Tag Archives: publishing

Jeffe Kennedy: The Future of Fantasy Romance

Jeffe Kennedy’s third book in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy releases today. She’s here to chat about the fantasy romance genre and share a bit about her new book, Rogue’s Paradise. Welcome, Jeffe!

“It’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in”

Thanks to Jill for hosting me today, on the release day of Rogue’s Paradise!

Jill and I are both members of RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter (FFP). We’ve been having a lively discussion on our chapter loop lately about genre and how to categorize our own books.

This kind of question comes up fairly frequently, particularly from newer writers wondering how to describe their books in query letters or in choosing genre categories in self-publishing. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in. We generally write the stories and THEN figure out what to call it. Jill also writes what she calls “genre-bending fantasy.”

That said, it’s interesting to me to have this trilogy culminate at a time when the genre, Fantasy Romance, is considered “hot.” At the risk of sounding like I’m groaning out an old, sad tale about walking to school in hip-deep snow, uphill, both ways , when I wrote the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, Fantasy Romance wasn’t really a genre. Certainly not one I was aware of.

I know this because for a long time, I shopped that book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. And it was politely explained to me (sometimes less so, as one agent sent me away in tears) that it was neither. When Carina Press bought the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, they called it Fantasy Romance. I swear that was the first time I was aware of the genre, though I had been reading other books classified that way. Rogue’s Pawn was only the tenth book at Carina to be published in that genre, in July of 2012, just over two years after Carina launched their first books.

Now, with Rogue’s Possession, the second book in the trilogy, finaling in FFP’s PRISM contest (though as Fantasy – even WE don’t recognize Fantasy Romance as a separate category yet!), and Rogue’s Paradise coming out today, I often hear my Covenant of Thorns trilogy cited as “classic” fantasy romance. Or, at least, as a solid example of the genre.

In our discussions on the FFP loop, I described myself as an interdimensional being who straddles genres, (we get to talk that way in FFP) especially since my other current trilogy is called Fantasy. One of our other members suggested the term “interstitial genres” – which, if you know biology, is a great choice. It would be interesting to trace the history of which books were first dubbed “Fantasy Romance.” Amusingly the Wikipedia link for Fantasy Romance redirects to Romantic Fantasy (last updated August 2014) – not the same thing at all.

At any rate, it’s so fun to have this trilogy culminate at this time, with so many wonderful writers doing great things with fantasy stories in all types of settings and romantic flavors.

It feels like a big party.

~throws confetti~

~twirls~

Jill’s Thoughts:

Every time these discussions come up about subgenre definition, I think of the last scene from Back to the Future when Doc says, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” lol.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

 I’m always tempted to call the Noon Onyx books “Fantasy” (which is what the spine says they are) and be done with it, but I also know it’s important to give readers information to help them decide if they want to read a book. And the fewer words a writer uses to do that, the better. So labels and genre definitions can be helpful. But they can also be limiting and misleading.

My books are genre mutts, full of fantasy (they’re set in an imaginary world), urban fantasy (the focus of the stories is the main character, a magic-wielding woman), and romance elements (there are several suitors and lots of emotion and inner conflict regarding Noon’s relationships). And, because the stories are written in the youthful, first person voice of a twenty-something postgrad, I even played around with the New Adult label. Plus each book in the series has drawn from the well of these other genres: mystery, adventure/quest, and legal thriller. Gah! See why I want to call up Doc and borrow his DeLorean?

Jeffe mentioned these discussions regarding subgenre definition come up fairly frequently among writers. Yep, too true. But, even though I joke about calling up Doc, I love discussing this stuff. In fact, just last week I was swapping emails with some of the writers who will be doing the Dark Fantasy Panel with me at the upcoming Baltimore Book Fest. Betcha can guess what one of the things we were discussing was. Yep, the future of dark fantasy and what the heck that label is supposed to mean. :-D

More About Rogue’s Paradise

Rogue's ParadisePregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

 More About Jeffe

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

What sort of stories do you think of when you hear the term “fantasy romance”? Have you read any books that would fit that description? In addition to Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns trilogy, two authors to try might be C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby.

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeffe. Thank you for guest blogging today!

Rogues Paradise Banner


C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing

Bestselling fantasy author C.L. Wilson is wrapping up her blog tour for THE WINTER KING, her newest fantasy romance. I met Ms. Wilson years ago at a writer’s conference before I was published. We only chatted for a few minutes, but I remember how nice she was. And how terrific her books sounded. So I’m very happy to host her for her last stop where she shares ten of the things she’s learned since she started writing. She’s also offering a tour-wide giveaway: one copy of her book and a winter white rose snow globe pendant (pictured below; U.S. only). Welcome, C.L.!

The Winter King, C.L. Wilson, fantasy, romance

Ten Things I’ve Learned

Since I Started Writing

by C.L. Wilson

I penned (or, rather, penciled) my first story at age 5-6, completed and submitted my first novel at 21, joined RWA in the late ‘80’s, early 90’s, and sold my first book in 2006 (published in 2007).  Since 2007, I’ve hit the USA Today, NY Times, Publisher’s Weekly, had my (former) publisher go bankrupt and close its doors, seen over half of the US bookstores go out of business, and seen the rise of ebooks and self-publishing totally change the publishing landscape, and returned to publishing after three and a half years away to find everything dramatically different than it was in 2011.

10. Never stop reading. 

Read a lot.  Always.  Love of writing stories begins with love of reading stories, so reading is something writers should make time to do every day. And you should read outside your own genre, too.  This is important.  It’s something I often forget, simply because I love reading the genres I write most of all, but reading outside your own genre is akin to thinking outside the box.  You’ll never know what is going to spark that next unique idea, so broadening your reading horizons is a great way to prep your brain for making interesting new leaps and connections! Now, with ebooks, I have an extensive library that is always with me on my cell phone, iPad, and Nook.

9. Build a Circle of (Writer) Friends.

No one understands the ups and downs of being a writer as much as other writers.  No one can help you celebrate the successes and get through the downturns like other writers.  I have a close, tight-knit circle of writer friends—my BFFs—with whom I share everything.  I wouldn’t be published without them.  We brainstorm, help each other when we’re stuck, laugh, cry, support each other when our books come out, and generally act as confidant, safety net, cheer squad, commiseration crew, and all-around besties for one another.  My life is so much richer for having this circle of friends in it.

8. Learn how long it takes you to write a book BEFORE you sell one. 

I wish I’d learned this before I sold, but between the day job, family, and the constant shuffling of priorities, I didn’t know.  I still don’t.  I’m getting better at it though.  One way to estimate is to track your word count every time you write.  Figure out about how many words you write per hour on average, and how many hours per week you write on average.  That will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to write a rough draft of say, 100,000 words. (or 150,000 in my case!)

7. Learn to call for help when you get stuck. (See Circle of Friends above). 

For me, I can get (and have gotten) stuck for weeks, even months at a time, and you can’t afford to do that while under deadline, so you need to set a time limit on the “I can figure this out myself” part of your “writer’s block” and call in reinforcements when needed.  A few minutes on the phone with a friend, a few probing questions about plot, character motivation, etc., and even if the friend doesn’t come up with the answer, her questions help you figure it out yourself!

6. Keep learning.

No matter how much you know about writing, about publishing about anything, there’s always something new to learn.  Keep asking questions, keep listening, keeping learning about the craft and the industry.

5. Remember, once you’re published, writing is a business, and you are the business owner!

As much as I wish I could just write a book and forget about the rest, that’s not how being a published author works.  You need to learn how the publishing business works.  You need to learn how to promote your work (and that includes how NOT to promote your work).  You need to understand how to read contracts so you know what you’re signing. (Having an agent helps a lot for contracts and negotiations, but at the end of the day, it’s your name on the contract, not hers.)  Once you’re published, writing can’t be that thing you do when the muse strikes.  It has to be that thing you do even when you have to drag your muse kicking and screaming out of whatever fluffy, warm bed she’s snuggled into to hibernate!

4. Keep the day job!

Contrary to popular opinion, most published authors don’t make enough money from their work to live on.  Even being a New York Times bestseller doesn’t guarantee you’re pulling down a six-figure or even a high-five-digit salary (especially these days).  And with print publishing, royalties are paid out over the course of three or more years, not months.  My college writing professors told me that only approximately 30% of all authors support themselves on their writing.  I’m not sure what the statistics are today, but I don’t think things have changed that much.

3. Understand that no matter how great your book is, someone out there is going to hate it. 

And they’re going to get on the internet and tell everyone who will listen just how awful your darling masterpiece is.  This remains the hardest thing for me.  No matter how many books I have published, or how many people love those books and give it rave reviews, having someone who didn’t love one of my books go online to shred that book to bits…well, it hurts.  So when I see that someone is about to take a butcher knife to my baby, I turn and walk away.  Don’t want to see it.  Can’t let that negativity into my creative space.  I’m hard enough on myself as it is without piling on other people’s criticism to boot.  It does nothing to help my writing and it does a whole lot to hurt it.  So, as my son says, Swerve!

Apart from that, there is one other trick I’ve learned to help put bad reviews in perspective.  I’ve done it many times.  The trick is this: I go to an online bookstore, and pull up one of my all time favorite books (books I think are sheer masterpieces, books that made me swoon, books I’ve read until the pages are falling out).  Then I go to the 1 star reviews for that book and I read them. It helps me realize that no matter how perfect a book is, if enough people read it, somewhere out there, someone is going to despise that book as much as I adore it. Makes no sense to me, but they do.

2. Power Hour really works.

Among my Circle of Friends (see above), there are about 5 of us who get together 3-4 hours of every day to write.  We conference call each other at pre-determined times and report in our starting word counts. (Cell Phones are GREAT for this – but divvy up who is conferencing whom into the call so you don’t run out of minutes) Then the phone goes off, and we write.  During Power Hour, we do not get on Facebook, we do not answer email, we do not text or take phone calls or allow interruptions.  We Write.  At the end of the hour, we conference call back in to report our ending word counts. You’d be shocked how much we get done.   A little friendly competition goes a long way…and so does knowing your friends are counting on you to write with them, even when you’d rather sleep in or read that book that’s calling to you.  Plus we get to chat with our Circle of Friends several times a day, every day, and that is worth my weight in international long distance minutes! (which is to say, a LOT!) Those of us used to working 8-12 hours or more a day are making the same daily word count in 3-4 hours with Power Hours.  Wow.  That leaves us free to spend the rest of the time devoted to my next Lesson I’ve Learned….

