Today, friend of the blog, Suzanna Linton is here to talk about stepping away! The Importance of Stepping Away When I was growing up, my mother coated our Christmas trees with tinsel. This is not an exaggeration. Streams of silver drowned the blinking lights and glittering ornaments. Months after consigning the tree to a burn pile, we were still sweeping up tinsel. However, it wasn’t enough for there to be gobs of the stuff on the tree. My mother was never happy with the arrangement. She plucked up pieces of tinsel and moved them around. I never saw the difference, or if there was a problem. Mom saw it, though, and was never satisfied. She never knew when to walk away. Many writers have the same problem. We never seem to know when to step away. Stepping away, though, is important. There’s no such thing as perfect. There will always be something wrong with a manuscript, or at least something that did not live up to our expectations. The internal editor writers carry within does not come with an off switch. Perfection sounds like a worthy goal but it is, unfortunately, unattainable. Even if we were to perfect a novel, someone will not like a plot point, character, or choice of words. Perfect to us may not be perfect to others. Striving for perfection will only lead to stress and never actually publishing anything. At some point, we have to say that our novel is good enough. “Good enough” is not necessarily a bad thing. Tad Williams, Robin McKinley, and other famous novelists had to say “good enough” at some point. We risk burning out. If we never give our novel a chance to breathe by stepping away for a little while, or if we constantly go from one project to another, then we risk burning out. Think of creativity as a well from which we draw. Wells need to be refilled. We refill ourselves through reading, going to movies, or doing other things we enjoy. We refill the well through trips to the beach or mountains, through spending time with friends. We refill ourselves through living our lives. By continually stressing our inner wells, then we risk crashing. By crash, I mean writer’s block and creative frustration. We can’t see the story for the lines. In the case of being in the middle of a project, stepping away for [...]
Today's book spotlight is a traditionally published book that you might've heard of (maybe). Sooz is one of those people who's always helping others, so when she put out a call to arms for her latest release, I had to say yes! This is the third book in her Witchlands series, which is not to be missed! Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch… Before Merik returned from the dead… Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight. Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain. On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever. Sightwitch—available February 13—is an illustrated tale set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches. Please enjoy this excerpt.
Everyone give a big hearty hello to today's guest blogger, A.L. Kessler! Real Crime Inspiring Urban Fantasy My primary series is Here Witchy Witchy which follows Abigail Collins, a witch who hunts down paranormal criminals. She mostly deals with murders with a supernatural twist. This is a fun and sometimes frightening series to write, because in order make sure that my supernatural characters can get away with it, I first have to make sure humans can. I’ve done a lot of research on some interesting situations and some terrifying one. Why base paranormal crimes on true situations? Because it gives the world and case a sense of realism. When it comes to things like say, keeping people in a basement for years at a time, it’s easier to believe that a monster has done it instead of a human. Though there are many cases of humans actually keeping people in a basement ranging anywhere from a few days to a decade with some horrible things involved. (I’m sparing the details for the faint of heart) I was able to take this idea and use it as a basis for my book The Trouble with Ghosts which deals with a haunted house that had over thirty bodies discovered in the basement. One of the things that I discovered while researching is humans are capable of some scary and some very weird things. Though some of them churn my stomach I find a lot of it fascinating and I can lose myself in the research. When it comes to Urban Fantasy, the setting is typically in the world we know today. So the idea that an author can pick out these crimes and plop them into their world only adds to the suspension of disbelief allowing the reader to become completely immersed in the world and maybe start to wonder what if. What if supernatural creatures were behind crimes like this? Are there any crimes that you think are stranger than fiction that would be inspiring to an urban fantasy or mystery author? About the Author: A.L. Kessler is an urban fantasy and paranormal romance author best known for her Here Witchy Witchy series. She lives in beautiful Colorado and has a fondness for coffee and chocolate. You can learn more about her at: www.facebook.com/alkesslerauthor
Today's book spotlight is an awesome new release sci-fi called Vengeance that hits all the right notes About the Book When rogue AIs steal everything that matters most, the only thing left is vengeance. As the flagship of the Spire Empire, Vengeance is a legendary AI whose broken heart has proven his greatest battle yet. But his new telepathic link, a little girl named Hayley, finally teaches him to love again—until rogue AIs attack her planet and level her home in a storm of fire and destruction. Vengeance is left with only one hope in his potentially immortal existence: the chance to avenge his innocent link. Twenty years later, a young engineer joins his crew, and he’s inextricably drawn to her. But the closer he tries to get to her, the harder she pushes him away. Olivia Hawthorne risks everything—her friendship with her telepathic sisters and even her life—to assume a new identity so she can serve aboard Vengeance. After suffering at the hands of rogue AIs, she should be wary of trusting one again, even her old friend. And yet, she can’t seem to stay away from him. But when rogues raid Spire colonies, Vengeance and Liv must learn to overcome the fears shackling them to the past. Because if they want to survive, they’ll have to seek vengeance together.
Everyone welcome today's guest, S.K. Gregory! My name is Sam and I am a writer, blogger and reviewer. I have written quite a few books over the last six years, about many supernatural beings, but I think the ones I keep coming back to are demons. My first book Daemon Persuasion featured a half demon woman called Mackenzie Murphy, who finds herself in the middle of a centuries old war. I was eager to write about demons because there are so many different kinds, with different abilities. If you write about vampires, you are hindered by the rules of vampires, but with demons, I could create whole worlds around them. As I write urban fantasy, they live in modern day LA, and appear human to everyone around them. Mackenzie’s absentee father was a full demon, with the ability to control other demons with his voice. Mackenzie receives a watered-down version of his power. Of course, demons immediately conjure up evil and malice. While it is true, my demons can be vicious, there are characters like Mackenzie who walk the line between good and evil. I think it reflects more on real people, as we are all a mix of both and it is interesting to see the pull between nature and nurture. Weirdly, the word demon originally meant a forceful or skilled performer of a specified activity. It was only later that it was used to describe an evil being. With demons becoming more popular, especially with TV shows like Supernatural, there is still plenty to write about. I plan to expand my Daemon Persuasion series by adding a fourth book later this year.
When Serena returns home from a day of work, she witnesses a terrifying event which uproots her quiet existence. Attacked by a vicious creature, she is saved by a mysterious figure and introduced to the Einherja, warriors trained to protect Earth from demons. Serena soon finds out she is the descendant of an Aesir(Norse) god, and her recurring dreams might just be the answer to Avonmore's ritualistic murders. Will she be able to protect her hometown, or will she be forced to sacrifice her new love? Daughter of Nótt, your sacrifice will not be in vain. A tale of passion, loss and self-awakening, Daughter Of The Night is the debut release of Tiki Kos, and the first in the Daughter Of The Night trilogy.
Princess Haven was never meant to be queen. Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her personal guards, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved. Between assassination attempts and brutal scare tactics, the evil tyrant Kadia’s army is fast approaching. Haven's neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia's shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven's only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator. Buy the entire trilogy on Amazon now!
Everyone give a warm welcome to guest poster Elliot Parker, who's here to talk about the different kinds of fantasy! Fantasy: the trifle of the book world Good day everyone! What better topic to talk about on a Wednesday than Fantasy and dessert? What is Fantasy and what is a Trifle? Let’s tackle the easier one first: Trifle. A Trifle is an English dessert usually made up of layers and layers of fruit, sponge cake, custard, whipped cream, and if you’re lucky, sherry. The layers can look pretty on the outside but are all mixing and combining with alcohol pouring through all of it. Just. Like. Fantasy. Defining the genre of Fantasy is a much more complex task, but similar to any layered desert it frequently mixes and combines several things with a few elements remaining constant. If you google “subgenres of fantasy” you will get up to 60 different categories returned, anything from Anthropomorphic Fantasy to Steampunk. I’m not going to touch on all the nuances here, just the major layers. Epic, High and Low. These are some of the main designations of Fantasy. You can slice and dice this pie many ways but I have picked these three. Epic is a label carried forward from long-ago. Most agree it originated with poetry. Beowulf is an example of an epic poem. Epics in general, span a long time (multiple years), and have huge backstories or universes in which they exist. Those worlds tend to change over the course of the characters journey, which requires the long time span to accomplish. The Lord of the Rings is the most commonly cited Epic Fantasy. High fantasy is nearly interchangeable with Epic fantasy. To boil it down to brass tacks, High determines the setting and Epic determines the setting and character journey. High fantasy is set in a world very different from the world the reader knows. It could be a parallel universe, magical, or something completely different and unknown. The battle of good vs evil features prominently in most High fantasy. Examples of High Fantasy include, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Low fantasy is where I live. It makes me feel like I am on the wrong side of the tracks. Low fantasy also denotes setting, a setting that should seem very familiar [...]
It's time for Indie-Mas! This is the THIRD annual recap of all the independently-published books I've read. I like to take this time to share the love–both by helping promote great indie books and giving them away! So without further ado… On the final day of Indie-Mas, my author gave to me: My 2018 TBR The last day of IndieMas is always a look forward to what I want to read in the next year. Books that have been sitting on my kindle for a while, upcoming awesomeness, all that. 2017 was a garbage fire a difficult year for real world issues and also in my personal life. Busy was an understatement. I read exactly... 12 books this year. My goal next year is to bump that up to something a little more. Anywho, without further ado, here's my list of indies to check out next year. And don't forget to enter ALL the giveaways on each of the book pages (I've listed them at the bottom of this page), as well as our grand prize of a paperback book (open anywhere Book Depository delivers). McMullen has been an IndieMas pick before, and I'm so eager to get my fingers into her newest, a sci fi that sounds so riveting. Julia is a staple on my Twitter feed, and I've been meaning to get to her F/F book. I mean: Fantastical beasts on safari, what's not to love? Josie's book came to me by way of recommendation. But that synopsis, right? Sarena and Sasha have been guest posters here before, and like every other book on this page, I've been meaning to get to their books for AGES. Will 2018 be the year? (Hope so!) This rec came to me from #IndieMas2017 author Mary Fan. Based on the synopsis and cover - both sound intriguing! Another from Mary and anther cover envy. This book looks like a lot of fun--Norse deities? Yes please! Okay, okay. So what? Contemporary Romance? Well, yeah, Sush needs to branch out of her comfort zone and read something without magic or space aliens once in a while. Besides that, Meldon is my redheaded boo-bear, and I loved her other (more magical) series. The Entire #IndieMas 2017 List
It's time for Indie-Mas! This is the THIRD annual recap of all the independently-published books I've read. I like to take this time to share the love–both by helping promote great indie books and giving them away! So without further ado… On the tenth day of Indie-Mas, my author gave to me: A fantasy adventure on the high seas! I really enjoyed Waters of Salt and Sin. It was different than your typical fantasy--lots of world building details. You've got your feisty main character fighting for her sister, a Hufflepuff sort of love interest who follows along with her, and a swashbuckling high seas adventure full of magic and intrigue. Definitely recommended for fans of YA fantasy like Cashore, Carson, and more. Low-caste sailor and salt witch Kinneret Raza can’t take it anymore. The man she loves is engaged to a horrible woman of his rank. Both Kinneret and her younger sister Avi are slowly starving to death. Despair is breathing down Kinneret's neck. Something must change. When old Zayn whispers about a mythical treasure hidden under the cursed water of The Pass, Kinneret leaps at the wild chance of riches beyond her imagination. But when a madman captures her sister Avi, Kinneret must change course or lose the ones she loves. It is an impossible choice: Death now or death later. Only the forbidden magic her mother taught her long ago can push the odds in her favor, help her outfox the madman, and sail into cursed seas to claim the life of her dreams. She may go down, but by the seas, she’ll go down fighting. Enter the Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway More on IndieMas