New Book Release - Kalleron Book II
In 2016, I had an idea for a story. It was an elemental fable which I wrote over the course of one year. I thought it was perfect and sent it away to agents, but to my surprise, I had no success. I thought it was cool—surely it should be a bestseller? Nope. In hindsight, I know why, however, the consequence of that early failure was the spark that lit the fire of my imagination. I rewrote the story and sent it away again, only to return with more failure. It wasn’t until I employed the services of literary agent and editor, John Jarrold, that I understood my amateur mistakes. Motivated by John’s critique, I rewrote the entire thing for the third (or fourth) time. I called it Kalleron, and it was 186,000 words long. I submitted it to dozens of agents, but it should come as no surprise by now that none took it on. It was a truly humbling experience. By this point, you’d think I’d give up. It was clear—I’m not a talented writer, except that’s not exactly true (allow me one ego-trip). John himself said he liked my work. It has excellent characters and a good story. I even had an original premise, and this is from an agent who sees thousands of fantasy submissions a year. Excellent isn’t enough though—an agent needs to ‘love’ the story, and see its commercial value. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I don’t follow market trends. I’m a creative writer, not a ruthless business person. Still, I didn’t give up.
I tried a new tact and wrote Hammer & Glass. I sent it to agents, but once again, they all said no. Specifically, a few said ‘no.’ The rest gave no reply. By now, the depression had crept in. I wrote M7RRORS as a reflection of my mental state. A grim tale about a Glaswegian psychotic and his dysfunctional world. It cheered me up, and it helped me recall something I had promised myself. To hell with agents. I would self-publish my stories. The response from my small reading group was positive, and it gave me the confidence to proceed. After educating myself and reading up on all the required steps, I finally released Hammer & Glass on Amazon in November 2022. It has since received some glowing reviews from the Instagram book community (and they love their books). It was enough to persuade me to go back to Kalleron. After self-publishing M7RRORS in Jan 2023, I set about a complete rewrite of the 186,000 epic that was Kalleron.
I split the book into its two parts. Melody & Majesty, Kalleron Book I, became the first release (in May 2023). Tears & Eternity is the other metaphorical half. The decision to split the work allowed me to add a lot more character development and story detail. There are components missing (to be included in Book III), but the combined length of books I & II is 33,000 words longer than the original epic.
The release of this story is almost an accident. It’s a consequence of initially poor writing, rejection, revision, more rejection, and pig-headed stubbornness. I’ve had hundreds of failed agency submissions. But if you read the reviews (which are honest—none were paid for), you’ll see nothing but positivity. I’ve had comments from readers who don’t understand why I’m not published by the mainstream houses. But that’s another story of bean-counters and faceless corporations.
My next step is to start work on Kalleron Book III. It already has a title and a front cover concept. It’s very much the opposite of Tears & Eternity. There will be war. There will be blood. And the elemental weapon—the Fury—will return. Although there will be substantially more action, it will remain a human story. It is important to me that the characters remain relatable and don’t become two-dimensional archetypes. Likewise, the dialogue should be more cutting than any sword. Blunter than any hammer.
What excites me is that I’ve not written this before. It wasn’t part of the initial Kalleron manuscript. Apart from a few details, Book III is a blank canvas. Which is also a scary prospect. It’s why I’m giving myself six months to get it published. In the meantime, you can read books IV, I, & II (yes, in that order).
James D. McEwan