TagE.V. Jacob

Book Launch Announcement (Times Two)

Hello. Yes, I know this is a non-Monday post. I have something to say.

*clears throat*

KOTOV SYNDROME WILL BE RELEASING ON JANUARY 23, 2021!

Announcement – Part 1

Oh. Hi. If you can still hear over the sound of my all caps shouting, I have some things to tell you about.

I’ve been talking about my work in progress book, Kotov Syndrome, for nearly three years now. I recently shared that I have a fancy awesome cover created by the talented Lauren Restivo. Since that point, I’ve reviewed three proof copies of my book, done a few rounds of editing, and gotten very angry KDP’s inability to handle the italic version of Helvetica1Seriously. This was the weirdest thing. There’s no good explanation for it anywhere in KDP’s documentation. The only thing I can figure is that Word technically classifies Helvetica’s italic version as an oblique font rather than true italics. But still. It’s fucking Helvetica. It’s been around since 1957!. That said, I think I’m finally done with editing (aside from one last grammar and style check). That means I can finally submit my manuscript to various platforms and setup pre-order. That, in turn, means I have a release date.

As of today, you can pre-order Kotov Syndrome as an ebook and paperback through various channels. I’ll be linking to some places where you can buy at the bottom of the post. While I encourage you to pre-order via whatever channels you enjoy the most, if you don’t care, I would recommend pre-ordering the ebook through Amazon or Apple Books. The more pre-orders I can get for an e-book, the better. As for paperback, feel free to request through your own local book store or your shop of preference. I personally adore Barnes & Noble, but I know that’s a me thing. And hey…while you’re at it, you should totally request my book through your local public library. Because that’d be the coolest thing of all.

I do not intend to do a hardcover version of the book at this time. While I’d personally love a hardcover of the book, there wasn’t a ton of interest in it outside of myself — especially not at the price point I’d have to put it at in order to even break even on a hardcover. If there’s enough pre-order interest in my book, I might change my mind. Additionally, if I can get enough support on Patreon to be able to fund some advertising for the book, that would potentially change this as well. So, if you’re not a patron and wish to help put me in a position where I can do hardcovers, go support me on Patreon. Please 😀

One other quick note I want to throw out there. This book deals a lot with mental health issues, as you’ll see in the synopsis. For every book I sell (pre-order or otherwise), a portion of the money I make will to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I don’t know an exact amount yet, as there are still storefronts working on being setup. That said, I’m leaning towards something like 15% of the proceeds I’d make for a book.

Synopsis

So what’s this book about? You know, since I’m encouraging you to buy it and stuff.

Kotov Syndrome Cover

Kotov Syndrome focuses on a young woman, Erika Edens, who is struggling with life. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, suffers from mental illness and recurring nightmares, is estranged from her family, and is unlucky with love. Out of the blue, Erika’s ex-girlfriend and only previous long-term relationship, Abby Lin, contacts her out of the blue. There’s just one small problem.

Abby is a computer simulation. And she needs Erika to save her.

The story follows Abby as she adjusts to living life as a computer simulation in an android body in a world increasingly hostile to this technology. Meanwhile, Erika finally has her long-lost love back in her life. But can she put her demons aside long enough to co-exist with Abby as a roommate?

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, anxiety, bigotry, car accident, death, hate crimes, homophobia, intrusive thoughts, mental illness, racism, sexism, strong language, trauma/PTSD, violence

Feedback on Kotov Syndrome

While Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Kotov Syndrome are not yet available — more to come on that — I wanted to share some feedback I received from beta readers on the book. These pieces of feedback have been shared with the consent of the beta readers in question. While they did review a working version of the book, I feel like their feedback is worth sharing, hence asking them and then doing so. Quotes may be shortened for clarity, but are otherwise unaltered.

It’s an easy read. Like not in a childish way, but some books just seem heavy and need breaks. I didn’t want to stop reading yours. – K.N.

I read through it in 2 days on the first reading on my phone, so it is definitely not boring. – T.

Abby and Erika feel very real and they both feel very…whole. It’s absolutely like getting a glimpse of full, real people with rich histories that, even if I don’t know them, they’re there. – E.J.

The entirety of what I have written for Chapter 22 is “That… was terrifying”. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. – S.S.

I do really like Erika’s character though. She seems very real, and very flawed, which is nice. Not a heroine, yet relatable. – T.W.

Announcement – Part 2

Wait, you say, confused why I’m speaking for you in the middle of a blog post that you’re reading inside your own head. There’s a part 2 to this announcement? Yes, there is.

On the same day that Kotov Syndrome is releasing, author duo Jacob Crawford will be releasing the second book in the Dark Sentinels series, this one being called The Assassin.

For those unaware, Jacob Crawford is a mother-daughter author duo comprised of P.E. Crawford and E.V. Jacob. E.V. is a dear friend of mine and I could not be more excited than I am to be launching our books on the same date. I’m also the editor for The Assassin and believe me when I say that I am hyped as fuck for this book. While The Assassin is not available for pre-order at this time, you should consider picking up the first book in the series, The Shadows, to have something to read while you wait on our books to come out.

Where You Can Pre-Order Books

If you’re interested in pre-ordering either Kotov Syndrome, I’ve put plenty of links below to help you do so. As we get closer to the release date for these books, if there’s anything you can do — or would like to do — to help spread the word about said books, we’d love your help. More info on that to come in the near future. If/once The Assassin is available for pre-order, information for that will be posted here as well.

Kotov Syndrome Pre-Order Links

NOTE: Pre-order links will be posted beginning September 22nd as they go live on retailer sites. I’ll add more links as they become available, though that may not necessarily be on the 22nd, as I’m running into some delays with pre-order links going live. While you’re waiting on the pre-order links to go live, you should add the book to your Goodreads shelf. All links below are USA unless stated otherwise.

Ebook
Note: The price should be either $3.99 or $4.00 (USA). If it’s more than that, someone is marking the price up on you.

Paperback
Note: The price should be $17.00 (USA). If it’s more than that, someone is marking the price up on you2For example, Chegg.com has this book available for pre-order for $20.99, while Alibris (not to be confused with Adlibris below) has it for $26.70. Don’t buy from them. They’re marking you up..

Q4 2019 Podcast Is Up

Hi everyone.

You’re getting another off-schedule Monday blog post to announce that the Q4 podcast episode is up on my Patreon page. As a reminder for those of you who are regular readers — as well as an FYI to those who may be new to the blog — the podcasts I do each quarter on my Patreon are available to all readers of my blog as well as my Patreon supporters. Patrons do get additional perks, such as bonus blog posts, monthly podcasts, and other perks. If you’re interested in becoming one of my patrons, head over to my Patreon page and support me for as little as $1 per month.

You can find this quarter’s free podcast here. In this quarter’s podcast, I brought back author Evey Jacob for her second appearance. In the podcast, we talked about growth arcs we love in TV shows, writing in video games and TV that surprised us, and discussed our own works in progress. Typically these quarterly podcasts are in a Q&A format. That said, due to scheduling limitations on my end, I failed to get out a Q&A thread in a timely manner for this podcast, hence the format followed here.

If there are questions you’d like to hear answered on next quarter’s podcast — as well as any topics you’d like to hear me discuss with my guest hosts — leave them in the comments of this post. While patrons will get their questions answered first, I do try to make an effort to get to all questions submitted in each podcast, regardless of source.

Author Interview – E. V. Jacob

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review post for the new book The Shadows by E. V. Jacob. It’s a book that’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read in 2017, as well as one that I definitely think you should pick up. If you haven’t read the review, I would encourage you to do so.

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to chat with E. V. Jacob a bit about her new book, her experience as a new author, as well as about some other authors that she sees inspiration in. The transcript of our chat is below. Responses have been edited solely for the purposes of fixing typos. For ease of reading, my questions are in bold, with the responses unbolded below each question.


Tim (T): I’m going to start off with what might be the most obvious question — how does it feel to be a published author?

E. V. Jacob (E): It’s twofold: On the one hand, it feels like everything you want it to and more—I’m proud, excited, grateful, happy, and having a blast. But on the other hand…you’re still you at the end of the day, you know? Nothing about you, or who you are, has ultimately changed. Because the road to publishing, as any published author knows, is so long, that the changes happen over time. There’s no sudden shift; there’s long-term growth. And that’s honestly a great thing, it’s just not as immediate as I think most people would assume. At the same time, it still all feels like a whirlwind and I can’t believe that it’s already done. This simultaneously took forever and happened in the blink of an eye. It’s weird.

T: As a newly published author, what was the your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? What was the most intimidating part of the process?

E: I love it all. I do these wild plotting sessions with outlines and timelines and character profiles. I pin up notecards and scatter papers all over the floor, and do that murder wall thing you see in investigations. Then I hand-write the first draft. After it’s done (and boy is it a hot mess when it’s done), I type it up and get to editing. Each and every stage is incredibly fun but also incredibly daunting in its own way. I get stuck, I get frustrated, but the whole time you love what you’re doing, and that keeps me going. But really, I think the best part—and this could just be the novelty of it—was finally getting it out there into the world, and being able to say “I am 100% done writing that book. Time for something new”.

T: From the outside looking in, you seem to be a very motivated, very driven writer. What keeps you motivated during your creative slumps?

E: I appreciate that, because I don’t usually feel like a motivated or driven writer. But what keeps me going is just how badly I want to tell these stories. I have over 70 books planned, and that can sometimes seem like an impossible task, so I am just trying to tell as many of these stories as I can in the time I have. Writing is also a great refuge, and cathartic, so often it’s as therapeutic as it is productive (and other times it’s a damn chore, but I get my friends to yell at me and demand the next chapters, and that helps me churn out words on the bad days).

T: Who are some of the author — or even some of the works — that inspired you? Do you think any of those inspirations show through in The Shadows?

E: My first love, at the ripe old age of six, was the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate. I still have every single book and read them from time to time. They definitely influenced me. As I grew older, I read anything I could get my hands on, so figuring out exactly has been the biggest influence can be tricky. I’d be lying if I left off obvious contenders, like J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and Rick Riordan, but I think every single book I’ve ever read has motivated me to write and tell my own stories. Even books I didn’t like, because I’d think, “If this can get published and have fans then my book should definitely be out there.” One I always think of is Douglas Adams—he’s so funny and absurd and I so admire the odd, casual manner in which he is completely ridiculous.

T: Let’s take some time to talk about your book now. If someone walked up to you on the street and asked you about your book, how would you explain The Shadows to them?

E: I’ve just been describing it as a young adult paranormal sci-fi as of late, but if someone wanted a more in-depth description, I’d tell them it’s about tragedy, and loss. It’s about mental health struggles, and figuring out who you are, apart from what you’ve been raised to be. It’s also about ghosts and some other entities that I don’t want to spoil, but…yeah, things get weird. That’s a phrase I use a lot when describing it, too: “Things get weird.” Which is hilarious to me, since this is arguably the tamest of all my books.

T: The Shadows is your debut piece, however it’s evident that it’s intended to be part of a longer series. Has this always been a series in your mind or did it start out as a book and become something more?

E: This is kind of tricky. See, years and years ago, there was a stand-alone novel that I discussed with my mother about a teen girl named Roz, her eccentric artist neighbor, and some dark secrets. I fiddled with this a bit, but it never fully evolved into anything. And there was another stand-along novel about Derek and Emily—two characters in this book—that was mostly an exploration of Derek’s personal struggles.

Fast-forward to about five years ago, and I’m again kicking things around with my mother, and a new idea blossoms: A series, with a more supernatural feel, taking Roz from her book, and Derek and Emily from their book, adding some other characters, throwing in some mysteries and mystical entities, and creating a series that could unfold over several books. So it almost started as two separate stand-alone books that have been combined into one longer series.

