All posts by jmoellerwriter

an impromptu interview about GHOST IN THE INFERNO

A reader had some questions about GHOST IN THE INFERNO, and it turned into a short interview of sorts.

“1. Do you imagine yourself in the main characters shoes when you write?”

Nah. I’m nothing like any of my characters.  Considering what happens to my characters, I am relieved by this fact.

“2. Do you have a favorite book or character which you have written about??”

I think SOUL OF SERPENTS was the best DEMONSOULED book, FROSTBORN: THE IRON TOWER was the best FROSTBORN book, and GHOST IN THE MASK, GHOST IN THE HUNT, and GHOST IN THE RAZOR were the best GHOSTS books. But what the writer thinks of his work is not often what the readers actually think of it. :)

“3. What is your favorite book (not one of yours)? Do you/ did you read a lot? :)”

I used to read more, but I still usually get through about 40 or 50 books a year. Ebooks help with that, since I can read on my tablet while running on a treadmill in the morning.

Let’s see, favorite books:

For fantasy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION by Tolkien, THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON by Robert E. Howard, KNIGHTS OF DARK RENOWN by David Gemmell, and the entirety of THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher.

For science fiction, THE HIGH CRUSADE by Poul Anderson, THE ICARUS HUNT by Timothy Zahn, and CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson.

I think PERELANDRA and THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS were the best fiction that CS Lewis wrote. (MERE CHRISTIANITY, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, and A GRIEF OBSERVED would be his best nonfiction.)

For mysteries, THE SIGN OF THE BASKERVILLES, THE SPECKLED BAND, THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS, and THE ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER (all Sherlock Holmes stories) by Arthur Conan Doyle. (If you ever get the chance, the TV dramatization of THE ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes does the rare feat of actually improving on the original story, which was already excellent.) Also ONE CORPSE TOO MANY and THE VIRGIN IN THE ICE by Ellis Peters for historical mysteries, and I think TELL NO ONE by Harlan Coben is the prime example of a mystery/thriller. Though since he likes to write about families torn apart by A Dark Secret, I think Mr. Coben may have missed his calling as a writer of Gothic horror.

I owe Jasper Fforde’s THURSDAY NEXT series for inspiration, because I used to find writing love stories tedious, but THURSDAY NEXT showed how a writer could get a lot of dramatic mileage & tension out of a love story.

THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD is considered one of HP Lovecraft’s weaker works, but I think it was his best.

For nonfiction, Julius Caesar’s COMMENTARIES ON THE GALLIC WARS, Xenophon’s ANABASIS (I like Xenophon’s line about putting on his best clothes and armor to overawe his opponents, and then if they killed him, at least he would be dressed properly for it), and Ulysses S Grant’s MEMOIRS of the US Civil War. THE MIDDLE AGES by Morris Bishop is an excellent look at the Western European Middle Ages, and BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James McPherson is the best one-volume history of the US Civil War. THE SECOND WORLD WAR by John Keegan, THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Peter Heather, and DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larsen are also some of my favorites. I also liked Alison Weir’s books on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III.

“4. Are you thinking about starting another series or writing a separate book?”

Always! I always have new ideas.

Right now, I only have time to write six or seven books a year, so for now I’m sticking to GHOST EXILE and FROSTBORN. Ideas are easy. Implementing them into actual books is the hard part.

The trouble with stand-alone books is that they don’t sell very well, so I tend to write series.

“5. What is your inspiration? What gave you the idea for these books? (Ghost Exile)”

The idea came about because I thought THE GHOSTS series was going to come to a natural conclusion in GHOST IN THE SURGE, but I wanted to keep writing GHOSTS books.

So how best to do that without the series becoming stagnant and repetitive? I decided to have Caina save the day at the end of GHOST IN THE SURGE, but get punished and exiled for it. That way she would be thrust into a new setting, with new characters, new problems, and new enemies.

