Blog Tour Guest Post on Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull by James Matlack Raney

Title: Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull
Series: Jim Morgan #2
Author: James Matlack Raney
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Publisher: Dreamfarer Press
Purchase Links: Amazon | TBD
Book Blurb:
Over a year has passed since Jim Morgan outwitted the King of Thieves and escaped from London with his friends, Lacey and the Brothers Ratt. Now, at long last, Jim is ready to return home to Morgan Manor. 
But a dark vision haunts Jim’s dreams – a Crimson Storm with the face of a black skull. Soon, Jim is thrust into a deadly race against his father’s old enemies, Count Cromier and his son, Bartholomew. This time, he will face terrors beyond his imagination – pirate battles, hidden islands, sorcerers, and sea monsters. 
New foes and magic forces will tempt and test Jim. For there are terrible secrets he has yet to learn, secrets about his father, the Treasure of the Ocean, and his own incredible destiny…
Adventure has a new name – Jim Morgan!
I’ve met a great many authors over the years who have told me writing villains are far more enjoyable than writing heroes. I agree completely! The inner rebel of every author loves to inhabit the skin of a good villain, one who leaves nothing off the table, no rule unbroken, and no depth left unsunk – it can be a thrilling experience. Heroes, on the other hand, must be at least a bit more restrained, possessing of a code, and holding the moral high ground. Because of this, there are many times when heroes come across as well…a little boring. When I wrote the Jim Morgan novels, I wanted to write a hero that at least bent that mold, if not broke it completely.

So what makes a hero a hero anyway? And what makes a hero a great hero? If writing and character development are among your hobbies, you know there are a great deal of both spoken and unspoken rules when it comes to creating heroes, or developing characters in general, for that matter. One rule is that heroes must overcome obstacles and face challenges before achieving their goal. What if Harry Potter went on vacation and had Dobby the house elf find all the Horcruxes for him? What if Katniss Everdeen hid in the forest the entire Hunger Games until she was the last tribute left? We wouldn’t have much of a story to tell and neither Harry nor Katniss would be much of a hero, would they? But what are the greatest challenges a hero can face? What are the toughest challenges we as readers face in our own lives? Are they really the external trials?
Certainly, in both Jim Morgan novels, Jim and his friends run into awful villains and deadly traps, everything from bullying gangs of street thieves, to shadowy pirates, to enormous sea monsters. Could there be anything more challenging than such foes and tests? Not if we go back to the beginning of great storytelling, all the way to the Ancient Greeks and their wondrous myths, when the Greeks developed one of the most essential and important rules of heroes: the hero must have a flaw. I believe this rule is paramount, for when it comes to facing death and doom for the sake of others, when it comes to the actual work of being a hero, the greatest threat to success comes not from without, but from within.
When we first meet Jim Morgan, he is the selfish, stuck-up, spoiled son of an English Lord, more likely to throw a rock at someone as to help him, and certainly less than hero material. But throughout his adventures in Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves, Jim slowly discovers that there is more to the world than himself, and more to happiness than riches and fancy clothes. In order to truly win the day, it is not the King of Thieves Jim must overcome; rather it is his own selfishness. In this new book, the Pirates of the Black Skull, while Jim has already learned to love his friends deeply, how will he react when he loses everything? What will he do when he is forced to make a choice between taking revenge and protecting his friends? Once again Jim’s greatest challenge won’t be the sorcerous pirate, Splitbeard, or the dastardly Cromiers and their hired thugs, or even the dreaded secret of the Pirates of the Black Skull, it will be the conflicting desires he faces within himself.
If I want readers to see one thing in Jim over the course of this book, it is that in the end, Jim is a great hero, not because he’s perfect or even always likeable, but because in spite of all his faults, he still rises above himself to win the day. My thanks to the Fastidious Reader for hosting me today, and to any of you who take a chance on Jim and his friends in the Pirates of the Black Skull – may it bring you the joy of true adventure!
 You are welcome, James! :) Now, reading all of that makes me wanna read the series. :) Thank youuuu!


James Matlack Raney grew up all over the world, including Europe, Latin America and Africa. These days, he calls Southern California home, and spends his time writing adventures…and occasionally living a few of his own.
Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull will be available via Amazon and in select brick-and-mortar retailers as of December 7th, 2013.

Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull
By James Matlack Raney

Old Friends, New Foes, Magic Forces…

Growing up is…well, tough.
But statistics show that for boys, it may be even tougher. Compared with girls, American boys have lower literacy rates, worse grades and less engagement during school – not to mention higher dropout rates when high school hits.
Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull – the second installment in James Matlack Raney’s critically acclaimed young adult adventure Jim Morgan series – is set to change that.
Hot on the heels of Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves, which was praised by’s Fatherhood Guide,, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and influential book bloggers across the globe as “a rip-roaring good tale for children of all ages,” Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull sees old friends, new foes and magic forces tempt and test its protagonist, who is, one year following King of Thieves conclusion, at long last ready to return home to Morgan Manor.
Faced with terrors beyond his imagination – pirate battles, hidden islands, sorcerers and sea monsters – in Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull, the formerly spoiled-rotten Jim Morgan must learn to trust new allies, discover the power and magic of true friendship – and, just possibly uncover a hero hidden within him.
Ripe with fantastical challenges and miraculous victories that will resonate with any young reader who finds themselves in the thick of navigating young adulthood’s complexities, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is a good old-fashioned adventure story fit for a 21st century attention span.
“I wrote Jim Morgan to grab the attention of boy readers who have few options on bookshelves in today’s marketplace,” says Raney of the series. “Contrary to popular belief, I feel that boys actually enjoy reading, provided it’s rich with excitement, danger, and emotional themes they crave.”
A must-add to the shopping list of librarians, educators, parents and relatives of reading-reluctant boys everywhere, among the topics and themes explored in Jim Morgan and the Pirates of Black Skull include:
·          Why exploring the mysteries and adventures the real world has to offer is infinitely better – and more rewarding – than another day behind a computer screen
·          The search for identity on one’s own: discovering a sense of self independently
·          The many shades of grey between the lines of good versus evil and right versus wrong
·          The vital importance of true friendship through the many hurdles and challenges that life throws your way


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