James Neal


Now: Father of two, master of neither. A gamer since the original NES, now on the Xbox One, for better or worse. Once upon a time I was a Rent-to-Own Account Manager, now a freelance writer and artist. I've drawn everything from dragon tattoos to T-shirt designs involving a man wearing pantyhose on his head. Yes, you read that right. I've written everything from a self-published novel to copy about French chateaus and bedbugs.

Before: Medically discharged from the Navy, I grabbed a Greyhound ticket to nowhere and stayed on that track for a year. I call it "Greyhound Therapy," and it gave me a much broader view of the Human Condition than I'd gotten from living in a small town with a big school in rural MO.

Overall: I'm a big fan of the fantasy genre, I love the tropes even as I try to trip them up. I'm also a big fan of psychological horror; and hope one day supernatural horror gets scary again.

Smashwords Interview

Who are your favorite authors?
My absolute favorite author is Stephen King. From horror to fantasy, he's kept me awake and quaking on more occasion than any other author. I know it sounds like such an easy answer; but King truly is the king of modern fiction.

My first, and therefore important, fantasy author was Susan B. Cooper, with her The Dark is Rising series. That book was responsible for my never-read The Dark Lord book, which I started at the age of thirteen...and it was horrible.

There are two authors I keep trying to mix up, and both are wonderful writers. Eric Van Lustbader was responsible for introducing me to The Ninja, Mako, and Jian. Wonderful martial arts books for martial arts lovers like me.
The other is Brian Lumley, author of the Necroscope series which, if you don't know, is about vampires and a man(?) who can speak with the dead. Though I plan to, I never finished all his books.

Last of my favorites, Tad Williams. The first book I read by him took me three years to read...but once I was through the setup novel, I couldn't put his series down. Otherland was such a loooong read. No other book has been more worth working through in my entire life, the series following Otherland is amazing, tight, and full of mystery.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, I'm drawing. If I'm not drawing, I'm playing videogames. Recently, I discovered I have a knack for making Minecraft videos and have my own (sagging and sad) channel on YouTube now: ComicCraft. If I can get my schedule right, I'll start doing those again.

Outside of that, I am a father. My daughter keeps me busy by being smart enough to be on the Robotics team at her school. She loves the fact that, when she talks about math, I have little clue as to what she's speaking about.

My son, on the other hand, is more along my line of thought: he wants to be as fast as The Flash. Y'know, the superhero? At the age of five, I hope he doesn't reach those kinds of speeds just yet.
Read more of this interview.


The Blacksmith's Reaper
Price: Free! Words: 6,030. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A dwarf blacksmith is given the task of creating an amazing weapon meant for a future warrior. In the process, he discovers what life has hidden from him when he was part of the world. These revelations are as melancholy as they are enlightening.
Divine Right
Price: Free! Words: 3,760. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Jon Carghen meets one of his sisters-in-arms, Evelyn, who has bad news for the pacifist Crimson Knight. He is being hunted by his own kind. The decision he must make is dastardly at best, but what choice does he really have?