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The Key of Amatahns — Debut Novel Blog Hop

debut novel blog hop banner03

To celebrate the re-release of The Key of Amatahns by Elisabeth Wheatley, Inkspelled Faery is hosting ten days of visiting your favorite authors as they talk about their very first novels, topped off by an all-day Facebook party with fun, games, and giveaways. Check out the full line up of authors and don’t forget to join the Facebook party on the 25th!

Cover Design by Ravven

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.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
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To start us off, can you sum up your first novel in a tweet, 140 characters or less?

Magic! Mayhem! Kissing! Handsome rogues! Narcissistic sociopaths!

What are you most proud of in this title?

I’m going to have to go with my characters. I worked very very very hard to make sure that no one was wholly good or wholly evil…that everyone was capable of performing “evil” deeds. Making sacrifices. There is no black and white morality here!

Do you think your writing has changed since your debut? In what way?

Hmm…this is an interesting one, because I just made my debut a few months ago. I know my writing has changed and evolved since I first started writing the story. And now that I’ve been through the editing meat grinder, I know where my weak spots are and how to fix them so hopefully book 2 is stronger from the get-go.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were writing your first book, what would it be?

Write a shitty first draft! I spent a lot of valuable time agonizing over whether the scenes were perfect or the words were right, when I could have been using that time to polish a written draft. You can’t edit a blank page!

Worst piece of writing advice anyone’s given you?

Write every day. Yes, I know this is very popular writing advice, but it was horrible for me. I also spent a lot of time during the writing of Stones thinking that I wasn’t a “real” writer because I didn’t write every day or meet daily word count goals. That’s just not how my creative brain works. Giving myself permission to write my way, and coming to the realization that every person’s writing process is different, was a huge relief! I don’t think I would have ever reached The End if I didn’t have this epiphany along the way.


If you thought this was fun, drop by the Facebook party going down on the 25th for more interviews with your favorite fantasy authors as well as games and goodies galore!

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NaPoWriMo

This year I will attempt to participate in NaPoWriMo.

“NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.”

I stole that directly from the About page on their website…simple and concise. You can write any kind of poems, on any kinds of topics, and if you get stuck they’ll offer a daily prompt! And if you just want to write towards the prompts, you can do that too! Basically it’s a poetry free-for-all. Madness!

*ahem*

Anyway, I’ll be taking part starting tomorrow, mainly to stretch my creaky creativity muscles…and I might be procrastinating writing other things. Me? Procrastinate? Never! 😀

So, that’s the end of this post. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! I just wanted to give y’all a heads up in case you were all like “WTF is that crazy girl posting weird poetry for?!?”*

*I make no promises that the poetry won’t be weird

**Carry on

 

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WIPpet Wednesday: I’ve Got Nothin’

wippetwednesdayI think the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. I have nothing new for WIPpet Wednesday because I have written nothing new on any of my WIPs.

Haha.

I’m so productive.

Anywho, in keeping with the spirit of one of my 2015 goals (be more bloggy) I figured I’d use this space for some updating.

I spent the weekend in editing hell.

What do I mean by editing hell, you ask?

Editing hell is agonizing over sentences and word choices and comma placement and action beats. Editing hell is searching the document for repeated phrases. Editing hell is searching the document for dashes, so you can make sure your spacing is consistent for all dashes (that was fun). Editing hell is running a spell check and finding no less than 5 misspelled words! One of them was sovereignty, so I guess I can forgive that, since we’re only human, after all. 😉

Revision Tip: FOR THE LOVE OF FLUFFY UNICORNS RUN A FINAL SPELL CHECK.

You see, that was the last time I could touch it before I sent it away to be formatted. And then I freaked out. And then I saw the Kindle preview and got excited again. Shew. It’s been an emotional whirlwind of a week.

So that’s where things stand, presently. Tonight, I approved the final e-book versions, with all the fun graphics added, and so now we’re on to the print version! And there was much rejoicing! Huzzah.

I’m still freaking out, by the way…just doing a better job of hiding my emotions!

Oh, before I forget, you can now add Stones on Goodreads. Almost 30 people — and I don’t personally know all of them! — have already added it to their To Read shelf. I’m having mini-panic attacks over this as well, because that means these people might actually read it, and then what if it suuuuuuuuccccckkkkkkkkkkkssssss.

I could probably ramble on and on about my nerves and over-excitable emotions and bore y’all to death…but instead I’m going to take deep breaths, eat chocolate, and remember this: “Trust your dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

*fingers crossed*

Alright, enough about me; let’s get on to the good stuff! You should definitely check out the other contributors to WIPpet Wednesday because I hear there’s a sexy pillow fight involved. Get on it! 😀

As always, a big thanks to K.L.Schwengel for babysitting us!

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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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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

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Updates Galore!

Greetings, my lovely peeps!

Thing have been a little hectic here lately, and I don’t have the energy for a useful informative post, so you’ll have to settle for a “life update” post instead.

Business Item Number 1:

I started a new job about 3 weeks ago, which accounts for all the busyness I’ve been encountering recently. I haven’t had nearly enough time to cultivate and tend to my social media outlets. And my Pinterest boards. The struggle is real, y’all.

Business Item Number 2:

I got that infernal prologue written and sent it off to my editor. She returned it with minimal revisions (yay!), and I got it critiqued by my writing group last Monday. Besides a few piddly issues — like Track Changes deleting spaces — I’ve officially finished the heavy-duty editing process! Woop woop!

I cleaned up the piddly issues (hopefully) and literally just sent Stones off to a second round of beta readers.

With all that being said, here’s an updated, still-subject-to-change publication schedule:

September: Stones in the hands of new betas, start working on that back cover copy (do not want).

October: More editing and proofing. Depending on what kind of feedback I receive from betas, I may or may not send it back to my editor. If changes are minor, I’ll just prepare for a final proofread for small errors. Also, COVER REVEAL MONTH!

November: Formatting, final cover design for the paperback version, and any miscellaneous issues.

In my mind, I’m still on schedule for an early December release. Of course, since this is my first time, I could be seriously underestimating the time it takes to get Stones out and about. I also don’t think I’ve got much wiggle room for catastrophic events or grievous errors. Anyone know what those could be??

December seems to be creeping up on me so fast!

Oh, and I’ll be throwing promotional stuff around in there as well. Oy. So much to do!

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Judging a Book by Its Name: 10 Common Trends in Fantasy Titles

Some interesting observations about trends in fantasy titles…

Thoughts on Fantasy

Title Trends and Fonts (Orbit 2009) Chart showing most frequent fantasy book titles and fonts in 2009, Orbit Books, http://www.orbitbooks.net/2010/08/19/the-chart-of-fantasy-art-part-4-title-trends/

People often talk about how difficult cover designs are to get right, and the role they play in selling books. Titles – the things plastered all over those covers – are a less frequent topic of discussion.

Given how responsive we are to images and colours, covers probably are more important. Still, if you’re online, or talking to other book lovers, sometimes the title is the only thing you see or hear.

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Cover Reveal: BOUND

Today I have the privilege of helping one of my favorites — writer and blogger Kate Sparkes — reveal the cover of her debut YA fantasy novel, Bound. And there was much rejoicing. Yay! I’ve been lucky enough to read excerpts from this novel and can happily say I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Without further ado, I present the stunning cover, designed by the extremely talented Ravven.

Are you ready?

I don’t think you are.

Oh well.

Here it comes.

Duh duh daaaahh

bound_promo

Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.
 
Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life — a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.
 
When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, a simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous that she ever could have imagined. Now Rowan might just get everything she ever dreamed of — that is, if the one thing she’s always wanted doesn’t kill her, first.

I’ll give you a minute to take all that in.

Done? Great. Are you excited? I thought so.

You won’t have to wait long, though, the e-book release for Bound is set for June 26, 2014!

Now let’s meet the author:

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality that most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Her first novel, Bound, will be released June 2014, assuming the dragons don’t eat her first.
sparkes profile

Kate can be found frolicking around the internet at the following places:

Her blog: Disregard the Prologue
Twitter: @kate_sparkes
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katesparkesauthor
Goodreads

Congratulations, Kate!
*throws confetti*

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Welcome!

Greetings minions,

If you’re reading this, you’ve reached the new and improved internet home of Jessica Minyard, writer of YA and NA speculative and contemporary fiction. Whew, long sentence. I used to be the curator of i before e, a writing-specific blog that has since been disbanded. I’m jumping back on the blogging wagon with this here blog, but I have a hard time being consistent, which is why I’ve integrated a blog/website. I hope to still be able to post interesting things for y’all and share in the trials and triumphs of the writing community. Love you guys. 🙂

I’m still working out all the kinks of this new site, so be patient with me!

I’ll keep it short and sweet for today…because I’m mainly just using this post as a test to see if I have everything nested correctly. Ulterior motives rule.

 

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