It’s ALIVE! When Stories Take on a Life of Their Own

So this hasn’t always been the case, but over time, I have evolved into a ‘Discovery Writer’ (AKA: ‘Pantser,’ as in, ‘writing by the seat of your pants’ [as opposed to being a Planner]). I basically come up with a concept or jumping-off point, and find out where it leads (AKA: writing into the dark).

Sometimes, this method can be terrifying. (“Where the hell is this story going??”) But I have come to find it makes the writing process far more interesting (and fun!). It also means that a lot of times your stories or characters can end up taking a turn on you that you never saw coming.

I had this happen for all three of my most recent projects:

Legends of Lasniniar Goddess Almighty coverLegends of Lasniniar: Goddess Almighty

(Click here for product description and purchase links)

When I first came up with my list of ideas for what I wanted to do for each upcoming Legend of Lasnniar fantasy adventure over the six latest installments I had planned to write and publish in a row (this one is number four), I intended to write this story from an entirely opposite point of view.

But after writing Quicksilver, which details the first meeting of Iarion and Felara, I thought it would be much more interesting to get inside Felara’s head for Goddess Almighty. And since Felara is basically a sociopath, the story turned out a few shades darker than I had originally thought it would.

Tale of the Tape Kira Brightwell coverTale of the Tape: A Kira Brightwell Short Novel

(Click here for product description and pre-order links)

When I made my list of ideas for the upcoming run of Kira Brightwell crime fiction shorts I wanted to write and publish in a row (eight in total), I basically wrote ‘high school story’ in my notebook for this one. I also had a vague idea of Kira trying to find another student’s missing car, but that was pretty much it.

I thought this story was going to be pretty straightforward before I started. But as things moved along, other complications beyond the missing car came out of the woodwork, and really, the missing car was only the beginning.

Tale of the Tape evolved from a vague, short story idea into a short novel of over 25,000 words. (Crazy, right?)

It basically ended up being a much bigger story than I would have intentionally planned. And it was fun to have just Kira and Rob running around trying to solve things again, with Trevor in full douchebag form (much like in Under Wraps).

Legends of Lasniniar Prevailing Wind coverLegends of Lasniniar: Prevailing Wind

(Click here for product description and pre-order links)

After writing the tangling mystery that ended up being Tale of the Tape, I needed a change of pace. (Back when she was in high school, Kira didn’t have any MMA skills. While Tale of the Tape has quite a bit of action and suspense, there isn’t any actual fighting in it, and I was itching to kick some ass at this point.)

Prevailing Wind is a sideways story from the World of Lasniniar epic fantasy series that focuses on Arinwyn during the time of Storm Rider. (She doesn’t actually appear in Storm Rider, but this is one of her own adventures that occurs ‘off-page’ during that novel. She first appears in Legends of Lasniniar: Without Wings, which takes place during the time of Soul Seeker.)

This story is an evolution of Arinwyn’s character after we first meet her in Without Wings. Both her magic and her secret heritage are a continuing theme that she is forced to struggle with.

…And what better way to kick things off than with a badass battle against a dragon?

This one definitely ended up having more action than I originally had planned for an internal struggle story, but the fighting actually ended up informing that struggle, so it all worked out.

 

So basically all three of these stories ended up being quite a bit different than they probably would have been if I had started with a detailed plot outline in hand. Does that make them better? No way to tell, really. But it definitely made them more interesting and fun for me to write (which is what helps keep me humming along).

And I’m hoping that makes them more interesting and fun to read as well.

 

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Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, Publishing Updates, Writing Updates, 0 comments

Lasniniar meets Die Hard?? (lol)

OK, maybe not really… But sweet click-bait title, right?

There is a story behind this, of course. It goes a little something like this:

Me: (Hands Mark the manuscript for Quicksilver.) Here’s the new Lasniniar story that’s coming out in December. Iarion and Barlo are in it. It’s about when they first meet Felara.

Mark: So it’s a Christmas story.

Me: Well… Not exactly. I mean, it takes place around Solstice, but it’s not a Solstice adventure, per se.

Mark: You mean like Die Hard.

Me: Um… yes? (Full confession: I’ve never actually seen Die Hard.)

