Welcome to the official website of author Jayson James!

Finding Our Way Series Collection

Read the books that have made up this popular series!

Pieces of Us

Jesse is an average teenage boy making his way through living in 1988 with the help of his best friend, a girl named Dylan.

Read My Story…

As I share my experiences in "Tormented Discovery" with my best friend Ryan who continues the story in "Drifting."

T.E.D.

TIM is being bullied. ERIC is frustrated with life. DELSIN is gay and ready to come out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Finding Our Way” Celebrating A Year of Publication





“You tell it from your perspective. Then I will tell it from mine.” 

 

Justin Parker and Derrick Wilson have been the best of friends since meeting back in middle school. Both of them are now in their junior year at Chandler High School, and are living the good life as teenagers. They have great girlfriends, plenty of close friends, their own cars, and parents who are well off. As nice as things might look to an outsider, something is missing from both of their lives.

Justin and Derrick both take turns narrating the story of their junior year in high school and all of the events that take place in each of their lives. Being a teenager can be tough. Being gay can be tougher. For Derrick and Justin they are both, and life cannot get any more complicated.


 

It has been a year now since I published my debut novel Finding Our Way that brought about two follow-up novels throughout the next year.  Below are the questions I’ve been asked by my readers and my responses to them.

 

 

How did Finding Our Way come to be?

The story itself was an idea I’ve had for years, but was never able to figure out how to write it.  I thought it would be boring told from one characters perspective and never even given any thought to telling it from both of their point of view.  I wrote the part with Derrick and Janie at the burger place after having a similar experience myself.  This was actually the first part of the book that I wrote.  I had imagined myself being younger and having an encounter with this guy who would later become Brad.  I wrote  a couple of pages and saved them to my desktop.  A month later, I had an idea about this guy being the same age as Brad, checking of him out and feeling conflicted about a drunken episode with his best friend.  The biggest struggle I had when I first started the book was that I hated how the story unfolded in third person, yet I didn’t feel it worked being told by only one of the characters.  I struggled with this for over a week and almost abandoned the idea.  Then one morning I woke up with the idea of Justin and Derrick telling their story together.  Once I had this figured out, the ideas flowed.  I shared my ideas with a friend, ironing out the details, she in turn would insist I write it and I would.   As the weeks wore on, I realized that I was writing a book and not a story as I had planned.  Next thing I knew I had finished the book, another friend read it and loved it enough to edit and convince me to publish it.  I am so glad that I did all of it, rather than just thinking about doing it.

 

Who was your favorite character in Finding Our Way to write, and why?

Justin Parker is my favorite character.  Although I do not believe, I realized it when I was writing him.  He is a flawed, but a lovable character.  One of my favorite things about him is he is a handsome, outgoing guy who could have any good-looking guy he wanted, but he chooses to be with this guy who he knows is beautiful on the inside and has spent years bonding with. 

 

 

Derek and Justin’s home lives are very different, one coming from a stable family, while the other’s parents are on the brink of divorce. Which is closest to your own experience growing up?

Justin’s home life was my own, without the alcohol.  The Thanksgiving Justin experienced was one of the more mild dysfunctional holidays I experienced at his age.  Much too often the stress was so bad, I’d come close to snapping, and things were on the verge of hitting a point of no return.  Yet somehow, I overcame.  To this day, I still struggle when it comes to the holidays, although things have gotten much better. 

 

 

What is the balance between reality and fantasy with the characters Justin and Derrick?

Most of Justin and Derrick’s story has been made up based upon my own life experiences.  Sure there are some of their story that is true, but I will never tell what parts are.  Those who know me, know what is true and what is made up.   I have always tried to keep the characters based in reality.  Though there is a story (a dream Justin has) where Derrick and he have super powers.  I have notes written here and there, but nothing in the works beyond what I think would only be a short story.

 

Will Tyler and Tyson have a book of their own?  How about Hayden and Ryan?

Yes, though I am not sure how soon it will be finished.  I started a book with Tyler and Tyson several years ago, but it soon became a project I abandoned.  When I started writing Finding Our Way I knew I wanted to use these two as friends of Derrick and Justin.  My editor and friends I have told about the story, have all expressed how much they would love to see this be one of my upcoming projects I finish.

 

As far as Hayden and Ryan, they were characters in a book I started a couple of years back.  Much of that book I used in Tormented Discovery.  Though they are a favorite of many of my readers, I do not have any current plans for a book featuring the two of them.

 

Are there plans for a final chapter in their (Justin and Derrick) story?  Wedding, children, happily ever after?

Oh!  The proverbial burning question, I’ve managed to dodge.  To be honest, I would like to write at least one more story with Derrick and Justin as the main characters.  I’ve recently run a couple of ideas by my friend and editor.  She agrees with my feeling that I would like to put out at least one book that is not part of the series.  As one keen reader has noted, Finding Our Way was book 1 and then Tormented Discovery was released as book 2 in the series, while Drifting was released as a story in itself.  Keep a watch out, because I can tell you that I have not written the last of Derrick and Justin.

 

How did you come up with Chandler, the place where most of your books take place?

I always loved how Stephen King’s books were written in the same place, as if it was a place I had lived or known.   Kevin Smith had did this with his movies, again I felt as if these were people I knew and connected to.  Chandler is loosely based upon the town I grew up in, as Sweetwater the city south of it where we used to often go out to.

 

What is the most frequently asked question by the fans?

“Do you like writing or drawing better?”  My answer to this question is it depends on my mood.  Sometimes I feel more inclined to write and other times I am more in a disposition for drawing.  Every now and then I will bounce back and forth, which is either therapeutic or annoying to me.

 

What are you working on now?

Chasing after my puppy and working on training her.  Ha!  Just kidding, though sometimes I feel I do more of that than anything creative anymore.  I knew going into adopting her, writing would take a bit of a backburner for at least the next year.  Really, she is a great dog and I have gotten back to writing sooner than I thought I would be able to do.

 

Right now, I am working on a book I am calling TED (once it is finished, I will hopfully have a different title).   TED focuses on three guys, each dealing with individual struggles.  One of the characters is written in first person; Turner is writing in a journal about the events in his life after his counselor recommended it.   I am writing the story in layers, giving the readers an inside look to each character as the storyline unfolds. TED also focuses on serious matters such as bullying and depression, and the effects it has on not just one person, but other people's lives as well.

 

 

Thank you for your support this year of what I hope is many more to come!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Decisions We Make



“I heard you published a book?”  Though not the first time I’ve heard this question and I guess not the last.  Depending on the day, who is around and other factors, I respond in one of two ways.  The first several times, I was nervous, vague and tried my best to get past the question.  The second, now the more often response, is responding proudly that I have indeed published a book.  There are always follow up questions.  These I have to admit get me excited and I am eager to answer them.  Some of them are still awkward for me, such as what is your book about?  Though I have never had anyone respond negatively when I tell them, I get a little nervous as I give the answer.  Everyone seems to think that it’s good that I published a book.  About half tell me that they want to read it.  I am cool and casual when I tell them that would be great, the whole time hoping they do and they like it.

“I’m all right,” is something I have to remind myself from time to time.  As another year passes, I am reminded about how quickly life is passing us by and just how fast the days seem to go by as I grow older.   Reflecting on this past year, I am on a high note.  This time last year I was in a dark place, perhaps the lowest I have ever been.  Each day I was sinking lower and lower in my own despair until I reached a junction and had to make a choice.  I’d sunken so far and I had to make a decision to pull myself out of my funk or simply give up.  With the help of others in my life, who when I opened my eyes, I was able to see they were there, I started with one change I could make and kept on going from there.   Things did get better.  Not to say I do not have bad days, but I make it through them. 

“I cannot believe another year has gone by!”  This phrase has been going through my head this week.  It truly has been a good year.  There is a feeling of accomplishment and happiness when I think back on this year.   Cooper is vying for my attention as I am sitting down trying to write.  Although she has occupied much of my free time over the last couple of months, I am so glad that we’ve found each other.   I’ve gotten out and did things, living life, time spent with friends and family, a few trips, some accomplishments and fun.   For so many years I have dreaded getting older.  Though this year, I still plan on lying about my age (and killing anyone who tells the truth) I am looking forward to another year.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My "642 Things to Write About" Response


An author friend of mine, Chris Waltz bought a book call 642 Things to Write About.  Chris had this idea for using the book to get himself into writing.   Moreover, he opened it up to his friends and fellow authors to volunteer to do responses of their own.  I thought that this is exactly what I have been looking for as in regards to get back into writing.

After avoiding, overthinking, forgetting and stressing I finally wrote my response to my prompt.  It is rather amusing for me to see how my recent getting into Breaking Bad had an influence on this.

The prompt I was given was, "The people who will live in your house after you move out."

 

“THE NEW OWNERS”

“This space is perfect!”  She kept saying repeatedly from the moment the realtor began the walkthrough during the open house.  His responses varied, pointing out another something they have been looking for in a house, he found in our house.  One thing was for sure, they were not leaving without making an offer to ensure the place would be theirs.

Though we owned the place since it was built, the family and I were moving onto a bigger and better place.  Not only getting our asking price, but making the sale so fast, meant things were heading in the direction we hoped for.  The purchase of the new place would happen quicker and we would be in a newer and larger space. 

Sure, there were some sentimental feelings.  After all, we’d lived her for eighteen years.  For the youngest, my baby brother, this was most of his life.  For the oldest, my parents, a third of their existence.   In between these four walls was not only the passing of time, it was the making of many memories.   

