Here We Go

I am moving at the Speed of Quality: Substance over Surface; Value over Volume; and constantly striving to surpass an increasingly high standard, driven by the absolute belief that the Extraordinary is something that can be Chosen.

All Good Things Happen In Time

We’ve made the Kickstarter goal for the DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS Project, with sixty hours to go. DotD WILL be a print book. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this, both in pledges and in spreading the word about it.

There are still several great rewards to be claimed, and pledges coming in. We’re now looking to hit $10,000, which means a better print run, so give us a hand in making this last dash to the finish a spectacular run!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/james-a-owen-the-drawing-out-the-dragons-project

The Drawing out the Dragons Project on Kickstarter…

…has cruised past the $5000 mark, and a lot of cool new rewards have been unlocked! Go have a look, and give us some support to get this book out in beautiful hardcover and paperback editions. A little over a week to go, and still a chunk of money to raise!

Details are here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/james-a-owen-the-drawing-out-the-dragons-project

A Day of Wonder: Get Drawing Out the Dragons for free.

I’ve been saying for a few days now that I felt like doing something Epic. And this is what I chose to do.

Drawing out the Dragons is, I believe, my best, most vital, most necessary work. The responses I’ve gotten since releasing the ebook in April have, at least in part, shown me that my readers feel the same way. But still, as passionate as the comments, letters, and reviews have been, it’s difficult for someone to really explain what the book is, and what effect reading it can have on someone’s life.

A line from one of my favorite films keeps coming to mind: “No one can tell you what the Matrix is. You have to experience it for yourself.”

The Kickstarter project to do audio and print editions has been dealing with a similar conundrum – it’s hard to present just what the book is in simple terms; it’s more of a motivational experience than a literary one.

People who share their own thoughts about the book have been immensely helpful, as have my online friends and associates who are both prompting people to read the book and to support the Kickstarter project. I myself am still the most effective advocate – but I have other work that has to be attended to as well – and besides, it’s a bit monotonous to read post after post by one person talking about a book, even if that person is the author.

The only thing simpler, which may be even more effective, is to allow the book to speak for itself. So I shall.

Starting right now, in mid-afternoon of Sunday, July 3rd, and going until midnight tomorrow, July 4th, the ebook – in all three formats – of Drawing out the Dragons is free. And in that span of time, I want to give away one thousand copies, and see if we can’t accelerate the public dialogue about it to a nice respectable level.

I need the help of ALL of you who have supported me and my work – and especially, those of you who have been touched by this book. I want you to send a personal note – not just post a link on the winds of the net – but actually CHOOSE ten people of your own acquaintance to write to suggesting they download this book. Friends, family, colleagues… Anyone whom you feel may benefit from reading it, or especially, who may NEED to read it, right now. Tell them what it is. Tell them why they should read it. And then tell them how to download it.

There is no reciprocation expected or required, and there is no limitation on the number of downloads during the timeframe of this offer. If you know more than ten people you feel would like it – write to more. Twenty. Fifty. A Hundred. Right now, until midnight tomorrow, the book is free to download and read.

What everyone who does read it chooses to do then is entirely up to them. As all good choices should be.

EDITED TO NOTE: The holiday promotion ended (after a six-hour extra extension!) at 6am on July 5th. I hope everyone who took us up on it is enjoying their book!

 

 

A Declaration of ebook Independence

Ebooks are rapidly becoming as ubiquitous a format as print for book reading; a trend I am embracing with my ebook releases of Drawing out the Dragons, The Unusual Motion of Strange Beasts, and MythWorld Book One: The Festival of Bones.

Still, it’s not a perfect medium yet: everyone seems to use different formats. Amazon uses mobi, and Barnes & Noble uses epub. For myself, I still prefer to create books as pdf’s, which allow me total control over the design, and which can be read on any device – but which doesn’t allow fore reflowable, resizable text. There are apps available to read ebooks across other platforms, but still, it involves a bit of a sorting and winnowing process to choose which format can and ought to be read on which device, and it’s making me crazy.

So, I’ve sorted it out, and, at least here at Coppervale, have a solution.

From this point forward, anyone purchasing ANY of the ebooks we have available will receive not just a single format, but a zip file which contains ALL AVAILABLE VERSIONS of that ebook. So, if you buy Drawing out the Dragons, you can read it on ANY device, in ANY format you prefer.

Those of you who have already bought a version of any of these books from Coppervale won’t be left out, either. We’re going to set up a link where you’ll be able to download the zips for free. We’ll post more information about that after the holiday.

Sooner or later the market will evolve a single standard format – but until that happens, I want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy and read my books, now matter WHAT device they’re using to read them.

A Printsly Offer

At conventions, I’ll often discount prints for younger fans, or for fans who are on tight budgets, but would love to have some of my art on their walls. Today, we’re going to pretend I’m at a convention. I’ve lowered the price on all seven prints from my novels (select pieces from HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS and THE SEARCH FOR THE RED DRAGON) by fifty percent for today only. Have a happy Sunday, everyone.

http://coppervaleinternational.com/?page_id=20

Writing You Can Swear By (Or At)

I’m writing this piece to inform everyone who bought MythWorld Book One: The Festival Of Bones in the last twenty-four hours that you are now the owners of a collector’s item – because the vesion that was first released is not the current, permanent version that’s for sale now.

I made an editorial judgment call, one which I’d already been debating, and talked myself out of making until we’d actually published the book. Then, I realized I was still debating it internally – which, to me, is significant. My subconscious doesn’t mess around. If I’ve made a choice that isn’t resonating with my core beliefs, then it lets me know by basically itching at my brain until I give it my conscious attention

I didn’t write the MythWorld novels for kids – but then again, I didn’t write the Imaginarium Geographica novels for kids, either; it was a YA editor who liked them the most, and the rest of that tale changed the course of my career. Still, the MythWorld books were definitely written for a more mature audience – mostly, I thought, due to the complexity of the stories I was telling

However, the Imaginarium Geographica books were also very, very complex – and being read by kids as young as ten, with no comprehension problem. So what was the difference

Simply put, sex, and language. And far more language than sex – mostly in the form of casual swearing – although the sexy scenes, while still relatively tame by most standards, are more sensual than sexual, and extremely effective. (See Chapter Three, for my favorite example.

And herein lay my problem: my readership consists of a very large percentage of teens (no problems with sex and language) and an equally large percentage of pre-teens (which also includes their parents, teachers, and librarians – which is where there may be a problem with sex and language in the books.

That wasn’t my biggest concern, though. The casual swearing was – because, you see, I don’t swear. Hardly ever.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I believe in it, as a use of language; it’s a form of exclamation, and often extremely appropriate. There’s a recurring swear word in MythWorld Book Two that absolutely MAKES the book… but I digress. Swearing is useful, and fairly common – I just simply don’t engage in it much. And neither do the characters in my books – the books I write now, that is.

But then, a decade ago, I was still finding my way around creating characters in prose – and in MythWorld, this resulted in a lot more casual swearing than I’d recalled. And the concern I had over most of those uses – most, but not all – also brought me back to three scenes where a few lines alone might have made the book less appropriate for a younger reader. Let me be clear: I’m not worried at ALL about a thirteen year old reading these books. It’s the bright ten year old I’m concerned about. And if I wouldn’t want my own almost nine year old reading those few scenes as they were (or worse, asking for specific lines to be explained) then I didn’t want to put my readers, or their parents, or their librarians in that position, either.

And if you think one word won’t make that big a difference, try a little experiment next time you’re in a crowded grocery store: yell “Flurkle!” at the top of your lungs, and see who gets offended. Then try it using a different word that begins with “F”. See what I mean?

I’m not a prude, and as I said, swearing and profanity has uses in the right places – and most of my uses weren’t the right places, so I changed many of them, often with one word switched, or deleted, or with a diplomatic rewrite of a sentence. And I went back to those other scenes, the sexy ones, and took out a couple of lines and changed a few words so that while the scenes were still sensual, they weren’t going to make the book something inaccessible to my younger readers.

As I said, I never wrote any of my books for kids – they were simply marketed that way, and so kids make up a huge part of my readership. A readership I plan to keep reading everything I write. And if I can continue to create compelling enough stories to keep my older readers too, then it’s a win all around.

So, that’s it in a nutshell – there were no major changes of content, just a few alterations. Because I want ALL of my readers to be able to continue following down the roads I’m creating, and being able to make changes like that without lessening the story is what writers do.

Man alive… sometimes this job is harder than it looks. I swear.

Welcome to the New (Myth)World

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS author James A. Owen launches a new Urban Fantasy series – as ebooks

June 23, 2011 – Silvertown, Arizona – The shifting landscape of publishing is something that should be embraced, not feared, according to popular YA author James A. Owen, who is leading by example by releasing his next series, MythWorld, as ebooks.

“My friend Will Eisner often remarked how the comic book market always went in cycles,” Owen says, “and I think the same is true of publishing in general. There are always going to be ups and downs, but what’s most important is to keep creating good work, and then finding the best way to make that work available to your readers. And right now, ebook devices and apps are creating opportunities to reach new readers that we’ve never had before.”

