ARCs for BITTER END Now Available!

Advance reader copies (ARCs) for Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6) are now available.

Click here to obtain your copy (available in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF).

Endgame is near. 

David Gregor has upped the stakes by subjecting himself to the same cybernetic procedure that eventually turned Jill into Bounty. It’s become clear that Gregor will never face traditional justice, throwing everything Jill thought she knew into question. Emboldened by his newfound physical prowess, Gregor raises the bar yet again. 

Mourning her father for a second time, Jill becomes further isolated from those closest to her – including her partner and best friend. Obsession takes hold, even as her native Baltimore once again becomes a backdrop for the epidemic of police violence. An epidemic Mitch is determined to snuff out once and for all. 

But it’s clear what Jill has to do. There’s only one way to dispatch of David Gregor once and for all, and she finally understands that. There will be no jail cell. No courtroom. But can Jill bring herself to do it? What does it say about her if the answer’s yes? 

One thing’s for sure: nothing will ever be the same. 

Bitter End, the gripping, hard-hitting sixth novel in the Jill Andersen mystery series (BountyBlood TiesBehind the BadgeBehind the MaskBetrayal), gives readers yet another taste of author J.D. Cunegan’s comic book-inspired brand of fast-paced prose, with chapters that fly by and plot twists that will leave readers guessing and waiting for more.

Bitter End will release in early 2023.

NOTE: This is an advance, pre-publication copy distributed solely for the purposes of review. By downloading this book, you are agreeing not to publicly disseminate its contents prior to publication, and you are acknowledging that the final product might differ from the contents herein.

About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

End-of-Year Musings

Well, 2022 was a year.

I had such high creative hopes for 2022, but as with just about everything in life since the plague descended upon us, the grand…whatever had other plans. I didn’t write nearly as much as I’d hoped, I read even less, and real life butted in far too much for my liking.

It wasn’t all bad–I did, after all, finish writing Bitter End (Jill Andersen #6) and I kicked NaNoWriMo’s ass–but here’s hoping the struggles of 2022 lead to a big bounce-back in 2023.

Chill, September
September was entirely too much. The month literally started with me being diagnosed with diabetes (not surprising, given I spent almost the entire summer dealing with symptoms almost exclusively associated with diabetes); my A1C at the time was 14.3 (for those of you not versed in diabetes, that’s how-are-you-not-in-the-hospital high) and the first couple weeks saw me dealing with blood sugar numbers routinely in the 300s and 400s.

Again, how was I not in the hospital?

Later that month, I lost my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was 88 years old and though I loved him, he was incredibly complex and not always a great source of comfort. Still, given what he was enduring in his final weeks, his passing was a blessing of sorts, and I do appreciate that I’ve been able to see my grandmother twice since then (three times, if we count Christmas). Not having seen her since before COVID hit, I take every visit with her I can get.

Also, for me to be in my 40s and still have grandparents in my life…in that regard, I’m quite lucky.

On a Brighter Note…
September also brought to me the best of surprises: a girlfriend. I know, I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, too.

I’ll spare details–mostly because if I laid it all out, I’m not sure you all would believe me (some of the circumstances of our pairing are really messed up and really out there and sometimes, I even wonder what the hell happened). Suffice it to say, though, that sometimes, the axiom “truth is stranger than fiction” is occasionally spot-on, and my sudden love life certainly fits that bill.

Side Effects
We’ve been conditioned to believe side effects are bad (I mean, just pay attention to one of the umpteen thousand medication commercials on television), but I’ve found a couple positive ones in the three months I’ve been living as a Type 2 diabetic. Obviously, there are the diet and lifestyle changes inherent to treating diabetes.

Fewer sodas and being more conscious of the amount (and types) of carbs I consume. An exercise routine that is now very real and in no way theoretical. A weekly medical injection routine, having been prescribed Ozempic (side note: if you’re not diabetic, stop taking this drug! You using it to fit into a bathing suit is making it harder for diabetics–who actually need the stuff–to have access to it).