The root conflict and plot hook of GHOST EXILE – the wraithblood – was inspired partly by watching HOUSE MD, and partly by reading about various experiments the CIA did with LSD in the 1950s and 1960s. (I believe it was called the MKUltra project). About six years ago I wrote a short story about a wraithblood-addicted locksmith trying to pay off his debts in Istarinmul. That story never got published, but the locksmith eventually evolved into the character of Nerina Strake.

Also, writing a longer series tends to generate its own ideas due to the internal logic of the series – the characters’ actions have consequences. A lot of the plot of GHOST IN THE HUNT was simply a logical consequence of how much Caina irritated her enemies in the previous two books.

One hint for future GHOST EXILE books: someday there will be a GHOST EXILE book that revolves around just how much Callatas has aggravated Cassander Nilas. Internal series logic! :)

“6. How did you start writing? Did you have a favorite author that inspired you, or was your parent a writer or…??”

A long time ago I used to run Dungeons and Dragons RPG games for my high school friends, and found that I liked the storytelling aspect of it more than the maps and dice.

“7. Do you wake up in the middle of the night and start writing about an idea you had? My dad does (an author and I wanna go in his tracks) and I sort of do too.”

Nah. If I have an idea, I tend not to write it down. I figure if it’s a good idea, I’ll remember it because I’ll keep thinking about it, but if it’s a bad idea, I’ll forget about it. Usually, the good ideas are for an upcoming book, like “oh, Caina should do this” or “Ridmark should do that”, and I’ll add them into the outline for the next book.

If I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s usually because of leg cramps or insomnia, so I play SKYRIM or BALDUR’S GATE on my computer until I can fall back asleep. Usually, though, I sleep like the dead. Running 5k several times a week likely helps with that. :)

“8. How many more books do you plan on writing in all? What if you finish them?!??! :( :O What will be after that?! May you never run out of witing mojo steam and all that ;)”

FROSTBORN is going to be fifteen books, and GHOST EXILE will be nine.

After that…well, I have no shortage of ideas, and new ones all the time. I’ll keep writing as long as I’m physically able to do so and have an outlet for publication of some kind.




I am giving away 10 review copies of DEMONSOULED OMNIBUS ONE in exchange for an honest review at your ebook site of choice, though Amazon US is preferred if at all possible. Send me an email at jmcontact @ specifying MOBI (Kindle format) or EPUB (Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play format) and I’ll reply with an official review copy of DEMONSOULED OMNIBUS ONE.

First come, first serve, so email now.



GHOST IN THE INFERNO rough draft finished!

The rough draft of GHOST IN THE INFERNO is finally done! 108,000 words in 24 1/2 days. I think the final draft will wind up being about 10,000 or 12,000 words longer than GHOST IN THE RAZOR.

If all goes well, GHOST IN THE INFERNO should be out in late April or thereabouts.

I’d also like to thank everyone for their kind comments while I was writing GHOST IN THE INFERNO. It is nice to know that people are looking forward to the book! Back in the Bad Old Days of traditional publishing, I wrote GHOST IN THE FLAMES, GHOST IN THE BLOOD, and CHILD OF THE GHOSTS entirely in a vacuum. No one knew I was writing them, and I don’t think anyone actually read GHOST IN THE FLAMES until two or three years after I had written it. (The first reader’s primary comment was that he thought the book needed more descriptions of birds.)

So this new way is much more pleasant. :)


another GHOST IN THE INFERNO excerpt

Still not done with GHOST IN THE INFERNO, so let’s have another brief excerpt!

“The Moroaica,” said Samnirdamnus, a mocking smile on his face.

Caina felt a chill. “Why do you call me that? The Moroaica is dead.”

“You have the right to the title,” said Samnirdamnus. “Or would you prefer another one, perhaps? She had many names. The Szalds called her Jadriga, the Sword-Queen of War. The Anshani named her the Bloodmaiden of old, and the Kyracians called her the Bringer of Dust and Ashes. The Iramisians called her the Herald of Ruin, and I am not sure what the solmonari of the Szalds called her because she killed them all. But the priests of ancient Maat, the priests of the Kingdom of the Rising Sun that she shattered…they called her the Abomination, the Destroyer. So many names, and all of them yours by right.”

