Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays and Chapter 9 of Air Keep

Hey everyone, hope you are having a great Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holidays you celebrate this time of year. 2013 should be a very exciting year for me and my family. I have Zombie Kid coming out December 26th, Dark Memories coming out January, and Air Keep coming out February. Then in September, book two in the Case File 13 series, Making the Team will come out.

I've been releasing a chapter a month of Air Keep. Chapter 9 doesn't come out until January, but as my holiday gift to you, I am releasing it now.

Also, if you'd like to read part of Zombie Kid, you can see it here. Merry Christmas everyone!

Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 9 -- The Will Be
Marcus was in the hall again. “This way!” the little boy called, running deeper into the corridor. “It’s more fun the farther you go.”
Marcus followed the boy, noticing how the paintings he passed continued to go back in time. There one of him studying in his quarters. Him in the desert. He jogged past a couple of doors and stopped at a painting of Kyja, Riph Raph, and himself riding the motorcycle. He ran his fingers across the image, realizing just how much he missed Kyja, and looked at the closed door beside it.
“If I go in, I’ll be . . . ?”

Chapter 8 Good Advice

This is Chapter 8 of Farworld Book 3 -- Air Keep which comes out February 26th. Hope you enjoy it.

Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

Chapter 8 -- Good Advice
“Kyja! Kyja, control yourself.” Master Therapass placed his wrinkled hands on Kyja’s shoulders, and she realized she’d been banging her fists on the aptura discerna, willing it to show her Marcus.
“You said he was all right. You said he was safe.” Kyja gripped the edge of the table to keep her hands from shaking. “Where is he?” she demanded, her heart pounding.
“Just because you cannot see Marcus does not mean he’s in danger.”
“Sure,” Riph Raph said. “Maybe Turnip Head just knocked over his wheelchair, spread his things around the floor and, um, took a nap . . . where you can’t find him.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Air Keep Art Work

Short of seeing your book made into a movie, one of the coolest things an author can experience is seeing an amazing artist's rendition of images you've only seen in your head. I hope those of you who have been waiting with me will be as excited as I am to see the illustrations and cover for Farworld Book 3: Air Keep.

These were all created by the amazing Brandon Dorman.

This place is as creepy as it looks! 

We now have images of three of the four keeps.

I love seeing pictures of Marcus and Kyja. 

Didn't he do an awesome job with the golems?

I seriously think this is my favorite Farworld cover yet!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Cover for Dark Memories

In January 2013, my first adult horror novel, Dark Memories, will be released under the name of  Jeffrey S Savage. I don't have the official book blurb, but basically, it's a story above six kids who were lost in an abandoned gold mine. Eventually, five of the six children were rescued. But one boy was never found, and the mine was dynamited closed.
Now, it's thirty years later and someone is killing the survivors of the mine. Cal Hunt, the small town police chief, is trying to solve the murders before everyone is killed. Unfortunately, the victims are all hiding the secret of what really happened in the mine, and all clues seem to point to the murders being committed by the ghost of the missing boy.

This is the book I landed my first agent with. Her exact quote about the book was, "I was up until two in the morning with your book. I finished it at 11:00, but I couldn't fall asleep until 2:00." Bwa ha ha.

It will be available in January in print and e-book. Here's the cover.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updates, We've Got Updates!

Thanks so much for all of your comments on my mother's passing. I don't think you ever get over losing a loved one. Even now, just writing this, I am starting to tear up. But I really do believe that our friends and family who leave us here, watch us from the other side. I miss my mom like crazy, but I know she is keeping an eye on me and the rest of our family. I really appreciate all your thoughts. You guys are the best!

Whew.Okay, blow my nose and back to work. After several months of crazy head-down writing, I have come up for a quick breath of air, before diving back in. Here are a few updates.
  • Zombie Kid: Everything is full steam ahead for Zombie Kid, my first book in the Case File 13 series from Harper Collins. So far we've received a starred review from Kirkus, several really great reviews over at Goodreads, and been picked as a Junior Library Guild selection. So, yay! If want to pre-order a copy and haven't yet, here are some places where you can order it online.
  • Speaking of Zombie Kid, here's an author interview I did for Harper.
  • Air Keep: Book 3 in the Farworld series is edited and turned in. I hope to have a cover to show you in the next few days, and it's going to be even more awesome than the first two. A lot of people have asked me what the Air Elementals will look like. This will definitely answer your question. You may also recognize an old friend from book two on the cover.

