June Preview

It’s summer!!!! And we’ve got some great new releases coming up 🙂

Toni Kerr’s Unleashed, book 2 in the Makai series, releases June 5th:
front UNLEASHED 051214Tristan can’t wait to get to Darnell—a place where people have similar powers to his own and won’t know about the horrific events that led to being exiled from his previous home. Unfortunately, they do know, and so does Lazaro, a ruthless man determined to regain possession of the powerful emerald Tristan stole.

And Lazaro isn’t the only one on a quest for Tristan’s blood.

A secret society of overzealous dragon slayers believes Tristan is a worthy target to hunt. When he is captured and put on trial for being an abomination to mankind, his continued denial of dragon ancestry won’t keep him safe for long. The Slayers have been hunting for generations, and in a private museum of artifacts and past conquests, Tristan discovers a handful of gems akin to the emerald and a new mission—if he can survive long enough to escape captivity.

But then…no amount of protection or denial can save him from himself.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22075712-unleashed

Michelle McLean’s Romancing the Rumrunner releases from Entangled’s Scandalous on June 9th:
RTRR 300x450Prohibition Era Chicago

She’s worked too hard to be run out of town…

Jessica Harlan spends her nights as The Phoenix, the owner of the most popular speakeasy in town. Her days are spent running her respectable butcher shop and dodging prohibition agents and rival club owners who all want to put her out of business.

He’s worked too hard to let his heart get in the way…

When the opportunity arises to go undercover for the Feds to catch The Phoenix, Gumshoe Anthony Solomon jumps on it. But he never suspected the notorious rumrunner would be a dame – or that he’d be so drawn to the feisty little minx.

They play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, knowing they can’t trust the other, but unable to walk away. While their hearts dodge the crossfire, the mobsters raise the stakes, and even The Phoenix may not rise again.

