Hi, I'm Jim Mills. Welcome to my biography. I was born in time for breakfast on July 12, 1951 in Joliet, Illinois (7:04 a.m. to be precise). I grew up in the town of New Lenox (right outside Joliet) and went through the usual sequence of schooling. I started reading at a fairly young age with the caution from my mother that "this stuff doesn't happen in the real world." She was talking about Ian Fleming's 007 novels at the time. I graduated to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne, went through a stint of reading the Tom Swift stories (Sr. and Jr.), and then discovered Tolkien. My life hasn't been the same since. My mind often wanders in strange and distant places.
I started writing in high school, where an instructor encouraged creative writing. My first story was a time travel tale about a guy who went back in time to meet Thomas Jefferson. It was not well researched. It was not very plausible. The instructor told me to write about things with which I was more familiar. I didn't write very much after that, but I did read a lot. Isaac Asimov, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Arthur C. Clarke, Laurell K. Hamilton, Holly Lisle, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, J. R. R. Tolkien and Roger Zelazny are among my favorites.
I went through college with a different major each quarter. I majored in everything from computer science to professional student (when you go to a junior college for four years, you're a professional student). Then the real world slapped me in the face and said, "You need a JOB, boy!" So I went out and got a day job. I've worked a variety of jobs over the years, from sales clerk to corporate director to professional consultant. Along the way I became interested in role play games. I'd long been interested in games (card games, board games, etc.) and this was a new thing (for me) in the 70's, where I created my own world, populated it, gave it a history and set stories in that world. The stories were interactive between game master (GM) and players. Sometimes I was a GM; sometimes I was a player. More years passed, different worlds, different game systems. I joined a club that sponsored games at gaming conventions. I wrote tournament modules for that club's events. And I printed stories in their newsletter (alas, the industry does not consider it "published" unless I am paid for my efforts).
Also in the somewhere along the way department, I met my wife, the lovely Lady Valerie. We both knew from nearly the beginning that we are destined soul mates.
Then I discovered online games. I've played in and GM'd games on AOL for over four years. In the process I met Dawn Greenlee online. I played in and she ran a game in her game world. I discovered to my delight that she has developed a very rich and exciting game world. I played a man named Chance (if you've read my online postings, then you've met Chance. His picture can be seen at Dawn & Jimís Web Pages (http://www.jameskmills.com), along with a chapter or two from our book in a forum you can link to from our site.). Chance has gone through many adventures, plots and subplots. At one point, I commented on what good stories we made together and asked Dawn if she would like to co-author a book or, better yet, a series of books. Dawn agreed with enthusiasm. I wrote Lord of Change in November-December 1999. We have worked on revisions ever since.
Over Memorial day weekend 2000 Dawn, Valerie and I attended Wiscon in Madison, Wisconsin. There we met one of the Tor Books editors and he agreed to allow us to send our book (the first three chapters and synopsis) to him for review. In early July 2000, I sent Lord of Change off to Tor Books. Hopefully they will like it and publish the series for us. Iíve started on the second book, tentatively titled The Kirin. The proposed series title is Dragons of the East.
We also met a few other writers who lived in the western suburbs of Chicago and formed our own writersí circle. They have helped me critique Lord of Change, and we feel it is a better book for their efforts.
In June 2000 I was checking out books on professional novel writing and I saw a reference to an ebook called Mugging the Muse. I bought and downloaded that book and found a wealth of information. Then I discovered HollyLisle.com and another wealth of information. Iíve been there almost every day ever since.
My reading and writing preferences lean towards contemporary fantasy, although I have read and written epic fantasy and science fiction as well. My long term goals included selling novels and making enough in royalties to be and independent, full-time writer.