1. Make Time for Other Things. 

It’s very easy to let a job you love consume you (especially when you work from home). Refilling the well is a vital activity for every creative person.  Find things away from writing and your computer that relax you, challenge you, make you happy.  Make time for family, friends, and yourself, too!  How can you refill the creative well if you’re constantly draining it dry?

Life is meant for living…so live it!  And love it!  Find your happiness where you can and thank whatever high power you believe in for every glorious new day.

More About The Winter King

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon  BN  Kobo

C.L. Wilson

C.L. Wilson

More About C.L. Wilson

Praised for exceptional worldbuilding and lyric prose, C.L. Wilson’s unique blend of action, romance, and richly-imagined fantasy have endeared her books romance and fantasy readers alike.  Her critically acclaimed novels have regularly appeared on bestseller lists including the USA Today, the New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly.

When not torturing her characters mercilessly, C.L. enjoys reading, questing through the wilds of the latest Elder Scrolls game and dreaming of a world where Bluebell’s Nutty Chocolate ice cream is a fat burning food.

She can be found online here:

Tour Giveaway

White rose snow globe pendant

“A copy of THE WINTER KING, complete with a gorgeous white rose snow globe pendant reminiscent of the book!”

U.S. only. Click here for the Rafflecopter link. 

The Winter King Banner

Queen of Song and Souls

I know I’ve been unbelievably quiet lately, but I’m also a big believer in C.L. Wilson’s #1 piece of advice (this week, I’m spending lots of time with my family) and her #10 (I finished Laurence Gonzales’ LUCY: realized not long after starting it that, despite some superficial similarities, the book and the movie are two different stories… more on that later). Now I’m debating whether my next book should be another in Wilson’s Tairen Soul series or THE WINTER KING… It’s good to have choices! :-D

Hope everyone else is having a terrific August full of everything fun and/or productive: vacations, reading, writing, family, new places imagined or real… Thank you to C.L. Wilson for guest blogging today!


Book Series: How Many Books Is Enough?

To B4 or Not To B4, that is my question…

Yesterday Lynda from Books Direct posted her interview of me.  We talked about what my family thinks of my writing, my upcoming short story “Dream, Interrupted” (featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest; she was tons of fun to write), and how darn difficult it was to write the ending to White Heart of Justice.

Why was it so hard?

Well, because White Heart of Justice may be the last Noon Onyx book. As I mention in the interview, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make sure the ending was emotionally satisfying for those who have followed the series so far – which was challenging considering where I’d left things at the end of Fiery Edge of Steel and the fact that, originally, I’d roughly plotted a total of seven books in the series. (Go ahead, you can say it, what sane writer plots that far ahead of her own career?!)

So, after a mild (dare I admit, significant) panic attack, I got down to business and wrote the ending to WHOJ. That ending changed countless times. I’m not sure what readers will think of it. Early feedback has been wonderful but no one (including me) has really addressed whether this is THE END.

The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll likely self-publish any future books in the series. And self-publishing a book the way I’d want to (with quality editing and a fantastic cover artist/designer) wouldn’t be cheap.

The final decision is mine. Creatively, I have to want to do it. And financially I’ll have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with the risk and investment of moving forward with a Noon Onyx B4 instead of some other equally awesome but different project.

So I’m curious…

READERS: After you finish White Heart of Justice, let me know whether you’d be interested in reading another Noon novel. I feel the ending is satisfactory enough for us all to walk away happy… and yet… as I said during yesterday’s interview, it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja is a fascinating world and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about.

WRITERS: Have any of you continued a traditionally published series on your own? How’d that work out for you?

Ok, enough already with the serious talk!!!

Today, I’m over at Magic and Mayhem with a really fun guest blog:

Top 5 Cool Things

You Can Do with a Sword

and

Why Heroes & Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

You gotta come check it out. I actually mention WHOJ only once (to point out its inclusion on the Goodreads “It’s All About The Swords!” list). If you love swords, the post is a MUST READ. :-D

In addition to my Super Serious questions above, I also want to know:

What’s your favorite book cover with a sword on it? Have any examples of cool things you can do with a sword?

Lemme know your answers over at Magic and Mayhem!

Thanks for following, everyone! I’m loving all the tweets!!!


The Business of #Writing: Events, Subscriptions, and Online Expenses

Wow! That title probably makes you think this post will be 10,000 words or more. No worries. It won’t be. This is part 2 of a week-long series of posts I’m doing where I look back at my 2013 writing expenses and ponder what worked, what didn’t, and what I might do differently. I welcome and encourage other authors to share their own experiences. Newer writers, feel free to ask questions. Readers, these posts may be a bit dry, but they offer you a peek at what we authors do behind-the-scenes to get our work in front of you. There’s more to it than just writing. And your feedback is appreciated too! Each post includes reader specific questions at the end.

To see a complete list of my 2013 expenses, see yesterday’s post. Today, I’m discussing #2 through #4.

EVENTS

Yesterday I talked about promotion costs, which accounted for about 14% of my expenses in 2013. Costs associated with events came in at #2 – 12%. That sounds about right with one caveat. A writer should always have a purpose in mind for attending an event. There are three basic in-person events for fiction writers: writer’s conferences, fan conventions, and book signings/readings. Conferences tend to be educational. There may be some signing events, but most writers conferences are geared toward writers. They offer networking opportunities and workshops. Fan conventions are – obviously – geared toward fans and readers. There are signing events and panels, as well as other events where readers and authors can have fun together. In store book signings and readings tend to be smaller travel and time commitments. There’s usually a more limited audience but, because of that, the event can have a nice intimate feel.

In 2013, I attended the Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference. The conference has both a writer’s and a reader’s track, which is nice. I also gave a talk at the Library of Congress Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum, which was a really neat experience.

LESSONS? Nothing earth shattering. Events can be expensive unless your publisher pays for them (which isn’t happening at my level). So I don’t feel guilty that my calendar isn’t loaded with them. Still… I could be a bit more diligent in my efforts to attend them. At some point in the future, I’d love to go to another fun, fan conference. And I’d love to coordinate a multi-author book signing closer to home some day.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Whoa. Coming in at #3, which struck me as a bit high. What’s up? Well, I subscribe to RT Book Reviews, Writers Digest, and Entertainment Weekly (all terrific publications that are inexpensively priced)… and I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace and Publishers Weekly, which are also terrific – giving you access to information you can’t get elsewhere – but expensive.

LESSONS? I’m loathe to let go of any of them but if I ever need to start pinching pennies, these are expenses I might consider cutting. I love having the ability to look up imprints, authors, editors, and recent deals on PM but the problem is, not every deal is even reported there AND, even if it were, writers shouldn’t base their next projects on what’s selling now. They need to be coming up with fresh, new stuff. So having access to the PM database doesn’t really do much for me except satisfy my curiosity. As for PW? If I were cutting back, this would be another tough, tough call. But even if I cut the paid subscription, I would never give up PW Daily (its free eNewsletter)! I skim it nearly every day and, if you are a writer, you should too!

WEBSITE AND RELATED ONLINE EXPENSES

Another catchall category representing 8% of my 2013 expenses. It’s worth noting I had some upgrade renewals come due in 2013 that I didn’t have in 2012, which pushed this expense higher.

I included payments for my iCloud backup storage plan, payment for additional storage for my website, my Norton internet security fee, and expenses associated with my website (web forwarding fee, email address fee, website address fee, private registration fee, “No Ads” payment) here, as well as some software I purchased because I bought a new laptop in 2013 too.

LESSONS? Nothing exciting to talk about here. (Is ANY of this exciting? LOL. I’m just hoping it’s helpful or interesting to some people). I don’t think I could cut any of these expenses. They’re all pretty basic and I consider them necessary. I’ve mentioned before that I pay for “No Ads” on my website. I’ve often thought about trying to monetize my blog, but for now, I’m very content focusing my efforts on writing novels and doing things that support that.

So those are my #2 through #4 2013 expenses. How about you?

Writers, did you attend any events recently? Do you subscribe to Publishers Marketplace or Publishers Weekly? Do you have ads on your blog?

Readers, what’s your favorite fan conference? Do you subscribe to any book review magazines? What do you think about author websites with ads?

Tomorrow, mailing costs, stock photos, and office supplies! :-D


Author Bookmarks and White Heart of Justice News

B3 in my Noon Onyx series is coming out this spring. (Release Day => May 27th!!!) I’ve been planning a few events to celebrate its release: a Release Day Party at Bitten by Books, a Blog Tour with Bewitching Book Tours, and a small Twitter contest. I’ll be offering some great prizes: Amazon eGift Certificates (or eGCs to bookstore of winner’s choice), signed copies of all of the books in the series, a fantasy book of winner’s choice from Book Depository, and some really neat, fun book themed SWAG packs. My goal with giveaways for White Heart of Justice’s release was to make the contests and prizes FUN so I hope everyone will get into the spirit of celebrating the release of this third book. :-D

And… I finally have BOOKMARKS!!! Yep, I finally got around to making them. If you live in the U.S. and would like a set, please email me (archer at jillarcher dot com) or use my contact page to request them. I’d be happy to mail a set to the first 25 people who respond at my cost.

Bookmarks: What to Include

If you are a new author, here’s a list of things to put on your bookmarks and a tip – don’t wait as long as I did to make them! Why? Because they’re fun, easy, and great to have to hand out to anyone who wants to know a little bit more about your work. They’re like business cards, but they have awesome artwork and a practical purpose. What could be better?

  1. Your name
  2. The title of your book
  3. The name of the series, if it’s part of a series
  4. A tagline (short quote that sums up the book in a dramatic way)
  5. The release date
  6. The ISBN (for booksellers, librarians, and some readers)
  7. Your website
  8. Other ways to find you online (optional)
  9. Book description (optional; alternatively, you could leave space for signing them)
  10. Blurbs from other authors and/or reviewers (optional)

I used UPrinting to order mine (they were very helpful too; I had a tech glitch at one point, but was able to resolve by calling in) but there are lots of other companies that will print bookmarks for you. Or you can make your own.