Fun fact: Both Roz and Derek’s original stories will be told over the course of this series, so very little was lost; just assimilated and reworked. I’m excited to still get to share those concepts in this bigger framework, because I loved them both, but they needed the rest of the story to shine.

T: Are there any characters in The Shadows that you like or feel more attached to than others? Any reason why?

E: I mentioned Derek having come from a previous story, and he is actually the character I’ve had the longest out of all others in this series, so he’s rather dear to me. His role in book one is smaller, but that’s mostly due to his reserved nature. He’ll feature more in coming books, and I hope others will come to care about him like I do. Ford is also special, mostly because he’s so easy to write it’s almost like he’s writing himself. I never have to sit there and think about what he’s going to say or do, he just does it. It’s great fun, and he brings out sides of the other characters I like. Roz, I relate to in more ways than I realized I would, and in fact I didn’t see it until the book was almost published.

T: Going into the book as a reader, I knew there was going to be a good bit of paranormal and supernatural content in the book. That said, the detail you went into with the ghost hunting and the paranormal shows was more than I expected. Was there a lot of research that you put into this book — be it in the paranormal realm or otherwise? If so, what was the strangest thing you found yourself researching as you were writing this book?

E: So much research. I mentioned my mother helping out before, and I should say: She loves to research, so I’d recruit her help and she’d find some amazing stuff. Also, I have an affinity for physics and scientific study, so I always liked the idea of explaining the paranormal in logical terms. A lot of research went into “ghosts from a scientific standpoint” (which I’m sure isn’t surprising to anyone who’s read the book), and I built from there. I need to know how things work in order to write them, even if it never makes it into the book, so when I wrote my first ever ghost story—a short story requested by a friend back in 2012—I found myself puzzling over the physics of ghosts. I spent way too much time thinking about how it all worked. So it’s been building for quite some time now, and I’m likely going to continue adding to my eclectic knowledge.

T: Being from Southern Nevada, how much research did you have to do into the setting for the story and how much came from memory?

E: I was born and raised in Las Vegas, so almost all of it was from memory, though I did use the book as an excuse to “research” locations a few times. I’ve been going to Red Rock Canyon all my life, and I actually lived up on Mount Charleston (just outside of Echo, the area mentioned in the book) when I was a teenager. Most of the restaurants and other locations I mentioned are real, or are based on real spots around town that I like to visit. I actually went up to the mountains and hiked around, deciding exactly where I wanted the final scenes of the book to take place. It was a lot of fun, getting to use my hometown as a backdrop to a story, especially when so many of my other projects take place in different countries, time periods, or even on different planets.

T: You’re working on the second book in the Dark Sentinels series now. There’s a nice, albeit short, excerpt that appears at the end of The Shadows as to what’s going to happen in the second book. Anything else you can share about the next book in the series?

E: Some questions will be answered, more questions will be posed, and Rosalind (and her friends!) are going to find themselves dragged even deeper into this mess. Relationships will be strained, and Roz will have to work very hard to keep up with her new abilities. I’m trying not to give anything major away, but things get a lot more intense as the series progresses, and it happens pretty rapidly. Book one, as you know, was a lot of set-up; books two and beyond won’t be slowed down by setting the stage—full speed ahead into the weird.

T: What new, upcoming, or little-known authors would you recommend to others to read?

E: One person who’s writing I love and was fortunate enough to get to read before it was published is Ryan Dalton. He’s the author of the Time Shift Trilogy, which anyone who loves sci-fi and time travel should absolutely check out. Another, with a completely different style, is Abigail Johnson. She writes these complex, deep real-world stories about people taking the raw hand they were dealt and turning that into something magnificent. And she, as a person, is hugely inspiring. I also know that there’s a book coming out Fall 2018 by Candice Montgomery, Home & Away, which I think a lot of people are going to love. And me, of course. I have a lot of projects in the works—some solo, some collaborative, all awesome.


