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Do you enjoy adventure, fantasy, magic spells, dwarves, fairies, nymphs… and Dragons?

This is the post excerpt.

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The Tales of Draco is a new fantasy adventure series. It’s an epic story about dragons, dwarves, and other creatures you may or may not have heard of. This website features news and information about The Tales of Draco. You can find updates on upcoming sequels or where the author, Jordan B. Jolley will be visiting.

Join Jacob Draco, Clipper, and the rest of the characters as they battle hideous monsters, travel to familiar and strange regions alike, and defeat the advancing forces of evil. The first book in the series is Rise of the Dragon. When you read this tale, you will find magic and adventure in this world and the world of Elsov, the mystical continent far away.

 

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Living with OCD (part 2)

Never give up hope.

A while ago, I wrote a post concerning my mental state. My intention was to help you understand what sufferers of OCD, anxiety, and depression go through. Unfortunately, some people misunderstood what I was trying to say. A few came across the impression that I am potentially dangerous to be around. That is not true, and I’m sorry if I misled you. Therefore, I will re-post what I have written with a few revisions just to help you understand a little bit better…

“I’ve never really expressed this a whole lot, but I think it is necessary now. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD; along with anxiety disorder and depression. I’ve been to many different doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists and they are all doing what they can to help me with these problems.

One reason why I don’t tell people this a lot is because most people don’t understand it. A very common response I get is, “Yeah, I have OCD myself. I have to make sure everything in my house is organized.” or “Doesn’t everybody have OCD?” First of all, the desire to keep things organized a certain way is not OCD, it’s perfectionism. Many people use the term OCD lightly and therefore many people do not understand what the sufferer goes through. OCD is not a personality, it’s an actual mental disorder. Am I a perfectionist? Sure, I consider myself one. Is that the only symptom I have? Absolutely not. Being an OCD sufferer, it’s hard for me to totally explain what I go through. Let’s just say this, I have lots of internal voices (figuratively) in my head telling me to do things, even if they are illogical or dangerous. If I don’t do them, the voices get louder and angrier. It’s not as bad as schizophrenia, but it’s debilitating nonetheless.”

Here is where I should clarify myself.  I have these internal voices telling me to do bad things, but I am not one bit tempted to follow these voices. I have never done something irrationally dangerous to myself or to other people, and most likely never will. Yes, I have those voices, but I have a conscience too. My conscience and personal reasoning control me, not the voices.

“Even now as I write this blog post, I’m having trouble staying focused. My thoughts are flooded with pointless junk. As an author, how easy do you think it is to write, edit, or even read a book with all these thoughts in your head? It’s possible, but hard. This is why I’m a slow reader.

For the past few years, I’ve tried different prescription medications. My doctors weren’t exactly sure what was wrong with me at the time. I didn’t either. All I knew was that something wasn’t right. I’ve been misdiagnosed with ADD once. Prescription: Amphetamine. That’s right. This medicine really messed me up, and even almost cost me my life! I’ve had a few instances like this since then, but with less intensity. To say the least, these past few years have been the hardest years I have endured.

I hope you now can understand what OCD really does to people, and frankly I’m sick of people using the term lightly. “I have OCD myself” and “Everyone has OCD” are really annoying responses to hear. I believe everyone has the O and the C, but not everyone has the D. D stands for Disorder, after all. If you consider yourself OCD, chances are you don’t have it. If you really think you do have it, talk to a doctor or a counselor. Never consider yourself OCD unless it has been officially diagnosed. It’s like believing you have autism. If you think you have it, then you more than likely don’t. If you do have diagnosed OCD or some other mental disorder, my thoughts and support are with you. I know how hard life can get. But there is help for you, help for all of us. Never give up hope.

That is all. I hope you now know a little bit more about OCD. That is what I have. It is debilitating, but I’m managing it. It takes time and patience, and it’s hard, but it can be overcome.”

Since I have written this, I have experienced good treatment. I’m not cured, and I still struggle, but I feel like I’m making an improvement. I hope now you understand what I am saying a little bit better. And again, if you have any mental struggles, never give up hope. There are people who love you and care for you; they will do what they can to help you. I know because I have met these people.

