The Pit (The Death Wizard Chronicles, Book 1) by Jim Melvin

Title of Book: THE PIT (THE Death Wizard Chronicles, Book 1)
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Author: Jim Melvin
Website: www.deathwizardchronicles.blogspot.com
Publisher: Rain Publishing
Date of Release: September 2007
ISBN: 978-1897381472

Summary:

The Death Wizard Chronicles is a six-book epic fantasy series from Rain Publishing Inc. Book One (The Pit) debuted September 2007; Book Two (Moon Goddess) will be published in October; Book Three (Eve of War) in November; Book Four (World on Fire) in December; Book Five (Sun God) in January 2008; Book Six (Death-Know) in February 2008. All six books will be available for purchase at rainbooks.com, amazon.com, and select bookstores in the U.S. and Canada.

The DW Chronicles is not for children and teenagers — or the faint of heart. But fans of authors such as Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, and Steven Erikson will find much to enjoy in this series.

In a groundbreaking paradox, the Death Wizard, a champion of good, derives his power from a source traditionally seen as negative — death. His nemesis, an evil sorcerer, derives his power from the sun, the benevolent source of all life. Their struggle to control the fate of the planet Triken will take your breath away.

In an original twist never before seen in this genre, the Death Wizard is able to enter the realm of death during a ‘‘temporary suicide.’’ Through intense concentration, he stops his heartbeat and feeds on death energy, which provides him with an array of magical powers.

The series also is a love triangle involving two desperate characters attempting to come together despite the machinations of an all-powerful psychopath.

Graphic and action-packed, spanning a millenium of turmoil, The DW Chronicles carries readers on a journey they will never forget.

Do you fear death? The Death Wizard does not. Find out why.

You are a student of Eastern philosophy and mindfulness meditation, both of which weaved extensively into your work. Can you explain how?

Most people have meditated in one sense or another. Just emptying your mind as you watch a beautiful sunset is a form of meditation. In Buddhism, mindfulness meditation is a technique in which a person intentionally and nonjudgmentally watches his or her thoughts and actions, in the context of the present moment. Often, sessions of meditation begin by watching the breath, but any form of single-minded concentration will do.

The Buddha, who was a spiritual genius, taught that all things are impermanent — life, death, love, hate, joy, pain, etc. Like the breath, all things have a beginning, middle and end. Because of this, there is no reason to cling to cravings or flee from aversions. If nothing lasts forever, then why sweat it? When a person meditates, he or she sees the truth of impermanence in ways that are profound and even psychologically altering. Even on surface levels, mindfulness meditation is good for you in a lot of ways. It fosters love, compassion, and peacefulness. And it’s even good for your body, slowing your heart rate and relieving pressure and stress.

Buddhists also believe that life is driven by karma, which basically means that all of us are the sum of our past and present thoughts and actions — or as one Buddhist teacher humorously put it: “Karma means you don’t get away with nothing.” Karma roars along beside us not just for one lifetime but for thousands, rebirth after rebirth after rebirth.

Still there? Sorry, these are deep concepts much better described in much greater detail by a true master of Buddhism. I am a student of Eastern philosophy, but I never claimed to be an A-student!

How does all this weave into my series? Tibetan monks have had recorded heart rates of fewer than 10 beats per minute during periods of meditation. My main character is called a Death Wizard — or more accurately, a Death-Knower — because he can carry this to the extreme, meditating with such intense concentration that he can literally stop his heart. During a temporary death, he feeds on Death Energy and then returns to his body enriched with magical powers.

This simple poem from Book One (The Pit) says it best:

Only a Death-Knower can die.
And live again.
Only a Death-Knower can return
from death.
And remember.
Only a Death-Knower can tell us
what he has seen.
Not all care to listen.

I think I’ve described the role that meditation plays in my series. Karma also plays a large role. In Book One, the Death Wizard — a champion of good — confronts an evil sorcerer with magical powers that dwarf all others. In order to defeat this god-like being, Torg makes a supreme sacrifice, setting in motion karmic forces that swirl — both on the surface and between the lines — throughout the series, playing crucial roles in the final outcome.

I could go on for pages and pages, but I think I’ll stop here. I haven’t fully answered your question, but at least I’ve given you a taste of what’s to come.

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7 thoughts on “The Pit (The Death Wizard Chronicles, Book 1) by Jim Melvin

  1. I know you used to be a journalist and have a lot of writing experience. Do you write short stories or anything else besides novels these days?

    The Story Lady

  2. Jim, you are writing a six novel series. How do you keep the characters growing and the story fresh? In my experience writing fantasy, it is easy to get stuck in the details, which slows the book down. How do you create a balance that gives enough details for your readers to be able see without providing to much so that you stunt their imagination?

  3. Hi, Jim. I never tire of reading about THE PIT. I know I said I was going to give the book to my son when it arrives, but I might just have to read it first!

  4. Slow day today!

  5. ccmal

    I really like how you’ve woven your belief system into your work, Jim. While I don’t follow the same philosphy, it is always interesting to hear more about it. I actually reviewed a book a while back that was based upon Buddist beliefs called “Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World”.

    I hope the tour is going well. See you down the line.

    Cheryl

  6. Dear Theresa:

    Great question for anyone who writes fantasy. My answer would be that you need to be very linear in getting from Point A to Point B and beyond. As long as your characters are progessing down an exciting course, they will remain fresh.

    Dear Ronda:

    Over the past three years, The DW Chronicles is the only thing I’ve written, other than a couple of freelance articles and a zillion blog items. I did do a feature on Ted Neeley of JCSuperstar fame and met him in person backstage. That was fun.

  7. Just cruising around Jim, happy to be seeing you on tour and The Death Wizard Chronicles getting out there to an audience. I’ll bet you’re going crazy with all the comments you have to check, or remember where you’ve been.

    TDWC is a great, epic series and is going to find a tremendous reading audience.

    Good luck,

    Until I next hunt you down,

    Chris

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