Cover Reveal: Silent Night by Kristen Strassel

Another Night Songs collection book!!! And I love this cover 😀

Deadly Ever After

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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Finding Your Writing Routine.

With all the writing advice out there, how is one to know which advice is the best?

The truth is–there are no set rules to follow. Writing is not only a process of sharpening your skills, it’s about learning what kind of writer you are, what your process looks like, and what routine you need to be the most productive.

If you look back on the post How 12 Different Authors Write a First Draft, you’ll see how different the process is for everyone.

Technique aside, the one question I see asked a lot is: “How do I find the time to write?”

This is a tough one to answer because everyone’s needs are different. We hear often that writers should write every day. I used to believe this myself, but the more writing became a routine, the more I learned that writing every day doesn’t work for me.

By nature, I’m an all or nothing person. I have to force myself to be obsessive about projects, because if I step away for more than a few days, I’ve completely lost interest in working. I tend to write in bursts, and since I don’t have kids, I have a lot of freedom to set my schedule as it suites me. I’m sure this will change some day, but for now my writing routine is fairly simple. I treat writing like a full-time job. I wake up to an alarm, get dressed, and hopefully by 9am I’m sitting at my computer working. Once I get in the writing zone, I will usually work for 5-8 hour stretches of time, sometimes more, 7 days a week.

By the time I get through 8 hours of writing, I’m practically brain-dead and exhausted, so it’s not a pattern I can keep up for long periods. Once I reach a milestone–which is usually a finished draft–I take a break to recharge.

I usually read books the same way I write them–in bursts. So during my writing down-time I spend as much time as I can devouring as many books as I can squeeze in before I have to start working again.

When my novel is finally completed, edited and ready to go, I’ll take a month, even 2 months off to regroup. There might be days when the muse strikes and I’ll write out a quick chapter or start plotting, but I don’t force myself to write. It’s a nice break and it gives me time to develop ideas before I start putting them to paper.

Now, I know everyone doesn’t always have the flexibility to spend 8 hours a day writing. Back when I used to work a full-time job in advertising, I remember using the same pattern of burst writing, only I would do it at night. I would sit with a glass of wine (or four) in my apartment in Toronto and work from about 7-8pm to sometimes 2 in the morning. I love that I have more freedom with my time now, but I definitely miss those late nights of writing where all my best ideas were born (Mara, Corbin and Malcolm were created during those night writing sessions).

Finding the time to write, especially when you have a lot of other things demanding your attention, can be tricky. But you might find it easier to manage if you know what kind of writer you are. Are you a burst writer? Do you like to write one scene a day? Do you go back and read your work, editing as you go?

On twitter there’s a 5am Writers Club. They are the morning writers, and if you don’t have time at night, this is a great way to get an hour or two of writing in before work.

My writer/mom friends usually say the evening works best for them. They also say that the summer months are a toss up for writing. Most seem to wait until the kids are back in school before they really push themselves to get writing done.

The bottom line is, find out what KIND of writer you are, and then tailor a routine to meet your needs. If you’re okay with writing a chapter a week, GREAT! If you have to knock out half a book in a short stretch, FANTASTIC! But don’t give up. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time. There is ALWAYS time to be found for writing, if you want it bad enough. Apparently humans spend up to two years of their lifetimes sitting on a toilet. Imagine two full years of time dedicated it writing *wink wink*.

I think for my next book, I’m going to try and adjust my routine a bit and give myself weekends off. That way I don’t find myself procrastinating on a Sunday because all I want to do is eat candy and have a netflix marathon. I’m learning that time off is important. 🙂

Tell me what your writing routine is. How do you find the time and what kind of writer are you?

 

 

 

What to expect from a developmental edit.

After months and months…and MONTHS of sweating over my drafts of THE EMBERS OF LIGHT, I finally got it to the point where it was ready for developmental editing. I think this is a step many indie-authors skip, thinking that beta-readers, critique partners and a proofreader or even better, a line-editor will suffice.

But let me tell you this. Unless you have a super-genius friend who KNOWS what they’re talking about, you NEED a developmental editor, otherwise known as a content editor.

I’ve had experience with two developmental editors or DEs, as I call them. The first DE I had for The Darkness of Light used a summary approach. I sent her the manuscript, she read it, and then sent me a three page detailed report, mostly written in point form, of areas I needed to fix, plot holes that needed filling, and certain word choices I needed to cut.

With her notes I was able to restructure my novel and make changes to certain scenes and characters.

The most recent DE I used for EMBERS was from Julie Hutchings (find her, she’s amazing!) It cost double the price, but it was worth every penny! The notes were line-by-line within the manuscript and included a summary. For me, this works better because I can follow her thought process as she reads. I can see what the reader sees and understand what a reader might need to stay interested in the book. Luckily for me, Julie also can’t seem to bypass typos. So in addition to line notes, she also gave me some grammar and punctuation corrections throughout the manuscript.

When I opened the document she’d returned to me, the first thing I saw was a sea of purple comment bubbles on the right side of my screen. But as I read through them, I saw how insightful and positive her comments were. Any critique or suggested change made perfect sense to me, and I feel like she really GOT the story (do you know how hard that is to find in an editor?). I had a few discussions with her on some of the changes, just to clarify what she thought would work best, and after sifting through all the grammar corrections, I got to work on the content.

I’m lucky this time, in that most of the changes needed are minor enough that I don’t have to do huge re-writes. Most of the comments/critiques involved character voice and the development of dynamics between certain characters.

I am SUPER happy with this edit and am working on the changes right now…well, right now I’m writing a blog but…you get what I mean. 🙂

Now, a lot of critique partners will also use this method of note taking, but remember, a DE is a person being PAID to give you an opinion. They know you expect them to be 100% honest about every single thing. THIS is why DEs are so important in the writing/publishing process. Not all of us can rely on beta-reader feedback alone.

What you should look for in a DE.

It’s important to choose a DE that works with other authors within your genre/category. For example, you don’t want a DE who is a YA author or only works with YA authors, to edit your erotic novel. Some editors are versatile, but if you pick the wrong DE and your vision doesn’t match theirs, you’re going to end up with a bunch of notes you don’t agree with and can’t use.

Pick someone who you believe will be honest, and when they are honest, don’t take offense. Editors spend a lot time going through your manuscript, and while you might not always agree with their suggestions, you don’t have to take their comments as a personal attack. Let the editor know your expectations prior to hiring them. Julie warned me that she would be really tough if she needed to be, and that was perfect because that was exactly what I was looking for.

Ask how they deliver their notes. Is it a summary? In document comments? How thorough are they going to be? You’d better ask what you’re getting for your money before you start shelling it out.

What comes next?

For the next couple of weeks I will work on the changes Julie suggested, and then do a final read-through of the entire manuscript. The next step (which is one no author should ever, ever, EVER skip) is the copy-editing/line-editing stage. Even though Julie made corrections for me, I need to have one final defense against typos, errors, bad sentences, and bad grammar. A line-editor is someone who goes through your manuscript and fixes ALL the mistakes. I think I learned a lot through my last edit for DARKNESS, so we’ll see if I have less errors this time around. 🙂

 

Book Signing, Fan Art, and Sequel Update!

Wowza! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me.

This past Saturday I had my very first in-store book signing. I was very nervous leading up to the day, imagining all sorts of horrors that I’m sure most authors experience before a signing–what if no one shows up? What if no one buys my book?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to face those fears, because the singing went great. I sold some books, made some new friends, and got some experience under my belt.

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Another cool thing that happened last week was that I received a sketch of my book cover from Savannah Bolger, a very talented young artist from Ireland. Earlier in the week I posted on FB that I wish I had an artistic fan to sketch my cover, and the Universe must have heard me, because here it is! I’m so grateful that Savannah took the time to make this for me. I love it!

