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J.R. Verwey

Jeremy was born in Philadelphia, Pa. As a child, he moved with his family to the Pocono Mountains. He obtained a good mix of city and country and later, returned to Philadelphia to attend college. Jeremy graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia with a degree in animation. He has worked in graphic design for 18 years. During that time Jeremy has been an avid gamer with a strong personal interest in fantasy and sci-fi. Jeremy has created the vast world of Gondoril, in a home-brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign. He enjoys creating thought evoking situations and stories, often blurring lines of morality as his characters seek a balance of right and wrong.

Story: Harbinger


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Just write. You can spend far too much time trying to figure out the correct thing to say. Writer's block can be a pain, and to counter that I just start writing, typing, taking notes, even dictating.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
Generally I jump right in. For something like a short story though I need to make a rough outline, otherwise I would go far past the word limit. Some of my stories can be epic. Finding an ending can be challenging.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I am accustomed to having someone critique my work. I think this comes from my artist background. Many of my stories come from a "living" role-playing world. Gamers have no problem telling you what you've done is stupid.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
This is a good question. I came to the game a bit late so I haven't had as much time agonizing over issues. Ask me again when people start telling me how horrible my story is.



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Not my usual cup of tea, but you know how to write a great story! Kept me interested throughout, one of the better out here.


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I liked the story overall. There were a couple paragraphs that didn't flow as clearly as I would like them though. I really liked the story line though (even though Zombies give me nightmares). The one part of the story I was confused about was the entrance of Mallory at the end. Though this may be because you had to cut the story short. I would cut that paragraph out though until you're able to develop the story further.


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Amazing story! I have been so busy I planned to skim it, 20 minutes later I find myself here having read the whole thing. I feel like I know the characters very well even from a few lines of description. The story really captures you and makes you want to read the whole thing! Keep it up!


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WOW!!!! I don't know what to say. For the story to have developed the way it did, I never saw what was coming. Your attention to detail made me feel as if I was there and could feel the things happening to me that happened to Ivy. I will have nightmares tonight. Please, I must have more.


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I really enjoyed this story. The way in which you describe everything makes me feel as if I'm there. I could vividly see the scene in which Ivy shows up at the barn and collapses. And I did not see the things that came later. I won't ruin another persons read by giving away the details, however I can say that I was shocked, surprised and intrigued. I can't wait to see where the story goes and eagerly anticipate the next chapter.


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Awsome story!!! would love to read more, thanks for the share kicka**


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Fantastic! Never knew you were a writer! Keep them coming!


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I enjoyed this short story. The opening scene was well written and set the stage nicely for what was to come. The action that followed was equally satisfying and the cliffhanger at the end enticing enough. Well done.


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M.J. Milner

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I usually don't read in this genre but i enjoyed the clipped use of dialogue and that the characters had different voices. Good story structure and a well developed arc. Approached ending anticipated but i enjoyed the read.

Jared R

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Loved it. The story was good and the characters were developed surprisingly well for such a short story. The rhythm/pacing flowed really well for the most part. I think one or two of the combat paragraphs could use some reworking, and the occasionally grammatical error needs fixed but those were only the real negatives for me (well, except for ending on a mini cliffhanger but that's only because I want more).


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This story hit me between the eyes with those goblins! I so liked the intense pace and the action and the descriptions. Apart from the few punctuation mistakes (e.g. leaving the arms of his wife, Lily- comma after Lily and similar examples), about the only issue I have is with this sentence: Ivy walked a cold two miles from where her parents died to the neighboring farm house. She did it alone and with feet bare... It should be past perfect: Ivy had walked a cold two miles...had done it alone, etc. If not, it confuses the reader as to when it happened. Great writing! Just when I had let out a breath of relief at the end, you brought in that rat. I can really see this as a movie, though. If you have time, please read my story, Double Take, and let me know what you think.


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Developing interesting characters in 5000 words is not an easy task. J.R. accomplished this with his attention to detail and believability. His descriptions of our heroes Orin and Mabel were just enough to keep me interested in learning about their backstory and wanting to watch their legend continue. Safe to say this tale will not be another run of the mill zombie apocalypse. The possibility of every creature in Mr. Verwey's world turning undead is enough to keep me reading. Zombie Goblins? Check. Female Heroes In Leather and Steel? Check? Bacon References? Check. All in all a very well written introduction to what looks to be a lush and dangerous world. I can't wait to continue reading.

Addai Agyemang

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I really liked your story and the cast of characters you created, especially Orin. However I don't think the story should have started with Ivy and her family. I think if Orin was introduced earlier, probably in connection with Ivy, then the later events would have had more of an impact. Your prose is wonderful but the only thing I would suggest would be to work on your descriptions of fighting scenes. Their were times, like when you wrote, "She thrust with her main hand and dropped the creature directly behind"when the descriptions seemed kind of awkward. Other than that I really in enjoyed your story. :)


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Sci-fi and fantasy are generally not my cup of tea. This story caught my attention and changed my perspective. Of course my favorite character is Mabel. She is quite the bad-ass. As a mother myself, I am jealous of her skills and talents. This is a great read and looking forward to more. Keep up the good work!
I really liked this story. It was very well written. My favorite part was when the father cried out for his daughter to run for her life, it gave me goose bumps. I hope their is more to this story, I'd like to see where it goes next. Very well done!!!


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Harbinger is an excellent story with great detail and fantastic story. I greatly enjoyed this compelling story full of conflict and much detail of the characters especially the mother. She is my favorite character in the story and his description of her coming out the house was simply divine I wish there was more to read and hope this gets published.


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Great read.... had trouble from reading it too quickly! It drew me in and made me WANT to see how it ended.

Margaret Alice

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Your story was very compelling! Kept my attention all the way through. You have a fantastic writing style, and I wish I could read more! Cool banner too. Thanks for reviewing my story. Good luck!

Erik Gustafson

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Beautiful imagery and well written. I really enjoyed your story and wish you much success!

Lisa Rose

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Really, really good. I loved it. You know how when you're watching a scary movie and you lean toward the television screen? Well, my nose was almost against the screen of my computer, (There has only been one other story in the competition so far that made me do that). Your writing is terrific. I could see the story unfolding in my mind and I liked it (sorry, I already mentioned that). The part I liked the best? Leaving the warm embrace of his wife, Lily was no easy task. He heard his cows yammer in the barn. His roosters crowed, reminding him that his day had started. Marcus stretched and began to get up. With those few words, I can picture the farm and the family waking up; beautiful. One thing I did notice. You wrote: 'It darted across the room and leapt into the air, its mouth gaped open and it bared needlelike teeth.' I think that you meant to say 'needlelike teeth bared.' You have until the end of the week to submit an edited copy if you want. Again, love your writing. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.


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Great read! Had no idea you were a writer! Fantasy can be a bit hard for me to engage. But, you probably remember that from teaching me to play D&D. But, this was easy to get into. I was done before I knew it. Looking forward to more!


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Fantastic Read!!! I want more!!!! He has always had the most amazing games, honestly the best I have ever played in, and the world he has created is magnificent! I can not wait to read more!!!


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awesome storyline
Week 8 Nominee
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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