Saturday, April 29, 2023

One Piece of Advice


When I look back on my journey as an author, many hard-fought lessons come to mind. But there's one bit of knowledge I wish I had taken to heart much earlier: 

You don't have to do everything, and it most certainly doesn't have to be done perfectly. 

Maybe that's cheating because it's two pieces of advice, I suppose. But the reason I put this advice as a single piece is because almost inevitably whenever I sat down and tried to limit what was on my plate, I immediately fell even more into perfectionism. It was as if saying no to doing some things (like building a following on every single social media platform or reading all of the newsletters in my genre or reading every report on trends and marketing) suddenly meant that what I did do had to be perfect.

The reality is that true perfection in our line of work does not exist. Not when you're starting out. Not in the middle. And not at the end. 

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't proof your work or put in your best effort or that you shouldn't revise. 

You absolutely should. 

But there comes a point when you have to let go. If you wait until you think it's perfect or has no more room for improvement, you're going to accomplish precious little. And when I look back over my time as an author and writer, I realize how much I learned in the failures and mistakes. 

Trust me. There has been a lot of them. I can't say I enjoyed either the failures or mistakes (though some did give me funny stories for later recountings). But they taught me so much. Both in what I should do and shouldn't do. 

Not to mention that if you're doing things properly, you're constantly learning. Especially about your craft as a storyteller. You, as a person, are changing and continuously developing your voice. Especially when you're starting out. If you get swept away in trying to learn all the newest tricks for everything while also keeping up on trends within your genre or learning about all the different writing techniques and processes, you will get bogged down. 

In this hustle culture, it's important to remember too that you physically cannot do everything that an author could do. Not even if you sacrifice all of your mental health and physical wellness (and it wouldn't be worth it even if you could). You have to be selective. But sometimes the only way to determine what works best for you is to leap out into the mass of opportunities and test out different ideas, concepts, and possibilities. You get through them, reassess, and then try again. 

Once I accepted that picking something, focusing on it, failing and getting better was just a part of the learning curve, I found the whole process became so much easier. That was true in the first stories I released as well as in running the business end. 

Any author who has been around for a while has a host of mistakes and hard-learned lessons in all areas of the storytelling and publishing process. It's a rite of passage. Many of the most successful are the ones who seize those opportunities, narrow down what they're doing, and keep chugging along at the pace best suited to them.

So don't let the pressure to do everything get you down. No one does everything alone. And you don't have to do everything to succeed. It doesn't even have to be perfect. So long as you keep pressing ahead and don't count yourself out, you're still in. 

We are all constantly learning and growing, no matter what stage we are at as authors. No one who succeeds does all the things. And thank goodness for that. You pick what works for you. Learn that as best you can and let go. Then you learn from that and repeat. And that's something any of us can do. 

Jessica M. Butler is a USA Today bestselling romantic fantasy author who never outgrew her love for telling stories and playing in imaginary worlds. She lives with her husband and law partner, James Fry, in rural Indiana where they are quite happy with their two cats and all of the wildlife and trees.
You can find her at

Friday, April 28, 2023

For the Aspiring Author


Remember why you do what you do. Hang on to it and don't let go. You started writing for a reason - because it was fun, because you wanted the story you couldn't find elsewhere, because it kept you sane, because insert your reason here. Writing and publishing comprise a long, challenging journey. You'll climb to amazing vistas. You'll descend into fetid swamps that you think will never end. In between you'll trudge through impenetrable jungles and endless plains where the scenery never changes and you'll wonder if that's all there is. And the fact is that yes. That is all there is. The journey. Footstep after footstep. Story after story.

Your why will be your map through the wilderness. It will lead you through the droughts, the storms, and the darkest nights. Create the scenery you wish you could see in the books your write. Become the people you wish you could be in the characters you create.

Remember why you do what you do. Remember who and what you are. You're a writer. You create what hadn't existed in the world until you dreamed and toiled it into being. The power to create is the greatest power on earth. The history of humanity is told in stories. Humans make sense of the world and of existence through stories. Your stories are necessary. So remember why you do what you do. It matters.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Writing Advice

black and white Siberian husky, Ullr, asleep on the light blue cushions of the patio chair

There’s so much to tell an aspiring writer, to those fresh-eyed hopefuls all jacked up on the excitement of putting those first words to paper. But alas, I have to narrow it down to one piece of advice.