If you haven’t already, go pick up The Shadows by clicking on any of the links below. Additionally, you can learn more about E. V. Jacob by going to her website or by following her on Twitter.

Amazon – Hardcover | Kindle | Paperback
Draft2Digital
Kobo
Smashwords

Book Review – The Shadows (Dark Sentinels, Book One)

You know what I haven’t done in a while? A book review.

Tim, you did one in April.

Huh. So I did. Well I haven’t done many of them.

This will be your sixth.

Uh…well it’s not like I’ve done any other revi…

What about this one?

Goddammit. Am I becoming a reviewer?

Not yet, but you’re on your way.

 

…also, if you’re looking for an update on the book charity drive, that’ll come later this week or early next week. Anyway, on with the review.


Full disclosure on this review — I received an advanced reader copy of The Shadows. While I’m not receiving any sort of compensation for writing this review, I am quite shamelessly helping the author promote this book as I can on Twitter. This is partly because she’s been a writer/creator I’ve held a lot of respect for for quite some time now1Yes, I know there’s a double for there. It’s also grammatically correct.. It’s also partly because The Shadows is a damn good book.

Oh…uh…review spoilers in that previous paragraph2Since people get all bent out of shape for spoilers. Which…stop that..

As a reader, I have a decently wide range of books I like to read. With that said, one of the original book genres that I really got into when I started caring about reading was the Young Adult genre. In particular, I tended to prefer Young Adult dystopian novels3Think “Feed” by M.T. Anderson., however I wasn’t opposed to reading pretty much anything in the genre, aside from heavy romance4Still can’t stand heavy romance novels now, regardless of if they’re young adult books or not. For whatever reason, many romance writers struggle to write good plot..

That said, it’s been quite some time since I’ve really sat down and read a YA novel. The only one I’ve read in the past three years was Mila 2.0 which, while a good book, wasn’t one that I actively went out of my way to recommend to others to read. On top of that, when the book’s concept was original ran by me, it was stated to be a young adult paranormal sci-fi book. The closest I’ve come to caring about paranormal things is my love for Chandelure and Froslass in the Pokemon games. Needless to say the book had a chance of being outside of my wheelhouse.

Here’s the thing though…I loved the book.

The main character of this book, Roz, is a very relatable character in my mind. Anyone who has gone through the challenges of living as a child in a single parent household will have some level of empathy for Roz’s situation, particularly the frustrations of her mother not being around. The other major characters of the story also seem to jump off of the page — in particular Derek, who is more of a secondary character in the book, but has a very distinct way of speaking, to the point where I feel like I know exactly what his voice sounds like in my head.

The characters themselves form a diverse, multicultural cast, which is always a pleasure to see in a book. It’s something I know from personal experience can be a struggle for writers, so seeing someone handle it successfully is always a positive. The paranormal entities in the book also stick around in your mind for a while, particularly Diego and the book’s main antagonist5It’s hard to explain exactly what this specter is without spoiling, so that’s all you’re getting..

The Shadows is definitely a setup book. You can tell the book is doing its best to introduce you to the main characters of the story, the intricacies of the world around them, the gravity of the challenges they’re facing, and the relationships between the characters themselves. You can also tell that there’s going to be more books in this series coming down the line. And yet, even though you can, as a reader, surmise that as the book is winding down, the only feeling you’re left with is sadness that the book is ending and you don’t get to know what happens next. Having a preview of the second book at the end was particular cruel — not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I wanted to know more.

I was able to get through The Shadows in a single evening, though I was a bit distracted, so quick readers might be able to finish it in just a few hours. It’s not that The Shadows is a particularly short read — the ebook version I had was around 290 pages — it’s that it’s a captivating read that you won’t want to put down. I cannot recommend The Shadows highly enough. Not only would I encourage those of you reading this interview to buy the book, I would also say that many of you, like me, will find it to be one of your favorite books you’ll read this year.