Happy Holidays!

First, a holiday wish ...

Hey gang! I've had so much to be thankful for this year. I've had stories published, made friends, have a loving family, afforded good health--and received lots of support and companionship from my blogging buddies. 

My mother and father taught me long ago that you're only as good as the company you keep. And though I'm certainly biased, I think I'm surrounded by some of the finest writers and bloggers out there.

For that reason, I sincerely hope that peace and love surround you this Season, and in 2013 may your goals be achieved, your dreams lived, and your hearts be full. Always.

Second, that publishing 'stuff' ... and something free

Speaking of stories published, my second is now available. You'll find all the details in the 'official announcement' below, but first ...

To celebrate the season of giving, the first book in the Moonsongs series, Blood Fugue, will be available for free on Amazon Christmas Day and the day after. If you haven't had a chance to read it, I'd be honored if you'd check it out. Here's the link. Again, it'll be free a week from today and yesterday.


After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. 

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes--with a Texas twist--by author E.J. Wesley


My fingers tapped out an excited, tuneless rhythm on the steering wheel as I drove Beauty, my licorice black 4x4 truck, across town. Maybe the sudden change in the weather and the influx of warm, November sunshine brightened the gorgeous day and my spirits in equal measure. Or maybe, God help me, I was happy to be on my way to see Marshal again. Regardless, I couldn’t recall the last time a day held so much hope, like I’d been given a cheat code for infinite possibilities.

“How’s life?” Marshal asked, foisting himself into the cab of the truck.

He placed a brown, leather satchel between his feet on the floorboard. Marshal stared at me over the top of a pair of oversized, mirrored sunglasses. Combined with the plaid shorts, flip flops and pink polo shirt with a crocodile on it, he appeared to be beach ready. Or headed to a photo shoot for a store I wouldn’t be caught dead in.

“Fast.” I grinned and revved the engine.

He gave me a worried look, rushing to buckle his seatbelt. “You can’t afford another ticket.”

“Relax, Mr. Public Safety. I was kidding. Mostly. Where we headed?”

He patted the saddlebag between his legs. “I’ve gone through everything in here fifty times and have more questions than when I started. I wanted to go to the college library, try to learn more about your grandfather's tribe. Find some language books.” 
“So, we go to the library and learn about the tribe and the journal. Shouldn't be too hard. Texas is chock full of Native American history. I imagine there'll be lots of stuff on the Apache at a big university.”

Marshal shook his head, his spiky blond hair staying perfectly still.

“It won’t be that easy. Apache was a catchall term given to several tribes. They were nomads. Historians had a devil of a time trying to keep track of any one group—not to mention they weren't exactly friendly to outsiders. The name Apache was given to most of the warring, wandering tribes in the area.”

“Knew my cuddly personality couldn’t be all my own doing. How’ll we know which specific tribe Gramps belonged to?”

I turned onto the state highway that would lead us to Lubbock. It'd take us about an hour to get there, assuming there was no traffic. By traffic I meant some old farmer taking up both lanes of the highway with his tractor.

Marshal pulled the journal from the bag and flipped open the front cover. He held the book up, pointing to the inside corner.

“I think it's this.”

The word Navezgane had been branded into the leather.

“Cool. Wonder what it means?”

I started to make a joke about the word hopefully not translating to Squats-in-Woods or something. One glance at Marshal’s troubled face told me I was going to like the real name a lot less. 

“I looked it up online. The word means killer of monsters.


~Witch's Nocturne is available now~

Amazon     Smashwords (ePub & PDF)


~Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1, is also available~

Amazon (Free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.)

(Note: These stories contain some language and content better suited for mature readers.)

Help Me Spread A Little Holiday Fear ... And Win Stuff

**UPDATE** Signup and giveaway are over. Thanks to everyone who got involved. 'See' you in 2013! ~EJ

Hey gang! Today I'd like to officially announce that the 2nd of my Moonsongs books, Witch's Nocturne, will be hitting virtual shelves next week. I'd also like to enlist your help. But first, a little bit about the story ...

If you've read the first book in the series, Blood Fugue, you'll pick right up with Jenny's story. 

After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic, however, when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. Once again, it's up to Jenny and her best friend Marshal to navigate this dangerous new world of monsters and paranormal shenanigans--all in less than 17 k words! (Moonsongs is a series of novelettes.) 

That translates to what I hope is a fun, fast-paced adventure with some chills, thrills, and more than a little of Jenny's standard snarky toughness. I'm really proud of this effort, and hope it shows in the writing.

If you're new to the series, you'll quickly find your place, but feel free to check out Blood Fugue on Amazon (.99 cents, or free to read for Amazon Prime members). Also check out the 'My Books' page on this blog for more details on both stories. (Note: these stories contain language and material best suited for mature readers.)

You can add Witch's Nocturne to your Goodreads list, HERE.

Help Me Spread A Little Holiday Cheer Fear, Get a Free Copy of Witch's Nocturne, AND Maybe Win Stuff 

Here's where you fine folks come in. I'd love it if you all could help me share the announcement/release news throughout the last week of December and first week of January. 