You’re worth more than your writing. 

That’s it. That’s my most valuable piece of advice for any writer at any stage. Writing is a personal endeavor. You pour your heart and soul into it, you sacrifice time and sleep and sanity, you put pieces of yourself into each work. And you’re worth more than what you write. 

It’s too easy, one might even say natural, to connect yourself to your books. It’s easy to view them as your babies and an extension of yourself. And that’s why it can hurt when people don’t fall in love with them. That’s why low book sales can devastate your frame of mind. 

And that’s why I’m telling you that you’re worth more than your writing. If you’re able to disconnect your self-worth from your writing, you’ll be able to find greater happiness in the small things and have less stress over writerly things you can’t control. You get to pick your goals and celebrate them—they’re not dependent on the general public’s assumption of what makes a successful writer. 

What’s the most valuable writing advice you’ve received? Jeffe’s is a good one, too. Make sure to check it out! I hope your weekend is filled with good books and good writing! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

One Piece of Advice for Aspiring Authors

Figure out what your process is and own it.
See, the point is that every single creator has the0ir own creative process. It's as individual as retinal patterns. While it can be helpful to take classes on writing processes and techniques, to learn from other authors, in the end we all find that our process is unique to us. I've seen SO MANY writers struggle to change their process and try to "make it be" something or other, to no avail. The whole point of learning various techniques is to triangulate on what works for you. It can be a long and iterative process, but that's the "magic formula." Figure out what your process is and own it. Don't try to make your process be something other than what it is, even if you are occasionally frustrated by it. (I often am by mine!)

Like learning to love yourself, learn to embrace your process. Own it. It's yours. 


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

3 New Releases for Fans of Fantasy Romance

Whooo this has been a busy week for my fellow bloggers! They're bringing new books into the world with all the beauty and thrills of quixotic spring. Get your shopping carts ready, these books are bound to leave you...breathless.

BOUND IN MAGIC (A Fantasy Romance Anthology)
by the ladies of FaRoFeb

Let us enchant you with our mythical tales of fated mates, witches, fae, mermaids, and much more!
Bound in Magic features 8 short stories by authors from countries all over the world.


ROGUE FAMILIAR (Renegades of Magic, Bk 2)
by Jeffe Kennedy

He left to save her from herself… But who will save him from her?

When Lady Seliah Phel wakes from a drugged sleep to find herself abandoned by her newly bonded wizard, she vows revenge—and to hunt him down. Tracking him through the familiar wilds of the marshlands of her home is the easy part; learning to use her nascent magical skills is something else entirely. So is facing the vast, uncaring society of the Convocation in a time of brewing war.

Jadren El-Adrel is not known for doing the right thing, but getting as far away from Seliah as possible before he drains her dry will be his one noble gesture. So what if she weeps a few tears. Better than her dying in his service—or enabling him to become the ravenous beast that crawls beneath his skin. Unfortunately, in his self-imposed exile, and without the power of his familiar, Jadren quickly runs afoul of the enemy.

As her vengeful quest for recapture becomes a rescue mission, Selly faces all she still doesn’t know about the greater world of wizards and familiars. And Jadren, once determined to walk his own path and stay far, far away from the idealistic fools of House Phel, finds himself aligning with them against the house of his birth. War is coming to the Convocation, which means a clever wizard should pick the side most likely to win.

Sadly, Jadren has never been all that clever…


by Laura Buckheit

Eighteen-year-old princess, Valeria Breault, is sure of three things. One, she was exiled from Empyrean because her father didn't want the hassle of raising her. Two, her perfect realm would be better off without a mortal-raised smart-ass with a foul mouth and penchant for trouble. And three, neither of those things matter when a horde of demons crashes prom.

Forced to fight for her life, Valeria narrowly escapes being captured by the Realm of the Forsaken, only to be dragged back to Empyrean before she is meant to return. Instead of the beautiful utopia from her bedtime stories, Val finds herself thrown into a hellish nightmare where the poor are dying, the rich are thriving, and her claim to the throne is in jeopardy. But not if Valeria can help it. The overwhelming desire to belong and a craving for power has her making choices that make it harder and harder to guard her heart against the man who's bound to protect her, the god she's vowed to hate, and the darkness that's growing inside her.

Only time will tell if the secrets she unravels and the alliances she makes will lead to the throne or the pyre.


Saturday, April 22, 2023

Bound in Magic and should you join anthologies?

 Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

This is me, channeling girlboss energy with my author besties. 

Okay, it's the platonic ideal--but we need this today. 

Our preorders were cancelled for the new author anthology I'm in, and we have spent the last 24 hours crying, pulling out our hair, and trying to help our fearless organizer, Priscilla Rose, not jump off a cliff.  (We've sorted it out and have a new booklink:

This is what the reality has been: 

Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

I still would do it again--and plan to do it again next year.

New authors are encouraged to contribute to anthologies. Make new friends! Learn something! Get your name out there! And it's all true. 

But they can also be hit and miss. Sometimes they're great and other times they're not. (The two I've been a part of have been wonderful, but there's another forthcoming one that I'm iffy on.) And when you're new, you might not know how to find the good ones. 

Trial and error. Luck and hard work. Look at the pieces about luck last week - this was definitely me in the case of the Once Upon a Forbidden Desire anthology in Fall-Winter 2022. I was in the right place at the right time and jumped on the opportunity. Boy, was I fortunate!

The Bound in Magic anthology also came out of the FaRo group - a group of us were highlighted in a FaRo blog post, 10 Debut Fantasy Romance Authors to Love On in 2022. We ran a giveaway and then came up with the idea of writing stories for an anthology.

These authors are amazing! We are all quirky and creative, and there has been so much love and support over the months that I can't believe it! It really has been the dream.

Except when it turned into a nightmare and our book and preorders were canceled.

But now we're back smiling with relief, and laughing in a field of sunflowers!

Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

If you would like to see the fruits of our labours, please order our book! Bound in Magic (

Until next time,

Mimi B. Rose

Friday, April 21, 2023

Throwback Promo

I'm presenting a throwback to a little UF number called Nightmare Ink.

With the needle of a tattoo gun, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create and destroy. In her shop Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the powers embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, rather than binding and destroying the tattoo, she fixes it, working Live Ink into her friend’s skin, something she'd sworn she’d never do again. Breaking her vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

Isa is horrified to discover her friend’s body in the shop, but the real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked with a Living Tattoo against her will. Now, as she seeks retribution from the man who betrayed her, Isa must figure out how to bind her Living Tattoo before it consumes her completely...


Isa tripped, landing on the big, sharp-edged stones of a railroad grade, her foot still hooked on one rusty metal rail of the track. The pushes of strength from the alien other inside her skin had evaporated. So Isa crawled, her hair and sheet dragging through foul-smelling puddles. The raven leading her away from her prison hopped in front of her as if afraid to leave her sight. When she paused in a vain attempt to catch her breath, the bird took up a strand of her filthy hair and pulled. 

Freedom, the male voice sighed into her head. The Ink.

Isa shuddered. Her strength failed, and she folded to the ground. At least it was dry. Was she lying on sand? Or concrete? How far had she gotten? 


Why couldn’t she remember? The raven shrieked. 

Why? the male voice in her head whispered. Why debilitate you? 

“To break my spirit,” Isa murmured. “To break my will.” 

So I could break you. 

“And break free of me, yes.” 

He intends for me to kill you. 


Release me. 


He didn’t break you. He couldn’t. 

“Not like that.”

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Spring Book Promo of Alexia's Recent Reads!

Here in zone 4b the grass is turning green, there are buds on the trees, and sprouts are poking their heads up in my garden—it’s spring! Which also means, it’s spring promo week! 

I don’t have any new promo for myself, I still need to get the guts to do something with my current manuscript, but I’ve read some great SFF books recently that I’m excited to share with you today. 

Intergalactic Exterminators, INC by Ash Bishop is a humorous science fiction that’s perfect if 
you’re in the mood for a Men In Black type read—so good and funny!!
book cover for Intergalactic Exterminators, INC with yellow background and a man in a suit wearing a space-age gas mask

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett is a historical fantasy filled with the fae and a reclusive professor doing her best to research them. The main character, Emily Wilde, is so antisocial and anal which I found absolutely refreshing and adorable. Oh, and she does have an entire village grow on her, so it’s sweet too. 

book cover of Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries, black background with whimsical flowers and swirls around the words

Vampire Weekend is another fantastic book by Mike Chen. He’s able to write incredible stories with these deep platonic relationships, I can’t get enough! And this one has vampires—you can’t resist!

book cover for Vampire Weekend in a very 90's vibe, grey background and a anime-like profile of a woman  with black hair above the title in bold yellow and black print

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber will hit the spot if you’re in the mood for a creepy, historical fantasy with some steampunk vibes. Hieber has a way of writing that makes your skin prickle with unease. Keep her books in mind come October!

book cover of The Eterna Files with a wrought iron chair and  a crow perched on the back

There’s my spring promo—of books I’m a fan of! What have you read recently that wowed you?

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Releasing Monday: ROGUE FAMILIAR



It. Is. Finished.

Yes, oh my lovelies: I completed the final proofing of ROGUE FAMILIAR this morning and will have it uploaded everywhere tomorrow for release on Monday, April 24. 

Cue the rejoicing!!!

And, since this is coincidentally (OR NOT???) spring promo week here at the SFF Seven, it's actually apropos for me to be mentioning this book. I know a lot of you have been waiting for something like mumble mumble two months mumble for this book. All I can offer is.... 

Now you can haz!


He left to save her from herself… But who will save him from her?



As a special treat, here's a little excerpt:

It wasn’t as if magic made logical sense at the best of times anyway. Closing his eyes, trying to screen out the worry that he hadn’t heard Seliah’s heart beat in far too long—you wouldn’t be able to hear it from here anyway, idiot—he let his fingers drift over the gadgets. Waiting for one to speak to him. As if a metal doohickey could speak.

You’re wasting time, his inner voice observed. Wasting what little life Seliah has left.

I’m not. She wouldn’t survive a trip to find a healer. She might not survive the next few minutes.

At least finding a healer has a chance of working.

An infinitesimally small chance.

Still a non-zero chance, whereas this… What are you even thinking? You might as well dance around the bed beseeching the spirits of our ancestors to intervene.

He paused. Is that something people do?

You’re asking me? I am you. I don’t know anything more than you do.

I’m not asking you. I’m wanting you to shut up.

Then shut up.

You shut up! Cursing in frustration, Jadren took his own advice and attempted to quiet his mind. If this had any chance of working—It doesn’t. Shh.—then he needed to give it his all. Quiet mind. Trust his wizard’s intuition. Seliah deserved his best effort.



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Meet the Gatekeeper on a Mission from Hel

 This Week's Topic: Book Promo! (Ours or someone else's)

Ayo, lemme introduce you to my gothic pinup girl with the scary skill of opening gates as small as a capillary or as large as a continent. In the completed 7-book Immortal Spy Urban Fantasy series, Bix (no last name, she's waaaaay too old for that) teams up with a motley crew of spies and a battalion of Berserkers to defend the Mid World collective from enemies foreign and domestic.

  • Urban Location: Greater Washington D.C. Metro Area
  • Featuring: Fates, Gods, Dragons, Angels, Berserkers…and one very special goblin.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Maybe She Was Born Lucky. Maybe She Worked Her Butt Off

1 Image credit by PIRO4D from Pixabay

In any creative field, there are those who stand out, and publishing is no different. You know who I mean; we call them overnight successes or media sensations, and talk about how they breezed through the publishing process. We refer to their work as lightning in a bottle, because of course the acclaim and attention it’s receiving is a one-off. There’s no way the critical acclaim and subsequent popularity could be the result of something as mundane as hard work.

And yet, it almost always is.

The thing is, when hard work pays off it invariably looks like luck. Why that is I’ll never know, but I’ve seen it happen time and again. For instance, a friend of mine started out ghost writing ten years ago, and back then she made about one hundred dollars per book. Now she makes in excess of ten thousand dollars per book, and has worked with some of the biggest names in publishing. 

Another friend of mine (see how I’m not naming names? That’s another aspect of luck—I know enough about the legal system to keep myself from getting sued for libel) released an unconventional YA book that shot up the charts, was translated into multiple languages, spawned three sequels and many reprints, and is currently being made into a movie. All the articles touting her “overnight success”—her luckiness—conveniently ignored the first five books she’d released in the same genre.

2 image credit: by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Therefore, my friends, I must conclude that the appearance of luck is really the result of many months, years, or even decades of hard work. This may seem daunting at first, but I rather enjoy the concept. Any one of us can improve our chances of success by working hard, honing our craft, and continuing to put one foot in front of the other.

And that is how we make our own luck.

How do you make your own luck? Tell us in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

 Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies, too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library.) An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Get to know Jenn at
Jenn’s latest release, Oleander, is available here: