Cover Reveal! Also, Echoes of Accountability is now Writing My Novel.


Hey gang!

Apologies for coming at you a day late. Thank the combo of rain and satellite internet.

So here I am, fresh off my announcement that my monthly letter, Echoes in the Dark, is cancelled, with a change in title for my weekly update.

I hope this isn’t too many changes coming at you all at once. I’m talking about the whys and wherefores of all these changes in this week’s mini-podcast.

For those who’d rather skip the audio, I actually worked on my novel this week! I managed close to 2,000 words over the course of two days. Which, after two solid weeks of not being able to get my head in the right space for this book, I consider a major victory.

The other thing that kept me busy this week (besides spring cleaning and yard work) is overhauling the Dominion series and rethinking everything I thought I knew about book marketing.

Your responses to my question this week about how you perceive this series were extremely enlightening and helpful. It turns out that what I have been marketing this whole time as a zombie apocalypse is in fact a vampire thriller. This is why feedback is so important— we authors are too close to our work to see it clearly for what it is.

So, back to the drawing board. The series is getting a total re-branding, with new covers, new titles, new blurbs, a new target audience — everything is changing except the books themselves. And here, for your eyes only, is the first look at the new covers with their new titles:

I’m holding onto Book Three to reveal when it’s ready for pre-order, which will be happening soon.

And yes, astute readers might have noticed that the working title for my current WIP is now serving as the actual title for Book One, and Dominion of the Damned is now the series title. Book Three’s new title is mentioned in the pocast. These new titles are a better fit for the story arc than what I had before.

I’ll be rolling out these changes on Amazon next week, and will be running a promotion on Book One to give it a visibility boost and establish it in its new categories. So if you’ve been holding out on reading that because zombies aren’t really your thing, next week’s a great time to give it a second look.

And I just realized that my birthday is Monday and I have a tradition of making a book free for my birthday, so that timing works out pretty great.

Until next week, I hope you stay healthy and safe and that you don’t have to celebrate your birthday in the midst of a weird pandemic.

Jean ♥

Friday Distractions

Drew and Ellie Holcombe have been doing nightly concerts in their kitchen, and this Johnny & June cover is the cutest thing they’ve ever done:

Yes we have a large painting of @johnnycash and @junecartercash in our kitchen. Yes we love their music. Yes, a LOT of you have requested we do one of their songs. This is not the most famous, but it's my favorite. It is the two of them at their most playful and confident. We love singing this one, and I hope it brings a smile to your face. #kitchencovers
March 28, 2020

I haven’t yet watched this indie-produced miniseries dramatizing the ministry of Christ (I’ll probably binge it over the weekend), but if this trailer’s anything to go by, it looks really well done, and might be something you’d enjoy in the lead-up to Easter Sunday.

Echoes in the Dark is Fading Into Darkness

Absolutely zero April Fool's Day antics inside, because who has the energy for that?

Happy April, Echolettes!

Or if not exactly happy, I hope this finds you doing well, under the circumstances.

This is the last time you'll have to suffer my use of the Echolettes moniker, at least. That’s because this is the last monthly issue of Echoes in the Dark. And I just now realized what date I’m sending this out on and so now I need to tell you that this is not an April Fools’ joke.

To be sure, I’m not killing the newsletter. I’m just not going to do this big, long, monthly issue anymore, but instead stick to the shorter weekly updates I’ve been sending, which you all seem to like better anyway. I already mentioned in the Friday missives that this would be happening. This particular letter is mostly for the benefit of anyone who reads these monthly tomes while skipping the weeklies, so that you’ll know what’s up.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Echoes in the Dark is effectively canceled.

  • The weekly updates will continue under new branding and a new name, to be revealed this Friday.

  • I’ll continue to include a short podcast in the weekly letters.

  • If you don’t want to receive weekly updates but still want to be on my list for new releases and other big announcements, just unsubscribe from this e-mail or any of the Friday e-mails that come from Substack. You’ll still be on my Mailchimp list, which is what I’ll use to send out major announcements.

In case you’ve been skipping the podcasts, that’s where I’m getting into the nitty-gritty of my writing process and what I’m working on. Last week I talked about the some of the struggles I’ve been having as an indie author and some of the steps I’ll be taking to address them. This week I’ll be talking about an epiphany I had recently about what I’ve been doing wrong and how I plan to correct my course. So look for that on Friday.

I’m going to cut this short so I’ll still have words to say come Friday, but first I want to thank everyone who has responded so far to the question I sent out yesteray. ICYMI, I’m asking everyone who’s read Dominion and Deliverance to weigh in on whether you see this series as a zombie apocalypse with vampires or as a vampire thriller with zombies. So far the answers almost unanimously favor the latter, which is eye-opening, and extremely helpful to know. If you’d like to weigh in with your opinion on the matter, just click through to leave a comment or reply to this e-mail to tell me your thoughts directly.

I will leave you now with this dog who loves to pet the other dogs at her daycare (click through to see her in action):

This is Ruby. She likes to pet the other dogs at daycare. 14/10 extremely relatable
(follow @thedenburlington, courtesy @alanahlorraine)
March 31, 2020

Wishing you all health, safety and sanity!

‘Til Friday,
Jean ♥

Quick Question for Dominion Fans

Hi Folks! Please forgive this unscheduled expedition into your inbox. I hope it finds you hanging in there and virus-free.

If you’ve read Dominion of the Damned and/ or Deliverance of the Damned, I have a quick question for you: would you describe this series as a zombie apocalypse with vampires in it, or as a vampire thriller with zombies in it?

This is actually a huge distinction and I’m too close to figure it out for myself. Your answer will be a huge help. You can either click through below and comment on this thread to weigh in, or reply to this e-mail to respond directly.

Thanks so much for your help!

Until next time,

Jean ♥

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Echoes of Accountability: The mood-altering effects of sunshine and looking forward with hope


Happy Friday, gang!

We made it through another week. Let’s all give ourselves a high-five for that (but don’t high-five anyone else because we’re all still keeping our distance). I hope this week’s update finds you and yours healthy and virus-free.

I got zero words written on Desolation of the Damned this week, although I did get some freelance writing done. I’m back to podcasting this week, in which I elaborate on how I spent my week, how badly I need sunshine in my life to function as a person, and how finally getting some has shifted my outlook and ability to cope with all of this for the better.

I also talk about what I was working on before this quarantine took over our lives and my plans to get back to it, as well as the state of my writing career and what I have planned for the future.

I hope you enjoy this update. Hopefully, next Friday I’ll have some actual word counts to report.

Wishing you all health and safety,


Friday Distractions

First, a podcast rec: if you write fiction, or if you enjoy hearing writers talk about how the sausage gets made, you’ll love How Story Works: Conversations with Lani Diane Rich and Dr. Kelly Jones.

In case you missed it, all my indie novellas and short story collections are currently free on Smashwords.

And now, the best of my Instagram from this week:

It me:

"Shakespeare wrote King Lear . . . " #NewYorkerCartoons
March 23, 2020
This is Bogey. He was pupset about the Olympics being postponed, until he realized he has more time to perfect his routine. 14/10
(follow @bogeyboygolden)
March 25, 2020

This gal’s voice is like butter.

March 25, 2020

Lastly, this thread has a lot of inspiration and tips for living in more frugal times.

Even more than usual I’ve been appreciating the WWII-era slogan "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" and that generation's ability to be so scrappy with so much less. (I remind myself this when the store is out of eggs for the 3rd time in a row.) #coronavirus
March 26, 2020

Echoes of Accountability: Some writing got done, so yay?

We're still here. That's what matters.

It’s been another week, hasn’t it?

My novel writing got off to a good start this week, with over 2,000 words on Monday and a little over 1,200 on Tuesday. But then we had to make another trip to town on Wednesday, I had a freelance article to get done on Thursday, and to be completely honest, this morning my anxiety was ramping up and I had to focus on regaining my peace. That involved mainly putting down my phone, opening my Bible, journaling my spiraling thoughts, and going for a long walk outside where I listed out my fears to God. There may have also been some crying involved.

I’m not going to deny that we’re living in scary, stressful times, and it’s okay to admit you’re scared. But there is peace to be found, and it’s not found in dwelling on the scary stuff but in focusing on the good, in not imagining what might happen but taking it day by day and being thankful for each day we’re given on this earth.

This whole mess has me thinking a lot about priorities, and right now my writing is not at the top of my priority list. I’m also asking questions like, is it even worth finishing this novel right now? Does anyone even want to read about zombies and post-apocalyptic survival in this current climate? But then I get online and see people having Contagion watch parties and think, maybe this is EXACTLY the climate in which people want to read that sort of thing. I don’t know. People are unpredictable.

But I do know that, for the time being, what matters more to me than finishing this trilogy or selling books is spending time with my family and focusing on my spiritual life. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit, but I’m not going to be pushing myself too hard to meet a timeline that I set when the world was a lot different than it is now. I’m going to give myself permission over the next couple of weeks to slack off a little, maybe even to give attention to some other stories I’ve been itching to write, and just be with my people and wait and see how this whole thing shakes out.

I’m generally an optimist, and I tend to think things aren’t going to end up as bad as a lot of people are saying. But at the same time, I have a feeling that we’re all going to be touched in some way by this thing by the time all is said and done, and we’re all going to have to adjust to a new normal. So I’m loosening my grip on the plans I had for my writing and publishing this year and I’m just going to play it by ear and see how things go.

And if you’re fretting about how your plans are going to be impacted, I invite you to do the same. It’s hard to let go of our plans, but there’s a release in doing so, and freedom and relief in deciding to take things one day at a time.

This got both longer and heavier than I’d planned. I had planned to say most of this in podcast form, but once I started I realized how wiped out I am (it’s been an emotional day) and I just don’t have a podcast in me this week.

But I do have some gifts that might help take your mind off of things for a while. I’ve enrolled all of my indie e-books in the site-wide sale Smashwords is having from today through April 20th. You can get all my novellas and short story collections free for the entire duration of the sale.

This doesn’t include my Restless Spirits series, because those aren’t indie and my publisher controls the pricing on those. It also doesn’t include the Damned books because those are currently exclusive to Amazon. But you can still grab Dominion of the Damned for only 99 cents, and there are still 17 ARCs of Deliverance of the Damned available on Booksprout until the end of the month. Also, both of those titles are available to read free in both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Lending.

Also, if you need somewhere to talk about whatever, this thread is open to all if you want to leave a comment. You can talk about what you’re scared will happen, but I’d also love it if you’d talk about something good, something you’re thankful for, or maybe plans you need to lay down for a while.

Hang in there. We’re going to get through this.


Friday Distractions

“Funsies” sounds a little too flippant for our current collective circumstances, so I’m just going to call it what it is.

I think I’ve recced MiddleClassFancy here before. But yesterday they kept me entertained while I waited a small eternity for a site I needed for my work to load, and gave me some much needed laughs, so they’re worth recommending again. Here are a couple of gems from yesterday’s scrolling.

This one’s funny because it’s true:

Nothing gets me going like hearing Living On A Prayer while shopping for mayonnaise
February 6, 2020

And I watched this one several times and laughed harder every time (you’ll have to click through to watch the video. Trust me, it’s worth it).

@snackytuna just made the greatest video of all time
February 8, 2020

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