Conversations with a reader: Happy Endings

I’m striking out the reader’s name, but I have a feeling many people have similar questions and thoughts, so I wanted to share my thoughts with others on these topics. If you have a question for me (even if it’s insulting or filled with disappointment), feel free to contact me at rexjameson at gmail.com, where at is an @ symbol. I love hearing from you guys and gals, and I appreciate your opinions and viewpoints–even if they’re quite contrary to mine.


> I thought that Michael and Gabriel are good guys.

They are good guys, if you’re on their side. However, the Old Testament is not exactly a children’s story, and the side we’re on is pretty brutal. As the oldest child of my family, I’m hoping I’m not a descendant of a Philistine. Things never go well for the first born Philistines and Egyptians :). In fact, the more innocent you are in the Old Testament, the more likely you’re going to be murdered.

Take the story of Samson, for instance. Samson seeks to marry a Philistine because “it is of the Lord”. He kills a lion, and bees make honey inside of the carcass. So, approaching his wedding day, he goes into the wedding feast and proposes a riddle to his Philistine groomsmen. Being a humble man, he chooses a riddle about himself–concerning the lion he killed and the bee tenants–and promises them 30 pieces of fine garments that he doesn’t have if they get it right. They don’t guess it and badger Samson’s fiancee to give them the answer. She does, and Samson decides that the best part of the riddle is yet to come.

He goes into the streets of Ashkelon and kills 30 innocent people, collects their garments and delivers the fabrics to his groomsmen. Joke’s on them, right? Samson refuses to marry the woman and leaves. The woman’s father gives her to the best man who is still interested. Samson changes his mind because maybe he has another riddle to give to the groomsmen or something, and comes back, but the father informs him that his daughter is now engaged because Samson refused her. He actually offers his younger daughter, but Samson’s having none of that.

Samson does the only logical thing available. He attaches torches to the tails of 300 foxes and sends them into the Philistine fields and cities, burning down innocent people’s farms and homes. The people get so infuriated that instead of killing Samson, they trap the woman and her father in their house and burn it down. In revenge for someone else killing the father and the wife he should have had, Samson goes about killing a whole bunch more Philistines.

The Philistines finally go “OK, we’re sending an army to bring this guy to justice for killing so many innocent people,” but unfortunately for them, God puts a magic, non-brittle ass’s jawbone on the ground, and Samson uses it to beat 1,000 Philistines to death with it.

I won’t go into the story of Delilah, but the good news is that Delilah doesn’t appear to get punished for betraying her husband. Samson just gets a chance to kill more Philistines at a temple.

Not exactly a happy ending for the Philistines. I’d argue that none of the Old Testament is a happy ending unless you’re one of God’s chosen people. Michael and Gabriel (and angels in general) are more often than not involved in slaughter and retribution against the people outside of God’s chosen. The perspective of much of the Primal Patterns series is from outside of God’s chosen, and so, it’s not much of a happy ending for some of the protagonists, and that’s perfectly OK if you’re in God’s chosen. God gets even more smitey as the series progresses.

> Have fun writing and write a book soon about light, love, good folks and
> happy endings. I need happy endings.

If you’re a fan of the New Testament, there’s a happier ending that comes by the end of Book 3: Shadows of our Fathers. (redacted) That’s a spoiler obviously, but this is a retelling of much of the Old Testament that takes into account the breadth of God’s creation–namely the billions of trillions of stars and 350 billion known galaxies and 7 trillion dwarf galaxies. God’s chosen is expanded drastically in this series.

> Can’t wait to read the happy book.
>

I have two other books that are only available on Kindle:

Elves and Goblins: Perspectives of a Father’s Rebellion
www.amazon.com/dp/B0078ZV1U8

Angels and Demons: Perspectives of a Violent Afterlife
www.amazon.com/dp/B005L7AMXW

Both of these have good guys ultimately thwarting evil, but the path is not as black and white as you’ll like. In Angels and Demons, God wants to show the Devil how good mankind is so he agrees to a wager with the Devil that humans who are murdered go to Hell and those who die of natural causes go to Heaven. If mankind follows the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and the teachings of the New Testament (forgiveness of an enemy, etc.), then Heaven wins by default. War and murder will obviously cause the Devil to gain the only power he has available–that of numbers of souls, and mankind’s tendency to kill causes Michael and Gabriel (those good guys) to have to try to convince humanity to stop killing.

In Elves and Goblins, a marginalized people (the elves) have been placed in concentration camps by goblins and are being starved to death. They can’t go to universities or receive health care, and over 300 years, they nearly die out. A father faces the imminent death of his son and decides that the only recourse is to go into town and find a cure for his son’s illness, a disease that is decimating the remaining elves. He has to kill for the first time in hundreds of years, but he’s doing so to save his innocent son.

To me, these are happy endings, but happy endings don’t come free. People have to work for happiness, and the path to redemption is often paved in tragedy and loss for the greater good.


So, to wrap up, I do believe in happy endings, but my happy endings are not the neat and tidy ones that many readers are desperately searching for. That’s OK. No book can please everyone. If you’re looking for recommendations of books that are much happier and generally death free, authors like Debora Geary may be more down your alley. Of course, she’s writing about happy witches and not angels and demons. The good news is that after the third book in the Primal Patterns series, I plan on tackling a different subject. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely to be about happy witches.

Lucifer’s Odyssey FREE on Amazon

Thanks to the Amazon KDP Select program, I will be offering Lucifer’s Odyssey, the first book in the Primal Patterns Series, for free to readers on Amazon from January 27th through January 29th (updated). For those who are wanting to get their hands on the first book before the release of the Goblin Rebellion next month, now is a great time to jump on board. If you have friends or loved ones that you would like to share the Primal Patterns series with, please feel free to share this offer with them. Tweet, FB, and link it in emails.

Here’s the book summary for those of you still on the fence:


Lucifer languishes in an earthly prison, awaiting the apocalypse that will finally free him after 200,000 years. Before breaking loose, he discovers that the armageddon he set in motion will destroy the capital of Chaos, his home universe.

He travels back to Chaos and stumbles upon a bloody civil war devastating his homeland. The realm’s magic wielders are firmly under the control of a rival clan, and without their protection, Lucifer’s family is in mortal peril. As old demon clan rivalries blossom and a new hostile universe expands across the known multiverse, Lucifer is faced with not only protecting Chaos from annihilation but also saving his rightful place on the throne.


Lucifer’s Odyssey is the first book in the Primal Patterns series, an episodic glimpse into an alternate multiverse where many of our biblical histories and fables are premonitions of upcoming conflicts between immortals with god-like powers over truth and shadow. The sequel, The Goblin Rebellion, is set to debut in February.

Length: 85,000 words (350 pages)

PRODUCT WARNING: This series contains strong language, violence, epic battles, magic, religious figures, inter-dimensional travel and multiverses, alternate histories and fables, demons and elves making whoopy, and some fish-headed guys talking and playing cards. You’ve been warned.

Removing most of the cursing in Lucifer’s Odyssey

Lucifer's OdysseyAfter a lot of thought, I’ve decided to remove most of the cursing in the latest e-book editions of Lucifer’s Odyssey. I’m still pondering whether or not to pay for the additional ISBN and setup for a new paperback edition. I’ve also removed all of the f-bombs and curse words from the Goblin Rebellion that are especially extraneous. I’m doing this for several reasons, some of which I’ll outline below.

With my decision to join KDP Select next month, I also have plans to make Lucifer’s Odyssey free to the KDP Select crowd very soon. My first experience with going free on Amazon resulted in a one-star review for cursing that dropped the downloads from 2,000 in the first few weeks to 1-10 a day for a fun, free, well-edited short story collection. I had dozens of 3-5 star reviews on this collection across Apple, Sony, Good Reads, etc., but no one bothered to post them to Amazon and this killed the book. And this was important to me because I get practically no business from outside of Amazon. Let me rephrase that. I’ve literally never received a check from anyone but Amazon.

There have been other comments I’ve come across in blogs and emails about trying to read Lucifer’s Odyssey and becoming disengaged in the story due to f-bombs and cursing from the ignorant demons, and I don’t want to distract readers from the story. The cursing was a sign of how frustrated the immortal demons had become being trapped on Earth and forced into their roles due to their society, the Council, etc. Lucifer’s Odyssey being my first novel, I guess I used a cheap technique–cursing–to drive this atmosphere home when it was probably unnecessary and counterproductive toward making readers happy with the series starter. With the series starter likely to hit 0.99 or even free for a few months, the importance of listening to reader input and responding accordingly to get new readers interested shouldn’t be understated, and I plan on hearing you guys out and following through.

You deserve that kind of attentiveness. It’s your money.

Anyway, that’s why Amazon is showing a 3rd edition now of Lucifer’s Odyssey. If you purchased Lucifer’s Odyssey from any online vendor, check the Lucifer’s Odyssey pages and you should be able to download a new copy. If not, contact these companies and get them to send you one. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me or respond to this post. I’m listening ;).

Moving Exclusively to KDP Select (Need Your Feedback)

The Goblin RebellionSince releasing Lucifer’s Odyssey in September, I’ve managed to place the ebook for Lucifer’s Odyssey in all the major distribution networks. This includes Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple Store, and so forth. Up until recently, I had planned to do this with the second book in the series as well, but that has changed with Amazon’s new foray into exclusivity and benefits for independent authors called KDP Select.

KDP Select is a lot of things for customers, readers, and authors, but I’m most interested in the borrowing feature. You as a reader can borrow one book a month for free. The borrow can still benefit the author in that it gives exposure, and authors also get a percentage of a communal pot at the end of the month (For January, it’s expected to be $700,000). The December disbursement for readers being able to borrow ebooks was about $1.70 per borrow, and this is good money for independent authors. It also resulted in a lot of people reading books that they never would have read before.

Now, for me, that’s a big deal. I’ve given away hundreds of copies of the book at Library Thing and various giveaways, gained some nice reviews from these readers, and I’ve done paid promotions on sites like Kindle Nation Daily. Sales have not really picked up. Despite investing thousands of dollars into the production of the first book, my book is relatively unknown.

And that’s why I’m considering granting Amazon exclusive rights to not only Lucifer’s Odyssey but also the Goblin Rebellion in February. The paperbacks should still be available everywhere. This is just for ebooks.

What are your thoughts, as readers, on this?

Scholarly Dialogues (No. 1)

The Goblin RebellionIn the Primal Patterns series, Archimedes has an apprentice named Horace who follows him around, performs errands for him, and helps him maintain the Elven Realm universe. Horace is an especially pensive student and exceedingly brilliant in manipulating and understanding patterns, but sometimes, he has questions about the interactions between the patterns, their interactions with projections, and the immortals that travel between the shadows and the focus.

In this series of dialogues, I wanted to share some of the conversations Archimedes and Horace have in the time between repairing broken stairwells, diverting the Great Sorrow, and maintaining the elven people and worlds. There may be a chance of them being inserted into the series somewhere, but for the moment, I hope you find them entertaining in between novel releases of the series.


Horace leapt between staircases surrounding Archimedes study, feigning interest in the crumbling mortar and stone, but in truth searching for his mentor Archimedes. Within moments, he located the old man with the four-lensed binoculars and his white robe and sandals.

He crossed four staircases to come within feet of the old man before bowing slightly and waiting for his master to acknowledge him.

“You know I’m busy,” Archimedes said.

“I can come back if you like,” Horace said.

Archimedes mumbled and pushed his goggles to the top of his head, where they pinned down his long gray hair behind his ears. He didn’t leave, and he didn’t acknowledge Horace’s comment, so Horace knew that for the moment, the old man was humoring him.

“The demon wings have long been a curiosity of mine,” Horace said.

The old man smiled. “Yes, they are rather curious.”

“The wings themselves, I understand,” he said. “Realified extensions of the demon immortal race that are directly linked through shadow to the primal which projects them. What I find curious are the laws of nature they seem to allow demons to break.”

Archimedes sat down on the white stone stairway and dangled his legs into the vacuum of the shadow world around his study. “I assume you’re talking about the speed at which they can propel themselves through space.”

Horace nodded. “We can tweak the constant for the speed of light and gravitational waves in a projection, and this will affect the flow of time and how all creatures experience that dimension, but even so–you’re not supposed to be able to exceed that, even if only by a fraction.”

“What about apparation?” Archimedes replied. “Don’t most immortals find such tricks?”

“Yes, but it’s a trick. By opening a channel across shadow or to the pattern and back, we cut across space. C, the speed of light, doesn’t come into the equation.”

“Um hmm,” Archimedes agreed with him. He made a show of brushing himself off and got back to his feet before putting his hands behind his back and walking away.

“But…,” he said. “You never answered my question.”

“No. You did.”

“I don’t understand.”

Archimedes turned around to face him. “When a universe is made–that big bang, as they call it–the contents of the universe are in an unusual state. Energy is excited and space is expanding. The result is an expansion from a pinpoint to millions of miles across within a fraction of a second–faster than the speed of light, breaking your precious rule.”

Horace gnawed at his lip and tried to absorb the lesson. “So, the wings of the demons are absorbing energy from the vast reservoirs of the pattern…”

“Yes…”

“And they approach the speed of light after days of finding space handholds and expending that energy for propulsion…”

Archimedes nodded.

“And the contents of their bodies approach that unusual state that universes start in? All that energy in a small place with nowhere left to go?”

Horace smiled as his master patted him on the cheek and continued to nod.

“Something like that,” Archimedes said. “If you want to push through the speed of light, you only have a few options. Expand space around you, find a shortcut, or stop having mass and matter. In short, you need to find a shortcut through nature’s rules.”

“Thank you for the lesson, master.”

“And thank you for not falling through the stairs yet.”

They both laughed. Horace ran his hands through his curly hair and looked out into the heavens of the planetarium. “Do you think we’ll find the anomaly before it causes the Great Sorrow?”

“No,” Archimedes said. “Fate is fate.”

“Then why look for it?”

“So we can let the elven royal family know when it has to do what it has to do.”

Horace shook his head. Seemed like a waste of time.

“There’s a few stairwells to the east that could use some repair,” Archimedes said, turning away from his apprentice once more.

“I’m on it.”

Exploring Religion in the Primal Patterns Series

Lucifer's OdysseyIn the Sneak Peak on the Primal Patterns series, we discussed multiverse-building in the series and the similarities with other science and speculative fiction. In this installment, I’d like to talk a bit about the religious implications of the series and what readers are getting into.

In a story that features Lucifer, Jehovah, angels and demons, the reader is probably expecting to be immersed in frequent religious references, culture, and symbolism. If you are expecting another Dan Brown novel, however, you are going to hit the end of the first book with some major disappointment. If Lucifer sees himself as the devil in the Bible, he doesn’t realize the significance of his connection, and he doesn’t give the mapping much thought at all. Because of this, the first book centers more on his reactions to the changing multiverse around him. But the Primal Patterns series is certainly coupled to earthly religions, and fans of philosophical and metaphysical musings will probably enjoy the second and third books more than the first one.

The first three books of the Primal Patterns series mirror many events in the Old Testament. You could say that the Old Testament is a shadow of the first three books (according to the series). What comes to light, starting in book two, is that many of the authors in the Bible really were “listening” to God by tapping into the Order Primal accidentally. Human prophets may have been oracles, and many of their predictions come true in the series. The series also has fun with some of our favorite biblical stories.

The Goblin RebellionThere is a major and potentially controversial aspect to the first three books and one that I assume may cause some friction with readers. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will relate the source of this decision in writing the series. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by the perplexing differences between God in the Old Testament and God in the New Testament. God in the Old Testament seemed especially callous. He smited and flooded, basked in animal sacrifices, and gave humans such mind-bogglingly immoral tasks and tests involving murder and rape that you get the feeling that God is extremely cold. You might argue that humans did these things and just watched, but if God was especially interested in humans, as the Bible claims, then he certainly didn’t go out of his way to stop us from doing something he didn’t like.

In the New Testament, God seems almost replaced entirely. He’s a personal deity that wants to talk to you, help you, and be your best friend. This begs the question: what happened? There are as many schools of thought in philosophy on this as you can shake a stick at. From my readings, the extremes of philosophical musings to this question would probably be 1) God grew up or got milder, 2) God is a human invention and reflects mankind’s values, themes, and situations at the time of the writing of each chapter, or 3) maybe there was more than one God involved. The series combines several concepts from other earthly religions into the overall story arc, and hopefully, it presents a fun philosophical journey when you peel back the layers.

Will that make readers uncomfortable? I’m not sure, but I hope you don’t mind being led down that avenue to ponder on it for yourself. I think it’s important to remember that this is a work of fiction. Some of my favorite books of all time have grabbed me by surprise when I found a hidden layer and decided to peel that back. In general, that’s the kind of story I want to write. There are no new themes, really, and I do not claim to present questions that no one has ever asked before in the history of time. But I do intend to write entertaining, layered stories about mankind’s past and future.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment to this post or email me at rexjameson@gmail.com.

Giving away copies of Lucifer’s Odyssey

Lucifer's Odyssey coverHey everyone,

If you’re looking for a fun, expansive science fiction and fantasy book to read this holiday season, and you like paying zero dollars to do so, check out my Library Thing giveaway. 50 eBook copies are going to be gifted by September 15th, so if you’ve been wanting to get your hands on a copy, check it out!

Lucifer’s Odyssey went up a bit early (it was slated for September 1st), but you won’t see me complaining.

Samples of the novel can be found at the following:
Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

I’m also looking for bloggers who are interested in excerpts, so if you are interested in me posting a fun excerpt from the novel, please let me know. Smashwords currently has the book up for 3.99, and Amazon should price match it soon. I will keep the 3.99 price until after the holiday season, at least. The 2nd book in the Primal Patterns series should be coming out in February. If you would like to post a banner ad on your site for Lucifer’s Odyssey, feel free to use the following on your site:

Lucifer's Odyssey banner ad

Primal Patterns Series Info

Lucifer's OdysseyThe release of the first novel of the Primal Patterns series is coming up on September 1st, and reviewers are already taking a look at the advanced review copies and posting sneak peaks. For readers curious about the setting of this series, allow me to give some ideas about what this book has going on under the covers.

First, the foundations of the Primal Patterns series are complex universes that interact in a traditional type 4 multiverse but with a primal pattern universe projecting other universes. As Charles notes in his review, this approach has similarities to Roger Zelazny’s Amber series in that there are multiple primal patterns that interact, but in the Primal Patterns series, these universes have vastly different properties (like the magnitude of the constant that informs the limit of the speed of light), which cause differences in time flow, for instance. This causes interesting problems for universes that operate slower than rivals, since military training and other activities take much longer. Zelazny’s Amber series begins with only two primals: Order and Chaos. These later expand to three. In the Primal Patterns series there are three known primals at the beginning (and we become aware of an additional nine), and there are huge differences in the types of immortals that populate the projection of the primals that the first novel occurs in. The overall situation and flow of the series will change by the end of the third book, but that’s not a bad thing, I hope.

The similarities with Zelazny’s worlds are not necessarily intentional though I do offer homage to some of his concepts and events. Order and Chaos are common themes, but angels, demons, elves, and goblins are definitely not the bread and butter of Amber. The ultimate motivator for the Primal Patterns series would be more Plato’s Forms than Chaos and Order. Actually, the Hall of Souls can even be thought of as a mechanism for the Forms for denizens of Order, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise here. The religious messages in this series are an undertone, even if the title would seem to suggest otherwise. Angels and demons exist, and one came from the other. Jehovah did not create everything, but he has emergently created everything that you or I would care about, and we choose him over the demons and the elves.

Anyway, I hope others enjoy the journey we are taking together half as much as I enjoyed writing it!

As a result of the review on eBookworm.us, I plan on adding the following Author’s Note to the book to prepare the reader for the first book. What are your thoughts?

Author’s Note
This book is about a war between angels and demons but with a different premise and origin story. Angels were once demons, and Jehovah has created a truly unique universe for humanity and his other creations to thrive in and ultimately be reborn into, instead of being placed permanently into heaven- or hell-based eternities. As a reflection of some of our current Earthly religions, this god prefers his creations to those in the rest of the multiverse. And so the saga begins …

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