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September 29, 2018

Book number 4 in the Sacred Guardian series is currently with my editor, and I'm hoping to get the initial review back soon. I am really, really excited about how the story turned out! I've had such a blast building the world these characters live in over the past few books, and this latest one has given me the opportunity to dig more into the country of Kazure's past as well as the underlying magical structure that this universe uses. Plus I absolutely adore both Kaori and Hunter, and have enjoyed bringing them further along the road of the relationship they're forging together.

This might be the final book in the series, because it ties up a lot of the loose ends I've left hanging from the previous novels. But we'll have to see what the future holds. The Sacred Guardian series has given me the chance to indulge my love of m/m romance in addition to my love of high fantasy, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Every moment I've spent working on the series has felt like the most decadent indulgence: magic and mystery, adventure and romance, fantastical creatures, intrigue, plots and betrayals, and a cast of characters I have grown extremely fond of. ♥

Here is a link where you can learn more about the Sacred Guardian m/m fantasy series: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



Here is an excerpt from the story to whet your appetite:

Hunter watched his opponent carefully, coolly assessing, and waited for him to make the next move. The soldier gave in to impatience finally and moved in to strike at him again, the blade of his sword flashing in the sunlight. Hunter moved in a smooth sidestep to avoid the blow and darted in low, reaching up to disarm him.

The two of them grappled for a tense moment, their feet kicking up a fine cloud of dust in the dirt of the field. Then the soldier struck Hunter hard across the side of the face with one mailed fist, making him stagger. A final hard swipe of his blade sent Hunter's sword flying from his grip to land clattering on the ground.

"Point!" the arbitrator's voice rang out over the suddenly deafening roar of the crowd. "To Uruma."

Kaori was moving before the echo of the words had faded, ducking underneath the fence and running at full speed across the field. He felt cold, his chest tight. His mind struggled to process the reflexive shock that gripped him.

Hunter had lost the match.

How was that even possible?

He skidded to a stop at Hunter's side, reaching up a hand to touch the scrape bleeding freely down the side of his lover's face. Had it really been necessary to hit him so damned hard?

"Hunter," he said, breathing heavily. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Kaori," Hunter told him. The words were thick.

Kaori glared at him. "What the hell happened?"

Hunter shook his head, looking lost. He closed his eyes when Malo ran up and threw his arms around his waist, Rin following swiftly behind him. The older boy's expression was both fierce and possessive as he glared at the soldier who had dared to defeat their father.

"Kaori?" Ben said in concern, stepping up behind them. Kaori gave him a helpless look, placing a restraining hand on Malo's shoulder.

"I'm sorry, High Lord," the soldier from Uruma said, sounding wretched. Clearly, he regretted having bested his High Lord's future husband, now that the battle was won.

Kaori waved the apology away dismissively; he didn't care about a stupid contest. His chest tightened even further as he took a step closer to Hunter and peered into his lover's face. "Hunter," he said again, urgently. "You're not all right."

Hunter didn't contradict him. His hand settled on Malo's head as if seeking to comfort the boy, while his other hand clutched at Kaori's sleeve.

"Kaori," he whispered.

Then he swayed once and fell bonelessly to the ground, fainting dead away.



June 15, 2018

I've finished writing the next book in the SACRED GUARDIAN series!! I'm really happy with how it turned out, although it is most definitely a first draft. Time to dig in and do some serious editing....

Read more about the series here: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 20, 2018

I just finished writing chapter 12 in the newest Sacred Guardian book, and the story is flowing really well. I'm so excited about it! I love it when a story comes alive like this inside my head, and I just can't seem to type fast enough. ♥


Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 13, 2018

I find myself endlessly fascinated by the process of writing. It feels a bit like painting a picture, or at least what I imagine that would be like. Coming up with the initial plot is like sketching the outlines, laying down all of those broad strokes. Then it's time to sit down to the serious business of writing and begin filling in the details, layering on different themes and meanings and characterizations and scenes. Sometimes I paint myself into a corner and getting the words out feels like swimming through molasses--such a frustrating experience! That's when I have to step back for a moment, take a deep breath, and look back to see where I went wrong. Once I find it (and I usually do, eventually), I can start moving forward again, and the colors of the portrait I'm making once again start to feel so very vibrant and alive.

Just a few random thoughts because I'm feeling pensive this morning.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are celebrating today. My family is planning to take me out to Red Lobster for dinner later, which I am very much looking forward to. I may be mistaken, but I think there is a shrimp fest running now. Even if it's not the food is always wonderful there, and I go there so rarely it is always a treat.

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!



