To Infinity and Beyond: an interview with Bryan Prosek

October 2022

In this month’s newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Queen’s Catacombs Preorder
  • Author Spotlight with Bryan Prosek
  • Travel Log: Curiosity Tourist
  • Contest of Queens Review Corner

QUEEN’S CATACOMBS Preorder

March 14th, 2023 is the date to remember not only because it is PI day, but it is ALSO the day QUEEN’S CATACOMBS officially hits the shelves. I am so excited to share this with you, so if you are the pre-ordering kind of person, you can do so now!

Add it to your GoodReads, add it to your Amazon wishlist, add it to your diary, add it to Santa’s list, and I know I will be hard pressed not to add it to my arm in ink… (we’ll see). Here’s a recent review from an ARC reader:

Author Spotlight with Bryan Prosek

“If you want to kick the tiger in his butt, you’d better have a plan for dealing with his teeth

I’m joined today by Bryan Prosek to chat with him about his recent sequel: The Darker the Skies where we explore the known (and unknown) Universe, discuss star-bound storytelling, and blast off into space-bound character development. So grab a cup of tea, and come explore the galaxy with us.

Check out my previous interview with Bryan about Measure of Serenity here.


The Darker the Skies

It only takes one to make a difference.

Just days before Jake Saunders plans on proposing to the love of his life, Jake is called upon once again to save his home, Earth. The Earthen Legion troops and its allies think they’re battling only pirates, but a new, more powerful foe from another galaxy flanks their forces and invades, in search of a weapon the planet didn’t even know it had.

When Jake learns that this new enemy was responsible for the death of his father many years ago, he realizes he can finally face his true nemesis. The odds are stacked against Jake, but with the help of his friends and allies he’s made along the way, he must rally the remaining Legion troops and retake Earth before it’s too late. The fate of Earth and the fate of his love, rest in the balance.

Find out more about Bryan Prosek:
Website: bryanprosek.com
Instagram: @bryan.prosek
TikTok: @bryanprosek

Travel Log: Adventure Bound

Short story long,

I have taken a sabbatical from my day job as a Speech Language Pathologist to live in the UK and finish the Frean Chronicles Trilogy!

  1. Contest of Queens: completed!
  2. Queen’s Catacombs: comes out March 14th next year! (preorder here)
  3. Mysteriously Titled Finale: in progress!

If you’re interested in following along on my travel journey, I recommend following me on Instagram: @jordanhbartlett

November has simply flown by! But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun and this chickadee had a lot of fun this month. I endeavored to take myself on adventure days/weekends as often as I could (in between working and writing) and ended up visiting Aberdeen, Leeds, Stonehaven, Stirling, Dundee, East Lothian, and more!


Castles are a Girl’s Best Friend

While in Stonehaven, I braved the elements and explored Dunnottar Castle, one of the most beautiful ruin’s I’ve seen so far. From the location to the approach to the exhibits inside, this castle had it all. The perfect place to let your imagination run wild!


The Curiosity Tourist

In 2018 I visited a pub in Kilkenny called The Hole in the Wall and chatted with the bartender there for a while. She asked me about my travels and after a few minutes said to me, “you’re a curiosity tourist.” I’d never heard of that term before, so she explained, “you don’t travel with a rigid plan in mind, but you follow your feet and you follow your heart and one or the other tends to lead you to where you were meant to be.”

So far, living by the curiosity tourist’s creed has yet to steer me wrong. It’s the best way to find the magic of a place, and I’m happy to share some of the wonder with you. My camera roll is honestly filled with hundreds of pictures of bridges, mushrooms, old stumps, buildings-through-canopies, beaches and everything that is good and true when it comes to Autumn. Here are a few of my favourite shots from some of my many, many nature walks.


If I can be permitted to offer any advice: whatever you do with this life you’ve been given, just make sure you’re living with your eyes open to the vibrant magic of it all. It’s too short to squander on shades of beige.

CONTEST OF QUEENS Review Corner

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have left a star rating or review. I honestly can’t believe that it’s got an average of 4.6/5 stars on Goodreads, and 4.8/5 stars on Amazon! Here’s a couple lovely reviews from this month:

x live magically

feature image link: https://64.media.tumblr.com/69b9aa72120812f197a9888d55b107eb/tumblr_pqtt0sO5Ag1vpxoof_1280.jpg

The Spirits We Meet and the Ghosts We Make: an interview with Amber A. Logan

October 2022

In this month’s newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Queen’s Catacombs Preorder
  • Author Spotlight with Amber A. Logan
  • Travel Log: Kings to you
  • Contest of Queens Review Corner

QUEEN’S CATACOMBS Preorder

March 14th, 2023 is the date to remember as it is not only the National Learn About Butterflies day AS WELL AS the National Potato Chip day, but it is ALSO the day QUEEN’S CATACOMBS officially hits the shelves. I am so excited to share this with you, so if you are the pre-ordering kind of person, you can do so now!

