Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Teaser Tour: Lady Firebird by Orren Merton

Today we have a teaser tour for Lady Firebird to celebrate the release that it's now available for sale! This is a young adult urban fantasy series and this is book two in the Sedumen Chronicles.

Let's see if this news report piques your interest...
News Report from Cambridge, Massachusetts
Carla: This is Carla Hennington from WGBC in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the scene what will no doubt have repercussions far outside the greater Boston area; indeed, this may change everything we know, or think we know, about the universe in which we live.
I'm standing here with Laura Meeks, a junior at John Adams High School. Laura, can you tell me what you saw?
Laura: It was crazy. Some huge guy with, like, two bears or wolves or something grabbed this blond girl—I think she was a sophomore—who was walking home. She started screaming, my buddy Bruce and I were thinking we should do something, when we heard that girl, Lady Firebird, start yelling—
Carla: Can you describe the girl, Laura?
Laura: Oh, yeah. She was off the charts! Her hair and eyes were on fire, her skin was like leather or stone or something, I dunno, hard, you know? And she ran right at the kidnapper and his wolves, swinging her huge curved sword—it had blue flames.
Carla: The man responded?
Laura: Oh man, he sicked his wolves on her. Then Lady Firebird, like, opened up a rip in the air or something—it was crazy—and her wolves started coming out. The wolves fought, she fought the guy, but he cut her open and he and his wolves got away with the girl. It was intense—and really sad.
Carla: And that's when you and your friends aided—
Laura: Lady Firebird, yeah. I walked up, and she talked to us, that's how I know her name. Here, Bruce, why don't you...
Carla: Bruce Williams, ladies and gentleman, another eye witness. Bruce, why don't you tell us what happened from here.
Bruce: Thank you, Ms. Hennington. Yeah, um, we approached Lady Firebird, me first. She was hurt bad, but she could still talk. She told us what to do—we took her blade, and, like, waved it in the air like she said. It made like a slice in the air, and we couldn't see into it or through it, it was all black. I'd never seen—or done—anything like that.
Laura: Some other guys on the scene from John Adams dragged her wolf over, and they all were pulled through the hole in the air by these huge ape hands or something.
Carla: Were you scared?
Laura: Oh my God you have no idea.
Bruce: The whole thing was so intense! We were like...how could this be real? But there it was, in front of us. Some huge monster dude and his wolf kidnapped a girl from my school...it was crazy. But Lady Firebird tried to save her, and said she was going to bring her home.
Laura: Yeah, I hope she's okay, and she can bring that poor girl home. I can't imagine...
Carla: We're all praying for the victim of this horrible crime, absolutely. What a terrifying event. Were you two afraid, not just of the kidnapper, but of the mysterious flaming swordswoman?
Bruce: Were we scared of Lady Firebird?
Laura: I mean, sure, she was scary and all, but I think she was after that kidnapper, you know? She was trying to help.
Carla: We all hope so, that's for sure. Bruce, Laura, thank you both. And I'm Carla Hennington from WGHC, on the scene in Cambridge. For more on this breaking story we return to our Boston studio.

 About Lady Firebird:
Alexandra Gold leads two lives. 
In a universe filled with powerful spirit beings, she is the half human, half-demon Lady Firebird of the House of Keroz. She stopped Dirk Raum from murdering humans whose fresh souls he fed the House of Raum. This won her the respect of some but the enmity of others.
On Earth, she appears to be like every other eighteen-year old girl, but she longs to step forward as Lady Firebird, and let people know that she will protect them—but she worries that once people see her flaming hair, eyes, and long fangs, she will terrify those she wants to help. When Dirk returns and starts a kidnapping spree as part of his plan to conquer both universes, Alex races to the rescue. 
She is ready to meet the challenge; but is the world ready to meet Lady Firebird?


About the Author:
Orren Merton started writing fantasy and science fiction at an embarrassingly young age, mostly for his own
amusement. In high school, he listened to a lot of dark and moody rock, which inspired him to pick up guitar and start playing up and down California in a few bands, culminating in his Industrial rock group Ember After releasing their debut album, Grasping At Straws, and subsequently The Misery EP.  During that time, magazines, developers, and corporations began to pay him to write and edit music software related articles, manuals, and  books. Since then he has written the urban fantasy novel The Deviant and the science fiction novel Skye Entity before working on his current series of YA novels. He lives in Southern California with his family, pets, collection of sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia, and curiously large stuffed animal collection.

