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New Ideas... New Ideas EVERYWHERE!

My last blog post was about digging out of a rut, and I'm proud to say that I am doing just that. I have a couple of new ideas I'm working on (at the same time, it all depends on my muse's mood)... I am going to write a sequel to The Search for Skylar and am also developing a new character and series. It is about a man who teaches in a prison.


This cover will likely change some by the time I finish the first book, but here is the flicker of brightness in the lightbulb within my head. I'm hoping to write at least three books about Ryan and am about 3k words in right now on the first book. I don't have a cover made for the second Charlie Wright book yet (haven't thought up a title yet), but I'm about 4k words into it right now, and Skylar's disappearance in the first book will seem like the least of his problems in the sequel!

For the first time in a while, I can safely say I'm excited about my current works in progress. Today I've got my coffee, my attention assist essential oil, and I plan to spend most of the day plugging away at both of these ideas! 

Happy Sunday! Spring is near!

J.R. 

Diggin' out of a Rut!


Well, folks, I'm stuck in a rut. And it pains me to admit it. But like with most writers, it happens... Call it writer's block... call it a momentary lapse in creative juices... call it what you will, but I will say this much - IT SUCKS! I am attempting to start a new idea and I think I have rewritten it about twenty  a thousand times! I'm going to buckle down today, dab on some attention assist essential oil, and get to work.

So, what does this little rant have to do with the picture posted above? It really paints a picture on what authors go through. I've been a writer since I was biting ankles, and only within the past six years have I developed the courage to publish and share my work. So much more comes with writing than just getting a manuscript finished - re-writes (as stated above), editing (the worst part of finishing a book for me), and not to mention the marketing! It is definitely a piece of our soul, a small glimpse into our minds, and it is nerve wracking opening it up for criticism to all of the world. Some days it feels extremely rewarding, and some days I wonder why the heck I keep doing it.

I continue to do what I do for readers, even if I only have a few at the moment. I try not to harp too much on the sales numbers - but believe me, it's like looking at a bad car wreck. You know it's bad, but you STILL have to look out of curiosity. I think the numbers are partly what has attributed to the deep rut that I'm stuck in. I feel like I'm writing to an empty room sometimes.

What I need to do is get back to basics - when I first started writing, it was Fanfiction for various TV shows. I did it for the FUN of it, since no money could be made off of it. Even back then, I thrived off of feedback and reviews. I need to remember how much of a blast it was. I didn't pull in a paycheck, but I loved every second of it. What is different with my original fiction? I still need feedback in reviews, but why am I focusing so much on sales numbers? I wish I knew the answer, but it is in my control. I need to migrate away from the reports and numbers. I need to only check them a few times a week, if any....

Long story short, it's time to dig out of this deep hole and get back to doing what I love. To those faithful fans who have stuck around, thank you! To those who have recently discovered me, thank you! And to those who randomly stumble across this blog and have not yet read one of my books, thank you! You are all why I continue to write. For the FUN of it. For the escape from real life. For the stress relief of forming a character in my head and watching him evolve into a huge force in my writing world.

Today I dig out of my rut! Today I start a new idea. Today I stop harping on sales numbers and move forward!

Have a wonderful Sunday!
J.R. 

The Importance of Feedback


I've had a few people ask me how they can help me with my books. One of the easiest and best ways to give a shout out is to leave a review. Even if you didn't enjoy the book, constructive feedback is always welcomed and appreciated. Notice I say constructive... slamming an author and being hateful isn't useful for us, but constructive criticism helps us grow as a writer.

I know a lot of people who cringe when they are asked to leave a review. I'm not asking for a ten page book report! :) It can be one or two sentences pointing out what you liked, what you didn't like, etc. Quick and to the point is just as great as someone who writes several paragraphs.

It's a catch 22. On Amazon, the more reviews a book has, the more exposed it gets. At least, that's what I've heard. It's a vicious circle - if I don't have many reviews, how can I get my book out there to get those reviews? Writing a book doesn't stop at finishing the manuscript. The marketing side is probably the most challenging to me, and reviews are a big factor in exposure. It also goes hand in hand with word of mouth. If you liked a book, tell someone. If someone asks for book recommendations, tell them about the books you read and liked. If you recommend to enough people, it spreads like wildfire.

So, if you ever wonder how you can help an author, start with leaving a review! If you thoroughly enjoyed a book, the simple gesture can go a long way. And even if you didn't care for the book, leaving something constructive is helpful so the writer can take the advice and try to improve.

If we don't hear anything from readers, we aren't quite sure how we're doing. After all, you readers are the reason we do what we do! Hearing from you is appreciated!

Happy reading! Here's to another week!
J.R.

Updates and Randomness

Yet another long break from updating my blog... yet another stupid excuse (I have no excuse).

With that being said... how's it going? (Taps on computer screen) Anyone out there? How's life treating you? How you getting through winter time (Ultimately my LEAST favorite season). I'm getting by.

I guess while I'm here, I'll announce my new release:

The Search for Skylar: A Charlie Wright Thriller (Book One)

Yes... that says book one. I have every intention of writing a second book about Charlie Wright and his shenanigans and have already started the idea. But first, you must go grab a copy of this one! It's in Kindle Unlimited for those of you who chuck out the $10 a month for unlimited reading. (The Netflix of Amazon)

I guess you need the link, right?

Click here to purchase The Search for Skylar (Book One)


Charlie Wright's life is plummeting into chaos. A recent divorce renders him helpless in an attempt to hold his family together. A weekend with his children is just what he needs to prove to his ex-wife Cassie that joint custody is the best option for everyone.

Tragedy strikes one Friday afternoon after school. Charlie's daughter Skylar goes missing. Every second that passes is a second wasted, and Charlie falls into a world of desperation and panic. Skylar has vanished into thin air - the only evidence that she was at his house is her shattered cell phone found in the alley.

With nothing to go on, the police label Charlie as a person of interest in the case. They harass and question him, basing their investigation around hearsay. His reputation quickly becomes tarnished, and he learns that the only way he'll find his daughter is if he takes matters into his own hands. With the help of his best friend Mary, he searches for Skylar, keeping hope that she is still alive.

The guilt Charlie feels for not protecting Skylar is his driving force, and he will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her.


Also, I've been busy putting several of my books into audio. Right now, Through Smoke is the only one available for purchase, but the others are in production and will hopefully be ready by this summer. 

So, busy times from me, and sadly, I've neglected my blog. For those who consistently read it, you know this is habitual. For those who have suddenly meandered here, strap in for a roller coaster ride.

60 days until spring. You know you're counting with me!

Happy Reading,
J.R. 

Audio Book Announcement!

I have to be honest and say that the idea of putting my books into audio has been a bit overwhelming. I've toyed with the idea since Through Smoke was published back in 2011, but I kept putting it off, using the excuse of "no time" to avoid messing with it. Recently, I have tossed around ways to promote and expose the books to different audiences - and the audio book world has gotten popular. I know of many people who prefer them for various reasons - listening on a long jog, during their commute to work, or while they are cleaning house - audio books give a person a chance to "read" while multitasking, because let's face it, we live in a time where it is customary to do more than one thing at a time.



So, the big announcement is this -

Both Through Smoke and Beckoning Souls are in production as we speak! I submitted them to ACX, had people audition with a small part of the book I provided, and I chose who I felt fit the voice of the book the most. On Wednesday I extended offers, and they were accepted. Chris Okawa of Cricket Sound LLC is taking on Through Smoke, and Allan Conley will be doing Beckoning Souls. They both will be released by the end of the year. Chris has agreed to stay on for Backfire and Fire Escape (I really feel it should be consistent) and Allan will be doing the sequel to Beckoning Souls (Wayward Souls, which will be released in the next few weeks).

It's been a busy time for J Tate Publications! With a new release coming out soon and audiobooks in production, I am excited to get more exposure on these books. Also, if you didn't notice, Beckoning Souls got a new cover that will go along more with the cover for Wayward Souls, seen below -



And always remember, feedback is helpful in more ways than you can imagine! A review on the product page helps get more eyes on the books, even if you only have time to leave a few words.

And as always, thanks to all of you readers! You breath life into the books and make this enjoyable for me!

Happy reading!

J.R.

Mega Sale - Reformed & Beckoning Souls!

Happy Sunday, readers! In an attempt to get some attention on two of my books that have sort of lagged in sales, I have put two of my books on sale for 99 Cents! They are great books that I enjoyed writing, and I'd love to get some attention on them! They are also both available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you are enrolled in this perk, you can get them that way as well!

Here are the two books on sale for 99 Cents -



Nathan Gallagher doesn’t believe in ghosts. As a fireman, he’s seen his share of dead people, but they never spoke to him before—until now. His marriage is great, and his relationship with his son is strong, but Nathan is sure that if he tells his family that he’s seeing ghosts, it is a quick ticket to a padded room and a straightjacket. 

When the ghosts become violent and attack Nathan, his secret is revealed—except his wife doesn’t believe his claim about the supernatural. She demands he seek professional help. He knows he’s not crazy, but with no proof that the ghosts are real, he’s committed to a mental hospital against his will. The ghosts follow him, pushing him farther into a terrifying world he can’t find his way out of. 

With his marriage, his sanity, and even his very life at stake, Nathan needs to find out why the ghosts are haunting him before it’s too late. 




Ryan Shay wants to forget his past. Memories of an abusive childhood, betrayal from his family, and a failure to trust anyone have held him captive his whole life. Afraid to confront his demons, it's a miracle he hasn't wound up a statistic in the war on drugs. Having no real purpose or reason to get better, he has failed several rehab stints and has always gone back to the one thing he finds comfort in – drugs and alcohol. 

After being accused of stealing from a local dealer, suffering from an overdose, and learning he might have a son, Ryan finds a strong reason to break the chains of his addictive past and end the cycle of his shameful ways. He is determined to become clean, despite the constant negativity sent his way from his friends and society. His success is not only for himself, but for someone who desperately needs him. 

What could be viewed as a careless mistake to many is possibly the one thing that might save Ryan Shay’s life.


Please spread the word about this sale, and as always, happy reading to you all!

Kindly,

J.R. 

Through Smoke Featured!



Happy Monday to you all! Through Smoke - Firefighter Heroes Trilogy (Book One) is featured on Michael Gallagher's Kindle Books and Tips blog today!

Free & Discounted Books 3.16.2015

Check out the other books featured as well for great deals!

Happy reading!
J.R.

Character Perspectives & Development



Character's perspectives are a part of writing that I probably enjoy the most. Creating a character, making that character yours, and completely making a personality for them is powerful. With that comes the perspective of the character and the range of knowledge they might possess. Before I completely lose you here, let me explain the main ideas of what this blog post will consist of today.

For example - Michael McGinnis is my main character in my Firefighter Heroes Trilogy - he has a wide array of wisdom when it comes to high rise saves, burning buildings, and intense situations. However, when it comes to speaking eloquently, let's face it, Mikey is lost. I don't claim to talk proper by any means (I have a Texas twang that I can't shake)... but I'm more likely to use bigger words than he would, though he is my character and I've developed him. I have a degree in psychology and addiction studies, but do my characters hold knowledge of the disease? - more than likely they don't.

I was chatting with a writing friend the other day and we were talking about regional terms that people might be familiar with. Here where I live, we have what we call caliche (caleechee) roads, which is just another term for gravel. She had never heard it called that. Since some of my characters are from areas where I've lived, their perspective of a gravel road might come out as caliche... and if they're from where she lives, they'd have no clue what the heck caliche is. Another question arose - a character of hers mentions cement and concrete in the same scene. And I might regret admitting this, but I honestly had no idea that cement was an ingredient to make concrete until someone had taken the time to point it out. I learned something new that day, but what if the character wasn't aware of it either? What if they were lying on the concrete and just thought cement was another term for it? I was guilty of thinking that - maybe the character is too, but the author knew exactly what they were doing.

Long story short - writing a character means we are limited in what they know. If we wrote someone who knew everything (or the same things we were experts in), they'd most likely be unlikable. Who loves a know it all? Keeping them limited also leaves room for growth and another thing I like to write - character development. Mikey has learned through the course of the three firefighter books. He's a different man from Through Smoke to Backfire, and Fire Escape because I started him off as having a limited perspective on what he knew.

To tie up my whole rambling - sometimes an author can come off ignorant due to the character they have thought up. If a character calls something wrong, take the perspective into consideration. How well educated is the character? Who is the person and where are they from? Does the character use "gonna and wanna" a lot in their dialogue? That doesn't mean the author is the same way - it just means the character might be different. Where is the book taking place? There are tons of different accents all over the world.