Jim has published 5 books (with more in the pipeline), Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate, and Memory's Door. In addition he is an accomplished speaker and an all around great guy. Like me, he is a writer of speculative Christian Fiction (I did not even know that was what it was called!).
To say that I was interested in meeting him would be a bit of an understatement. I had heard about him a while back from my Pastor who happened to be a friend of his from way back. The meeting eclipsed all my expectations (remember that bit in the Bible about "a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over" - that's what I'm talking about friends). One of the things that came about was a bit of advice on writing and getting my books published. As a result I'm going to be going back and cleaning up the first section of the book as I finish this current one. It's all good though, I'm very excited about this and completely re-energized. I'll replace the current first section as soon as I complete the changes. I expect these changes will actually strengthen the narrative and make it an immensely better read.
Finally, here's an excerpt from the chapter I finished this weekend. It starts with Josia Prentice standing at the battlements of Vally Crag....
The old man stood at the battlements. The wind whistled and screeched at his back, constantly threatening to push him forward into the chasm below as it buffeted him. He gave it no attention. He had spent his life ignoring many things while in the service of his Creator and his King. This cold wind at his back was no different. At a distance it would not be easy to see that he was an old man. His shoulders were still wide and his muscular frame was still trim. It wasn't until you got closer that one could see his white hair and the age in his weathered face and hands. Those knobby hands were still filled with strength though, as many a young squire had discovered when they had sparred with him on the practice field.
He was tired though, so very tired. Once his life had been filled with adventure and purpose. he had been blessed to be considered the right hand of the High King of Weyland. Larien prophets had declared the Creator's blessings upon him, saying that he would serve both the High King and later his son. His heart had been broken when Caran had been struck down, but he had kept the faith as he dutifully searched the width and breadth of Weyland for Caran's son. A year stretched to a decade and the decades rushed inexorably onward, wearing on him as if he were a stone in a stream. Until he stood today, alone and high above the lands he had been charged to protect and serve.
This would be the last one, he thought, the last one. He was tired of the pretenders. Almost sixty years of liars flouncing, striding, capering, and marching across the wide hall of his keep towards him, each convinced that he would be the one to trick Josia and steal a throne. Striking poses, cajoling, threatening and debating they tried to win him over and gain his aid in their bids. The last one had just perished recently, after languishing in the dungeons below for almost eight years.
He had kept the faith through it all, always believing that the next would be young Dorial. They never were. Some looked the part, but his hopes had been crushed each time. He had paid a high price for his loyalty. He had never wed, too pressing was the search for the heit to the throne. So he was, like the land, without a rightful heir. He knew that several of the low lords were already manuevering and scheming to gain possession of his lands after his passing. He mourned for his people, knowing that they would be the ones to suffer the most when he died and those lords clashed over Valley Crag.
So he waited for this last pretender. This one had managed to convince people that he bore Caran's blade, Fingerling. Josia had seen many Fingerlings in his life, yet the one, true blade had vanished when it's master had died that dreadful day. The rest had been as false as the ones who had carried them. He had personally thrown each of those swords off this very battlement to the depths below, where they rusted and corroded in the chasm depths.