Junkyard Dog: Cover Reveal!

I’ve typed and deleted an intro to this reveal a dozen times this morning, because what is there to say?

I love this book. I love Alex and Charlotte and Max. I love Joshua Tree and Hades.

And I love this cover.

Most of all, I love what this cover represents.

October will mark four years since I began writing.

Two and a half years since my agent pulled me out of the slush pile.

Two years since the first book in The Haunt Vault was signed on for publication, and my agent messaged me with “write another book in another world”.

And one year since that book was contracted as well.

By the numbers, each step in this journey shouldn’t have happened. And with each one, I’ve approached it with the recognition that this could be the end of the line. Luck running out and all that jazz.

But while the release of my debut book, Connection, was euphoric and surreal, Junkyard Dog has made it real. And last night, my husband and I popped a bottle of bubbly and toasted this cover reveal.

He’s the original junkyard dog and she’s got him by the scruff.

https://tulepublishing.com/authors/katja-desjarlais/

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I’m a Terrible Blogger

I am. I know it.

I see the WordPress icon on my phone and I have so many intentions, but life and writing and kids get in the way.

So here’s my shameless self-promotion because today is Thanksgiving and I have a few quiet hours extra this week to announce that MY DEBUT BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE!

I started it three years ago because it was cold outside.

Today… this is my view today.

Fitting, for sure.

So if you’re in the mood for a little escapism, check out the links below and have an amazing month!

Fellow Canadians – Happy Thanksgiving!

CONNECTION: The Haunt Vault Book One will be releasing on October 8! Pre-order available:

The Wild Rose Press

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2408_katja-desjarlais

amazon.ca

https://amzn.to/2OGQJLx

amazon.com

https://amzn.to/2ppbgZN

Nook

https://bit.ly/2QKHYkR

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/connection/id1436343857?mt=11

The Move Countdown: Lists Rock

I currently have ten lists going for this move. It may seem excessive, but when you’re trying to coordinate a move to a new province, a birthday party, a house sale, a house purchase, a business move, and a writing career, lists save lives. And marriages.

Let’s start with the pre-move grocery list. This one shrinks every week as we try to use up whatever we have laying around. It’s also becoming significantly unhealthier as time becomes more precious and cooking utensils get boxed. On the upside, the weekly grocery bill is dropping.

Which leads to the post-move grocery list. All those things we’re running low on (dish soap, flour) as well as a freezer and cupboard restocking are on here. This list has definitely regulated my mild panic when I open a cupboard and see we have no backup laundry detergent. Or backup ketchup. I like backups. Zombie apocalypse prep.

Then there’s the birthday party list. The address change list. The utility/mail list. The post-move furniture list.

The weekly to-do list in writing that gets transferred to the daily to-do list on my phone.

The move budget list.

The master list (a backup of the daily list for reference).

And, of course, the New Series plot idea list.

Yes, it seems excessive. But the system has its benefits.

1. “What needs to be done?” isn’t a question met with a shrug. Here. These three things need to be completed by 2pm. Done.

2. That tip about packing toilet paper to top up heavier boxes? On the list. And done.

3. There is a lot to do, with more popping into mind every hour or two. So on the appropriate list it goes and voila, not a concern. Just another task for Wednesday.

4. I freakin love checking off done items. And I get a reward break for every 5, whether they’re as small as emptying the dishwasher or as time-consuming as reconciling the business accounts. Right now, my preferred reward is 30 minutes of writing time. Or a cookie.

5. Without reminders, it’s easy for days and weeks to pass. This is especially important when setting up play dates for the kids. They want to see their friends before we go, and adding this task to my list ensures their needs don’t go unfulfilled during this mayhem.

6. There are deadlines, people. And if they’re on a list, they aren’t forgotten.

So there’s my moving tip this week. Make lists. Lots of them. Break tasks down into specific jobs (‘pack three boxes’, not ‘pack’). Reward yourself with every 4 or 5 tasks completed.

And be grateful you Marie Kondo’d months ago.

Procrastination Queen: Bow Before the Art of Later

Writers are expert procrastinators. We will file our taxes before facing our edit list, dust baseboards before tackling a fight scene, and spend hours on Pinterest ‘researching’ owls in case we ever have a manuscript requiring owl knowledge.

I’m an amazing procrastinator with a husband skilled in identifying actions that may perhaps be counterproductive to actually completing a book.

I once made the mistake of mentioning his subtle nudge ‘shouldn’t you be writing’ on Twitter.

My agent agreed with him.

But both will be pleased to know I’ve found something more urgent to procrastinate, and I’m using writing to do it.

Packing.

This move happens at the end of July. 3 kids, 2 adults, one cat over provincial lines. No small endeavour.

So naturally, after a careful check of the calendar, I began a third series on Friday.

Because there’s no better excuse around here than “Can’t. Writing”.

Let’s see how long I can ride this procrastination train before it bites me in the butt.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

Open House: This is Where I Keep my Socks

I think more people have traipsed through my home this week than I’ve invited in over the last eight years.

And it’s an odd feeling, welcoming strangers to come see where you put your underwear when you’re not wearing it.

While moving has its challenges, selling your home has an emotional realm of its own. I don’t particularly care for human interaction outside my day job, so spending an afternoon making small talk isn’t on my top twenty list of weekend entertainment.

Frankly, it’s draining.

“Hi! Nice day, isn’t it? Feel free to snoop in my medicine cabinet and check my baseboards for dust.”

So to combat this general feeling of unbridled scrutiny, I’ve taken to reading my current manuscript.

And you know something? I like it.

It’s definitely more palatable than showing off my bedroom wallpaper (even if that wallpaper is freakin’ wicked).

I’m halfway through the 72,000 words, every sentence new to me as I’m reminded what path the story took between long breaks. Kaius is precisely who he should be, Harper is everything I’m not, and Boy…poor Boy is all I can ever say.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

The Adventure of Moving

The cat’s out of the bag. We’re jumping ship. Pulling the plug. Taking the leap.

Or whatever other cliché fits our decision to uproot from Alberta and move to BC.

I’ll need to change my book bios.

It’s these random must-dos that have filled my head for the two weeks since we made the decision. Little tasks to add to the ever-growing lists that accompany an inter-provincial move with a business and three children.

Enrol kids in school. Make sure documents are forwarded.

Look up doctors and dentists.

Change utilities.

Address changes.

Boxes. More boxes. A few more. And some more bins.

And then there’s wrapping up a seventeen year teaching career in one school.

Approving book covers for September’s release of Junkyard Dog.

Mowing the lawn for house showings.

Signing paperwork for the new home.

Reassuring the youngest he’ll make friends and promising his LEGO Star Wars collection will stay with him.

Pick up bubble wrap.

So, dear readers, this blog may be venturing from writing in the immediate future. Most posts will focus on the mayhem of the move and the challenges we’ll come across.

That said, I saw my Junkyard cover mockups this week and…wow. Just wow. Maybe a omigod or a hot damn tossed it there, but wow. Check back for the reveal shortly because omigod wow.

As for The Haunt Vault 7, it’s coming along slowly but surely and WILL be done by mid-July. Maybe mid-August. Definitely September.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

Storming into 42

41 was an interesting year. My first book was released through The Wild Rose Press, the first in my second series, Junkyard Dog, was signed for publication with Tule Publishing, and Connection’s follow up book went into consideration.

I took on a school counselling position, a band program, and continued to run a music program.

Our family saw the Statue of Liberty, the Star Trek museum, and the Spam Museum.

It was a busy year.

But I suspect 42 will be busier.

Life changes, work shifts, book releases, and *hopefully* the start of a new series are threatening to make the next twelve months as hectic as the last twelve.

But today, I’m going to Home Depot in my sweatpants. Because I’m 42 and who the hell am I trying to impress?

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

My Husband Has To Live Forever

No, this isn’t some sappy, over-the-top declaration of love (though he is pretty damn amazing). It’s not a blog post about some incredible event that led to confirmation we’re soul mates (even if we really kinda are).

It’s Google.

Or, specifically, my browser history in Google.

Writers have to research some pretty random tidbits of information to ensure they maintain a level of accuracy. After all, if a road trip takes eleven hours in a region with nine hours of darkness during a certain month and I don’t take that into account, I’ll have fried vamps.

So Google Maps has helped me with many logistics of sun cycles, distances, and good locations for bolt holes across the Midwest.

And because vamps have long lives, Google has been invaluable when I need to go back to a specific time and place. Although I’ve discovered sometimes it’s just easier to ask my dad, as his knowledge of history is more vast and comprehensive than many profs teaching it.

But there are always those little details that could get me on to watch lists across North America.

How to hack into the FBI servers.

How to forge official documents.

Which artery to sever for fastest bleed out.

Uncommon birth defect survival rate.

Architecture of underground bunkers.

Images of self-made cells for imprisonment.

Perimeter collar voltage for humans.

I ended up on a website for Carrot Top’s Las Vegas show once, and I suspect that hit alone pinged my IP address.

So here I am, smiling and editing a mass slaughter halfway through a chapter and wondering if I should risk googling ‘how long can you live without lungs’. My husband is watching tv, completely oblivious of the vast plethora of knowledge I’ve gathered these past 3.5 years.

Of course, he’s obsessed with real crime programs, so I suppose we’re both in the same boat if anything happens to either of us.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

68,000? How am I not done? AKA The Inevitable Slowdown

Being a teacher, I count years from August to July. New Years means nothing to my internal clock, because it’s August that sees the shift in my resolutions and schedule, so my writing year follows a similar timeline.

Between October 2017 and December 2018 I wrote 4 complete manuscripts, taking May through July off. 320,000 words in 12 months.

I’ve been dilly-dallying through this recent one for 5 months now.

I’m close enough to the end to be motivated, but just can’t seem to make that push to wrap it up. It may be because I’m one more away from wrapping up the series and need to get those last threads neatly clipped. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that this little world I created 3.5 years ago is coming to a close. Life is busy, yes, but no busier than usual.

So what’s the hold up?

I suspect it’s a combination of the above. Work, family, household – the demands are definitely taking a toll on me as my writing time is constantly interrupted by ‘don’t forgets’, ‘need to remembers’, and ‘could you justs’. Quite similar to most working parents, I think. And since my relation time is writing and writing requires mental and emotional investment, the well can run dry by 10pm.

As for the end of the series, that sucks. I know these characters, I like these characters, and the final The End isn’t going to be fun or easy. Readers experience this same letdown at the end of books they’re invested in, and writers are no different. These characters deserve more than a rushed finale, and it weighs on every chapter I write now.

So there it is.

Of course, if my second vamp book doesn’t get picked up for publication, it may not matter to anyone but me what happens to Boy.

Aiming for 71,000 by next Sunday.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

Cooking Healthy aka There’s no way the kids will eat this

Breathing easy is a top priority right now, so I’ve decided to channel my pathetic midlife health attempts into cooking.

For those of you who can cook and enjoy it, this shift would likely be considered an enjoyable challenge. For me, it is a daunting mountain of frustration and annoyance.

It’s only been in the past five years that I’ve even begun attempting recipes that don’t include “spread evenly on cookie sheet and cook at 350 for 35 minutes”. I can do a damn good spaghetti sauce, decent stroganoff, and a passable soul chicken.

But my slicing and dicing skills leave much to be desired.

If you read my books, you’ll notice a trend with the women. Most don’t cook and most are picky eaters. This is my personal contribution to those characters.

So of course I chose tonight to prepare three recipes intended to be healthy, low sodium, low cholesterol, and low calorie.

The chicken stir fry looks like it might be okay if you don’t examine the bok Choi strips too closely. The recipe called for mushrooms (eww), but I can pick them out. There’s a chance two of the three kids will eat it if I make white rice alongside the multigrain stuff I picked up yesterday.

The bruschetta turned out awesome. Awesome enough that I’ve hidden it so no one else eats it. Who cares if the tomatoes go mushy, it’s packed in the freezer behind the ice packs so it won’t be located and inhaled by anyone other than me.

But the vegan black bean taco mix…that was pushing it. First off, those little suckers don’t mash. So strike one. Add in my questionable diving consistency of the veggies for strike two. And the appearance as I slopped it into the Tupperware was definitely strike three.

Good thing I have a lot of peanut butter and bread, because the kids are not going to be thrilled with this latest push of mine.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Connection-Haunt-Vault-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07H4WNBGY

Amazon Canada – https://www.amazon.ca/Connection-Katja-Desjarlais/dp/1509221441/ref=mp_s_a_1_1/145-3114237-1898835?ie=UTF8&qid=1547867302&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=katja+desjarlais&dpPl=1&dpID=51vo9HCr6XL&ref=plSrch

Chapters – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/connection-the-haunted-vault-book/9781509221448-item.html

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15277228.Katja_Desjarlais

Nook – https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/connection-k-desjarlais/1123867110?type=eBook

I’m Not Ready To Make Nice

While writing has become a job in some aspects, it’s still my hobby, the one thing I do wholly for myself in the moment. It’s a place where I can tune out reality and alter fates on a whim.

Complete control, something that appeals to my Type A personality.

Especially during those times when I feel so many things are out of control.

Usually, writing time is when I process my day, when I decompress. The busier real life gets, the more I tend to write because those 200, 300 words force me to sit and slow down and focus on one thing only.

My version of Mindfulness.

But weeks like this, when I need that time the most, I’ve been unable to get a single sentence down in days.

Or I was unable, until I added to my writing playlist.

I can thank the Dixie Chicks for the scorched earth writing I’m about to do, because it’s given me a way to channel everything productively as I run errands, singing along to one of their best songs.

https://youtu.be/pojL_35QlSI

A lot of fictional people are not going to make it out of these next few chapters.

It’s my personal version of Scream Therapy, and it’s become an effective tool to ensure I keep a calm head in other aspects of life. Some people have a glass of wine, some go for a run, some see a therapist.

I kill my imaginary friends and bask in their fictional entrails (but not really because blood freaks me out and yes, I’m aware that doesn’t mesh with vampires).

Off to my hunting grounds for the evening.