Today I am so pleased to welcome Jesi Lea Ryan to Joyfully Jay. Jesi has come to talk to us about her latest release, Surreal Estate. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Lame Superpowers Prove Useful

Hi, everyone, I’m Jesi Lea Ryan, and I’m here to talk to you about my new novel Surreal Estate. The idea for this story was born out of a conversation with some writer friends over lame superpowers. You know, cool, but utterly useless superpowers, like having the ability to never run out of ink in your pen or the ability to summon cotton balls at will. Because I always lean toward psychic characters, I said, “What if you had the ability to talk to your house?”

Immediately after I said it, ideas began tumbling in my head. What if the person with the ability to talk to houses was himself homeless? The irony there was too delicious not to explore. And through this, Sasha was born.

The most important thing a writer must do is set out clear rules for the character’s abilities. The power needs to be strong enough to play an active role in the plot, but not so powerful, that things come too easy for the character, and you lose dramatic tension. In Surreal Estate, Sasha interacts with the house in a few different ways, all revolving around the imprint of emotions. For example, the house was very happy in the nineteen seventies. It had a quiet family living there who kept up with the house nicely. When the house is feeling nostalgic, Sasha can see a vision from that time — shag carpet, plaid covered sofas, macramé plant holders. But Sasha never sees are the people who lived there. That was a purposeful limitation I put in place. The house is not haunted by human spirits. The past occupants have moved on, but the home still stands, and it remembers.

Another limitation I put in place is that the house cannot communicate verbally to Sasha. It can’t speak to him, so it needs to find ways to make itself understood in other ways. For this, I used emotion. Sasha has an empathic relationship with the house. At the start of the story, the house is so lonely that is seems to draw him in from the street. The house makes its wants known by projecting its loneliness. At the same time, it steers Sasha around to the broken window by projecting a heaviness on Sasha side, almost tugging his arm in the direction it wants him to go.

So what started out as a lame superpower actually turned into a fun idea for a novel. I hope you have fun exploring Sasha and his house talking abilities in Surreal Estate. And if you have any ideas of lame superpowers, let hear them in the comments below!


Sasha Michaels is a psychic with an affinity for houses. And he’s homeless. Go figure. After months of sleeping rough, he stumbles upon an abandoned house, and the lonely place beckons him inside. He’s finally safe . . . until someone comes blundering in to his hideaway.

House-flipper Nick Cooper lost everything in the recession. Desperate to revive his business, he turns to a loan shark to fund his comeback project: flipping an abandoned house full of potential. But it turns out the house has an unexpected occupant.

Nick and Sasha make a deal: Sasha can stay in exchange for helping with the renovation. To both of their surprise, the closer they get to the loan shark’s due date, the stronger their feelings for each other grow. Problem is, Nick isn’t the only one with feelings for Sasha, and now the house doesn’t want to let Sasha go.


USA Today bestselling author Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in creative writing and literature and a Master’s in business administration, along with an assortment of Associate’s degrees, certificates and designations, none of which have anything to do with writing books about psychics.

Jesi considers herself a well-rounded nerd. She loves studying British history, exploring foreign cities on Google Earth, watching TED talks, listening to true crime podcasts, floating in her pool, and reading or listening to books — approximately two hundred books a year in many different genres. The side effect of all this is that she’s the ideal person to have on your trivia team, or what a former co-worker called “a dump truck of knowledge.

Her biggest vice is procrastination. #TheStruggleIsReal

Jesi spent most of her adult life in Madison, Wisconsin, but now lives in Maricopa, Arizona, with her spouse and two exceptionally naughty kitties. Summers may be brutal, but at least she doesn’t have to shovel the heat off her driveway.


To celebrate the release of Surreal Estate, one lucky person will win a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
%d bloggers like this: