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, 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.

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 mistake‚Ķ 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!

Fantasy, Writing Process

When inspiration strikes at the wrong time

The funny thing about inspiration is that it can strike at the oddest times.

I wasn’t looking to start a new story in the midst of preparations for my first ever book launch. I was committed to focusing on only this series until completion. Those authors that work multiple books at once are ridiculous, I thought. They’re putting too much work on themselves.

And then… this happened.

I’ve been watching the movies and listening to the soundtrack for Disney’s Descendants. I know, I know. But I’m obsessed with it. I love musicals. I love villains. And I LOVE their style. It’s pretty much perfect for me.

(I do have issue with the incredibly cheesy portrayal of the adult villains. But that’s beside the point.)

Sunday, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a combination of posts. They were far enough apart that my brain didn’t put them together immediately. And then I landed on a writing prompt. I thought, Why not? and began to type. And type. And type.

Side note: I suck at phone typing. So I rarely do long comments on things because I’m usually on my phone instead of a laptop. Phones are easier to hide from toddlers, who love nothing more than to press keys and try to play games on mommy’s “puter”. TL;DR: I usually do short-to-non-existent comments.

But I typed over a paragraph, and my brain started rushing ahead and into a new story. Fully blown, concept, characters, plot, even cover design. A line from a song from Descendants influences a decent part of the plot, honestly. Thinking back on it, I can pick out 2-3 Instagram posts that my brain pieced together with the song into a new idea.

This isn’t a good time to write a new story. But it never is. We all have so many obligations, both self-imposed and other. When the muse demands it, you must make time.. or else.

Or else you will lose the flame. The amazing story that could have come from this moment will be lost forever. And few things are worse than that, to a storyteller.

So now I’m taking a darker twist on one of my obsessions, and we’re going to see what happens. I’m still making The Wraith’s Bargain my priority of course. But I’m making time for this story, too. A little less idle time, a little more satisfaction.

Worth it.

Writing Process

Back in the groove

Hey, fam. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago I was stagnated in my writing with no relief in sight.

Since then, I finished the first draft of my novella The First Stone, edited it, had a Beta read it, edited it again, and posted it to Wattpad. (You can read it for free here!)

I also finished the first draft of the follow-up novella The Strategist and am in the process of editing. My Beta for the first is quite busy so I’ll be looking for a different one this time. (Any volunteers? Let me know!)

How did I get my groove back?

I know it’s going to sound like I’m a walking advertisement for Paperback Kingdom but I got SO MUCH HELP from her. Paperback Kingdom is the business run by Pagan Malcolm, who is a bestselling author as well as a copywriter and author coach. I’m in her Facebook groups where you have group support and get tons of free information and tips from her, as well as first chances at her paid courses.

Recently in her membership program The Authorpreneur Kingdom she started doing weekly group calls. There have only been two so far but they’ve already been hugely beneficial for me. The first call was an accountability call. We told her our goals for the month and she gave us tips and helped us (especially me) with a reality check on how much we could get done. I’ve learned about micro goal setting and got some great free resources that have helped me tons. The second call was a mindset call and that was more to focus on how you’re holding yourself back.

Check out PBK’s mindset resources. Seriously, top notch!

Turns out, I was doing that a LOT. I’ve got a new outlook on what I’m doing as well as affirmations and journal prompts to more deeply explore my mindset on my own so I can find my pain points and challenge them. I also walked away with homework:

  • Get comfortable putting myself out there by finding a beta to read my work or a writing buddy
  • Decide on three actions I can take to build my confidence and do them.

I’m still working on the first bullet point, but I’ve already taken steps on my second one! I shared my Facebook author page to my personal Facebook and invited some friends and family to like the page. I also shared a link to The First Stone and my grandma actually started reading it! I was a bit nervous for family to know about it, but she called me after reading the first two chapters and said that she was just amazed. She was it was very compelling and kept her attention. So that made me feel pretty great. I mean I know she’s biased, but it was still nice.

Anyway..

All that being said, I’ve made a lot of progress in the last month and gotten so much more comfortable with the whole process. I’ve even started marketing more, which is something I never really saw myself doing before. So keep watching this space, kids. Once I find my beta it will be full steam ahead. I’m hoping to have the next novella out sometime next month!

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

The First Stone- available on Wattpad!

Hey, fam. I’ve published my first story on Wattpad and I’d really appreciate you checking it out! It’s called The First Stone .

We aren’t alone in this world. It’s a lesson that Will learned the hard way on the night of his twelfth birthday. He and his best friend Jeremy were attacked by a demon only hours after discovering they had supernatural powers. This night was the first of many they dedicated to learning to control their powers and defeat that which goes bump in the night.

Fast forward eight years and they’ve learned all the tricks of the trade–or so they thought. A late night chance encounter with a demon hunter introduces them to an entire secret society and a wealth of knowledge. The only problem is that now Will has become a walking target for a species of demon that has a taste for his psychic energy.

Now the clock is ticking as Will and Jeremy race to seal the demons out of their world once and for all. Can they do it before Will becomes a demon’s dinner?

