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.
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.
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!
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 mistake… 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!
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.
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!