Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Exciting news everyone!

I can now reveal to you the new cover for FIGHTING TO SURVIVE which will be released on November 8, 2011 and is now available for pre-order!

Check out the amazing new cover!

You can pre-order the book here: for $10.19
Barnes&Noble for $10.11

I'm not certain when the ebook versions will be available for pre-order, but I will let you know as soon as I do.

What are your thoughts on the new cover?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Special Event: @torchat March 16, 2011

Join me, Beth Bernobich (PASSION PLAY) and Peter Orullian (THE UNREMEMBERED) on Twitter for #torchat this Wednesday (3/16) at 4 PM EST! Make sure to Follow @torbooks because there will be a book giveaway. Come join the fun!

Here is the link to the Tor/Forge blog.

Our twitter accounts are:

I hope you will join us!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Valerie Adkins McDaniel for winning an autographed copy of THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I'm giving away an autographed copy of THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS today. Please respond to this post if you'd like to enter your name. This contest is for March 10, 2011. Good Luck!

Congratulations to John Pinch who won a copy of PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES.

Please note you can also enter the contest through my facebook fanpage and goodreads blog.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pretty When She Dies Giveaway! Today Only! 3/9/11

I'm giving away a copy of Pretty When She Dies today. Please respond to this post if you'd like to enter your name. I'll be drawing a random name this evening.
Good Luck!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What Has Luck Got To Do With It? A Lot Actually...

When I started this whole crazy writing career, it was on a lark. I wrote a short story, it caught on, and I had a revelation that there was a lot more story to write. I kept on writing, I ended up with thousands of fans, they demanded novels of the story, I self published, and...sold 25 books the first month.

The next month I sold over 60. I felt a bit better. I was trying to promote it to the best of my ability using social networks and appealing to my original fans, but I wondered if I was reaching the zombie/horror audience or not.

This is where luck came into play.

Dr. Pus from The Library of the Living Dead Podcast read the book and loved it. He contacted me immediately and we had a very positive email discussion. On his podcast he reviewed THE FIRST DAYS and gave it 11 Severed Fingers (out of 10) and gave the book a whole lot of zombie love. Sales immediately started going up. Later on, he would start to do an audio version of the first two chapters and sales increased.

Soon word of mouth caught on, 5 and 4 star reviews went up on and the rest is history. The series went on to sell thousands of books and gain a great fan base.

So how did I end up selling the film rights?

The producer who bought the option told me that FIGHTING TO SURVIVE popped up on the Amazon's "people who bought this book also bought" list of a book he was looking at. He thought Jenni looked a lot like his wife, so he clicked on the book. He's from Texas and liked the idea of people in Texas fighting zombies, so he bought the series. He loved it and asked me if he could option it.

So how did I end up selling the series to Tor?

After two disastrous attempts to find an entertainment lawyer in Austin, I ended up with one in Los Angeles. How I ended up with my lawyer is another really long story, but full of strange coincidences. Anyway, my lawyer negotiated the option and during that time a publishing house contacted me. He suggested that he should contact literary agencies he worked with in the past and see if any were interested in representing me.

Within a month I had a new agent with The Foundry Literary + Media agency in New York. Hannah sold the book series to Tor.

So if I were to be realistic about how I came to this point in my career, I have to admit that even though I worked like crazy to make it happen, in the end, luck was a big part of the mix. I got lucky several times and each time my career advanced another step.

Carrie Vaughn, bestselling author of the Kitty werewolf series, touched on how luck affected her writing career in a blog post on Genreality. She wrote about two separate occurrences that she had no control over, but that had a huge impact on her writing career. When I originally read this post, it really resounded with me. At that time a lot of writers were asking me about self publishing and how I had found my success. I told them the steps I had taken to get my book out and how I had promoted it. I was often told they had done exactly the same things I had, but not the same results.

Even the new Indie Author heroine, Amanda Hocking, isn't too sure why she's being so successful. She has sold over a million ebooks. In a new blog post she says,
As much as my name has been thrown about, I haven't seen J. L. Bryan's name mentioned. He's the author of a fantastic young adult paranormal romance called Jenny Pox. Like my books, his is priced at $.99 EDIT: It's $2.99 now. But it was $.99 earlier. Like me, he has several other titles out. Also, like me, he has paperback versions of his book available and he reaches out to book bloggers. In fact, he just did an intensive blog tour for the release of his latest book The Haunted E-book. I even included an excerpt of Jenny Pox at the end of my book Ascend, because I like his writing so much, and I want other people to read it.

With all of that said, Bryan sells less books than I do. I don't know how many exactly, because I haven't asked, but I can tell from his rankings that it's not as many. What's my point in all of this? By all accounts, he has done the same things I did, even writing in the same genre and pricing the books low. And he's even a better writer than I am. So why am I selling more books than he is? I don't know.
People constantly ask me how I ended up with a three book deal with Tor and I'm always honest about how it all came about. They often say, "Wow, you really got lucky!" And I know I did. Events did line up in such a way that my career took off and soared.

But even as I acknowledge that luck played a huge role in my career, so did a lot of hard work and perseverance. I started writing when I was just a kid and honed my style over many long years. I faced a lot of rejection and heartbreak along the path to publication. I even took long breaks from writing to save my sanity. When the decision to self publish opened so many doors, I was ready. All those years had toughened up my skin, given me confidence, and focus.

Luck did have a lot to do with my success and its an ingredient most writers don't even want to think about. It's rough to realize that some part of the process of establishing a successful writing career is going to be out of your control. But the part that is in your control...the writing, the marketing, the revising, etc...should be the very best you have to offer.

Slowing Down...

I'm not going to lie. This full time writing gig isn't easy! It's been a huge adjustment: some of it good, some of it bad.

The good part is not hearing the alarm go off first thing in the morning and rolling out of bed to trudge across Austin to a job that I had - quite frankly- burned out on. I am nocturnal by nature and it was really hard going to bed just when my creative juices would get flowing. To have the luxury of not being ruled by the clock has been awesome!

The bad part is getting back into the writing flow after the seriously crappy year of 2010. A lot happened in 2010 that impacted my life in a negative way and my writing seriously suffered as I struggled with health issues. Trying to get back into the creative flow of things has not been easy at times. I'm still trying to find my old rhythm.

When I first left my day job, I was pretty much like GIR in this clip from Invader Zim.

I had revisions to complete, the first pass of THE FIRST DAYS to read, and a project to get together for my agent. I was putting in extremely long hours before the computer, sometimes 12 hours or more. I felt like I was running at full throttle.

It was pretty much inevitable that I was going to have to slow down at some point. That time is now. Though I am working diligently on the sequel to THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE, I have realized in the last week or so that a lot of that work has nothing to do with writing. I've been doing a lot of research (still waiting for a book on the history of Budapest to arrive) and a lot of deep thinking. Since it has been several years since I wrote the first novel, I have had to revisit the original, picking up plot threads, looking over notes, and reorienting my inner world to the early 1800's. Now I have to weave all those plot threads together into the tapestry of the sequel. So far it has been going quite well and I'm very pleased.

THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE is my personal favorite. Something about Lady Glynis and her struggles as a vampire bride of Dracula felt magical when I first wrote her story. She was not always an easy character to deal with. A lot of times her actions would be counter to what I wanted her to do. But a well-formed character has a way of surprising a writer and oftentimes I would immediately realize her actions perfectly suited her personality. In the first book, she was not always likable, but she was a determined little thing and I really liked that about her.

In the second book I'm definitely witnessing her evolution as a person and as a vampire as she strikes out to create her own life. She has a paradoxical nature that I find both frustrating and refreshing. Though she definitely wants to live an unconventional life where she makes her own decisions, she is also still tied to her aristocratic roots. I think its her complexity that I enjoy most of all.

So though I am slowing down just a little to enjoy my new lifestyle, I'm also working on creating a fantastic new tale for my fans to enjoy.