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Showing posts from 2011

Half way there!

My goal prior to 2012 was a modest one, and that was to reach my goal of 50k words. That is -- half a book, and half to go. I can safely say, as of this writing, "Prince of the Furies", is at 50,200 words and climbing. Nowhere to go but up from here. Things are getting thick for my crew and trouble is brewing on the horizon. Nothing like a horrible creature to make a troubled year complete.

I will keep everyone posted on the progress.

I am finally, officially on NOOK!!!

The latest review! (part two- Passage of the Acolyte)

4.0 out of 5 starsThe journey continues., December 7, 2011
By Scott (Columbus, OH) - This review is from: Passage of the Acolyte, Part Two (Kindle Edition)
Passage of the Acolyte: Part Two by James Vargo continues the journey of Acolyte Greynol to confront his son. So I don't spoil the first book I won't really go into the plot of this one very much. There is a very cool new character introduced that helps to guide the group on the proper path and Leonin meets more of his people.

The book continues on the same path as Part One. It is very well written in the style of a truly epic fantasy world. James continues to use vivid descriptions to give a true feel for the environments that the group travels through. This is a great series for fans of books such as The Lord of the Rings.

Tis' the Season...

There is a crispness in the air. All is still and darkness settles in. The first flakes fall. And I'm burnt out. Sad but true, I hit a wall, and that's not too alarming, but this is prime writing season. I set aside time every Christmas for seasonal activities and very importantly -- writing. Yes, in the past the words flowed like an avalanche to fill my pages with awe and wonder, and I look for it to happen again.  But that wall thing comes at a bad time. The time for my blitzkrieg of writing nears. What am I to do?
   First thing first. Set those goals: I hope to be at 50% by New Year's. By then I will have hit that sweet spot in the middle of book three where the table is set and the setting takes a hard change. I plug away, but more sporadically than usual. I am anxious to read this novel through, but for now I just want to get it completed.  Then it is on to revising and a desperate attempt at a glossary. (sorry folks, the names and new characters aren't letting…

What have you created today?

Worth the visit

Nice to have a chance to drive east into the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania for the much anticipated Ligonier Days. The perfect day trip with fall splashed all across the hills in many colors. I always love that visit -- Fort Ligonier, the parade, shops, food and music. Town is closed off for several blocks to all but pedestrians, and good times abound. Stay as long as you like, or until they throw you out. Did I mention the food?
   This was also a fine time to visit Second Chapter Books, (find them on Facebook), where my novels rest comfortably on a middle shelf just to the right of the cash register. I was happy to learn of a september sale, and it makes me wonder how they enjoyed it. (Comments people!) Thank you again to everyone who has taken a chance on "Passage of the Acolyte."
   And another mention to Red Barn Books in Greensburg, Pa. They are as friendly as can be, and overflowing. A new section is in the re-modeling stages...and they love Indie Books.

Just a little something...

A snippet - Chapter three

Over two thousand participants awaited their turn to best their opponent before king and countrymen. They huddled as those at attention, known and unknown, of varied ages and backgrounds – journeymen, foreign born, and common brawlers. Within their ranks stood men of notoriety who gained fame in battle or past tournaments, and these too arrived from across the northern realm. The warriors stood fast at the blowing of a single horn upon the dais. Armond took a proud stance among the combatants, raising his right hand in the air in unison with the others, repeating the words of oath called out by the judges present: “For honor and service! To King and Country!” The tournament was set – elimination down to the last man. Blunted weapons were doled out: swords, axes, spears, and wooden shields. The judges kept order and awarded victory at their determination of any blow of certainty to the head, neck, or heart. Eleven rounds separated the beginning rabble down to the one champion. The first…

30,000 words...finally

30,000 words...finally. That took longer than I hoped, but if you knew how long the first book (parts one and two) took, it's not so bad.  I need to post some excerpts, but then again, this is a series and you would do better to start from the beginning. Right?  But I still have a long way to go.

I stumbled across some writing advice recently: "don't continue a series unless it sells".  Can't say that isn't sound direction, but if a series is what you are writing...forge ahead!!!  On to the next 30,000...

What makes the ink flow...

Steely Dan...

That's right, I said it. Steely Dan has no place on a fantasy blog, but when I took this picture at Tappan Lake, Ohio (a little ways west of Pittsburgh) I couldn't help thinking of the line: your everlasting summer, you can see it fading fast; so you grab a piece of something that you think is gonna last...

