Happy Leap Day!

This week has been a lot, so I’m not entirely sure I’m happy to have an extra day of February, but here we are. The month decided to end on a bang: this week, a friend suffered a loss, and a family member had a health scare, so fingers crossed that March will calm the eff down.

If you’re seeing this on the blog, you might notice the header image has changed. The last one was a little space specific, and now that I’m branching into fantasy, it needed an update. It will probably change again (as my mood changes, lol), but it’s good enough for now. Don’t worry if you don’t see it yet, caching can take a while to refresh.

I finally have the draft contract for Silver and Blood, so it’s edging ever closer to being a book. Publishing moves at the speed of frozen molasses, but it does eventually move. Most of the time. 😂

Book two is started, though not by a lot. It follows so closely on the heels of book one, that I’m sort of half waiting for edits before getting too far in. If I have to change the end of the first book, then it will definitely affect what I’m writing now. But I’m also trying to get a head start so I don’t burn myself in deadline hell this fall. It’s a delicate balance. :)

I also have edits for Books & Broadswords coming soon-ish, so I’ll have plenty of things to keep me busy. I started poking at a new sci-fi idea—two actually—but that’s kind of how my brain works. As soon as I’m supposed to do something, everything else looks so much better. It’s why I refuse to join book clubs: the very moment reading becomes homework, I will refuse to do it.

It’s chilly and gray out today, which hits especially hard when it was sunny and 90°F two days ago. Though, I wouldn’t mind if the rest of the ninety-degree days held off until July.

A girl can hope. :)

But at least it’s the perfect day for potato soup. Mmm, soup. I hope you’re enjoying your extra day!

New Deal! More Books! 🎉

I may have not-so-subtly mentioned that I was writing a fantasy romance and teased the fact that I might have news soon, and guess what? That time is now!

I’ve been sitting on this news for months, and I am extremely delighted to announce that I’ve sold a new Beauty and the Beast-inspired romantasy duology to Avon! 🎉

A Publishers Marketplace Deal Announcement: Author of POLARIS RISING and HUNT THE STARS Jessie Mihalik's SILVER AND BLOOD, pitched as a Beauty and the Beast-inspired romantasy filled with magic and otherworldly creatures, where a beautiful woman with untapped power agrees to brave the dark woods to kill a deadly monster but soon discovers there is more to the forest and its beasts than what she expected-including a powerful, scarred, and strikingly handsome mage, to Tessa Woodward at Avon, in a six-figure deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2025, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (world English).

Here’s the text:

Author of POLARIS RISING and HUNT THE STARS Jessie Mihalik’s SILVER AND BLOOD, pitched as a Beauty and the Beast-inspired romantasy filled with magic and otherworldly creatures, where a beautiful woman with untapped power agrees to brave the dark woods to kill a deadly monster but soon discovers there is more to the forest and its beasts than what she expected-including a powerful, scarred, and strikingly handsome mage, to Tessa Woodward at Avon, in a six-figure deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2025, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (world English).

I once again get to work with the fabulous Tessa Woodward, the editor for my previous books, but this time I’ll be on the Avon side of the publishing house rather than the Voyager side, which just means they’re positioning it more as romance rather than SF/F.

Unlike my previous trad books, both books in this series will follow the same couple and end in a HEA—at the end of book two. I’m not going to be too mean at the end of book one, but there is a lot of plot left for book two, which I’m writing now.

Now for the bad news: it’s coming in 2025, and I don’t have an exact date yet. I know that seems like forever away, but it’ll give me time to write the second book, and hopefully they’ll come out fairly close to each other. (Don’t hold me to that, since I have exactly zero control over it, but I’m crossing my fingers.)

Remember that snippet I shared a while back? It was from this book, and I can’t wait for you to meet Garrick and Riela!

There’s a magical castle (with a library!), a mysterious wolf, and of course, a handsome, cursed mage who’s more than he seems.

But, then again, so is she. ;)

Silver and Blood is very loosely B&tB inspired, because it kind of started out that way, then went its own direction, so don’t expect a faithful adaptation. But a lot of the elements are there, so if you’re a fan of B&tB, you’ll probably like it. And if you’re not a fan, you might still like it. :)

Here’s another tiny snippet as a reward for making it this far. 💕 It’s unedited and subject to change.

I glanced at the lake. Even if I could safely get down to the water, which was doubtful, it probably wasn’t any safer to drink than the water from the pipes.

If I understood my magic properly, then I could’ve purified the water in the lake, or pulled it directly from the air. Frustration shadowed my steps. I’d turned aside a literal flood to save my village, but the simplest magic eluded me.

I sighed. I had two options: drink water from the pipes and eat food from my pack, assuming I could get to it, or find the mage and ask him about the water and the kitchen. Pride argued for the first, but I steeled my spine and turned back to the scullery door.

I rounded the corner and paused in surprise.

The wolf and the mage stood in the shadows of the kitchen garden, their eyes glinting. I approached cautiously, not sure which of them was the bigger threat.

“I was just heading inside to look for you,” I said when I was close enough that I didn’t have to raise my voice.

The mage’s eyes flickered over me, then his brows drew together in a scowl. Moonlit magic pulsed and a heavy cloak draped itself over my shoulders. It was a lovely deep gray and far finer than the cloak I’d left behind in my bedroom. With the thick fabric wrapped around me, I could no longer feel the cutting bite of the wind, and warmth began to thaw my chilled skin.

“Do not become ill,” the mage demanded, his tone curt. “Healing is draining.”

“Are you the one who healed me last night?” I asked.

He nodded once, sharply, then turned toward the door. I reached for him before I thought better of it. My fingers closed around the firm muscles of his forearm, hidden beneath the long sleeves of his tunic, and a little zap of awareness darted up my arm.

I let go with a gasp, but his expression remained unreadable. He tilted his head, turning his scars away from me. “You should not be outside after dark. The castle is protected, but the forest is persistent.”

Now I’m off to work on book two. 😘

Books & Broadswords Cover Reveal & Snippet

For those of you who wanted a copy of the Books & Broadswords and Rocks & Rapiers serial stories to keep, since they’ve now been taken down, I present to you, Books & Broadswords, Volume One. It’s up for preorder now, and will be available June 11:

Books & Broadswords Volume One cover. A teal open book, broadsword, and decorative swirls cover a purple dragon-scale background.

This novella-length volume includes two romantic fantasy stories set in a shared world, each with a guaranteed happily ever after, plus a new bonus epilogue.

Books & Broadswords

The only thing Feora likes more than stealing the king’s gold is using it to buy books. But when a handsome, persistent knight interrupts her day, Feora must decide if saving his life is worth revealing her true nature.

Rocks & Rapiers

Zenira never wanted to sell her rock collection, but when the new landowner raises her rent, she’s out of options. Armed with a sketchy rumor about a collector who will pay for stones others might consider worthless, Zenira sets out, but she’s met with an icy scowl, a muddy manor, and the overwhelming urge to mend the mess—owner included.

Preorder Now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

And before you ask, yes, there WILL be a print version, but it may not go up for preorder. It will be available at release, though, and if the preorder happens, of course I’ll let you know. :)

Some other questions:

So, Volume One? 👀

Yes. There may never be a Volume Two, but I do have a new idea for another story, I just have to find the time to write it. Volume One is there to indicate it’s a collection, as well as leave room for future stories.

Did the stories change?

Hopefully not a lot, but I haven’t gotten the edits back yet, so I don’t know. I also added a brand new bonus epilogue for people who buy the book, so you’ll get a little extra even if you’ve already read the stories.

Did you say bonus epilogue?

Yep! It’s around 5k words, which is about half of Books & Broadswords, so pretty hefty, and it features two chapters: one from Ansel’s point of view and one from Baldric’s. If you wished the stories were open door, this epilogue is for you. If you didn’t… well, maybe skip it. :)

And because you made it this far, here’s a little peek at the epilogue. This hasn’t been edited yet and is subject to change, etc, etc.

This snippet is from Ansel’s POV and takes place ten years after the stories.