    We are also preparing to film a trailer for the whole series and I will be visiting schools across the country from February to May. Keep an eye here for dates and locations.

    The release date is Feb 26th, but I am posting a chapter a month here on my blog. Here are the links if you've missed them.

    Interlude 1
    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 3
    Chapter 4
    Chapter 5
    Chapter 6
    Chapter 7
  • Fire Keep: I am currently writing Fire Keep, the fourth, and second to last book in the Farworld series. I can't give you a firm release date yet, but I am hearing rumors it might be sooner than you would think.
  • Dark Memories: Some of you may be aware that I also write some books for the LDS (Mormon) market, as Jeffrey S Savage. I don't do nearly as many as I used to, but I have one coming out in January that I am especially excited about. It's called Dark Memories, and it's an adult horror novel.

    Don't think Texas Chain Saw/Walking Dead/Blood & Guts. It's not super gory. But it is definitely scary. If it doesn't keep you up at least a little, thinking about things that go clank in the dark, I didn't do my job right. Anyway, more on that as I get the cover, links, etc.
  • Making the Team: This is the second book in the Case File 13 series. It comes out fall of 2013. I have the cover (it's sooooo cool), but I can't show it to you until after Zombie Kid comes out.
  • Signings and such: Still working on dates for signings, school visits, etc. It looks like the first event to kick of the new year will probably be a launch party for Zombie Kid at The Kings English in Salt Lake. We'll have posters, bookmarks, giveaways, and brains on a stick. I'll get you the date as soon as I know it, and I'd love to see you there!
That's it for now. Thanks for being my readers and my friends. 2013 is going to be an amazing year and I'm so glad to have you being a part of it with me!

Air Keep Chapter 7 The Was

This is chapter 7 in the Farworld series, book 3, Air Keep. Previous chapters can be read here:

Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Cold air bit at Marcus’s exposed skin. His fingers were numb, and his face felt frost-bitten, as if he he’d been in the pit the whole time instead of back in the monastery. He no longer knew what was real and what wasn’t. The only clue that something had changed was the fact that now he held only three coins.
“What do you want?” he shouted at the four old men, all of them once again frozen in their icy tombs. He got no answer. No sign that anyone had heard him at all, even though he had a clear sense he was being watched by the four sets of eyes.
He turned over the next coin in his hand. The letters W-A-S were engraved on the front. Was, he thought, careful not to say the word out loud. He wanted to fling the coins to the ground—tell whoever was playing this game that he refused to take part.
But what if he did that, and the coins disappeared? How would he get out? The walls were far too steep to climb, even if he’d had two good legs and arms.

Air Keep Chapter 6 The Is

This is chapter 6 in the Farworld series, book 3, Air Keep. Previous chapters can be read here:

Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

When Marcus was three or four, he’d dreamed of going to the ocean one day. Cold wind blowing in his face, waves crashing on the shore. He’d never made it to the ocean, but he thought he must be there now.
A rhythmic roaring filled his ears like waves pounding against a rocky beach, and a bitterly cold gray fog swirled around him. He shivered so hard the back of his head repeatedly knocked the icy ground.
“K-Kyja?” he groaned, opening his eyes. “Where are you?”
Where are you?
Where? Where?
Are? Are?
His words echoed back from all directions at once. Only they didn’t sound like his voice, more like someone repeating what he’d said. He tried pushing himself to a sitting position, but the smooth stone beneath him was so bitterly cold, it numbed his fingers as soon as he touched it.

