Your Dream Needs Wings. Let Us Provide the Feathers.
Together, We'll Fly.
Recently I realized
that I could combine the two things that make up my life - my day job as a
senior project manager for a Fortune 200 company and my love for helping authors.
This gave birth to Ink-N-Flow Management. Combining over a decade of project
management, consulting and publishing, I hope to give all authors - big, small,
indie, trad and hybrid the tools, connections and assurance to succeed by
working with some of the best in the industry. I have the mission of taking
the worry about what is next in a dream. You write, I'll worry about the steps
Your Dream Needs Wings.
Ink-N-Flow Can Provide the Feathers.
Together, We'll Fly.
What a week and what a year. It's only April, right? To be perfectly honest here, I thought I'd be writing this one or maybe two years from now. At the most, five. Not, right now in the same week as my birthday. Not that my birthday is that big of a deal being a full-grown adult and all, but you'd like to think that destiny, fate, karma or whichever energy aligns your personal universe would at least respect it. Hah, silly me. I forgot--just because I think life should be one way, life has a way of showing me just how wasted that energy was.
After almost thirteen-years of being with the same corporation, watching it change names and corporate lines three times--I am going to be losing my job. Not because I'm a bad employee, no. And not because the job is going away... but because they have decided that all the people they encouraged to work at home to save them overhead, now, after all these years, need to work in an office. Yeah. And if you don't live within 50-miles of one of their locations, then you are basically either going to be out of a job or you need to move so you are closer. Guess what folks, I'm way beyond fifty miles from one of their locations. And to be honest, I lived away from my family for more than a decade and I don't want to do that again.
Oh sure, the thought of moving to one of my company's location in California, Florida or even overseas has it's appeal but my gut instinct, and what I've been indirectly told, chances are I'd move and in six-months to a year, I wouldn't have a job as they move more and more overseas.
So what to do? Do I take that chance and move away from family and friends (on my dime, by the way, they aren't paying relocation expenses) or do I take the severance package and bow out gracefully with a few letters of reference tucked away? After-all, I don't have a husband to support me when the job goes away. It's just me, myself and I (the dogs refuse to find jobs).
The answer isn't as easy as it seems.
Especially when the first thoughts that crossed my mind are these:
Oh god, I'm going to have to give up writing books. I won't be able to afford editing, covers, PR... nothing.
I'm going to have to live under a bridge (okay, maybe that one was really far fetched, but you get the gist of my train-o-brain).
But then I sat back and considered all this. Funny how just walking away, going outside and getting some air clears some of the mental fog.
Why would I walk away from writing?
When what has been holding me back from cranking out a new book every few months is the fact I've been grinding eight-to-ten hours a day at a corporate job? One that paid well, true. But my books pay too. They have been paying more and more every month. Heck, I had to pay taxes on royalties last year for the first time... ever. Guess what I paid it with? Yep. Book royalty money.
Sure, it's not a ton and doesn't come close to paying all my bills... but could it?
Coming back inside, I did the math and tossed in a lot of dreams-come-true dust (that last thing doesn't exist beyond my head, but would't that be awesome to purchase) and did some honest figuring. Sure, at this point my books don't pay all my bills. Okay, so right now they don't even pay 3/4 of my bills. But do I really need as expansive satellite package for shows and channels I don't watch? I could cut the cord and save a ton.
And about that fancy coffee I like, that Kroger brand wasn't that bad either. And a lot cheaper.
And okay, fine, I have a weakness for seeing movies when they come out but hey, that kid at the ticket office keeps thinking I'm a senior citizen (damn her to hell) and gives me the senior discount, and if I only go once a month AND after-all Raisinets and popcorn are not on the Keto Plan (le sigh) so, no concessions, I could still go to the movie on occasion.
What about book signings? Well, let's be honest, those have been slated less and less.
The ones this year are already paid for and deposits for next year.
If anyone knows how to budget and plan for a trip--it's me. I used to have to do it for a family of four. Me? Easy, cheesy, lemon-squeezy. I have started to focus on those that have workshops and panels to enhance my business...
