J. L. Willow

Author ~ Blogger ~ Storyteller

I am super excited to finally announce the cover and release date of A Weighted Soul and Other Dark and Twisted Tales! This project has been in the works for quite some time, and it is absolutely amazing to see it start coming together. Before we jump into it though, I’d like to give an overview of the project.

A Weighted Soul is a new adult collection of horror short stories. If you’re not familiar with new adult, it’s the category between Young Adult and Adult, meaning it’s more mature than the usual YA novels you’ll find. For reference, Missing Her and The Scavenger were both Young Adult. This means that A Weighted Soul is for a more mature audience compared to my other works. There is significant profanity, gore, and disturbing sequences, so please be aware of that if you decide to purchase a copy for a younger reader.

There are six stories in the collection, each of which are outlined in the blurb. If you want to take a look at the blurb, you can check it out HERE.

The collection is being illustrated by the amazing Crina Magalio, who has done a ton of amazing projects in a variety of areas. Learn more about her and her other work HERE.

Alright, let’s get to the part you’ve all been waiting for…

HERE’S THE COVER!!

a-weighted-soul-final

Isn’t it awesome??? It was designed by the incredible Mandi Lynn over at Stone Ridge Books. If you haven’t already, you should definitely go check them out! They also did the interior formatting, which I’m sure you’ll agree is pretty awesome too once you get to see it.

Now that you’ve seen the cover, I know your next question — when is it being released? I’m happy to announce that you’ll be able to get your own copy of A Weighted Soul starting November 18, 2020. That is not too far away, so you know I’ll be posting a ton of updates leading up to the release!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss a single update related to A Weighted Soul, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@jlwillowbooks) as well as YouTube! Don’t forget to turn on post notifications 🙂

What do you think of the cover?? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!

Thank you all for your support so far — I can’t wait to get this book out to you guys.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!

— Julia

Hello, everyone! Everything is changing very fast right now and I felt like it was time to make a general post just to make sure everyone is up-to-date on what’s been going on with me and my work. So, let’s get into it!

1. BookCon Cancelled

I am very sad to announce that BookCon 2020 has been cancelled 😦 At first it was postponed to July, but at this point, there’s just no way that people can be spending so much time and money setting up an event during such an unstable time. The money that I put down for my booth this year has been transferred to next year, so I will most likely be attending in 2021. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing all of you and I’m very disappointed we’ll have to wait another year until us book-lovers are together again. But don’t worry — 2021 will be a huge celebration!

2. Current WIP

I’ve been talking a lot about my newest project, A Weighted Soul and Other Dark and Twisted Tales and I am excited to announce that I’ve been making a ton of progress! I’ll be making more announcements as time goes on, but right now, it’s full steam ahead! I’m so excited for you guys to read what I’ve been working on — “dark” and “twisted” are definitely great words to describe it. If you want to read more about it, check out my page for it HERE.

3. College Update

I’ve been doing online schooling for about a month and a half now. It’s definitely been a transition, but I’ve been able to keep on top of my studies and I’m confident that I’ll finish the year with a solid year of engineering under my belt. Once all my classes are finished with, I’ll be able to focus solely on my writing and I’m very excited to dive into a new project.

Alright, I think that’s all for now! I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy — we’re making it by, day-by-day ❤

— Julia

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve given you a general update on how life is going, so I figured I’d write a quick post to let y’all know what I’ve been up to 🙂

1. College

Mechanical engineering has been great! My second semester is in full swing and I’m having a blast. It’s definitely a lot of work, but nothing I can’t handle. I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with friends and have even been in a few of my school’s theatrical productions! That being said, I’ve still been able to make time to write, which brings me to my next point …

2. My new WIP

A few weeks ago, I realized the genre of my new book! It’s going to be a new adult collection of short horror stories and I cannot wait to get this book out to you guys!! It’s much darker than what I’ve done in the past and I think you’re going to be surprised at some of the stuff I’ve come up with 🙂 It’s also being illustrated by the insanely talented Crina Magalio. Her work is really going to intensify the stories and bring a whole new depth to the reading experience.

