Hi fellow Indie Carnies,
I love Connecticut, where I mostly grew up, but having visited there this past week, breathing 94 degree soup, I can honestly say about 94 degree weather in Colorado ‘It’s 94, but it’s a DRY heat’. Wow, it really does make a difference. I’d rather be baked than boiled. And since we are passing marijuana legislation currently, I think a lot of Coloradans feel that way in more than one sense ;P.
On to indie news! Today we have a brief segment on blogging do’s and don’ts, and we’re featuring two authors: Liz Long, and Melissa Pearl, up and coming authors to add to your summer reading list!
Ironic that the topic for today’s YA Author Club is Blogging Do’s and Don’ts, since I’m about the most haphazard blogger ever. So today will also be spent by me checking out other author’s tips. But I can easily fill you in on what not to do, because I’ve probably done them all!
1. Be consistent, blog regularly. Hahaha, I am one of the worst for this. The only things I do consistently are shower, make food, and go to work. I’m a working mother of an 8 year old, in disaster public health. Everything else I do besides keeping my wonderful kid and husband alive, keeping the house from burning down, and keeping my job, is gravy. I see all these Better Homes and Garden-type projects people post on Pinterest and Facebook like making salads look like swans. Awesomely cool, but I look at them while trying to keep the Rice-a-roni from burning while I unstick my daughter’s Skittles from the wall, and laugh and laugh and laugh. The take-away message here is, just try to post more often than once every few months.
2. Try to stay on topic. I also wander and say and do random things at a whim. But generally, if it’s a writing blog, try to have the topics and posts mostly revolve around writing, authoring, reading etc. If it’s a political blog, be sure to discuss current events. But people tend to get a particular flavor from a blog and come to expect a certain type of post. I have the opposite of a poker-face, and no editor between my brain and mouth, so I tend to write about writing or books, until something in current politics pisses me off, and then I throw in a rant or two to blow off steam. Probably not the best practice, but there you are.
3. Include links. If you want people to see something you think is cool, make it easy for them to see more. Hyperlinks are like magical little miracles of point and click. I still remember the days when I struggled to change the color of the screen on my MS Dos computer that took up the size of three desks in our classroom, using code. I failed that class. Now everything you want people to know can be at the tip of their pointer finger.
4. Finally, keep it simple. Unless you have your own programmer/web designer, the simpler the better. No, your website might not have flashy thingees that whiz and bang and sing songs to the person who clicks on it, but I’ve found that I much more like visiting simple sites where everything is laid out logically and is easy to find, and doesn’t take a million years to load. And needing to run my own blog with the tech savvy of a caveman, I find that simple is much easier to maintain.
That said, I’d like to introduce author Melissa Pearl!
This very prolific writer has a couple of exciting books available and coming up: Unknown, and Unseen.
Unknown is the first book in a breath-taking epic fantasy series that will swoop you out of the tedium of everyday and into a mythic world of archetypes impossible to ignore.
Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.
Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.
Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.
Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.
Unknown is now available at Amazon, along with the second of the Elements trilogy, Unseen.
Danger surrounds the Seekers. Having already faced overwhelming odds, Kyla and Jethro discover it is only the beginning. Now they must face the power of nature itself.
Each day is a test of faith.
Two elements remain undiscovered. The light is yet to be resurrected. Dark forces prepare to descend upon the heroes of prophecy and they have one more power they must over come…their forbidden love for each other.
Each moment is a test of loyalty and courage.
In Taramon, Athra faces his own demons as he frets over the safety of his fiancée while trying to counter a dark evil that is brought to his doorstep. Treachery lurks in the shadows, forcing the future king into an action that could destroy his beloved city.
Through it all, they must cling to the truths hidden in the unseen.
“The plotting is sublime and the pacing is perfect. I held my breath as I turned the pages, hoping that Kyla and Jethro would return in time to help save their kingdom. What a fabulous addition to this series! I can’t wait for the third book!” Taylor Longford, Author of the Greystone Series.
About the Author:
Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.
“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”
Next, I’d like to feature Liz Long, a fascinating author with a unique view into the world of editing as well!
Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.
Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while.
Her newest release, Witch Hearts, will be for sale on Amazon on April 30th. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com
Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong) https://twitter.com/#!/LizCLong
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lizclongauthor
WITCH HEARTS Links:
Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIKKEV0
WITCH HEARTS BACK COVER SYNOPSIS
How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?
Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.
If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.
WITCH HEARTS Special Excerpt
Cooper and Ruby hopped on his bike and drove back to her place. She even managed to peek out from beneath her helmet to see the city whip past her in a blur. When they finally came to a stop, she untangled herself from him – albeit a tad regretful about it – and handed him back the helmet.
“Thanks again for everything tonight. I know it wasn’t the most fun you could have, but I want everyone to be safe,” she said.
“I understand. I’m glad I went, too. I don’t want anyone else in danger. Plus, you’re good company.” He stood up as he said it, hooking the helmets on his bike.
“You don’t have walk me in or anything. I don’t want to keep you any longer than you need.”
He snorted. “You’re not keeping me from anything. I want to do it, but especially because I want to make sure you’re safe.”
Ruby bit her bottom lip. Her nerves fluttered a bit at the thought of a possible goodnight kiss. She could hardly believe how immature she sounded in her head.
It’s your best friend’s brother. This is Cooper we’re talking about, a voice in her head screamed at her.
Another voice spoke up. Yeah. It’s Cooper. And your thoughts about him have never been exactly brotherly.
Shaking both voices away, she swiped her key fob by the entrance door and Cooper held it open for her. They took the stairs up to the second floor and walked around the corner to her apartment. Ruby stopped as soon as she saw her door.
“Something’s wrong,” she said.
“What? How can you tell?” He looked up and down the hallway.
“There was a barrier when I left. Remember I checked, put my hand on the door when we left? My spell was in place.”
“There was a soft glow on the door,” he said absentmindedly, as though remembering. His eyes narrowed and Ruby could see his veins throb in his neck as his jaw tightened.
“Only witches would be able to see it, but it’s not there.” Ruby took a few steps forward, placing her hand on the door, which was now simply cool and wooden. She retrieved her key and turned the lock, but Cooper stopped her.
“I’ll go in first.”
He swung the door wide open; he held his hands up in case of a fight or a spell, but silence greeted them. Cooper did a quick sweep of the apartment while Ruby waited in the entryway. He returned with Aziza in one arm and a letter in his hand.
“This was on your coffee table,” he said grimly. “Aziza was hiding behind the couch. She hissed until she realized it was me.”
Ruby took the note from him. As she opened it, Cooper stood beside her to read over her shoulder.
“Not all witches are equal. Some are born with extraordinary gifts; anyone can practice, but few are truly powerful. You are one of the lucky ones, Ruby. I apologize about your friend Courtney. She was powerful, but nowhere near your capabilities. I’m afraid that in order for my powers to thrive, yours must come to an end. I’ll be seeing you very soon. –X”
Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Donovan-Circus-Novel-ebook/dp/B007VT34J2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336675611&sr=8-2
GIFTED BACK COVER SYNOPSIS
Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.
Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.
When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.
Q&A with Liz Long! See where the stories come from!:
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I think that would have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To me, it’s the first book in that series that really shows emotional angst for Harry between being a teenager, dating your first crush, and of course, being hunted by Lord Voldemort. We get to see our characters developing into real wizards with the DA (like Neville growing into being a badass), plus the introduction of accepting those deemed a little strange, like Luna Lovegood. We feel our first real loss with a major character as well as the real danger now that dark wizards are out in the open by the end. It’s a full scale of emotions and really sort of sets the rest of the stage for the series, IMO.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Oh gosh, it’s probably still a little early in the game for me to presume I can be compared to another author. BookBub compared my Donovan Circus book to the Hunger Games, with a female character destined to discover who she is and stand up for her world. I’m sure my circus folks could hang with any X-Men character, while my characters from WITCH HEARTS would get along well with the Halliwell sisters from Charmed or Sookie Stackhouse and her friends.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
One of my favorite lines is one Lucy says in the first chapter when explaining why she’s rejoining the Donovan Circus:
“I wanted to be normal amongst the freaks.”
Family and a sense of belonging are heavy themes in my first book and this line sums Lucy up perfectly. Lucy has never been “normal” anywhere in the human world. She thinks – hopes, really – that she can find her place in the gifted world in the circus she used to know. She’s been a loner her whole life because of her gift and now that there’s an opportunity to be a part of something, she’s happy to include herself in the strange gaggle that is the Donovan gang.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I listen to a lot of soundtracks, especially movie scores, like Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, and anything else that contains some action type of music. Honestly, nothing has been more motivating for me lately than to hear a reader I’ve never met before tell me how much they loved my work and can’t wait for another book to read. It’s such an amazing feeling to affect someone’s book list and I’m honored to be a part of it. It’s a total kick in the butt to know people are eagerly anticipating another title and makes me want to write that much faster.
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
I work full time, so I write when I can in my spare time. Often my husband will go to the gym for a couple hours after work, so I take advantage and try to crank out a few hundred words. I also give him lots of time to play video games or watch NBA so I can sit on the couch with him and write. And of course, the weekends contain my biggest chunks of writing time, so there’s nothing I like better than a rainy Sunday with coffee and my laptop.
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
I love Skittles to snack on during the process, though my teeth beg me to stop. I’m also never opposed to a fresh new 20 oz. Diet Coke within reach, but that’s only once a week at most. The rest of the time it’s H2O!
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am currently working on the second book in the Donovan Circus series. Next up is an NA fantasy novel with a unique twist on Reapers.
Well, I for one, am excited both for these books. Liz Long creates complicated and intriguing worlds and characters that keep your brain moving to keep up. And now, I am chomping at the bit for the next novel. I love reading about Reapers. I’ve seen Reapers in Terry Pratchett, Piers Anthony, watched them on television in Supernatural, and Dead Like Me, so any twist on them is welcome! Death, the final frontier, the mysterious beyond that lures me as a reader into wondering what kind of beings exist in that shadow world.
Tune into Liz Long’s writing at the links above!
See what other blogging tips other authors have this week at the links below.
And what’s new at the YA Author Club?