Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross

Let's welcome Katie Cross to my blog to celebrate the release of her YA fantasy, Miss Mabel's School for Girls, which releases March 27th, 2014!

For me, writing a book involved a lot of staring at a computer screen, slapping the delete button, pulling my
hair out, and Pinterest.

Oh, yes. You heard right. Pinterest.

The power of Pinterest comes from the images. I always find photos that I want to remember and have access to, so I pin them to a board for later reference. So, I thought to myself, Hey, I'm releasing my first book, Miss Mabel's School for Girls. Why don't I give the readers something to look at in anticipation of the book?

So instead of a boring interview where I talk about how great I am, I'm here today to take you on a visual tour to give you a few ideas of what you can expect to find in this exciting new young adult fantasy novel, Miss Mabel's School for Girls.

Wrought iron fence:
There's a wrought iron fence around the outside of the ancient manor that is Miss Mabel's School for Girls much like this one. It's known for creaking in the wind.

Potions bottles:
Potion bottles hold oh-so-many possibilities. Witches love potions, and the witches in Miss Mabel's School
for Girls are no exception. These particular bottles contain a variety of spices and herbs, all of which you can win during the launch giveaway March 27th-30th!

Peacock feather:
Miss Mabel loves peacock feathers. They represent beauty and vanity: her two favorite virtues.

Green mossy tree:
Miss Mabel's School is located in Letum Wood, a lush, expansive forest that hides many secrets. Some of these secrets catch up with Bianca Monroe, our sixteen-year-old heroine, in the dark of the night.

Trees/forest:
This is another view of Letum Wood as you'll expect to find it in the summer. It's lush, gorgeous, and a little on the dangerous side.


Old book photo:
A grimoire is a book filled with magical spells, a kind of magical diary passed through generations. This grimoire is available to win during the launch day giveaway! Head over to www.missmabels.com to find out how you can participate.

Hopefully these photos gave you an idea of the exciting adventure you'll find in Miss Mabel's School for Girls! Now, get your Pinterest on and start spreading the word! Visit www.missmabels.com to find out how to enter the giveaway and win lots of free stuff!


About the Book:

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.



About the Author:
My world revolves around my husband (who is a major hottie), my Vizsla's, and the mountains.

I wear hiking boots instead of heels when I need to feel powerful, and on a bad day, I love a weightlifting workout. Actually, I love it on a good day.

I don't eat bread because my thyroid doesn't like it, although there are days I miss it. Especially ciabatta. Sweet potatoes are kind of my thing. Cookies too.

I write because I never stopped.

Visit me at www.kcrosswriting.com

Giveaway:

Go to www.missmabels.com and click on the 'giveaway' tab for more information. Enter to win a potions chest, an apothecary bag of herbs and spices, an old spell book that opens to hide apothecary herbs, amazon gift cards, and more! The giveaway lasts from March 27th at 7am to March 30th at 10 pm


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mental Health Giveaway Hop!



March 20th to 27th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Reading in Twilight

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my giveaway! I'm so excited for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop and offer a lucky winner the book that inspired me and numerous other new authors that it was possible to follow our passions. A key foundation to any type of success is belief--belief in yourself and what you are striving for is possible. As Henry Ford famously said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right." Belief in the opportunity is the first step in making it a reality.

This book is my inspiration and needs no introduction...

3 Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

~Go to the entire Goodreads description of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling


Here are the official rules/guidelines for the giveaway:
  1. You must be a follower of this blog. Just click the Join this Site box below "Followers" on the sidebar.
  2. You can gain extra entries by following me on Goodreads, Twitter, signing up for my newsletter, or leaving a comment below.
  3. This is open to international followers. (Only if The Book Depository ships to your country; please check this link to see if your country's included.)
  4. This contest runs from March 20 - 27.
  5. The winner will be selected on March 28th via Rafflecopter random selection and announced in this post. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner. 
***As the winner, if you are just dying to get another inspirational book, then you may substitute Harry Potter for another book of similar value from The Book Depository***

Thanks Again & Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also, make sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Giveaway Hop, too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Dragon's Egg by H. B. Bolton Cover Reveal


My name is Heidi Bolton, but I use my initials for my writing name, H.B. Bolton. I’m the author of the middle-grade fantasy series, Relics of Mysticus. The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three) is in the final stages of development and is almost ready for its May release date. Today I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my newest book cover with you.

Cover artist, Elisabeth Alba, offered an inside peek of her work’s progression through her photographs and commentary. I’m extremely fortunate to know this Scholastic Book illustrator and have had the privilege to benefit from her talents for all three of my covers. In fact, we’ve already started talking about The Mummy’s Amulet (Book Four).