Wait, what did I just call it?
Okay, let's break that down, shall we?
Do you have a Business License?
I do - JTW Publishing is a registered business in Texas and I pay taxes when required.
Do you have attractive products that people want to buy? I do. And they are quality, well made, well written & edited and people seem to love them.
Do you have merchandise promoting those products and your business?
Yep. Book marks, pens, bumper stickers, laptop stickers, fobs thingy-bobs (I'm sure they have a more official name, but that's what I call them).
Do you have a support team for your business?
I do. I have an amazing publicist. I have an incredible personal assistant.
I have a team of talented people I work with.
I have a group of people who believe and support me and my books.
And I have incredible opportunities to expand my product in to new markets.
Do you have a consumer/customer base?
Yeah... about 10K strong if you combine all my various platforms.
Are you advancing your knowledge of your industry with training and education to ensure you know your market and can be respected?
I am. I'll have my Bachelor's degree in English Composition and Creative Writing in September of this year.
Here I was thinking I was about to be out of a job, riding the panic river of anxiety on my severance for three-to-six months (depending on what I'm given) and then living under a bridge (see disclaimer above). But I forgot, I have been treading water to keep my head above water supporting both my corporate work AND my author work; and only one was getting more than it's share of dedication (face it, honesty hurts).
I'm not out of work. I'm just going to have a less work load. Which means, the job I love, the one that feeds my soul instead of taking from it, can have more of me. More of my time, my energy, and all of my talent. I AM a small business owner with myself being the source of products and those who have come to love the books, those characters and I guess, me, are the team of my company. Sure, some of them volunteer but that means the world to me.
What business owner wouldn't be thrilled that not only do my consumers love the literary goods I offer, but they go and have others come feast on the stories as well?
What the hell am I being freaked out about?
I get a chance that not many get -- topursue my dreamof making my business all I hope it can be. And others have faith will be.
So, in case you scrolled to see what exactly the point of this blog post was (shame on you by the way, there's some pretty epic words and phrases up there, but whatever floats your reading habit boat)...
I am officially announcing that 2018 is the year I am declaring myself as a
Or as my idol Robin Williams says:
God, help us all.
Or maybe all of you as I drive you nuts. Or send Ramen.
I like the chicken kind (not the creamy version, yuck).
Whichever is needed. Oh and go buy the books. I would look awful living under a bridge.
I'm going to tell you a story. It doesn't have any twists.
No plot ploys. No taboos. Just reality. I know that's not in style, but today,
more than ever, maybe we need some reality. I should warn you now... It doesn't
have an HEA. It has no hero. No damsel and no supernatural badass to save the
day. Just some reality from the past of a girl, living in the south... Read at
your own discretion.
I was raised in the deep south of Texas. In the very heart
of the KKK in this region. So much so that I had family that were in the klan.
I was raised around it. Offered allowance to help do banners and signs. It was
every day life and just a fact of it.
That all changed when I was six years old. We were coming
back from visiting family through a town by the name of Vidor, Texas. See,
Vidor was well known back then as a racists community. Everyone knew it. It
too, was a fact. There was a time when the government wanted to diversify that
small Texas town. So they did what they thought would change it's factual existence.
They moved in people of color.
I remember hearing my relatives rant and rave about action.
The government had NO SAY so in what they believed worked for their community.
I myself, wondered how those families of color felt. Were they scared like I
was when I got in trouble for trying to friend the little black girl in my
class? Yeah, my teacher told on me for that. I didn't know it was wrong. I
didn't even know those banners and signs meant I was supposed to hate people of
color. I would be EXPECTED to when I was older. I didn't even know what the
"N" word meant... not really. I just filled in the colors on the
signs that were painted.
So back to that one night. I was sitting in the back seat
and the car slowed down. I sat up and looked out the front windshield to see a
bright light. That made no sense to me. We were on the back roads and far from
town. It wasn't Christmas either. We came to a stop and I saw something that
made no sense to my young mind.
