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The Wraith

The Wraith’s Bargain – Cover reveal!

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.

Preorder now available on Amazon – release date 6.28.20

What do you all think?? A huge thanks to Mandi Lynn at Stone Ridge Books for helping to bring this gorgeous cover to life!

freebie, The Wraith, Writing Process

Pre-order Bonus for TWB!

Hey fam! We’re just under 6 weeks from release day so I thought I’d go ahead and share this fun little gift.

Original post over on Instagram.

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!

Other updates

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!

The Wraith

We’re 2 months out!

Hey, fam.

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.

Does this look like a book about sunshine and roses? …. Nope.

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.
  • Magic
  • Curse words
  • Sex between unmarried people
  • Theft
  • Toxic relationships
  • Manipulation
  • Mental health issues
  • Death
  • (mild) Addiction

….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!

The Wraith, Writing Process

Announcement

Hey, fam.

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.

Soo…

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.

Fantasy, Order of the Hunt, The Wraith, Writing Process

The reasons behind the book

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.

And I will be sharing it, June 28th. Hope to see you there.

General

Creating during a Global Crisis

Hey, fam.

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?

Books.

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.

And hopefully, things will settle down soon.

Until then, Stay TF home.

Fantasy, freebie, Order of the Hunt, Writing Process

Cover Reveal! The Consequence

Hey Fam! How’s everything going? I’ve been a little quiet lately working behind the scenes. Here’s what I’ve accomplished in the last two weeks:

  • Almost finished formatting The Wraith’s Bargain for print
  • Commissioned and received a piece of art as a gift for those who pre-order
  • Sent off the last of the info to the cover artist so that can be completed
  • Began researching local author events for my area
  • Completed the third novella in the Order of the Hunt collection

So without further ado I give you the next free novella!

The Consequence

Some people know when things are too good to be true.

Annie was not one of those people, until now.

After joining an Order of demon hunters, things started going downhill fast. First, Will was attacked. Then Kat was kidnapped. Now things are starting to calm down, but Annie can’t help but to watch for the next pitfall. So when her brother begins spoiling for a fight, Annie takes things into her own hands.

It was a simple spell, with major consequences.

Now Annie has to face what she’s done to her friends and find a way out of the new mess they’re in–and fast. Before her brother pays for her mistakeā€¦ with his life.


Posting schedule: One chapter posted each Wednesday and Sunday beginning 2/19/20.

Here’s a link to the title page, though the first chapter won’t be posted for a few days. Follow me on Wattpad to get email updates or notifications when chapters are posted!

Friendly reminder: if you enjoy my writing, press the below button to have the first three chapters of The Wraith’s Bargain emailed to you free!

Reading, Writing Process

Writing Characters who Struggle

Hey, fam. Today I thought I’d talk about something that’s been on my mind lately… I’ve been in discussions on Twitter about writing believable characters and it led me to think about why I write characters the way I do.

Like all of my characters, TBH.

A Flawed Hero

You know the type. They aren’t a knight in shining armor, their hair isn’t perfectly coifed, and sometimes they make mistakes. Why are we so drawn to these imperfect characters?

Isn’t the hero supposed to be an ideal for us to strive toward?

Well.. yeah. But who can reach perfection like that?

No one, obviously. And as the HR manager at my day job says, having a goal that you can never achieve is demoralizing. I say living in the real world is demoralizing enough, so we need achievable goals.

We need relatable heroes.

That’s why characters like Harry Potter, who has messy hair and is as observant as a brick wall, and Katniss Everdeen, who has emotional availability issues, are so popular. We need to see people who are like us succeed in their endeavors. It gives us hope and helps us to step into their shoes for a little while.

In Justine Musk’s Lord of Bones, I really strongly identified with the protagonist. Jess struggled with addiction issues–and not only to substances. She was addicted to unhealthy relationships, and to magic, to the detriment of her body. While she’s clever and powerful and definitely a bad-ass, the human flaws she had resounded me with me and has made her books one of my favorites.

Side note: I’ve never been addicted to a substance, unless you count caffeine, but I had issues with relationships and with food at different points in my life.