Giveaway:

5 ebook copies of Lady Firebird by Orren Merton (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Fall Back



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

Where did this summer go? I’ve had a much busier summer than originally planned because my wife and I made a last minute decision to move around the middle of July. We had been talking about it for over a year, but it never seemed like the right time. When a larger townhouse in our association came on the market, we made the firm decision that it was time. And everything moved very quickly from there, and we were able to purchase the townhouse that had convinced us it was time to move. This was my first experience with buying and selling a home simultaneously, and it was more stressful than I’d anticipated. But with all the stress and headaches of the past two months, we are finally settling into our new home and free of our old one.

In the middle of this buying and selling process, we had a large family vacation planned (booked nearly a year ago). Of course our one big vacation for the year would coincide with our home buying. But nevertheless, it was a great experience (I won’t say relaxing…but a great experience). We spent a few days in Seattle and then boarded the Carnival Miracle for an Alaskan cruise. Besides the beautiful scenery and wonderful food, what made this vacation so special was that parents and sibling from both sides of the family had signed up to come with us, some family members flying in from around the country. It will be an experience that I’ll always cherish because who knows when all of us will vacation together again. I've included a few of our billion photos below--two from Seattle and two from Alaska.

So this is where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to for the past two months. The hardest thing for me when my routine’s been disrupted, is starting it back up, falling back into the groove and rebuilding that momentum. I’ve been outlining my fourth and final book for the Lorne Family Vault series over the past few weeks, but it’s been hard to find the time and energy with all the unpacking and little home improvement projects (I’m not handy enough to take on big projects). But I gave myself a goal of starting the manuscript at the beginning of this month and I intend to keep it. It’s time to get back into writing mode. I intend to have a first draft finished by the end of the year. So I’ve got three months. I’ve never finished a first draft so fast, but if I remain focused and keep to my weekly goals, I believe I can. Cheers--with a pumpkin latte (decaf)--to the best season of the year.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Stop in the Sidelined Blog Tour: Kyra's Writing Process


I'm thrilled to welcome Kyra Lennon to my blog today for one of her many stops on the Sidelined blog tour. I'm always fascinated with the writing processes of other authors, so I've asked Kyra to share hers. Be sure to enter the giveaway below and pick up your copy of Sidelined! Thank you, Kyra, for stopping by, and now my blog is yours...
When Michael asked me about my writing process, my immediate thought was to panic! Because, while I think most other writers do have a real, defined writing process, I am more a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer.

I have a confession. I loathe writing the first draft of a new story. People often give me strange looks when I admit this – which is why I don’t usually do it, but now you all know! The first draft, for many people, is when the ideas are flowing and the words just pour out onto the page, waiting to be tidied up. For me, every single word fights me in the first draft. It’s like the ideas are so used to waiting inside my head to be written, they refuse to be dragged out of their cocoon. I like to think of it as being similar to giving birth to a really stubborn baby!

A first draft for me will usually take at least two months, if not more. I am envious of people who can fling out a first draft in a couple of weeks – I’d get a lot more done if I was one of those people.

What I love most about the writing process is the editing. I love to polish, and make the sloppy words all nice and shiny, and ready for people to read. For unknown reasons, this part happens a lot faster than the first draft. I suspect this is because I can’t help editing as I write – so there is less to do at the end. I do TRY to just write the first draft without stopping but the only time I’ve managed it is during NaNoWriMo. Maybe I need to do more of that!

What is YOUR writing process like? Are you a fast first-drafter? 

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.


About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: How to be Manly by Maureen O'Leary Wanket


 
We're excited to be among the first to see, and to share, the brand new book How to Be Manly by Maureen O'Leary Wanket coming September 2014 from Giant Squid Books. How to Be Manly is a Young Adult Contemporary novel. The cover art is by Jillian Blazek at JillianBlazek.com. 
How to be Manly Cover

"When you start this program, your whole life will change."


When Fatty Matty Sullivan finds a self-help book by former football great Tad Manly at a yard sale, he secretly starts following the old pro’s advice to turn himself into the kind of guy super hot Cassie Bale will love.


But between taking care of his grandfather, trying to pass remedial Algebra, and getting caught up in his friend Jester’s half-bakedweed-dealing schemes, Matt’s summer isn’t quite the game-changer he’d planned. And when on top of it all his dad moves back in with his own plans to get rich quick, Matt suddenly has much bigger things to worry about. It turns out that there might be more to being manly than he thought.With the humor and insight of YA favorites Judy Blume and Louis Sachar Maureen O’Leary Wanket’s debut is a sharp, comic novel about trying to do the right thing...even when you’re not sure what that is.



About the Author:

Maureen O’Leary Wanket is a writer and teacher living in Sacramento, California with her husband and two daughters. How To Be Manly is inspired by the humor and courage of the students she’s met in her classrooms over the past twenty years.


Maureen's short stories have appeared in Esopus, Xenith,Fiction at Work, Blood and Thunder, Musings on the Art of Medicine and Prick of the Spindle. How To Be Manly is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @maureenow.



Giveaway:
Giveaway of one paperback Advanced Reading Copy of How to Be Manly (US)
and 3 eARCs of How to Be Manly (INT)
Giveaway courtesy of Giant Squid Books.

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Doria Falls is Done!



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally have a completed manuscript of my third novel, Doria Falls, Book 3 in the Lorne Family Vault. I wrote the final words on Wednesday of last week, and over the weekend finished my first round of editing. My beta readers will dive into it over the next few weeks as I begin the next round of editing. Hopefully, I can hand it over to my editor by the end of the month.

Even though this book took me a few months longer than I had hoped, I’m proud with how it turned out. I don’t want to kick myself too much for my sporadic daily word counts and celebrate the steady progress of one more novel under my belt. Doria Falls is a big change from the two previous books, especially SUSY Asylum. Clocking in at a slim 75,000 words (slim by comparison), Doria Falls is a very streamlined novel. The story within Provex City took place over several months, SUSY Asylum over several weeks, and Doria Falls over several days. It picks up exactly where SUSY Asylum left off—to the minute. Now I need to write a blurb for it, which is not something I’m looking forward to.

Along with editing and formatting, I am beginning to plan for the fourth and final book in the series. This will be my first experiment with a thorough, scene-by-scene outline. Hopefully, this will help my productivity during the writing process and maximize the limited time I can devote to my novel each day. My plan is to begin writing by the beginning of September and have a finished first draft by the end of the year. This series will always mean a lot to me, but I’ve reached the point where I just want to get it done and begin something completely new. It’s time to finish up and move on, allowing a whole new chapter in my writing career to begin.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Energy to Start the Day!



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

Sometimes the best thing one can do to move forward is to take a step back. I've done precisely that over the past few months. Last month I spoke about being paralyzed with my writing in April and turning to editing in order to stay productive. I was looking forward to May as being the month I'd complete my third manuscript. And I have been writing, but haven't produced the word count I'd originally intended for the past month.

Now to discuss my step back to help propel me to where I want to be. I've been actively writing for six years, spending a lot of free time in front of the computer screen. Over the past three years, my life has changed dramatically due to family additions and a career change that has more than cut my free time in half. Giving up writing is not an option, but if I want to succeed in the long term, then I need to find ways to accomplish more in less time, to become more efficient as a writer and as an entrepreneur, and to refuel myself with energy, passion, and momentum.

Energy--or better yet, the lack there of--has been a major issue for quite a few years. I've equated my dwindling energy to just getting older and counteracted it with drinking more coffee. I hit a tipping point where the coffee wasn't giving me that needed boost anymore, just continual heartburn. So my first major shift was getting off caffeine entirely. That was a year and a half ago. I had hoped my energy would slowly return from conquering my addiction, but that wasn't the case. My energy continued to dwindle as competing priorities kept building. My emotions were suffering. My writing was suffering. And my vision for my future as a full time writer seemed to be fading away if I wasn't committed to making some even bigger changes.

And the first big change I had to make was making a commitment to myself to regain the energy that's been so steadily slipping away. I could work to improve all of my writing routines and obligations, force myself to get up earlier, go to bed later, push my word count, and maximize any free time I could find, but none of those changes would last if I didn't have the energy to even get out of bed in the morning. I had to take a step back.