Add it to your GoodReads, add it to your Amazon wishlist, add it to your diary, add it to Santa’s list, and I know I will be hard pressed not to add it to my arm in ink… (we’ll see)

Check out this incredible review:

“She was the rightful queen. She had been chosen to protect her people. She was worthy of the crown, and tomorrow she would prove it.”

Queen’s Catacombs is an exciting sequel to The Frean Chronicles offering us a fierce matriarch whose belief in herself and determination captures readers and gives us hope for our own Upper Realm-led world. Jacs is the relatable hero we all need, and the endearing ensemble transports us into their world offering adventure, intrigue, and a cliffhanger that will have you generating conspiracy theories with your book club.

Jordan’s writing is rhythmic and lulls you into a false sense of familiarity by drawing on much beloved fantasy tropes. Yet unlike these novels, her world is created from the bones of women, her language grows from their desires, and girls dream of power. You forget the novelty of these powerful perspective changes and are swept up in what can be possible. Do yourself a favour and preorder this book! 

Nicoletta Romano, University Canada West Library

Author Spotlight with Amber A. Logan

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

Join me for this month’s Book Nook as I chat with author Amber A. Logan about her debut novel, THE SECRET GARDEN OF YANAGI INN. We discuss classic tales and retellings, ghosts, and how to not enrage the gardening community.


The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

Cracked doesn’t always mean broken.

Grieving her mother’s death, Mari Lennox travels to Kyoto, Japan to take photographs of Yanagi Inn for a client. As she explores the inn and its grounds, her camera captures striking images, uncovering layers of mystery shrouding the old resort—including an overgrown, secret garden on a forbidden island. But then eerie weeping no one else in the inn seems to hear starts keeping her awake at night.

Despite the warnings of the staff, Mari searches the deep recesses of the old building to discover the source of the ghostly sound, only to realize that her own family’s history is tied to the inn, its mysterious, forlorn garden . . . and the secrets it holds.

Travel Log: Kings to you

Short story long,

I have taken a sabbatical from my day job as a Speech Language Pathologist to live in the UK and finish the Frean Chronicles Trilogy!

  1. Contest of Queens: completed!
  2. Queen’s Catacombs: comes out March 14th next year! (preorder here)
  3. Mysteriously Titled Finale: in progress!

If you’re interested in following along on my travel journey, I recommend following me on Instagram: @jordanhbartlett

October is my birthday month, and I went a little bit overboard with the travel this month to celebrate… I toured Scotland with my parents, visited Malta, and ate my way through Sicily. To write about all of it would take far too long so I will just share a favourite memory from each place.


Scotland

I watched the Jacobite Steam Engine chug its way along the Glenfinnan Viaduct and fulfilled this Harry Potter bucket list item!


Malta

As many of you may have guessed by now, my favourite movie of all time is the 2002 The Count of Monte Cristo. I was able to visit the filming locations for Marseilles and Chateau d’If in Malta! It was an absolute dream come true.


Sicily

I could no sooner name a favourite star in the sky than pic a favourite memory from Sicily… but what I will say is, while the food was heavenly and the spritzes were daily, without the company, it would have been a sliver of the fun. These ladies make my heart glow ❤

CONTEST OF QUEENS: Review Corner

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have left a star rating or review. Here’s a lovely one from Amazon.ca from this month 🙂

x live magically

Enemies to Lovers and Deadly Magic: an interview with Brielle D. Porter

July 2022

In this month’s Newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Contest of Queens GoodReads Giveaway
  • Author Spotlight with Brielle D. Porter
  • Travel Log
  • Contest of Queens Review Spotlight

Giveaway Time

My publishing house, CamCat Books are hosting a giveaway on GoodReads for THREE hardcover copies of Contest of Queens!

Is this exciting? -I think so!

SO click here if you would like to dance with fate and hopefully you’re one of the three lucky winners.

Author Spotlight

Are you feeling lucky?
Then let’s visit Oasis, a magical Las Vegas in Brielle D. Porter’s debut novel, Jester.

Welcome to my Book Nook! This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Porter about her upcoming novel (due to release, August 9th 2022), so listen in as we talk enemies to lovers tropes, and how to pull of death-defying magic systems.


