Snippet

Edits Are Done!

I sent off the edits for Capture the Sun to my editor this morning! 🎉 Overall, edits weren’t too bad this time, and I only added about 2k to the manuscript, bringing it up to 111k words. This is pretty much right in line with the other two books. In fact, all of my trad books have been around 110k-115k words, so I’ve got consistency going for me!

An iPad on a bamboo desk with the first two pages of CAPTURE THE SUN showing.

I shared the image above on social media when I was doing a final read-through of the book after most of the edits were done, and I’m sure some of you were yelling “ENHANCE!” like this was CSI (no? just me??), so here’s the full text, since it was too long to fit in an alt tag. It’s not final-final, and it hasn’t been copyedited, but here you go, the opening of Capture the Sun:

I’d sworn I would never set foot on Valovia again, but I was about to prove myself a liar. That fact had never been in question, but I tried to keep the promises I made to myself. The screen in my cabin gently mocked me, displaying a green and brown close-up of the planet while the atmosphere buffeting the ship’s hull grew denser as we sank toward the surface.

Valovia had burned me twice already. I usually learned from my mistakes, but once again the promise of money had overridden my good sense. I mentally winced. My former captain, Octavia Zarola, would be so disappointed in me. Tavi had a strict moral compass. Mine was a lot more flexible.

And a lot more lucrative.

Case in point: the sumptuous first-class cabin surrounding me, paid for by Besor Edfo, my contact and potential employer on Valovia. It was an obvious ploy for him to demonstrate that he had money to spare, since I hadn’t agreed to take the job yet, only to meet, but it was a nice touch. As was the prepaid first-class return ticket.

Besor had offered me a truly ridiculous amount of money to recover a stolen figurine for him. Apparently, he and a rival had been feuding over the piece of art for close to a decade, and it had switched hands a dozen times thanks to the efforts of a few recovery specialists.

Officially, recovery specialists were experts at tracking down items that had gone missing, whether through negligence or theft. But in reality, we were often the reason items went missing.

The book is due out in May 2023, but in case you don’t want to forget, here are some handy links for you. 😉

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

Now I’m going to take the weekend off (woo!), and go mattress shopping (boo!). That sentence was a real roller coaster, lol, but fingers crossed we find something we like that doesn’t cost a fortune. 🤞🏻

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Honor and Shadows, Plus a Tiny Capture the Sun Snippet

Honor and Shadows, the prequel short story set just before the start of Hunt the Stars, is out in just three weeks on November 1!

This was a bonus story for people who preordered HTS, and while the edited version is a little bit longer, it didn’t change too much, so if you got the preorder bonus, don’t feel like you need to buy it. But you can if you want! I won’t stop you! 😂

Honor and Shadows Cover, featuring a woman in silhouette against a space background.

Honor and Shadows is a 10,000-word prequel novelette set just before the start of Hunt the Stars.

Captain Octavia Zarola needs an infusion of credits—fast—if she’s going to keep her close-knit bounty hunting crew paid and fed. Tracking down an escaped embezzler on a backwater planet should be a piece of cake, but bounties are rarely as easy as they seem.

As the crew closes in on their quarry, the hunt becomes entangled with a local criminal overlord, and Tavi will have to decide what’s more important: money or honor, and how much she’s willing to risk for either one.

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

Print books are coming, but I’d really only recommend them if you absolutely adore print, because print-on-demand is expensive, especially for a story that clocks in just under 14k words. (Yeah, I know the official text says 10k, but that’s because I didn’t update it after I edited the story.)

The print books should, if everything goes to plan, be the same size as the trad books, but I haven’t gotten a proof yet to confirm. Fingers crossed!

And now why you’re here: a little peek at Capture the Sun. I’m editing it now, so I shared a couple of very tiny snippets on Twitter yesterday, but here’s a slightly longer look at each of them. They’re not copyedited, subject to change, etc, etc.

Snippet the first:

I was traveling under a false name, so even if he was on the lookout for me—which I very much doubted, my hubris wasn’t that high—he wouldn’t know I was back on Valovia. And Zenzi’s population was over two million, so the odds that we would accidentally meet were incredibly slim.

Still, I crossed my fingers to ward off bad luck.

Nilo had his own gravity, much like a black hole, and in this, at least, I was smart enough not to be drawn in a third time—no matter how much I was tempted by his charming grin and sly wit.

Snippet the second:

I schooled my face into sharp amusement. “Did you forget that I speak Valovan? I’m not your treasure.” No matter how much the endearment made my heart race.

His expression softened and his thumb slid over the sensitive skin above my pulse. “Are you sure?”

It took a mighty effort, but I managed to pull my wrist away from his intoxicating touch. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“We’ll agree to disagree,” he said, echoing my words back to me.

Lexi and Nilo are so much fun! I kind of forgot how much I love this book because parts of it felt like such a slog (thanks, burnout!), but now that I’m editing, I’m delighted that I wrote it, lol. And my editor agrees! She told me it was “absolutely the perfect book for Lexi and Nilo” and if that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is. :)

Hunt the Stars Preorder Bonuses + Snippet!

It’s 2022! Happy New Year! 🎉

And that means that we are less than a month away from the release of Hunt the Stars! Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here breathing in a bag, lol.

But the ever-approaching release date means that I am putting all of the preorder bonus information in one place so it’s easy to find. And I have bonuses for both preorders and library requests, so read on to find out what you get (and how to get it). :)

First and foremost: SIGNED BOOKS! I’ve partnered with three independent bookstores to bring you signed books or signed bookplates. These preorders will also include a bookmark and stickers. Behold!

Hunt the Stars Preorder Bonus! Signed book / bookplate, bookmark, stickers, and bonus prequel story! Available Feb 1, 2022, preorder now. www.jessiemihalik.com/HTS

In addition to the bookmark and stickers:

  • If you order from Copper Dog Books, you will received a signed and personalized bookplate.
  • If you order from Mysterious Galaxy, you will receive a signed bookplate (no personalization).
  • If you order from BookPeople, I’ll sign the book directly (including personalization), so you won’t get a bookplate.

All of this is while supplies last, so get those preorders in, and PLEASE READ THE ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! Some of the sites require you to add notes to the order, so read the instructions. :)

Don’t worry if signed books aren’t for you. Anyone who preorders HTS—whether digital, physical, or a library purchase request—is eligible for a bonus story!

It was supposed to be a short story, but it ballooned into a 10,000-word novelette. It’s a prequel story, set just before HTS starts. If you’ve wondered why Tavi was in dire enough financial straights to consider taking a job from her mortal enemy, now you can find out!

So if you’ve preordered HTS or requested it from your library (including anyone who preordered the signed books), please submit your proof of preorder or library request here, and I’ll send you a link to the story during release week.

I may put the story up for sale later this year, but it’ll be a preorder exclusive for at least a few months. :)

And if you haven’t preordered yet, your time is now! Don’t miss out because time moves somehow at both the speed of light and a snail’s pace—Feb 1 will be here before you know it.

Preorder now!
BookPeople | Copper Dog Books | Mysterious Galaxy
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Indiebound

And since you’ve made it this far, how about a little snippet as a reward. 💕


I looked at each of them. “I will not tolerate insults and fighting on my ship. If you have an issue, come to me. If you want to spar, that’s fine, but you will take appropriate precautions to prevent injuries. You won’t duke it out like meatheads in a bar fight. Next time, I won’t be so lenient. Am I clear?”

One by one, they nodded. The Valoffs had the slightly distant look they got when they were communicating. Their expressions remained impossible to read, but I didn’t see any open mutiny. Kee and Eli both looked abashed, but they didn’t argue about the punishment. They were my family, but they knew that a captain had to run the ship, and they’d fucked up.

“Clear out. I’ll send an alert when dinner is ready. I don’t want to see any of you again until then.” I glanced at Kee and Havil. “Let me know if these two are more hurt than they let on.”

They nodded, and the room slowly cleared. The plas blade packed a punch, and both Eli and Varro moved with careful deliberation. They nodded warily at each other on their way out the door. They weren’t bosom buddies by any stretch, but their shared pain bonded them in that strange way common to soldiers. I set a reminder to check on them both in thirty minutes. I didn’t want them in pain just because they were too proud to ask for help.

I closed my eyes and heaved a sigh. This was going to be a very long trip.

Hunt the Stars ARC Winners & Chapter Two!

Hunt the Stars ARC Winners! Available Feb 1, 2022, preorder now! www.jessiemihalik.com/blog

Thank you all so much for your comments! I read every one, and it was such a joy to celebrate the wins this year, both big and small. I hope you all have a lovely holiday season and a very happy new year!

The random number generator has spoken, and here are the winners! Please follow the links to ensure it was your comment that was selected, since there were a few duplicate names.

#54 – Katrina Collins
#91 – Melissa Grant
#40 – Belinda
#130 – Ali B
#5 – Gale Miller

WINNERS: Please send me an email at mihalikwrites at gmaildotcom with the subject line ARC Winner. If you’d rather not figure out my SUPER SEKRIT email riddle, you can also use the contact form. Include your name, address, and who you would like me to sign the book to (or if you prefer no inscription). Please use the same email you used to comment.

Everyone else, I’m so sorry you didn’t win, but I’ve put up the second chapter of Hunt the Stars over on the book page to help ease the pain. :)

And if you still need to preorder HTS, I’ve got you covered, too!

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.

Preorder now!
BookPeople | Copper Dog Books | Mysterious Galaxy
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Indiebound

Eclipse the Moon Cover Reveal & Snippet!

The cover for Eclipse the Moon is here, and it’s absolutely lovely!! Am I awful to tease you with this when Hunt the Stars isn’t even out yet? Yes. Am I doing it anyway? Also yes. :)

The cover will be going up on retailers soon, and I wanted to ensure you all got the very first peek at it! Behold:

Eclipse the Moon cover, featuring a man and woman in silhouette in front of a purple background with an alien planet.
Click to embiggen

Eclipse the Moon will be out in July of next year, so it’s not too long of a wait after HTS. I’m not putting the cover copy here just in case anyone wants to avoid all spoilers for HTS (they are very generic/minor), but you can find it over on the book page behind a spoiler tag.

If you’d like to get your preorder on, here are some handy links for you. (And thank you!!)

Get your copy!
Signed books from BookPeople
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Bookshop

Now, for a teensy snippet. This is not at all spoilery for book one, so enjoy this little peek at Kee and Varro!


I checked on the other plants, making sure they were healthy and strong. I talked to them as I worked, telling them how nice it was that they were growing food for us, and how pretty they looked with their green leaves and strong roots. It was mostly happy nonsense, but I’d read an ancient study that said plants did better when they were spoken to, and I tended to anthropomorphize them anyway, so talking to them came naturally.

I noted the tomatoes and other veggies that were ready for harvest and put them into the log so Tavi would know what was available for dinner. If she didn’t harvest them tonight, I would pick them tomorrow and put them in the galley for everyone to enjoy.

By the time I was done, several hours had passed. I hadn’t heard a peep from Varro, so I hoped he had fallen asleep. With nothing else to do, I approached the arbor on soft feet.

Varro’s head was tipped back, his breathing deep and even. I hesitated for a moment, then slipped into the arbor and sank into the chair beside his. I stared at the leafy vines overhead and enjoyed a moment of peace as the sweet smell of honeysuckle drifted around me.

“You talked to the plants,” Varro said, his voice low and rough. I bet he sounded just like that in the morning, sleepy and rumpled after a night in bed.

Heat crept into my cheeks at the imagined visual, and I redirected my thoughts to a safer subject. I peeked at him, but his eyes remained closed, so I went back to staring at the ceiling. “I thought you were asleep.”

“It’s harder to sneak up on me than you might imagine. Your approach was quiet but not that quiet.” After a pause, he added, “But the talking was nice.”

“It’s supposed to help the plants grow better, and it gives me something to do.”

“I enjoyed listening to you. It was soothing.”

I laughed quietly. “Most people would disagree.” I rolled my head toward him with a grin. “Have you considered that you may be part plant?”

“Mmm,” he murmured without opening his eyes, “perhaps that is why I’m drawn to sunshine.”

I glanced at his sun-kissed skin before reminding myself that he wasn’t for me. I purposefully kept my tone light. “Well, it’s hard to get sunshine in a spaceship, but you’re welcome to hang out in here with me for the rest of the week and pretend. If you want, I’ll even babble at you like you’re a plant.”

He slanted a glance at me, his eyes dark and fathomless. “I would enjoy that. Thank you.”

Get your copy!
Signed books from BookPeople
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Bookshop

And don’t forget, you still have time to enter to win an early copy of Hunt the Stars! See the linked blog post for details. Happy holidays!