Over the past two months I've committed to a new exercise routine and healthy nutritional plan. The first few weeks were hard, but as I began to feel better, see some results, and noticed my energy returning to a level I haven't felt in years, the commitment became drastically easier. I can't remember a time when I could get up at 5am and feel refreshed, but I feel that on most mornings now (especially on the ones when I exercise first thing). To do this, I've had to take time away from writing, but with the remaining time I do have to write is now more productive. I can appreciate it more. I can see my vision returning.

I'm still writing. And I have many improvements still to make to reach my goals. But this one has been an important first step. One step back and two steps forward.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cover Reveal for The Summer Sacrifice by Holly Hinton


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Today we are excited to share the cover process via images and the final cover for the middle grade fantasy The Summer Sacrifice by Holly Hinton.  The book is scheduled for release on June 21st, 2014.
The cover artist has provided us with the images to show the process of creating the cover.
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 These three concept images were the first pictures David created for The Summer Sacrifice. Thumbnail A evoked the atmosphere of a mysterious fantasy, B gave the impression of a teenage classic, and C was more poetic in tone. Holly settled on a mixture of A and B as the basis for David to start constructing the final cover.
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These drawings were 'speed-painted' by David. They are rough in nature as their purpose was to help decide the cover's general colour scheme.
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David drew a detailed sketch of the friendship group. He used this as a guide for the final painting of the group on the cover. He kept the 'camera' low, almost on the floor, to make the characters look more heroic and the serpent bonfire bigger. He worked to get a sense of wind into the image to give it an outdoor feeling and to add dynamism, and also to break up the composition's symmetry.
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David paid great attention to working out the many light sources in the painting, and particularly how they would interact with the faces and bodies of the five central characters. There is a strong backlight from the fire, a mix of bounced lights from the environment, and diffuse bluish light from the sky.
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This version of the cover is close to the final one. The serpent and the title still required small changes, and David also did some other general polishing, including painting the moon's glow onto the vines and leaves framing the picture, and adding the stars.
Screenshot
This screenshot shows the front, back and spine of the cover from inside Krita, the open-source software David uses to create his work.
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The final cover for the paperback.
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The final cover for the ebook.

Book Description: Three hundred years ago, the Great Goddess sent a storm to destroy mankind. She nearly succeeded. One island survived. These days, the Goddess stops the spread of evil by sacrificing the Island’s rotten teenage souls. Or so the story goes... . When Jamie Tuff survives her Taking, she thinks her worst nightmares are behind her. But then her soul starts wandering into other people’s bodies, and she discovers that the Island harbours a deadly secret. Now, she must save her little world from a fate worse than—well, worse than what the Goddess has already done to it. Join Jamie Tuff and friends on their adventures through land, sea and sky, in a world where stars walk and Halfhawks fly.


About the Cover Designer:
David Revoy (nickname Deevad), is a french artist living in the south of France.  He has more than 10 years of experience working remotely as a freelancer. His skills and expertise includes illustrationart-directionconcept-art and teaching. In short: he's a 2D artist (he uses drawing, painting, digital painting techniques) and paints custom artworks for books, posters, board-games, video-games and movies. His clients are located all around the world.
Since 2009 he has painted using only free and open-source software. He uses Krita, Mypaint, and Gimp on Linux. This technical choice doesn't affect compatibility with his clients: he still provides industry standards and can work or open any regular files.
He can be followed on Google+TwitterTumblr or deviantArt.

About the Author:

hollyHolly grew up in a small, sleepy village in Suffolk. The acting bug hit her at age nine, when she was asked to play Baboushka in the school nativity. That same year she played the lead role of a naughty black poodle in a pet parlour themed ballet, and she thought she had made it. Years passed, but the acting bug didn’t. She went to Goldsmiths, University of London to study Drama, after which she completed her actor training at Arts Ed.
Writing a book was never part of the plan. But life’s full of swerves and surprises and ideas dropping into people’s heads. Holly had an idea drop into hers, and that idea became The Summer Sacrifice, and The Summer Sacrifice became the first book of the Master Game Series.


For more information please visit:  http://www.hollyhinton.com/
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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

 
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