Patreon

As the third book in the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy is going through the publication process, this seems like a good time to remind people that I have a Patreon. If you support me at any level, you get insights into my writing and publishing process, as well as updates about how these things are going and some pieces of original fiction not otherwise available. I will also be doing the cover art reveal to Patrons a couple of weeks ahead of doing it to the rest of the world, and giving Patrons a sneak peek at the book ahead of its publication.

Supporting me on Patreon is another way to get my books. Depending on the level of support, you can get access to e-book or signed physical copies of some or all of my books. Support starts at $1 and that will get you e-book copies of The Adventures of Technicality Man and A Monster’s Kindness. Supporting at higher tiers will get you copies of my other books and merchandise like book bags and patches with this amazing Werewolves Are People Too artwork by Christopher Hoyle.

Cartoon of a wolf holding a picket sign reading "werewolves are people too"

If you like my writing and you want to show your support, please do consider becoming a patron.

I’m still developing my patreon, so if there’s something you would love to see me do as a reward for patrons, let me know. I’m open to ideas and suggestions.

Writing Update

I’ve submitted a short story this weekend. It’s one I’m very proud of so I hope it is received well. This is the third time I’ve tried sending the story out. The first time, I received a form rejection, the second time I received a personalised rejection, so hopefully this continuing trend of improvement means that the third response will be an acceptance. Who knows? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I have next week booked off work and since all my wonderful travel plans are cancelled due to plague, I intend to spend some of the time working on my writing. I have edits for the third book in the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy to go through. Edits are never the most fun part of writing a book for me, but they are important so my plan is to spend some of every day working through those to get it done.

I also have the second draft of the fourth Codename Omega book to finish. I’m nearly done, but there’s a plot thread from near the beginning that sort of trails off. I need to try and tidy that up a little bit before I let someone else read the story. This fourth book is a little different from the first three in the series in a way that was a lot of fun to write and that I hope will be a lot of fun for other people to read.

I may not be able to use the time they way I’d intended, but at least I can use it productively, in between trying to get exercise despite social distancing restrictions. I’m trying to make the best of things, which is all we really can do.

Shadows of Tomorrow Book 3

I got some good news this week. A while ago, I sent the third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy off to the publisher. This week, I got a response and they have accepted it. I had hoped that they would, especially given that they published the first two books in that trilogy and even produced an audio book of Shadows of Tomorrow, but I still wasn’t sure. The contract I signed for the other books only gave them first rights of refusal on the book, not any sort of guarantee that they would publish it.

It would have been really awkward if they’d said no at this point, because finding a publisher for the third book in a trilogy that’s already had two books published would have been a real challenge. Anyone I approach would probably wonder why I wasn’t going with the publisher of the first two, so I’m really glad that I don’t have to be in that position.

We’re a long way from the book coming out, which I’m sure will upset one of my coworkers who has been asking for news about this book’s publication since about five minutes after she finished reading the second book. It takes a while for a book to go through the publishing process, with all the stages of editing that involves, but I will keep the blog updated as I get more news. Watch this space.

Book Progress

I just wanted to give you a quick update of where I am with my writing right now. What feels like quite a while ago now, a novella of mine called A Monster’s Kindness was accepted by Less Than Three Press. I’ve just had edits back from them, so I will be spending a lot of time in the near future going through those.

I don’t have a timeline for the publication of A Monster’s Kindness. It will depend on many things, including how long I take to go through the edits and whether another round is required after this, but this book should definitely be published sometime this year. I will keep you posted as it gets nearer to the time.

The third book of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy is finished. I’m just putting the final touches on that one before I send it to the publishers. I’m sending it to the same publisher that published the first two books in the trilogy, so I’m hopeful that it will get accepted quickly, but there’s no way to know for sure. Like any submission, I have to keep my fingers crossed. Again, I will keep you posted as I learn more.

I said in last week’s post that I’ve finished the first draft of the next Codename Omega book. I’m letting that one sit for a while. It’s actually good timing getting the edits back because it means I can focus on Monster for a bit to get some distance on Omega before going back and doing the second draft of that.

