Cover Reveal – Blood Moon!!

I could have done a cover reveal through the awesome YA Bound, who I have been working with for the review query and blog tour, but I am way too impatient to wait for a formal cover reveal!! So, here they are! The cover (and alternate cover) for Blood Moon, Book Three of the Everealm Series!! Cover is from the amazing, Fiona Jayde Media. Viola!

Here are the covers, all together!

Alternate Covers:

P.S. I am about 90% finished with the map of Everealm, including the two areas that you have yet to see: Southwest & North Everealm. I will certainly update it as the series goes along, but I do have the main 15 kingdoms placed, along with several cities, towns, etc.. Also, I will work on updating the Guide to Everealm over the next few days! (Link is at the top ^)

~J.D.

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Note to self… DON’T re-open the manuscript!

So… I’ve done it, once again. I opened the manuscript for Everealm and started editing.

Again.

I made the rule to leave Wildfire alone but I had no choice but to open Everealm today. I was attempting to get the formatting ready for paperback publishing. And how can you see the story in front of you and NOT read any of it? Well, you can’t.

And of course, I had to make minor edits as I went along. It just doesn’t seem possible to read it without making changes, mostly removing commas and shortening sentences as I tend to write long and winding sentences. But I do think that my writing gets better toward the end of the book and into the next book when I started to get a feel for my writing style. I’m not as tempted to edit Wildfire again, as I am for Everealm. But in my defense, also I feel the need to polish the first book, constantly, because readers have to be able to finish reading book #1 or they will never make it to book #2.

I started around the “terra circle” (AKA, “Who are your parents?”) part and read all the way to the Harvest Festival (AKA, the tragic wine cellar scene). Then I had to stop. I still get the ‘feels’ when I read certain scenes, and that one just gets to me. It was a hard scene to write, as well.

Speaking of hard scenes to write, I am so excited to really get going on Blood Moon. It will have a few ‘steal your breath away’ scenes. One scene, especially, has been replaying in my mind for weeks now and I had to finally get the scene written, albeit early. I keep those “snippets” on hand for when I reach those scenes as I’m writing. I still have a few things to work out with the timeline, but it’s mostly just figuring out the transition to book #4, which I am still working on a plot and title for. I have so many ideas but I don’t want to overload the series with too many plot threads. There are so many already!

Since the sun is about to rise, I’m off to bed!

P.S. Wildfire copies have just been sent to YA Bound for the bloggers who have volunteered to participate in the blog tour for Wildfire on September 21-25. I can’t wait!

P.P.S. I made a few updates to the blog layout, including new social media share buttons and these awesome flag icons, to the right. It has been a super busy August!!

~J.D.

Testing… 1, 2, 3

It’s 4:30 am, and I am wide awake! I have been playing around with a test book cover design or both Everealm and Wildfire. I hate the idea of changing my covers after publishing them online, however, I came across these fantastic images and would like to test the waters with a new design theme using them. What do you think?

I’m uploading the new covers to Amazon to test the KindleUnlimited for Everealm. We’ll see how it goes!

~J.D.

Apple Tarts & Honey Brittle… Bree & Rowan’s Favorites!


Less than one week to go! In the meantime, here is a re-post of a short story from Bree & Rowan’s childhood in Junacave. Enjoy!

~J.D.