It was a burning cross. Huge, burning cross. And it was
burning in the front yard of a home. All these people had stopped to watch.
Some tail-gated. Laughed and cheered. That confused me... why? It didn't look
that entertaining to me. But there those people were. All watching this
whooping and cheering activity in at a family's home. As I looked, I saw men in
white sheets and hoods, much like the ones I've seen hanging in the homes of
those around me, cheering and chanting too. Some were pointing at the house,
screaming and I am so grateful now that the windows were up to keep out the
black smoke as it drifted on the wind.
Then, being the inquisitive kid that I was, I looked closer.
And that's when I saw a family huddled in front of a window watching the
"show" too. But they didn't look to be entertained. No. They looked
scared. Really, scared. Just a father, and his wife with what appeared to be
two little kids, younger than me. Their faces lit by the flames that were
eating up that wooden cross not even 10-feet from their front window. I remember
feeling so bad for them. But didn't know why they just sat there and watched
that. How could they? Shouldn't they just ignore it, wait for the flames to go
out and it would go away?
As I look back at that night, it's amazing how clear it is
in my head. How it's still so vivid. But now, I can answer the questions I had
back then as a child who was on the cusp of becoming a racist. Which luckily,
that night helped pull me from that horrible edge.
The father was watching out of diligence. Horrified, terrified,
enraged diligence. See, he had to watch that to wait AND ANTICIPATE if one of
those burning maniacs on his yard threw a burning bottle at his house. If one
of those men smashed out his window. Went inside. Harmed his kids. Raped his
wife. Killed him. He had to suffer watching people cheer and encourage as they
poured on more gasoline on that burning cross to make sure it stayed lit for as
long as they needed it to be.
Why didn't he send his kids to another room with his wife?
That's easy too. What happened if he did that and someone broke into the back
door? Got between him and his loved ones? And he could do nothing? No....that
wasn't an option.
Why couldn't he go out there, scream, rant and maybe even
brandish a gun at the haters in HIS yard? That's fairly simple too. The haters
were armed. What if he went out there and they shot him? His wife? His kids? Or
worse, he was killed and couldn't defend them?
See, it wasn't about the house. It wasn't about that cross.
It wasn't about the man being weak. Or not as powerful. Nor was it about his
family's right for the pursuit of happiness, home and safety.
No. It was about hate. I'm sure the man with his family
HATED those men as much as the men that were trying to destroy his family.
But was it the man in that house's fault?
Did ANY of those haters know him? At all?
It was because the color of his skin.
Just pure, total, complete hate.
Can I blame that black man for being there? With his family?
Trying to have the American dream just like the rest of us? No.
Don't blame the ones that are forced to stand up for
themselves or try to make a choice when others with hate comes knocking.
Blame the ones that brought the hate to their door.
By the way - I'm not a racist. Never have been. And I prove,
that it's a TAUGHT nature, but not one that can't be changed.
Please... don't bring hate to any door.
But if someone does? We have to NEVER sit by and just be
entertained. Someone, WE have to be willing to kick down that cross and tell
them to go...
Because right now? It feels like we have one HUGE burning
cross in the middle of America's front yard. To join in on the discussion of this post, please join me on Facebook where there has been so much insight on this subject. Take care- JTW https://www.facebook.com/jas.t.ward
What can I say about COWBOY - Book Three of the Shadow-Keepers series? It's hit on the Top 100 on Amazon for it's primary category more time than I can count, top 10 a handful of times. And it's been a year since it released! Readers love a badass, charming, sexy, cowboy Breaker with fangs. As I write on MURDER, I am re-reading the last book written in my series and I find myself really loving some of the scenes within the pages. I thought I'd share one here.
