The Library Reading Went Fantastic!

I had a great time at the Fall Fiction Festival at the Ralston Library this afternoon.  Reading one’s work out loud is a great way to find holes in a scene.  I practiced reading it a few times with my wife, and found some places in need of tweaking.


We really have a talented group of people in the Nebraska Writers Workshop.  In addition to Repenter, we heard tales of biblical sadists, inept donut-store robbers, sympathetic western women of ill repute, fifteen-year old saviors, Hawaiian shirt-wearing vampires, and more.


Good exposure for the group as a whole, and each of us as writers.

Upcoming Library Reading and Submission Status

Breaking news.  Or at least kind of bending news.


I will be reading at the Hollis and Helen Baright Public Library in Ralston, NE this Sunday 9/18/11 sometime between 2 and 4 pm.  I’ll be reading the first chapter of Repenter.  Other members of the Nebraska Writers Workshop will also be reading from their novels or short stories.  Come on out and celebrate the spinning of yarns.


In other news, I have Repenter tweaked up, and am submitting it to Fox Literary.  We shall see where that goes.  Well, it goes through the internet and its shadowy servers of uncertain security.  Or it goes with so if you’re misquoting Kurt Vonnegut.  In any event, momentum builds, worlds rise, and hope springs eternal in this little corner of cyberness.


Later gators.



Contagion-Outbreak and Angry Robot Update

I had a great time at Contagion Outbreak.  I got to see Escape Velocity in print.  This website was also displayed next to my name.  So hello to any newcomers.  I’m very happy you came out to this neck of the web!

My wife and I witnessed a unique kung-fu demonstration, saw all manner of cos-players, and attended a few panels too.  One panel was hosted by some comic book arists who talked about the ins and outs of the comic book business.  Comic books also face the same upheaval of the digital revolution.  Greg Hall also had an informative panel regarding submissions of stories for writers.  We had to duck out early, but what we saw was most informative.  All in all, twas a pretty fun time!

I received a rejection from Angry Robot, but it had some useful feedback concerning adding a little more context in the early parts of my Repenter manuscript.  I’ll be taking a closer look at the “who’s” and “where’s” in the earlier chapters to improve the story.  I’ll be submitting it out to literary agents and cautiously exploring electronic publication in the future.  More to come!

Published in the 2011 Contagion Outbreak Program

My 600 word short story, “Escape Velocity”, will be appearing in the program for the Contagion Outbreak convention.  The story tells the tale of two former enemies who must vacate a dying planet within 90 seconds.  The show runs from June 10-12 at the Omaha Qwest Center.  Here’s a link to their site:  Most exciting stuff!


If you have a free moment that weekend, go on a quest to the Qwest and get your geek on!

I am jack’s infrequently updated blog

I swear I be better about updating this thing.  In the weeks since the last entry, I’ve learned the value of short hand writing out the chapters major beats in sloppy cursive on a legal pad.  It helps get the words out if no one can read them but me, and then craft them on a word cruncher.  On page 65 of the second novel, currently titled, “The Bloody Empress”.  Gotta get back to it.  Stay chocolatey.


-Jim McGowan

Robots and conventions

Hey, all.  Sorry for the delay from the last entry.  I’ve since submitted to Angry Robot in March as part of their open door month, so we’ll see where that goes.  Hard at work on the Bloody Empress right now.


Also I’ve attended the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Spring Conference this weekend.  It’s the best one I’ve attended in my three years with the group.  First off, we were on the top floor this time around.  Windows are a big  step up from the lower level “dungeon” from the past years.  Three very good presenters presented us with all kinds of good information. Mary Colgan with Chronicle Books” showed us a soup to nuts presentation of a manuscript’s journey from the slush pile to publication.  “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was a very cute book that would be great for little boys in anyone’s life.  Terry Burns had treasure troves of info with agents, including how to submit and pitch to them.  I bought his book, “A Writer’s Survival Guide to Getting Published”.  A very well done book.  Alex Cava, best-selling author of the Maggie O’Dell series, then presented on the pitfalls of publishing and staying true to yourself as a writer.  Her later workshop contained some really eye-opening commentary on publishing against the backdrop of e books and publisher deals.