I met Elisabeth about 14 years ago through one of my drawing classes. From her high school freshman year through senior year, she was one of my students (a favorite one, at that). I taught advanced-placement art, which was before having children of my own and creating worlds with unlikely heroes for my mythical stories.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for helping to bring my characters to life!

As a bonus, I’m offering a free eBook version of The Serpent’s Ring (Book One) through Amazon from March 10-13.
Grab it on Amazon!



~H.B. Bolton (Author)




Progression of a Book Cover Illustrator by Elisabeth Alba 



This is a progression of The Dragon’s Egg book cover from sketch to final drawing. Truth be told, I haven’t illustrated many multi-figure images before, and then add a ton of stuff happening around them, so I was in for a challenging composition — a fun challenge! You can see how I gradually worked out and tightened the image. In the beginning, I had planned to make the background darker but then realized if the glowing fog was everywhere, then it wouldn’t be so dark. It framed the floating castle better as well.
Once I figured out the drawing, which I did digitally, I worked on a color composition to figure out how I would paint it. This was an important step — especially since watercolor is really hard to fix if you make a mistake.


At this stage, I printed the line drawing onto watercolor paper and got to work. I painted with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus fine-art liquid watercolors to start. I painted the base color first, which in this case was greenish.


After painting more of the base colors, I decided to do some line work with pen and ink to solidify the shapes.


Once the base colors were done, I sealed the image with matte medium. The Hydrus watercolors can be difficult because they are not like normal watercolor. Once they’re down on paper, you can’t wipe them away, but sealing with matte medium helps them not to smear — which is nice! You can also see how my desk lamp caused some glare over the castle when I took the photo.
On top of the matte medium, I painted with acryla gouache to darken and saturate the colors, and to do any highlights like the edge lighting around the figures. Finally, once the painting was done, I sealed the entire image with Kamar varnish. It brought out the colors even more, because once the acryla gouache dried, it became matte and the colors faded some.


Once I scanned the image, I worked on any digital touch-ups (some things are hard to do in watercolor, like getting colors really dark, and also the colors sometimes don’t scan well). This was how it looked once scanned, before any touch-ups. It was a more faded and less vibrant version of the original painting. I also lost the highlights.


Finally, after all of the digital work was complete, the cover was ready for text.


For the typography, I added a dark-blue gradient around the edges to frame the image and help the text stand out. I’ve used the same font for all three books, but in this one, I replaced the “O” in “Dragon’s” with the actual Dragon’s Egg relic.


Official Blurb

The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three)

Sure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn’t have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys.

Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble.

Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.

You can see more artwork by Elisabeth Alba and keep up with her future creations through her sites:


Elisabeth is a Queens-based illustrator whose work focuses on fairy tales, fantasy, and historical subjects. She earned her MFA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her clients include Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Elisabeth wants to thank Heidi for being the best high school art teacher ever, and setting her on the path to becoming an illustrator!


Connect with H.B. Bolton here:


Giveaway:
Signed copies of The Serpent's Ring and The Trickster's Totem (US)
ebook of The Trickster's Totem (you can grab the first book for free!)
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Indie ReCon Recap



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!

There were a lot of great posts from this year’s Indie ReCon. Surprisingly, much of the information was similar to last year’s online conference. There was some good information on writing and formatting, but what I primarily looked for this year was the most current and productive marketing strategies.

My biggest learning is that there is no one way to best market your book(s). Each indie author have his/her best practices, many of which conflict with the experiences of other authors. What was gold for one, worked poorly for another. And what works right now, may not work six months or a year from now. Trying and testing different techniques seems to be what’s needed, changing your approach and adapting. For one, I’m still trying to decide if it’s better to be exclusive with Amazon (to take advantage of the Lending Library and KDP giveaways) or have my ebooks up on the other major online retailers.

Here are my Top 10 posts from this year’s Indie ReCon (in order of time posted):
I know I have to dive more into marketing, but splitting my time between that and writing right now is difficult. I’m doing well with my writing, so I’m focusing on that until I can get my third book finished. The one piece of advice that all the successful authors can agree on is to keep writing. You want to sell more books? Then release more books. There are a few authors that make a killing off of one or two books, but most of the successful authors have many offerings for their fans and curious readers to choose from. So with that said, it’s time to get back to work.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mine to Spell by Janeal Falor Cover Reveal


Today we have something different for you.  Instead of just revealing a cover we are asking YOU to help us choose WHICH cover to use!   Mine to Spell by Janeal Falor is the second book in the Mine series. This is a YA fantasy and it is scheduled to release May 5th, 2014.

