. I like that, because he is a warrior like me.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I really like games. My favorite is Schnauzer Soccer. It’s a pretty rough game. Basically, I take my favorite toy, which right now is my Angry Bird, and I hold it in my mouth. Then, I kick a tennis ball around the house with my paw (I’m a leftie). I have pretty good aim, and can kick the ball really hard. Once the ball rolls away, I chase it or jump over it while I shake my Angry Bird at it in a threatening manner. It’s a real manly game.

That sounds fun. Who taught you to play Schnauzer Soccer?

It is fun! I taught it to myself. Sometimes I mix it up and grab a different toy, but Angry Bird is the best.

It is a cool game. I posted a video of you playing Schnauzer Soccer right here. I’m not the best with computers, so it has no sound, but I sure hope people watch the whole video. You have one really good kick of the ball towards the end!

W-what? What do you mean you posted a video of me? Was I recently groomed? You know how fluffy I get when my hair grows, but it’s all muscle under there.


I’m sure you look fine. Now, what is your favorite food?

Bananas, paws down. You know how much I love those things! You are always trying to sneak them so I can’t have any, but my wolf hearing picks up the sound of the peel. As soon as I hear you, I do a huge leap off the bed, sofa, or wherever I am guarding the perimeter, and I slide into the kitchen! Although, it’s usually just in time to see you hogging it all and swallowing the last bite.