So, folks, how about you? Do you like bookmarks? Do you use them? Do you want some?

Have you pre-ordered White Heart of Justice yet? If not, now’s a great time! Choose your favorite bookseller and click on the link below. Support the booksellers, support me, support books! :-D

Thanks, everyone!!!

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art


Page Proofs for White Heart of Justice: Sneak Peek at Prologue and Page 1

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

Page proofs for
WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE
(Most of those stickies are notes for me,
not typos!)

Just turned in the corrected page proofs for White Heart of Justice! As I mentioned after turning in reviewed proofs for Fiery Edge of Steel, this is a great moment for authors. It means, from my end, the book is FINISHED! Sure, there are all sorts of things that still need to be done, but most of them concern promotion — ways to get the word out about the book. So…

What can readers expect from White Heart of Justice?

If you liked the first two books, Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel, expect to see more of the same blend of magic, deep, dark worldbuilding, romance, and action/adventure with a whiff of mystery, all told in a youthful first person voice (except for the prologue, which is told from a certain someone’s point of view ;-) ). That said, Noon is not as inexperienced in this third book as she was at the start of the series. (But that’s half the fun of reading a series, right? Getting to see how a character grows and changes over the course of the novels.)

In White Heart of Justice, readers will also get to see more of Nightshade (Noon’s tall, dark, and handsome healer brother), Aurelia (Noon’s somewhat enigmatic, always intense, sometimes aloof mother), and Karanos (Noon’s at times distant, often imposing Demon Council executive dad), as well as some other favorites. :-D

You’ll also get to see a new type of magic… and Noon using waning magic in a different way than she did in books 1 and 2. And, of course, there will be new beasts, new demons, and new places — both on and off campus — to explore!

Sneak Peek at Prologue and First Page

Clicking on the pictures should enlarge them enough to read. If you like what you see, please pre-order and/or add it to your Goodreads shelf! Links are below.

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Prologue i

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Prologue ii

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Page 1

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Interested in reading more about

White Heart of Justice?

  • Click here for my post on the revision process and to read about what the other racers’ targets are.
  • Click here for my cover reveal post, which has my thoughts on all of my covers, including my favorite — White Heart of Justice!

Thanks to everyone who has supported this series! I hope you enjoy reading book #3 as much as I enjoyed writing it!


#Writing: Revisions and WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE Snippets #SFF

After having waxed on about my awesome posting stats just before Thanksgiving, I then dropped my posting to zero while I celebrated Turkey Day, the start of the winter holiday season, and finished revisions for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE. So I thought it would be fun to break my posting fast by discussing revisions and then share some snippets that I wrote for book #3.

The Revision Process

I’ve heard that the revision process varies from house to house, and may even vary from editor to editor, but my experience has pretty much followed these steps:

1. Author Editing: After mentally typing THE END (how many of you actually type “THE END” at the end of your manuscripts? I don’t…), this is the stage where I go back through my manuscript and edit it myself. Although I do some editing as I write, I always have a big list of things that I know need to be fixed, added, deleted, etc. once I’ve reached the end. Also, reading the manuscript through from start to finish after it’s complete helps flesh out other areas I may not have caught before that still need work. This type of editing goes on until it’s finished. It usually takes a few passes — until I’m comfortable enough to turn it in. Until the manuscript is the best I can make it on my own.

[2. Beta Readers and Critique Partners/Groups: An invaluable part of the process for many writers. I don’t currently do this as part of my process, but I’ve often thought about trying to find some beta readers. The difference between beta readers and critique partners is that beta readers are readers (ideally someone who reads within your genre) and critique partners are writers. But the point is the feedback should be different. I would think that beta readers could help with reactions, expectations, spots of confusion, overall satisfaction, general impressions, etc. whereas critique partners will (hopefully) give you some objective comments on structure, plot, characterization, and the like.]

3. Revisions: If you are traditionally published, your editor will read and review your manuscript and suggest changes. My editor sends me an email with global concerns and en electronic marked up version of my manuscript with margin comments. Once I got used to it, I found I actually liked this part of the process. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: whether you self or traditionally pub, find a good editor. Even if you have beta readers and critique partners, a professional editor is a must. Ideally, your editor will have lots of experience editing books in your genre. At this stage of editing, any type of revision might be requested: huge structural changes, merging two characters into one, writing an alternate ending, creating a new setting for one of the scenes, reworking a set piece, etc. (I’m not saying I’ve had all of those suggestions… just that if you’re a new writer, be open to whatever changes your editor suggests. In the end, it’s your decision, but consider each one carefully before making it or rejecting it.)

4. Line edits: This is the editing stage where, instead of “big picture” problems like character motivation not working right or scenes out of order, your editor will suggest stylistic changes that will improve the flow and readability of the manuscript. (At least that’s how I think of this stage. It’s a little bit more than just grammatical corrections but a lot less than anything that requires drafting something from scratch.) If you have a strong voice, some of the suggestions might not sound right. As above, it’s your call. But I consider these carefully too. Having a recognizable voice is great, but the last thing I want is a reader tripping over my words or scratching their head. (Some of that may be unavoidable, but, hey, if I can avoid it through better word choice, I will).

