2017, A Year in Review



The year is winding down and I haven’t posted on the blog in quite some time. 2017 has been a mixture of ups and downs, big changes and challenges. So many things have happened (mostly good), and I owe it to everyone at Oftomes Publishing, my friends, co-workers, family… the list goes on and on.

At one of my recent book signings, someone asked me what it felt like now to be a published author. This little project of mine has succeeded in taking me out of my comfort zone, in helping me grow as a young person who has no clue what the hell I’m actually doing. I moved back in with my parents again last year for a few different reasons, like being able to drop the third job I’d been working in order to write and to pay off the dreaded college loans. My parents are so incredible and supportive, but the move took a bit of a toll. This is a small town where everyone grew up knowing one another. Before I had my roommates, but they’d moved off, and finding friends is something that hasn’t come easily. I had my bouts of depression and severe loneliness, but also those moments of excitement and adventure, of finally growing into myself. 

I wish I knew the answers about adulthood and careers, about writing, even, but I still feel so completely inexperienced with it all. The fact that I’m a published writer is completely astounding to me- there’s a lot of pinching involved. This year, I think I’ve learned more about who I am, and accepted the parts of myself that were always a little difficult to love. I like to think that I’ve grown, both as a writer and a person, all because of the people in my life, and the experiences I’ve been blessed enough to have. 2018 is on the horizon, and I trust that great things await.


In 2017, I:

-       Debuted my first book with Oftomes Publishing!

-       Laughed at my own jokes with cringe-worthy intensity

-       Spent too much time in the mountains, but it’s really never enough

-       Went to Sundance Film Festival and froze my butt off

-       Had my first book event(s)!

-       Fought with the sequel to Traitor’s

-       Talked too much to whoever would listen about how potatoes are the most perfect food

-       Hit the best-seller’s list on Amazon!

-       Made new friends in the literary world and actually had people read/enjoy my book. WHAT. 

-       Went to the city, skipped the malls and spent entirely too long in the bookstore instead

-       Blow-dried my hair a total of five times in a year. New record for this lazy author!

-       Bought a rug because I really liked it and then realized I had no place to put it

-       Started two new book ideas (NOT in the TTC series)

-       Considered stealing my Uncle’s dogs

-       Bought a baby-poop-colored sweater after complaining about said color to anyone that would listen

-       Stubbornly ate so much cheese, even though I’m lactose intolerant and it makes me so sick. Priorities, am I right?

-       Re-read some old favorite books, just for the sake of it

-       Asked for pens and socks for Christmas, because, adulthood

-       Drank ridiculous amounts of coffee 


So thank you, again, to everyone that's supported this book and this dream, to everyone that's made this year so wonderful. I love and appreciate you all. Here's to a new year! 




TTC book 2, new WIP, & other updates

Hello friends! 

If I've learned anything from this blog, it's that I'm terrible at keeping up with it. I'm pretty sure I spend 99% of my time between my day job and writing. What can I say? I live an exciting life. 

I thought I would make a small post since I've been somewhat quiet on social media lately. I can't reveal much about "The Traitor's Crux" yet, but I can tell you that some super exciting things are coming your way here in a few months. 

Here are some things I've been up to lately: 

1. Writing book 2 in "The Traitor's Crux" series! WOOT! And, as of yesterday (February 3rd), book 2 is officially in the revision process (i.e. a writer's personal hell). I still have a few months left of work on it, but it's super exciting to see it pulling together. Maybe soon the title will be revealed ;) 

2. I had a weird thought the other day. Even though I'm still writing book 2, it really hit that the TTC series is nearly complete. My main goal was to finish books 2 and 3 this year, but a part of me still hopes to at least begin a new project. I've been throwing around some ideas for a while and finally began plotting out some ideas for a new YA Fantasy series. As of right now, it's last in line to be written, but it's something I hope to get started on soon! ;) 

3. I started an official tumblr! Disclaimer: I had a tumblr when I was a teenager but hardly used it. I'm not sure that I have high hopes for this one- but be sure to give me a follow (and maybe lessons in how to properly be a tumblr-savvy millennial): authorjessicaprather.tumblr.com

4. You can find my TTC 1 and 2 playlists on spotify! Find them here to take a listen. 

If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletters. I promise I won't spam unless it's important! Be the first to know about news, giveaways, and much, much more! 


2017 Resolutions

2016 was a doozy, to say the least, but along with the heartache, with the tough moments, some good was tucked away. For me, it was a pivotal year. I traveled to new places, signed my debut book series, and experienced new things.

I’m incredibly excited for the year ahead. For one, I can officially say that my novel comes out this year! *dance party!*. I’m thrilled (and equally terrified) that people get to know my story and hopefully love it as I have. With the slate wiped clean this new year, there are so many exciting opportunities that seem to be waiting. I’m determined to make this year the best one yet. Here are a few resolutions I’ve decided upon:

  1. Be healthier. I know, everyone says this. I don’t know why it took so long to realize that while I may be feeding myself, I’m not nourishing myself. I barely drink enough water, I have terrible skin, and constantly feel tired. This year, I’d like to eat cleaner, drink more water, and take a little bit more care of my body.

  2. Write 2-3 books. I’m currently working on the second Traitor’s Crux book, but I’d like to at least begin the third before the end of the year. I’ve also been brainstorming some ideas for a new series that I’d like to start!

  3. Travel somewhere new.

  4. Read at least 75 books. I tried 100 in 2016 and barely made my goal. While I love to read, I’m wanting to focus a little more on actually writing this year.

  5. Master a new hobby. I’ve always loved to dabble a bit in art but being self-taught, I’ve never taken the time to study up on proper techniques and methods. Art is such a nice getaway when I need to relax and step away from writing. This year, I want to take the time to learn more and perfect it.

What are your resolutions for this upcoming year? Share below!

Books For Everyone This Christmas

To begin with, this post is no way sponsored by any companies, authors, etc. I just really enjoy talking books every now and then! 

I'm a big history person. (As you all know from my countless posts (sorry, not sorry)).  These are a few history-related reads I've picked up recently from Book Outlet. If you haven't already checked out their website, you should! I paid $26 dollars (tax included) and saved a whopping $115 on my last order. I'm telling you! Go now! (Visit here). 

I ordered: 


One of my favorite things in the world is finding people who enjoy books as much as I do. I love gifting them and finding that book where I can say "I think so and so would like this one!" For anyone in search of some awesome reads this holiday, I have a few quick favorites: 

My Historical Fiction Recommendations: 

Fantasy Recommendations: 

Fiction Recommendations: 






Happy reading this holiday season! Don't forget to like the Oftomes Publishing facebook page here for EVEN MORE book deals this month (and some super cool surprises around the bend)! 






On Characters & Imperfection

High school is known for its bad reputation. My experience didn’t fall of the self-depreciation, the embarrassment, the insistent need to fit in.

Something I’ve always been embarrassed about, something I’m embarrassed to even be writing here now, is that I had panic attacks every day before I went to school. I never realized what anxiety was until I graduated. I wondered what was wrong with me that I cried every day before I headed out. I hated school with a burning passion. Most days, I made myself so sick from the anxiety and panic, that I would stay home. I couldn’t do it. I was a mess, and I knew it. I hated myself for many reasons. I hated that I was “the shy kid”. I hated that I got an ache in my chest at the simple thought of spending the night at a friend’s house. I hated the tears of frustration, the anger I felt at myself. I liked to learn. I liked to read and write, and I was good at those subjects, but it didn’t make me popular, or beautiful. It didn’t rid my terrible acne or my horrid social skills. In my eyes, I wasn't enough.

I graduated May 2013. Only a few years have passed, but I feel like a different person. It’s funny, what growing up does. Once you’re gone from high school, it’s like the weight of the world is a little different. I’ve learned to know the signs of anxiety. They still hit, but it’s not a constant ache in my stomach and chest. The last panic attack was 2 years ago. In that time, I’ve been on a mission to find myself. It took time. It's still happening and probably always will be. But I’ve learned that it’s okay to be myself. I will always be a quiet person.  I’ll always be high-strung, sarcastic, and bull-headed. I’ve been told that I come off as cold and aloof to many people. A friend once told me that the first time we met, he thought I was mean. I’ll never be extroverted or outgoing, but I’m learning to come out of my shell. And that’s life, isn’t it? It's learning to love who you are, to embrace the flaws that make us each human. That’s the beauty of growing up and coming home to yourself.

There’s a character in “THE TRAITOR’S CRUX”  that I’ve talked about briefly a few times in the past. She’s not the protagonist, but she’s my absolute favorite character for many reasons. It’s not that she’s outgoing or overly friendly, but that no matter how broken she may be, she refuses to give up. She’s fierce, independent, tenacious, and clever. She’s also deeply flawed. 