Air Keep Chapter 5 Window to the Soul

This is chapter 5 in the Farworld series, book 3, Air Keep. Previous chapters can be read here:

Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Master Therapass released Kyja so quickly, she barely had time to get her feet under her before hitting the ground.
“I . . . I can explain,” she said, straightening and smoothing her robe.
“It was my fault,” Riph Raph blurted. “I told her to do it.”
Master Therapass flicked his right hand, and suddenly Riph Raph was lying on his back in the center of the room, his legs bound with silver string and an apple stuffed in his beak like a pig ready to be cooked. “I have no time for stories,” the wizard said sharply. He glared at Kyja. “And no patience for thieves.”
He held out his hand, and Kyja meekly returned the glowing circle. She opened her mouth  to explain, but realized there was no explanation. Riph Raph had been right; she should have shown the wizard the note as soon as she found it and asked for his help. She wondered if she’d lost his trust for good. Looking at the ground, she reached into her pocket, took out the note, and handed it to him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Some parts of writing are a total blast. I love the initial process of figuring out a new story line. I adore having people read the book when it's done. I usually like writing the first draft, when everything is fresh and new. But editing can be tough. I like it because I know it will make the final product better. And I like adding something new that is like putting frosting on a cake. But there are parts that are just plain work. That's where I'm at right now with Air Keep.

You may have noticed I haven't posted a new chapter yet. That's because I'm neck deep in editing, and don't want to post the next chapter until I know it's not going to change a lot. Yep. This is work. But, it's in the middle of times like these that I get something like the pictures below that totally make me keep pushing. This is one of my awesome readers with her pictures of Marcus, Kyja, & Riph Raph, and below Master Therapass in his wizard and wolf forms.

Love 'em! Got any pics of your own you want to send over?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Starred Kirkus Review

If you aren't a librarian, book store employee, author, or otherwise involved in the publishing industry, you may not have heard of Kirkus Reviews. But if you are any of those things, you have almost definitely heard of it. Along with publications like Booklist and Publishers Weekly, they are one of the most prestigious book reviewers there is. They pride themselves on being tough, and a good review from them means a lot.

They also give out a small number of starred reviews for what they call, "books of remarkable merit, determined by the editors of Kirkus." These are very rare. It's even more rare for a genre book to get one.

This is why I am so excited to announce that Zombie Kid has just been given a starred Kirkus review. I am beyond thrilled. Here's what they had to say.

"Striking the perfect balance between rib-tickling humor and bone-chilling adventure, the first novel in Savage’s new middle-grade series is sure to please young readers looking for a thrill. 

Nick, Carter and Angelo, otherwise known by their fellow sixth-graders as the “Three Monsterteers,” are obsessed with the supernatural and all things Halloween. Nick is crushed when he learns that he will miss trick-or-treating with his buddies because he has to travel to New Orleans for his great-aunt’s funeral. But when it turns out that she was a voodoo queen, the trip to Louisiana quite literally changes Nick’s life. Back home in California, Carter and Angelo notice there’s something different about their friend, and all the signs lead them to one conclusion: Nick’s been turned into a zombie. It’s pretty cool to have a zombie as a best friend, but when Nick starts losing body parts and develops a hankering for brains, the three boys set out on a desperate mission to change Nick back before it’s too late. With clever commentary from a mysterious narrator at the start of each chapter, a trio of funny and enormously likable boy protagonists and plenty of creepy encounters to up the ante, Savage hits all the right notes.

It’s hard to imagine that readers (particularly boys) won’t enjoy every minute of hair-raising fun. (Funny horror. 9-14)"

I seriously could not have asked for a better review. The book comes out December 26th, and I can't wait to get it out to all of my readers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Next Air Keep Chapter, & A Trying Week

This last week has been a major roller coaster for me. Last weekend I lost one of my very best friends and a loyal reader, my mom. When I was younger and heard about an adult losing a parent, I always kind of thought it was different than losing a parent when you are younger. I can’t speak from experience on the later. But I can say, I have never felt such pain and loss before.

My Mom was my best friend growing up and as an adult. We used to share Chinese food after school. She was an awesome listener and always wanted to hear what I had to say. She supported me in everything I did, and when I started writing, she was my biggest cheerleader. She used to take my books into her hairdresser, restaurants, her community center. Everyone of her friends who met me would say, “Oh, you’re the author.”