May 11, 2018

I just finished writing chapter 3 in the next book in the Sacred Guardian series. I'm so excited over this newest story!!! This is the part I love best about being a writer, when the images and ideas flow so effortlessly through my imagination, and I can experience seeing those worlds that exist so vividly inside my head come to life on the screen in front of me. It's the sheer orgasmic rush of creation, as addictive now as it's ever been. It's the reason I'm still writing stories after all these years -- I write because I can't not write, like the stories in my head are alive and somehow begging to be told.

Kaori and Hunter are off on another adventure in this one, and I'm absolutely loving it so far. More than the fun of losing myself in an absorbing fantasy, I enjoy watching the characters I created grow and evolve over the course of these books. I don't think any of them are the same as they were when I first started the series, and there are more changes in store for them. I look at them and I feel a strange sense of possessiveness, of accomplishment. I feel proud of what I've managed to create in this series.

Just some random thoughts on a Friday night as I take a brief break before diving back into writing. Don't expect to see me come up for air again for quite a while. ^_^


Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 6, 2018

Just began writing chapter 1 of the next book in the Sacred Guardian series. I'm loving it so far and already can't wait to share it!

A small taste of what's to come:

"A little higher," Ishaya said, frowning thoughtfully at the wall in front of him.

Dutifully, the servants raised the portrait a couple of inches, supporting the weight of the elaborately crafted wooden frame evenly between them.

"That's it," Ishaya told them with a sigh of satisfaction. "Hang the portrait there, if you please."

Standing in the doorway of the hall, Kaori watched as the servants went to work obeying Ishaya's instructions. He couldn't help feeling a frisson of pleasure as his eyes caressed the portrait once again. He had presented it to Hunter as a gift to celebrate their upcoming wedding, which was—as impossible and wonderful as it seemed—going to be held in just a couple of weeks. He had sent all the way to Uruma to petition a master artist to paint it for them. Larger than life, it depicted both him and Hunter seated in front of a tree in the rear garden, which was hanging heavy with the blooms of spring. The artist had done a phenomenal job; Hunter's face was turned toward him just slightly in the painting, a small smile tugging at the corners of his elegantly shaped mouth. Somehow, the artist had captured the familiar shine of devotion and affection that lived in his eyes, and softly defined the lines of his face. Kaori's own face was tilted toward him, close enough to kiss. The adoration in his expression was nearly blinding; he wondered if he really looked that besotted whenever he looked at Hunter.

He suspected he probably did.

Sacred Guardian website: http://jajaken.com/novels/sacredguardianseries.htm



May 2, 2018

Sharing the link to an absolutely beautiful review for Through the Last Door:

https://faridamestek.blogspot.com/2018/05/book-review-through-last-door-by-ja.html

Some highlights:

"From the moment I started reading THROUGH THE LAST DOOR I had an impression of a masterfully crafted book, steeped in history, tradition, myth and lore of that incredible fantasy world the author has created. I felt like every word and every sentence was cherished and honed to perfection, creating a deliciously rich narrative, full of vivid descriptions, endearing characters, intriguing relationships and steadfast friendships."

I am beyond thrilled! Those were exactly the feelings I was attempting to express when I wrote the book, and it is so very rewarding to see that I succeeded (at least with this particular reader). Thank you so much, Farida.

If by some chance you haven't heard of Through the Last Door or the Sacred Guardian series, you can find more information about the books HERE.



May 1, 2018

I had the pleasure of authoring a guest post for the Love Bytes LGBTQ Review Blog that was featured on their website yesterday. You can click here to read it:

>> Love Bytes Guest Post

At the very bottom of the guest post is information on a giveaway where you can enter to win a free ebook copy of The Soul Forge, the newest novel in my Sacred Guardian m/m fantasy series.

The Soul Forge was released just yesterday in ebook format on Amazon:

>> getbook.at/tsf (Universal Amazon link)

The paperback version will be available later this week.

Sacred Guardian is a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures.

Find more info on the Sacred Guardian series HERE.




April 30, 2018

The Soul Forge was officially released in ebook format on Amazon today! The paperback version will be available in about 2 to 4 more days. This is book 3 in the Sacred Guardian series, a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures.

Buy your copy of the book here: getbook.at/tsf

If you haven't experienced any of Kaori or Hunter's story before now, you can begin the adventure with them here: getBook.at/TTLD



The Soul Forge (Sacred Guardian book 3)
Sequel to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams
Novel (150,000 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.

Universal Amazon link: getbook.at/tsf

Find info on the previous books in the series here: Sacred Guardian series page


*** Read an excerpt from the story here: EXCERPT FROM THE SOUL FORGE



April 23, 2018

Thank you to everyone who made the promotion for Through the Last Door such a huge success this past weekend! At its height, the book reached #2 in LGBT Fantasy, #6 in Gay Fiction, and #78 out of Fantasy fiction in general on Amazon. Pretty amazing!!!

