Thursday, September 28, 2017

Of Check-In's and FAQ's

Hello, lovelies!

Lately my social media accounts and e-mail inboxes have been filling up with the same series of questions over and over and over again—so I figured I should probably start this post off by answering some of your most common FAQ's of the moment...


Q: Will there be another book in the Variant Series?

A: YES! The fifth and final book of the series is currently in the works.


Q: When will Book 5 be released?

A: Not sure yet. I won't be able to estimate a release date until the book is a little closer to completion. Once the end is in sight, I'll set a date and make the announcement!


Q: Will you ever write any other stories that take place inside the world of the Variant Series?

A: Probably, yes. I have a trilogy of prequel novellas planned that will tell the story of John Grayson's original team—but Book 5 will most likely mark the end of Alex Parker's story arc. And after six straight years of writing nothing but Variant Series novels... Well, let's just say I'm looking forward to working on something a little different for a while.


With that out of the way, I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU! You guys really rocked the release of Reckoning and I was amazed by your kindness and your support. I've received so much positive feedback over the last few months and I am so glad to know that you guys love these characters just as much as I do! I can't wait for you to read the final installment in Alex's story! 💗

That said, I should probably get back to work! I have a book to finish, after all...

And just in case you missed it in the release day blog post, I'll leave you with the official soundtrack to Reckoning! This Spotify playlist contains a collection of songs that either inspired important scenes or fit with the story so well that I couldn't resist including them. Even now, I still occasionally play it on repeat for inspiration while I'm writing. Hope you enjoy it!



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Release Day!! - RECKONING (The Variant Series, #4)

Hello, everyone!

Today's the day! Reckoning, the fourth novel in the Variant Series is now available in ebook on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, and Smashwords for just $3.99! (For those of you looking for the paperback, it will be available on Amazon early next week!)


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Synopsis:


Alexandra Parker came home from the past only to find herself in the middle of an underground war—one that could affect the fate of Variants everywhere. 

Fighting an all-powerful government agency is tough enough, but when a secret from John Grayson’s past comes back to haunt them all, the group’s united front begins to crumble. And when Alex’s own painful memories threaten to push her past her breaking point, the uprising stands to lose its most powerful weapon. 

With their lives and their freedom on the line, can Declan, Nate, and the rest of the Grayson family hold it together long enough to bring down Director Carter and derail Brian’s apocalyptic visions?

As Alex struggles to master her most volatile ability yet, only one thing is certain: the uprising’s cold war with the Agency is about to turn red hot.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




There will be plenty of giveaways over the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye on the Jena Leigh website, or follow me on Twitter (@jenaleighbooks) for more details!

Speaking of giveaways—for a couple more days, you can still enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or one of five eBook copies of Reckoning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also put together a Reckoning Spotify playlist filled with songs that helped to inspire the new novel! Check it out below....



Thank you all so very much for your support and I hope you enjoy this new installment in the Variant Series! Happy reading!!

~Jena

Where to find Reckoning:



Reckoning by Jena Leigh on Amazon

Reckoning by Jena Leigh on Nook

 Reckoning by Jena Leigh on iTunes

 Reckoning by Jena Leigh on Smashwords



P.S. If you're a blogger who is interested in taking part in the Reckoning book blitz, sign ups are still open here. Also, if you're interested in reviewing Reckoning (or any of the other novels in the Variant Series) for your blog and would like a digital review copy, please send me an e-mail with your information!



Friday, June 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: RECKONING (The Variant Series, #4)

I'm excited to announce that on June 20th, less than two weeks from today, Reckoning (The Variant Series, #4) will be released!!

To celebrate the start of our countdown, today on the blog we're kicking things off with the official reveal of the cover and a giveaway!

So here it is, guys, the brand new cover for Reckoning!





*****

Synopsis:

Alexandra Parker came home from the past only to find herself in the middle of an underground war—one that could affect the fate of Variants everywhere.

