Category Archives: Author’s Blog

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…..


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

A baby and a book

So, as my last journal back on June 23rd indicated, i was under a LOT of stress, which all combined got considerably worse when on the 24th they informed me my blood pressure was through the roof, and guess what, baby has to be born NOW. So, three days after my last blog post, i became a mommy to a 6pd, 9oz nugget of baby gold on June 26th, 10:13pm. Since then, i’ve been recovering (emergency c-sections are a BITCH let me say) and adjusting to a tiny little screaming and cooing ball of baby. 😀


There’s not a lot more i can say about mommy-hood that hasn’t already been typed up, other than to reiterate that it is hard, exhausting, and seriously don’t do it if you don’t want to. It takes a kind of mental and emotional stamina that you’re both dully prepared for and yet have absolutely no idea. Though when the kid starts smiling back at you there’s a level of joy there that’s honestly hard to describe, other than to say it makes the aches and pains worth it.


So, just so ya all know once the physical trauma and post-pardum depression subsided (yeah, NOT fun, do check in with professionals if you even toe the line on that, really it helped me a lot just to talk and cry) I’ve been writing. There’s still a lot to do, and even more to organize, but i’m doing my best to make some decisions to speed up WW:U3. Haven’t completely decided yet, but hopefully soon, and of course i’ll keep you updated.


As far as the Tazu saga, i sadly don’t have much to report, as content edit on 3 is still in limbo, though there were talks of splitting the third book into possibly two parts or two books because, once again i’ve written too much. >_<; Big shocker there, folks. -_-


Anyways, i just wanted to check in, let everyone know i’m doing my best, and this small child i’m responsible for has lit a little fire under my butt. I wanna get this done already, and move on. I deserve it. You deserve it. My not-a-lizard spawn deserves it.


~J. Leigh

Quick update on J. Leigh’s insanity

SO, after a stress filled mess of a sale of the childhood house, we closed on the new house, discovered massive amounts of junk the old owners left behind, moved THAT out, then moved most of our stuff in, but now still lugging things in from our old house. Oh, and our new basement flooded this week, making us lose everything we’d put down there, and need to air out the entire new house. 😐😑

Thanks to all the stress, my blood pressure is up, so the doctors want to induce me at 37 weeks….which is the first week of July. So baby is gonna be three weeks early in an unpacked house that still doesn’t have all our stuff. 😳

See ya on the other side….not sure how sane I’ll be though. 🙃

~ j. leigh

House updates

So, we found a house to buy! Yay! But we still need to sell the old house to afford it! D: Basically we have til May 3rd to make this work, so send Good Vibes or whatever else accommodates yr spiritual views. The sooner this happens, the smoother the transition and the easier things will be once baby comes. Also i will have a swimming pool and a soaking tub, my two favorite things to relax in! Relaxed J. Leigh is a happy, writing, J. Leigh so yay. ^_^ Until then, PACKING. SO much PACKING


On baby front, little squish is going strong (kicking and loop de loops started this week, trippy) and all looked well on the anatomy scan, though little bugger wouldn’t let us see the heart. So, we get an extra fetal echo next week. Kinda cool, so i’m not too worried. Otherwise kiddo is healthy. 🙂


Writing wise, i’m still plugging away, stealing moments of writing when i can between naps and endless baby appointments and so much packing. My life is naps and boxes. But, i’ve gotten more done in the Biology class scene and am halfway through the miniature drake dissection portion. I’m particularly proud of this as it’s been a while since i’ve managed to work so long without a plot hole existential crisis. >_<; Hopefully things continue to go well despite the chaos.


Also, daylight savings time can die. I hate it and it ruined my sleep cycle which was already precarious. oooof.


Anyways, wish us luck and i’ll hopefully be in touch soon!


~J. Leigh


So, the super, big, incredible, holy-gods-never-thought-it-would-happen news……



I’m a gonna have a baby!

I won’t go into the long of it, but the short version is, i and hubby and most were under the impression this was a near-impossible to impossible thing to accomplish, made more so simply because it just kept not happening. So, after many years, and many hiccups, surprise for me and my family, i get to be a mommy come this July! Whoo!

Unfortunately, the fun part of this is we STILL have not moved, and well, we really want to before kiddo arrives. So, we’re twiddling our thumbs while i ride out the weirdness of pregnancy, and hope that things will lay out for the best.


What this means for writing:

Whelp, i’ve been down quite a bit because growing a human is hard, BUT I’ve managed a lot of quality over quantity, and have actually finished large portions of WW:U3, to the point where i’m only four scenes(one chapter, three branches) away from starting NEW chapters, which honestly I haven’t done in like, two years. And if we can manage to move and find a house with a nice mother in law suite for my mom, i’ll have a much more structured home-life and extra hands to watch kiddo while a work. (and a shorter, less stressful commute and less stressful money situation would overall add to writing harmony.) Tazu Saga 3 is still with my publisher over at Red Adept, and because they’ve gotten so much bigger over the years the wait times are simply longer to get into editing at then publication. Luckily, i’ve got 85k written for the Tazu Saga 4 already done, and i’m just waiting for what the editors want to do to #3 before finishing it. So, basically as soon as content edit is done there, i’ve got maybe 20-40k words to do and then #4 will get submitted.


