Jaye Wells

Goals for 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year. I’m very excited about 2017 and I have some fun projects in the works for my readers. I can’t talk about the plans yet, but trust that I’m working on some new stories that should make you very happy.

Some of you might know that in 2016 I graduated with my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I got the degree, in part, because I wanted to teach writing. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to have a writers’ workshop where I share what I know about the craft, and I’ve been laying groundwork for a while to make it a reality.

One of my big goals for 2017 is to host a writing retreat. Then, in December, I was approached by a company that sells USB drives for companies to use as swag. I realized it was the perfect sort of giveaway to hand out at my writing workshops. Luckily, I’d just had a logo created for my teaching business that I could put on them, too. This is what you call synchronicity, friends. I am now the owner of these really awesome flash drives.

Aren’t they cute? If you can’t tell, they’re little wooden books! The logo is sort of hard to see, too, but in person they look amazing. Thanks to my stalwart marketing assistant, Chelsea Klepfer, for designing the logo!

Now I basically have to plan a writing workshop. I know it’s a backward way to motivate myself, but that’s pretty much how I roll. If you’re interested in taking a workshop with me or attending a retreat, definitely sign up for my newsletter because I’ll  be posting information for singing up there. My goal right now is to have a retreat in the fall and possible also host an online class this year, as well. Stay tuned !

Also, a quick thanks to USB Memory Direct for the custom drives they sent me. They were a pleasure to work with, and I’ll definitely be ordering more.

Get Meridian Six for FREE

As a special holiday treat, I’ve made the first story in my Meridian Six series free from Dec. 14-16!

A masterful fusion of post-apocalyptic fiction, dark fantasy, and subtle social commentary, this is, simply put, the best self-published vampire story I have read in my 20 years of reviewing. And it’s just the beginning of a series that has the potential to change the landscape of genre fiction.” -Paul Goat Allen, Blue Ink Reviews

Get Meridian Six for free now on Kindle!

 

New Jaye’s Office Hours: Creating Tension in Dialogue

Reddit AYA Today

worldbuilders-logo_web_smaller1This morning, several authors are hanging out at Reddit doing an Ask You Anything to benefit the Worldbuilders charity. If you aren’t familiar with Worldbuilders, it was created by Patrick Rothfuss and raises money for Heifer International. You can also go to their site and bid on amazing special signed editions of books from your favorite authors. There are several signed editions of my foreign editions and audio books available there.   After you check it out, I hope you’ll stop by Reddit to chat about books with me!

 

 

Jaye’s Office Hours: Writing Good Characters

Craft Thursday: Speak Up

Life has been pretty crazy lately. There have been some family things going on that require me to be away from my writing desk more often than I’d like. I promised my agent pages on a new project next week, so I’ve been a little stressed about getting it all done. Then I remembered that there is more than one way to get a story written.

Enter: Dictation.

tell your story

I read a couple of posts and a book by authors who swear by dictation as a method for drafting a novel. They pretty much all recommended Dragon for dictation, but a quick search told me the program is $300. I have text-to-speech (TTS)  on my Mac (just open any document or program and fit the “function” key twice), and I can’t imagine the Dragon software is 300X better. I did, however, download the free Dragon app for my phone for dictating on the fly.

Here’s what I’ve been doing. While I’m out running errands or if an idea comes to me while I’m folding laundry, I pick up the phone, speak into the app and then email it to myself. Now, the resulting document is a mess. First, the app doesn’t register punctation, so it’s really a string of words without any formatting. But the beauty of this is that once I’m back at my computer, I take those raw words, add the punctuation, and flesh out the scene. In essence, the dictation draft, messy as it may be, allows me to not face a blank page.

We’ve all been there, right? We get a fresh cup of coffee, turn off the internet, pull up our word processing program of choice, and then stare at the blinking cursor of death. It’s hypnotic, that cursor. It taunts and dares us to try to be brilliant. It’s daunting, y’all.

But if you can come to a page that already has some raw material on it, it somehow feels more manageable. “I don’t have to create anything from scratch, I just have to fix these words.”

A few benefits of this method include:

You talk faster than you write, so you can get a lot of words down quickly.

Speaking your story might make it easier to access your authentic voice.

Because your goal is just to get ideas and words down, it’s easier to ignore the internal editor.

Dictation might not be for everyone. It takes some getting used to to speak your story instead of type it. If it just doesn’t work for you, there’s another option. I have a new obsession for fountain pens. I have cheap ones and expensive ones (the cheap ones are actually my preference), and they make writing by hand a pleasure. In the same spirit of just getting things down, I like to sit down and write a quick scene on paper. Often it’s just a page or two of dialogue. There’s something freeing about putting it on paper. “I’m just jotting down some notes,” I say. “There’s nothing here that can’t be changed.”

Once I have a couple of pages, I either type the scene into Scrivener or I’ll speak it using the TTS function on my Mac. Again, the goal here is just to get something on the page that I can go back and flesh out. The bonus is that it’s easier for me to carry a pen and a notebook in my purse than to lug around my laptop. The benefits of this method are pretty similar to the dictation method, but you don’t have to worry about messing with technology you’ve never used before or the pesky problem of dictation programs inaccuracies.

My point here is that sometimes we have to get creative and work smarter. There is no writing police force who will arrest you if you speak your story instead of type it. You don’t have to sit in front of a computer for the work to count. Progress is more important that perfection, especially in the drafting phase.

If you’re feeling stuck, try to speak your story. Or pull out your favorite pen and jot down your scene. You’ve not nothing to lose but your resistance.

Happy Writing!

Craft Thursday: Making Old Stories Fresh

Today’s Craft Thursday entry is from my Jaye’s Office Hours vlog. James asked me how to avoid writing cliched stories, and this is my answer. Did you know I have lots of craft posts over on my Youtube channel? Subscribe today so you never miss a video!

Craft Thursday: Creative Play

Creativity is intelligence having fun

One of the interesting things you realize when you hang out with creative people is that most creatives are not one-dimensionally creative. For example, many of the writers and musicians and painters I know also love to cook. A painter I know loves to sew and a musician friend is also into photography.

I mention this on Craft Thursday because it’s important for us all to remember that being creative is not a means to an end. Creativity is a way of life. 

It’s important to remember this because there will be times when you feel burned out from writing. Sometimes this burn out is simply resistance. Other times, it’s your subconscious telling you it needs some time to replenish itself. Ironically, one of the best ways to refill your creative well is to be creative–just in a different way.

I was complaining to my husband the other day that every time I sit down to write, I hit a wall. I have about five books waiting to be written, but when I try to put words to paper I freeze up. Mr. Jaye reminded me that I’ve just come out of a pretty intense period of change. He suggested I take a break for a little bit, and give myself permission to do things for fun.

The truth is that at this point in my career, anything I write carries a lot of weight behind it. The weight of expectations, the weight of income, the weight of defining myself in my industry, etc. So I decided that instead of just retreating into Candy Crush or making myself crazy by investing too much energy in the election drama, I needed to be creative in a different way.

That’s when I remembered how much I used to love to paint. It’s been probably fifteen years since I’ve taken a painting class or done a project for fun, but that’s okay. I’m not doing this to prove myself to anyone. I’m doing it to inspire myself to be creative. So out came my old portfolio and my old black tacklebox filled with tubes of paint, brushes, sketching pencils, and those marvelous gummy erasers. Something sort of magical happened when the scent of the supplies hit me. I got excited.

I went to the art store and bought a kit to paint a cheesy painting of a water mill next to a river. It’s going to take me a long time because I’m an incredibly bad sketcher and the painting is pretty detailed. That’s all right. It’s fun to lose myself for an hour or two sketching tiny leaves and a water mill. That’s call flow, my friends. Flow is where the magic happens. 

The other great thing about this project is that its visual and tactile. Writing is such a cerebral practice. You’re in your head so much that sometimes it’s hard to find your way back out. With my painting, it’s nice to get my hands dirty and see the picture coming together as  I work.

Anyway, my point is that f you’re finding yourself stuck, don’t beat up your muse (or yourself). Try switching gears a little. You don’t have to be good at your other creative pursuits. That’s not the point. Being creative is about indulging your curiosity and your sense of play. You don’t have to do “serious” art either. Try some subversive cross-stitch or try a new recipe for dinner or create a vision board using pictures you cut out of a magazine. Some people might call these projects silly, but those people do not understand how critical play is to the creative mind. So ignore the haters and go try something new. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself itching to write again too. And the best part? Being creative is way more fun than beating yourself up for not always being a word machine.

Writing should be fun sometimes, remember? That’s why you started doing it, right? Creative play helps you get back to that beginner’s enthusiastic mind.

Question: What other forms of creativity do you do besides writing?

 

Urban Allies is Out

Urban Fantasy fans won’t want to miss this blockbuster anthology that features some of the most beloved characters of the genre teaming up in cross-over stories.

Sabina Kane fans will be especially excited to see Sabina, Adam and Mr. Giggles again. In the story “Ladies’ Fight,” which I co-wrote with Caitlin Kittredge, Sabina and the gang team up with Ava the hellhound and Leo the reaper to hunt down an enchanted scythe. The fur really flies when the hairless cat demon meets a hellhound.

Buy it now! 

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | Kobo 

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Worlds collide when two different urban fantasy series meet in each of the ten electrifying stories in this collaborative project, featuring beloved characters such as Peter Octavian and Dahlia Lynley-Chivers, Joanne Walker and Harper Blaine, Joe Ledger and Special Agent Franks, Sabina Kane and Ava. Urban Allies melds the talents of some of the most high-profile authors in the genre today—many of whom are working together for the first time—to give readers a chance to see their favorite characters in an imaginative and fresh way.

Contributors Include:

Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
Carrie Vaughn and Diana Rowland
Jonathan Maberry and Larry Correia
Kelley Armstrong and Seanan Mcguire
Joseph Nassise and Sam Witt
Steven Savile And Craig Schaefer
David Wellington and Weston Ochse
Stephen Blackmoore and Jeff Somers
C. E. Murphy and Kat Richardson
Jaye Wells and Caitlin Kittredge

Here’s what reviewers are saying about it:

Library Journal (Starred Review)

These ten shared stories bring together the work of 20 different authors. “Ladies’ Fight” matches up Caitlin Kittredge’s hellhound Ava and reaper Leo with Jaye Wells’s Chosen, Sabina Kane, her partner Adam, and demon Giguhl as they search for the Grim Reaper’s scythe. In “Tailed,” Seanan McGuire’s Verity Price hunts a cryptid poacher and discovers a werewolf with her kids and Kelley Armstrong’s Elena, Kate, and Logan. More pairings of fan-favorite characters, including Peter Octavian and Dahlia Lynley-Chivers, and JoeLedger and Agent Franks, bring fresh outings and fun crossovers sure to delight many readers. Verdict This anthology highlights incredible authors and their best lead protagonists. Readers will devour these stories, which answer the question many fans pose: “What if these two characters met?”

RT Book Reviews – 4 ½ Stars and a Top Pick

Literary mashups are no easy feat, but thanks to some excellent pairings and the work of a group of wonderfully talented writers, this collection is enormously fun from beginning to end, particularly for series fans. The teamwork on display in these stories yields some fascinating results, providing authors and readers with a wonderfully imaginative way to explore and reimagine some beloved characters and settings and offering the chance to see what happens when those characters and worlds suddenly collide. Devotees of the featured series will feel right at home with most of these scenarios, but newcomers will have no trouble at all diving into each of these stories, and will no doubt come out with a new list of must-reads as a result.

Booklist

Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Caitlin Kittredge, and Jonathan Maberry combine their distinctive talents in this unique collection, where 20 best-selling urban-fantasy authors teamed up on 10 original short stories featuring their series characters…“Pig Roast” is a fun, fast-paced read, while “The Lessons of Room 19” is both a creepy read and a smart commentary on the haunting nature of grief. “Blood for Blood” introduces Peter Octavian to Dahlia Lynley-Chivers, and their dangerous adventure will have readers flipping the pages. Once readers arrive at “Spite House,” they will wonder how it is possible that Seattle PIs Harper Blaine and Joanne Walker have never met before. Most of the stories serve as a nice introduction to these individual series and will send readers unfamiliar with these characters back to library shelves to find the backlist. Recommended for fantasy collections.

Publishers Weekly

“An all-star roster of 20 urban fantasy authors headlines this collection of 10 crossover adventures, each of which sees two writers pitting their signature heroes against shared threats…Nassise (Midian Unmade) has assembled an admirable group of contributors who do a good if sometimes uneven job of blending both styles and toy boxes. The tales lean more toward the darker fantasy or horror end of the spectrum, making for an occasionally gory spectacle. Readers will undoubtedly get a kick out of seeing their favorite heroes solving cases together and will enjoy being introduced to new characters and settings. (Aug.)

Buy Urban Allies now! 

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks 

Children of Ash Review

If you’ve been curious about my Meridian Six series, check out this awesome write-up on Children of Ash by the esteemed reviewer Paul Goat Allen.

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Here’s a preview:

What do you get when you blend together kick ass post-apocalyptic fiction, vampire-fueled dark fantasy, and nightmarish dystopian fiction? The Meridian Six saga by Jaye Wells, of course!

Thus far the series consists of two novellas (Meridian Six and the recently released Children of Ash) and—I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—this is one of the very best vampire series that I’ve ever read: tonally comparable to Cronin’s Passage trilogy, Hogan and del Toro’s Strain trilogy, and Matheson’s I am Legend. -Paul Goat Allen

To read the entire review, check out Paul’s site.

Buy Children of Ash now in print or ebook! 

Amazon | B & N | Kobo | iBooks