Drawn_LoveGoesGeek

Coming this October…Drawn to Your Heart!

It’s been a whirlwind since Virtually Yours hit the virtual shelves…since April I had sinus surgery and started working on a huge project at my day job, along with quite a bit of travel to places like San Francisco and New York (again). I feel like suddenly I blinked and the summer was almost over! I feel like I’m still digging out of how crazy things got when I was recovering from my surgery, but I’m finally back on track in a way that feels good.

The good news is that with fall comes my next release…my original book baby, Drawn to Your Heart, is coming to ereaders and tablets near you this October! I’ll be putting out paperbacks as well for those who are interested in a hard copy. Seeing this book come to fruition is a long journey fulfilled for me, because even though Caroline and Drew hit the shelves first, Sam and Max is where it all started.

Truth be told, these books might have never happened at all if not for my good friend Sidney Bristol. We were having a writing day one weekend and something on TV made me think of the basic plot for Drawn to Your Heart. I joked about how someone should write it, and Sidney turned and gave me her patented “are you kidding me?” look and said, “ummm no, YOU should write it.” I hemmed and hawed until she basically said, “I dare you.” So I started writing it, and then suddenly I was in love with these characters and this world. One book turned into a plan for many books. And here we are.

My other good writing buddy, Kait Nolan, has helped keep me on track and sane while writing these books, too. Along with Sid, she’s my go-to sounding board and beta reader. Without them, hitting THE END would be a whole lot harder. As in my books, life is better because of the tribe you choose. It doesn’t hurt that I have a really understanding and encouraging husband, either.

I can’t wait for October, but in the meantime I’m putting the finishing touches on Drawn to Your Heart and getting things ready for distribution. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If you want to stay updated on what’s happening as we draw closer to launch, don’t forget to add Drawn to your Goodreads lists and sign up for my newsletter!

CodeNameGirlfriend_VirtuallyYours

Code Name: Girlfriend is Virtually Yours!

Welcome to Stanleyville at long last!

Last week was a big week for me, readers. I had not one, but two lifelong dreams come true.

I was in New York for a business trip and was able to parlay that into a long weekend of fun, including seeing Hamilton on Broadway with almost the entire original cast. I’ve been obsessed with the show for months, and even though I’m a professional theater critic, I had never before seen an actual Broadway show ON Broadway…only tours. I got emotional just walking up to the theater and seeing the marquee glowing against the sky. It was an amazing night.

But that wasn’t the only amazing thing that happened last Friday. On April 1, I finally launched Code Name: Girlfriend into the wild as part of the Virtually Yours anthology! My first novel being published was some heady stuff. It was difficult to deal with last-minute edits and other things being on a trip for the day job, but I pushed through with little sleep, a lot of caffeine, and sheer force of will. I’m so proud of the story, and I’m in such stellar company with the other authors in the set. The whole anthology is based around the idea of a service providing a fake significant other to fool friends, family, and loved ones through text messages, email, and more. Our inspiration was a real service called Invisible Boyfriend that not only provides real-time messaging, but even helps you make up the back story on the faux beau.

Caroline and Drew were incredibly fun to write and their story challenged me in a lot of ways. Theirs isn’t the first story I’ve written in the Geeked Out series, as I’m currently in edits on the first full-length novel, a labor of love that has been in the works for a while. But they’re the first glimpse of my world that you get to see, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

About Virtually Yours:
Virtual Match is your one-stop shop to convincing those nosy relatives, the too friendly coworker, or your ex that you’re off the market. We’ll match you with an attentive boyfriend or girlfriend. Texts, emails, calls, even gifts. All the fun of a relationship-well, almost all the fun-and none of the commitment. You might even forget it’s not real. 

About Code Name: Girlfriend:
Drew needs a girlfriend—fast. Trouble is he already told his nosy coworkers all about her, and she doesn’t exist. When his BFF sees an ad for Virtual Match, it seems like the answer to all his problems…until he starts falling for his match. Struggling writer Caroline thinks the tell-all feature on Virtual Match will make her career. Seems easy enough, until pretending to be someone’s girlfriend suddenly gets far too real.

To celebrate the release of Virtually Yours, my fellow author Wendy Sparrow is hosting an awesome giveaway! Be sure to visit her blog and sign up for chances to win awesome prizes like a cool necklace and an Amazon giftcard. And don’t forget to join us on Facebook on April 11 to celebrate the release of Virtually Yours and win more door prizes, swag, and ebooks!

