Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Five for October 24, 2014

1. I finished the second D&D novella! Woot! It's off with my critique partners now, hopefully making them giggle. Now on to the third one. I had hoped to have them all done by the end of this month, but a broken wrist throws a bone in the wheel of productivity.

2. One short story rejection this week. Two still out there. Submitting short stories is a great way not only to get your name out there, but to build thicker skin.

3. Today I'm assisting at my son's preschool. We made pretzel rod ghosts and grape goblins for a snack. My little guy is super excited about Halloween. I can't wait to see all the kids in their costumes. Are any of you dressing up?

4. I've been watching quite a few new shows this season. And tonight is the premiere of Constantine. I've been oohing and aahing over the commercials. Not that I need to add another show to my schedule, but it looks awesome!

5. Something wicked comes this Sunday. Wicked good! Creepy Freebies is the brilliant idea of Milo James Fowler. Because what's better than candy? Free reads and giveaways! I'll be giving away a signed copy of The 13th Floor Complete Collection. Don't miss out on all the freebies from the participating authors.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - just a little kiss

It's that big moment when a couple shares their first kiss in a story. You're on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, and heated from the tension. What sort of kiss will it be? It has to be perfect, right?

No, it doesn't.

And that's the fun of writing. You can make that first kiss be anything you want it to be.

Sloppy kiss - a little too much saliva and a lot of lip sucking. A bit like a happy bulldog.

Dead fish kiss - one person is completely passive with no mouth action at all except that it's open just a little because, likely, they're a mouth-breather.

Too eager kiss - going in for it so hard and fast that teeth clink, lips bruise, and one or both people look like they're going to eat the other one.

Uncoordinated kiss - both people turn their heads the same way and bonk noses or miss the lips to kiss a nostril instead.

Tongue leading the way kiss - one person has their tongue out like a lance and it leads the way in with no lip contact first.

I know very few people that have had a perfect first kiss. Most often, it's hilarious and/or awkward. It's all the kisses after it that made the romance work for them.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Release of Secret Keepers and The Initiate

Book 3 in The Afterlife series is here!

Secret Keepers:

In Second Death, Indigo and her team of sleuths escape the clutches of underground evil.

In Ghostly Gallows, Indigo and the gang managed to dodge the falling ruins and free those spirits trapped by the evil spell that bound them to Gallowsgate Prison.

Now in Secret Keepers, even though Indigo speaks to ghosties, there is so much about the afterlife she doesn’t understand. Such as…how can spirits be sick? They’re dead, for goodness sake! But once again Indigo is forced to go where she made it a point to never go: the hospital. There, the mystery of the sick and missing spirits explodes into a frenzied battle for souls where dawn may bring life or final death.

Indigo Eady:

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?

* * * * *
Book 2 of The Rifters!

A junction erupts between the worlds in Settler, Oregon, a rift from which horrors attack our world. The Rifters defend us.

To trust unquestioningly is the first lesson Daelin Long must learn as the newest Initiate of the Rifters. Her first day is a disaster. She stands on a deserted street in a town smaller than a city district, courting killer rocks from another world with her ancestor from the Revolutionary War. Normal no longer exists.

While she struggles, Earl Blacke grapples with atoning for his past ill deeds, running far and fast from Settler, Oregon. The Shaman of the Desert promises him redemption, and an old mine puts the possibility of a gold strike in his grasp. His luck has changed for the better, but he can’t have both.

You're never a hero until you are.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Five for October 17, 2014

1. It was a good week for writing. I got a good chunk of the first draft of the second D&D novella done. If I push it, I might be able to finish it in a few days. It feels good to be back in the swing of writing things.

2. I had two short story rejections this week. Both were short-listed at pro venues, so I won't complain. I'll just submit them again. Hopefully next year I'll get a little more time to write short stories. The folder I keep all the unpublished ones in is getting thinner.

3. It's only two weeks until Halloween! Are you dressing up this year? My son is going to be Batman. Tomorrow, we're going to a local event called the Trick-or-Treat Trail. It's a very family friendly event where the kids walk along the trail and meet fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters who do a little act and give out treats. A ton of fun!

4. I've been critiquing and writing and scheduling blog posts since November will be a busy month for me. I do love it when I see my blogger posts and there are a month's worth of posts done. It's only these Friday posts that I type up quick the night before!

5. This week, Twisted Earths was released. Woo-hoo! Nine twisted stories from nine twisted worlds. It's an awesome collection from the authors of Untethered Realms. And something wicked is coming the last week of October. Wicked good! Creepy Freebies is returning this year. I'm giving away books including a signed copy of The 13th Floor Complete Collection.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - oh those pretty, pretty covers

Book covers. This is where I like to have complete control. Maybe not do the actual design myself, but to puppet a talented artist to do it just the way I want it. I used to dream I'd have Michael Whelan as my own personal cover artist.

All the books I've self-published, I designed the covers and I'm immensely pleased with them. I bought the images from a host site (Dreamstime), and I manipulated them to suit the stories. I spent as much time on the font as the images themselves. It's tough work making a cover perfect. It takes a long time. Time I'd rather spend writing.

For my Dice & Debauchery books, I have very little input on the covers. I filled out a questionnaire and described my main characters, but that's all the say I get in it. I knew I wouldn't have any control in this when I signed the contract. I weighed it against the benefits of having a publisher for this series. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I at least kind of like the covers when I see them.

Next year, I'm self-publishing an urban fantasy novel. I'm going to hire a cover artist to do it for me. I'll have much more input than I do with my publisher, but not as much as I do if I did it myself. I tried finding images that would work for a cover, but nothing stood out for me. Nothing I wanted for this book. It has to be unique. It has to be made to suit it.

If you're published, did you design your own covers or did someone else? Do you like having control or are you much more easy-going about it than I am?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twisted Earths is here!

Nine twisted stories from nine twisted worlds.

Contributing authors:

Angela Brown
River Fairchild
Gwen Gardner
M. Gerrick
Graeme Ing
M. Pax
Christine Rains
Cherie Reich
Catherine Stine
Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons.

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of her Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Review for Shadow Warrior

The agony of a failed quest haunts Kanze Zenjiro, but the betrayal by those he trusted has turned his world upside down. With a heart full of hatred and defeat, Zen is desperate to get back to Nihon and demand the truth from his father.

Meanwhile, the Iberian Empire sends their soaring airships and steam-powered giants into The Orient. They threaten to upset the balance of power, hoping to exploit the faraway land in their greed for the resources needed to power their machines. Zen and his companions must fight to keep the world from plunging into total destruction.

And at the center of it all is a nine year old boy with the power of a god.

My review:
Kanze Zenjiro is a young man of honor and power. When he fails on his quest, he wants only to return to Nihon and discover the truth of the betrayal. His father's lies eat away at him, but he finds himself on a different path, learning about his mother's past. The Iberian Empire is set on conquering the Orient, and Zen's father's solution may kill everyone. Zen and his friends must find a way to stop him or end up as casualties themselves.

This incredible book is the second one in the Mechanica Series. This is steampunk with an eastern twist. Shadow Warrior is as well written as the first book. Sharp and clean prose with plenty of action and intrigue.

The characters I loved continue to fight on. Zen is always the honorable and just one, but what he struggles with might overwhelm him finally. The Machine boy, Marcel, is only a child stuck in the middle of a great war, and the strength of his character shines bright. We're also introduced to new characters both good and evil. I loved learning more about the Shadows and getting a peek into the Iberian Empire.

I can't wait for the next book. Cheers for Jay Noel!

Buy it now on: Amazon * B&N * iTunes

Find Jay at his website.