I know it's a crazy, busy holiday time, so I'll provide you with all the information you need to post-and-go. Then, you basically pick any day you want between December 23 and January 6 to share on your blogs. Simple.

Everyone who signs up will get a digital ARC of Witch's Nocturne. (If you enjoy and have time, please leave a review--literally anywhere--when it goes 'live' next week.) PLUS, I'll enter your name into a drawing for a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble (your choice) gift certificate, AND I'll be giving one lucky participant an autographed copy of Amanda Hocking's latest novel, Lullaby (A Watersong Novel), that I recently procured. You can check out Lullaby here, and here are some shiny pics of the autograph and book: 

Cool, right? Just fill out the web form below, and I'll eMail you the details for the post in the next few days. 

This goes without saying, but my debt of gratitude to those who help is endless. I know many of you would help without the lure of prizes, etc. (because you do all the time) but it's a small thing I can offer to at least a couple of you to say 'thank you' for all of your continued support and encouragement.

Now, wish me luck! :-)

A Chance to Give AND Receive--Powered by Books

Hey gang! If you're like me, you're always looking for unique ways to give back this time of year, so I wanted to pass this along. Basically, a bunch of YA authors and their publisher are doing a two-day free and/or discounted promotion on their books, and ALL of the profits garnered in that period go to a local Children's Hospital. Plus, they're doing a big Rafflecopter giveaway. It all starts tomorrow, details are below:


The Gifts Aren't Only From Santa crew are gearing up for two days of FREE and discounted books for charity!
Join us for the Facebook fun on the 14th!
That's right. December 14th and December 15th, treat yourself to a buffet of ebook joy by visiting Amazon and downloading FREE ebooks or heavily discounted ebooks where 100% of the proceeds go to a local Children's Hospital. How cool is that to be a giver and a receiver all at one time?!?!

On top of that, there's a fun Facebook event scheduled for December 14th with cool games and prizes to win. Go here for details.

Want to get a heads up on the great novels coming up for FREE or discounted? Go here to peruse the titles. Just make sure you don't drool on the keyboard. You'll need it for the December 14th Facebook fun.

"What if I don't have a kindle?" you ask. Well, that isn't a problem. Got a smartphone (android, blackberry, iPhone), computer (Mac or Windows-based), or a tablet (iPad or android tablet), then you can download a FREE kindle app and take advantage of these great titles being made available to you.

Don't forget to enter to win some great prizes in the rafflecopter as well. Yeah, we're just loving the giving spirit! Make sure to share this with everyone so no one misses out on the fun, prizes and free ebooks galore!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Book Birthday and Thanks!

Hey gang! Want to say a quick thanks to all of you who commented on my blog hop post on Monday--I won! 

**QUICK CORRECTION/UPDATE** Actually, each judge picked their favorite, and I was chosen by 2 of the 4 judges. Awesome, right? 

How crazy is that? Unleash a couple of snarky friends on a dating quiz and look what happens. :-D

There's an anonymous 'reader vote' round (this round was voted on by the judges) on Friday I'd love to have your help with (I'll share details then...). My winnings this round are copies of Jaycee and author Magan Vernon's (the other judge that picked my entry) books, so I'll be sure to let everyone know how they are once I've given them a read.

Now,  MORE good news ...

Happy book birthday to Juliana Haygert and Her Heart's Secret Wish! Just in time for the holiday, Juliana gives us a little something to warm the cockles (and perhaps other things hehehe) and put us in the Christmas spirit:

Her Heart's Secret Wish by Juliana Haygert
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Release Date: 12/12/12
Genre: NA contemporary romance
Length: 13,000 words

With a renowned reputation as a player, she had everything figured out... Twenty-year-old college student, Natasha is the life of every party and the reason behind many celebrations. The easiest girl on campus has all guys at her feet and more than a few in her bed.

…until he came into the game…

Having entered the academic world by chance, Professor Jason Stone is surprised to find one of his young students a huge temptation. The infamous Natasha has caught his attention. But is there more to her than meets the eye?

…and changed the rules.

As their unexpected friendship grows, so does their attraction to each other. When Jason’s Christmas plans are canceled and he ends up at the same party as Natasha, sparks flare, destroying the safe zone around them. Will they figure out how to break through their self-imposed barriers to be together, or lose one another forever?

Decadent Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Nobles | Goodreads

Or, maybe win a copy????

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: 

Juliana is a Brazilian girl living in Connecticut. She would love to be Wonder Woman, Cheetara, Elektra, Buffy, Phoebe, She-ra, Rose, Korra, Cornelia, a blood elf shadow priest, and other various kick-ass female from books, comics, TV series, movies, and games, but she settles for—the less exciting but equally gratifying life—a wife, mother, friend and a writer. Her heroines are like the ones cited above and she also writes about the heroes who drive them crazy—and occasionally hot.

