Monday, November 30, 2015

Fantasy & Horror Premade Book Covers

You never really know what you enjoy until you try it. It never occurred to me I'd like graphic design until I decided to design my own book covers. Even better, people actually like my artwork. Now, I'm selling premade book covers that I designed.

For fellow authors/designers out there, I bought all my images from Shutterstock. I downloaded free royalty free fonts from Font Squirrel and 1001 Fonts. Font Squirrel is good if you're looking for nice and simple fonts. 1001 Fonts' collection is more edgy.

To view all the covers and order them visit Aubey LLC. Covers range from $60-$200.
  • No one else will have your book cover.
  • You will be able to get the cover as a jpg, png and pdf file at standard ebook size plus one size of your choosing as a jpg only.
  • Covers are hi resolution.
  • The cover can be laid out for print books at an additional price.
Free Royalty Free Stock Photos
I've uploaded a lot of my nature photographs on DeviantArt as stock photos. Feel free to use them however you want. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Week in Links 11/27/15 Captain America: Civil War, John Carpenter, Tremors

Book Marketing and Branding
6 Holiday Instagram Marketing Tips for Businesses
How to Assess and Improve Your Social Media Marketing: A Monthly Plan

Some thoughts about Worldbuilding
Kevin Bacon stars in New TREMORS TV Series

Did you read any memorable articles this week? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guest Post | Fantasy World Building by Josh Powell

Josh Powell will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Enter at the end of the post. 

There are so many different ways to go with World Building when writing a novel. Some authors dive in deep, the world building is what is really interesting to them, and they build elaborate locations and back stories. Then they create a story that moves through and revels the world and the world is the central character to the book. Some authors dive write in to storytelling and the world reveals itself to them as they write, the world is more of an afterthought.

I’m more of a middle of the road writer, the world I’ve created is so big that to sit down and define every corner of it would take years, instead I’ve got a rough idea of the world’s layout, and which factions are in which areas and why, but I only dig down into the details when a character is in that area. It’s the practical side of me that does this, I love world building, but words written for world building don’t count towards your novels word count. It will certainly help give your story more background and depth, but it takes a lot of time. You have to decide for yourself, where you want to spend your limited time.

I prefer to spend my world building time fleshing out characters. What is the background of even minor characters. For example, there is a minor character in Dragon Apocalypse that is a blacksmith. Instead of just being a hollow shell that the main character interacts with, I decided he was a retired adventurer that loved outfitting adventurers and showing off his great skill as a weaponsmith. Unfortunately, he’s retired to a small village and all anyone ever wants of him is horseshoes. That little bit of time spent writing his background brings the scene to life as one of the main characters, Maximina Nobility, a half-under elven (don’t call her a drow!) adventurer comes to him to acquire something she needs that does NOT fit into his personal vision of himself. Without that background, the scene would have been too flat and gotten cut because it would have just been someone equipping themselves at a weaponsmith.

Another bit of world building was the floating city of Arendal, which I created as a huge bureaucratic city firmly in control by the nobility who use bureaucracy to trap adventurers and send them off to do their bidding by confiscating their magic items and sticking them with huge taxes and fines they must go one quests to pay off. That leads to all sorts of great jokes and interactions because what adventuring party wants to give up their hard earned loot?

Follow the tour! 

JOSH POWELL, wielder of the Sommerswerd, destroyer of the thread, expeditioner to Barrier Peaks, discoverer of his magic talent, and venturer into the Tomb of Horrors is known for having survived a harrowing adolescence full of danger and fantasy. He's gone on to write The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse and is currently working on the yet to be named third book in the series.

He also spends some not inconsiderable amount of time wiggling his fingers over a keyboard as a software engineer. He lives with his wife, Marianne, and two amazing children, Liam and Chloe, in sunny California, where winter is, most decidedly, never coming.

Author: Josh Powell
Title: Dragon Apocalypse
Genre: Humorous Epic Fantasy

On their way to apprehend a temple thief, Gurken Stonebiter, a templerager of the temple of Durstin Firebeard, and Pellonia, a little, but infuriatingly clever, girl stumble onto a quest to save a town from an evil dragon. The dragon is demanding sacrifices of maidens, and the town is fresh out. Can they discover a way to sate the dragon's bloodlust and save the town?

Along the way, Gurken and Pellonia meet up with Maximina, a half under-elven woman that also happens to be a tad psychic, a ranger with a dash of necromantic ability, a smidgen of samurai training, and just enough time living as a rogue to acquire the ability to sneak up on and stab a foe in the back. Maximina is full of clever ideas on how to gain a tactical advantage over her foes, and on occasion they even work.