So yeah. Quicksilver is an Iarion and Barlo, Solstice-adjacent adventure featuring Felara that might possibly be like Die Hard. (But probably isn’t. I forgot to ask Mark for a follow-up comparison after he finished reading it.) Decide for yourself! 😛

Legends of Lasniniar: Quicksilver is now available | Click here for retailer links

Legends of Lasniniar Quicksilver cover

Barlo isn’t a fan of Iarion’s new friend.

The strange, unnamed woman arrives from out of nowhere, and seems to know far too much about the legendary elf for Barlo’s taste.

Iarion is more intrigued than concerned. After all, Barlo’s suspicious, dwarven nature has been proved wrong before, and the woman seems friendly enough. But Barlo can’t help but wonder…

Who is she? What does she want?

…And why is she so interested in Iarion?

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Wave Runners and GodmakerClick the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

NEW! Legends of Lasniniar: Goddess Almighty | Click here for retailer links

Coming January 16th

Legends of Lasniniar Goddess Almighty coverFelara is looking for followers.

…Worshipers, to be precise. She does want to become a goddess, after all.

And why shouldn’t she? All her other Unborn cousins and siblings are doing it. Besides, Felara has big plans, assuming her glimpses of the future are accurate.

All she needs is the right group of humans—and the right circumstances—to start a new religion.

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Wave Runners and GodmakerClick the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

Coming December 25th-January 1st: Smashwords Year End Sale!

I’m going to be taking part in the Smashwords annual holiday sale, so if you’re missing any of these titles from your collection, this is your chance to get the ePub versions and save 50% with coupon code SEY50: Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Promotions, Publishing Updates, Writing Updates, 0 comments

Kicking Ass for Christmas

Kira Brigthwell is back, in her first Christmas adventure with her persistent (and frequently unwanted) partner, Trevor Wright at her side. (What could possibly go wrong??)

Over in Lasniniar, Nofret is fighting for freedom from her Lion Folk oppressors, while Iarion and Barlo are meeting a sketchy, new friend–who seems to bring chaos everywhere she goes.

Check it out…

Lights Out (A Kira Christmas Short) is now available | Click here for retailer links

Lights Out Kira Brightwell coverWho doesn’t love the mall at Christmas? Kira Brightwell.

And yet, here she finds herself—looking for a last-minute gift among a bustling crowd that would make someone who hasn’t had one of the toughest years ever want to punch someone in the face—when a child tasks her with finding some missing donation presents.

Of course whenever Kira gets involved, nothing is as it seems. Especially when Trevor Wright comes along for the ride.

Looks like someone’s halls are about to get decked.

A quirky, short crime story for both new and regular readers of the Kira Brightwell series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This adventure takes place after Cornered. Click the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

 

 

Legends of Lasniniar: Lion’s Pride is now available | Click here for retailer links

Legends of Lasniniar Lion's Pride coverNofret will do anything to prove herself.

A half-breed orphan raised by the rebel Cat Folk, her very existence an unspeakable crime, she longs to perform great deeds that will make her feel as though she has earned her place.

When her beloved guardian Ineni goes missing, she senses her opportunity has finally arrived.

…But is she willing to pay the price?

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Wave Runners and Godmaker. Click the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

 

 

NEW! Legends of Lasniniar: Quicksilver is available for pre-order | Click here for retailer links

Coming December 19th

Legends of Lasniniar Quicksilver coverBarlo isn’t a fan of Iarion’s new friend.​​​​​​​

The strange, unnamed woman arrives from out of nowhere, and seems to know far too much about the legendary elf for Barlo’s taste.
​​​​​​​
Iarion is more intrigued than concerned. After all, Barlo’s suspicious, dwarven nature has been proved wrong before, and the woman seems friendly enough. But Barlo can’t help but wonder…
​​​​​​​
Who is she? What does she want?

…And why is she so interested in Iarion?

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Wave Runners and Godmaker. Click the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

NEW! Tale of the Tape is available for pre-order | Click here for retailer links

Coming February 13th, 2020

Tale of the Tape Kira Brightwell coverKira Brightwell can’t wait for high school to be over.
​​​​​​​
Years before she becomes a local hero and kick-ass problem solver for hire, the teasing and bullying seems like it’s never going to end.
​​​​​​​
…Until distraction comes in the form of a stolen car and an outrageous bet from rich jock and chief tormentor, Trevor Wright.

A quirky, short crime story for both new and regular readers of the Kira Brightwell series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This adventure takes place before Split Decision. Click the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

 

 

 

Paperback progress/blog update:

Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Publishing Updates, Writing Updates, 0 comments

Lion Folk, and Iarion and Sea Elves, oh my!

Just a quick update about some new title news (as I continue to wrangle my way through the seemingly endless journey to update all my paperbacks)…

Legends of Lasniniar: Making Waves (featuring Iarion) is now available | Click here for retailer links

Legends of Lasniniar Making Waves coverIarion is used to being the odd elf out.

Things are no different when he arrives at the Sea Elves’ forest, searching for answers to a question that has plagued him for millennia.

But the Sea Elves have problems of their own. Communications with their island cousins have fallen silent. They have had no word from their ruling lord and lady, or the Learnéd One Feoras—the very people Iarion had hoped to meet.

If Iarion wants his answers, he will have to help the Sea Elves.

…Whether they like it or not.

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Kinslayer and Soul SeekerClick the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

NEW! Legends of Lasniniar: Lion’s Pride is available for pre-order | Click here for retailer links

(Coming November 21st)

Legends of Lasniniar Lion's Pride coverNofret will do anything to prove herself.

A half-breed orphan raised by the rebel Cat Folk, her very existence an unspeakable crime, she longs to perform great deeds that will make her feel as though she has earned her place.

When her beloved guardian Ineni goes missing, she senses her opportunity has finally arrived.

…But is she willing to pay the price?

A fast-paced, fantasy adventure for both new and regular readers of the World of Lasniniar series by Writers’ Journal winning author, Jacquelyn Smith. This short story takes place between Wave Runners and GodmakerClick the link above to find this title at your preferred retailer.

 

Paperback progress report:

Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Publishing Updates, Writing Updates, 0 comments

The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked About Being a Writer

[Question Mark Illustration by Pixabay, via Pexels.com.]

I’m pretty low-key about telling anyone I’m a writer. (Mainly because I feel like what a lot of people think being a writer entails is far more romanticized and exciting than the reality. I mean, it’s interesting to me, but there’s a reason why writing isn’t a spectator event. All the exciting/interesting stuff is going on where no one can see it.)

Inevitably when I do cop to being a writer, I tend to get the same round of questions (to which I provide awkward answers), so I figured I would throw them up here.

Now of course, there is no One True Way or Writing Police to keep everyone on the same path (which would be pretty boring). So this is just how I roll. Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, 0 comments

How I fell ass-backward into writing

I’ll always have my backup career as an ice cream taster (aside from the whole lactose intolerance thing). [Photo by Brenda Smith.]

I never wanted to be a writer growing up.

I mean, I was always into reading. Like, really into reading. My parents are both big readers, and they did everything they could to encourage the same in me. There were bedtime stories (Noddy [affiliate link], complete with my dad’s off-key singing of the songs), library books (pretty sure my mom cleared out the then-paltry Young Adult section before starting to bring home adult fiction when I was in around fifth grade), book orders through my school classroom, and monthly visits to my local bookstore for the release of each new title in the Sweet Valley Twins [affiliate link] series. (Team Elizabeth 4 life! Lol.)

…And once I got into adult fantasy, I was unstoppable. Every summer, we would go to the cottage for a week, and I would go through at least one novel a day. I remember walking through the halls of my high school with a 700-page book under my arm and someone asking me what class I was reading it for. I got a blank stare when I explained I was just reading it for fun.

But yeah. I never thought about being a writer. Somehow, it was never on my radar. Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, 0 comments

Smashwords Halloween Sale!

Even sharkosauruses (sharkosauri?) like to dress up for Halloween…

Just a quick update to let you know about a little promotion I’m running for the month of October…

Several of my ebooks are available for 50% off on Smashwords until October 31st. These are all darker adventures (with the exception of Under Wraps, which is just a pure fun Halloween crime story).

