Hello, lovely readers! Today, I’m kicking off the tour for Stacey Jay’s OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, hosted by the fabulous Rockstar Book Tours. OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, Stacey’s latest novel, sounds nothing short of epic, and I’m thrilled to have a guest post with the author on her journey to publication. And be sure to stay til the end – you can win one of ten hardcover copies!
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love
Once upon a time in Southern California, there lived a very naïve, very out of work, former actress and new mother to an adorable little boy. After the birth of her son, the actress (who had never made much money being an actress, though she worked very hard at it), found herself unable to afford childcare in order to continue auditioning, and making not-very-much-money, in the manner to which she had become accustomed.
Eager to continue earning at least a little money, and to have work to occupy her time while her new baby took his two naps every day, the actress put her mind to seeking out a job she could do from home. She soon realized that—armed with a BFA in Acting, and a spotty work history—she wasn’t qualified to do much except play pretend for a living. And so she decided to start writing fiction. She had always loved to read (and play pretend), had had a few of the plays she’d written produced, and was practically addicted to writing bad poetry. She figured with practice, commitment, and discipline, she should be able to start earning a small living as author within a year or so.
This was not a very wise thing to figure. (As most of you know, publishing is a difficult business to break into, let alone make a living at, and the actress had absolutely NO clue what she was doing.)
This became an even less wise thing to figure when the new mom soon became a single mom and the breadwinner for her small family. (Anyone who tells you babies aren’t expensive is lying. Big, stinky, needs-a-new-diaper lies.)
Now…at this point…if the actress had been sensible, she would have secured a full time job of some sort—waiting tables or bartending or something she’d done before—and put writing on the backburner. But the actress had never been big on sense. Stubbornness: yes. A firm believer in, and possessor of, an insane work ethic: heck yes.
Sensible…not so much.
And so the actress, who had begun to publish steamy romance stories with a digital publisher under a pen name, worked harder. She wrote four to five thousand words a day. She submitted partials to dozens of agents. She continued to publish a new steamy romance under her pen name every few months while working on the book of her heart—a Young Adult novel, because that was what the actress really wanted to write—every moment she could spare.
It took about twice as long as she had initially hoped—two years, instead of one—and the generosity of a mom willing to let the actress and her baby shack up with Grandma for several months (thanks, Mom), but within twenty-six months of beginning to write every day, the actress had a contract with a New York publisher for her first Young Adult book, and nine novels and novellas digitally published under her pseudonym.
Since then, she has gone on to publish eight novels as Stacey Jay (Stacey is her real name, J is her middle initial).
OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, her latest, is out July 23
So…that’s the story.
The tale of my path-to-publication makes me cringe a little every time I think about it—hence the third person—but I share the complete truth in hopes that it will inspire any of you who are currently on the path and feeling frustrated and confused.
You could not be more clueless than I was when I started out. (Seriously.) You can, and will, sort it all out, if you are determined to do so. Determination is, in my experience, the most important trait a writer can possess. A mild case of insanity is probably a close second.
Stacey Jay is a recovering workaholic (or at least working hard at recovering) with three pen names, two small children, and a passion for playing pretend for a living. She’s been a full time mom-writer since 2005 and can’t think of anything she’d rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, waiter, math tutor (for real) and yoga instructor.
In her very limited spare time, Stacey enjoys cooking elaborate dinners and eating them very slowly, dressing up in costumes with her sons, and drinking wine with her husband. She loves to hear from readers and personally answers every single email she receives.
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