Archive for the Books Category

Updates from the Land of Nil

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

Hot on the heels of the new and improved version of Dr. Fixit’s Malicious Machine (which, by the way, is currently free on Kindle — GO GET IT BEFORE IT’S NOT ANYMORE!) comes its brand-new little sister, The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc!

As you can see, the cover is all ready thanks to the beautious Jessica Douglas. Alas, I am not as prolific as she, and my edits aren’t QUITE up to snuff yet. That said, it will be finished and ready to buy within the week so keep checking back!

You follow me here, so of course you know about THIS blog, but did you know I have a brand new website just for Nil? It can be found at http://gutsandglorybooks.com and it will be full of TONS of fun stuff to do soon! For now, you can earn your Nil name (I’m still adding to that, so if it comes out wrong for now let me know please!) and there’s a contact form to talk to me. Keep checking back though because among other fun stuff, I’ll be adding:

  • A Kid area with games, prints, fanart, and more!
  • A Teen area with message boards, chats, fanfic and more!
  • A special game where you can build tons of fun inventions in Books’ lab!
  • An FAQ page for parents about the books, the world, and the website of Nil.

Don’t spread the news JUST yet though… it’s hush-hush between us for now. 😉 So much to be excited about! Talk to you again soon!

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I’m Writing Again

Posted in Books, Healing, hope, Mental Health, muse, writer's block, Writing on October 18, 2017 by Jessica Crichton

Hi.

It’s been a long year.

I just checked for the exact date of my last post. It was October 13th of last year. Three weeks later, on October 30th 2016, my life came to a violent, screeching halt.

I won’t go into details, as some of them are extremely personal and involve others whose privacy is vital. I WILL say that I am just now starting to write again, after two emergency moves, a messy divorce, and more personal and familial trauma than I’ve ever experienced in my life. I learned a lot about myself in this past year, and not all of it was pretty to see. In fact, most of it was just plain ugly. Falcor the Luck Dragon said of looking into the Magic Mirror Gate, “That won’t be too hard…” and for a long time I agreed with him. That’s because I’d never gazed at it myself. Now I understand Engywook’s reply to Falcor far better: “Oh, that’s what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away screaming!”

It’s also not just a glance. Looking into that Mirror can take days, weeks, months…

…or a year.

My last post was a good one. I was proud of it. I was also proud of “Tipani Walker and the Nightmare Knot” which I finished around that same time. I was writing a lot back then, but while writing can be highly therapeutic, I couldn’t bring myself to write after… everything happened. Instead, for the past 6 months I have been in traditional mental therapy, a course I just recently completed. And while I know the healing processes will most likely be lifelong, I’m finally beginning to feel confident and hopeful enough to at least begin writing again.

Thus, I am writing to you.

I haven’t written any fiction yet, though I’ve been getting ideas again which is SO nice. But I felt the need to dust off my blog and begin writing here again at least. To jump start something that used to bring me so much joy. To find that joy again. To be perfectly honest, I’m 100% sure that my fiction will be different now, and while I hope that means it will be better (what better for literary depth than a little real-life author trauma, right?) I am afraid to see it. My mind is different now. My soul has changed. I know that, and I have hope that it’s a change for the better, but I fear that actually writing will force me to look into the Mirror again to see who I have truly become, and I’m far from as confident in my reflection than I was the first time I looked.

This is a sort of ramble. For that I apologize. But it’s good.

I’m writing again.

The 2015 International Science Fiction Convention, Update Numero Uno

Posted in book signings, Books, Comics, Fantasy, Fiction, kidlit, Literature, Publication, Publishing, Sci-Fi, scifi conventions, Spokane, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

You know what Worldcon is, right? That obscure science fiction con where the Hugo Awards are presented? You know, the Academy Award for Science fiction that writers like Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin and Arthur C. Clarke have won, among others? Oh, you HAVE heard of it?

Awesome, because it’s coming to MY hometown.

Spokane, Washington isn’t exactly the hub of Western Society. We’re not even the hut. Spokane is, honestly, much more like the Bermuda Triangle of Washington State. People heading to Seattle on the bus wonder if they’ve been abducted by aliens when they find themselves on a layover in Spokane. When I was a kid visiting Jacksonville, Florida and people asked me where I was from because I didn’t have a southern accent, their first thought upon hearing my answer was that I knew the president.