Dang, it's true, we all do that. It is August now and summer is fading right quick. At some point we learn to let go...usually when the October wind turns, then the switch comes on. We'll be ready. Right?
And how does this pertain to writing?  I'll tell you. You better hold on to that piece of something that will last, because snowflakes might be falling, but if you are writing about summertime, it makes no difference -- those words better be dripping with swaying breezes and lemonade.  Happy writing, whatever the season.

Time to stop...

Sometimes it is a good thing to stop and let nature take its course. No matter what you are doing, get your head out of the sand, work, TV, or whatever, take a breath and smell the flowers. Created things are there for the taking, figuratively speaking, while we worry about our phones and gadgets. Just a break in the action can be enough to recharge and put life in perspective. It's a simple thing, like a walk, even in the backyard, to clear the mind, heart, soul. Makes for better writing too...


Kindle sale

Nature's way

Somewhere in the lull between work, television, and facing the computer, it's nice to see nature's way has few to compare. I imagine few books capture such a sight adequately as the shifting fronts on Ormond beach that June day. (well, maybe Genesis)  That's always the challenge: impart the feeling only nature can give. I think Tolkien did it very well, and even Jane Austen when she set up a chapter. I believe it requires a bit of patience and trusting in the words -- AND re-writing. Not every storyteller composes with nature's perspective in mind, but as you can see by the picture, what a setting for a fantastic chapter. Happy reading and writing...

Creating in retrospect

I was pretty happy to see that Kindle sale of Book One the other day, because it had been a while. Just to think some stranger is reading my work is a dream come true, and it offers me a sense of responsibility. People want their money's worth, and time is money. I have to think my efforts, although not perfect, (hence the four-stars out of five) will be worth the time for fans of epic fantasy. It is when the non-fantasy reader enjoys my story that it really confirms I did something right.

Maybe that is the lesson for newbie writers like me -- not everyone is going to like your story, but a surprising few others will. But even here it gets strange. I feel like that painter that paints, but his/her works rarely sell and sit in piles about their studio.
People ask me how many books have sold, and I have to say, I don't really know.
A bunch through Createspace; some through friends and family; and even those unusual sales my mom seems to dredge up from perfect strangers. I've…

Vacation memoir....

Not my usual blog.  Been back a week from Daytona. Nice trip. Drove again -- 4th year in a row. (my poor car)  Did not have a computer, so I didn't write a thing.  I can't get back into the pen and notebook thing; I much rather type it out in front of me.  Took a day or two, but I kick-started and got the story moving again.

Okay, enough ranting.  Here are some important discoveries on the drive from Pittsburgh to Daytona (via Atlanta):  first of all, beat this record; we saw four, count them, four areas of tornado damage that crossed the highway. One in Virginia, and three in Georgia, all in the same drive!  Here's a less important fact. Driving north on I-95 into Georgia; there is a welcome center (rest stop) at the border, then nothing for 120 miles, except for the ever-pleasant gas station rest rooms.  Thank you, Georgia.  Okay, I'm still ranting.

Here's a strange observance. Saw only one alligator, one lizard, and hardly any bugs (they are worse in Pittsburgh)…

Latest review

4.0 out of 5 starsAn epic journey has begun, June 5, 2011 By  Scott (Columbus, OH) - See all my reviews This review is from: Passage of the Acolyte: part one (Volume 1) (Paperback) Passage of the Acolyte by James Vargo has a lot in common with the Lord of the Rings series. He has created an epic world filled with a variety of countries each with their own political alliances and prejudices. I will admit that I had a little difficulty keeping all of the characters and their regions straight at the beginning of the book, but I was good by the end.

They journey starts out when Greynol Arowen gets a letter bearing a terrible seal from a son that he never knew existed. Unfortunately that son seems to be extremely evil and aims to take over the world. Greynol picks up a group of young men who are looking for their first adventure away from home. He is reluctant to bring them on what will no doubt be a dangerous journey, but they are able to prove themselves worthy. Arowen sets out to confront h…

So far, so near

How do you make time?  I'm not one to give speed writing advice, although I am getting better at putting the words to paper.  But how does one find the time; even more, a place to write. Okay, time is subjective -- some have it, some don't.  But place?  I'm not talking about that spot in front of your computer screen, or if you're lucky, a laptop somewhere in the wilderness.  What I am referring to is that place you go that enables you to think of the extraordinary and write about it.
Let's face it, we all have issues to deal with.  And when worldly burdens get you down, or way distracted, (i.e. when the dog bites, when the bees sting...)  you can't so easily put yourself in middle-earth, Tatoonie, or Westeros.  Unless you write for a living, you often have more pressing things to do -- it's reality.  So you find the time, sit in front of your computer screen, and despite the latest personal calamity, go there and write.
At least that's how I do it.  Havi…

the first 10,000

Spring at Castle Rohbir in Norhiem  (I actually don't know where this is, but I like it)
The first 10,000 words of the next book are in. Anything but settled, they roll along in a wordy string of explanation, question, and amplification. In other words, the story continues. 10,000 words is not much in terms of a novel, and in a series, it's just a blip; but it's a nice goal to share. I gotta admit, waiting for reviews to roll in is trying and unnerving. So far, I'm the king of Four Star reviews. (could be worse)  Still not sure if my book(s) have what it takes to be likable, readable, or something worthy of song. (such as Led Zeppelins'  Misty Mountain Hop)  Well, I can dream. 
Truth is, I like my story, like what I'm writing, and how it is written. (grammar aside)  It is a style I want to improve upon, but I do enjoy it. Does that make me sound weird or conceited?  I know my novels aren't for everyone, and I feel a little embarrassed when a friend or family m…


The plains of the Werithain (early book two)  {actually, it's near Lancaster, California...never been there, but it looks nice}
Where does one get inspiration today.  Sometimes it's all doom and gloom out there, and the news pushes every bit of information to make life seem...well, horrible.  No wonder people write fantasy.  Inspiration is required, and for me it comes easily: a beautiful photo, a great song, a warm spring day, most Sundays in general. And then, if I'm lucky, I write.

Not sure if my books will ever be widely read, and that's a scary thought; but I sit down, wonder if it's worth it, then look and the page and want to go on.  I look a picture, or recall a place I've been, and write or create, whatever name you give to art.  God made things beautiful -- why can't I.

Book three is started, although book(parts) one and two can be read independently, and it will be slow going. But I want to do it.  Chapter two is rolling along, and I have to turn …

Things I'd like to say

Mont Eldalard and Rivar Larin, Seat of Ainiald (Chapter 10)  (ok, it's really Prague, or maybe Budapest, but they have their similarities)
   I have to admit, finding a sale pop up, and they do trickle in slowly, is the inspiration needed to keep going.  I write slowly, time constraints mostly, and as chapter two of book three stares me in the face, it makes me think -- "will anyone like my series?" Heck, does anyone like this blog? But I march forward. Maybe I'll be next Herman Melville whose Moby-Dick found popularity long after his death. Somber thought. I could give writing tips, like a lot of blogs do, or marketing advice, or how to find an agent, but what the heck do I know. But I do have a story to tell, and I hope you like it. If you don't like it, that's ok...we're still friends.    All right, back to chapter two. "Andro entered a favorite place in the forest..."

Life is the Fantasy

A scene from book two, chapter four. It's funny how life imitates fantasy, or vise versa.
When I write, I just kinda make it up as I go. (Well, there is an outline to follow) But I always found things that reminded me of my books: people, places, images. I like having a connection between the here and now, and the world within. How many times as boys, my friend and I saw Hobbiton across the hill from Ridge Road looking towards Jefferson. At least it fed our imaginations. Time to look for more pics... and write, of course.  
Castle Rohbir, in Nordhiem. (or damn close)

One of my favorite hikes...

New Review of Book two

4.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully not the last word of Vargo's world ...!, April 25, 2011

By Edward_Williamsport - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Passage of the Acolyte: Part Two (Paperback)

Part Two of "Passage of the Acolyte" opens with Greynol and his party continuing their travels southward toward their destination. The fiery creature, which made several troublesome appearances in the first volume, attacks them once again, forcing them from their intended road. A legendary path becomes an escape route and an introduction to a most interesting figure.

Their newly found, but very ancient friend is a strong, wise, and earthy character who not only helps them on their way, but through his conversations further develops Vargo's world, fleshing out more of the back-story. Additionally, the conversations and settings allow the reader to finally get to know Drago and Zerrin who come into their own in this volume.

The party comes to the end of their fascinating det…

Indie Publishing, meet Indie Bookstores

Yep, the slow grind of self-marketing continues, and the spiderwebs keep lookout.  Took a trip into Northwestern Pa, and it really is God's country.  Found some wonderful bookstores; and yes, they knew I was coming.  Despite the cost of gas, I feel really good about seeing my books on actual shelves.  I'm nowhere near done with this, and sooner than later, will hit the bigboys (B&N, books-a-millon, Borders, ect) and they all have their requirements.  Actual paperwork. Yuck.  I'll let the Indie thing take hold first.

The most noticeable thing about these Indie stores, without exception, are the friendly people that work there; owners usually, and a cat or two.  And lots of good conversation.  Funny how book-lovers make such nice people.  Rosie's in DuBois had comfy outdoor furniture, inside; and it was so nice when the owner, Sherry, invited us to sit and chat.  Mary at Book Nook in Punxsutawney was a wealth of information.  And Kathlyn, who owns the in…

New Review

4.0 out of 5 starsNew Fantasy from James Vargo, April 12, 2011 By  Edward_Williamsport - See all my reviews This review is from: Passage of the Acolyte: part one (Volume 1) (Paperback) Vargo's initial volume of his fantasy tale "Passage of the Acolyte" goes a long way on delivering on the new author's rather bold promise to spin a tale reminiscent of Tolkien's Middle Earth. We are immediately introduced to the main character Greynol, a retired cleric who receives a disturbing message from lands far to the south. The message, in the form of a scroll, mysteriously unsealed and literally cursed by blood, calls the elderly Acolyte out of his comfortable situation and into a redemptive quest.
Rather quickly, the reader is then acquainted with a group of young men, friends and kin from the lands of the north of Vargo's millieu, all coming of age and looking for adventure and deeds to prove themselves. A chance encounter eventually leads them to Greynol who is looking f…

My Pages! Beginnings...or Chapter One.

The blog is evolving. As I learn, and there is so much to learn,  my attempt is to peak interest in my storytelling. Up until now I just put links here and there, but now I have seperate Pages (above) to show things like Maps and Reviews.

Beginnings is Chapter One in one piece.  The Createspace sample was ugly and hard to read. On the blog it looks kinda nice.  Passage of the Acolyte, I will admit, is a patient read; but not obnoxiously long-winded or boring. You be the judge. Once you find yourself settled, the ride may be a pleasant one.  Check it out and see for yourself. (go it)

Almost 500 blog visits

Lets get a move on it people!  Kidding.  And thank you everyone for checking out my blog and books. It is the fruit of years of labor, and a lot of heart.  I didn't take lightly that this "story" was going to be looked at by others.  It's not perfect, and the writing is what it is...but what I was trying to accomplish, and still am, is that overall feeling I got from Tolkien's "Middle Earth".

Here's a snippet, the beginning of Passage of the Acolyte, for those whom haven't read it:

(Book one is on sale now through kindle, so if you have a Kindle reader and a dollar, take advantage of it)

My first review. Wow, these can be scary...

4.0 out of 5 starsQuite good book by new fantasy author, March 15, 2011 By  Wulfstan "wulfstan" (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)(VINE VOICE) This review is from: Passage of the Acolyte: part one (Volume 1) (Paperback) James Vargo has a very good start here to his planned epic fantasy two-volume series. This is the story of Greynol an "Acolyte" (a sort of holy man). Greynol has lived for decades in a quite life of contemplative retirement when he is pulled back into the real world by a dark secret from his past- one that may have dire consequences for the world.

The Acolyte thus must gather a small group of escorts for his quest across the continent, and ends up with a group of eager young men.

In many ways, I found the tale so far quite evocative of The Fellowship of the Ring. Don't get me wrong, there's no attempt to copy LotR ( no hobbits, etc), and it's not up to Tolkien's writing level (who is?), but still, there i…


Book Two is out now in Kindle, and will be available in days on

Book Two paperback is available NOW at this link:   BOOK 2
Book One paperback use this link:                           BOOK 1
(I am offering thru Createspace a discount of $4.00 on the paperback editions use the discount code 6PTQ3DXZ for each book)

For all other E-books formats try:SMASHWORDS - E-books


For those whom have waited have waited...and waited.  I can finally announce Passage of the Acolyte -- Part One will be ready for purchase in days.  The final proof is on its way, and provided I put the page numbers on the outside of the page instead of the inside, (looked really funny when i saw it)  we are good to go.

And no, you won't have to wait long for Part Two.  I'm marching through the prrof copy of it right now and anticipate a few more weeks and it too shall be ready for purchase.  If you email or reach me on this blog or facebook,  I should be able to offer discount codes -- if you go through the Createspace page. (owned by Amazon)


I Have Proof...

...or should I say, Proofs. Parts one and two have arrived in the mail, and yes, there are errors. Mostly formatting issues, but I am going to make other changes. Not to worry, should not take too long....days instead of weeks, months, years...ect.

The overall design looks good for both. The blues of part one versus the orange hues of part two -- I like the contrast. plus Dulac's artwork, as you can see on the blog, look good. (my opinion)  Maps look good, except trimmed so you can't quite see everything. I'm trying to correct this too.

Now I'm trying to decide between using this blog as a point of sales, or do a webpage. Keep you updated.