Do you like cover choice #1:

Or do you like cover choice #2:
Cast your vote here:

Cover #1 or cover #2?
  
pollcode.com free polls 
Be sure to stop by the authors website on March 6th for the final reveal of which cover was chosen!

MINE TO SPELL Description:

Cynthia has always hidden from her father’s hexes behind her older sister. When her family gains independence unheard of for women, she’s relieved that her days of harsh punishments are over. But as her seventeenth birthday approaches—the typical age to be sold to a new master—death threats endanger her sisters. She now faces two options: run or meet society’s expectations.
For once, Cynthia isn’t going to let her older sister shield her from the problem. She’s going to prove to herself, her sisters, and society that her family isn’t a threat to their traditions. She willingly chooses to be purchased by a new master. A bold step that takes her somewhere she never thought she would go and to a man she might possibly fall in love with. With his help, she may just find a way to save her sisters while discovering how to stand up for herself. If she lives long enough.

 

About the author:
Amazon bestselling author Janeal Falor lives in Utah with her husband and three children. In her non-writing time she teaches her kids to make silly faces, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and attempts to cultivate a garden even when half the things she plants die. When it's time for a break she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family or drinking hot chocolate.


Giveaway:
 Ten Giveaway Combo Packs: ebooks of YOU ARE MINE and prequel, MINE TO TARNISH
Open INT
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was put together by CBB Book Promotions.
 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Indie ReCon is Going on Now!


http://www.indierecon.org/


Today is Day 2 of the three day Indie ReCon online conference. I tried to read most of the posts and watched several videos from yesterday, but I'll have to go back this weekend to get through everything. I will warn you now, there is a lot of information. So far, the biggest impacts for me were Susan Kaye Quinn's video, the web chat with JA Konrath and Barry Eisler, and Rachel Aaron's post on writing faster. With my limited writing time, Rachel's post intrigued me immensely, and it was pretty simple and straightforward, but made a lot of sense. I'll be working on putting her triangle diagram principles into action with my writing to get more out of each sit-down session.

If you're an indie author or interested in becoming one, the information provided at Indie ReCon is invaluable. Click on the graphic above to check it out. I'll discuss more of my learnings from the conference next Wednesday. Have a great week!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Keeper by Ingrid Seymour Cover Reveal

I'm excited to reveal the cover for Keeper by Ingrid Seymour.  This YA fantasy is releasing as a serial novel with the following release dates:
 vol 1 - March 05
 vol 2 - April 2
 vol 3 - May 7
 vol 4 - June 4
and the Omnibus edition with all volumes releases in July.
This is the cover of the omnibus that contains all the stories that comes out in July. 


About the Book:
Greg Papilio both wants and dreads his impending metamorphosis. He’s tired of being a runt—always picked last on the basketball court—and tired of being ugly, like a caterpillar, when he could be what girls call “drop dead gorgeous.” But as much as he looks forward to the transformation, he also fears the caste it will inevitably assign to him. He doesn’t want a common caste, or one that will obliterate his freewill and make him a slave. He wants a powerful one, a cool one.

Samantha Gibson is average. She’s short and a little full around the hips—a terribly cute look for a future chef. À-la-Rachael-Ray in her old days. She’s two years away from culinary school, from her uncaring parents, and from carving a perfectly Human future. She wants independence, a career and a quiet life of her own.

Except fate couldn’t care less about what Greg and Samantha want and gives them exactly the opposite. Greg’s metamorphosis assigns him a caste that enslaves him to Samantha, while her chance to attend Le Cordon Bleu is taken away when her parents get a divorce. And fate’s cruelty doesn’t stop there. Not content with shattering their dreams, it also makes them fall in love, just to tear them apart when Samantha morphs, losing her freewill and developing a compulsion for a guy she barely knows.

Still, these misfortunes are just the tip of the iceberg, because Greg’s fate is to protect Samantha at a time when someone wants her dead. He is her Keeper and will stop at nothing to ensure her safety, even if her secret past proves deadly, even if she belongs to someone else.



AUTHOR BIO:
Ingrid Seymour loves, loves, loves to write. She's a young and new adult author. She writes in a variety of
genres including romance, urban fantasy, paranormal and horror. She loves pizza and sushi, Sunkist and gum. She believes in vampires, witches, but not zombies (uh-uh, never!) She writes to loud music, daydreams constantly and spends too much time in twitter!! Find her there? ;) Ingrid has incredible fun doing what she does, but more than anything she enjoys hearing from her readers. It's a dream come true.

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