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In June, we celebrated my youngest daughter's 10th birthday and attended ConCarolinas, where we sat behind George R.R. Martin during opening ceremonies (not that he knew we were sitting behind him, we're not pals or anything, we just breathed the same air). I also worked as social media assistant for ConTemporal. You can see some of the photos in my gallery. In July, we celebrated my oldest daughter's 14th birthday.

While we took the summer off from homeschooling, I made a lot of jewelry. Nothing terribly exciting, just used up some of the odds and ends cluttering my studio. I started a new character in Skyrim, a Breton conjurer named Fleurine Greenhart, though I still played a little of my level 84 Imperial Nightingale rogue Zephyr Silvertongue and my level 58 Nord assassin Silvara.

No, I haven't finished writing the third Stellarnet book, and for all three people who've read the series, I apologize. I've found that, while I enjoy creating and writing stories, I really don't like being "an author." So, no deadlines for me. Let that be a lesson, kids, don't try to turn something you love into work. But I am still writing. In fact, I've been pretty excited about a fantasy novella I'm working on, featuring a dwarf as the love interest.

I'll be going to the Geek Gala in October. I'm also planning to sell jewelry at a small local event called Celtic Christmas in December and at Illogicon in January.
  • Listening to: "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
  • Watching: Miranda (UK) and Hemlock Grove (Netflix)
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: at an Irish pub tonight
  • Drinking: water
My first novel STELLARNET REBEL www.stellarnetseries.com/ won the Galaxy Award for Best Non-Traditional Romance of 2012. sfrgalaxyawards.blogspot.com/2…

From the award website: "Stellarnet Rebel covers a lot of science fiction ground, but what really makes it unique is the non-traditional romance... The author layers interesting social commentary about romance, marriage, and family through the lens of an alien culture. The experience prompted me to question my assumptions about how we define romance both in this subgenre and also in real life. In that regard, Stellarnet Rebel stimulates both the mind and the heart."

The book was also a finalist in the EPIC Awards for Best Sci-Fi Ebook of 2012. Those awards were announced yesterday, and I didn't win, but it was still an honor to make it to the final round.

The sequel STELLARNET PRINCE was reviewed last month (spoilers) tahlianewland.com/2013/02/08/r…

"Stellarnet Prince is world-building at its best... Politics ensnare our heroic trio and complicate the story. Will these bloggers, dedicated to bringing truth to the universe via the Stellernet, risk exposing a truth that could have disastrous consequences for them all? This is the kind of decision that has caused the moral downfall of many a politician, and wondering how our three-who-are-one deal with this challenge kept me reading voraciously until the end. This is quite simply an excellent book. I highly recommend it."

Now I just need to finish book three!
  • Listening to: Birds chirping
  • Watching: House of Cards (US version on Netflix)
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: Shamrock pancakes
Great news! My new book STELLARNET PRINCE was rated "5 STARS" on the Tome Tender review blog tometender.blogspot.com/2012/1… "Stellarnet Prince is a highly complex and detailed story line... The vivid details and magnificent world created by J. L. Hilton brought life to this new exotic tumultuous world. In the end, I was swept away into a wonderful story."

Enter to win a copy: jlhilton.com/giveaways/ It's also available for pre-order on Amazon amzn.com/B0092MTI9Q B&N www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stell… the publisher's website ebooks.carinapress.com/AF91998… and it will be available as an audio book on Audible and iTunes this month.

I'm giving away another cool creepy eye necklace to celebrate! jlhilton.com/giveaways/ Based on a creature called a "r'naw" on the planet Glin, in the book.

Read a fun interview with the characters - Duin, J'ni and Belloc veronicascott.wordpress.com/20…

Find out how I combine my writing and my jewelry design into my storytelling aneclecticauthor.blogspot.com/…

My full schedule of interviews, contests, sneak peaks, guest posts and more! jlhilton.com/2012/11/stellarne…
  • Reading: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Watching: Literal Trailers by Tobuscus
  • Eating: Moravian sugar cookies
  • Drinking: tea
Happy Halloween!

My first novel, Stellarnet Rebel, was just announced as a finalist in the EPIC eBook Awards science fiction category! epicorg.com/competitions/2013-… I'm so excited!

To celebrate the award, Halloween, and to kick off the release of my next book, Stellarnet Prince, I'm giving away a "r'naw eye necklace" designed and handmade by Gypsy Moon Art Studio, as well as digital copies (pdf or epub) of both books in the Stellarnet Series.

Check out these links for more info about the books, the tarot cards, and giveaways.

Win a creepy eye necklace! chrisbwritin.blogspot.com/2012…

All of my current and upcoming giveaways: jlhilton.com/giveaways/

My full schedule of interviews, contests, sneak peaks, guest posts and more! jlhilton.com/2012/10/stellarne…
  • Listening to: Hamilton pocket watch ticking
  • Reading: Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape
  • Watching: Yogscast
  • Playing: Solitaire Blitz
  • Eating: Tuna croissant sandwich
  • Drinking: Hot apple cider
STELLARNET PRINCE, the next book in the Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press, will be out in November. I'll be doing a blog tour www.JLHilton.com/ to promote it, and I'm really excited about the questions, posts, free giveaways and interesting topics coming up for that -- everything from tarot cards to recipes to character interviews to "r'naw eye" jewelry! What's a r'naw? It's a r'nawesome monster that gets punched in the eyeballs and its brain melted by bioelectricity. Read the books!

Check out the website for more info, excerpts, etc, from the books: www.stellarnetseries.com/

STELLARNET PRINCE is already available on Amazon and B&N for pre-order, and will also be an audio book on Audible and iTunes when it comes out. www.stellarnetrebel.com/shop/

Other than that, I've been making some Youtube videos to show how I do acid etching, hammering and riveting. I entered one of my pieces in the Irish Arts competition of a local feis and won first place today. That sounds great, but competition was only one other person in the "adult" age category. I'm going to have to get some more folks to enter next year, so I can feel like I earn it if I win it! lol
  • Listening to: Husband snoring
  • Reading: The Complete Works of Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Watching: Yogscast
  • Playing: Alice: Madness Returns
  • Drinking: Water
STELLARNET REBEL www.stellarnetrebel.com/ has been out for almost a month, now. It's got some good reviews on Amazon www.amazon.com/Stellarnet-Rebe… and around the Internet.

"Stellarnet Rebel was an amazingly unique book with some deep themes and a great love story to boot… I really loved the story, the romance, and courage of its characters." – Fiendishly Bookish

"(R)eally good science fiction romance… Speaking of book 2, Stellarnet Rebel is the start of a series. I'm looking forward to it!" – Reading Reality

"I really felt as I was narrating this novel that it would make an excellent film because the characters are strong, the plot spins along, and it's a very visual world." – Gayle Hendrix, audio book narrator

It even hit #2 on my publisher's daily "Most Popular" list.

Debut authors don't usually take the world by storm, and movie producers aren't beating down my door. To paraphrase my publisher, the best way to promote your first book is to write another one. So, I am hard at work on book two of the "Stellarnet Series," tentatively titled "Stellarnet Prince."
  • Listening to: Loreena McKennitt
  • Reading: Sparks in Cosmic Dust by Robert Appleton
  • Watching: DS9
  • Eating: oatmeal
  • Drinking: water
My cyberpunk romantic thriller novel STELLARNET REBEL is now available for all digital reading devices, wherever eBooks are sold. It is also available as an audio book from AUDIBLE. My publisher is offering an extended excerpt via Facebook. For exclusive extras and additional info about STELLARNET REBEL, check out StellarnetRebel.com www.stellarnetrebel.com/ and my author website at JLHilton.com www.JLHilton.com/ .

You can find it on AMAZON U.S. / AMAZON U.K. / AMAZON FRANCE, B&N, Google Books, SONY eBooks, CARINA PRESS, Apple iBooks, or Audible.com. For those who like to shop local and support small businesses: Many independently-owned book sellers now partner with Google Books to sell eBooks through their websites. Check with your local bookstore.

Don't have an e-reader? There are many free reader apps for PC, Mac, smartphone, and iPad — check the app market on your device.

I'll be a guest author featured on the Manic Readers blog on January 3. And I'll be doing a special giveaway on my publisher's blog carinapress.com/blog/2012/01/s… when I will be guest posting in the morning of January 4.

I'll be at the Illogicon fan-run SF con in Raleigh, NC, on January 13-15, selling steampunk and spacepunk jewelry and handing out STELLARNET REBEL promo swag.
  • Listening to: the wind
  • Reading: "Irish Moon" by Amber Scott
  • Watching: Portlandia
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Drinking: water
I've listed a handmade copper and brass triskele pendant to help artist/author Terri Windling: magick4terri.livejournal.com/1…

I've also listed copies of "Steampunk Style Jewelry" and "1000 Steampunk Creations" signed on the pages where my work is included, also to help Terri: magick4terri.livejournal.com/1…

In other news... My own original "Celtic crescent moon" design was turned into an amazing xplosivepercussion tank drum: youtu.be/vGrsRImpJDI

AND... I found out that my new novel STELLARNET REBEL www.stellarnetrebel.com/ is not only listed on Amazon-US, but also on Amazon-UK and Amazon-FR (France). Sweet!
  • Listening to: tank drum
  • Reading: Her Christmas Pleasure by Karen Erickson
  • Watching: Yogscast holiday vids on Youtube
  • Eating: cinnamon crunch cereal
Stellarnet Rebel now appears on my publisher's "coming soon" page carinapress.com/blog/coming-so… and is available for pre-order on Amazon www.amazon.com/Stellarnet-Rebe… and B&N www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stell… .

You can read an excerpt of the book here: www.stellarnetrebel.com/2011/1…

The book's website is StellarnetRebel.com www.stellarnetrebel.com/

I'm planning a book release party at Tir na nOg Irish Pub on January 5. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or check my blog www.JLHilton.com/ for more info.
  • Listening to: the refrigerator running
  • Reading: Time magazine
  • Watching: Yogscast holiday vids on Youtube
  • Drinking: Water
The publisher of my upcoming book "Stellarnet Rebel" www.StellarnetRebel.com/ has offered me a contract for the sequel, tentatively titled "Stellarnet Prince." I am SO excited! Wow!
  • Listening to: My laptop humming
  • Reading: Mogworld (still)
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Stellarnet Rebel is listed on the "coming soon" page of my publisher's website. No pic of the cover yet, though. I imagine that will come in December. carinapress.com/blog/coming-so…

Advance review copies will be available in mid-December. www.netgalley.com/

Official release is January 2, 2012. Check out the website redesign: www.stellarnetrebel.com/
  • Listening to: Yogscast
  • Reading: Mogworld
  • Eating: Tangerines
  • Drinking: Water
I just received the official cover copy for my upcoming cyberpunk thriller, Stellarnet Rebel www.stellarnetrebel.com/ from my publisher. This is what would be on the back cover if it was being scribed on vellum by a team of monks. I assume it is also what will show up in the description of the book on Amazon, B&N, Carina Press, Audible, etc.

* * *

Welcome to Asteria, a corporate-owned, deep-space colony populated with refugees, criminals and obsessive online gamers. Genny O'Riordan has shifted in from Earth determined to find a story that will break her blog into the Stellarnet Top 100, and even better—expose the degradation of the colony's denizens.

Duin is an alien—a Glin—a hero of a past revolution against the Glin royal family, yet branded a terrorist. Duin speaks every day in the Asteria market, hoping to spur humans to aid his home world, which has been overtaken by the evil, buglike Tikati.

When Genny and Duin meet, what begins with a blog post becomes a dangerous web of passion and politics as they struggle to survive not only a war but the darker side of humanity…

94,000 words
  • Listening to: Halloween channel on Pandora
  • Reading: my cover copy - duh!
  • Watching: my kids bob for apples
  • Playing: TankTop 1.0 mini-game
  • Eating: Maggie's cookies
  • Drinking: tea with milk
Publisher sent me the final cover art for my upcoming book Stellarnet Rebel. Check it out: www.stellarnetrebel.com/
  • Listening to: my kids play LBP
  • Reading: HP tech support pages
  • Watching: Yogscast interviews from Blizzcon
  • Playing: around with sari silk
  • Eating: a cupcake
  • Drinking: milk
Just found out today that my cyberpunk thriller "Stellarnet Rebel" (coming out January 2, 2012) was selected by Audible.com to be narrated into an audio file. It will be totally weird hearing someone else read my book... but cool. And this will make it available to an even bigger audience. I wonder if they will contact me to find out how to pronounce the Glinnish (alien language) words.
  • Listening to: Kamelot
  • Reading: Jane Eyre (again)
  • Watching: Lie to Me
  • Playing: Bioshock 2 (still)
  • Eating: my fingernails
  • Drinking: water
Because I love Minecraft www.minecraft.net/ I made skins of the three main characters from my book Stellarnet Rebel www.stellarnetrebel.com/ which are free to download here: www.planetminecraft.com/member…

I also filmed and edited a steampunk ring tutorial. www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaC4So… I'd noticed that some steampunk rings were priced as high as $55 on Etsy, but they looked really basic (others, yes, are very complicated contraptions of wire and found items, but these in particular did not look so difficult). So I did an experiment: I made some rings that look exactly like the ones on Etsy (there's a pic of them in my gallery) and figured out that they can be made in less than 10 minutes, for less than $10. I don't know what technique others are using (and by "technique" I mean glue, because that's basically all you're doing... gluing a watch piece to a ring base). Maybe they're using $20 worth of magical fairy glue on each one. I dunno. I'm using E-6000.

I taught the process in a workshop for the Triangle Jewelry Makers last night and they were so excited about these, I went ahead and filmed a tutorial. I'm a total editing noob, so I learned a lot about OpenShot Video Editor today.

Before anyone freaks out that I'm "copying" the Etsy sellers or violating a copyright, let me explain that I've been making steampunk rings since 2008, and making steampunk and neo-Victorian jewelry for longer than that. Tons of people have been copying my steampunk jewelry for years... In fact, I made a ring very similar to these back in 2008, but thought it was kind of boring so I moved on to more interesting things. So, for all I know, THEY copied ME. But, oh, well.
  • Listening to: Damn it Feels Good to be a Lannister
  • Reading: Demon's Fall by Karalynn Lee
  • Watching: Yogscast
  • Playing: With an editing program
  • Eating: pork chops for dinner
  • Drinking: Hot cocoa
I will be at the Central NC Pagan Pride Day this Saturday and Sunday at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC, www.cncppd.org/ as one half of the duo "Brigid's Jewels" brigidsjewels.blogspot.com/ with my friend Jill of Livngood Jewelry livngoodjewelry.com/ . I haven't done a show in ages, so it should be fun. I'll have lots of new items. Now I've got to go put price tags on everything...

I was hoping to have promotional postcards for Stellarnet Rebel www.stellarnetrebel.com , but the cover isn't finished yet. Should be soon!
  • Listening to: Requiem for a Tower
  • Reading: Jane Eyre
  • Watching: the wheels go round and round
  • Playing: Bioshock 2
  • Eating: Black & White Cookies
  • Drinking: Water
Just started round 3 of revisions to my novel, Stellarnet Rebel www.stellarnetrebel.com/ coming out January 2012 from Carina Press. This should be the last read-through before my editor sends it off to the copy editing folks. A week ago, I turned in the "art fact sheet" for the cover art. I'm told that could take another 1-2 months before it's ready.

Tuesday will be my first post as a co-contributor to the blog "Contact-Infinite Futures" contactinfinitefutures.wordpre… which is a really cool blog about anything and everything Sci-Fi. All of the contributors are SF or SFR (Sci-Fi Romance) authors published with Carina Press. They talk about their books, how they come up with ideas, technology, movies, TV shows, experiences, events and more.
I just found out that my steampunk jewelry will appear in the book "1000 Steampunk Creations Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear, and Art" www.qbookshop.com/products/193… coming out in July of this year, from Quarry Books (an imprint of Quayside Publishing).

Quayside is the same publisher behind the "Steampunk Style Jewelry" book in which I was featured a couple of years ago. I had three pieces in that book, and I wrote detailed step-by-step instructions for making each one. "1000 Steampunk Creations" is more of a picture gallery than a how-to. If you click the "Google preview" button at the above link, you can search for "Jen Hilton" and you'll see which piece of my steampunk jewelry is featured. It's a different one from those in the previous book, and not in my dA gallery, either. The piece is one I kept for my personal collection.
My friend Lilith plays World of Warcraft. Today she told me about an in-game achievement she needed to complete, in order to win a really sweet mount. A purple wyvern or something. Which sounds awesome. Anything purple is awesome.

The achievement involved playing a fairly conventional-sounding game of capture-the-flag. To "win" one needed to grab the enemy's flag just after they'd returned it to their base — ahem, I mean, tower. There were several towers in play, and in the first one she came across an all-out brawl. I'm not that familiar with the game, but I imagine it was glowing angelic elves thrashing drooling minotaurs, trolls whacking gnomes, pirates and ninjas, dogs and cats, you get the idea. It was impossible to get near the flag. So she headed for another tower.

In the second tower, she found an unusual sight. Two lines of creatures — one line for the Alliance, one line for the Hoarde — taking turns grabbing the flag from each other, so that everyone could win the achievement.

*sniff*

It kind of reminded me of the story about heaven and hell. Not sure where the story originally comes from, but it goes like this: A man visits hell and sees starving people chained to a banquet table in such a way that they can reach the food, but cannot put it in their mouths, and so everyone is miserable. Then he visits heaven and sees pretty much the same thing. But in heaven, they've figured out that their arms can reach their neighbors, so they feed each other and everyone is happy.

It inspired me to write this poem tonight. Imagine it being read by Ian McKellan — or even that guy who imitates Ian McKellan on YouTube, that works too.

In which tower do you dwell?
The one by the mountain
Or the one by the well?
The jewel which you seek is in both, my daughter,
Whether you go to the one or the other,
The one near the forest
Or the one near the water.
The goal is to touch,
The achievement is won
Simply by placing your hand on the stone.
You may keep it — or not –
Either way, it is owned.

But in one of the towers
Is chaos and greed
Where many are fighting
For what we all need,
And in this constant struggle, so few
Ever place their hands on the jewel.
This is the one which stands close to the water,
Close to the well,
So be careful, my daughter.

The other magnanimous, forgiving and free,
Where dwell those who share
The gem which they seek.
Each takes their turn,
Whether high elf or orc,
Whether minion of light or creature of dark,
To lay their hands on the sacred spark.

Choose wisely the tower in which you dwell,
The one by the mountain,
Or the one by the well.
The jewel which you seek is in both, my daughter,
The jewel we all seek is in one or the other.
So seek it in one way or seek in another.
The choices you make
Will determine your fate,
To live in love, or to live in hate.

J. L. Hilton
It's been wonderful collaborating with :iconsicilianvalkyrie: on the children's book PRINCESS AMBER'S BED www.princessambersbed.com/ . I wrote the story for my daughter, who likes to fall asleep anywhere but her own room. It is her favorite bedtime story now. I thought it would be fun to have the tale illustrated and to share it with others. I love Patricia's artwork here on dA and she was accepting commissions. Yay! Read PRINCESS AMBER'S BED online, or download and print the pdf www.princessambersbed.com/