3. Missing Her on the BIG SCREEN?

In the fall of 2019, I entered Missing Her into the BookPipeline fiction contest. Out of over 1.7k entries, my novel was chosen as a finalist and is one of the top four entries overall!
So, what’s so special about BookPipeline? Because Missing Her is a finalist, the story will be getting circulation and promotion to producers and TV executives as well as project development for a film or series pitch. Basically, I’m going to have a team behind me pushing for Missing Her to be on the big screen!! In the past, BookPipeline has brought some awesome stories to life, including “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Stuber” (both of which I actually saw in theaters)! If I’m honest, I never thought I’d ever get this chance. An author never writes a book with a movie in mind, but it’s something that always seems like a far-off dream. Who knows what the future holds, but the fact that Missing Her has made it this far has put me beyond words. I’m so honored for this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this far.

4. BookCon 2020

That’s right, everyone! Zachary James and I are back at BookCon this year! We’re going to be in the Javits Center in New York City, Booth 311 on May 30th and 31st!! I’m so excited to see all of you guys there! I had a blast the last two years 🙂

All right, I think that’s all for now! If you have any questions, feel free to drop it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Thanks, as always, for your support! Love you guys!

— Julia

 

Today, I am super excited to announce my next project! My next book is going to be (drumroll please) 

A collection of short stories!

I know, exciting right?! If you’d like to learn more about the collection (like how many stories there will be, what genre it’s in and more) check out the YouTube video that I posted earlier today! I go into a lot more detail about it 🙂

But that’s not even all of it. I’m also getting the collection illustrated!

I’ve been working closely with the extremely talented Crina Magalio to have an illustration for every story in the collection. She’s been doing amazing work and it’s really going to enhance the reading experience! Be sure to check out her website HERE!

Are you excited to learn more about my short story collection? Let me know in the comments! I can’t wait for you guys to read what I’ve been working on.

— Julia

The end of the year is here, and that means it’s time to reflect on my resolutions! And although I don’t have 20-20 vision (haha get it?) I’m also going to write some resolutions for next year! First, though, I need to look back over what my goals were for 2019 and see how I did.

If you would like to see me talk about these in person, you can watch my YouTube video HERE!

New Year’s Resolutions for 2019:

  • Launch Missing Her: This is an easy one — yep! Missing Her was launched on May 8th of this year. I set up a street team, gave away ARCs, and even made a book trailer. I’m really proud of how this release went. It lived up to all my expectations and more!
  • Draft next book: I am excited to say that not only is there a new book on the horizon, but the first draft has also been completed!! I’m hoping to release some more information soon, but for now, I’m knee-deep in edits. Wish me luck!
  • Attend an author event/con: Although things got a little crazy toward the end of the year (with the whole college thing going on) I did attend BookCon in NYC June. I had a blast and I’m planning on attending in 2020 as well, so be sure to keep an eye out for more information on that in the future!
  • Host a giveaway: I actually held two giveaways this year: one for the release of Missing Her and one more recently for the two year anniversary of The Scavenger! I love giving back to fans and it feels great to get my books into the hands of excited readers.
  • Host a live stream: Although I didn’t host a live stream on Instagram or YouTube this year, I was present and interacting with viewers during a few Premieres I held on my YouTube channel, so I’ll count it!

Alright, 5/5! I’m really proud of all that I was able to accomplish during 2019. And it doesn’t look like I’m planning on slowing down in the next year! Let’s take a look at new resolutions:

New Year’s Resolutions for 2020:

 

  • Finish edits on current project: Although I can’t give many details on what I’m currently working on (hopefully I will in the next couple of weeks, keep an eye on my YouTube channel) I’d like to have most of the edits done by the mid-point of this year. Hopefully, this goal of having them complete by the end of the year is doable!

 

  • Finish secret project: In addition to my current project, there’s a secret side project that is something completely different from anything I’ve done before. I’m super excited to see how it goes and I would like it to also be completed by the end of the year.

 

  • Attend an author event/con: I’m already planning on attending BookCon again this year, but I’d love to go to a few other author events too! I will say, though, that I’m actively searching for internships this summer for my studies as a mechanical engineer, so that would take priority. But hopefully, I’ll be able to carve out some time!

 

  • Make another book trailer: I had such a blast making the book trailer for Missing Her, and I definitely want to do another for the project I’m currently working on. I have some great ideas for it, and I can’t wait to put them onscreen. There’s something so exciting about seeing a visual representation of your favorite stories, don’t you agree?

 

  • Take a writing retreat: I’m not sure when or where this will happen (or maybe it’ll be virtual!) but I would love to take time during my year and fully dedicate it to writing. At least a few days, maybe even a week. Obviously, this is going to have to be something that’s planned carefully in advance so I have the time. But I think it’s definitely doable!

Alright, that’s all I got! We’ll see how many of these actually get done. I hope all of you had an awesome 2019! I look forward to the new year and all of the possibilities it holds.

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

— JULIA

2019 NaNoWriMo Facebook Cover

October has arrived and any seasoned writers know what that means: it’s almost time for Nanowrimo!!

If you’re not familiar with Nanowrimo, it’s an event where writers around the world challenge themselves to write 50k words in a month (or 1667 words a day). It’s about as crazy as it sounds, but it’s a ton of fun!

It’s become a tradition for me and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be participating again this year! You can check out my end-of-Nano reflection from two years ago HERE and my daily vlog from last year HERE! I also just released a new video talking about my plan for this year, which you can watch HERE!

I’m going to be approaching Nano a little bit differently this year. Instead of just slamming out as many words as I possibly can, I’m going to find a pace that’s writing quickly but not so quickly that I lose quality. The two drafts I’ve completed in Nanos past have been good, but they really needed a lot of work. I’m hoping that if I slow down the pace a bit, it’ll help the quality (and also keep me from going insane with the added college work-load).

What are your plans for November? Are you taking on the Nanowrimo challenge? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

— Julia

This update is about giving you guys a heads-up that things may be a little different around here — ’cause I’m officially studying to be a mechanical engineer! I’ve been preparing for this time in my life for a very long time, and as I’m writing this, I am currently sitting at my new home for the next several years. Since you guys are along with me for the ride, I figured I’d give you a run-down on how things are going to change (and stay the same) for my platform and my work!

First off, I’m definitely still writing, so don’t worry about that. At the moment, I have two projects in the works, which I will continue working on around my class schedule. But if I go air-silent for a few days at a time on social media, that’s just because I’m working hard to stay on top of my courses 🙂

One thing I’ve gotten a lot of questions about is my YouTube channel: am I still going to be posting weekly videos? You’ll be happy to know that the answer is yes, as shown by the fact that I’ll be posting my official “Dorm Tour” tomorrow afternoon! At the moment, it still looks like I’m going to be able to keep up with one video a week. But as things start to get busier, I might have to change that to one video every two weeks. If that becomes the case, I will let you guys know, so just keep an eye out on social media!

Besides that, I’m really enjoying life in college! I’ve learned so much already, met a ton of new friends, and even put copies of my books on consignment at some local bookstores. This is only the beginning of what’s to come, and I can’t wait to see where life takes me next.

Thank you, as always, for sticking with me and supporting me! It truly means the world to me 🙂

— Julia

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Title: The Stolen Kingdom: An Aladdin Retelling

Author: Bethany Atazadeh

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling

Review: When I heard that The Stolen Kingdom was a retelling on the classic Aladdin, I was interested to see how Atazadeh would approach it. Some of the retellings I’ve read recently are less “retell” and more “rehash,” and I find that I enjoy the story more when authors take a risk with the original story rather than playing it safe. But I had nothing to worry about. The Stolen Kingdom takes a completely new direction to the classic fairy tale, one that is familiar, refreshing, and unlike anything in the current YA genre.

