Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RELEASE WEEK GIVEAWAY - $50 Amazon gift card and more up for grabs!

Windswept is HERE y'all! And with it comes a category 5 giveaway. Don't you just love a good storm?

Up for grabs:
* $50 Amazon gift card
* Custom leather Kindle cover inspired by Wildwood and hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Custom leather bronc halter hand detailed by Rockstar Custom Leather
* Signed paperback of Wildwood, book #1, with bonus swag
* Signed paperback of Windswept, book #2, with bonus swag


This GORGEOUS custom ipad/kindle case
and bronc halter are up for grabs! Hand-made
by RockStar Custom Leather

How do you enter? Why, spread the word about Windswept, of course! Use the Rafflecopter form below to submit your entries. The giveaway opens Tuesday, May 22nd, and ends Saturday, May 26th at the stroke of midnight. Winners will be selected at random by Rafflecopter within 48 hours of closing.

Windswept is on sale NOW for just $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle. If you haven't read Wildwood yet, you're in luck, because it's also on sale for just $2.99.

Check out an excerpt from Windswept:
“Our enemies are close," Maris whispers, her gaze shifting from me to Jayce and back again. "Too close. If we all join hands, I will be able to seal our sounds inside so we can speak freely.”
“How do I know you’re not an enemy, too?”
“You don’t.” She flexes her fingers, but waits for me to decide to make contact.
“For Pete’s sake, Tanzy. This isn’t The Bachelorette Candidates’ special edition. You’re not getting married. You’re just casting a damn spell.” Jayce grabs my arm with one hand and Maris’s arm with the other, and joins us together. “There. Hashtag let’s-do-this-already,” she says, clamping her palms in ours to complete the circle.
Maris suppresses a smile and closes her eyes. I deny a shudder of nervousness and force out a long, slow exhale.
“Air and water join us here, use our light, and make a sphere. Seven colors round and round, shield our circle, hide our sounds,” Maris commands. She repeats the incantation two more times. The air warms and thickens. A growing charge pulses through my arms like an electric current.
Maris falls silent. Everything does. The mist continues to drizzle, blanketing the muddy earth and barren trees, but the steady hiss has vanished. Even though we sit within a few steps from the creek, I can’t hear it. With a start, I realize it must work both ways. No sounds in. No sounds out.
“We are safe to speak, but it won’t last long.” Maris slips her hand from mine. Her charcoal skin is pale in places where I’d unwittingly tightened my grip. Will I ever learn how to use the horse’s strength deliberately?
I rub my clammy, filthy hands together, trying to make them warm enough to stop shaking. They’re sweaty with nervousness, and the rust-colored film on my hands rolls into beads. It’s not gritty like the dirt I clung to when I climbed out of the ravine at Wildwood. It’s smooth, and presses flat into tiny flakes wherever I push down.
This is not earth.
This is dried blood.
David Andrews’s blood, caked in the webbing between my fingers and crusted beneath my nails.
The sound of his last, sputtering breath echoes in my brain. I let out a cry and wipe my fingers violently against my dress. Copper streaks the wrinkled white linen within seconds. The color leaves my hands, but there’s no relief from its weight, its smell.
 “What’s wrong?” Jayce’s voice is an octave too high. “Is that blood?” She sniffs at the air. Her pupils dilate as she arrives at her own conclusion.
I can’t summon the focus to answer—can’t stop trying to make my hands clean. From the expression on Maris’s face, she’s seeing the memory of me strangling Vanessa’s husband. The image of life leaving his eyes. The nightmare I can’t wake from.
Her gaze trains on Asher’s mark, and she brings an open palm to the brand. Heat crawls across my chest, but I’m frozen in place. My arms don’t heed the mental command to bat her hand away. Two of the circles turn black, shimmering like the coming night, and then fade back into the appearance of an old scar.
 “When did this happen?” She regards me with new distance, studying my face like I’m a complete stranger.
“Vanessa tricked me into believing her husband was attacking her. She told me he would kill her. She set me up. She made me believe . . . I thought he was Asher.” The confession tumbles from me, heavy and slipping.
“You’ve killed someone?” Jayce asks, her throat constricting around the words.
“She has taken two lives. Two of these rings belong to her now,” Maris says. Her fingers curl. She stares past me. I risk a glimpse of Jayce, whose face falls from brazen to defeat within a single second.
“Tell me about the first,” Maris orders, her mouth forming a grim line.
“An Unseen attacked Vanessa in the woods. I got between them. He picked me up by my throat and I . . . exploded,” I whisper. “I didn’t want to kill him, but he kept coming.” The memory plays in front of my open eyes. “If I hadn’t killed him he would’ve killed me.”
“Doesn’t matter. She’s useless.” Jayce shakes her head and mutters under her breath.
“I’m not useless.” My fingernails dig into my palms.
“Yes. You are,” Jayce growls.
“Enough,” Maris says. “This is Hope’s fault. She chose to keep Tanzy in the dark, and this is the price. Tanzy, you can’t kill anyone else, Seen or Unseen, for any reason.”
“A third kill, and you belong to Asher,” Jayce adds, focusing her icy glare on my face.
All the air is sucked from my lungs. I was under the impression the three circles had everything to do with Spera. How could I have missed this? A mental path quickly links the two lives I took, and arrives at one common denominator: Vanessa. She’s masterminded every move I’ve made since waking with the horse’s Vires blood coursing through my veins. She must know what will happen if I take a third life.
It’s an insurance policy, I realize. If I won’t use the Vires strength for Asher, I can’t use it at all.