Jessica-Fox-Valentine-Roses

My funny Valentine

Stay little Valentine, stay…

Valentine’s Day has never, historically, been a favorite holiday of mine, thanks to unrequited loves and apathetic boyfriends in my younger years. But that changed when I was in my early 20s and decided to go to the SPCA and rescue a kitty on Valentine’s Day. I adopted my tortoiseshell calico cat, Caledonia (Callie for short), who has been my hell-raising Valentine ever since. She’s getting on in years, which is hard because I know we have limited time left together. But she’s still as spunky and chatty as ever, and I hope she stays that way. We just lost one of our other kitties (Crow T. Robotcat, the sweetest but dumbest cat to ever grace the Earth) last month, and I cannot fathom losing my first baby. I hope she’s my Valentine for a good while longer.

My other Valentine is my sweet, wonderful Mr. Fox, who really brings to mind the lyric, “each day is Valentine’s Day.” We don’t typically make a huge deal out of Valentine’s Day, since it’s sandwiched in between our the anniversary of our first date (January 1), my birthday, and our wedding anniversary (March 10). But we try to at least spend time together and have a nice date, which is super important since we’re both extremely busy. I don’t really know what I would do without that man—he is so supportive of my writing career and all my dreams in general. He is the type that romances me a little every day, in the most caring of ways. I am a big gesture romantic at heart, but it did me good to land a guy who infuses love into every small thing that he does for me. I appreciate so much more now that I understand that, and try to do it as much as I can in return.

On the writing front, this was a crazy week. Being back from sickness meant I had catching up to do at the day job, and this is our busy season. But I love what I do so much and feel extremely lucky to have the position I hold. My freelance writing is picking up too, with a plethora of jobs on the horizon over the next two weeks. That means that every word I can squeeze out on my fiction projects is doubly precious, and I may not be doing a lot of sleeping in the coming days. Today I am spending much of my Valentine’s Day on my WIP trying to reach The End. I hate being behind and I am so close that I can almost taste it. (The End tastes like chocolate and champagne, in case you were wondering.)

My goals for the next week:

  • Finish my WIP — yeah, this will be a goal until I get the damn thing done!!
  • Schedule my social media more so that I’m not as tempted to be a chatterbox. The struggle is real.
  • Get into a good schedule for my days. I’d like to attempt getting up early to write, even though I’m about as far removed from a morning person as can possibly be.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves

jessica-fox-too-sick-to-write

What do you do when you just can’t write?

The last week has been kind of a nightmare of Groundhog Day proportions for me. I’ve been too sick to write, even though I’ve got so much that I need to accomplish.

Last Monday, I started feeling unwell, but chalked it up to the crazy Texas weather changing on me. Then Tuesday I was super congested, and I chalked it up to allergies…right until the allergy meds didn’t work. I had to face facts—two weeks after I had gone to the doctor, I was sick AGAIN. Actually, I was sick STILL.

I went to an ENT on Thursday and she suspects that I have had the same sinus infection for months. I’ve been sick five times in the last eight months, four of those bouts since October. She gave me heavy antibiotics and a steroid. The antibiotics gave me an extremely bad reaction, so now I’m achy in all my joints to boot and I have to go back to the doctor again. I’ve felt terrible for a week and am just now feeling human, right when I needed to be on top of my writer game.

How frustrating is it when we as writers can’t do our jobs properly? I even ended up taking two sick days from the day job because I could barely concentrate, feeling like someone had beat me in the face with a shovel and all. I had so many goals for last week and didn’t make a single one of them.

But I think it’s really important to keep your spirits up even when it seems that everything is getting in the way of making your goals as a writer. It’s so easy to tear yourself down, convince yourself you can’t do it, decide that it doesn’t even matter and you might as well not even bother anymore. I should know, I’ve said it to myself countless times before.

Even though I could barely function this week, I still tried to do a little marketing planning or research when I could stand to look at a screen. I thought about my books a lot and what I was doing next, where I wanted to go. I did some social media planning and image downloading to get myself prepped for promotions and engagement. I did everything I could to keep my eyes on the prize even though there was no way I’d be able to write.

And now that I’m feeling at least somewhat better, I’m ready to jump back in. I might be tired and run down, but I can fight around that well enough this next week to try and make up for lost time. Fingers crossed I don’t have another relapse before the docs can figure out a cocktail of medicine to get me well…don’t they know I have important geek romance to write? 🙂

This week my goals are pretty simple:

  • Get as close to finishing Girlfriend as possible
  • Start my habit of scheduling social media (I got all the tools in place tonight!)
  • Work on my marketing plans at least a little bit
Jessica Fox - Geeked Out Series

Getting ready for the Geeked Out series launch

There’s something so satisfying about seeing the target meter in Scrivener tick from yellow to green, hearing the ding of the system sound that indicates I’ve passed my session target for the day. After a January that didn’t go at ALL to plan, I’m trying to end the month strong as I look down the barrel to my author debut! Geeked Out is coming soon and I’m so excited to bring everyone into the world I’ve created.