We knew her time was limited, but literally minutes before she passed away, we were joking and playing one of her favorite word games. Life will go on, but it will never be quite the same again. Somehow, even your greatest accomplishments aren’t quite as great without your mom to show them to. I've never written anything that my mom hasn't read. And I believe she is still reading everything I write, even though she isn't hear in person to point out typos anymore.

During the same week, my oldest child had her first baby. What an incredible thing it is to hold your first grandchild. People ask me if being a grandpa makes me feel old. On the contrary, I have never felt younger. I love the excitement of holding a new little life in my hands. It really is a thrill. Such an emotional roller coaster. Then trying to get my had back into writing. It’s been kind of crazy.

I seriously think the only thing that got me through this last week was the support of my friends and family. So thanks, everyone!

And now, here is the next chapter in the upcoming Air Keep, which will be out in late February of 2013.
If you missed any of the first four installments, you can find them here:

Interlude 1

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4 Missing Reflections

Marcus looked from his pack to the door. A coincidence? He didn’t think so. Whoever, or whatever, had taken his things had clearly led him here, to his old guardian’s room. The question was, what was he going to do about it?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Race to 100/300 Comments

It's Friday the 13th. Great day to start a contest, right?

Okay, here's how it works. If you are reading this post, it means the contest has started. You can make as many comments as you want. Comments can be short, but they should at least be one word or a sentence or whatever. If someone deletes their comment, it still counts as a comment. The 100th comment (and the 300th if we get to that) each win a signed ARC of Zombie Kid.

The contest is open only to residents of the US and Canada. Also, I am turning off anonymous comments for this blog, so I will know who you are. I will announce the winners after the contest and you need to e-mail me to claim your prize.

Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What to Do With Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

Zombie Kids
The next step in the “Yep, it’s real.” process of having a book come out is getting ARCs. For those who might not know, ARCs are un-proofed advance copies of books, given out for early reviews, contests, etc.Not all publishers do ARCs, and not all books get ARCs. Usually they are done for early books in a series, or standalone books.

I got ten Zombie Kid ARCs in the mail yesterday. I’m going to keep one, give one to James Dashner, for blurbing the book, and save one to loan to family, friends, etc.

That leaves seven to give out. Here’s my plan. Two are going to people who ask to be added to a mailing list on Facebook (friend me at J Scott Savage and join the list if you want to take part.) The idea is that people read the book, hopefully post reviews online, and mail it to the next person on the list.

I am also going to give a couple away in contests. These copies will be for you to keep. The first contest will be tomorrow at 10:00 AM MST and it’s really easy. At 10:00 Mountain Standard Time, tomorrow morning, I will post a contest blog.

People can start commenting immediately. Whoever posts the 100th comment, gets a book. Easy huh? You can post as often as you want, and a post can be as simple as “Hi, Jeff!” Make sure it’s at least actually a word. A word of warning, when we get close to 100, things can go really fast, so don’t wait.

Just for fun, if we hit 300 comments before midnight Friday, I will give another ARC to the 300th commenter. (No, you can’t win twice.) Any questions? Remember if you don’t win,. I will do more contests, or you can add your name to my Facebook mailing list.

See you tomorrow!

If you have a book review blog, e-mail me and I’ll give you the Harper email address to request a review copy. No idea what their requirements are, but you can ask them.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Air Keep Chapter 3 Dropping In

As promised, here is the fourth on-line installment of Air Keep, the 3rd book in the Farworld series. If you haven’t been reading along, you can find the first three chapters here:
Interlude 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
It’s both fun a little terrifying returning to a story you haven’t touched for a couple of years. It’s like running into a best friend from elementary school. It’s great to see them and brings back lots of fun memories. On the other hand, you know both of you have changed. Can I recapture those characters? Can I get back into the flow of the story? My readers are three years older too. Do they still care?
So thanks for all the awesome e-mails I have received from many of you. I’m so glad you are enjoying what you have read so far. If you are reading along, take a second when you get done and let me know what you think. Is it working? Does it feel like the Marcus and Kyja of old? Any predictions on where you think things are heading? Let me know. You don’t even have to do the word verification to post.
(On a funny side note, you don’t realize how many new words you have created until you get a new laptop and the (non-customized) dictionary marks them all.)
And just a reminder that the book and e-book comes out in February, along with the paperbacks of books 1 and 2.

