“Guts and Glory Books” Nominated for a Liebster Award!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2014 by Jessica Rising

Hi all! I know I haven’t posted much lately. I’ve been working hard on Rise of the Nefarious Numbots so I can get it out to you in August, and there’s some pretty awesome news about the entire trilogy that I will be announcing VERY soon (as in, later today). For now however, I have a pretty awesome post to make about an award I have been nominated for: the Liebster Award!   liebster_award

Isn’t it pretty?

First, I want to thank my good friend Deby Fredericks for her nomination. She is an amazing kidlit writer of fantasy and science fiction, and her own blog is pretty freaking cool, so it’s an honor that she thought of me. You can read and follow her here (or click on her name above — that works too).

Now, I have some questions to answer that she has asked me to post:

Q: What is the goal or point of your blog?

A: I started a blog to have more of a web presence, though I was never sure what exactly to write in it. I’m still working on that, but I do enjoy having a place for my readers to go and see what’s up with me and my work. It’s also kind of cozy to have my own little corner of the web.

Q: Are you a cat person or a dog person?

A: Contrary to popular opinion, not all writers are cat people. I adore dogs! Especially the big ones with floppy ears and happy faces. :)

Q: What kind of car/truck/bike/etc. do you drive?

A: Unfortunately I currently drive a minivan. I’m currently in the market for a new car, so this will change soon… I hope!

Q: If you could visit any museum in the world, which would it be?

A: OW! Um… that’s hard. I’d say the Library of Alexandria, but it wasn’t exactly a museum and it’s gone now anyway. :( The runner up would be Blackness Castle in Scotland. It’s been turned into a museum, but my Crichton ancestors once lived there. That could be fun!

Q: What kind of candy is your favorite?

A: Another hard one. It really depends on my mood. I’d never turn away a Starburst!

Q: Why do you write the genre you do?

A: I get to write about places like Nil, of course! Honestly, I didn’t really choose to write fantasy; it’s just always been in my heart for as far back as I can remember. Asking why I write fantasy is kind of like asking why I like Starburst — I just do. Science fiction, though, wasn’t always a genre I considered. In fact, every book I have ever written has been fantasy except the “Guts and Glory” trilogy. I got the idea because I love post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction and wondered how it would work in a children’s book, so I guess I decided to write the story first then realized what genre it was. If the popularity of the trilogy is any indication maybe I was supposed to be writing sci-fi all along. Who knows?

Q:  When was the last time you were on a boat or similar watercraft?

A: Last summer. My in-laws own a boat and we try to go out at least once a year. It’s a blast — I’m a fish, so water and I are tight.

Q: Do you have any sort of totem or personal symbol?

A: The closest I can think of is the fae, though they’re not really a symbol. If I had to choose one I think it would be a book with dragonfly wings. Faeries and books are like woah for me!

Q: Do you go to movies to laugh or to cry?

A: I go to movies for the same reason I read — to have adventures! Laughing and crying are both part of that, so… I guess both!

Q: Do you believe in angels or ghosts?

A: I believe in both. That said, I have NO idea what the inner workings of either are. I do want to be buried in an old cemetery so I can haunt it for a while. I think that would be fun!

Yes, I’m sort of weird… a little…

I’ve also been instructed to tell eleven random facts about myself, so here goes:

11) I have two sisters and a brother. I grew up with my sisters as the middle child; my brother is younger than me by nine years.

10) I’m a Gemini, and just about everything they say about Geminis is true for me.

9) I have ADD. Again, about everything they say about ADD is true for me.

8) The three above facts state, simply, that I’m a middle child Gemini with ADD, which calculates to Jessica = spaz. I have no problem with that.

7) I have five children: four girls and one boy. My eldest will be an adult in October. Yes, that makes me feel old but not in a bad way. I feel blessed to watch them grow up and become the people they were meant to be.

6) Guts, Glory and Books were inspired by Jem, Scout and Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird.

5) My greatest literary influence is Madeline L’Engle. I wrote her a letter when I was sixteen. When she wrote back, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

4) My top six favorite children’s authors are Madeline L’Engle, Susan Cooper, J.K. Rowling (yeah, I know — bandwagon, but she deserves it), Roald Dahl, L.M. Montgomery, and Katherine Patterson.

3) I do read adult fiction as well. My top six favorite adult writers are Robert Jordan, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, and Stephen King. (I count Mark Twain as an adult writer here because my least favorite of his books are Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.)

2) I have studied literature formally, so yes, I know Shakespeare. In my professional opinion, he had hits and misses. I think “Romeo and Juliet” is absolutely horrible, but I adore “MacBeth”. His other plays all fall somewhere in between these for me.

