Writers Wednesday Spotlight: Jim McDonald

Welcome to our Writers Wednesday Spotlight! Each week we will be highlighting a different geeky writer we think you might like to check out.  For this week’s spotlight, we are excited to introduce you to Jim McDonald! 

His book “Home Summonings: The Winter Trilogy” was released on February 20, 2017!

You can purchase “Home Summonings: The Winter Trilogy” here.

About Jim McDonald

(in his own words) 

When not trying to get the strange ideas that float around in his head out in text, Jim lives in the central Carolinas with his wife, three dogs, and the occasional fish. When not clicking away on a laptop pretending to be the monkey writing Shakespeare, he is usually behind a different laptop adding to the twenty plus years on technology projects or playing with glass in fire.

About “Home Summonings: The Winter Trilogy”…

Greyson Forester is a powerful wizard, raised among beings of myth and legend, and then has his powers bound and outcast because of something even he doesn’t understand. Given seven years to figure out what happened and to try and clear his name, time is running out. Can he regain his power in time to prevent an ancient evil from conquering not only the mortal world, but all of the realms? Pandora’s Curse: The Amazon’s call Greyson’s debt due to help solve a simple kidnapping. Turns out, things aren’t ever simple. But can it lead him to the answers he needs in time? Piercing the Veil: On the edge of answers, and in pursuit of the followers of an ancient evil, his people decide it’s time for him to answer for his actions. Who knew that dying could be the easiest part of your day? Sorcerer’s Choice: Lost, injured, and alone, Greyson is made an offer he can’t refuse. Succeed, and save the people he loves. Fail, and everyone loses. The Home Summonings series is a dark comedy set where gods and monsters, angels and demons, and obnoxious faerie are all trying to make their way in the world that has dismissed them as myth, or worse forgotten them. Now, some of them want to be remembered.

5 Questions with . . . Jim

  • When did you first realize you were interested in becoming an author? What drives you to write?
    I grew up loving to read. We traveled a lot, and what else was there to do in the back of the car during the dark ages before tablets and small DVD players?

    I started playing around as a teenager with short stories posted to BBS sites and some newsgroups (before the explosion of the Web, and nice easy to use interfaces). The first time I was paid to write was in college, where I was both on the University newspaper (not paid), and freelancing for a couple of small papers and periodicals, and sending pictures with them (I was doing more photography than writing). 

    I sold a few contemporary and science-fiction short stories my senior year of college and a few years afterward, and continued to freelance articles, mostly on technology innovations and small business practices by then. 

    I started traveling heavily (48 weeks a year) for the day gig, and continued to write on the road, mostly as stress relief, but didn’t have the time or motivation to chase publishing often at that point because of the time and effort for the return, against my work schedule. A couple of times a year, I would submit a piece of fiction, and a few of them sold.

    Give or take 2008, I started going back from the “I’d like to seriously really write again” phase to studying craft. While I’d been writing, it was mostly stress relief, and a way for me to process a lot of the work I was doing consulting. Plus, if you spend enough time in airports, hotels, and bars, you get to see a lot of characters. You have to do something with them.

    In 2010, I was posting some flash and short stories online to see what the reception was, and the little I got was pretty good. 

    Then in 2013, I had an idea I’d been playing with for a while, and it went from being a short story to a planned seven book series, three of which are out. Plus a spin off series of novellas.

  • How would you describe your style or genre of writing to a potential fan?
    I have a twisted sense of humor. Or maybe I’m just twisted. The easiest book I sell is “Gnomebody’s Business.” It’s a murder mystery where someone is killing gnomes and turning them into garden statues.
    That’s a good indicator.
    Even if it’s non-fiction like a tech article, I usually slip a couple of side jokes or private jabs into the work. I minored in anthropology, and always have loved the study of people. So most of what I really enjoy is playing with character and archetypes, and pushing to see what the most of them can be pushed to do, for good or evil.

  • What are you currently working on? What are you working on next?
    I’m not a good one for having a single project, and usually have 3-4 going at any time in different stages. I’ve tossed Book 4 of the Home Summoning series twice, and am about halfway done with the rewrite getting it where I want it to be. I have another novella targeted for the end of the year in the Longbow Initiative universe, but it may be Q1 at this point. Or Q2. Of 2037. Or it could be December.
    Most of my time right now is tied up in 2 projects:
    AuthorEssentials.net is a partnership with a few of our beloved sick and twisted people of the local author community, geared around the business of being an author. It came out of another project I had, and then they got roped into joining the fun. We recorded John Hartness’ “Path to Publication” workshop, and we’re getting it ready for release in the next few week (come sign up for it online). I’m about to hand over an as of yet unnamed “Business 101 for authors” book that will also be a series of workshops to be released later this year. We have a couple other workshops planned for this year and next year. Shortly, we will be posting sign ups for Melissa Gilbert’s Evernote workshop, and I’ll be editing the video for that one as well.
    I’ve got a book project in betas that is a new technothriller series. It’s taking “Eyes Wide Shut” crossed with “RED: Retired, Extremely Dangerous.”, and maybe a splash of “Deadpool” for seasoning. The first in that series is probably January as well. 

  • What existing book do you wish you had written and why?
    Good Omens. If I can ever capture a small part of the magic that is Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, it will be a miracle. That was the first book I’d read from either of them, and it changed my view on a lot of genre lit, and pulled me into both of their back catalogs to become huge influences on me, and a lot of other people I know. If I ever reach a fraction of that influence, I’ll be happy with my career.

  • What is one piece of advice you would give to a budding writer?
    Write, and work on your craft. Write every day, even if it sucks. Write when you don’t want to.  Write when the words flow like a river. Then remember to go live some life in between so you have something to write about. Write that too.

    Eventually, you have something that’s finished. It may suck, and it’s okay to suck. You can fix it, but having something finished that sucks is much better than perfectly unfinished, or not even started.
    Then you can start the next thing, and it will suck a little less, until one day you find out you’re pretty damn good. 

    If someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. Not yours.

Find Jim McDonald on the Interwebz!