Find out more information about Brielle and her other works here:
Website: brielledporter.com
Instagram: @briellums
Twitter: @briellums

Jester

What happens in Oasis, stays in Oasis.

Lisette’s father killed the King. His execution leaves Lisette alone, disgraced, and without the magic he intended to pass on to her. In Oasis, that’s a problem. Glutted with enchanted performers, Oasis is a sin city where courtiers pay in gold to drink, gamble, and above all, be entertained. To survive on its competitive streets, Lisette peddles paltry illusions in place of magic.

Desperate to prove herself, Lisette enters into a deadly competition to be chosen as the highest-ranked magician in the world, the Queen’s Jester. But her rival, the irritatingly handsome Luc, possesses the one thing Lisette does not—real magic. Lisette will do anything to win, but when evidence implicating the Queen in her husband’s murder surfaces, Lisette must choose between redeeming her family name, or seizing the fame she’s hungered for her entire life.

Travel Log

For the next year, I have taken a sabbatical from my day job as a Speech Language Pathologist to live in the UK and finish the Frean Chronicles Trilogy!

  1. Contest of Queens: completed!
  2. Queen’s Catacombs: comes out next year!
  3. Mysteriously Titled Finale: in progress!

If you’re interested in following along on my travel journey, I recommend following me on Instagram: @jordanhbartlett
But I will be posting highlights in my Newsletters. Watch the video below for a montage through Denmark.

Contest of Queens Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Free Swag! If you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

x live magically

Romance in a Dangerous Time: an interview with Roma Cordon

June 2022

In this month’s Newsletter, scroll down to find:

  • Contest of Queens Bookbub feature
  • Interview with Roma Cordon, author of Bewitching a Highlander
  • My Thoughts
  • I was interviewed by Roma Cordon
  • I was interviewed by Madison Lawson
  • Contest of Queens Review Spotlight

Contest of Queens BOOKBUB FEATURE

This is so exciting! Until the end of June, Bookbub is featuring the Contest of Queens ebook for $0.99! Even if you’ve been curious about my novel, now would be the time to get a copy of your own 🙂

Romance in a Dangerous Time: an interview with Roma Cordon

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Roma Cordon, author of Bewitching a Highlander. Read on for more insider info on characters, chemistry, writing a romance to bewitch your audience, and a sneak peek at the rest of the series (still to come!).

  • Tell me a little about yourself.

I was introduced to romance novels in my teenage years and instantly became a voracious reader. In the 1990s, I came to New York where I earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees. After taking a writing course with Anne Rice, in the early 2000s, I dived into the world of writing. Bewitching A Highlander will be my debut novel. I also write for the blog on romacordon.com. 

  • What is “Bewitching a Highlander” about?

Bewitching A Highlander is a Historical / Fantasy romance, set in Scotland in 1747. It’s the story of Breena and Egan. Breena is a 24-year-old healer, hiding her neuroses and witchcraft, she sets out to rescue her father from an enemy clan, the Campbells. 

While among the enemy, she learns about her family’s dark witchery past, and catches the eye of a debonair future Clan chief, named Egan Dunbar when he saves her from being manhandled by a bad-tempered Campbell guard.

Egan Dunbar is itching for revenge against the Campbell clan. He disobeys his father to help Breena, because he must settle an old debt, also, he is not only enchanted by her, but he cannot seem to keep his eyes or lips off her.

And to save Brenna from the Campbells, even though he knows she is full of secrets, Egan will risk everything, including disobeying his father for the first time in his life and inciting a clan war.

But the question is, can Breena trust Egan with the secrets of her family’s dark past, thereby putting her life and her family’s lives at risk.

  • What was your inspiration for this novel?

This story was inspired by a couple of trips to the Highlands of Scotland with my husband. I fell in love with the culture, the food and the country’s history.

There’s also something unexplainable, intangible, and inspiring in the air in Scotland, especially on the Isle of Skye that makes one think of fairies, witches, and forest nymphs. The witches part got me into reading up on the actual history of the witchcraft laws in Scotland. In Scotland in 1563 a Witchcraft Act was passed, making witchcraft a capital offense. Before this law was repealed in 1736, 4,000 to 6,000 people were tried for witchcraft and more than 1,500 were executed by strangulation or burning in Scotland. In Europe at large, where similar laws existed, approximately 50,000 people were executed for witchcraft. It was out of statistics such as these, that Breena’s paranoia, in Bewitching A Highlander, was born.

  • What kind of research was involved to make readers feel immersed in the Highlands?

