Category Archives: Author’s Blog
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?”
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.
PS- though some things do never change…..
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. ❤
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
“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?”
So, I’ve been quiet for a while. This is two parted, the first being my sweet doggo feel ill and i was taking care of her for three weeks until she finally passed. I had her for 12 and a half years and she was dearly beloved. Her loss has hit me rather hard, as she’d been there for me through some of the darkest times of my life, and this was also the first time i was solely responsible for making the choices about the life and death of a pet. She was really awesome and chill and just good, in a way that was exceptional for her breed, a Chow-Chow, whose name literally means ‘bite-bite’ lol. But not my girl. The only one she ever bit was a stranger who decided to get in my face in a very threatening way and he immediately regretted it. To everyone else she was playful and fluffy and darling. I miss her.
The second hiccup in the mix is honestly more time-consuming, and that’s the final push to finish remodeling my mother’s home so she can sell it, and we as a family can buy a new home together with a mother in law suite. I’m hoping we can do this relatively quickly and find a home closer to my work, which would in turn spare me a ton of driving in a day.
But until then i’m going to be MIA for a bit, so love, laugh read and enjoy life in the meanwhile. ❤
So, there’s been a lot going on in the world and it’s stressing me out, so i decided to calm myself by writing you out a little bit of lore on the judicial systems of the Tazu Nation and Clan Lands (as these are the more developed systems in the world, though i’ve got info on all of them). These are brief explanations, but if you have any additional questions or thoughts, feel free to share ’em and i might answer or amend them late. enjoy!
The Tazu Nation follows a matriarchal feudal system, with a few variants with regards to how the King’s and Queen’s offices function with each other. Because it a matriarchal system, the ruling heads of each office are traditionally brother and sister– with occasional variants for cousins and the like, though it is never a husband and wife dynamic. The functions of the whole government are divided between them– the Queen’s office being responsible to the home-base related aspects, such as the distribution of land, as land is typically passed onto women in families, while liquid capital is passed onto males. All aspects of government fall into these traditional binaries, for example the collection of taxes is handled by the King’s office, while the distribution of funds is then determined by the Queen’s office. Foreign affairs on a global scale are dealt with by the King’s office, while actual trade rites fall to the Queen’s office, and so on to all portions of governance. This hand-in hand approach applies also to the lower noble families, with each tier on the feudal system pyramid following the same model.
The legal system of the Tazu Nation follows the same hand-in-hand model, with the King’s office holding dominion over criminal law and legalities, and the Queen’s office holding dominion over civil laws and disputes. For complex cases that combine these two, both the King’s office and the Queen’s office would oversee the trial. This is not to say the King or Queen themselves would try every single case of theft or destruction of property to come into the system– each Lord and Lady of a family would have similar, smaller courts in their own territories that would function the same, with the official King and Queen’s laws to work from as the standard though with some room for interpretation by individual Lords and Ladies. However, as it is with the feudal system’s tiered arrangement, where there a dispute between lesser lord or ladies, the high lord or lady will oversee their trial, and so on upwards until they reach the King or Queen’s authority– theirs is considered the final word on the matter. Group or large scale crimes and disputes will also climb to reach the actual king and queen’s level of the system if they cover multiple provinces or have a large number of complainants/victims, or have a national impact/precedence to be set.
The Clan Lands government has had many incarnations over the years, given it has the longest history out of all the nations, varying from a feudal system to a republic, depending on the timeline. The only consistent factor, however, has been the judicial system, which has remained steady for the majority of it’s history despite the governmental changes. This is made possible by the fact that from the second millennia onwards the entire court system is run by one Clanswoman, the Original Erin Manna of the Mannachi clan. Known for her extensive precognitive powers and her rigid lawful neutrality, Erin Manna sits as the sole judge of the High Court, the only court and person capable of proceeding over even an emperor should the need arise. Within her system, she acts autonomously from the rest of the government, appointing judges from lesser to higher courts all across the country. This works solely due to her ageless nature, unquestionable power over the majority of Clan, as well as her stanch adherence to the law– managing to remain unbiased in her interpretation of the laws created by the government, and often returning (though rarely outright rejecting) laws with amendments for the government to consider before officially passing to ensure the proper spirit of the law is being upheld, and to check for moral ambiguity. While this has often made her arguably more powerful than the actual Clan Lands government, she has always also maintained a distance, allowing for the governing system to move and act on its own to the letter of the law.