1) I’m kind of a gamer girl. At the moment I’m playing Skyrim, Pathfinder and D&D. I’m a Nord Vampire, Elf Rogue, and Human Ranger, respectfully.

Well, that was fun! Thank you again, Deby, for your nomination!

It’s Almost Here! Book 3 of Guts and Glory!

Posted in book signings, Books, Family, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by Jessica Rising

You’ve been waiting patiently.

You’ve been wondering when it would be OUT already.

You’ve looked for SOME sign on this website  that it is actually coming.

Well, here it is!

August, 2014…

At Spocon, Glamirita, and Here on this Website…

The Official Release 0f…



The third and FINAL volume of “Guts and Glory, Freedom Fighters of Nil” is almost here!

Check back here soon for exact dates, and spread the word!

The Weird Kid

Posted in Books, Family, kidlit with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Jessica Rising

The Weird Kid

A Short Story of Nil

by Jessica Rising

Books peeked around the corner at the weird Kid Gadget had brought home. He made a face behind his way-too-big goggles.

For three years, the brothers had lived together all alone in the big, broken down mall, Books learning everything he could from Gadget. Mostly, Books’ big brother had only let him hold things and read instructions out loud, saying a Stick wasn’t big enough to learn anything important. But two days ago, Books had finally earned his name. Gadget had promised that now he was old enough to learn the interesting stuff, and even said he could actually help with Gadget’s newest invention, the Rock Walker! Books had been so excited.

Then, this little… thing… happened.

She was tiny, way littler than Books who was pretty littler than Gadget anyway, with dark eyes and skin and frizzy black hair. Like all the tiny Sticks that always showed up around Nil, she wore a dirty white, shapeless dress. That was it. She didn’t have any shoes or gloves, or even tire armor! Every time before when they’d found  one of these tiny Sticks, Gadget had left it there, saying another group of Kids would find it and raise it right. He said he was too busy inventing important things to worry about another Stick. But he’d chosen Books to raise because he’d shown he was smart from the moment he’d found him.

“Ya was standin’ inna port, wailin’ up a storm, like all the other Sticks,” Gadget had told him many times, “an’ I was gonna just leave ya there. But when I turned ta leave, ya said, ‘hey, where ya goin?’ No little Stick ever talked ta me bafore, an’ I was kinda lonely, so I thought I’d just show ya the ropes, ya know? Now stop askin’. I toldya tonsa times already!”

But now there was this new little Stick that Gadget’d actually brought home. Books didn’t really know how to feel about that.

“Well?” Gadget asked from behind. “Whaddaya think?”

Books glanced back at his big brother. Gadget was tall and skinny, with green eyes and dirty blond hair mashed up in thick braids he called dreadlocks. He wore big gloves and big goggles, just like Books, but unlike his little brother he also wore a long, stained white coat over his Nil rags and tire armor. When Books had asked about it, he’d said scientists wore coats like that. Books had never found one in the scrap that fit him, but he kept looking.

“I dunno,” Books said honestly. Gadget always said to be honest whenever possible. “She’s kinda scrawny.”

“Sure,” Gadget said. “But I think she’ll be okay.”

“Why’d ya get her?” Books asked. He felt himself get all hot and stuffed-up inside. He sniffed hard to make sure he didn’t cry. Scientists never cried. “Ain’t I good ’nuff?”

Gadget grinned, and Books braced for a joke about his crying. But Gadget surprised him by being serious. “I just figgerd we needed a new Stick ’round the place ta do the work ya used ta do, cuz ya ain’t no Stick no more… Books.”

Every time Gadget used his new name it made Books all happy inside, like when the orange Nil sky broke open for a second and showed the bright yellow light on the other side.

“Ya mean I can stop sweepin’ an’ holdin’ scrap an’ makin’ food?” he asked, excited.

“Not yet,” Gadget said. “Ya gotta show her how first. But then she’ll do the Stick work till she earns her name. That’s when we’ll find ‘nother Stick.”

Books felt his excitement peeter out like the broken balloon in a book he’d read once. “She’s gonna be a scientist, too?”

Gadget nodded. “She’s smart, Books. Just as smart’s you when I found ya.” He punched Books in the shoulder. “Only smart Kids’re ‘lowed ta live here.”

Books looked back at the weird Kid. For once she was quiet, just looking around with her big brown eyes like she’d never seen a mall before.

“She don’t look too smart.”

Gadget pushed Books gently in the back. “Go say hey ta your new sis.”

