Jim Melvin

The Death Wizard Chronicles

Dark Circles


Dark Circles is a middle-grade fantasy appropriate for readers 12 and older. I soon will be releasing Book 1 titled Do You Believe in Magic? … details to come.



Abandoned by his derelict father, a grieving boy named Charlie moves from Florida to his grandparents’ farm on 500 wooded acres in Upstate South Carolina. There, the boy rediscovers his passion for life in a most unexpected place — a fantasy world hidden deep in the forest that is brimming with wondrous magic and wicked monsters.

Dark CirclesIn the real world, Charlie is a nerdy boy picked on by bullies at his new school. But in the fantasy world, he becomes a wizard who wields high magic.

Eventually, all blend into one.

Or maybe not. That depends on the depths of your own wisdom.

“Dark Circles” is an adventure of epic scope. In language, tone and content, it is appropriate for ages 12 and up. But only those with a hero’s heart will dare to stand by Charlie until the bitter end.

After all, when you enter Charlie’s world, it is dangerous to sleep. If you do, evil will lurk in your dreams. And you’ll end up with dark circles beneath your eyes, just like Charlie’s.



Charlie took off his backpack and cast it on the bank. Then he waded within a foot of the rushing water and started screaming their names, hoping that at least one of the three would hear him and come back out. Mist sprayed in his face, almost blinding him with its intensity. He continually wiped his eyes with his forearm, partially from the mist and partially from his own tears.

A part of him considered running again, like he had before. But how many times could one person be a coward and still live with himself? Besides, maybe they were fine and just waiting on the other side, wondering what was taking him so long to join them.

And so after another of couple of minutes, he somehow found the courage to hunch over, take a deep breath, and barrel face-first into the raucous sheet of water. He fell into the cavern, bruising his knees on the slippery black rock. Looming before him, far in the back of the cavern, was the golden light he had remembered from his first visit here. And disappearing into the light was the sole of a grungy sneaker. Once it disappeared, the cavern was eerily empty, except for the glowing jewels imbedded in its walls and ceiling. How much were these jewels worth, he managed to wonder? Was Poppy a gazillionaire and didn’t even know it?

Charlie crawled forward. Without the backpack slowing him down, it was easier this time, and he quickly reached the mouth of the glowing tunnel. Zola’s and Virgil’s backpacks lay nearby, apparently discarded in haste. Charlie called out Zola’s name, then Virgil’s, then Blue’s. But there was no response. In fact there was no sound at all, other than a peculiar humming.

Charlie put his right hand into the tunnel to see if the light might burn him. Last time it had felt warm, but not painful. And the same was true again. But this time there was an additional sensation, almost as if the very air were shivering. It was invigorating.

Then Charlie heard something that clearly came from deeper in the tunnel — a cry or a scream, female in nature. “Zola!” he shouted. “I’m coming!” And without further hesitation, he crawled into the tunnel and clambered forward.

The tunnel went on far longer than Charlie would have expected, and it narrowed even more — but not so much that he couldn’t continue. Just ahead, Charlie heard another noise … familiar. It sounded like the crashing of waves.

Suddenly the golden light was gone … replaced by another light, bright but less intense. Charlie spilled out of the tunnel onto a bed of sand, only this time it was not the sand on the banks of the creek. This was sand like he remembered from St. Pete Beach in Florida — fluffy and white. And then he realized that he was lying on a beach, and he rose to his knees and gazed upon the bluest ocean he had ever seen. Charlie gasped in amazement. The beauty of it smote his heart. Everything was either blue or white — the ocean and sky blue, the sand and clouds white. There were no other colors anywhere, other than those he had brought with him: the tanned skin of his arms, his gray T-shirt, his faded shorts.

The air was warm and salty. Charlie’s lungs were engorged with oxygen. It made him want to shout with joy.

Then something leapt upon his back and drove him onto his chest.

About The Author

Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years. As a reporter, he specialized in science, nature, health and fitness, and he wrote about everything from childhood drowning to erupting volcanoes. Jim is a student of Eastern philosophy and mindfulness meditation, both of which he weaves extensively into his work. Jim is the author of The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy for mature audiences. But he and his agent are now actively marketing book 1 of an epic fantasy trilogy for ages 12 and up titled Dark Circles.

About my Publisher

The Death Wizard Chronicles is being published by Bell Bridge Books, an imprint of BelleBooks, Inc. Bell Bridge Books is known for nurturing emerging fiction voices as well as being the “second home” for many established authors, who continue to publish with major publishing conglomerates.