Fighting an all-powerful government agency is tough enough, but when a secret from John Grayson's past comes back to haunt them all, the group's united front begins to crumble. And when Alex's own painful memories threaten to push her past her breaking point, the uprising stands to lose its most powerful weapon.

With their lives and their freedom on the line, can Declan, Nate, and the rest of the Grayson family hold it together long enough to bring down Director Carter and derail Brian's apocalyptic visions?

As Alex struggles to master her most volatile ability yet, only one thing is certain: the uprising's cold war with the Agency is about to turn red hot.

*****

So what do you think? Getting excited for book four yet? Don't forget to mark your calendars, Reckoning will be available beginning on June 20th!

And to celebrate today's cover reveal, we're hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway of FIVE copies of the Reckoning eBook and a $10 Amazon gift card!! To enter, check out the widget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

ETA: And that's a wrap! Thanks for participating, everyone! Kyra was the lucky winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card! Everyone else will be receiving an ebook copy of Reckoning! 

 If you were one of the winners, you'll be hearing from me via e-mail before the day is out! Thanks!

*****

Want to add Reckoning on Goodreads? Just click the button!

 



P.S. Time for the standard disclaimer—for those of you searching this post for the cover design credit... *nervously raises hand* Erm. It was me. I designed all of the covers in the Variant series myself. I realize this goes completely against the advice I always give about hiring someone to design your covers, but (in my meager defense) graphic design has been a hobby of mine for over ten years now. So I feel at least slightly qualified to do it myself... But still. This is most definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do! As an author, your book will always be better served by giving it the best cover possible—and if that means hiring a graphic designer instead of putting together a design of your own, then that's exactly what you should do. :)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Of Release Dates and Roanoke Signings

Book 4 News

Okay, guys. First things first... An update on book four's upcoming release!

I'm setting a tentative release date for June 12th.

Why not in April or May like we originally planned? Well... As with most things, it's complicated. The short version is that there's been a lot going on behind the scenes over the past two months that's completely upended my original timeline. The reasons why are something I'd rather not discuss publicly.

As it stands right now, there's a chance that the edits may not be completed until the end of May, but I should know more about the schedule in the next week or two.

Bottom line: there is a book, and as soon as it's been whipped into shape, I'll be publishing it faster than you can blink.

...Which is why that release date is "tentative." You guys have been waiting so long for the book at this point that I may just pull a Beyonce and publish it the second it's ready. Bottom line? Keep an eye on social media or make sure you're signed up for my mailing list if you want to know the moment it goes live!

Roanoke Author Invasion '17

Just like last year, I had way, way too much fun at RAI 2017! I met SO MANY wonderful readers and amazing authors. I haven't had that much fun since last year's RAI!


(Left side, front to back: Bo Loftis, Quinn Loftis, Karen Lynch, myself. On the right, front to back: Desni Dantone, Kelly Nagy, and Sara Meadows. Photo credit: April Jackson.)

I was lucky enough to hang out with the amazing authors Desni Dantone, Karen Lynch, and Quinn Loftis this year, along with the wonderful PA, blogger, and editor Sara Meadows, and the absolutely lovely April Jackson and Kelly Nagy (blogger from Bookcrush.in)! Getting to know them was a dream come true and I can't begin to tell you just how kind and welcoming (and absolutely hilarious) they all were. Also, I'll never be able to hear "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" again without flashing back to our ill-advised karaoke session. Let's just say there ain't no whiskey strong enough to have made that performance sound good, but I still had an absolute blast.


(At the signing booth! Keen eyes will notice a sliver of Book 4's cover in the banner beside me... Official cover and title reveal will be coming soon!)

The signing itself was just as fun and I LOVED meeting so many Variant Series fans in person! You guys are amazing. It nearly killed me not to have the fourth book on sale at the event—and it broke my heart every time I had to tell you the release date had been pushed back. THANK YOU, all of you, for being so incredibly supportive and for making RAI 2017 a weekend I'll never forget!!


(Obligatory photo booth pics wherein I rock a {now traditional} fedora. Like ya do.)