Since her first stories, she wrote about 20-something year old protagonists, and today she's part of NA Alley, a blog dedicated to New Adult.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | NA Alley

CONGRATS JH! Sounds like a fabulous read.


The Mating Game Blog Hop ... Sort Of

Hey gang! Today I'm doing something a little ... different. A blogging buddy of mine--AND super talented lady--Jaycee Delorenzo recently released her latest novel, THE TRUTHS ABOUT DATING AND MATING. To celebrate the occasion she has orchestrated a fun blog hop. Here are the details as per Jaycee:

The Official Rules!

- Pick a couple from your novel, manuscript, or WIPs

- On December 3, 2012 go to each of the judge's blogs to gather the question for your couple to answer (There will be a total of five questions).
3. Jaycee Delorenzo | http://blog.jayceedelorenzo.com/

On December 10, 2012 post your couples five answers and "hop" around the other participants blogs to comment on their couples!

Optional: Participate in the reader voting round on December 14th to vote for the finalist couple that you feel stood out the most :)

EJ NOTE: If you have a good time here and want to read more entries, click the hop button above to go to the official page--a list of the other participants is at the bottom. I'll post a reminder on the 14th, and of course I'd appreciate your vote!

Okay, that's the dirty, but here's where it gets tricky. I don't really have a traditional 'couple' of the romantic variety in the Moonsongs books (yet ;). So I'm going to get creative and introduce you to Jenny and Marshal, a couple of friends forced together by proximity and circumstance, and bound by their appreciation for each other's ...  uniqueness. Here goes:

The Odd Couple...

Marshal: Can't you just pause the game? Ask the other players to wait or something, it'll only take a second.

Jenny: *glances at Marshal* You can't pause an Online match. It ends when you die--Son of a bitch! Thanks, you just got me knifed from behind by the worst guy on their team. They're going to crush me on the message boards for that one... 

Marshal: Great, now you can help me answer these.

Jenny: *flips the controller onto bed, turns to Marshal* Oh sweet Jesus, what've you got in your hands?

Marshal: The latest issue of V came today! *squeezes magazine to chest in a puppy hug* And LOOK at what they did to poor Keira Knightley. She looks like a transexual-zombie-hooker! *shows cover and shudders*

Jenny: I'm starting another match...

Marshal: Wait, this is important! This questionnaire will tell us if we're a good relationship match.

Jenny: *rubs temples* What relationship? You're a smart dressing, highly sensitive, and civic minded gay man. I'm an anti-social, emotionally calloused chick who takes pride in her collection of vintage t-shirts. Tom & Jerry had more of a natural relationship than us--and they tried to kill each other.

Marshal: *waggles eyebrows* I'll pay for the pizza tonight. C'mon, it'll be fun!

Jenny: *falls back onto bed, stares at ceiling* You're lucky I'm broke ... and starving. Just get this over with.

Marshal: *grinning like a Power Ball winner* First question--

Tells us about a memorable experience you shared together.

Jenny: Like the time I didn't kill you in some horrible way for subjecting me to bullshit surveys?

Marshal: Be serious! I'll go first - When we were nearly eaten by a werewolf.

Jenny: *furrows brow in thought* Yeah, I can't top that one. Next.

Marshal: You go first this time. Question number two--

What would you do if the one you wanted was terrified of your feelings and pushed you away?

Jenny: Die alone--and probably happy.

Marshal: *sighs* Well, I'd be heart broken. You know how hard it is to find a decent guy out here in West Texas ... Next question--

What is one of the roadblocks standing in the way of you getting together?

Jenny AND Marshal: *uncontrolled laughter*

Marshal: *wiping away a tear* Moving right along--

How would you describe the other person, using only one word at a time? 

Jenny: Ooh, I'll start this one! Absurd. *grins*

Marshal: *frowns* Shabby.

Jenny: *glances at camouflaged sweatpants and shrugs* Peacock.

Marshal: Oblivious.

Jenny: *points* Proud. Jerk. Who. Thinks. He. Is. So. Pretty. 

Marshal: *shrugs* Stubborn. Ass. Who. Thinks. She. Is. So. Clever.

Jenny: Next?

Marshal: Right--

What was the first thing you noticed about each other?

Marshal: *laughs* Your hair. Purple mohawks were cool in 1983--for like a week.

Jenny: *looks away* Your confidence. 

Marshal: *puts magazine down* Really?

Jenny: Sure. You were the first person brave enough to talk to me when I moved out here to the sticks sophomore year. And I knew you were different--not by how you dressed or anything--just by how you behaved. You were genuinely proud of who you were. That takes a lot of confidence in a small town. Hell, in any town.

Marshal: *touches Jenny on the shoulder* That's seriously the nicest thing you've ever said to me...

Jenny: *turns to Marshal and grins* Can we get breadsticks, too?

Marshal: You suck.

That's my entry! Do you think Jenny and Marshal make a good couple? :-D  

Be sure to give Jaycee's book a read as well. The early reviews have been outstanding!


IWSG - You Scare Me To Death

Hey gang! VERY excited to be taking part in my first Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you aren't in the know about IWSG, here's the reals (sorry, been working on my hip cat, jargon-slang and wanted to try it out ... no, it won't happen again):

Click this-here photo & it'll take you to that-there page ... 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer.

So basically, it's a group of writers who feed one another's neurosis by saying, "No, I'm FAR crazier than you are", it's an ode to being a hot mess, it's the mentally disturbed running the asylum, it's----well, now you understand why I had to get involved.

You Scare Me To Death

I'm not a people pleaser. Okay, that's a lie. I truly enjoy making people happy  (makes me feel good to my bones as my grandmother would've said). Maybe more accurately I should say that I'm not someone who needs to be liked. 

The non-Web me is a bit of a smartass. I say what's on mind and have my own opinion about most things. Though I don't usually offer those opinions unless I'm asked, if you do ask you'd better be ready to hear an unfiltered 'E.J.' answer--'cause that's only kind I know how to give.

The result is that I'm a genuine person, but not very PC, and that can ruffle feathers. I'm cool with that. I'll note that I'm not someone who requires others to agree with me for us to be friends. In fact, most of my friends are as different from me as stars are to moons. I guess we just like good conversation that way. :-)

Anyway, that's why my wanting to fit in with my writing peers is so perplexing to me. 

It's probably because I admire you all so much. I know the kind of passion you're bringing to the table every day (I can read it on your blogs), and I see the talent oozing out of everything you do. I see you doing the same things I'm trying to do, and doing them better, with more confidence. 

If I'm being honest, and that's what this IWSG thing is all about, you intimidate me.

Here's a secret: When a random reader tells me what they think about my writing, I'm interested, but ultimately not affected. I've learned to distance myself from that kind of torment. But when one of my writing-blogging friends gives me feedback (or a review) I have a panic attack.

I've been blogging and interacting in the online writing community for a few years now, and 99% of the time I feel I've somewhat earned my spot a the big kids table. But there's always this latent fear that one of you, someone I truly admire, is going to pull me aside and say, "I'm sorry, there was a mistake and I'm going to need your 'I'm A Writer' t-shirt back. The coffee mug, too."

I want to be a part of this group of word warriors--I've worked hard to be one of them. But I don't always feel like I am. 

So naturally I join ANOTHER writing group to subject myself to more of your awesomeness. (Yes, the irony has leapt into the boat and smacked me in the face with its smelly tail.)




Hale Maree Tour, Mercy teaser, & BIG Book Giveaway

Hey gang! Really exciting stuff today ...

A few weeks ago, I believe I shared the cover for author Misty Provencher's debut Adult novel, Hale Maree. Well, she (the story) is now out in the world (HERE and HERE), and to celebrate Misty is touring and giving away some sweet prizes.

More on the prizes below but first--Misty ALSO (lady is crazy busy!) has a new, New Adult story slated to debut next week. It's called Mercy, and it's all about gargoyle shenanigans. Here's a sneak peak: (Excerpt provided by author.)

I have seen this thing in a book once.  A photo that was not this, but similar enough to identify it.  It is out of place here, but as the thing scrapes to grip the rock, I am almost certain I am looking at a gargoyle.

"Surprised? Disappointed?" The thing says. "That a grotesque, an ugly would be sent to save you?  Not the beautiful, not the angelic?  Haughty Slip.  What is the matter with me?  I have wings."

And the thing spreads out hideous, thin wings, darker gray than it's body and spiny as the backbone of a starving child.  He pushes them down so hard that the water churns around me, bashing my body against the rock, over and over again.

Enough! I scream inside.  Leave me for the angels to find!

The gargoyle's giggle escapes in charred wisps, but the thing tucks in its wings with one sticky, awkward fold.

"Strength is not exclusive to beauty, darling."  The gargoyle growls, hovering closer to my face.  "You will exist, Slip.  And you will do it knowing that these ugly claws were the only ones that reached out for you.  They are what came to save you, and not those celestial beings."

It's finger, pointy as a stinger, swoops down to prod me, but at the last second, all of the gargoyle's claws spread wide.  The tines of its fingers clutch my skin and my soul is thrust back into my soft bread cage body.  A caustic scream awakens from my bloodless shell and echoes among the milky-eyed fish that stare up at me as I am carried away.

Mercy sounds pretty epic, right? And another home run cover to boot. I'll definitely be looking for it when it lands next week...

Now for the giveaway! Below are two Rafflecopter forms where you can enter for a chance to win this pile o' booty:

So be sure to enter, and check out Hale Maree, too. The early reviews have been stellar. Best of luck on both Misty! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

NaNoWriMo: Reflections & Guest Post

Hey gang! Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday weekend. We ate too much, decorated trees (as is our custom on the Friday after Turkey Day), and generally lived the good life for a few days. If I could've had you all over for pie and football, it might've been the perfect weekend. :-) 

Photo courtesy of LMRitchie, WANA Commons
We are in the final days of National Novel Writing Month, and though I've never taken part, I'm always fascinated by, and supportive of, those who do. 50,000 words in 30 days is a significant undertaking for novel newbies and vets alike. And a number of brilliant stories and authors have been hatched during the frantic Fall scribblefest. 

To honor their hard work, I'm sharing a guest post from author Amy Evans. She discusses the often difficult decision to jump into the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and (I think) nicely encapsulates why the month is special. 

To NaNo or not to NaNo….by Amy Evans
In case you live under a rock, or have been knocked out of electronic commission by Superstorm Sandy like yours truly, you probably already know that Nov. 1st is the kick off for National Novel Writing Month (NaNo.) The community driven event challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel in thirty days; offering support, daily goals, and organization tips. While many have been planning for NaNo for weeks, months, or even all year, I have personally been going back and forth all week on what to do in November this year.

NaNo holds a special place in my heart because two years ago I used it to get back to writing fiction after a five year hiatus. As a new mom, I’d found it almost impossible to find the time to write, and when I did the pressure to produce something fabulous prevented me from putting anything down on paper. Enter NaNo. Admittedly, I “pantsed” it, planning very little and writing whatever came to mind within a large story context and the recommended daily word count. And it worked.

While I didn’t make the word count that month, I did write 35,000 words of a new novel, which was 34,000 more words than I’d completed on any fiction project in five years. In 2011, I used NaNo to finish the first draft of the novel I’m completing now. It took me five months to write the first 20,000 words, and then two months to complete the next 60,000 thanks to the pace I managed to maintain even after NaNo ended.

Which brings me to this year. Originally, I’d planned to write book two in my current series. But then I hired an amazing editor who was worth waiting for, and I just got notes back today. It is not the right time for me to start something new but I don’t want to give up on participating in NaNo.

So my adapted goal this November is to use the energy and the drive that NaNo has brought into my life for this edit. I have thirty pages of notes to address, and 80,000 words. I’m counting on NaNo to cancel that voice inside my head that ordinarily questions if my work is good enough. Because what I’ve learned previously is that if I can stick to the NaNo schedule, everyday the work amazingly gets better.


Thanks again to Amy for sharing her process! Be sure to 'click' her name above and give her a follow on Twitter (if you do such things). She's a very insightful and fun follow.

So where do you stand on NaNoWriMo? Did you take up the challenge this year? If so, are you finished? What did it mean for you? If you didn't take part, would you ever consider it?

For those in the thick of it, still 2 days left to meet your writing goals, and I'm cheering you on! 


A Writer Has A Lot To Be Thankful For

I wanted to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. Simple. But then the coffee hit my brain and I thought what do I--as a writer--have to be thankful for? Yeah, this could take a minute...

Photo courtesy of Pep Talk Polly, WANA Commons
I published my first work this year. (Just a couple of months ago, in fact.) The nature of the story makes it something I'm not certain would've seen the light of day a few years ago. It's short, but long (a novelette, which is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novella); it's written for/in a category that doesn't exist in some publishing circles (NA); and it's speculative (it crosses over a few genres--paranormal, horror, etc.). Basically, there isn't a shoebox to shove it in.

THANKFULLY, in this day and age I can build my own shoeboxes, and I'm certainly trying. I don't need permission to write and share things, just the desire to do it. 

Writing can be a lonely business. It's difficult to share things after you've created them, and all but impossible to do so as you're creating them. We're those solitary kids in the sandbox, building fragile structures that are always grander in our minds. Try to ask us what we're up to, and we might just shush you and say, "Not so loud! It could fall over any second, and I want see how much I can build before it all goes away."

THANKFULLY, I'm never truly alone. I've met so many other writers online. People who do what I do, and struggle with the things I struggle with. Most of them are quick with an encouraging word when I need picking up, and heap inspiration into my world with the click of  a mouse button. They're my homies--my peeps--and most days, they're all the company I need.

When I tell people I write fiction, a typical response is, "Man, I wish I could do that." My typical response is, "That's funny, because that's exactly how I got started. I wanted to do it." It goes deeper than that, sure, but the idea is a simple one: You must start before you can finish.

I'm THANKFUL every day that I started. Frustration bleeds out my ears at times, sure. Yes, feelings of inadequacy nip at my heels with every success, and damn near swallow me whole with the setbacks. But I'd never know the euphoria of seeing the view from the summit--a finished project--had I not endured the climb.

I've been to Jupiter, and it wasn't all that. I've killed a werewolf--and it was awesome! I saved the world three times last year. Impossible? For most, but not for me...

Writing means you have no boundaries. If it can be considered, it can be done. Good guys can be bad, bad guys can be good, and kids can save the adults. That's the true beauty of creating with words, and I'm THANKFUL for the freedom.

Those are just a few of a long list of things that crossed my mind this morning. What's on your 'thankful writer' list?

Hope you all have the happiest of Thanksgivings, and looking forward to finishing out the year on the other side amongst my many dear blog friends! 


