Today I’m delighted to host a newcomer to our family at Muse. A big welcome goes out to James J. Crofoot. Let’s get started, shall we?
James holds two degrees in unrelated fields and has also attended a course online with Gotham Writing Workshop. He has been writing since birth and is now putting his works out for others to enjoy. Most of his education about people comes from his travels. He’s a people watcher. “I come up with stories about who they are, what they are, even sometimes what kind of life they live. I love to put people in my characters, too. Studying them and getting to know them is my favorite hobby. (and most people love it when I put them in my stories. Especially the girlies. ahaha)”
1. First let me ask you about your unusual name. Is it Native American? No, but that’s a question I’m often asked. My great-great grandfather was a duke in England. He came to America some years back and married a Cherokee princess. So I do have Native American ancestry, but Crofoot is actually English.
2. How long have you been creating your own stories?
Like I said in my bio, I’ve been writing since before I started kindergarten. Of course then they were just scribbles on paper, but I read them back to an attentive audience. Ahah My little sister.
3. What made you finally decide to get serious about becoming a writer?
I was in between jobs. I had plenty of time on my hands and doing what I normally do, I wrote. Then a good friend put the bug in my ear, make this a job. So I started submitting pieces and with the first rejections I found I became more and more attentive to the small critiques I sometimes received. Once in a while, one would tell me the good points.
4. Describe what you consider your ideal writing conditions.
Pift, ideal writing conditions? Anywhere. I have written everywhere. But I would have to say in the early morning dark when everyone is still asleep.
5. Describe your rituals for preparing to write.
Coffee, Dt. Mountain Dew and pen in hand. I usually get myself situated for about half an hour, gather all ingredients in one place and then start writing. The first draft with a blue pen and just put it down on paper.
6. How often do you write?
I try to put at least an hour a day, after that first morning cup. I do however sometimes just get going, and it’s like I go someplace where only the words going down exist. Then I write until the words are done. I love those times, don’t you? When I’m in the zone, one thing seems to lead to another and it just keeps going.
7. Are you a plotter, a pantser or some combination of both?
I’m somewhere in between. First I scribble things down. I was told it’s called brainstorming. I just put them everywhere on the paper. The events of the story, the words of individual characters, random descriptions…etc. Then I sit and write, using the ‘outline’ mostly loosely. So, I do plot, but then where it goes from there can change from where it started. I like to call myself a pantser who does a little plotting.
8. Describe one of your favorite characters and tell us who you patterned them after and why.
I have two characters in a series of tales in my little shipyard (still in building) who are comrades in ever since of the word. They’re really two halves of a whole. I think they embody all that is a warrior. Both violent and calm. Tempest and placid. I need to learn more about this writing thing before they are shown to the public though. Sounds very interesting. I love characters like that.
9. Where do you go for inspiration?
I’m inspired everywhere. I come up with ideas from walking down the street, riding on a bus, talking with a friend. I have to carry around a notepad and pen.
10. Name an author or authors who never fail to inspire you.
I’m afraid there are just to many to name. For starters – Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Marian Zimmer Bradley, Anne Rice, Margaret Snowdon and a small library of more names I can’t remember (I’m terrible with names). Currently, I’m keeping track of a fellow MuseItUp author who writes fractured fairy tales.
11. Tell us about your current WIP.
My current WIP is about a noble and his elvish wife. They are sent to a city, by the emperor, where their presence is unwelcomed. A bit of politics, some goblins, bola throwing, sabers wielding cattle barons. There’s a thief and dragon thrown in too.
Below is an excerpt:
A Lovely Book-The Loss of Love
Blue flame danced across the pages of the tome as Allenvale Shaizar read it. The book, made from the skins of demons from the seven hells, contained the knowledge of those hells there-in. Allenvale was half demon, half elf and master of the book, which sat on the pedestal before him. A ring, made from the finger of a demon lord, made him the master and immune to the burning knowledge on those pages, knowledge that burned everyone not strong enough.
“There, my love,” said Allenvale as he closed the book. “Once again you have given me the words needed to banish another angel from my plane, damn self righteous beings. When I return perhaps I’ll reward you in our special way.”
The book shuttered imperceptivity.
A pair of eyes watched from the magicked shadows as Allenvale left and then turned a corner out of sight. The thief entered the room congratulating himself on being a Master Thief. His eyes opened wider when he saw the object of his thievery. “How lovely you are.”
He’d been instructed not to open it, but its beauty took control of his mind and he decided a peek would be ok. The first letter on the first page consumed the thief.
That’s how a Master Thief lost his love of theft.
Someone not wearing the ring had set it free. Its joy resonated throughout the plane as it moved to another, closed itself and slept.
Tasel Krone saw the tome from across the cavern and was elated. Now the villagers would believe his stories from his youth, believe he was the great mage. The stories that got him patronizing looks when he told them. They were true! (Weren’t they? It had been so long ago.)
The old mage now stood before it and was instantly awed by its blue fire, the hue of which he’d never seen. Surely, his cloak would keep him safe from the burning he’d learned of. He had no choice now any way.
He opened it, beheld the knowledge there in, and the loving blue secrets consumed him with their flame.
That’s how Tasel Krone, village magician, lost his love of grandeur.
The book closed itself and slept.
Tasha, Queen of the First River, looked down at the tome containing the knowledge and power to overthrow all the lands around her. She laughed as she thought how the fire and beauty of this holder of secrets would destroy lesser beings. Not her, though. Soon her armies would conquer all.
She caressed the spine of it. Made, she knew, from the bones of a denizen of the sixth hell. The texture was erotic, but not as much as she in her revealing gold-threaded attire. She could read it’s pages. Her serpentine armband, symbol of ruler ship over her lands, would allow it. Soon she would be its mistress, it would do her bidding as all did.
Slowly Tasha opened the book and started to read the words there. She smiled. However, the smile turned to a frown of confusion as she couldn’t stop reading.
“No, no,” she said. “I didn’t want to know that.” She had to read. “No! That’s not …”
Her armband glowed white hot, searing her arm before it exploded. The book took an instant with Tasha, so vain in thinking herself more beautiful than it. However, like the rest, a brilliant blue flame, the color of the demon, Shakor, consumed even this over confidant queen.
‘How dare she,’ the book thought.
That’s how Tasha, Queen of the First River, lost her love of conquest and of herself.
The book closed itself and slept.
An aged finger touched the terribly beautiful cover. The finger then lost its wrinkles, it’s brown spots and the nail turned smooth and black and healthy.
“Ah, my lovely,” said Allenvale Shaizar. “I’ve found you. Three thousand years and hundreds of planes.” He paused to savor the moment. “What mischief have you caused?”
The book awoke. It could feel the power of the ring that alone could enslave it and wept.
“I have thought of so many pleasures over the eons, all just waiting to find you.”
That’s how the tome containing the knowledge of the seven hells lost it’s love of being.
A book from the skins of demons from the seven hells, contained the knowledge of those hells there-in…A book that shudders…A book that burns…A book that spits out blue fire…Hmmm…I don’t know about the rest of you, but this all sounds verrrry interesting.
This has been great fun, James. Your stories sound delightful. Thanks for stopping by and giving us the chance to get to know you better. The best of luck with future endeavors!!
Look for James Crofoot’s books here:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+continuing+Journeys+of+a+different+necromancer
“The Journeys of a Different Necromancer (book 1)” Go to link to order your copy https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/352-james-crofoot
-“The Continuing Journeys of a Different Necromancer” (book 2) out this month!
Both available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and MuseItUp Publishing.
Now appearing online at Silverblade magazine ‘A Darker Fairy’s Tale’.