“No, Washington STATE,” I’d inevitably say.
“OH! Seattle!”
“No.”
“Oh… what’s it like to live on a farm?”

And yet, thanks to a series of very fortunate events, Spokane won the prestigious 2015 bid to host the biggest science fiction convention in the world.

Wow.

I’m not going to actually STATE that this was a gift from God dropped directly into my lap, but it certainly feels like it.

It’s like the middle of nowhere was suddenly invaded by the first aliens ever, and I’m that yokel with so much potential and zero opportunity… until the face suckers come and I get to be a REAL hero.

All that is to say, I’m going to be at Sasquan: the 2015 International Science Fiction Convention in Spokane in August. I’ll be hosting things as the Spocon head of Literature, speaking on panels, and reading and signing books just like a real boy! Erm… writer. And I’d sure love to see you there. I’ll update as things progress.

Wheeeee! Go Sasquan 2015!

Blight: Chapter 1

Posted in Books, Fiction, Literature, Reading with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

Here is the first chapter of my new YA novel, Blight. I thought I’d already posted it here, but I looked and can’t find it. Very odd. Please let me know what you think! Thank you. ~JR

 

Blight
by Jessica Rising

Chapter 1

Witchcraft.

The ancient word hangs in my mind as I kneel in the dirt. My fingers, chalky with dust, working slowly. Carefully. I can’t afford another mistake. Already the rocky ground is littered with broken bits of metal, cracked cogs and de-twined springs. Here and there, peppering the mess, shiny bits of white glass reflect the low light from outside.

That, I broke on purpose.

Even in the beginning there were only two of the fragile globes. The most important pieces. But I had to know how they worked, and the glass cover hid the details inside. I’d had to sacrifice one to understand the other.

A pointless sacrifice.

I lift up the uncovered innards to study them again in the faint light. The tiny bits are as mysterious to me now as they were when I’d first killed the Knight, three days before.

The bottom is curved around and around like the hand drills we use in the quarry, only much shorter and fatter. Above, surrounded by a jagged lip of the broken glass that had covered them, two tiny metal wires stand up side-by-side, connected at the bottom by a small cube of clear glass. Another wire runs along the top, connected back to the glass cube by even thinner, springy wires.

I’ve studied it for days, at every angle, but it still makes no sense. Both globes worked perfectly when I saw them focused on me within the hollow eyesockets of the Knight, blinding me with their bright glow. But they’d gone dead with it. I haven’t been able to make them glow since.

Frustrated, I pull my book out of its secret pocket in my robes. Something hits my knee. I look down to see its sister has followed it. I’ve had both books for as long as I can remember and known they were dangerous for just about as long. Books are heresy against Bask, outlawed in the Under. Nobody here can read.

Nobody except me.

I don’t know why I can read. Neither of my parents can. Nobody I know can. I don’t remember learning how, I just always have. Just like I’ve always had the books.

I pick up the second book. It’s smaller than its sister, thinner, with a brown cover that almost matches my robes. I’ve always wanted to read it but I can’t. The lock on its side keeps its secrets well hidden.

I put it back in my pocket and focus on the other book, the one I can read. A little bigger than my open palm, its title is 8th Grade Physical Science. I’ve read it so many times I can almost recite it word for word, but I still understand so few of those words. I open it to a wrinkled page with a picture of a bulb. My lips move as I whisper the caption under my breath.

“Electricity is a force created by a difference in charges due to gained or lost electrons. Electricity flowing between two points is called an electrical current. In order for these electrons to flow, there must be a difference in charges between the two points. Electricity always flows from a location with a negative charge to a location with a positive charge.”

Words. So many words, so little sense in them.

I stare at both bulbs — broken and whole, and bite back a scream of frustration. It’s right here. RIGHT here. Light for the Under. Freedom for my people. So close, but so impossibly far away.

The small cavern where I kneel vibrates to the long, low toll of a bell.

The waking-bell. And today is Atonement. I won’t have another chance at lighting up our darkness for another whole day.

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #5: Polly Wanna Moo?