*  *  *

Click here for the Amazon listing for Wildwood
Click here for the Amazon listing for Windswept

Want another taste test? Check out snippets, features, reviews, and more on my Instagram page.

Thank you so much for celebrating Windswept's release week with me! If you win the gift card, what will you splurge on? Comment below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tanzy's journey continues in Windswept, Book #2 in the Hightower Trilogy.

An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently.
Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks.
While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.


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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Windswept Details

Hey y'all!

So it occurs to me that I haven't posted the new blurb or the gorgeous new cover for Windswept! So here you go... p.s. the book trailer should be coming out soon, and my new publisher, Parliament House Press, is becoming renowned for their incredible visuals. Definitely check out the trailer for book #1 - now titled Wildwood - if you haven't already.





 
An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently. 

Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks.

While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.

Windswept is blowing ashore this week!

Okay, so that was kind of cheesy, but if you have ever been to the Outer Banks during the winter season, you'd understand how book #2 - Windswept - came to have its name.

Midway through drafting this story, my characters departed for a safe house for candidates tucked away in the Outer Banks, a cluster of barrier islands off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. In my mind, I reached the line between sea and sand, the islands a few miles away, but I had no idea how to get them there. I felt stuck and uninspired. I had never made that trip before - and I couldn't picture it in my mind. Do they have to take a boat? What would that look like? So I booked a room at a hotel, grabbed two of my best friends, and set out.

Driving out over the Atlantic at night is the darkest dark I have ever seen. In the middle of a bridge, we stopped the car and turned the headlights out, and the blackness that swallowed us up seemed to somehow steal every sound, too. We were silent. Butterflies stirred in my stomach and I felt like the bridge under us was about to give way. We were alone, suspended over black water, and yet I felt like anything could strike us at any moment. It was the closest to a non-sensory experience I've ever had, and yet every nerve ending was firing. I can't explain how relieved I was to turn the headlights back on.

When we arrived and opened the car doors, we were immediately pummeled by wind on all sides. Each gust would throw sheets of sand across the ground, and even a week after going home I was digging sand out of my ears. The experience was incredible, but even now, four years later, what I remember most was that wind, constant and howling, and the morning we walked outside our hotel and the air was still. It was the most bizarre sensation, like sea legs come ashore. The sky was at peace, and yet I couldn't find my balance.

To me, that is the closest thing I can compare to how Tanzy feels when she finally arrives at the safe house in Carova on the Outer Banks. At last, she is surrounded by allies, by girls who know what she's seen, the war she's experiencing with herself. She's in the company of people who stand a chance of protecting and defending her, fighting alongside her. And yet, she feels more exposed and at risk than ever. She is standing on solid ground, but she feels like she's sinking faster with every step she takes. The coldest solitude is the one suffered in a crowd. It is deafening and silent, whirling and paralyzing, impossibly heavy, and yet a fear you could be swept away and no one would even notice.

Windswept relaunches - polished and updated - in just two days! Tomorrow, I will give some insights into what all changed in the revamp for book #2, and give details on the big giveaway happening this week - including a $50 amazon gift card - so be sure to check back!

Thank you for hanging tight on this ride with me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sometimes I poem

Sometimes, when I'm trying to define the heart of a new story or a main character, it helps me to write a short poem about whatever scene I have so vividly painted in my head that I feel compelled to expand on that scene by 80,000 words or so. One WIP I have currently on my burners is tentatively titled "The Maybe Road." Here is the poem for that story:


Fog claims the distance,
leaving the dock, the water, and me.
Weathered planks roll and buck,
Move
         with
    the
          sea
    to
          keep
    from
                  cracking.

I am less safe on solid ground,
Everything I shouldn’t want upon that beach.
So I cannot set foot upon the sand again,
For fear I’ll never leave.

Can you see our Maybe Road
Peeking from the twisted oak?
A lifetime of what could’ve been
Had I traded yes for no.

The ferry comes and I step on board.
You’d call it a decision in itself.
In the sliding gray, I am offered no reflection,
Merely a shadow of myself.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wildwood by Jadie Jones - Official Book Trailer



SAY WHAT?

Okay - short version: Parliament House Press picked up the Moonlit Trilogy back in 2016, believing in what they thought "Moonlit" could become through a lot - and I mean a LOT - of hard work/editing/rewriting/cutting/slashing/burning/you-get-the-idea. It took months of edits and back and forths to figure out where exactly I had gone wrong, and how to make it right. I wanted to quit more than once, which I go in to detail about here on Colleen Story's blog: https://goo.gl/bGvJ1P

On the marketing end, they saw a completely different vision for packaging, and I loved it. (I mean can you believe that trailer?!)

Five days from now, "Moonlit," book #1 from the Moonlit Trilogy, will re-release as "Wildwood," book #1 in the Hightower Trilogy, and man oh man are you in for one hell of a better story.  Do you want to walk with Tanzy through every step of the day her father dies? Why does her mother warn them not to deviate from tradition? Want to listen in as Asher and Lucas discuss Spera? Want to see the first time Spera met Lucas? Want to see the moment Lucas falls in love with her?

Nearly half the book is completely new content. This wasn't just a face lift, this was a tear-down. I learned so much about my characters and their world. I can't wait to share it with you.

Wildwood is currently on sale for the pre-order special price of just $0.99. Please consider giving the revamp a glance, and if you do, I hope you'll let me know what you think.

Click here to be taken to the Amazon listing for Wildwood.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An election day conversation with my five year old daughter

Mornings are a treasured time for my oldest daughter Marin and me. She takes twenty minutes to eat a cup of yogurt, and I stand on the opposite side of the counter, packing her lunch for Kindergarten, and we talk. Sometimes we talk about five-year-old things: "Mom, do you think there aren't unicorns any more because they were all living on Hawaii when the volcano erupted?" (where she comes up with these things, I have no idea, but damn I'm proud.) Sometimes we talk about more serious things, like how it's going with a classmate who pushes her around.

Today is election day, and I thought I'd fail as a parent if I didn't at least mention it, especially with a woman as a major party nomination. Whether you're #withher or not, this reality is pretty spectacular, as not too long ago women weren't allowed to cast a vote for an elected official, much less become one.

So I brought it up.

