What Am I Working On?

I’ve been blogging once a week for half a year now. In that time, I’ve written about all sorts of things. But I rarely talk about my projects.

One reason is that I don’t want to come off as salesy or spammy. Though my blog does exist in part to help me build an audience for my work, I want that to be the by-product of what I hope are meaningful thought-provoking articles and stories that resonate with hearts and enrich my readers.

Another reason is that I don’t have a whole lot to show for myself, not yet anyway. There’s my short story, The Sign, but that’s pretty much it. Though I’ve been writing in some form or another since at least the third grade, it wasn’t until early 2013 that I began to take it seriously, and writing good books (and then publishing them) takes an insanely long time.

But I’ve decided I owe you some kind of update, if for no other reason than to let you know that yes, I am writing and yes, there are books on the way, even if it’s going to take me a while to get them to you. I’m not ready to reveal detailed information about titles, plot or characters, but I do want to give you a brief taste of things to come.

1. Middle Grade Fantasy

In March, 2013, shortly after I published The Sign, I began work on a middle grade fantasy about a boy who accidentally makes his sister disappear. The funny thing is that my target audience has always been adults; I never set out to write a book for kids.

It started as a simple novella. I had the idea while I was out for a walk. It wasn’t until after I’d completed the first draft and started showing it to my critique group that I realized I’d unwittingly stumbled onto a children’s book. In the process, I discovered that writing for kids is a delight, and I’ve since decided that, no matter how difficult it is to write for more than one audience, I want to make books for children as well as for adults.

Books are often difficult to write. It doesn’t matter how powerful an idea is or how inspired you might feel. Most of the time, writing is hard. There are of course those moments of pure unadulterated joy that every writer lives for, when the story flows out of you like a babbling stream, and your only job is to sit there and catch as much of it as you can before it stops. But as a serious writer who’s committed to creating stories come Hell or high water, I’ve discovered how rare those moments are. But writing this one was a dream. I sat down each night to one fiery burst of ideas after another. I usually have to outline at least some of the books I set out to write, but this one was completely off the cuff. It simply came to me, a wandering orphaned idea in need of form and expression. I completed the first draft in two months.

I’ve since been revising like crazy. I’ve gone through every chapter of the book with my critique group, have had my first round of beta readers provide me with their detailed thoughts and have almost completed my final initial revisions. Once that’s done, the manuscript goes off to a developmental editor for further refinement. I’m still deciding if I’m going to query agents and try to get this published traditionally or if I’m going to self-publish. Either way, I hope it won’t be too much longer before you start reading about the experiences of characters who’ve become very dear to me.

I actually plan to make this a series, because the characters and the story grew so large that to confine them to just a single book would be a crime. I’m excited to see how this story will evolve in the next few years.

2. Dark Fantasy Novel for Adults

I started this one in July, 2013, a little while after completing my middle grade fantasy.

Inspired by films like “The Neverending Story” and “Stranger than Fiction,” this book chronicles the life of an isolated and socially anxious writer with an unusual gift, whose stories are more than they appear to be at first glance. This tale, which is as much a symbolic reflection on the nature of art and writing as it is a modern fantasy, is very dark, and is intended for an adult audience.

The initial draft is only about 20% complete. It’s a full-length novel, and I anticipate that it’ll be a little while longer before it’s done. That’s fine with me, as I’m happy to let it ferment slowly over time. I care deeply about this story and want to take the time to tell it right.

3. Other Novellas and Short Stories

While alternating between the two above-mentioned projects, I’ve indulged in a few unrelated novellas and short stories. It’s difficult working on the same two projects day in and day out. Exploring fresh original ideas allows me the breath of fresh air that I so desperately need. Unlike the two books above, which I may try to sell to a traditional publishing house through an agent, these I plan to publish myself, since the traditional market for short fiction seems to have dried up.

That’s it.

I don’t mean that this is all that I plan to write (I’ll create stories until the day I die.) But that’s a pretty complete rundown of what I’m working on right now. I hope to have the middle grade fantasy out in a year or two (but don’t quote me on that, particularly if I do get it traditionally published, which would make it subject to someone else’s schedule instead of my own), and the dark fantasy a year or two after that. Along the way, expect more short stories and novellas.

Want to keep up with what I’m doing?

Then you should seriously consider joining my mailing list :)

I only plan to send out an email once a month to keep people abreast of what’s going on with my writing, to share the occasional piece of flash fiction that you won’t find anywhere else and to let you know when I publish something new. I want to connect with my readers and to make new friends. Highly personal emails that people can directly reply to is the best way I can think of to do that. If you change your mind later, it’s easy to unsubscribe.