Chapter 3 Dropping IN

“This is a really, really, really, bad idea,” Riph Raph said, his voice cracking.
“I told you—you don’t have to come,” Kyja whispered back. The two of them crept slowly down the tower stairs, keeping an eye out for wizards, who were unlikely to be moving around at that time of night, and guards, who were quite likely to be about.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Motives in Early Reader, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Novels (Part 3)

In my last two posts, we discussed complexity of motives and region of influence in motives as differentiating factors in youth fiction. Today, I want to talk about a third factor—conflicting motives.

Ender’s Game is a novel that could be positioned as adult, young adult, or middle grade. In fact, since the protagonist is only six when the book starts, you could even argue that it is early reader. Of course, if you’ve read the novel by Scott Card, you would quickly realize it is definitely not targeted at anything younger than YA. (Despite the fact that the publisher appears to have been trying to sell it as MG lately.)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Motives in Early Reader, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Novels (Part 2)

In my last post, I wrote about the idea that complexity of motives is a good indicator of whether you are writing an early reader (also known as a chapter book), middle grade, or young adult novel.

Today I want to introduce what I call Range of Effect. In a nutshell this concept says that the younger the reader, the smaller the circle of people the protagonist’s motives are directly concerned with.

Let’s take the same three books we used to examine complexity of motives. But this time, let’s look at the range of effect for the motives each book.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Motives in Early Reader, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Novels (Part 1)

I recently taught a workshop at WIFYR on the subject of using and examining the motives of your protagonists in youth fiction.I had a great time. Thanks to Carol Lynch Williams for inviting me to take part.

One part of the class was on the difference between motives in the plot of ER, MG, and YA novels. In preparation for the  class, I Googled differences between Young Adult and Middle Grade motives, and was surprised to find very little on the subject.

Since I haven’t done any actual writing tips posts on this blog for quite a while, I thought I’d share my thoughts and insights on this part of the class.

Motives are a huge part of both your plot and your characters. Imagine Hunger Games without Katniss have the overwhelming motive of protecting her little sister. You would have the story of a girl who is trying to kill other kids to get everything she ever wanted. Charlotte’s Web is a story about many things, but motive is what pulls it all together. They are all trying to save the life of the pig.

Something I see a lot with beginning,  and sometimes even advanced, writers, is that they aren’t sure if their story is MG or YA. They look at age of protagonist and page count. But they overlook motive. Here are three easy ways to decide if you have an ER, MG, or YA novel, using motive as a yardstick.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Air Keep Chapter 2 A Change of Plans

Hope your summer is going well. We managed to squeeze in a trip to D-Land, a couple of writers conferences, and lots and lots of writing. I recently turned in the second Case File 13 book, Making the Team, and am feverishly trying to finish Air Keep, before I get back edits.

I have to say, it's so much fun joining Marcus, Kyja, Riph Raph, and all the other Farworld characters. They're like old friends I have't seen for too long. And I am having such a great time expanding their worlds. The best thing about fantasy is making up stories that totally blow away people's expectations.

Anyway, I promised you another chapter, and here it is. In case you are new to the blog or haven't been here for a while, Shadow Mountain, the publisher of Farworld agreed to publish the last three books in the series, beginning in late February of  2013. Since it's been some time since book two, Land Keep, came out, we've agreed to post one new chapter a month until Air Keep ships.

