The 2023 Book Bucket List

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s the time of year when I like to look ahead, make plans, and dream big about the future. It’s also my favorite time to review the list of all the books I want to write someday—my book bucket list, so to speak. I first wrote about this way back in 2015. At the time, I only had three books on the list. Did I knock any of them off the list and get them written? No. In fact, I’m adding to it!

No, I’m not crazy to add more. Hear me out on this.

2022 was transformative for me as a writer. I learned just how much I struggle when facing a blank page. It sounds insane, but apparently having problems with the blank page is a normal thing for a lot of writers. I had no idea until recently. (If only someone had told me this years ago!) Now that I know, it’s allowed me to embrace other forms of writing like dictation—that’s right, I’m a dictator now!—and kick a lot of useless writing practices to the curb. Now I’m writing better, faster, more—and it’s time to dust off the ol’ book bucket list and see what I want to write in my lifetime. 

So here we go, the updated list in no particular order:

  1. I want to write in a shared universe. 

You know those enormous worlds belonging to movies, video games, and comics? I would love to contribute to one of those universes. I wrote my first novel as video game fan fiction for my friends. It was thrilling to find weird corners of the video game’s lore and build a whole story around it. It’s like going to a garage sale or a thrift store and finding obscure treasure that no one else wanted. I like that I can make something really special out of that. To be among other creatives and support the shared world would be a dream come true. 

P.S. No, you can’t read my first video game fan fiction story. I never finished it, anyway!

[spouseditor here: send me cookies and maybe you can read it]

  1. I want to write a long mystery adventure series.

I love a good mystery. Growing up, they were all I read—and yes, I would stay up all night to read them. When I wrote the Mikelis books, I focused a bit more on the mystery and I absolutely loved it. I want to write more! Plus, I like that mysteries can wind up being really long series. Writing a really, really, really long series of mysteries is on the bucket list.  

  1. A Kari Hunter spin-off series.

This is another one that’s been on the bucket list since the beginning. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of ideas about what this series could be and I’m excited about the possibilities. The Kari Hunter world is complex and there’s a lot more to explore. The choices seem endless, but I want to be very careful about where I go next—Kari’s stories explore deep magical mysteries, and we’re working toward a tangle of evil that’s only been hinted at. Avoiding all of that and exploring a completely different facet of the world is the challenge. But I might have found it. I just need to figure out when I have time to write it. Priorities.

  1. A video game novel.

I probably could have lumped this in with “writing in a shared universe,” but I chose to keep it separate because it’s much more specific. If the two items happened to combine one day, and allowed me to hit two birds with one stone, I wouldn’t complain. Writing comedic adventure video game fiction is where I started, and it would feel like coming home.

Although, given how many other items are on the bucket list, I might not be able to get to this one for a long time. So, in the meantime, I’ll just read a lot of LitRPG.

  1. More Kari Hunter books.

This one probably goes without saying, but I’ll throw it on here in case you were getting nervous. There are a lot of things I enjoy about writing Kari. But what keep me writing her story are the themes in the books—they’re always personal. I like that I’m always finding new themes to explore with her. It’s also helpful that there’s a broader story here that I hope to tell. 

There you have it! My 2023 bucket list. Did I miss anything? Did I surprise you? What do you think I should write next? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Release Day is here: A Master of Magical Machinery

Hey, everyone –

It’s finally here: the Interns of Magic Engineering book 1, A Master of Magical Machinery, is now available on Amazon. This book contains all the action and hilarity I could possibly jam into a single book. It’s wall-to-wall madness.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I hope it makes you smile. That’s really the point of this series. Probably I should have loftier goals like world peace or eradicating diseases or making McDonald’s fries not suck, but those are too big to get my arms around. Putting a smile in your heart is just as good, at least for me. So, I hope you enjoy it.

It’s currently available on Amazon as an ebook and in Kindle Unlimited. When the trilogy is finished next year, I’ll release the collection as a paperback. You can go right now and grab a copy here: Gimme A Master of Magical Machinery!

The interview from hell.

Charlie Temple needs a reset. After spending the last fifteen years in a dreadful dead-end job, she’s getting a degree in Magic Engineering Technology—and a new career inventing extraordinary magical gadgets for the everyday mage. But life isn’t cheap, and her plan only works if she can score a paid internship at a famous yet secretive magic tech company.

Thanks to an administrative mixup, Charlie fails the interview. Spectacularly. But before her fate is determined, the building is stormed by mercenary mages and everyone is taken hostage—

Except for Charlie and three other intern candidates who get missed in the roundup.

The mages want access to the company’s Vault. Few people know the Vault exists, and even fewer know what it contains. There’s only one employee badge with clearance to reach the Vault, and Charlie just found it.

Charlie and her team of wannabe interns are the hostages’ only hope.

They’re trapped deep inside a building packed with strange magic and hidden dangers. The only exit is guarded. The only Batphone is hidden. The emergency map requires a PhD in origami. The company’s sentient vending machine is stalking them…

And the guy barricaded in the server room just gave away their location.

For action, comedy, hijinks, magical gadgets, and deranged vending machine robots, join Charlie Temple on her first wild adventure.

When you’re done, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the story. I read every review. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Happy reading,
Jen 

New Series Announcement: Interns of Magic Engineering

Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen: it’s time for a new book release! 

In December, I’m dropping the first book in a brand new trilogy called Interns of Magic Engineering. It’s a wild and hilarious ride. 

The interview from hell.

Charlie Temple needs a reset. After spending the last fifteen years in a dreadful dead-end job, she’s getting a degree in Magic Engineering Technology—and a new career inventing extraordinary magical gadgets for the everyday mage. But life isn’t cheap, and her plan only works if she can score a paid internship at a famous yet secretive magic tech company. 

Thanks to an administrative mixup, Charlie fails the interview. Spectacularly. But before her fate is determined, the building is stormed by mercenary mages and everyone is taken hostage—

Except for Charlie and three other intern candidates who get missed in the roundup. 

Read more: New Series Announcement: Interns of Magic Engineering

The mages want access to the company’s Vault. Few people know the Vault exists, and even fewer know what it contains. There’s only one employee badge with clearance to reach the Vault, and Charlie just found it.

Charlie and her team of wannabe interns are the hostages’ only hope. 

They’re trapped deep inside a building packed with strange magic and hidden dangers. The only exit is guarded. The only Batphone is hidden. The emergency map requires a PhD in origami. The company’s sentient vending machine is stalking them…

And the guy barricaded in the server room just gave away their location. 

For action, comedy, hijinks, magical gadgets, and deranged vending machine robots, join Charlie Temple on her first wild adventure.

This is a completely new series, not a part of the Kari Hunter universe. They’ve been incredible to write because they allow me to use comedy in ways that I can’t with the Kari Hunter series. I love these books so much. 

Book 1 will be out on December 6, and you can go to Amazon and order it right now: Yeah! I want A Master of Magical Machinery!

It’ll be available as an ebook and in Kindle Unlimited. After the whole trilogy is released (in 2023) the collection will be available in paperback. I’ll keep you posted.

A quick sidenote: Kari Hunter book 3 is still in the pipeline. My goal is to publish the Interns trilogy in the next few months, so I made the tough decision to put Kari 3 on hold for a little while. Believe me, no one wants these books finished and published more than me. I’ll get back to Kari soon. Stay tuned.

I hope you’re as excited about A Master of Magical Machinery as I am! I have a smile on my face when I write this series, and I truly hope it puts a smile on yours, too. 

That’s it. That’s my sales pitch. If the Interns of Magic Engineering books make you smile, we both win. 

Here’s the preorder link again so you don’t have to scroll around looking for it: A Master of Magical Machinery.

Until next time,

Jen

P.S. To answer my most-asked question: Yes, the crazy stalking vending machine is in the entire trilogy. I mean, of course it is. It’s me you’re talking to. 

P.P.S. If you’re as excited about this book as I am, join my new-release mailing list. In a few days, you’ll get an exclusive first look at chapter 1. Just click here and tell me where to send it: Sign me up for the list!

P.P.P.S. These are fun to write!

Kari Hunter Series Easter Eggs

Let’s talk Easter eggs! Before I sit down to write a new Kari Hunter book—before I even start the first page—there are four important elements that must be decided. 

No, it’s not the plot or the main villain. These four items are unique to the Kari Hunter universe, so you won’t see them anywhere else. 

Can you guess what they are? I’ll give you a second… 

Okay, let’s see how many you guessed.

Continue reading “Kari Hunter Series Easter Eggs”

I’M ALIIIIIIIIVE: A Book Update

I’M ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE! I missed you guys. 

I’ve been busy! I got promoted. I moved. And more! The Spouseditor and I have had a lot of life stuff going on and I wasn’t able to share it yet. But I’m doing great and, rest assured, I’ve been hard at work on books for you. So, I’m breaking my radio silence with a book update.

If you subscribe to my new release alerts, you know I’ve been working on a new trilogy outside of the Kari Hunter universe. The series’ working title is The Magic Engineering Interns Handbook. The first book is undergoing edits, and I’ve started book 2.

I love this series so much. It allows me to explore comedy and adventure in a way that I don’t get to with the Kari Hunter books. They’re magic, technology, adventure, action, and a vending machine robot who won’t take no for an answer. 

The releases of these books are all dependent on how fast I can finish Kari 3, so they’re currently TBD. 

Speaking of Kari Hunter, work on book 3: Rambo Boogaloo continues! I’d hoped to have the book done by now, but when I reached the end of draft #2, I had a new idea for the ending, and it changed a lot of the book. I knew this meant we needed a third draft.

The disappointing thing about an awesome new idea is that writing the book takes longer. It’s probably harder on me than anyone—believe me, no one wants these books written and published more than me. But when I get a really amazing idea that I know you’re going to love, I need to pull a Mikelis and whip a U-turn where the sign says NO U-TURN

Although it means a few more months of work, I’m even more excited about the story than before. This draft is The One. Like, I’m gonna ask it out for dinner and a movie, then take it home to meet my parents. Propose.

Too weird?

Anyway, I’m on draft #3 and this is the version that will go to edits.

If you’re wondering how to stay on top of my new releases, don’t stress it. It’s simple and you don’t have to work too hard. You can do any of these:

1. Subscribe to my new release alerts. You’ll receive email alerts when my new books come out and you’ll receive a free book. Yes, the book has talking sacrificial knives in it. You can’t go wrong. Just click the link and pop in your email address.

2. Subscribe to my blog. I always post when I release a new book, so you’ll hear about it right away. Just scroll to the bottom of my site and you’ll find the subscribe info. For some reason, this blog style makes the subscribe info abnormally HUGE. You can’t miss it.

3. Subscribe to my Amazon author page. On the left side, there’s a yellow “follow me” button. Just click it.

Or you can do all three, because there are perks to each.

Talk soon!

Jen