As a thank you for caring enough about what I’m doing to sign up, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign.

You can sign up by clicking here.


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Choose Fiction For The Perfect Vacation

Hello, and welcome to the Jeff Coleman Travel Agency.

Please, pull up a chair and have a seat. There’s nothing like getting away from it all, is there? I’m excited for you! What’s that? There’s a problem? Well, tell me more about it and we’ll see if we can accommodate you.

You don’t have much money? Yes, I can see how that might limit your options. But there are plenty of places to go that won’t cost you an arm or a leg.

There’s something else? You don’t have any time off from work. That’s a shame. But there are plenty of places you can go for just a weekend.

That’s not all? Of course not. No, no. That’s fine. Please, go on. I like a challenge.

You want a thrilling adventure outdoors, but your spouse wants a cozy romantic getaway? And you have kids and there’s no one to sit for you, so you’ll have to bring them along?

Yes, I see your point. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not really sure what we can do, unless… You know what? I think I might have something. Hold on.

I see you’ve helped yourself to some coffee in my absence. No, that’s fine. It’s complimentary. As I was saying, I think I might’ve found something. Take a look at these.

Why are you confused? Yes, those are books. Calm down. I know you said you wanted a vacation. Let me explain.

You don’t have much money, right? Then this is the perfect solution! A book can be yours for just a few dollars. You can tour as many worlds as you’d like. You can quest for buried treasure. You can battle fearsome beasts. You can discover exotic landscapes and architecture, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else. And you can have all of this for less than the price of a meal at a decent restaurant.

Try booking a hotel, flight and rental car for that little cash!

Yes, I’m aware that you’re quite busy. Wait, what did you say? Sixty plus hours a week? Well, no. I admit my job is a tad cushier than that. But that’s not a problem either. You see, books require very small investments of time. Do you ever have to use the bathroom? Do you eat lunch? What about the drive home? Yes, alright. For the drive, we might have to get you some audiobooks. Still, my point stands.

Traveling by car, train, plane or boat can take hours or even days. But travel by book is always instantaneous, and you can return whenever you’d like. You can slip away for a few minutes when things get too hectic at work and your boss will never know that you’ve gone!

Yeah, that is pretty cool, isn’t it. What was that? Oh, right. Your significant other. Yes, and the kids. That’s not a problem either.

I know you said you wanted an adventure. Yes, I also remember that your spouse prefers a romantic getaway.  I’m aware that you require something child-friendly. I do listen, you know. It’s my job. Why can’t you have all three? No, I’m not crazy. Just hear me out.

See, the great thing about traveling by book is that you need not leave your spouse’s or your childrens’ side. You can go places without ever having to leave. We’ll find you a thriller, a horror, or maybe even a good old fashioned epic fantasy. We’ll book a romance for your spouse, and there are plenty of options for the kids. You can spend time with your family while also enjoying the convenience of your very own private fantasy.

You’ll take it? Great! I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

How can you thank me? Please, your smile is reward enough. Oh, and there’s the matter of my usual fee…


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Getting Up and Trying Again

Last week was really rough. I fell way behind on my reading and writing. I stopped interacting with people. I just kind of shut down and logged out of the world for a few days.

My dream for some time has been to be a full-time writer. In the past year, I’ve slowly built up a presence online, have shared the little finished work that I have with those who were interested, have made some good friends and have made some significant progress on my novels and short stories. But last week, something happened.

I suddenly got depressed and listless. I took a long look at all the hard work that’s required just for me to maintain what I’ve already created, then took another long look at all the work I have left to do before I ever come close to reaching my goals, and for a few days I just gave up. I stopped reading. I stopped writing. Everything that I’m passionate about came to a sudden grinding halt.

I want to blame this on the fact that I have a full-time career as a backend web developer that demands 40+ hours each week. I want to blame this on the fact that I’m tired when I come home, that the last thing I want to do is work for another couple of hours each night before I go to bed, only to repeat the cycle once more. I want to blame this on the fact that putting in 15-20 hours each week just isn’t enough, that to do my writing justice I need more time. But in the end, those are all just excuses.

I gave up because I chose to despair instead of working even harder to prove to myself that writing is what I really want to do. I made bad choices. There’s nothing I can say in my defense. In fact, I should be counting my blessings, because I have a job that finances what I love in my off hours and a roof over my head, because there are so many people out there who don’t even have jobs, or who work 60-80 hours each week and even then barely manage to make ends meet.

Fortunately, for every bad choice, there’s always an opportunity for another good choice. Even if you’ve spent your entire life turning left, you can always choose to turn right instead. This is my right turn. This is my choice to jump back into the game.

The fact is that writing is my passion. It’s what I was born to do. I can’t see myself doing anything else. If work gets tough and I have to put in extra hours, if I have to push through the pain and find time to write even when my body cries out for sleep, that just means I have an opportunity to prove to myself and to others how much I really want this. And someday, when I find success (whether great or small), I can look back on what I accomplished in spite of the pain and appreciate it all the more.

For a very select few, the winners of life’s lottery, things come easy. But those people rarely accomplish anything great, because they don’t know how to appreciate what’s been handed to them. They don’t realize how precious their finite lives here on Earth are, because they’ve never had to worry about it being taken away from them. I’ve decided I don’t want to win the lottery. I want to earn whatever success I can find, because only then can I appreciate it; only then can I take what I’ve worked hard for and know how to turn it into something even better.

I would appreciate any prayers (if you believe in prayer) and well wishes you choose to send my way. I can’t do this without God, and I also can’t do this without you, my loyal readers. It’s in large part because of you that I find the courage to articulate the stories that are written in the depths of my heart. Without you, none of what I’ve built so far would be possible.

I’ll keep writing, and hopefully you’ll keep reading and we can continue on this long and fruitful journey together.


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Find More Of My Work On Tumblr

Hey guys! This past week at work has been extraordinarily hectic, so unfortunately I haven’t had time to write a full-length blog. But I did want to tell you about my new Tumblr account, as well as what you’ll find there.

For the past six or seven months, I’ve been toting a small leather-bound notebook, jotting down thoughts and ideas as they come. It’s full of writing fragments, freewrites and other personal thoughts. It’s a significant chunk of the raw source material I’ve been drawing on when constructing my blogs, short stories and books. I thought it might be fun to share some of these ideas with others, so I decided to start posting selections from the notebook online.

I considered placing them here, but quickly realized that doing so would significantly deviate from the theme I’ve been cultivating for the blog since last October. I thought about my options and decided that Tumblr, the popular micro-blogging platform, is perfect for what I want to do. I started an account and will now be posting at least one random selection from the notebook everyday.

It’s a chance to see what kinds of thoughts flit about in this crazy head of mine, to explore a few of my imagination’s raw unedited seeds that may or may not germinate and grow into full-length pieces. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can find me at http://jeffcolemanwrites.tumblr.com. You’ll also notice that there’s a widget on the right side of my blog that displays the ten most recent posts.

Check it out, follow me if you feel so inclined and let me know what you think. This is going to be a lot of fun! :)


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

All You Need is Love

At the end of all things, when at last you gaze down from the precipice at what was once the vista of your life, you will come to understand that the value of your time here on Earth had nothing to do with material wealth or power, that it had nothing to do with good health, that it had nothing to do with whether or not you accomplished everything you wished to do when you were alive. Instead, you will find that the measure of your worthiness hinges solely on whether or not you loved. The pinnacle of existence, the highest pleasure, is to live a life in communion with others, to love and to be loved. Love is the fulfillment of the human experience.

There are different kinds of love. There’s the love we’re born into, that between a father and a son, a mother and a daughter, a brother and a sister. There’s the love between friends. There’s eros, the uniquely intimate love between a man and a woman that culminates in an even greater love, the conception of new life. There are so many ways to love, so many ways to express our need to be close to others.

All the money and health and power in the world can’t buy the simplest kind of happiness that can be purchased for as a little as a smile, a hug or a kiss. With enough money and power, you can move mountains. But what of that? With enough love, you can move souls.

Love can be experienced by the poor as well as the rich, by the sick as well as the healthy, by the foolish as well as the wise. It knows no boundaries. It’s an all-consuming fire that razes the world, burning down the material and ideological divides that separate us, reducing us to our purest essence.

Love has the power to shine into the darkest depths. It provides aid and comfort before the most fearsome powers of Hell, even as death and despair surround you from every side. As long as there’s love, there’s hope. Nothing is more precious.

To love is to be a part of something greater than yourself, to be one with a collective whole that feeds and nourishes the soul even as it sustains and uplifts the body. To be indifferent, to shut yourself away from this life-giving force, is to be cut off from this higher existence, to slowly wither and die, cold and alone, huddling in some obscure corner of the world even as those around you burn with the blinding radiance of a star, with the brilliance of hearts set ablaze by the most powerful force in the universe.

