Pax Arcana Series, Book Three
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: August 11, 2015
Number of pages: 448
When your last name is Charming, rescuing virgins comes with the territory -- even when the virgin in question is a nineteen-year-old college boy.
Someone, somewhere, has declared war on Kevin Kichida, and that someone has a long list of magical predators on their rolodex. The good news is that Kevin lives in a town where Ted Cahill is the new sheriff and old ally of John Charming.
The attacks on Kevin seem to be a pattern, and the more John and his new team follow that thread, the deeper they find themselves in a maze of supernatural threats, family secrets, and age-old betrayals. The more John learns, the more convinced he becomes that Kevin Kichida isn't just a victim, he's a sacrifice waiting to happen. And that thread John's following? It's really a fuse...
FEARLESS is the third novel in an urban fantasy series which gives a new twist to the Prince Charming tale. The first two novels are Charming & Daring.
This can be read as a standalone.
An army brat and gypsy scholar, ELLIOTT JAMES is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that's what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it.
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Please welcome Fearless author Elliott James to Diane’s Book Blog.
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Honestly, it would be the Canadian guy in the dog park in book 4, because you never see him again and insane and dangerous stuff presumably doesn’t keep happening to him and around him. I wouldn’t want to hang around any of these people! But that’s not answering the question in the spirit it was intended, so, hmmm. Most of my supporting characters are amalgams of real people that I know well. Like I’ll take my friend Jim’s personality and put it in my friend Tom’s body and then give the character a career I know something about because my friend Mike does it for a living. Actually, that sounds a little mad scientish now that I write it out loud. Anyhow, I have a character named Molly Newman who is a former Episcopal priest who may or may not be a little insane. When you read about the real lives of saints and prophets, you sort of realize that a lot of these people walked a very thin line, and none of them were considered saints at the time because they flew in the face of convention. In fact, a lot of them were burned at the stake or stoned to death. And Molly is based on two people who I am very fond of, though I should point out that neither of them have been canonized or live out in the wilderness wearing animal skins and smearing feces on themselves. But one of those people is very unconventional nonetheless. What I love about her is that she is as close to a hundred percent genuine as humans get and says whatever comes into her mind, which is awesome because she is very kind and perceptive and funny. If I said everything that came into my mind, I would be burned at a stake or stoned to death for reasons that had nothing to do with my holiness. Umm…I guess the short answer is Molly Newman.
What is your typical day like?
I get up a little before five every morning and kick anything that comes between me and the coffee pot. I put something on Twitter – which I still get a lot of grief about from my friends and family because for years I told everyone to start prepping for the apocalypse if they ever saw me get a Twitter account or a smart phone. Then I write from 5 to a little after 7, unless it’s a weekend. It usually takes me about twenty minutes to get ready for work, mostly because I believe that showering weakens the immune system. No, just kidding, I promise. Then I become a high school teacher for a minimum of eight hours, which I mostly like. After work I do something physical. I love martial arts and yoga, but it’s hard to keep a good instructor around here for more than a year or so at a time. I don’t know if that’s because I live in Southwest Virginia, and small mountain towns aren’t always fiscally supportive of activities that have some slight whiff of counter-culture about them, or whether yogis and sensei tend to be people who move around a lot. But there’s never been a time in my life when I wasn’t a runner and a hiker. It’s important to sweat those stress toxins out after work with my job. Next I go home and sacrifice a small ground mammal to my shadowy overlords from a parallel dimension. No, just kidding again (like I’d really do something physical first). This usually puts me somewhen between 6 and 8, and since I get up at 5, that’s not a lot of time to do something about having a social life, but I try. Being a high school teacher often entails committees or fund raisers or concerts or plays or athletic or scholastic competitions that my friends or students are involved in too, so work and personal life get tangled up a lot for me
How Do You Overcome Writer’s Block?
Well, I rarely just stare blankly at a page. I do sometimes get stuck in a part of a book, writing and rewriting it, feeling like I’m just trying to get from point A to point B and having a hard time being happy with what I’m putting down on the page so that I can move on. When that happens I’ll try a couple of things.
(1) I might just slog through it and trust that I’ll come back and fix that part of the book later, when I’m less burned out or in the editing stage.
(2) I might try to draw outside of the lines and get kind of silly or out there. Some of the strangest parts of some of my books have come from that sort of thing. Like in my first book, Charming, I have a chapter called “The Shortest Chapter in the Book” which is a direct result of that process. Or in the second book, Daring, there’s a chapter written as a poetry parody of Robert Frost. Fortunately the narrator, John Charming, is informal and a bit of a smart ass and likes to play around with language, and that gives me some freedom to experiment with narrative that can be a lot of fun. In the book I just wrote, In Shining Armor, there’s a section where the characters suddenly break out in Shakesperean dialogue.
(3) If neither of those first two approaches is working, I’ll go back and re-read the section before the place in the book I’m frustrated with and then try to keep going. This is a bit like stepping back and getting a running start before trying to bust a locked door down.
What book are you reading now?
I’m going to go with a spectrum if that’s okay. The last book I read was The Martian by Andy Weir, which I loved. It’s a beautiful thing when you can read about someone expressing true love for a passion in their life, even if you don’t share that passion. I’m currently reading Armada by Ernest Cline which I like for similar reasons. And the next book on my nightstand is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. That one was actually given to me by one of the people my character Molly Newman is based on.
Which do you prefer, paperback, hardcover, or ebooks?
Paperbacks all the way. I do a lot of my reading in a hot bath or outside, so I want something I don’t have to worry too much about destroying. I can also get very cynical about the way technology plays out in a consumer driven society. Take movies or music. First there were reels and vinyl. Then there were tape recorders. Then people realized that people being able to record whatever they wanted gave them too many options, so we moved to DVDs and CDs. However, moving to DVDS and CDS made marketers realize that people were having to start their collections over, which, aha, meant spending more money. So they moved to streaming and MP3. Same principle works with video games and phones and whatever we use for a computer. Based on that trend, I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before whatever device people use to read ebooks gets replaced by some new shiny toy or technological filter that will make their e-libraries obsolete, and I like to re-read books. It’s also probably only a matter of time before advertisements start appearing between chapters or in the corner of the screen if that hasn’t happened already. But a real honest to god book never becomes obsolete and can’t be upgraded. I don’t need any kind of technological filter to access it, and I know its non-digital contents can’t be messed with. Also, I just like the way books smell. Used bookstores are one of my favorite kinds of places, and they’re on the way to becoming extinct. Hell, so are regular bookstores. And I love bookstores. Sorry if that sounds like I’m going to wind up in a wood cabin protecting a stack of paperbacks with a rifle because I think the federal authorities are going to come take them away or something. It’s not like I’d prefer to be writing on a scroll with a quill by candlelight, and I’ll be the first to admit that the internet also has advantages. It’s easier to narrow a search for a book down, or get a rare out of print book from Seattle, and a lot of my favorite authors like the aforementioned Andy Weir wouldn’t have gotten started without the internet. But I do like to support nonline bookstores even if it’s a bit like Don Quixote tilting a lance at a windmill.