The first two chapters can be found here:

Interlude 1

Chapter 1

Chapter 2 A Change of Plans

Marcus slammed his book to the patio stones in frustration. It made a bang that sounded thunderous in the quiet of the Arizona morning. A monk, startled from his work digging in a nearby flower garden, looked up quickly.
“Sorry,” Marcus said, feeling his face growing hot. “Where is that scroll?” he whispered to himself, reshuffling the small stack of books and papers in his lap. He’d been looking at it just a few minutes before, and now he couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t like he could have misplaced it. He was sitting in his wheelchair in the middle of an open stone courtyard. And because he was in a monastery surrounded by monks, the odds of someone taking it were fairly slim.
But that didn’t change the fact that the scroll was gone.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Zombie Kid Cover

There are certain parts of being a writer that stink: the long waits, bad reviews, struggling to get a chapter just right. Then, there are the awesome moments: signing a contract, getting edits, seeing your book on shelves, good reviews.

One of the best moments for me has always been seeing a new book cover. That's what makes it all real. It's no longer just a story in your head or on a piece of paper. It's a book!

What makes that part even better is when I can finally share it with my friends, family, and readers. Which is all to say, "Look! Look! Look! Is that not the coolest cover ever??!!"

Whew, I feel better now. So what do you think?

Here's the cover blurb from the amazing James Dashner.

“With its mix of creepy chills and laugh-out-loud humor, Zombie Kid is the perfect book. Nick and his friends are my new favorite people.” – James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner

The artist is Doug Holgate. You can see more of his work here. He is the man! I don't know how he looked straight into my head. But he totally did.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Air Keep Chapter 1 Books and Beetles

I know, I haven’t posted in over a month. And this chapter is technically not in May. The good news is that I have been crazy busy finishing up both Air Keep and Making the Team, the second book in my Case File 13 series.

For those of you new to the blog, Shadow Mountain and I recently reached agreement on a contract for the last three books of the Farworld series: Air Keep, Fire Keep, and Shadow Keep. Since Air Keep doesn’t come out until February of 2013, we thought it would be fun to share one chapter a month until the book comes out.

In April, I posted the first Chapter, Interlude 1. Here, is Chapter 1. In the next couple of weeks I will post chapter 2 here. Thanks again for all of your support. Without you, this series would not have been finished.


Chapter 1

Flick. Snap. Crunch.
Flick. Snap. Crunch.
“Would you stop that?” Kyja swept away the pile of maps in front of her and scowled into the dark corner of the underground room.
Riph Raph spotted another of the eight-legged water beetles that had come here to avoid the blistering heat outside. His tongue flicked, and he snapped the red-shelled insect into his mouth then crunched it with his beak. “Did you say something?”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy 25 Years


Spending the week with my bride of 25 years in Kauai. Thanks for a wonderful quarter century. Here’s to the next one. (And, yeah, got to admit I’m getting in a little writing too.!)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Let There Be Air!

Thanks for the congratulations everyone. I’m still smiling from ear to ear. A year ago, Farworld was in limbo and I’d never imagined I would soon be signing a national contract.
Now, I have a great new series coming out with Harper, and Farworld is going to be finished. (Not to mention my time-travel series with Deseret Book.) If you see a crazy-looking author dancing and singing in the street, that would be me. I don’t know how I got this lucky. But I’ll take it.
As a reward for all of you who have waited so patiently for the next Farworld book, Shadow Mountain has agreed to let me publish one chapter a month until Air Keep’s release. First, just a couple of cautions, then we’ll get to the good stuff.
Until it is actually sent to the printers, any book is constantly a work in progress. Editing takes place. Chapters move around. Entire storylines come and go. Basically, what I am saying is that what you read here may be not be exactly the same when the book comes out. Theoretically, what you read here might not make the final cut at all.
Normally a publisher doesn’t release chapters until the story is set in stone. But you know what? You all are so awesome and have been so patient, we’re willing to take the risk. I’ll post the chapters as they come out of my brain (with a little editing help from my friends) and hopefully you’ll enjoy them. There will probably be a few typos, but I trust you can overlook them.
Occasionally I may add some author notes along the way. So here goes. Enjoy.
[Author’s note: As in Land Keep, Air Keep will be divided into four parts. Each part will begin with an interlude. This is the interlude to Part I]
Jaklah was thinking about water. Filling his mouth. Running down his parched throat. Splashing over his sunburned face and dripping from his hair. Unlike the small supply of warm, dusty liquid sloshing is his waterskin, the water in his imagination was fresh and so cold the very thought of it brought goose bumps to the backs of his arms and cramped his stomach.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finally, the Farworld News

Farworld_Water_Small Farworld2_Land Keep Small

No one ever said the publishing world moves quickly. And patience is a virtue most authors do not possess. But it has moved and I am so excited to make this announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen (and all the rest of us goofballs), Farworld is back!!!!

