Jessica Leake
Jessica Leake / Writer of romantic historical fantasy
Author of ARCANA, a romantic historical fantasy novel to be released November 4, 2014 by Skyhorse/Talos Publishing

Posts Tagged 'Publishing'

Publisher’s Weekly Announcement!

I can’t believe I didn’t put this on my website yet! Actually, I can. I was in full-on editing mode for the past 6 weeks or so, and when that happens, everything that isn’t essential (like housework, feeding myself, etc) falls by the wayside! BUT I AM SO EXCITED to share this!









The hardest thing about making a sale like this is WAITING. This is news that’s definitely hard to keep to yourself, and, admittedly, I did tell any friend or family member I could corner long enough to listen, BUT…it’s hard to wait to share it with EVERYONE and shout it at random people on the streets (I didn’t do that).

This is a book I’ve really, really enjoyed writing–set in one of my favorite countries (Ireland) during the time when Vikings were raiding its shores.

I can’t wait until it’s out in the world!

Cover Reveal for Remember Yesterday

When fellow Writers House author Pintip Dunn asked if anyone wanted to join in her cover reveal, I jumped at the chance because I love cover reveals. There’s just something so exciting about seeing the birth of a new book, and this one is really beautiful. You can check out the cover for Remember Yesterday below–brought to you by YAReads Blog Tours and YA Interrobang:

Remember Yesterday -eBook

Book Title: Remember Yesterday (Forget Tomorrow, #2)

Author: Pintip Dunn

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Genre: YA Sci-Fi


Sixteen-year-old Jessa Stone is the most valuable citizen in Eden City. Her psychic abilities could lead to significant scientific discoveries, if only she’d let TechRA study her. But ten years ago, the scientists kidnapped and experimented on her, leading to severe ramifications for her sister, Callie. She’d much rather break into their labs and sabotage their research—starting with Tanner Callahan, budding scientist and the boy she loathes most at school.


The past isn’t what she assumed, though—and neither is Tanner. He’s not the arrogant jerk she thought he was. And his research opens the door to the possibility that Jessa can rectify a fatal mistake made ten years earlier. She’ll do anything to change the past and save her sister—even if it means teaming up with the enemy she swore to defeat.


Goodreads Book Link:

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

iBooks Buy Link:

Kobo Buy Link:

Entangled Publishing:

ForgetTomorrow_500Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, #1) Book Synopsis:


Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.


In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.




Barnes & Noble:



Powell’s Books:


The Book Depository:


Pintip cropped

Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”


Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow, is a finalist in the Best First Book category of RWA’s RITA® contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at

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Arcana Paperback Cover Reveal!

There are a lot of reasons my experience with my editor and with Skyhorse has been amazing, but one of them has to be that not only was Arcana released as a hardcover last year, but next month, it’ll be released as a paperback…

With a brand new cover!

I’ve known about this new cover for a long time, and I’ve been selfishly keeping it under wraps, but it is GORGEOUS. I know I said that about the first one, but if possible, I think I love this one even more.

I think this one speaks more the historical setting of the book while still maintaining that flare of fantasy…I hope all of you love it as much as I do!



So beautiful, right?? Be sure to check back next month, because I’m sure I’ll be holding a giveaway as soon as I get my author’s copies!

The Next Book in the Arcana Series!

I’ve been ridiculously happy and excited to have so many people who read Arcana ask me if there will be a sequel, and I’m pleased to announce that there WILL be! The next book, THE ORDER OF THE ETERNAL SUN, will focus on Lucy, Katherine’s sister. It’s due out Spring 2016, which is a bit of a wait, I know, but bear with me! :)


Here’s the official Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:




Arcana Cover Design


I’ve had so many compliments and interest on the cover of Arcana. It was a surprisingly hands-on process for me, which is pretty unusual in the publishing world. Most authors don’t get to give much input in the cover, but Skyhorse and my lovely editor, Nicole Frail, asked me for my ideas for the cover from the very beginning.

