EVENLIGHT Released! The Meratis Trilogy Wraps Up

Look at those covers!

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Goal Setting (Or, Stuff Jessica Fails Miserably At)

I’m not ready for today to be the last day of 2014; honestly, I don’t know how the year disappeared so fast. But, since tomorrow will begin a new year, I figured a little introspection was in order.

I don’t normally like to make a big hubbub about New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I don’t make them. I’m more of a short-term and long-term goals kind of girl. Sometimes they get written down, sometimes they don’t. IMG_45412206201343

That being said, I can’t tell you what I was thinking about this time last year (two years ago, I was suffering through the aftereffects of mutant strep throat, so I wasn’t thinking about much). But I can tell you what I managed to accomplish.

In February, I founded a YA critique group. We’re still going strong!

In April, I made the decision to indie publish my first novel. My goal was to get it out into the world in December, but I underestimated how long the process would take. So I guess I get to carry this goal over into 2015…huzzah!

In August, I found a new job, which has its ups and downs.

In September, I dumped the guy I always (not literally always, but you get the idea) thought I wanted to be with. Best. Decision. Eva. (And yes, I’m counting this as an accomplishment, and if you knew all the details of this, you would as well).

In October, I closed on my condo. MY FIRST PLACE. YAY ADULTHOOD.

In December, I was able to unveil the cover of Stones, which was some very exciting stuff. I was also able to turn 26 with minimal fuss and no quarter-life crisis breakdowns.

Those are the highlights of 2014…now we can proceed to goals for 2015!

Here’s the most obvious one: publish Stones and Finger Bones. This will be happening in February! I am thinking it will be ready to go by Valentine’s Day weekend, but I’m not releasing a specific date until I get the bugger formatted.

The rest of my goals are going to be broken down in categories for easy reference and so I can make lists. I love lists.

Overall Heath & Wellness:

  • Continue making better food choices
  • Choose and start taking a vitamin D supplement
  • Stop tolerating sucky people
  • Stop vehemently loathing work (yes, it takes away valuable time that could be used for writing or trolling the internet, but I have a mortgage to pay)

Home Improvements:

  • Paint master bedroom and bath
  • Find a bookshelf for room
  • Bring all books from home to new home

Reading, Writing, & Publishing:

  • Finish 25 books. I know this might seem like a low number to some, but I’ve been really slacking on my reading habits. I don’t think I even finished 10 this year, which is terrible!
  • Do a better job of tracking these books, probably utilizing Goodreads
  • Choose these books from the collection I already own and make list
  • Write at least 5,000 new words per month. I think this goal will complement my writing style better than daily or weekly goals, since I tend to write in fits and starts, and some days are more productive than others.
  • Outline book 2 of the Black Towers sequence (I think I need to be more diligent with outlining this one to make sure threads are being resolved, tangled, or cut as appropriate)
  • Draft a Black Towers novella
  • Participate in bloggy activities. Blog more in general. Let’s aim for at least twice a month!

And there be my goals! Mostly manageable, I think. I probably won’t be officially publishing anything else in 2015…but never say never! This, of course, depends on how fast I get things drafted, polished, edited, and all that jazz. If anything, I can aim for publishing the novella at the end of the year, but I’m not going to make than an official goal…yet. 😉

Happy New Year, minions!

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WIPpet Wednesday: Internet’s Back

So I’ll start this post with a confession: I’ve had internet for a couple weeks now, but things kept popping up. This week, however, I reserved tonight for author-y tasks. Made some updates to the website, worked on some formatting (eeeee!), wrote a little bit on untitled book 2, decided to jump back in for WIPpet Wednesday.

WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by the lovely KL Schwengel where a bunch of other lovely writers post excerpts from their current works-in-progress that somehow relate to the date.

I’m having a hard time finding anything to post because 1. I don’t want to be spoilery and 2. I’ve only written about 6 pages so far.

Pickin’s be slim.

But, here are 12 spoiler-free, freshly-rendered lines (from Word) in honor of December, for 12/17:

Aurelia had her hot face pressed against the glass in an attempt to cease the pounding of her head. Her breath danced across the pane of the carriage that was taking them to court.

Two hours after receiving the summons, Jaz had finally declared Aurelia acceptable for public viewing. Even now, she was still adjusting the folds of Aurelia’s gossamer veil.

