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Venessa

New Release: Blue-Edged Soul! Be sure to grab your copy!

Book news

It’s here! It’s here!

Blue-Edged Soul is here!

Look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? My cover artist is Sylvia Frost at The Book Brander. And she is amazing! If you’re in the market for a fantastic cover, definitely give her a look!

I was just going to make this a cover reveal, but Amazon published Blue-Edged Soul faster than I expected, so I decided just to go ahead and announce it a day early!

Blue-Edged Soul is a short-story follow up to Jivaja. There are a couple cool reveals in it. One has a big effect on Soul Cavern Book 2 and the other one opens the series up for more books after this initial trilogy. You’ll definitely want to read it if you liked Jivaja. And you definitely don’t want to read it until you’ve read Jivaja. It won’t make very much sense on its own 😉

Blue-Edged Soul tells the story of Ken, David’s brother. In Jivaja, David asks Ken to go to London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This is the story of what he finds there. In the timeline, it runs concurrently with the climax scene of Jivaja.

Now, there are two ways to get Blue-Edged Soul:

1. If you want to support me on Amazon, you can purchase it for .99

Or

2. You can get a FREE copy in exchange for signing up to my Reader Group (then you become a Reader Groupie 😀 lol )

Either way is fine with me. And please, whether you purchase or get it for free, don’t forget to leave a review! Reviews help authors more than you know.

I hope you enjoy Blue-Edged Soul!

Look for Book 2 of the Soul Cavern Series in April!

Happy New Year! And stuff!

Blog news, Book news, Publishing

 

Yes, yes, I know we’re already a week in, but that’s okay! It’s still pretty new and sparkly!

If you read my last post, you already know what’s going on and what my goals are for this year, as far as publishing. I wanted to drop a quick line and let you know about my goals for content for 2019, as well.

Early last year, in February, actually, I made the announcement that I was going to be making a change to my posting schedule for this blog. Instead of weekly posting, I would be posting every other week. This was to free up time for my fiction writing.

That was a good plan, but what ended up happening was that I no longer felt accountable to post anything here. So every two weeks became every three weeks, which became…eh…whenever.

I am recommitting to posting every two weeks. Now, the posts may be updates, they may be reposts, they may be Tool Time Tuesdays, they may be Quick Edits, or they may be the more in-depth posts that I used to write regularly. I’m not committing to any particular type of post. But I am committing to at least 26 posts over the course of the year. I promise. As we say in my family, “Fingers up to heaven.” (I’ll tell you about that sometime, if you’d like.)

Are you a writer?

 

Most of my posts here have been about writing, rather than books or random things about my life. Maybe you miss that content?

Since last spring, I’ve been on a new journey of indie publishing. I’ll be posting some about that here, but I’ve also created a new avenue for that content! I started my own YouTube channel!

My channel is going to be really focused on my journey as an indie publisher. I’ll share the ups and the downs. I’ll likely be sharing more detail about the whole process there, because it’s quicker to talk about a thing than to write about it 😉

Don’t expect anything super fancypants. But I may also occasionally do the YouTube live from somewhere that is not my desk, surrounded by bookshelves 🙂

Here’s my intro video! Check it out and, if you’re interested, head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

 

 

ALL THE BOOKS!

And don’t forget, Blue-Edged Soul will be released NEXT WEEK!

I should have the cover this week and will be doing a reveal very soon!

The 12,000 word short story occurs concurrently with the climax in Jivaja and features Ken, David’s brother. He has just arrived in London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron, at the request of his brother. But what he finds will change all of their lives forever!

Read Jivaja and then read Blue-Edged Soul. You won’t be sorry 🙂

And remember: If you’re a member of my Reader Group, you will be able to get Blue-Edged Soul for free! Make sure you sign up to get your copy!

 

 

I’m also going to be playing with a new website design, because this one is really old and tired at this point. So, yknow, in all my free time, I’ll be working on that too. LOL

Okay, that’s it! I’ll talk atcha later this week with the cover reveal for Blue-Edged Soul 🙂

Ciao!

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Venessa’s State of the Book! December 2018

Free Fiction Friday, State of the Book, Writing

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a lovely holiday yesterday, if you celebrate. If you don’t, then Happy Random Day Off Work Day! 😀

I’ve decided it would be fun to give periodic updates as to what’s going on in my writing life, so you know when you can expect goodies! So here’s my very first State of the Book Address!

Jivaja begins 2019 with a sale!

I’ve got a week-long promo from January 1 through January 7 where you can snag Jivaja on Amazon for .99! Make sure you bookmark the Amazon page! (Don’t worry; I’ll post a reminder next week!)

In the meantime, if you’re not familiar with Jivaja, you can check it out here!

Blue-Edged Soul to be released in mid-January!

Blue-Edged Soul, or BES as I like to affectionately call it, is almost done — ie, it’s being formatted right now! — and is slated for release around January 15!

BES features Ken, David’s brother, in London where he’s been sent to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This short story runs concurrently with the climactic scene in Jivaja.

And there are BIG REVEALS!

If you’ve already read Jivaja and would like BES for free, make sure you’ve signed up to get your copy (and updates).

Get your free book!

Soul Cavern 2

Yep. It still doesn’t have a proper title. I’m almost done with the first draft. Hoping to finish it this week so that I can jump into revisions in the new year! Publication time frame is mid-April. Really excited to get this one out there!

Sad news for Free Fiction Friday

Jivaja is currently enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (yes, that means you can read for free with your subscription!). The unfortunate thing is that it also means I must suspend Free Fiction Friday until my KU term is over (in April). KU requires an exclusive distribution license, so I cannot offer Jivaja anywhere else, including my own site.

This Friday will be the last FFF for Jivaja. *sadface*

Around January 15th, I will be taking down all the sections of Jivaja after Chapter 5. The first five chapters will remain up so people can still read a free sample. (That’s allowed.)

I’m kicking around the idea of putting up a few shorts stories I’ve had done for awhile that are just sitting around, gathering electronic dust. They’re about the MSA — Magical Security Agency. ooOOoo 😉  But that wouldn’t be a weekly thing. Likely monthly. I’ll decide after the first of the year. Let me know if you’re interested!

So that’s the December 2018 State of the Book! 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely remainder to the holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

JordanCon! Free Stories! Tribes! (ALL THE THINGS)

Book news, Conferences, Craft of Writing
JordanCon

Happy December!

Just a quick update about a couple things.

First, it’s official! I’m a Featured Guest at JordanCon! I’m really excited. You can find me at the very bottom of the list right here! (They’re alphabetizing by first name. If they’d sorted by last name, I’d be just before Faith Hunter! lol)

JordanCon runs from 26 April 2019 to 28 April 2019 right here in lovely Atlanta! That’s a great time of year too, because it’s not too hot and not too cold (usually… you can never really be sure here 😉 ).

I’ll be selling print copies of Jivaja at my author table and my plan is to release the sequel around 15 April, so I should (hopefully) have copies of that as well! Super exciting!

I’ll have some other awesome convention news for you in a couple weeks too, so stay tuned.

Free short story!

I’m in the second-to-last round of edits for the new Soul Cavern short story (tentatively titled Blue-Edged Soul) that is a companion to Jivaja. I plan to have it ready for release mid-January. It will be up on Amazon as a .99 read, but folks who’ve read Jivaja already can sign up right here to get their free copy when it’s released!

Sign up so you know when it’s ready 🙂

Are you a writer?

Ready for 2019?

Right now, over in The Writing Tribe, I’m doing a series of videos about planning for 2019. The Writing Tribe is a small group of authors who are dedicated to improving (or creating) their professional writing career. We have a lot of newer writers and quite a few successful veterans.

If you’re a writer who’s serious about doing this for real, drop in and join us! (Please make sure you answer the questions when you request to join. Otherwise, your application will be rejected.)

Stay tuned for more Quick Edits and Tool Time Tuesdays in 2019! I’m planning to do more updates so you really know what I’m working on.

Okay, that’s it for now!

Wishing you a lovely holiday season,

 

 

JordanCon image courtesy of JordanCon.org

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

 

NaNoWriMo Winner!

Writing

Wooo! I did it! I won NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it took me the weekend to recouperate enough to write this post, but there it is! Lol (Okay, in truth, my mom in law is also in town, so that’s my excuse!)

What is NaNoWriMo?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month happens every November and it is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words (usually on a novel, not always) in 30 days. Kinda crazy, yeah. But a lot of fun and incredibly productive.

It’s not always easy. It means writing an average of 1667 words each day. That may sound daunting, but it isn’t. Not really. Sit down with a 15 minute timer and write. Don’t allow yourself to stop for more than 5 seconds at a time. Don’t sit, staring at the screen, thinking about what you’re going to write. Actually write. For fifteen full minutes. Then count your words.

I’ve discovered that if I’m really in the zone, I can kick out 700 words in 15 minutes. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint. The absolute minimum I get is 400 words. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint either. A usual 15 minute sprint is about 550 words.

With 550 words every 15 minutes, I can write 2200 words in an hour. (You can probably get somewhere in the ballpark too. I’ve noticed that most writers can get at least 1500 words in an hour.)

So it’s not the number of words that’s the challenge. It’s the consistency of doing it every day.

And then there are the non NaNoWriMo events

In addition to NaNoWriMo and the usual Thanksgiving holiday, I also had an out of state wedding in the first part of November. And when I got home, my mother in law came over from Europe for a visit. We picked her up at the airport 4 days after we got back into town and she was here… Well, she’s still here. 😉

Since I knew I was going to have a lot of distractions this year, I front-loaded my writing. I wrote at least 2500 words almost every day for the first week. Don’t get me wrong. I was still behind by day 20, but I wasn’t nearly as behind as I would have been.

And I pulled it out in the end, so go me! 😀

What I used

Scrivener for Windows (of course!)

Write or Die 2 (Gaaaah! There’s a version 3!!!)

Jamie Raintree’s Writing & Revision Tracker (new one’s coming out soon! Squee!)

Writing sprints with my Tribe (if you haven’t joined The Writing Tribe, why not?)

What I worked on

I was a bit of a rebel this year and did two different projects. First, I did a short story (about 11k words) that will be a bridge between Jivaja and Book 2 (which is, as yet, title-less). And then, I wrote the remaining words on Book 2. So that is more than halfway done!

The short story is already with my beta readers and once I figure out the title of that, I’ll have a cover. I’m looking to release it in January. But if you’ve read Jivaja (or plan to read Jivaja) and want a free copy, drop your email address in this form and I’ll let you know when it’s available! It’s my little way of saying

As a note, it isn’t a stand-alone story. You will definitely want to have read Jivaja first.

All very exciting! Stay tuned for more cool news coming up!

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Quick Review of Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Reading

From my Goodreads review:

 

Black City SaintBlack City Saint by Richard A. Knaak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading these books because I’m going to be doing a review on Book 3 for a website I contribute to. So I’m plowing through books 1 and 2 🙂

I love the 1920s Chicago time/location! This is what actually drew me to the series. I’ve always been fascinated by the 20s and the entire role of the mob in social and cultural fabrics of the time. It’s really clear that the author put a lot of research into this time period. Sometimes it was a little too clear (ie – the author was dropping details that weren’t necessarily important — particularly about cars 😉 ). But those were not problematic at all, for me. Just noticeable.

The other thing I really liked about this book is the portrayal of Feyrie. Original folklore about the fey show them as … well, narcissistic sociopaths at best. Psychopathic at worst. And I really feel that these books kept to those traditional ideas about the fey.

I also found the “retelling” of the St. George tale, the twist on it, really engaging. Not gonna spoil it, but it’s revealed within the first 75 or so pages.

The only thing I found occasionally problematic was the relationship between Nick and Claryce. It felt very angsty on his side and it felt like she latched on to him WAY before there was anything to warrant it. There is some previous connection to him (again, no spoilers), but that as the reason for the fast connection isn’t on the page until much much later. Too late, to me. So that bit didn’t ring particularly true for me. It wasn’t enough to make me put the book down, not anywhere near that. Just a niggling.

So, overall, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Book 2! 🙂

View all my reviews

Official Jivaja Release! Get Your Copy Now!

Book news, Writing

Today is the big day! Jivaja is officially launched! Woooo!!

So you can find links to Amazon and B&N, as well as Goodreads on my website page for Jivaja. Oh, and as a note, I enrolled Jivaja in Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a bit short on cash right now, but subscribe, please feel free to borrow from KU!

This has been a weird book publishing experience, because I wanted to have some advance copies available for Dragon Con (because a million people go there). But that meant I had to upload it to Amazon early, to get copies (because you can’t order copies without it being live), so it’s actually been up there for awhile. But having copies out that early just made the entire experience weird!

But anyway…

Marketing is not my forte anyway and so I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants! lol I’ve got a few random things going on this week.