Kelly Hashway’s The Monster Within releases from Spencer Hill Press on June 17th:
TheMonsterWithinfinalcoverFLATcropped (2)The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.
She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.
But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Jennifer Allis Provost’s Copper Ravens releases from Spencer Hill Press on June 17th:
copper ravensSara should be happy. She has what every girl wants: a man who loves her, a beautiful home, and wealth beyond imagining. She rescued her brother from the Peacekeepers, destroyed the Iron Queen, and doesn’t have to go to her boring job any more. And yet Sara still doesn’t know if her father is alive or dead. Her mother hides in the garden, brooding about her missing husband. Her sister, the Inheritor of Metal, is scared of her own shadow, and her brother spends his days fighting and gambling. To add to Sara’s misery, the new queen (gold, of course) is more than a bit crazy, she misses her life in the Mundane world, and, worst of all, Micah wants to have children. A lot of them. As Sara wavers between happiness and homesickness, a conspiracy emerges against the Raven clan, implicating them in a plot to dethrone the Gold Queen. How can Sara prove her family’s innocence, and become the consort Micah needs her to be, without losing herself in the process?

~~~

Our theme this month is a free for all! Can’t wait to see what our authors come up with 🙂

Just Because I Write Urban Fantasy Doesn’t Mean It’s All I Read

Ok, I write epic fantasy as well, and I’ve published a few horror stories, though I wouldn’t call myself a horror writer. And, I definitely don’t limit myself to reading only the genres I write in.

One genre I just adore is historical fiction, and one of my all-time favorites is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Some put this title into the fantasy category due to the time travel elements, but what hooked me on this series was the amazing description of eighteenth century Scotland. And, every time Jamie calls Claire Sassenach, my heart does a little flip-flop.

BONUS: Starz is making Outlander into a TV series! I only hope they do the book justice.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

I also enjoy a good mystery, and could curl up with an Agatha Christie novel any day of the week, even though I’ve read them all before. Other non-fantasy authors I find myself re-reading include Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Anne Rice. Good stories never go bad, you know.

What are some of your favorite genres?

2014, The Year Of Awesome (And The Horse, If You Follow Chinese Astrology)

2013 was quite exciting for me, and 2014 is shaping up to do the same.

First of all, Copper Ravens, the sequel to Copper Girl, will release in June 2014. Check out its GoodReads page here and take a gander at the gorgeous cover created by Scene 13’s own Lisa Amowitz below.

CopperRavencompFINALcorrectedfullcover (2)

’tis purty, no?

My other big project for 2014 is the relaunch of my epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan. The series was partially published between 2009 – 2011, then it hit a bump in the road. So, I’ve polished it up, and it has a tentative release date in June 2014. Releasing two books in one month? Sure, I can handle that!

To help defray the costs of this endeavor, I’ve set up an Indiegogo account which you can visit here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-chronicles-of-parthalan. Below is the original cover for the first in the series, Heir to the Sun. (Don’t worry, something much awesomer is in the works.)

ebook cover htts

In addition to two, maybe three releases next year (The Virgin Queen, book two of The Chronicles of Parthalan, might hit the shelves by December – fingers crossed!), I’m still a publicist for Spencer Hill Press, and for the first time in longer than I can remember, I have a day job that I really love. Oh, and my current WIP, Gallowglass, has completely and totally taken over my life – I haven’t loved characters this much in a long time. Add that to my beautiful twins, awesome rock star husband, and dog Rocket, and 2014 is looking pretty good.

So? Tell me, what’s in store for you this year?

Flash Fiction, Geology Edition

Full disclosure: a bit of cheating was involved in today’s post. The book I’d been reading was The Geology of Britain, and the noun in question was metamorphic rock. Okay, it should have been just rock, but I wanted something a bit more interesting. In fact, I was hoping for volcanoes. Instead, when I plugged the term into Google, the image below was third in line:

Ooo, science

Ooo, science

It reminded me of a grade school lesson plan, and the story of Mrs. C., the history teacher drafted to teach earth science, was born.

With a snap, the point broke off my pencil. I flung it across the room, then I glanced about to make sure no one had seen my little outburst. It was pretty early to be in class, even for me, but one never knew when a stray student or miscellaneous academic would wander in.

I dropped my head into my hands, and massaged my temples. These lesson plans were driving me nuts, and I was at my wit’s end. Due to the unholy trinity of early retirement, a new school opening in the same district, and a little scandal we’d been ordered not to speak of, I had ended up as the new seventh grade earth science teacher. It wasn’t that I didn’t like science—or the earth, for that matter—but I’m a history teacher.  I can tell you all about the important events that happened around a particular rock, but not about the rocks themselves.

My kids, however, were wonderful. Never before had I come across so many bright, eager students. Their enthusiasm to learn about the world around them simultaneously made me proud, and sick to my stomach. I needed to be a better teacher, in order to give them the education they both wanted and deserved.

To that end, I had gone out and purchased a few used textbooks, did some online researching, and tried to reinvent myself as a scientist. I had even picked up a copy of Geology for Dummies; if the shoe fits. And, while I could now describe with confidence the different between igneous and metamorphic rocks, there was still something missing.

I was missing something, that crucial bit that would make all this nonsense come together.

I sighed, and got up to retrieve my pencil. It had rolled under a cabinet that I’d yet to open; hey, it’s only the third week of the school, and the last earth science teacher—the one with the aforementioned scandal—was a Grade A packrat. I figured before class on a Tuesday morning was as good a time to explore as any, so I looked inside.

