Year-End Roundup

In Which We Discuss What's Been Going On These Past Three Months, How Once Again Copy Editors Saved My Life, and Aloof Pooches

Whew, 2020 is almost over. It feels like it went by in the world’s slowest blink of an eye that simultaneously lasted a millennium and two seconds. Wasn’t I just here writing the first post on this Substack blog, or was that eight years ago? Anywho, Nebulous Time aside, it was actually two and half months ago that I was last writing to you, and I wanted to give you a brief rundown of what I’ve been up to.

Pass Pages

Remember that post where I went on and on about how much I love copy edits? I still do, so much, but I have even stronger feelings about Pass Pages. This is when your editor sends you a pdf document of the file that’s going to be used to print the pages of your book. Like, for the first time you’re seeing what font is going to be used, what the title page will look like, fine-tune the lists that spell out your main character’s hopes and dreams in all their lovestruck and hormone-filled glory, see the dedication to your husband in a real book-looking format and it’s such a gift! Here’s a sneak peek at the title page:

I just love that handwriting design. It gets me every time!

You know what else is going to get me every time? Knowing how *CRITICALLY IMPORTANT* this stage of the process is. You read through this pdf to catch any errors—grammatical or story-wise—one last time, and thank gawd we did because I had changed one very small detail in the last round of edits before pass pages that had huge ramifications later on. This is what happens when you’re too close to your story and have been working on it for two years and you change one tiny little detail because you feel bad for your main character’s dad and don’t want this new chapter in his life to be quite so jarring. I promise this will all make sense when you read the book, but if for any reason you’re reading the ARCs that are out now, just know that Jay’s family sells their house when they move to Seattle, like I originally had it from the start, but decided like an idiot last second to change. I am leaving everything in my will to the two copy editors who pointed out the plot hole from that one tiny change that I never should have made because they’ve saved the story before it goes to final print.


ARCs arrived! That stands for Advanced Review Copies, and these are sent out to bloggers, review organizations, other authors, and early readers to get buzz out there about your book. It was so mind-blowing to see this stack of Jays IRL, and to know that people can actually read it! Like, I’ve been dancing around that these words are finally out there, but I also want to throw up. In a good way? If that exists. Either way, you can get your hands on one of the very few physical copies of these ARCs by being a subscriber to this Substack newsletter. If you’re already a subscriber, you’re already entered, and new subscribers will get their email address thrown into the hat too when they sign up. I’ll email the winner of the ARC on Christmas Eve!

I also want to let anyone know who gets a physical copy of the ARC (for my librarian, teacher, reviewer etc. friends, digital versions are available too on Edelweiss and Netgalley!) that I promise my author photo on the finished copies of the book will not make me look like such an aloof afghan hound, as this picture on the ARC does.

In fact, I got a whole new set of author photos done by the fabulous Ryan Bilawsky at Portraits by Ryan here in Austin, TX. So instead of angry pooch faces, you’ll be getting this in the actual jacket of the book when it hits shelves on June 1st.


PORCUPINE CUPID, illustrated by the fabulous Lori Richmond, released on December 1st, and we’re gearing up for Valentine’s Season 2021! For a little backstory about this book, I wrote about what PC means to me in terms of showing how love is for everyone and how it was so reaffirming to see my new name on the cover a while back, and you can read that here. I will love you forever if you decide to make Porcupine a part of your celebrations this year (and I’ll love you even if it’s not in the cards to purchase a copy; I know money is tight! Requesting a copy at your local library helps a ton too!). You can get signed copies from BookPeople personalized to your favorite Valentines in your life by heading here.

Other than this fun stuff, I’ve sent off the first go at YA Book 2 to my editor, hence my absence from the newsletter for a hot minute. I hope to get to share more with y’all about this next book soon! And I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first two Mermicorn Island books, which drop on February 2nd.

Hope everyone has the greatest holiday season, even in this really bizarre year. 2021 is just around the corner. Here’s to a happy, healthy, soon-to-be-outside-of-the-home-once-we’re-vaccinated New Year! ❤️


Jason June