All posts by Michael Jan Friedman

Spotlight on our Author Spotlights

Pangaea titlePart of the fun of running a Kickstarter campaign for our Pangaea anthology is writing Author Spotlights. I know, they sound like they’d be a chore. But they’re not. Really.

The reason is as I’m writing them, I’m also marveling at the talent we’ve assembled to explore Pangaea–a super-continent on which mankind lives and always has lived, according to our unique sci fi alternate reality. You’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty good list.

Christian-Kane-The-Librarians-3_0Our first spotlight was on Geoffrey Thorne, a multi-talented fellow who was a successful actor before he became a TV writer and a damned good one. His current assignment is to co-produce The Librarians. Yeah, those Librarians. The man’s also got a voice like an angel, for what that’s worth.

Next we profiled Michael A. Burstein, who writes the kind of brilliant science fiction that Isaac Asimov would be proud of. Michael’s been nominated for so many Hugos and Nebulas, he’s lost count of them. Well, almost. And his story I Remember The Future is now an award-winning indie film. Continue reading

I Am The Salamander is ready to slither

SALAMANDER_COVER2Don’t freak out.

Tim Cruz, I mean, not you. Tim is gradually turning into something he never would have imagined possible, something stupid and horrifying and, frankly, kind of disgusting. That’s why he keeps telling himself: Don’t freak out.

Tim is the protagonist of my newest work, a young adult adventure novel I call I Am The Salamander. Last year about this time, 121 wonderful people helped make this book possible via a hair-raising, white-knuckled, thrill-a-minute Kickstarter campaign. Now, thanks to them, I Am The Salamander is ready to go to market.

It is now available as an e-book through Crazy 8 Press, Amazon, and, and as a trade paperback through Amazon.

If you were one of the 121 stalwarts who supported this project, reach back over your shoulder and give yourself a pat. You done good. If you weren’t one of the 121, well…now’s your chance to see what all the hoopla was about.


Innovation_Inspiration_600_400_70_c1_center_center_0_0_1You know inspiration, right? It’s that thing you wait for patiently, hour after hour, hoping it’ll sit next to you and whisper sweet nothings and turn that blank screen into a bestseller. In the meantime, your keyboard grows cobwebs Shelob would be proud of.

Literally, inspiration means something that’s “breathed into” you, presumably from the lungs of a great and benevolent deity. No doubt, one who can’t wait to read your next book. And where are deities? Way up high. Mount Olympos. Asgard. Heaven. Something along those lines. So, like lightning, inspiration strikes from above. Except…lightning doesn’t strike from above. At least, not the part that we can see. The whole lightning process starts when a negative charge builds up in a cloud. After a while, that charge descends from the cloud to the ground. But the visible part of a lightning bolt is the stream that goes from the ground, which is positively charged, back up to the cloud. We can learn a lot from lightning. If we sit and wait for inspiration to strike, we may be waiting a long time. Forever, maybe. Which is great, because that gives us an excuse. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to write. definitely not. We were just waiting for inspiration to hit. The bitter truth is that you have to write without inspiration. Like lightning, you’ve got to start at ground-level and build something that’ll make the heavens sit up and take notice. Or maybe just get the attention of your readers. I’ve written more than seventy books. You’d think it would be no problem for me to sit down and write. But I don’t always feel like writing. Sometimes I feel like taking a nap. Or kayaking. Or watch that TV show everybody’s clamoring about. Still, I write. Right now, I’m writing Lost Days, a Renaissance fantasy for reluctant readers that’s currently in the middle of a Kickstarter funding campaign. Sometimes I love writing it, and I can’t wait to sit down at my computer. Other times not so much. I’m human, you know? But the biggest difference between me and a lot of people who want to write–or want to be writers–is that they give in to the temptation to lead normal lives and back-burner that novel they were working on. And I don’t. They may have more talent than I do. A lot more maybe, who knows? Yet I’m the one with seventy-plus books under his belt. So if you want to be a writer, I’m begging you–don’t wait for lightning to strike. Build it from the ground up. It’s harder that way, sure, but some day your readers will thank you for it.

Friedman’s Lost Days: A Recommended Kickstarter Staff Pick!

Lost Days CoverCongratulate Mike on his Staff Pick Kickstarter Campaign! Veteran author Michael Jan Friedman is writing a historical fantasy for reluctant readers based on the advent of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582.

“I know,” Friedman said. “Who in his right mind would want to write a book about a calendar? Especially one that’s been around for almost half a millennium?” Nonetheless, he insists, Lost Days is an exciting adventure, steeped in intrigue and the interplay of magical forces. As a history teacher, he is enthusiastic about what the book can mean to students for whom history is a turn-off.

“I’m talking in particular about kids who grew up in underprivileged circumstances,” he said, “kids who never got the chance to see history for the splendid and fascinating tapestry it is. These are the kids I see in my classroom every day. This book is for them.” Friedman said he hopes to capture the attention of these readers with “monsters and demons and blood and death, and magic, and courage, and crazy schemes, and even love. These are story elements that kids, any kids, can latch onto.” Continue reading

Playing Favorites

SALAMANDER_COVERMy favorite book? Really?

I’ve written 72 of them, y’know. And that’s not counting comic books, TV scripts, etc. And you’re asking me to name my favorite?

Hmm…I’ve naturally got to consider my most recent novels, all of which bear the noble Crazy 8 Press insignia. After all, these are my purest visions, the tales closest to my heart.

For instance, Fight The Gods, the roller-coaster-ride of a New York City cop who finds out he’s not what he seems. At all. One reader described this novel as “Percy Jackson for adults.” Not a bad tag line, that.

And then there are the Aztlan stories, noir murder mysteries set in an alternate-reality, 21st-century Aztec Empire. As I often tell readers of these novellas, you’re gonna love Maxtla Colhua, Imperial Investigator. I do. (Then again, I invented him…)

Of course, no list of my favorite “kids” would be complete without I Am The Salamander, set to be released this fall, in which young cancer survivor Tim Cruz endures a metamorphosis even Kafka never dreamed of. You think it’d be nifty to have super-powers? Think again. Continue reading


2013-02-16 Mike & AaronEvery good story has it in some form or another. Characters you think can’t possibly be reclaimed, can’t possibly be brought back from the brink of the abyss, nonetheless find some measure of salvation from the burdens they’ve been carrying.

Burdens of guilt. Burdens of regret. Burdens they didn’t even know they were lugging around, sometimes. And when they’re relieved of those burdens at long last, we breathe a heartfelt sigh along with them.

Because we all have pasts. We all have memories of incidents we wish had turned out differently—and would have, perhaps, if we had made one choice rather than another. It hurts to know that we screwed up big-time at some point in our lives and now there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do about it.

Except…sometimes we can do something about it. Sometimes we get a second chance to make things come out right. And sometimes, unfortunately, we only think we’ve got that chance.

Which is the crux of “The Seeming,” my contribution to our maddeningly imminent Crazy 8 Press anthology, Tales of the Crimson Keep. Continue reading