Saint Jim – Published: January 7, 2017

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What is Saint Jim About?

( Book Jacket Text )

Jim is a homeless addict. His drug of choice is healing people. But a gift bestowed can have a mind of its own. For some, he may only see colors, but when the disease manifests itself as an entity, then he’s compelled to action.

Each time his compulsion to heal overtakes him, it drives him further into a spotlight he wants to avoid. The Reverend Baxter, by mistake, believes he’s healed a dying boy at the shelter, and it pulls Jim in deeper.

Jim’s brilliant idea to be the reverend’s assistant, will give him access to all the desperate people seeking miracles. Fame and power may consume everything.

Writing Saint Jim

In the Summer of 2009, I began my writing journey. I had several ideas in my head, but the one that jumped out and grabbed me was about a homeless man with an addiction to heal people. I started Saint Jim with a first chapter that read more like a short story. Next, I strung the following chapters along as continuation of the previous ones. The story and the characters began to drive themselves. This is the kind of magic you hear about and great to experience. I kept the whole project secret until the Fall because I didn’t want to tell anybody until I knew I could actually finish it.

I completed the novel. almost a year later in my spare time,  My writing critique group and beta readers gave me feedback. What I found was the magic was just beans. Magic beans, but beans none the less. The story worked, but it was full of passive voice, clichés, and disconnected plot points. Now, I had to plant those beans and carefully nurture them to germinate, take root, and emerge from the dirt. Another year passed of edits, beta readers, more edits, some more edits, and endless polishing.

Publishing Saint Jim

With a complete manuscript, I moved to getting it published. I sent query letters to literary agents to see if I could entice just one to ask for a partial or full copy of the manuscript.  Nothing really came from it. The novel got set to the side, and I started my second.  Agents say they want authors who have multiple novels in their pocket, so I finished my second novel and began my third.  All the while, I continued with the traditional publishing route through queries and agents in what seemed to be an endless circle.

I toyed with the idea of self publishing a couple of years ago. It stalled because I enjoyed writing too much. Then I realized, what’s the use of writing something if nobody can ever read it. My fellow writers were self publishing, so I created a cover, got a copy-edit of the manuscript, and read this book again and again until it made me sick. I tried my best to scrutinize the details to deliver a quality product in both paperback and Kindle editions for Amazon.

Marketing Saint Jim

The paperback minimum price I could sell it was $8.72 so I rounded it up to $8.99. The minimum price for the Kindle Edition to be part of the KDP marketing with Amazon was $2.99, so I set it to that price. If you purchase the book, then the Kindle version is free.

The journey was long and full of frustrating turns, but I finally have completed this leg of the race. It’s all been a learning process. I’m still not finished as I have to figure out the marketing portion of this equation. More work to do. This post is the first step.

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Saint Jim – A Droste Effect Press Original

Meeting Your Novel’s Character in Real Life

Healing Hands

I am currently on the last revision of my first novel, SAINT JIM.  It has been a long road of culling passive sentences, removing useless words, fixing connection points, etc. I have read it so many times I think I have parts of it memorized.  The story is of a homeless man named, Jim, who develops an ability to heal.  He comes upon this gift by accident, but is reluctant to use it because he wants to remain anonymous.   The gift, however, has a mind of its own and compels him to help others–almost like an addiction.

I had completed the first draft of my novel in 2010 with all the places and characters complete and was in a hospital helping my wife as she recovered from a surgical procedure.  When I arrived at the refreshment area on that hospital floor to make my wife some tea, I found an older white-haired gentleman there in his patient gown getting some water.  I asked him how he was doing.

“I have my faith in the Lord,” was his response.

I found him interesting, so I struck up a conversation.  Now, understand that I never brought up my novel or healing in any way during our talk.  I asked why he was in the hospital, and he said that he had a cancer and was recovering–the Lord willing.  He volunteered that he had been reborn and even a healer at one point.  This caught my attention.

The gentleman told me that he had been given the gift of healing when he re-dedicated his life to the Lord after being away from the Church for a long time. He remarked that the power of healing was real and beautiful at the same time.  He claimed to have healed one particular man of some deadly disease.  He told the man that he would remain healed on the condition that the man turned from his dark path within a year.  The man was healed but a year later abruptly passed because he remained unrepentant.  The gentleman told me that he had lost this healing gift after he once again had a lapse in his faith.  He no longer could heal but his trust in the Lord remained strong, so he assured me he would be all right.

I asked that man his name.  Somehow I knew what he would say.  He said, “Jimmy.”

This gave me a small sign that maybe I should complete my latest revisions and somehow get it published. I never saw Jimmy again on that floor as my wife was released soon afterward.  That was two years ago and I’m thoroughly amazed, even now, that every time I read my latest draft that there is still some typo, unconnected detail, or polishing to be done.  The time has finally come though for me to wrap it up.  It’s like an old friend you spent a number of years with who’s moving away to another city.  I don’t want that relationship to end, but I have to give it up.  Who knows maybe we will reconnect someday.