Excellence in All Genres of Fiction

Saturday, November 26, 2016

James Austin McCormick and the DRAGON series

James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in his free time enjoys writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.

His novels include the trilogy Dragon (Dragon, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane), The Last Synn, a sword-and-sorcery story, a SciFi novel, Sunfall, and a horror novel, Balec. All are available from Class Act Books.


For me writing is pure escapism and the more I can create my own worlds, settings and characters the more I enjoy it. After the publication of my first SF novel, Dragon, I realized that I wanted to keep exploring this universe I’d created. So far I’ve written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane. They’re not sequels exactly but rather fill in some of the missing periods in the first book.

Sillow, the main protagonist in the Dragon stories, is a semi-comic character. Diminutive, with long green hair, pointed ears and a child- like appearance, he's a restless, neurotic and somewhat cowardly elf who constantly finds himself in dangerous situations. Originally I intended him to be a fantasy character but as my novel developed I decided it would work better as a science fiction with a fantasy flavor. To add to the comedic element in the stories I initially paired him up with a surly, ill-tempered barbarian goliath by the name of Brok. They are the odd couple in space, often at loggerheads, constantly quarrelling but forced to work together as their fates become increasingly entwined, first as smugglers and then as government agents.

In the Tower of Tamerlan,e however, Sillow finds himself a new partner, Titanya, a beautiful and fearless pirate queen, who is more than a match for the cowardly elf.

BLURB for Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:

After the death of the Tuolon Ambassador Lagua and the failure to bring the non-humanoid worlds into the Alliance, Sillow and Brok’s long partnership is finally at an end. Now a reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.

Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds. Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.

All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy.


Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.
“What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”
Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.
“I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair
of legs. “Who are you?”
The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was
also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”
Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”
The woman nodded.
The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.
“Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”
“Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.
Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”
Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.
Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”
“Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”
The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.
“Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”
Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.
“What?” Titanya demanded.
“Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”
“Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”
“Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”
There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.
“Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn
locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.
It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.
“You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”
 “Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”
Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”
Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”


Find out more about James Austin McCormick at:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Learn More about The Story of a Peace-Loving Man...

Learn more about the first novel in my new SciFi Space Opera series at Linda Carroll-Bradd's. There an excerpt and cover.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

CommWealth...Writers Beware!

Dystopian? Black comedy? Literary? Mainstream, contemporary–what on earth do those terms really mean?

CommWealth describes a society in which all forms of property have been banned so a deeper sharing can take place between citizens, CommWealth isn’t science fiction but is simply as bizarre.

The CommWealth system has outlawed private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before anyone else can request it.

Playwright Allan Larson, Forensic Squad actor and playwright, has adjusted well to this new society, easily claiming umbrellas, mansions, and Porsches from fellow citizens. Still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Lisa, Allan invokes the laws of CommWealth to demand ownership of her. When bicycle mechanic and fledgling actor Richard Stapke discloses that he’s secretly been writing novels and plays for years, Allan incautiously spreads the word that Richard’s a genius, with the result that an official CommWealth claim is made of Richard’s entire literary output. The resulting five-volume Stapke Intimacies brings to light a twisted history of betrayals, double agents, and murder that propel members of the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe into a suicidal revolution.


“Mr. Stapke,” Hardy said, tapping something ominous into his laptop, “let’s assume that your entire last statement was hypothetical. In that hypothetical case, in which you are a mere bicycle mechanic, of course you owe no Writer’s Tax. But, since you do have writing, and since you are a writer, you owe seventeen percent.”

Richard opened his mouth and shut it. “Seventeen percent? Hypothetically speaking, seventeen percent of what?”

“Of your output, of course. Let’s say you produce two hundred pages per month, maybe fifty-thousand words, as you do seem quite prolific. Of that, seventeen percent, or thirty-four pages, or eighty-five hundred words, would be sent to the CommWealth Central Tax Assessor’s Office.”

 “What?” Richard and Allan both cried.

“If you produce more than say, five hundred pages a month—if you’re a real barn burner, that is, it goes up to fifty percent. So, of course, it’s best to stay around two to three hundred. We know that nobody wants to lose half his writing.”

“What?” Richard repeated. “You send—actual writing—to…to…”

“To the CCTA’s Office. On the last day of the month you simply upload your entire month’s output to the CCTA web site, which in turn sends it to the CommWealth Cultural Redistribution Office. That office determines the seventeen percent tax and distributes it to needy writers all over the country, then refunds the remaining eighty-three percent back to you.”


“You see, there are many unfortunate writers who would like to be able to create, but who are, for some reason or another, blocked from doing so. It’s a most distressful situation. I’m sure you can relate to that, Mr. Stapke. You know how difficult it is to produce great writing, and how easily it is to get blocked or

Richard frowned. “No, I don’t know that.”

Hardy cleared his throat. “It hardly needs to be stated that there are vast quantities of unpublished material in this country that are hidden away. People tend to Hoard their writing like dark secrets. Well, what we’re doing with the Writer’s Tax Program is to bring those dark secrets out into the open, and get them into the hands of needy writers who can then have them published under their own names.”

“I don’t believe this! Are you saying this only applies to unpublished material?”

“Of course—although anything a writer produces on a given day is by definition unpublished. It doesn’t even matter if a writer has a contract to write that particular work—it’s still considered taxable by the CCTA. As soon as it’s produced, seventeen percent—or whatever the percentage comes out to be—is ours. And, I should add, you must surrender all your copies of those taxable pages for CCTA inspection—paper, CD, flash drive, or whatever—because they officially cease to be yours in any way.”

Richard shook his head. “Forget it…forget it…”

“And it has to be the best seventeen percent of your writing—no low quality toss-offs and then shuffling that to the CCTA. The Cultural Redistribution Office uses the CommLit program, which has all sorts of fascinating algorithms for comparing the quality of different sections of your writing—and it always gets your best seventeen percent.”

About the Author:

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist.  In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels.

Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes.  On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.

CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.

Find out more about Michael at:

CommWealth is available at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Amazon Review for The Story of a Peace-Loving Man on Amazon UK

“The first installment of what I’m sure will be a great SF series…This is a book that grows in stature the further one reads…”
excerpt from Amazon UK review of The Story of a Peace-Loving Man.

 Read the complete review at:

Monday, November 14, 2016

James Austin McCormick is guest at Wild Women Authors, along with his wisecracking hero, Sillow the Sylvan.


Sunday, November 13, 2016



Thankful Author​ Tony Paul de Vissage's Shadow Lord was voted one of the Top Ten Horror Novel of 2013 by the Preditors and Editors Reader Poll. Join him today as he gives thanks. www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com

Thankful Author​ James Austin McCormick is thankful for music and its ability to allow him to relax and recharge. www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com

Stop by and read their blogs.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review of A BIT OF THE DARK WORLD on Amazon

5 star review from Michael D. Smith, for A BIT OF THE DARK WORLD:
"...Grounded in the human, in Georgia, in the ordinary, this horror tale builds with strengthening undercurrents of menace..."
Read the full review here:  

Jeremy Higley is Interviewed

Jeremy Higley is interviewed by Linda Carroll-Bradd and talks about his new Young Adult Sword and Sorcery Novel, SON OF DARK.

Click here for Jeremy's Interview:  http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com/interview/guest-author-interview-jeremy-higley/

Class Act Books Authors are Blogging this Week

Class Act Books Authors are Blogging…

James Austin McCormick is Highlighted Author today, with an excerpt from Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane: http://highlightedauthor.com/2016/11/welcome-james-austin-mccormick/

Linda Nightingale shares a TUESDAY TREASURE about the Fresian horse at  http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/tuesdaytreasures-friesian-horse-with.html

The Down Home Zombie Blues...Toni V Sweeney reviews this book and present an excerpt from her own novel A BIT OF THE DARK WORLD.

Sunday, November 6, 2016



Thankful Author​ Ken Gordon, with Class Act Books, is looking forward to releasing his first app. Join him today as he gives thanks.www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com


Thankful Author​ Toni V. Sweeney, writing as Icy Snow Blackstone has a combined 48 books in print and is thankful for the influence reading has had in her life. www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com


Friday, November 4, 2016


Tony-Paul de Vissage blogs about the evolution of the vampire at Myra Mour’s: http://myranour.net/author-guest-post-tony-paul-de-vissage/ with quotes from his novels to back his arguments.

Linda Nightingale participates in a Rafflecopter. Win a copy of FOUR BY MOONLIGHT: http://www.constancebretes.com/news--things.html