During their adventures, Gurken, Pellonia, and Maximina face a snarky unicorn, do battle with a terrible frost giant, contend with a rival adventuring party bent on their utter humiliation, and confront the end of the world in the form of an evil sorcerer and a teeming dragon horde. Can they save the world one more time?

“We’ve run out of maidens,” the mayor told the crowd in the morning, shaking his head sadly. The mayor stood beside a wooden pole with chains and manacles attached to it. The manacles were empty. “I’m afraid that last night, the last maiden in the city, shall we say… disqualified herself.

“Trollop!” said a voice in the crowd.

“In about five minutes, the dragon will be here and we’ll all be scorched and eaten alive. Please, don’t panic. There’s nothing to be done.”

The people in the crowd looked around at one another.

“Can’t we still pretend she’s a maiden?” said a voice in the crowd.

“A good idea, for sure,” said the mayor. “But the dragon can tell these things, he’s got a unicorn with him. I’m afraid we’re doomed. Nothing to be done about it.”

“You can’t fool a unicorn,” someone in the crowd shouted.

“How about a male maiden? I’m sure we’ve plenty of those. Roger here, for example.”

“Hey! I’m not a maiden!”

“Sure, sure, we all believe that.”

“It’s no good anyway. The dragon quite prefers that the maiden in question be a woman,” said the mayor.

“The dragon’s really quite particular,” another voice criticized.

“What about a young maiden? I mean, technically, if we can just find someone young enough…” said someone in the crowd. He turned and looked at Pellonia, as did the rest of the crowd.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Life of an Author: Behind The Week in Links

Being an author is about way more than writing books. Every Friday I post The Week in Links- a list of writing, book marketing, fantasy...articles from the week. I started this series to help authors and drive more traffic to my blog. I've done more specific resource posts which were popular. Some writing and fantasy sites do a list of links either daily or weekly. I had the resources to do my own curated list. Here's a look behind The Week in Links.

It starts on Monday
It takes way too long to go through all my resources on Friday. I start writing the post on Monday since I read all my resources every day looking for things to share on social media. It also helps me keep up with any publishing, genre or marketing trends.

Where does it come from?
I've spent years collecting writing, fantasy, nerdy websites. They're in Feedly now. I used Google Reader before it went away. Since I like lists, I categorizes each of my resources under Writing, Fantasy, Horror, Nerdy, Social Media Marketing...  Feedly is the first place I go when creating The Week in Links. is the second...and third.
" gives you access to an ever-expanding universe of articles, blog posts, and rich media content. We automatically process more than 250 million social media posts each day, extracting & analyzing over 25 million articles. Only lets you tap into this powerful media flow to find exactly what you need, and publish it easily on the web and in social media."
In short, lets your create your own online magazine. You provide the resources--websites, Twitter hashtags and lists-- the site organizes the content and publishes them daily at a time that you set. People who subscribe to your paper get it emailed to them at your set time.

I created my own in hopes of using that to boost my author platform. It looks cool. They gave me a widget so I could add the paper to a blog/website. And more importantly, it's free. I couldn't get people to read, subscribe or share the paper, so I gave up on promoting it and  now I use it as another aggregator like Feedly. I also read Jane Friedman's Best Tweets for Writers Daily.

SF Signal does a series- SF/F/H Link Post. It's published daily. I love this and check it out every day.

Deciding what to put in the post
If I take every useful article I come across and put it in The Week in Links, the post would be way too long.

-The date of the articles is a main deciding factor. People tend to share things they published months or even years ago. That's the beauty of evergreen content. If the article wasn't published that week, then I can't put it in The Week in Links. Some articles don't have a date. In that case, I read the comments. Those always have dates. If there's no date and no comments, I add it to The Week in Links since there's no way of knowing when it was published.

-I do a mix of what you would find interesting and what I find interesting.

-Some sites are my go-to. They usually end up in every Week in Links.
Social Media Examiner
SF Signal
The Creative Penn
Writer Unboxed
Social Media Just for Writers
Jami Gold

-I try not to include more than 2 links from any one resources. Sometimes, it's unavoidable. Social Media Examiner tends to have the best and easy to follow advice on social media marketing.

Deciding the title
The post title for The Week in Links is something like this: The Week in Links 11/20/15 X-Files, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter

What content gets highlighted in the title depends on what I think would get people to read the post if the title was all they saw. Also, if more than one site talks about the same topic such as NaNoWriMo, then it's put in the title. I also try to keep in my trending topics. For instance, Jessica Jones is in the title because it was trending on Twitter the day I posted The Week in Links.