The cover was created by Rain Saukas, who’s just genius at bringing a few vague ideas together into a beautiful design. When I was first asked by Nicole to tell her what I’d always pictured for the cover of Arcana, I actually drew a blank! Part of it was still being in shock that this was about to be a REAL book, but also because writers are a superstitious lot. During the long journey of writing, scoring a fabulous agent, and landing a book deal, it seemed to be tempting fate to picture what my book would look like the moment I finally got to hold it in my hands.

There again, though, Nicole helped me through it. She had me pick out covers I liked, and after digging through my bookshelves, I sent her one of my favorites:


I’ve always loved the ethereal quality to it, and Nicole suggested we recreate something like it by merging the picture of a girl over a photo of London or a forest scene or some other magical element. Here was her idea for an ethereal forest scene:




Since sunlight is such an important element in the book, we decided to focus on that for the cover design. It didn’t take long before the designers sent me their finished product:

Arcana 9781940456140

Not what you were expecting, right? Well, that’s because after seeing this version (although it’s beautiful, too), I asked if the girl on the front could more closely match my idea for Katherine (who has blonde hair). I also asked if some of the title fonts could be tweaked, and if the “A Novel” could be moved underneath “Arcana”. My kind editor rolled with my crazy nitpicks, though, and asked me to comb through some of the stock photo sites to find an image more in line with how I imagined my main character. The best I could do was find this image:



And somehow, Rain magically brought it all together:

forrestrainArcana 9781940456140stock-photo-beautiful-bride-in-a-field-at-sunset-115307881arcana-web











And that, my friends, is how a cover is made*.


*At Skyhorse. With Nicole Frail as your editor. And Rain as your cover designer. And the author being obsessive and nitpicky.

New On-Sale Date for Arcana

arcana-webFirst of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has already pre-ordered Arcana!! It’s the single most helpful thing you can do for any author, especially for a debut author, so THANK YOU!

My editor emailed me the other day and let me know that the official on-sale date for Arcana has been   moved to November 18th due to a major back-up with the printers. This sounds like a bad thing, but many of the bookstores will stock or ship their copies of it as soon as they get them, which will be before the 18th. The book launch party on November 1st will not be affected, but it’s more important than ever to pre-order to be sure there are copies waiting for you at the event. My two other book signings that occur before the 18th will also not be affected.

Cover Reveal: The Artisans by Julie Reece

I was able to participate in another cover reveal–this time for beloved beta reader Julie Reece! Though I haven’t read The Artisans, all of her stories have one thing in common: amazing characterization. If you love character-driven books, then anything by Julie Reece is the book for you! Oh, and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

So here it is, the cover reveal of The Artisans by Julie Reece, presented by Month9Books:


The Artisans

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old RAVEN WEATHERSBY gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.

“The Artisans has all the elements I love – spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.” ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.

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Title: The Artisans
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece


Julie Reece

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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(Winners will receive their book on release day)

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Ready. Set. WRITE! Week Five


I was invited to participate in Ready. Set. Write! by my CP and best friend Mandie, which makes sense since we’ve already been checking in with each other on our WIP goals. It’s been so helpful have some accountability and encouragement, and that’s what Ready. Set. Write! is all about–writers encouraging one another this summer to meet their goals. This year, it’s hosted by Katy Upperman, Jamie Morrow, Alison Miller, and Erin Funk. Check out their blogs for more information and be sure to link up each week.

How I did on last week’s goals:

I finished my edits on my WIP and sent them off to my agent–now I’m doing what writers are worst best at: waiting.

I finished reading Ignite Me, and I enjoyed it overall (gave it 4 stars on Goodreads), but I did feel like the ending was a little rushed, especially since they had been talking/anticipating that battle for the entire book. I love Warner’s character, but I was confused as to why she decided to make Adam just a complete ass in this book. It seemed a stretch for his character, though she tried to justify it. But like I said, I LOVE Warner, so I was happy enough with that :).

I ended up getting the edits for ARCANA on Thursday, and I had them finished by Friday! The only reason I was able to was because I took the kids to my parents’ house, and they watched them while I wrote. If I was home alone with them, there would have been NO WAY I could have worked on edits all day! Not with an attention-seeking toddler and preschooler , and an infant ;). My editor is amazing though, and they weren’t very difficult edits at this point. I had to write the dedication and acknowledgments as well–I definitely had ALL the feels. The whole thing is becoming very real now! My acknowledgments are ridiculously long, so I hope they let me keep them that way; I have a lot of people to thank.

Goals for this week:

Read another TBD book–I’m trying to refill the creative well at this point!

Possibly work on edits for my WIP if my agent gets them back to me this week.

Catch up on emails–I’m so behind!

Complete any last-minute tasks my editor gives me before the ARCANA ARCs go to print (EEEEEEEEEEEK)

A favorite line from ARCANA:

(This is an exchange between the two MCs–Lord Thornewood and Katherine–on the night they first meet)

“Have I offended you?” Lord Thornewood asks, but his face reveals not a shred of contrition. “I shouldn’t be surprised. You young debutantes are all just a bundle of emotions in pretty packaging.”

“Are we indeed? I dare say it’s assertions like that which result in ambitious mamas parading their carefully groomed daughters before unappreciative men.”

A spark of amusement appears in his dark eyes. “You seek to prove me wrong then?”

“Perhaps if I had any interest in the game, I would trouble myself to take on such an endeavor. Unfortunately, I do not.”


The biggest challenge I faced this week:

This week it was keep the kids entertained and happy while still finishing up edits!

Arcana Cover Reveal

I am SO excited to be able to share the final cover for ARCANA! I absolutely love it–the colors, the ethereal quality of it, the way the designer played up the sunlight (important imagery from the book).





Gorgeous, right?? I couldn’t believe how much input I actually had in the cover–not many authors are given the chance to ask for their ideas, much less be able to make changes to the design. What’s funny is that when my editors asked me to tell them my ideas–what I had always imagined my cover looking like–all I could think was: I definitely never got that far in my imaginings…basically, I just hoped this story would be the one to get me an agent! During the writing process, whenever I thought of my book being published (which wasn’t often…I didn’t want to get my hopes up), I just had this vague happy image of holding my book in my hands. So I had to scramble to find example covers and images I liked.

Once they had an idea of the type of covers I liked (I sent them a picture of one of my favorite covers: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare), they had me look at images that might work for Arcana. We started by picking pretty backgrounds, and this beautiful forest scene was one of them. Next we thought about important symbols from the book, and sunlight was one of them. In the Arcana world, Katherine and her siblings’ power is derived from the sun. Lastly, we picked a beautiful cover model picture. Her white dress is representative of the elaborate white gowns the Edwardian Era debutantes wore to Court. The design team at Skyhorse is just amazing; they took all these images and turned it into something unique and beautiful!

I can’t wait to hold an actual copy in my hands!

ARCANA will be released on November 4, 2014 and is already available for pre-order on Amazon . Be sure to add it to your to-read pile on Goodreads!

Sometimes the Road to Publishing Is Long…And That’s Okay



Last Christmas, I got one of the best presents EVER: a fabulous agent (full story here) . And this Christmas, I got yet another awesome present: an offer from Skyhorse Press to publish my book!! Never have I been more thankful for an agent than through the contract-signing process! Legalese is not something I’m proficient in, but Writers House had it all covered, with little to no stress to me.

Once all the legalese had been sorted out, I got to sign the contract, and the deal announcement was made! Seeing the little blurb written up on Publishers Marketplace was seriously a dream come true:

Jessica Leake’s debut ARCANA, in which a bold, half-Sylvan debutante in Edwardian London must hide her abilities not only from potential suitors — and the man she loves — but an ancient brotherhood who feeds on this rare type of magic, to Nicole Frail and Constance Renfrow for Talos Press, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2014, by Brianne Johnson at Writers House (World English).


It’s been slowly sinking in that the Word document I have saved on my computer (and like, five other places ;)) is about to become a book…an actual book I can hold in my hands. This is surreal, and daunting, and thrilling, and about a million other things all at once. But, as other published writers warn you all over the Internet, the road to publishing was long…long, anxiety-provoking, and sometimes torturous, but so worth it in the end!

I thought I’d write up a post on what that journey entailed for me, especially since the moment my MS went on submission, I was desperate to find out more about the publishing process. With any luck, this will give other writers hope! It may take awhile, you may even begin to despair it won’t happen at all, but there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

Okay, so I’ll admit it. After revising my MS with my fabulous agent and getting it all ready to go out to the editors, I had grandiose fantasies. I pictured an immediate positive response–multiple offers! No, an auction! Everyone fighting over this story I had created.

*Disclaimer* Not in any way representative of an ACTUAL book auction...

Not in any way representative of an ACTUAL book auction…

I had never allowed myself to hope so much while querying, but I just let my mind have total freedom to imagine any ridiculous scenario it contrived when on submission. This pretty much only succeeded in making me neurotically obsessed with checking my email.

But, to some extent, it came true. There was a positive response from editors. The first time I received validation from someone other than my agent that the work was good, I felt, well…validated. Okay, so maybe I hadn’t tricked my agent into thinking my MS was The One! It was only the beginning of Round One, but almost all the editors expressed interest.

SO exciting, right?? Well, that was until I started to learn more about the submission process.

See that one editor liking it is only a tiny, tiny piece of what has to happen to get an offer from a big house. Every submission process is different, but in general, that One Enthusiastic Editor has to get reads from others in his/her department. If they agree with the One Enthusiastic Editor that the MS really might be a good fit, then they have to bring it before a board. If the board all agrees, then they have to bring it before the publisher.

Once it began to sink in just how many people had to be on board with liking my story, I started to Get Worried. I’m a writer, so I’m super skilled at Getting Worried. Luckily for me, my fabulous agent hadn’t lost hope! She kept track of all the reasons why the editors ultimately passed on Round One, and the consensus seemed to be that the fantasy needed to be built up. So we got to work.

With Round Two, there were more close calls, more interest, but ultimately we struck out. At this point, the thick skin I had developed during my two years of querying kicked in. I mentally put the MS that had gotten me my agent aside and began work on a Shiny New Idea. This is what I had always done while querying: if I was left staring at a pile of rejections, then I accepted it wasn’t the right MS and got to work on something that would be. And I did the same thing with the publishing submission process.

But, of course, I forgot to figure in the extreme genius and persistence of my agent (have you seen my agent? Because she’s awesome. Read all about her here and follow her here). Even though I had given up, she hadn’t! She had thought about it, and since everyone who actually read the story seemed to love it, she pinpointed a particular issue in the pitch to be the problem. Because when the editors sat down to their board meetings, they pretty much got immediately shot down. And as querying writers, aren’t we familiar with this? Ever try to get a vampire story published? Or YA paranormal anything?

It wasn’t even that big of a change, but as soon as I made it, we got immediate interest. Of course I was so jaded at this point that I was barely excited, but then shortly after the expressions of interest came the actual offers! And just as I knew my agent was the perfect fit for me, the same was true of the Skyhorse editors. They talked about more revisions (which I was totally on-board with…at this point in the game, a writer HAS to expect to do a ridiculous number of edits. This is natural, and more than that, every agent and editor you come into contact with is going to screen you for how much of a diva you are about edits–we writers HAVE to be willing to revise. This is a GOOD thing), but all their suggestions were things that would enhance the story.

So if you are a writer who is just starting your publishing journey, or even well on the way, know that it may take longer than you hoped (because we all want to be one of those lucky writers whose work gets an offer a week after being on submission!), but like the querying process, persistence (and patience) pays off!