Reading fiction can teach you how to love. It affords you access to the hearts and minds of a variety of characters, and in so doing, helps you to understand others, since well-written characters always reflect real people.

In fact, Research has shown that reading fosters empathy. And it’s precisely this emotional understanding that bursts through the walls that separate us, that bridges hearts so that all who know might come to love, and in so doing save themselves from the only kind of death that man should ever fear.

Has yours been a life worth living? For the answer, you must only ask yourself one question: “have I loved?”


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

What Do Creative People Have That I Don’t?

“How did you come up with that?”

Artists get questions like this all the time. Those who admire their work marvel at the originality of their ideas, and can’t help but wonder why some people are able to come by such concepts so easily. They often ask themselves, “what do creative people have that I don’t?”

Many believe that creative individuals are special, that they possess some unique gift that’s forever out of reach to the rest of us.

They’re wrong.

The truth is, we’re all creative. If you think there’s not a single creative bone in your entire body, you’re wrong.

We all dream. We all wonder and we all ask questions, questions about the world, about the nature of life and death. We all have profound experiences that move us emotionally, that drive us to love or hate, to laugh or cry. Even in the most ordinary of circumstances, we find from time to time that our minds wander down strange and unfamiliar avenues. We all have a unique perception of the world, a fresh vision that, when expressed, adds value to the human experience as a whole.

So what is it that sets creative people apart from everybody else? Why do some have all the ideas, while others have none? Why are some lives full of wonder and awe, while others are so dull and boring?

Creativity is a way of thinking.

There are four attributes that separate creative people from all the rest.

1. Creative people value the everyday things that most of us think of as boring.

Creative people embrace the mundane, because they know that the exotic, the beautiful and the strange lie just beneath its surface. Many mistakenly believe that creative ideas must come from somewhere a million miles away from home. They think that unless they’ve scaled the heights of Mount Everest, that unless they’ve hiked across the Sahara Desert, that unless they’ve had the kinds of adventures that most of us can only dream of, that they’ll never have an original idea worthy of articulation. They don’t realize that what they’re looking for is and always has been laying right under their noses.

In fact, the best art is that which builds on the ordinary. Art derived from common everyday experience is relatable. It serves as a bridge between the ordinary and the extraordinary, providing ready access to the world of the unknown and reminding us that we can always find the adventures we seek in our own backyards.

2. Creative people listen to their thoughts.

At any given moment, your mind is filled with countless voices, a vast constellation of thoughts and ideas, all chattering away in the background. Most of the time, we’re not aware of them. They’re nothing more than white noise, an ever-present static that we block out so we can focus on our daily tasks.

Creative people take the time to listen to those thoughts. They make an effort to develop mindful awareness, which allows them to be sensitive to what most of us filter out unconsciously. They scan the background chatter, sifting for ideas worthy of expression. Over time, they learn how to integrate this awareness into everyday life, so that not a thought goes by that isn’t consciously registered.

Creative people understand that ideas are not things to be sought after like buried treasure, but that they come and go as they please, that they’re gifts which are given. Instead of endlessly wracking their brains, exhausting themselves in vain, creative people learn to focus their efforts on optimizing the process of discovery, so that when an idea does scurry by amidst the rabble, they’ll be able to identify and snatch it up before it’s gone forever.

3. Creative people indulge in “what-if’s.”

The difference between someone who’s creative and someone who’s not is that the ordinary person’s mind will conjure a random “what-if” and immediately dismiss it, mistaking it as part of the useless banter that flits back and forth between the conscious and the subconscious, while the creative person’s mind will seize it before it’s lost; like all great explorers, the creative person will plumb its depths, and like all great detectives, the creative person will follow its trail faithfully, fleshing out all of its logical conclusions along the way.

4. Creative people understand that there are no “bad ideas.”

Creative people don’t fall for the lie that some ideas are more worthy of consideration than others. They recognize that it’s precisely those thoughts which others find absurd that are most worthy of exploration. Many of the world’s most artistic endeavors started with a thought that many “ordinary” folks would have dismissed as ridiculous.

This is good news for all who have creative aspirations.

This means that creativity is accessible to all. It means that good ideas aren’t reliant on some magical ability that some are born with and others are not. There may be individuals whose creativity is part of their DNA, to whom artistic expression occurs naturally and without much effort. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t consciously develop those skills later in life, at least to some degree.

Creative people aren’t gods to be set above the rest of us on some lofty pedestal. They’re human beings, like you and me. Some of us may have been born with more artistic skill than others, but that doesn’t mean that those who are less genetically inclined are therefore excluded from the world of wonder and awe that creative people are fortunate enough to be able to explore. It’s a world that’s open to all who wish to share in her secrets.

If you’re human, then you have all the tools you need to be an artist.


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Your Life Is More Than Ordinary

Everyday life always seems so ordinary. We get up in the morning. We work. We go home. We eat. We sleep. We repeat this cycle five or more days a week. We might stray from the routine when we have time off from our weekly responsibilities, but even in leisure, we often settle into some kind of recurring structure. It’s so monotonous. So regular. So ordinary.

But ordinary is only a minuscule component of the great epic we call life.

For all that the tedious day-to-day grind consumes us, it’s really nothing more than the thinnest of veils, behind which lies a vast and fathomless depth of exotic beauty, of incredible wonders beyond our wildest imaginings. On every level, the ordinary aspect of reality goes only skin-deep, from the daily routine that serves as the framework in which we define ourselves, in which we eventually choose, in the fullness of time, to be the hero or the villain; all the way down to the vague and ill-defined subatomic particles that comprise our physical being, behind which hide the sublime mysteries of existence and consciousness themselves.

Our minds require the ordinary, because they need something familiar to make sense of, and our bodies require the ordinary, because they need something tangible to interact with. But ordinary is only a thin veneer, an external symbolic manifestation of a much fuller reality that’s always with us, even when we can’t see it. In the depths of the extraordinary is where we search for and discover our purpose, where we think and feel, where we love and pray, where we experience the fullness of our existence.

We must not let the everyday tedium deceive us into believing that life is nothing more than the meaningless rabble of an eight hour work day.

We must be bold enough to call ourselves explorers. We must resolve to dive head-first, as deep as we can, into this extraphysical world, to be brave enough to embark upon our journey without ever looking back. Our purpose, our reason for being, our very souls themselves, are bound up and locked away in its infinite depths, waiting for us to claim them if only we have courage enough to go after them.

If we stray too long near surface things, if we allow ourselves to grow comfortable and complacent in the skin-deep realm of the ordinary, we’ll begin to wither and fade like uprooted wildflowers. We’ll become so consumed by the shallow meaningless doings of the ordinary world that we’ll lose sight of our purpose, of the great cosmic questions and wonders that would otherwise propel us to the stars. We’ll become one with a temporary dying surface-existence so completely that we’ll come perilously close to dying ourselves.

Touring the world of Fantasy is one of many ways to explore the extraordinary.

It’s in stories that we encounter the threshold between the extraordinary and the ordinary, the line that separates thought and motivation from act, that separates purpose and meaning from their observable physical effects. In the world of the imagination, the mind is free to contemplate and dream, to chart the boundless reaches of the unseen world that usually exists just out of sight.

Fantasy teases us with external observable analogs to the otherwise abstract mysteries that lay hidden beyond the veil. We witness acts of magic; we embark upon epic quests; we take part in grand sweeping romances that move mountains in the name of love. When we travel long enough through the world of Fantasy, we’re left with an indelible mark that we take with us into the real world. We’re left with the ability to perceive and understand the true abstract essences that comprise the things we witnessed in the vistas of so many fictional worlds, and we learn to recognize them in what once seemed so plain and ordinary.

And then something marvelous happens. The thin surface that separates the world of wonder from the world of the ordinary looses its opaqueness. Ordinary life becomes transparent to the extraordinary that lies just beyond its shallow boundary, and we’re forced to confront and come to terms with the wonders that we were created to explore. Once this happens, nothing can stand in the way of our search for meaning, for purpose and for truth.

Dare to embark on this epic quest.

Seek out the extraordinary. Search for your purpose, for your soul. Search long and hard, high and low, in a world where there will never be a dull moment, where there will always be something new and exciting to discover. Do this, and you will be forever transformed.


Hi! I’m Jeff Coleman. I’m a modern literary fantasy author who’s drawn to the dark and mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life. Like what you’ve read? You can find more at www.jeffcolemanwrites.com.

If you’d like to keep up with my work and want to know when I publish my next book, you can also join my mailing list by clicking here. In return for your loyalty, I’ll send you a free copy of my short story The Sign. I’ll only send you an email once a month, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.