Research is a fun part of the process of writing. For this book I travelled to Scotland and visited places like the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, the Isle of Harris/Lewis, etc. I spoke to tour guides and shop owners. I consulted with spell craft reference writings by Scott Cunningham, Ann-Marie Gallagher, Marion Weinstein, etc. For period costumes I found Milla Davenport’s The Book of Costumes helpful and for architecture Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill’s Classic Georgian Style’s book was a wonderful source of information. Plus, it goes without saying, where would we writers be without Wikipedia, Google, and Pinterest.

  • Which character do you relate to most? Why?

Breena, the main character, is terrified of being burnt alive at the stake for her witchcraft. Because in her world, this happens to witches. She is also terrified the Campbells will find out what she is up to, searching for and freeing her imprisoned father. She is pretending to be someone she is not. If the Campbells find out what she is up to, they will kill or imprison her.

But even though she is terrified, she still searches for her father, and she still practices witchcraft.

I would never do it. I would never be as bold as my characters. If there was a chance my actions could lead me to being burnt alive at the stake, the answer seems clear to me, I wouldn’t do it!

But, on the other hand, the daily paranoia that Breena feels is something I can relate to. Daily things make me paranoid, like paper cuts and dust bunnies. Terrible things!

  • Which character or scene was the most fun to write?

The scenes between Egan and Breena were fun to write because it adds tension to the story. Breena and Egan are both strong characters who lead eventful, exciting, and dangerous lives. Their coming together was romantic and even explosive at times. Their character arcs were also gratifying to put down on paper since it added depth to the story.

  • What advice would you give aspiring romance authors who hope to capture a hot and steamy relationship between their own characters?

Don’t do it. Keep your day job. But if you must, only your love of the craft and your passion for writing will get you through it. It’s not for the faint of heart. And if you have what it takes, you will work your tail off, you will get through it and you will excel. And it will be worth it.

  • When writing steamer scenes, what helps engage a reader’s attention? What do you try to avoid?

The steamy scenes have to, in a way, be guided by the characters themselves. Their personalities and instincts come through in these scenes. These are vulnerable moments, and they strip the characters bare, metaphorically speaking. In my opinion, to engage readers, you have to cover the main five senses in these scenes. And I try to avoid insensitive lines or words, that may turn off readers.

  • What’s next on the horizon for you?

As Book I in the Scottish Highlander Warriors series is now completed, I am focused on the other two. Book II’s manuscript is with the Beta Readers, and after another edit by me it goes to a line/copy Editor.  I am in the plotting stages for Book III at the moment.

Book II: What happens when an unstoppable British army captain, Slade MacLean, who is out for revenge and retribution encounters an immovable lass named Phoebe Dunbar (The sister of Egan Dunbar from Book I)? Raging and tumultuous fireworks. These two will have to survive each other first if they want to bring down common enemies.

Book III: When Conner Drummond was last in the Highlands, he fought the Redcoats at the Battle of Culloden.  Now that he’s back, he’s in for a different kind of battle.  One that involves a Hellfire witch by the name of Rowan MacNeil.

  • Where can your readers find you? 

My Thoughts

I was interviewed this month as well!

Roma Cordon Interview:

Madison Lawson Interview:

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click here to read the whole thing

Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

“This tale is a thought-provoking fantasy novel, a story you can fall into and not come for air for hours. I read it in two days. It was that good. Contest of Queens is one of those gems that needs to be found by more people. Strong world-building, good history, and robust feminist approach to societal economics. I am on the edge of my seat for the next installment in this story.” 

—YA Books Central

Read the full review here

x live magically

80’s Vibes and Supernatural Bullies: an Interview with Sara Hosey

April 2022

Adjust your scrunchies and pull on your legwarmers, today I’m joined by author Sara Hosey to talk about her upcoming YA novel, Imagining Elsewhere. We cover all things 80’s and deep dive into the psychology of the bully. Make sure you have a cup of tea handy for this one or, if you’re trapped in CandiLand, order an Egg Cream to sip on and strap in!


Find out more information about Sara and her other works here:
Website: sarahosey.com
Instagram: @sarahoseyauthor
Twitter: @hoseysara

Imagining Elsewhere

Being a better person can be a lot harder than it looks.

It’s 1988, and former bully Astrid is forced to move from Queens to the small town of Elsewhere. Although this town is totally weird, Astrid sees the move as a way to reinvent herself. That is, until Candi—the teenage tyrant with supernatural powers who rules Elsewhere—decides she wants Astrid to be her new bestie.