That's how The Week in Links comes about. What other behind the scenes funness would you like to know?

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Week in Links 11/20/15 X-Files, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter

Book Marketing and Branding
20 Facts About Social Media that Authors Should Know
Using Google Analytics to Unlock the Secrets of your Blog’s Audience
Fascinating Jurassic World fan theory claims the raptors were always on Chris Pratt's side
Meet the cast of Marvel's Jessica Jones
Carrie-Anne Moss on Jessica Jones’Girl Power in Front of and Behind the Camera

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Torment of Rachel Ames by Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of The Torment of Rachel Ames
Title: The Torment of Rachel Ames
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Genre: Thriller / Horror

Suffering from writer's block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can't shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen.

Determined to make the cabin work, she tries to settle in and give her new life a chance. But when strange things begin to happen around her, she wonders if she's made a terrible mistake. As the darkness that's followed her manifests itself in inexplicable ways, her concept of reality is stretched thin and she realizes nothing at the lake is what it seems. As she fights to survive with her sanity intact, she understands too late that the location she's chosen for herself is far from perfect.

Rachel wakes just as the sun begins to set behind the mountains on the far side of the lake. She’s up with a start, a disoriented jump from the darkness of sleep into the flesh and blood reality of the world. There’s a panicked gasp of air as she pushes away a heavy weight smothering her.

But there’s nothing there. Only a faint echo of a dream that she senses was brilliant Technicolor only seconds earlier, but now disintegrates wherever she tries to grasp it. All that’s left of the dream is the smell of the world burning, lingering strongly enough that she searches the room for signs of smoke, thinking her dream world had stolen the idea from the real. But there is nothing. Only the couch where she napped, the dining table where Underwood smirks at her, still unused, and the kitchen, as equally ignored as the typewriter. No smoke. No fire. It’s no matter because all thoughts of either drift away with the rest of her forgotten dream and she lets it happen. There’s no fight in her to remember. She didn’t come to the cabin to remember, anyway.

She stands and stretches, shocked by how long she’s slept. There’s no clock or watch in the house or on her person, one of her writing retreat rules, but the light outside tells her the story. As the final bit of sun ducks behind the mountain in that curious sped up way typical of the last seconds of the sunset, she has a foreboding sense that time is somehow moving faster than it should. But that’s crazy, just her imagination taking advantage of her blurry state of mind.

That’s jus’ not how things work around here.

It’s Ollie’s voice in her head, but somehow she knows he’s right. Time doesn’t move faster here. It’s not how things work.

Thinking of work, she walks over to the dining room table and is surprised to see a piece of paper rolled into Underwood’s gleaming paper feeder, the metal bar snug against it, ready for business.

“You hoping to get lucky tonight, big guy?” she says. She waits, half-expecting the keys to thump out an answer to her question. But they don’t. They haven’t for a long time. “Let me use the bathroom first,” she says. “Help yourself to a drink.”

She turns to the sliding door to go outside but stops herself, surprised to find she means to pee outside. She’s embarrassed by the idea even though there’s no one else there. “Get a grip,” she mumbles, walking through the cabin and using the bathroom like a normal person. When she’s done, she pours herself a drink from the bottle in the kitchen, then returns to the table to face her tormentor.

Fingers on the keys. White page ready for her brilliance. Begging for it. And she wants to give it. More than that, she wants to stuff it down Underwood’s throat so hard he gags on it.

Her fingers move, slow at first, tentative. Then faster, speed building and building, until she’s dancing over the keys. The metal prongs, each with its own letter, smack through the black ink ribbon and stamp the paper. Her left hand swats the return register without being told when it’s time to do so. This is it, the old magic. She closes her eyes, swaying to the musicality of the words in her head, relishing the sense of them traveling through her nervous system in electrical impulses telling her hands what to do. Loving that all of it, this dance, this kinetic energy, this alchemy of creation, is thoughts made real. All she has to do to see inside her own mind is open her eyes, look at the page and see…

… a half-page of neat typing. First line indented. Hyphenated words at right margin. Two paragraph breaks. Lines of dialog in quotes. And not a single actual word that makes sense.


All of it.

Jeff Gunhus is the author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and Gold Medal Winners.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Win a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of The Torment of Rachel Ames 

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Turning Blog Posts Into a Book

A couple of weeks ago, I released Building Dark Worlds: A World Building Guide. It's a collection of blog posts. Let's go through the process of how this book came about.

