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Go Get ‘em

I’m told that posting a picture of me reading my own book is not weird, even though it feels that way.

What is not weird is holding the actual, real thing in my hands, after spending so much time with the story in my head.

Can’t wait for y’all to get yours! Books ship today!

Paperback: Amazon, IndieBound

Download the ebook: Smashwords, iBooks, Kindle

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Traveler trailer and release date!

Great news, everyone! Traveler is available to pre-order through all major retailers. Amazon still says the paperback is “out of stock”, but if you order it, they will ship it by the release day!

PREORDER NOW!


In other news, I’m going to return to blogging on WordPress as I used to, about my creative process, things and people I find inspiring, and perhaps even occasional artwork. I’ll also keep you updated on Traveler and it’s sequel (yay!), and other things I’m writing.

When the next book is finished I plan to release it serially on Wattpad as I did for Traveler, but I’ll use WordPress solely as my writer’s blog from now on. Traveler is still on Wattpad for free reading. Do head over there if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, or you want to sample before buying (and do leave a vote and comment to let me know what you think!).

I have ideas for future content here that are really exciting, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon!

Jinn

(For some reason I feel like I need to sign this, like an open letter or something. Even though, that’s basically what this entire blog is.)

Book Release Eminent

Traveler

 

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my next book, Traveler.

It’s the first of three volumes chronicling the adventures of a grumpy, blue-haired barista, a mischievous young shapechanger, and an inter-dimensional coffee shop. She just wants to escape. He’s determined to find his missing aunt. Fate has other ideas for them both.

Traveler will be released a couple different ways.

First, as a serialized fiction. I’ll be posting it here on WordPress and also on WattPad, starting Tuesday, September 12. Then the book will be released in print and ebook format in March 2018. Along the way, I’ll be posting little extras like character artwork and sketches related to the narrative, and here on the blog I’ll also post short vignettes and thoughts in between.

The first few episodes of Traveler will go up Tuesday, September 12.

Here’s the synopsis:

Trapped in a cafe that travels to seven universes on an infinite loop, Jaz Contra serves coffee while trying to locate the mysterious white-haired man who put her there.

When a young shapechanger named Bracken— whose search for his missing aunt leads him to this very cafe— stows away in her basement, Jaz must help him survive until he can return to his own world. Through a series of bizarre encounters with talking tigers, little blue men, adolescent alchemists and the occasional grim reaper, Bracken’s efforts to locate his aunt create daily chaos, threatening Jaz’s chances of ever escaping, not to mention the stability of seven worlds.

The fun starts September 12th. Excited to be sharing my work with y’all!

Noon on a Saturday

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On a Saturday, after a rough week, I need to do something to feel better. I make myself a Denver omelet: eggs, ham, bell pepper, lots of cheddar. It’s so good that I make blueberry pancakes as an encore. In the home stretch of flipping cakes, I get a text from Mike, who happens to be visiting Austin:

Hey we are going out to South Congress I guess!?!? If you want to meet us there 🙂

What times and whereabouts? I ask.

We are there now!

Well, snap.

Mike is a legendary old friend. I can’t pass this up. Today I was supposed to…oh well. I toss the day’s schedule aside, eat pancakes while I dress, and head out on my bicycle, already breathless.

South Congress is the Austin strip, a tourist magnet. It’s lined with funky, punky shops and restaurants; places you have to stand in line to get into. It’s also on top of a hill, with about ten thousand more hills between me and it.

I discover this the hard way.

Halfway there, I’m struggling to haul my bike and full stomach uphill on the narrow shoulder, my stomach complaining that this had better be worth it and legs saying it probably isn’t and we should stop now.  Fortunately, the next turn puts me on a road with a posh two-way bike lane that shoots into the perpetual carnival that is South Congress. I fall in with tourists and students drawn by the dynamic food offerings and kinky shops sporting local wares.

Mike and friends find me loitering outside a pizza joint comprised of two different buildings and a food truck, people queued at every door and window, and we wander away and into a store whose name implies wearable industrial creativity. In a burst of enthusiasm I buy a bright green shirt with a dinosaur that says ‘The Saurus knows all the words.’ I am not a writer if I don’t get this shirt.

After we stand bewildered outside the store holding paper bags of clothes and oddities, wondering where to eat, we head away from the center of South Congress to Torchy’s Tacos. I’m still full from my epic breakfast and opt for just sparkling water, nibbling at Mike’s nachos but really wanting just water to sip.

We sit all together outside in a fenced-in gravel yard and eat tacos and discuss little-known aspects of Torchy’s menu with a waiter who looks faintly like Jeremy (and is from Wisconsin, in fact). He tells us goodbye, because it’s the end of his shift and he’s going home, which happens to be next door. It’s like eating at someone’s house instead of a restaurant. Most of us in the group are from Reno, or lived there at some point, so we have things in common.  We talk and talk about the familiar, surrounded by foreign things, the conversation stopping only while our mouths are full.

I’m glad to be here, hills notwithstanding.

A Life within a Life

There is a rhythm to the creative process.
I couldn’t tell you what it is because I still don’t know.
It changes, shifts, like a living thing. Going in some direction I didn’t expect. Most days I’m lucky to be on its heels.
What I do know is practice and study. That’s how I go on producing, almost invisibly, in the midst of living life. Writing line after line in a coffee shop, between poetry scribblers and newspaper readers, blenders churning, milk steaming in the background. Taking words that capture my attention and writing them down: “Yes, after an hour of keeping your hand moving, you will have several pages filled with words; but ultimately, you can’t fool yourself…somewhere along you have to break through.”
I start a routine and it works for about a week, five days, before my schedule shifts and changes yet again but that doesn’t matter.  After that week I know more than ever where I’m headed.  Breakthroughs happen regardless of change if you keep flexible, keep pushing forward however you may. Writing, creating—it’s not a conveyor belt. It’s a life within a life.
It works inside of and despite everything. This is neat because study, crafting—ideas—happen all the time. While you experience one thing you’re turning it over and learning how it fits into what you’re creating at the moment. It’s important to know this, and also to still work and produce steadily, on any schedule.
Writing is both flexible and inflexible.

Barefoot, with a Sword

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I’m not one for princesses, unless they come bearing swords. Swords mean action, they mean danger and needing one’s wits, courage to survive. A princess with a sword—that’s my kind of story.
So I knew I would like Child of Light. It’s a video game story I stay up late to play out a little longer, immersed in the watercolor-style animation. A slow-motion beauty overcasting dangerous landscape. Little conversations, people talking in rhymes, all of the characters so quirky and lovely.
I play games as I read stories, as I experience movies: like it’s me. I’m Aurora, a barefoot girl wearing a paper crown, waking up in a damp, strangely beautiful Otherworld. Immediately I obtain a too-large-for-me sword and a companion who I assume is a firefly. I run over tree roots as big as tables and leap gaps in stone platforms, fighting monsters, trying to find my way back home to my father, the king.
I’m in the story until my mind numbs and my eyes are closing. I put the adventure on hold and go to bed. The soundtrack, even more endearing to me as it’s written by someone called Couer d’Pirate, plays on dimly in my less-impressive dreams, plays on through the next day’s writing, through my workday, making me secretly happy. I have an adventure on hold, right now, in the background. Soon I’ll be back in it.

Games like these are a substitute for finding a portal to another world.