How this relates to my characters

Literally every character I write has a problem. Due to my close relationships with some advocates in the mental health field, a lot of the traits I give characters are related to that. I usually go in with an intention once I’ve explored a character’s identity, but sometimes the traits just write themselves (like anxiety, because I have that problem and I don’t know how normal people think lol). In any case, here’s a list of some flaws and traits that my current characters have:

  • Dana Sailors, protagonist of The Wraith’s Bargain, is morally gray. She lies (but feels guilty about it), steals, and has an addictive personality.
  • Will Murphy, protagonist of The First Stone, quite literally has intrusive thoughts, and later on deals with alcohol dependence.
  • Kat Flores, protagonist of The Strategist, experiences emotional intensity–but has been taught all her life to conceal her feelings. She comes across as frigid and doesn’t allow others to touch her.
  • Annie Harris, protagonist of The Consequence (not yet released), is an eternal optimist who struggles to maintain her sunny outlook among so many horrible things happening in the world.
  • Jeremy Harris, protagonist of Landslide (not yet released), suffers from depression and delusions of grandeur.
  • Lillian Sailors, supporting character in The Wraith’s Bargain, was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder (whether she really has it is debatable).
  • Lee Sailors, supporting character in The Wraith’s Bargain, is an authoritarian and obsessed with things being normal. He shuns anything out of the ordinary.

And these are just off the top of my head! I find characters with flaws and mental or emotional struggles much more realistic and relatable.. and honestly, more fun to read (and write!)

But now I want to know what you think. Do you enjoy reading characters who have big problems like these? Or would you prefer them to be perfectly normal, or an unattainable ideal?

Let me know below!

PS- if you missed it, check out my latest freebie: Chapter one of The Wraith’s Bargain. Click below to get it!

Order of the Hunt

Character Interview: Kat Flores

Hey, Kat. Tell us a little bit about your story.

My story is The Strategist, the second story in the Order of the Hunt collection. In this story I’ve just recently joined the Order and am trying to come to terms with my new reality.. and balance the expectations of my parents against what I want to do.

What do most people think they know about you?

A lot of people think I don’t have a personality, or that I’m depressed. I just keep my emotions in check. My mom is a big fan of logic and science… when she was young, her mom taught her to reject a stereotype at the time of Latina women being very emotional. Being as American as possible was how my grandparents managed to fit in, and they passed that down the line.

I’m not sure if I just have stronger emotions than other people, or the fact that I keep them suppressed so much makes them seem more extreme…

Wow, that must be pretty tough. How do you cope with that?

Two ways. I write poetry-as authentic and messy as possible. It’s not there to be pretty or pleasing to others. It’s not for others, it’s for me. It doesn’t rhyme, it often doesn’t have meter. It’s just me.

The other way, if I can’t write, is my Calming. I breathe deeply and imagine stuffing all of my emotions down into one of those big old thick green glass bottles. I stop it up with a cork and then go on my way.

Sometimes, the glass starts to crack. I can feel the pain in my chest, and I know I have to get somewhere alone before it explodes.

I notice you used a fox for your interview image. Can you tell me about that?

I identify with the fox. It’s my.. my muse, I suppose. Maybe this poem will explain.

I often feel like a fox-
captured and trapped in domesticity.
This house is too small.

You think I am exotic.
You pet me.
I have been trained not to bite.

How do you feel you changed from the events in The Strategist?

My confidence and independence increased for sure. I learned that physical touch is sometimes okay. But also the things I learned about my heart and my relationships with those around me. And how my heart began to open, just a sliver. The seed that was planted has sprouted and the bud is about to burst into bloom. I know it’s a tired metaphor for learning to love, but that’s for a reason. It’s a good one.

I also got a healthy dose of reality about the dangers of being a Demon Hunter… but now that I know my strength, I know I’ll be able to get out of anything.

Thanks, Kat. That’s a wrap! Anything else you want to tell everyone?

…No.

freebie, The Wraith

Freebie Alert!

Hey, fam.

I’ve been thinking, and I don’t know if I can wait until the summer to start sharing parts of The Wraith’s Bargain with you.

So… I’m giving out Chapter 1, for free. Just click the button below and I’ll email it to you!

Please keep in mind that it might change slightly by the time the book comes out.. I am still waiting on it to come back from the editor, after all. But, it introduces you to our protagonist, Dana, and what she’s living with that starts all of this mess.

Comment below or email me and tell me what you think! I’m excited to hear everyone’s reactions!