Winter, 2008-2009 - Jim's non-fiction writing took a front seat when he was awarded multiple federal government contracts to research, write, and produce a series of long-form documentaries and TV spots for the US Navy. Topics included the Polaris submarine missile system, military medical advancements, a primer on the Navy's versatile fleet of warships, and profiles of extraordinary US Sailors. One of the segments was filmed with Jimmy Carter in Plains, Georgia. All the segments will air from 2009 through 2014 on the Armed Forces Network and The Pentagon Channel.
June, 2007 - The Fight For Rome, Book Two in the Gladiators of the Empire series, was released by McBooks Press. The story picks up a few months after the dramatic climax of Jim's debut novel Sand of the Arena, now pitting Quintus, Amazonia, and Lindani against the legions of Rome in the bloody civil war of A.D. 69. The book garnered praise and positive reviews from the literary press, authors, and fans of historical fiction.
Summer, 2005 - Jim traveled to multiple book signings in Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio to promote the Gladiators of the Empire series. Many of the appearances were in tandem with historical reenactor events and ancient world gatherings. The Joseph Beth Booksellers chain coordinated an elaborate event at their Cincinnati store featuring Jim's audio/visual presentation on gladiators and a gathering of Roman reenactors from the upper Midwest.
July, 2005 - Historical research isn't limited to books and libraries. In order to get a better feel for what it was like to do battle with gladius, trident, and sica, Jim worked with the members of Ludus Magnus Gladiatore in Maine over the summer. The gladiator reenactment troupe invited Jim to their Roman Days festival near Kennebunkport to learn the art of arena combat from their trainers and fighters. He came away with more than a few cuts and bruises, but also a better understanding of the offensive and defensive uses of each weapon. This first-hand experience will certainly result in enhanced arena battle scenes for future books.
April, 2005 - Jim was a guest speaker at the Historical Novel Society's First North American Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 15 & 16, 2005. He spoke as part of a discussion panel entitled "Researching the Historical Novel," along with authors Kathleen Ernst, Margaret Frazer, Judith Merkle Riley, and Karen Swee. Jim discussed his research techniques, his life-long interest in the ancient world, and his photographic journeys to Rome, Pompeii, and Britain. He also brought along some of the items that help him bring ancient Rome alive, such as his collection of "then and now" overlay books, which he began collecting on his first trip to Italy in 1967. The 200+ conference attendees also enjoyed presentations by historical literary giant Jack Whyte, and numerous other authors, editors, and literary agents.