Still working out the finer points, but here’s what I can tell you. Shadow Mountain has agreed to publish the last three books of the Farworld series: Air Keep, Fire Keep, and Shadow Keep in hardback with the same amazing artist who did the first two books.

They will also be releasing books 1 and 2 in paperback at about the same time.

Right now, it’s looking like Air Keep will be released in late February. That’s perfect, because my new Harper series, Case File 13 will be coming out sometime between Christmas of this year and New Years. Books 4 and 5 of the Farworld series will probably come out about the same time in 2014 and 2015.

In addition, Shadow Mountain will be sending me out to visit schools, not just in Utah, but across the US.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to make this announcement. I have been in love with the Farworld story ever since it came into my head one night shortly after James Dashner told me about his series. I am hard at work right now writing Air Keep.

And the final piece of good news is this. Since you have all been so patient, waiting for this book, Shadow Mountain has agreed to let me post not one, two, or even three chapters of this book here on my blog. But ten! One chapter a month right up until the book comes out.

Tomorrow I will post the first chapter and then every month I will post another one. Hopefully that will help the wait for book three not be quite as terrible.

Also, I’ve seen a rough cover sketch for the Air Keep cover, and it is beyond awesome. The best one yet in my opinion.

Thanks Shadow Mountain for making this possible. Thanks to my writing group for encouraging me not to give up when it looked like the last three books might never happen. And most of all, thanks to you, my loyal readers. I get e-mails almost every day from people asking about book 3. Thanks for not giving up on me or the series. You all rock!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Catching Up & Using Books as Writing Examples

First things first. I know I haven’t given you any Farworld news yet. Trust me, it’s not by choice. Sometimes these things just take a while. But I do hope to have good news soon. I am so anxious to share Air Keep with you. It is definitely going to be the best Farworld book yet. And there will be some shocking twists.

So, please, please, please, keep an eye on the blog and I’ll tell you the moment I have Farworld Book 3 news.

In the mean time, if you haven’t read Mark Forman’s (Corrected the spelling of Mark’s last name. Mark Foreman is Bob the Builder’s big brother.) latest Adventurers Wanted book, Albrek’s Tomb, you totally should. Just finished reading it with my boys and it was great. Really fun D&D style middle grade series. (Yes, this is the same Mark who keeps bugging me here for Farworld news.)

Also, I had a chance to take part in several awesome activities over the last few weeks that totally deserve a shout out. Last Saturday I was at the Writing for Charity event at the Provo, Utah library. So-o-o-o-o much fun. Lots of great writers, both published and soon to be published. And a really great event for a great cause. Thanks for a wonderful time, and Hi! to my little writing group and all my other friends I met there.

The Saturday before that I was teaching at the Teen Writers Boot Camp put on by Writers Cubed. There must have been 300 teenage writers there. I was totally blown away by how talented these kids are. If you didn’t make it to either of these events, put them on your calendar for next year. They are great!

Finally, over the last six weeks, I have been teaching a Spanish Fork city creative writing course. I always start teaching this class wondering if I can find the time and I end up being so glad I did, because the writers are truly inspiring. It gives me a huge boost to talk shop with writers who are so good and so committed to succeeding. This year, the amazing Annette Lyon taught the last two classes. If you haven’t read her books or discovered her blog, you need to. I never miss a Word Nerd Wednesday.

One thing I hear a lot when I teach classes is, “But [insert big author’s name] didn’t/did do that.” If I teach that starting your book with a dream sequence is generally not a good idea, it’s inevitable that someone in the class will have read a successful book that starts with a dream.

There are many reasons for this. One, big name authors can pretty much do whatever they want. Two, for every rule there are bound to be exceptions. Three, I might be full of crap bad advice.