The carriage lurched over a broken cobblestone and Aurelia inhaled sharply as the bones of her corset dug into her thighs. She swatted Jadzia’s hands away.

“Stop,” she gasped.

Jaz’s brows knitted in concern. “My lady, you’re wan.”

Aurelia felt a cold sweat break across her forehead and she found it hard to draw a breath. She was suffocating. The gown and small confines of the carriage were squeezing the life out of her and she was going to faint or vomit.

“Stop the carriage!”

I hope you’re getting as excited for the release of Stones and Finger Bones as I am, and don’t forget to stop by and say hello to the other Wippeteers! 🙂

 

wippetwednesday

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On Writers and Reviews

As the release date for Stones creeps ever closer, I find myself growing ever more anxious. The cover is out in the world, with my name on it and guys…I’m kind of freaking out.

I think I’ve officially entered the “What in the name of fluffy unicorns have I done?” phase of publishing. Has anyone else been there?

If you were reading my other blog, you might know that I started writing this book at seventeen. Do you know how long that is? Nine years. Nine! That’s almost a decade, and now I’m just going to throw my baby out into the world and let her be judged and dissected and poked and prodded??

(Maybe no one will notice. But, my mother has been telling every living person she knows, so maybe not.)

Insanity. Madness, I tell you.

I know there’s very little left of the story 17-year-old Jessica envisioned; I don’t think there’s an original sentence left, but these characters have been with me since the beginning (most of them, anyway. The telepathic cat got cut).

Needless to say, I feel very affectionately towards Aurelia & Co. and it distresses me that someone out in the world – or the internet – might not feel the same way.

Which brings me to the other point of this post: reviews.

I’m supposed to be working on writing a scene that fleshes out some character development, but in the name of procrastination, I’ve been reading negative reviews of popular books on Goodreads.

Is this productive and/or healthy? I don’t know.

But I’m rationalizing this frenzied research by saying I’m preparing myself for the worst. How bad can it get?

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Now, I like to think that I’m pretty thick-skinned. My writing has been taking punches since my first Intro to Creative Writing class in college, which I handled very gracefully, with only minimal griping behind the professor’s back. But these were very supportive environments, and mediated so things could never get too nasty.

Ever sorted the reviews of a book you liked by the users who gave 1 star? Yeah.

Most of the time these reviews are well-structured, eloquent, constructive, and sometimes amusing. And sometimes I agree with them. I’ll admit it; I don’t like every book I read, even though I know the author invested a lot of time and energy into the writing of it. I know they probably feel the same way I do about their “babies”.

I’m sure a “What the hell is this shit?” still stings, even for the most established authors.

But, here’s the kicker: established authors with popular, traditionally published books have 15,000 positive reviews, glowing with praise, to balance out the 800-1000 negative reviews.

As a soon-to-be indie author, like all the awesome indie authors before me, my work is going to live or die by reviews and recommendations. And one “What the hell is this shit?” review could dissuade many a potential buyer or new fan.

By no means do I have a perfect book (does anyone?) and I’m sure there will a typo or two (hopefully just two) that evaded the many eyes that looked over Stones.

Writers and editors are still human, people! 😉

But, I think I’ve crafted an entertaining read, at the very least, and no one will feel the urge to “hurl this book across the room with disgust”.

What about you, fellow indies? How do you feel about reviews and how do you handle them?

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Stones and Finger Bones: The Cover

Huzzah!

I’ve been sitting on this baby since May…so I’m not going to beleaguer this post with a bunch of extra words. I just want to say that Ravven is a fantastically talented artist, and an absolute pleasure to work with! I first discovered her a couple years ago, and my immediate reaction was “Wow, if I ever decide to indie publish, she’s who I’d want to design the cover!”. And voilà, here we are! 😀

So, without any further ado and pomp, here it is:

Cover Design by Ravven

Release Date: February 2015

Synopsis:

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.
 
Until the night she loses everything.
 
Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.
 
But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.
 
They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her.
 
And if necessary, to destroy her.

Also, check out these awesome bloggers (Elaine Jeremiah and Allie Potts) who were kind enough to feature Stones on their sites!

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Man Crush Monday: Pibble Edition

On this weary, dreary, windy, rainy Monday, I figured we could all use a dose of cuteness!