5. Copy edits: Copyediting is the stage where they check everything: your grammar, your spelling, your capitalization, the quotes you used, the Latin phrases, and whatever other odd bits and pieces of stuff you may have used that need to be checked to make sure you’re using them properly. This is also the stage where your editor checks for continuity errors like a botched schedule of events or an eye color change due to writer mistake and not magic. As you can imagine, my copy editor has her work cut out for her and she’s been terrific. Along with a marked up manuscript, I also receive a Style Sheet during this stage, which details my spelling, style, and punctuation preferences (so that they remain consistent throughout the series). It also has a handy list of “author specific words” (my term, not hers). These are the words that we writers use when we make stuff up. I used my Style Sheets as a starting point for my Glossary.

6. Proofreading: This stage is pretty exciting. You get to see the typeset manuscript. So it will look almost exactly how it will look once it’s printed and bound. Your job during this stage is to (yep, once again) read through and check for errors. The good news is that there won’t be that many queries from the proofreader. But I still read it all over one more time because this is my very last opportunity to catch something before publication. And I have caught errors. Nothing big. Just hard returns that shouldn’t have been there. Words repeated. Missing periods. Little stuff. When I send my list back I almost feel foolish; it’s so nit picky.

7. Celebrate! I’m not at this stage yet with WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, but I look forward to it. Since so much of a writer’s time is spent just putting words on a page and our butts in the chair, celebrating the small milestones along a very long path is important.

White Heart of Justice Snippets

The Laurel Crown Race and Its Targets

The third book in my Noon Onyx series involves a race — the Laurel Crown Race. To win, racers must bring back their assigned target. The targets are always (otherwise there would be no story) difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve. Participation in this dangerous, sometimes deadly, race is voluntary (Noon’s more feisty and less reluctant in B3). So why race? Because the Maegester-in-Training who brings back their target before any of the others wins the coveted Laurel Crown and the right to control their own destiny (or at least the right to choose where they spend their fourth semester residency).

Noon’s target is the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword with a dark, mysterious, and rich history that disappeared during Halja’s middle ages. It’s a fascinating artifact that’s discussed extensively in the book… but what about the other racers’ targets? My editor was curious about what the other racers would be searching for during the race so, during edits, I came up with the list below, which I then worked into Chapter 7 as follows [alas, the neat pictures won’t be in the final manuscript]:

Every year, the finish line was held at a different demon law school. Since St. Luck’s had hosted the rank matches, we’d also been given the honor of creating this year’s Laurel Crown and placing it at a finish line of our choosing. The St. Luck’s faculty had opted for a crown made of gold leaf, which they planned to hang on one of the lamp posts at the start of the race. The first Primoris to make it back to Timothy’s Square would exchange their target for the crown and win. It was that simple. (Or rather, it was that simple on paper. In practice, the race was often lethal.)

A sampling of other racer’s targets included:

Raven in forest

Eidolon’s Alternate Ending

Commissioned by the demon lord Nickolai as a bride gift for his inamorata, the painting is purportedly “enhanced” by the Angel artist’s botched spell. The scene in the painting changes for each viewer so no one knows what the original subject was. Anyone who gazes upon it is ever after incapable of feeling love. The painting was stolen sometime around the turn of the century by the Graeae, the trio of demonesses who were spawned from the ground together and who are now bound by their shared flesh and formidable magic.

Treasures

† 623 bars of gold bullion

This weighty amount was the grand total stolen from the New Babylon Mint over the last three months. The thieves are reputed to be hiding somewhere around Rockthorn Gorge. Liberating the gold and returning it to the mint will take not only a Guardian but a small army of magic users prepared to battle the outlaws and then protect the heavy cargo on its way back through a dizzying array of steep, narrow mountain passes full of argopelters and hidebehinds.

Mata Hari

† Gou Nan Jounen An

A.K.A. Rasha Pearl, a Hyrke courtesan and spy. Employed by the Office of the Executive since the age of eighteen, no woman is as well-educated or as well-traveled. She speaks almost as many demon languages as an Angel, she knows hundreds of exotic and erotic dances, and she’s been to nearly every regulare outpost – and not a few rogare hotspots. Problem? She acted as a double agent while doing so. Since the early 1990s, she passed all sorts of super sensitive Council information on to her rogare contacts. In 1997, she was arrested. But she escaped from her Maegester captors shortly thereafter and has been on the Council’s “Most Wanted” list ever since.

Potion bottle

† 1 oz. each of blithe and bitters

Two fabled spices highly prized by the Mederi. One is a powerful aphrodisiac, nearly a love potion for those who use it, and the other is a sedative, one strong enough to keep someone asleep for a hundred years or more. Both spices are harvested from the same legendary tree, the Saeculi Spinae, which only grows in Halja’s western volcanic mountains – an area protected by the fierce, fiery djinn. The djinn’s price for just a pinch of blithe or bitters? Helping with the harvest.