The free promotion has ended, but the book is still available to purchase for just $2.99, and is available to read without additional cost through Kindle Unlimited. If you've read the book and want to experience more of the adventures of Kaori and Hunter, there are two additional books in the series so far:

==> getBook.at/TTLD (Universal Amazon link for Through the Last Door)

==> getBook.at/eater_of_dreams (Universal Amazon link for Eater of Dreams)

==> getBook.at/tsf (Universal Amazon link for The Soul Forge)

Find more info on the Sacred Guardian series HERE.

Thank you again to everyone who helped me out with the promotion, whether by downloading a copy of the book or spreading the word far and wide or simply offering me support and encouragement as I dealt with the frenzy of book marketing over the weekend (which is honestly my least favorite part of writing books). You're an amazing group of people and I couldn't have done this without you!



April 21, 2018

Through the Last Door, the first book in my Sacred Guardian series, is available for FREE on Amazon this weekend from Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00 AM PDT through Sunday, April 22, 2018, 11:59 PM PDT! Click here to download your copy of the book:

==> getBook.at/TTLD (Universal Amazon link)

Sacred Guardian is a m/m fantasy series that tells the story of young Kaori Sansa, who rises unexpectedly to the throne of the kingdom of Kazure, and his bodyguard Hunter, who is devoted to Kaori in more than just the obvious ways. Together they are faced with rebelling lords, organized criminal elements, a brewing war with a neighboring nation, and more in a breathtaking world filled with magic, intrigue, and fantastical creatures:

"All you fantasy lovers out there are about to get a true treat when you crack open this book, you will be transported to an incredible world that has a feel of feudal Japan and incredible characters who draw you into a journey that will have you gripped from the first chapter."
-MM Good Book Reviews

"My review is really quite simple; I LOVED THIS BOOK. [...] it is a story that will stay with me for quite some time."
-Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends

"The plot never gets tired and keeps the excitement and momentum building. [...] I totally recommend this book. I feel blessed to have read it."
-Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

"It was a delightful gem that ensnared me from the first page. [...] This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend whether you like fantasy, or adventure, or a bit of intrigue. If the author ever writes a sequel, I will be first in line to buy a copy."
-Loving Without Limits

"I was riveted to the story so much so I didn’t want to stop reading. [...] if you want a good story with a brilliant plot this will be perfect for you."
-Rainbow Gold Reviews

"J.A. Jaken has written a wonderful coming of age story here. Kaori's journey from young man to King is told with intricate characters and beautiful artistry. [...] A Five Star read!"
-Jill Prand Reviews

"You just have to buckle up for this journey, because that is what it is. Forget sleep, work, and other such trivial things and just… enjoy!"
-Eyes On Books




April 18, 2018

As a promotion to celebrate the preorder release of The Soul Forge, I am offering the first book in the series, Through the Last Door for FREE on Amazon from Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00 AM PDT through Sunday, April 22, 2018, 11:59 PM PDT. I'll post reminders about the promotion as this weekend draws closer!

Universal Amazon link: getBook.at/TTLD

Through the Last Door (Sacred Guardian book 1)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: When Kaori Sansa's father dies, he is forced to return home to claim the throne as the rightful heir of the country of Kazure. In the aftermath of his father's death, he learns that the country he loves is riddled with corruption, and is hovering on the brink of war. Will he be able to hold the kingdom together despite the odds that are stacked against it, and somehow unlock the buried powers of Shinja, the Sacred Beast of Kazure?




April 16, 2018

The Soul Forge is now available for preorder! This is the third book in my Sacred Guardian m/m fantasy series:

The Soul Forge (Sacred Guardian book 3)
Sequel to Through the Last Door and Eater of Dreams
Novel (145,000 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, M/M Romance
Summary: The country of Kazure bows under the shadow of war as the Shindori lords from the east continue to wage their holy crusade. Kaori Sansa, the High Lord of Kazure, is desperately searching for a way to defend his people while he struggles to determine which of the lords in his own country can be trusted to see the war through. Meanwhile, Hunter confronts his inner demons as the horrors of his past come back to haunt him, and he comes face to face with the criminal organization that enslaved him as a child. Both men must fight to uphold their oaths—both to Kazure and to each other—while the forces gathering around them are doing everything in their power to bring them down.

Universal Amazon link: getbook.at/tsf

Find info on the previous books in the series here: Sacred Guardian series page




>> Click here for older updates.


LINKS

Buy The Soul Forge!
Buy Eater of Dreams!
Buy Through the Last Door!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.3!
Buy His Whipping Boy!
Buy Entering the House of Silence!
Buy Nicholi's Vengeance!
Buy The Charming!
Buy Pathfinder!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.1!
Buy The House of Silence Vol.2!
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