Having to choose between the perks and safety of being the Queen B’s best friend and the desire to be a better person could literally cost Astrid her life. As Astrid and her new friends begin to dig into the dark history of Elsewhere and the source of Candi’s powers, they form a dangerous plan to resist Candi’s compulsion and to escape Elsewhere, or else be doomed to live under Candi’s rule forever.

My Thoughts

I was fortunate enough to receive an eARC (Electronic Advanced Reader Copy) from Sara Hosey and had a few cents to share on the subject:

click here to read the full review
Contest of Queens Book Signing

Owl’s Nest Books: April 9, 2022

My first in person book signing!

Thank you to Owl’s Nest Books for hosting me on April 9th for an author book signing, and thank you to everyone who showed up on purpose- and everyone who showed up by accident! It was such a special event, and I felt so so humbled by the whole thing.

There was signing, chatting, and prize winning! If you’re thinking to yourself, “aw, nuts! I wish I could have my book signed,” fret not! I am more than happy to send you one of these:

To receive your very own, please fill out the form below, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.


Contest of Queens Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Free Swag! If you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

Thank you to Midra for this stunning review!
The full review was much longer, check it out here
Contest of Queens Reading

If you’re unable to come to an in person author event, why not let me read to you in the comfort of your own home? Here’s an excerpt of Contest of Queens from my recent event with the Banff Public Library (click here for the full interview). Enjoy!

x live magically

Who Run the Worlds? Creating the Realms Readers Live in- Author Talk

March 2021

Welcome to my first Author Talk! I’m so honored to have been able to share airspace with these phenomenal authors. Today we chatted about worldbuilding for YA fantasy, so get into some comfy pants and pour an extra large cup of tea for this one!

If the Youtube link isn’t working, click here!


Aamna Qureshi, author of The Marghazar Trials (check out my interview with her for The Lady or the Lion here) can be found at:

Website: www.aamnaqureshi.com
Instagram: @aamna_qureshi
Twitter: @aamnaqureshi_
Buy The Lady or the Lion here
Preorder The Man or the Monster here


Brandie June, author of Gold Spun and Curse Undone (check out my interview with her for Gold Spun here) can be found at:

Website: www.brandiejune.com
Instagram: @thebrandiejune
Twitter: @brandiejune
Buy Goldspun here
Preorder Curse Undone here


Dana Claire, author of The Blood-Light Trilogy, The Reclaimed Kingdom, and Hunterland can be found at:

Website: danaclairebooks.com
Instagram: @authordanaclaire
Pick up Dana’s books here
And check back with CamCat Books to preorder Hunterland

feature image courtesy of: talewhisper on DeviantArt

Upcoming Book Signing Event

Owl’s Nest Bookstore

815A 49 Avenue SW
Calgary AB
Canada, T2S 1G8

I cannot wait for this event! If you have a copy of Contest of Queens or The Rose Petal Princess, bring those along with you and I’ll happily sign them. Otherwise, there will be copies to purchase in-store! If you have no interest in my signature, come out anyway, I’d love to see your faces 🙂

Signed Book Plate

If you follow me on Instagram (@jordanhbartlett), you will have seen that I am offering to send a personalized book plate and some limited stock swag to anyone who has bought themselves a copy of Contest of Queens.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Free Swag! If you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

Thank you to this wonderful Amazon reviewer!

Local Library Love

What a treat to be mentioned in the Canmore Public Library’s Local Author section! My heart definitely did a little flutter to see that both copies are out! So if you would like to borrow it, apparently there’s a line up! Keep your eyes peeled for an interview with yours truly in their April Newsletter.

click the image to jump to the site

x live magically

New Twists on Old Lore and the Art of Ensnaring the Senses: an Interview with Jason Offutt

March 2021

Welcome back for another Book Nook! I had the pleasure of dipping my toe into the Horror genre for the first time with Jason’s Offutt’s new novel The Girl in the Corn and was lucky enough to chat with him about it. So turn all the lights on and huddle under a heavy blanket for this one!

Find more information about Jason’s novels here: https://www.jasonoffutt.com/

The Girl in the Corn


Beware of what lurks in the corn.

Fairies don’t exist. At least that’s what Thomas Cavanaugh’s parents say. But the events of that one night, when he follows a fairy into the cornfield on his parents’ farm, prove them wrong. What seems like a destructive explosion was, Thomas knows, an encounter with Dauðr, a force that threatens to destroy the fairy’s world and his sanity.

Years later, after a troubled childhood and a series of dead-end jobs, he is still haunted by what he saw that night. One day he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman and a troubled young man, soon realizing that he first met them as a kid while under psychiatric care after his encounters in the cornfield. Has fate brought them together? Are they meant to join forces to save the fairy’s world and their own? Or is one of them not who they claim to be?

