Blog Tour: MERLIN’S STRONGHOLD by Angelica R. Jackson

Merlin's Stronghold tour bannerMerlin’s Stronghold (Faerie Crossed Book 2)
by Angelica R. Jackson
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 23rd 2018

merlincover

Just when Avery Flynn thinks she’s gaining some control over her magic, the Border between Faerie and the human world collapses in a catastrophic explosion. With waves of wild magic laying waste to Fae and human territories, the blame falls on Avery and her fiery temper.

Clearing her name will mean staying ahead of the grim Wild Huntsman on her trail, and convincing Merlin, the original embodiment of wild magic, to help before the devastation becomes permanent.

But as allies and enemies alike try to force their own agendas on her, trust does not come easily to Avery. She’ll need to set aside her doubts and accept that she can’t do this alone—before it’s too late for both worlds.
Book One:

Crow’s Rest (Faerie Crossed Book 1)
Release Date: May 2018

Summary:

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam’s, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers, and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel, and get him back, plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

angelica jacksonmerlinauthor

About the Author
In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here.

She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband, a rescued Basset Fauve de Bretagne named Chloe, and a reformed-feral cat in California’s Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and pet cuddling too.

Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill sanctuary.

She blogs at Angelic Muse, and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Northern California Publishers and Authors, and the Author’s Guild.
Author Link:   http://www.angelicarjackson.com/

crow's restcover

JOURNEY TO PUBLICATION
I love to hear about other people’s journeys to publication, partly because so many of these stories sound like romance novels. Things need to line up, in a mixture of luck and perseverance, to get that happily-ever-after! But the romance comparison doesn’t do justice to all the story twists along the way, and all the dead ends that are too painful (or embarrassing) for authors to talk about.
My own road has been anything but a straight shot: full of side tracks, blind intersections, and speed bumps. I’m pretty straightforward in talking about the challenges I ran into, so rather than write this post as a chronological list of steps, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Warning: curves ahead (photo by Angelica R. Jackson)

Crow’s Rest was the second book I wrote, and many of the agents who had turned down my first book requested to see my next novel. I followed up with those agents and while waiting to hear back, I stumbled into a publication offer in a roundabout way: I bid in an online auction on a 70-page critique from an editor, and she ended up requesting the entire book before making an offer. Lesson learned: The slush pile is not the only avenue to getting an editor or agent’s attention; be open to non-traditional tactics like pitch contests, or conversations on social media, as a way to make connections.
After the offer, the next step was to let agents I hadn’t heard back from know that I had an offer in hand. I had conversations with four agents, and ultimately signed with the one who I clicked with. But after a few months, some concerning posts on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum got my attention, and I parted ways with that agent.
Lesson learned: I knew a few clients of this agent, and I felt like I had a good sense of his business approach from his Twitter presence, so I didn’t actually check with any of his authors about their recent experiences. The posts on AW were my first clue that some of his clients (including my friend) were no longer happy with his representation. I could have saved myself from that experience by checking in with his clients.

Then I was back in talks with the small press, and I hired an intellectual property attorney to help me negotiate the contract terms without an agent. I hadn’t even known hiring an attorney for contract review was an option (if you’re an Author’s Guild member, you can get this for free), but it was a good choice for me at the time. For example, I was able to hold onto my film rights and a few other aspects that were important to me.
Lesson learned: It was easier than I expected to negotiate, and small presses generally have a little more scope to accommodate requests.

Once the contract was signed, Crow’s Rest was on a fast track and my editor and I got to work on multiple passes. He was great to work with, and I loved being part of the family of authors also getting ready for their debuts. But things like my publicist going silent a few weeks from release, and rumors about the future of the company, made this already-anxious author more worried. The small press ended up being taken over by another company, and I wasn’t happy with the new company’s practices.
Lessons learned: When things don’t go as expected, be ready to step in and speak up for yourself. For the publicist issue, that meant I made sure the plans we’d discussed for blog tours, book launches, teasers, etc were carried out by me. For the rest, it meant fighting for nearly six months to get my rights back.
So, then I found myself with a book that had already been published, plus a half-finished manuscript for the next in the series. I took some time to educate myself on self-/independent publishing (since I didn’t want to go into it feeling like it was a last resort rather than my first choice), and in 2017 I started taking steps to form my own press and to start production on my first book.
A photobook, Capturing the Castle: Images of Preston Castle (2006-2016), was the first title released through the newly-formed Crow & Pitcher Press, followed by a new version of Crow’s Rest in May 2018, and then the sequel Merlin’s Stronghold for October 23rd.
And all those lessons I learned, getting here? I learned to be daring, and now the audiobook for Crow’s Rest is finished and Merlin’s Stronghold is starting production. I learned to do my research and to pay attention to details, and when to bring in professionals (like editors and cover designers). With the confidence I’ve gained, I handle the interior design, formatting, cover art (though Kelley York of X-Potion Designs turns my art into a cohesive design), marketing, and graphics for my books. In addition, I’ve learned that having a network of support is more important than ever, even though there are so many days that this feels like a solo endeavor.

And, that I may have ended up right where I needed to be.

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