Welcome to 2024
Welcome to 2024! I reckon by now that the world lives in peaceful harmony and robots have taken over all of our dirty, dangerous, and menial jobs. Equality abounds, and intolerance is a thing you visit in glass boxes in museums. Partisan politics have given way to rational discourse, and fake news and social media channels follow an honest code of conduct. The world is a finally a better place. Hurrah!
What do you mean, “no”? Seriously? Oh well. If that’s the case, I know what will make it better. You can read my books. Maybe not M7RRORS, though. That’s a challenge you take when you want to explore the frailty of the human mind and the effect it has on severe mental illness. It’s actually a worthwhile read. So say the reviews.
Serious stuff. Mostly.
For escapism, you can delve into the Kalleron series. Beginning at Book IV, Hammer & Glass, you can follow the adventure as a king from old legend takes a fragile elemental child into his protection. Abandoned by her powerful, god-like mother, Kor’A, the young girl, Chara, is an enigma. But within the king, memories of old awaken, and together, they set off to find answers to the riddle of the girl. Why did her mother create her? This child, whose body is solid onyx, yet whose soul is more human than elemental.
All good sagas start at IV
Book IV sprinkles mention of days gone by. Better days. And this paves the way for Book I, Melody & Majesty, and Book II, Tears & Eternity. Set a century before Hammer & Glass, these introduce us to the heroes and villains whose exploits and dastardly deeds create the history of events in Book IV.
What 'Kalleron' became.
In March this year, I will release Book III which will complete the Trilogy of Tears. I have a title and a working design for the cover (artist contacted, and on board), but I’ll release those closer to the time. Book III ties everything together, and closes the chapter on a momentous period in Kalleron’s long history. That will create a ‘quadrilogy’ that encompasses the ‘Tears’ trilogy, and start the next one, the Trilogy of Stone. I’ve already completed the first full draft of Book III, and it is currently in the editing phase.
Where Book III differs from its prequels is that I’ve never written it before. That won’t make much sense unless you’re a time traveller, so I’ll explain. The Kalleron story began in 2016, but has transformed over the years because of agent rejections and professional editorial feedback. I submitted the manuscript for ‘Kalleron’ a few years ago. Combining (and rehashing) two previous stories, it was 186,000 words long, but no agents were interested. *
* Agents need to pitch manuscripts to publishers. Most publishers only think about profit. Trending themes make more money—it’s what people buy. It makes it an uphill struggle to pitch an original work that doesn’t follow ‘populist’ trends. Worse; a ‘debut’ story at 186,000 words is too long for most agents.
It was a blow. But instead of giving up my unique fantasy world, I wrote a new story for it, which became Hammer and Glass. Feedback was fantastic, and despite more agent rejections, I had already promised myself I would self-publish it. That is why Book IV is the first release from James D. McEwan. However, Kalleron already contained the history Hammer & Glass refers to, so I made the tough decision to rewrite it (again). An entire front-to-back rewrite; everything written from scratch. I didn’t study the initial manuscript—I’d reworked it enough times to know the story like the back of my hand. I sat down, and over six or seven months, drafted, edited, and released Kalleron as two new books: Melody & Majesty, and Tears & Eternity. Combined, they are over 230,000 words long.
In this saga, there was one void. A blank page with a few scribbles. Book III never existed in the previous work. There are events mentioned in Book IV, and these few sentences are the only foundations I had to preserve. Other than that, Book III is the first new Kalleron story I have written since I composed Hammer & Glass in 2021. At 132,000 words long, I’m quite pleased with how the prequel trilogy ends. It closes the chapter on the adventures of the cast of Melody & Majesty and Tears & Eternity. I’ll miss them. They’ve become friends to me.
There’s more to finishing this story. When I started Book IV, I envisaged writing the sequels. Chara and Goddard’s adventure would continue. Ironically, it would move toward the original concept I submitted to literary agents back in 2016/17. But I had Kalleron sitting there, and I wanted to flesh out the backstory to Goddard. Now I’m almost there, and Book III will be the last release in the Kalleron saga for a while. It’s taken me almost eight years to get here. In that time, I wrote other stories. But of those projects, there is one I never released to agents. No idea why. But it is that story; an eco-AI-sci-fi, fantasy hybrid that I’ll start this spring. Since I wrote the first draft a few years ago, it’s always had my heart. Writing that will take the rest of the year. Then in 2025, I’ll move onto another previous project: a young adult, dark fantasy. That, or I’ll write my scathing rebuke of the fitness industry in a darkly humorous and satirical literary fiction.
I’ll only return to Kalleron and complete Goddard and Chara’s story when it makes financial sense. At present, I write and publish my work at my expense. I make no income from being an unknown author, although I’m to blame for that. I’ve still to market my work formally (beyond posts on my Instagram feed). Writing is relatively easy—earning from it is not. So, if I’m to do this for the love of creative art, I need to write the book that tugs at my heartstrings. Otherwise, I’ll resent the Kalleron story for side-tracking me.
As a self-published author (often looked down on by the traditionally published authors), my validation comes from reviews, not money. Recently, a reader wrote a review of Melody & Majesty, and posted it on their book review blog (The Bookbeard’s Blog). The author of the review is a magazine editor and freelance sports writer, and an avid reader. That review alone says I’m doing the right thing. If I could direct agents to it, shake them by the shoulders and point at it, I would. Bookbeard also reviewed Hammer & Glass, and that was also highly complementary. I’ve had other excellent reviews from other readers, but when someone in the industry praises your work, it adds significant weight.
Melody & Majesty manages to capture something quite special. Considering the fragility of life and the pointlessness of war in the face of humanity’s beauty is a difficult dichotomy to understand- one never needed now more than ever – but the author does so with aplomb. What emerges is a tale of regrets, revenge, loss and hope and friendship. In the face of abstract machinations, the very human condition is wonderfully woven into the story.
--Extract from The Bookbeard's Blog
So, onwards it is. Come March, I’ll release Book III and spend some money on formally marketing the ‘quadrilogy’. I’ll also close my eyes, walk away from Kalleron, and create a new world for my next manuscript. I truly can’t wait. It’s an incredible adventure.
I hope you'll stick around for it.