Order his book here
Upcoming Book Signing Event

Owl’s Nest Bookstore

815A 49 Avenue SW
Calgary AB
Canada, T2S 1G8

I cannot wait for this event! If you have a copy of Contest of Queens or The Rose Petal Princess, bring those along with you and I’ll happily sign them. Otherwise, there will be copies to purchase in-store! If you have no interest in my signature, come out anyway, I’d love to see your faces 🙂

Featured Writer on Wellness

Thank you Colleen Story, a fellow CamCat author and the mind behind the Writing and Wellness site, for featuring me this month on your website! Click on the above picture to read more. Her page is full of tips and tricks to make sure you’re looking after your mind and body while writing. Also, look out for her upcoming novel, The Beached Ones. The first paragraph alone had me in raptures!

California Creative Writing Conference

On March 6th I had the pleasure of speaking at the California Creative Writing Conference on a panel with Sara Hosey (website) who talked about her upcoming novel, Imagining Elsewhere, and Ruth Fox (website) who spoke about her upcoming novel, Under the Heavens. (I bet you can guess what book I spoke about!)

Check it out on Goodreads
Check it out on Goodreads
Contest of Queens Reading

If you’re unable to come to an in person author event, why not let me read to you in the comfort of your own home? Here’s an excerpt of Contest of Queens from my recent event with the Banff Public Library (click here for the full interview). Enjoy!

Signed Book Plate

If you follow me on Instagram (@jordanhbartlett), you will have seen that I am offering to send a personalized book plate and some limited stock swag to anyone who has bought themselves a copy of Contest of Queens.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Review Spotlight

Reviews are so helpful in getting word of Contest of Queens out there. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be eternally grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Free Swag! If you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

Thank you to this wonderful reviewer for your beautiful words!

x Live magically

First Flight: Releasing Contest of Queens into the World

February 2021

Banff Public Library Launch Party

To celebrate the release of Contest of Queens, I was fortunate enough to join Kim Mayberry and a wonderful audience for an evening of book talk! So put on your comfy pants, pour a cup of tea, and strap in! We discuss Contest of Queens, writing, future projects, and I share some insider information about the sequel to boot.

Here’s the whole talk:

And here’s a reading of a snippet from Chapter 13: First Flight:

Contest of Queens Updates

Holy Hera, it has been such a wonderful first month for Contest of Queens. The thing I’ve really loved about this whole journey is the incredible people I’ve met along the way. Here are some more of the recent interviews and events I’ve attended since its release in January.

Interview with Rob Murray at 106.5 Mountain FM Radio

Cyn’s Workshop Interview

Elizabeth Chatsworth Interview

Elizabeth Chatsworth Interview

Art and Reviews

I’ve been blown away with the reception Contest of Queens has been getting from readers already. It was part of the TBR and Beyond Book Tour as well as the Let’s Talk Books Tour, I’ve included some of my favourite posts below, but they were all honestly so fantastic. Thank you to everyone leaving reviews, taking pictures, telling their hairdressers, and doing even the smallest things to get the word of this book out there – you’re all fab 🙂

On that note, reviews are so helpful in spreading the word of my book. If you have time, and if you’ve read the book, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a star rating and/or a written review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Better yet, if you leave a star rating and review, let me know here, and be sure to include your mailing address in the message because I’d love to send you some goodies to show my appreciation! (limited supply)

Giveaways

I held two giveaways this month. The first was a coloring contest the Banff Public Library hosted (which, oh my goodness, the masterpieces were amazing!). We drew the winner during our author talk, so congratulations, Adrian!

The second was my final Hype Train giveaway. Congratulations to Erin Evans (who hosted me on her podcast last month) for winning a Contest of Queens swag bag!

Thank you so much to all who entered and all who helped promote and spread the word of Contest of Queens 🙂

x Live magically

Writing Through a Character’s Eyes- an interview with Bryan Prosek

December 2021

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryan Prosek, author of A Measure of Serenity. Read on for more insider info on the main character, Serenity, and how Prosek gets into her mind to make her a compelling and complex character.

  • What was your inspiration for this novel?

I have two parts to this answer. First, I’ve always been fascinated by parallel dimension and time travel stories, whether it’s in a book, a movie, or even a television show, so I wanted to write about one of those story lines. Time travel has been written about far more often than parallel universes, so I chose the latter. I also wanted to keep the setting on Earth rather than another planet, galaxy, or fantasy dimension. I wanted it to be more dystopian than hard core science fiction. The second part of my inspiration was that I wanted a female protagonist. I had not written a story or book with a female lead, and having a teenage daughter and coaching a teenage girls soccer team, I had a lot of young adult teenage girl experiences to draw from.  So those two things combined to inspire me to put a teenage girl in a parallel universe in A Measure of Serenity.