Collect Content
I went through all my blog posts collecting the most popular ones on world building. Fortunately, I tag all my post so I didn't have to go through my entire archive. I simply searched for "world building." I needed to know what I had. I pasted the posts' contents in Word documents and saved them in one folder. I gathered about 30 posts.

Market Research
For fiction, I generally don't like to term "write for the market" but some of that needs to come into play when writing an instructional non-fiction. Your book has to provide for your readers need. That means you should know your audience while you're creating the book. Not after.

Before I decided what I was going to do with these posts, I did an Amazon search for world building books. There are a lot of them. I couldn't release a general fantasy world building book given the steep completion. Why would anyone buy my book? I needed an angle. But what?

What does dark mean?
I knew I wanted the book to be about dark world building since I didn't see any titles on that topic. I wasn't entirely sold on the idea because I couldn't wrap my head about what that meant exactly. What is "dark world building?" Doing a Google search didn't help. In Evernote, a free app, I jotted down what I thought a dark world meant.

Now I have some idea of the book's focus.

SEO Title
During my research, I learn that titles of non-fiction books should be SEO optimized so people can find them. You need to be smart about your title. Don't be clever. Like a blog post, the title of your  instructional non-fiction book should be pretty straight forward. 

While conducting a keyword search for my books, I discovered that "dark worlds" was a popular search phrase. Whatever my title was, dark worlds needed to be in it and together. I talked more about keywords in Finding the Right Keywords for Your Book.

Organizing the content
Although I had all my posts and my focus, I still struggled with how to put all the content under the one theme. World building in general is the same. How do I make my book different? During this process, I tended to overthink things. When I stopped thinking so much, the content fell into place. To get a better idea of the content I had and my angle,  I gathered the posts in an InDesign Book.

I divided the book into parts.
  • Defining Dark
  • Inspiration
  • Names
  • The Dark World
  • Magic System
  • Map Making
  • Populating your world
Organizing some section was pretty straight forward, Apocalypse, Post-Apocalypse and Dystopia go together. Any post on creating names goes together. As you can see, not all  the sections are "dark." There's a lot of cross-over between a dark world and a tradition fantasy/sci-fi world. I kept the "dark" theme running throughout the book.

There was a fair amount of rewriting going on. Some blog posts were similar enough to be combine. Map making needed to be condensed. I couldn't include every blog post I published on maps. Some of them wouldn't make sense in the book. Any links in the blog posts needed to be removed. I added new content to some sections.

Unless you're turning a blog post series into a book, more than likely, your content won't flow. You'll need to do some rewriting and organizing to ensure readers aren't jarred out of the book every time they reach a new section.

I wrote most of the content that went into the book years ago. Most needed some updating, some new content added. I did a lot of research for this book. I also added some new sections- Dystopian Worlds and Monsters and Non-Human Characters. I needed to research those topics. I also needed to understand the difference between a post-apocalyptic and a dystopian world. I complied my research material in an Evernote Notebook.

I also included a lot of my research materials in the book as "More Resources".

Non-fiction books look a little different that fiction titles. Most of the content in Building Dark Worlds is organized like this blog post, without all the images. I looked at the non-fiction books I owned to learn how to handle formatting especially whether I needed to hyperlink all the books, TV show and movies I mention. I don't. I hyperlinked some. Italicized the others. I then including them in a list at the back of the book. 

I always have images in my blog posts. I went back and forth about adding them to the book. The map section definitely needed some images. 

Up until this book, the only images I included in ebooks were the ones in The Sciell and Chains of the Sciell. I let BookBaby deal with those. Images can make an ebook file too large. Since I work in InDesign, I have a habit of adding the Photoshop (psd) file to my books. During my research, I learned that's not good practice. Psd files are huge. I needed to convert all my images to jpeg. 

Preparing Images for Your e-Book by David Kudle

In Behind the Cover: Cover Reveal!!!, I showed you what went into designing the cover for Building Dark Worlds. I also talked about how I named the book.

You've probably read some instructional non-fiction books. Most of the covers have a solid color background. The font is usually plain and wide. That's not my brand. I didn't want to make a cover like that. I looked at the world building books on Amazon. They had fantasy/sci-fi like covers, which meant I didn't have to stick to a formula for my book cover.

I went back to Amazon to read different book summaries. I needed my book's description to fit in the market but still belong in my brand.

Dark worlds. They fascinate us, terrify us, even inspires us. Dark doesn’t always mean evil. It doesn’t always mean monsters and creepy landscapes. The world isn’t limited to landscapes and cityscapes. It involves people, life. This book explores the different aspects of creating a dark world. It gives you tips on building and populating a world that ensnares readers.

