Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - whipping up the news

Good news or bad news first?

The good news: I don't know if this is the bigger news, but here we go! The release of the first three of the Totem books is going good in that the readers who has read the books love them. Yay! Yes, the whole book ad thing didn't work out, but I've learned from it.
I'm on schedule for getting the next three Totem books out starting in January. The covers are done, and I'll reveal them next month.

I'm behind in writing the final three books. I wanted at least book #7 to be done by now, but I haven't set any release dates for them yet, so I'm safe in that aspect.

The bad news: my publisher, Ellora's Cave, is closing. I've regained all my rights for the nine books I had with them, and I'll publish them myself next year. I won't discuss all the details, but if you want to read about it, check out this article here. You can email me about it if you're really curious.

This is the second time I've had a bad experience with a publisher. I am thankful for the ability to publish my work myself. It's tough out there right now, especially for romance authors. Issues with Samhain Publishing and Harlequin also add to the mess writers have been dealing with this past year. Is it a wonder so many people are going indie? If Tor or Penguin want to sign me, then I'll be excited about working with a publisher again, but at this point in time, I have no desire to do so.

I'm not blocking off that path in my journey, but I'm putting my focus on being an indie author now. It's a little sad, and more than a bit scary since it will all be on me, but I'm one of those folks who find their determination strengthened by such things.

Never give up your dreams. You just may have to forge another path to get there.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Shattered Spirit (Totem #4) with a not so shattered cover!

A haunted house isn’t going to stop Ametta Dorn from doing her job.

Frustrated that her family has left her out of the search for the missing totem tokens, Ametta Dorn loses herself in her work. She’s offered a dream job of a complete interior renovation of a famous Cremaschi house. Not even discovering the house belongs to Lucky Osberg can dampen her enthusiasm.

Lucky’s plan to spend more time with her as she works goes awry when the spirit who protects his home tries to murder her. Ametta won’t be scared off, despite being tempted to run and never come back. She was going to flee Alaska and pursue her designer dreams anyway, yet that means giving up on Lucky and the totem that is just within her grasp.

Coming January 9th, 2017.

I think this is one of my most striking covers in the series so far, and it's because of the model with her awesome hair. There's a gorgeous old house behind her, but you can't take your eyes off her. I'm so excited about that, and yet nervous in that I want to share with you how I created this cover.

In the spirit of sharing my experiences creating book covers, I'm going to tell you what I did. BUT, be forewarned, it is likely you won't look at the cover the same way again.

Here's your spoiler warning! Stop reading here if you don't want to know my secret.

I'll give you a minute.

*nom nom yummy cookies nom*

Are you still here?

Okay. That means you want to know what I did.

The model is a composite of several bits and pieces. Yes, it's true. The face is from a different image than the rest of the body. It's the same model, but two different images. The original image I wanted to use had the model with plastic wrap around her neck. When I purchased the image, I thought it looked like frost or ice on her neck, but nope. It's definitely plastic wrap. No amount of fiddling around in Photoshop could change that.

To keep that face, I had to put her on a different body. But then I had another problem: the hair looked too cut out. It was flat and lifeless with obvious snipped edges.

So I took hair from other images (five in total, actually) and gave Ametta that magnificent mussed hairstyle. I learned a bunch of cool hair blending tricks that day.

Please let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Crash (The Immortal Chronicles #2) out now!


In that once moment everything changed. Everything I thought I knew shattered with just a few words.
Who knew the truth could be so devastating. 
I need to decide which side to take. But can I even trust myself?


She's gone, but I'll scorch the earth to find her if that's what it takes. 
I'll call upon friend and foe for the battle that is to come. The fires of hell couldn't keep me from her and whoever 
thinks they can take what is mine, is going to regret it for all time.

One thing is for sure. The Crash could ruin us all.

Buy it now on Amazon US and Amazon UK!


Where are we?” I ask, looking around at the beauty surrounding me. I don’t know that I’ve been anywhere so calming, so serene. I look out over the view in front of me. When we broke through the trees I was met with grass mixed with rocks and a small pool, fed by a waterfall.

Xander, this place is beautiful!” I say twirling around before running and jumping into his arms, peppering his face with small, chaste kisses. He twirls me in circles before lowering me back to the ground, then gathering my face in his hands and kissing me. Different this time, deeper, firm but still gentle.

It is nothing compared to you, but I thought you might like it. I came across it while I was out on my last scout. I saw it and thought of you.” He says, resting his forehead on mine. His lips are so close they tease me, just out of reach, and each moment I crave them more. The butterflies in my stomach take flight and I close my eyes to hide the emotion I know he’ll see there.

Don’t hide from me Addie. You never have to hide, not from me.” He says gripping my chin. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than in this moment. “You make me feel again, its been a long time since I could say that. Even if no-one else knows, I always want you to know that I love you. I will love you until my lungs give out. Until there is nothing more than dust on this earth, and long after that still. I will never love again like I love you.”

Author Bio:
By day, Sloane Murphy works full time as an account manager, and by night writes escapism in the form of Paranormal Romance, all while looking after her fur baby & Mr M. She was born and raised in England along with 2 sisters, 2 brothers, and a plethora of cousins, and comes from a REALLY big family!
Sloane is currently working on the Immortal Chronicle series, alongside some other Top Secret projects too. She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.
Insta & Twitter: @author_sloanem

Monday, November 21, 2016

Timeless blog tour - 3 Approaches to Developing Characters

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some writing tips!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.
In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

BUY: Amazon | B&N

3 Approaches to Developing Characters
(For Different Types of Learners)

Thank you Christine for having me here today!

As a home schooling mother, I've learned THE HARD WAY that everyone has a different learning system. What works for one person probably won't work for another, so I'd like to suggest some approaches to creating/deepening characters that work for different types of thinkers.

First of all, when writing characters we need to be in their heads. Pure psychology here. That means we need to have a solid grasp of (in no particular order):
  • what they look like
  • how that has affected their place in society/self image
  • what their greatest fear is
  • what their greatest desire is
  • where they live/work/go to school
  • who they rub shoulders with every day
  • hates/loves/interests & hobbies
  • their greatest strengths
  • their greatest flaws
That seems like quite a bit of information, and it is, but if we want solid characters, we need to do the leg work (ahem, research). So here are some tools/approaches for developing characters based on different learning approaches:

1. Get Visual. Do you get totally inspired by pictures? Do they spring stories in your head? Do you think in images? I'm quite visual, and Pinterest & google search are my best friends. You can look for someone based on their characteristics in Pinterest, and seeing them may help formulate their style, demeanor, and values. Search further to find a room or house that looks like where you imagine them living, discover people who look like their family, track down that piece of jewelry or keepsakes that defines them. Creating Pinterest boards is one way to brainstorm. Or, if you gather up junk magazines (or the "throw aways" from a doctors office), you can make a collage.

2. Hear that? Auditory learners retain information from hearing it. (That means those teacher lectures totally bring information home for you.) If this is your strength, try people watching. Eaves drop. (Yes, I'm giving you permission.) Listen to YouTube videos of people who resemble your characters or share interests. Try turning down the volume and speaking for them. Compile a playlist that your character would geek out over. Listen to pod casts from people who share interests with your characters. Talk out your thoughts with another person and have them be your sounding board. If your character is based off someone in your life, record them doing things, discreetly. Get their unique responses to questions. Dictate your ideas into a recorder, or tell yourself about the character.

3. You just Got to Move! Kinesthetic learners are the hardest to get through a public education system. (Believe me, I know.) But movement is a method of learning. Try brainstorming while working out/jogging/etc. Act out a scene and fill your character's footsteps. (I'm not kidding. Find a room with a locked door if you're paranoid. I've done this and it is AMAZING.) Play your character's favorite sport. Paint, draw, photograph, or model with clay potential aspects of your character (such as a home, favorite place to go, a scene in your story). Build or craft something your character might use. TYPE. Get those fingers moving. If needs be, use a yoga ball to sit on rather than a chair. Try handwriting things with a marker if it's more comfortable.

And just for fun, want to know where my two main characters in the Maiden of Time series came from? I met Alexia through my dreams (2002), and Kiren from blind writing back in 1994. (They're getting so old!) I loved them both at first scene, but it took years of writing them to truly know them. I suppose that's why there's so much elation at FINALLY finishing their saga in TIMELESS. *tosses cheese confetti* It's going to be hard to set them aside to develop other writerly loves.

What methods have you used for developing characters that REALLY works?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

You can find her on her and her books online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Guest posting at Tyrean's blog

I'm a guest at the lovely Tyrean Martinson's blog today talking about five reason to write about the paranormal. Click on over and say hi!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cloak of Snow Release Day & Joylene Nowell Butler's Matowak Woman Who Cries with a giveaway!

No one messes with Saskia Dorn’s family and gets away with it.

The same murderous shifters who had hunted her sister have attempted to steal a magical totem pole. Since the pieces are scattered across Alaska, Saskia, a polar bear shifter, takes her search to the tundra for any signs of the lost totems.

Instead she finds Sedge, the latest reincarnation of the old Inuit Bear god, who just happens to be the man who broke her heart.

They come across a small native village tormented by the Jinxioc, evil gnomes with an appetite for human flesh. Sedge declares he will rid the people of the menace, believing a totem token is nearby affecting the devils’ behavior. At his side, Saskia battles to save the tribesmen, but it could mean sacrificing herself.

  Buy it on Amazon.

Add to read on Goodreads.

* * * * *

Author Joylene Nowell Butler is on tour this month with MC Book Tours featuring her new novel, Mâtowak Woman Who Cries, being released Nov. 1 by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

You can follow Joylene's tour schedule HERE for excerpts, Q&As,  chances to win copies of her book and more.

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

When Canada's retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife's unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister's horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him...

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

The print copy is available at:

Seven o'clock in the morning and my screams wake me. I see Leland shooting both our boys dead while Meshango holds Digger in her arms, squeezing the life from him. I'm tied to the chair opposite Bronson and Declan. I can't twist free. Blood sprays in my eyes.
Fully awake now, I sob and rub my eyes. A moment passes before I can see clearly. It's another moment before I catch my breath. Afraid to succumb once again to sleep and to the chance of returning to this horrible nightmare, I wipe my face with both hands. I roll over on my back and try to focus on happy thoughts. All I can think of is Declan and how badly I failed him.
The first time Leland broke his spirit Declan was three. A heat wave had swept through the Interior and left forest fires roaring. I was pregnant, my ankles double their size. Every fan in the house ran at full tilt, but there seemed to be no relief. Declan was playing outside in the sandbox under the afternoon shade of our birch trees. Through the screen door I heard his imitation of miniature dump trucks and imagined him manoeuvring them over the make-believe hills and valleys of sand. The sound of his sweet voice reminded me of an ad for the Disney Jungle Book movie. I hear him now, a happy little boy with no hint of the young man who would one day kill his brother, then himself.
Dear God.
I wipe my wet face with the bed sheet.
It was the July long weekend. In those days, besides running his own law firm, Leland was on the city council.
Being under a lot of pressure was no excuse.
I sit up in bed, pulled the duvet to my chest and wrap my arms around my knees. With my eyes tightly closed, I can picture that day as if it were yesterday. Declan, three years old again.
Due to the intense heat I had prepared a second pitcher of lemonade for Leland. I planned on sitting outside on the veranda where there was a slight breeze. Being heavy with child made my response time slow. Declan wanted a drink and banged on the screen door for my attention. The door had one of those awkward latches. I hollered, “I'm coming.”
Possibly he didn't hear me or grew impatient. I had the pitcher in both hands and resting it on my stomach. My intent was to carry it to the table so Leland could have his drink, and then let Declan in. He was only three, impatient. He banged again, loudly. Leland looked at the door. I tried to hurry. I set the pitcher on the table. Declan kicked the door. Leland was out of his seat, sweeping past me. He hurled the door opened, reached down, yanked Declan up by one arm until he was level with Leland's shoulder, and then struck Declan across his backside. Declan screamed. I screamed.
He wouldn't.
I rushed towards them—grabbed his arm. “Stop it. Put him down. You're hurting him.”

When Joylene's father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father's Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steampunk collaboration Break Time. While she'll admit being published didn't fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Huntress has been released!

From the author of the bestselling Zyan Star fantasy series comes a new world of magic...

Evryn’s got mad skills at playing hide and seek. She can find lost children, hack the most secure databases, pretty much anything. Except for the one thing she desires most: the knowledge of who her parents are, why they abandoned her, and what her special talent means about who and what she really is.

So, when a guy named Seeker appears quite literally out of nowhere, claiming to know about her past and offering her a job, Evryn can’t say yes fast enough. Even if it does mean following him to another realm. As in, mind-blowingly, not Earth. Apparently she’s part of an elite clan of Hunters descending from Artemis who can find just about anything in all of time and space. As the last of Artemis’ direct lineage, Evryn is her clan’s best shot at finding a lost city before rival clans do.

Not just any city, but the flying, realm-hopping city of Skye. Aboard Skye is the Artifex, a magical device with the power to create or destroy worlds. Everyone wants the device, and with Evryn’s super-powered lineage, it means everyone wants her, too. It’s hard to decide who she can trust, even within her own clan. After she discovers a strange, alluring connection to the Artifex, she’s not even sure she can trust herself. Worse yet, the only person who may be able to help her is the Timekeeper, the sadistic ancient being who created the Artifex. An interdimensional war is brewing, and Evryn is right at the epicenter of it all.

Let the hunt begin.

Buy the book:

Hunt down Alexia here:

Be sure to head over to Alexia's blog for a HUGE giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - the final ad's results

I'm throwing them right out there, so I can scream cry discuss my promoting experiment.

This final ad was with Bargain Booksy. It was my most expensive one at $70. I sold 7 books that day.

Here's what I learned from using book ads:

- They are unlikely to have a great affect on sales unless you're offering your book for free. There is so much free content out there right now, and good free content, readers won't even consider dropping 99c for an author new to them.

- They may have a decent affect on sales if you're offering a novel for over 75% off its normal price. This won't attract any attention if it's a short work. Novels do sell better.

- Ads work best for books that are part of a series. If readers pick up something and they like it, they will want more.

From my experience, I can conclude:
a) Readers who might enjoy my books don't read ads, or don't subscribe to those venues I had ads with.
b) The indie publishing world is going through a major slump.
c) My cover and/or blurb aren't strong enough to draw readers in.
d) I suck.

Some days, I just want to quit. I'm not a marketing-minded person. I'm a writer. That's all I want to do! But authors have several hats they must wear these days, and it's depressing at times.

Don't worry. I won't give up. I'll keep on trying new things, and maybe one day, I'll find out what works for me. (What I think would really work is if Joss Whedon made my books into a TV series!)

Have you tried anything new with promotions recently?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#IWSG for November 2016

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jen Chandler, Mary Aalgaard, Lisa Buie Collard, Tamara Narayan, Tyrean Martinson, and me!

The IWSG question for November: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

There's so much I love about being a writer. The two biggest things are: telling stories and being immersed in those worlds. I'm always making things into stories whether I'm playing a card game or cleaning the bathroom. Oh the creatures that have crawled out from my drains in my mind!

I honestly cannot imagine not making up stories. It's something that comes naturally and helps me cope with the mundane and the rough times in life. I might have went crazy long ago if I couldn't escape into my head.

This month's insecurity: Marketing is tough. I've been trying some new things recently with the release of my Totem series, but they haven't made big changes in my pitifully low sales. So this leads me to believe that perhaps it isn't that I'm not promoting it right, maybe it's because my books suck. Part of me realizes this isn't true, but what if it is? Those naughty what-ifs, gnawing at you from the inside out.

How do you vanquish the dreaded what-ifs?