There will be an interview out at Speculative Chic this afternoon at 4pm. If you click the link and get a 404, check the time. It’s probably not 4 yet 🙂

I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything FB Live on my Author Page on Wednesday around 8pm EDT. So feel free to come over, pop in, and ask me all the burning questions you have about Jivaja or writing or when I’m going to have the sequel done!

I’m sure I’ll do other things this week, but those are the big ones. I’ll also be spamming your feeds all over social media, so there’s that too! Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for other happenings!

 

 

 

 

Links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Super exciting news about Jivaja! Cover Reveal! Woo!

Book news, Writing

I hope you’re enjoying Free Fiction Friday! A couple weeks ago, I posted about the novel’s name change from Soul Cavern to Jivaja. This came about for two reasons.

First, the novel has been named Soul Cavern since I completed it for my grad program at Seton Hill University many, many years ago (yes, it’s been done for a long time). But as anyone who knows me knows very well, I suck at titles. Like, I really suck at titles. I get one good title idea a year, if I’m lucky. And I was never able to win the lottery on that book’s title.

Several publishing pros, from award-winning authors to senior acquisition editors at well-known publishers, over the years have told me in conversation that the title didn’t pop enough, just wasn’t good enough to catch their attention.

So I knew that it wasn’t good enough. I just couldn’t find anything better.

Because I suck at titles.
(Anyone want to be my title generator?)

Secondly, and a bit more simply, the title felt too big for the cover. It took up too much room. I didn’t really realize this was an issue until we did the switch from Soul Cavern to Jivaja. The new title fits the cover perfectly.

And speaking of covers… want to see it?

If you follow me on social media, you got a preview of the cover when the proof copies came in. I was so excited, I posted a pic of me (sans makeup! You know I was excited to post my face au natural! lol) with the book. So you might not be surprised with this reveal. But maybe you will be!

Ready?
.
.
.
.
Set!
.
.
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.
Go!!

 

Isn’t she gorgeous?! 😍😍😍

About the artist: My cover artist is an amazing woman named Sophia Fedderson, also known as the Book Brander. She first hit my radar when I was listening to back list editions of The Creative Penn Podcast and she was a guest. I really liked what she had to say about covers and her entire philosophy about them. Also, she’s an author herself, so she understood both sides of the equation, which was also a plus to me. So I bookmarked her site way back then and now, probably 3 or 4 years later, she’s my cover artist!

I think you’ll agree with me that she does incredible work! So if you’re looking for a cover, definitely check her out.

The book will officially be for sale on October 15th, in case you don’t want to wait for each scene to be posted on #FreeFictionFriday!

So tell me… what do you think of the Jivaja cover?

News: #FreeFictionFriday Gets a Little Change!

Book news, Free Fiction Friday

A couple weeks ago, I launched #FreeFictionFriday with my novel Soul Cavern. Go have a peek if you haven’t read it yet! 🙂

Ever since I finished the book a couple years ago, I’ve tried to wrangle a good title. Soul Cavern is fine, as it directly references a metaphysical place in the book. But, as more than one publishing pro has told me in the past, it doesn’t really grab you. (My mentor at SHU wants me to call it Leechers. It will never be called Leechers. 😉 )

Anyway, during my final pass of the book, which I admit, had been sitting for quite awhile, unread, I came across the word that should have been the title all along! The main character’s people have a name. They are called Jivaja (though the main character doesn’t know this and won’t find out herself til book 2). And so, we have a new title!

Jivaja

Over the next week or so, I’ll be changing all the various references to Soul Cavern and bringing everything in line with the new title. Bear with me on that 😉

Also, the cover is just about done! So I’ll be sharing that in a couple weeks too! ALL THE EXCITE!

Thanks for reading along on Fridays! I’m so glad to have you 🙂

Con Season on a Budget: Being a Great Volunteer

Conferences

I’ve decided to republish the series of posts about conventions and convention life that were originally published over at Speculative Chic, the collaborative blog that I write for which is all about speculative fiction of every sort. Go check it out! 🙂

Welcome to Part 2 of Con Season on a Budget. This post is about being a great volunteer so your favorite con will welcome you back, year after year. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1: How to Volunteer at Your Favorite Convention. I also wrote about surviving your first convention in Conventions 101!

Okay, so you’ve done all the legwork and gotten a sweet volunteer position at the convention you’ve been wanting to go to for ages! Now what? You definitely want them to like you enough to allow you to continue to volunteer. Even if, in the future, you decide to go as a paying attendee, it’s never a bad thing to have convention directors like you!

