Posted in Articles

Books I Love: Name of the Wind

When I’m not writing, I make sure to spend some quality time with books–because my love of reading is what sparked my love of writing in the first place! Here are some of my favorite gems, originally posted on my review blog.

Name of the Wind (Tale of the Ever Expanding Ego)

by Patrick Rothfuss

So, I’ll fully admit, this book did not have me hooked at the start. First off, I don’t really dig the super egotistical thang. Secondly, the format was a little jarring of the story within a story as well as the third person switch to first person. After finishing the book, I didn’t mind the format and found it rather clever. Kvothe’s story is incredibly fascinating, if only detracted by the blowhardiness of Kvothe himself. I mean, his ego wears a giant flashy hat which is wearing another fancy hat on top of a fez. His ego ends up getting tempered out by the constant rain of shit that happens to him and the entertainment comes from watching his clever ways to maneuver out of problems.

Continue reading “Books I Love: Name of the Wind”

Posted in Sneak Peeks

By the Sea Sneak Peek

The water rushed around me like a protective cocoon, ice cold like I’d expected. I kicked out, reveling in the swirl of bubbles and spray of the monstrous, all-encompassing ocean. All the questions adding up in my mind disappeared as I fell into the blissful rhythm of the sea. I kicked forward, throwing my arm overhead and swimming around the dock. Kelp flowed past my ankle, every sensation familiar.

Sweet selkie romance in By the Sea!

Posted in Updates

Weekly Word Count #16

October is coming! What does that mean? Well, since everyone I know seems to be a Libra and Halloween is my favorite holiday, it’ll be jam packed. No excuses though, I’ll be writing away!

Word Count: 3,978 (a light week)

What story I’m working on: Airship the Sequeling. Stay tuned though–I’ve got a title for this beastie that I’ll be revealing soon.

What I’m editing/marketing:

I’m currently waiting on edits for Hunting for Spring, yee! And the Tuatha de Danaan story is out with the betas, yay! Apart from my usual pimping of my backlist, that’s been my main agenda! (This week honestly, I’ve been wrapped up with building a patio on the side of my house. Did I mention I’m not handy?)

Posted in Articles

Project Purse Dump: September 25, 2015

Project Purse Dump

Sept 25 - Purse - Jessica Cale

Twenty-two lipsticks. Eleven bottlecaps. Seven black pens. Five magnets. Three tins of Altoids. Hello Kitty bandaids. A Mucha compact mirror from Paris, and a coin from House on the Rock.

These are a few of things I found this week when I emptied my purse out onto the floor.

In my defense, it is a very large purse. I have a few you might call “sensible” purses, brightly colored leather with understated embellishments and clever pockets, but the one I keep returning to is an oversized, flimsy thing I got at World Market for I think $8. It’s grey and it has crows on it. Size aside, it’s fairly nondescript, and goes well with my worn out jeans and band t-shirt aesthetic, plus I can fit half a library (and a hoodie!) into it should the occasion call for it. All of the things you see here were in it on a day that it was fairly empty, apart from my cat there, but he could have fit into it, too.

So what’s inside? It’s a kind of survival kit, plus a few extra bits and pieces I picked up along the way. Let’s take a closer look.

The essentials:

Seven black pens and two packs of post-its: I usually also carry a notebook full of graph paper with me for story ideas, but post-its and pens will do in a pinch. If I get story ideas–anything from bits of dialogue to major plot points–I write them on post its and stick them to the cards in my coin purse if I don’t have a notebook handy. Apparently I can also write notes on my phone, but this still feels too futuristic for me most days, and I usually forget.

Makeup: I don’t intentionally have twenty-two lipsticks on me at all times, it’s just that they gather in my purse. I don’t have any anywhere else in my house. I have them in my purse, in the coin purse inside, and more inside the Union Jack makeup bag. This makeup bag also contains hair pins, more ponytail holders than I have anywhere else, two eyeliners (one black, one purple), face powder, blush, mascara, orange scented roll on perfume, and a souvenir Mucha makeup mirror I got in Paris ten years ago. Because you never. fucking. know. Some days you just need eyeliner, and lots of it. I once loaned one of my friends a fire engine red Stila lipstick to write down her number for a random guy, and a couple years later, loaned the same lipstick to another friend when he was hosting punk rock karaoke as a kinky sailor. Who wore it better? My vote’s on Dave.

Coin purse: I haven’t carried a wallet in many years. In Britain, coins are far more common than paper bills, so carrying a coin purse was far more practical. I’ve been back in the states for a couple of years now, but I still carry the same coin purse I bought at New Look for a pound almost ten years ago. Today it’s full of all of my cards, some random change, a spare set of earbuds, post-its covered in story ideas, a customs declaration, a list of Edith Piaf songs (really), a guitar pick, some fortunes from cookies (“Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today…” in bed (snicker), hair pins, and more lipstick. Could you fit all of that into a wallet? Didn’t think so.

A coin from The House on Rock: How else will I make the crazy music play?


Bottlecaps and magnets: Okay, there’s a reason for this, I promise. My friend Lily gave these to me a couple of weeks ago so I could make some bottlecap magnets for my fridge. She made some and they look awesome, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Three tins of altoids: Why have three when one should be curiously strong enough? None of these are actually mine. My husband keeps buying them and asking me to hold them, so I put them in my purse. He forgets they’re there and buys more, asks me to hold them, and voila. Three tins. Can I offer you a mint?

Not pictured: The phone I use to obsessively ignore my email and ogle pictures of macarons on Instagram, my work badge, and my keys.

This might seem like a lot, but if you need to be minty or photo-ready, I’ve got your back. You know, just in case.

Bio: Jessica Cale is a recovering journalist writing historical romances out of a grey bedroom in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at

You can find her here:



Twitter: @JessicaCale




Instagram: skittles_and_smut

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Posted in Articles

Balancing a Story

So, I’m writing the sequel to Airship, and I think one of the biggest concerns I have is that folks will be disappointed with the change in action. It’s a little more cerebral than the first book, but for good reason. With Bea as a Captain now, she can’t just respond to orders–she’s got to come up with them. And so a lot of what was just instinct and reaction before has to have forethought and logic behind it before choices are made.

This is a big transition book for Bea, seeing her grow as a character and how she comes to accept responsibility. What I want throughout this book, is to establish her as the Captain, and grow her confidence in leadership. She was comfortable bossing around before, but in the beginning of this novel, she does a lot of second guessing to her choices and self-blame–even though she’s been running the Desire for a couple years now, the decisions aren’t instinctual yet, and she doesn’t have the experience that her predecessor did with making them.

Hence the trickiness with writing this follow up…but one thing I can promise is that there’s still plenty of danger and the same smart-talking, trouble attracting, hapless crew as always.

Posted in Articles

September 2015 Obsessions

This has been the month of Scifi TV. In preparation to spend more time with Airship, I revisited Firefly (though I like to do that once a year anyway. The show is near and dear to my heart.) And of course I fell in love with it all over again and was crushed when there were no more episodes as I am every time.

So I was still in a sci-fi mood and I like to turn on the TV while I’m blending tea. After all, my hands are occupied but my brain isn’t, and it’s not like I can turn the pages of a book while said hands are occupied. So I usually choose a show and run with it.

The shows I chose this month were Stargate Atlantis and Farscape. I had been hearing great things about both for forever and a half and figured it was time to give them a shot. Of course, I did Stargate entirely backwards. I watched SGU first, now I’m watching Atlantis and eventually I’ll go back to the first one 😛

Character-wise, I LOVE Weir and Sheppard.

John’s a total hothead and I really like that about his character, as well as the moral fiber.

Meanwhile Weir is like Commander Shepard from Mass Effect incarnate–level headed and completely badass.

As for Farscape, while John Crichton’s not my type, I’m obsessed with Claudia Black. The Dragon Age geek in me is thrilled every time she opens her mouth, and she has the same cold, caustic personality as Morrigan too!

What’s the bonus of this influx of sci-fi? More examples of strong, badass women to integrate into my stories. If I could have any trademark as an author, I’d love to be known for representing my gender well!

Posted in Updates

Hunting for Spring News

So folks, you know that urban fantasy gem I’ve been posting excerpts for? The bushel of chaos that descends upon Philly with Conor and Brenna’s story?

Hunting for Spring has a publisher! I just signed with Loose Id!

Thrilled to be working with these guys, and I’m so excited to share this story with you all! Not only is urban fantasy one of my favorite genres to write, but it’s set in Philly, a city I grew up right outside of. Hope you’ll join me for one wild ride!

Here’s the first paragraph, albeit unpolished, so you can get a sampling of what you’re in for:

Back in the old days, hunters were revered. Everyone had heard of Van Helsing and hell, the Inquisition. These days, the burden of tracking mythical beasts fell to those with the bad luck of being born into the wrong family, because a hunter’s abilities only passed down through bloodline. After all, if Conor Malone could ditch the responsibilities of his clan and somehow forget all the horrors he’d seen, he wouldn’t be stuck tromping through a nasty part of West Philly, trying to avoid stares and the permeating stench of bird shit.

Posted in Articles

Books I Love: Dealing with Dragons

When I’m not writing, I make sure to spend some quality time with books–because my love of reading is what sparked my love of writing in the first place! Here are some of my favorite gems, originally posted on my review blog.

Dealing with Dragons (Cherries Jubilee is Making a Comeback)

by Patricia Wrede

This book is a fantastic young adult intro to writers like Terry Pratchett. The whole book pokes ridiculous fun at fantasy tropes all the meanwhile creating a fantastic world with memorable characters. Princess Cimorene is another female lead who was ahead of her time, sarcastic, rebellious and practical.


Continue reading “Books I Love: Dealing with Dragons”

Posted in Updates

Weekly Word Count #15

Time to crank out the weeklies. Or cry in a corner and rock back and forth. The glamorous life of an artist, switching to and from happiness and despair within the span of a day. Ding ding, you have got a wonderful review! *basks in the joy of a thousand suns* Ding, ding, your manuscript has gotten rejected! *melds into the floor until becoming one with the sludge stains*

Word Count: 4, 316 (another slow week)

What story I’m working on: Airship the Sequeling!

What I’m editing/marketing: I just finished my edits on A Reflection of Ice this week and sent out my first submission, so I’m feeling pretty awesome about that. As for marketing, I’m currently marketing Curiouser!!! The Caffeine Crew project is finally available in print!