So what happened this month? Let’s see…a business trip to Canada, a family emergency, my birthday, a new freelance journalism gig, and then I got sick as a dog. 2016, I am giving you some very suspicious side-eye right now. But I’m determined not to let the last 31 days get me down, because I have so much great stuff happening that it far outweighs the bad things that have happened lately.

Right now I’m finishing up Drew and Caroline’s story in Code Name: Girlfriend for the author box set it will be a part of in April. As soon as I’m done with that, I’m jumping right back into Sam and Max’s story in Drawn to Your Heart so that I can launch it alongside the box set. I can’t believe it’s already almost February, which means I have less than 60 days to get it all finished and launched! Cue a little bit of hyperventilation. Between my day job, my freelance, and this it’s going to be a tight squeeze, but I’m determined to make it happen. Once I get those two out the door, it’s time for Kate and Colin’s story in Holding Out For a Superhero.

I’m getting ready to go on another business-and-pleasure trip at the end of March, so I might not even be home when the books launch. That’s good, because by then I’ll be on my vacation days and I will be too busy seeing Hamilton and exploring New York City to agonize over the launch and refresh stats over and over in real-time. But I know I won’t be able to resist keeping one eye on everything in my author world even while I’m trying to have fun.

So I’m in fast-writing mode, as well as promo prep mode right now. The marketer in me can’t resist putting together a comprehensive plan for my books, as well as the box set since that’s one of my contributions to the group. It’s a daunting task, but I really enjoy figuring out which promo tactics I want to try first. There are so many great pieces of advice floating around the author world, so I’m just going with what makes sense to me as a pro marketer out of the gate, and I’ll tweak as I move forward. Yeah, I’m nerding out just a little bit.

I’ll leave you with a fun little excerpt from Girlfriend…it’s the moment our heroine Caroline meets the hero, Drew—only neither one of them knows it yet.

The sidewalks around the main square were bustling for a weekday afternoon, moms with strollers mixing with college kids on skateboards and everyone in between. But the line for Java Jones was thankfully short—the baristas were like a well-oiled machine, cranking out drinks for the caffeine-addled patrons in record time.

“Large Americano, extra shot of espresso, shot of caramel, double shot of chocolate, whipped cream.” She forked over the requisite change to the barista and moved toward the edge of the counter, already salivating at the thought of the sweet respite of caffeine and sugar.

“That’s a serious drink.” The voice behind her was amused and deep.

Caroline turned over her shoulder with a grin. “I’m a serious girl.”

The owner of the voice was kind of hot, if she was honest—tall, broad shoulders that filled out a pretty nice suit jacket, and gray eyes that smiled just as much as his lips.

“I can tell.” He said, flicking his eyes up to her riot of bright pink waves. “It was the extra shot of espresso that gave it away. You planning on sticking to the ceiling all afternoon, or will you come down for your next fix?”

She laughed. “I only wish it was enough to make that big of a difference. Honestly, I need something more like a direct IV of caffeine straight into my bloodstream if I’m going to make it through the week.” Her drink appeared on the counter, piping hot and smelling like a little piece of heaven. She grabbed it and took a long sip, only stopping to lick the thin film of foam and whipped cream from her top lip. “God, that’s good.”

Coffee Hottie’s eyes were dilated slightly in the dim light of the shop. “I wish I felt that strongly about my coffee.”

“Then you’re definitely ordering it wrong. Try it with a shot of the homemade caramel syrup. Makes the flavor rich and deep but not too sweet.” She raised her cup in a salute and took another sip. “You can thank me later.”

“I’ll remember that.” Coffee Hottie’s megawatt smile went straight to the pit of her stomach, warming it almost as much as the coffee. “Next time, your coffee’s on me.”

“What makes you think there’ll be a second date?” Caroline winked and shouldered her bag more securely. “I’m going to be late. See ya around, hotshot.”

My goals for the next couple of months are steep but exciting:

  • Finish Girlfriend draft and get it to editors ASAP
  • Finish the edits to Drawn and get it to my content beta
  • Get my blurbs done!
  • Get marketing plans in place for the box set and Drawn

What goals do you have for your publication plan right now, fellow writers? Readers, what are you excited to see from your favorite writers?