 

20140705_222055 20140705_222129Now for the update.

Ever since late May, The Darkness of Light has been steadily selling every single day and currently sits at #42 on Kindle’s top 100 for Mythology, and #82 on Kobo for Historical Fantasy. This is more than I could have ever hoped for my book, and the fact that it’s been out for almost 6 months and STILL continues to gain readership is amazing.

The sequel, The Embers of Light, is going to the developmental editor this week. I’m just adding some finishing touches to the end scenes, and will soon start revising based on the editor’s feedback. I’m terrified this book won’t live up to the first (I think all writer’s have that fear), but I’m hopeful that Malcolm’s story will fascinate readers as much as it has fascinated me.

That’s all for now!

 

Reader Questions Answered

A week ago I promised to answer reader questions on my blog. I’m a little late in getting it done, but now that I’m back to work, I’ve got some great questions from Facebook and Twitter to answer.

But first, here’s an update.

For the past month The Darkness of Light has been in the top 100 on the Amazon bestsellers list for Mythology, and for the very first time since its release it has broken into the Kobo top 100 for Historical Fantasy!!! I am still amazed that people want to read a book that I wrote and I am so grateful that four months after release new readers are finding my book. Thank you!

The Embers of Light is coming along. The release date is November 11th, and by the 30th of this month, the manuscript will be sent off for developmental editing. There is a definite sense of urgency to get this book out on time, and while I hate pressure, I love how it motivates me. The end is in sight!

Now for the questions…

How do you overcome writer’s block?

This is a hot topic. I’ve done about 30 interviews and have been asked this question about 28 times. Writer’s block is a terrifying prospect for writers and a source of fascination for non-writers, but let me tell you—it’s very real, and it sucks.

Back when you were in school, if you ever sat down to write an essay and spent hours staring at a flashing cursor, or typed paragraphs and then deleted them, then you know a little bit of what writer’s block feels like. It’s stagnancy, an inability to move forward, a complete block in your creativity.

In my experience with writer’s block, I’ve realized that when I can’t move forward, I need to take a step back. Instead of forcing myself to write (usually frustrating myself further), I pick up a book and read. The best way to find inspiration to write is in books. And once the pressure to write is lifted, I am more open to ideas that seem to come out of nowhere.

Another technique I use is pen to paper writing. I have a plotting notebook that is never far from reach. When I’m stuck on what to write, I start scribbling notes and ideas, plot points that may or may not work, and sometimes I even start writing the story by hand.

It’s always best to embrace writer’s block than fight it.

Why didn’t you use a pseudonym (pen name) for your book?

Back in the day when I used to write more …ehem…salacious material, I wrote under the pen name Dahlia Knight. I liked the freedom the pen name gave me. I could become someone else and write whatever I wanted without feeling limited by the fear of judgment.

When I wrote The Darkness of Light, I’d considered using a pen name or even just my initials, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this particular novel needed my real name on the front. I don’t fear the content, I don’t have a job that requires me to mask my author persona, and I don’t care anymore if anyone judges the novel or me. I am very proud of my novel and I am brave enough now to put my name on it. I am not saying that authors who use pen names are hiding. Everyone has their reasons. 🙂

What is the impact of digital vs. print on you as an author? Clearly there is a huge price difference between the two.

I sell way, way, WAY more ebook copies of The Darkness of Light than I do paperback. The ratio is about 10-1, I’d say. The ebook is only $2.99 whereas the paperback is $11.12-$13.75, so it’s not hard to see why this happens.

As far as the impact goes, there really isn’t any. I make the same royalty amount on both ebook and paperback versions. While there are copies of my book sitting on bookstore shelves, I don’t rely on those sales to make money. Instead, I spend all of my promotional efforts on selling ebooks. If the $2.99 price tag is enough to grab someone’s attention and they decide to buy the paperback instead, that’s great. But if they choose the ebook, that works just as well.

Do you think one day we will have no hardcopy books? Limited number of libraries?

This is a scary thought. Just a quick google search for this kind of question will bring up pages and pages of debates and theories on the fate of big publishing and the extinction of libraries.

I will always want and NEED printed books. They are my preferred method of reading.

The ebook surge has revolutionized the publishing industry. And while many bookstores are suffering (even Barnes&Noble seem to be in a bit of trouble), I don’t think hardcopy books will die out completely. Eventually, I think the big publishers will start to use the more economical “Print on Demand” platform that dominates the indie-author world. For example, if you order my book, that book is then printed specifically for you at one of the many print distributors around the world. There are no warehouses with boxes of my book collecting dust. The buyer pays for the product and the product is then produced. I think as the print on demand option becomes more popular, the quality of printing will improve, and hardcopy readers, like me, will continue on as usual.

With regard to libraries, as the methods of reading change, libraries are starting to adapt, loaning out ebook copies in addition to hardcopy books. I’m not sure about the fate of brick and mortar libraries, but I hope they stick around.

 

Thank you to those who asked questions. I’ll be sure to do posts like this more often. If you have a specific question you’d like to ask, find me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles, and I’ll add your question to the next blog.

 

 

 

 

 

YA Author Kat Ellis Talks About Her Debut Novel, Getting Published, And The Rules of Writing.

I promised that when I was finished Blackfin Sky I’d have a review for you, and guess what? Kat Ellis was kind enough to answer a few questions for me too. She’s such a sweetheart and answers all my crazy Welsh questions without calling me crazy. If you’re a writer or an eager reader, I suggest you add her to twitter @el_kat. As for the book, I didn’t hesitate to give it 5 stars. It’s an amazing read, but before we get to the review, here’s what Kat had to say about her novel, getting it published, and her thoughts on the dreaded rules of writing.

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1) Tell us a bit about how you got published. How did you go from aspiring author to a publishing deal in the UK and the US?

I’ve been writing semi-seriously for about four years. A couple of trunked manuscripts down the line, I wrote one that turned out to be Blackfin Sky. When my agent, Molly Ker Hawn, first took it out to publishers to look at, I had no idea what the response would be. But one day in June last year I got the news I’d been hoping for: Firefly Press absolutely loved my novel, and had contacted Molly to talk about the possibility of publishing it.

“Oh my god, someone wants to publish my novel!” (Me, with eyes so huge and round they nearly fell out. FACT.)

Running Press Teen in the US got in touch soon after. Molly worked out the details with both publishers so Blackfin Sky would be published in the UK by Firefly, and in the US by Running Press Teen. I’ve loved working with both publishers, getting to make Blackfin Sky an American and UK novel. It showed me that Blackfin is just as weird on either side of the Atlantic!

2) What has been the most exciting moment for you on the road to publishing?

There are quite a few landmark moments, really – all the firsts. Signing with Molly was one, as well as getting those first offers from Firefly and Running Press Teen. Seeing both covers for the first time – now that was definitely something! And of course, holding my book in my hands for the first time.

3) Is there anything you would do differently next time?

Easier said than done, but try to concentrate on writing the next book when things slow down on the publishing side. There are always going to be ‘rush hour’ periods as well as lulls in getting a book published, so it makes sense to use those less frantic moments to focus on the next project.

4) In your debut novel Blackfin Sky, the town of Blackfin is so mysterious and distinctive that it almost becomes a character. The setting is perfect for Sky’s journey. What inspired you to create Blackfin? Is it based on a real place?

Thank you! I love the idea of Blackfin, though I’d never actually want to go there. A lot of the elements – the pier, the woods, the circus – have a basis in my local area, but Blackfin could really exist in any coastal area. And for Sky’s story to work, it really needed to be set somewhere super-creepy and cut off from the rest of the world, where anything and everything could happen.

5) Why did you choose the circus as the alternate setting in the novel?

It was at a travelling circus that I figured out some key parts of the story. I was sitting in the stands, watching these amazing people doing tricks and stunts that shouldn’t have been possible, and I knew then what would happen to Sky. The circus was the perfect setting for her bizarre story.

6) What was the inspiration behind the Blood House?

In a town where weird things like haunted weathervanes and wishing wells that steal the coins from your pocket are accepted as the norm, all that needed to be mirrored in the place where Sky felt safest. Her home had to embody everything that makes the town of Blackfin so special, and when I started to think about what kind of place that would be, the Blood House was it.

7) The very first chapter of Blackfin Sky had me hooked. I absolutely LOVE how you had Silas as the observer. What made you decide to start the book that way instead of just staying with Sky’s pov the whole way through?

I rewrote the beginning quite a few times before I settled on it. Having Silas’ POV really sets the tone, and I think (hope!) draws the reader straight into the heart of the place, the atmosphere, and Sky’s story.

8) What are you working on now? What can we expect from you in the future?

My writing groove tends towards sci-fi and fantasy, but I like to try new things, so at the moment I’m working on a couple of things – a sinister story set in a Welsh valley, and one about psychopaths in a boarding school. I have a wicked idea for what I want to write next, but my writer’s heart is as fickle as the wind, so we’ll see!

9) Let’s talk about some of the Rules of Writing. It’s a chant us writers hear over and over, and yet, we see the rules broken all the time. What are your thoughts on:

Adverbs – I’m not a stickler for stylistic rules, or an adverb-hater. If adverbs add to your story and don’t affect the pacing, knock yourself out.

Prologues – I don’t love-LOVE prologues, because I want to be drawn into a story good and hard before an author starts throwing me around their timeline. If there’s a prologue, I’m only not going to be very invested before I’m thrown around, so it can feel like an obstacle. That said, if it’s the best way to start a story, go for it. Seeing the word ‘Prologue’ as the chapter header isn’t going to make me roll my eyes and stop reading.

Detailed descriptions of characters – This really depends on what it adds to the story, and where it happens. If I find out at the end of a book that a character I’ve been picturing one way actually looks completely different, it kicks me out of the story. The character will feel less real to me then. But if it’s relevant – say, a character is picked on for being tiny – then of course I need to know that.

Using anything other than “Said” to carry dialog – I think it’s generally better to convey tone/emotion through what is said, so in “I can’t believe you did that!” you can tell the speaker is upset, and the tag ‘he shouted angrily’ should be redundant. But there are always exceptions, of course.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. J

Thank you for having me!

 

Review ~ 5 Stars!

Atmospheric and Captivating.

Blackfin Sky is an amazing debut. Kat Ellis weaves together a spine tingling mystery set in Blackfin, a shadowy little town cut off from the world and filled with secrets just waiting to be unearthed. The story will make you shiver. The cloudy skies, dark forest, Blood House (‘cause all creepy houses should have names), a veiled circus, and the spectral observer watching the mystery unfold give this novel a very Gothic feel. But while the setting fascinates, the mystery surrounding Sky’s apparent death (and return), drive the story forward. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the author adds another twist to keep you turning the page because in Blackfin, nothing is as it seems.

Kat Ellis is very talented writer and an incredible storyteller. It truly is a tale of magic, mystery and emotion.

Blackfin18952405When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.

Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.

Add it to Goodreads

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

Pre-order Amazon US

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL FOR THE EMBERS OF LIGHT!

We have a release day! On November 11th, 2014, The Embers of Light, the 2nd installment in The Dia Chronicles will be available.

Make sure to add it to Goodreads – (The Embers of Light)

Check back for ARC giveaways in the coming months.

Now, without further ado, I give you the gorgeous cover designed by the amazing dark artist, Nathalia Suellen.

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The descendants of the ancient gods think they’ve found peace, but the time has come when new magic and ancient powers will collide…

Stripped of his Dia powers and left to rot, Malcolm is a prisoner of Valenia—a sentence he finds worse than death. His thoughts of revenge are the only thing keeping him sane, but when he finally manages to escape, Malcolm discovers that living as a mortal is more dangerous than he ever imagined. After stealing from the wrong man, Malcolm becomes a captive once more, only this time his punishment is one that he won’t soon forget. His only hope of survival is Seren, an enigmatic young girl with golden eyes and a malevolence to match his own.

When he’s led to Mara and Corbin, the two responsible for his fall from grace, their new faction of Dia is in chaos, infiltrated by an ancient power thought to have been banished forever. This only fuels Malcolm’s ruthless ambitions, but he soon realizes that he too is under attack, a pawn in a centuries old game of power and greed. As new battle lines are drawn, Malcolm finds himself in uncharted waters, forced to choose between helping those he’s vowed to destroy or give in to his lingering desire to settle the score.

Debts will be paid, lives will be lost, and no Dia will ever be the same.

It takes 21 days to form a habit.

Back in my early 20s, when I was starting a career as a life insurance and mutual funds salesperson (I know, sounds boring. It was), I attended many, many, many motivational conferences. While I’m no longer selling insurance, much of the wisdom I gathered at these conferences sticks with me today.

One piece of advice I heard was that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Last year I read a Forbes article insisting that the 21 day rule is a myth. But here’s the thing, I don’t want to be a money mogul. I don’t care to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company. All I want is to get my shit together, and if I manage to stick with something for 21 days, I’m gonna call it a habit.

22 days ago, my HSN impulse buy (an elliptical/bike hybrid) showed up at my door. My husband put it together and the very next day I woke up and decided that was the day I was going to work out. My first day on this thing was hard. I had it on the easiest setting and at 15 minutes in I was ready to collapse. But I kept the 21 day rule in my head. After all, I only had to commit to 21 days, and if I didn’t like it, I could abandon ship, right?

Today was officially day 21 of my workout routine. I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like exercising. But unlike day one, two, or three of this routine, that thought quickly vanished and was replaced by “But you’ll feel so much better. It’s so much easier now. You’ve already put in so much work.”

I got dressed and got on the elliptical. On day one I was doing level 1 for 15-20 minutes. Today, on day 21, I worked out for 40 minutes on level 10. And the best part is, I enjoyed it. It’s not something I dread, it’s not something I avoid doing. 21 days later, this work out routine has become a habit.

The same principle can be applied to your writing. If you have trouble finding the time, or you find you go days without working on your manuscript, try committing to a 21 day plan for 15 minutes a day.

21 days is not a long amount of time in the grand scheme of our lives. It’s not even a full month. If you try something for 21 days and find that it makes you unhappy, then it’s not the length of time you do it, but the action itself that isn’t working for you.

If 21 days isn’t enough time to form a habit, at least it’s enough time to know for certain whether you like something or not.

So give it a try. Commit to your writing for 21 days. Commit to your workout, your walk, your plan to eat better, your plan to read more for 21 days. Hopefully by the end you’ll have a habit that no longer feels like a chore. 🙂

 

RT Recap and How To Convention

Kristen was nice enough to answer some of my convention questions. Hope this helps the “convention virgins” 🙂

Deadly Ever After

Today’s Brew: Is there coffee shock therapy?

by Kristen

If you follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not? You know I’m fun.), you know that last week I was in New Orleans for the Romance Times Convention, or as you saw it a thousand times, RT14.  Simply put, I had a blast. All of us who spent time together are lamenting how weird it feels to get back in to our regular routines at home.

Tammy Farrell, a convention virgin (yes, Tammy, I outed you) asked me a lot of questions about RT, and we figured she couldn’t be alone with having questions about attending conventions.  I had her ask some questions I could answer on the blog that might help you if you’re wondering why the heck we go to these things.

What is the schedule like?

During the weekdays, there are panels scheduled throughout the…

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