December 18th, 2017: I'm proud to announce that Kirkus Reviews just named Fish Wielder one of its five Best Indie Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2017 and one of the top 100 Indie books of the year! In addition to that, Fish Wielder was the winner of the TCK Readers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel of 2017! A nice way to close out the 2017. Thanks to all the readers out there for your support.
January 3rd, 2017: Well! I certainly haven't been keeping up with posting the news here, have I? Well, new year, new leaf. The most recent news is that Fish Wielder got a stellar review on the GeekMom website on Christmas day. That's always a nice present! Want to read what they had to say without the huge bother of going to their site? Well, here it is then:
"Smart. Silly. Funny. Engaging. J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison’s Fish Wielder is all of these. With short chapters packed full of tiny little gems that catch you unaware and let you enjoy not just Thoral and Brad’s adventure but also the experience of reading the story, it’s fun. December, I’d say, was the perfect month to read this tale, when I was too frantic with readying myself for the holidays to have the luxury of fully submerging myself in a book. And I say this in the best of ways; this is not a book you want to lose yourself in because then you’d miss out on fully appreciating the editorial asides that this story is so rich with.
You’ve got a quest. And a talking fish. A love story. Enemies galore. There’s fighting and magic, shifting alliances. It’s Princess Bride meets Monty Python. This is what you’d get if the sharp wit and comic timing of Robin Williams and Mark Twain had been extracted, blended into a smoothie (with some liquor), and chugged by Dr. Seuss’s fish from the Cat in the Hat–who was then asked to recount Lord of the Rings."
Also got a great review on the RevolutionSF website on November 26th of 2016. What's that you say? You want to read that one here too? OK:
" This one is just silly, and I mean that as a high compliment. It's a sword-and-sorcery comedy that reminds me of Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer. Like Groo, Thoral Mighty Fist is a barbarian who unleashes destruction and pronounces his greatness while doing so. For example: "I will destroy this unknown force or die trying. That will most likely stop it." The cleverness is in the details. I require all fantasy novels to include a map of the fantasy world before the story even starts, or I will riot. This book's map includes a location labeled Fubar. That made me giggle. Yes. Giggle.
Thoral Mighty Fist has a talking fish sidekick, and he is hilarious. The title of the book comes when someone mistakes Thoral's claim to be Fist Wielder as Fish, and trying to describe it messes up the joke. Another reason to get the book: evil pudding. More giggling, that's what happened when I read that part. I've already gifted a copy of this book to a good buddy of mine. It's that kind of book. "
So, there's a little bit of new news for the new year. I'm going to start looking into the con schedule for the new year, as I have a new book coming out in October that I need to start promoting. It's called Demon Freaks.
May 11th, 2016: Fantasy Author Matt Hiebert wrote a great review of Fish Wielder! Here it is:
"If Robert E. Howard wrote for Monty Python, he would not have been as funny (nor as imaginative) as J.R.R.R (Jim) Hardison.
If you think you know what you're getting into with Fish Wielder, let me stop you right there. You don't. I've turned many a page with Robert Asprin and Piers Anthony, so when I picked up Hardison's book, I thought “this will be a nice tongue-in-cheek, pun-filled foray into a familiar fantasy scape.” Not so. Fish Wielder tap dances through the tropes and clichés of the fantasy genre with such skill and aplomb that I can't bring myself to compare it to anything else I've ever read.
It is hard to write humor. I can't do it. Most TV shows can't do it. But Hardison manages to deliver insightful, deconstructionist laughs with the ease of a grode falling off a log. And often from unexpected material. Even the arc and landing of a flying severed head gave me a chuckle at one point.
Without exaggerating, I can tell you that Hardison made me LOL on nearly every page. Some of his similes -- I mean, my god -- were hilarious. Binding chains are cut in half like “strands of licorice,” and heroes run as fast as “giraffes,” which, it turns out, is five mph faster than a human being.
At one point in the tale, a mandatory giant serpent appears. Or as Hardison describes it: “It was a jet-black snake, about thirty feet long and as thick around as two fat men hugging.” Two fat men hugging! I snorted so hard when I read that line, something came out of my nose.
And the novel is packed with that kind of stuff.
None of the big-name fantasy authors escape Hardison. Tolkien, Lewis, Baum, Lovecraft, Howard, the guy who wrote Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, all receive hilarious, literary dick punches within the pages of Fish Wielder. Like the narrator – who pokes little peep holes in the fourth wall as he/she/it imparts the tale – Hardison wants you to be in on the joke. There is often a sense that some gags were written just for you, the seasoned fantasy reader. You, too, had noticed the potential for a groan while reading a long-winded description in Return of the King. You, too, rolled your eyes at that convoluted metaphor in one of Lovecraft's horror stories. Well, you stand not alone! This novel smiles, shakes its head and embraces all those eye rolls and groans with loving fondness.
