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

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!

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/?

ILAVANI by Kaelan Rhywiol — Cover Reveal!

Today is #CoverReveal day for ILAVANI, the first book in a new science fantasy series.

Here’s the cover! Also check below for info. on the book, the author, and how to preorder!

 

About ILAVANI

The first installment in a long-running, science fantasy series based in a queer, pagan, polyamorous, universe.

3800 years in the future.

Maëlcolm is a skilled BDSM trainer, a spy, and unfortunately, a prince.

Cameron is Maël’s older brother, titular heir to their father’s kingdom and in love with his enby bodyguard, Li.

Kat is a slave. A genetically modified being created for one purpose, and one alone. To please her masters in bed.

Los is a gifted Companion, the only thing that makes him happier than practicing his calling is loving Maël, the one man Los can’t have an official relationship with.

If Maël doesn’t give up his calling and do as the Ard Righ demands, his family loses everything.

If Cam doesn’t do what he needs to do to become worthy of the throne by the Ard Righ’s stringent standards, their family may be executed.

If Kat, autistic, touch-averse, and afraid, chooses to fight her fate, she’ll die.

When an artificial intelligence named ‘the high king’ is at the helm, the cost to human hearts may be impossible to bear.

Amazon Preorder Digital $1.51
Amazon Preorder — click here!
ASIN: B071FWRR29 EBook

Amazon Preorder Print $6.00
Amazon Preorder PRINT — click here
ISBN: 9781521431429 Print
Epub available directly from the author for $1.00 US emailed to paypal/skrill Kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com
About the Author:

Kaelan was born and raised in upstate NY, in the Adirondack mountains.

Xie started writing when xie turned 11 and hasn’t ever stopped as evidenced by the massive amount of notebooks and digital files of xyr writing xie has hanging around. (We just moved, so trust me, it was a shock to see how much of it there really is.)

Kaelan holds a B.A in bioanthropology/forensic chemistry and an MST in education/world history. Xie loved University, so holds minors in English, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Graphic Design, and Modern Dance.

Xyr hobbies include reading, spinning wool with a spinning wheel, cooking, knitting, sewing and making jewelry.

Xie currently lives in Southern Ontario, Canada with xyr husband of 19 years, their two kids, a foot fetishist of a cat, two crazy kittens, and a grumpy chinchilla.

The best place to connect with Kaelan is on twitter, where xie spends way too much time.

Where can you connect with Kaelan:
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Kaelan-Rhywiol/e/B01MSXDG2A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaelanRhy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaelanrhy/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

 

SCEPTER OF FIRE Release Day!

Today — Tuesday, May 23rd — SCEPTER OF FIRE releases under the Snowy Wings Publishing imprint.

Right now, the eBook is available to download for free if you can access Kindle Unlimited — only $2.99 otherwise.  The paperback is $10.99.

Buy your copy here:  Amazon

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

 

CROWN OF ICE Release Day!

 

Today — Tuesday, May 9th — the second edition of CROWN OF ICE comes out, now published by Snowy Wings Publishing!

There’s not only a gorgeous new cover and formatting, but also some revised content.

Right now, the eBook is available to download for free if you can access Kindle Unlimited — only $2.99 otherwise.  The paperback is $8.99.

Buy your copy here:  Amazon

 

 

 

 

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. She kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” CROWN OF ICE is set in a nineteenth-century Scandinavia where magic is as real, as dangerous, and as powerful, as war and love.

 

 

CoverReveal for JADED by K. M. Robinson

Today is the #coverreveal for another @snowywingspub book — JADED by K. M. Robinson.
I am very happy to participate in the reveal for this great cover — please enjoy!
 

Her father failed in his mission to take control from the Commander, a defeat that has cost Jade her life. She will die as punishment. Now she belongs to the Commander’s son—as his wife. Knowing his intent is to quietly kill her in revenge, Jade’s every move is calculated to survive—until she learns her death ensures the safety of her father and her entire town.

Roan doesn’t want to kill Jade, but once his family isolates her from her father and community, his only choice is to go through with the plan. Jade doesn’t make it easy as she tries to sway him into falling for her. Each misstep makes him question his cause. Each moment makes every decision harder, but the Commander won’t allow him to fail.

One chooses life. One chooses death. In the midst of the chaos, only one will succeed.

Author Bio:
K.M. Robinson is a storyteller who creates new worlds both in her writing and in her fine arts conceptual photography. She is a marketing, branding and social media strategy educator who is recognized at first sight by her very long hair. She is a creative who focuses on photography, videography, couture dress making, and writing to express the stories she needs to tell. She almost always has a camera within reach.

 

Social Media Links:
Goodreads link:

Cover Reveal for A TOUCH OF FONDNESS by Joy Penny

I’m so excited to be revealing the #Coverreveal for @SnowyWingsPub author Joy Penny’s latest New Adult contemporary romance, Touch of Fondness, the first book in the Stay In Touch series! This beautiful cover was designed by Berto Designs. The book releases on May 2 from Snowy Wings Publishing, and it’s available now for preorder! Check out the cover and learn more about the book below:

Title: Touch of Fondness (Stay In Touch, Book One)
Author: Joy Penny
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Four friends. Four college grads. Four people figuring out that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expected.

Brielle Reyes may not have post-college life planned out like some of her friends do, but she figures she’ll work for her mother’s home cleaning service while job hunting for something that makes use of her history and philosophy degrees. It’ll work out as long as she doesn’t fall in love. Her last relationship was a disaster and she has no idea where she’ll be in a few weeks, let alone the rest of her life. Since the only guy in her age range she sees now on a regular basis is cantankerous if handsome client Archer Ward, she probably won’t have a hard time sticking to that vow. Probably.

Archer Ward likes very few things: illustrating as a somewhat-celebrated comic artist and his privacy. When his meddling mother hires him a cleaning service on an almost daily basis because she doesn’t fully trust her son to live on his own with his disability, he’s at first annoyed—even if his house cleaner is the most beautiful woman he’s ever spent more than a few minutes with. When he realizes her dreams may take her far outside of his restricted orbit, he has to decide whether to stifle his interest in her or risk messing up her plans to explore if there’s something more between them.

Neither can deny they’re growing a little fond of each other, even if falling in love just now makes no sense whatsoever. But how often does love ever make perfect sense?

You can add Touch of Fondness to your Goodreads list here, or preorder it now at Amazon!

Learn more about Joy Penny at her website, or visit her on social media—@JoyPennyWriter on Twitter and Facebook, and @AuthorJoyPenny on Instagram!