And if you haven't ridden our Grid Cowboy, the link is here - get a taste. You will want more. :) https://www.amazon.com/COWBOY-Shadow-Keepers-Jas-T-Ward-ebook/dp/B01B1UP5SY/
From Chapter Four
Jess has grown up as an orphan in a brothel in the American Old West and has had a crush on the brothel's madam for years. He also has a split personality that demands darkness--so he gets in fights when that need gets too great. This is right after such a fight. And what led to his very deadly and doomed future...
Kid, hey kid, you alive?”
Before Jess could respond, he felt
cold and wet followed by sputtered water as he pushed away from the man that
was holding him under it. Looking at the watering trough before he brushed wet
hair from his brow, he blinked to look up at the asker of the question. The man
was older and stood with five other men, all staring down at him in obvious
amusement—apparently they had thought dunking in the cold water was helpful...
He blinked and spit out water mixed
with blood before he nodded. He was back out driving and every bit of him ached
from the beating. He looked around, saw that night had fallen over the town and
he had apparently been lying in the grungy alley next to the saloon for hours.
Grasping the wooden trough, he pulled himself up to his feet with a hiss of
pain but was glad to actually be able to get upright. He swayed a bit as he
sized up the men around him and prayed they weren’t there to give him a beating
like the last group had done; Sundown was most likely snoozing after being fed
“I’m alive, mister.” Jess glanced
back at the water container and shrugged. “Though drownin’ could have changed
that. Am I supposed to say thanks for that?” He went to walk away from them,
spitting out more blood but his arm was grasped by the man to halt him.
“Hold on there, kid.”
Jess looked at the guy and pulled
his arm away; he stepped up close to find he was actually broader and taller
than the man. “Why? If you want to beat on me, how about you give me a minute
to grab some grub, dry off and let my balls drop from the last beatin’? That
would be polite and all.”
The man laughed as well as the
others. “Damn, you’re a big, smart ass one, ain’t you? How old are you?” Sundown
growled a bit in Jess’ head but he ignored it, really not wanting to brawl so
soon. The apparent leader didn’t even seem blustered by Jess standing tall to
him. “Actually, we came up on the tail end of your ass whoopin’ and were pretty
impressed. How would you like to do a job for us? Something simple but a way to
prove you’re not a kid but a man. Sound like a deal you’d be interested in?”
Jess gave the man a smirk followed
with a shake of his head. “I’m fifteen.
And I ain’t no kid. Or boy. So, unless you’re goin’ to hand out some
money mister, I ain’t interested.” He went to once again walk away and a
leather tied sack of coins hit the dirt in front of his feet. He stared at it
like it had fallen from the sky or something, almost too afraid to pick it up
and find out if it was real. But curiosity got the cat, and yep, him too as he
bent over to pick it up. Looking inside, he saw buffalo nickels and even a
silver dollar; Hell, maybe two and he smiled. “A’right. Now you have my
interest. What is it you want me to do?”
The “job” had been easy—swipe a top
shelf bottle of bourbon from the saloon without being caught and deliver it.
Since Jess knew the barkeep—who got discounts at the whore house—it had been a
real simple task of abusing that man’s trust without even knowing it and
sliding the bottle under his threadbare jacket. He had delivered the bottle to the
men who had tasked him with the deed and they have given him even more silver
dollars and Jess thought this had to be the best day of his life. He found out the leader of the gang was named
Zack—and they were less than legal cattle rustlers. Jess had found this out
when he saw the same lesson learned in Madam Prissy’s applied pretty much
anywhere—men who drank, talked. About just pretty much everything that rattled
through their liquor fueled brains.
Jess didn’t care that they stole
for a living, all he cared about was the fact they were a chance to go beyond
this town. To become a man, like the one in black and make something of
himself—someone that people respected and looked at in appreciation. So his new
goal was set but first, he had a few things to take care of.
The lady at the general store
looked like he had grown two heads when he bought the new black shirt, jeans
and even nice, shiny boots to match. But those were all just dressings to what
he really came there to buy—a brand new, shaped to just his head, Stetson. They
didn’t have a silver band to go around the crown but it would do, for now. The
final thing he bought was a bath in one of those big tubs at the hotel along
with a shave. Something he usually did with his sharp knife in front of a
cracked mirror in his room.
Now he was dressed in his new
clothes, hat, freshly clean and the final purchase he had in mind before he
left town was actually at the place he had called home for years—Madam Prissy’s
House of Leisure.
Walking through the front
door—something he had been forbidden to do for it was for client’s only—he
stood in the front foyer and smiled as one of the girls approached him, his
confidence soaring when she didn’t recognize him all spiffed up.
“Can I help you, Sir?”
He smiled and inclined his head up
the stairs and removed his hat from his fresh slicked hair. “I want to see
Madam Prissy.” It was when he took his hat off that she recognized him and her
brows went up as did her smile.
And her cleavage as she showed it
off … Damn, he guessed he really did clean up good. But she knew the rules—very
few, if any got to be served by the madam, so she stepped up to say low, “I
don’t know what game you’re playing, Jess, but I don’t think …”
“That’s quite alright, Delta. I’ll
take care of our guest.”
Jess’ eyes went past the young
whore in front of him to land on Madam Prissy at the top of the stairs. She was
dressed in a red corset with matching silk robe with her red hair piled up in
curls on the top of her head. She wore more makeup now, but it didn’t matter to
Jess—she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on.
He smiled up at her, his palms
starting to sweat around the felt of his new hat in his hand and those new
jeans getting real tight in one area by the second. How many times he had
dreamed of this moment right here, only to notch it up to only ever being a
dream. But as Madam Prissy took each agonizingly
arousing step down those stairs, one slow descent at a time, Jess wasn’t too
sure if it wasn’t still a dream now.
She reached the landing, came to
stand in front of him, her red painted lips spreading into a smile as her eyes
scanned up and then down to appraise him. “Why, Jess. Why do I believe your
time is ending here?” A look of sadness spread across her fine features but
then she schooled them as she placed a hand on his chest and the other over her
heart. “Did you come just to say goodbye?” She lifted hazel eyes up to his and
he once again thought dream time.
Jess placed his hand over hers, knowing
she could most likely feel his heart racing like a tom-tom and he pulled out
the leather money bag with the other. “Not exactly, ma’am. I have a few other
things in mind before I do that.” He reached up to pull her hand away and set
the bag of coins in it. “And I have you in mind to do those things with.”
Prissy weighed the bag in her
trained hand as one elegant brow went up followed by another. Her smile then
changed to one that made Jess ache so badly he thought he’d embarrass himself
right there, with his virgin lack of skills ruining his one chance to have his
dream come true. But rather than that happen, she took his hand in hers,
wrapped her other hand against the nape of his neck to pull him down and
whispered against his neck, her perfumed skin making him dizzy. “Well, Sir. I
believe I am available.”
lord. You have got to let me watch. Please let me watch. I need to watch. Do.
Not. Keep. Me… But
before Sundown could complete his pleas to be a third in in his plans, Jess
locked his dark side tight and decided right then and there, this activity was
on a list of a few that were his, and his alone.
The thought of creating a list for
Sundown fled for later when there was a gentle tug on his hand and Madam Prissy
was pressing that amazing soft body against him beckoningly. Then, just like in
all those dreams, she was walking him upstairs to that room he thought must be
like paradise and closed the door behind them.
So, non-sorta-book related. But definitely related to me. I recently had a convo with my best friend and we were discussing my "people gravitating" personality at signings and such. She was surprised to learn that when I'm in that "mode", I could actually be having a bi-polar episode. In other words, my brain is firing on every single cylinder at an extreme rate. I'm charismatic, I'm sharp and witty--able to entertain and make the party. That's not really a full-picture of who I am, as a person. Here's the thing many are not aware of when it comes to some mental illness (because that is what depression in any of it's forms is...an illness). Sometimes, it's not always easy to tell if someone is in a emotional crisis. They always think it's when the person is down, sad, not wanting to meet the day, staying in bed or just dropping off the radar. Sometimes, it is opposite end of that spectrum. Full of energy as if bursting with it. Socializing with everyone and having the best time possible. Their minds are going a million miles a minute and everyone is amazed at this dynamo of a person. Their creativity may be a hyper-level as well. Able to complete a book in days. Edit in hours. Crank out short-stories or poetry on the fly. That too, is an emotional crisis when you have bi-polar depression. That's how it is for me. In my Shadow-Keepers stories, I talk about the Void. Where if it is kind enough to restore one to life, it always has a price. This is my creative way of saying what it's like for me. With me, my creativity is my life-giving resource to get through my days. Writing is my therapy and a much needed one. But when depression is my own personal "Void", it's like part of me is dying. I can feel it to the very depth of my soul. And I am desperate to fight my way out of the void. The void yawns wider after I've had one of these highs from bi-polar. The higher the fly, the lower the drop.
So after events like RT that are several days long, while I'm flying through it and finding amazement among my peers, I know that the fall is going to hurt. I know that my Void will want a price for giving me life. No brain, no person can go at that level for any substantial amount of time. The human mind is just not engineered that way. The "normal" (and I use that term with a smirk...) mind keeps a happy medium between the highs and the lows. Normal depression may bring bring low back to the normal, but with bi-polar, we swing way beyond the normal. Extremely polar opposites hence the name. I also have PTSD and that makes those lows very hard to get past.
I, and others that suffer from bi-polar-ism, have incredible highs and then we have devastating lows. So, back to the point. No one knew I was having a crisis at that event or any others before it. No one knew that when I took all those bathroom breaks, I was having a bit of a break-down. I was either crying or throwing up as my brain chemistry ran the gambit. Sometimes, all that was needed for the anxiety of it was some quiet time away. Other times, it manifested in my throwing up, killing some of those high made influences in the act of it. Heaven help me if I hadn't eaten in awhile. Dry heaves suck. I don't sleep for days. I don't think I had 6 hours total the whole time and that was with dealing with my personal life while RT was going on. I wouldn't have slept regardless. You all had no idea I was in a crisis, how could you? You just saw someone that was on their game. In their zone...and I was. But it's one that I knew I would have to pay the price to. After this last event, I was barely able to function for days. I was dragging, I was depressed and I had to force myself to focus on even the simplest of tasks. But I've dealt with being me for a long time, so I still posted positively on my social media sites, presented myself as professionally as I could for my day job. But as with all my lows, my health took the hit too. I developed a cold, headaches, nausea and my energy level was zero. I had one instance where I completely blacked out and was dizzy. But I made it through. And today, I'm back to my "normal" level in the middle. The problem with all this is very simple: If you meet me in a less stressed situation, I may not be the same "person" you met at an event. I might be more reserved even withdrawn. I can't promise that at the next event I won't be high. I can't assure you I won't be low. I can't commit to be in the middle For lack of a better way of saying it. I may just be me... But that's wrong too. I'm always me. When I'm high or when I'm low. Or when I'm riding in the middle of my wonderful yet complex mind. I'm still. Me. It's not easy to get to know me and it's even harder to understand me. The few friends I have, completely do and I am so grateful for that. Family has tried their best, but I'm one very complicated person. After all, it's hard enough to fully understand ONE me, much less...THREE me's. It's EXTREMELY hard for me to make long-lasting friends or even have relationships. Such is the nature of the disease. it's been an issue for all of my adult life. But in the last few years, I've come to terms with it--it's not completely me that's screwing up every single relationship, it's the illness having a big hand in it. And I am honest and tell people, welcome to my roller-coaster. Hope you know how to strap in...rather than hide and fake my way through my days to those closest to me. For those that have read my books, you suddenly have a light bulb go on when you see I've laid all of this out in my characters. A split personality of three-- one dark, one crazy and one that everyone loves. See...write what you know. I don't know why I felt the need to write this. Maybe it's to spotlight the least known end of the depression spectrum, since I met so many of you. I really hope I didn't just shoot myself in the author foot and now events are rushing to remove me from their attending author lists. Please don't. I can promise you, even without the high, I'm pretty cool. I'm also asking not to be "observed" or "whispered about" to try to look for the signs at the next event. Please don't. Just let me be me, and you be you. I REALLY didn't put this out there for future speculation. I love my books. And I love my readers. I love being an author and a part of this wonderful writing world, even if it complete frustrates and babbles more days than not. But writing and creating are LIFE SAVING to me. They are my medication beyond the ones I'm prescribed. I need them. As much as the RX. On the days when I'm having a low and sitting here crying to look for some light in my void, it's as simple as a person saying they read my books or a fellow author sharing my teasers. Or hell, just doing something silly with one of my fan-fiction characters in social media and making someone, somewhere, somehow....laugh. I gave what I don't have myself at the moment, as a way to finding it in myself when I need it. I'm always in some sort of crisis. Some are big. Some are small. Some are not there or barely at all (gee, went kind of Dr. Seuss there...). All I ask, as anyone who suffers from a mental illness should, is just respect and know that it's my crisis to deal with. Just know I'm quirky and diverse and every single one of you are so important to dealing with it all. And help in ways you may not even be aware of...just by being here. Even if you're silent. Even if you're not. Just don't look for the signs of where I am in my mind... Just be willing to respect the pathway I'm taking and know it's going to be a very interesting trip. And all I can hope is you're willing to help me when I fall or applaud me when I run... Or just let me find my footing on my own. Because, it's just me... Being me. Thank you and take care.
So, I dove into J.R. Ward's new non-vampire/non-paranormal series - The Bourbon Kings. I used to love the BDB series until the 3-4th book and lost interest. Characters all seemed the same and the males well....became wusses. (IMO)
But I did love those early books, the way they were written and add to that? She based it in my beloved Kentucky.
OR..supposedly it's based in Kentucky. I can't get more than a 1/3 of the way in because she made of names for EVERYTHING. The Derby? Different name. The historic racetrack where it takes place? Different name.
She even gave my UK Wildcats a different mascot and calls it The Kentucky University.
It was honestly like reading a book about Kentucky written by someone who knew NOTHING about Kentucky...except they knew KY has horses and bourbon--that's all we need to reference, right? That'll make it pass as being based in the state? Therefore they decided to do ZERO research to find out any of the real facts and/or places.
Now, that's amateur mistake or someone that just doesn't care about reality...or a fantasy book. But none of those facts apply:
1. J.R. Ward is an accomplished best selling author on all the lists. 2. This book is based as fiction, but not fantasy nor paranormal. The places, history and people of Kentucky are very real and should be treated as such.
But the biggest thing is this-- Ward actually LIVES in Kentucky, so the research was fairly easy. She claims to love the region and it's history yet not enough to give it the spotlight in a book that will surely hit the best-sellers due to who she is? (And now it's going to be a TV show). Was she afraid she'd have to pay them royalties? No, she'd simply had to request a right for usage and not defame or slander the public entities. They are public domain--actual streets, schools, places....
It makes no sense to me. So, as she's making up names for all the iconic places that are actually known by most as being Kentucky, I found myself finding that since the places she references are given fake names etc, the whole book feels, well, fake. (It would be like someone referencing in a book over and over - Times Circle in the middle of New Fork, New Fork).
Now I know, there is no Caldwell, NY but that's also clearly all made up for the BDB series which is a fictional/fantasy/paranormal series. So I go into that being none of this is real..its an escape and fantasy as that type should be. So I needed no real connection to enjoy the books.
But Kentucky has very real and historical connections and therefore, when she bastardized those for her own use without consideration, I decided I can't read any more of the book. Add to that the perceived stereotypical "southern" flavor she portrayed it's people as having...
The Bourbon Kings just seemed like a cheap bottle of Mad dog 20/20 rather than a smooth, Kentucky Bourbon as it should have been.