I know a lot of authors introduce themselves in third person to be “presentable” and “professional” but I prefer “approachable” and “real” <3
Expect all my posts to be in this casual friendly manner.
Henlo dudes, I’m Jess!
AKA J.D. Astra, AKA the Astral Scribe. You might be thinking, “What a cool name,” and you’d be right. I am cool where I come from.
Where do I come from, you ask?
Well, I was born in California, and my home now is Colorado, but where I—the spirit thing that pilots this meat and bone mech—come from is out in the stars. We’re all space dust. I define myself by my boundless creativity, even when those ideas are a total flop. I’m not afraid to push the genre lines and make something unique!
Writing has been part of my life from a very young age, as was reading, and ever since writing my first “The Fifth Element” fanfiction, I knew I was in trouble. No, the standard 9-5 life wasn’t going to be for me. I craved the words. The scholastic bookfair was where all my lunch money went, and the secondhand bookstore two miles from my house was my hangout. I wanted to eat, sleep, and breathe inside storytelling fiction of all kinds.
There’s more to life than books (so I’ve been told)
I don’t want to seem so one-dimensional. Books are great! They’re teaching tools, escape platforms, and ways for us to connect with one another in a safe, introverted sort of way. I did end up getting that 9-5 (8-10 more often) in the video game industry, another one of the storytelling mediums I loved.
Gaming and my time in the industry changed the way I thought about books and how to tell a story. Not the “Choose your own Adventure” stuff—though they could be fun—but more about how the genre lines between digital game fiction could blur into literature. Out popped a new Genre in 2013, LitRPG, which sought to blur those lines just the way I wanted.
Still, I bided my time, writing my little horror and sci-fi novellas under a different pseudonym (though I really did miss-out in naming myself A.D. Astra… so sad). I adopted some dogs, and got into rock climbing, got married (then divorced!), but never gave up the dream.
In 2018 the small publisher Shadow Alley Press reached out to ask me to join their team of authors in expanding their LitRPG universe, Viridian Gate Online. That’s where my journey as an author truly started.
My mentors have been many, and the lessons difficult but so rewarding. I attribute my (small) successes in large part to Jeanette Strode and James Hunter, the owners and creators of Shadow Alley press. They’re mindset of “always improving” (and don’t be an a**hole) have built the foundations for a strong company doing amazing things. I’ve been so grateful to be along for the ride, even helping out from time to time!
Though I’d been an author for many years before joining their team, that was that opportunity that forced me to buckle down and get serious about writing. In the middle of the worst year in current history, 2020, I decided I was done with the toxic 9-5s and I was going to do the author thing. Here I am now, paddling up stream in a sea of fantastic fiction that I learn from every day.
Well, this has gone on quite long enough. Ask me anything about anything! More posts to come about how Steampunk changed me and my writing forever.