Cover Reveal – Stonebearer’s Betrayal

Each phase of the publishing process brings with it a mix of excitement and carefully controlled terror. Excitement springs from completing another step and coming that much closer to bringing your book baby into the world. Terror lurks around each turn, because there is always the possibility of something going wrong.

Whoever compared creating a book to having a baby is absolutely right. Each month of a healthy pregnancy is cheered, each milestone celebrated, but disaster is unpredictable and always a heartbeat away. Until the baby is born, all mothers understand the fear of something going wrong as they carry their child. I know I did with all three of my pregnancies. I’m doing the same now with my book.

But, you can’t allow fear to stop you. In fact, if you aren’t doing something that scares you from time to time, then you aren’t stretching to meet your potential.

Allowing myself to trust my cover artist to create an image that represented the entirety of a project I’d been working on for years was scary. Really scary. I’m glad I did. She did amazing work.

So, here it is. The moment I’ve been teasing about for the last few weeks.

My cover reveal.

(Squee!)

Stonebearer's Betrayal

Isn’t it amazing?

A huge thanks to Ashley at Strange Devotion Designs for creating a magical cover for me.

Here’s the back cover copy:

A secret society of immortals, tasked to protect the world.

A demon bent on revenge.

A girl brave enough to fight for her family when the two collide.

Archdemoness Wrothe stirs the ashes from a long dead war, rekindling a fire that threatens to burn the world. Only the legendary Stonebearers of the Khandashii have the power to stop her, if they catch wind of her plans in time.

Katira didn’t believe the legends. She didn’t believe a person could alter the fabric of reality or live forever. She didn’t believe in the dark mirror realm or in the dangerous creatures prowling there either.

That was before the first shadow hound came for her.

Release date for Stonebearer’s Betrayal is November 13th, 2018. Available at online retailers where books are sold.

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Mini Blog Tour

Two awesome friends from the Twitter #DarkLitChat offered to help spread the word. As a thank you I encourage you to go check out their blogs, not just because I wrote mini articles there, but because they went above and beyond for me to help with my cover reveal.

Elesha at E’s Writing Journey

Rae at A New Look on Books

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Love staying in touch? So do I! Let’s connect. Pick your favorite platform, either here on WordPress, or you can also find me on  TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

 

Book of the Month – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Ocean_at_the_End_of_the_Lane_US_Cover

When an author’s name keeps coming up over and over, at book clubs, at conferences, at critique groups, you know there is something special about what they create. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors. This month I explored his book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

In this book, an unnamed middle-aged man returns to his childhood neighborhood and finds a mysterious draw to visit an old friend’s house. While he is there he remembers a strange event that happened when he was a boy.

Short on cash, the narrator’s family rents out his bedroom and he must share a room with his younger sister. One of their renters commits suicide in the family car. His death allows a supernatural being to enter the world and strange things start happening.

The narrator goes to his friend Lettie Hempstock’s house at the end of the lane for help. Lettie agrees to help and takes the narrator with her to bind the supernatural spirit back into her own world. In the process, the being sticks the narrator in the foot and anchors a pathway back to the human world in him.

The being returns in the form of the caretaker, Ursula Monkton, that the narrator’s family has hired so that the mother can return to work, proving that the most terrible of terrors is the one that is hiding in your own home and no one believes you about. Ursula is manipulative and soon bends the family into loving her, everyone except the narrator, who she turns the family against.

With the Hempstock’s help, the narrator is able to defeat the villanous Ursula, but it comes at great price. To save the narrator the pain of remembering they alter his memories so that the event is more like a dream that quickly fades.

Every few years he returns to visit, and every few years he is allowed to remember the experience once more only to forget once again the moment he walks away from the house.

There is, of course, much more to the story than this. If you want a more complete synopsis you are welcome to go visit the wiki page.

My Review:

There is a reason that so many people talk about Neil Gaiman’s work, especially around writing circles. He has a talent with language that makes the prose flow beautifully across the page. The ideas that he chooses to weave into each story are unique and intriguing and make the reader question their own realities.

Gaiman’s books are short, making them easy to start and finish in a long evening. Which is a good thing because once you pick one up you won’t want to put it down.

I loved the Ocean at the End of the Lane and can’t wait to pick up another of Gaiman’s books. I recommend this title to those who love well written prose, good vs. evil, and practical magic. Those who don’t like magic, even in small, easy to digest portions, might not like this book.