I’m really excited to bring this world to you all.. I’ve been working on this world and magic style for years and I feel like I know it inside and out.. but then I look at my unpublished novel and I know that people need more information. So I’m working on a collection of short story/novellas to make available, for free, so that people can get to know the world of my characters.

Will Murphy is the first character we get to know. The next story will focus on Kat Flores, and then probably Annie Harris. The last story (probably) will be Jeremy Harris. He’s the leader of their little group and that one will need a lot of build up.

Any feedback at all you can give me on The First Stone would be super appreciated. You can comment on Wattpad, or here, or hit me up on social media anywhere. I can’t wait to hear what you all think! ūüĖ§

Writing Process

6 Things that Inspire me to Write

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Hey there, friends. To celebrate my recent writing resurrection, I thought I’d share 6 things that inspire me to write. These are all types of entertainment or pieces of media, but those titles sounded really clunky so… ‘Things’.

In no particular order….

Welcome To Night Vale – a podcast by Night Vale Presents

This podcast, guys. THIS PODCAST. No matter what kind of mood I’m in when I start listening to it, by the end I’m feeling happy and creative. This sci-fi comedy looks at so many things in our world with such a unique perspective that it helps me to do the same. It takes my conceptions, puts them in a jar, and shakes them around until everything looks a little different.. and usually, a bit more menacing. It’s a great creepy podcast with wonderful characters and moral lessons and even love stories and human interest pieces. Seriously, check it out wherever you listen to podcasts. I like Podbay.fm myself.

“Perforated Heart” by Eric Bogosian

This book is about an author who finds himself reading his old journals from the late 70’s while recuperating from heart surgery. We as readers are immersed in his experiences of New York in the 1970’s with flashes back to his older and more jaded self. There is so much self discovery and observation in this book that I find it very inspiring. And of course, the topics that he covers as an author himself. I might do a proper review on it at some point, but for now just take my recommendation and put it on your TBR!

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith

Mostly, I’m talking about the intro on this one. If you haven’t read this book I really recommend it. The book itself is fantastic, but the intro sets the stage so beautifully. It explains the author’s situation, it shows the passion for writing and the way the story took hold of him and what it did to his life. Sometimes, I’ll just read the intro to this book. It only takes a few minutes. But in that time, I’ll be reminded of the pressing need to put pen to paper, fingers to keys, to get a story out there.

Reading about obsession can make one obsessed.

Do you believe that?

I do.

The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke

Mostly the second one, but they’re all fantastic. What inspires me is both the focus on the world and the element of fiction writing. I love the way the writing literally comes to life in these stories–and the problems they cause for the unwitting authors.

The Sims

Say what you will, but playing the Sims.. well, making the Sims and their homes, is a creative act. You’re essentially developing a character in a visual medium. You can choose their personality traits and craft their physical appearance, choose various outfits, and design their homes. Plus, the music is very soothing and makes me feel creative.

The Lord of the Rings soundtrack

I mean, have you heard it?

Seriously. check this out if you need something epic and beautiful to listen to.

What sort of things inspire you?

Drop it in the comments! I’m always looking for more media to inspire me!

Writing Process

Writing update

Hey there, fam!

Today I wanted to update on what’s going on with me, writing wise. I thought about this the other day when chatting with a friend on Wattpad.. she said, “If you ever post anything, I’ll be sure to read it!” And I was like.. oh. My username is AuthorJoNarayan. And I’ve not posted anything.

Yikes, that’s embarrassing.

Yeah, I’m writing. But where’s the proof? Outside of checking my computer and notebooks., you wouldn’t know. That’s my bad. I got into a bit of a funk there, if you’ve read any of my recent posts you’ll have heard about it. But Thursday I broke through my block and I wrote over a thousand words on the short story I’m working on. Friday, I wrote even more. Now I’m revved up and ready to go!

I feel like I’ve been dragging my feet a bit because I’m not as passionate about the characters in this story… it’s a sort of prequel/back story to my novel, but it is all about one of the supporting characters. And honestly, I don’t know a lot about him. He’s kind of flat. Which is part of why I’m writing this (the other part is to tell people about my world and to hone my craft).

Let me set the scene for you:

In my novel, the main character Dana gets caught up in a secret society called The Order of the Hunt. The second in command (Will) is a psychic and his powers are.. impressive. But he fades into the background because he’s quiet and is more subtle in his use of power. I love writing about Dana, so I have zero issues working on that story.

Now in this short story, I’m exploring how Will discovered and developed his powers. Then, how he himself was inducted into the Order and the dangerous problems which arose from that. There are new and more dangerous demons in this story, along with a lot of information about the Order itself that I hadn’t ever bothered to develop. It just.. wasn’t relevant to my main novel.

This matters because..?

Developing all this will help to make the world so much more rich and real. I know this, which is why I’m pushing through. Now that I’ve got the fire again, I plan on getting this short story finished before too long. Of course, it’s just the first draft. I have no idea how many times I will revise it before presenting to others.. but I really want to get something out there. So I’m dedicating extra time and energy to make this happen.

I saw a post on instagram yesterday that said “You’re a writer. Fucking act like it.” That spoke to me and helped to keep me in gear.
Does anyone else have inspiring quotes that help them keep on track? Share below!