janeites are the best-ites.

I am super excited to announce that I’m working on a group short story collection slated for release this upcoming holiday season with five other ah-mah-zing Austen authors!  More details will follow soon, but I wanted to give a shout out to my fellow short story writers and say how thrilled I am to be working with them.

 

Melissa Buell

Melissa Buell is the brains behind this short story collection (with some vague input from yours truly…but Melissa is really the instigator.)   I love Melissa because she is a fellow So Cal girl and an awesome friend. She also writes some great fairy tale inspired YA.

 

 

Cecilia Gray

Cecilia Gray (the Gray who spells her name correctly – or so she says…cough, no, Ceci, just no.) writes awesome YA Austen adaptations as well as Regency romance and YA suspense…and well, just about everything! She’s also super cool and a California girl like Melissa and me (though she’s from Nor Cal which is like, BARELY, California).

 

Jennifer Becton

Jennifer Becton is the reason I write Austen adaptation and the reason I self-publish. I don’t actually think I’m overstating at all when I say that with out her example to follow I would never have published a darn thing.  I love her Austen spinoffs featuring minor characters as well as her mysteries starring kick ass private eye, Julia Jackson.

 

 

Kimberly Truesdale

My love and adoration for Kimberly Truesdale are well known.  She’s one of my favorite people as well as being an amazing story editor.  If you haven’t read her Austen adaptation My Dear Sophy or her other Regency titles you need to get on that right away.

 

 

Rebecca Fleming

Rebecca Fleming is a fabulous book blogger and librarian with an amazing sense of what stories work…which is I LOVE when she beta reads my novels! I have had the privilege of reading some of her stories and I’m excited that this collection will be her debut publication!

 

 

I can’t wait to share more details with you!  Wish me luck as I’m taking on one of Austen’s novels that I don’t usually…love.  But some fun ideas are floating around and I’ve already got the Christmas carols cranked up to 11 for inspiration!

 

New Words…a Blog Hop…and a Giveaway

Hello my lovelies! This just in: I AM NOT DEAD! It’s been ages and ages since I’ve blogged…not since the new site design (thanks as always to Tori my ever-awesome designer for the help!).

Magnus KirI’m going to be honest, it’s been a rough few months…well, really, a rough year in the life of Jess and I haven’t had the time to write or blog like I should.

Enter Dean Hardy – Author, Twitter-Dude, George MacDonald Fan, and Excellent Namer of Children (if your kid shares a name with a Narnian you are my new favorite. The end).  Dean invited me to be a part of a blog hop and instead of saying “well gee, I haven’t blogged in an age and a day,” I totally said “ummmm, sure!”  So here I am a’bloggin’ and a’hoppin’ and a’talkin’ about me as a writer.  First, before you read anymore, make sure to check out Dean’s post from last week and read all about his awesome Middle Grade novel Magnus Kir. (Click the link, lovelies, don’t make me tell you twice!)

 

And now on to the part where I’m weirdly self-promotey and talk about myself. Cause I’m awesome:

 

What inspired me to be a writer.

Ummmm.  I really wanted to have a fantastic answer for this…something that makes me sound witty and erudite…and possibly less crazy than normal. I even polled my writer friends to see if I could steal some of their inspirations.  This is my life, people, stealing my friend’s inspirations.  My fave is Melissa Buell (whom I love and you should read – visit her site) who told me she read Twilight, hated it, and wanted to write a good book that her sister could read. Personally, I love me some Twilight, but I GET THE SENTIMENT and it’s a STORY you can tell about what inspired you – like an originating inspiration point.  I don’t have one of those.

Here is my honest answer to this question: I write because the voices in my brain won’t shut the heck up if I don’t get them out on paper.  They don’t just talk to me, they talk to EACH OTHER.  They create scenes and entire back stories and subplots while I stare vacantly at the kitchen wall while the hot water runs over the dirty dishes.  I have approximately thirty-two separate stories in my head at any one time…well, thirty-two is my max (I operate at max story capacity most of the time).  What happens when a thirty-third story pops into my sad little mind? I MUST WRITE ONE DOWN in order to reduce the number back to thirty-two.  This is why I write.  (For reference, Ang who is next on this blog hop suggested I say I write for the Cold. Hard. Cash. And then we both broke down into hysterical laughter…and tears).