Owen had a long history of publishing his work through his own imprint, Coppervale Press, particularly in the comics field with his graphic novel series StarChild, before signing with publisher Simon & Schuster to release the seven book series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica.

The series includes The Search for the Red Dragon, The Indigo King, The Shadow Dragons, The Dragon’s Apprentice, and the book that started it all, Here, There Be Dragons, which has gone through multiple printings and is published in more than twenty countries. A long bout with pneumonia last Fall threatened the series’ annual release schedule, and has potentially delayed the last two volumes, The Dragons of Winter, and The First Dragon. As Owen recovered from the illness and worked to catch up on the schedule, he realized that while those specific books might have to wait for publication – there was no reason for the readers to wait so long to read new stories.

MythWorld , which Owen says is “…an Urban Fantasy Pulp Adventure epic about ancient manuscripts, zen illusionists, opera, murder, magic, and the alternate History of the World” was Owen’s second large project after StarChild, and began as a series of traditionally published novels in Germany, but of seven planned books only five were written, and four published – the result, Owen says, of market conditions at the time. “Sales were pretty good, and Book One won the AI Award for Best International Novel, but it wasn’t enough to make a living on, not at the time. But times change.”

Two volumes were published in France by Studio Malens, but Owen never sold the rights anywhere else, something he now says is due to providence and synchronicity. “The right offer never materialized, and I was busy working on the Dragons books. Then, when I was in the middle of the pneumonia, the epublishing revolution started, and I realized that there were some opportunities to be had – especially for an author with an established readership.”

In April 2011, Owen revived his Coppervale Press imprint with the motivational/inspirational ebook, Drawing out the Dragons, which has received rave reviews and is selling in ever-increasing numbers. Next came the short story collection The Unusual Motion of Strange Beasts, published in May, and which also included a special preview chapter of MythWorld. And now, Owen and Coppervale have published MythWorld Book One: The Festival of Bones. It’s available as a pdf via the Coppervale International website, and will shortly join Owen’s other books on Amazon and BN.com. But that’s not all.

“When this started with those first plans in Germany,” Owen says with a Cheshire grin, “it wasn’t going to be just seven books, but two series of seven books each, followed by one more concluding novel, for fifteen MythWorld books in all.” Owen plans to release all fifteen at roughly monthly intervals over the next year and a half. “I have the first series almost completed, and we’ll be releasing Books Two and Three over the next couple of weeks. But Book Four I expect to create a lot of noise,” Owen adds, “because it has a very direct tie to my Imaginarium Geographica novels. A conversation that began in The Dragon’s Apprentice is concluded in MythWorld Book Four. So there are definitely connections that the readers are going to love!”

The fact that the books can be released immediately after completion and editing is part of the attraction, said Owen, who also designs and illustrates the covers of his books, but he has no plans to step away from traditional print publishing. “I’m the nephew of printers,” he said, “and I love a gorgeous book in and of itself. Simon & Schuster has done such a wonderful job with the Imaginarium Geographica books, and my working relationship with the editors, art director, publishers, and all of our bookseller partners is definitely something I want to continue.”

Owen said he and S&S Books For Young Readers President Jon Anderson have discussed his followup to the current series. “It would probably be a quartet of books in a new series, but before that can be planned, I have to finish up the art on The Dragons of Winter, and then wrap things up with The First Dragon, both of which are keeping me very busy,” Owen said in conclusion, “but busy is good. I’ve been busy, and not busy – and I definitely prefer busy!”

MythWorld Book One: The Festival of Bones, is available now at www.coppervaleinternational.com and this weekend at amazon.com and bn.com.

For more information contact:

James A. Owen

Coppervale Press

info@coppervaleinternational.com

A Glimpse Inside The Fortress Of Solitude (or, The Chocolate Factory, Depending On The Day)

The Coppervale Studio, being an old renovated church, is a very large creative space. Part of my overall goal was to have a place to work where you could, if stuck, pick up your project, move twenty feet in any direction, and end up in a completely new creative environment.

At night, I like to write in the big lecture hall, while a U2 concert is projected in front of me on a ten-foot screen; during monsoon season, I like to work on the second-story performance stage, because I can watch the storms roll in from a hundred miles away.

Still, the majority of my work is done in my private office, which was a library when I was a kid, and earlier than that, was the upper half of the original chapel.

It’s a nice space. It suits me. And as it has been recently cleaned in preparation for some new Necessary Mischief, I wanted to share it with all of you.

This is the view as you enter from the hallway:

And my art area:

My writing area, and project reference shelves:

The reading area:

And the new projects/design area.

You don’t HAVE to work in a creative space to do creative work… but it certainly HELPS.  😉