A great and informative time.  I was originally going to skip the Sunday portion, but I think I’ll show up for it after all.  That’s all for now.  Keep on keepin’ on.

All Systems GO!

Howdy, one and all!


We are live at Stelfire.  I’m Jim McGowan (James to my eventual novel covers), and I’m here to write stuff and eat gummi bears.  And I’m all out of gummi bears.  Silly “They Live” homages aside, I’m really excited to continue the journey to publication.  I hope to find many readers along the way.  REPENTER is the first in my series of novels depicting Ashe Stelfire.  First up is REPENTER.  It depicts his struggle against his former lover, Nirva Silv, the craft Corsis, and the A Pox, a disease that makes disturbing conversation with you as it rots away your body.


The road to publication begins with a submission to Angry Robot Books.  They currently have an open door during the month of March.  I’ll be submitting to them in the next week or two, and we’ll see where it goes from there.


Please feel free to look around the site, register and post on the message board.  A moderator will need to approve you initially, but you’ll be good to go after that.  Please feel free to also take the “Interested in Reading Repenter?” survey on the Home page after looking over the site’s content.


And if you have any friends who are fans of epic fantasy that’s a little bit comic book event story, a little bit “Final Fantasy”, a little bit film noir, and a whole lot of awesome, please send them on over.


Keep on keepin’ on.





Mancy Specializations

Mancy Specializations:

With study, all mancers can use different hexes.  However, those who choose to specialize reduce the consumption ethereal energy, create hexes of greater power, and the wherewithal to create exceedingly complex hexes that would take a non-specialized mancer decades to master.

Pyromancy: Fire and heat focused.

Chronomancy: Temporal distortion focused.

Mechmancy: Melding of ethereal energy into devices, simple or complex.

Gunmancy: A subset of mechmancy that focuses on ethereal applications on firearms.

Necromancy: Focused on the forces of death.

Aeromancy: Air and electricity based.

Geomancy: Ground and plant-life focused.

Hydromancy: Water and Ice oriented.

Martialmancy: Combat-oriented with an emphasis on speed of creation.

Fleshmancy: The twisting of biology to create abominations.

Astramancy: Manipulation of the properties of incorporeal realms.

Alchemancy: The conversion of ethereal energy into matter or transmutation of existing matter.

Quandrimancy: The amplification and conversion of different types of electromagnetic or ethereal energy.  Named after the Dragon, Quandric, who developed the discipline.

Mastermancy: The mastery of all forms of mancy.  This is limited to beings already possessing immense ethereal energy and centuries of experience.


Mancy Theory

Mancy Theory:

Mancy is the practice of tapping into energies outside of the electromagnetic spectrum.  In ages past, before it was fully understood, people referred to it as magic.  However, as science evolved to explain the processes of the realms, parallel development also occurred in the study of energies of the ethereal spectrum.  Reliable techniques emerged in tangent with new technologies.  Eventually, mancy came to be seen as a viable science such as physics, chemistry, or biology.  The term magic has long since fallen into disuse.

A hex is an applied mancy technique to create a specific effect.  Examples of hexes include summoning a white hot Burning Beam or creating a rectangular Distance Door to bypass the space between destinations.  A complex hex, more commonly referred to as a plex hex, requires several minutes to several hours of preparation and larger amounts of ethereal energy.

Hex creation requires three components from a mancer:

1)  Mental mastery: The mancer must focus all of his or her willpower to conceptualize the hex.  Some will perform mental exercises, others will perform physical acts such as subdued verbalization or hand gestures.  Regardless of the process, the hex requires mancer’s the absolute focus or it simply fails.

2)  Ethereal energy: During their studies, mancers gain the physiological ability to store ethereal energy within their bodies akin to an electrical battery.  Depending on their location, they can allow draw on the ambient ethereal energy of their environment akin to tapping an electrical line to supplement the power of a battery.  Each hex expends ethereal energy.  A mancer will replenish the lost energy through food, rest or mancy supplements such as potions and talismans.

3)  Triggering Action: Once inner physiology aligns to supply the ethereal energy and the mind solidifies the concept, a catalyst is required to initiate the hex.  A triggering action is most often saying the name of the hex aloud.  However, more experienced mancers can create a hex with a mental command.  The simpler the hex, the less likely triggering action needs to be spoken.