You see, Hardison hasn't just delivered a hilarious parody novel. He also has given us a damn good fantasy story. He pokes fun at the genre -- but good -- yet you still find yourself turning the pages (or scrolling the screen, whatever) to find out how Thoral and Brad are going to get out of their latest mess.
And let me tell you this: You don't know. There are twists and turns in this book that made me exclaim: Holy Bejesus!I did not see that coming!” Shoot, even in the middle of A-bomb-level twists, Hardison can pull off another twist on top of the one you're already freaking out on. It's like even his twists have twists.
Long story short: the story is solid, the jokes will make you want to pee, and the characters are lovable and hilarious. Oh, and there's pudding too!"
—Matt Hiebert, Author of Blackhand The Arcana
March 21st, 2016:For those who are interested, I will be at booth 3019 at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, WA April 7-10 and Herb Apon, the artist who drew the Fish Wielder cover will be with me, signing copies of the book poster.
March 1st, 2016: My book trailer came out today! You can check it out on YouTube if you are interested.
February 29th, 2016: I have an official release date for the book! August 23rd, 2016.
December 29th, 2015: And a little more ADVANCE PRAISE! My excellent agent, Mark, just sent this over, "A great time. Fast and funny, it races along in a self-aware tone that should appeal to anyone who loves fantasy but has ever found themselves thinking, huh, that was a little melodramatic." -Clay Johnson, author of OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD (Ravenswood Publishing, 2016)
October 31st. 2015: I HAVE MORE ADVANCE PRAISE! I got my second official blurb for Fish Wielder! It's from New York Times Bestselling author (21 times over) Piers Anthony, who wrote the hilarious Xanth series. Here's what he had to say,
"This is one wild romp! I suspect some smarter reader than I could do a doctoral dissertation just fathoming the fantasy genre's famous legends that are parodied here. I'm not sure I've seen such preposterously determined critic-baiting parody since Xanth or Asprin's Myth-begotten series. I recommend it to anyone."
The quote was actually a bit longer than that, and very nice indeed, but that's the heart of it. My undying thanks go out to Mr. Anthony. I've been a fan of his work since I was 13 and first read A Spell for Chameleon.
August 8, 2015: I HAVE ADVANCE PRAISE! I just got my first official author blurb for Fish Wielder! It's from author Logan J. Hunder, who has written a very funny book called Witches Be Crazy. Here's the blurb,
"Fast, fun, fantastic! Fish Wielder is hilarious and unpredictable, like a drunk bear playing whack-a-mole."
July 16, 2015: I HAVE A PUBLISHER! Here's the official announcement:
ALA/YALSA's 2010 Top Ten author "J.R.R.R." Jim Hardison's FISH WIELDER, in which a legendary, enigmatic and often depressed barbarian warrior is hoping to get himself killed on a last adventure when he stumbles into a sinister plot; now it's up to him, accompanied by his best friend, and his noble steed, to battle the forces of evil and face his greatest challenge: the dark secret of his own mysterious past, to Misty Williams at Fiery Seas, by Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (NA).
Looks like a 2016 release--although I don't have any specifics yet. More news as I find out.
April 29, 2015: I HAVE AN AGENT. His name is Mark and he's with Trident Media Group. He seems like a great guy at a great agency and I'm very excited to be working with him/them. Now, time for some patience again while he starts looking for a publisher. How long is this part supposed to take?
April 28, 2015 (2:30pm): The agent just called me. He said he's been reading Fish Wielder all day and didn't get any other work done because of it! I'm flattered and excited. He's requested the synopses of the other two books in the trilogy. We're going to talk again tomorrow, but it looks like I might have an agent!
April 28, 2015: Yeah! I heard back from the agent today! He says he's reading the book and likes it so far. Fingers crossed.
April 17, 2015: Whoa! Heard back from the agent today and he requested the full manuscript. Very excited, except I have no idea how long hearing back from an agent after they've requested your manuscript takes. Patience is a virtue. So I'm told.
April 16, 2015: Sent a query letter off to an agent today. Now, let the 30 days of waiting commence.
March 28, 2015: Got what I think is the final version of the manuscript finished today. Now, time to do something with it.
January 27, 2015: Just created a Facebook page for Fish Wielder. I think it's always good to create social media touchpoints for books no one has read because they aren't out yet and there's no existing plan for getting them published.