A Surprise Storm is Coming!

Hey all,

It’s monsoon season in Tucson, and while it hasn’t been a very active one, I decided there was no better time to tell the story of my favorite Storm, with a capital S.

If you’ve read ROSES by now, maybe you can see how it works as a sort of rabbit hole for the ORDER OF THE BELL series. And the funny thing is, I found a million other branches I wanted to follow in ROSES itself, and the Florindale universe just keeps getting bigger. So last year for NaNoWriMo, I decided to follow one of those branches, and that’s how I wrote NIRAYA STORM AND THE CRYSTAL COMPASS.

Finishing the story was one thing–deciding what to do with it was another. I wrestled with ideas for a long time, but ultimately, I’ve made the decision that instead of releasing this on Kindle or paperback right now, it’s going to have its first home on Wattpad this week.

Niraya as a character is not one for extravagant bells and whistles. She’s a little more raw. If she could produce her own book, she’d probably write it in a simple leather book and hand it over with nothing on the cover. She deserves more than that, but to go through the level of production that I used for ROSES and THE CARVER wouldn’t feel quite right. Plus, in full transparency, it gets expensive. It may be a very long time before I’m ready to start conversations with the editor, formatter, and cover artists I want to work with again, especially because I want to continue going to cons and seeing you all at festivals!

I really love this story. I didn’t want to make Niraya wait until I could afford a fancy production. By then, I may have another story or two that I can’t wait to share with you all, and that’ll be another year or two that the story will have to sit unread. And ultimately, my dream has never been to make money off these stories–only to share them with you and hope they provide some sort of escape and entertainment when you need it. If it gains some demand on Wattpad for a tangible paperback, I may take it further, but in the meantime, I simply want to make it available to you as it is.

It’s raw. It’s not perfect. It may even be a little wild. But that’s always been Niraya Storm to her core, even when she was having her first adventure on the high seas…

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When you’re ready, you’ll be able to start the story HERE this week! If you love it, leave comments on it. Niraya will want to know she was able to hold your attention. 🙂

The Master List

Hey friends,

Happy Sunday! I hope this weekend and the month of May have been excellent to you. As for me, I’m hard at work preparing for summer events! First up is Phoenix Fan Fusion (what I will always refer to as Phoenix Comic Con) from May 23-26th in the Phoenix Convention Center. The League of Fantasy Authors (which includes some of my bestest author buddies Jenna Elizabeth Johnson and Katie Salidas) will be returning to booth #696 to sell books and merch, and new this year, we’re hosting a fun game of Cosplay Bingo!

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All you need to play is the card we’ll give you, something you can use to take pictures, and a good eye to spot those Disney villains, Game of Thrones characters, and favorite Avengers. Score a blackout and win a prize!

You can also find me at Arizona StoryFest in Mesa on June 1st, where I’ll be doing a live reading of ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN on the author stage. Thanks to KJZZ radio for the invitation!

After Mesa, I’ll be taking a short break from events to focus on my non-authorly job for the summer, but I won’t be idle! NIRAYA STORM is in beta, and truthfully, I’m waiting for some ideas to slow-cook right now, so I’m using my pockets of free time to soak up some craft knowledge. Currently a book called Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff is keeping me busy, and I invite you to work through it with me!

Sokoloff encourages writers to build a “Master List” of at least ten books/movies that influence our work, and then there are exercises that involve rewatching/rereading and analyzing the bones of these story. I love a good excuse to watch my favorite movies again and call it work! I may even share some of my findings and Master List with you all on this website somewhere. For example, one really cool trick I’ve learned is to pay greater attention to what happens at the 15 and 30 minute marks when we watch movies, which should be turning points that can teach us a lot about plot and pace.

Just looking at two of the movies on my Master List:

  • Stardust (2007)
    • 15 minute mark: The King of Stormhold throws a necklace into the sky and declares that the first of his sons to recover it will be his successor to the throne. The necklace knocks a star out of the sky. In another part of the world, Tristan Thorne watches the star fall and makes a promise to go find it in exchange for Victoria Forester’s hand in marriage. (I love this whole scene so much that I keep coming back to it in the Neil Gaiman book for other craft exercises.)
    • 30 minute mark: Tristan Thorne crosses the Wall and finds the star. Surprise! The star is a woman, which definitely complicates his plans to bring it back to Victoria.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
    • 15 minute mark: After a few minutes at each other’s throats, the four teenagers in detention get sucked into a video game and become their adult avatars.
    • 30 minute mark: an NPC explains that the group needs to return the jewel they’re holding to the top of the mountain, but there’s a bad guy after it too… oh, and his gang is right behind you. 🙂

If you’re a writer, I’m curious what stories you’d put on your Master List, or even on mine! Most of mine tend to be family-friendly adventures with fantasy elements, ever-shifting settings and an emphasis on travel/multiple worlds, and ensemble casts. If only there was enough time to read and watch them all… 🙂

Happy reading!

