Cover Reveal + Free Book + Giveaway!
This newsletter is PACKED with fun stuff for you!
Okay, y’all, buckle up, because this newsletter is huge, but full of awesome stuff that I’ve been holding on to for ages! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom—there’s a free book plus another giveaway with more free books, and I don’t want you to miss anything!
Cover Reveal for Museum of Magic!
I’ve been developing Museum of Magic beside you all for most of this year—a chapter a week, with each chapter being developed by a combination of chance through dice rolls and tarot cards as well as votes from you. It’s been such a fun challenge, but the book is very nearly done now, which means it will soon be shifting from Kindle Vella to include a paperback and ebook. Which means it’s time for an official cover!
This stunning cover was the design and artwork of Jessica Khoury, author and artist, and I could not be happier with the way it turned out! And don’t worry—I’ve already got Jessica working on the sequel for Museum of Magic—because, yes, there will be a sequel! Which means if you’ve been a little worried about jumping aboard the Museum of Magic train, or being too late to really participate in the fun, interactive features of its development…now is the perfect time to catch up on Book 1 before Book 2 launches!
Museum of Magic will be available in ebook and print forms, with an initial launch on Amazon before it’s available in other retailers (which enables me to also make it available via Kindle Unlimited).
Pre-order features are sometimes slow—you can grab the ebook now, but the paperback is coming soon!
Read Museum of Magic for free RIGHT NOW
That’s right! As part of a special Amazon promotion, from now to October 11, you can read the entirety of what’s available of Museum of Magic for free right now! There are only two episodes left after that, so that’s pretty much the entire book (and you can get those last two episodes using your free bonus tokens if you’ve not used them left).
This special deal only lasts from now until October 11, and it only applies to Amazon users who access the American version of Kindle. You can start reading right now, right here. All you have to do is click to open the story in either your computer, Kindle App, or Kindle device, and it’s entirely free for you to read! As you go, please do give thumbs up—and you can still vote in the later polls!
This is a very special deal being offered from Amazon—although it’s 100% free for you, Amazon is still paying authors for reads. While I know Amazon is not the best service for the book industry, let’s consider this one a chance to take some of Bezo’s billions and give it back to the authors. And if you ever wanted to support my books but have a tight budget (which I totally understand!) this is a free way to help out!
Giveaway! Win signed copies of multiple books & a gift card! Free and easy to enter!
I’ve teamed up with another Vella author, Jennifer Brody, who’s the author of Malibu Skies as well as several other novels, including in the Disney universe. Because our Vellas are free to read right now, this felt like the perfect time to offer a giveaway!
One winner will get a signed copy of The Princess and the Scoundrel and Blood and Feathers by me, plus Disney Chills: Once Upon a Scream and an Amazon gift card from Jennifer!
To tell you a little more about Malibu Skies, Jennifer dropped in for an interview!
Tell us about your Kindle Vella story Malibu Skies – and what inspired you to write it?
Originally, I wrote Malibu Skies when I was working for a movie studio, but I was really burned out and used to joke that I should check myself in rehab like celebrities, not because I had an addiction, but just to take a vacation. That turned into a story about a workaholic ad exec in Chicago who walks into a meeting and discovers it's an intervention, so she agrees to go to Malibu Skies, a celebrity rehab center to save her job. But what seems like an exotic vacation turns out to be a … disaster. This is actually the manuscript that landed my book agent – but then didn’t sell to a publisher (the market was not friendly to female protag stories at the time). My second book The 13th Continuum sold as a YA sci-fi trilogy and that took me in a different direction. But I’ve always loved this book—and Kindle Vella gave me a chance to dust it off, retool it a bit, and launch it as a serialized story. I’m so grateful to have it out in the world.
What made you want to release Malibu Skies on Kindle Vella?
JB: I’ve been a fan of serialized storytelling forever—and love how it mimics television in certain ways. Charles Dickens wrote a lot of his most famous books his way, publishing them in a serialized fashion in newspapers. Comics also follow a serialized release pattern, and I’ve long been a fan. I’ve dabbled on Wattpad. I love the idea of getting hooked on a story, and then excited for new episodes to get released. Also, today everyone is busy and crunched for time, so delivering more “bite-sized” episodes that can be easily read on your phone or tablet is a great way to get folks reading more. So, when Amazon announced Kindle Vella, I was excited to give the platform a try.
How does writing for Vella differ from writing your other books?
The episodes are shorter and need to end on a button or cliffhanger, so while I do that in my books, this makes it more of a focus. The first three episodes are free, so you have to make sure they stand out. Readers use tokens to unlock more episodes. The amount of tokens depends on the word count, so it’s better to keep episodes shorter. But I enjoy the challenge of writing to the format, which reminds me of my film and TV writing.
What are the best parts of releasing serialized stories on the new Amazon Kindle Vella platform?
I love being able to write and reach readers right away. I also enjoy interacting with readers as they check out the new episodes. They can hit “follow,” so they get alerted when a new episode of my story comes out. I love seeing their excitement build.
Are you planning to write more stories for Kindle Vella in the future?
Yes, I’d love to write more stories for Kindle Vella. The platform is still in beta-testing mode, and not even available for international readers yet. I hope it proves a viable option for authors to release episodic/serialized stories. Malibu Skies is contemporary romance, but I’d love to release some sci-fi or fantasy stories for Kindle Vella.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jennifer, and everyone be sure to follow her story and join the giveaway!
Upcoming Things & Sneak Peeks
This will likely be one of those rare months where I do two newsletters—I’ve got another writing thing in the works that I think will be announced mid-October, so I’m going to be announcing that when I can.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a big thing planned for the paperback launch of Museum of Magic. Huge.
Be sure to tune in for my next newsletter for details on both of these, but…also know that November will be light. I’ll be taking most of November off as I do some very fun and exciting research travel and wrap the final paperback of Museum of Magic.
If you’d like to see a sneak peek of what my weekly life has been like, I tracked an “average” week over on Patreon, and recently opened that post up for everyone to see. You can read it here. Honestly, when I look at my schedule broken down like that…yeah, I need a nap, haha!
What I’m working on now…
Secret adult science fiction project: complete draft, waiting on agent feedback.
Night of the Witch: Big picture edits officially done—next up, line edits.
YA ghost story: Still trying to find the right opening.
A new video game project that I will get to share with you all very soon!
Weekly posts and videos about writing at Patreon
SNHU as an online adjunct in the MFA writing program
Accepting critique and coaching jobs with Wordsmith Workshops—in addition to doing Word Lab! Also, we’re starting live and in person retreats again!
Actively doing in-person school, library, and book fair events—book me for panels, signings, and workshops for both adults and teens on writing! If you’d like to get an idea of some of the programming I do, I describe it a bit here.