Posts by Kristen Jett, @KristenJett

A Few Changes (Muse KJ’s Big News)

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in Pen and Muse news | 9 comments

A Few Changes (Muse KJ’s Big News)

When you hear about big news from a writer, what do you expect? A book deal? A self-publishing announcement? An agent announcement? Sorry to throw a curveball at you, but…I am a writer after all. It’s none of those. Guess again!   Pen & Muse turned two years old this October. TWO YEARS. Pen & Muse is officially a toddler. A lot of things have changed since we started – and there’s plans for more fun changes in the future. There’s also some biiiiiig changes for Muse KJ – which means a temporary shift in how things are going to work around here.   So what’s Muse KJ’s big news? (If you don’t want spoilers, you may want to scroll through these hints one by one!) Hints: I spend large amounts of my time accidentally napping just about everywhere. I’m suddenly more fickle than a girl in a badly written love triangle. The first thing that happens when I enter a room (of people I know) is that someone immediately tells me to sit down. If you so much as cough, I will look suspiciously at you and grab my hand sanitizer. I forget things faster than you can say “What was I doing?” I now buy pickles by the gallon. Mr. Muse KJ knows the fastest route to get to Wendys because sometimes a girl just needs a cheeseburger, and by a cheeseburger I mean a number one with extra pickles, take the lettuce off at home, I’m going to eat all your fries, and the entire time I eat these vanilla frosty I’m going to loudly exclaim how strange it still is that I want vanilla and not chocolate.   Did you guess it?   *drumroll*   If you guessed that there’s a mini-muse growing inside of me, you’re right! (Translation: I’m 15 weeks pregnant.) Mini-muse also means a lot of changes. A lot of planning. And not so much time to do it. The last 4 weeks have been particularly rough with two bouts of random illnesses. (And I assure you the last thing you want to hear from your doctor is “And if X happens, you should find your way to the ER pretty fast.”) I’ve pretty quickly come to the conclusion that I don’t have time…or the energy to do everything. Which unfortunately means that you’ll be seeing less of me around P&M for awhile. (Let’s be honest, I know you haven’t seen much of me in the past 12 weeks.) I’m still going to pop in for time to time with a review (and if we’re lucky, maybe even a post or two), but I’ll be taking a leave until at least a few months after Mini-Muse makes the grand arrival in June. Until June, I’ll be doing all the planning, all the bossing around of the family for home renovations + nursery creation (sorry Dad! You’re my official carpenter now.), all of the sleeping, reading all the pregnancy + newborn + what the heck do I do books, and if all goes well squeezing in a course on author publicity + book marketing. Because let’s face it, whether you publish traditionally, indie, or self publish, you want to know what you can do to boost book sales and publicity. If you’d like to get more details on the release of Author Marketing Made Easy, or would even like to beta it, sign up for updates here! (Beta = early access, cheaper price, more one on one with me, life access to all other versions, additions, and updates + you give me your feedback, suggestions, demands….) Anddddd if...

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Crowdfunding? Can This Work For Authors? By Kayleigh Webb

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Guest Post, Marketing and Branding, Publishing | 0 comments

Crowdfunding? Can This Work For Authors? By Kayleigh Webb

For those of you who don’t know crowdfunding is a relatively new business model that creative people of all types have been using to get their work out into the world. There are different ways to do this, including Kickstarter and the various other sites that use a similar format; Patreon; using a website; or mixing and matching the available options to create something that works for them. I’m a crowdfunded writer. Although it was an easy choice for me to make, because I readily admit that I am a control freak, it’s not something I would recommend for anyone who writes. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been simpler to take one of the paths that have been walked by other people, but there are reasons for the choice that I made that I feel make it the right one for me. My first reason, and possibly the most important, is my love of people getting involved. What I want is for the worlds I’ve created to be fascinating enough for my readers to join me in whatever way they want to. Fanfiction is something I’d love more of, and fanart, and people creating worlds they want me to write in or characters they want to place in one of the already available settings. I do have a worlds that have been created by my readers, just not as many as I would like, unfortunately, as the hardest thing with this, for me, has been to get people interested enough to do that. That, for me, has been one of the hardest things. Most of the time I don’t write for other people, because I mostly write what’s been nagging at me the most, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want someone to comment on a story and say they like it, or they didn’t like it, or they like the character and want to see more of them, or just tell me they read it. When you have your own website one of the hardest things can be looking at your site stats and realising you have no visitors. Of course they could be reading elsewhere – but sometimes it’s incredibly disheartening. If you’re going to crowdfund that is something you have to be prepared for. Not writing for other people is probably what’s kept me going some days. I love writing, so I keep going, no matter what. The second reason I chose crowdfunding does mix in with the first, and that is the fun I have with experimenting with different ways of getting people interested. I offer character adoptions and setting rentals, where the purchaser will get a number of stories sent to them over a period of time with a word count of their choice. Buying 1000 words means you’re likely to get a fragment of a story, but it’s simple enough to have them extended. Some will end up being much longer than I expected. Some will be short and sweet, and often with the chance of seeing what comes after that one, as the one thing I have worked out about what I write – there is never really an end. One story almost always leads to another. Another thing I offer is story bundles. Buy stories for all of your favourite characters and have them sent to you together. This gives the reader much more freedom to get what they want from me, including putting a character from one of my worlds into another one. I love doing that myself, or seeing what would happen if they made another decision,...

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The Healing Power of Queer YA by Chelsea Pitcher (Plus a Giveaway!)

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Paranormal / Supernatural, Reading, Writing, Young Adult | 1 comment

The Healing Power of Queer YA by Chelsea Pitcher (Plus a Giveaway!)

Today’s post begins with two statements: 1. You want to read this book. 2. You should enter this giveaway pronto.   Alright – I’ll give you a third. If you haven’t read Chelsea Pitcher, you are truly missing out. You may recall we reviewed her debut novel THE S-WORD last year. If you’re not much of a contemporary fan, today will rock your socks off.   The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher   Series: Faerie Revolutions #1 Release date: November 8th 2014 Publisher: Flux Purchase: Amazon    Synopsis via Goodreads: A Kingdom at War . . .   Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”   A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .   To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love. Muse KJ’s Thoughts Ever read a book and know, just know, you can’t write a review to properly praise it? This is one of those books. The tale is told in both the voices of Elora, a young Faerie princess, and Taylor, a mere mortal boy. The two meet by chance. Is he the sacrifice she’s been asked to find? Is she what can finally pull him from his guilt and grief? The voice is authentic, honest, and elegant. I couldn’t help but do what I would have deemed impossible previously – comparing her gift of words to Margaret Atwood’s. It takes great talent to be able to weave more than just plot into a well crafted story, but this something Chelsea Pitcher pulls off as smoothly as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Perhaps even more so, when you realize this isn’t done is the easier format of a dystopia, but instead an urban fantasy. This is a story with the ability to truly affect you, in addition to it being an entertaining and enjoyable read. Equality doesn’t work if it’s only for some people. I know I’ll be back later to write a more thorough review, because (at least for me) this is one of those rare gems that you can think about for ages and still come up with new ideas. This is easily one of my favorite books of 2014 – and will be one of my most gifted books this holiday season. The Healing Power of Queer YA When I was sixteen, I fell in love with a girl. Four and a half years later, it ended. And for some time after, I didn’t even want to look at a book about two girls falling in love, let alone read one. It wasn’t that I was swearing off girls forever (how would one even do such a thing? And why?) I was just heartbroken, and I didn’t want to return to where I’d been. Not yet. Then time went by. First weeks, then months, then years. And during this time, I still read books. I read lots of books! I just didn’t read books about two girls in love. I didn’t even read books about two boys in love. I didn’t want to read about the hardships surrounding coming out, the searching for a sense of identity,...

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The Fashion Police: What Matters In Writing (And A Giveaway)

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Reading, Writing | 4 comments

The Fashion Police: What Matters In Writing (And A Giveaway)

The Fashion Police: What Matters In Writing I’ve heard critics complain that authors of Young Adult and New Adult books drone on and on about what each and every character is wearing. These critics cut down our books as mindless dribble that wastes words on telling readers that the character has on a blue shirt. I disagree with those know-it-all haters who make these claims. In the world of YA and NA, fashion choices can be important in the story. Admittedly, there are times that the mention of what the character has on offers nothing but a few extra words. However, many times the mention of the character’s ripped jeans and Metallica T-shirt is a way to convey the personality and likes of the character. Still other times, clothing plays a key role in the story. Think of The Selection. Even the covers of that series are about what the main character wears. In Cloven, I have one particular dress that becomes an important player in the story. It’s a dress that Anya is forced to wear to meet Lucifer. Here’s a snippet of the scene:   Within minutes, Iona has my hair pulled up and the pink ribbon tied to my head like a headband. “We’d best get you dressed, Miss.” She finds a strapless bra and a pair of lacy underwear in a drawer. As I slip them on, she unties the dress bag. Yards of puffy, pink tulle leach from the white bag. When she pulls out the dress, the ruffles slide out like a man-eating flower searching for a meal. “I’m not wearing that thing.” When I go into the bathroom to get my clothes, Micah stands up from the tub. The sight of him naked and dripping with water knocks the wind out of me. I look away and snatch my dirty clothes off the floor. When I return to the bedroom, Iona is wringing her hands. “You can take that thing back to Dahlia.” “Oh, no, please. She’ll have me beaten if you’re not dressed when she’s ready to leave.” I throw my dirty pants and cammy on the bed. “I’m wearing my own clothes.” “No. I beg you.” Iona’s face loses its color. “Please put on the pretty dress. It belonged to the mistress in the Kingdom of Heaven. She’s being quite generous to allow you to wear it.” The desperate look on Iona’s face tugs at my heart. I don’t want to get her in trouble. I’m sure Dahlia will have her beaten if I don’t put on the dress. I glare at the giant pink monstrosity spilled on the floor. It’s the ugliest dress I’ve ever seen. “How do I get that thing on?” She unbuttons the back and opens the dress for me to step into it. When she lifts it up my body and buttons it, I can feel the hideous thing eating away at my self-esteem. Micah walks in the room, dressed in the white button down shirt and black pants. His face expresses my sentiments. “That dress is …” He looks down to button his shirt. “I don’t have the words to describe it.” His reaction is the cherry on top of the ugly gown. I’m mortified. Micah makes his way to me and takes my hand. “I’ve seen the elders dress this way. They always receive the highest compliments.” I step away from him, hold out my arms and spin around, causing the ruffles to fluff out even more. “Okay,” I say, stumbling to stay on two feet. “I want to hear an honest compliment.”...

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Pen & Muse Haunt: Script To Survival by Kristen Jett

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Writing | 1 comment

Pen & Muse Haunt: Script To Survival by Kristen Jett

Boys and Ghouls! Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt! The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave.   But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive. You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link. Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha! Script To Survival by Kristen Jett   I turn the key in the ignition again, praying for a miracle. No such luck. Girl goes for long car ride by herself down a country road. She stops suddenly for a dog in the road. The car stalls. The ignition won’t turn. She glances at her cell phone, but there’s no service. I do look at my phone, and sure enough, no bars are visible. Does she leave the safety of the car to go ask for help, or does she hope AAA can find her before the creatures of the night do?  I roll my eyes at myself. There’s a reason I write horror scripts after all. Writing horror also means I’m paranoid. One reach into the glove box finds the emergency satellite phone I keep there. You can never be too prepared after all. Except I have no idea where I am. Kinda hard to tell AAA to come help me if I can’t narrow that down. I dial the number anyway, hoping they can somehow track me by the phone. It doesn’t sound promising, but the operator still says they’ll try to send someone out to me. I can see the headlines now: Horror Writer Stumbles Into Fate Worse Than Her Own Movies. This is the same cliché bit I’d start with – except I’d break far away from the norm by the end. Will my own story be the same? Knock. Knock. The noise at the window nearly causes me to shriek. Nope, so far we’re still following the same cliché movie script. Man at the window with concerned eyes, looking in. Reflexes push my finger to the window button…but it doesn’t work. Of course. Broke down car and all. Last time I buy American.  Do I open the door? Might as well. It’s not as if he can’t break the glass if he really wants me – and I certainly can’t go anywhere. My hand finds the pepper spray on my keychain as the other opens the door a crack. “Yes?” I hadn’t looked at him before. Well, shit. He’s handsome. That’ll disarm a girl. He pauses for a moment, looking nervous. “I’m sorry to intrude – but is everything okay?” When I don’t answer immediately, he continues, “I’m on my way to the Rose Inn – it’s right down the road. My mom runs it, and I always like to check in on her in weather like this.” At least he doesn’t live with her. No thanks, Norman Bates. I finally manage to speak. “I think the battery’s dead, but I’m not sure.” It sounds more like a question than I mean for it to. He nods. “Pop the lid? I can give you a jump.” With a small smirk at my barely opened door, “You can stay in the car if you’d like. It’s chilly.” **** The car is doomed. Or haunted. Or possessed.  He – his name is Adam, by the way – frowns at my poor little convertible. “I haven’t the slightest idea why...

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