Reading List for 2015

Last year at about this time I announced that I was going to read twelve books from the BBC’s Big Read List of 2003. I had so much fun plowing through these gems that I intend to challenge myself again, but with a much different list.

This year I will read some of the best that speculative fiction has to offer. Some of these books have been around for awhile and I’m ashamed that I haven’t picked them up sooner, and some are still fairly new.

Either way, I’m excited to dive in!

Here’s is this year’s list:

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
  2. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  3. Everneath – Brodi Ashton
  4. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  5. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  6. Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  7. Under Heaven – Guy Gavriel Kay
  8. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  9. Existence – David Brin
  10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  11. Going Postal – Terry Pratchett
  12. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin

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What are you planning to read this year? Share in the comments!

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Also – I’m still taking names for feature posts in the future, this includes writers, artists, cosplayers, and musicians.  If you, or someone you know, would like some shameless self promotion, let me know!

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Related posts and websites:

4th Quarter Reading, Done!

Here with only a few days left of 2014 I’m proud to report that I finished the last book of the year this morning at 2:45 am. Now I’m not saying that I stayed up reading all night, although I liked the last read enough that I could have – my youngest woke at 1:30 throwing up and I couldn’t turn my brain off afterward. Ahh, the joys of too many ideas and not enough time.

Here are this quarter’s books-

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee: Somehow I escaped reading this in school, and it’s a shame too because I’ve heard references to parts of this book and it’s characters all my life and never realized it.  If I were to pick a favorite element I would chose the character of Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem and also the town attorney. He is a brilliant example of what it means to lead by example.  His high standards and sense of morality are enviable and something that is lacking from much of the world today.

Dune, Frank Herbert: Ok, I’ll admit, I cheated a little here.  Dune is a massive tome of dense writing that even the most seasoned writer needs to pick through carefully.  It’s fascinating and a good read, but time consuming. I read the first section, which still was over 300 pages and intend to read the rest at my leisure later. This is one of those books that has redefined what is possible in the world of science fiction and is a prime example of how to do world building right. I only wish I would have picked it up earlier, this would have been a perfect example when I was creating my own fantasy world.

A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute: At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, the story didn’t take off right away and for the first twenty or so pages the reader has to wade through the narrator helping a gentleman settle the articles in his will. Not too exciting. Things pick up when we get into the story of Jean Paget, who inherits the estate. We first learn about her experience as a prisoner of war to the Japanese in Malay where she, and a group of women and children, was forced to travel by foot from town to town because no one wanted to take them in. I love stories of survival against the odds, so this was great. The rest of the story is devoted to how she spends her inheritance by first digging a well and washing house for the town that finally took them in at the end of the war, and then making improvements in a derelict town in Australia where her love interest has a cattle station. It is a story of perseverance and grit and one that I truly enjoyed.

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I had a great time reading these books off of the BBC Book Challenge and hope to find equally good reads for the coming year.

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Did you have a favorite read this year? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Fantasy Anthology 2015 by Xchyler Publishing

I am excited to announce that my short story Breath will be included in the yet to be named 2015 fantasy anthology published by Xchyler, a fun and unique Indie press. These guys know their stuff and it’s been a pleasure working with them. Their past anthology titles include:

TerraMechanica

Terra Mechanica, a Steampunk Anthology: In an alternative past with an unrealized future, trek around the world and beyond in nine separate adventures, in the ships locomotives, and flying machines that power the Steampunk universe.

MomentsInMillennia

Moments in Millenia, a Fantasy Anthology: Travel with seven talented authors as they glimpse through time into Humanity’s future. Will mankind blossom and flourish, conquering the stars and time itself? Or, with selfishness, greed, and just plain bad luck send us all to the brink of destruction?

ShadesAndShadows

Shades and Shadows, a Paranormal Anthology: In the dead of night, you sense something other beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there. Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head. Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed.

ADashOfMadness

A Dash of Madness, a Thriller Anthology: One man’s crazy is another man’s norm. Inside, eight bizarre stories explore twisted perceptions and challenge conceptions about right and wrong. With a fascinating dive into several unstable minds, the authors examine different avenues for exposing warped cognition and mutilated logic. Each delivers a disquieting glimpse of reality.

MechanizedMasterpieces

Mechanized Masterpieces, a Steampunk Anthology: Amid a cacophony of cranking sprockets and cogs, in chuffs of steam and soot, comes the expansion of classic literature into alternative Steampunk masterpieces. Follow nine skilled authors as they lead old friends and new acquaintances through Jamaica, Singapore, Cape Town, Denmark, Paris, London, and Geneva on a phantasmagorical Steampunk World Tour.

ForgedInFlame

Forged in Flame, a Dragon anthology: Forged in flame, wrought in blood, bone and steel, from the bowels of the earth and the inner most chambers of the heart, dragons arise. Fired by their passion, inspired by legend, six talented storytellers delve into realms of myth and fantasy as they explore what it means to be human.

2nd Quarter Reading – Done!

I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the second quarter reading with a few weeks to spare, namely because I fell in love with  The Lovely Bones and read it in four days. The longest read from this quarter clocks in at a mind-boggling six weeks to finish Midnight’s Children.

Here are this quarter’s books –

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie: As mentioned before, I struggled to get through this book, not because it is poorly written or uninteresting but because it is extremely long and the prose is very dense. This isn’t to say there isn’t some fascinating reading in there, only that the reader is required to patiently sift and sort through a mixed jumble of thoughts and ideas that bounce back and forth in the time line of the main characters life.  It’s confusing.  Rushdie does a masterful job weaving different themes in and out of the story so by the time you get to the end you can see the whole picture – that is if you get to the end.

Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro: Reading this was like watching Downton Abbey from the perspective of the butler.  It is a melancholy and thoughtful read as we are shown the highlights of his life and efforts to become a truly great British butler at the expense of missing out on having a life of his own.  Like Midnight’s Children, it is not exactly a story but rather an experience of someone else’s life experience.

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold: After reading these other books, this book was a wonderful breath of life.  Finally, a real story with conflicts and problems to be solved instead of a rambling narrative. The main character narrates her story, sharing her point of view and feelings about what’s happening in her family, but the kicker here is that she’s dead.  The book opens with her remembering the details of her murder and she continues to follow her family as they struggle to cope with her loss.  Riveting, fascinating, and the best book on the list so far.

Here are the rest of this year’s picks, feel free to read along with me!

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving200px-PrayerForOwenMeany
  2. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  3. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  4. Dune – Frank Herbert
  5. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

 

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This Year’s Reading List

One of my resolutions is to read more books from the BBC Book List Challenge, specifically one book a month.  As of today I’ve only read 27 of the 100 listed and there are some terrific books on there that I’ve been meaning to read.  Here are the twelve that I’m planning on tackling this year.

  1. 200px-PrayerForOwenMeanyA Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens.  Admittedly I cheated and started this one during the last week of December, but it still counts!
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  3. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  4. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  5. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  6. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  7. conradjoetext96hdark12aThe Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  8. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  9. Dune – Frank Herbert
  10. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  11. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  12. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

What are you planning on reading this year?  Let me know in the comments!

The Perfect Book

512px-Old_book_-_Les_Miserables

We all have our favorites, those books that are never far from our night stands. They are the worn and comfortable books that we keep coming back to year after year, like an old friend. What is it about those books that hold our attention even after the surprises are gone?

Everyone has different things that they look for in a great book.  For some, the story comes first above all else.  For others it might be a strong romantic connection between the characters.  As a writer it is important for me to recognize what makes different books great so that while writing my own I can bring all the good parts together and create a story that will resonate with readers.

For me, the most important element of a book are its characters.  Not only must they be well-written and well-rounded, they must have something about them that I find fascinating.    For some characters this might be a great back story, for others it might be a problem they must overcome.  In the end, I must care about what happens to these people and I must want to know more about them.

The story comes in close second. A great story has the power to captivate and hold my attention. It is hard to put down and even when I’m not reading I’ll think about it.  For it to do that it must be meaningful.  The characters must have real stakes against them and something either very painful or very personal to lose.  

The more I read the more I realize how important it is for a book to have beautiful prose.  I want to be able to fall into a lush weaving of words, not just read a story.  There are few authors that have mastered this skill. Sue Monk Kidd is one of my favorite authors just because her prose is beautiful.

 Last but not least is creativity.  In fantasy writing I want to be amazed by what worlds the author can create and what magic lies in them.  In standard literature I want to be surprised at solutions to problems and at twists in the plot.  All books are a result of creativity, however some have the power to grab my imagination better than others. 

How about you dear reader?  What do you look for in the perfect book? Share your thoughts below!