Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Thrills and Chills Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Today I'm pleased to welcome author E.J. Wesley to the blog as part of the Winter Thrills and Chills Tour for his Moonsongs Series. He's going to tell us a little bit about what it's like to have family read the books you've written ;-) This tour is running January 6-17 and consists of reviews, interviews, top tens, guest posts and of course, giveaways, so be sure to check out the tour page for the full list of stops.

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

What great wisdom for any aspiring author to heed, and I’ve certainly tried. No, trying implies doing something until you’re satisfied or tired. I’ve WORKED at it. I wasn’t giving up until the task was completed, until the job was done, and the boss (reader) was happy.

And there was no greater challenge in my writing development than learning how to let a character speak truly for themself. Basically, when I began writing I was just a puppeteer, my characters would do and say as I made them do and say, nothing else.

For me, to remove my own filters, to slap aside my grandiose story plans, and simply let a character exist and react on the page was a study in complex simplicity. Telling a story is what a writer does, after all. Simple. But you’re not really telling a story, you’re living it—in someone else’s head. Complex.

So when the breakthrough came, and I’d finally created the dynamic, unpredictable character of my dreams, I rejoiced. Authentic characters had been the elusive, missing ingredient in my writing recipe. I had fun plots, ensemble casts, good descriptions—all the biggies. But the stories were bland, like I’d prepared a fine meal and left out the salt.

Now, I had it. My leading lady was an angry mess who swore too much and played too many video games. She was flawed, and tackled life in just about every way I wouldn’t. And I loved her! More importantly, so did the readers. That’s when I knew I’d done something.

My confidence as a writer soared. I began to see my stories in a stronger light. Heck, I could finally stand to look at them with the lights on. So I did the author equivalent of taking my shirt off at the beach, and put my writing out into the world. I didn’t care if my flab and freckles showed, I knew there would be people who would love the character just they way she was.

Then my mother told me she had downloaded the book and was excited to read it…

ME: “Mom, you might not like it.”

MOM: “I’m sure I’ll love it.”

ME: “This isn’t like that handprint, paper plate turkey I made you in second grade. You probably won’t want to put this on your fridge, or show it off at the ladies church luncheon.”

MOM: “Why not?”

ME: “Well, it has some colorful language in it. The main character is a little rough around the edges.”

MOM: silence “I thought you were writing children’s stories.”

ME: “I’ve written a couple of YA stories, but this one is for adults.”

MOM: “I’m sure it’s not language I’d use.”

ME: “Probably not.”

MOM: “Well, I’m going to read it anyway.”

ME: please don’t disown me “I hope you like it.”

That was a long couple of days, waiting to hear back from her. In the end, she never brought up the language. She bragged about my aunts who had called to tell her they’d read and enjoyed it. She commended me on pulling her into the story, and the breakneck pacing. And she did what she has always done: encouraged me to keep going, and told me I should be proud, because she was.

In the end, I learned a couple of things. 1) Never underestimate a mother’s ability to overlook flaws and see only what she loves. 2) In writing, being true to your characters is risky.

You give away some control, which is terrifying to face when you’re learning to write. It’s like riding a bicycle without training wheels for the first time. There’s no telling where you’ll end up—and bruised and on the ground seems the most likely destination.

But a character, who might say or do anything even if you—or your mother—wouldn’t, becomes a person. And that’s worth reading about.

• • • • • • • • • •


Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, there were limits on the amount and types of entertainment at my disposal. Perhaps that’s why I set my imagination free. After collecting degrees in psychology and counseling, life brought me to Missouri, Texas, and Northern California—where I currently read, write, and live. I fill my spare time playing video games, watching movies, planning for the zombie apocalypse, reading graphic novels, and playing with my dogs.

My passion for New Adult literature led me to producing the weekly New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter, and contributing to the NA Alley Blog. I’m also the author of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, speculative-rural fantasy novelettes.

• • • • • • • • • • • 



“Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.


After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.


Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Unfortunately, a lot of on-the-job training is required to be a monster hunter, and unlike her computer repair business, this gig could literally kill her.

Dark Prelude finds the feisty protagonist, Jenny, searching for her best friend Marshal's missing father in the midst of a freak, West Texas winter storm. To survive the frigid night, she'll have to deal with a hated town rival, face a monstrous creature no Moonsong hunter has ever encountered before, and undo a mysterious curse. Can she keep everyone alive? If not, who will pay the ultimate price?


Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...

Dragon's Game, Moonsongs Book 4, finds Jenny out of her rural West Texas element, searching for an evil witch in an urban Houston nightclub. After attempting to help a handsome and mysterious stranger out of a jam, she finds herself on the run from a ruthless gang who are even more dangerous than they initially appear.

Forced into a twisted game of life and death, Jenny must navigate the complexity of a budding relationship, and somehow survive a night filled with unexpected horror and paranormal mystery.

Dragon's Game is approximately 14,000 words or 45 pages of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fourth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.


Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Being a girl of action, she has found herself particularly capable when it comes to battling the werewolves, trolls, and other supernatural denizens lurking in the Texas night. Until now.

Vampire's Ball, Moonsongs book 5, finds Jenny and her best friend Marshal in their most harrowing adventure yet. Traveling by boat to an extravagant masquerade party located at a Galveston Island mansion, Jenny must parlay with an ancient vampire in order to secure the release of the dragon princes, Isis. The unexpected return of an old "friend" turns the evening into chaos, and leaves Jenny and company once again fighting for survival amidst a sea of supernatural foes.

Vampire's Ball is approximately 12,500 words of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fifth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.

* The Moonsongs Anthology (containing books one, two and three) is FREE today on Amazon, so be sure and download it so you can meet Jenny!

• • • • • • • • • • •


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.


  1. I am seeing this blog tour everywhere

  2. I think every author who is just at the beginning of one's career should read this guest post. "Heck, I could finally stand to look at them with the lights on." -- HAHAHAHAHAH. This is a good line lol. "Never underestimate a mother’s ability to overlook flaws and see only what she loves" -- this is true wisdom of life here. And I loved the dialogue, kinda reminds me of you and your hubs, Jenny :) I have only let my mom read my essays and papers because she was an Estonian teacher before I was born and she always corrected my comma mistakes etc lol and now we swap books--she loves all things Richelle Mead, JLA and Colleen Hoover and Tammara Webber, but we do have disagreements on Laini Taylor for instance or Divergent lol. So I kind of understand the topic and issues, worries even if I'm not a writer myself. Thanks for sharing this awesome post, Jenny:)

  3. Jenny, this is such a great post! I love the idea of an unapologetic female character with realistic flaws and, moreover, this story is just so adorable. Thanks for sharing, dear!

  4. I really love that Hemingway quote and think all authors should strive for that, Jenny. If you aim to let the characters speak for themselves, it's a lot easier to believe them and their story as a reader!

  5. That is just something I needed to hear. I constantly feel pulled back and forth when writing by wanting to be true to my character and the situation (and sometimes the 'f' bomb needs to be dropped) and being like, "My extremely Christian, church-going mom is going to read this one day."

    This post definitely gives me hope. LOL

  6. Aww! That is such a sweet story. Moms are the best! <3
    I haven't heard of this series before, but thanks for sharing, Jenny. I'll be looking more into it.

  7. I think that's one thing I would really struggle with, anything I would write probably wouldn't be something I would want my mom to read. Though I have been exposing her to some of the YA I read, and I feel she's more open to stranger things, she's still so different from me. Very religious and well, I don't know. I don't want to put her down or anything, but I'm open to lots and she's not. So I would probably have characters and language I wouldn't want her to read. But I'm an adult, so I guess I just shouldn't worry about it, it's not like she can ground me. ;) I think it's great that EJ's mom handled it that way. Maybe she didn't love the language and stuff, but it was clear that he knew she probably wouldn't. You can't write stuff for others (or certain people) you just need to write what you NEED to write.

    Jenny, the post looks great! I love how you made the little banner thing for all the covers to go in a line. I think it tidied the post. I should have thought of doing that...
    Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop!

  8. Mr Wesley seems to have the same gift as many authors that I have heard speak---- his characters talk to him in his head. This is a gift I envy. And I have found that this trait leads to well developed characters. Also NEVER underestimate a mother. :)

  9. Okay, first, I love being the boss. :D Second, if I ever wrote something, my mom would be the last person to read it. I can live with anyone's criticism but hers. So I commend Mr. Wesley on his bravery. :)

  10. I really enjoyed reading this, especially because it's been something I've been thinking of. Both in terms and content (language, sex) and in using examples... as in, that particular character is a little bit close to home. How can we use our own experiences without friends or family members going "well, that sounds a lot like ____". Interesting to think about, and while it's hard, I think it is most important to put the story the characters first, and go from there.

  11. How were we contacted if we won?

    1. Hey Mindy~

      Candace is in charge of the tour, so she would have sent you an email. If you're the Mindy listed above, I would just shoot Candace an email and touch base with her! Her blog is linked in the above post.