  • Measure of Serenity is written in first person, what were some important considerations when getting into the mind of Serenity?

I wanted Serenity to have a special or unique ability but I didn’t want her to have a superpower. I wanted her to be more realistic, even if her mental abilities are exaggerated from what I person might possess in real life. So I decided on extraordinary intelligence.  That’s where I had to really work to get into her mind since I’m lacking in that area. LOL! Finally, I wanted young adults to be able to relate to her, so I made her unique gift (her mind) also a burden for her, something that she constantly struggles with and which causes her to question her actions or inactions.  The incessant counting and calculating puts a constant strain on her. And her mental genius makes her socially awkward, which is another personal flaw that she struggles with. Having said all of that, I chose to write the book in the first person so that I could really feel what Serenity might be feeling, and be better able to express those feelings in my writing. In other words, first person made it easier and more relatable in expressing what was going through Serenity’s mind.

  • What was most challenging about writing from Serenity’s point of view?

The most challenging part was probably writing from the viewpoint of a teenage girl when I am a middle aged man.  I had to think how a teenage girl would react and adapt to the situations that Serenity finds herself in, not how I would react. However, as I mentioned, I had a lot of experience to draw from working with and talking to teenage girls, but it still took a few rewrites of a couple chapters in order to get it right.

  • What qualities do you think you share with Serenity? In what areas do you think you are most different?

First the similar qualities. While I didn’t really go there is the book, I believe Serenity is a bit OCD. A person with her mind set almost has to be, since she compartmentalizes every thought. While I don’t have Serenity’s intellect, I am somewhat OCD. I think that helped in writing her character, as I understood that part of her thinking. As for the differences, besides the obvious age and gender differences that I discussed above, the biggest difference would be her ability to retain everything she sees and hears. I am pretty good at remembering faces, but if you introduce me to someone, thirty seconds later I have to ask you again what his or her name is. LOL 

  • Serenity has an incredible memory and calculates everything she sees. In the novel we see her wrestle with these skills. Would you consider it a blessing or a curse to have Serenity’s memory and calculating mind?

This was one of my favorite parts in writing this book, Serenity’s struggles with something that others might long to possess. It’s kind of like the job interview question, “What is your greatest strength and what is your greatest weakness?” In most cases, the answer should be the same. To answer your question, for me, on the outside looking in at Serenity, I would call it a blessing. I would love to hear, see, and remember things like she does. However, from Serenity’s viewpoint, having this ability, I can see how it can be a curse. Constantly knowing what’s going to happen, your  mind never resting, always calculating, and always feeling like things are your fault because you knew what would happen and were unable to stop it if it was something bad. This is somewhat similar to OCD. Always feeling like things are out of place. Always needing to fix or correct things.

  • How often did you need to research quantities of e.g., feathers, leaves, streetlamps down the average street? 

Great question! The answer is all the time! Every time that I needed Serenity to count or calculate something, I first had to come up with what it was I wanted her to count or calculate. That depended on the difficulty of the situation that Serenity was in. After that, I had to research what the answer was for what she was counting or calculating. For example, I had no idea how many feathers a bird has or how many leaves are on a typical tree. I assumed no reader would know the answers to these either, but I wanted to be accurate in case a reader researched it.  So I researched and had to come up with an average number in most cases. I also had to do a lot of mathematical research to come up with difficult formulas or calculations that most readers wouldn’t know. I wanted it to be shocking to the typical reader, that Serenity would know this off the top of her head, but I also wanted it to be accurate.

  • Identity is an important theme in A Measure of Serenity and Serenity’s identify is molded by those around her when she falls into her parallel life. To what extent would you say identity can be shaped by the people around us (as opposed to it being a constant internal concept)?

I have always felt that identity is shaped by the people around us. People that surround themselves with bad people, generally end up in trouble. On the contrary, people that hang out with generally good people, usually end up contributing more to society. There are exceptions, I know, but in general, I feel this is the case.  This shows in A Measure of Serenity. As we have discussed, Serenity really struggles with her blessing/curse and her social awkwardness in her universe. However, the longer she is in the parallel universe, and surrounded by her Resistance friends and supporters, the less she finds herself randomly counting and calculating and questioning her actions. While the risks and stress of Serenity’s life multiplied tenfold when she passes through the sphere, she eventually becomes more relaxed and comfortable, mainly due to the people she had around her.

A Measure of Serenity

Check out Bryan’s website: https://bryankprosek.com/
Follow him on instagram: @bryank.prosek
Twitter: @BryanProsek


A million thoughts, but only one right thing to do.

Eighteen-year-old Serenity Ashdown has a brilliant mind: she counts, calculates, and analyzes everything, all the time. Awkward. When her father suddenly disappears, Serenity follows his trail to a parallel dimension. The feds on the other side claim to want to help her go home, if she helps them reconstruct the right codes for the portal between worlds. But it’s soon clear they want something more: a gateway for invasion, because this version of Earth is dying.

When Serenity learns that her alter-ego was killed in battle, she assumes “the other Serenity’s” identity and uses her unique abilities to lead the resistance in a mortal fight against the tyrannical super-government that is poised to invade her universe. Serenity has no idea how to be someone she’s not, but she has to try—or she may not have a home to return to.

Pick up a copy of A Measure of Serenity here: https://camcatbooks.com/Books/A/A-Measure-of-Serenity

Contest of Queens Countdown

Only one month left until my debut novel is released! I still can’t believe it, and I’m so so excited to finally have people reading it!

Make sure to request this beauty at your local bookstore so they can order it in for you! And if you don’t want to put on pants to leave the house, let your fingers do the walking and follow the link below to preorder here:

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https://camcatbooks.com/Books/C/Contest-of-Queens

x Live Magically

Characters and the Party Dynamic: an Interview with Elijah Menchaca

November 2021

Welcome to my fourth Book Nook! Today I rolled a Nat 20 and had the honor of talking to Elijah Menchaca, author of They Met in a Tavern, an exciting whirlwind adventure about a party of “we used to be” heroes. We chat about writing different characters and how to create a functioning and believable party out of different personalities and architypes (even when they don’t like each other).

So boil the kettle, get out your d20s, and enjoy!

Check out Elijah’s website: https://elijahmenchaca.com/
Follow him on instagram: @phoenixagent003
Twitter: @PhoenixAgent003

They Met in a Tavern

They used to be heroes . . . and it was all downhill from there.

The Starbreakers were your classic teenage heroes. Using their combined powers and skills, they were the most successful group of glintchasers in Corsar. But that all changed the day the city of Relgen died. The group went their separate ways, placing the blame on each other.  

Seven years after their falling out, a hefty bounty is placed on their heads. Phoenix tries to reunite the Starbreakers before everything they have left is taken from them.  But a lot can change in seven years. And if mending old wounds was easy, they would have done it a long time ago.

Pick up a copy of They Met in a Tavern: https://camcatbooks.com/Books/T/They-Met-in-a-Tavern

Contest of Queens News

Contest of Queens Teaser Trailer

I am so excited to finally share the Book Trailer for Contest of Queens! A huge huge thank you to Bryan Johnston, a fellow CamCat author, who was the mastermind behind this stunning trailer! (I’ve honestly lost count of how many times I’ve watched it). And a huge thank you to all my dear friends who joined me for an in-person release- it wouldn’t have been the same without your oooooos and aaaaahhhhs (scroll across for some pictures from the night).

Visit Bryan Johnson’s website here: https://www.bryanrjohnston.com/ and check out his novel, Deep into the Woods.

Blog Feature

Rant and Rave Review

I was recently featured in Dana Flanders’ blog “Rant and Rave” and she had some lovely things to say about Contest of Queens!

One of my favourite comments she made was:

My favorite part about this book was that Jacs had her priorities straight. As someone who reads quite a bit of young adult books, it is soooo refreshing to see a strong female lead who prioritizes her family, her friends, and her mission above the romantic interest.

Dana Flanders

I know this feeling will only get stronger as more people read and review my novel, but I just love to hear what each person gets from it. My hope is that it has a little nugget for everyone 🙂

Book Tour Feature

Thank you TBR and Beyond Book tours for featuring Contest of Queens!
Click the picture for more information

If you’re like me, you love a good sale

Black Friday Sale at CamCat!

My publisher, CamCat Books, have an incredible sale on from November 25th until December 1st. 20% off any order on their site. This means you can get any of the wonderful titles already released (including novels featured in past Book Nook interviews):

Or upcoming novels available for pre-order!

And look at that gorgeous title four from the left (not that I’m biased…).
We only have 2 months until Contest of Queens is released and I am so so excited to share it with you all! To preorder your copy, follow the link below:

https://camcatbooks.com/Books/C/Contest-of-Queens

Live Magically x