Say Hello to Eclipse the Moon!

Voyager placeholder cover for ECLIPSE THE MOON. Official cover to come.

Book two has a title, Eclipse the Moon, and it’s up for preorder! But, Jessie, I hear you saying, book one isn’t even out yet! And you would be correct. However, Eclipse the Moon is coming out next summer, so after you read Hunt the Stars, you’ll only have a few months to wait for book two. Yay!

If you mosey over to the book page, you can see the preliminary catalog copy, the placeholder cover, and preorder links. I put the catalog copy behind a spoiler tag just in case you don’t want to know anything about book two until you read HTS.

All of the info is subject to change, because I didn’t even know the release date until I happened upon the preorder page this morning, so I don’t know if it’s completely final or not. If it is, then it’ll come out during my birthday week! 🎉

I’m probably not going to be pushing this one too hard until HTS comes out, but now when I refer to ETM, you’ll know what I’m talking about. :)

Oh, and I saw an early copy of the cover today and it’s gorgeous, so I will definitely share that when it’s ready!

Stock Photo Gems

Before I forget: Polaris Rising is on sale for $1.99 (ebook) in the US/Canada this month. If you’ve been waiting to pick up a copy, your time is now!

When I start writing a new book, I like to peruse stock photo sites to find images of my main characters. I have an idea of what they look like, but having a photo gives me something to reference, and it’s something I can send to my publisher when they ask for descriptions. But because I have a picture in my head, it means I have to spend quite a bit of time finding just the right image. (Yay, procrastination!)

And sometimes, while doing a deep dive of a stock photo site, I find an image that’s pure gold. I am now the proud owner of a license to use “Young attractive couple and british [sic] cat in a dark room.” Click through for the unblurred picture, but be warned it’s NSFW because it shows a woman in lingerie. Don’t click through on your work computer!

A man in a suit staring at the camera with a cat photo behind him. The bottom of the photo is blurred out.
Click to reveal, NSFW (lingerie)

Every single element of this photo is *chef’s kiss*. The framed cat in the background (apparently British). The man staring intensely at the camera and ironing the woman’s stocking while she’s wearing it. Her balancing atop what must be the world’s sturdiest ironing board. The longer you look at it, the more you see.

There’s another photo in the series that I didn’t buy, but it’s worth a look, too (also NSFW). This artist has some really beautiful, unique shots, but a lot of them are deeply weird. I love it!

Now I have to get back to work on book three in the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy. I hope you have a good weekend!

Carving Out a Place For Joy

A black-and-white photo of a woman in an evening gown looking sad while writing a letter at a desk with a single candle.
Her creative well is empty. Also, I totally look this nice while writing. 😉

It’s been about a month since I turned in book two of Starlight’s Shadow, and I’m finally starting to decompress and think about book three. My life would probably be a lot easier if I worked at a steady rate all the time instead of in bursts fueled by deadline panic, but I’ve made peace with my process. :)

The downtime immediately after a deadline is when I do a lot of the administrative tasks that get pushed off when in I’m in crunch time—things like creating promo graphics, updating the website, and cleaning the house. It’s also the time when I give myself permission to work on whatever catches my interest.

Which is how I started writing a little magical fantasy romance story (very) loosely inspired by beauty and the beast.

It’s supposed to be a short story, but we’ll see. It’s already 5k, so it’ll probably turn into a novelette, assuming I finish it at all. One of the joys of writing for pure fun is the complete lack of expectations. I’ll write until it’s not fun anymore (or until I need to start on book three) and no one will be disappointed by the lack of ending except for me.

One of the things I’ve really had to grapple with is that once I turned writing into a job, it became work. It’s work I love, granted, but it’s still work. It seems obvious, but it’s not, exactly. It’s insidious, until creating for pure joy suddenly becomes “I really should be working on X, instead” because there is always some X that needs doing.

No matter how fast I write, there will always be an X lurking in the back of my mind as the “better” use of my time. And purely from an economic standpoint, that’s not entirely wrong.

But from a creative standpoint, all of those expectations and demands can kill creativity, especially straight off deadline.

Creating for pure fun is an important part of refilling the well, the inner space where ideas are born. An empty creative well sucks all the joy from writing—assuming one can write at all. I can power through for a while, but it’s agony.

So guard those moments of joyful creation, and carve out space for them, even if it’s just five minutes.

Then, hopefully, if everything aligns, the project you have to do becomes a source of joy, too, because your well is full. And there is no better feeling than writing a story that is flowing perfectly.

I can tell I’m nearly there because I’m starting to think about the characters for book three rather than avoiding it like the plague, lol. And even if the short story goes nowhere, those words weren’t wasted. They were exactly the escape my brain needed. :)

Livestream with Kit Rocha and Jeaniene Frost Tonight!

Kit Rocha in conversation with Jessie Mihalik and Jeaniene Frost. Wednesday, September 8, 7PM Central.

Tonight, Jeaniene Frost and I are joining Bree and Donna (aka Kit Rocha) for an event to celebrate the release of The Devil You Know! I love Jeaniene’s books and you know I love Kit Rocha’s books, so pardon me while I fangirl for a second. 🤩😍

We’re going to talk about kickass female leads, mercenary librarians, and wherever else the conversation takes us—an event with Bree and Donna is always fun! Tubby and Coo’s is the hosting bookstore, and you can find more information on their site. They also just weathered Hurricane Ida, so if you can, pick up a book or two while you’re there! :)

Individual event links aren’t up yet, but the stream is supposed to be simultaneously broadcast on their Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as their homepage, so pick your poison and keep an eye on whichever you prefer tonight at 7PM Central.

When I get the direct links, I’ll post them to Twitter, so you can also follow me there. I hope to see you tonight!!

Two Romancelandia Charity Auctions!

A signed, personalized Consortium Rebellion trilogy (Polaris Rising, Aurora Blazing, Chaos Reigning) is up for auction!
Romancelandia for Afghan Women Auction

Get your bidding fingers ready, because Romancelandia has two charity auctions this week!

The Romance for Haiti auction starts tomorrow and runs through September 3. I donated a signed, personalized set of Consortium Rebellion books, so if you’ve always wanted me to scribble in the front of your book, now is your chance!

You can browse now and get your watchlist in order so you’ll be ready at midnight when the doors open. This auction has over 250 items, including a chat with my agent (or have her critique your query!) and tons of signed books, critiques, and video chats.

And a few items I’m not going to link because they are on my own watchlist and I don’t want to give you all any ideas. 😉

Next, the Romancelandia for Afghan Women auction is going on now through September 5 and also has over 250 items—from signed books to video chats to manuscript critiques. I didn’t hear about it early enough to donate, but I have my eye on a few things, so I’ll be over there cheerfully trying to outbid you all. :)

Both of these auctions go to support causes that desperately need the help, so I hope you’ll bid early and often!