New Adult Lit - Haters, Champions, & Being Heard

Howdy gang! Can you smell the slowly darkening, roasted meat of a bird lovingly rubbed with herbs and butter? Can you hear the chirp of an oven timer, prompting the removal of yet another pie or golden loaf of bread? Can you taste the toasted cinnamon and oozing marshmallows from your second helping of sweet potato pie?

Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you couldn't already tell, it's my favorite holiday. From the fellowship to the food, there's nothing like it. I also love that it doesn't get all tied up with the social and/or religious stuff that spoils so many other holidays. Thanksgiving is for all who are grateful.

And if I'm upright and breathing, I figure that's more than some folks have going for them, so I'm basically always grateful! One thing I'm especially grateful this year is New Adult (NA) literature. 

Photo Cred - Lisa L. Wiedmeier, WANA Commons
I rarely take time to blog about causes. Not because I don't have them. Ask my family and friends, I get fired up about plenty of things. It's just I've learned (the hard way, trust me) that the things I'm passionate about are usually things lots of other people are passionate about, too.

The louder I squawk, the louder they squawk--and it all just ends up being noise. Noise that usually drowns out the things that the needed the attention in the first place (i.e. not me).

Today, I make an exception.

As many of you know, I'm a champion for the rise of New Adult literature. Now, I'm not the most prominent or eloquent--or tallest--of the banner waivers. (Maybe that's why I feel the need to stand on a soapbox for this issue.) But I definitely believe in it, and here's why.

New Adult is more than marketing. NA is more than a niche being carved out by fringe authors and readers. NA is big, small, smart, and slow. NA goes beyond what YA can (and arguably should) do, and fills the gaps left by the leap from YA to Adult. 

More importantly than all of that, New Adult gives a voice to a specific set of readers and authors. There's a group of people who are 18-26 years of age, and everyone has--or will--fall into that category if they've lived long enough. And those folks shouldn't have to apologize for wanting their own shelf in a bookstore.

They read and write, and therefore have earned a say in what they want to see in a store. Well, at least in my eyes. As I pointed out above, there are definitely people who don't agree. A couple of recent articles I read reminded me of that (here and here). 

Haters Gonna Hate, Yo

I think the kids call them haters, but whatever they go by, it's clear NA has its detractors. People who are cheering just as hard for NA to go away as I am for it to exist. The ironic thing for me, is that these folks seem to be losing their rational minds when they argue against NA.

They discount the Internet like it's a couple of goth kids crashing prom. Hello! The Internet practically IS society at this point. If it isn't on the Web, it might as well not exist in the minds of 80% of the US population.

They say NA is being foisted upon the world by self-published authors. Which, other than being insanely offensive, is dead wrong. It's actually the opposite: the world (or readers) is foisting New Adult on literature. (A great article on NA sensation Tammara Webber and her BIG NA book deal, and why NA has happened.)

So is the sky falling? Will a few 'knowledgeable' or 'important' people chime in, call NA a 'non-thing', and pee on the parade for the rest of us? Short answer: NOPE.

The NA THING is happening. It has already happened to an extent, and as long as authors and readers continue to demand it, NA will grow. And it needs to. 

The Spice of Life

I sometimes think there are people who would prefer that we all read the same 6 books, from 2 categories, and that's it. (If it's coming from an author or agent, probably THEIR 6 books, incidentally.) Which isn't only misguided, it's dangerous.

That kind of thinking crushes the spirit of creativity. It stymies growth in both society and individuals. A great story can help someone take the next step in their life. A good book can shift the path beneath our feet, forever altering where, and how far, we can go. 

For that to happen, there has to be as many stories as there are readers, because each person is going to be moved by something different. If they don't have it, an opportunity is lost.

I'll leave you with this: Be you reader or writer, beware anyone who suggests a niche or group shouldn't exist, and support those who struggle to be heard. Fight for the books and stories you like to read and write to be recognized--at every level. And the louder people are who oppose the idea, the more important it becomes for you to speak up.


What Veterans Day Means for Active Duty Military

Hey gang! Hope everyone had (or is having, if off for the holiday) a great weekend. 

This is a rare non-writing related post, and nothing overly complicated or earth shattering. Just me wanting to share some thoughts on a day/weekend that means a lot to my family and me. I'm also going to share a few details about my personal life, which I don't often do. Hope you enjoy...  

Credit: Lynn Kelley, WANA Commons
For many, Veteran's Day conjures images of 90 + year olds who fought in a World War. We think of those men and women who sacrificed--so many with their own lives--in the name of our country. 

My wife's grandfather is still living. He fought in every major theater in Europe, WWII. He was on the beach at D-Day, he fought at the Bulge, and missed the birth of his first child as a result (he didn't see our 'Aunt Sandra' for the first time until she was over 2 years old--she was afraid of him, incidentally). 

HE is a national treasure, because there just aren't many of his kind left.

And he's just 1 of numerous relatives we both have who have fought in wars and served over the years. My grandfather was in the Navy in WWII, as was her other grandfather. I have uncles who fought in Korea, a father-in-law who served during Vietnam, etc. 

There is a certain amount of reverence held for those people, and justifiably so.

My wife is an officer in the United States Air Force. She signed up nearly 10 years ago as part of a scholarship program. It's a life neither of us imagined for ourselves when were 18, I can tell you that. It definitely comes with compromises.

We get to live in a variety of places. We don't have to worry about her having a job when we relocate, or me having health insurance. But we've also had leave behind our families, and too many dear friends.

So when we went out for lunch yesterday and she received a free meal because of her current service, I dare say she felt no less pride and gratitude for the offering than any of those great people I mentioned above feel when someone would tell them 'thank you'. 

It's special, because 99.9% of the time she's like everyone else: just doing her job. And she expects all the recognition most people get for doing their job, which is to say not much. I can count on one hand the number of times I've had a boss say, "Hey, thanks for doing what we pay you to do."

They are willing, and required, to surrender their safety and comfort if called--no questions asked. It's implied, and gratitude is not necessary, but that doesn't mean it's not appreciated. 

For active duty military, the holiday is special for the same reasons that most of us think it's special. It's a way to honor those who've gone before. Most of our military friends have a family legacy of serving. They are carrying the mantle of grandfathers and mothers who also served. 

But the holiday also gives a rare moment of recognition to what THEY do, and are willing to do, on a daily basis. That makes them feel special and appreciated at their very core--even with the simplest thank you ... or maybe even a free cookie.

So, from the spouse of an active duty serviceperson to all of those who take the time and effort to honor someone who has served, or is currently serving in the military this weekend: Thank YOU. Know it means so much to all of them.


Trusting the Process

Hey gang! What a wild/fun week I had last week. We went to the Mouse House in Orlando, got up close and personal with Harry Potter, and drank our share of the butterbeer (think sugary cream soda with a SUPER sugary cream topping ... yeah, it's that bad for you, and that awesome).

Enjoying a cold drink in the Hog's Head Tavern- No, that's not butterbeer. ;-)
Anyway, I'm back (physically at least) and ready to make the final push towards the publication of the second Moonsongs book. With a little luck, it'll be out in December. And I'm totally not bragging here, but I'm very excited for people to read it. I think the story is bigger, and in some ways better, than the first. 

Jenny (the mc) is really beginning to stretch her legs as a character. She gets pulled deeper into the supernatural world her tribal ancestors have fought against for so many generations, and learns that not all of the scary things out there want to eat you--some just want you dead. Plus, there are witches, both cool and evil. 

Basically, there's just a lot going on, and I think it'll be a fun ride for folks who enjoy True Blood-esque adventures. I've had a blast crafting it, that's for sure.


Photo credit to Lynn Kelley, WANA Commons 
But now it's time for the final polish. That means applying editorial feedback. Some of which is quite straightforward, and pretty painless. Change this word, rearrange that sentence, etc. But some of the changes aren't so easy to execute...

I always try to make sure my stories go into the 'editor' phase as polished as I can make them. That's for two reasons: 1) I don't want to purposefully make my editor take up drinking if they don't already. 2) It translates to less work for me on the other side.

What does sending it in as polished as possible mean for me? Typically 3 drafts pre-beta/critter work overs, and 1 to 2 more post beta/critter. And sometimes, if the beta/critter feedback results in major changes, it might go into another round of beta/critter--and more drafts follow. THEN it goes to the editor. 

Sounds like a lot right? IT IS! But I'm someone who likes to feel confident about something before moving onto the next stage. For me to feel confident in a piece of writing, I need to hear from several different perspectives that I've essentially captured what I set out to do with a particular story. 

These Moonsongs stories are a bit of a different beast, because they're novelettes--which translates to 'longer than a short story, shorter than a novella'. So a big part of my objective is that the plots stay tight, and the pacing zips. I want them to be a movie-like experience. Something you can enjoy in 2-4 hours, and feel that you've been entertained when you finish. 

That's where the editor really pays off. 

Story # 2 has been through multiple critters. While none of them said it was perfect, the feedback was 99% great, and I addressed nearly every quibble the critters had in rewrites prior to sending it off to the editor. 

That's the point where you begin to think--no matter how many times you've been through this process and know better--"I've done it! This is a great story as is." You can't help it. You love your critters. You've read their work, and trust them implicitly. Furthermore, you're really beginning to love the story again. (Trust me, you hate the dang thing at several points during this cycle.) 

Trusting the process is oh so important at this juncture. When those edits come back, and you see the number of things you've missed--or just screwed up--in your 'great story' it feels like starting over in some ways. (But you're totally not!)

You might even be tempted to cross your arms and say, "Bah, readers already like it. Why should I chop out two pages of the opening scene for the sake of pacing?"

The answer is simple: Because you want the story to be everything you dreamt it COULD be. The only chance you have of doing that is making it as tight as possible. That means heeding your editor's advice, listening to your critter complaints, and doing 2 more drafts beyond the last draft you vowed you'd ever do. 

It can be disheartening. It can be fantastic. But it's all part of the process, and that you have to trust.


Hear Me!