Never give up hope.

SAVE YOUR WORK

It’s not a common concern that many authors talk about, but that doesn’t make it any less important, or vital.

It’s not a common concern that many authors talk about, but that doesn’t make it any less important, or vital. The reason why I emphasize the phrase “SAVE YOUR WORK” is because I have personally suffered the consequence of not SAVING MY WORK. It’s a very serious matter that every writer should take carefully.

There were two times I have lost data for The Tales of Draco. The first time was by far the worst, and it was only by pure luck that got my work back. It was about five years ago. I was fifteen, and I was writing the first draft of Rise of the Dragon. This was before I officially started using the typewriter. I figured that if I saved my draft on a flash drive, I could take my work to any computer and work on it anywhere. That wasn’t really a bad idea. The mistake I made was that I didn’t have the draft saved anywhere else. I would sometimes bring my flash drive to school and write during any free time I could find.

One day, as I returned home from school, I discovered that my flash drive was neither in my pocket nor in my backpack. Considering the fact that I have an anxiety disorder, I panicked. I was about thirty pages in and I had the beginning fleshed out. I could lose it all! If you ever had to rewrite something, it’s not easy at all. I went back to the school to look for the flash drive, but I couldn’t find it there either. There was no way I could rewrite those first thirty pages! I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I cried. It was only by pure luck and a friend’s kind heart that saved me. The next morning, someone found the flash drive and took it to the office. I happened to be walking by when I noticed it sitting there. I felt so relieved and thankful! The moment I returned home that day, I immediately saved a copy of my draft onto my computer.

I was young and foolish then, and I had to learn the hard way to SAVE MY WORK.

The second incident actually happened earlier this week (as of the day I’m writing this). This time I was a little bit wiser. On my desktop computer, I have a Tales of Draco file where my drafts, posters, and pictures are saved. I still don’t know what happened to it, but one morning I could not find the file. I searched everywhere on the computer, but to no avail. Luckily, I had my drafts saved in print, on two computers, on a flash drive, and on a floppy disk. I did lose most of my posters and pictures, but many of them were out of date anyway. I can always create more. But the Tales of Draco and Fairy Tales drafts were not lost. So even though I lost the file, I didn’t lose my vital documents.

Most writers today use a computer, and the wise ones save their work in different places (be it cloud, flash drive, or multiple computers). What I do after transcribing or editing my work is I first save it on the computer. After I make some reasonable process, I save the file onto a flash drive. That way I have a backup. I use the floppy disks for permanent files, such as my finished work. Rise of the Dragon, Fairy Tales col. 1, and the latest editions of future books are all saved on floppy disks.

But what about my typewritten works? I only have one copy each of these drafts, so I save it in a physical file. This I must not lose. I keep it hidden where it cannot be touched by unauthorized hands. Only I have access to it and it never leaves my home.

The time I lost my first draft of Rise of the Dragon is something that I hope will never happen to me again. When you write something the first time then lose it, you can’t rewrite the same thing. Don’t make the same mistake I did five years ago. SAVE YOUR WORK!

From Thoughts to Pages; The Steps in Writing

Each author has his or her own approach to writing. Some have the will-power to write from dawn until dusk, seven days a week. Some authors take short breaks every now and then to refresh their approach (I’m one of them). There are also different ways authors write. Some prefer their old, trusty computer while others may want to use the newest and only the newest laptop there is. Some may have a special preference for Apple or Microsoft. But there are particular steps that good writers must always follow. Writing is not a matter of pushing buttons and suddenly having a bestseller. Creating a good story takes time and patience.

Now we’ll go over the steps in the long adventure of writing.

  1. Gather Ideas

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How can you write a story without ideas? Like I have said, pushing buttons doesn’t create a story for you, ideas create it. You can’t type blindly and expect a good story. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a short essay or a complete novel, you must have ideas. One thing you should definitely consider is to jot the ideas down. You won’t write the book just yet, and your notes should not be the book.

2. Turn Your Ideas Into Words; Rough Draft

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Now comes the fun part. You now have your ideas, now write your story. The two typewriters you see above are the ones I use for writing. The manual is a 1954 Smith-Corona Silent Super. I use this old but reliable machine for my novels and longer works. The electric is a 1990 Brother AX-450. This I use for my short stories and essays. I find it easier to write this way because my words are immediately in print. That lessens the temptation to do premature edits. Besides, I like writing on the typewriter more than I do on the computer. When it comes to the rough draft, don’t worry about editing; complete the draft from A to Z. You can mind the fixings later. Right now, your main goal is to get an idea of the flow of your story. You don’t have to write all day; take breaks if you need to. When you finish, you may think your story is almost done. But you are really just getting started.

3. Edit and Revise

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Another reason why I like the typewriter is that when I’m done, I can read through my work and find what needs to be fixed. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get your story right the first time. It’s impossible. You may be satisfied with what you have written, but your grammar may need work. When I write a particular scene with intense action, I tend to make a lot of grammatical errors. That’s because my mind is more focused on the scene rather than the grammar. For me, editing is highly important.

Maybe you found your story is nothing like what you had expected. Now comes revision. For my second book in The Tales of Draco, I had written and re-written several chapters. And if you ever read the first book, Rise of the Dragon, keep in mind that there are some scenes that have changed completely from the rough draft to the printed book. There are even several changes from the iUniverse version to the current Luminare version. Editing and revision can be a painful step, and it is the longest, but it is a very important step. Don’t overlook it.

4. Finalize

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This is the step where I transcribe my work from paper to the computer. While I do this, I make sure the story flows right and true. And even after the transcription, I still make many edits and changes.

In this step, make sure everything is ready. You may think you are ready, but then you might find something else in your story that you must change. Even in this step, you will still be gathering ideas to enhance your story. Don’t overdo it, but make sure everything is right. Check your editing. If you have an editor, be patient. You might be anxious to see your final draft if you are a new author. Don’t rush anything. If your story gets published and you still see some errors, try not to sweat it. I sometimes find minor errors in my favorite books. Just do all you can to make your story the best it can be.

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And there you have it. These are the general steps. As you write, notice that these steps may not be in complete order. You may have to redo certain steps. Writing takes time and dedication; and, like any other talent, good writing takes practice. I started writing professionally at fifteen. That is young, I know; and I had much to learn. That is why Rise of the Dragon had been republished. Writing is hard work, but if you love it and understand the obstacles that will come your way, it will be a fun and worthwhile adventure. If you are a writer or wish to become one, then I wish you good luck.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Fiction and nonfiction do not compete against each other for literary superiority, they cooperate.

Aldo Leopold once said, “Education, I fear, is learning to see one thing by going blind to another.” This quote may be in the context of land conservation, but alone it can be relevant to anything. In the context of this blog post, it is relevant to the question: Which is better, fiction or nonfiction? For the most part, I hear the pros of both sides in a non-bias manner. Other times I hear harsh opinions against one side, particularly towards fiction. But is nonfiction truly better than fiction, or vice versa?

Fiction, in case you don’t know, is a story, often written for the purpose to entertain. One criticism I hear about fiction is that it doesn’t inform or that you can’t learn anything from it. On the contrary, fiction can teach us a lot. It simply doesn’t express its teachings openly like nonfiction does. When it comes to my writing in The Tales of Draco and the collection of Fairy Tales, my primary goal, alongside to entertain, is to convey a message. Each of my novels and short stories contain at least one thing I am trying to tell my readers, and it only takes an open mind to decipher them. And fiction does not stop there. Reading in general challenges your cognitive mind. You exercise your mind, so to speak. And what better way to do it than to read a fun story? Most importantly, read what you love.

Where do I start with nonfiction? The sole purpose for nonfiction is to inform. I have read a fair share of nonfiction books and many of them have changed my views on life. It’s no question that you can build precious knowledge from nonfiction. One such book that I found interesting is “A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There” by Aldo Leopold. This book talks about the plants and animals in various locations and the urgent need to conserve wilderness. I have learned a lot from this book that I haven’t found anywhere else. When it comes to research, doing it on the internet has its benefits, but it can only take you so far. If you want to do effective research, go to the library. You can access not only the internet, but also dozens if not hundreds of books that will help you a great deal.

Fiction and nonfiction do not compete against each other for literary superiority, they cooperate. There is a lot of fiction and nonfiction that I read and study that influence my own writing (while keeping my ideas my own, of course). That way I can teach as well as entertain. I am not the only author who does this. Fiction or nonfiction, there is a lot to learn. If you are an avid reader, I encourage you to immerse yourself in both kinds of books. Don’t be bias to one side, or you will go blind in one eye. If you are open to both sides, you will find yourself in a world of fun and education working as one. With both kinds of books, you can tap into the power of the mind.

Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories

If you are ever interested in reading Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories, prepare yourself with an open mind and a witty spirit, because these stories, though they may be short, are broad and strange.

As I’ve said in my last post, I have two new books out; one being the new version of Rise of the Dragon, and the other being Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about the fairy tales and what you may expect.

There are ten complete stories in this book, each independent from the another. Some have tie-ins with the Tales of Draco, but they can be read and understood without having to read the novel. Now when you think of “fairy tales”, you may think of Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, or Hans Christian Anderson. I have read many of their works and studied the structure of their tales. Like their stories, my stories contain high fantasy, quirky styles, and weird characters. Some of my stories are about nymphs and unicorns while others are about talking animals and angry farmers. You must keep in mind that these stories have no direct relation with the classic fairy tales. You won’t find an updated version of Snow White, or what happens to the other mermaids after the Little Mermaid had turned into sea-foam. The stories and characters in Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories are original; and possibly because of this, the stories in this book may seem a little different from what the common fairy tale is viewed as. Some of the stories take place in a medieval/renaissance world while others have a more modern setting. One thing that you need to remember is that fairy tales are usually not set in a specific time. If you read something like Hansel and Gretel, try to determine what century it takes place. You may notice that it could take place at any time in history. Now I did say that some of my stories have more modern settings, but they still have no specific time; they can range from now to a hundred years ago. Think about Hansel and Gretel again. The Brothers Grimm version, which we most often think of, was written in 1812; and the story can seem like it takes place in 1812, or 1712, or 1212, or 512. The Brothers Grimm were writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I’m a writer of the twenty-first century, which means I have two hundred extra years to work with. Besides, we often think of fairy tales taking place “once upon a time”. All this means is that it happened long ago and not in a specific time period.

I enjoy reading a good short story every now and again. I think they offer a good break from the long, epic novels we love so very much. If you ever want to take yourself to a magical world for the next five or ten minutes, a fairy tale may be just for you. And don’t get fooled into thinking that all fairy tales are happy little children’s stories. Some of them can be pretty dark and adult-themed (just read the book Grimm’s Grimmest). If you are ever interested in reading Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories, prepare yourself with an open mind and a witty spirit, because these stories, though they may be short, are broad and strange. If you are interested in getting a book, click here to request one (instructions will follow). If ever you get around to reading these stories, I hope you immerse yourself in them as I had when writing them.

Two New Books Are Now Out!

The new Tales of Draco: Rise of the Dragon and Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories are both now available!

And here it is, the next edition of The Tales of Draco: Rise of the Dragon. It had just been released this last week and is now available online (Amazon). This new edition has better editing and better quality. Some scenes have been altered to be more aligned with future books in the series, and some unnecessary scenes have been omitted. For the most part, it’s the same story, but with new and better details that will foreshadow future events in the series and in other works by Jordan B. Jolley.

But wait! This blog says two new books are out. Also now available by Jordan B. Jolley is Fairy Tales, Fables, & Other Short Stories. These stories are original, but reflect the same manner of famous tales written by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and other great works of literature. These stories are not part of The Tales of Draco, but some of them give reference to it. There are stories of wood nymphs, foxes, raccoons, talking trees, unicorns, spirits, witches, and much more. (visit Contact on this site if you are interested in a copy)

So there you have it. The new Tales of Draco: Rise of the Dragon and Fairy Tales, Fables & Other Short Stories are both now available!

 

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The Fox and the Hound Effect…

What started off as a story from an author’s imagination has become completely different to the point that he is no longer credited as the creator… That is what I call The Fox and the Hound Effect.

I’ve really wanted to write about this for a while. It took me quite some time to ponder about this subject, and I think I’m ready to explain it. First of all, I want to ask you a few questions:

What comes to your mind when you hear about Mary Poppins? Bambi? or 101 Dalmatians? What do these stories have in common? Who is credited for such titles? You’re probably thinking that these are Disney movies. That’s correct. We often see these loving classics brought to life by Walt Disney. We like to praise Disney’s amazing storytelling. But what else comes to mind other than the movie? Small storybooks? Other merchandise? Is there anything else?

You may or may not have been aware of this, but these three stories were originally children’s books and novels of their own. Mary Poppins was written by P.L. Travers, Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. How many of you have read these books? The example I like to use for this effect is The Fox and the Hound. We all know and love the whimsical, emotional movie. I think it’s a great movie myself. But after reading the original novel by Daniel P. Mannix, I found that I enjoyed the book even more. It may not be a happy fairy tale (in fact it’s pretty dark and very sad), but it was an interesting book to read. Some people may have heard about the novel, but many haven’t read it. What started off as a story from the author’s imagination has become completely different to the point that he is no longer credited as the creator. We credit the Walt Disney Company for The Fox and the Hound, not Daniel P. Mannix. That is what I call The Fox and the Hound Effect.

Again, I’m not criticizing the movie adaptations of these stories, but I feel that the original stories are sadly underrated and deserve to get more credit, respect, and realization. I was once at Disneyland, waiting to rendezvous with my group. I was in one of the shops in the Downtown center. In there I saw a t-shirt with an image of Tod on it. It got me to thinking that hundreds of thousands of people probably see these shirts for sale, and connect the character of Tod to Disney. There was nothing about Mannix’s work, and I felt bad. He probably liked seeing his book get turned into a movie, and if I knew for sure that he liked it I would feel a lot better. P.L. Travers didn’t like the adaptation of her work, and now the adaptation gets far more attention and respect than what was really her’s!

Now does every adaptation of an original work; be it a comic to a book, a movie to a toy line, or a card game to a TV show, fall under the category of The Fox and the Hound Effect? Of course not. Most of us know the film franchise Jurassic Park, and we may have read the novel by Michael Crichton, too. But Universal Studios had the film rights even before the book was published. Technically, the book was meant to be a movie in the first place. Michael Crichton even produced the first film. Sometimes adaptations can do the opposite of The Fox and the Hound Effect. It can draw more people to the original work. When Dracula was first published in 1897, it wasn’t very popular. It was the movies and western culture that brought people to Bram Stoker’s novel. Think of Redwall by Brian Jacques. Most of us who know about Redwall know the book series. There was an animated series based off it, but it did not draw people away from the books, it drew people to the books!

In the end, whatever version of the story we know or love; be it the book, the movie, the traditional oral story, or something else; it doesn’t matter. Stories have been passed down from generation to generation. And over time, these stories change to fit with the changing culture. That’s the nature of storytelling. But the books I have mentioned above are not old stories like Snow White or Cinderella. These were recent works written by fresh minds, and I feel bad for the authors who have had their work become something that is not theirs anymore; not like they had given it away, but as if it was stolen. That’s The Fox and the Hound Effect: not given away, but stolen, and most often unintentionally. I’ve been asked many times if I would like to see The Tales of Draco make it to Hollywood or TV. First of all, the chances of that happening are very slim. Second, I think an adaptation to my books would be great, but I don’t want to give out my work only to have it get swiped from my hands. I wrote The Tales of Draco. I don’t want it to become a media frenzy. I just want it to be a book series; a book series that people know and love.

It isn’t bad to adapt books to film. It’s a good thing. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Not everyone are avid readers, but we can know where these stories have come from and respect that.

(You can check out some of these books below.)

The Fox and the Hound

Bambi, a Life in the Woods

Mary Poppins

101 Dalmatians

Jurassic Park and The Lost World

Dracula

Redwall