There’s a better reason though. I’ve always known this but haven’t ever heard it put quite as succinctly as Brandon Sanderson put it last Saturday in his plotting class. If you are going to read books to see what works and what doesn’t in your genre, read books by authors that have been published for the first time in the last five years.

Duh! Why haven’t I been saying that to every single class I teach? I guarantee, I will from now on. The point is not that you shouldn’t read books by established authors. It’s that if you are trying to get published now, you need to see what kinds of debut books are being sold and published now. Something that worked twenty years ago in epic fantasy, very likely will not work in a romance published last year.

This is the case with all art forms, not just literature. Sit down with your kids and watch a family movie that came out twenty years ago. It might still be a great movie. But it will almost always be obvious that the movie is older. Not just from the clothes, cars, and technology either. Effects change, dialog changes, techniques chance. What was cutting edge then is a cliché now.

Don’t get me wrong. You can learn a ton from reading older books, going all the way back to the classics. But if you want to understand what new authors are currently getting published, the only way to find out is by reading works by new authors. I’m not talking about trends. What’s hot now may be done to death when you finish writing—so chasing trends is a bad idea. I’m talking about POV, tense, voice, length, and style.

So next time someone teaches not to start your story with the weather, don’t quote that fifty year old book that begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night.” You can’t get away with it now! And I will haunt you in your writing dreams.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Almost There

Remember when you were a kid and Christmas just seemed years away, maybe even centuries? And the wait didn't seem shorter as the day grew closer. If anything, it seemed like it would never come. Then, bam, one day it was Christmas Eve. Yeah, waiting on book deal is a lot like that.

However, it is nearly Christmas Eve. Until everything is done, I can't say anything official. But I am really hoping by next week I can tell you some awesome news about Farworld. Thanks for hanging with me and have a great weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello, World!

Back in the days when I had aspirations of being a computer programmer, one of the first programs I learned to write for Windows was a program that simply said, "Hello world!" I thought that was kind of funny at the time. I mean who would ever need to write a program that would say hello to the whole world?

Now we do that all the time just by posting a blog. Kind of weird thinking that you are posting to the whole world. Or at least the part of it that reads your blog. Which is my way of saying, "Hello. I'm back. Sorry I've been gone for so long. But it's been a crazy few months."

I really am sorry. Just felt like for a while I didn't have much to say. I started up the Wordplay podcast. Hit the holidays. Got sidetracked. Spent a ton of time writing. But here I am. I hope of few of my friends are still out there.

But anyway, let's jump right into things. First, let's talk about my new Harper series, Case File 13. I am so excited about this series. Two of my favorite things are monster stories and making people laugh. Case File 13 has both of those and much more. i just got to see the cover for book One, Zombie Kid, and let me just say it is awesome! Can't wait to show it to you all. And hopefully I can soon. I don't have a firm date for Zombie Kid's release. It's definitely early 2013. But I should have more info for you soon.

Now on to Farworld. When last I wrote, I had to decided to self-publish the last three books. I promised you chapters and artwork. Then I suddenly went quiet. This was not because I had forgotten about you, my loyal Farworld readers, or the series. In fact I have a really cool color sketch of the Air Keep cover I am dying to show you. And the story is so cool. I promise that when you read the first couple of chapters you'll be going, "What?!! Is J Scott Savage crazy?!!"

And I will have chapters for you, very very soon. But a funny thing happened. I was invited to lunch by a man and a woman I admire very much. And they said something that changed my whole outlook on the series. I know I am being a total jerk here. But I can't say anything for a few more days. But if things work out, it will be awesome news for all fans of Farworld. I will freely admit I shed a few tears of joy when I heard the news. Then I started singing "Back in Black" so loud my wife told me to be quiet because people would call the police.

So trust me and hang in just a little while longer. I will share the news with you the moment it is final.

Lastly, I am doing a whole bunch of conferences over the next few months. Teen Boot Camp, Storymakers, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, Writing for Charity. I'll get links up by tomorrow. But you can Google them between now and then if you want.

In the mean time, know that I am writing my fingers off and counting the minutes until I can share chapters with you.