There’s something really nice about having all these projects in there different stages and seeing the progress moving towards all these new books.

My biggest problem with writing is not writer’s block, but new ideas. I will have a half-finished first draft that needs writing, or a second or third draft that needs edits, or a fanfic that’s half-posted with people in the comments saying they can’t wait for the next chapter, and a new, shiny idea will pop into my brain and go, “You’re writing me now.”

That idea sits in my brain, soaking up all the creativity energy, demanding to be written, taking up the space where I can think about writing things and crowding out all the other stories.

And I know I should be finishing the half-finished things, but this idea is just there and writing it feels easy. I can force out a couple of hundred words of the thing that I was supposed to be finishing, or I can blast out a couple of thousand words on the new thing with no apparent effort. And it all seems to go great until that idea is no longer so new and shiny. It’s become another half-written story and there’s another new idea jumping up and down in my brain going, “Me! Me! My turn!”

It’s very easy to have a hundred half-written first drafts with nothing ever finished. It takes discipline to force yourself to go, “Yes, I know that the new idea is shiny and exciting, and I will write a bit of it today, but I still need to dedicate some time to the other thing.”

One of the reasons I’m posting this now is because I’ve recently written several thousand words of a new and shiny idea, while the third Shadows of Tomorrow book is nearly finished, requiring edits on the last few chapters. It would be very easy to ignore the editing while I go write the new thing, but I’m putting this post out here as a commitment to myself that I will do the editing. If I just play with the new and shiny, nothing will ever get finished to the point of being read, so I will be getting this editing finished and I’m posting this publicly to try and hold myself accountable.

2019 Writing Goals

I tend not to set new year’s resolutions, but I do like to come up with goals for things I would like to achieve in the upcoming year. Here are my writing-related goals for 2019.

  • Finish editing Shadows of Tomorrow book three and get it accepted by the publisher.
  • Finish at least the first draft of Codename Omega book four.
  • Run another writing workshop.
  • Earn out my advance on Wolf Unleashed.
  • Successfully launch A Monster’s Kindness, which was accepted by Less Than Three Press earlier this year.

Of all of these, the Wolf Unleashed one is going to be the hardest to achieve but the point of having these goals is to push myself.

Writer’s Retreat

I have next week booked off work, which will be awesome, and I’ll be using the time as a writer’s retreat. My intention is to get some peace and quiet and really focus on writing for a few days.

I always have several projects on the go but there are three in particular I intend to focus on for this holiday:

  • finishing the second draft of the final book in the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy
  • writing the first draft fourth book in the Codename Omega series
  • getting the m/m monster romance novella ready to go out to publishers

I will probably work on all of these at some point over the week, but the question is where I should prioritise my efforts.

The first of those projects is probably the most urgent one as it’s been ages since the second book came out and the publishing process will take about a year even after I’ve finished it. One of my coworkers keeps asking when that book will be out, and since she’s still not forgiven me for killing her favourite character, I probably should finish the book at some point.

But having said that, tidying up the novella will probably be a shorter task. If I focus on that, I can probably get it done and have the book ready to go to publishers by the end of the week and it will feel great to have something definitively done out of this focus time.

But it would also be amazing if I could buckle down and get a complete first draft of Codename Blank Slate written.

I want to set myself definite goals because otherwise what will probably end up happening is that I’ll flit between all three of these and spend half the time writing fanfic instead. I will write some fanfic this week, but that’s not the point of doing this.

I’ve decided to set general writing goals as well as specific goals for each of these three projects. My goal is to spend at least half an hour a day on each of these three projects. That’s a small enough target that it doesn’t seem too daunting and over the course of the week off work, I should make decent progress on all of them, but it allows me the freedom to work longer on whatever happens to be flowing better that day.

I’m also going to set myself a word count target: 10000 words a day across everything, including fanfic and whatever other random stuff I end up writing. They won’t all necessarily be new words if I’m editing the novella which is why I think I can get away with setting the target so high. I can reevaluate after a couple of days if that seems like it’s going to be too much.

Amazon Alternatives

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around strike action against Amazon because of their horrific workplace practices and their treatment of employees. There are horror stories from warehouse workers and delivery drivers about low wages, unpaid hours which push the wages below the minimum, ridiculous productivity demands and penalties meaning that workers pee in bottles because they don’t have time for toilet breaks, and the fact that vast numbers of employees are living in abject poverty while the CEO is worth over a hundred billion dollars, which is more money than a person could ever hope to spend in their lifetime.

Amazon’s profit margins are so high that they could easily pay all their employees a living wage and still be making billions, so there is no excuse for this mistreatment of staff.

As such, there have been calls for strikes. There has been some confusion over dates, but the current information is that strikes will be taking place over Prime day, to hit a major promotional event, with the strike between the 15th and 17th of July. Customers are being discouraged from buying from Amazon during the strike (and boycotting longer if you can do, until the company makes some changes).

As an author, so much of what I do is based around trying to get people to sites like Amazon to buy my books, but I don’t want to support Amazon during this strike action, so here are some alternatives if you’re looking to buy my books.

Shadows of Tomorrow and its sequel Between Yesterdays are both available from Waterstones and other mainstream bookshops.

The Codename Omega series, Omega Rising, Traitor in the Tower, and Hidden in the Signal, can be bought directly from Lulu as both paperbacks and ebooks.

My latest novel, Wolf Unleashed, is available directly from the publisher, Guardbridge Books or through Waterstones and other major bookshops.

The ebook of Child of the Hive, my first novel, can be bought from Smashwords.

My superhero parody, The Adventures of Technicality Man, is only available for purchase from Amazon, so to support the strike, I’m giving this book away through Instafreebie. Through until the end of July you can get a copy of this ebook for free.

I hope that if you want to buy my books, you will consider buying them from somewhere other than Amazon until the demands for better treatment of workers are met.

Shadows of Tomorrow reviews

People have been saying some very nice things about the Shadows of Tomorrow audio book, on both the US and UK Audible sites. Here are a few samples.

“A good, thought provoking science fiction adventure suitable for all ages. Recommended.”

“Shadows of Tomorrow is an entertaining scifi novel which explores of what life might be like if you could see into your future. Looks so simple but it will turn out that time is not a single, unbroken, continuous forward line. Very interesting novel adding a superb narration.”

“I absolutely loved this book. The story and well developed characters drew me in. Ended up listening to this book in three days. I loved the characters, their back stories, their flaws and their strengths. As with any good book it was the characters that made this book great.”

“What I really liked most about this audiobook is that Jessica Meats really took her time, in the beginning by fleshing out the story. Each of the supporting characters had their moment in the sun, describing how each of them became a member of the Defenders. The Outsiders are pretty horrifying creatures, so expect lots of blood, gore and death. But there’s also love and strong bonds of friendship between people thrown together by circumstances.”

“Highly recommend this different Sci-Fi to anyone who enjoys contemporary science fiction.”

“Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats is a terrific book with interesting and believable characters that you can’t help but feel for and become emotionally invested in. With the author’s attention to detail, the reader can’t help but be drawn into the story and the world in which she has created.”

The audiobook is currently rated 4.2 stars on the US Audible site and 4.9 stars on the UK site.

Shadows of Tomorrow – now in audiobook

Shadows of Tomorrow audiobookShadows of Tomorrow, the first instalment of the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy, is now available as an audiobook from Audible, read by Jake Urry.

This is the first time one of my books has been converted to an audiobook and I’m really excited about it. It’s been an interesting process, from listening to audition samples, through freaking out because the narrator pronounced one of the names differently from how it sounds in my head, to getting the final audio files.

It will be interesting to see how the story is received in this new format.

If you want to get a copy of the audiobook, you can head over to Audible to buy it. If you haven’t used Audible before, you can sign up for a 30 day trial and get a free audiobook download – which could be Shadows of Tomorrow.

If you want to get news about new books as soon as they come out, don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list.