Tag Archives: paranormal romance

Another Blog Hijack!!!!

Psst! Jesi Lea Ryan here.  Welcome to my sneak-attack blog tour!  Scott is off plotting his #NaNoWriMo project, and forgot to lock his computer.  So I thought I’d take over his blog for my own nefarious (shameless?) purposes.  I have to hurry though before he comes back.  (Hee, hee!)  Read to the end and you have a chance to win a free e-book!

I want to take a moment to tell you about my new young adult, paranormal romance, Arcadia’s Gift.

Most people who experience death don’t live to tell about it.


When sixteen year old Arcadia “Cady” Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom’s spiraling depression and her sister’s boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan’s around, Cady can almost pretend she’s a regular girl, living a regular life; when he’s not, she’s wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…


I am so excited to share this book with the world!  Cady is such an amazing character.  I think what I like best about her is that she has to deal with some seriously heavy family issues in addition to her new gifts.  Because of this, both teen and adult readers will be able to find different ways to relate to her on an emotional level.

Where did the idea for Arcadia’s Gift come from?  I honestly don’t remember.  I knew I wanted to write a young adult paranormal, since I read a lot of young adult literature.  Vampires are a tad overdone right now and werewolves just don’t appeal to me.  (Hello? Doggy breath is NOT sexy!)  I seem to recall the character of Cady forming in my mind first.  I wanted her to be as realistic as possible.  I truly believe some people have psychic abilities, so it seemed natural to develop them in Cady.  Once I figured out what those abilities would be, the story of how she got them unfolded naturally.

Why set the story in Dubuque, Iowa?  My first novel, Four Thousand Miles, was set in England. While I have been to England and all of the places in my book, I had to do a ton of research into the setting, the culture and the speech.  With Arcadia’s Gift, I chose to set the story in my hometown of Dubuque where I am intimately familiar with the city.  Cady goes to the same high school I attended, lives in the neighborhood I used to live in and hangs out in the places my friends and I used to haunt on Saturday nights.  What I discovered is that I felt a greater emotional connection to this story because I could draw on my sense of nostalgia.

The other reason I chose Dubuque is because it hasn’t been done before.  I can’t think of another young adult novel set there, can you?  Bordered by the Mississippi River on one side and the Great Plains on the other, Dubuque is unique to Iowa for its incredible bluffs and hills.  It truly has a natural beauty.  The landscape plays a strong role in the plot of the novel.


What’s next for Arcadia?  Nice try!  I’m not giving you any spoilers.  I can tell you that Arcadia’s Gift is the first in a planned trilogy.  The second book, Arcadia’s Curse, is planned to release in May or June 2013.

Oh, crap!  I hear Scott coming, so I have to dash!  Before I go, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my novel.  Tell me what you think of it in the comments and leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Arcadia’s Gift!!


~Jesi Lea Ryan, Future Bestselling Author and International Hijacker of Blogs



It felt like ripping… ripping through me, ripping from me. A deafening roar reverberated all around as I lay flat on my back, drowning the shrieks and screams echoing on the river valley walls. My eyes were wide open, unblinking, but all I could see were abstract forms in shades of black, gray and red. A searing burn cut across both of my thighs as if I’d been struck by a flaming hot iron. My flesh melted and bubbled, absorbing the phantom burning metal and shattering my femur bones like glass. Although I was screaming as loud as I could, the sound was distant, like someone screaming under water.


A hub of activity swirled around me, but I had the distinct feeling of being alone… alone in hell. I groped around on the cool soil at my sides, sparse patches of long grass and loose gravel, trying to remember where I was and what had happened to me. The pain prevented any coherent thoughts.


Voices. Panic all around me. Yet I was alone in my hell.


A flash of heat seared through my head, pounding rhythmically. Rust coated my tongue. The heat began to sink down my torso, leaking out of the stumps left under my hips. I sucked in jagged breaths as I realized that the heat was my blood, pumping through my arteries and spilling onto the cool ground.


No! I don’t want to die! Again, the screams tore out of me. No one answered my cries.


