Orctober – Creator Spotlight – James Jakins

orctober

Welcome to the first Orctober, here in my little plot of cyberspace! For the month of October, we’ll be celebrating Orcs and the people who create art with them. It’s Monday and that means the first Orctober post and the first Creator Spotlight post. Let’s kick things off with a peer of mine in the Fantasy Literature world, James Jakins!

 

I met James on Twitter, I think after he found A Demon in the Desert. Like me, he’s someone who decided he needed to write something starring an orc. What he made was Jack Bloodfist: Fixer. He’s a pretty nice dude with the usual geeky interests. He was nice enough to answer my little Orctober survey. Here’s what he had to say.

When did you start creating?
I started writing when I was 11 or 12(none of those creations will see the light of day) but I only really made the conscious decision to pursue it in my early twenties. So I’ve spent close to a decade trying my best to create something that anyone other than myself would give a damn about.

Why do you love orcs?
My love for orcs goes back to the original Warcraft. I always started a human campaign out of some weird race loyalty, then I’d dump that campaign and start an orc one because they had badass green dudes riding giant black wolves, and you really can’t beat that.
Then years later I started reading more Fantasy and was told that orcs are supposed to be the bad guys, which bummed me out a little, but I accepted it(I was a dumb kid). Then, six years ago, I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons(way too late in life, I know). Orcs are supposedly the bad guys in there, too, but my DM had a tendency of introducing us to orc NPCs that reminded my why I used to love the old green-skins.

As I get older, and now as I try my best to write orc characters, I think I love orcs because in a lot of ways they’re a blank canvas. Yeah, there’s a lot of lore there from games and books and all that, but most people don’t think of that when they think of orcs. They see the big, probably dumb brutes, or Tolkien’s orcs, and I love being able to take those conceptions and change them. Creating something new, but still familiar. That’s fun.

What’s your favorite piece of your work?
That’s a really hard question… Generally, my favorite piece is always the one I’m excited to write next, until I actually start it. But out of things that actually exist… I have a novel that I trunked a few years ago because I realized I hadn’t leveled up enough as a writer to do it justice. Some of the characters and scenes in that book are my all time favorites. Hopefully in a few years I’ll be able to share it and not feel immense shame.
But after that, I think Jack Bloodfist: Fixer is my favorite. I set out to write something fun and I think I actually pulled it off. Plus it’s out in the world so I’m able to read the nice things people say about it. So until another of my books gets better reviews, he’s the favorite child.

What’s your favorite piece of someone else’s work?
I have a growing list of orc related reads that I really want to get to. Grey Bastards by Jonathan French looks great, and the little I read of it really got me interested in his Sons of Anarchy inspired orc world. Scott Oden’s A Gathering of Ravens is currently one of my most anticipated releases next year. And I’m still missing a few of the classics, Stan Nichols is still on my to read list, for which I feel shame, so I can’t speak for everything out there, but I actually really enjoyed A Demon in the Desert. I felt like I was reading a weird west themed D&D campaign, which for me, at least, is a huge sell. And, Grimluk just felt like an orc.

What’s your biggest hope for orcs in media?
A Jack Bloodfist TV series? Other than that, I think things are definitely moving in the right direction. More and more books are being released starring the handsome devils. We had the Warcraft movie, which I haven’t seen yet, but it at least exposed a good chunk of the world to them, and I’ve heard rumors of other properties that may or may not actually see the light of day.

High up on my wishlist would be for Wizards of the Coast to make Orcs a default playable race instead of just the go to baddies. Half-orcs are cool and all, but I want a full-blooded orc barbarian in my party.

But seriously, Jack Bloodfist TV series.

That’s James, everyone. You can find him on Twitter @bethteva. Stay tuned for my review of Fixer this month as well. And Wednesday will be ORC FACTS, where I share some wonderful bit of lore from already established franchises like Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls, Warhammer, etc., as well as lore about Grimluk and his world. And don’t worry, no spoilers for Grimluk.

Orctober Approaches

As October 1st barrels toward us, I figured I’d share some plans for the month. What with the Orctober celebration and release of Demon Haunted, I’m putting together some weekly stuff to celebrate. I need to get a few folks still but the plan is for Mondays and Fridays to showcase a different orc-centric or orc-heavy creator. I have several fellow writers lined up, including the granddaddy of orc protagonists, Stan Nicholls, author of the Orcs series.

I’ll also be reading and reviewing two books by two of my peers. Amalia Dillin’s second Orc Saga book, Blood of the Queen, and James Jakins’s Jack Bloodfist: Fixer. I really liked the first Orc Saga book, Honor Among Orcs. It’s a romance heavy adventure and it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to Blood. And Fixer looks fun too and has an amazing cover. After that, Wednesdays will see me sharing factoids about Grimluk and his world. Outside of that MWF stuff, I haven’t decided on what else I’ll do but I’m happy to take suggestions or share things folks want to show off.

The Countdown Begins!

It is September first, and the countdown for Demon Haunted has begun! That’s right, folks, digital pre-orders are up and running. Unfortunately, paperbacks will have to wait until October 1st, as Createspace has yet to implement a pre-order feature. Quick reminder for Indiegogo backers: you’ll be getting your copy + rewards on or after October 1st. For the rest of you, you can find this lovely thing at the following places:

Amazon   Smashwords   Kobo

And if you want to add it to Goodreads, I got ya covered. Click the button!

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On top of that, I’ve released a new cover for A Demon in the Desert, that is completely live already. I liked that first cover but after Bob just utterly knocked it out of the park with the art this year, I thought it might be a good idea to make the art consistent between titles. So the promo piece of Grimluk became the new cover. So, anyone with the old cover, I guess you could argue you have a collector’s edition now! Jump on it!

Demon Haunted Teaser

Firstly, apologies for not following up my Ghostbusters post for the second movie. I’ll be doing a review of the remake though, once I see it. But for now, I thought a nice piece of Demon Haunted might be in order, at least beyond the first chapter. I will, of course, post snippets with no spoilers to the main plot. Mostly, these will be interesting bits and bobs from the first half of the book. This first teaser introduces the Hanging Judge himself. Enjoy!

Continue reading

A Whole Mess of News

For those of you reading on the site itself, you might notice the first bit of news: ashearmstrong.com is now mine. I upgraded my wordpress account. Yes, I could’ve gone ahead and set up my own site via hostgator or one of those but honestly, this was the least stressful option and it works just fine. I can fully decorate the site now and I have the domain name. That’s some good stuff.

Secondly, the Indiegogo campaign is over and finished out with a total of $987, just barely shy of half my intended goal. But that’s okay, I can more than work with that thanks to some awesome folks. That grand total is all thanks to a last minute backer who took the highest reward tier, the $300 Governor, which means that he gets to name not only the governor of New Gilead but also the name of the capital city. Very cool and very appreciated.

Moving forward, I’ll be finishing up the edits on the last chapter of Demon Haunted and then running through the rewritten second chapter one more time before declaring the second draft DONE and starting the process of getting this bad boy edited. Should be able to get all that done this week as chapter 19 is just waiting on me and I need to get some character names from a couple of backers.

Indiegogo says I’ll have my funds on Tuesday, and then I can slam down sweaty fistfuls of cash on Bob Kehl’s desk and get the art side of things started. This time around, I’ll have a full sleeve and I’ll be getting a character piece of Grimluk on top of that for promotional use and the second bookmark.

I’m hoping to have the last draft, and maybe even all the formatting and everything else done by the end of August. If everything goes smoothly, I’ll put up a pre-order for the Kindle version on September 1st and release print and digital on October 1st. Should be a good Orctober celebration this year.

And even though it was WAY early, I snagged the Halloween slot for r/Fantasy’s Writer of the Day, so that should be fun. I’ll figure out what all I’ll do in celebration once it gets closer and for those who prefer to stay away from reddit, I’ll have all my other avenues of social media open as usual.

Beyond that, I have a couple of ideas for blog posts I may do soon and if anyone’s interested, I’m thinking about doing a Ghostbusters franchise retrospective leading up to the release of the reboot in July. I’d cover the movies, the cartoons, the main IDW comic series, and the 2008 video game. Let me know what you think about that.

I think that’s everything for now. There will be art updates as they come though the Indiegogo backers will get everything first. Take care y’all!