“I didn’t realize Baldric had mated,” Feora murmured.

My eyes narrowed at the odd note in her voice. I’d hadn’t spent a decade with a dragon without learning something of possessiveness, but I kept my voice mild as I asked, “You know him?”

“He’s my cousin. We were born around the same time, so we grew up together.” She huffed out a soft laugh. “Or at least as together as dragons ever get. We drifted apart as the years lengthened.”

My jealousy died, and I nudged her forward. “Let’s go say hello.”

The icy dragon’s eyes raked over me before landing on Feora and warming slightly. A wry smile touched his mouth, but it didn’t stop him from tugging his mate closer as we approached.

The woman at his side huffed at him. “Dragon, quit being ridiculous. I’m not going anywhere.”

Book Bargains for the New Year

Happy New Year, and I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! 💕 As we launch into 2024 (and how weird is that to type?), I have a couple of ebook sales for you, in case you need something to keep you company during these dreary days of winter.

Both Polaris Rising and Hunt the Stars are on sale for just $1.99 this month, so it’s an excellent time to dive into either series—or, hear me out, why not both? ;)

Today, HTS was featured as a BookBub deal. Behold!

Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik, $1.99 for a limited time. 

“Jessie Mihalik is an author to watch” (Ilona Andrews). Bounty hunter Octavia Zarola and her nemesis uncover a plot to spark an interstellar war! With over 2,900 five-star Goodreads ratings, this is an “epic page-turner” (Publishers Weekly).

Get your copy!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play

Tavi and Torran are so very wary, yet so willing to do anything to protect their people. 💕 I love all of my characters, but Tavi’s fierce protectiveness is close to my heart.

And speaking of hearts, Ada and Loch will always be my first love, since they launched my career! Get this badass space princess and her supersoldier for just $2 all month, too!

Polaris Rising Cover

Get Polaris Rising for $1.99!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play

As always, you can read the first three chapters over on the book pages for Polaris Rising and Hunt the Stars. International pricing will probably vary, so double check the price before getting your clicks on. :)

Monday, Monday

The first Monday after a holiday week is always the worst. Especially since I tend to turn into a vampire when I don’t have to get up for work, going to bed well after midnight and sleeping until mid-morning. This morning’s alarm arrived too early, and I didn’t enjoy it. :)

But Mr. M and I had a nice Thanksgiving. The actual day was pretty chill for us, since we didn’t do Friendsgiving until Saturday, so it was a day for Diablo IV. We’re playing the second season, and got our first character to level 100, then started on a second character.

For me, Diablo has always been a game where I click on bad guys and loot pops out, and this season delivers. There’s an event where you can kill vampires to summon a mini-boss, and it’s in the open world, so random other players can show up to help. If you get a group of like six people, the screen just becomes explosions and loot. It’s awesome! 😍

For Friendsgiving, I made pie, as per usual. After the great Pecan Pie Disaster™ of a few years ago, I always err on the side of too done, but I think I’ve finally got it figured out, and I wrote it down this time! 🎉

I should’ve cooked the pecan five minutes less and the pumpkin five minutes more, but they were both still delicious. :)

A pumpkin and pecan pie cooling on the stove.

On turkey day, I broke down and bought a Kindle Scribe. I’ve wanted one for ages, and nearly bought one in July, but didn’t quite do it. The Scribe arrived on Saturday, and I’m on the fence about whether I’m going to keep it.

Writing on it is surprisingly good, but some of my books don’t support two-column mode in landscape, and that is my preferred reading method for such a large device. That’s how I read on my iPad, and all of my books work there, so I’m disappointed the Kindle doesn’t support it.

It seems to be mostly books I’ve gotten from BookFunnel or ARCs that I’ve sent to Kindle via email, so it’s likely fixable, but opening a hundred books in Calibre and re-exporting them in the right format sounds exhausting, so I might just send it back. Sad face. :(

Today I have to get the rest of the Rocks & Rapiers posts scheduled and then clean the kitchen. It’s a disaster in there and something must be done before they bring in the men in those plastic hazmat suits to declare it a biological hazard.

Wish me luck. :)