Friday, April 10, 2015

UNBOUND - J B Simmons - One Free Book

Welcome, J B. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
When I write, I try to get myself out of the way. Every character may have some little piece of me, but there are also pieces of those around me and of universal human nature. I’m fascinated by personality types, and these can play a big part in figuring out who a character is. At the end of the day, if a character can’t hold his or her own outside my mind, that character won’t add much to a story.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I like running. I like biking. I like Sparta. So a couple years ago, when a friend and I signed up for a “Muddy Buddy” trail race, we decided this couldn’t be just any race. This was a race for Spartans. We donned scarlet togas and charged through the forest and mud pits. We may not have made the cut for 300, but it was pretty epic … and quirky.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I went to law school with a goal of sharpening my writing skills. Then, about seven years ago, late one night, I was toiling over a legal brief and asking myself hard questions: “Who am I, why am I here, what am I doing?” An answer flashed in my mind like a bolt of lightning: “You are a writer.” It took me a while to lean into that calling, but ever since, I’ve felt peace when filling a page with words.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I try to read too many books at once. So, I’m sticking to four books of four different types. Here are the types with a recent example each: (1) Non-fiction on personal growth and faith (Celebration of Discipline); (2) Historical or religious fiction that teaches me something I need to learn (The Lion’s Gate); (3) Epic, complex, and long fiction (The Wheel of Time); (4) Fun and fast fiction, often Young Adult (The Fault in our Stars).    

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I start with a quiet time every morning. I drink coffee, then I write. Things get hectic from there: three kids under age five, an intriguing day job, and sweeping events of the world. But my morning ritual anchors me down. Even if I’m crazy by the end of a day, I can try again the next day, starting with quiet time, coffee, and writing. It’s all about the process—“running with endurance the race that’s set before us.”

How do you choose your characters’ names?
First, it’s a gut instinct. Often the names are symbolic or representative of a character trait. But I’m not wedded to the initial name I use. Several characters’ names have changed through the editing process. (For those who have read my Gloaming books, you’ll never guess Andor’s original name…)

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Marrying my wife. She’s the most amazing person I know. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to the person I am today without her in my life.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Speaking of my better half, I asked her this question. Her answer: a puma. The Wikipedia description is pretty spot-on: the puma is “crepuscular” (there’s your word of the day—it means most active at dawn and dusk), “capable of sprinting,” and “typically an ambush predator.” That’s me, a crepuscular ambush predator!

Thanks for the new word of the day. I’d never heard that one, and I have a rather large vocabulary. What is your favorite food?
Does coffee count? No? Well, then, I like salty more than sweet. I eat an unusual amount of tasty chips. Favorite kind: Red Hot Blues. 

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Creating the habit of writing every day. It took me years to write my first book. It took me a couple months to write the first draft of Unbound. Writing is so much better when it’s regular. Two books had huge impacts on me in this area: On Writing by Stephen King and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If you’re serious about writing, they’re must-reads. 

Tell us about the featured book.
Unbound started with little questions about a huge idea. The book of Revelation says that, after one thousand years bound in chains, “the dragon, that ancient serpent ... must be released for a little while.” That’s hard to understand. Why would anyone unleash the bad guy? What would the bad guy do, and how long is a little while? 

I began writing about this and, pretty soon, the characters spun the story into a trilogy.  National radio host Hugh Hewitt describes the story as “The Da Vinci Code meets The Hunger Games meets Left Behind.” It has elements of all of those. My aim was to make it a gripping, thrilling read, and readers seem to agree. A common thread of readers’ reviews is that Unbound offers a fresh look at the end times—and it’s hard to put down.

Here’s the back blurb:

He must be released for a little while.
But the one who sees doesn’t believe.

Elijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter’s Basilica? He’s never even been to Rome.

It’s bad timing, too. He’s graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That’s where he meets Naomi. She’s the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There’s more to their sparks than they think.

This is 2066, the year the world ends.

Sounds intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
My pleasure! Here it is (plus a little extra):
I stood in the piazza facing St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Bodies pressed around me and a pope’s voice boomed in my ears. The ground began to tremble, as if aching under the crowd’s weight. The cobblestones lurched under my feet. I staggered, tripped over someone, and fell flat on my back. People started running and screaming.

The sky darkened like nothing I’d ever seen. Lightning rolled through black clouds that were not there a moment before. A bolt struck the center of the piazza, hitting the cross atop the towering obelisk. The thunderclap was deafening. The obelisk tilted and fell, taking the cross down with it. Just as it crashed on the ground, the piazza split open—as if a giant had grabbed the colonnades on either side and ripped them apart. Hundreds of people plummeted into the chasm as I scrambled away to the piazza’s far edge.

The splitting earth spread to the Basilica. Spider-web cracks splintered over the dome. The ancient stone groaned, swayed, and then imploded on itself. An enormous cloud of dust and debris billowed out into the chaos.

Then a shape rose from the chasm. Where the obelisk had been, a creature hovered low in the sky. It was like a dragon, but no storybook dragon. Ribbons of shadow and smoke coiled and danced around its long, slender form. Above its sentient face, onyx horns the size of trees stabbed into the sky. Its wings covered the entire width of the piazza.

A man walked toward the creature and paused at the chasm’s edge. The creature fixed its red eyes on him as if seeing an old friend. He was a stunning man, with a flawless face and dark hair to his shoulders. His gray suit showed no blemish or wrinkle, despite the wind and the chaos. I knew him, but I could not name him. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t move. I could only feel the blackness, feel the end. It had to end.

And then it did. I woke up covered in sweat.

This was three nights in a row. Three nights of the same stupid nightmare. It had come from nowhere. I’d never even been to Rome.

I sat up, rubbed my eyes, and ran my hands through my hair. Today of all days, I could not have these visions in my head.

Wow! Just wow! How can readers find you on the Internet?
The best place is my website:  I’m also on Twitter @jbsimmonslight and Facebook.

Thank you, J B, for sharing this book with us. It sounds powerful. I know my readers will like it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Unbound (The Omega Trilogy) (Volume 1) - Paperback
Unbound (The Omega Trilogy Book 1) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela from Ky

Deanna Stevens said...

I've read your book & enjoyed it.. looking forward to the next one :)
don't enter me I have a copy.. Dee

Caryl Kane said...

UNBOUND sounds amazing! I would love to read it.
Lena, thanks for the giveaway.

Caryl in TEXAS

Mary Preston said...

I agree, it does sound intriguing.

Mary P


Sierra Faith said...

Ooo this looks good! And I love the cover!


Sheila Deeth said...

Wow! I would love to read this. Sheila in OR

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me your book looks great!!
Conway, SC.

Melissa M. said...

Sounds intriguing (and scary)--I'd like to read it!

-Melissa M. in TN

kam110476 said...

Seriously WOW! That sounds wicked awesome! I am most definitely going to need to read this book! J.B. has definitely got my attention and I can't wait to read all of his work.
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Abigail Richmond said...

Wow. Sounds awesome! Please enter me!

Blanch, NC

Patty Camp said...

Wow this sounds like an Awesome read! Its going on my Must Read list. Thank you for your gifted writing & sharing it with us. God Bless.

rubynreba said...

Unbound sounds like a book I would enjoy.
Beth from IA

J.B. Simmons said...

Thanks so much, Lena, for having me on your site, and for the great questions!

Thanks as well to everyone for the excitement about Unbound. I can't wait to see who wins!

- J.B.