Cover reveal: Tainted Talent!

I am thrilled to reveal the full cover the the upcoming third book of the Tazu Saga: Tainted Talent!

Working my butt off

Seriously, i think i’ve thrown down more content in the last three days than i have in the last month, Ooof. My brain is fried. BUT in this time i have:

Started a Patron

Posted new art work sneak peeks there

Posted and scheduled actual interesting blog posts for the Weekly Weird

Created the illustration schedule for WW:U3 and WW:U Halloween DLC

Talked to all my new Patron fam on Discord and set that all up. (shout out to Bone Carver for stepping up as an admin, love you.)

Gathered up a bunch of cool questions for the monthly Q&A on Patron

Finished the next Line Editing wave for the Tazu Saga’s Tainted Talent.

Approved the cover art for Tainted Talent and working on the back blurb.

Got 90% of the Clan Lands Embassy section of the Halloween DLC done

Finally came up with idea to fix a plot hole issue in WW:U3

So, yeah, so far having a Patron has been really good for me mentally, and given me something to focus on and help me organize my thoughts. Also, Weekly Weird is incredibly cathartic, because i never know what to post here– with Weekly Weird, i can just be weird. And you’all sighed up for it 😅

Anyway, come join the Patron. There’s going to be tons of content there as i’m working on it, and we all know it’s going to still take me a while to finish WW:U3. 😅 So might as well come and see more stuff sooner. If not, i’ll still be here, leaving updates and being at least a little bit weird. 😘

~J. Leigh

Patron!

So, i launched a new Patron account! Now, i will still have any BIG updates posted here, but i’m going to provide more in-depth content on Patron, as well as access to art, bonus content, a discord server, playable updates and lots more! So head on over and hopefully i’ll see you there!

 

Way Walkers Patron!

 

~J. Leigh

Clan Lands Halloween preview

I swear, the Clan portion of the Halloween DLC has become a study in me seeing just how much I can freak out Jun/Kess. >_<;

 

Anyways, enjoy!

A yellow lantern hangs above, rocking slowly on its pole. A crude sign lays below it, clearly legible but no less anxiety-inducing. Jun makes an audible gulp as the three of you silently read it.

DOWN
|
|
V

*page_break

“Really?” Jun edges close to the rim of the pit, craning her neck to peer into the darkness. “It goes on forever! They can’t expect us to just… jump!”

“I kind of think they do.” Ay’cure let out a nervous chuckle, his face drawn in a forced grin as he, too, stares into the pit. “I mean, we can’t get around it.”

“Its just for effect, I bet,” you say, wetting your lips in a bit to convince your friends as well as yourself. “It’s probably magicked to take us to another part of the maze. Just like everything else in here– it’s scary, but it’s not actually dangerous.”

Jun makes a low groan, stepping back form the edge. “I don’t think I can do it.”

Another wail echoes from behind the three of you. It’s distant, but the bamboo rattles, hinting at another reunion with the wailing monster. “We need to go!” Ay’cure tries to get Jun to move forward, but she recoils from the pit, eyes wide with horror.

You decide to….

just jump into the pit and let Jun and Ay’cure sort themselves out.
give Jun a push to get her going– if we don’t hurry, we’re all going to get grabbed.
grab Jun and Ay’cure’s hands and get them to jump together with you– it’ll be less scary for everyone that way.

I’m trying but i’m scared. And that’s OK

So i’m not going to beat around the bush much with this: for the moment my immediate family is healthy and safe. (we’ve lost some extended family members and i’m terrified for others but i don’t want to go into detail at this time) Financially, i’m limping along but there’s a real fear that my mother and I’s art business that has been built over the entirety of my lifetime will either be drastically reduced forever, or worse. I usually stick to talking about writing stuff here, but i teach art privately to kids and i love it. If i won the lottery tomorrow or sold a million copies of books i’d still do it. It’s a part of my soul, who i am, as much as anything else.

 

And though we’ve managed to move a good portion of our students to working with us online, i don’t know how long and sustainable this will be. We do an art show in May-June and summer camp in July-Aug every year– i don’t know what will happen to that.