The Stolen Kingdom follows princess Arie, who is struggling with both protecting her kingdom and protecting the secret of her Jinni’s gift which, if it gets out, could mean certain death. When a king from a nearby kingdom attempts to force her into marriage, she realizes the only way out is to leave the safety of the castle she’s known all her life and escape into the surrounding lands. it’s there that she stumbles across a group of mischievous and (surprisingly) heartfelt thieves that may be her key to removing her gift — and, perhaps, finding true companionship along the way.

Atazadeh’s writing is clean and smooth, telling the story so effortlessly that there’s no effort on the reader’s part to keep the pages turning. There’s a collection of great quippy moments among the characters which contrast against some of the genuinely darker parts of the book. It’s clear from the carefully crafted balance maintained throughout that Atazadeh is seasoned in the art of storytelling.

A story that captures both the essence of a timeless classic and the intrigue of a new tale, The Stolen Kingdom is sure to wonder and inspire as it pushes the boundaries of how we define the fairy tales of our childhoods.

The Stolen Kingdom: An Aladdin Retelling will be released on August 20th, 2019. Pre-order it HERE.

Good Choice if You Liked: A Curse so Dark and Lonely, Cinder, Dorothy Must Die

Rating: 10/10

 

 

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Title: Long Way Down

Author: Jason Reynolds

Genre: Poetry, Paranormal Fiction

Review: To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a book slump recently. I’ve had trouble connecting to what I was reading, and I was really hoping for something new that would draw me in and surprise me. Long Way Down was just what I was looking for.

Written in prose poetry, Reynolds uses format, repetition, and even anagrams to bring the reader into the mind of Will, a 15-year-old struggling to cope with the sudden death of his brother. In Will’s mind, there’s only one way to move on: kill the man who took his brother’s life. But as he descends on an elevator on the way to do what he feels must be done, he finds himself face-to-face with literal ghosts from his past. Each person that enters the elevator continues to challenge Will’s belief that this is the only way to find justice for his brother — and the other lost people in his life.

Although the book only took me a few hours to read, by the end of it, I felt like I knew Will inside and out. Reynolds’ clear, concise writing holds back nothing from the reader and starkly portrays the pain of grief and loss. He has a clever take on language that can’t be found on any other pages out there (expect, of course, his other work). It kept me enthralled from the very first page to the very last. It was one of those books that had me sitting there, mulling over what I had just read long after I closed the cover.

If you’re looking for a quick read that’s sure to keep you intrigued and perhaps even touch you in an unexpected way, I highly recommend Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down.

Good Choice if You Liked: The Graveyard Book, Crank, City of Ghosts

Rating: 10/10

 

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post and I feel like I owe you guys an update on how I’ve been doing — and, of course, what I’ve been working on!

Ever since the release of Missing Her, I’ve been quite busy. Not only with the continuation of the marketing for both my books, but also with going to BookCon and graduating high school! That’s right, I’m going to be heading to college in just a few short weeks, and that means there’s going to be some changes.

As I’m getting adapted to college-life, I most likely won’t be posting as much on my blog or my Instagram. I won’t go totally air-silent, but there is a chance that I might not be posting as much as I have been recently.

This also means that I’m not going to be able to keep my YouTube background! If you’ve ever watched any of the videos on my channel, you’ll know that I film in front of a bookshelf housing my collection of books. This will not be the case in the future as (obviously) I will not be able to take the bookshelves with me into such a small dorm. But I have a few ideas that I’m going to try out so don’t worry — to the best of my ability, I will continue to post weekly videos!

Now, the real question: what have I been writing? I’ve actually been working on two projects simultaneously (something I’ve never tried before, and it’s definitely taking some extra brain power) but I’m making steady progress on each of them. I actually made good progress on the larger of the two projects today when I completed Mandi Lynn’s 10k Writing Challenge! Keep an eye out for a video this Thursday to see how I did it.

Besides that, I’ve been having a great summer. I’ve been hard at work, but I’ve also definitely taken some time for myself to spend with family and friends. The weeks are going by really fast, but I’m trying my best to enjoy each day as it comes.

How has your summer been going? Let me know in the comments below! If you haven’t been hitting your goals for the summer, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to catch up 🙂

Just keep writing, just keep writing . . .

— Juia
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