Books growled under his breath, but walked out into the room anyway. The Stick looked at him curiously.

“Heya, Stick,” he said.

“Stick?” she asked in a tiny voice.

“Yeah,” Books said. “You are a Stick ’til ya earn your name. I earned mine, so I’m bigger ‘an you ,so ya gotta listen ta me, got it?”

The Stick looked a little confused, but she nodded anyway. “Yup!”

“Good,” Books said. “Cuz ya gotta be real smart an’ know yer place ta live here. It’s the best place in Nil, though.”

“What’s name?” the Stick asked.

Books squatted down so he could look at her closer. “Books.”

She grinned. “Books!” Then, without warning, she jumped at him, wrapping her scrawny arms around his neck and squeezing tight.

Books looked back at Gadget, who leaned against the wall watching them with a smile. Gadget didn’t smile much, but Books really liked it when he did.

He squeezed his scrawny new sister back. “Sure Stick,” he said, “ya gonna be a good parta our family, I think.”

He sniffed again. But this time is was maybe a good sniff.


Tipani Walker and the Nightmare Club

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Writing with tags , , , , on February 14, 2014 by Jessica Rising

HawkHill flying tall and proud,
HummStreet unseen among the crowd,
BriarRaven lost within her shroud.
Pull the veil, tear the seam,
and walk where wakers only dream.

Introducting Tipani Alice, MaerWalker!

Posted in Books, kidlit with tags , , , on January 26, 2014 by Jessica Rising

I have begun a new series. I could go on and on with what it’s all about, but I think we’d both rather just get on with the story. So, here’s an introduction. Let me know what you think! ~JR

Tipani Alice Walker had a huge head.

You wouldn’t be able to tell this by just looking at her, of course. On the outside, hers was just about the same as all the other ten-year-old skulls around her, bobbing and weaving, nodding and yapping around. On the inside, though, it was colossal. Tipani’s head was so big, in fact, that it held all manner of things, from the zeppelin-soar of a crisp autumn leaf on September wind, to candy corn universes painted in sticky fudge and sugar-spun stars. Tipani didn’t live in the world of school, and chores, and other humdrum muck adults thought was important.

Tipani lived in the vast, wild kid-ness of her mind.

This wasn’t always a good thing to those around her. Her mother would often have to say her name many times to get her attention, and her older sister Amanda couldn’t make heads or tails of anything she said.

“Tipani, did you take all the peanut butter?” Amanda would ask when she found the jar empty for the third time that month.

To which Tipani would answer, “no, it was the Gluffdruff from the tree outside. He likes peanut butter.”

In fact, the Gluffdruff always wanted peanut butter, and Tipani was always happy to provide it. After all, what was the point of having a guffdruff in one’s tree if you didn’t feed it regularly?

The very worst one for understanding Tipani, though, was Bob. Bob wasn’t Tipani’s dad, but he wanted her to call him that anyway. He was married to her mom, which he figured made him her dad. But Bob was the grumpiest of grumpy adults, and Tipani felt there was no way he would really be her dad for that reason. He didn’t understand the Gluffdruff any more than Amanda did. Nor did he understand the poopy twins in the toilet, the boy in the mirror, or the ghost girl in the attic, even though he heard her all the time. Tipani knew this, because he always complained about the thumping and bumping around she did.

He blamed it on rats.

Tipani thought Bob had lost his thoughts somewhere and that’s what made him so grumpy. Mom and Amanda never saw what Tipani saw, but sometimes they would hear what she heard, when they were very quiet and listened very hard. But Bob never even tried. All he cared about was money and bills and beer. If Tipani tried to talk to him at all, he would call her names, and tell her she belonged in a crazy loony bin, with a straight jacket in a padded room.

Tipani thought that might be fun, but not for forever.

So she mostly avoided Bob, and he mostly avoided her, and that was good.

Along with seeing things nobody else saw, Tipani also noticed things nobody else noticed. Like how she could always tell what was inside her Valentine’s Day chocolates. Amanda had to poke and jab the gooey brown lumps to see if they held something she wanted to put in her mouth, while somehow, Tipani always just knew whether they were smooth caramel or nasty fake-coconut-sludge.

She always gave the coconut ones to the mean girls in her class.

Not that Tipani herself had much issue with the kids at school. Even the meanest of them pretty much left her alone. This wasn’t because she was particularly strong or mean. In fact, Tipani was one of the nicest kids in her 4th grade class. But she never paid any attention to their bulling words, even when they called her “leatherface” and “tipsy-tard”. There were, after all, so many more interesting things to notice at school.

Like the angel ghost-statue in the yard next to the playground who spoke to her of life in the 1880’s.

But Tipani did notice when the mean kids were cruel to others. Every faerie in her ear, every wind-wraith in her hair, every shoulder-dragon she stroked noticed these things, so it was only natural that she did, too.

That’s why the mean girls always got coconut sludge.

But the enormous world inside Tipani’s head was never so vivid, vibrant, and dangerous as it was at night, when her body was fast asleep.

Parenting while Living in the Shadow of the Greats

Posted in Books, Mothers, Parenting, Writing with tags , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Jessica Rising


There is very little I know about this life. One thing I can reasonably state as fact, however, is my direct connection with the greats of literature. This isn’t because I sit around reading their work, brooding over the depth of their prose. I’m not even proud that I’m part of this “elite” group. It actually… kind of sucks.

See, I actually live the life they did… only in my own century.

I am what most people call “a night person”. This isn’t particularly a romantic title, but I don’t really care. (Does that make me totally emo awesome? Still don’t care.) Seriously, with a bluntness that only comes from being entirely, raw-honest, I can say that more than half the time I wish I could be… normal. Just normal. Able to go to bed at what “decent folk” call a “decent hour”. Able to get up in time to get my kids ready for school with a smile on my face and scrambled eggs in their bellies.

The reality, however, is far darker.

My kids love me, and I love them. I get up with them long enough to get them out the door. I go to EVERY parent-teacher conference, and I schedule mommy-daughter and mommy-son dates. Their birthday parties are AMAZING. We eat dinner around the table more nights than not, and discuss the craziest subjects, like religion, philosophy, and politics.

Yes, even with the 6-year-0ld.

But on a day-to-day scale, I drop the ball. A lot.

My kids know how to make their own breakfast. Even my youngest. My kids’ bedding goes weeks without being laundered. Sometimes their underwear does, too. They read a lot… but they also play a lot of video games. There are days when they don’t see me at all, because my nocturnally natural and professional schedule just doesn’t work with the one I am trying to let them have.

Usually, that’s on the weekends… usually.

If Edgar Allen Poe had kids… if Emily Bronte’ followed the traditions of her gender in her time… if Mark Twain was a single father… they’d be me.

I’m torn between being proud of my natural predilection towards nocturnal-literati-weirdness, and my fear that my children are being neglected because of it. But there’s one thing I do know, and that’s the fact that I was born to be a crazy writer.

Sometimes I just wonder if maybe I should have been a cat person instead of a mommy…

The Demonization of Feel

Posted in Books, Shiny Happy Musings, Writing with tags , , , on November 14, 2013 by Jessica Rising

I just realized a great big flaw in my writing. It’s not subconscious — in fact, I have forced myself to do it on many occasions as it goes against my natural instincts — but I didn’t realize how detrimental it was to my work until recently. I have forced it upon my writing because this flaw has long been seen as a strength, not just by me, but by many people in our current society (at least, in America where I am). What is it?

The demonization of feel.

So often lately I hear people say things like, “don’t be so emo”, “what a whiner!” and “nobody wants to hear your bitching”. The idea seems to be that with maturity comes ice-cold logic and the ability to bury any and all feelings, especially the negative ones. Nobody wants to be an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on anymore.

And especially nobody wants to admit that they sometimes need that, too.

Like many, I have seen my emotions as something to be ashamed of, because I have been told this over and over again by the society around me. In my characters, too, I have pulled far back from their emotional development because, “readers don’t want to hear a bunch of complaining”. My characters had to be strong, tough, and above all, emotionally self-sustaining.

In other words, they had to be inhuman.

In The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc, I delved further into emotions than I ever have before, showing Tab as extremely vulnerable. I worried the entire time that maybe she was being too whiny, crying too much. But then I thought, in her situation I would certainly be crying too. In fact, most kids her age would be crying at the VERY least. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t making Tabitha a whiner, I was making her human.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There can always be too much of anything, and I have certainly found myself rolling my own eyes at certain people who can’t seem to ever say a happy, thankful, hopeful word to save their apparently horrendous, soul-sucking lives. But there’s a difference between being an emotional vampire and never admitting — even to yourself — that you have emotions in the first place. A happy medium is needed here, as it seems to be needed more and more these days… everywhere.

People have feelings, and contrary to popular opinion there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we can’t support each-other, even in the hard times — especially in the hard times — then sooner or later we’ll all find ourselves just as cold, alone, and two-dimensional as the unemotional fictional characters can can’t seem to care about.

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