-Why do we like dark fiction
-Naming your world
-Finding inspiration
-Writing apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories
-Creating a magic system
-Writing Antiheroes/heroines and monsters
-Map Making
-and more
As you can see, even though most of the book is already written, a lot a work goes into turning blog posts into a book.

I have a treat for you! I created a free FREE abridged version of Building Dark Worlds.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Week in Links 11/13/15 NaNoWriMo, Star Wars, Bad-ass Fairies

Book Marketing and Branding
How to Promote Your eBook With Social Media
How to Promote Your Next Novel During NaNoWriMo
How to Leverage Keywords on Pinterest as an Author
How to Turn Quora into a Traffic-Driving Machine for Your Blog

Top 5 Reasons To Date A Horror Fan10 Real Life Horror Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit
(Almost) Every SFF Adaptation Coming to Television and Movie Theaters!
Five Modern Books with Bad-Ass Fairies
Doug Liman in Final Talks to Direct Gambit
New ‘Star Wars’ Footage Reminds Everyone That Every Generation Has A Story

Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife joins Super Smash Bros roster!

Did you read any memorable articles this week? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Athena's Secrets by Donna Del Oro

Donna Del Oro will be awarding a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing to a randomly drawn host.

Title: Athena's Secrets 
Author: Donna Del Oro
Genre: Romantic suspense w/ESP elements

What if you could read minds with just a touch? Would you be able to trust anyone?

Athena Butler, the twenty-year-old descendant of an ancient bloodline of psychics, yearns to lead a normal life. She wants a career, a boyfriend, independence. Her clairvoyant gift, however, has taught her that people can be false and dangerous. Although warned to keep her powers a secret, she's recruited by law enforcement to help search for a serial killer and uncover a terrorist cell.

She bonds with an intriguing, handsome man, Kas Skoros, who knows her secret and accepts it. Of the same bloodline, his mother is precognitive and predicts that they are meant to be together…some day. Kas, military veteran and Search and Rescue deputy, is skeptical and cynical-- life is too uncertain--but can't resist exploring his passion for Athena. Yet there are obstacles beyond their control.

Can Kas overcome these obstacles? Can Athena stay alive long enough to fulfill her dream?

“So I hear. We—my father, Alex and I--protect my mother from people who’d try to exploit her. Is there anyone protecting you and your mother?”

More than a little surprised, Athena halted. “Not really. Father pretends we’re normal and I supposed Chris does, too. Mum and I—we keep our clairvoyance a secret from everyone. Everyone except the police, that is.”

They’d come to a fork in the path. Ahead of them, through a thicket of oaks and pines, Athena could see the lake glimmering in the sunlight. Kas took the path to the right. “Follow me.” He headed for the boathouse that she could now see about fifty yards away. “We’ll have to wear wet suits. The air’s warm, but the water’s snow melt.”

“I live in D.C. so I can handle it. I can read minds, but can’t do weather forecasting. Go figure.”

Kas harrumphed. “I hear you work part-time at a coffeehouse. Seems like you could make more money doing psychic readings. But then, you’d have to expose yourself and your secret.”

“Yes, that won’t do. I guess it’s safer this way.”

“I know, my mother feels the same way. There’s a history of the bloodline having problems when people find out the truth. There’s always a group in society that doesn’t understand, people who take advantage or exploit them, or use them as scapegoats. I guess that means there’s been some witch-hunting in the past, burning at the stake, that kind of thing. The Romans would kidnap soothsayers and hold them as slaves. I’ve heard only the Temple seers in Greece were off-limits. Even so, the Temple priestesses had Guardians assigned to them day and night.”

She looked at him. He wasn’t joking. The protective side of him was rearing up. “I’ve heard that, too. I thought it was just nonsense, Mum trying to scare me into keeping it secret.”

“Can’t be any harm nowadays.” He glanced back and grinned. “Now, if your secret came out, you’d get celebrity status and your own reality TV show.”

She couldn’t help but laugh. “Not interested.”

“Well, whenever you want to read me, go ahead. No skin off my nose. I’m sure that what you see will either turn you off or bore you to death.”

“Then I guess you’re different from all the other men I’ve known,” she tossed back. “Even my father doesn’t like it. Men like their secrets.”

“All the other men?”

“Figuratively speaking,” she said wryly.

He frowned and ran his gaze over her. “Chris filled me in about you. You’re nineteen. An art student. Single. He says you had a hard time when you were younger. With your clairvoyance, I mean. Trusting people, making friends. Sorry for my blunt speaking, but this is who I am.”

“It’s okay. When it first came on, yes, I had some hard times. Now I manage it. I keep it under control.” She shrugged and added, “I’ll be twenty, December first.” Now she wondered what else Chris had told him. Probably how she couldn’t get a boyfriend if her life depended on it. That she was a virgin desperate for love. God, no wonder Kas was put off.

“Don’t believe everything my brother tells you about me,” was all she could think of to say.

Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not writing novels or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.

Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.

Follow clairvoyant artist Athena Butler in the next book in The Delphi Bloodline series: ATHENA’S  QUEST.

Follow the tour!

Donna Del Oro will be awarding a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mayhem in the Air by Untethered Realms

The authors will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Title: Mayhem in the Air
Authors: Untethered Realms
Genre: Speculative Fiction

From Amazon bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Mayhem in the Air, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet hot robots, hungry winds and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien planets, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead. Mayhem in the Air is the second, long-awaited story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.


by Cherie Reich

A hiss emitted into his earcom, and his Head of Security said, “We’re ready, Mayor.”

You’re going the right thing. Although he didn’t trust the thought, Alfred straightened his tie and walked out the French doors onto the balcony.

People lifted their gazes and devices toward him. When he threw out his arms, they cheered and chanted his last name, “Merry, Merry, Merry.”

His guards and security cameras would scrutinize anyone not celebrating. Were Maggie’s friends among the city’s citizens? Alfred waited long enough to capture the crowd’s attention.

“Thank you. Thank you.” He patted the air as they quieted. His glance flicked to the sky. No sign of his wife.
Alfred had no doubt his speech would spread across the globe before the first fire baton was lit, so he better do well. Even if Maggie didn’t come to stop him, she would be watching. He had no doubt.

“We have gathered here today to support change. A stagnant world is a dead one. We must evolve to survive. We need to rid ourselves of the items and activities that hold us back as a society.” Alfred paused and gestured to the pile of books and paper.

“A group of Paperists, who call themselves ‘the Ritualists,’ would continue their terrorist acts. They destroy trees to support their special abilities, powers they use to lord over us, to threaten us. We must break free from their tyranny. Getting rid of their tools is our first step.”

Alfred basked in the crowd’s thunderous stomps of approval. Sunlight flashed off the electronic screens, thousands of twinkling stars dancing for him.

Why had Maggie abandoned him so thoroughly? She hadn’t returned as their daughter grew ill. His wife didn’t come to release Angela’s soul when she died of cancer. Did Maggie hate them that much? She had to know what was going on. Unless she’d taken to living under a rock.

Or was dead.

That thought sobered him, and he resisted the urge to shudder. “I thank you for bringing what paper you have. United we can stop the Ritualists. Tradition won’t suffocate us. Here’s to our bright future!”

At his last word, three men and a woman broke from the crowd. They held metal batons, and with a flick of a switch, fire sparked from them. At compass directions, these four people stood. As one, they touched the flames to paper and ignited the mound.

Untethered Realms Website:

River Fairchild is somewhat odd, brandishes a dry sense of humor, owned by several cats. Lives in a fantasy world. A fabricator of magic. Makes stuff up and spins tales about it. Believes in Faerie crossings and never staying in one place for very long. Speculative Fiction wordsmith. The secret to her stories? Spread lies, blend in truths, add a pinch of snark and a dash of tears. Escape into her world. She left the porch light on so you can find your way down the rabbit hole. For more information, please visit her website at

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter. Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face—but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate—not necessarily in that order. For more information, please visit her website at

Misha Gerrick lives in the scenic Western Cape, South Africa, where she's currently working on some more books. Her Epic Fantasy Series, The War of Six Crowns, is out now. For more information on what she's writing and reading, visit her website at

Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above. Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans thirty years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count. Please visit his website at

Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckon to M. Pax, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, and one of her cats has a crush on Mr. Spock. You can find out more by visiting her website

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. She has one novel and several novellas and short stories published. Her paranormal romance series, The 13th Floor, has been met with rave reviews. Her newest geeky romances were released by Ellora’s Cave early 2015. Please visit her website at

Cherie Reich has more books than she can ever read and more ideas than she can ever write, but that doesn’t stop this bookworm from trying, even if it means trying to curb her TV addiction. She is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the paranormal horror collection Once upon a Nightmare and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is a member of the Virginia Writers Club, Valley Writers, and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website at

Catherine Stine’s fiction spans the range from contemporary to dark fantasy to sci-fi. Her futuristic companion thrillers Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are Amazon bestsellers and indie award-winners. Dorianna, her YA paranormal won Best Horror Novel in the Kindle Hub Awards. Her work is included in the boxed sets Future Tense and Secret Worlds as well as in the Untethered Realms anthologies Twisted Earths, Mayhem in the Air and Fantasy Uprising. In addition, Catherine writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare. She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her when she was a child. She teaches creative writing workshops and is a member of SFWA, RWA and SCBWI. Visit her at

Follow the tour!