 

And while i make a respectable amount of money with my books, at most that income pays the car insurance and the water bill– Art pays the mortgage.

 

And so, i’m scared. Working the same hours, making half the money and still trying to do everything else that is involved with a home and a nine-month old has delivered an undue stress level unto my poor, already traumatized brain. Unfortunately, a tired, stressed-out, and often terrified J. Leigh isn’t very conducive to writing. At least not well.

 

And that’s OKAY. It has to be, because i can’t manage otherwise.

 

I know i said I would give myself a year from August to finish WW:U3, but that’s just not going to happen. And that’s OKAY. I’m still poking at things, but my production is just too sporadic, too low. Maybe we’ll have the Halloween DLC. Maybe not. I just don’t know.

 

I’m scared. And i don’t know what’s going to happen. But that’s OKAY. Because i’m not alone in that. None of us know.

 

And that’s okay.

 

~ J. Leigh

Exhausted and Stressed–Adapting to the new world

So, like many of you out there, we’ve been put basically on a kind of lock-down until the threat of the COVID-19 virus passes. For me, personally this has meant not only making certain my mother (in the danger zone over 60 with multiple other medical conditions) but also moving my entire art teaching career online and praying students still wish to attend in April and beyond.

 

To say this has been stressful, is the least of it.

 

Anyways i just wanted to let my readers know i’m OKAY for now, though i’m honestly not getting much writing done, since i’m technically still working (a good thing) and just tad bit distracted. It’s depressing because i was actually doing decently before all this, but ah, well, life. Hopefully as things settle back into a routine i’ll be able to write again.

 

Stay safe, stay well, and take care of each other.

 

~J. Leigh

February Preview– Makwan

AH, the joys of unfinished ghost business…..

 

“So, you died before ever getting into the ring?”

Yes! With ishir shield hand, ish taps ishir temple. My Guide informed me it was a small clot in my brain from a previous battle. Imagine, being felled by a tiny speck of blood from a match then weeks old! With no warning!

“Well I can agree that’d be a pretty frustrating, even devastating, way to die.” Wrinkling your nose, you say, “But I don’t see how I can remedy that for you, aside from maybe telling the Turinics that you’re still down here when I head back up.”

I do not require prayers or coxing! Makwan stomps ishir foot, making you start back a touch. I require a battle! One last duel, to sate my Kubeshian blood, and prove to myself I could have won, could have been Grand Champion, and not some forgotten competitor lost to time! Ish sighs, shoulders slumping again. Will you help me, fellow warrior?

Surprised by this request, you respond,

“Wait, you need me to fight you in order to move on? How would that even work when you don’t have a physical body?”
“I’m not a warrior to go getting into a duel with a ghost.”
“I’d like to help, but I don’t have time for this!”

January Preview

I’m going to try to post a few previews here and there, just to keep things moving for you guys

 

Oh, the complications of a plan gone awry…..enjoy the preview!

“Why do you have a  child ,” Yestin practically shrieks at you, eyes wide in horror before turning to Semryu. “And why didn’t you  stop ishi ?”

“I panicked!” you blurt out the same moment Semryu sputters, “Ish didn’t ask me!”

“The kid saw us switch the gems,” you explain, trying to keep a hold of your squirming burden. “And I didn’t know what to do and I was hoping you could reorder her memory or something.”

“Telepathically alter the memories of a child  you kidnapped ?”

“Could we stop arguing and handle the situation, please?” Shelly hisses over Yestin’s objections. “Before someone notices a missing little girl?”

 

 

Disoriented and full of cheese

The last month of my life has been pretty much a hail storm of family events, medical scares, extreme decorating and baby milestones punctuated by migraines. Thusly it’s been a bit hard to take a breath, take stock and look back upon the last decade with any sort of critical or nostalgic airs. Especially in this last week off, where a head cold has robbed me of my sense during the one time of year where everyone is just a bit foggy, disoriented and wandering around full of cheese.

 

Still, in 2010 I was single, hadn’t even heard of Choice of Games publishing or Red Adept, had only just started the Tazu Saga, had an entirely different group of friends, didn’t know several of my current best friends, and OH MY GOD I didn’t have any of my cats. D:

 

Did have the doggo and three other cats, though.

 

In the last decade I’ve signed six book contracts, seen four of them published and two on the way, easily written over a million words, reconnected with a friend who became the love of my life, lost some friends, reconnected with some old ones, lost them, got married, made new friends, buried three cats and my dear doggo, buried too many family, a few friends– even an enemy. I’ve moved twice and helped sell my childhood home. I’ve lost and i’ve gained, i’ve bled and i’ve broken and i’ve risen again.

 

I’ve done the three things i’ve always wanted in my life and also, at one time, thought impossible: I’ve been published, I’ve found and wed the literal man of my dreams, and I’ve had a child.

 

And at least twice inside that long decade, I’ve literally wanted to end my life.

But I’ve learned that the depression voices lie to you, and sometimes you need the meds, and sometimes you just need to get away from the assholes. Discerning the difference is very important.

 

So, i suppose my advice amid this long ramble of cheese-laden musings is thus: fight. Keep crawling, keep fighting, hell, just keep breathing. I think all the time about what  I would have missed, what achievements awaited right around the corner, past the darkness and the pain, what new treatments would help, what new truths would be uncovered that i’d have missed out on, had i not fought on. The only constant in this world is change, even if the only thing that does change, is you.

 

Chin up, and know i Walk the same roads as do us all.

 

~J. Leigh

 

PS- though some things do never change…..

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Two Books and a Promise

So, excellent news on the Tazu Saga front, after over a year of being bounced around in content edit and trying to make this mess of a book work (it was the middle section of the original book two, which i then decided to split into three books) it has been decided that the only solution is to rework the bugger into yet again two books instead of one. So, what had originally been planned as a single book titled Broken Cities, has now become four books: Broken City (published) Tainted Talent (in editing in RAP), Negating Destiny (in editing at RAP) and then Implied Permissions (still working on it and yeah, it might become two books, too. i’m sorry XD)

 

Why does this keep happening to me?

 

Well, the reality of the situation is i simply write to much for a small press; i read mostly thicker, 600 page monster fantasy novels in epic series and that’s what i write; but my publisher, who i love and adore and puts up with my general weirdness, isn’t able to publish print copies of something so big. Also, now, it simply takes editors more time to edit such big books, and that means i have to wait longer to fit in the editing que for someone to have enough time to edit it. Basically, i’m not Brandon Sanderson or George RR Martin (yet!) so smaller books are just more manageable. And, honestly, i agree in this case that splitting the book better maintains the integrity of the narrative than slicing out large chunks solely to fit a lower word count. (Which also sometimes is needed when a book is superfluous, but not in this case.)

 

Anyways, long story short i’m very happy with the situation and you’all will get rewarded for this long wait with not one but TWO books full of awesome content that didn’t have to get cut ;p. AND they will get released pretty close to each other, so more yay. I’ve also got a good near 100k in what’s now Tazu Saga 5, Implied Permissions, which i do think i’m going to wrap-up sooner and make shorter than i’d originally intended, but we’ll see. No matter what, things are moving again and that is a big relief. 😀

 

Onto my promise, and this concerns WW:U3. I’ve been hammering at the main plot line with Illyan for a few weeks now and have made some progress….but the reality of the situation simply is that there’s still a very large amount left to do….and that’s not counting all the classes and social stuff i also wanted to include. SO, here is my current promise: I’m giving myself a year. One year to get as much of the of WW:U3 done as possible, with a focus on the main plot line threads (of which there are two, like literally two drastically different ways you can read this thing from page one). At the end of one year, i’m going to publish what’s done, which should hopefully be all of the main plot and what supplement stuff i have already completed. Past that…..depending on what is left, i will either add it in as general updates(more transitions, extra scenes to tie up lose ends, perhaps an expanded epilogue) or have them available as DLC packages that may or may not stretch back all the way to WW:U1. (more dating scenes, more full classrooms, the Semryu past life event, ect) Honestly that’ll depend on a variety of factors, but baring any major tragedy i WILL submit this thing within the year.

 

And then, my darlings, i just keep on writing. ❤

 

~J. Leigh