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.

Release Day! ~ Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO BLACKFIN SKY!

Today is the UK release of Kat Ellis’s Blackfin Sky and let me tell you, I’ve been waiting for this book FOREVER! While today is just the UK release (US release is in September), you can still get a paperback copy (UK version) through Amazon UK.

After a lot of begging on my part, Kat was kind enough to send me an ARC of the US version, which I’ve just started reading, and it’s everything I knew it would be. She had me hooked at the very first chapter with her gorgeous writing. I will be sure to post a review the moment I’m done. 🙂

Be sure to add this one to your TBR list, folks. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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.

Amazon UK

Goodreads

 

Spotlight and Review ~ FATAL by T.A Brock

Fatal_FRONT coverFirst love can be brutal. Sometimes it can be Fatal. Grayson Patch hasn’t been human since he was seventeen years old…and that was nineteen years ago. When he rose from the dead, he had no memory of his former life. Grayson desperately wants to recapture his lost humanity, and he’s been told that there is one person in this world who can save him from his current fate before he begins to decompose. One person whose life must be sacrificed for his. Cori Abbott has a million things to worry about. She’s the new girl in a school that’s a fraction of the size of her old one. Her antisocial tendencies are crippling her ability to make new friends. And then there’s the recent, sudden death of her father, the only man who ever understood her. The last thing Cori wants is the attention of a strange, withdrawn, and consistently angry guy who seems to hate her for no apparent reason. A guy she can’t stop thinking about. Will Cori break through Grayson’s cold exterior and find the human within, the boy who can love and understand her like no other? Will Grayson sacrifice Cori to rid himself of his undead curse, even if it means losing her forever?

Review

5 Stars For FATAL!

There are many YA books on my shelf that I’ve started and never finished (I don’t hate YA, it’s just hard to find ones that capture my attention). This book is not one of them. Avid readers know how rare it is to come across a book that catches you completely off guard, and you will do anything, including ignoring all else, to finish it. THIS is THAT book.

I’m a big fan of zombie shows and movies, but I’ve never actually read a book about zombies (I know, right). I went into this read with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised to find a truly unique approach to zombie lore. T.A. Brock has created zombies in such a way that they’re actually sexy. Who knew? They walk, they talk, they think, and, as it turns out, they love.

Grayson and Cori have a star-crossed romance. At first, it seems that they’re not meant to be. In order for one to live (or live again) the other must die. And when they fall in love, one of them will have to make a terrible choice.

Cori is a lost soul in a strange land, and when she meets Grayson, who also seems a little out of place, her curiosity moves her to connect with him, even if he wants nothing to do with her…or so it seems.

While Grayson comes off as a brooding jerk, at first, it soon becomes clear that he is motivated by an existence he loathes and a decision he doesn’t want to make. But is it really his decision to make?

I love the zombies in this book. This novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the author throws in another twist. T.A. Brock’s writing style is so fluid that you get completely lost in the story. I also appreciate that it was written in 3rd person, which I prefer.

The story wrapped up just enough to satisfy me, but left an opening for the story to continue. I am eager to see what this author does with the rest of the series. It’s definitely one I’ll be recommending to others.

Get Your Copy Now

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“Write Every Day” …Now I get it!

I had an epiphany this morning!

I’ve always hated the “write every day” advice that’s always stuffed down writers throats. WHAT IF WE CAN’T, HUH? What if we’re having a bad day, can’t think of anything new, or simply don’t feel like writing? Does that make us any less of a writer?

I always have a certain amount of guilt if a day…or two…or three goes by without getting anything written. And then that usually leads me to procrastinate even more. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

But what I realized this morning is that I SHOULD be writing every day, but ONLY when I am working on a specific project.

The problem is, if I take a step away for a few days, I end up losing touch with my characters, I forget where the story left off, and I lose momentum. I’m used to sitting down and doing 5+ hour stretches of writing, and THAT can be exhausting at times.

When I taught pre-GED reading at the Greenville Literacy Association, many of my students were adults who had difficulty reading a short story, let alone a novel. I would always tell them that learning to read is like playing an instrument, you HAVE to practice every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, if you want to improve.

I learned to play the guitar a few years back, so I know how important that 15 minutes of practice is, even when I really didn’t feel like doing it.

The same rule applies to writing. I need to stop forcing myself into these marathon writing sessions and, at the very least, commit to 30 minutes to an hour a day of writing. Even if it’s just cleaning up a certain chapter, I need to sit down and engage with my manuscript if I want to stay connected to it.

This is the new plan going forward. Even if I don’t feel like it, I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day writing. I might get only 100 words out, but that’s certainly 100 words more than I would have if I simply ignored my manuscript all together. I think THAT is what “write every day” means. I don’t have to knock out a chapter. Just a sentence will do.

 

 

websizeThe Darkness of Light

Available now on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, Kobo, and through select retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

website-fosad-pageFIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS

By Melissa Petreshock

I don’t think I can express just how much I loved this book!

The cover is what got my interest at first. It’s just TOO pretty to ignore. I love fantasy novels! Like, LOVE! But I usually prefer a more historical-type or otherworldly setting. What shocked me about this book is that, while it’s set in a futuristic “sovereign” America, the novel had an almost historical feel. The world in which Ms. Petreshock has created is a society full of archaic social conventions, where women have little to no power, and a hierarchy of male supernatural beings make all the rules. It was fascinating to learn about this world, and the author did such a great job at covering every little detail of this society so that it actually becomes believable.

My first thought as I read through this book is that it starts out like a supernatural, futuristic version of The Bachelorette. It may sound a little crazy at first, this woman must choose between three suitors, but it all makes sense within this world. And once you get to know the three suitors, you won’t be able to put the book down.

I also liked how the author gave each character his or her own distinct voice. Each character had their own way of speaking, whether modern or ancient, their own accent, and their own thought process that stayed very consistent throughout the story.

This book is engaging, entertaining, and has the perfect amount of heat to entice romance readers and fantasy readers alike. I am also SO glad that the author rounded out the story and gave me answers!

I will definitely recommend this book to others and keep an eye out for more from this author.

Enter to Win 1 of 3 ebooks of FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS here: Rafflecopter

Purchase Links

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Sequel Writing Struggles

It’s starting to become clear to me just how complicated sequel writing can be. In my last sequel update, I said I was done with the first draft of The Embers of Light and was preparing to send it out for developmental edits. That was true. But the more I sat on the first draft, the more I realized that something was missing from the plot, and the ending wasn’t what I needed in order to round out the series as a whole.

When I initially wrote The Darkness of Light, I hadn’t planned on writing a series. I had a story to tell—Mara’s story—and I knew exactly how it would end. But here’s the problem. That last scene that I had pictured in my mind never happened.

Sure, Mara’s story was told, and the main conflict of the novel was resolved (which I think is VERY important when writing a series), but there was more I needed to write in order to get her to that final scene I’d envisioned. As I wrote The Darkness of Light, I began to realize that it wasn’t just Mara’s story I was telling, but Malcolm’s and Corbin’s as well. Like a traditional fantasy novel, I could have written a 1000+-page book with a part 1,2&3. But that’s a big commitment for readers, it might have alienated non-fantasy readers, and I wanted to give special attention to each individual story.

While I wrote the first novel with an ultimate ending in mind, I wasn’t always sure about how I’d get there. The rest came to me after the first novel was written, and so in the revision process, I was able to plant seeds of information that would continue through the series.

The Embers of Light follows the same format as the first novel (told from 3 POVs), but the main arc of the story is about Malcolm. I knew what I wanted to do with him, but tying it in with the first novel, while still planting seeds for the third is a lot harder than I’d imagined. The problem now is that readers know these characters, so I not only have to make sure Malcolm’s story furthers the plot, but that Mara and Corbin’s does as well. They’re all interconnected, and they always have been, which means I can’t forego one character’s development for another. Everyone needs my attention now.

The third book in the series will have a stronger focus on Corbin. Again, I already know where he’s going and how he’ll get there, but I have to let the reader get to know him better if they’re going to want to read an entire book about him. So while I take Malcolm on his journey, I have to make sure Corbin doesn’t get overlooked. His story will be the one that gets to me to that final scene I’d imagined so long ago.

I am STILL working on revisions for The Embers of Light. But the good news is now the third book is plotted out enough to help me understand what NEEDS to happen to get me there. I had to write 34 chapters of a first draft sequel before I figured this out, and now I’m going back over every chapter, word by word, and page by page, rewriting scenes, adding new ones and creating the stepping-stones to carry the story forward.

It’s a lot harder than simply sitting down and typing out a story. Now I’m creating a saga that won’t be finished until I get to that last scene, the one I see so clearly in my mind. At least now I can see the road ahead, but the struggle is walking it to the end.

Dealing With Writer’s Block

On my blog tour one of the most common questions I got asked was, how do I deal with writer’s block? I know writer’s block well. I’ve had small bouts of it, I’ve had a three year stretch of it, and I’m dealing with a tiny bit of it right now, well, maybe it’s more like a slow down than a total blockage, but it’s still frustrating.

I think in order to deal with writer’s block, it’s best to understand what causes it in the first place. For me, I’ve found I get writer’s block for two reasons.

  1. The scene/story isn’t right and I am refusing to change it.
  2. I have disconnected from my emotions, making it impossible to feel passionate about what I’m writing.

When I find myself experiencing writer’s block, I first have to determine which cause I’m dealing with. If the scene isn’t right, I try something new. Sometimes the solution is as simple as writing the scene from another character’s perspective. Other times I have to let go of the chapter, go to my notebook, and re-plot the story.

Emotional issues are a lot harder to overcome. If I feel disconnected from the story, I have to figure out why. Am I upset about something? Is there something I don’t want to face? Am I not connecting with the characters or the plot because there’s no truth in it? When this is the case, it’s important for me NOT to force myself to write. They say a writer should write everyday, but when I am struggling to get words out, the last thing I want to do if frustrate myself more.

When it’s an emotional issue keeping me from writing, I try to embrace it and take a step back. This is my mind telling me that I need to take a break, inspire myself, and recharge. The best way I’ve found to accomplish this is to read. Writers NEED to read in order to write. So I will make an extra effort to read something I love that makes me excited about telling stories. I read books from authors I admire, and books that make me wish I’d written them myself.

I also take time to watch movies that inspire me. While I’d love to sit and watch a Mad Men marathon, I’m a fantasy writer and chances are I will gain nothing from Don Draper and his cigarette smoking dalliances. I watch historical movies, fantasy movies, and nearly anything on the history channel.

Once I take a step back from writing, I find the itch to write comes back pretty quickly, and I usually wait until the itch is so strong that I can’t wait to sit down and continue with my manuscript.

If none of that helps, you can always try some of these terrible ideas…

  1. Get drunk (Maybe not such a bad idea).
  2. Rewrite the ending to Lord of the Rings.
  3. Scrap your entire project and decide to become an impressionist painter.
  4. Spend your days on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. Call every person who ever told you that you couldn’t write to tell them they were right.
  6. Quit writing forever.

So, as you can see, dealing with your writer’s block is probably a better idea than ignoring it.

How do YOU deal with writer’s block?

 

The Dia Chronicles ~The Embers of Light Teaser

Guess what! I have the final cover for Book 2 of The Dia Chronicles entitled The Embers of Light.

Unfortunately, it’s a little too soon to reveal it, but what I can do is give you the back cover synopsis.

Hopefully this will hold you over until I can give you more.

The Embers of Light

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 unchartered 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.

 

My First Two Months as an Indie-Author ~ The Good, The Bad, and The Unexpected

Today marks two months since the official release of The Darkness of Light! I can’t believe it’s been two months already, and yet, some days it feels like it’s been longer. Either way, it’s been a great experience so far and I can tell you with all sincerity that I have NO regrets about deciding to publish this book.

The Days Leading Up to Release

I think for any author, no matter how their novel comes to life, the days leading up to release are both exciting and utterly terrifying. You imagine your book coming to life, people buying it, reading it, and (hopefully) loving it. Then you have those moments of terror when you envision your book dying a slow death. Maybe no one buys it. Maybe it gets bad reviews from the start. Maybe the world never even gives you or your book a second glance.

Release Day

Luckily for me, many of my fears we unfounded. Release day for me was exhilarating. My blog tour started off well, with many bloggers giving my book good reviews, and I got lots of messages and tweets from people buying my book. But then the terror kicked in again…Oh my gosh, people are buying my book, people are reading my book, people are going to start telling me what they think of my book…

Again, this is a cycle of excitement and fear that happens to all authors, so I knew I wasn’t completely crazy.

Two Months Later ~ The GOOD

The first few days or weeks…or more…after a book release, chances are the author will be obsessively checking their amazon rank. Until royalty checks come in (or we make the NYT Best Sellers List), this is the only way we can gauge how well our book is doing.

I’ll admit, I did this for at least the first few weeks. I’d wake up in the morning and instead of checking twitter or Facebook, like I usually do, I would go straight to Amazon.

I was shocked that for the first month after release, and sporadically throughout the second month, my book was always in the top 100 of the US, UK, or Canadian Kindle store under the Mythology and/or Historical Fantasy categories.

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At that point I was so excited about being in the top 100 I didn’t even care if I made a penny in royalties.

During these last two months I’ve also had a book launch party, saw my book on the shelves of bookstores, received a lot of great reviews, had a newspaper article written about me, and had Anne Rice post on her FB and Twitter about the article. I can’t tell you how excited every step of the journey has been.

And Then I Got Paid.

This is the part everyone really wants to know about. Since releasing The Darkness of Light I have received 2 royalty payments. They weren’t enough to pay my way to Paris so I could move into a pied-à-terre, eat baguettes, drink wine, and write all day, but they were enough to satisfy me. In fact, they were more than I expected my first royalty checks to be. The notion that I have received money for writing a book still amazes me. While I can’t run away to Paris just yet, I have made enough to start covering the expenses of my next novel, and that was always my goal in the first place.

I knew from the start that I wouldn’t make a profit off this book. Any money that came in from it would go straight into producing the sequel. One of the keys to being a successful indie-author is to keep writing books. Chances are you won’t make a profit to start, but hopefully with the next book, and the next, and the next, you’ll begin to see higher royalties from multiple books being purchased at one time. That’s the hope, anyway.

So as far as the GOOD goes, I couldn’t have asked for a better two months and I have never regretted my decision to publish my novel.

Two Months Later ~ The BAD

Yes, yes. I’m sorry to tell you that, while it’s been an amazing journey watching my dreams come true, there have been some challenging moments, as well.

The Royalties ~ Yep, they are part of the good, but they are also part of the bad. The money I’ve earned so far has not been enough to get excited about. Sure, it’s helping me produce another novel, but if I had to earn enough money to live on, I’d be living in a box by now. As I said before, I am happy that I earned money at all. I don’t care if I make $10 or $1 million, but if I was under any kind of idea that I’d be rich from writing one book, I’d be very, very wrong.

The Work ~ Once a book has been released, there is A LOT of time spent promoting it, tracking sales, tweeting, searching book blogs etc… I don’t love this part. It’s incredibly distracting, and while it can be exciting, it takes time away from what I should be doing, and that’s WRITING! It’s hard to find a balance between promo and production. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.

The Reviews ~ This is the part authors fear the most, and I am certainly no exception. While I have received many wonderful reviews, the fear of a bad one was enough to drive me to drink. Three weeks after my book launched, I’d managed to convince myself to stop looking at the reviews. I knew a bad one was coming (it happens to every author) and I was determined never to see it. But then, one day as I casually browsed Goodreads and Amazon for another book I was looking for, I decided to check on my book and GAH! there were the bad reviews. I didn’t want to look, I promise you I didn’t, but I couldn’t seem to look away.

I read these reviews between my fingers, taking in every word like 1000 needles to the heart and, while I thought I’d prepared myself for bad reviews, as it turns out, I was NOT prepared at all.

It took me a full 48 hours to finally realize I was being ridiculous. First of all, I ASKED for reviews! I got on the loud speaker of social media, asked for HONEST reviews, and that’s exactly what I got. I have to appreciate the fact that someone took the time to buy my book, give it a try, and then commit more time to telling people why they hated it. :). Either way, it’s what I asked for.

I spent a lot of the next day reading bad reviews of the books I love, which helped me to realize (and truly understand) that not everyone likes every book. Who do I think I am, Virginia Woolf? Ummm, no. So, once I got over myself, I realized that I’d just lived through my worst fear and survived. (That’s the good part).

Two Months Later ~ The UNEXPECTED

There were some things I didn’t plan for prior to the release of my book. One of them was the pressure. It seems to come from everywhere all the time now. I have eager readers who want a sequel, friends at parties constantly asking when the next book will be out, slowing sales that scream at me to get another book out fast or watch my series die.

Of course, this pressure is completely internal. No one is hounding me to get things done and I have no deadlines to meet other than the ones I set for myself. Whenever I feel myself getting stressed out about writing the next book, I have to remind myself that I’m the boss and I make the decisions.

Another thing that came as a completely wonderful surprise to me was the support I’ve received. I’ve had so many people send me pictures of themselves with my book, I’ve had friends introduce my novel to their book clubs, and I’ve made many wonderful friends whom I may not have known had I not written a book.

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All in all, I’d say the last 2 months have been better than I ever could have imagined. I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way, which I hope will make my next publishing adventure a lot easier. I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store for me and I am very grateful that I’ve managed to see my dreams come true. Now it’s time to aim higher. 🙂

The Darkness of Light ~ Available now on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Through Select Retailers.

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Release Day for Night Moves by Kristen Strassel!

Good morning Everyone!

NIGHT MOVES, the next installment of Kristen Strassel’s Night Songs Collection is available NOW and it’s also Kristen’s birthday!

happy-birthday

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Be sure to stop by her twitter @KristenStrassel and wish her a happy birthday, and pick up your copy of Night Moves today!

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Goodreads

NIGHT MOVES COVER

We bonded in darkness, over darkness.

Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable.

When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clean leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame.

Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder.

The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in unchartered territory