I love complex characters. Forget the perfect little Barbies, the populars of the world. I love characters with backstories, villains that have been broken for too long, the leader with the wavering confidence. Real life isn’t the pretty little pictures you see on Instagram. It’s not always what people want you to see. It’s messy. It’s real. That. Is. Life. I don’t care who you are. You’ve faced self-doubt. You’ve felt the pain of the human experience. We’re all broken and cracked in our own ways. We’ve all been hurt by life. No one is immune.

To me, the strongest characters are the ones that despite their flaws, carry on with their mission. They may not always be liked. They make mistakes, they face consequences. Sometimes they lose. All in all, they have a goal and they refuse to let anyone, or anything, come between it. Sometimes, the best characters aren’t the strongest at all. Sometimes, they’re the villain that’s been so broken by the world, that they’ve turned against it. The anti-heroes, the villains, the antagonists, are all still people. I think that’s forgotten most of the time. One of my favorite antagonists is Draco Malfoy. In school once, in all my nerdiness, I did a character analysis on him. Draco shows moments of vulnerability, especially towards the last few novels of the series. He started as an insecure boy told time and time again the greatness of his upbringing. His loyalty to his family, his name, nipped him in the bud. As he grew, as the series continued, Draco was brought to his final decision. He made a choice mainly because of family, but also because he was scared and naive. My heart actually breaks for Draco in the last few books, as you see his world begin to cave in around him and as he realizes what he's done.


Memorable characters, regardless of their role in the story, are dimensional. They’re human, they’re relatable. My all time favorite show, THE OFFICE, is a great example. Michael Scott is completely annoying. He’s hyperactive, childish, and naive. It’s all driven by his complete need for social acceptance. Michael wants nothing more than to fit in and be liked, and he’s willing to do whatever embarrassing thing it is, to get that. Or look at Rory, from GILMORE GIRLS. Okay, so Rory is well… disliked by many. As smart and as driven as she is, Rory also has the tendencies to be a whiny baby when she doesn’t get her way. She’s used to success, and if she doesn’t meet her own high standards, she acts out impulsively (such as stealing a boat). Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is loved for her strength, wittiness, courage, and independence. But she’s also cynical and highly critical. She makes false judgments. She’s everything a perfect lady in the Regency Era was told not to be.


There are many deeply flawed, and yet, completely memorable characters out there. Think Ebenezer Scrooge (A CHRISTMAS CAROL), Daisy Buchanan (THE GREAT GATSBY), Katniss Everdeen (HUNGER GAMES),  Mr. Darcy (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), Voldemort (HARRY POTTER), Holden Caulfield (THE CATCHER IN THE RYE), Alina Starkov (THE GRISHA TRILOGY), Theo Decker (THE GOLDFINCH), The Lisbon sisters (THE VIRGIN SUICIDES), and one of my all time favorites: Cal Trask (EAST OF EDEN).  


Love them, or love to hate them, these characters are all so human. To me, there’s nothing more wonderful than feeling that connection with a character. Nothing can make me fall in love with a book faster than enjoying each character, learning their stories, and joining in on the adventures. 


ho are your favorite characters? Comment below! 

November, NaNoWriMo, and New Release Date!

Hello, hello, hello friends!


One of my biggest goals with this upcoming book’s release was to start blogging more because God knows, I am terrible at blogging. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that there’s always a million other things to do, and before I know it, I haven’t written a single blog post in a month.


Lots has been happening lately. Aside from writing, I work at an elementary school, both as an aide and in their after-school program. I teach drama club, and right now it’s been the wild adventure of wrangling 32 Kindergarten-5th grade-aged children into putting on a play. (GOD HELP ME, WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF)?


Don’t get me wrong. I love my job, I love teaching drama club, but I’ve learned that it’s a crazy whirlwind of finding costumes, building sets, making props, and coaxing kids into memorizing their lines.


On top of that, November brings exciting things! NaNoWriMo has officially begun! For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it happens each November. It challenges you to write a 50k word novel in only a month. I think for writers, the word NaNoWriMo automatically brings on the desire to yank out hair, but I also find the program to be incredibly useful! I actually first started The Traitor’s Crux last year during NaNoWriMo and loved both the structure and the challenge that it brought to the table. Maybe it’s my competitive streak, but I liked seeing my progress and being challenged to sit down and write every single night.

This year for NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have a set project. I’ve been working really hard on The Traitor’s Crux second book, but I was 40k words into the first draft before NaNoWriMo even began. I’m still using it as a motivator to write every day, but it’s kind of strange already being pretty much done. I’m hoping to use it each night still, as my goal for the second book is around 100k words (I personally like to write more than necessary, because I always end up cutting TONS from the first draft).