Me: Guess what today is honey? It's election day, which means our country is going to pick a new president.
Marin: What does a president do?
Me: Well, let's pretend your school is the whole country. The principal would be like the president. The teachers would come up with ideas for new rules, and if most of the teachers liked the rule, they would ask the principal if they could make those rules real for the students, and the principal would say yes or no.
Marin: Is my principal going to be the president?
Me: Well, no. It's just an example. But today is the first time that a woman is a choice for president.
Marin: My principal is a woman.
Me: that's true. We've never had a woman president before, though.
Marin: why not?
Me: well....

And then I stopped. How much can a five year old understand? And how much can I tell her without some really tough follow-up questions.

We haven't had a female president because not too long ago women couldn't even vote, or file charges against their spouse if the stick used to strike them was thinner than his thumb, or go to college, or expected to be anything outside the home.

Because women used to be considered lesser than by the majority.

Because in a lot of ways, we still are.

But my five year old doesn't know that. She thinks it's strange we're celebrating the fact that a woman is a major party nomination - because why couldn't a woman be a major party nomination? Why wouldn't my daughter have just as much an opportunity and expectation than the boy she sits next to in kindergarten to be whatever she wanted. To introduce the idea that this is a big deal because we as a country have had some serious hiccups in our commitment to "liberty and justice for all" also introduces the concept that women have been and are still considered less by some. That's a heady thing for a five year old.

I thought for a second, and tried again.

Me: It's exciting because it's the first time we've had a woman to vote for. And you know how the first time for new things is pretty exciting? Like the first time you rode your horse all by yourself? That was pretty exciting, right?
Marin: Yeah! Can I ride her after school today.
Me: Sure.
Marin: Hey mom, if it's this exciting, our silly country shouldn't have waited so long.
Me: You're right about that.

Personally, I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan. I felt the Bern - and was very sad when he lost the nomination. But Trump terrifies me as a woman, a mother, and a citizen of this country, which is already struggling with a divisive culture in many ways. Trump's more aggressive followers make me more nervous to be a woman out in public than maybe ever in my life. People are campaigning for him to lead the free world, when he has bragged about violating women, spewed fear speech regarding whole populations of people, and a host of other scarily familiar tactics a loud, white man used to rally a group of frustrated people. And almost every day since the nominations were decided, I wonder how we got here, how the majority of the Republican party chose this man, listened to his hateful nonsense and said that's our guy, or stood aside and let it happen. More than the idea of Trump as president, the fact that he has such a large fan base in this country scares me. Please, please don't vote for HIM just because you don't like HER. You'd be railing against one establishment to the benefit of another.

Likewise, I wouldn't vote for a woman just because she's a woman, and in fact I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. (Yes, I did vote.) Still, seeing a woman's name on the ballot made me teary with pride, and with hope for my daughters' future as American women. I can appreciate this milestone, even if I don't appreciate the candidate.

p.s.
GO VOTE

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My five year old hid under her desk today.

My oldest daughter has been sensitive to loud sounds since she was a baby. Back then, something as simple as someone laughing would send her into a fit of shaking, boogery hysteria. Four years later, when her pre-school had it's first fire drill, she cried every morning at drop-off for the next week out of fear that the siren would begin blaring again at any moment.

This year, she began Kindergarten, and I forgot to warn her teacher about what the alarm would do to my confident, rational, five year old. She came home today, chirping and laughing about her new school's "silly" fire drill. The conversation went something like this:

"Mom, fire drills are silly in Oregon."
"What makes them silly?"
"We don't go outside. And there's no alarm. I like it."
"That is silly. Where do you go?"
"Under the computer tables."
"Under the table? Are you sure it wasn't an earthquake drill? I think they have those here. We used to have tornado drills when I was a kid, and we had to curl in tiny balls in the hallway."
"I don't know. Maybe it was an earthquake drill."
"Well, what else happened?"
"Our teacher turned out the lights. And we had to go under the computer tables as far as we could go, and pull our chairs in after us. And we played the quiet game."

Immediately, I knew exactly what kind of drill they'd had at school: active shooter drill.

Even typing that makes me feel sick.

My tender, caring, playful, imaginative, chatty five year old, who has names for all eight of our chickens (Penny, Dollar, Elestia, Springtime, Bossy, Babs, Roo, and Fluff), was hiding under a desk in the dark to practice what to do in the event someone wants to murder a room full of small children.

Again.

I was in high school when Columbine happened. For the rest of that school year, we had to evacuate our classrooms about once a week for bogus bomb threats. Back then, the idea of someone actually committing an act of violence in our school seemed far away - impossible, even. Columbine seemed like a one-time act of utter insanity that would never happen again anywhere. And then it did. And then it did again. And now, as a thirty-three year old mother of three, the possibility - no - probability that it could happen to one of my kids during their years in school feels so close and so present I can hardly breathe, especially on days when my five year old daughter spent part of her morning playing the quiet game in the dark under a line of computer tables, which I remember now is against the closest wall, making it the hardest place in the room to see from the sliver of a window pane in the classroom door.

I'm glad her school is acknowledging the reality we're in, and I am devastated that we're in it. I won't quote you statistics. I don't know them, and any search engine can find them if you need to see them. If Columbine wasn't a wake up call, if the massacre of tiny children at Sandy Hook didn't permanently shake us as a country to our core, I don't know what it will take to initiate real, sweeping change on gun laws, and in how this country treats its mentally vulnerable and ill. I don't know what it will take for us to look at ourselves in the proverbial mirror and say: there is a problem, and I am going to help make this right. What can I do to take a step to make our children safer? How can we keep weapons less accessibly for violent and mentally ill people? How do we take steps to help mentally ill people and their families receive help or counseling? And how sad is it that I don't know every single shooting victim by name between Columbine and today because there are so many. Not one more is a pipe dream - a wish in a bottle cast into the sea - and I am the first to admit it. However, we can strive for better. We can take steps to stop someone. Because if a new law stops just one mass shooting in our country, isn't it worth it?

I am a gun owner. I am a tree-hugger. I am a mother. I am an excellent shot at thirty feet. And I believe in gun laws that expect responsibility and diligence on behalf of anyone who purchases a gun. 

Opponents would say: guns don't kill people, people kill people. Okay, I'll play that game. Cars don't kill people, drivers kill people. If we applied gun regulations to vehicle regulations, a person could walk onto a car lot and purchase a vehicle without ever having driven a car before. Their first time behind the wheel could be on the way home. In the hands of an inebriated person, we acknowledge that a car becomes a weapon. We have recognized the damage a driver can do to other people and property on the road, so we hold drivers responsible for maintaining tags, registration, and insurance. We have tests to make sure people know the rules of the road, and how to drive a car. The fact that people are against similar regulations for ACTUAL WEAPONS blows my mind.

As a gun owner, I do not feel the slightest bit threatened that someone is going to knock on my door and take them away. I feel very threatened by people who have a complete come-apart over the idea of regulating gun ownership. Sure, buy your guns. Keep your guns. So long as you've competed a set number of hours on a gun range with a licensed instructor, or passed a handling and safety test, purchased minimum liability insurance on the gun, and passed an extensive criminal history and background check. Is it perfect? No. But it's a start. And for the love of our children we have got to start somewhere. Step 1: Admitting there is a problem with gun violence in the United States of America. Can we agree on this? Can we start here?

My daughter just lost two bottom teeth. She sleeps with a purple leopard stuffed animal that she calls Tigey Rose. On a homework assignment for school, she listed one of her three wishes as being tall enough to reach everything she needs in the house. She fills shoe boxes with dirt, leaves, and sticks to make homes for worms and roly-poly bugs. And she was hiding under a desk this morning because we grown-ups can't accept responsibility or the concept of change, or because we get our backs up at the idea of the government encroaching on the second amendment. God, we're sad. 

I'm not telling you to take to the streets with signs and a bull-horn (or do, if that's what moves you). But as election day approaches, think about the power we do have as we decide who we will send to represent our interests - our children - in Washington. I'm a believer in stronger gun regulations, but I've never been much of an advocate. Today changed that. I am my child's advocate. I am her voice.

America, we are better than this.