Guess what book hit the TOP FIVE BOOKS List for 2018?! 😱

GUYS. AuthorTuber Maverick Moses posted his top five favorite books from 2018—and The Secret of the Codex made the list!!! What?!

(You may remember him from before when he posted a review of The Secret of the Codex and an author interview with yours truly!)

Author Interview #2 — Alyssa Markins (and Book Launch Pics!)

Guess what? I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed a second time! (Check out my first author interview here!) This time, the fabulous Alyssa Markins conducted the interview and put it on her website — under the heading "Creativity and Coffee." Isn't that awesome?I had so much fun answering all these questions and letting others know about my book!

The Secret of the Codex Release Update

Happy Friday! Who's ready for the weekend? (ME! ME!)My weekend (as with most weekends lately) will be filled with prep for this book release. It's so exciting! But it's also a LOT.*****

So here's an update.

*****Here are some of the things I've worked on so far: 



1. Revealed the book cover (to my email list and then to the world!)

ICYMI, here it is again, officially on my blog this time! The Secret of the Codex Final CoverIsn't it AWESOME?? My designer (@erinnnoneill) is amazing!! And it totally just screams "Mayan Archaeological Thriller," right? Good. That's what I was going for. :) 

2. Submitted my book to TWO printers and am in the approval process

So here's the short version of self-publishing: you have to find someone who will print your book (if you want a physical copy, which nearly every author does—I mean, the dream is to hold your book in your hands!). There are 2 major places to do this: Createspace (Amazon's company) and Ingramspark. Createspace is easy to use, and it's of course AMAZON, so it's good to do. And free! Ingramspark is a little more complicated, but its distribution options are much more robust. Ingramspark also makes it possible for bookstores to order your book (and even stock it if they choose!) as well as making preorders possible. (My book will be available to Barnes and Noble, y'all!)Which brings me to my next point...preorders will be up soon! Ahhh! The release date is getting so close! More info to follow, so keep your ears open!Oh—and guess what? I've ordered my proofs! This basically means that in a *hopefully* short time, I will actually be holding my book in my hands! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Check out my feed on Instagram (my handle is @melissafreyauthor) to keep up-to-date—I doubt I'll be able to contain my excitement when I finally receive them! 

3. Wrote a BUNCH of "copy" for my book and related things ("copy" is short for "sales copy", the industry term for anything that helps sell the book—at least I hope it does!)

Basically, when you self-publish, you write literally EVERYTHING yourself. That synopsis that goes on the back cover? I wrote that. The acknowledgements? Wrote those, too. Copyright page? (The page you probably have never noticed but me, as a book nerd, have at least looked at in nearly every book I've read. It's the page with lots of technical information about the book, including the date, disclaimers, info about the book, etc.) Yup, I wrote that too. Fortunately I had a template to follow, but that was me too. The author bio? You know, that part at the end of the book that talks about the author in third person? Wrote that too. In the third person. It was a little weird.(And I'll be writing more stuff, too! See below for a list of the things coming very very soon!) 

4. Working on getting the book on Kindle

This one's proving a little difficult, as the formatting's not quite right. Andrew's a formatting SUPERSTAR (I mean, LITERALLY a lifesaver) so I'm sure he'll offer his services to make it as awesome as the printed version. (Because he made the printed version look AWESOME.) Once we get that worked out, the preorders for the ebook will go live! :D 

5. Worked on my author platform

Yeah, this isn't as exciting, I know, but I'm really having an amazing time connecting with the writing community on Instagram. Ever feel like social media is negative and critical? Not the writing community, at least on Instagram. Everyone's positive, supportive, and kind.Want to follow along? Check out some of my favorite hashtags and learn about some amazing indie authors!#julylitwrit#campinstawrimo#booknerdigans#writerscommunity#bookstagram#bibliophile#amwritingThese are just a few! I use several more in my posts, so feel free to branch out and even join in the conversation! (Just use the hashtags when you post.)But, since I've been actively trying to build my author platform (since about mid-April), I've nearly DOUBLED my number of followers. I don't do it to feel popular—but more followers mean more people can find out about my book. God gave me this story; it's my job to get it out to the people who need to hear about it. And how will they hear about it if I'm not telling them? Want to know what's coming next? Here's what I've got coming VERY SOON!!! 



1. Preorders!

I'm hoping to have the ebook preorder listing up in the next few weeks (maybe even sooner!) and the print book listing not long after! 

2. Guest posts!

I've been accepted by two blogs for guest posts (blogs with a pretty big following—I'm super excited!) and have two other blogs that have shown interest! I can't wait! 

3. Kickstarter!

I'm hoping to get a Kickstarter up for my book in the next week or so! Since I'm funding this whole book project myself, I realized I could do so much more with a little help. So I hope to have all sorts of fun bookish extras as well as offering copies of my book, so stay tuned! 

4. More blog posts!

I'll continue to blog about the release here, including excerpts from the book, updates on the second book (I have over 80,000 words so far!), more character profiles, insights into the publishing and writing process, and anything else I can think of! I want you all to be among the first to know about everything The Secret of the Codex, since many of you have been following me since the beginning. You know, back when I wrote about random things and was trying to find my voice. 


AUGUST 28, 2018. Mark your calendars, people.HAHAHAHAHAI'm hoping to do an online launch party that day, but I haven't worked out the details yet. When I do, you'll be among the first to know! 


 There are a few things that you, as the friend of an indie author, could do to help out, if you choose. You are by no means required to, but in case you've been wondering what you can do to help, I wanted to give you an easy list of things to pick from!

1. Preorder the book


2. Support the book on Kickstarter

(Details coming soon!)

3. Once you read the book, consider leaving a review on Amazon!

It's one of the BEST ways to help an indie author (you know, like me) get her name out there.

4. Share on social media

If you like a post, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with your friends! But if you don't love each and every post, that's okay, too. I'm not sure I love each and every post...haha

5. Talk about it

People in your community might like to hear about a new novel coming out. I mean, don't bring it up awkwardly or anything, but if they start asking you about books, that's your in!

6. Once the book releases, request it at your favorite bookstore, or even the library!

I doubt I'll get there soon, but the more people request my book, the more the bookstores start to consider stocking it!

7. Give me your feedback

This is probably the most important one! Likes and comments on social media posts, comments on blogs, even emails to me help me better connect with you and give you more of what you'd like to see are perfect. You can always reply to an email when you get it (like the one you heard about this blog post from) or message me directly on Instagram or Facebook too! Whether you've been following my blog since I started it way back in 2015 or are new to the party, I am SO GLAD you're here. This writing and publishing journey may seem like a solitary sport, but I couldn't do it without every single one of you.Thank you for following, and let me know what you're most excited about in the comments! Love you all!Melissa

The Music of the Codex


Happy Saturday!

When I first wrote The Secret of the Codex (it was just called The Codex back then, until I found another book by the same name! Spoiler: I like my new title better) way back in 2008/2009, I started collecting music inspiration in the form of a killer "Codex" playlist. I thought it might be interesting for you all to hear the songs that inspired the book as I wrote it. Some songs even fit a specific scene so perfectly that I got chills!

Ready? (If you want to skip my commentary, I recreated the playlist on Spotify and the link is at the end. Feel free to scroll.)


First up... The original Twilight soundtrack. Obvi.

Next up, RED. These guys are my theme band. (If that even makes sense.) Especially their second album, Innocence & Instinct. I still get chills when I hear "Never Be the Same" which I've unofficially dubbed the Codex theme song. Probably more on that later. :) Also, "Start Again" is another one of my favorites, which fits in well toward the end of the book. (No spoilers!)

Then some random songs—Fall Out Boy then a couple from Bones (which I loved)—and my Snow Patrol faves. "Make This Go On Forever" came on just as I was writing a pivotal scene in Chapter 6 and it was one of my first WOW moments when writing. The song fit the scene PERFECTLY. I realize now I'll probably have to go into more detail with these after the book is out!

Next up is Boys Like Girls. Not sure how I discovered them, but I'm glad I did. So many of their songs take me back to that first draft. This song especially, though I don't have a clue why. I probably just like the drops in the chorus. :D

Then The Fray, which I realize now I haven't listened to in forever. *goes and listens to The Fray*

Okay, I'm back.

Some other random songs, but notable ones.

  • "A Man I'll Never Be" by Boston—the band I listened to with my dad growing up. (Awww!)

  • "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence—takes you back, doesn't it? Pretty sure I heard them on the radio today on the THROWBACK LUNCH HOUR. I AM OLD.

  • "Never Alone" by Barlow Girl—if you've never listened to this song, or this band, before, go listen now. Spoiler: the Spotify playlist is below. Makes it easy.

Then my rock phase shows up in the form of random bands (Rise Against, Saving Abel)...

After that is A Twist in My Story by Secondhand Serenade, another album that really takes me back to my first draft. It's great to have albums like that, so you can listen to something if you need inspiration and you're right back there, creating the first draft. Makes you want to get right back at it.

Then a random movie score, you know, to keep things interesting (Angels and Demons by Hans Zimmer—probably for those times when I just couldn't concentrate with words in the songs)...

Then Anberlin! This band is great. Their new stuff is great too. Go listen.

More random stuff (Sixx AM and a couple of others), 30 Seconds to Mars (awesome), a random Natasha Bedingfield selection, lots of Good Charlotte (must've been another phase), then more random songs by Papa Roach, Saliva, Story of the Year, Sum 41, Three Days Grace. Yes, I listened to a lot of rock. Must've edited out a lot of the angst in the editing. Haha, just kidding—it somehow managed to not be angsty! By some miracle...

So here's the Spotify playlist I've been hinting at!



I've found I can listen to just about anything when I'm writing, but when I'm editing I need silence. Which makes me a little sad, but that's how it is.

Do you listen to music when you read or write?

Meet Grady McGready: A Character Profile

Up next in my character profiles series is Grady McGready—Kayla's love interest and pretty much the best fictional crush EVER.

He's just like Kayla in all the right ways and just different enough to keep things interesting.

Here are some inspo pics I found for him...


Clearly not the same guy, but still...he only has a beard when he's been out in the rainforest for like a week, so I figured a clean-shaven one would be good too...

In The Secret of the Codex (releasing August 28th, pinch me!), Grady McGready comes on the scene just as Kayla's about to make an exciting discovery. They've seen each other at work—they work in the same department at the University of Central Florida, after all—but they've not interacted much. So when Kayla invites him to join in her discovery, just the two of them, sparks start to fly...

Grady is perfect for Kayla in all the right ways, and this fact becomes clear throughout their journey. He grounds her when her world is crashing down, he holds her when she needs to be held, and he doesn't push her when she needs time. I wanted to write the perfect guy, but one who stills has flaws. Because #reallife.

And #mushymoment: I hadn't met my husband when I wrote Grady, but I tell him often that he's my Grady—perfect for me in all the ways that matter. Somehow I feel my heart knew someone like that was possible for me—so I wrote Grady in anticipation of my husband.

Told you it'd be mushy. <3

Grady's a little complicated, too—but unfortunately we don't get to delve as much into his backstory in book 1 as we do Kayla's. But a little mystery is good, right? I'm sure we'll all find out more about him as the series progresses. (Book 2 is currently underway!)

So what do you think? If you've read the free excerpt on this site, how does my description compare to what you pictured in your head?

Until next time,

<3 Melissa

P.S. If you haven't signed up for my email list, why not? I'll send you the first 3 chapters of the book as a thank you, and you can meet Grady for yourself! Sign up here!