Until then, i’m working while i can, doing what i can on WW:U3. here’s the overall update since May last year (updates in bold):

01 Precognition Class (done; 1,975 wc)

02 Decide plan for helping Illyan– A or B (done; 6,290 wc)

03 Surprise Party (done; 36,616 wc )

04 Recruit help for plan; Confront Jun (100% Complete; 27,020 wc)

04 Recruit Person A (100% done; 20,747 wc );  Recruit Person B ( 100% done; 21,057 wc);  Recruit Person C (100% complete; 36,250 wc);  Recruit Person D (100% complete; 30186 wc);

05 Next Step Plan A (100% Complete 16,947 wc);

05 Next Step Plan B_intro (100% Complete 1087 wc) Next Step Plan B_path1 (100% Complete 22,344 wc) Next Step Plan B_path2 (100% Complete 24,192 wc) Next Step Plan B_path3 (100% Complete 9498 wc) Next Step Plan B_end (100% Complete 1115 wc)

(to give an idea, the original wc for this one section– one branch on a two pronged chapter with 3 distinct options– was only 30K in word count in May. i finished it this week for a total of 58,236k words. This was super complicated and took me most of the time i’ve been working just to untangle it.)

06 Classroom Adventure Bio (60% done 15905 wc) 06 Bio-cut class with Umbrave (1% done 32 wc); Bio-cut class with Kess (25% done 675 wc)

07 Activity Class (plan B clue) (10% done; 658 wc)

08 Second Step Plan A (10% done; 1,509 wc); Second Step Plan B (10% done; 1000 wc)

Hopefully, the latter half *should* look something like this:

09 Telepathy Class; Energy Manipulation Class

10 Third Step Plan A; Plan B

11 Prank Sem (50% done 5,986 wc)

12 Fourth Step Plan A; Plan B

13 Semryu Past Life Regression (60% done; 27816 wc)

14 Climaxes Plan A; Plan B

15 Epilogues (Climax fall out, academics and romances)


As you can see, i’ve mostly been untangling messes in the Chapter 5 plan B half of the two-plan plot-line. It’s a pivotal section, that, i’m not going to lie, has been the source of much angst over the past few years, but now that is finally sorted, i can move forward with the confidence that i won’t have a major plot hole issue if the reader doesn’t choose certain choices. I honestly can’t even talk about the amount of dead words that were deleted and rewritten in that one section, it was nightmarish, and im glad it’s done. it’s a relief it’s done.


And now i get to work on further chapters, finally. 🙂


Wish me luck in all things, and keep and eye out for strange updates!

~J. Leigh

Here, have a preview

I know I’ve been quiet, there’s been a lot of life drama, and things are moving at a crawl on all ends. But here’s a preview of a scene for WW:U3 as another thank you for your patience. Enjoy!


The three of you stop by Umbrave’s room to collect the game, then find a table at the back of one of the common rooms to set it up. The box it’s in is long and wooden, with the name Tower of Spirit wood-burned across the top. Once he opens it and starts taking things out, you see it looks rather complex, with a game board, a multitude of little tile pieces, and a variety of cards.

“Have you ever played this before, Umbrave?” you ask, admiring a little hexagon shaped tile with a forest painted on one side.

“Yes, I think this is one we played last summer when I went home for a stint.” Examining the little book with the instructions, he nods. “I only played it a few times, but I remember the basics. It’s at its heart a cooperative game, where the players work together to gather resources and build a little society– and we win when we complete this monument thing in the face of natural disasters that can happen and such. However, it’s interesting in the fact that you can play with one of the players pretending to be a good guy, but in reality, they’re playing as a ‘Red follower’.”

Kess’s eyebrows arch up. “Really? One of us would choose to be evil in the game?”

“Well, it’d be random, as we’d pick player cards to decide it. We don’t have to, though. But if we do, the player who gets the ‘Red follower’ card can then play along, pretending to help, but secretly sabotaging the other players’ efforts to build the monument. The other players can then try to weed him out, or just try to build it despite him. We win when the monument is built, but the Red follower wins if they stop us before the last turn, or if they managed to sneak in the sabotage card into the monument without the other players noticing.” He grins. “I think we should play with the Red follower. It’ll be more fun.”

Kess wrinkles her nose. “I don’t know, Umbrave. I’m not sure I want to play a game where I’m trying to backstab my friends.”

“It’s a game, Kess– the point is to win whether you’re pretending to be evil or not.” He shrugs. “What about you, Rei? You tie break it: play with the Red follower card or no?”

You decide,

“Let’s just play the game cooperatively this time through.”
“I definitely think the Red follower card makes it more interesting. Let’s do it.”