Hey gang! Sorry if I'm a little 'absent' from the blogosphere this week. I'm traveling, and won't have much of an opportunity to get around and comment on all of your fine posts. But I'll be back next, and will be working to get caught up then.

Just in case you're lonely in my absence (ha!), I recently did an interview with a couple of awesome ladies over at the Pod People Podcast. If you aren't familiar, they chat about lit news, lots of YA stuff, and now some NA stuff, too. :-D

Here's a link to my interview (I'll apologize for anything I say in advance--my first 'live' interview!), but the discussion is lively and you'll finally get to hear my golden pipes. (Very much a joke, btw...)

Hope you have as much fun listening as I had participating, and chat with you all again soon. Happy Halloween!


Help A Publisher Choose A Cover!

Spencer Hill Press is having trouble deciding which cover they want, so they are giving YOU the power!!! 

(MWHAHAHAAAA!!!! Can you feel it going to your head yet?) 

So! Let's hear about the book first!

Blood Bound

Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.

Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.

But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

Title: Blood Bound

Author: Keshia Swaim

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.comPlease feel free to use any images, text, links, etc. from our website.

ISBN: 978-1-937053-45-1

Release Date: September 10, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book

Keshia is previously published, but this is her first full-length novel to be unleashed on the world.

Now, the covers:

So which do you prefer? Does the hand make you feel like the power could be in yours? Or are you intrigued by what secrets the pretty lady is keeping? 

Don't forget to vote!

(you don't even have to register or listen to politicians or anything!)

Bury the Hatchet Winners AND Hale Maree Cover Reveal

Hey gang! Lots of good news to share today, so I'll get right to it ...

Bury the Hatchet Giveaway Winners

First, everyone who participated in the blogfest, giveaway shenanigans, etc.: YOU ARE UNBELIEVABLY COOL! If we ever meet at a writing conference or something just say, "Hey, I took part in your Bury the Hatchet thingy" and the drink and/or coffee is on me. 

Seriously, it meant so much to have so many of you jump in and share Blood Fugue on your blogs, tweets, and the like. I know, there were prizes to be had, but many of you have helped me out in the past without even being asked (or poked with sharp things), so I know you would've done it regardless. 

So I'll end this with: I appreciate it, and I'll happily return the favor if you ever have a need. Now for the winners ...

Two $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Cards:

Hart Johnson
Shannon Lawrence

Four 4 GB, custom painted USB drives:

Michael Di Gesu
Siv Ottem
Brinda Berry
Julie Flanders

GRAND PRIZE - One Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight:

Melissa Maygrove

Congrats to all! I've been in touch with all of you, and heard back, so your prizes will be forthcoming.

Hale Maree Cover Reveal

Such a fantastic cover, right?

Couldn't be more excited to share the cover for author Misty Provencher's NA debut, Hale Maree. Misty is no stranger to this blog, and me being the New Adult cheerleader that I am, I was thrilled to hear she is venturing into NA (though she'll still write YA, I'm sure). Plus, the story just sounds dang-amazing (at least that's how I'd put it in Texas terms):

Hale Simmons dreams of climbing out of her impoverished life, going to college, and getting herself a titanium crash helmet, so she can eventually bust through the Plexiglas ceiling of her crappy life. But for now, she’s just a 17-year-old girl with a flimsy hope, barely getting by with her alcoholic father, Jerry.

But for Hale, ‘crappy’ suddenly takes a nosedive, when Jerry becomes the sole witness to a horrible accident. It is an event which means to effect everyone, especially Hale, who wasn’t even involved.

While the depth of the accident has just begun to unfold, Otto Maree, a prominent business man and old family friend, stands to lose everything because of it. Otto is desperate for Hale’s father to stay quiet about what occurred the night the two men met for a drink. Out of mutual moments of desperation, the two fathers forge a deal. Jerry is desperate to gain financial stability for both himself and Hale, and Otto Maree is more than willing to pay to keep his secret just that.

But deals like this need to be made of the strongest vows and bound with the most faithful of loyalties. Otto proposes a marriage between Hale and his playboy-son, Oscar, in order to assure that the secret remains ‘in the family’. The mystery surrounding the accident continues to grow and Hale struggles against her own mysterious feelings that begin to develop for Oscar, who turns out to less of a playboy, but just as fiercely loyal and dedicated as his father.

As the pressures around her continues to escalate, Hale realizes that she’s got to decide if this arranged marriage is really just a big mistake or an amazing twist of fate, that has been waiting around for this particular accident to happen.

You'll be able to read Hale Maree this Holiday season...

As I mentioned above, Misty is also the author of the YA para-rom Cornerstone series:

CORNERSTONE is the story of Nalena Maxwell,
a girl who receives the wrong dang sign of an ancient
community that is responsible for maintaining the intellectual
evolution of the human race. And if the choices coming aren't
tough enough, there's a boy...one with liquid blue eyes...that
understands exactly who and what Nalena is.
Cornerstone & Keystone, the second book in the Cornerstone Series, are now Available in paperback and ebook at: