Re: Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Yesterday I came across this post Build Bridges, Not Barricades  It’s an opinion piece about positive collaboration between traditional and indie authors. Unlike my blog post on the same topic, this post took a more positive approach.

“Isn’t it my duty as a self-published author to fly the flag? If I don’t challenge these arguments, aren’t I just letting people go on believing in their old prejudices and misconceptions about self-published books? Yes, I am – because I don’t think that rising to this sort of bait is always the best way to present our case. I prefer a less confrontational approach, one that focuses on the positive. If whether or not you are self or trade published makes no difference amongst authors themselves, what’s left to argue about?”

I feel like this blog was written for me. Who knows, with the amount of people angry with the tone of my last blog, it might have been. Whatever the case, this made me take a step back and reevaluate the message I was trying to convey.

My blog post came across as defensive and judgmental. There was truth to it. But that truth didn’t shine through as positive for everyone, and now I understand why. I was reacting to feeling judged, and in turn, I judged others.

It’s natural for people to become defensive when they feel judged. In my personal life, I try really, really hard not to react to things without considering them first. I try to avoid controversial topics, I try to look at an argument from both sides before I weigh in, and I (usually) wait for my emotions to settle before I react. I’m not always successful in doing these things, but that’s always my intent.

I was approaching a topic I felt strongly about with a defensive attitude when I should have used positive examples of traditional and indie authors working together. I’ve had many such experiences, and I could have used those to bolster my point that we can all get along. Instead, my message drew a line between the two, and that’s where I was wrong.

In her blog post Lucienne Boyce said, “The fact is that to many authors, the divide either doesn’t exist or, if they are aware of it, they don’t view it as negative.”

From now on I’ll adopt this attitude, putting the negativity and bad feelings behind me, and move forward with the people I love to work with and who support me. I should have remembered there’s room for us all and we should celebrate each other, not criticize.

It’s here! It’s HERE! Kristen Strassel’s SILENT NIGHT is here!

 

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I’m excited to celebrate the release of SILENT NIGHT by Kristen Strassel! This books sounds amazing and if I could marry a cover, I think I’d marry this one. ;)

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Title: Silent Night

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen

Scheduled to release: November 18, 2014

AMAZON

 

Blurb:

This Christmas isn’t about celebration for eighteen-year-old Kyndra, it’s about survival. Grieving the loss of her grandmother and struggling with the indifference of her family, Kyndra now splits her time between her dead-end mall job, her junkie ex-boyfriend’s bed, and the streets. Longing to be close to her grandmother one more time, she wanders into Christmas Eve mass and prays she’ll find the place she belongs. Home.

Aidan isn’t ready to let go of the past either, even though he’s had nearly three hundred years to do it. He chronicles the search for the reincarnation of his beloved wife as the vampire romance author Allison Duprois. Aidan knows the wife he mourns is out there, but fears writing their story is as close as he will get to her.

At Christmas Eve mass, he finally finds her. Alone, with no place to go.

Aidan brings Kyndra into his home, and gives her the safety, comfort and love she longs for. Though he gives her second chances she never thought she’d have, Kyndra still can’t get over Aidan’s mysterious past. Not to mention that he claims that he’s a vampire. Life alone on the streets is dangerous enough without handing her trust and love to the wrong person. Can Aidan break through the walls around Kyndra’s hardened heart to convince her that she belongs with him, forever?

*This is a companion novel to the Night Moves Series.

EXCERPT

“I need to borrow your pajamas again.”

“Follow me.” Aidan waved his hand towards the hallway. I didn’t know if he heard me or not. I wouldn’t ask again. The shadows swallowed him before he clicked the light at the end of the hallway. “I hope it’s alright. I cleaned it up, and I’m limited on short notice. With my lifestyle, I can only go to all night stores.”

He led me into an oddly shaped room, with floor to ceiling dark wood bookshelves loaded with even more books. How could one person even hope to read so many books in one lifetime? In a nook, under more shelves, was a freshly made bed with a fluffy white spread and aqua throw pillows. A pair of pink and black pajamas were folded at the foot of the bed, on top of a silver throw.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. “Did you do this for me?”

Aidan’s smile was so wide it hardly fit on his face. “I did.”

I sunk down on the bed, head in my hands. “It’s too much.”

I felt his hands on my wrists, cool from just coming in from the car. Electricity flowed from his skin to mine, sending waves beneath the surface. Was this the first time he actually touched me? “I just want you to have a place you know you can come to. No questions asked.”

Hot tears slipped down my cheeks. Why was he doing this? Why did this man I’d met two days before today care about me more than my own mother? She didn’t even call me this week. I tried to bury that hurt deep, but it bounced out when I least expected it. Being with Aidan, the pain faded, and I couldn’t remember why I wanted to fight to get away from him anymore.

“I can’t pay for this,” I whispered, my voice still breaking.

“Let me do things for you.” He pressed his forehead against mine, not moving my hands away from my face. His skin felt so refreshing against my anxiety flushed skin.

Lowering my hands, I had to force myself to meet his eyes. “Thank you.”

“My home is your home. Really. I did food shopping, too.”

“So, when you found me tonight,” I worked up the nerve to ask, “was that an accident?”

“Nothing in this world is an accident, Kyndra.” He stopped at the door, then closed it quietly behind him, leaving me to stare at it after he left me alone in this haven created just for me.

I was afraid to touch anything. Aidan left me in a snow globe and I didn’t want to break the glass. I curled up in a ball, clutching one of the pillows at the head of the bed. My head pounded, but my body so desperately wanted to let go of all the tension that had built up since I gave the keys to Memere’s apartment back.

I wanted to stay. Here.

Sitting up, I ran my finger along the edge of the piping on the pajamas. They were classic button down pjs with pinstripes, but adorned with little black stars and star buttons. The flannel felt like a hug as I pulled them on. As soon as my brain wound down to the same level as my tired body, I would be ready to sleep forever.

A book would help me relax. Ignoring the e-reader in my bag, I went straight for the wall of books. I noticed some repeats from the living room, namely the Allison Duprois books. I pulled out the hardcover version of A Piece of My Heart.

I hadn’t read these books since junior high. Memere had been a little concerned they were too mature for me, but she didn’t want to discourage me from reading. I couldn’t remember the order the series went in, so I skimmed the opening pages for the information.

First Printing, 1990.

My eyes couldn’t leave those words. That was not only six years before I was born, but twenty four years ago.

Aidan didn’t look much more than thirty. Thirty-five at most. He would have barely been a teenager at most in 1990. Tearing my eyes away from the book, I looked at the closed door. My heart pounded so hard it threatened to jump out of the neckline of my new pajamas.

This didn’t add up.

Maybe he just looked really good for his age. It was possible, with plastic surgery and manscaping and gross things like that. But Aidan didn’t seem like someone who’d be vain enough to go through all of that. This was someone who hid behind a secret identity. So maybe he would be vain enough to alter his face. Maybe I was just wrong about how old he was, but that didn’t make me feel any better. If he was old enough to be my father, that was gross on a whole other level.

I couldn’t lie to myself, I was falling for this guy. Or who I thought this guy was.

Putting the book down, I went back to the book shelf, checking the original publishing dates for all of the Allison Duprois books. So many early nineties. An anthology had a publishing date of 1988. This wasn’t a mistake.

Whatever the answer was, Aidan had lied to me about something.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Christmas stocking filled with book themed goodies + signed print copy of Silent Night

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About the Author

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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What a writing conference taught me about staying indie

Tammy Farrell:

This fits right in with my blog post today about the Indie/Trad debate. It’s really not that crazy to WANT to be indie.

Originally posted on Sarahbeth Caplin | Author:

bcLast Saturday was my first writing conference: well worth every cent. A great portion of the afternoon was spent on comparing and contrasting self-publishing versus traditional publishing. While much of the information wasn’t new to me – such as the possibility of surrendering creative control of your work to a publisher – a few tidbits did stand out, pushing me more towards the side of staying indie than actively pursuing a traditional publishing contract.

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Julie Screeches For Goddamn Antiheroines

Tammy Farrell:

YES! Preach, girl. ;)

Originally posted on deadlyeverafter:

TODAY’S BREW: The Blood of Thine Enemy

By Julie

I ranted the other day about antiheroes and the total lack of love for the antiheroine in literature. Here you go: http://t.co/gyBhBbte1Z

WELL, I’M NOT DONE YET.

The constant issue of creating the “strong” female character is mindblowing. Never do you hear the phrase “strong male character.” Yet we have to get out the goddamn test tubes and mustache potions to make a female character that doesn’t radiate LOSER. Then we’re left with these tough broads that can kick anyone’s ass with their pinky finger, have this poorly placed sarcastic mouth, and have been hurt by some man but still considers themselves “one of the guys.”

I find this fucking tiresome. Women trying too hard not to be girly girls. This is weakness in my eyes. Any character that feels forced into a role is weak. I’d take an actually weak…

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The Indie/Traditional Debate. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

You’re not the cool kid.

If you’re an indie author, I think you’ve figured out by now that we’re the underdogs, the gnats in traditional publishing’s ear, and the ones the traditionally published kids don’t want to sit with in the cafeteria.

I came in to the publishing game with rose colored glasses, a positive attitude, and a love for the supportive writing community I’d found. More than one year later the rose colored glasses are off, and I’m well aware that members of the “community” I loved so very much are often sneering at us behind our backs.

I don’t mean to say all traditional authors minimize the accomplishments of indie authors. There are many who genuinely cheer us on, showcase our books, congratulate us when we have success, and happily share the road with us.

But the judgment of indie authors is everywhere, and it’s getting harder to ignore.

I remember once seeing a tweet from an agent that said something like: Just sent a request and found out the author recently self-published. If only they’d been more patient.

People favorited this tweet and responded with euphemisms about patience, and persistence, when what they really meant was, “You idiot, you self-published when you should have waited for the right agent!”

My first thought when I saw that tweet was, “What if the author is happy with their decision?”

After I self-published The Darkness of Light I got requests from two agents. I had some discussions with these agents, exploring my options, but at no point during those interactions was I kicking myself for not waiting. When I made the decision to be an indie author, I did it wholeheartedly and without looking back. By then I’d already discovered the power I had over my career, the advantage I had over traditional publishing (mainly time and control), and the freedom to do exactly what I wanted.

There are bullies and if you speak up, they’ll target you.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you might recall the event I refer to as “Twittergate”, the day twitter FREAKED out on me. This was the day I realized our writing community was full of piranhas, and trust me—I got chewed up! During a twitter contest I’d observed some things that, I felt, came across as arrogant. I was reacting to the way some authors were criticizing entries with such detail the entrants were sure to know it was their entry being discussed. My reaction came from a place of empathy, not weakness. I wasn’t suggesting they sugarcoat things for authors in their (private) feedback. I wasn’t under the impression that this business is easy. What bothered me was the attitude with which these authors judged their peers.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –Abraham Lincoln.

I tweeted my opinion and within one minute my timeline blew up! I couldn’t keep up with the tweets coming at me. Some agreed with me (I got a lot of supportive DMs because people were afraid of the backlash), some respectfully disagreed with me, and many others were downright nasty. I even got a DM from a very well known tweeter who had some particularly offensive things to say to me. She’s lucky I have enough restraint not to out her. Maybe I should have, but I’d rather let her dig her own grave.

Anyway, during the flurry of tweets aimed at me that day, it became clear that the general assumption was that I was a bitter author who’d been rejected by the traditional world and was now taking shots at traditional authors whenever I could.

I have a pretty thick skin. I can take rejection, bad reviews, and harsh critiques. What really got to me that day, and what really made me sad, was the realization that I was an outsider. It didn’t matter that I had a book published and was part of the same community. With The Darkness of Light I worked hard to make sure my book went through the same filters and received the same care as a traditionally published book. But that day, when twitter lost its mind on me, none of that mattered. Because I was an indie author, I wasn’t an author, and my opinion—my voice—was insignificant.

If books are fishes, and Amazon is the ocean, we’re all swimming in it together.

It sometimes seems the traditionally published world is unhappy they have to share space with lowly self-publishers. It must be frustrating to see your book—your edited, beautifully covered, extensively marketed baby— sitting next to something your neighbor’s cousin wrote on a Thursday and uploaded to Amazon on a Friday.

It must drive you insane that all the self-published dino porn books, or books that got rejected so many times the author had no other choice but to self-publish, are sitting in the same waters as your perfect novel. After all, self-published authors are destroying literature, right?

NOT.

There were crappy books long before indie authors stepped onto the scene, and if we all disappeared tomorrow, there would still be crappy books published every single day.

But here’s the thing— indie doesn’t mean crappy. Many of us take a lot of pride in our work. We nurture our books the same way a publishing house would. Sure, we often price our books lower, but that doesn’t mean our work is less valuable. It simply means there are no publishers or agents taking a cut of our work, giving us the ability to price our books competitively.

Let’s face it, while we all want to see our books in bookstores, Amazon is the largest online bookseller in the world. If bookstores are the streams, Amazon is the ocean, and guess what—we’re all swimming in it.

I recently saw an agented (but yet to be published) author call a fellow author’s decision to self-publish “puzzling.” I’ll bet that when the agented author’s book comes out in 2018, there will be even more successful indie authors, and even more hybrid authors swimming in the same ocean with him.

Don’t let them make you feel inferior.

“It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are.” – Publilius Syrus

As I said earlier, there are many traditional authors who support indie authors and believe in their achievements. As indie authors we are marketing experts, have a network of editors, cover artists, formatters, and bloggers willing to help us create a product we can be proud of. It’s a lot of work to be an indie author, and our traditionally published friends know and respect our efforts.

There will always be the naysayers; the ones who tell you you’re not good enough because you didn’t take the same path that they did. It’s frustrating, and oftentimes, it hurts. But when you come across one of these cynics, don’t take their judgments to heart. Just because they say you’ve settled by becoming indie, doesn’t make it true. If you have readers, your book sells, and you feel good about the career path you’ve chosen, take the high road, because there are plenty of people willing to take the low road.

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Being an author IS a job. And it’s the BEST job.

I’m tired of being told (usually in thinly veiled statements) that being an author isn’t a job. Any writer that writes on a full-time or regular part-time basis will shout from the rooftops–IT IS!

One time, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with the projects I had on the go. I had more than one manuscript in the works, I had lots of editing to do (both for myself and someone else), and I was still trying to navigate the world of author marketing for my published novel. I must have been complaining. I usually don’t mean to. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to commit my time to fulfilling my dreams. But sometimes, I just need to vent.

So there I was, bitching about all the things I had to do and the little time I had to do them in, and someone reminds me that I don’t have a 9-5, so. . .

Queue ominous music…

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I’m well aware that I don’t have a 9-5. Trust me. I know it.

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So, since I don’t have a 9-5, what do I do? Let’s take today for example. I’ve been up since six am. I threw my hair in a bun, grabbed a coffee, and sat down at my computer. I didn’t have to put on make-up. I didn’t have to drive to work. And I didn’t have to punch a clock. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder (since I’m the boss), and I can take a break whenever I want. It’s a pretty sweet deal, really. I’m in the comfort of my own home, working away. But I’m still working! I’m what you’d call–self-employed. ;)

My first order of business for the day was to tackle some editing. I opened one of my manuscripts (one of four that need my immediate attention), and started going through my editor’s notes. It went smoothly for a while. I got through a few chapters until the other “things” started knocking on my brain–have you checked your email? Have you made a post on your FB page so your readers don’t forget about you? Have you tweeted recently?…they say all authors should tweet, you know? Have you tracked your sales over the weekend? Have you blogged? You haven’t blogged enough, that’s part of your job as an author…

So I made another cup of coffee, set aside the editing for a bit and started on the other “things”.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a heck of a lot of work. But I like it. I don’t for one second think, I wish I was anywhere but here. And I rarely ever get a case of the Mondays.

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But here’s the thing–If I don’t do all the things I’m supposed to do, my career suffers. If I don’t write, I’m not producing a product. If I don’t spend time marketing, no one is going to buy my product. If I don’t network, I won’t have a readership or any connection with my peers.

The definition of a job is:

1- A paid position of regular employment.

2- A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

And guess what? Every month I get a paycheck. That’s right. On the same day, every single month, I get a direct deposit into my bank from the royalties of my book sales.
I think that sounds like a job.
But there’s one more, very important, part of this job I haven’t mentioned, and that is TIME. I don’t have a 9-5. When I’m done working for the day, my work is still staring me in the face and pinging on my phone. Again, I’m not complaining. I love what I do. But there is no 9-5 here. Last week, while trying to catch up on “things”, I worked on my laptop from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. Sure, I took breaks here and there, but by the time I was done, I was nearly blind and my back was killing me. 15 hours I worked that day. If I’d been working at an office, or anywhere else, people would say, “You work so hard.” But because I’m a writer, and I get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not working.
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Now, I’m relieved to say that most people I know don’t consider my job a mere hobby or a self-indulgent diversion from the conventional standards of earning money. Most people I know say, “I don’t know how you do it. It’s amazing,” which, to me, is a compliment, and validation that I’ve done the right thing by choosing to be a writer.
I feel empathy for those who have to go to a job they hate day in and day out. Not everyone has the means to do exactly what they want. But right now, at this point in my life, I do, and I don’t think what I do for a living should be underestimated in any way. I HAVE a job. What I do is WORK. And for that work, I get PAID.
So when someone suggests that you don’t work because you’re a writer, ignore them, you’ve got too much work to do–even if it doesn’t always look like work. ;)

 

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Kristen Strassel’s Secondhand Heart is out now!

Being an indie author means there’s no constraints on what you write, how you write it, or when you release it. The keyword here is FREEDOM, and I think Kristen Strassel is mastering the art of creative freedom perfectly. As you may know, Kristen is typically a paranormal romance author. Her Night Songs Collection series features rock star vampires set in the underbelly of Las Vegas. This has been her identity as an author, and we love her for it because she does it so darn well.

But since Kristen is full of stories and understands that she isn’t labeled as an author by one genre, she’s stepped out of the vampire world and written a contemporary romance that sounds amazing. Kristen’s style is always fresh, funny, and sexy, and I promise, SECONDHAND HEART will deliver all the things that make Kristen’s fans love her.

Check it out!

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Title: Secondhand Heart

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 10/7/14

 Goodreads

Amazon

 

Blurb:

Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.

Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar.

When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.

Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?

 

EXCERPT

Cam came out on stage to the hoots and hollers of the crowd, of course, the loudest from the table of old broads. He motioned with his hands for everyone to shut the fuck up. “Thanks for coming out tonight.” His eyes scanned the crowd, but then locked on mine. I sat up straighter, the memory of how he looked at me last night when there was no audience burning me everywhere his mark lingered on my body. “Tell your friends, let’s support local music and make this a thing.”

Another roar of the crowd before the lights darkened just enough for Cam to jog off the stage, and a scruffy duo with blazers and harmonicas took his place. He pulled out the chair next to mine and put his head down on the table. I could hear the gasp rise out of the audience, even over the acoustic guitars from the stage.

I raked my fingers through his hair, then pulled his head up playfully.

“I’m dying,” Cam said when he looked up at me.

“Yeah, me too.” The waitress delivered a fresh beer. By the time I got to the bottom of it, I was going to feel like I was having an out of body experience. “But I love every minute of it.”

Crooked smile. Dead. “Me too.” His hand landed on my thigh, caressing my skin and working his way upward. Wait until he realized I was wearing a skirt. “I had a great time last night, Daisy.”

My skin was on fire, and I just looked at him with a dopey smile on my face. If I even tried to say anything, I’d just giggle like an idiot. So I just fixed his hair from where I messed it up before.

“I was wondering,” he looked down, tracing the outline of his drink coaster, shy. It was adorable. “If you actually wanted to see the bedroom tonight.”

“Tonight?” So this was an actual thing? He didn’t think last night was some mistake? Oh my god. Talk about jumping off of a cliff into shark infested waters.

He looked up at me, eyes sparkling. “Why not?”

He posed an excellent question. Although I could think of a million reasons why not, right now it was all just blah, blah, blah in my brain. Fear and excitement numbed my body, I felt like I was floating in the middle of the bar room.

“Okay,” I said, and he visibly relaxed. Holy shit, was he nervous about asking me to stay? This was not the position I ever expected to be in. “But I can’t stay all night.”

His jaw dropped. “Why?”

“Because I ran smack into my dad this morning. Horrifying.”

He closed his eyes and groaned. “Yeah, that’s so bad. You’re going to have to move out.”

What was he saying? Don’t read too much into this, Daisy. He wasn’t saying anything. He was just pointing out what I already knew, what my mother was so delicately hinting at earlier today. Time to move on. “Tell me about it.”

Anyway, I was just the rebound chick. I knew that.

We didn’t even make it out of his truck this time. I don’t know what it said about his neighborhood that no one called the police. We thrashed around on that tiny backseat, holding nothing back, even as cars came in and out of the lot. Hands sliding down steamed up glass, Titantic style. Loud, aggressive, and just the thing I needed to remind me why I was alive.

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About The Author

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Release Day Happy Dance & Review for Running Away by Julie Hutchings

 

Happy Book Birthday to Julie Hutchings and RUNNING AWAY!

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Running Away Final Cover

Running Away Blurb:

Eliza Morgan is desperate to escape the horrors of her mortal life and understand why death follows her, leaving only one man, Nicholas French, in its wake. He’s the one she loves, the one she resents, and the one fated to make her legendary among the Shinigami– an ancient order of vampires with a “heroic” duty to kill. He’s also decaying before her eyes, and it’s her fault.

On the ghostlike mountaintop in Japan that the vampires consider home, Eliza will be guided by the all-powerful Master for her transition to Shinigami death god. When Eliza discovers that sacrificing her destiny will save Nicholas, she’s not afraid to defy fate and make it so—even when Nicholas’s salvation kills her slowly with torturous, puzzle-piece visions that beg her to solve them. Both Nicholas and his beloved Master fight her on veering from the path to immortality, but Eliza won’t be talked out of her plan, even if it drives the wedge between Nicholas and her deeper.

Allying with the fiery rebel, Kieran, who does what he wants and encourages her to do the same, and a mysterious deity that only she can see, Eliza must forge her own path through a maze of ancient traditions and rivalries, shameful secrets and dark betrayals to take back the choices denied her and the Shinigami who see her as their savior. To uncover the truth and save her loved ones, Eliza will stop at nothing, including war with fate itself.

 

MY REVIEW

5 STARS!

When I read Running Home, I couldn’t wait to find out what would come of such an explosive ending. When I got my hands on Running Away, I was thrust back into the story immediately, immersed in the darkness that had descended upon Eliza. Hutchings is a gifted storyteller, with the ability to capture raw emotions and bring them to life on the page.

Running Away was so intense I couldn’t stop reading it, and spent the entire day flipping to the next page. I absolutely love love love the complexity of Eliza and Nicholas’s relationship. There is certainly nothing predictable about them, and that’s a great thing. I also love the new characters, especially one which I have a mega crush on. Seriously. ;)

What really impressed me about this book was the ending. I thought I knew what was going to happen. But then Hutchings took a right turn and I was shocked. While the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts, it didn’t leave me feeling cheated. There were decisions made, fates accepted, and the door was left open for a lot more story to tell.

About the Author Julie Hutchings

Me

Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, giving you vampires with a Japanese mythology pants kicking is available through Books of the Dead Press. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts. And pizza. And Rob Zombie. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.

Julie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HutchingsJulie

Julie’s Blog: http://deadlyeverafter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeadlyEverAfterBlog

Julie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7104966.Julie_Hutchings

Other books by Julie & Buy Links:

Running Home on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17977192-running-home

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Cover Reveal: Silent Night by Kristen Strassel

Tammy Farrell:

Another Night Songs collection book!!! And I love this cover :D

Originally posted on deadlyeverafter:

It’s that time again!  The books are coming fast and furious this fall.  (No, I won’t be able to keep up this pace forever).  Everyone, please meet Kyndra and Aidan.  They’re bringing you book four in The Night Songs Collection, Silent Night.  It’s a standalone book that I’m billing as Pretty Woman meets Dracula at Midnight Mass.

What the hell do these two have to do with the rest of The Night Songs Collection?  Aidan created Talis and Cash, and he’s going to tell you his story, under the nom de plume of Allison Dubrois.

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BLURB:

This Christmas isn’t about celebration for eighteen-year-old Kyndra, it’s about survival. Grieving the loss of her grandmother and struggling with the indifference of her family, Kyndra now splits her time between her dead-end mall job, her junkie ex-boyfriend’s bed, and the streets. Longing to be close to her grandmother one more time, she wanders…

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Forging Your Own Path As An Indie-Author.

It’s been quiet over here on my blog lately. If you’ve missed me, I’m sorry. If you haven’t, then I really need to step up my game. :)

The reason I’ve been quiet and haven’t had any nuggets of wisdom to impart is because I’ve been a little lost myself lately.

Sometime between writing my sequel and now, I had an epiphany that has me rethinking my strategy as an author, and questioning my goals. When I first wanted to see The Darkness of Light published, I did what many of us do and I queried agents. I read everything I could about publishing, agents, sales, writing…basically anything that would help me mold my book into a marketable, successful piece of fiction.

But when I couldn’t find the right agent and decided to become an indie author, there was a problem forming that I wasn’t able to see until now.

THE GOAL

The goal of most authors is to write books. Have people read those books. And make money from those books.

That was my mission when publishing THE DARKNESS OF LIGHT. I’ve said before that one mistake I made with that book was taking advice about the content, and changing it to fit a certain industry standard. I thought I was doing the right thing, since the advice was coming from someone in the traditional publishing industry. I wanted my book to stand next to any other book you might find on store shelves.

THE PROBLEM

What that advice actually did was water down my novel and cut out things that were important to readers. It became clear once the reviews started coming in that readers wanted the things I was told to cut out. Interesting, isn’t it?

So once I began to write the sequel, THE EMBERS OF LIGHT, I was much more open-minded about content and less likely to cut certain things that may have been cut by a publisher. I still used beta-readers and a content editor, but we were all aware of the issues with the last book and were able to work with less restrictions. We’ll see how that pans out once Embers is released, but I already feel more confident that the story is complete.

In the last year, as I’ve learned to balance book promotion, writing, and growth as an author, I’ve begun to form opinions about publishing as a whole. A lot of the advice I see on Twitter and other social media platforms is geared towards the traditionally published novel. There are so many rules thrown around that it’s hard to keep up: No prologues, keep word count low, avoid characters with dead parents, overly strong heroines, overly weak heroines, no love triangles, no vampires, no werewolves, no cliffhangers, etc… The list really does go on, and on, and on. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with it all, and I feel bad for writers just starting out. They’ll have to learn what works for them and what doesn’t, just like I’ve had to.

THE LIGHT BULB WENT ON

I’ve had many conversations with my indie-author friends about the state of publishing and the comparison between the indie and traditional world. What I’ve realized is that if we want to be indie-authors, we need to STOP comparing ourselves with traditional publishing! I am an indie author by choice. I wanted to control my books and my own career. I’ve said it many times: I have NO regrets about choosing this path. What I do regret is confining myself within the parameters of a branch of industry I don’t belong to.

If my goal is: Write books, have people read my books, and make money from those books, then I’ve been going about things the wrong way. I’ve been killing myself trying to follow a guideline set by the traditional world. Why? Why should indie authors not write about things the traditional world deems overdone, when there are hoards of niche market readers spending buckets of money each day to buy these books? An indie-author writing within traditional guidelines is like a person writing Facebook updates in 140 characters because that’s the rules of Twitter. They’re both social media, but they’re different. The rules are different. And the market for each is different.

Take a minute and look up the vampire category on Amazon. Or look up shifters, historical romance, or anything 50 Shades of Grey-ish. Those books are selling! People are buying them like crazy. And while many publishers have decided to abandon those platforms (leaving money on the table) indie-authors are fulfilling that need and (gasp) selling books!

We all want to be respected within our industry. We would love to receive praise and accolades based on our work. I think that’s why indie-authors constantly walk a fine line between traditional rules and reckless abandon when it comes to our books. We don’t want to be the fools of the publishing world. But, for me, walking that line had become such an obsession it started to hamper by creativity. My days became more about following guidelines than letting my imagination rule.

THE RESULT

I wrote a secret book. After talking to a friend who’s having a lot of success in one of these niche-markets, I decided to create something that those readers might like. At first I’d intended to release it under a pen name. I didn’t want anyone turning up their nose if my book failed or if it fell into the “undesirables” category. Knowing that this book would be anonymous was incredibly freeing. And I had so much fun writing it.

But as I wrote, something strange happened– I began to love the characters. I didn’t expect that. And when I read my chapters, I saw myself in that book, heard my voice, and felt connected to the story.

Yes, this is a serialized niche-market novella. Yes, it’s probably never going to win me any awards or million dollar publishing contracts. But I love it, and had more fun writing this book than any other.

THE LESSON

I’ve abandoned my intention to release this book under my pen name and decided that I will own it as Tammy Farrell! I will own the fact that I wrote it and whether it sinks or swims will have no bearing on my future endeavors. I will always write more books. Some people will love them, and some won’t. But as an indie-author, I can release books quickly, I have control over the content, and I can decide for myself what works and what doesn’t. When this secret book is ready to be released, I promise I’ll let you all know. ;)

I have to be true to myself and STOP creating things limited by rules that don’t even apply to me. Writing is art. And art should never have any limits.

So the point of the story, friends, is that if you want to be an indie author, OWN IT! Embrace it. Bend the rules however you want and don’t let anyone’s opinion create doubt in your mind.

You will find success by forging your own path, and learning from experience. If you write a book about ghost accountants, and you find readers aren’t interested in them, then write something else. You have the power in your hands. That’s the beauty of being an indie-author. The possibilities are truly endless.

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