Apple Tart

Breestlin waited until she was certain everyone in the castle would be asleep before sneaking out of her chambers. In her nightgown and slippers, she quietly tiptoed down the stone stairs to the first floor, ducking to hide behind a statue when one of her father’s guards walked past.
She felt a sneeze coming on. Oh, no. “Achoo!”
She tried to muffle the sound with the sleeve of her gown, but the guard heard her. He stopped walking and stood still, listening. Bree froze and held her breath. A few moments later, the guard began to walk down the hallway, again, and disappeared out of sight. Phew!
 The last time she was found out of bed in the night, her mother scolded her in front of the other children who attended schooling in the castle with Bree. It had been rather embarrassing to have her mother, the queen, chastising her in front of her friends. Being a princess, she was expected to behave in a manner that was “above reproach”, or something like that. She barely paid attention to her mother’s words when she was reprimanded. For an eleven-year-old girl, she simply didn’t care. She had plenty of time to be a princess later.
 It wasn’t as if she would get into too much trouble if she got caught, but she certainly didn’t want to be sent to bed before she got what she came for. Seeing that the hallway to her right was clear, she snuck down it and into the kitchens.
Once the cooks and kitchen maids were done working for the day, everything was put away, but she knew just where to look to find exactly what she wanted. Tiptoeing across the room, she was careful not to touch anything. The metal pots would make a lot of noise if she bumped into one of them, hanging on the wall. When she reached a large wooden cupboard, she slowly opened one door. It squeaked but only for a moment.
There in front of her sat an entire apple tart, fresh and untouched. The moment she opened the door, the smell of the apples and cinnamon made her mouth water. She pulled it out of the cupboard and tucked it under her arm.
Suddenly, she heard a noise behind her. She spun around, expecting to find a guard, but the room was empty. Quickly, she ducked down and hid beside the cupboard. There was another noise. She started to panic. It could be a rat, which she definitely didn’t want to encounter. As she listened, a door to a different cupboard on the opposite wall opened. Confused, she stood up. There wasn’t anyone there. Ghosts? In the castle?
She leaned over to get a better look.
“Boo!”
“Ahh!” Bree yelped and nearly jumped out of her own skin.
Rowan was doubling over in laughter, with his hand on his stomach. Bree tried to catch her breath.
“You should have seen your face! Hilarious. I wish Finn were here to see it,” he continued to chuckle between bites of honey brittle that he had taken from the cupboard.
“Damn you, Rowan. You lousy son of a—“
“Tsk, tsk, princess. Don’t let your mother hear you talk like that. She’ll tan your backside. Actually, I’d like to see that.” He grinned, taking another bite. The scowl she was giving him was quite entertaining.
“I hate you.” She might have really meant it this time, but it didn’t seem to faze him. His smile just got bigger, making her even more irritated than before. “You’re not supposed to be out of bed, either, Rowan.”
The way she said his name sounded a lot like the way his mother used to say it, when he was in trouble. He didn’t care for it. His mother had been dead for two years now and it still stung when something reminded him of her. His grin quickly turned into a scowl, which matched Bree’s. He glanced down at her arms.
“An apple tart. Seriously? Of all the candies Misses Delray leaves lying around, you snuck out of bed for a tart? With fruit?” He shook his head and polished off the last bite of his brittle, then licked his fingers. His treat had certainly been worth the risk of being caught and his punishment wasn’t likely to be as severe. He was merely a squire, not a princess.
Before she could reply, they heard a noise from the hallway and stooped down to hide behind the large wooden table beside them.
“Good move, you idiot,” Bree whispered. “You’ve alerted the guards with your laughing. Now we’ll both get into trouble.”
“No, we won’t. Follow me.” He nudged the sleeve of her nightgown and she followed him around the back side of the kitchens and into the pantries. “There’s a door in the back,” he whispered, seeing the confusion on her face. Quietly, they snuck through the pantries and into the buttery behind it. Sure enough, there was another door that led into the hallway. Rowan stuck his head out of the door and saw it was clear.
“Come on.” He held the door open just enough so she could fit through. The castle was really old and almost every door squeaked. He was careful not to open it further than necessary. They walked slowly toward the stairs, keeping an eye out for guards.
“Do you need me to walk you up?” he asked. His chambers were in the knight’s wing, with his father, which was on the other side of the castle.
“No, I can manage.” She rolled her eyes at him. She was perfectly capable of walking up stairs on her own. She’d made it to the kitchens just fine without him.
“Alright. See you tomorrow,” he whispered and started to walk away. Bree turned to go up the stairs, but stopped when Rowan came back over to her.
“What is it? Did you hear someone?” She looked around, beginning to panic.
Rowan didn’t answer. Instead, he quickly reached over and snagged a chunk of the tart and sauntered off. He smiled to himself when he heard her voice behind him.
“I really do hate you.”

10 Things About Me

I was inspired by a fellow author’s website to share 10 interesting facts about me. Hmmm… Here goes:

  1. I love video games! I (at one time) owned nearly every Sims 2 expansion pack available, before I accidentally gave them all away. I play Sims Medieval & Sims 3 every other month. I also like Wizard101 and am teaching my daughters how to play it. We own and play Super Nintendo, XBox, PS2, & Wii games on a regular basis. I am passing on the video game gene to my children, as well.
  2. We used to own fainting goats! Fainting goats are a special breed of goats who stiffen up and fall over (faint) when they are scared. They are awesome! If we ever move to a home with more land, I will own fainting goats, again. P.S. We do have chickens here. 4 of them!
  3. I was in the Navy! I left for bootcamp just 9 nine days after I turned 18. I’ve lived in South Carolina, Illinois, & California while on active duty. I met my husband while in Illinois and we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. He is still active duty Navy.
  4. I have 4 1/2 years of college and… wait for it… no degree! That’s right. I had 1 1/2 years of college under my belt before I even graduated from high school, then I spent 3 years in school after leaving the Navy. I made my own curriculum, so I don’t have an actual degree. But I have earned certificates in both Accounting and Business Administration. My majors were: Baking & Pastry, Accounting, Business Management, Web Design & Computer Programming.
  5. I love playing dress up! I am a bit of a drama queen (I blame it on being a Leo) and love a good costume. I really get into it and have dozens of costumes, which take up the back 1/4 of my closet. I also have costume wigs, literally, hanging on my bedposts. I will share a few of those costumes at the end of this post. I REALLY like it and I have a pretty good British accent to go along with it, too!
  6. I own a licensed home bakery! For those of you who don’t know me, personally, you may be surprised to know that my “day job” is a baker/business owner. I own Storybook Bakery. We do wedding cakes, cakes, cookies, desserts, etc. We also have an Etsy shop page and ship cookies and other treats all over the country.
  7. Music rules my life! I listen to music when I work, when I bathe, when I write, when I clean, when I drive, when I sit on the porch swing… When don’t I listen to music? Only when I sleep, really. But then I do hear songs in my dreams and wake up singing them, so… yeah. My father played several instruments and was in a rock/country band. My brother plays guitar, as well as my step-father (who also used to DJ) and my sister sings. I also make up song lyrics while doing all of the above things. I have lyrics written down on nearly every notebook in the house. I did attempt to learn 6-string and bass in high school. I still have my guitar and bass.
  8. I have a fantastic long term memory and sense of smell! I can remember things that happened when I was 2-3 years old. No, really. I have vivid memories from my younger years and remember exactly what my first day of kindergarten smelled like. Most of my memories are triggered by smells or certain music. I do, however, have a terrible short term memory. I can barely remember things that happened within the past 10 years or the past 10 days.
  9. I love cheesy made-for-tv movies! Mostly, they are from the Disney channel: Halloweentown (all of them), Brink!, Motocrossed, Zenon, and recently the new Descendants, to name a few. And even though I don’t like sappy movies, I will gladly watch just about any Lifetime movie. I do, however, have a weakness for scary movies (horror movies). I’ve seen a LOT of horror movies. Go figure…
  10. Speaking of movies… I fast forward through conflict scenes in movies! Yes, even Disney movies. After I’ve seen a movie once, I will skip the really sad/mean parts. I like to live in la-la-land, where everyone is happy, all of the time. And writing about sad/mean parts in my books actually affects me, physically. I have been unable to sleep when writing certain scenes. In fact, the best/worst scene in Blood Moon has already been written. I decided to get it out of the way so I don’t have to think about it for a while. 
As promised, here are some examples of my costumery! Yes, I know that costumery isn’t a real word. I have a few of my medieval themed outfits, but I don’t have photos on my computer. These are from Halloween and birthday parties. One day, I may even get into Cosplay!

~J.D.

The waiting period begins…

The final manuscript of Wildfire has been submitted to Amazon and Smashwords for the release on September 1st! Yay! 
So now the thing I have been obsessing over for months is no longer on my computer screen. I have adopted a rule: Once final book has been submitted, I won’t look at it until after the release. If I continue to read over the manuscript, I will make changes. I’ll add stuff and rewrite stuff. Most of the changes won’t be necessary. I’ll just be nitpicking on my writing. It’s my baby, so I feel the need to groom it. Does that make sense?
To prevent myself from opening the Wildfire document, I am keeping the outline for Blood Moon open on the computer as a distraction. After Everealm, I took a break before continuing Wildfire. It was a productive break considering we welcomed a new baby into the family during that time. On the other hand, any ideas I had about the sequel were forgotten if they weren’t written in my notes. This time, I don’t plan to take a break before getting into Blood Moon. 
I am also considering just releasing the third book once it’s complete, instead of doing a release date. Mostly, I just hate waiting. The suspense is torture.. 🙂 And since the book cover is finished, there won’t be any reason to delay. I am aiming for around Halloween, if I can find the time to get it done by then. Definitely, it will be finished before the end of the year. I just can’t imagine letting the story run through my mind for that long before I put it down on paper (err… computer screen..).
I’m off to stare at the outline and listen to some music for inspiration… Here is part of my playlist for today:
  • Dare You to Move – Switchfoot
  • Wrong Again – Martina McBride
  • Here With Me – Dido
  • Red – Taylor Swift
  • Far Away – Nickelback
  • Love is Your Name – Steven Tyler
  • Madness –  Muse
~J.D.W.

Wildfire is almost here!

Wildfire, Book Two of the Everealm Series, will be released on September 1st! I’ve already gotten several pre-orders, which is great, and I am so excited to release this book and get deeper into the third one. I’ve already (mostly) figured out the outline for Blood Moon and I’m happy to say that I’ve approved the final draft of the cover, so I will be able to share that soon.

I also decided what to do about that whole To Kill or Not to Kill Jill fiasco. I won’t ruin it by blabbing about my decision, but I can finally sleep better knowing Jill’s fate. Whatever it may be…

Also, the post just went up on YA Bound for the Wildfire Book Tour on September 21-25. Our review query for Everealm is going great so far, with two fantastic reviews that literally made me cry and I am usually not a crier.. The review query runs through the month of September, so I should be getting feedback on Everealm for a while longer, I hope!

If you signed up to review Everealm and would like to also review or share a promo post for Wildfire, here is the link below the logo.

YA Bound Book Tours

With the good, also comes the bad. While providing a free copy for reviews on Goodreads, I received an email from a person who didn’t like my book. And when I say he/she didn’t like it, I mean this person practically hated it and recommended I pull the book and re-write the entire thing. I certainly expect some criticism and everyone who knows me personally will say that I have no problem arguing with anyone over anything. No, really. I should have been a lawyer.
There were a few good points made by said reviewer and I fixed many of those. But the other complaints were mostly over parts of the book that were not historically accurate or logical. So I wanted to take a moment to explain that Everealm is not Europe and there is no specific time period in which the series takes place. I call it medieval-ish, but I’ve even drawn from the renaissance period for inspiration. Even then, I don’t want to limit myself to only period details. I like to be more elaborate with the clothing, for example. I imagine the Sabras would be angry if they were required to wear clothing that actually covered their bodies, instead of their leather and furs. 😉
A lot of the dialogue is more modern because (let’s face it) it’s much easier to read and understand than medieval lingo. I do, actually, look up many words that I use to see what the date of origin is, and if the word is too modern, I switch it out for another. Just last night, I chose to use the word “eerie” over “creepy”, for that very reason.
I have chosen to avoid or limit including many aspects of historically accurate medieval times, such as disease, death, religion, bad hygiene, infant mortality, etc., as well. The historically accurate medieval period is not necessarily the glorious and romanticized time period that we see in movies/tv and doesn’t lend itself to an enjoyable fantasy-romance story, in my opinion. And Everealm has magic! It isn’t going to be realistic for that very reason, alone.
I also have chosen not to be as strict with titles as I probably should be. Reading “Sir this” and “Queen that” over and over again is annoying. I do use titles when I find it appropriate, which is often, but not as often as I apparently should be. And I’ve allowed my characters the freedom to be casual with each other when in private, so that Rowan will not be calling his love “Queen Breestlin” for their entire relationship. She wouldn’t like that…
While I will definitely include as many historical elements that I feel will work with the story and help create the image I wish to portray, I won’t be super picky about being accurate at all times. My series is a fantasy-romance not a historical fiction. And again, Everealm is a fantasy world and can look or sound whichever way I’d like it to. It’s my world, darn it! 🙂 
Thank you so much to everyone for their support. I need to go because I have characters talking to each other in my head and I need to type out their conversation. I’m not crazy, though. Just saying… 🙂
~J.D.W.