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The Dragon Tamer’s Tale (Excerpt #1 from ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN)

Hey all,

Happy Saturday! Every day is a little closer to the release of ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN, and I’m so excited by the little gems of feedback that are popping up here and there on social media. One reviewer wrote to me that it inspired her to go watch the La Llorona movie that just came out . . . oh man. First, let me promise you all that ROSES is not a horror story meant to give you nightmares. La Llorona is. Whenever you get to the book, you’ll understand exactly why this reviewer wanted to go watch the movie! (Full disclosure: I don’t know this person, but I’m confident she must be braver than me. I don’t have the heart to watch La Llorona in theaters…)

Oh, how the crazy crying ghost story used to scare the pants off me as a kid. Especially when it was storming outside, and the wind was strong enough to pull open the screen door when I was at my grandmother’s house…

But if you’re up for a story within a story, I have the first excerpt for you from ROSES today. If you’ve read The Carver, you just might recognize the storyteller. If you haven’t, don’t worry! You’ll learn all about the man before you’re done reading…

     The dwarf paced back and forth, tugging his beard in alternating motions like cow udders. While he got over his fit, I checked out his home. This guy seemed like the least likely person to put wanted posters around the city for a dragon’s death. Reptilian figurines lined his shelves, golden eggs the size of my head sat in silver bowls, and paintings of winged beasts clung to every inch of the wall. And yet, here stood a man who was blubbering like he had a phobia. When he finally stopped pacing, he poured three goblets of wine without asking. I wondered if it was juice at first, but the smell stung my nostrils, and I vowed not to touch it.

     Zid gulped his wine, wiped his lips, and then slammed his goblet down in front of him. “I’ll have you know that I used to be a dragon trainer. I’ve bred and raised a few. I fed them and exercised them and advocated for their rights. See that one on the wall right there?” He pointed to a painting of a dragon that oddly seemed to be smiling. “My Draco. I loved him dearly, so much that I had to move him into Grimm’s Hollow with a friend. He was too big and too free for my little yard.”

     A tear sparkled like a marble in Zid’s eye.

     Karina offered a smile. “I can imagine you’re very passionate about dragons.”

     “Was,” Zid said. “Until Verdoro.”

     I gripped the sides of my chair, ready for some kind of story. We needed a thunderclap and a theater spotlight to properly set the mood.

     Zid cleared his throat dramatically, rising on his toes to make himself look taller. “Verdoro first plagued Florindale Square some time ago. You can imagine my excitement when I first saw those scales. He was a dream. Most people ran in fear, but I wanted to talk to him. They can understand us, you know. They know our tones, our intentions, and our body language. But when he burned down Midas’s Pub without provocation, I knew there was something . . . off about him. Dragons do not descend on civilization to burn or consume unprovoked. They’re actually quite gentle. Leave them be—respect them—and they shall never hurt a soul.”

     Based on that statement alone, I knew Zid would’ve become fast friends with Tio. Coffee shop buddies. I tried to picture them broing out, and I almost laughed. The trouble was I didn’t agree with Zid’s statement at all, and Karina clearly didn’t either.

     “My uncle did nothing to the dragon,” she said. “It came out of nowhere and took him away with no good reason.”

     “That’s because this one’s different,” Zid said. “As if Hades itself spat him out. He cannot be reasoned with or tamed. Believe me, I was the only one foolish enough to keep trying. I considered that he might be a shifter—a human who’s dabbled in dark arts to assume another form at will.”

     Karina and I exchanged wide-eyed glances. Real life shifters? Like Dracula and his bat form? Or the blue lady from the X-Men comics? Neither of them was very nice.

     Zid must’ve sensed my discomfort because he waved a hand and said, “But I have doubts. Humans have different auras that don’t go away when they turn. You can sense it. Go figure, we finally settle into a period of peace, free of curses and evil queens, and now we have Verdoro returning at random intervals to terrorize Florindale. Sometimes he engulfs buildings. The Woodlands are dying. Sometimes he batters a living being and leaves them there to suffer, as if he enjoys the sport of torturing people.”

     My stomach churned. What was the monster doing to my tio?

     “I should say there are few who have ventured out to hunt him. None have returned, and not a soul wishes to attempt the journey anymore, even with the rather generous reward on Verdoro’s head. It feels as though we are destined to settle into our fear, to keep one eye fixed on the clouds until the monster finally plummets from them. Unfortunately, the life of such a beast spans ages we do not care to wait for.”

     Rina and I grew up with some messed up legends. Mom liked to scare us with La Llorona, the crying ghost woman that took bad kids away. But never an actual dragon.

     Karina put on that famous Rosas concentration stare, like she was taking an X-ray of Zid. “What do you think is the lifespan of somebody who’s been taken by the dragon?”

     Zid frowned, deep lines appearing on his forehead. “I’m sorry, younglings.” He refilled his goblet and then drained it again. “Nobody’s ever come back.”

Zid

There’s still time to download an ARC of ROSES if you’re interested in getting it for free! Most of them have been claimed already, but there are about 8 left last I checked. As for the eBook, it’s on preorder for $2.99 where digital books are sold! Try Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple . . . they’re everywhere, and they’ll hit your ereader on April 30th!

Cover Reveal! Roses in the Dragon’s Den

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday to you all! So, this post really can’t be about the words today. What I’m about to reveal can only be shown to you, and that’s the cover for ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN! *trips* *drops cover*

Roses in the Dragon's Den final front cover for preview

I’m just . . . I’m absolutely . . . I can’t describe it. It’s everything I ever dreamed it would be. Special thank you to the designer, Amalia Chitulescu, one of the most incredibly talented artists I know. It was important to me that this cover show off a pair of young, strong, determined LATINX heroes, and I think that Amalia just did that beautifully. Look at Rina and Charlie squaring off against that beast up there! And, they look incredibly close to how the characters were imagined for the trading card set:

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The preorders for this book will be live soon, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in an ARC opportunity to read this before it even hits release day, you can sign up here! I believe this is a book for you if:

  • You’ve ever wanted to see new places
  • You enjoy character-driven stories with family themes and a spirit of adventure
  • You like Oreos (and who doesn’t?)
  • You secretly wish you could sail with pirates
  • You’re a fan of Percy Jackson or other stories told in goofy first-person POVs
  • You want more Latinx heroes in your books
  • You’re fascinated by dragons (and who isn’t?)
  • You’ve watched Man Vs. Wild and wondered what Bear would do if he encountered a dragon. (Okay. Maybe that’s only me?)

Lastly, I ask that if you like this cover, share the preorder widely and add it on Goodreads. I have big dreams for this story… but it’s gonna take a team effort to make sure people know about it! What do you say? Are you with me?

Happy weekend!

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The Hummingbird v. 2.0: Cover Reveal #3!

Hey friends!

I’ll cut right to the fun stuff: You’ve already seen the first two covers for the new and improved Carver Trilogy, and all week long I’ve been itching to release the third and final cover! I’m just going to drop it right here for ya:

Here we have a glimpse of Neverland, pirate ships, a dragon, some of the towers from Avoria’s Citadel, and perhaps my favorite element of this cover: We finally have a look at Enzo himself!

The books themselves are in formatting, and once that step is complete, I’ll be working to hard to get these live and ready for your hands. I have a feeling they’re going to look pretty awesome in person, especially when you put them all together!

This week to celebrate the release of all three covers, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon credit to one random winner. Entry is simple:

  1. Follow my Facebook page.
  2. Add ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN, my upcoming February release, to your Goodreads list.
  3. Comment on this blog post and tell me what your favorite fairy tale retelling is, or any fairy tale/myth that you would like to see retold in the future! Or, just tell me what you think of these covers!!

I will choose a winner in a week!

Happy reading!

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The Carver v. 2.0: Cover Reveal #1!

Good morning, friends!

I know I’ve been promising you all an update on the new branding and re-release of THE CARVER for a couple months now, and I was going to hold off until I closed the sales for the old cover and made my Make A Wish donation, but well, I just couldn’t hold it any longer! How ’bout now?

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Things I love about this cover:

  • The way the New York skyline bleeds into The Woodlands, signifying that we’re in our own backyard and an uncharted one at the same time, that this story spans entire worlds near and far.
  • That tiny silhouette against the Empire State Building.
  • The strange dark blue pattern, signaling that this is not an everyday story and that something dark and epic is about to go down…
  • The new font, dark enough to be mysterious; whimsical enough to say, “But don’t take this too seriously 😉
  • The everything though.

This was done by the amazing Kim G and is only the first of three! I’ll be revealing one new cover every Tuesday in the month of June, so come back on the 19th for THE UNSEEN!

Still waiting on an official timeline for the re-release, but I am going to make every effort to have this out by September for you to hold in your hands! I promise to keep you posted!

In the meantime, I’m giving you an opportunity to win one of three sets of eight character trading cards for my next book, ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN! I’ll post a new challenge with every reveal, though most of them will involve sharing and following 🙂 This week, all you have to do for a chance to win is:

  1. Be following me on Facebook and/or Instagram!
  2. Comment on the cover reveal post on Facebook or Instagram!
  3. Share the cover on your own Facebook or Instagram, and
  4. Tag me in your post!

Pretty easy, right? Every week, in June, one person will win a set of trading cards, which contain a clue about one surviving character from THE CARVER TRILOGY who will make an appearance in ROSES. Yes, these books share a universe! Here’s one of the new characters!

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Carlos “Charlie” Rosas is one of the main protagonists in ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN. He’s twelve years old, lives in Tucson, AZ, and might have been having a much better summer if he weren’t stuck having to rescue his Uncle Diego from a dangerous fire-breathing monster. It’s safe to say his summer is anything but boring, though. Right?

What do you all think of the new cover, and of this new character reveal? Feel free to sound off in the comments! Happy Reading!

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The Carver’s Last Hurrah!

Howdy chums!

I hope everybody had a nice weekend and had the opportunity to do something nice on Memorial Day. Shout-out to our heroes and veterans out there! We thank you for your service!

I have so much I want to tell you today, especially about Phoenix Comic Fest! If I get into a full recap, I’ll be sitting here writing for days and you’ll likely get super bored, so here’s the quick version:

  1. I sold a lot of books and ate a lot of Mexican food, oh and a little bit of Thai cuisine, too. Katie Salidas and Jenna Johnson are the most excellent con crew I can think of off the top of my head!
  2. Michael Rooker walked into our booth just because he can do that and he’s awesome. It happened so fast that I didn’t get a picture with him, although I DID offer him a slice of pizza . . .
  3. Dr. Strange, Star-Lord, and Bob Ross Deadpool seem to be the most popular cosplay right now, finally edging out Ledger Joker, Leto Joker, and Jon Snow. But only by a little! Although, I have to say I think this Hogwarts crew was my personal favorite . . . Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing

And with the end of Comic Fest, it’s also the end of a wonderful era: The original print run for The Carver is at an end. I am now actively phasing out the mirror covers, and I recently got my first preview of the new look. I promise you it’s phenomenal–it’s very different and very new, while also holding true to the thematic mood and overall feel of the book. A VERY worthy and replacement for the original branding I loved so much!

For now though, I need to phase out the rest of my stock and get the original books into good hands: yours! As a last hurrah for the stock, I am offering signed and personalized copies, and even some annotated copies for readers who want a glimpse into my thought process and some additional commentary. These will make great gifts and summer reading, and for every order placed on or before June 15, I am pledging to donate half the proceeds (after the cost of shipping) to Make A Wish ArizonaSo, every order supports an indie writer, a child who could use a wish right now, and gives you a fun beach read for the summer. It’s like having a triple chocolate cake all to yourself, with none of the guilt and all of the yum!

You can order HERE while supplies last. Orders are first-come-first-served, and I should tell you that at the time I am writing this, there are only three copies of The Hummingbird left! So if you’re looking for a full set or the finale on its own, order fast! I’ll be following up with PayPal invoices a day or two later 🙂

Lastly, my newsletter subscribers will be the first to see the new cover VERY SOON, so if you’re not on the official newsletter (it’s different from this blog and just a little more exclusive!), you can subscribe here!

Happy Reading!

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Of Finales and Finish Lines (The Hummingbird Release!)

So, we’ve arrived! I have some great giveaway stuff and info below, but first I need to be a sap for a few paragraphs. It is February 20, 2018, the day THE HUMMINGBIRD flies off into the world and the ORDER OF THE BELL trilogy comes to its close. As Marie Lu said at the end of CHAMPION, the end of the road is a strange and wistful place. It’s bittersweet. Today feels a lot like watching a friend or sibling drive off to college. Well. Kinda. It’s hard to describe. Sometimes even authors can’t quite find the right words.

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Just as Aladdin had three wishes and Goldilocks sampled three bowls of porridge, it took three challenging and wonderful years to write three books about three “ordinary” teenagers who discovered that magic is everywhere, especially deep within. And that story is now complete with a start, a finish, and hopefully a wildly fun ride in between! It’s not a perfect set, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, but it is 100% true to my vision, and I’ve never been prouder to put my name on something. Oh and Enzo, if you’re reading this:

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And I couldn’t have done any of this without my amazing readers and the best publishers/editors/cover designers/beta readers/bloggers/social media followers/family/friends I could have asked for! I hope THE HUMMINGBIRD is the finale you hoped for and deserved, and I hope THE ORDER OF THE BELL has given you even just a fraction of the escape, the hope, the adventure, and the light you’re looking for today–ESPECIALLY today.

Oh and don’t worry. This isn’t really the end of the path. It’s the crossroads. My fingers and those gears in my brain are still moving, so keep an eye out! I have so many more stories to tell you–some from places very close to the bell tower and some much farther away than that second star to the right–and I hope you’ll continue to explore with me.

Wishing you a happy Tuesday and a safe trip back to Florindale,

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THE HUMMINGBIRD (THE ORDER OF THE BELL #3)

In the aftermath of the great battle that left Wonderland in ruins, Crescenzo DiLegno and his two best friends have reunited with their families in Florindale, but the war wages on in every kingdom. The Order of the Bell is scattered, presumably left to the mercy of Queen Avoria, whose grip on the New World grows tighter every day. Cities have already fallen, the shadows have spread, and a fortress of nightmares has appeared in the heart of New York City.

Determined to take back his home and restore order to the worlds, Crescenzo must rally all the people he’s met from his adventures, from the troubled prince to the rebellious Lost Boys, and storm Avoria’s castle of illusion. The Carver’s war against the wicked Ivory Queen brews to an explosive finale, but dark secrets about her true nature have yet to emerge, and not everybody will be prepared to survive them.

ABOUT THE ORDER OF THE BELL SERIES

In this twisted modern fairytale, the lives of three teenagers, Crescenzo, Rosana, and Zack, collide as they contend with the disappearance of their families and learn a secret that uproots their lives: They are actually the children of Pinocchio, Alice, and Peter Pan, and there are dark forces in the fairytale world that want their parents back. With only a handful of handcrafted wooden figurines to light the way, Crescenzo and his friends set off on an epic quest to rescue their families, making unlikely friends–and relentless enemies–out of the storybook legends they thought they knew. But with the growing threat of the nightmarish Queen Avoria looming over his head, Crescenzo won’t just need a few loyal allies to bring his family back to the world he knows: He’ll need a whole army to save all three.

THE CARVER (Book 1) | IVORY QUEEN (Interquel/Novella) | THE UNSEEN (Book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

The Carver is currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon! Witness the adventure from the very beginning, and own the complete series for less than $5!

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate his third release and the “rule of three” in fairy tales, Jacob is giving away three of his favorite paperbacks for YA adventure lovers: STARDUST by Neil Gaiman, THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken, and AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir. You can earn up to three entries as follows:

  1. Follow @jacob_devlin on Instagram and comment on the giveaway post, tagging a friend who loves to read as much as you do!
  2. Subscribe to Jacob’s newsletter and respond to the welcome email with the name of your favorite fairytale character.
  3. Follow @jacob_devlin on Twitter and retweet the giveaway post (pinned to the top of the page!)

Open internationally. Each entry gets your name/handle written on an index card and entered in a hat, and on 2/28, Jacob will draw one card at random to win the paperbacks along with some special swag items.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jacob Devlin is the author of The Carver, which recently won a LitPick Top Choice Award, and its sequels, The Unseen and The Hummingbird. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, spoiling his niece, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

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