My body grew colder. The pain faded to numbness. They say when you know that you are dying, your life flashes before your eyes. I knew I was dying, but curiously, it was my twin sister Lony’s life that came to me in last minute mourning, not mine. I saw her love for me, even if we fought more than talked these days. I saw her fierce hope that our parents would reconcile their failed marriage and reunite, before nothing remained to salvage. I saw her boyfriend, Cane, and the lost promise of young love. A swell of love and pain filled my chest when I pictured Cane. It made no sense…I didn’t even like him.


The forms in my vision began moving more slowly, becoming even darker. I struggled to reach out to them, but my arms were as heavy as iron weights. I opened my mouth to scream again, but only rust flavored foam escaped my throat and rolled down the corner of my mouth and into my hair. The skin on my face broke into a cold sweat as I steadily bled out.


It was almost over. I wanted my mom.


A shock of pain ripped through my chest as my heart raced, running out of blood.


Thump-thump. Thump-thump.


The faster my heart pumped, the less time I had left. My back reared up, head scraping the ground. My lungs heaved, panting. The forms in my vision swirled so dark they blended with the night. I reached out desperately with my hands, fingers not even finding a hand to hold. Breath rattled in my chest as it left my body for the final time and the whole world faded to black.


Arcadia’s Gift is available for purchase at the following retailers:



Barnes & Noble

All Romance



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Filed under NaNoWriMo, The Writing Experience

ROW80 and OddCon


  1. Spend at least half an hour every day on writing or editing, an hour on weekends
  2. Finish rewrite of Dragons At Dawn
  3. Post to my blog on the ROW80 update days (Sunday and Wednesday)
  4. Read at least one of my books on writing every week

I managed to work on my writing and editing up through Thursday, at least. Friday and Saturday were spent at OddCon, so not much work was done. I did, however, have a lot of fun at the convention, and came away with a lot of ideas and great advice from other authors and editors. I’m still plowing through Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell, but I am only about halfway through it due to the other priorities. I’ll continue reading it and hope to finish by next Sunday’s report.

As I mentioned, OddCon was great. I won’t embarrass myself by posting pictures. My digital camera is about 15 years old and cost me more than my laptop, but compared to cameras today it is completely pathetic.

Here’s a list of the panels I attended:

  • Unhappy Endings
  • The Rules of Magic
  • Geek’s Delight
  • Whedonistas
  • What is the nature of magic in fantasy writing?
  • So you think being published is glamorous
  • Shapeshifting
  • Is there hope for the human race…or does it deserve to die?
  • Bookselling in the age of Amazon
  • Author reading – Sarah Monette
  • What the hell is Science Fantasy anyway?
  • Sex & the supernatural

As you can guess, it was awesome. I met quite a few authors, and the senior editor of Tor Books. The highlights for me were Geeks Delight, where we discussed our favorite SF authors of the 20th century (I added a lot of books to my To Be Read list during that panel); Bookselling in the age of Amazon, where we discussed the future of publishing and independent bookstores; and Sex & the Supernatural, where we discussed paranormal romance (and there were more men than women in the room).

The low point (you know there had to be one) was the Is there hope for the human race panel. It was supposed to be about writing about the apocalypse, but it turned out to be a lecture about mankind’s journey to self-destruction, and we didn’t discuss writing at all. The moderator (a non-writer) turned it into his own personal lecture on the subject and the two authors and the Tor editor on the panel hardly got a word in edgewise. Since my Dragons At Dawn novel is an end-of-the-world story I was very disappointed.

But overall, I had a great time and I am now even more excited about attending WisCon at the end of May. I managed to submit the first five chapters of Finding Valhalla for the writer’s workshop late Thursday night/early Friday morning. I applied for Margaret Ronald‘s group, and this weekend I managed to find three of her books in the dealer’s room, so I am going to try to read at least one of them before WisCon.

In other news, I also broke down and bought a Nook Color this weekend. So far I like it a lot, and hopefully my wife will also like it too. I told her it was something she could use more than me. I still can’t believe she actually fell for it! Actually, she probably knows my tricks by now and just said it was okay so I would shut up and leave her alone. Anyway, if anybody out there is a Nook user and wants to share books through LendMe, send me a DM on my Twitter feed (@BSRPG) and we’ll hook up.

That’s it for now. Time for me to get back to work on editing. I had a lot of ideas for Dragons At Dawn this weekend that I need to get down before they’re gone. See you on Wednesday!


Filed under About Me, Networking, ROW80, The Writing Experience

Love is in the Air

It’s February 14 and the first draft of my paranormal romance is finished. I have started sending it out to several of my friends to see what they think of it. I also offered it to my blog readers to try to get a more unbiased opinion, but so far no takers.

I have been seeing romantic advertisements everywhere for the last couple weeks. Of course that is to be expected. Valentine’s Day has always been said to be a holiday created by the flower and greeting card industry. But that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a good thing.

I have been married to my wonderful wife for almost fourteen years now, and I love her just as much now as when I first met her. I tell her this every chance I get. When I wrote my paranormal romance novel I tried to channel that feeling into my writing. I’m not sure how well that worked out, but that’s what edits are for, right?

I have to confess that I really struggled with the romance part of my novel. First of all, I’m a man, so that’s one strike against me. Can anyone tell me of ANY male romance authors? I can’t think of a single one. Or are they writing under a pseudonym?

Secondly, I’m usually a calm and reserved person, so writing a passionate love scene was EXTREMELY difficult for me. I mean, I feel that passion for my wife, but allowing myself to open up and share it with the rest of the world was kind of against my nature.

Third, I felt uncomfortable writing about sex. My faith has taught me to respect the love of two people, which should not be sullied by things like premarital sex and pornography. So I felt that when I was writing about my heroine and her man having premarital sex I was encouraging behavior that I didn’t believe in, even though it was what the characters demanded.

I would be interested in hearing what the rest of you think about this. And if you are interested in reading my first draft of Finding Valhalla just let me know and I’ll send you a link to the file on my Dropbox share.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Filed under About Me, The Writing Experience

Finding a Critique Partner

So what do you do when you have finished your story? The obvious thing is to get someone to read it, right?

I just finished my second story, Finding Valhalla. I wrote it as what I thought would be a paranormal romance. The story is about a Valkyrie. She is the equivalent of a supernatural cop, and it is her duty to keep the paranormal world from becoming a problem for the mortals. A killer is stalking the city of Madison, and she needs to find it and deal with it before the body count gets too high. There is also the theft of a very valuable necklace that complicates things even more. The problem is that she doesn’t have any clues and she keeps getting distracted by a mortal man. She finds herself attracted to him and wants to open up about what she really does for a living, but fears that it will be too much and he will get hurt, or even killed. How can she deal with all of this when all she really wants is to have a normal love life?

When I finished my first story, Dragons At Dawn, I passed it around to a bunch of my friends and family. Most of them read it and said they thought the story was pretty good. The writing needed work, but the idea is pretty solid. I’m working on editing that story now.

I am planning on giving my family first crack at my new story as well, but I thought I would also see if anyone with a little more experience might be willing to take on a new writer as a critique partner. I don’t have much experience in writing, and I have no misconceptions about the quality of my work. I know that my stories are going to need a lot of editing before they will be worth publishing. But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, if you are willing to read through an amateur’s attempt at a paranormal romance and provide some much-needed constructive criticism, I would really appreciate it. Just leave a comment below and I will e-mail you a link to a Dropbox shared folder where you can find the PDF file of the first draft.

The rest of you will just have to wait for the finished version. 😉

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ROW80 Status – Day 20 (Jan 22)

I’m still going strong on meeting my ROW80 goals. Blogs are posted, still getting my daily fiction written. I even figured out a plot for my Young Adult novel that I am writing on Sundays. I decided my hero is going to be kidnapped along with two of his friends. He will have to escape the kidnappers and find his way home again. Along the way he will learn some things about himself, his friends, and his faith. I am excited about this story. It’s actually NOT a paranormal story for a change. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Total word counts so far:

  • Finding Valhalla – 52,724
  • Six Days To Sabbath – 1,025

I’ll be adding at least 500 words to Six Days today. I hope you all are doing as well as I am on your goals!


Filed under ROW80

Finding Your Story

I have said before that the best reason for you to become a writer is because you have a story that demands to be told. But what do you do if that isn’t the case? What if you suffer from the dreaded writer’s block? I have always felt that I had a story that needed to be told. The problem was that I didn’t know what it was. Sometimes I still don’t, but I write anyway.

I only recently started writing seriously. I loved to read, and wanted to write, but I didn’t think I had a decent plot idea. I would read tons of books and love the stories of others, but then I would think that either my idea had already been done, or it wasn’t nearly as good as someone elses. It’s pretty easy to see how this type of thinking makes it impossible to be productive.

When I started writing I still thought that the plot wasn’t very good. But it was a plot, and I had made a commitment for NaNoWriMo to write 50,000 words, so I started writing anyway. And as I wrote, I found that the story started to take on a life of its own. Things started happening in the story that I hadn’t thought of before. And I started thinking of other ways that I could have started the story that might have been better. As I look at the completed first draft now, I know that the story is good. It just needs a bit of polish before it can be published.

When I started my second story I was only thinking that I wanted to do a paranormal romance. It took a while before I figured out what the “paranormal” part of the romance was going to be. But once I did it was a bit easier to come up with the rest of the story. The very nature of the character determined most of the story. I even had the ending figured out before I was even halfway through. Now all I have to do is fill in the middle.

I am currently working on a Young Adult novel that I started for the sole purpose of having something to write on Sundays. My only thought was that it should be spiritual. Something that reflected my faith. I have now written over a thousand words of this story, and I still have no idea what it is about. I am constantly asking myself, “What am I doing?”

So how do I answer this question? How can you push past the uncertainty and self-doubt to find your story?

The best advice I have read about writing is that the best way to be a writer is to write. Write something every day, even if you don’t have anything to write about. If nothing else, it is a good way to hone your skills until you do find that story. Sometimes your characters will start to tell you their story on their own.

The other thing to remember is that stories are everywhere. You can find a story watching television, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, watching your neighbors, parking your car, at work (it doesn’t matter what the job is), literally everywhere. Eavesdropping is fun. A great way to find a story is to listen to only half of a conversation, because then you can make up the other half of the story on your own. When you see someone on the street, you don’t need to know what they are doing or where they are going, you can make it up yourself.

So what am I going to do about my YA novel? I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep thinking about my characters and eventually they will tell me their story. I know it’s a good one, and I can hardly wait to find out what it is.

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ROW80 Status – Day 6

So we’re a week into ROW80 and so far I’m keeping up with my goals. I have posted to my blog as promised and I have written at least 500 words of fiction every day. With the previously written pieces edited into my Work In Progress, my story is now up to 45,671 words. I had originally hoped to have the story come in at 100,000 words, but I’m starting to thing that it will be more like 60-70,000 instead. My outline was planned for the story to take place over the course of a week, starting at Monday, and I’m up to Friday night already. I’m pretty sure I can add another 15,000 words or so, but I don’t think I’ve got enough for 50,000.

If anyone is interested, the story is intended as a Paranormal Romance about a Valkyrie who falls in love with a mortal. The Valkyrie is a supernatural investigator, responsible for controlling the supernatural world in her area (Madison, WI). I was thinking that this might be a one-shot book, as I had planned for an unhappy ending. However, recent developments in the story are making me think that there may be more going on here than I had originally thought, and even with an unhappy ending there is the possibility to write more books in a series.

As you might expect since the heroine is a Valkyrie, the book is based on Norse mythology. So my idea is that the underlying theme of the series would be the impending threat of Ragnarok. I’m not sure how much of the mythos to include, but it’s starting to look like this is going to be an interesting ride. Please leave a comment if you think this idea is something you would be interested in reading. After all, I’m going to need someone to critique it, right?


Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience