New Year, Better Plans

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you can take the best of 2017 and carry that over to this year. Let’s leave all that negativity and hate in the past and move forward with a purpose and a bright future ahead.

ipadrt_823x978 copy2017 saw the release of my first novel, The Selection. It has since been rebranded as The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1. It’s now the first in what I’m planning as a trilogy, set on the planet Anastasia and following Eron as he moves beyond the Selection. As the series title suggests, the Forgotten play an immense role in all of this.

I’ve had mostly positive responses to the book and it’s brought me more readers which I hope to continue into 2018.

To further that, the audiobook release of The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1 is due within a week or so of this post. It’s narrated by Paul Jenkins and sounds AMAZING! I cannot wait for its release. I think you’ll love it!

ipadlt_823x978The second book in the trilogy, Rise of the Forgotten comes out on January 19th. You can pre-order the ebook now for only .99. ( A little under the radar pro-tip: if you really don’t wanna wait, the paperback is actually live and available to purchase now.)

I’m working on the third book of the trilogy, The War for Truth. I’m about 8,000 words into it and I’m planning a late Summer release, maybe July. If all goes well, you may also get the release of a series of novellas in the Fall that relates to 4-5 characters from the series.

Other than the scifi series, I’m planning on releasing two horror novels in 2018. One is titled Brown’s Sacrifice and the other is Soul Windows. Both are set in Brownsville, my pseudonym for Murphysboro, where I live. I’ve thought about branding those as Brownsville Oddities Novels and see how that goes. I have a possible third novel to include in that series, however I’m not certain about that yet.

OnTheHorizonNoWoodIn May, my book The Selection: The Forgotten Chronicles Book 1, will be re-released as part of the On the Horizon book bundle which includes 22 full-length scifi and fantasy novels with the theme “little to no tech.” My book fits perfectly with the theme and to make it enticing to those that have already read my book, I’m going to include an exclusive short story that’s only part of this bundle. The best part is you can pre-order it for only .99! I highly encourage you to check it out and pre-order your copy today. Even if you’ve read my book, that’s still 21 other full-length novels for less than a $1!

Finally, I’ll be working on a fantasy novel for a 2019 release as part of a larger shared world project. I think at last count we had something like 20-25 authors committed to the project. Our plan is to release a book a month, all tied into the same world. It’s a fascinating concept and will finally get me to write the fantasy novel I’ve been wanting to write since I started creating stories.

This is what you can look forward to from me in 2018. I’m grateful to those of you who’ve supported me by buying a book, sharing my posts, or offering words of encouragement. It’s lonely sometimes as a writer and you make it all worthwhile. Thanks again for everything! Let’s crush 2018 and make it the best yet!

 

 

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10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing

When I started this writing journey, I was naive to the complexities of it all. I guess in it’s most basic state, writing is just me and the words on the screen or paper. It’s when I started sharing those words that things changed. Here are ten things I learned since I started (in no particular order).


Editing is your best friend. I didn’t understand the serious need for revision and editing. I knew those things were important, but as I progress in my career, it’s abundantly clear how vital good editing is to my work. And I can’t do it on my own.

Sometimes the first draft is hard to finish. The moment I start revising parts of the first draft before it’s finished, I bog myself down and the pace of my writing slows to a crawl. That’s not good. I need to get that draft out, warts and all, as quickly as possible so I can jump in and fix it after it’s done.

I’ll never please everyone with my work. As much as I love what I write, not everyone will see it that way. It’s ok. Art is never universally accepted. There will be some who it doesn’t work for and that’s fine.

articulated-male-818202_960_720Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Contrary to popular belief, writing is not an individual act. Sure, the writer creates and physically writes the story on their own. However, to make it work, we need other sets of eyes to help us tighten our prose. And once that’s done and you want to share it with the world, you need others to spread the love. It takes a team of dedicated individuals to make that happen. I find it best not to piss off those that can help.

Family and friends don’t always support you. I gotta start by saying I have a tremendous amount of support from a lot of my family and friends. They might not agree with the subject of my stories, but they’re super supportive of my work. Then there are those that can care less. Yeah I spent a ton of time working on perfecting my stories, only to have it fall on deaf ears. Just because they are family or friends doesn’t mean they’ll automatically help or buy the book or leave a review. And thats ok. They are under no obligation to do so. If they sell Mary Kay cosmetics does that mean I have to buy them? No. Same with my writing. It’s cool.

Rejection isn’t personal. Let me restate that: rejection isn’t personal. It’s not an indictment of you as an individual. For whatever reason, the story didn’t work for that person. Cool. Move on. Try someone else. Revisit your story to see where the holes are. Send it out again. And again. And again. Maybe try a different market. Whatever the case, remember rejection isn’t personal.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You hear so many uplifting stories about people leaving their day jobs to become full-time authors. I would love to have that kind of financial success from my writing. However, unless your book goes viral and everyone under the sun suddenly wants to read it, this takes time and patience. Lots of it. Don’t be discouraged. Keep at it. If you have a passion for your craft and continually seek to improve, your chances of this happening are better, but not guaranteed.

work-1627703_960_720Everybody has advice. Take it at your own peril. Many people mean well, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Maybe they do. Talk to fifty different authors and you’ll get fifty different answers. Sift through this massive trove of opinions carefully. Try different things, but always be wary of the advice given. How to find the best and most trustworthy advice? I don’t have an answer. I take in a lot of suggestions and sometimes I’ll try them, sometimes not. It’s a personal thing I guess. Just be careful with what “rules” you follow given to you by others.

Self publishing is easy, getting noticed is not. I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy it was to get my stories uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. It literally was a click or two and *poof* done. That’s it. But that’s also why indie authors are slammed by critics and readers. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I spent a lot of time revising and editing my first collection of stories to leave the best impression I could with potential readers. I still had a few errors in my work. Then when it came to earning eyes on my stories, that was (and still is) a difficult process. I’m basically asking someone to use their hard earned cash to buy a book from an author they don’t know and invest their time with me. That’s a big ask. I better deliver with my work or they won’t come back.

You will have to sacrifice if you want to succeed. When I started writing, I played a lot of video games. One day I came to the realization that the time spent playing games on the Xbox was time spent not writing. How could I hope to grow as a writer and create new work if I spent my time playing games? I stopped cold turkey. I didn’t join my friends on our weekly game night anymore. I didn’t spend hours on a Saturday morning hunting achievements. Instead, I used that time to write more and read more. I’ve whittled down my gaming to two mobile games, that’s it. I miss those gaming sessions, but if I wanted to be serious about my craft, I had to make concessions somewhere.


There you have it, my ten things learned since I started as a writer. As you start your journey or are knee deep in it, how do these compare to your experiences?

Feel free to like, share, and comment. Thanks!

The Art of Change

Change is inevitable. It can be intentional. More often it’s forced on us from external sources. How we cope with that change can help determine the outcome of the situation.

Changes in our lives happen daily. Life is nothing but a series of events that change us and those around us. All news stories we listen to or watch on tv or read about deal with change. It could be a crime or event or action taken by someone but it’s about change. Sometimes we’re caught in a routine where change feels difficult or impossible but change is unavoidable. It will occur.

Intentionally changing your circumstances is a difficult move to make. We get comfortable where we’re at. Complacency sets in and to move from the known which is convenient to an unknown full of endless possibilities requires energy and determination. That’s not easy. Dreamers like musicians, writers, and other artists have a challenging time with this. I know, I’m in that group.

OldwayI enjoy writing and when I get the opportunity to put words together for a story or essay and it comes out right – pure bliss! But taking that to the next level where I share it with others through my blog or book is not easy. And once I do, then what? How do I pursue this dream to its fullest? I want to make a change in how I pursue this goal of writing and sharing my work, of creating novels and story collections. I dream about being able to share my work with people I don’t know yet. How do I intentionally make that change from sales rep. with a dream to writer with a career? That’s the change I consider daily. There are so many steps I could take to get from point A to point B. I want to take those steps. It’s not like the path has never been taken. I have to force myself to accept and take that willful direction.

Change is often forced on us. Decisions out of our control dictate our response or at the very least force us to adapt to them. Policy makers, life situations (loss of job, death in the family, etc) and other events out of our control bring unwanted change in our lives.

When I was a junior in high school, my parents made the bold decision to move our family from Cleveland, OH to rural Southern Illinois. It was a situation out of my control. I went from the city I loved to farmlands I hated. I was a punk rock/heavy metal listening skateboarder that found myself living not in a concrete jungle but in the midst of cornfields and soybean fields. That was a change I didn’t handle well at first. It was forced on me and instead of seeing the opportunity for growth all I could do was focus on the negative and fell into a depression.

I’ve lived well over half my life in Illinois moving from the farmlands to a small town and I enjoy life here very much. I have a family and friends I would never have known if it weren’t for this change in my life. I understand now why the change had to occur but at the time like most people forced to deal with such an upheaval, I responded with negativity and anger.

Looking back at it, if I were to deal with the situation in a more positive way I could’ve enjoyed my time and the transition so much more. I could have grown instead of turning inward in a childish attempt to ignore the situation.

Change in our lives is inescapable. We like to think we’re cozy where we’re at. But how likely are you going to stay comfy in your current situation? Taking steps to confront and accept that possibility I think are key to creating a positive outcome. Planning for change rather than reacting to change is a much stronger stance. Working towards a goal and calculating the way towards it is a worthwhile pursuit.


Saturday May 7th I’ll be at the Indie Book Fair in St. Louis selling my book and doing a reading from it. Come on out and meet me and close to 40 other local and regional authors. Should be a great time!

No More Ragrets

What if the world ended today? What is the news was flooded with reports of impending global destruction or some other cataclysmic event? Would you run around screaming and crying? Would you get violent and act on all your base instincts? Would you seek out your loved ones and hold them close? As you sat waiting for the inevitable end and the time ticked away, what would your mind focus on?

My mind wanders to thoughts like these a lot. Call it “mid-life” or “scared-of-what-these-presidential-candidates-have-in-store-for-us” syndrome, but either way, I find myself questioning my life choices and direction.

meteorite-1060886_960_720I’ve found balance, to a degree, by focusing more on writing. It’s an avenue where I can express my thoughts (like on this blog) or create new worlds full of danger and heroes through my fiction. Expressing myself through words and sharing that with others has given me a greater sense of “being” in a way unlike anything else I’ve been doing. I’ve met so many new and wonderful people through the power of words. I feel confident in what I’ve done so far. Maybe my words might live on in some form that a future generation, if anything survives a possible global annihilation, can discover it and be entertained by it. If nothing else maybe they’ll get a good laugh.

That’s one of my constant fears: leaving nothing of consequence behind.

I look at my son as my parting shot to the world. When he’s an adult and out on his own, my hope is that my wife and I raised him to be a productive member of society and he brings something positive to the world. We’re doing our best and maybe one day he’ll cure a disease or create a new product that truly benefits humanity. Or maybe he’ll be the next great artist or novelist. He could possibly be a great family man that in turn raises a child (or children) to become something special to the world. (Though I can wait to be a grandpa. I’m not in any hurry for that!) It took me awhile to realize it, but he is “something of consequence” I’m leaving behind. My legacy, fair or not, lives on in him. What my wife and I do in raising him and the values we instill in him will affect future generations and by doing so, I am leaving something after I’m gone.

I’ve worried a lot in the past year or so (is it a coincidence it happened when I turned 40?) that I’m toiling in this world with nothing to show for it. I don’t want to be a cog in the machine. I don’t want to be one of millions that trudges on through life and before I know it, I’ve wasted it on fruitless pursuits. I don’t want to get to the end and look back on a series of regrets for not doing this or not helping with that. I’m trying to avoid that kind of end to my life. I’m trying to leave something lasting after I’m gone.

When those meteors rain down on us or flames sweep the globe, I want to know I’ve done something special. What about you?


 

Before you go, I want to update you on a few things. I’ve got a brand new author website up and running. Go check it out at jasonjnugent.com. While there, sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive a code for a FREE copy of my debut fiction collection to download from Smashwords.

I’ve got my first book signing event coming on April 9th at the Book House in St. Louis. I will be with fellow S.U.M. writer Lakesha Mathis. If you’re in the area, please stop by. I love to meet new people and share my work with them.

On May 7th I will be at the St. Louis Indie Book Fair at the St. Louis Library. I’ll have books to sell and will have a chance to do a reading. Come on out and meet me and over 50 other writers at what should be a great event.

And finally, if you’ve not picked up a copy of my debut collection (Almost) Average Anthology, it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks for only .99! You can click on the large book cover on this page to buy it from Amazon. Please consider getting a copy of my original fiction and when you do, an honest review is very much appreciated.

Thanks!

Ready for Rejection?

Rejection sucks! Whether it’s from another person, your boss, or anyone else – rejection sucks! This past year has been a boon for me in terms of rejection.

I’ve got a file I keep of all submitted stories and queries. I’ve got over 40 rejections with only 1 acceptance! I’m not the greatest with math, but the percentage of my work accepted is pretty dang low. I thought about it and there are a few reasons why I’ve experienced so many “no” emails and only one “yes” email.

My first and most important thought is my writing needs to be better. I don’t blame others for my failings. I own my shortcomings and learn from them. I do think my writing needs improvement. I work on it almost daily. I’ve gone to a writer’s conference earlier this year and I work on the craft much more now than I ever have. I can see improvement in how I write from a year ago. I’m positive if I continue to hone my craft, I’ll get better as I practice. It’s kinda like running. I can’t go out and run a marathon if I don’t start training. I have to build up my body in order to run the race. Writing is the same way. If I work at it and learn my failings, I can grow and be a better writer.

I’ve mentioned this before, but in one of the rejections I received for a manuscript, the publisher was kind enough to offer a few critiques. The one that’s stuck out with me was “you can write, but you can do better.” It was validation that I’ve got some talent but could still learn a lot more. I was grateful to get such a response.

Second, maybe I’ve been sending it to the wrong places. I’ve targeted the major markets (Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Nightmare Magazine, etc) hoping to break through and grace their publications. Nope, not this year. And that’s fine. It’s a learning experience. Fortunately I don’t need to sell stories in order to support my family. Looking at magazines and journals that don’t pay pro rates might be where I need to focus. It would help build an audience and get my name exposed to more and more readers.

Lastly, and this ties in with the second, is that I’m incorrectly identifying my stories and sending them to the wrong places. It’s possible my work doesn’t fit their magazines at all and I need to look for other sources to get my name out there. I need to reevaluate my stories and where I send them in order to find better matches.

I believe in my work. I trust I have some amount of skill. More importantly I enjoy writing stories. When I get so involved in writing that I can see the characters as vivid as if they were standing in front of me and hear them speaking to each other, that’s when it’s the absolute best. There is nothing like it.

I’ll continue to submit stories. I’ll keep sending queries. Maybe this time next year, I’ll have another list of rejection but a few more acceptances. I won’t know unless I try.

Welcome Autumn

Football, chili, and colors. The end of summer has passed and we are now heading into Autumn, my favorite season.

I love the cooler temperatures, football on television, and the beautiful display of colors on the way. Summer is fun, for a while, but when it breaks and Autumn comes rolling in, I can’t help but feel a bit better.

The sun shines a little differently. Birds and animals scurry about getting ready. The soft rustle of leaves when the wind blows soothes me. When nature begins its metamorphoses from the heat and humidity of Summer to the harsh frigid temperatures of Winter, the transition season of Autumn provides me with great hope.

I enjoy Fall festivals like the Apple Festival we have here in Murphysboro. We have an Art, Wine, and Blues Festival as well as the BBQ Championships. It seems like every little town around here has some type of festival to mark the season. There are haunted houses in October (though I enjoy horror stories, I tend to avoid these. I guess I’ve read too many or seen too many movies that these scare the crap out of me!) Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here.

But what I’ve found that attracts me to Autumn more than anything else, more than the change in weather and seasonal festivals, is hope.

Falling leaves and pumpkins and hoodies remind me of school. They remind me of being in college. A time I remember vividly remembering how I walked across campus carrying a backpack that threatened to pull me down. It was a time of hope for the future. I was in college learning skills and acquiring knowledge that I expected to prepare me for a life in academia. I assumed I was on a path which led to teaching history. I had visions of my future with my girlfriend (now wife of 18 years!) and the life we’d lead together.

Now many years removed from college, that hope of a future isn’t quite what it used to be.

Once out of school, the hope I’d been looking forward to never materialized. No longer working in class towards a goal in front of me, I work. I don’t have a lofty goal waiting for me at the end of work. I don’t have this expectation that I will be done in a couple years able to forge ahead to what I’d been working towards. I’m there already. Now my goals are not filled with hope for a future as an educator, they are filled with a desire to provide the best I can for my family.

Every Autumn as the temperatures cool and the sun casts shadows much different than Summer, I’m reminded of this hope I once had. I’m reminded of a young me that went to school every day, tired and anxious, looking forward to a future I had envisioned. And that rejuvenates me.

Sure I’m not where I expected to be. My job is nothing like what I thought I’d be doing. But I enjoy it. I meet new people every day and I’m able to help them make events happen. My family life is way better than I could’ve ever expected and I’m thankful to my wife and son for that.

And as a Browns fan, every Autumn is a season of hope. Usually that euphoria is crushed but there is always hope in the beginning!

Welcome Autumn! It’s nice to see you again, I’ve been expecting you.