So, here’s the most adorable puppy around (at least, I think so):

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I gave a dog my heart, and so far it’s never been broken. ❤

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Setbacks

Newsflash: I’ve grossly underestimated the time it would take me to get Stones and Finger Bones ready to send out into the world. Anyone surprised? No? I’m definitely not. Ugh.

The good news is that I have a delicious brunch scheduled for Sunday to meet with my final reader to gather up her thoughts and edits. And I’m working on scheduling a final pass with a proofreader (after I take one more look at the ms).

I’m throwing around the word “final” in the hopes that it motivates me to hit a final deadline. *fingers crossed*

🙂

In other exciting news – just in case you missed it – I’m officially a homeowner! I closed on my condo about 2 weeks ago, and while this is very exciting and adult, it’s also taking quite a bit of time away from doing anything else. Like writing. Or blogging. The fact that I don’t have internet at home isn’t helping, either. I’m typing this post on my phone.

Ever try writing a blog post on a phone? Bugger.

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my front door!

Anywho, that’s about all my little thumbs can manage for today, I just wanted to keep y’all updated!

P.S. Cover reveal coming soon! If anyone is interested in helping me with the reveal (I would love you forever!) send me an email at jessicaminyardbooks @ gmail (dot) com. Or message me on Twitter or Facebook. Or leave a comment and I’ll contact you!

I still have to finalize the back cover copy, but I just wanted to go ahead and start asking for minions. 😉

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WIPpet Wednesday: Back Again

Greetings minions!

So if you were following me back when I was still I before E, you may remember that I participated in a weekly party/gathering/hop of lovely Wippeteers posting snippets of their works-in-progress that somehow relate to the day’s date. I’ve been trying to jump back in for a while now, but life has been sadly interrupting my internet time (I’m a homeowner, yay!).

Today, I’m offering up 2 lines from page 2 of book 2 in honor of October 22nd:

“Peach.” Her voice was strained, hoarse, as if she’d been screaming. And maybe she had. “I just can’t.”

Peach nodded, the moonlight glinting off his silvery hair. “It’s about him.”

What’s that? No context, you say? Well, that’s just how most Wippeteers roll. In my case, giving any context would spoil the ending of Stones and Finger Bones, and this is a strictly spoiler-free zone! 🙂

I’ll be making the rounds to check out all the other snippets, and you can as well by clicking this link. Many thanks to KL Schwengel for always hosting!

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Writing Back Cover Copy

One of the many perks of being an Indie author is having complete creative control over all design, promotional, and marketing elements of your work. Unfortunately, this also means being responsible for writing back cover copy (or BCC if you’re hip to the lingo).

Teaser

putting my photoshop skillz to work

BCC is exactly what it sounds like: the text that goes on the back of your book…and on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, blog tours, etc. Anywhere and anyplace that requires a summary. But — and here’s the kicker — BCC is no ONLY what your book is about, it has to SELL your book to readers.

And that is why BCC causes so much frustration and heartache. At least, that’s been my experience (and if you’re following me on Twitter, you got a little taste of that experience last week).

Authors who can churn out BCC like butter, I salute you.

And now, on to the purpose of this post…I think I’ve finally written something halfway decent that I’m halfway happy with…for the moment.

I won’t be sharing it today! Sawry. That’ll come with the cover reveal (squee!). But I did want to talk a little about my process, and get y’all’s tips and tricks to writing BCC.

So, what I did first was write and overly long, over-indulgent first draft and set it aside for months, I think. Then, I brought that version back out when I was ready to seriously get down to business, discovered it was terrible, panicked a bit, and then started doing my research. Research consisted of reading blurbs on Amazon, and trying to pick out a pattern.

Here’s what I found (and how I subsequently structured my working BCC):

  • Start with an interesting, yet brief, summary of the MC’s current state/life. Bonus points for quippy one-liners.
  • Add the inciting incident (or hint of) that is going to make the MC take action
  • Sprinkle in tidbits of his/her journey and/or new friends/companions
  • Top that all off with a couple of foreboding statements about the MC’s future

And voila! BCC sundae.

🙂

 

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The 10 Commandments: Book Lovers’ Edition [Infographic]

Love this!

Quoth The Wordsmith

Due to popular demand, I have, at the request of various readers, created this infographic of the original post. Enjoy, and do let me know your thoughts!

10 Commandments: Book Lovers' Edition

View original post

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