Hunt the Stars

Done! And Hunt the Stars is up for reviewers!

I finished writing the second book in the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy this week. My deadline is actually Monday, which means I turned it in a few days early.

I hope it’s not terrible, or I’m going to look really silly. :)

Before I could decompress from deadline stress, Hunt the Stars went up on NetGalley and Edelweiss+, which means that reviewers, booksellers, librarians, etc can now request copies to read/review. So that’s a whole new set of anxiety. Thanks, brain.

While it’s anxiety-inducing, it also means the book is creeping ever closer to release, so yay for that!

Now I have to do a bunch of admin stuff I’ve been putting off for a month while dragging the book over the finish line. Then I have to decide what I’m going to work on next, or if I’m going to dive straight into book three.

But first, I’m going to take a nap. 🥰

Oh, and if you have any book recs of fantastic books you’ve ready lately, drop them in a comment. I have time to read again!!

Finished Draft and Hunt the Stars Proof Pages

Yesterday, I finished the draft of the next book after Hunt the Stars. I still need to do an end-to-end editing pass to tighten up a few things (and ensure everything makes sense… the last month has been a bit blurry), but the draft is done, the story is complete, and now I actually have something to edit!

I always set my Scrivener draft target to 100k words, and I always go over. This MS is about 107k, and it will likely grow in edits, because that’s how I roll. For reference, the finished draft of HTS is right at 113k.

And speaking of HTS, proof pages landed in my inbox less than an hour after I wrote THE END on book two, even though it was well past business hours in New York.

Conspiracy? Probably. ;)

Both things are due in two weeks, so no rest for me yet. Hopefully the proofs won’t take me too long, but it’s my very last chance to catch and fix errors, so I have to read it with attention to detail, which is harder when my brain feels like day-old mashed potatoes.

I love proof pages, though, because that’s when the book really starts to look like a book. Shh, no one tell my editor I’m over here sharing this, but behold, the first page!

The formatted first page of Chapter One of HUNT THE STARS, featuring an adorable fox-looking creature leaping over the chapter title.
Click to embiggen

Isn’t [REDACTED] adorable!! 😍 If you want to find out the significance, you could always use this opportunity to preorder the book. 😘😏

But for now, I’m disappearing back into the editing/proofing cave. See you in mid-August!

Hunt the Stars Cover Reveal & First Chapter!

I know I’ve been teasing this forever (and my newsletter subscribers got a sneak peek earlier this week), but the cover for Hunt the Stars is finally here, and it’s absolutely gorgeous!! 😍

Hunt the Stars Cover. A woman with a ponytail and a man with short hair in silhouette in front of a blue background of stars and alien planets.
Click to embiggen

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

The silhouettes, the stars, the ship, the tiny creature that you’ll have to read to find out about!! 😉 I love it all.

I also got an amazing blurb from Kit Rocha:

Fans of Nalini Singh will swoon for this stoic psychic space warrior hero, and fall in love with a badass mercenary captain heroine who will go to any lengths to protect her wounded-squad-turned-found-family. Compelling, steamy, and impossible to put down–Mihalik has created a world I want to visit again and again for years to come. Give me more sexy hot psychic space aliens!

Kit Rocha, New York Times bestselling author

And in case you missed the back cover copy, here you go!

The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

But wait, I also promised you the first chapter! If you mosey over to the book page, you’ll find the entire chapter in it’s freshly copyedited glory. Chapter two will have to wait until closer to release, but I hope this at least gives you a little hint of Tavi and Torran.

And if you are able, please consider preordering the book or recommending it to your local library or telling your friends about it! :)

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

Copyedits, Plumbing, and Scorpions

It’s been a week in the Mihalik household and it’s only Wednesday. In the best news, I turned in copyedits for Hunt the Stars yesterday, which means it’s continuing to inch ever closer to becoming a real book. To that point, I saw a sample of the interior layout this morning, and it’s looking really good! As a hint, let me just say that I will still need my metallic Sharpies for signings. :)

In less great news, last week our kitchen sink decided that it was done being a sink and wanted to try life as a tiny pool filled with icky drain water. Despite our best efforts (and a 25′ plumbing snake), we were unable to fix it over the weekend, so we called in the pros.

Kind of.

Our normal plumber was busy, but he recommended another company. They were… adequate…ish.

Yesterday, the plumber came out and started working, but after an hour or so, he decided that he needed a longer snake, which he didn’t have, so he’d have to come back.

So today he arrives with his snake and an extension he can hook on to make it longer. So far, so good. He runs 65′ of snake into the pipe, which is probably only 30′ from the sewer clean-out opening, but it doesn’t make it through. So he attaches the next part and keeps going.

Finally, we see the snake in the clean-out, but it doesn’t really look like it has anything on it, and water still isn’t draining. So the plumber decides to pull it back through with a bigger head on it. Still seems reasonable.

Only, he somehow manages to disconnect the two lines, so one gets stuck in the pipe without either end attached or accessible.

The plumber puts in a panicked call to his boss, they confer for a while, and he finally manages to fish it out. But then he’s spooked and refuses to try again, so he puts everything under the sink back together and tries running water.

It drains!

He doesn’t know how or why, but he charges us and skips off on his merry way. We let him go and considered it a sunk cost. Hopefully the drain will continue to work, but if not, we’re hiring someone else. 🤷🏻‍♀️

And, finally, to add insult to injury this week, while I was cooking bacon last night, a scorpion crawled out of the vent hood and fell onto the stovetop. By the time I safely moved the pan without dumping lava-hot grease everywhere, the scorpion had disappeared.

And lest you think I imagined the whole thing, it was Mr. M who pointed it out in the first place. He erroneously claimed it was a lizard, which is why I was trying to move the pan away to save its life. When we both saw Mr. Scorpion chilling on the stove, we switched from rescue to murder and started scrambling for appropriate murder equipment, but the scorpion had vanished.

Today, the scorpion is still missing. I’ve named him Phil and I hope to never see him again.

So that’s how my week is going. 😅 How about you?

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.