Trying to Unturtle

A turtle hiding in its shell with an arrow point it to labeled "me."

I’ve always been an introvert, but when the pandemic hit, I took it to a whole other level. Like a turtle retreating into its shell, I basically disappeared into my fortress of solitude and lost contact with the outside world—including most of my friends.

The only reason I didn’t become a complete hermit is that my best friend is a huge extrovert and likes to talk on the phone. And my brother. He likes to talk on the phone, too. I’m pretty sure he’s adopted. 😉

Without them continuing to reach out even though I rarely reciprocated, it would’ve just been me and Mr. M in our own little bubble. And even though I always think, oooh, I should check on X, time seems to slip away, and then it’s been three months… then six… then a year, and I’ve yet to check on X.

But we’re starting to see an end to the pandemic on the horizon. More people are getting vaccinated. Travel is picking up. And there’s no reason to continue to turtle, at least not quite as hard, but changing a year-plus habit is hard.

I’ve been meaning to reach out to friends for weeks, literal weeks, and I’ve yet to get it done. It doesn’t help that I’m also on deadline again, which comes with its own brain fog.

I guess I don’t really have a point to this ramble (sorry! see: deadline brain), but if you’ve been turtling, too, know you’re not alone. And I hope my friends don’t blame me for disappearing, just like I don’t blame them. We all did what we had to do to make it through.

Here’s to many happy reunions as we all emerge from our shells and re-establish contact. :)

A Weekend Off

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US, which meant Mr M had the day off, giving us a three-day weekend. I decided to take the day off, too, because I needed a break. I’ve been chipping away at the next book, but writing is going slooooow, and while I’ve been trying not to work weekends, I haven’t been super successful.

Three whole days of not thinking about work was amazing. We played video games and read books and finished watching Shadow and Bone (someone please give Jesper a spinoff with ten seasons to do whatever he wants).

We also made bacon and tomato sandwiches with tomatoes Mr M grew in the garden. Some people will ruin this sandwich by turning it into a BLT (my husband included), but no one needs lettuce messing up the sheer perfection of thick bacon and homegrown tomatoes on lightly toasted sourdough.

I’ve eaten this for lunch for three days straight (leftovers are amazing!), and I couldn’t be happier. This is one of my go-to meals for the summer. 10/10 would eat everyday.

But now I’ve eaten all of the tomatoes and the holiday is over, so today I’m back at work. Kind of. It’s still going slowly, but the manuscript is over 42k words, so I’m inching ever onward. I have two months to finish it, which should be enough time if only I could find a bit of motivation.

Hunt the Stars turned out amazing, and I love it even more after edits. Book two is a hot mess. Books generally are, when they’re being written, but this one is more so than usual. My alpha readers tell me that it’s not, but I don’t believe them. 😂

The only way out is through, though, so back to it. Wish me luck! 🤞🏻

THE QUEEN’S TRIUMPH Audiobook is Here!

The Queen's Triumph Audiobook Cover

I know some of you have been waiting very patiently, so I’m happy to announce that The Queen’s Triumph audiobook is now available!

Rachel Dulude once again narrates, rounding out the trilogy with the same narrator. Happy listening!

Get your copy!
Amazon/Audible | Tantor

My edits for Hunt the Stars were approved with enthusiastic exclamation marks from my editor, so now it moves on to production and copyediting, which means it’s inching ever closer to becoming a real book. I’ve seen an early version of the cover, and I love it to pieces, so I can’t wait to share. 😍

I’m still writing book two. I’m over 35k words now, but I have about 70k more to go. Writing is going okay. I always wish it was faster, but I’ll never be a speedy writer. This one is a little different from the previous book, so we’ll see if that works or not. I’m calling it a problem for future me and plowing ahead.

Hopefully that doesn’t come back to bite me. 😂

Hunt the Stars Edits Are Done! Here’s a Tiny Snippet!

This morning, I sent off my edits for Hunt the Stars. I added about 6k words, bringing the total manuscript to just under 113k, which falls right between Aurora Blazing and Chaos Reigning.

This was a pretty fast edit for me because I usually plan for about a month, and I finished in under two weeks. I’ve now read this story more times than anyone should, and I still love it, so I hope you all will, too.

Bree, half of writing duo Kit Rocha, read an early copy (before I was done editing, even!) and had a few very nice things to say about it over on Twitter, including, “Ok I just finished my early copy of Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik and somehow it’s my favorite thing she’s written yet, it’s AMAZING…” which made my whole weekend, y’all. 💕😭

Here’s a little snippet of the first chapter to celebrate turning in edits. This hasn’t been finally approved or copyedited, so it’s still subject to change, but I won’t tell if you don’t. :)

And, in case you missed it, HtS is now available for preorder. The cover isn’t up yet, but I’ve seen a rough draft and it is IN-CRED-I-BLE! 😍 I can’t wait to share!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

I leaned against my ship’s cargo ramp and watched with narrowed eyes as four soldiers in Valovian armor stalked through the landing bay. This was a human station in human space—Valoffs shouldn’t be here. Yes, we were at peace—for now—but both sides had made it clear that they preferred it when everyone stayed in their own sectors.

The soldiers moved from ship to ship. At each, the group leader spoke to the ship’s captain for a few minutes before continuing on. They moved like Valoffs rather than like humans wearing stolen armor, so I raised my mental shields as they approached. It wasn’t easy for a human to learn to shield against Valovian abilities because we had no natural defenses, but I’d learned the hard way during the war. Certain death provided excellent motivation.

The leader was male: tall and muscular, with thick, black hair, dark eyes, and skin a shade or two lighter than my own golden tan. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t immediately place him. He was encased in layers of synthetic black armor from neck to feet, and I knew from experience that it would deflect all but the strongest plas pistols and blades. It had exactly two weaknesses, and you had to be within reach to exploit either of them.

The group stopped several paces away, but even at this distance, their leader looked almost human. In general, Valoffs had a wider variety of hair and skin color and were a little taller than humans, with a slightly finer bone structure. However, their eyes were the biggest giveaway. Their irises were often threaded with multiple vibrant colors, and they had better-than-human night vision. They spent a lot of time in the dark—days on Valovia were only ten hours long.

Friday Fun

I’m still working on edits, but we watched this last night and it was a nice break. It probably won’t be as funny if you don’t play video games, but I laughed so much. Happy Friday!