On living authentically

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!


How it feels to be a published author…

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.

Here are some quick links: Amazon | Goodreads

Okay now that I’ve done that shameless plug, it’s time to get ready for work. Duty calls! See you all next time. ❤


Program review: Everything Authorship

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.

Excellent Resources

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

What’s included:

·         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??

I mean, look at this! Thanks to Mandi Lynn at Stone Ridge Books!

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!

This was originally a guest post at Paperback Kingdom.

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!