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The Slow Burn

Moonday Mania

a blog for struggling romance writers everywhere

Launched book 12 today (book 4 in my fantasy series, The Winter Queen’s Dragon). Romance, and in particular fantasy romance, is competitive so this time I tried to do all the launch strategies I could. I so want this one to jump on day one! To be number one on that fantasy romance list. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But, I’ve designed a slow burn launch by sending my announcement to my newsletter list in three batches, and doing social media on another day. So that day one jump is not likely to happen.

The idea is to show Amazon I have consistent sales, instead of a huge bump on day one. But as I look at my  trickle of sales this morning and my finger-grapping hold on the fantasy romance AZ list, I have to keep reminding myself—this is a long tail business. So it’s back to the grindstone. The good news is my early readers seem to love it. And maybe, that’s the one thing to focus on instead of sales: pleasing the readers. If I focus on that, instead of sales and launch days, then everything is a success.

I’m reading Derek Sivers book ANYTHING YOU WANT: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur . It’s this tiny book filled with lessons he learned launching CD Baby, a small business he started just to sell his own CD’s and ended up selling for millions. One of the things I love about this book is that he’s so not focused on making his business a million dollar business. Instead he’s focused on how to serve his customers, who, when he started, were mostly his friends.

What is your measure of success? Are you in control of it? Is it in control of you?

Okay, that’s not a direct quote from the book, but it could have been. What it is is my take on his book. If I look at my sales and try to go for the money, I’m a total failure. It’s true. I love my books, but they barely break even. It leaves me feeling like I’m clawing and scratching just to make a living writing romance. And it feels desperate.

But, if I focus on some of the things I’ve actually achieved, I’m a success.

My readers love my books. They really do! I get letters asking me when the next fantasy romance in the Tales of the Black Court is coming out. They don’t want to wait! And my free shifter book for my newsletter subscribers, Rogue Enforcer? That inspires letters too. People want more from me. More romance. More shifters. More fantasy.

I’m getting better as a writer. This is super important. It took me two years of edits and massaging to get my first fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, to where it is today, but The Winter Queen’s Dragon only took months. And my editor said it was the best one yet! That’s amazing. My reviews for all my romances are at least averaging 4 stars, and usually average higher. Romance readers love my books! WOOT!

I love my life. I am making money doing something I love. Not many people can say that. Am I still struggling to get up that cliff? Yes. Do I want my job to make enough money to say it’s a living? Yes. And I’m getting there. I’ve doubled my income every year. That sounds amazing, right?

(Typically I follow that statement up with some disclaimer about what my income was the first year, but I think I need to just stick with the amazing part. I’ve only been publishing for a few years and while some others are rocking their way up the charts, most small businesses take five years to really get going. My small business is no different.)

Okay, so I’m no CD Baby. I can’t say I’m one of those romance authors who seem to appear out of nowhere and jump to the top. But I can say:

My readers love my books.

I’m getting better as a writer.

I love my life.

All of those are fabulous measures of success. And so what if the money is slow? That’s okay. I’m doubling my income every year, right? 😉

So I’ll get there. One book at a time.


the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

 What’s a heroine to do when her dragon captor is not only her enemy’s best defense, but is also the man of her dreams?


Frozen for a hundred years the only thing on Siobhan’s mind is finding out what happened to her brother and vengeance on the queen who has punished them both. Upon gaining her freedom from the ice she finds herself the prisoner of the Winter Queen’s Dragon, Atavantador. But nothing is as it seems and when the dragon’s manservant, Doyle, turns out to be the dragon himself, Siobhan discovers that ending the queen’s reign may mean sacrificing her true love for the quest for revenge.

Doyle is hiding more than one secret from the queen, and all of them are worth his life. To keep the queen on his side he must play the game of dragon so well that no one guesses his secret—that beneath the Winter Palace lies the key to all of dragon kind’s survival, one of only seven queen dragon eggs left in the universe. And time is running out.

When the dragon egg’s hiding place is threatened Doyle finds himself caught between his heart and his loyalty to all of dragon kind. Can he trust Siobhan enough to tell her his secrets, save the egg, and still serve her lust for vengeance? Or will the attack on the palace destroy not only the egg’s chance of survival, but Siobhan and Doyle’s chance at love.

Love magic, romance and dragons? You’ll love THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON.


 Buy now for 99cents (limited time offer)

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, The Winter Queen's Dragon, Writer's Journey


Thursdays Bite

inspiration, justified style

FYI I have my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, on a Goodreads Giveaway. And I’ve included international! If you are interested in a print copy of my book then hop on over to Goodreads and enter the Giveaway, HERE.

For the last few Thursdays Bites I’ve shared some of my paranormal TV faves. This week’s show isn’t  paranormal, romantic, or fantasy, but I think it is so amazing, that I just have to share. If you are interested in the posts on other shows that I watch, you can check out my Vikings post HERE and the Long Island Medium HERE.


How can you not love that title. And the song that opens it up is so not my music, but I love it, too. It’s rap and hillbilly combined, perfect for a show about the darkest side of Kentucky hill country.

I’ve read stories set in rural mountains before. In, Christy, the very sweet school teacher come to the mountains to share her knowledge with the poor folk. The shadowy mysteries of Sharyn McCrumb combine death with a hint of supernatural and are well worth the read. But I’ve never read the books that inspired this series, by author Elmore Leonard, and now that I watch it, I want to. Oh, yes, I want to.

I’ve been trying to figure out what is it about this show that captivates me, and I’ve narrowed it down to a few things. One is the villains. They are so real. They are bad, very bad. In fact, this is not a show I let my kids near. But, if you want to see bad guys made not only real, but likeable, watch Justified. Every person has a dark side. Every person makes mistakes. But these guys do some horrible things. And you feel for them while they are doing it. All of the bad guys have soft sides. They have mothers who need to be taken care of, or they are in love with their girlfriends. They grew up abused and just want some of the good life. I have never seen a show, or even read a book, that takes as much time developing it’s villains as it’s heroes as Justified.

timothy olyphant

The gritty and super-sexy Timothy Olyphant plays flawed hero Raylan Givens in Justified.

Maybe it’s Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (best name ever for a hero). Raylan is played by sexy (and Emmy nominated) Timothy Olyphant. If you want a deeply flawed hero, full of complexities, this is your show. Even when he’s making those bad, bad, bad choices, he’s motivated by the right things in life. Protection of children, women, and his family. His deep loyalty to his friends, the Marshal service, and the people of the area he grew up with, make many of his decisions conflicted. He knows they often have no choice but to live like they do. Or, that they don’t think they have a choice. Or, why should they? They always get screwed.

And of course there is Boyd Crowder (played by Walton Goggins). He’s both Raylan’s ex-best friend and the closest thing to family he has. We shouldn’t like Boyd, he’s got some terrible things in his past, and he does terrible things on a regular basis, but when things go wrong for Boyd I still find myself rooting for him. Why? I think, once again, it’s because the writers have done an amazing job showing his motivations. How do you make a drug-dealing murderer sympathetic? That is a tough order, but Justified has done it. I don’t think he’s right and I wouldn’t want to actually know him, but I understand him. He loves, he hates, and he’s not only trying to survive, but to thrive.

One of my favorite characters is Dewey Crowe. He is super pathetic. Nothing every goes right for Dewey. This season he was sent to kill a man who is one of his childhood friends, and it was painful to watch. And funny. It was while watching this horrible scene, and realizing it was funny, that I knew this show had true genius. Only Justified gives us slapstick comedy during such a dark scene as a man trying to kill an unsuspecting friend. It’s horrible, it’s amazing, and it’s something I can’t turn off. I think it’s because in real life, when things get bad, and I mean really bad, we still laugh. Dark laughter, without any real amusement, but it’s still there. Not many shows will go there. This one does.

I have a last reason why I think this show is incredible. I watch a lot of mysteries and suspense on TV. One thing you can count on is they won’t kill the kids or hostages. There will always be a satisfying ending. And the good guys win in the end. You will not have that watching Justified. Favorite characters are always at risk. They could kill off any one of them, with the exception of Raylan Givens, and the show would still go on. Just as in real life, the hero doesn’t always win, and when he does win, there is usually a price.

If you haven’t watched Justified from the beginning, I’m not sure you’ll be able to just jump in. I recommend getting on Netflix or Hulu and starting from episode one. I think it’s the type of show, that if you try to jump in now,  not only will you be lost in the complex plot, but you will miss out on the building of these characters. I think it is well worth your time. But don’t be deceived. It is a violent, dark, extreme show. Don’t watch it with your kids. Don’t watch it expecting a glow. Watch it because you can’t not watch.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends February 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Filed under About the Author, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite, Writer's Journey