The authors will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Week in Links 11/6/15 Star Wars, NaNoWriMo, Yo-Kai

8 Ways to Generate Leads With Your Blog
Social Media Guidelines for Newbie (& Experienced) Authors

What is Dark Fantasy?

Wring, Publishing and Booksihness
Amazon is opening its first physical bookstore 

Did you read any memorable articles this week? 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guest Post | Writting Tips by KJ Taylor

KJ will be awarding an eCopy of Broken Prophecy to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

There’s a lot of generic writing advice around, partly because authors tend to be very individual. We all write differently, and the stock-standard advice doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, so with that in mind my first tip is not to take all the advice you’re given as gospel. For instance, some people insist that you must sit down and write out a detailed plot outline for your book. This is untrue. Some authors do this and it works for them, but for others it doesn’t work at all. I myself have been told at least once that I have to write outlines, but when I tried it it didn’t work, and so I stopped doing it.

Many will also say that it’s important to find time to write every day. This is true in a sense. In the beginning I believed I could only write when everything was exactly right – I had to start at the proper time, there had to be a candle burning, and so on. If I felt that I wasn’t “in the mood”, then I wouldn’t write.

Years later I discovered that I could actually write whenever I wanted to; if I wasn’t “in the mood” when I sat down at the computer, the “mood” would come along all by itself as soon as I started typing.

But you shouldn’t expect to be able to do this overnight. The process of writing becomes easier with practice, so you if you find you can’t sit down and write whenever you like, don’t beat yourself up about it. You should have a go at it, though. Reward yourself with a drink or something else nice when you’ve written something, and that will no doubt make it easier – it worked for me!

Another important tip is not to get too attached to a single project. In the early days (ie. when I was a teenager) I had a series which I was very invested in. I spent years working on it – I filled an entire shelf with scrawled notebooks that way. Rewrites, re-imaginings, drawings, a custom zodiac system, two different runic scripts – it was huge.

But, despite all my hard work and passion, it just plain wasn’t any good. The day when I made myself face that fact was a hard one, but I finally decided that it was time to drop it and move on to other things. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was still the right decision. If I hadn’t done that I might well have remained largely unpublished, stubbornly clinging to a series which was essentially a Redwall ripoff about talking mice with magic swords.

With that said, I do not for one moment believe that the time I spent working on that series was wasted. The things you don’t publish are in a way just as important as the things you do – what matters is to have written them. I learned a lot in the process, and that means it was worth it!

Finally, don’t write for the sole purpose of getting published. Publishing isn’t about art; it’s about business, and you should be doing this because you are an artist. Art is about making life richer and more meaningful, and if you can achieve that for only one person – even if that person is yourself – then you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

K.J. Taylor was born in Australia in 1986 and attended Radford College and the University of Canberra, where she returned to obtain a Master of Information Studies in 2012. She currently works as an archivist.

She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, through Scholastic when she was just 18, and HarperVoyager went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin's Flight and The Griffin's War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. The Shadow's Heir, The Shadowed Throne and The Shadow's Heart have now joined them in both Australia and the US.

Title: Broken Prophecy
Author: KJ Taylor
Genre: Fantasy

A fun adventure that satirises fantasy tropes in the style of Terry Pratchett.

Ambit Afterman is the Chosen One. Born with the mark of the silver bellflower on his palm and given a magical spear, he is the one whose coming the prophecy foretold.

Unfortunately, he would much rather drink beer and get laid - destiny can go fuck itself.

Together with his demon friend Snarl, Ambit sets out on a mighty quest - to make sure the prophecy doesn't come true, and avoid doing anything heroic under any circumstances. Along the way he will make polite conversation with demons, not deliver any great speeches, not train with the wise monks, and weasel his way out of adventure and into the nearest pub. But there may just be time to have cheap sex with the beautiful princess along the way.

Once, long ago, the Land of Flowers was happy.’ The storyteller paused to look meaningfully at his audience. ‘Yes, very happy,’ he added. ‘But then the demons came. One day the sky went dark and the Nine Mountains erupted, with fire and smoke pouring into the sky. The land went dark and lava flowed over the earth, and the demons came crawling out of the ground – thousands of them, with burning eyes and metal teeth. They spread everywhere, killing everyone they found, destroying villages and towns, spoiling everything.’

The storyteller’s voice rose dramatically and his audience, mainly children, listened expectantly. Around them other people were half listening. Adults relaxed in the shade after a long day’s work, and a young woman was singing for tips in the background. She provided a rather nice soundtrack.

‘Today, the Nine Mountains are home to the nine demon lords,’ the storyteller continued, ‘and they send their minions out to oppress anyone living too close to the ruined lands they’ve taken for themselves. One day, perhaps, they will spread through the whole of the land and the human race will be wiped out.’

‘Or maybe they’ll bore themselves to death first,’ a lazy voice put in from somewhere behind the audience.

‘But there is still one thing that can stop the demons and put everything right again,’ said the storyteller, ignoring the interruption.

‘The Chosen One!’ a small girl piped up. Around her, the other children buzzed excitedly.

‘Fifty years ago, when the demons first came, it was said that someone would come with the power to drive them away forever,’ the storyteller nodded. ‘A special warrior, with a special weapon.’

‘Bullshit!’ the heckler from up the back shouted.

The storyteller glared in his direction, and went on doggedly. ‘Some say this destined one hasn’t been born yet. Others believe he is already here, and that one day, any day now, he’ll appear to begin the fulfillment of his great destiny. For all we know, he could be here today. He could be one of you, and you don’t even know it yet.’ He smiled at the fascinated children.

‘I wouldn’t count on it, kids,’ the heckler threw in.

‘When will the Chosen One come?’ a boy asked.

‘Nobody knows,’ said the storyteller. ‘That’s all I know. But maybe, one day . . .’

‘Maybe one day people will stop wasting time on fairy tales,’ said the heckler.

‘Will you shut up?’ the storyteller finally snapped.

The young man lounging on a rock by the wall of the town tavern only grinned at him, and when the other adults nearby muttered ominously, he grinned at them too. The singing girl took the opportunity to sing a little more loudly, and was rewarded with a faint rattle of demon eyes thrown into the bowl at her feet.

Seemingly realizing he wasn’t going to win this particular confrontation, the storyteller pushed his red-striped hair away from his face and turned his attention back to his listeners. ‘If you want to know more about the Chosen One, the monks in the valley are the people to ask,’ he said. ‘They know the prophecy, and they can recognize the Chosen One. Many people go to them asking if they’re the one, but all of them have gone away disappointed.’

‘I want to go and see them!’ a small boy said immediately. ‘I want them to teach me how to fight demons!’

‘That’s definitely something you can find there,’ said the storyteller. ‘The monks are always happy to take on new apprentices.’

The boy glanced proudly at his friends, golden eyes shining with excitement.

‘Oh goody, let’s all go and get ourselves killed,’ the heckler muttered. ‘Why is everyone letting this old goat tell their kids what a great idea it is to go and fight demons?’

‘And I suppose a coward like you would tell them they shouldn’t?’ the storyteller threw at him.

‘I’d tell them to make up their own minds, is what I’d do,’ said the heckler, idly rolling the shaft of a spear over his palm. ‘That’d be why you’re the popular one, right?’

‘Well, I’m not too scared to go and see the monks,’ the golden-eyed boy told him.

‘That’s because you’re a stupid kid,’ said the heckler. He winked at the singer, who had stopped singing and was now eyeing him with interest. ‘Hey, sweetie, want to see my spear?’

‘Who are you, anyway?’ someone else asked. ‘I’ve never seen you around here before.’

The heckler shrugged. ‘I’m just passing through.’

‘Going anywhere in particular?’ the man asked.

‘Trying to work out where I’m going at the moment,’ said the heckler, resting one long leg on the other and stifling a yawn. He leaned his spear, which was a shabby thing with its shaft bound with leather, against the wall beside him.

‘One of the Dispossessed, are you?’ said the storyteller.

‘Stop doing that,’ the stranger growled.

‘Doing what?’

‘Giving everything names,’ said the stranger. ‘It’s obnoxious. I’m not a Dispo-whatever; I’m a traveler. Labels are unnecessary. And right now I’m way too sober, so fare-thee-well, grandpa.’ He stood up, heaving a heavy pack onto his shoulder, and sauntered off into the tavern

KJ will be awarding an eCopy of Broken Prophecy to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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