Between the signing, the endless opportunities to socialize with readers and authors, and the always awesome after party, RAI is far and away my favorite signing event. If you ever get the chance to attend, I can't recommend it enough!

~ Jena

Monday, February 27, 2017

Of Good News and Author Invasions

So, uh... Hey guys. It's kind of been a while, huh?



(Live footage of the author putting together this post.)


I've been intentionally avoiding the blog these past few months for one (pretty major) reason—I had absolutely no good news to share with you. Truthfully, I was too ashamed to show up here just to offer more excuses about where Book Four was and why I'd mysteriously vanished into the Internet ether.... But that changes today. In fact, right now I have two pieces of good news to offer you! 


First up: I'll be an attending author at the Roanoke Author Invasion again this year! 




Here's the official event description:

****

Join nearly 100 bestselling authors of contemporary and paranormal YA fiction and more at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, Virginia on April 8, 2017 from 10am-4pm. This is a FREE event for readers! 

Enjoy an afternoon of books, giveaways, and more as you get the latest releases from your favorite authors and discover new voices!

****

If you're planning to attend and would like to preorder signed Variant Series novels ahead of the time, just click this link, fill out the form, and your order will be waiting for you at the signing booth!

Last year was a TON of fun and I'm officially counting down the days until this year's event. (We're at 40, in case you were wondering.) Check out the RAI website for more details and to see the full list of the fantastic authors that will be in attendance! Hope to see some of you there!


And second: a Variant Series Book 4 update...

If you caught my last post, you'll know that I've been struggling to finish the fourth Variant series novel for almost two years straight. Also that, from the beginning, I was reluctant to post any publication estimates while the project was still so far from completion.

And, well... While I still can't offer you an exact publication date just yet, I can say that Book Four in the Variant Series should be ready for release in April. 

The official date will be announced alongside the title and cover reveal in mid-to-late March. Depending on how far along the edits are at that point, the e-book may go up for preorder on Amazon the same day. 

It's still a bit too early to give an exact date on things. Partly, that's because the first draft is still a few chapters away from completion, and you never know what could go wrong with the edits. Mostly, however, it's because I have a long, long history of jinxing the ever-loving crap out of myself any time I try to make promises where release dates are concerned.

Either way, the finish line is FINALLY in sight and I could not possibly be happier about it.

So! Now I'm off to channel my inner Dave Grohl by mainlining an unhealthy amount of coffee, isolate myself from the world at large for just a little while longer, and freaking finish this draft so that I can finally give you guys the book you've been waiting so patiently for!



(Bring on the coffee, yo. I think I'm gonna need it.)


Are you guys excited? Because I'm pretty darn excited right now. This book has been a major challenge to write, but I am SO ready to finally share it with you all! Thanks for sticking with me on this, you guys. If it hadn't been for your encouragement and support, I never would have made it this far!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Of Hope, Stubbornness, and Creative Burnout

(Before I kick this off, anyone who wants to skip the detailed explanation of what's been going on and get to the more important bits regarding book four's release date, just scroll down and look for the bolded sentences.)


Wow. Five months, huh? 

I seem to remember saying something in earlier posts about being more regular with these updates… and I can assure you, I never intended to go this long without posting. After a while, though, I began putting off this update because I wasn’t sure how to explain everything that’s been going on. 

And more than that, I didn’t want to attempt a post until I had actual news to share with you. Preferably happy news, which I'm still waiting on.

My radio silence had a lot of different causes.

So many, in fact, that I’m now wondering how I’ll write this post without sounding like I’m just making excuses… Or worse, seeking sympathy. 

Rule number one in this world of ours? Pretty much everyone is struggling with something. 

That said, I do feel as though I owe you guys an explanation. And seeing as it’s far and away the most popular question in my inbox and on social media these days, I really need to address the topic of book four’s release date.

Back in April I mentioned I’d be relocating to Asheville, NC and that my work on the fourth Variant Series novel would temporarily grind to a halt.

And oh, man, did it ever.

I’ve experienced at least one bout of writer’s block with every novel I’ve ever written. For me, at least, writing a book never gets any easier. And in those reoccurring creative droughts, the typing fingers are often willing—but the muse is typically MIA any time I sit down to work.

Generally speaking, I work my way through it in the end. Whether it takes a couple weeks or a couple months, I always find myself getting back into (and staying in) a productive groove until I complete the project.

Once I finally found myself settled in North Carolina and ready to work again, something a little different happened—I experienced creative burnout for the first time ever.

At first I though it was just another round of writer’s block and that I’d eventually muscle my way through it, same as always.

And believe you me, I tried to.

I did what I always do when insecurities and the dreaded block arrive.

I forced the words onto the page.

At times, I forced entire chapters onto the page.

…But from the beginning, I could tell that there was something very different about this block.

For the first time in my life, writing—the activity that had always been my refuge and my favorite escape—was making me downright miserable. And heaven help me, it showed in the story. 

Since starting work on this novel a year ago, I have scrapped major chunks of it no less than three times and started over from scratch twice.

As of this entry, the word count in my cut file (where I move any and all of the text deleted from my WIP) is just over 47,000 words. 

So… yeah.

I’ve been struggling.

After a few months of battling the writer’s block to no avail, I realized I needed to take a step back and finally put my finger on what was causing the problem. The first step was to accept the fact that it wasn’t just a block this time. 

I was officially burnt out. 

Many of the reasons for the burnout were deeply personal… but the bottom line? I was tired. And that exhaustion caused me to question whether or not continuing on as a professional author was the right choice for me at this point in my life. 

My writing wasn’t for me anymore. It was for the world.

The thing that had always been my go-to method for dealing with (and escaping from) my daily struggles was no longer a pleasant distraction.

It was a job.

Now, don’t get me wrong here…  It’s an amazing job to have. In fact, it’s been my own idea of a dream job ever since I was old enough to answer the all important question of what I wanted to “be” when I grew up.

On top of that, I love my readers! And the thought that I might be able to provide even one person out there with a way to temporarily escape from their own troubles, makes me indescribably happy. 

But when you find yourself dealing with a list of personal struggles that would leave even the strongest individuals craving a way to escape—well, losing the one thing in the world that’s always been capable of providing you with one…. 

It sucks.

A lot.

I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to decide what to do about it.

The conclusion I’ve come to is this: I want to keep going. More than anything, I want to finish the Variant Series. And I’d really like to keep sharing my stories with the world.

So nothing’s going to change. For now, at least, I’l keep writing.

But here’s the thing, guys—there’s absolutely no way I can attempt to give a timeline for when book four (or, for that matter, the currently hypothetical fifth book) will be published.

I just can’t.

I’d love to. But I can’t.

Anything I say… any estimated completion date… runs the risk of being blown out of the water, yet again.

Book four will be completed. That much I know for certain. My stubborn pride, the obligation I feel to the readers who have stuck with the story this far, and my love for these characters, all ensures that one day it will be finished. 

But I can’t tell you how long it will take, because I simply don’t know. Three months? Possibly. Another year? Yeah. I can’t lie—that’s a possibility, too. Until I work my way past the burnout, I just don’t know what will happen.

One thing I do know? I refuse to write the wrong book, simply because I’m desperate to publish something. If I’d stuck to my past deadlines, book four would probably be ready to release by now… but trust me when I say that it wouldn’t have been a book that anybody would want to read. 

So right now, that’s where things stand. I’m struggling, but hopeful, and way too stubborn to give up.

I’ll keep writing in the hopes that one day soon I’ll sit down to write and rediscover that sense of joy that used to go hand in hand with creating. I’m going to finish book four and I’m going to make it the best that I can. And as soon as it’s ready for release, you guys will absolutely be the first to hear about it! 




P.S. And as always, thank you all so stinkin’ much for the kind words and understanding messages you’ve been sending my way these last few months!  Your support and love for the Variant Series novels means so much more to me than you could ever know! <3

Monday, April 4, 2016

Of Author Invasions, Updates, and Way Too Many Adjectives

Hey, guys!

Wanted to write up a quick blog post since I'm spending the day relaxing at my parent's home in Virginia, trying to rest up before tomorrow's 12 hour drive back to Florida. This past weekend was equal parts amazing and exhausting and I am so glad I decided to accept the invitation to participate in this year's Roanoke Author Invasion in Roanoke, Virginia!

It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done and I still can't get over how much fun it was! Meeting so many awesome readers and wonderful authors I admire was a dream come true for me and I'm already counting down the days till RAI 2017!


(Obligatory photo of me at my booth, taken a few moments before the doors opened. If you look closely, you should be able to see at least a smidgen of sheer terror in my expression. I shouldn't have worried so much—everyone in attendance was AWESOME and kind and lovely to meet!)



(A post-signing photo of the attending authors, courtesy of Brittney Cole—I'm kneeling on the far right of the front row, next to the always lovely S.T. Bende and just in front of total sweethearts Karen Lynch, Desni Dantone, and Ashley Stoyanoff! I'm all about the adjectives in this post. It's probably because everyone was SO AMAZING that I can't seem to say anyone's name without adding some sort of kindly descriptor.)


The signing itself went by so quickly that I didn't manage to capture any photos while it was taking place, but there seem to be a bunch of pics floating around Facebook and on attendee's blogs. The few that I did manage to take over the weekend didn't turn out so great. (Further reminding me that I really need to invest in a cell phone that has a decent camera...) But I do have a couple more to share from the after-party!


(I was also lucky enough to meet the delightful {...extraordinary? Incredible? Fantastic? Dangit, I'm running out of worthy adjectives here, people.} authors Maryann Jordan, Kimberly Knight, and Maryann's spectacular PA Barbara Martoncik. Naturally, we had to make use of the after-party's photo booth. In related news, I can straight up rock a straw fedora and a hand fan. Who knew?)



(The official after-party photo! I'm in there somewhere... Think of it like a Where's Waldo image.)


Truthfully? I was so, so nervous in the days leading up to the signing. 

I'm an introvert by nature and anxiety-ridden on the best of days, so taking part in an event like this was sort of a Big Deal. In the end, I am so very happy that I was able to take a step outside my comfort zone and be a part of such an amazing event. Everyone—readers, authors, and event staff alike—were kind and welcoming and they immediately put me at ease. 

All that to say... if you ever get the chance to attend the Roanoke Author Invasion in the coming years, take it! I promise you won't regret it! I had an absolute blast and made more new friends in a single weekend than I have in all of the last five years combined. No joke. 

So... yes. RAI is worthy of every awesome adjective in the book, most of which I've probably used twice over in this blog post. 

In other news, my life has been temporarily turned upside-down... and it isn't likely to right itself any time before mid–May. 

In a little less than two weeks, I'll be starting my move from Florida back to North Carolina. There are still a thousand-and-one logistical nightmares to be sorted and dozens of boxes yet to be packed, so any and all writing is likely to ground to a halt for the foreseeable future. 

Also, I'm still a little under the weather where my health is concerned thanks to a mistake made by my former infusion center regarding my treatment dosage. (They, um... Well, they accidentally cut it by more than half... For six months straight.) The mistake was corrected in February, but I've been slow to get back on my feet. 

With all that's been going on with my health, with my upcoming move, and with a few other issues I'd rather not get into here on the blog, it's been difficult—if not impossible—to give my writing the attention it deserves. 

I'm looking toward May like it's the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, once I'm settled in Asheville and have had a chance to rest, I'll be in a much better position to focus on finishing up book four in the Variant series!! I'd give anything to provide you with an official release date, but all I can say for now is that it should be ready for publication by early Fall of this year.

Fingers crossed things get back to normal soon! It's been eight months of absolute chaos and I'm looking forward to finding a little bit of peace once I'm settled in NC again. (And for that matter, so is my muse!) :-)

That's all for now... I'll try to check in again after the dust settles and book four is once again back on track for a fall release! Take care, everyone!!

~Jena