I've been a bit quiet because after my trip to the United States I was home for a couple weeks and then off to London. This, too, was a business trip, but like the one in the US, much fun as well. Because I was hanging around with . . . Ripperologists.
For those of you not familiar with that term, the Oxford Dictionary defines it to mean: (the) Study of or investigation into the crimes of Jack the Ripper, especially in order to uncover the identity of the murderer.
The folks I hang with don't confine themselves solely to the Whitechapel murderer, but also study (in depth) the history of London's East End, as well as other crimes that occurred during the late Victorian Era. They're a fascinatingly intelligent bunch from all over the world who, during the first weekend of November, gathered in Whitechapel for a two-day conference. As with all these types of conferences, my IQ went up a couple points by the end of it.
Why would I go to such a gathering? For those of you who don't know my work before the Demon Trappers, I wrote the Time Rovers Series in 2006-2008. This series was originally published by Dragon Moon Press (they still sell the paperback editions) and the books just kept winning awards. Frankly, that stunned me, but apparently the combo of historical mystery, time travel and paranormal (with a bit of romance) made the stories something unique back in 2006. For more info on that series, click here.
The reason I became part of the Ripper community is because the series is set in 1888, right over the top of the murders. To ensure that I didn't screw up the facts--because they are extremely well documented and just about the first thing most authors blow right past--I began researching the killings in depth, as well as the social, political, and religious conditions of the time. I had at least 9 months of research before I even began writing the first book and finally accumulated almost 100 reference books, maps, etc. by the time the trilogy was done. I went nuts on this, mostly because Victorian London was just SO fascinating. The results were well worth all the time, money, tears and headaches. Sadly, when I moved my vast Victorian library had to go, but it found homes with a number of authors who write in that time period.
So let's fast forward to 2018 and the East End Conference:
I attended to reconnect with good friends and to get my head back into 1888 as I want to write a few short stories based around some of the Victorian Era characters. If you've read the series, I'm specifically talking about Jonathon Keats and Dr. Alastair Montrose, because those gents deserve their own stories. I have no doubt our favorite time traveler (Jacynda Lassiter) will drop in from time to time because Cynda is just inclined to meddle.
The trip was great, reconnecting with friends was priceless, and seeing London after five years was pretty much jaw-dropping (so much new construction!) I've already pencilled in another trip for 2019. Meanwhile the Ripperologists keep sifting through census and asylum records, tracking down leads in search of the killer.
Me? I just sit back with a cup of tea and cheer them on.
As promised here is the entire self-publishing presentation I gave today at Moonlight & Magnolias. I figured it'd just be easier to give you the whole works.
Later this week I'll be hopping a plane to Atlanta to attend the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference hosted by the Georgia Romance Writers. These are my peeps and it'll be great fun to catch up with them. The Craft Speaker for the conference is none other than Mollie Traver who has served as editor for a number of my Demon Trappers books as well as my Chandler Steele series. I haven't see Mollie since 2012 and I hope to take her on a private, guided tour of all the Demon Trappers' sites in Atlanta, including Oakland Cemetery. Since the poor lady had to fight her way through all that prose she might as well see where those scenes were set.
I'll be taking part in the (free admission, open to the pubic) booksigning on Saturday so if you want to chat, or an autographed copy of VALIANT LIGHT, come find me!
I'll try to post an update while I'm in Atlanta. I know I'm going to roast -- the humidity is 90%+ (it's in the 30s and 40s here in Porto) so air conditioning will be my friend. I will definitely be posting updates on Facebook so be sure to check there for any interesting news. Later, folks!
We were due for new credit cards and when the credit card company notified us they’d mailed them to Portugal, I made a note of the date. When we hit the three week time frame I figured they’d wandered off to who knows where so I contacted the company with the news. As I anticipated, they promptly cancelled the account and they sent new cards to a secure address in the US so I can pick them up in October.
Wanna guess what showed up the day after I contacted them?
The ‘missing’ cards.
Shoulda made it 3 weeks and one day, it appears.
DragonCon 2018 has begun and I'm actually missing this massive event more than I'd expected. This is where 85K of your closest nerd friends gather for five days in downtown Atlanta. Besides a glorious parade, there are costumes, costume mashups (like the mind-boggling one above), zillions of programming tracks and AUTHORS. Yes, in the wild. Real ones. You can talk to them, even.
If you're not in Atlanta (like me), the easiest way to track the fun without sore feet is searching for the hashtag #Dragon2018 on either Twitter or Facebook. Or watching the official DragonCon page (again on FB). The pictures are always incredible so that's what I'll be doing while missing Atlanta and my peeps.
I admit it -- I've known for years I needed to update my website from its original design. I was totally in love with the kickass graphics created by none other than Ilona Andrews (fabulous urban fantasy author).
But after a while all things need a change.
Of course, I kept procrastinating -- there were books to write -- and it never got done. Until now.
So here's my new Jana Oliver site, complete with info on all the books plus a section for my alter-ego Chandler Steele. And I promise to post more often than once every (checks sidebar) two years 0-o.
Cats have it made. At least the indoor ones. They sleep most of the time, are fed regularly with on-demand scratches, playtime, treats. You name it, cats got it. All because they’re adorable furry tyrants who were smart enough to cozy up to some primitive humans and rid their caves of rats. Seems like a good bargain to me.
This is my cat, Dali, who is now nearly 11 years old. She’s a rescue who started out way skittish and now she’s queen of all she surveys. As it is with cats. Right now I wish I was here because napping on this gray, rainy day would be perfect.
Thanks for reading my books and hanging on social media with me.
Hope your Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are bright. On to the New Year!
Now that I’ve completed the first draft of VALIANT LIGHT (Demon Trappers #6), I’ve “marked up” about 100 pages of it as I work on Draft #2. So far I’m happy with it.
That doesn’t mean the story won’t slide off the rails further into the edit, but so far folks are doing what they should. Riley’s snarkiness (missing in the first draft) is fully engaged and Beck is being his lovable self. Lucifer is all things creepy, as one would expect of the CEO of Hell.
Hoping to have the second draft done before Christmas. That’s being *very* optimistic. Still, it’s nice to have goals. As the late Douglas Adams once said, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” #VALIANTLIGHT
Beginning today, SOJOURN (the first book in the multi-award winning Time Rovers series – a mashup of fantasy, science fiction, romance and historical mystery) is on sale at Kobo.
Set in the mean streets during the Autumn of Terror (think Jack the Ripper 1888), SOJOURN introduces us to Jacynda Lassiter, a Time Rover who is one time hop away from insanity. But when her lover is killed and his body thrown in the Thames, Cynda vows to find his killer, without screwing up history.
Casebook: Jack the Ripper
“Sojourn is a rare, well-researched and entertaining tale of time travel set against the backdrop of Victorian England and the Whitechapel Murders.”
Romantic Times BOOKreviews – 4-1/2 Star Top Pick (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
“Oliver’s first Time Rovers book is a spellbinding, multilayered mystery with a bit of romance that will delight fans. She’s done her research, skillfully recreating the sights and sounds of Victorian England with perfect detail, and she’s equally adept at fast-forwarding into the future. Strong characters and realistic dialogue add to this exciting page-turner.”
Winner of the:
*Bookseller’s Best Award (Greater Detroit RWA)
*Daphne du Maurier Award (Kiss of Death Chapter RWA)
*Golden Quill Award (Desert Rose RWA)
*Prism Award (Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal Chapter RWA)
*ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award (Editor’s Choice – Fiction)
Welcome to the world of the Time Rovers® www.TimeRovers.com
Pseudonym: nom de plume/pen name, alias
Short version: Chandler Steele is a pen name. The actual person behind the Veritas Series is me.
And who is me?
Jana Oliver. I’ve been in the publishing biz since 2001, been writing since 1998. My books have been published by small presses, big presses and independently. My most successful endeavor to date is the Demon Trappers, which is a young adult urban fantasy series and has been published worldwide. I’ve won quite a few awards, including ones in the mystery genre. In short, I’m not a newbie.
Why Publish Under Another Name?
Why did I create Chandler and keep her a secret? Much like J.K. Rowling (though my royalty checks are **considerably** less hefty), I wanted to do something new without any preconceived notions as to what the story might contain. Rowling knew her fame with Harry Potter colored readers’ expectations of her Cormoran Strike series, so she published as Robert Galbraith. These books are classic British mysteries, set at a different pace than the Potter ones, with not a jot of magic or the paranormal. Once her pen name was “outted”, reviewers complained that the Strike books weren’t anything like Harry Potter. Which was the whole point.
I’ve run into this issue myself as often my non-Demon Trapper books are compared to the series, which is much beloved. I understand the sentiment, but I wanted to have free rein. Chandler was “born” so I could write pure romantic suspense/thrillers, based on current events, stories that include adult language and (gasp) sex.
From this day forward, Chandler and Jana are one person. No more hiding that fact in Facebook posts or on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Chandler will continue to “live” in Chicago, writing her rom suspenses with hunky heroes and kick butt heroines (and blowing sh*t up.) Jana will continue to live in Atlanta and write spooky paranormal urban fantasy stories. They will happily co-exist as Jana and Chandler both like scotch and the occasional cigar.
The Other Reason I did This
This was an experiment, of sorts. I wanted to find out exactly how hard it would be for a new author to find readers in 2016, without using an existing network of friends and acquaintances. Tyra Burton (best buddy and university marketing professor) and I used many of social media’s tricks, tools and platforms in an effort to build readership. And found it was just as hard in 2016 as it was in 2001 because there is so much competition. In fact, we’re presenting a workshop on our findings today, complete with all the grimy details. We both learned a lot of new things, lessons that we will be applying down the line.
For Jana’s readers, you have two books and a novella you didn’t realize existed (CAT’S PAW, KILLING GAME and BROKEN DREAMS in the Veritas series). These are NOT young adult stories. Currently they are only available on Amazon and Createspace, but will be rolling out on iTunes, B&N, Kobo and GooglePlay in December, along with a boxed set. More details can be found at Chandler’s website (www.ChandlerSteele.com) along with some informative blogs that cover “ripped from the headlines” topics like domestic terrorism, what it’s like in prison, prostitution and drug running in New Orleans, what it’s like to be a sniper, etc. And yes, the next Demon Trappers book (VALIANT LIGHT) will be out in the spring of 2017.
For Chandler readers, well now you’ve got a lot more selection to choose from (www.JanaOliver.com). Twelve books are currently available, ranging from young adult urban fantasies, to paranormal murder mysteries, and an award-winning trilogy about time travelers in Victorian London.
Eventually Chandler’s website will be integrated into a section of Jana’s (once that site is completely reworked). From now on I’ll be doing events as both JO and CS. But I have to admit being CS has been a blast, mostly because I had the joy of writing books I’ve always wanted to write while running completely under the radar.
So it’s ALL GOOD!
Jana & Chandler
Jana is an international & multi-award winning author in several genres including young adult, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.