As the packing took place, cleaning and purging out the unwanted while many stories were shared.  Thoughts of how this was going to be the last time we do this or that.  Even the slight feelings of sadness that comes with change, was overshadowed about a new beginning.  In the end, we were all too eager to care.

The new owners were thrilled and could not wait to move in.  They were as eager for us to move out as we were to move into our new place.   The day after we moved out they moved in.  Our old house was being left in safe, caring hands.   Not that it mattered, being it was no longer our house.   It was theirs.

Things I believe would have been very different if we would have known then what we know now.  Months later after the house was sold, the police would end up busting the couple as well as two others who were using the place to cook crystal meth around the clock.  The house would be toast a year later, leveled and everything, including the foundation, hauled away.  Over the next decade the woodlands adjacent to the property grown over, claiming the land, making our house a distant memory.

Words, Like Feathers Fly in the Wind

This morning I woke up thinking about the story after dreaming about it... Words, like feathers fly in the wind. Careless words, tossed about, cannot again be swallowed up.  The point of the story is rumors and gossip can be permanent and damaging.  One of the books Madonna put out some years ago was a retelling of this folklore, which was also the first time I'd ever heard the story.  It has been one of my favorites ever since.

What's odd about this being on my mind is I have not been doing any gossiping, nor have I been privy to any gossip as of recently.  It would not be a big deal to me to have this story in mind, except it is messing with my own writing.  The same writing it seemed to take me forever to get back on track again.   Oh well, this thought will pass.  It will not be the last time that a dream messes with my creativity.  Not that I would change remembering my dreams and having them stick with my head.  Through the years, I've had dreams that have brought about some great ideas for me.

This weekend I am determined to continue writing or drawing, both of which I have done a little of this week.  It feels good to be back to letting my creativity flow!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Catching Up


Although I am supposed to be working on my new WIP, I keep finding myself getting distracted with various things I see I still need to take care of and things I want to do.  Thus the reason for this post, it fits into the both things I need and things I want column.  Cooper is chewing a bone at my feet, but seems to keep periodically coming up on my desk to see if I am in fact writing.  Believe it or not, if she sees me with my face buried in MSWord she hops down.  If I am doing anything else, she gets up in my face.  It is nice to have a dog that is supportive of my writing (for now).

Today's major task/goal was to work on writing.  My free time (or what I have taken as it) was spent reading up on the book I started a couple of months ago and deciding to go on with it or abandon it.  I have come to the conclusion that I would like to finish TED.  Though I sure hope that I am able to come up with a title better than TED, a working title that is now grinding on my nerves.  Let me not regress to burdening my mind with something so trivial.  I have ideas in my head and I still feel this book is one worth finishing and publishing.

Above is one of the new banner art projects I have been messing around with here and there when I can find the time.   There is a technique called plastic wrap, which I somehow did with the cover art for Finding Our Way, yet I have not been able to figure out how in the hell I did it.  My best guess is that it was a feature with my old scanning software that was on PC.  The same PC I finally got so irritated at not working I had it blanked to get rid of it.  For reasons I cannot explain, the PC still sits under my desk, not hooked up to anything.

Here comes Cooper... She is so cute!  Time to give her some attention and get back to work!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finding My Way


Although it might sound a bit cliché paraphrasing the title of my own book, it seems to sum up well what I feel I am doing.  I am not sure whether to classify it as a funk or a mood I have found myself in over the last month.  Whatever it is, I still am working on pulling myself out of it.  For some reason I have not been able to write.  There are ideas in my head, but they only seem to be bits and pieces.  Nothing I am willing to work with.  I decided that I was not going to worry about it, enjoy the rest of my summer and if I was not writing again in a couple of months, then I would worry.  Here I am a couple of months later and I am not worried.  More so knowing I need to get my priorities straight and get back to it.

This past Labor Day Weekend, I took a trip out to Ocean Shores.  Despite it being overcrowded, it was a great trip.  I was able to relax, reflect and spend some time enjoying myself.  I ended up playing four rounds of miniature golf, with my swing getting worse with each game.  Still it was a lot of fun.   I tried everything at Bennett’s that I wanted to, during multiple meals there and coming away still loving the chowder the best.  These things were the highlight of the trip.  As with last year (I went the weekend after the holiday), I have come back feeling inspired and an overwhelming urge to write.

Writing has been and still is on my mind every day.  I need to get back into it.  The book I started months back, TED, still without a real title, is what I think I need to throw myself back into writing it.  Currently it is the story in my head, unlike anything I have published or written before and something I still really want to get out there.  I need to commit myself to reading what I have written and make an honest effort to write again.  Beyond an attempt and get to writing.
 
In with avoiding distractions (and excuses) for not working on my new book, I am going to keep this short.  Before I close, I wanted to thank everyone who has been contacting me to see how I am and making sure I am all right.  I did not plan on being away from my blog for as long as I have been.  Keep checking back... I have some new artwork I will be putting up in the coming weeks, as well as other changes in the works to some of the pages.