So let’s talk a bit about how to be a great volunteer.

Before your shift

You should get your volunteer schedule in advance of the convention itself, which is great, because then you know when you’ll be working. Within your schedule should also be information on where your volunteer shift will be. You may also get the name of the person you report to, though not always. You should know your department head’s name, at the least.

I always try to do a little legwork before my shift, especially if it’s a new place to me. It’s a great idea to scope out the event space, in general, so that you know where you’re going. This is especially important at larger conventions, where things are more spread out and perhaps a little more difficult to find.

Dress appropriately. If you’re doing load in or load out (which is helping to set the convention up or breaking things down), you don’t want to wear a costume to your shift. Or, really, nice clothes at all. Because you’ll likely be hauling stuff around and getting all sweaty. (I guess you could cosplay as Rocky or something!) Conversely, if you’re working the Hospitality Suite or Guest Relations, you’re the face of the convention for a lot of people. So don’t show up in raggedy clothes without having showered. (Ewww.)

Before you head out for your shift, think about what you’ll be doing and how long your shift is. You might want to bring a snack if you’ll be working for more than a couple hours or if your shift will require a lot of physical energy. Definitely bring a water bottle. Most conventions have stations in the hall with either water pitchers or water coolers, so you can refill. But it’s always good to have your own container for your drink.

Working your shift

This should be common sense, but arrive on time. Five or ten minutes early is even better. Give yourself enough time to get to where you need to go. Remember that you’ll likely be moving through larger convention crowds than you did when you were scouting out the location. So factor the extra people into your travel time for when you head over.

When you’re given instructions on what your responsibilities are, pay attention. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. You won’t look stupid if you ask questions. You’ll look like you care about your job, which is very important to those who are in charge.

Once you know what your job is, do it well. This isn’t the time for you to hang out and goof around at the convention. You’re working, not playing. Your department is relying on your to do the tasks you’ve been assigned. If you don’t do them, or don’t do them correctly, that means someone else who was assigned a different task that also needs to be accomplished will have to come around and do the things you were supposed to. That is a surefire way not to be welcomed back at all.

Don’t forget to be friendly! Be friendly with the other volunteers on your shift — after all, these are people you want to work with in the future. If you’re in a forward-facing role that interacts directly with guests or attendees, be friendly and professional. Again, you are representing the convention itself for these people.

And on the topic of guests — people who are on panels or giving classes — you might be in contact with celebrities. It can be a little overwhelming and you might be tempted to fangirl/boy all over your favorite author/actor/artist. Don’t do it. You’re working with them in a professional capacity, so act professional. You absolutely can let them know that you love their work. I think you should! But leave it at that, then do your job. In my experience, these folks really appreciate you treating them as people rather than stars, and they will remember you for that, particularly if they’re a regular guest at that convention.

Don’t be that guy.

Also, if you are in a position, such as security, where you have some power over attendees, be very aware of how you exert that power. Don’t be a douche. I was recently at a convention where one of the security people seemed to have it in for a friend I was there with. Every time he saw her, he told her that she was doing something wrong. And it wasn’t even the correction that was the problem. It was the attitude he had of condescension while doing the correcting. He was power-tripping. In a conversation later with higher ups at the convention (I was a guest), I mentioned it and they conveyed that there had been other issues along those lines and that he likely would not be asked to work security again. Attitude matters.

After the convention

Whew! You made it! Great job!

There are no real requirements for after the convention. But I do have some suggestions.

Keep in touch with people you worked with. You’ll likely have made some friends on your shift(s), so don’t let the opportunity to have convention friends slip. Exchange emails or phone numbers and reach out a few days after the convention. It never hurts to keep in contact, especially if you want to work in that department again.

You should also take some time to ask yourself a few questions. Did you enjoy the work? Did you like the people you worked with? Were there other perks that are beneficial to you? And, most importantly, are you interested in working in this department again?

Volunteering can be hard, but it should also be fun. And the overall feel for your shift should be a positive one. If it isn’t, then you might consider volunteering for a different department. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad volunteer or that you were in a bad department. It likely just means that department isn’t a fit for your particular personality. It may take shifts in a couple departments to figure out which you like best. That’s completely okay!

What do you think? Ready to go out and snag a volunteer shift?

Do you already volunteer at conventions? Any additional tips for newbies?

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