So naturally, I’m more conscious about my health. What I eat. How I sleep. My Samsung Health app gets as much of a workout as I do. I work out at least twice a week (thank you, gym membership through work); I walk for 20-30 minutes at least four times a week. It’s a big reason why my A1C dropped from 14.3 to 5.9 in three months and why my endocrinologist told me last week I don’t need to see him anymore, and seeing the results is making these changes easier to stick to.

But my workout routine has also…taught me patience?

I’m not a patient person. I likely never will be (for context, I was born two months premature, so my lack of patience apparently goes way back). But my workout routine is helping me with that; often, the goals I set for my workouts are for duration; I want to ride the exercise bike for 20 minutes…I need to knock out 30 minutes on the treadmill…let me pump iron on the overhead bar for five minutes.

And in setting those benchmarks, I’m slowly but surely teaching myself, inadvertently so, the beauty in worrying not so much about the passage of the time or how far I am from that goal, but…just doing the thing. I’m too busy finding the rhythm of the treadmill, or trying to get through a bike session without my legs burning, or seeing how many reps I can get at a certain weight before my arms tap out.

Then, before I know it, my goals are there. I reach my benchmarks.

For someone who’s working out less for aesthetic purposes (I will never be swole, and that’s okay) and more for my own health, that’s a pleasant side effect I did not see coming.

Coming Soon
Good news, everyone!

There will be (at least) two new releases in 2023. The early part of the year (say…February-slash-March) will see Bitter End finally hit virtual bookshelves, and come the back half of the year, I will hoist Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries (NOTE: cover above not final) into the world. I’m really excited about the latter project–I’ve enjoyed writing it like I haven’t enjoyed a project since Notna, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Like, I might solicit beta readers and everything.

Considering my last novel came out a month into the COVID pandemic, having two books coming out in the coming year is really something to be excited about.

SALE
Smashwords’ End-of-Year Sale is still going–and will extend through New Years Day. My entire library is 50% off during that time (NOTE: on Smashwords only), and Bounty (the first book in the Jill Andersen series) is free. Check me out here and beef up your library (or a loved one’s, if you’re gifting them an e-reader for the holiday).

Subscribe to My Newsletter
Have you subscribed to my newsletter yet?

No?

Did you know that if you do, you’ll receive a free novella? Specifically, the Bounty prequel Boundless?

About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

NEWS: Smashwords End-of-Year Sale Coming Soon

Smashwords will be holding its annual End-of-Year Sale, and my entire catalog will be available for 50% off from Thursday, Dec. 15 through Sunday, Jan. 1.

Through the site’s sixth annual promotion, Bounty will be available for free, while the rest of my works — Blood Ties, Behind the Badge, Behind the Mask, Betrayal, Notna, Legends of the Gem, and The Art of Reading — will all be available for half their normal listing price.

This is the perfect time to load up on gifts for the book lover in your life. Even if that book lover is you.

My work is available on Smashwords here.

NOTE: This promotion is only through Smashwords. My catalog is still full price on all other outlets.

About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

2022 Writing Snippet #7

A periodic look at some of the passages and lines I’m most proud of. For this one, a passage from my current WIP (and 2022 National Novel Writing Month project) Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries.

Guevera brings the Escalade to a squeaky stop and kills the engine. The rear door on the passenger’s side swings open, with no one on the outside, and Lola shrugs at me before climbing out. Wishing I was armed with something more than my own wits, I sit for several quiet moments before following her. As soon as my feet hit pavement, Lola’s hand clamps down on my own.

She’s nervous. Uncertain. It’s a strange look on her, but she’s not wrong to feel this way.

Hell, my stomach is little more than a ball of nerves. Like a hornets nest someone’s taken a stick to.

To make things worse, a fucking prop plane is waiting for us. It’s 2022 and we’re still hurtling through the sky in planes no bigger than a stick of gum and sound like some five-year-old who makes fart sounds. I don’t care how safe anyone tells me this is, I should never be forced to fly in something that looks like a remote control toy.

Writing Snippet #1 | Writing Snippet #2 Writing Snippet #3 

Writing Snippet #4 | Writing Snippet #5 | Writing Snippet #6

Odds and Ends, November 2022

Not a Month in Review (since the month just started), but random musings on a quiet Saturday.

Goodbye to Medium
I’ve deleted my Medium account and will no longer write for that platform. Part of it’s because Medium kicked me out of the Partner Program (where my articles could’ve earned money) without telling me, and it’s also because my writing hasn’t gotten the traction there it has when posted to this site. I’ll still be writing articles on creativity and the like, but they’ll all be shared here and via my newsletter from now on. No sense in sticking with a platform that’s clearly not working for me.

NaNoWriMo
It’s that time of year again: National Novel Writing Month! I’m using this year’s 50K-in-30-Days insanity to finally knock out a draft of Summertime, Assassins, and Other Skullduggeries, and so far, I’m just over 20,000 words in. If I can keep that momentum through the entire month, I might have something.

Happy Birthday, Notna
My standalone fantasy Notna turned five years old last month after releasing on Oct. 10, 2017. Everyone who’s read Notna loved Notna, so why not add it to your library today?

Are You Ready for the Bitter End?
Because I’m apparently not. I wanted the sixth installment in the Jill Andersen series out by the end of the year, but issues with my editor have pushed back the timeline. Now, it’s looking like Bitter End might not release until early 2023, and that’s frustrating–because I know one of the reasons I struggle to get any audience traction is the length of time between releases.

Reading: It Is The Way
Currently reading: Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner; The First Binding by R.R. Virdi.

Tis the Season
You know what makes great holiday gifts? Books! Especially if you receive a Kindle or other e-reader. Gotta load them up with quality reads! Indie books make great holiday presents (including, you know, mine).

Subscribe to My Newsletter
Have you subscribed to my newsletter yet?

No?

Did you know that if you do, you’ll receive a free novella? Specifically, the Bounty prequel Boundless?

(BELATED) BOOK BIRTHDAY: Notna

Just how hectic has life been of late?

I missed out on one of my book birthdays!

This book is really, really violent. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The standalone fantasy epic Notna — which one reviewer said was “like Indiana Jones and Supernatural had a baby, only that baby decided the world should end,” — was released on October 10, 2017. This story predates Bounty in terms of what I came up with first, but this lifelong labor of love needed a bit more care before I could unleash it upon the world.

Everyone who’s read Notna loves it. I just…need more people to read it.

Notna
History’s most peaceful race created one of its deadliest weapons.

Forged in the Living Flame by a long-extinct alien race, The Gem of Notna is the stuff of legends, on par with Pandora’s Box or the Holy Grail. But once archaeologist Dr. Jack Corbett stumbled upon the crystal deep in the Amazon, he triggered a whirlwind of events and found himself neck-deep in a centuries-old holy war. The Divine and the Underworld have been locked in a virtual stalemate for the past three hundred years, and the Gem of Notna could be the key to breaking it.

With the gem in his possession, Jack discovers a world of monsters and gods, as well as an entirely different plane of existence that watches over our own. Old grudges resurface, fallen warriors are reborn in the most violent of ways, but at the end of the day, the fate of the world may well rest in Jack’s hands.

J.D. Cunegan (BountyBlood Ties) introduces Notna, a supernatural fantasy epic that will leave readers flipping through the pages with every twist and turn. Grand in scale and steeped in the very comic book lore that lured Cunegan to writing in the first place, Notna proves that anyone can save the world – or die trying.

Notna is available in paperback and all major ebook outlets.

About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

The Interference of Real Life

One of the most annoying things a creative can deal with is when real life butts in and takes over.

That’s where I’m at right now.

My grandfather on my mother’s side passed away last night. He was 88. He was also a two-time heart attack survivor, a stroke survivor, a diabetic, an Army vet, an avid golfer, and a far more complicated man than most wanted to admit. He loved me and treated me as well as he knew how, but he also loved using the N word and ordering my grandmother around.

He had been in the hospital twice over the past month for various ailments, but he seemed to have been on the mend before we got that fateful call (in the closing laps of the NASCAR race at Bristol). It’s both a shock and not surprising at all, and I find the entire coming week upended. In the grief of losing a loved one, I find myself trying to square things away at my job before hitting the road.

All things considered, I’m lucky that I still have grandparents in my life at age 41. But that age also brings with it the sobering realization that my body is not what it once was; specifically, the fact that my 41st birthday brought with it a diabetes diagnosis (just what I always wanted…). The physical symptoms I began exhibiting over the summer, that had sapped me of my focus and creative energy, turned out to be exactly what I thought they were.

So now much of my non-work time is spent dealing with doctors who are urgent for me to do something now (even to the point where they prescribed medication I didn’t want without consulting with me first), a pharmacy that takes its sweet time filling the prescriptions I do want, and health insurance that doesn’t pay quite as much as it should for everything.

This is the part of adulting I could do without.

The only good thing going in my life right now–aside from the fact that I’m still alive and feeling physically fine, even if my doctor’s freaking the fuck out–is a potential romantic relationship that came to me out of nowhere. I’ll refrain from details here (because some of them are too messed up to believe), but suffice it to say…I need life to chill a little bit.

I’m still working to get Bitter End out before the end of the year (though some help from my editor on that would be nice), and I’d like to get back to Summertime‘s manuscript. I just…I need things to stop. I need a break.

I need to not adult for a few months.

About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Follow J.D. on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

July 2022: Month in Review

There isn’t much to review, because I didn’t do much in July other than work and try to survive.

No, really.

There’s something I’m dealing with health-wise that is sapping both my energy and my ability to focus. I have an appointment set up to look into it, but I can’t help but feel how inconvenient this is. Like, I’m too busy for this nonsense. I have shit to do. I can’t be getting sick.

I have a feeling I know what it is, and it’s scary in a way, but again: there is too much shit to do. I don’t have time for this. Just because I’m 40 now, that doesn’t mean my body can start acting like a car once the warranty’s expired.

Stop it, body. I have things to do.

And when I say I can’t focus…I haven’t written a word in weeks, and I haven’t read anything in almost as long. There’s just nothing there, and I’m afraid there won’t be until I get some answers on this other thing that’s bothering me.

Sometimes, I hate this whole being human thing.

Reading
One book I did manage to read was Iron Widow by Xirna Jay Zhao. I don’t yet have it in me to write a full review (see above about the whole focus thing), but it’s a fantastic tale of righteous rage and using that rage to dismantle systems that don’t deserve to exist. Oh, and it takes one of my all-time least favorite tropes — love triangles — and turns it on its head. Everyone needs this book on their shelf.

On Sale
July saw Smashwords hold its annual Summer/Winter Sale, in which every book enrolled was available for 50% off. Did you take advantage?

You Like Free Stuff, Don’t You?
Have you subscribed to my newsletter yet?

No?

Did you know that if you do, you’ll receive a free novella? Specifically, the Bounty prequel Boundless?

June 2022: Month in Review

Another look back at the past 30-ish days.

Gotta Have Pride
June was Pride Month, and while I’m loathe to use Pride to sell stuff — if a queer writer can’t hawk books containing queer characters in the 30 days we even pretend to like queer stuff, then when can I hawk my books?

Why I’m a queer author worth supporting (before and after June, too!).

Book Birthday — Times Two
June 1 marked the anniversary of two of my books: my debut Bounty published on June 1, 2015, and one year later, I published Behind the Badge, book three in the series. This month is pivotal in my being an indie author, and I’d appreciate some help in the celebration (even though, yes, June is over).

Pretty…Pretty Good
This month, I reviewed two must-reads: The Heartbeat of a Million Dreams by Halo Scot and Dreadknot, book eight in S.E. Anderson’s hilarious Starstruck series. They’re both five-star books, and you should have them on your shelf. Or e-reader.

Or both. Support those indie authors.

I Made a Funny
You should read it.

I Also Got Real
Because sometimes, I need to just vent my feelings. Because I’m not just a writer, I’m also a full-fledged person (or so I’m told).

New Music That Kicks Ass
Spiritbox has again graced us with their presence, and my Garbage-loving ass is here for it:

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Writers are People, and Sometimes, People Suck
I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone, but maybe in light of everything we now know about people like Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling, maybe it’s time we stop putting creative people up on pedestals.

Like, buy my books, read my books, enjoy my books. But don’t make me out to be anything more than a good writer.

Help?

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You Like Free Stuff, Don’t You?
Have you subscribed to my newsletter yet?

No?

Did you know that if you do, you’ll receive a free novella? Specifically, the Bounty prequel Boundless?