Tag Archives: blog hop

My Writing Process Blog Tour-Jessica Aspen Style

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers and readers

This is the next stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour, and I want to thank Joan Leacott for inviting me to this tour. Thanks, Joan! If you didn’t come here from Joan’s site I would like to introduce you to her lovely contemporary romances set in Clarence Bay, Canada. If you love complex family dynamics, intertwined relationships, and  quite simply, romance, then check out Joan’s first book Above Scandal, HERE. And to find out about Joan’s writing process, click HERE.

Now for my writing process.

1) What am I working on?
Currently I am working on the third book in my Tales of the Black Court series. Book one: The Dark Huntsman came out in October 2013 and book two: Prince by Blood and Bone is off to the final editor. (Whew!) I am in the process of just starting book three: Broken Mirror which will complete the trilogy and tell the tale of the last MacElvy cousin, Cassie. I’m currently working on the outline, and while I have some ideas for this book that I’ve known I want to work on for a long time, I’m not really ready to give you all the details. All I’ll say is that if you’ve read the books, you’ve met the hero already. Hint, he’s fae and a member of the Black Court.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have two different series of twisted fairy tales out, each one has it’s own unique twists and turns. Tales of the Black Court takes place in both the modern world and the fae world between the worlds of Underhill. While I use fairy tales as a scaffolding for my plots, I never stick exactly to the classic tales. There are no traditional princesses, my evil queen is not the only true evil in the court, and the prince is never what he seems. What you will find are elements of the fairy tales: Poisoned apples, enchanted beasts, and psychics who are actually magic mirrors.

In my other fairy tale series I write about modern day shapeshifters hidden in the Colorado Rockies. These tales are contemporary twists of the old tales. In my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series you’ll find werewolves and werebears as well as glimpses of the classic fairy tale elements. A great example is in Snow and the Seventh Wolf, the step-mother is an online talk show host of a show called The Queen of Bitch. I love the tongue in cheek elements I’ve been able to insert into these spicy, new adult tales.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I started twisting fairy tales because I’ve always loved the way authors have done this. I’ve read fairy tales, and fairy tale twists for years, but at the time I started there weren’t many romance writers doing it. Now there are many and I love to explore how each of us can take the exact same story and twist it a different way. I’ve even twisted the same story, Snow White, in both of my series, and I expect that will happen again as I explore the next trilogy planned for my court series and also continue to play in the woods with my shape-shifters. I like both types of stories and I don’t think I’ll be giving either up soon!

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process has changed over the last few years. I used to be a total seat-of-the-pantser. I wrote both Little Red Riding Wolf and The Dark Huntsman by just sitting down and letting go. But they both required extensive editing for plot, as well as time spent thinking about what might come next and I realized that if I continued to write that way, I’d be writing very slow. So I’ve changed now. I go through a plotting process called The Snowflake Method, by Randy Ingermanson. (I’ve written several posts on this, you can find some of them HERE, and HERE.)

The Snowflake Method is a very quick outline of what your story is going to look like overall and doesn’t take much time. After a week or two I have a great scaffold for my story to rest on. Next I write a fast draft, NANOWRIMO style, getting as many words down on the page without worrying too much about mistakes, or details. If I need to do some research, I make a note on the side of my document. All of these notes and the fleshing out part comes with the next draft. Draft two: I refine the plot, fill in the blanks, and add words. Usually about twenty percent more than the original draft.

Then comes the editing. I go through each chapter line by line before sending it to my crit partner, ML Guida. She sends it back with little notes like, “Slow down, honey.” or “I don’t understand this.” or “Yes, you got that one right!”

I go back through that chapter again, then send her the next one. We do that for the entire manuscript and when it’s finished it goes off to my professional editor for developmental edits.

Then it comes back to me. I re-write, make corrections, and send it off to my OOOPS! editor, who catches my grammar and spelling errors, and (hopefully) any weird things like changing hair color.

And then it’s finished! WOOT!

fairy tale rose in mirrorWow! This is a super long post on my writing process. This blog hop is an exponential blog hop. Every time an author is chosen, she’s supposed to choose three more authors, but that means that at some point most authors have already participated. I’m coming in at that point, so instead of three new authors with brand new writing processes, I’m going to direct you to a few  you might have missed on the tour. Authors Lizzie T. Leaf asked me to participate, as did author Elaine Cougler and Lynn Cahoon, and for various reasons I had to decline. Please check out these authors blogs and enjoy what they have to say about their writing processes.

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

Picking Up After Ourselves on Elaine Cougler

Wednesday Jump-In

Congratulations to my Goodreads Giveaway Winners! WOOT! Ten print copies of my brand new, fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, will be going out to ten lucky winners in the mail this week. WOOT!

Today I am a guest on Elaine Cougler’s blog HERE and since she writes anything but paranormal I wrote a fun little post that dog lovers and writers alike will enjoy. I love to read a variety of authors and Elaine’s book The Loyalist’s Wife is burning a hole in my Kindle waiting for me to have the time to really dig into some historical fiction. I figure that will be November at this rate, when I go back to the day job and writing becomes very difficult for me to accomplish.

Tomorrow I start a brand new blog hop with the October New Release blog hop. Tons of new authors for you to meet, all with brand new books this month. Like me! And there will be prizes available, so check back for a non-paranormal Thursdays Bite, tomorrow.

And speaking of prizes there is only one week left to hop to the rest of the authors on Sam Cheever’s Trick or Treat Blog Hop. There are TWO grand prizes in that hop, two Kindle Paperwhites! As well as lots of books and goodies, including a print copy of The Dark Huntsman! Click HERE for details.sam cheevers trick or treat blog hop

Now on to the blog.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court will be back from my editor this week! WOOT! That means I need to get a jump on my Christmas novella, The Ghosts of Christmas Past. This was supposed to be a 20-30 k novella when I started it and as of now it has topped 35k. I think it will be closer to 40k by the time I send it to my editor and if it hits over 40k it is no longer a novella. It will be a novel. But a small one.

What is a novella? Isn’t it a small novella?

Typically a novella is defined as a fictional book between 20,000 and 40,000 words. Anything over 40k is considered a novel. But when you consider that The Dark Huntsman, and Prince by Blood and Bone are both 85,0000 words, is it fair to count a book that is half their length as a novel?

Well, the answer is, yes. But I would consider anything under 65k a short novel. Most short contemporaries, think Harlequin’s traditional little books, are under 65k. They are novels. And NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), which is coming up soon, considers a 50k novel to be a complete work.

Why is that?

NANOWRIMO braceletsTraditionally novels used to be shorter. In the times of expensive paper and ink and handwriting a book a fifty thousand word novel was an amazing accomplishment. It still is, it is just easier to achieve now that we have computers and e-readers and the cost of writing and production has dropped to just about nothing. But actually sitting down and writing that novel is tough. Thousands of people attempt NANOWRIMO in November, I’ve tried it several times, and most of us fail. That’s right. Me, who writes long involved novels, has never won NANOWRIMO.

It’s hard!

It’s really very difficult to write a novel and to do it in November is (for me) very tough. I work and there is a holiday, which helps some people because they are home and not working, but for me it means EVERYONE is home and not working and my house is crowded and noisy. Not my favorite writing environment.

So this year I am not attempting NANOWRIMO, but I would love to encourage those of you who are. I will be looking at my editors’ comments for both Prince by Blood and Bone and (hopefully) The Ghosts of Christmas Past (should it ever get finished). I will be formatting both of them and bringing them to production so that by January they will both be out and about and available for consumption.

Actually, I’m planning on the Christmas novella on being available for consumption much earlier than January, but today a lot depends on my long-suffering editor’s schedule, since I’ve bumped it up twice due to Jury duty, flood, and just general not getting it done. See, it takes at least two months for me to write a 35k novella. Writing 50k would be a huge challenge. But I’m up for it! I still would love to complete NANOWRIMO some time and I think next year I will plan my year around it. I’ll make sure I have a plot ready to go and outlined and all my other projects are on hold for November. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll kick everyone out of the house for Thanksgiving and get to writing.

HAH!

Are any of you planning on attempting NANOWRIMO? What have you done to make sure you can accomplish this Herculean feat? Have you prepped your loved ones to expect no turkey or stuffing on Thanksgiving? Have you finished your Christmas shopping early? Is your house clean and ready for guests at the drop of a hat so you can focus entirely on your manuscript?

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Filed under Bloghops, channeling success, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo

Trick or Treat With Your Favorite Author

Happy Halloween!

I’m spooktakularly thrilled to be a part of Sam Cheever’s annual Trick or Treat contest!  To begin playing, just pick an item from my goodie bag list below, send me an email with your selection. Then move on to the next author on the street. You will repeat this process at each successive author’s house until you get through all 13 authors.

***Please take some time to look around at each site. Some of the authors will be providing fun tidbits and free stories for your reading pleasure! If an author looks like someone you’d like to read, consider signing up for his/her newsletter.

On Halloween night at Midnight, each author will pick a winner from the emails sent to her site and send the names to Sam Cheever and on November 1st, Sam will pick two winners from those 13 “house” winners who will each win a Grand Prize basket.

Good luck everybody and have fun!

trick_or

The grand prize baskets will include an assortment of the following.

  • 2 Kindle paperwhite readers!
  • Halloween t-shirts
  • A boxed e-set of Sam Cheever’s Halloween books
  • Halloween Decorations
  • Halloween Candy
  • A copy of The Late Great Show! from Gary K. Wolf
  • A signed copy of Settler’s Mine: The Rivals and other promo items from Mechele Armstrong
  • A bag full of autographed swag and a one of a kind bracelet/earring set from Wendi Zwaduk
  • Romance Books ’4′ Us tote and size XL tee
  • A necklace, bracelet and mug from M.L. Guida
  • Signed print copy of True Blue Love from Melissa Lopez
  • Signed copies of Silent Screams and Shadows & Dust from Yvonne Nicolas
  • Black leather mini note pad & pen set and promo items from Dena Garson
  • A necklace and earrings and a copy of Dogspell from Lizzie T. Leaf
  • A Tote Bag filled with swag, an XL t-shirt and two autographed books from AuthorIsland.com
  • Signed copy of The Dark Huntsman from Jessica Aspen

Only one trip down the street and you must be at least 18 years of age to play!

Read this fun excerpt from The Dark Huntsman and tell me XXX.

The Dark Huntsman 

the dark huntsman by jessica aspenThunder boomed.

Trina looked up the valley. The dying light made it impossible for her to see much more than the silhouette of a horse and rider barrel through the boulders and uneven terrain, tearing down the rocky hillside at an impossible speed. But no barrel racer would endanger their mount careening down the mountain in a thunder storm. Or ride a horse the color of the absence of light, with freakish red eyes. Only something truly inhuman would light up her inner sight with that particular eerie blue glow.

The acid in her stomach rose into her throat.

An elven lord.

Oh Fuck! I’m screwed.

She swallowed the acid down. Her trap, her best effort, all her hard work. Dumb. Stupid. Pathetic. None of it would hold an elven lord, a full adult fae whose power would make her trap look like an art project. She wished she could hide the evidence, like a small child wiping up the crumbs of stolen cookies.

Horse and rider skidded and slowed in a shower of ricocheting rocks. The enormous hounds flowed out surrounding the labyrinth. The cloaked rider and his dark mount advanced.

She held still, athame at the ready in her sweaty hands, prepared to bolt if she had the chance. Her eyes flicked from the approaching rider, distracted by the lesser threat of the huge, sharp-toothed, and yellow-eyed hounds encircling the labyrinth. Silent sharks waiting for the command to take their prey.

Her.

“Damn shame to kill you, witch.” His voice was smooth, well-aged whiskey with a hint of brogue.

“Then don’t.”

“What will you give me instead? A life requires a powerful exchange. I was sent for your death.”

Trina tried to keep her face even and not reveal her panic, or sudden fear and loss of confidence. She had nothing he could want. Anything of true power, that a fae like this one might consider valuable, was safely out of reach and driving down the road in the van. Gone. Along with any reinforcements.

“How about honesty?” She offered in desperation.

“Funny girl.”

The nervous sweat on her back grew cold.

“Although I would enjoy taking the time,” he said, his low voice carrying easily over the wind and thunder, “we shouldn’t stand here bargaining. The queen awaits my report.”

The dark presence leaned forward, his impatient mount’s feet shifting on the gravel. The lord’s level tone distracted her, and she was unprepared when the horse moved. The pair crashed effortlessly into the labyrinth, cutting a destroying swath across the short, brushy, sage and heading for her at the center. The wards failed. Spectacular violent explosions burst into cascades of colored lights, as if they were merely firecrackers, instead of huge magical grenades.

The overwhelming smell of crushed sage rose, and she swore the evil-eyed horse laughed. She reached inside for what was left of her power, losing her grip on it when he leaned over and grabbed her arm. With no apparent effort, he hoisted her up.

She scrabbled for a handhold in an effort to not fly over the horse into the waiting sea of teeth and dogs. She tangled one hand in the long black mane and held tight to her slippery knife with the other.

Strong arms wrapped in leather tightened around her, forced her upright, her toes dangling sidesaddle. Everything happening too fast. She barely had a grip in the long black mane when the creature flexed under her and they flew over the candles.

The flames blew out.

They landed on the other side of the labyrinth in a hard jolt. She slipped.

If I fall, I could run.

Before the thought had been and gone, her grip on the mane loosened. She slid to the side. Hot breath and the scrape of teeth on her ankle warned her, just in time. She yanked her foot out of range of the snapping jaws, and lost her precarious balance. Making an instinctive grab for the mane with her right hand, she dropped the knife.

Her kidnapper growled and tightened his grip on her stomach and she gasped for her voice.

“Put me down!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I either kill you or take you with me.” The sparkling black blade of his laughter cut deep into her soul.

Accelerating faster and faster, they wove in and out of the treacherous rocks in a mad, blurring rush up the side of the valley. If she fell off now and hit a rock, she’d be road-kill. She anchored both hands firmly in the mane and leaned back into the solid chest of her attacker.

They raced on, licks of green fire lighting up the hill behind them. A deep maw of black within purple mist formed ahead, transforming the familiar landscape into a horror. The knowledge of where they headed slammed inside her brain.

Trina’s heart sped into a sharp staccato.

Words of denial formed in her constricted throat, gone long before she had a chance to know what they were.

Don’t make me go.

They rocketed to the top of the valley, the piranha hounds schooling tightly around them as they raced to the looming mouth of the portal. Steely muscles bunched and flexed under her. Launching into the air, they flew into the mix of fog and darkness encased in the sound of her scream.

What’s your favorite supernatural in this treat bag?

  • The dangerous but sexy elven lord?
  • The strong yet vulnerable witch?
  • The suspiciously evil beast that isn’t a horse?
  • The threat of the Faery Queen?
  • The portal? 

Select from my goodie bag and send me an email to tell me what you picked then don’t forget to hop on over to Sam Cheever’s site for the list of other authors sites where you can enter the contest. And have a Happy Halloween!

For more information on Jessica Aspen’s twisted fairy tale releases sign up for the New Release Email Blast. My next one should be coming soon with news about my Gothic Chritsmas novella: Ghosts of Christmas Past as well as book two of the Tales of the Black Court: Prince by Blood and Bone.

Contest is closed. Winners have been sent their emails. Thanks for participating!

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Filed under Bloghops, Moonday mania, The Dark Huntsman

Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog with style

There was a wonderful discussion on the RWA PRO loop about re-blogging,  pros and cons, of course. I love re-blogging, and here is one example why:

Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

via Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank.

(This is via David Gaugran’s blog Let’s Get Digital, and Why You Should.)

Love the idea of the book, would love to have written this blog myself, and now I can show you exactly why all of the above is true. Hop on over to the blog and check out the book and add it to your TBR pile. It’s on my Christmas list!

Next week the lovely Lia Davis will be on my blog, so check back on  for a taste of Lia and her delicious covers.

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Coming December 14th! Prizes galore!

On Friday, December 14th, we start the Holiday Gifts of Love Bloghop. Prizes available, so take the weekend and hop around the Holiday blogs for fun, prizes, and of course to discover new authors. I know you all will have book money to spend after the holiday’s, now’s the time to figure out where to spend it!

Just in time for the holidays I  have the release date for Snow and the Seventh Wolf, the second book in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series. It will be available from Passion in Print on January 15th, and on the other websites (Amazon, B&N, All Romance)about two weeks after. Getting excited to see Seth’s story on sale!

And I’ll be finishing the third book this month, soon to be sent off to Passion in Print. WOOT!

(Don’t you love the snow? Thanks, WordPress Elves!)

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Filed under Bloghops, Paranormal Book Review, Thursdays Bite, writing craft

Announcing CRW Bloghop with Prizes Galore!

Sensational Saturday’s

a blog for now

Colorado Romance Writers Mystic Month of May bloghop
Colorado Romance Writers is having it’s first ever blog hop, And I get to be the first guest!

We have prizes at each stop, and some grand prizes, so be sure to stop by and leave your comment to enter. And if you haven’t gotten a chance to read Little Red Riding Wolf  I’ll be giving a copy away at the first stop, so come visit!

Our Schedule:

May 14: Helen Hardt with myself as guest

May 15: Jessica Aspen guest Hillary Seidl

May 16: Hillary Seidl guest JL Bowen

May 17: J.L. Bowen guest Lori Corsentino

May 18: Lori Corsentino guest ML Guida

May 21: M.L. Guida guest Lizzie T. Leaf

May 22: Lizzie T. Leaf guest Marie Sexton

May 23: Marie Sexton guest BJ Hayes

May 24: B.J. Hayes guest Lia Slater

May 25: Lia Slater guest Jenn Le Blanc

May 28: Jenn LeBlanc guest Clare Austin

May 29: Clare Austin guest Holley Trent

May 30: Holley Trent guest Elizabeth Haysmont

May 31: Elizabeth Haysmont guest Helen Hardt

Come meet the published authors of the Colorado Romance Writers. We have a diverse group who write across many genres. And they all are fun and interesting women. (No guys yet, but we have one male in our group and I expect him to be published anytime!)

rodeo queen by helen hardtstripped defenseless by lia slatercinder by marie sextonexecutive decision by holley trent

Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen

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