Cover Reveal for PHOENIX DESCENDING by Dorothy Dreyer

Today I’m helping reveal the gorgeous cover for Dorothy Dreyer’s upcoming NA fantasy, Phoenix Descending! The cover was designed by Deranged Doctor Design. You can learn more about the book, which releases on November 28 from Snowy Wings Publishing, below. But first, check out the cover!

Title: Phoenix Descending (Book One of The Curse of the Phoenix Duology)
Author: Dorothy Dreyer
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Since the outbreak of the phoenix fever in Drothidia, Tori Kagari has already lost one family member to the fatal disease. Now, with the fever threatening to wipe out her entire family, she must go against everything she believes in order to save them—even if that means making a deal with the enemy.

When Tori agrees to join forces with the unscrupulous Khadulians, she must take on a false identity in order to infiltrate the queendom of Avarell and fulfill her part of the bargain, all while under the watchful eye of the unforgiving Queen’s Guard. But time is running out, and every lie, theft, and abduction she is forced to carry out may not be enough to free her family from death.

Add Phoenix Descending on Goodreads!

Sometimes the Answer is NO

I’m a fan of Lindsey Stirling, and one of the songs (Where Do We Go?) from her recent album BRAVE ENOUGH expresses something I’ve recently learned the hard way. Especially this line:  “Where do we go? When our prayers are answered, but the answer is no?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT_htzkOzHE&list=RDaT_htzkOzHE

When I began writing seriously — only five years ago, although it feels longer — I wrote an adult science fiction novel. I finished that novel and its sequel, and even queried a bit, although my efforts went nowhere. But that was okay. I was learning, and I can see now why it didn’t work out. (For one thing I couldn’t write a decent query letter back then to save my life).

So I decided to try something different and wrote a Young Adult fantasy novel, which became CROWN OF ICE.

This book DID get me an agent and a book deal (with a smallish publisher, but still a deal). So I thought — okay, here we go. I had several ideas for other YA books. One, a scifi — FACSIMILE — was also published. Eventually my publisher asked for CROWN to become a trilogy, so I wrote SCEPTER OF FIRE and planned out the third book, ORB OF LIGHT.

But… Things happened and my publisher and I parted ways. (Long story, not going into that). So I thought: Well, I have these two completed books, CROWN and SCEPTER, so maybe I should self-publish them. I mean, there they were, ready to go, so why not? I didn’t expect mega-sales, but I thought they might do okay. You know, make me a little extra pocket change each month. But more importantly, I thought — at least people will be able to read them. Because, above all, I just wanted a lot more people to read them.

I revamped the books (some revision, as well as new covers, edits, & formatting) and did some work on promo and such and released the books via an author co-op this spring.

And… They have not sold well. They’ve barely sold at all. Despite having great co-op support, beautiful covers, good editing & formatting, etc.

Now you could chalk this up to my ineptitude with marketing, and perhaps that is partially to blame. But I have also recently (re)studied the market and have come to the conclusion that it is NOT just my lack of advertising — which frankly, I can’t afford to do to the extent necessary at this point, time-wise as well as money-wise, but I digress.

No, there is another reason. A reason that has nothing to do with the quality of the books, but does have to do with their themes, plots, style, etc.

The truth is — my fantasy books are simply NOT what most readers want right now.

That does NOT mean the readers are wrong. They have every right to want what they want. But it does mean that I must acknowledge something that is very hard to accept:

The answer is NO.

Yes, I have moved on from this — switching to a new penname and genre quite successfully. And maybe my new genre is where I should have been all along.

But, despite that new adventure, it’s painful to realize that my fantasy (and scifi) books — which I still love — are not going to  be read by many people, or have any impact, or matter to anyone, anywhere, much at all.  It’s hard to give up on those books, even though I don’t really have time now to do anything else. Maybe I will come back to them someday. I don’t know. All I know is — for now I must mourn them and move on. I can’t keep beating my head on that wall; not if I want to achieve anything in other writing endeavors.

So, for now, the answer is no.  I must respect that and realize that the world owes me nothing. Publishing owes me nothing. Readers owe me nothing. I must accept the no in this area, and pursue different goals instead.

So, other authors — if you feel lost, stuck, depressed, or anything similar in relation to your writing, it’s perfectly okay to feel that way. It’s also okay to keep fighting to get your current books out there. But — it’s also okay if you feel it’s time to step away from all the “no’s” and experiment with new age groups, genres, styles, or whatever. Maybe it’s time to shut out the voices that call you a “quitter” and tell you “if you just try harder” or “if you just do this…” Perhaps it’s time to give yourself a new beginning and see where that leads.

Change can make great things happen. It’s happened to me. And though I’ll always be a little sad about the fate of my SFF books, I know I need to appreciate the lessons I’ve learned from them and move on.

Bottom line: sometimes the answer is NO. Life isn’t “fair” and we can’t always “fix it.” But if we are honest with ourselves, maybe we can find a new path. Maybe the one that leads, eventually, to where we fit, to where we should be. To YES.

 

New Release: HOW I MAGICALLY MESSED UP MY LIFE IN FOUR FREAKIN’ DAYS by Megan O’Russell

The Tale of Bryant Adams:
How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days
A new young adult urban fantasy novel from Megan O’Russell

Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?
Don’t worry. I never wanted to either. But if you’re ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you’ve never had the guts to say actual words to, there’s an app for that.
I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn’t have, burned down the set shop for my high school’s theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad’s penthouse.
But it gets better! Now I’m stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It’ll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.

Don’t miss the Goodreads giveaway running through August 31st. Readers can enter to win a paperback copy at:
Goodreads Giveaway Link

Megan O’Russell is a native of Upstate New York who spends her time traveling the country as a professional actor. Megan’s current published works include YA series Girl of Glass and The Tale of Bryant Adams: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days as well as the Christmas romance Nuttycracker Sweet. 2018 projects include The Chronicles of Maggie Trent: The Girl Without Magic and book two in the Girl of Glass series Boy of Blood.

For more information on Megan O’Russell’s books, visit Megan’s Website

Amazon: Buy Link
Curiosity Quills Press: Website
Goodreads: GR Listing for Book

Eva Pohler’s THE GATEKEEPER’S SONS — Free Book One in YA Paranormal/Myth Series

Eva Pohler’s THE GATEKEEPER’S SONS is the first book in a YA Fantasy series THE GATEKEEPER’S SAGA.

From the blurb:

“Dive into a world in which the ancient gods of Greek mythology are real.

Part paranormal romance, part epic urban fantasy, the first in this bestselling young adult series is the teen novel mythology lovers have been searching for.”

The first book in the series is free! 

Check it out and get it here: Link to Amazon

Find out more about Eva and her books at her website: http://www.evapohler.com/

Cover Reveal for DECEPTION SO DEADLY by Clara Kensie

It’s cover reveal day for Deception So Deadly by Clara Kensie! This super-romantic psychic thriller will be released on August 15th by Snowy Wings Publishing. The cover was designed by Key of Heart Designs.

Title: Deception So Deadly
Author: Clara Kensie
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book One in Clara Kensie’s YA paranormal thriller Deception So series, Deception So Deadly was originally published as the Run to You serial parts 1 – 3, and is the winner of the prestigious RITA© Award for Best First Book.

RUN. It’s all sixteen-year-old Tessa Carson has ever known. Hunted by a telepathic killer, Tessa and her family have fled home after home, hiding behind aliases to survive. Her scars are more than just physical, and as the only one in her family without a psychic ability, she lives a life of secrets, lies, and fear.

After the Carsons flee to a new hideout and take on new identities yet again, Tessa meets confident, carefree Tristan Walker. Their attraction burns fierce, but she runs from him too, knowing their love can never be true when she can’t even tell him her real name.

But Tristan has secrets as well—secrets that will either save Tessa, or destroy her. The only way Tessa can save her family—and uncover the real reason they’ve been hunted all these years—is to forget everything she’s learned from a lifetime of running away, and run straight into danger head-on.

Danger. Deception. Betrayal. It must be first love.

“A dark, suspenseful, and romantic ride!” – USA Today

“The perfect blend of mystery, romance, paranormal thrills, and danger.” – Mundie Moms

“A well-written YA paranormal read, with welcome dashes of thrills and plot twists, Kensie has written a gripping and engaging series that features great family dynamics and the enormity of first love.” – RT Book Reviews

“A thrilling story, packed with twists, secrets, and swoon-worthy romance. I couldn’t read it fast enough!” ~Erica O’Rourke, author of the Torn trilogy (Kensington) and the Dissonance series (S&S BFYR)

PRE-ORDER

**Special ebook pre-order price of only 99¢**
Pre-order Deception So Deadly now:

Amazon (Kindle)
Everywhere else*
(*new retailers added daily)

Add it on Goodreads

Paperbacks available for purchase on August 15th

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clara Kensie, author of dark fiction for young adults
…don’t forget to breathe…

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic psychic thriller Deception So series, was named an RT Book Review Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Deception So Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book. The first two books in the series, originally released as the six-part Run to You digital serial in 2014, are being released in print with new Deception So titles and gorgeous new covers, starting with Deception So Deadly in August 2017 and Deception So Dark in February 2018. The series continues with Deception So Dangerous in August 2018.

Clara’s critically-acclaimed novel Aftermath (Simon and Schuster/Simon Pulse), a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines drama about hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Find Clara online:

Subscribe to her newsletter
http://eepurl.com/DUlYz

Hang out with her Facebook group, The Insiders
https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarakensieinsiders/

Like her Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaraKensie

Follow her on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/clarakensie/

Follow her on Twitter
https://twitter.com/ClaraKensie

Friend her on Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/ClaraKensie

Visit her website
clarakensie.com

Cover Reveal for THE RECKONING by T. Damon

Today I’m helping @SnowyWingsPub with the #CoverReveal for the third book in the Forest Spirit series, The Reckoning by T. Damon! The cover was designed by Lia Wayward of Free Your Words!

An ancient coven of sibling warlocks known as the Controllers has returned to the Forest, dead set on continuing the destruction of the spiritual balance among the kingdoms of beings and animals. Someone has released them to further implement the downfall of the Forest—but who?

Once-protected portals are no longer being guarded, zombies roam freely at will, and more and more beings of light are succumbing to possession from the inescapable negativity that is now commonplace. The Forest has reached its time of reckoning, and it seems as though all hope to save the kingdoms may be lost forever.

Unless, of course, King Felix, Queen Eleonora, and their multi-species army are able to stop the Controllers before they destroy the Higher Spirits once and for all, prompting the entire Forest to fall into complete and utter ruin. But will they succeed before the Forest descends entirely into darkness?

Title: The Reckoning (Book Three of The Forest Spirit Series)
Author: T. Damon
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads!

I’m Over it Already — The List

In keeping with my more honest, oh-what-the-heck-attitude, I thought I would list a few of the things I am tired of reading/hearing about involving books currently popular in the market. This is not a slam on any particular books or authors, it’s just the stuff that I am OVER ALREADY.

In no particular order, books where:

  • Every character (except maybe a villain or two) is gorgeous and physically perfect in every possible way. (And we are told how gorgeous and perfect they are continuously).
  • The protagonist is a thief/assassin/con artist. (Enough with this trope already!!)
  • The villain turns out to be the protagonist’s father/mother/uncle/long lost cousin on their stepdad’s side.
  • The protagonist starts off as a poor, ignored, “nothing,” but really… They are the long-lost prince or princess. (Or emperor, or mightiest warrior, or most-est powerful of all powerful sorcerers).
  • Sexual acts are described ad nauseum, but ONLY using the oddest, purple prose euphemisms.
  • Love interests pause in the middle of highly dangerous or traumatic events to … you know, do those euphemistic things.
  • Characters fall madly in love in zero to sixty seconds. (Usually based only on the “gorgeousness”).
  • The setting is supposed to be “exotic” but it reads more like a rehash of books from the late 1800s and early 1900s, where the protagonist, “suffering” under the “white man’s burden” brings “enlightenment” and “progress” to the “backward natives.”
  • The story is based on cultures the author obviously does not understand deeply, if at all.
  • At least one of the male leads is so DANGEROUS! and DARK! But despite being willing to kill any and all other characters, he somehow wants to protect the female protagonist (even if that means killing any and all other characters).
  • Female characters hate each other for no other reason than that they are both female (and somehow, thus in competition for every guy they see).
  • No one has a disability or, if they do, it is “magically cured”. (Or it turns out this disability really unleashes their “secret power.”)
  • Any POC or LGBTQ characters feel like they were inserted into the story just to meet some quota (and thus, tend to have no storyline of their own and/or get killed off quickly).
  • Anyone CLAIMS anyone else.
  • Characters have MATES. (You know, unless they are wolves. Then it’s okay).
  • Any growling occurs. (Again, unless it’s wolves…)

I guess I’d better stop there… Okay, so what are some of your pet peeves in popular books? And what new and different tropes would you like to see?

Cover Reveal for THE BOOK REAPERS by Mark C. King

Today I’m helping Snowy Wings Publishing  reveal the cover of Mark C. King’s YA historical fantasy, The Book Reapers, featuring artwork by Laura Clementi! Learn more about the book and check out the cover below:

Naomi Gladwyn is an awkward girl who is uncomfortable in crowds, has more self-doubt than confidence, and would much rather sit quietly reading than attend the most lavish of celebrations. After the deaths of her parents and her uncle’s mysterious disappearance along with the rest of the crew of the infamous ghost ship Mary Celeste, her prospects look grim. But just before her eighteenth birthday, when she’s to be sent to live out her days in a work house, she runs away – and finds herself swept into the dark world of the Book Reapers, a secret society that knows there’s more to some books than meets the eye.

Naomi always thought reading was her safest refuge. But she’s about to learn that some books are very dangerous…

Set in Victorian England, THE BOOK REAPERS is a historical fantasy with a hint of mystery that’s perfect for fans of Gail Carriger and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle alike.

Title: The Book Reapers
Author: Mark C. King
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

To celebrate the cover reveal, Mark is giving away three paperback copies of the book on Goodreads! Add the book to your to-read list and sign up for the giveaway here!

And the Truth Will Set You Free

Those who know me well understand just how stubborn I can be. I don’t like to give up or admit defeat. I hate admitting failure.  I’m convinced if I just try hard enough, I can make things work. My mantra is — “Just one more try, and I’ll fix it!”

But sometimes you have to admit the truth. Things don’t always work out, and your skills, talent, intelligence, persistence, etc. are no match for reality.

This is me and self-publishing.

Now, just let me say that I greatly admire those who are successful at self-publishing. I think it is a perfectly valid option for authors, and believe those who work diligently to do well with it deserve all the success in the world. I also respect everyone working hard to learn the ins-and-outs of self-pub. and improving their efforts every day. My proverbial hat (I don’t wear hats, LOL) is off to you all.

But as for me — self-publishing is not a good fit, and I admit that I am terrible at it. Oh, I can write good books, and even produce professional quality eBooks and paperbacks — with the help of my great editors and designers, I mean — but I suck at the promotional aspects of self-publishing.

And, as I have come to learn — thanks to my own experiences, but also due to advice from some very savvy authors — self-publishing is ALL ABOUT the promotion.

This makes sense, if you think about it. Perhaps a few years back, when the market wasn’t so flooded with books (many of them GREAT books too) you could put out a self-pub. book and it would sell decently with minimal advertising and promotion. Not anymore. Now you must truly approach this like a small business and invest a tremendous amount of time and effort (not to mention money, although the time and effort is a bigger thing) into the process.

The problem is — I never wanted to run a small business. I loathe marketing. I don’t like selling things to people, and never have. Which is one reason I went into a service career in an academic setting, of course!

So where does that leave me? Well, I can still write books and sell them via the traditional markets (which I am doing under a penname). Yes, I must do some promotion and so on to support my publisher’s efforts. But I really don’t mind being active on social media, attending conferences, managing a website and a blog, doing guest posts, sitting on author panels, speaking or signing at bookstores, etc. I have no problem promoting my books as an author. But… I do NOT enjoy (nor am I good at) being the ONLY marketer for my books. I hate creating ad campaigns and monitoring them and tweaking keywords and constantly setting up giveaways and promotions and… Well, you catch my drift. I am delighted to SUPPORT the marketing of my books. I just don’t want to have to do it ALL.

I mean, life is short, and I’m not so young anymore, and I refuse to waste time on things that make me frustrated and angry. I also hate spending most of my precious time on tasks I find completely unfulfilling and tremendously annoying.

So — while I fully intend to finish out any series that I have started in self-pub — after those are complete I will only self-pub “hobby” books. That is to say, if I self-publish, it will be to release any books I just want to put out in the world for fun, not for profit or even author visibility.  I don’t  think there’s anything wrong with this, just like I see no problem with people painting, singing, etc. as an avocation rather than a profession. The more art the better!

But, as for what I consider professional self-publishing — I’ve been struggling with this for some time now, and finally decided that I must release myself from a prison where I’ve locked away my joy.

I have to admit — it feels good to admit the truth, and fly free!

Hot as Fire Summer Giveaway from Waiting On Books!

Waiting on Books,  a group of several authors, is offering a fabulous rafflecopter contest where you can win a “hot as fire” prize bundle!

Prize: All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB plus a $50 Amazon gift card and lots of books to one lucky winner!

The books and authors:

BREAKING CHARACTER — Cameron Grey
SAY NO TO THE BRO — Kat Helgeson
GENA/FINN — Kat Helgeson and Hannah Moskowitz
CROWN OF ICE  — Vicki L. Weavil 
SCEPTER OF FIRE — Vicki L. Weavil
FORGET TOMORROW — Pintip Dunn
OBSCURA BURNING — Suzanne van Rooyen 
REACH FOR YOU —  Pat Esden
Atlas Link Series (GYRE, DRIFTWOOD, LANDLOCKED) — Jessica Gunn
Hunter Circles (HUNTER and HUNTED) — Jessica Gunn
BALLAD OF THE BEANSTALK — Amy McNulty
FALL FAR FROM THE TREE — Amy McNulty
ENTANGLED SOULS — Dorothy Dreyer
NOBODY’s GODDESS  — Amy McNulty
SOULMATED — Shaila Patel
THE TRAITOR’S KISS —  Erin Beaty
MOTLEY EDUCATION — S.A. Larsen
THE WISHING HEART – J.C. Welker
ONE SUMMER WITH AUTUMN — Julie Reece
MAGNETIC SHIFT (Paperback ) — Lucy D. Briand
OF THE TREES – E.M. Fitch
CHAMELEON (The Domino Project #1) — K.T. Hanna
THIEF’S CUNNING — Sarah Ahiers
THE WISHING HEART — J. C. Welker

Contest is open June 15th through July 1st. Open to U.S. residents only.

Enter here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/47d81ced14/?