Fam, I am SO EXCITED. I finally get to share my cover and blurb with you all!
A year has passed since the nightmares began, and Dana is running on fumes. Her nightly torture by demons has left her reliant on caffeine and desperate for change.
Change comes, in the most unexpected way. When a demon comes for her in real life, Dana is saved by an Order of local demon hunters. They offer to help her to manifest and learn to control her own brand of magic, which could turn her life around. It will take time, but Dana is prepared to put in the work. That is, until she encounters the demon king himself who promises she won’t have to wait–and is left with her head spinning.
Dana knows nothing good will come from trusting the demons–but she doesn’t know how much longer she can handle the nightmares. It’s not until a charming stranger starts turning up in her dreams and helping her out of sticky situations that she realizes she may have a third option. Unfortunately for Dana, he’s a demon too–but he has just the bargain that could get her out of this mess for good.
Since the pandemic hit, I’ve seen a lot of changes in people. Some for the better, some for the worse. Some (me) have let go of their health and let themselves become immersed in doomscrolling and comfort eating. Others (also me) have taken it as a wake up to take care of themselves and to work whole-heartedly toward their dreams.
One of the things I’ve always admired in other people, older women especially, is how some have learned to live authentically.
What is living authentically?
Well, my friends, that’s the question of the day. I actually googled this to make sure I’m giving you the correct answer here–Living authentically is essentially being true to yourself. Living your life the way you want to, not beholden to the limiting beliefs of others. It means speaking your mind, saying what you mean, and sticking to your word. It means taking care of yourself–your body, your mind, your soul–so that you can then take care of others. This could be self-care days, healthy diet and exercise, and moving away from toxic influences in your life. It means working toward your dreams… because if you don’t, what’s the point?
But there’s a struggle many come across…
How do I live the way I want to when I’m stuck in a 9-5 I hate, when I have bills to pay? When I have a family that depends on me?
How do I dress the way I want when I’m beholden to a corporate dress code?
My answer? Baby steps.
I’m still working toward it myself. My day job is a lower-level leadership position in a corporate environment. I have to look professional, speak professionally, and have zero personality.
At least, that’s what they taught me.
But since the pandemic started? I’ve seen a lot of people doing weird shit in public with zero ramifications. So I decided to test the theory in the worst possible place: my business.
What I’ve been wanting to do? Shift my aesthetic toward the one I’ve always admired. I want people to think I’m a witch.
But.. I’m at work. So? Corporate witch.
Let me tell you, there’s just about zero out there on Google about how to be a Corporate witch. Though apparently there’s an indie book by that name that I haven’t read. Anyway, I had to figure it out myself.
So the first thing I did? I started being more genuine when speaking with others. Aside from the boss, I’ve been letting my personality shine through a bit when talking casually with my employees. I also started allowing myself to wear things that still technically fit the dress code, but aren’t what you first picture when you think of corporate attire. Some plaid pants here, black nail polish there, and what I’m wearing today: a black and red pocket dress with leggings underneath. Actually talking about my book if someone happens to have heard about it. Little things that make me feel more real.
And? It’s working. One day I commented on how badly it was storming outside and that it was a bit apocalyptic. One of my employees said that seemed like my aesthetic–that, and the universe imploding.
I was overjoyed, fam. He was totally right, I love dark stuff like that!
But the moral of the story here is: being more myself, even in a corporate environment, hasn’t actually negatively affected me at all. I would argue the opposite.
I have yet to wear my witch-hat out in public–it’s been Summer here, after all–but I’m working toward that in the fall.
So, tell me… what steps are you taking to be more yourself? Or have you taken in the past? I’d love some tips!
Good morning, Fam. It’s 6 AM on a Saturday and I’m sitting here with my waffles and chai latte and realized, I haven’t really updated you all in a while.
So let’s talk about what’s been going on recently.
Yesterday was the 1 month book-iversary for The Wraith’s Bargain. And how does it feel?
Honestly? Not that different. Strange as it may seem. I mean, I feel immensely proud of myself, and I’ve already been working on my next project. That will be announced, soon. 🙂
There are little things, though. I’ve had some family and friends give their feedback on the book, someone my husband works with bought a paper copy and asked me to sign it, and said they really enjoyed it. That’s a good feeling. My husband surprised my for my birthday earlier this month with a mounted canvas print of my book cover. Now it’s hanging in the dining room, where I do most of my writing, so I can see it each day.
What is different is this sense of myself that I have. I’m an author. I can really say that now, and not feel as if I’m playing at something bigger than I can handle. I have a published novel, two in the works, and another concretely planned. I have ideas for books and series after I finish with The Wraith books. In short, things are good!
I’m nowhere near achieving the dream of quitting my corporate job and writing full time. Mortgages and insurance and important things. But still, baby steps.
One thing I would love to ask of you all, if you’ve read The Wraith’s Bargain, please leave a review on your favorite review site. I love to hear what people think of the story and I read every one! Reviews really help authors out more than you may realize. It helps other readers to decide whether this is a book they would enjoy.
Hey, folks. Today I decided to do something a little different and review the group coaching program I used for launching The Wraith’s Bargain. It was hosted by Pagan of Paperback Kingdom. There’s a lot of hype around her program Everything Authorship – and a big investment. But is it really worth it?
Is Everything Authorship worth it?
As a debut author who had been relying on mostly free resources up until diving into this program, let me tell you what I experienced:
A Group Environment
Having other authors who were going through the same exact thing I was at the same exact time was really helpful. We bounced ideas off of each other, swapped features and worked together on our launches, and even helped each other with our blurbs and whatnot! This was great because some of us were in waaayyy different time zones.. for instance I’m in the United States while Pagan is in Australia. Some of the time I had questions, she would be asleep. I could post in the group and the others would help me to brainstorm until it was morning down under and she could help. She was incredibly involved with all of us. I really enjoyed that we were launching books alongside her—she would share what she was doing that week or month and we could literally just copy it and adapt to our own books. Talk about useful.
I was blown away by all the resources we were given for this program! We got access to her program Storyseller Academy, not to mention social media Trello boards, marketing templates, manuscript templates, and courses. The courses were on tons of things like how to do Facebook Ads, upload our books to different platforms, get books into libraries, do press releases, and plan our launches.
Plus, any questions or advice we had would be resolved in our group calls or through private messenger conversations!
Pagan herself was an excellent resource. I could message her any time and she would answer as soon as possible with detailed information, links, or advice. She even helped me through a ton of tech problems I was having with my email list and my book formatting. This chick formatted my book for print for me and did a really freaking awesome job! It looks so fancy that I’m tempted to pay her to format the rest in the series so they look just as great!
Keeping it real: Drawbacks
I gotta be honest with you all and share the potential down points of the program as I experienced it. Note that it was the first round of the program and Pagan asked for our feedback at the end. She made adjustments and has actually already revised Everything Authorship based on our suggestions. I was really happy to be able to help make the program better for future members!
One thing I struggled with was that my book really wasn’t ready to be published when I started the program. A few of us were still writing or hadn’t gotten beta readers yet – that has been remedied as future rounds of the program make sure you’re actually ready to publish, first! Despite that we managed to get it in shape in time for launch.
Another thing I and one other person had issue with was accountability. I don’t know about the other author but for me that was a personal failing. Pagan was a great cheerleader and resource and kept giving us homework assignments and to-do lists… but in the end, it is up to you whether your launch succeeds or fails. As of writing this article my launch hasn’t happened yet—I’ll be releasing my book into the world in two weeks’ time. But I know that I get exactly the amount of work I put into it, out of it. Pagan did come up with an awesome resource for self-accountability and shared it with us after our feedback—a self-grading worksheet to help you judge your progress, see lists of priorities, and score yourself so you always know where you’re at. I’ll definitely be using that for my next launch.
Okay- Now for the Cost Analysis
· Access to Storyseller Academy ($697)
· 3 months of group coaching from Pagan herself ($1,500 value)
· 3 private coaching calls ($1,050)
· Private Voxer (voice chat) access ($1,050)
· Editing and cover design ($2,000)
This all adds up to over six grand…
And yet the whole program is just under two!
For me, this was really what sold me. To have someone to guide me along the way, unlimited support, friends to network with and help each other out on social media and whatnot, and having access to all these resources?
Fam, the editing alone. I price checked and it would have been $1800 just for my developmental edits. And I got a gorgeous cover ($225 value) along with it??
Yeah – it’s a big chunk of change. But it’s money you would have been spending anyway if you want to do this thing right. She’s got payment plans, or you can save up for a bit and then invest in yourself. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Anyway, long story short – is Everything Authorship worth it?
Hell to the YES.
Got specific questions? Hit me up. I’m not afraid to be honest!
Hey fam! We’re just under 6 weeks from release day so I thought I’d go ahead and share this fun little gift.
Free fan art!
How do you get access to this lovely piece of digital art? Simple – just pre-order The Wraith’s Bargain and email or message me a screenshot of the order confirmation! (Email me at Jo @ JoNarayan .com or message me on any of my socials!)
The art is by 2ndChanceCreatures on Etsy and I’m super thrilled with the result! If there are good responses to this art, I’ll be commissioning more pieces for future giveaways, so definitely let me know what you all think!
I’ve started getting reviews in on my advance reader copies and will be sharing them on my Instagram – if you’re not following me you ought to!
Thursday I had a feature on Armed with a Book and I also have at least 2 confirmed features for July. I’m working on getting more and they’ll be posted to my Press & Media page!
The paperback of The Wraith’s Bargain is almost ready! I got a proof copy but the formatting was a little wonky so those adjustments have been made and resubmitted. Fingers crossed this next one will be perfect. If so, the paperback will be ready for launch day as well which is super exciting for me!
Tell me, do you prefer paperbacks or ebooks? Comment below!
I know there’s been some radio silence. But… I did it.
I finished editing and formatting for The Wraith’s Bargain. What’s more? I added 60 pages. Sixty freaking pages!
The total pages come to 378, including acknowledgments and whatnot. And as of today, the book releases in 2 months! I’m SO EXCITED for you all to read it!
That being said… here’s a PSA.
This was inspired by a conversation I had with a family member, not long ago. I’ve had a lot of family and friends say that they want to read the book, that they want to support me. Which is amazing and fantastic. But take a look, here.
This book is dark. It’s actually classified as dark fantasy/ ya fantasy / ya paranormal. But less emphasis on the YA… because the New Adult category isn’t really big enough to have categories yet. Here are some of the topics covered:
Violence and (non-graphic) descriptions of torture
Demons. Lots of demons.
Sex between unmarried people
Mental health issues
….And that’s just off the top of my head.
What I’m getting at, is this book series has a particular target audience. People who need dark tales, drama and angst, and who can see the underlying messages about trust, perseverance, and personal growth.
If this book isn’t your jam, please don’t force yourself to read out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. What supports authors is having engaged readers who actually enjoy their books (and who leave reviews)!
Okay, that being said.
I’ll be calling for Advance Reader Copies here soon, and I have a limited number to give away. If you’re already interested, drop a comment or keep an eye out on my social medias! I’ll be posting on Facebook and Instagram, and maybe Twitter if I have enough left over.
I’m super excited and I know y’all will love this book. I finished the final read-through yesterday and was just amazed at this thing that came out of my brain. The hard work has really paid off and I can’t wait to share it with you all!
So I got some feedback on some Advance Copies of the The Wraith’s Bargain. It turns out, I missed something. A pretty big something, honestly.
Those of you who write, you’ll understand this. The book has gone through so many versions, that in my head, all these bases were covered. But when a reader who didn’t know the material inside and out read it? Certain things didn’t make sense. Oh.
Long story short:
I’m pushing back the release date while I work fervently to correct this issue. I’m hoping it will only be by one month, but I will update you all as it gets closer.
I’m sharing more regular info like updates about progress and snippets of what I’m working over on Instagram, so you don’t already follow me there you totally should.
See you around! I’m going to be very busy for the next little bit.
Everyone says, “I want to write a book.” They have different reasons behind it. Some want fortune, or fame. Some want to feel like their names will go down in history. Others write because they have something inside them–a story, a character, an emotion–and they have to get it out.
I’m in that last category.
As some of you may know, The Wraith’s Bargain has been rewritten many times over the years. My first draft in high school was actually named Queen’s Gambit. The second draft, and many after it, were simply called Order of the Hunt.
In each version of the book, I was working through a problem. I took comfort in familiar characters that I had based on real life friends. I shaped the plot for the characters to encounter different obstacles and to overcome them–from unhealthy relationships to financial struggles, from a struggle against evil to dipping their toes in. There was a whole section of the book that explored religious aspects of the series (which I ultimately dismissed) and the morality associated with recruiting to such a cause.
The current and final version of the book explores morality, the existence of absolute good and absolute evil, corruption, power, and control, and even a little bit of what makes a healthy or unhealthy relationship.
Mind you, not all of these are outright obvious in the first book. But as the series continues you’ll see more and the pieces will fit together.
So.. long story short. Why did I write this book?
I never really planned to publish. I wrote for my own enjoyment, for my own sort of therapy to work through different issues. And when I got to the end, I realized that it was a story I had to share with the world.
I’ve been a bit quiet. Because of, you know, the pandemic. It’s all you see or hear about any way you turn. Those of you who follow my twitter probably witnessed me losing my shit about my job being ‘essential’ and my having to continue working and chance exposure.
Turns out, it wasn’t work where I was exposed.
A family friend visited my house, as they often do. We said our goodbyes as we knew the safer at home order was imminent. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again. That was a Friday.
I had a three day weekend by chance, and then I returned to work Tuesday. While I was at work Wednesday, I got a phone call. He was sick. They were going to the hospital for a Covid-19 test. I told my boss I’d had contact with him. I was sent home.
Thursday they call me, they say I can come back on Friday because I shared with them the hospital wouldn’t test him yet because he’d been keeping his fever under control with meds.
Friday, I was back for an hour. They asked for an update on him. I tell them his symptoms. They send me home again.
Sunday, he goes to the hospital barely able to breathe, nearly convulsing. They say he definitely has it, give him the test. It takes 7-10 days for a result. They give a test to the person he lives with, too. Someone who is much, much closer to me. I tell work. They tell me not to come back until the 14 days are up and to consult with my physician as to whether I need a test.
I continue taking my temperature every day.
Why am I telling you all this?
The world has gone to shit. My anxiety has skyrocketed. I’ve barely been able to focus on my creative endeavors. Mostly I zone out and half-pay attention to my daughter and husband.
Don’t judge. It’s a coping mechanism. I haven’t processed this world-wide trauma yet. I think most of us probably haven’t. It’s easier for those who haven’t been exposed. I’m stuck in this house 24/7. We’ve gone into the yard a few times, but shortly had to come back in. Once a bug flew in my daughter’s face and terrified her. The other time, she fell and hurt herself on the concrete. Now she wants to stay inside, too.
No really, why am I telling you this?
What’s saved me these past few days?
I’ve been reading book after book on my phone. Fantasy, to be as far as possible from reality. Things I haven’t read before so it has my full attention. Things I figure probably have a hopeful, if not a happy ending.
Creators have a job to do, right now.
People are relying on artists to stay sane. To stay connected. To feel something other than abstract horror at the reality we’ve been forced into.
So Thank an Artist today. Send them a message. Leave a review. Do something to show your appreciate. Cause it’s hard for us, too. We need the encouragement to keep going just as much as anyone else does.