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June 15, 2018

I've finished writing the next book in the SACRED GUARDIAN series!! I'm really happy with how it turned out, although it is most definitely a first draft. Time to dig in and do some serious editing....

Read more about the series here: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 20, 2018

I just finished writing chapter 12 in the newest Sacred Guardian book, and the story is flowing really well. I'm so excited about it! I love it when a story comes alive like this inside my head, and I just can't seem to type fast enough. ♥


Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 13, 2018

I find myself endlessly fascinated by the process of writing. It feels a bit like painting a picture, or at least what I imagine that would be like. Coming up with the initial plot is like sketching the outlines, laying down all of those broad strokes. Then it's time to sit down to the serious business of writing and begin filling in the details, layering on different themes and meanings and characterizations and scenes. Sometimes I paint myself into a corner and getting the words out feels like swimming through molasses--such a frustrating experience! That's when I have to step back for a moment, take a deep breath, and look back to see where I went wrong. Once I find it (and I usually do, eventually), I can start moving forward again, and the colors of the portrait I'm making once again start to feel so very vibrant and alive.

Just a few random thoughts because I'm feeling pensive this morning.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are celebrating today. My family is planning to take me out to Red Lobster for dinner later, which I am very much looking forward to. I may be mistaken, but I think there is a shrimp fest running now. Even if it's not the food is always wonderful there, and I go there so rarely it is always a treat.

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!



May 11, 2018

I just finished writing chapter 3 in the next book in the Sacred Guardian series. I'm so excited over this newest story!!! This is the part I love best about being a writer, when the images and ideas flow so effortlessly through my imagination, and I can experience seeing those worlds that exist so vividly inside my head come to life on the screen in front of me. It's the sheer orgasmic rush of creation, as addictive now as it's ever been. It's the reason I'm still writing stories after all these years -- I write because I can't not write, like the stories in my head are alive and somehow begging to be told.

Kaori and Hunter are off on another adventure in this one, and I'm absolutely loving it so far. More than the fun of losing myself in an absorbing fantasy, I enjoy watching the characters I created grow and evolve over the course of these books. I don't think any of them are the same as they were when I first started the series, and there are more changes in store for them. I look at them and I feel a strange sense of possessiveness, of accomplishment. I feel proud of what I've managed to create in this series.

Just some random thoughts on a Friday night as I take a brief break before diving back into writing. Don't expect to see me come up for air again for quite a while. ^_^


Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 6, 2018

Just began writing chapter 1 of the next book in the Sacred Guardian series. I'm loving it so far and already can't wait to share it!

A small taste of what's to come:

"A little higher," Ishaya said, frowning thoughtfully at the wall in front of him.

Dutifully, the servants raised the portrait a couple of inches, supporting the weight of the elaborately crafted wooden frame evenly between them.

"That's it," Ishaya told them with a sigh of satisfaction. "Hang the portrait there, if you please."

Standing in the doorway of the hall, Kaori watched as the servants went to work obeying Ishaya's instructions. He couldn't help feeling a frisson of pleasure as his eyes caressed the portrait once again. He had presented it to Hunter as a gift to celebrate their upcoming wedding, which was—as impossible and wonderful as it seemed—going to be held in just a couple of weeks. He had sent all the way to Uruma to petition a master artist to paint it for them. Larger than life, it depicted both him and Hunter seated in front of a tree in the rear garden, which was hanging heavy with the blooms of spring. The artist had done a phenomenal job; Hunter's face was turned toward him just slightly in the painting, a small smile tugging at the corners of his elegantly shaped mouth. Somehow, the artist had captured the familiar shine of devotion and affection that lived in his eyes, and softly defined the lines of his face. Kaori's own face was tilted toward him, close enough to kiss. The adoration in his expression was nearly blinding; he wondered if he really looked that besotted whenever he looked at Hunter.

He suspected he probably did.

Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 2, 2018

Sharing the link to an absolutely beautiful review for Through the Last Door:

https://faridamestek.blogspot.com/2018/05/book-review-through-last-door-by-ja.html

Some highlights:

"From the moment I started reading THROUGH THE LAST DOOR I had an impression of a masterfully crafted book, steeped in history, tradition, myth and lore of that incredible fantasy world the author has created. I felt like every word and every sentence was cherished and honed to perfection, creating a deliciously rich narrative, full of vivid descriptions, endearing characters, intriguing relationships and steadfast friendships."

I am beyond thrilled! Those were exactly the feelings I was attempting to express when I wrote the book, and it is so very rewarding to see that I succeeded (at least with this particular reader). Thank you so much, Farida.

If by some chance you haven't heard of Through the Last Door or the Sacred Guardian series, you can find more information about the books HERE.



May 1, 2018

I had the pleasure of authoring a guest post for the Love Bytes LGBTQ Review Blog that was featured on their website yesterday. You can click here to read it:

>> Love Bytes Guest Post

At the very bottom of the guest post is information on a giveaway where you can enter to win a free ebook copy of The Soul Forge, the newest novel in my Sacred Guardian m/m fantasy series.

The Soul Forge was released just yesterday in ebook format on Amazon:

>> getbook.at/tsf (Universal Amazon link)

The paperback version will be available later this week.

Sacred Guardian is a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures.

Find more info on the Sacred Guardian series HERE.




April 30, 2018

The Soul Forge was officially released in ebook format on Amazon today! The paperback version will be available in about 2 to 4 more days. This is book 3 in the Sacred Guardian series, a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures.

Buy your copy of the book here: getbook.at/tsf

If you haven't experienced any of Kaori or Hunter's story before now, you can begin the adventure with them here: getBook.at/TTLD



The Soul Forge (Sacred Guardian book 3)
Sequel to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams
Novel (150,000 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.

Universal Amazon link: getbook.at/tsf

Find info on the previous books in the series here: Sacred Guardian series page


*** Read an excerpt from the story here: EXCERPT FROM THE SOUL FORGE



April 23, 2018

Thank you to everyone who made the promotion for Through the Last Door such a huge success this past weekend! At its height, the book reached #2 in LGBT Fantasy, #6 in Gay Fiction, and #78 out of Fantasy fiction in general on Amazon. Pretty amazing!!!

The free promotion has ended, but the book is still available to purchase for just $2.99, and is available to read without additional cost through Kindle Unlimited. If you've read the book and want to experience more of the adventures of Kaori and Hunter, there are two additional books in the series so far:

==> getBook.at/TTLD (Universal Amazon link for Through the Last Door)

==> getBook.at/eater_of_dreams (Universal Amazon link for Eater of Dreams)

==> getBook.at/tsf (Universal Amazon link for The Soul Forge)

Find more info on the Sacred Guardian series HERE.

Thank you again to everyone who helped me out with the promotion, whether by downloading a copy of the book or spreading the word far and wide or simply offering me support and encouragement as I dealt with the frenzy of book marketing over the weekend (which is honestly my least favorite part of writing books). You're an amazing group of people and I couldn't have done this without you!



April 21, 2018

Through the Last Door, the first book in my Sacred Guardian series, is available for FREE on Amazon this weekend from Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00 AM PDT through Sunday, April 22, 2018, 11:59 PM PDT! Click here to download your copy of the book:

==> getBook.at/TTLD (Universal Amazon link)

Sacred Guardian is a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures:

"All you fantasy lovers out there are about to get a true treat when you crack open this book, you will be transported to an incredible world that has a feel of feudal Japan and incredible characters who draw you into a journey that will have you gripped from the first chapter."
-MM Good Book Reviews

"My review is really quite simple; I LOVED THIS BOOK. [...] it is a story that will stay with me for quite some time."
-Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends

"The plot never gets tired and keeps the excitement and momentum building. [...] I totally recommend this book. I feel blessed to have read it."
-Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

"It was a delightful gem that ensnared me from the first page. [...] This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend whether you like fantasy, or adventure, or a bit of intrigue. If the author ever writes a sequel, I will be first in line to buy a copy."
-Loving Without Limits

"I was riveted to the story so much so I didn’t want to stop reading. [...] if you want a good story with a brilliant plot this will be perfect for you."
-Rainbow Gold Reviews

