Tag Archives: prince by blood and bone

Goals, Goals, Goals

Moonday Mania

a blog for picking yourself up and starting over

It’s been awhile since I addressed goals. I used to have a huge list of goals, take classes, market, improve the blog, but then Fall of 2013 was so stressful my body just gave in. Now I’m recovering from that and as a result, I’m honed in on the most important goal, getting Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court out the door.

Because the fall was so difficult, and then I didn’t feel well, everything became delayed. I was supposed to get my Christmas novella edited in the fall, that got pushed back. I was supposed to outline Broken Mirror, and that’s been pushed back. At first I was devastated.

These were my goals. I’d given myself plenty of time. I should be able to get them done. Or at least get one of them done. But as sub-contractors didn’t get things to me on time, and then the day job blew up, and other events took precedence, I began to realize: the universe was sending me a message.

And I had better listen.

So I am refocused. My goals have slimmed down for the year.

Number one, Prince by Blood and Bone.

Number two, write Broken Mirror.

And number three, get the Ghosts of Christmas Past out the door.

That’s it. From a huge page long list of goals I’ve winnowed it down to the basics. And I truly believe I can get all three of these done. Prince by Blood and Bone will be off to the proofreader this week. Cover is finished! YAY! And once I do the corrections I can get it published.

I’ve got a cover artist lined up for Ghosts of Christmas Past, all I need to do is polish up the blurb and send it to her, and I will have a cover. The book itself is in the last stages of re-writing, from there it needs to go to line- edits, then the proofreader, and then it too will be ready for publishing.

So that leaves Broken Mirror. My poor neglected book that should have been in edits by now and has instead been waiting impatiently to be written. Plan is to outline it this month, and then get started writing. Of course I have the day job coming up, and a few other things, but I believe that by the end of the summer it should be written, and ready for some edits. So that puts it on track for publishing in early 2015. If I get it done sooner, so much the better, but I’m not setting myself up for failure this time.

Who knows what the coming year has to bring? Who knows if I’ll get the book back on time from others when I send it out, or if the cover will be as difficult as the last two covers for The Black Court series? Who knows if my life will stay on track?

What I do know is no matter what happens I will do my best to stay the course, even if it means re-working my goals on a daily basis. Because they are my goals. I get to tweak them, I get to decide what works for me. And that’s one of the benefits of being a writer. And one of the pitfalls.

How have your goals been this year? Are you on track? Have you ever had to scrap everything and start over? Was it difficult?

I’m guest blogging today on When Paleo Met Sally about my Journey to Paleo. Check it out HERE.


Filed under channeling success, facing failure, Goal Setting, Writer's Journey

The Differences Between Gnomes

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

When writing fantasy romance, like the Tales of the Black Court series, an author has to work within a familiar concept and yet make it her own. One of the ways I’ve done that is I have taken common fantasy creatures and not only used them within my books, but I’ve changed them up a little.

Take goblins. Most of the public is familiar with the goblins from Harry Potter, the bankers of the Wizarding World. But that’s JK Rowling’s interpretation of goblins. Not every writer has to utilize that, and in fact, it’s a very specific interpretation of goblins, so not every writer should utilize it. The idea of goblins as wearing suits and running businesses is a clever way to go, but it’s not classic.

George MacDonaldMy first introduction to goblins, and to fairy tales in general, was through my mother. She had a very large, very old, very much loved book called, The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. For those of you who may not know, George MacDonald was an inspiration for authors like JR Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and CS Lewis. He wrote original tales where good triumphed over evil and who a person was underneath was what mattered most.

The goblins in MacDonald’s books live deep in the mines and are scary, creepy creatures, who don’t come out into the daylight and will GET YOU! if you are not careful. I loved that book and when it comes to goblin inspiration its one of my main resources. Because of that, my goblins are natural underground dwellers. And they are creepy. But I still needed to give them my own twist.

In my fantasy world of Underhill, there are goblins, brownies and three types of gnomes. Today I’m focusing on the gnomes because in my world there are several varieties. In The Dark Huntsman, Trina and Logan question a garden gnome, one of the wild gnomes you can find everywhere in Underhill living among the tiny flower fairies and conducting their own business of catching fish and living off of the land, or inhabiting the land near houses and working in their gardens for a bit of extra money.

Then there are the common grey cave dwellers, who are small, a little weak, and not as bright. You might think of them as the worker gnome. At around 3 feet tall they have flat faces and round bulbous eyes. They’re coloring is all the same, if you had a roomful of them it would be difficult to tell them apart. They most commonly live in small groups and tend to be pushed by the powers that be of Underhill.

Next, there are the Galentian gnomes. These are tall gnomes, five to five and a half feet. The Galentian gnomes have an entire society of their own. They live in large communal groups that reside underground in warrens. My book, Prince by Blood and Bone, takes place partially in an abandoned warren that was one of their largest, most complex palaces, Cairngloss. Located in what is nominally callled the North it was abandoned when the White Queen moved in and took over the area and brought the extreme cold with her. Galentian gnomes like more moderate climates.

The last type of gnome is the Scalian gnome. Reclusive and bookish, they run just under the height of the Galentian gnomes, with the occasional very tall one as tall as the tallest Galentian gnome. It is rumored that they are closely related. Not much is known about them, but they are extremely smart, and are occasionally used as consultants by the peerage of Underhill.

I’ve featured gnomes, especially Beezel, a common cave gnome, in Prince by Blood and Bone. It’s been fun to create my own version of gnomes, brownies, and elves, even though it takes time to make sure you have all your details correct. If it weren’t for my extensive fantasy reading over the years, I might be afraid to expand my universe and try new traits and features out for what are common terms, but thanks to creative authors over the years, I’m not. I’m happy to spin large tales with surprising characters and creative back-stories.

What sort of fantasy do you read? Are you familiar with other types of gnomes, trolls, and goblins? Are you willing to jump from author universe to author universe, or are you a rules-person-rigidly adhering to the one set of rules you were familiar with when growing up?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy Romance, paranormal inspiration, Prince by Blood and Bone, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Tales of the Black Court Blog Tour and Where the heck is Book Two?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

Hi, I’m still on tour  with The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, and there are only a few spots left to go. Here are all the fabulous romance blogs that I’ll be appearing on for the rest of the week:

the dark huntsman blog tourJan 9 Interview
Aly @ Aly’s Miscellany
Jan 9 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
Jan 9 Spotlight
Book Suburbia
Jan 10 Guest blog and review
Victoria’s Gossip
Jan 10 Spotlight
Paranormal Romance and Beyond
Jan 10 review
Mousehead & Tales
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
The Book Landers
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
On the Broomstick
Jan 13 Spotlight
Tattooed Book Review
I’m loving all my tour hosts, and guess what? So far, overall, they love the book. That’s amazing to me and has got me excited for Prince by Blood and Bone, which was supposed to be out by now. But it’s not. If you were wondering, I’ve hit a few snags. My editor got it back to me nearly a month late, and of course by that time I was working and I dropped the ball. I did get through all of her edits, but while I was doing that I realized I needed to tweak it one more time. And then there were the holidays. Also I’m waiting on my cover artist to get my cover to me. It’s harder than you think to put just the right cover elements together and she has a life too. Sigh.
No worries, the book will be out soon. All I need to do is get the cover together, finish my final run through, convince my oops editor that she has the time to get it done ASAP, and put it all together. Not much, right? LOL
At this point I’m having to say, okay, this book will be out much later than I had anticipated. And learn from the whole experience.
What have I learned?
Number One: Wait to tell anyone when the book will be out until it’s at the oops editor and has a cover.
Number Two: Get the cover way in advance. Much further than I think I need it, because there are bound to be issues.
Number Three: Don’t sweat it when life intervenes, because it always does. Just because I set the goal and thought I’d put it all in place to achieve it, doesn’t mean everyone else in my life will fall in line.
And Number Four: Okay, there really is no number four. That’s all I learned.
So, the book will be out when it’s out and I am doing everything I can to facilitate that. Then it’s on to book number three, Broken Mirror. Needless to say I’ll be applying all my hard won lessons. So when is book three coming out. Sorry, my lips are sealed, but I will tell you MY goal is before 2015!
What has fallen apart in your life lately? Have you had to give up control to other people and then wait for them to come through? What about your own planning, was it appropriate? Did it have fail-safes? Leave me a comment, I’m always interested in what you have to say. Unless it’s that spammy stuff about sales. Sorry, you all get deleted. 🙂


Filed under Bloghops, facing failure, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

August Goals Review

Moonday Mania

a blog where we surge past the goal posts (or not)

The last hazy days of summer. Time to laze around the pool, get in those last hiking trips, and try not to think about the craziness of fall. Or, you could do what I’ve been doing: working my butt off working on editing Prince by Blood and Bone, book two of Tales of the Black Court, my spicy, new, fantasy romance series. And it’s coming out December 2013.

That’s right, December 2013.

I’ve set myself some crazy publishing goals for the latter half of this year and believe it or not bringing my first full-length twisted fairy tale: The Dark Huntsman to market is not the most difficult or the craziest. It turns out bringing out book two, at the same time I’m bringing out a Christmas novella, and promoting The Dark Huntsman, is the craziest.

So, I decided it’s time to review my yearly goals and see where I am, then I’ll add at the bottom my crazy production schedule for the rest of the year. You’ll be able to see why I have nothing scheduled for 2014, other than bringing out book three, Broken Mirror. I’ll be taking a long quiet vacation somewhere and trying to get my pulled out hair to grow back.

Here are my goals. I posted them back in January HERE and revisited them in March HERE.

Jessica Aspen Goals for 2013

Overall Organizational Goals: 

  1. Continue to set and review monthly goals, set daily goals based on monthly goals Always in progress!
  2. Write five days per week, 3 hours per day. This summer I’ve been hitting the editing at least 3 hours per day, on the days I manage to get to writing. Yeah, summer does mean spending a lot of time doing other things, but it’s all been good. 🙂
  3. Goal is 3k/day Currently I’m editing, so I’m trying to move through my ms at a rate of finishing five chapters per week. That is a seriously challenging goal and I’m doing okay. Every day it is a struggle, but I am determined to get Prince by Blood and Bone finished and off to the editor by the end of the month. 
  4. and edit 15-20 pages per day Only on the days I’m not writing. And there are editing days when getting 5 pages deep edited is AMAZING! Yeah, see number three for this one.
  5. Keep up with personal site, blog 2 days a week Of course!
  6. Self-publishing class in January (taking a fabulous class on Author EMSwith  Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger!) This was a fabulous class, if you are at all seriously considering Indie Publishing, then take this class. You will absolutely understand the costs, labor and rewards involved.
  7. Tax class in February from Colorado Romance WritersYep! Done! Another great class, but I don’t know when it will be offered again.
  8. Market 1-2 hours per day Not sure I’m getting in two hours, but I do spend a lot of time researching marketing right now, and that counts in my book.
  9. Attend CRW Writing Retreat in September Hot Mojave Knights. UPDATE Instead of attending the CRW writing retreat like I have for the past two years, I’ll be going to Hot Mojave Knights, a reader convention, in October. WOOT!

Writing Goals

  1. goldi and the bear by jessica aspenFinish editing Goldi and the Bear by January 18th I think I was a few days later than this, but it is done and turned in and I” it came out on AMAZON on July 22nd.
  2. Polish Goldi and the Bear  by January 30 Done!
  3. Write rough draft of B&B (second book in TQH series) The rough draft was finished in the spring. WOOT!
  4. Edit rough draft of B&B Working on this, plan to be finished by the end of August.
  5. Start thinking about 3rd book in  TQH series
  6. Outline 3rd book in TQH series
  7. Superhero goals: Edit BW and outline first book in that series Not happening. This entire series will be pushed off until spring 2014.

Marketing Goals 

  1. Submit Goldi and the Bear to PIP by January 30 Check!
  2. Decide what to do with HH Novellas This  big news. I’m releasing my first Haunted Holiday’s Novella, Ghosts from Christmas Past, in Novemeber. Fingers crossed. For this to happen the moon, and stars, and my keyboard, all need to align.
  3. Continue to submit TDH Check! As many of you know I went through the ups and downs of rejections and finally an acceptance of The Dark Huntsman, but finally decided to bring it to market myself. And so it will hit the shelfs (okay, e-shelves) in October. The goal is for the Print version to be up October First and the e-version to come out October 14th. Fingers crossed!
  4. Market all books (Little Red. S&S. GoldiCheck!
  5. Enter Little Red in  contests Check! Red finaled in the Golden Quill and received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. Woot!golden quill finalist desert rose rwa
  6. Enter TDH into contests I ended up not doing this, but I will be entering contests with it this fall, and in spring of 2014.
  7. Increase presence on Goodreads
  8. Work on All Romance Exposure
  9. Figure out how to increase presence on reader sites/loops
  10. I’ve joined Pinterest. I don’t have many pictures up, but I’ll be working on it slowly and adding them as I go. I’m not sure what the best way to work it is, so I’m a little slow. But you can check it out HERE.

Now on to the big production schedule that will make me type like crazy for the rest of the year.

  1. Finish edits on Prince by Blood and Bone by 9/1/13
  2. Finish writing Ghosts of Christmas Past by 9/15/13
  3. Edit Ghosts of Christmas Past by 9/30/13
  4. Bring out The Dark Huntsman in Print on 10/1/13
  5. Bring out The Dark Huntsman in e-book on 10/14/13
  6. Work on the edits my editor sends back for Prince by Blood and Bone finish by 10/30/13
  7. Work on the edits for Ghosts of Christmas Past finish by 11/15/13
  8. Send both to proofreader for edits, then apply those edits
  9. Publish Ghosts of Christmas Past on 11/18/13
  10. Publish Prince by Blood and Bone December 26th, 2013

Oh, and I also am planning on some blog tours, cover reveal tours, and all kinds of marketing shenanigans!

Fall into a collapsed heap on January 1st, after attending Margie Lawson’s annual New Year’s party!

How are your goals looking? Have you looked at your overall goals for the year recently? Did you revamp them mid-year? Share with me where you are and I’ll commiserate or celebrate with you!


Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Jessica Aspen's Books, writing organization

The Style and Substance of Switching Series

Thursday’s Bite

a blog about the fantasy in the romance

Today I’m guest blogging on Worlds of the Imagination and writing about World Building or World Changing, how authors can take a traditional fantasy world framework and make it their own. Check it out, it’s a cool site with frequent guests and sponsored by some fascinating authors.worlds of the imagination

I’m deep into world building this month because I’m not only doing a final run through on my fantasy romance,  The Dark Huntsman, but I’m ready to plunge back into the rough draft of Prince By Blood and Bone, book two of the Tales of the Black Court. It sounds like a lot to do, but the truth is it is a good thing because they are deeply intertwined and I need to make sure that I don’t drop the ball and change someone’s hair or eye color, or make a character speak a different way from book to book.

One of the toughest things about writing a series is keeping the author’s writing style the same. These books are deeper, longer, and more fantasy than my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods novellas, so they have a different voice. I didn’t realize until this final run through of The Dark Huntsman came in, right as I was doing final edits on Goldi and the Bear, that these books are very different. The novellas have a lightness running through the dark suspense. I think it may be because of the contemporary setting and the age of the characters. They are all new adult stories that have, at their core, the struggle with actually being grown up and an adult. Taking on real responsibilities and relationships.

The Tales of the Black Court series is different. Maybe because I started writing it years ago. Maybe because the heroes are so long-lived. Logan (the Dark Huntsman) has a chronological age of 300 years, but his real age is around 25. He’s not considered an adult by his uncles who are over a thousand years old and whose real age is around forty. Many of the characters have lived a long time and that flavors the book in a different way than the short-lived werewolves and werebears in my novellas. Logan and Trina’s real ages technically mean that I’m writing fantasy new adult, but because of the length of time Logan has lived it affects his speech patterns, and behavior, and he definitely feels like he’s from an older time and place even though he is a contemporary young hero.

In contrast, the characters in Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods know life can be very short. They are werewolves and werebears and are hunters and fighters. They take on problems with a quick intensity, from family issues to fighting the bad guy, to falling in love. The stories are set in a very contemporary setting, and the plots move fast. The characters are all young, they burn with deep first love. Even their resistance to love is hot and sometimes violent.

The pacing on the books is different too, mostly because of the length of the stories. In a 35K novella I have to pack in a lot of plot. There isn’t really a sub-plot, just the suspense and romance plots so all of the action centers on the main characters. They are intense and fast paced and with young hot headed main characters the emotional plot moves lightening fast. The Tales of the Dark Court have deep world building and you get a view of the antagonists, that takes extra words and extra plotting and moves the story into a longer pace. That’s not to say these books move slow, they just have longer story arcs with longer builds. Think about the novellas as a series of hot quickies where you rocket up fast and move on. In contrast the novels are a night that starts with dinner and ends with a long all-night marathon.

Also the novellas are spicy, and that means there are more sex scenes per thousand words. In fact both series have approximately the same amount of sexual encounters, but The Dark Huntsman is over 87,000 words. Proportionally, in the longer novels, there is a lot more plot to support the intimacy. That’s not to say that they aren’t hot. Just not quite as spicy as the novellas.

All of this: the pacing, the frequency of the sex, the setting, changes the author’s style even though each author has a particular boice. Short fast novellas lead to shorter faster sentences. Longer paced novels give an author room to describe scenes in more detail. So, when moving from book to book I need to be careful to take the right style with me and still keep my Jessica Aspen voice.

Have you read other authors when they write new and different things of varying lengths? Does their pacing shift? Their plotting move faster or slower? Is it a surprise when the short story wraps up fast and you are used to reading longer novels? What about writers? Do you find, as writers, that you need to pull yourself out of one series-style and into another? How do you do this? What works for you?



Filed under The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, Werewolves and the Fae, writing craft