Basically, November is going to be a crazy, wonderful, and yes, exhausting, month. It’s my goal to really focus in on all the projects that I love so dearly, but also to take the time to just breathe. I love writing, and while I complain about it a lot, I really find comfort in sitting down with my story each night and losing myself in their world. There’s no proper way to describe it, but I guess that’s the point of passion, isn’t it? I don’t really feel like I’m working because I love it so much. I don’t mind the stress or the frustration of revisions. It’s so worth it because I love storytelling, and I love this book (I know, I’m biased. Sorry).


It’s still so, so surreal to think about The Traitor’s Crux being an actual, published book! I know I always gush a little too much in my blog posts, but I can’t stress how amazing this experience has been. I’m really psyched to share more news with you guys as it comes around!


For now, don’t forget that I just started up a monthly email newsletter! You can sign up and subscribe to stay tuned for book news, future events, and much, much more!


(Just don’t forget to verify the newsletter in your inbox, or it won’t send out! I promise I won’t spam you!)





  • THE TRAITOR’S CRUX has a new release date! The first book in my series will be out November 7, 2017! Mark your calendars!




  • NEW WORLD RISING by Jennifer Wilson

  • THE GRACES by Laure Eve

  • THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR by Katharine McGee

  • GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow


Pinterest Picks 

Pinterest is an amazing writing tool! I love using photos to help set up a mood board! Here are some picked for THE TRAITOR'S CRUX.  
(Please note, these pictures do not belong to me! Found on Pinterest!) 






  • Fire- Barns Courtney 

  • The Sound of Silence- Nouela 

  • Stay With Me- Daniel Jang

  • Smells Like Teen Spirit- Scala and Kolacny Brother

  • The Lightning Strike- Snow Patrol

  • Arsonist’s Lullaby- Hozier

  • Stubborn Love- The Lumineers 




  • Twitter: jessicapwrites

  • Instagram: jessicapratherauthor

  • Pinterest: jessicaaprather

  • Snapchat: jessicaprather

  • Goodreads/The Traitor’s Crux


Writing process Q&A, brainstorming, and THE TRAITOR'S CRUX PLAYLIST!

Hello, hello, hello!

I'd like to start with a great big 'ole thank you to EVERYONE for all of your enthusiasm! I am so unbelievably excited for this opportunity. It is quite literally a dream come true, and I'm seriously just counting down the days until THE TRAITOR'S CRUX is released! *PARTY HANDS*! While I can't tell all of the upcoming bookish secrets, I can tell you that the next few months are going to be filled with finishing book 2 in the series, TTC edits, TTC book cover design, and more!

A few months are going to be filled with finishing book 2 in the series, TTC edits, TTC book cover design, and more! I promise to update everyone as often as possible/allowed. We want everyone to be surprised too! *Wink wink*

Lately, I have been getting lots of questions from you guys about the writing process. Really, it's different for everybody. I can tell you that for me, it's been LOTS of trial and error, but I thought I would break it down to what really worked for me with TTC!


The brainstorming process can be difficult.  Even if you like to figure out the plot as you go, it's good to have a basic structure for your work.

Some basic things to get you started:

  • Your novel's theme
  • Genre: young adult or middle grade? Fantasy or contemporary?
  • Setting/period in time/ world-building (fantasy)

Awesome brainstorming tools:

  • Pinterest (My mood board for THE TRAITOR'S CRUX here. Take a little peek!)
  • Mind-mapping
  • READING! (Read, read, read! It helps!!!)
  • A writing playlist! Take a listen to mine, here!


Brainstorming characters can be a tiring process. It can be super overwhelming trying to create characters that the readers will love. For me, Pinterest is a great tool for character creation. You can find pin boards just for certain characters.

I start with the main character (obviously). From there, I give them a questionnaire. It differs between genre (for example, I'm not going to ask a post-apocalyptic novel character what their favorite song is). Usually, I go with these basic questions every time:

  • Age
  • Role in story (protagonist, antagonist, mentor, bully, best friend, etc.)
  • Birthday
  • Hometown
  • Ethnicity
  • Appearance/features/distinct marks (tattoos, scars, etc.)
  • Height
  • Body build (athletic, thin, stocky, lean, heavy-set, etc.)
  • Voice (high, low, husky, nasally)
  • Speaking patterns (quickly, stutter when nervous, accents, well-spoken, etc.)
  • Myers-Briggs Personality Type (see below) 
  • Personality traits (grouchy, hyperactive, timid, blunt/says what's on their mind, etc.)
  • Temperament (melancholy, sanguine, choleric, or phlegmatic)
  • External Conflict
  • Internal Conflict
  • Greatest Fear (BIG ONE! Know their greatest fear so they can face it later on)
  • Greatest Strengths
  • What is their family life like?
  • Friendships
  • Romantic Interests
  • Inspiration for said character (actors/actresses, other characters, etc.)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Okay, if you know me well enough, you know I'm fascinated by the Myers-Briggs. For creating characters, it really helps me find a better understanding of what motivates them. There are 16 types, so I won't go into each one, however, the personalities come down to 4 different factors: Extroversion vs. Introversion; Sensor vs Intuitive; Feeler vs Thinker; Perceiver vs. Judger.


Each preference comes together to form a personality type. You can research each type, as it shows what motivates and drives each person. For example, one of my characters is an ENFP, (Extroversion, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver).


For example, one of my characters, Tess, is an ENFP, (Extroversion, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver). Now, ENFPs are like hyperactive magical unicorns. Popular ENFPs are Lorelai Gilmore, Luna Lovegood, Anna from Frozen, Phoebe from Friends, and Michael Scott from The Office. Studying the personality type, it shows that they're talkative, spontaneous, sensitive, easily distracted, impulsive, free-spirited, and have a deep caring for others.

Tess is so much fun to write and serves as a relief from the darker aspects of the novel. She's light-hearted, caring, and probably the most loyal of friends to my main character, Kenadee, an ISFP.

The Myers-Briggs is one of my greatest writing tools. I like to decide on personality types for each character, even with the smallest of roles. (You can find it online for free on many sites if you'd like to take the test or find out more)!


Outlining is another thing that really depends on the writer. Some prefer to just write and figure it out as they go, while others prefer to plan out the entire series right then and there. Whatever your preference may be, remember that the first draft is literally getting thoughts onto paper. Don't try to make it perfect. You have lots of drafts, edits, and revisions ahead for that!

My personal preference is to outline via a spreadsheet. I use google drive because it's accessible anywhere you go. Here's a screen shot of my process for book 2, which is sadly blacked out (sorry, can't share the secrets yet!)

In the tabs below I also keep separate sheets for each select character and all their information. I color code the tabs to keep track of main characters, smaller roles, enemies, etc.



If you're a perfectionist like me, the first draft is like a personal hell. I have 3 first drafts still on my computer from THE TRAITOR'S CRUX that I up and abandoned just because they weren't "good enough".

The first draft is literally getting thoughts onto paper, and while it's incredibly hard, DO  NOT GO BACK AND EDIT. Write, write, write and don't look back. I cannot stress how much looking back at the other first drafts harmed my writing. Instead of creating ideas, I was focused on perfecting them. It's not the time to worry about your writing being perfect, but instead, putting pen to paper and getting the thoughts out there.


I really think the number of drafts depends on the writer. I did two or three before I started revisions formally.

Pretty much any time I hear the word revisions, I can hear Satan laughing in the background. Take all your writing you just did, and now it's time to once again reassess and change around your story, shaping it so that basically, it doesn't suck.

Again, with revisions, I really like to use google drive. It has a suggestion tool where you can experiment with moving around words, sentences, etc. As a rule, I like to over-write in my first few drafts because I always end up cutting TONS from my work in the revisions stage.

For TTC I did two rounds of revisions before I moved on to edits. This is the longest, most exhausting stage, but also the most essential. (Bring on the twenty cups of coffee!)


Most writers do edits in its own stage, but I usually complete edits while I'm revising. It's just a matter of spell-checking, adding commas, making sure sentences are right, etc. etc. etc.

You get it.

TTC took me almost a full year to write. With everyone it's different, and once again, it depends on you. After I completed all the writing stages, I began querying agents. For those that have asked, querying an agent means researching literary agents and finding one to represent you. A query is like a cover letter explaining the basic plot of your book, why it'd be a great match for them, the genre, age group, your writing history, etc.

Agents are not completely necessary to publish a novel, but they are necessary for a lot of the traditional publishing houses. Some publishers you can query without having an agent (such as my publisher, Oftomes)!!!

Another option is to entirely self-publish. Both traditional and self-publishing have their pros and cons, so be sure to research, research, research!


"The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding, and revising." 
-Stephen King