March 4, 2013
by J. Mark Miller (@jmarkmiller)


foundlingscover embed 225x300 THE FOUNDLINGS—Free This WeekMy debut novel, THE FOUNDLINGS, is free for Kindle Monday through Friday of this week (March 4-8).

This book is the culmination of a 20-year-old dream, and I’m excited to share it with the world. THE FOUNDLINGS is an epic fantasy novel suitable for anyone from middle school age through adults. It’s full of adventure, magic, and intrigue. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

The world’s only hope is in a prophecy hardly anyone believes in anymore.

Long ago, Chashak and his demonic kin led the peoples of the Five Races astray, placing them on the path of war and destruction. Onúl, the One God, took pity on his creation and banished the evil ones from the sphere of the world for a season. Millennia have passed and Chashak has returned, though the world seems unaware and ill-prepared.

Tenna and Tander live peaceful lives far from one another, until destiny and tragedy draws them together. One of them is ready for adventure while the other feels like they’re little more than extraneous baggage. Neither of them are prepared for what’s to come. Befriended by dragons, guided by a legend, and protected by new friends, they embark on a journey to recover the only weapons capable of standing against the Deceiver—the seven Swords of Xigara.

THE FOUNDLINGS is the beginning chapter in the epic Swords of Xigara trilogy—a coming-of-age story full of peril, intrigue, and discovery. If you’re a fan of Tolkien, Terry Brooks, or David Eddings, you’ll enjoy following these adventurers as they strive against impossible odds to save their world—a world that may not want to be saved.

Click here download THE FOUNDLINGS.

March 2, 2013
by J. Mark Miller (@jmarkmiller)

Music to Write By

musicwrite Music to Write ByI’ve mentioned before that I’m a musician by training and by trade. I also grew up in a household that always had some kind of noise going on. The television was always on, even if no one was watching it. It took me several years to get used to real quiet. I found it hard to study and concentrate without some kind of background noise.

When I was in college, I took classes on how to analyze music. For a long time afterwards I found it hard to simply listen to music for enjoyment’s sake and found myself listening critically to every piece of music.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve found it increasingly hard to concentrate with extraneous sound in my environment. When writing, I’ve come to prefer one of two options: either total silence (which is next to impossible in our household) or listening to music with my Bose headphones.

When I do decide to plug in while writing, it’s often in an effort to drown out the noise going on around me. The problem comes when it’s time to figure out what to listen to. For me, I’ve determined that I can’t listen to music with lyrics, which typically means defaulting to classical music. But I’ve also discovered another genre that seems perfectly tailored to writing—movie soundtracks.

The obvious cinematic qualities of movie soundtracks are perfect for writing, especially fantasy fiction. It’s easy to find music that fits whatever you’re writing at the time: romantic scenes, battle sequences, mysterious characters, dire circumstances, you name it.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite music to write by. Not all of them are movie soundtracks, but most are.

As you can see, I have an affinity for Brahms. I’ve also found that nearly anything composed by Hans Zimmer is a winner for feeding my writing.

What music do you enjoy writing to? Please share in the comments.

February 27, 2013
by J. Mark Miller (@jmarkmiller)

Story Seeds Collection #2

story seeds 03 300x300 Story Seeds Collection #2Here’s this week’s set of story seeds for your imaginative expansion. Always remember that writing prompts and story seeds are only meant to get you started, they can’t write the story for you.

Get into the character’s heads. Ask yourself questions. Why do they make the decisions they make? What are their motivations? What pressures weigh down on them?

Above all, ask yourself “What’s the conflict?” Without conflict there’s no story.

I hope these help kick start your imagination. Go on over to 250 Story Seeds to read this week’s collection. Here’s a preview:

The Toreador

Genres: romance/general/inspirational

Aarón is a retired toreador from Spain. While some of the old ways are still practiced in his homeland, interest in bullfighting has waned…

Apple of My Eye

Genres: humor/general

Duane is a computer geek’s computer geek. There’s nothing he can’t figure out when it comes to computing—he knows it all…

The Encouragement File

Genres: inspirational/general

Frances is gripped by an abiding depression she just can’t shake. Life has taken her down with a series of setbacks that have wounded her deeply…

For more story seeds, visit 250 Story Seeds


250storyseeds catalog 187x300 Story Seeds Collection #2250 Story Seeds by J. Mark Miller

Writers, are you finding it hard to come up with fresh story ideas on a regular basis? Are you too worn out from your day job to muster the mental strength to create something unique? 250 Story Seeds is just what the busy writer needs to help get those neurons firing.

This book is full of writing prompts, story seed ideas, and imagination igniters, writers of all genres are sure to appreciate. Whether you’re looking for ideas fantastic or romantic, you’ll find what you need to get you started. Look for it soon on Amazon!