"J.A. Jaken has written a wonderful coming of age story here. Kaori's journey from young man to King is told with intricate characters and beautiful artistry. [...] A Five Star read!"
-Jill Prand Reviews

"You just have to buckle up for this journey, because that is what it is. Forget sleep, work, and other such trivial things and just… enjoy!"
-Eyes On Books




April 18, 2018

As a promotion to celebrate the preorder release of The Soul Forge, I am offering the first book in the series, Through the Last Door for FREE on Amazon from Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00 AM PDT through Sunday, April 22, 2018, 11:59 PM PDT. I'll post reminders about the promotion as this weekend draws closer!

Universal Amazon link: getBook.at/TTLD

Through the Last Door (Sacred Guardian book 1)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: When Kaori Sansa's father dies, he is forced to return home to claim the throne as the rightful heir of the country of Kazure. In the aftermath of his father's death, he learns that the country he loves is riddled with corruption, and is hovering on the brink of war. Will he be able to hold the kingdom together despite the odds that are stacked against it, and somehow unlock the buried powers of Shinja, the Sacred Beast of Kazure?




April 16, 2018

The Soul Forge is now available for preorder! This is the third book in my Sacred Guardian m/m fantasy series:

The Soul Forge (Sacred Guardian book 3)
Sequel to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams
Novel (150,000 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.

Universal Amazon link: getbook.at/tsf

Find info on the previous books in the series here: Sacred Guardian series page




April 8, 2018

Just a note that I will be pushing out updates to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams on Kindle soon, to prepare for the upcoming release of The Soul Forge. There have been minor editorial changes to each book to make the formatting more consistent across the series (for example, mage classifications were capitalized in one book and not in the next), and also the new title has been added to the series list at the beginning of each book. I also re-proofread them and corrected a couple of typos that I found.

So be sure to download the new updates if you don't have automatic updates turned on, to ensure that you'll have the fullest experience while reading these stories. You can expect to see the updates within the next couple of days.

The Soul Forge will be released on Monday, April 30th, although it will be available for preorder prior to that date. I'm also planning some promotions and giveaways throughout the month, so you'll have an opportunity to win some free books! I'll post more information here as it becomes available.

I'm really excited about this newest book in the series. I can't wait to share it! :)



March 9, 2018

My wonderful cover artist Jay Aheer has surprised me with a gift: promo graphics for my Sacred Guardian series! Check out these lovelies:


          


Aren't they beautiful? I've used them to create a new webpage for the entire Sacred Guardian series, which you can find HERE. Check it out when you get the chance, if only to swoon over the beautiful cover artwork all in one place. Jay Aheer has an amazing amount of talent!

I've also redesigned my Novels list, arranging the different series together so the books are more easy to navigate. I was looking at the webpage the other day when I was updating it with The Soul Forge's new cover and realized I have a surprising amount of books listed there, and that they should probably start getting organized in some way. Who would have thought a few years ago that I would have an entire page full of books that I've written? The mind boggles (or at least mine does ^_^).

You can click the link at the top of any of these webpages to see the new Novels page, or you can just click HERE. So many pretty covers! :)



March 5, 2018

I just ordered the proof for the paperback version of The Soul Forge! It should be here in about a week. I am so excited to actually hold it in my hands and see the words I wrote in print in front of me. There's just something about a printed novel that makes it all seem real somehow, like I'm actually a real writer and not just pretending to be one.

I've noticed that I have a lot of insecurity as a writer. Even after all of the dozens upon dozens of fanfiction stories I've written over the years, and now all of the original novels, I still have trouble believing in myself as a writer. I need a lot of reassurance. Maybe that will change someday, although a part of me sort of hopes that it doesn't. Because every note of feedback that I get, every time a reader lets me know they read one of my stories, is immeasurably precious to me, and I don't want that feeling to ever change. It lets me know that I'm not writing in a vacuum, that something I created actually managed to touch someone in some way, and that knowledge is all I really need to keep going.

I think that's why a lot of us become writers and artists: to touch other people, to share the visions we carry around inside of us with others in the hopes that they, too, will be moved by them and thrilled by that glimpse into another world, another life. I still remember writing stories as a child (that I was never brave enough share with anyone) and having the amazing feeling of walking on an alien world, of feeling the warm skin of a dragon underneath my hands as I rode it through the skies in the stories I was imagining. Even back then, I longed for the ability to share those dreams with others, to make them feel what I felt and to share in that wondrous feeling of adventure and exploration with me.

There are days I'm not convinced I've succeeded, but I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep writing my stories, and sharing them, and hoping that there are those who will share in even a fraction of the enjoyment I get out of writing them. Because that's what it's all about: sharing, and going on this journey together. You can't have a writer without a reader, and vice versa. We're all in this together.

Just some random thoughts on a Monday morning. :)



March 4, 2018

I just submitted the files for the paperback version of The Soul Forge, and they are currently being reviewed. After the review comes back (hopefully positive without any issues!), I'll send away for a proof copy of the book before giving it my final approval. I am so excited to hold this book in my hands!!! There's just something about paperbound books that thrills me, even more so than the ebook version. I always feel like a real writer when I'm holding a physical copy of a book I wrote in my hands.




March 2, 2018

Just finished putting the finishing touches on the advance reviewer's copy of The Soul Forge, the third book in my Sacred Guardian series. The ebook is beautiful and the way the story turned out makes me so happy. Can't wait to publish!!!

Find more info on the book HERE.



February 25, 2018

I now have the final cover for The Soul Forge, the third book in my Sacred Guardian series (fantasy/adventure, m/m romance). I'm really excited about it as it means we are that much closer to actually publishing the book! *bounces happily*

Click HERE to read a sneak preview of Chapter One in the story!


               


The Soul Forge (Sacred Guardian book 3)

Sequel to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams
Novel (145,000 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance

The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.



February 20, 2018

Eyes On Books has just reviewed the second book in my Sacred Guardian series, Eater of Dreams:

https://eyesonbooks.com/2018/02/20/book-review-eater-dreams-j-a-jaken/

"I loved it! I won’t spoil more than the blurb already does, but I’ll say that following Kaori’s journey through Kazure, watching him grow both as a ruler and as a partner to Hunter was great fun. [...] Eater of Dreams was a great sequel to Through the Last Door. [...] If you’re a fan of gay fantasy, then you should definitely try this series!"

The third book in the series, The Soul Forge, will be coming out in about a month. I'm expecting to receive the final cover from my cover artist within the next day or so and am very excited to share it.

This coming weekend I'm planning to post the first chapter of the story here, once I've had time to add the cover graphics to the story webpage and polish it up just a bit. I have the manuscript for the print version of the book finished and am working to get the initial proof back from the publisher now.

Things are all moving very fast at this point. I am super excited about sharing the new book! Of the three in the series I think it's my favorite so far. ^_^



January 23, 2018

The third book in my Sacred Guardian series, The Soul Forge, is complete!!! Now it's just a matter of giving it a final polishing and arranging the publishing and promotional details. I'm hoping to have a finished cover to share very soon.

I had a great deal of fun traveling with Kaori and Hunter on this latest adventure. In this book, the two of them have to face up to their innermost fears as they work to support their country and each other. I was excited as I was writing to see how they developed and grew as characters, and I fell in love all over again with both them and their world. The side characters as well were a joy to work with -- Ben and Haku, Ishaya, Malo and Rin. I'm extremely happy with how it all turned out.

I've created a holder page for the book on my website here: The Soul Forge.

I'm planning to post a sample chapter there soon, as well as the cover images as soon as I get them. Keep checking back for more updates!

*

THE SOUL FORGE (SACRED GUARDIAN SERIES #3)
by J.A. Jaken

Novel (145,000 words)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance

The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.



LINKS

Buy The Soul Forge!
Buy Eater of Dreams!
Buy Through the Last Door!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.3!
Buy His Whipping Boy!
Buy Entering the House of Silence!
Buy Nicholi's Vengeance!
Buy The Charming!
Buy Pathfinder!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.1!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.2!
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