Grim Warning

† Lilith’s Last Resting Place

I’d found Lucifer’s Tomb two semesters ago, but the location of Luck’s lover’s gravesite was still unknown. History is clear that she survived Armageddon and lived for another two centuries or so. But the stories surrounding her death are wildly inconsistent. Some say she went north, beyond Rockthorn Gorge, toward Warja hoping to start another fight. Others say she went west and made a deal with the djinn to be sealed away in a room full of blithe and bitters forever. Still others say she went east and sailed off toward the Morning Star.

It would take far more than Luck’s blessing to find her remains…. or any of the other targets we racers were being asked to retrieve.

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE can be pre-ordered here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell’s Books, Book DepositoryIndieBound

What about you? Do you type THE END at the end of your manuscripts? Are you in the midst of revisions now?

Are you taking any time off from work this winter? If so, what are you planning on reading? I hope everyone is having a nice December!


Cover Reveal: WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE (Noon Onyx #3)

Today I’ve got a fun, beautiful, fantastic post that I’ve been looking forward to sharing with you — the new cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, the third book in my Noon Onyx series. As with FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, Jason Chan was the cover artist. Below are my thoughts on the cover, the book blurb, pre-order and Goodreads links, and a chance to win some neat prizes: signed copies of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL (US only) and a $25 eGift Certificate to the book store of your choice (international). Please help me to share the new cover by tweeting, posting, etc.!

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE
Noon Onyx #3
Cover Artist: Jason Chan
Cover Designer: Lesley Worrell

My Thoughts

I’ve loved each of my covers for different reasons. DARK LIGHT OF DAY was my first cover so I’m rather sentimental about it. I’ll always love it because it was my first and because cover artist David Palumbo incorporated a lot of design elements that I appreciated: the blackened vine motif on the gate, St. Luck’s in the background, the books that Noon held, the fireball raised high in her hand, and that defiant, though somewhat hesitant, face. It fit the story and the character for that book perfectly.

I loved FIERY EDGE OF STEEL’s cover because it was visually striking. Noon looked tougher and, instead of carrying books and a vague, unshaped fireball, she was now griping a knife — a fiery filleting knife that she’d shaped out of waning magic. The backdrop was the New Babylon docks — appropriate since that story was, for the most part, a river adventure.

But — wow! — I think the cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE is the best yet. It’s stunning.

When my editor sent me the cover art and I opened it up for the first time, I was thrilled. It’s beautiful, and like my first two covers, it incorporates many of the design elements that we discussed early on. Noon’s clothing is different than it was on the first two covers. Instead of a bustier and cloak, she’s bundled up in a fur-lined hood and gloves for her trip into the dark parts of southern Halja. She’s graduated from a knife to a sword. It’s symbolic of how far she’s come as a character. (Whether or not the sword on the cover is actually the famed “White Heart of Justice” that Noon seeks in the book, I leave to readers to determine). And a fiery war bird circles her, another nod to her growing magic skills and a hint to readers that they will see magic used in new and different ways in book #3.

But the two things I love the most about this cover are its attention-grabbing, bright, bracing colors and Noon’s expression. Though she is looking down, she looks contemplative and strong, almost meditative. Appropriate for a character whose decisions have become more weighty with each book. Here’s the blurb…

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

A Noon Onyx Novel

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Please Pre-Order and Add to Your Goodreads Shelf

Who else is participating

in the cover reveal?

Below are the other bloggers that are participating in the cover reveal. THANK YOU to each and every one of them! I am very grateful that they wanted to help share the new cover and spread the word about WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE. Please stop by to check out their sites, subscribe and/or follow them, and for more chances to win my cover reveal prizes. A big thank you to Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours, who helped to organize the cover reveal.

Prizes!

To celebrate the new cover, I am giving away a signed set of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL (US only) and a $25 eGift Certificate to a book store of winner’s choice (international). To enter to win, click here.

So what do you think? Do you love the new cover as much as I do? Thank you for helping me share it!


Release Day for Fiery Edge of Steel!

Fiery Edge of Steel is no longer available for pre-order. It’s available for purchase. Yay! If you were planning on buying it, now’s the time! :-D

Also, I just found out yesterday that many of the review copies that were promised to reviewers who requested them may not have been shipped. Not the most thrilling release day news I have ever received, but it’s very anything goes in the Wild World of Publishing these days and we writers have to be ready to roll with the punches. So here’s my plan:

To all of the wonderful Bewitching Book Tours bloggers who were interested in reading and reviewing Fiery Edge of Steel, I am looking into this mailing snafu and will be in touch with you all later today. I promise you will either get a copy of Fiery Edge of Steel from my publisher or from me directly.

To ANYONE who reads Fiery Edge of Steel, please consider putting up a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or wherever you hang out online even if you don’t usually review books. A sentence or two can really help increase the book’s visibility. It would be FANTASTIC to have some honest and fair reviews so that potential buyers can hear from other readers about what you liked about the book. (And even what you didn’t, although I hope there’s less of that than the other!). The only reviewers who have reviewed it so far (that I know of) have been Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews (for which I am very grateful). So… this is your chance to be a hero! *You* can be the one to put up the third review somewhere online!