Posted in Bailey Boots, Books, Comics, Reading with tags , , , on March 15, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

BaileyPet1

Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.

BaileyPet2

Today, Bailey Boots is curious about pets. She’s had such fun with her cow adventures that she’s decided to get a pet of her very own to have lots of adventures with.

So today, she’s at the pet store.

BaileyPet1

But what kind of pet should she get? Bailey Boots is confused.

BaileyPet3

“Hello, cat,” says Bailey Boots to the first pet she sees. “Do you want to be my pet?”

BaileyPet8

“Moo.”

BaileyPet1

Bailey Boots decides to try another animal.

BaileyPet4

“Hello, doggy,” says Bailey Boots to the next pet.

BaileyPet9

“Moo.”

BaileyPet10

“Next.”

BaileyPet5

“H… hi s… snake?” Bailey Boots says to the next pet. “Nice snake?”

BaileyPet11

“Mooooooooooo.”

BaileyPet1

“Um… that’s… that’s okay,” says Bailey Boots. She wasn’t sure she wanted a snake anyway.

BaileyPet10

But what will Bailey Boots do? She can’t find a pet of her very own.

BaileyPet2

But she won’t give up! One last try, Bailey Boots!

BaileyPet7

“Hello birdy,” says Bailey Boots to a pretty parrot. “Um… moo?”

BaileyPet12

BaileyPet1

BaileyPet12

BaileyPet1

BaileyPet12

BaileyPet1

BaileyPet12

“Hello!”

BaileyPet2

“Hello!” says Bailey Boots to her new pet. “I’m SO glad you didn’t say moo!”

BaileyPet12

“Hello Bailey Boots! Hello!”

BaileyPet13

“Let’s go home, Parrot,” says Bailey Boots happily. “What do you think about that?”

BaileyPet12

“Moo.”

BaileyPet14

BaileyPet15

“Oh, well,” says Bailey Boots. “Close enough!”

Happy Bailey Boots!

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #2: How Does your Garden Grow?

Posted in Bailey Boots, Books, Reading, Stories, WebComic with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

BaileyGarden1

Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.

BaileyGarden2

Today, Bailey Boots is curious about gardening.

BaileyGarden3

“I’m going to be a gardener!” she says excitedly. “I have my tools all ready!”

BaileyGarden4

Oops! She forgot something. A seed! But where will she get one?

BaileyGarden5

Bailey Boots has a rock, a button and a marble. Which one should she plant?

BaileyGarden6

“The marble looks pretty,” says Bailey Boots. “I bet it would grow some tasty treats!”

BaileyGarden4

Bailey Boots has to wait now. She hates waiting.

BaileyGarden2

But she doesn’t have to wait long!

BaileyGarden7

The next morning, a pretty little plant pushes through the ground.

BaileyGarden8

It grows so fast! But when will it bear the pretty marble fruit?

BaileyGarden2

When?

BaileyGarden9

*Grow*

BaileyGarden10

When?

BaileyGarden11

*Grow*

BaileyGarden12

WHEEEEEEEEEEN?

BaileyGarden13

Moo.

BaileyGarden15

“Moo?”

BaileyGarden14

Moo.

BaileyGarden15

BaileyGarden4

No fruit today. Poor Bailey Boots.

Buggars

Posted in Books, Young Adult with tags , , , , on March 4, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

One of the first things every kid in the Under is taught is to avoid buggars at any cost. Unlike spiders, buggars aren’t afraid of people at all. They run at us instead of away, and their finger-sized fangs are filled with skin-dissolving poison. Mother has a deep scar covering her palm from a buggar bite that almost completely dissolved her hand when she was little. I’d spent my whole life calling to Father when I saw one, watching him kill it with his pickaxe from a safe distance.

But Father wasn’t here now.

The buggars saw me fast, whipping around almost instantly. I screamed and threw the rock at the closest buggar. It hit its mark, squashing the thing into mush, but it gave the second buggar time to scurry up the wall behind me and lunge down at my shoulder with its fangs. I barely felt the sting over my panic, grabbing the thing and beating it against the top of the rock that had killed its mate until the overside matched the underside in buggar guts.

For the latest on my upcoming YA novel “Blight”, follow me on Facebook!

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