What is Smashwords?

Smashwords is a distributor and retailer of indie ebooks. Their retail platform is available internationally, with payments completed by Paypal. They also make it possible for authors/publishers to create coupons for their books, which is awesome.

What ebook formats are supported?

At the moment, I only have the ePub version of my books available on Smashwords. (Check out this post to find out more about why.) ePub is the most widely-used ebook format, and works for Apple, Kobo, and Nook devices, as well as their associated apps.

Coupon Code: EZ59A

This is a public coupon, so it will also show up on each product page for the titles listed below. (Heads up! This site uses affiliate links.) Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Promotions, 0 comments

Why I Don’t Have Kindle Versions of My Books on Smashwords Anymore

Legends of Lasniniar By the Light of the Moon screenshot

The final Vellum-created product for Legends of Lasniniar: By the Light of the Moon ePub

So this is just more of an informational post for anyone who might be checking out my books on Smashwords and wondering why I only have ePub versions available now…

First of all, this is nothing against Smashwords. (Or Kindle owners, for that matter, since I am one.) I think it’s cool that Smashwords has their own storefront for writers, with the ability to generate coupons, as well as to take part in site-wide promotions, like the Smashwords Summer Sale. All good stuff. And I’m all about having my books available as widely as possible. Readers can purchase a variety of ebook formats on Smashwords (ePub, Kindle, PDF, etc.), assuming the author/publisher has made this possible.

So why limit myself to ePub format? Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Publishing Updates, 0 comments

Adventures in Fiction Writing: When Sh*t Gets Too Real

A girl and her sharkosaurus.

When I started writing the Kira Brightwell series four years ago (Crap, has it really been that long??), I was excited to dip my toe into a new genre after writing only fantasy. I figured something like crime fiction would be a good fit for my strengths: action and quirky/snarky dialogue. The main difference from my fantasy projects is that it would take place in the ‘real world’. No problem, right?

Wrong.

See, one of the things I find the most liberating about writing fantasy is that the entire world comes out of my own head. Locations can be wherever/whatever I want or need them to be, and I can invent magical systems and creatures as I go along. Basically, there are no limitations. (That being said, it has become a bit of a challenge over the years to keep track of my ever-expanding Lasniniar series to make sure I’m sticking to my own canon, so I don’t end up getting stuck in a Lucy Lawless/Simpsons situation, lol.)

Originally, when I started planning the first Kira novel Split Decision, I was determined to use a real-world location. I was all over Google Maps, checking out Street View to see where locations within the story were in relation to each other and what they looked like, local crime rates, checking out colleges and universities, etc. (I’m sure Google gets very confused by my sketchy search history sometimes, which has included research for multiple ways to break into a car, how to break out of handcuffs, and footage of various MMA moves and holds, among other things.)

The whole real-world location thing was really starting to stress me out and stop me in my tracks. I had this crazy fear of someone calling me out on an inaccurate detail of what might possibly be their hometown. Then Mark saved me by suggesting I create a fictional town instead (La Valentia), framed within a real-world location (California). This hardly a new idea in fiction, and it really saved my ass. Suddenly, I felt like I had enough room to breathe again with an imaginary location that could be built to fit my needs and I would know better than anyone else.

…But then there was Kira. Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, 0 comments

Halloween in Lasniniar? Plus, a Kira novel that wasn’t meant to happen…

Halloween in Lasniniar

A few years ago, I took on the challenge to write a Lasniniar Christmas-themed story. You know, just because. The reason I say it was a challenge is because there isn’t any Christmas (or organized religion) in Lasniniar, but hey, what do you know? They celebrate the winter solstice. (Convenient, right?) Anyway, I had so much fun with A Solstice Tale, I ended up writing another two Solstice-themed adventures featuring Iarion and Barlo (which always seem to turn into mystery misadventures for some reason).

This year, I wanted to try something different. I love Christmas (as much as someone who has worked 15+ years in retail is capable of doing so), and there might possibly be more Solstice adventures in the future, but I wanted a new challenge.

So what about Halloween? Continue reading →

Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, Writing Updates, 2 comments