Immortal Works

Signed the sequel!

I’m thrilled to announce, this week I signed a publishing contract for BOY RELEASED, the thrilling follow up to Boy on Hold.

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What’s it about? Well, no spoilers allowed. But here is a teaser.

Ten years after the horrific murder of Sally Hubbard, Tyler Trout is released from psychiatric rehab and Hen, now seventeen, will soon inherit the wealthy Hubbard estate. But all the money in the world won’t fix the Trout family problems. As Marcella continues to fight blindly for her children, Bernie has to calm his own inner demons in order to accept Tyler into his home.

While Tyler struggles to reintegrate into the community, he becomes entangled in another violent crime—this one hitting closer to home. Marcella seems to be the target and, although initial evidence points to Tyler, the true culprit is exposed in the most astonishing way.

Aren’t you dying to know what happens?

Boy on Hold was meant to be a stand-alone book. A complete story in itself, I never thought it could have a part two. Yet, on Christmas Eve 2019, nearly five months after its release, an idea came to me in the middle of the night for a sequel. It hit like a bolt of lightning!

Knowing the next morning would be chock-full of merry-making with the family, I hopped out of bed at 3am and furiously sketched out a rough outline in my journal. A few weeks later, I reached out to Immortal Works to feel out whether they liked the concept. After getting an enthusiastic thumbs up, I put aside my current WIP and started writing on January 20, 2020.

I completed the first draft at the end of April. (Yes, in only 3 months. And yes, quarantine helped my writing productivity.)

After two months of revision, I sent it off to Immortal Works and crossed my fingers they’d like it. Not only did they like it, they “adored” it. And thought it was “beautiful.”

I’m SO excited. In some ways, the sequel is even better than the first. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Look for it in 2021!

IPPY Gold Winner!

In May, I got word that Boy on Hold won IPPY Gold for Best Mystery/Thriller ebook!

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A rare and prestigious honor, IPPY typically holds a gala in NYC for their award-winners. But alas, with all other public events in the spring of 2020, it went virtual. And though I planned to do a red carpet vlog in heels with my husband popping champagne by my side, summer came and the sunshine ate up all my grand plans. Now, with July in full swing and with it all my boys’ birthdays, I wanted to post before too much time passed.

JD Spero wins IPPY gold

An at-home celebration in lieu of the NYC gala. Still an honor!

Press Release from IPPY

(May 13, 2020 – Traverse City, MI)  – Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com are proud to announce the medalists in the 24th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards. Conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of styles and subjects. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the gala award ceremony in New York is cancelled. Winners will instead use #IPPY2020 to post acceptance speeches and related award content.

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From last year’s IPPY gala in NYC. Sad it had to be cancelled in 2020.

All 419 of this year’s IPPY Award gold, silver and bronze medal-winning books have something to offer readers. This year’s contest drew 4,750 entries, and medals will go to independent authors and publishers from 44 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Guam, 7 Canadian provinces, and 15 countries overseas.

“A book is a lifeline that can help us through all kinds of difficulties,” says Jim Barnes, director of the Awards. “These medal-winning books epitomize how we humans share our stories and help each other solve problems. Each new book you open offers the promise of a new day with new possibilities.”

Congratulations to all this year’s IPPY Award medalists for their independent spirit and dedication to making the world a better place! See the official award listing here.

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A bit about IPPY

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

What’s your Cabbage Night story?

Not only is Halloween just days away, so is CABBAGE NIGHT!

What is Cabbage Night?

The night before Halloween, the traditional night of pranks. The night of the inciting, tragic event in BOY ON HOLD. Outside of upstate New York, it may go by a different name…or it may not exist at all.

In my hometown, Cabbage Night was more popular than Halloween. One neighborhood in particular got extra special “attention.” All innocent fun, no damage done…but we sure made a lot of noise.

Boy on Hold by JD Spero

A little context from the book

Chapter 2, Marcella Trout to her son, Tyler: “The night before Halloween…I know that’s when you teenagers do all those pranks. I hope you weren’t egging people’s cars or toilet papering trees. What do you call it–the night before Halloween?”

“Cabbage Night.”

At this line, during my reading at the official launch party at Northshire Bookshop in Saratoga for BOY ON HOLD, the crowd erupted in applause.

launch party for BOY ON HOLD

BOY ON HOLD launch party at Northshire Bookshop

But what happens on Cabbage Night changes Tyler’s family forever.