It was an earth science treasure trove.

There were countless trays of rock samples, organized by hardness, color, location, and a myriad other ways. Underneath was a box of fossils, ranging from simple imprints of ferns to trilobites. Even I knew about trilobites. Another box held all sorts of tools, and yet another was stuffed full of rolled-up maps. Behind everything, on a shallow shelf, were dozens of well-worn field guides.

“Hey, Mrs. C. Whatcha got there?”

I looked up, and saw that my students were trickling in. They’d found their teacher sprawled on the floor, surrounded by dusty rocks and fossils. It was then that I realized I was smiling.

I glanced at the window; it was a bright, sunny day. The perfect day for young minds to go off on an adventure.

“Who here wants to find out what geologists really do?” I asked as I stood. Each and every student raised their hands; like I said, my kids are awesome.

“Everyone grab a field guide. Today, we’re going outside.”

Suspension Of Disbelief – And Dinosaurs

Today, I’m going to tell you all about my time as an amateur paleontologist.

It was a lazy summer day in the eighties. I was about five years old (hey, I said I was an amateur) and had been digging holes in the back yard, as children are wont to do. I’d been poking around under a yew bush that was the size of a Volkswagen bus, when my shovel struck something hard. Being the curious child that I was, I dug up said hard object.

It was a dinosaur!

Amazed by my find, I dug some more. There were more dinosaurs! And saber toothed tigers! Was that a pterodactyl? Ooo, a triceratops!

I was in five year old heaven. Like all children, I was completely enamored with dinosaurs. The science museum in my hometown had a life size tyrannosaurus rex, and an awesome stegosaurus skeleton. I also grew up near the Nash Dinosaur Tracks, which had dinosaur footprints galore. It’s still there: http://nashdinosaurtracks.com/

But, they didn’t have entire dinosaurs.

I had entire dinosaurs.

Anyway, back to my most awesome discovery. After I’d dug up all there was to find, I hauled my loot inside the kitchen, and promptly got yelled at by my grandmother for tracking dirt in the house. So I went back outside, hosed of my treasures, and arranged them around my room. Here’s a picture of what I dug up that day:

 

What? You didn't think they were real bones, did you?

What? You didn’t think they were real bones, did you?

Okay, a few of you may have suspected that I hadn’t actually dug up dinosaurs. It turned out that my uncle had buried them in the back yard when he was a kid. This meant that they’d been there since the fifties, not the Cretaceous period (or Jurassic, in the case of the stegosaurus). Still, I will never forget the feelings of magic and wonder I had felt when I held those little plastic critters in my hands.

For the barest moment, I was a real dinosaur hunter.

That, my friends, is suspension of disbelief.

I try to evoke that same emotion in my own writing, to make the reader so emotionally invested in the story that they forget that elves aren’t real (or are they?) and that secret libraries don’t really hold magical artifacts (or do they?). Suspension of disbelief is about as close to creating magic as we can get, and the feeling of magic and wonder evoked by such stories are priceless. Just as priceless as the memory of the day I found dinosaurs in my back yard.

 

What Makes a Writer Successful?

Writer friends at BEA 2013. Well, if that isn’t a loaded question. We all know the basic answers: study your craft; write, edit, revise; spend hours on sites like Query Tracker and Agent Query searching for a home for your literary babies; spend even more hours researching publishers, vetting the serious from the thinly-veiled attempts to steal your money.

But, at what point do we make the leap beyond all of that?

I think I know the answer. Or part of it, at any rate.

For years, I have being going it alone as a writer. I did all the writerly things I was supposed to do, but let’s face it, I’m just one person. However, within the past few years something incredible happened.

I developed a tribe.

A writer tribe.

It began when I joined Broad Universe, an organization that promotes women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. They welcomed me with open arms, and, thanks to Broad Universe, I have been able to read and sell at many conventions that otherwise wouldn’t have looked at me twice.

And, things snowballed from there. I won’t bore you with a play by play accounting, but suffice to say that I made writer frineds. Lots of them. People who will critique for me, retweet my links, and comment on blog posts.

The picture above is of me and some of my writer friends (and Scene 13 members!) at BEA 2013. Would I still be a writer without them? Yes. Would I have come as far along as I have? Probably not.

Without my tribe, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. With them, and all the writers I’ve yet to meet (and add to my tribe), the sky’s the limit.

June Preview!!

We’ve got another great month of releases coming up!!

Michelle Pickette’s PODs releases June 4th from Spencer Hill Press:

podsSeventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it’s in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it’s a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating… monsters.
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life–a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Dorothy Dreyer’s My Sister’s Reaper releases June 18th from Month9Books

sistersreaperSixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.

 

PJ Hoover’s Solstice releases June 18th from Tor Teen:

solstice_cover_275_411Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

Kimberly Ann Miller’s Triangles releases June 18th from Spencer Hill Press:

kim coverA cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle – a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser is suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question – how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Robyn DeHart’s The Secrets of Mia Danvers releases June 18th from NAL:

600149_10200771614755067_1586137962_nA lone witness finds her protector…

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Jennifer Allis Provost’s Copper Girl releases June 25th from Spence City:

CopperGirlsFRONTcoverFINALSara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.
Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

For more info on all these amazing releases, check out the author’s pages above.

 

 

This month’s theme is Transitions, so be sure to check in each day for each author’s interpretation 🙂