I don’t comment on reviews. And, even though my current situation is somewhat dire, I’m still not going to. I will, however, post a link to any positive or mixed review (so long as the tone isn’t too negative) if you send me the link. My e-mail is: archer at jillarcher dot com and my Twitter handle is @archer_jill. And, of course, anyone who posts a review has my wholehearted gratitude.

If you are simply not the type to write reviews, well… that’s okay. I still very much appreciate the purchase. If you like the book, please tell a friend!

That’s it for today! Now, please, go forth, purchase and review! :-D

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

Noon Onyx Book #2

“Archer delves deeper into the enticing and magical world of Dark Light of Day in this original and clever urban fantasy… Excitement and action leap from the pages as Archer’s skill with description pulls readers fully into her magical world.” Publishers Weekly

“The second Noon Onyx story is an astounding adventure tale. Archer’s unique world, where Lucifer’s army triumphed at Armageddon, is filled with adherence to strict laws that keep an uneasy peace between races. This is proving to be a really fresh and fascinating series!” RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

Jill Archer's Fiery Edge of Steel

Lucifer and his army triumphed at Armageddon, leaving humans and demons living in uncertain peace based on sacrifice and strict laws. It is up to those with mixed demon and human blood, the Host, to prevent society from falling into anarchy.

Noon Onyx is the first female Host in memory to wield the destructive waning magic that is used to maintain order among the demons. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.

When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, a task which will most likely involve trying and killing the patron demon of that area, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…

Available now from Ace:

  • ISBN-10: 0425257169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425257166

Fiery Edge of Steel Exclusive Excerpt Tour: ARC Giveaways and More!

Fiery Edge of Steel is releasing at the end of this month — May 28th! To help spread the word about its release, I’m doing a six stop exclusive excerpt tour through Bewitching Book Tours. From today through May 11th, one part of Chapter 1 will be posted at each of the stops below. I’m giving away six signed ARCs (US only) and one $25.00 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of the winner’s choice (international) during this “teaser” tour. I’m ALSO giving away two more signed ARCs of Fiery Edge of Steel and two signed copies of Dark Light of Day from my site (US only). All you have to do to enter to win one of those is e-mail your US address to [archer at jillarcher dot com] by midnight EDT May 13th. Subject line should be the title of the book you are interested in. (You can say “both” :-D).

Fiery Edge of Steel

Exclusive Excerpt Tour

In writing Fiery Edge of Steel, I was inspired by a number of things, among them an old French imposter case, two children’s songs, and a fairy tale. I wanted to explore the themes of love, betrayal, knowledge, death, and duty. To set up those themes I could think of no better way to open the book than to recreate a Haljan version of the 16th century execution of Arnaud du Tilh, the man who impersonated the French peasant Martin Guerre. That recreation forms the basis for Chapter 1.

May 6th: Part One at Fang-tastic Books

May 7th: Part Two at Urban Girl Reader

May 8th: Part Three at Preternatura

May 9th: Part Four at Urban Fantasy Investigations

May 10th: Part Five at Rabid Reads

May 11th: Part Six at Romancing the Dark Side

Great First Reviews!

I was thrilled and excited to see that the first reviews for Fiery Edge of Steel were positive. In fact, I love what was said about the book and the series. I’m very grateful for any interest and thankful to everyone who takes the time to read and review.

“Archer delves deeper into the enticing and magical world of Dark Light of Day in this original and clever urban fantasy… Excitement and action leap from the pages as Archer’s skill with description pulls readers fully into her magical world.” — Publishers Weekly

“The second Noon Onyx story is an astounding adventure tale. Archer’s unique world, where Lucifer’s army triumphed at Armageddon, is filled with adherence to strict laws that keep an uneasy peace between races. This is proving to be a really fresh and fascinating series!” — RT Book Reviews

Noon Onyx is participating in a

Supernatural Smackdown

Does that sound hilarious and fun or what?!? I couldn’t resist saying I’d participate even though Noon’s character isn’t as kick a$$ as the characters she’ll be competing against. If you’re interested in seeing how a Supernatural Smackdown works, stop by Dark Faerie Tales (I’ll be taking notes along with you because this is the first one I’ve ever done!). And, if you want to vote for the underdog, come check out my post there on May 16th! (Yes, I’ll be sending out reminders. ;-))

More About the Noon Onyx Series

In Dark Light of Day, the first book in the series, Nouiomo “Noon” Onyx, a 21 year old post grad magic user, had to choose between death or training to become a demon peacekeeper. In Fiery Edge of Steel, Noon faces a different question.

The Noon Onyx series is a genre-bending fantasy series. The setting is post-apocalyptic, but it’s not dystopian fiction. In fact, Armageddon is old news. Demons have inherited the earth, but goodness and love still exist. In short, the series is for readers who adore adventure, passion, mystery, and magic.

I’ll be posting info and links to various other events in connection with Fiery Edge of Steel‘s release. And I’ll be posting more guest blogs from the fabulous authors who are participating in the Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series. Behind the scenes, I am working feverishly (sometimes literally — dang spring colds!) on book #3.

I had a lot of fun writing Fiery Edge of Steel and I hope you enjoy reading it! Have a great week, everyone!
Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayJill Archer's Fiery Edge of Steel


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