“I am not the Moroaica,” said Caina, puzzled. The Sage Talekhris had made the same error, mistaking Caina for Jadriga, but Jadriga’s spirit had been trapped within Caina’s flesh at the time. “You said you thought I was the one you were looking for…but were you really looking for the Moroaica the entire time?” She laughed. “If so, you are too late. She is dead.”

Samnirdamnus offered a lazy smile in answer. “I am not so sloppy, my darling demonslayer. You are not the Moroaica, and I have not sought for her. But, ah….it is such a pity you cannot see your own aura. So dark, so scarred, so heavy with the shadows cast by both your past and your future. If you could see yourself with the eyes of the spirit, then perhaps you could understand why someone might mistake you for the Moroaica.”


GHOST IN THE INFERNO short excerpt

It’s been a while since I posted any excerpts from GHOST IN THE INFERNO, so let’s start today with a longer one:

“She is,” said Agabyzus. “This is Moryzai, the finest forger in all of Istarinmul. He can create a fake writ and proclamation so detailed that not even the Padishah’s own scribes can detect the forgery. I have employed his services for our business on your behalf many times.”

 “Bah,” said Moryzai, gesturing with his fork. “The Padishah’s own scribes are imbecilic lummoxes. The great danger of my work is that I shall create a forgery so perfect that the lack of incompetence shall immediately proclaim it as a fake.” He speared a bit of lamb upon his fork, swallowed it with a sigh of pleasure, and then pointed the utensil at Caina. “Just as you, my dear, are obviously a fake.”

“Oh?” said Caina.

This ought to be amusing.

“Our mutual acquaintance,” Moryzai nodded at Agabyzus, “does not share the details of his business with me, but it is quite clearly illegal, and I have no wish to speculate upon it further, lest I be overburdened with dangerous knowledge and become a liability to your organization. But such an organization as yours, whatever it is, is almost always governed by a hard and ruthless man. The thought that a pretty young woman in her twenties is ruling a criminal organization is, frankly, too ludicrous to believe. You ought to be on the arm of some fat merchant or dancing for the pleasure of an emir.”

“That’s very sweet,” said Caina. She glanced at Agabyzus. “You didn’t tell me that he was a charmer.”


how many books in the FROSTBORN series?

Now that FROSTBORN: THE GORGON SPIRIT has been out for a week, let’s have some questions!

-How many books will there be in the Frostborn series? How long will it take to write them?

15 books total.


So fifteen books. I’ve noticed no one ever actually believes me when I say this. :)

But I’ve planned from the beginning for FROSTBORN to be a grand total of fifteen books. They’re all plotted out already, and I know what happens for the rest of the series, so I’m not winging it. When unexpected things happen while I’m writing (like Mara becoming so prominent of a character, or the entirety of Antenora’s character and backstory) I adjust the outline for the rest of the books.

If I’m able to keep on at the current pace of three FROSTBORN books a year, then the series should wrap up in late 2017.


Sometime in the summer. Not sure when yet, since I’ve got some other stuff in the works that might or might not happen. But definitely sometime this summer.


the complete reading order of THE GHOSTS & GHOST EXILE

Last week’s BookBub ad brought in a lot of new readers to THE GHOSTS series, which is pretty cool. A few people have asked on the proper order for reading the GHOSTS short stories, since the novels are all number and the short stories are not.

There really isn’t a proper order for the short stories, but here is the complete chronological order of all GHOSTS short stories and novels:

Child of the Ghosts
Ghost Aria
Ghost in the Flames
Ghost Dagger
Ghost Light
Ghost in the Blood
The Fall of Kyrace
Ghost in the Storm
Ghost in the Stone
Ghost in the Forge
Ghost Claws
Ghost Omens
Ghost in the Ashes
Ghost in the Mask
Ghost Thorns
Ghost Undying
Ghost in the Surge
Ghost in the Cowl
Ghost Sword
Ghost in the Maze
Ghost Price
Ghost Relics
Ghost in the Hunt
Ghost Keeper
Ghost Nails
Blood Artists
Bound To The Eye
Ghost in the Razor