On a sentimental note, my entire writing career exists because of – and is dedicated to – my FaFa (grandfather), Charles Richard Grey who was the best man I have ever known.  He was an artist – an amazingly talented artist who worked in graphic design for years in order to take care of his family and always wanted to paint for himself when he retired.  Shortly after he retired he almost completely lost his eye sight.  I never once heard him complain but it always broke my heart that his art stayed inside of him.  Because of that, I resolved that I’d grab the chance to create the art I love and hold onto it as tight as I can.  He also introduced me to my all time favorite author, Mary Stewart, and my favorite book is This Rough Magic…I have FaFa’s original hardcover copy.

Well! That was entirely too long and much more wordy than I originally anticipated…now I’m supposed to talk about my book(s).  I’ve written a few, and I couldn’t figure out which one to feature here.  There’s the first two in the Fairytale Trilogy, Awake and Atone…(I promise you Aspire is coming…eventually), then there’s the chick-lit Austenesque Attempting Elizabeth, and finally the two short story collections, Views from the Tower and Views from the Depths.

 

BUT YOU HAVE ALL HEARD ALL ABOUT THESE BOOKS.  We need some new words, yo!

 

My next book (which I promise will come out this year or there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth), is based on my all time favorite fairy tale Allerleirauh or All-Kinds-of-Fur.  The original story has so much drama and weirdness and trauma and so many whys.  It’s in the places where the original causes me to ask “why in the heck?” that I find the most inspiration for a fairy tale adaptation and Allerleirauh is chock full of “why in the hecks?”  I can’t even fully explain my obsession with this fairy tale, but it speaks to me and I’ve wanted to write a version of it FOREVER.  I am absolutely in love with my main characters Anna and Frederick and so happy to get to tell their story.  So, without further ado, here’s a brief sample of my version of Allerleirauh called Sun, Moon, Stars.  In this scene Anna flees her father’s home, heading north into the heart of winter.

 

*Warning: this is an unedited draft, read with a grain of salt…or a boulder of salt, that works too*

 

I startled awake, heartbeat pounding in my ears.  My chest hurt from its wild running. I gasped in a cold, wet breath, the sound loud in the silence.
There. There it was again.  My eyes widened as I listened. The baying of the dogs.
I clenched my fists.  The fear raced through me unchecked, clawing at my throat, tightening my stomach.  Bile rose in my throat.
The sound came again; the lead dog calling out and the rest of the pack answering.
Every muscle in my body tensed, screaming at me to flee.  My mind raced as fast as my heartbeat.  My breath was a shallow panting that I was sure could be heard from miles away.
Don’t get up. Stay still. Don’t get up.  I slowly opened my fists and ran my palms over the coat covering my legs.  I pressed down, trying to soothe myself.  Trying to keep myself from stumbling up and fleeing.  Trying to focus.  How far away are they?  Listen, listen, listen.
I strained to hear over the thrumming of my heart.  The baying sounded again to the southwest.  They’d followed my scent.  The sounds were faint enough that they were probably on the other side of the Vesia.  I tried to take a deep breath – to feel the relief that should come with that realization, but I couldn’t force the air into my chest. My heartbeat was still careening wildly out of control.
You expected the dogs, you knew he would send them.   There’s no reason to panic, they’re far away. They haven’t come north.
But my mind couldn’t convince my body.  Every muscle remained tense.  Every breath hurt.  My mouth watered and I wondered what I would even be able to throw up.  I hadn’t eaten in hours.
I wrapped my arms around my legs and rested my head on my knees. I gave up on reasoning with myself.  Every time I tried to tell my body to relax I tensed even more.  Eventually the sounds of the dogs will go away. Eventually I’ll be able to breathe normally.
I could still hear them canvassing up and and down the Vesia, trying to pick up the scent. After what seemed like hours, the hunters must have decided that I’d kept going south.  The whine of the dogs as they were dragged away from my trail faded into the distance.  I remained curled up, head on my knees, until daylight began to fade.
I forced myself to open the satchel and take out half of one of the small loaves of bread.  I had to choke it down, but I knew my body needed sustenance.  I had to be able to walk. I tried not to think about how many days my food would last.  I drank the water from my flask and refilled it with snow.
Then I started walking north.

 

*****

 

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek of Sun, Moon, Stars. Make sure to check out the inspiration board on pinterest and read the original fairy tale.

 

The next author to post on this blog hop is going to be my fabulous friend Ang on August 11th.  Make sure to check out her blog.

 

And because giveaways make EVERYTHING BETTER and I want to make sure you read Dean’s awesome book, I’m giving away an ebook version of Magnus Kir along with an ebook of your choice of any one of my books.

 

Thanks for reading, guys!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway