Upcoming Panel Appearance

Save the date for my premiere as part of a panel of fantasy writers! And...the book trailer for Crow's Rest will be making its debut at the panel! It's happening at the Placerville branch of the El Dorado County Library:

Fantasy Authors Unveil Writing Secrets Placerville Library
Saturday, Jan. 3, 1:00 pm

Are you a fan of the world of fantasy in all its many forms, spectrums and realms? Are you an aspiring author looking for advice from those who have come before, those who have battled in the trenches of book publishing and emerged victorious? Join our four published authors as they answer ALL of your questions about writing the fantasy genre and share with you their writing journeys.


Urban Fantasy: Angelica R. Jackson – In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here. She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California's Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too. Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. @angelicarjaxon

Magical Realism: Jessica Taylor - A young adult novelist who adores sleepy southern settings, unrequited love, and characters who sneak out late at night. After earning Bachelor’s degrees in English and communication studies, she decided to go all out and get her law degree too. She soon realized her one true love had always been writing young adult fiction. She lives in Northern California with a sweet-yet-spoiled dog and many teetering towers of books. Her young adult magical realism debut, Wandering Wild, is slated for fall 2015 release from Egmont USA. @JessicaTaylorYa

High Fantasy: Christina Mercer - An award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. Honored titles include Tween Fantasy Arrow of the Mist and its sequel Arms of Anu, and Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Honey Queen. She is also an accountant and certified herbalist, enjoying life in the foothills of Northern California with her husband, two sons, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honey bees. For about her and her writing visit www.christinamercer.com @cwritebuzz

Dark Paranormal: Heather Marie - She spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back. @HeatherMarieYA Sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Thanks so much to Jen Garrett and The Writer's Bloc writing group for inviting us, and hope to see you all there!

P.S. Myu publicist is getting together a mini-blog tour for the book trailer (after Jan 3), so if you'd like to participate let me know, and I'll forward your info to my publicist.

Want a Chance to Win an ARC of Crow's Rest?

J.L. Spelbring, a fellow author member of the Spencer Hill Press family, is running the 3rd Annual Holiday Cheer Giveaway--and I've put in an Advance Readers Copy of Crow's Rest!

You could be one of the first to read it (it will ship once the ARC comes out), and there are SO MANY fantastic prizes in this giveaway: books, swag, editor and author critiques, gift cards, etc.

"Three lucky winners will win one of the three baskets filled with books and candy and books and even more candy, along with gift cards, swag, critiques, and just awesome stuff...You can enter every day! The giveaway runs from Dec. 5th to Dec. 19th, 2014, central time."

No purchase is necessary, and you can enter through the Rafflecopter below. Happy holidays from all of us at Spencer Hill Press!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've had a sneak peek at Crow's Rest's layout for book form, and I wish I could share some screen captures with you all! Such great detail on the interior pages. :)

I can't share just yet, but it does look like ARCs are coming soon, yay!

So if you're a book blogger, book reviewer, teacher, librarian, etc and want to request a review copy, you can do so through Spencer Hill Press's form here. If you're not a blogger or reviewer but would still like to score an ARC, we'll be doing some giveaways, so watch for more info on that!

And here's a picture of the full wrap again, just because it gives me all the feels.

Oh, Is It Teaser Tuesday Already?

Crow's Rest is getting close to ARCs, so I think I'll wait to post any teasers from it. ;)

BUT, I'm working on the sequel, No Man's Land, and thought I'd share something from it that I wrote last week:

The Court was one of the few fixed points in Faerie, a trait I was cursing right now since it meant an actual journey instead of willing ourselves there. At least the Queen took advantage of the approach to give travelers a hint of what they could expect: the way wound between dark and thorny trees, with sinister limbs crowding the road, until sudden clearings of breathtaking beauty opened before you.

And just when you were lulled into a sense of wonder and awe, you’d come around a bend and find a gibbet bearing the corpse of a unicorn—its dazzle rotting away into tufts of felted hide. 

What the hell could a unicorn have done to deserve that? Farted a rainbow in the queen’s direction, perfuming the air like fruit candy? 
Not a single view on the way to the Court was straightforward—always a flash of unbearable loveliness among the dark leaves, or a touch of blight among the delicate blooms. But where her design sense really held its own was the fanciful wall of briar roses that surrounded the Palace proper—a Rococo explosion of carven figures cavorting among the crepe blossoms and thorny vines.

