Two previously self-published Southwest Florida authors have just received one of the largest praises imaginable for writers: They've both been picked up by an international publishing company and can expect their bound pieces of prose on the shelves of worldwide distributors by the end of the year.
Oloris Publishing, based out of Canada, showcases an array of talent, and is eager to welcome Jason Alan and Jason R. Jones to their organization.
Both highly talented and skilled at their craft, these two authors share a rather unique story of how they coincidentally met to later end up becoming friends, colleagues and writing partners, but each also has a interesting history of individuality and how they got into the writing arena.
Local authors Jason R. Jones (left) and Jason Alan have recently been picked up by Oloris Publishing, an international group, for their series of epic-fantasy sci-fi novels. The pair has teamed up to not only write individual tales of adventure, but to co-write a collection of stories, too. Photo by Michael Pistella.
Jason Alan was born in Long Island, N.Y., moving down to Cape Coral with his family when he was 18. Since he was a child, he was heavily influenced by music, picked up a guitar at the age of 17, and has shredded ever since. Locally, he's performed in several metal bands, and is currently recording material with the progressive-metal instrumental group Mourning's Hope.
Creativity flows deep in this one's veins, as, aside from writing epic fantasy novels and annihilating the guitar strings, he's a full-time graphic artist by trade, employed with the Breeze Newspapers' production department.
The local author's work that Oloris is currently editing is called "Phate: A Cosmic Fairytale," and has been a more-than-decade-long project in the making. It's an epic five-part fantasy of cosmic proportions, a battle between good and evil, and a race for something that can mean victory to one and tragedy to another.
"Phate was really the result of having an unbelievably overly active imagination since I was very young," the author explains. "I saw the original Star Wars in the theater as a little 5-year-old Jason and it absolutely blew my face off. I was instantly fascinated with all things science fiction and fantasy. When I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, it allowed me to open up my imagination into any direction. Around that time is when I started reading sci-fi/fantasy novels. 'Phate' became a result of reading so many books and watching so many movies in the genre, always coming away with how I would have done something or how I would've taken something further."
This is when the idea of "Phate" made its first appearance in young Jason's mind.
"I began developing my own ideas, and my own characters, most starting from Dungeons and Dragons. I always imagined and envisioned more: bigger scenes, more epic scenes, more imaginative scenes," he said. "As a result, it really began as a bunch of separate scenes and characters and situations envisioned in my mind. It finally occurred to me in my early 20s that I should start piecing this together and make an epic story out of it. The more I got involved piecing it together, the more I realized I had a lot of ideas in my head, and a lot of story."
But Alan didn't just write this tale once. He wrote it repeatedly until he felt the story was complete and absolutely intense to its core.
"I learned how to write Phate by writing it over and over and over again, over a period of 15 years," he said. "Every time I'd write, I'd read over it and think, 'Oh, I can do this better.' For a long time, I didn't think there would be an end. I didn't think I would finish it. It took an unbelievable amount of perseverance and patience to get it to where it is now, because to do a book of this scale, an epic fantasy novel out of nowhere, it's a very tall order. My imagination was big enough that there was no other way to get those ideas out."
"Phate: A Cosmic Fairytale" is an intricately woven storyline that features characters from several other dimensions and galaxies, from dragons and demons to warriors and sorcerers.
"It's a modern take on the classic Hero Quest, which is a story that some people think may be out of fashion. But, it's a story that will never be out of fashion. It's a story that's been told thousands of years before and will be told for thousands of years to come," he explained. "The story centers around a character named Drinwor Fang, a dusk elf, the only one of his kind in the universe. He was created to defeat the Devil King of the Dark Forever. The weapon he needs to empower and destroy this monster is sought by another villain, who desires the sword's power tremendously, to fuel his starship to escape Phate, a planet in a desolate cosmic solar system, thought to eventually come to its demise, due to the Devil King's ascension."
One of the characters Alan feels most connected with in the his epic fairytale is Morning's Hope, one of the most positive and enlightening characters of the story.
"Morning's Hope is the voice of reason; she keeps Drinwor on track, reassuring him of his ability. She's a translucent dragon, her features sometimes shimmer in the sunlight. There is a lot of darkness in the book, and she not only serves as a guiding light to Drinwor and to the reader but balances all of the darkness spun throughout the novel with her unwavering faith," Alan said.
Adversely, another character the author heavily connects with is the tale's primary antagonist, Warloove, a dark elf sorcerous vampire with tremendous power.
"Warloove is obsessed with stealing the Sun Sword from Drinwor, which would render him helpless against the Devil King," the author explained.
So far, Phate has received very good reviews from its readers, and Alan hopes to continue that trend as it's prepared to rest in the hands of thousands, if not potentially millions of more readers.
"It's impossible to predict how something like this will be received, but it's very gratifying to know that I am going to have a shot at getting 'Phate' widely exposed," he said. "However few or however many people respond positively to it, I'm extraordinarily grateful to anyone who enjoys it."
Phate is the first of a five-book series. Alan is currently in the process of writing book No. 2, about half-way complete, titled: "Phate 2: The Dark Forever." Meanwhile, "Phate: The Cosmic Fairytale" is still available for purchase on Amazon.com and Kindle. To keep an eye on the local author and his adventure in published works with Oloris, feel free to "Like" his page on Facebook or email him, JasonAlanPhate@gmail.com.
"I eagerly welcome feedback from my readers."
Jason R. Jones
Jason R. Jones is a family man who served in the U.S. Marines, traveled the world and was honorably discharged. During his military travels, he learned to speak Spanish fluently, and once back home in his home state of Wisconsin, took up bartending and restaurant hospitality. It was only when he came across an old plastic hamper containing his writings as a teenager that re-sparked his love of weaving tales of world history, mythology and intrigue. That's when his 18-part epic fantasy saga "The Exodus" came to fruition. Once finalized with Oloris, the series title will be "The Last Pantheon."
With four books already written and self-published, working on the fifth in his spare time, between a full-time job, family and life, Jones explains his love of folklore and what The Exodus offers its readers.
"My earliest recollections as a kid was the Lord of the Rings animated cartoons, Thunder Cats, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark (I always thought I was related to Indiana Jones as a kid). I always loved the adventure. As a kid, while the others were reading common stuff, I was reading "The Iliad," "The Odyssey," Norse and Celtic mythology. Mythology, religion, world history, I was just always fascinated," he explained. "When I started taking creative writing classes in high school, I could actually write about it. I had this longing for things from the past, a longing for the things that were gone. That comes out in my work. The Exodus is literally a search for something that's gone, crushed, forgotten. It is a tale to be told. There was a time where there were many gods, not just one. This is the last chance, the last stand for 18 individuals, who, through devine fate or reason, have met each other. Each of the 18 stories focuses on a different person and how they're all going to bring back the Pantheon, the forgotten gods."
Jones said his stories are riddled with creatures and characters of other realms, other worlds: minotaurs, dragons, demons, warlords, men and gods, his stories are packed with action, adventure and deeply seeded truths and tales of mythology, dark worlds and the after-life.
"The first book is about James, a Knight Crusader plagued with alcoholism," Jones said. "He's lost, an orphan, alone. His struggle is to find his god again and defeat his battle to find a purpose to keep on living, taking his vengeance out on an ogre tribe."
His early playwright influences bode heavily on the writing style and depth Jones offers.
"Alexandre Dumas, who did 'The Three Musketeers,' 'The Man in the Iron Mask,' I loved reading his works as a kid," he said. "Another is Anne Rice her first 10 to 12 novels. Just the way she writes or used to write inspired me. I was the only U.S. Marine reading 'Interview With a Vampire' before the movie came out. Even though it was dark and bloody, the way she identified and described the undead life, the tragedy, the sorrow, the way she depicted it, really inspired me. And J.R.R. Tolkien, of course, as well as Stephen King, despite being a horror writer. Justice was done for the most part; they're good vs. evil stories, and I really liked that."
As Oloris finishes up the contracts with the Cape Coral author, he is eager to get started writing full time. Currently a restaurant manager and wine director at a local, private country club, personally boasting a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Jones "thanks the gods for 5:30 a.m. espresso," using meditation as a form of relief from his very hectic schedule.
Once his time opens up for nothing but writing, he expects to write a complete book of the series every nine to 10 months, and has also taken up writing other works, including a tear-jerking comedy, and two dual-written pieces with Jason Alan: a horror novel as well as another epic fantasy series. He is eager to see how his professionally published works turn out.
"I'm hoping to see (The Last Pantheon series) go out in a bunch of different languages hopefully enough that my family and I can travel around with it, and help a new generation of fantasy writers," he said. "Everything this last 10 years has gone zombie, werewolf, vampire. I like that 'The Hobbit' recently came out, bringing us back into fantasy. I think Jason (Alan) and I are the perfect guys to take this to the next step, hopefully inspire a bunch of people."
Jason R. Jones' current self-published works are still available for purchase on Amazon.com and Kindle. To keep an eye on the local author with Oloris, feel free to "Like" his page on Facebook or send him a Facebook message.
A writing duo
As you can see, Jason Alan and Jason R. Jones are rather different in the worlds in which they write, but share a common bond in writing style. With that, they have an interesting and uniquely intertwined history that began with a coincidental (or not) meeting during a local book signing. Jones begins, "Living in Cape Coral, my wife, very pregnant at the time, was having late-night cravings. So we went to the closest place to feed those cravings, a nearby eatery with a bar. Every time we'd stop in craving something late at night, the kitchen would be closed, but the bartender would always turn on the stove (for my wife) and make a fresh pot of coffee (for me)," he explained. "So as a thank-you, I left him a signed copy of The Exodus, 'To the best bartender ever.' He gave it to a mutual friend, who was so into the novel that she bought the second book, then the third, and met me at a book signing. We talked and I met her friend she brought, Jason (Alan). He and I get to talking, and I offered to check out his then-manuscript of 'Phate.' I started reading it and discovered all these similarities. His books have that sci-fi twist in his fantasy the way he describes it, what he puts into it, it is definitely an epic fantasy. I read it and loved it. I didn't even know this guy. It is an amazing story."
From there, the guys get to talking and realize they have far too many similarities to not consider their meeting true "fate."
"First of all, I was so humbled and somewhat relieved that someone of Jason R. Jones' talent saw talent in me, because he is just an amazing writer," Alan said. "But while we were talking a little more, we found out we not only share a birthday, Sept. 2, but our mothers share the same birthday! And, both huge fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of the Lord of the Rings story, Jason (R. Jones) was born two years before Tolkien's passing, and I was born two years after, to the day. Not to mention growing up liking all of the same things, where we developed our imaginations."
From there, however you may see fit, through fate or just random coincidence, a new bond was created, and the two started writing additional fictional novels together. The duo's horror story, "Whisper Shall the Midnight Moon," is an historical horror time piece set in 15th Century Scotland, tying in some dark religion with the story. Also, "Mythnomor," another epic fantasy series, is about the few remaining survivors of a destroyed Earth, who escape to Jupiter's moon of Io, where, over time, an entirely new evolution takes place, with all-new fantasy species created, Jones explains.
"Now I know we've been brought together to do some great stuff, for the rest of our lives," Jones kindly stated. "I think we'll continue writing things together in the future. I'd hope he'd perhaps write a side novel of my works, and I into his. That will spring other worlds, other dimensions, other genres."
These two up-and-coming authors take part in local book signings and special appearances within the Lee County Library System, and local book shops and conventions. Visit OlorisPublishing.com for an online blog written by the "Jason and Jason" duo.