Cabbage Night, 1991. The traditional night of pranks takes a disturbing turn when a violent crime rocks a small Adirondack town. Even more so when the only witness is a seven-year-old boy… 

What’s your Cabbage Night story?

I want to hear from you! It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines or even a phrase. Like, “Knock, knock, ginger” (Unfamiliar? Google it.)

Dig into that memory bank. I’m sure we all have some repressed (or not so repressed) memories of Cabbage Night from our teen years. Not that Marcella’s description had anything to do with my experience. *mischievous smile*

COVER REVEAL!

I’m beyond thrilled to share the amazing cover design for my upcoming book, Boy on Hold, which releases August 13, 2019 by Immortal Works Press!

Boy on Hold by JD Spero

Here’s the teaser…

Cabbage Night, 1991. The traditional night of pranks takes a disturbing turn when a violent crime rocks a small Adirondack town. Even more so when the only witness is a seven-year-old boy. Hen Trout, who had hoped to catch a pet hedgehog that night, instead sees his beloved Miss Sally become a victim.

Single mom Marcella Trout is blindsided when Tyler, her seventeen-year-old, is arrested for the very crime Hen witnessed. Now Tyler’s eerie mood swings seem dark and frightening and rooted in a family history Marcella has desperately tried to bury. As the criminal investigation churns on, the tenuous fabric of the Trout family begins to unravel…and even Hen begins to question the truth.

 

New Book Deal Alert!

Five years ago, I got a story idea that stubbornly clung to my psyche until I unleashed it onto the page. It became a true labor of love, as it was inspired by my then-6 y/o. When my husband read the first draft he said, “This book will change your life.” It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written. Today, I’m signing a publishing contract with Immortal Works that will help get this very story — BOY ON HOLD — out into the world.

Pop the bubbly! Cue the fireworks! Woo-hoo!

Yes, this is a new publisher. Lots of people ask me about the publishing process. How I found this publisher is, in itself, an interesting story.

Back in March, I took part in a Twitter pitch contest called #PitMad. Basically, you pitch your story using hashtags to indicate genre and theme. If an agent “likes” your Tweet, it’s a request to see more. It’s a fun way to query a bunch of agents at once — and practice the art of a the modern-day elevator pitch. (Note to writers: the next #PitMad is September 6, 2018! Get your pitches ready!)

Here was my pitch.

Some pitches got lots of likes. The most I saw on one pitch was 17 likes.

Me? My pitch for Boy on Hold got one like. ONE.

Blugh. My first thought: “Well, that was a waste of time. I’m never doing that pitch contest again.”

That one like was from Immortal Works. Not an agent but a publisher. They requested the first page.

Blugh. My next thought: “Only one page? This was seriously a waste of time.”

So I sent the first page and didn’t give it much thought.

Almost 3 months later — (yes, 3 whole months) — Immortal Works got back to me, complimenting the quality of my writing . . . and asked to read the entire manuscript.

That made me sit up a little straighter. My next thought: “Oh! Okay, let’s see where this goes.”

As I sent them the MS, I also sent it to my Kindle since it had been a year (or two) since I read it through myself. While on vacation with my family, I read it on my iPhone, highlighting all the parts that I thought needed work. I couldn’t help but get excited about the story all over again. When I got home, I got to revising right away with renewed energy.

Then, a surprise. An email from an assistant editor at Immortal Works saying she “loved it.” That she “totally cried” at the ending. She said it reminded her of To Kill a Mockingbird but with schizophrenia instead of racism (Whoa — !!). And she wanted to recommend it for publication.

My thought at this time? Let’s just say, I was jumping-out-of-my-chair psyched. I had to hold back not to tell everyone — even strangers in the grocery line. Instead, I settled for a celebratory happy dance with my husband and kids.

About a month later, they officially requested to publish my book. The contract was in my inbox the very next day. Today, I signed!

Now, I’m beyond stoked. I’m FLOORED. I can’t tell you how gratifying this is. To have a publisher as excited as I am about my story. That’s when you know you’ve found the right match. They LOVE the book. And “totally cried” at the ending. Her last email to me said that she got “chills” thinking about it as she ran errands. Squeeeeeeeeee!

Writer friends who are slogging through the noise to get your work noticed, keep up the good fight! Keep querying! Keep pitching! Remember this: it only takes one like.