A closer look—which I’d only braved once—revealed those figures weren’t so much cavorting as writhing in agony, as the briar rose slowly absorbed them and made the creatures part of its barrier. Why let your enemies’ heads shrivel on a pike, when this is so much more lasting? Preserved for every one of the victim’s families to pass by on their way to Court—a reminder of what it means to displease Queen Maeve.

Thanks for stopping by to read the teaser! :)

Reading Chairs

The contractors just finished a major flooring re-do in our house, and our living/dining room area is now carpet-free and tiled, yay! We also replaced the couch that "cut" the room in half with two comfy reading chairs, plus we added a YA bookcase since I outgrew the first one so quickly (and if my ebooks were on there too, we'd need another two, lol). I even had enough room to face a few titles out, and to save a space for all the editions of Crow's Rest when they come out!

Here are some pics--and don't worry, I included closeups of the bookcases because I know how fun it is to browse other people's bookcases! (to see pictures of the new flooring in my office, go over to Operation Awesome today)

Throwback Thursday

I've never done a TBT, but I came across some photos while I was moving my office and these just begged to be posted. I also put them on Facebook, and that pleated shirt is causing some envy. I think I'll put them in order of age:

This is about 2 seconds before I took my dress off. I hated dresses until I was in my teens, and my poor mum had been waiting so long for a little girl she could dress up. Well, she could--for about the length of a camera shutter.

Sadly, this pic had some damage on it, but I've mostly fixed it. And if you're wondering why some of the pics have rectangles cloned out, when my mom scanned these she put labels on the front. And in a stroke of passive aggressiveness, she put the name she gave me on it--not the name I've been using for 3/4 of my life, lol

 Every TBT needs an awkward pic, and what's hilarious about this one is that I look so much like my oldest brother in this that people have asked "When did he wear a shirt like that??"

 This is the kind of Olan Mills photo you get when you make a goth girl get a formal portrait. Though I did go light on the makeup for it. 

Wow, the full cover for Crow's Rest turned out so gorgeous! You can see it on Operation Awesome today by clicking here.

Happy dance for lovely covers!

I've been paying more attention to book trailers as I've started work on mine, and keeping an eye out for the ones that succeed in getting across their book's tone and plot. That synched up nicely when I was invited to help Deirdra Eden celebrate her book by sharing the trailer! I love the imagery in this one:

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions

About the Author

"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

What Do Pre-Orders Mean for Authors?

 (This post appeared in my slot at the Operation Awesome blog, but I'm sharing here too)

A few weeks ago, my book Crow's Rest showed up on Amazon as available to pre-order in paperback, and of course I had to tell everybody about it. But once the squealing was done, all kinds of questions about what pre-ordering does (and does not) mean for the book and author came up.

Firstly, I had to explain to a few less-publishing-savvy friends that pre-ordering it now means that they still won't get the book until it comes out in May 2015. So the inevitable followup question became "what are the advantages of pre-ordering it then?"

I had some vague recollection of being told publishers use those pre-order numbers for things, but I didn't really have a concrete answer to that question (still learning so much about the actual publishing process!). So I asked around among my fellow Fearless Fifteeners, and got the emphatic answer that yes, pre-orders are crucial for any book! Those numbers are used to:

  • determine whether the publisher may be interested in your next book
  • determine how large that initial print run should be (and possibly whether they should also print a hardcover version)
  • to gauge how much buzz the book is getting, and therefore whether it merits some extra swag or promotional budgeting

The exact explanation from my publicist, Jennifer Allis Provost, on that last point was:

Basically, once you've landed a publishing contract you've convinced someone to invest months (sometimes years) and thousands of dollar in your work, with no guarantee that you will sell a single blessed copy. Yep, that's why it's so hard to make it past the submissions stage; since publishers don't have crystal balls, they have no idea what will take off and what will tank.

What changes their mind? Pre-orders.

Let's say you're a debut novelist, and the publisher has assigned you a publicist, done some marketing, and whatever else is involved in their standard package. You know who the publishers go "above and beyond" for? The titles with hundreds or even thousands of pre-orders. Those pre-orders tell the publisher that the author is willing to do her part to get the word out, and do everything she can to make that title a bestseller.

So as a reader, all that pre-ordering does is reserve a copy for you, and to make sure you get it close to the release date.

But for the author, that pre-order is a really great thing to have on their side! Having a better understanding of how this works has prompted me to go through my Goodreads Want to Read list and actually follow through with pre-orders on the titles I'm really excited about.

Feel free to share some titles you're excited for, that you've pre-ordered, in the comments!

So I've been sad for a few months that neither of our schedules allowed for me to beta read Alison Kemper's next book, Dead Over Heels. But I won't be sad for long, because this book will hit the e-shelves soon! In the meantime, Alison and Entangled revealed the cover:

Ava Pegg isn’t sure exactly what her parents were thinking when they bought a vacation home in dull-as-dirt Glenview.

Then the cute-but-really-annoying boy next door shows up at her place in a panic…hollering something about flesh-eating zombies attacking the town. Now the undead are walking in Glenview, and they are hungry.

Panicked, Ava and Cole flee into the forest. No supplies, no weapons. But that’s the funny thing about the Zombpocalypse. You never know when you’ll fall dead over heels for a boy… 

Add Dead Over Heels on Goodreads here!
(And this is another cover design by X-Potions Design, who also did my cover and Alison's first book, Donna of the Dead)

I was stalking my own book on Goodreads yesterday (we writers can't help ourselves) and noticed something new on the Crow's Rest page:

a small note saying other editions (1) led me to click, and to discover that gasp my book has an ISBN!

Some further poking around led me to Amazon.com, where I discovered it's available for preorder in paperback!!!!!
(I write YA and have a literary license to use this many exclamation points; don't try this at home)

Amazon doesn't have the cover up yet, but should soon, and then it will be really shiny. It will start showing up on other retail sites too, and then the ebook will follow.

After I saw all this, it was really difficult to concentrate on the scene I was working on in Crow's Rest's sequel, No Man's Land, but at the same time it's really motivating. If people are getting excited about CR, I'd better get that second book finished so there's no delay in the publishing schedule!

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Our local chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the California North/Central Region, has been bidding a fond farewell to longtime regional team members, and welcoming new ones into their positions.

I'm happy to announce that I'm taking over the Twitter Diva (does a tiara come with this title?) position from Bitsy Kemper, who has done a fantastic job of filling the @SCBWINorthCal feed with useful and entertaining content for our regional members.

So if you're not already following, please do so! :)

Copyedit Virgin No More

First off, I need to send a shoutout to the most loyal reader of my blog: Hi, Michelle! :D

The reason why there wasn't any new content showing up here was those titular Copyedits for Crow's Rest.

I'd been a little nervous about getting them in my email because I've heard from authors how hard they can be--and they weren't wrong. These edits were definitely a monopolizer of my time and energy over the last few weeks!

The document became so cluttered with comments, changes, and countercomments that I eventually had to accept all changes and strip the comment boxes just to see how the flow was affected.

But when it comes down to it, the copyeditor is one more person on your side, invested in making your book stand out in a crowded YA market (or whatever your genre/category is). And when I felt myself whining too much, I also reminded myself that each strikeout or addition was one step closer to having a finished, printed book (or ARC) in my hand.

I tried to keep that in mind and rise to the challenge, and I hope I succeeded (my editor approved the changes, so yay!).

So here's to moving forward on that road to a real book!

I'm On The Writer Librarian Blog!

Oops, I forgot to link to this yesterday, but you can read an interview with me on Karen McCoy's The Writer Librarian blog--just click on the cover image below to follow the link.

The Cover That Almost Was, And the Cover That Is

Today is my cover reveal day! It's over on Operation Awesome (among other places), so please go check it out--I'll wait!

Are you finished staring at that luscious piece of artwork already?!? I think I'll be staring at it for weeks to come. At least, when I'm not working on the copyedits.

But I wanted to share some more images--at one stage of the cover art process, I mentioned to the higher-ups at Spencer Hill Press that I have access to models who fit the main characters, Avery and Daniel, very well.

My niece, Renee Sprouse, is trying to build up her modeling portfolio (she also acts,dances, and sings--is it still a Trifecta if it's four things? A Quadfecta doesn't have the same ring to it) and her then-boyfriend was actually named Danniel! They both have a slightly retro/rockabilly/vintage look going on, and great taste in fashion. Danniel has also done some modeling and is a musician--too perfect!

I got permission to do a test shoot with them, and then if that worked out well we could schedule an actual shoot at Preston Castle. So I grabbed my photographer friend, Eliya of Eliya Photography (the same one who did my author photos), loaded up Renee and Danniel, and we headed to some local photo spots--including an historic cemetery and a shopping center with Italianate architecture. Eliya and I both took photos, and these are some of my favorites from my portfolio:

So even though we ended up going a very different direction for the Crow's Rest cover, I wanted to make sure these great photos had their day!

Road Trip Wednesday

I've been parked on the side of the Road Trip Wednesday for awhile, but today's topic caught my eye and I'm in! Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: Share a line from your WIP.

I'm working on the sequel to Crow's Rest (which comes out in 9 months!!) and my favorite line from No Man's Land (at least so far) is too spoilery, so here's my first paragraph instead:

If I’d known this was going to be an intervention, I would have dressed better. Not that a polo shirt and khakis would have lessened the sting of my mom sticking a “Hello, I’m Promiscuous” label on me or anything, but my micro-miniskirt wasn’t helping my defense.

Avery's voice is so much fun to write--she comes up with some truly hilarious takes on things. :)


Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!

Music and Memory

I've started on my sequel to Crow's Rest (its working title is No Man's Land) and a couple chapters in I realized I was having trouble finding the tone of the book. In the past, I haven't worried about that too much in the drafting stage, but with this book the tone is going to direct several plot-forks in my outline. (Plot-forks are too real things! Don't make me show you my literary license)

I was thinking about how when I would come back to the Crow's Rest draft after an absence, two songs helped get my brain in gear for writing (Firethief by Karine Polwart, and the song I wrote for the book which will appear in the book trailer). But No Man's Land didn't have a song just yet, so there wasn't a tool I could use to drop me into the story.

To fix that, I spent some time rewriting lyrics to an old English folk song, variously called A Blacksmith or Blacksmith Courted Me. Now I have song lyrics that are particularly relevant to the story and plot, plus singing it puts me in the frame of mind to continue in the Crow's Rest world.

Do you ever use music in this way? It's a little more specific than a playlist, but I'm sure they'd be considered close relatives!

Some Changes in Store!

I've done some shuffling of domain names and websites, so here's the lowdown:

My domain name www.AngelicaRJackson.com now points to a shiny new author website! It has a place for news and events, links to my social contacts, and links to my books (once I have something available to pre-order or order, that is).

My photography galleries that formerly lived at the above domain are now at www.AngelicaRJackson.photography, oddly enough. They will still serve as a place to buy prints, digital downloads, and gift items featuring my photographs.

This blog will remain at this address, and will also feed into my website and Goodreads Author Page. I will still be blogging at Operation Awesome every other Monday, and starting August 15 my OA posts will show up on Angelic Muse a few days later. Original content on here will be sharing whatever strikes my fancy: photos from trips, interesting tidbits I've unearthed in research, and the like.

More of the day-to-day stuff shows up on my Facebook profile if that sort of thing interests you, and so do the links to conferences, grant opportunities, etc that I run across and share.

All this shakeup is the result of me needing to change gears now that I have a book coming out, and don't have as much time to browse other people's blogs as I used to. I actually still do a lot of reading of blogs in my feed, I just don't have as much time to comment.

That seems to be the case for a lot of friends (writer or otherwise) and I considered abandoning this blog entirely, but there are some gems in the archive and I poured a lot of myself into these pages.
I've opted to keep it up, with the compromise that I'm going to feel less guilty about posting on a regular basis. Who knows--that might actually make me more likely to jump in with spontaneous posts!

Word Crimes

This video from Weird Al Yankovic deserves its own post, so here you go:

Pens for Paws Auction!

The Pens for Paws Auction, benefiting a no-kill, cage-free sanctuary called Fat Kitty City, starts July 14th! If you're a writer looking to bid on a critique with agents, authors, or an editor, you should check it out. We also have signed books and ARCs up for bid, and lots of other cool stuff! Entangled Publishing and Spencer Hill Press even have packages of goodies you won't want to miss. This year, we've even added door prizes--everyone who bids each day will be entered into a drawing for a door prize book (not one of the items up for bid--this is a separate offering) that day.

The auction items will post July 14-19, and instructions on how to bid is in the comments area of each item, or go to How It Works for more help. Hope to see you all there!

California Conferences

With a debut novel coming out next year, I've been thinking about how to allocate my travel budget for conferences and literature festivals. For now, events on the West Coast have priority since it's more likely that I can find roommates and carpool buddies for these.

But I was surprised how many events there are that I've never even heard of--it seems like with Twitter and Facebook, so many things show up on our radar these days. But maybe that's the problem--it's harder to pick the relevant things out of the noise.

Most of these are for 2015, but there are still some upcoming in 2014. I've included those as a guideline for when they can expect to schedule the event for next year:

Sacramento Region:
California Capital Book Festival, Sacramento (Oct 25-26, 2014)
Wizard World Comic Con, Sacramento, Jun 19-21, 2015
SCBWI California North Central: Spring Spirit Conference: Citrus Heights, CA, May 2, 2015

SF Bay Area:
SCBWI California: San Francisco North and East Bay: Fall Conference,
(Oct 17-18, 2014)
SCBWI California: San Francisco South: Golden Gate Conference, last
weekend in Feb 2015
Litquake, San Francisco, (Oct 10-18, 2014)
ALA annual conference in San Francisco, CA June 25-30, 2015
San francisco writers conference, Feb 12-15, 2015

Northern CA:
Mendocino Coast Writer's Conference, Fort Bragg, CA (July 31-Aug 2, 2014)

Southern CA:
Big Orange Bookfest in Orange, CA (Oct 11-13, 2013?)
LA Times Festival of Books, April 18-19, 2015
Orange County Children's Book festival, Sept?
SCBWI California: Central Coast: Writer's Day, Thousand Oaks, CA (Oct.
25, 2014)
SCBWI California: Los Angeles County: Writer's Day, San Gabriel, CA
(March 22-23, 2014)
SCBWI California: San Diego: Conference and Intensive, (March 1-2, 2014)

Other West Coast states:
SCBWI Western Washington: Writing and Illustrating for Children
Conference: Redmond, WA (April 12-13, 2014)
SCBWI Oregon: Spring Conference: Wilsonville, OR, May 30-31, 2015

Did I miss any? Are you planning on going to any of these? Please share in the comments!

Second Book Syndrome

So I've started writing the sequel to Crow's Rest, tentatively entitled No Man's Land. Hooray for getting to spend more time in Avery's cluttered headspace!

But, like every book I've written, before I even started with the writing I was assaulted by doubts (which can all be boiled down to the fear "What if I've lost my mojo? Or what if I never had mojo and was able to delude myself up to this point???") and anxiety.

I've been able to quiet most of those with Plotting: I start with a 2-page synopsis, and then expand it into a more detailed outline (about 10 pages) from there. Then, if I've done the plotting correctly, writing the actual first draft feels like filling in the blanks.

That's overly simplified, of course, but it worked like a charm for Crow's Rest! The only new part in the equation is that No Man's Land will need to have its own arc, as well as fitting into the series arc.

It's kind of a pet peeve of mine if the middle book in a trilogy (though my books aren't a trilogy) feels more like a "to be continued" episode than a book that can stand on its own merits, so I'd really like to avoid that!

The best recent example I can think of for a 2nd book that stood on its own is The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson--loved how the main character continued to develop and grow, and the story did too. Any recommendations for other titles that fit the bill?

Crow's Rest is on Goodreads!

We don't have a cover yet, but Crow's Rest has a place on Goodreads! It was so thrilling to wake up to some activity on it: adds to Want to Read shelves, and even a few 5-star ratings! Whoohoo!

Yep, that's what it looks like for now, only with "Crow's Rest by Angelica R. Jackson " on it. But if you'd like to add it, you can find it at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22573426-crow-s-rest

Ireland Day 4

We started out going to Muckross House, which you are unfortunately not allowed to take pictures inside. But it does have an interesting connection to Empire Mine in Nevada City, California--the same family that owned the mine bought Muckross and its acreage for their daughter. They also were the family that owned Filoli, so they certainly have great taste in architecture and gardens! Here is a taste of Muckross:

That last picture cracks me up--do you see how the lion-dog-griffin creatures are sticking out their tongues?
Parts of the Muckross acreage are now Killarney National Park, and there are some gorgeous views there too

We rushed back to Kenmare to get there in time for the Seafari boat to see seals and sea eagles. No sea eagles on the day we went--plus it was so cold I couldn't feel my feet by the time we got back in port. And yes, I was wearing a balaclava, my snowboarding parka, jeans with tights underneath, and waterproof boots. Still damn cold! But we got lots of pics like these:

That last photo is obviously not a seal--it's the ruins of an ancient church as seen from the bay. We got to go there a few days later, so stay tuned for some pictures from the church ruins and burial ground.