Open Journal: “Sky-Child” Release Day

Another Launch Day is upon us. Y’know, the day where the book in question has probably already been available for days or weeks prior to this, in one format or another, but we consolidate as much of the excitement as we can on this one particular date because, whatever, it’s nice to have a single point on the calendar to rally around.

The book of the hour is “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”, subtitled either “(A Wilderhark Tales Collection”) or “(Book Six-and-a-Half of The Wilderhark Tales”), depending on whether you’re looking at the front or back cover.

Sky-Child cover, full spread

For Wilderhark Tales past, I saw your Launch Day and raised you an entire Launch Week – up to eight days of prizes and bonus materials and character interviews and guest posts in the web spaces of gracious fellow bloggers. It’s always quite the shindig. But this time around, I told myself, “No.”

Then I told myself, “Oh, heck, Lute’s gonna kill me…” ‘Cause any reader of “The Song Caster” could tell you how he reacts to feeling cheated.

And he was spitting mad at me for a few minutes, there. But then – unexpectedly – he got it.

He got how utterly exhausting it is to organize a blog tour and create hopefully exciting content and fight with the printer to produce custom bookmarks / postcards / art prints / what have you.

He got how drained I still was coming off of the Launch Week for Book Six, and how “Sky-Child”s launch right on the heels of the “Steel & Bone” anthology release would mean I’d have even less energy to generate another book’s buzz.

He got that I am just this side of completely burnt out, and that if I want to be able to give the Wilderhark Tales finale my best push in October, I need to allow myself a break.

He got that this wasn’t a matter of me acting against him. This is me vs. the weariness that comes of battling to be seen and heard and valued in an oblivious world.

He got that. Because, in a way, that’s his story.

So he forgave me my limitations, and said he would support me in whatever I chose to do or not do in regards to “Sky-Child”s launch.

And everybody in my head just gaped at him, because no one expects that level of understanding and compassion from Gant-o’-the-freaking-Lute.

“Because I never cease to amaze,” says Lute – adding with a pointed sniff, “Just as you people never cease to underestimate me.”

Sky-Child and Me 6

…All that to say, low key, “The Sky-Child” is out now, and I’d be super grateful were everyone to nab a paperback (Amazon or CreateSpace) or e-book (Kindle or Nook) and then, perchance, leave a review. (Because neither minstrels nor authors can take the world by storm very well without some word of mouth.)

And that’s all she wrote on the subject. …Until Friday, when Lute’s got an interview with a certain scarlet talk show host.

The Strange Island of… (STEEL & BONE Blog Tour)

Mere days from its official release on Saturday, the blog tour for Xchyler Publishing’s “Steel & Bone: Nine Steampunk Adventures is already underway!

Steel and Bone, cover and blurb

Behind every story in this collection was the prompt/theme/inspiration, “The Strange Island of…” That, combined with a story I’d been carrying around inside me for years but just couldn’t figure out how to get down on paper, resulted in my first-ever steampunk fairytale, “A Mind Prone to Wander”.

We’ll get to go into more detail about my story on Friday, when one of the main cast sits down for a Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell character interview. (Stay tuned.) But for now, pull out your dapper fob watches, because it’s time for my 5-Second Impressions! …or however many clockwork ticks it takes to read five words – no more, no less – on the other eight stories in the anthology.

Steel and Bone, my review

The Clockwork Seer” by Katherine Cowley =

An inventive, senses-bending vignette.

Sindisiwe” by Scott E. Tarbet =

Cinderella retelling? I’m for that!

Stand and Deliver” by TC Phillips =

Loved the humor. Particularly Mathew’s.

Island Walker” by C. R. Simper =

Engaging characters, and ooh, shipwrecks!

Curio Cay” by Sarah E. Seeley =

Dinosaurs least monstrous island inhabitants!

The Mysterious Island of Chester Morrison” by Kin Law =

Lol, MC is AU me.

Revolutionary” by John M. Olson =

Shady stuff, Captain! Run now!

The Steel Inside” by Gail B. Williams =

Secrets. Suspense. A top story.

How ‘bout that lineup, guys? ^o^

How ‘bout that lineup, guys? ^o^

Steel and Bone, available on Amazon

If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to get in your pre-order of the “Steel & Bone” Kindle e-book today, and/or spring for the paperback on Saturday (Book Bomb day!), that these stories may be yours to read and treasure. And that could be the least of the goodies you get if you enter the tour-wide “Steel & Bone” Rafflecopter giveaway!

Steel and Bone, prizes

We’re talking free e-books (including my soon-to-launch addition to the Wilderhark Tales, “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”!), t-shirts, keychains… swag for days, people. For days. So come one, come all, come win stuff. I hope to see you around on the tour, at the Book Bomb, and/or below in the comments.

Which strange steampunk island of steel and bone are you most excited to explore?

Based Upon the Bard (“Never Be Younger” Blog Tour)

BANNER

But soft! What post through yonder blog doth break? It is a tour! And… and okay, I’m not actually Shakespeare. But this book’s got his influence all over it. Read on!

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Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.

nbyFrom the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.

All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading. Check out the bottom of the post for how you can win great prizes to celebrate the release!

Add-to-Goodreads-Button

 

Buy now on Amazon and Kobo for only $0.99US

<<<>>>

My review (having received an ARC, dontcha know):

A fun, varied collection, spinning classic Shakespeare storylines into all new contexts. As is generally the case with anthologies, some of the stories left me wanting, while others had me smiling inside and out. The authors of “Never Be Younger” strike me as a clever, imaginative bunch, with much to offer Shakespeare lovers and young adult/new adult readers alike. Definitely worth the read!

Notes from the trenches (i.e., what I scribbled to myself during the reading of each story so I could keep my impressions straight for the writing of the review above):

Star Cross Lovers (S.M. Johnston, E.L. Wicker) = Moves fast; dramatic (that’s Romeo and Juliet, for you), but a fun sci-fi take on the plot; will they or won’t they [die]?

The Scarf (Christina June) = Readers familiar with “Othello” will see to the heart of the conflict from the start, but will the players up to their necks in high school politics realize the truth before it’s too late? Suspeeeense.

A Day of Errors (Jessica L Pierce) = Okay, I am laughing out loud. XD That was great.

Any Way the Wind Blows (Nicole Zoltack) = Felt less credible to me as the story went on.

To Undreamed Shores (Cortney Pearson) = Meh. Sappy romance; not altogether unpleasant, but still. And the “surprise” felt a bit tacked-on; like, oh, by the way, this.

A Witch’s Life (Adrianne James) = Interesting, but the last act felt hasty/abrupt.

Mark the Music (Olivia Hinebaugh) = Ah, some dude [POV] voice mixing it up. Not that Star Cross Lovers and Day of Errors didn’t give a taste of that, but this is… rougher-edged. Not my comfort zone, but kept me invested.

A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare (S.M. Johnston, E.L. Wicker) = Mutant teens hiding out among regular high schoolers? Keep going…! Mm, overall impression at the end, fluffy plot with overwrought prose; didn’t leave me satisfied.

<<<>>>

About the Authors

Rachel Bateman: Editor

rachelRachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, but dreams of the South. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering formatting and interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets. You can find Rachel on Twitter, and her website.

S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

sharonS.M. Johnston is a writer of weird fiction and soulful contemporaries from sunny Queensland, Australia. Her family includes a husband, two sons and a number of fur babies of the feline and cavy variety. You can find Sharon on Twitter, and her website.

Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors

jessicaJessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)

She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: http://www.studio52photos.com You can also find Jessica on Twitter.

Cortney Pearson: The Undreamed Shores

CORTNEYCortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles. You can find Cortney on Twitter, and her website.

E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

EmE.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.

Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows

NICOLENicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranromal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoyes horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. You can find Nicole on Twitter, and her website.

Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music

oliviaOlivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia on Twitter, and her website.

Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life

adrianneGrowing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.

As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime. You can find Adrianne on Twitter, and her website.

Christina June: The Scarf

christinaChristina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old. You can find Christina on Twitter, and her website.

In honor of “Never Be Younger”s release = a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOHENSTEIN Blog Tour – Q&A with Didi Lawson

Ever On Word hereby presents my stop on the blog tour for Xchyler Publishing’s new historical romance, HOHENSTEIN by Didi Lawson!

Hohenstein_Cover_Spread

How super pretty is that cover?! *ogles work of art* But of course the importance of a book’s outside has nothing on its insides. Let’s not overlook what the novel’s about:

Hohenstein_Blurb

As a special treat for you, readers o’ mine – (and, y’know, since I advertised it in this post’s title, and all) – here’s a quick Q&A with author Didi Lawson.

Please provide some insight, a secret or two about your book / story.

I almost tossed the manuscript out when I moved from Tucson to Chandler, AZ, but decided what the heck, I’ll just pack it up and take it with me. One night I woke up with the distinct feeling to work on this Hohenstein manuscript. And I did.

If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?

1. Have enough money to travel anywhere in the world, 2. Have all of my family around me, 3. Live in my dreams.

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

A chalet in the woods on a balcony overlooking the tree tops.

Where do you actually write?

In my kitchen. I have my desk in front of a window that looks out over the pasture (no animals, though).

How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

That depends. I could have a novel done in 6 months, rough draft that is.

What inspires you to write?

Good question. It’s like a power that pushes me to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have been writing ever since I learned how to write, and I always wanted to get published, but most of the time didn’t take myself serious.

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part of writing for me is when I have writer’s block, when I don’t know exactly how to go on, to go from point A to point B. The best way to overcome that is to just sit down and write. You may have to delete everything you wrote, but at least you put words on paper and oftentimes, the ideas come.

What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?

My sense of duty or sense of responsibility.

How did you come up with the title?

I once worked for a man who had bought the title von Hohenstein. And I named the castle Hohenstein for lack of a better title. I thought that I’d come up with something better eventually, but I didn’t. And I like the title.

Hohenstein_Author

Hohenstein_Available

You can snatch up your copy of HOHENSTEIN today, and/or enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to take your pick of some Xchyler Pub goodies.

Lastly, I leave you with the novel’s trailer – which, between the visuals and the music, is just an all-around lovely experience.

Shooting the Breeze (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Our author describes her thus:

The youngest and fairest of the four winds of Welken. While her brothers are known for their stormy strength and cruelty, Vesparya employs a lighter touch – though perhaps one no less powerful. While winds can take any physical form they wish, that of the West will most often appear as a tall, voluptuous young woman, auburn hair breezing all around her, eyes a mesmerizing golden-green.

“Welcome, Vesparya!” Will greets the figure floating above the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – I think I’m in love with you.”

Allyn coughs off-camera. “That wasn’t a question, Will.”

Vesparya’s laugh trills ‘round the stage. “Of course you’re in love with me. I’m the West Wind! You’d need to have no heart to avoid me stealing it – if you can call it stealing when a thing throws itself willingly into your hand.”

A question, Will,” Allyn reminds him, when the host does nothing but smile dizzily.

“Hmm? Yes. A question. Will you marry me?”

Allyn groans.

“Marriage,” Vesparya says contemplatively, drifting side to side over the seat cushion. “That’s not the sort of thing a wind will often do. Austeryn – the South Wind, you know – he’s the only one of us who’s yet bothered with such a long-term commitment. And even in his case, it’s not with a human. He would consider that beneath him.”

Will looks stricken. “Do you share that outlook?”

“Oh, heavens, no,” she says, her smile summer-sky bright. “I love humans! You’re so… well, the first word that comes to mind is ‘easy’.”

“Some more than others,” Allyn mutters, scarcely louder than Will Scarlet’s panting.

“True,” the wind agrees with a sigh. “All too true. I don’t know what enchantment’s touched Denebdeor or whether there’s something in the water, but I’ll swear I’ve never met a heart sturdier than that of a Wyle. Not one of them has thrown themselves at me, and we’ve kept in contact for almost six years!” She blinks wide eyes. “If I knew no better, I’d fear I was losing my touch.”

“Why in the world is your touch so intoxicating?” Will asks, close to falling out of his seat as he drinks deep of Vesparya’s air.

She wafts in circles around her chair. “It’s just what I’m made of – who I am – same as any of the world’s elements are who they are. I really couldn’t help it if I wished to. And why would I? It’s a delight to delight! All power knows there are winds enough to bring unpleasantness into the world. I count it as bliss to counter that wherever I may.”

“That is so great,” Will says drunkenly. “So, hey. You wanna kiss me?”

Vesparya cocks her head. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me something about secrets?”

“Mm? Why? Have you got any?”

“Not really,” she says, shrugging. “That’s more Austeryn’s department, too.”

“Well, there you have it! No choice but to kiss! And to maybe have each other’s babies!”

Vesparya breaks into aerial loops of laughter. “Ah, Will Scarlet, you most amusing man! Here, funny thing – have your kiss.” With that, she places her lips to her palm, and blows a breath of perfumed air across the stage. His smile almost too big for his face, Will drops like a sack of bricks to the floor.

“Dear me,” says Vesparya. “There’s easy, and there’s an endangerment to one’s one health. Perhaps I’d best be off before he bursts something vital.”

“Good of you,” Allyn says appreciatively, crossing over to Will’s side. While the West Wind vanishes from visibility, nothing but the rippling of the stage’s curtain to mark her path off the set, Allyn gives Will’s cheeks a few gentle whacks. “Come now. Pull yourself together. We’ve got to wrap this thing up properly.”

Will mumbles something that we’ll choose to interpret as, “Quite right, Allyn. How ‘bout a quick word from our sponsor?”

Returning to his post, Allyn announces, “Today’s embarrassment— ahem, I mean Kiss & Tell segment, was brought to you by Danielle E. Shipley’s newly-released fairytale novella, ‘The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)’, the Launch Week celebration of which is detailed in this post.

Surrogate Sea cover, front

The Sea’s storm brought them together, and the Sea’s rules will keep them apart, unless the mute but melodious Muirigan can find another to take her place, freeing her to pursue the human man she loves. But when her plan collides with the schemes of the sly South Wind, a princess’s agenda to look for love in all the most fantastic places, and a prince whose head and heart have been long years at war, the result is a tragedy of errors from which the world might never recover.

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says from the floor. “Thanks also to you, beautiful wind, wherever you’ve flown. And thank you, audience of mine. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided in this post, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

Wilderhark Six Launches Out to Sea

Happy book birthday to “The Surrogate Sea”!

We’ve got a big Launch Week ahead of us, thanks not least to the number of topnotch bloggers who’ve been so good as to volunteer as hosts for my virtual book tour. See the end of this post for the full schedule, and be sure to check out all the tour stops as they go live so you don’t miss out on any of the special features!

Where to Get the Book

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Novella

Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales novellas is available to purchase in both paperback (Amazon and CreateSpace) and e-book (Kindle and Nook). If you haven’t ordered your copy(ies) yet, now’s the perfect time – because, as always, you’ll not only get a fantastic story, but those purchases will get you raffle points in my weeklong giveaway!

What You Could Win

One set of all 3 “Surrogate Sea” portrait bookmarks (as designed by Wilderhark artist extraordinaire, Yana Naumova)

OR

One set of 6 Wilderhark banner bookmarks (as seen in descending order among my blog’s sidebar miscellany)

OR

One super-special, limited edition, behind-the-scenes “Surrogate Sea Word-Sketch Book”, featuring not only all of the cool content shared throughout the blog tour, but also artwork created by the one and only Tirzah Duncan and yours truly.

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Giveaway

How to Enter

Buy a copy of “Surrogate Sea”, print or e-book = 10 raffle points

Buy a copy of any other Wilderhark Tale, print or e-book = 10 raffle points

Buy a copy of any other title with my name on it (Inspired, One More Day, Legends and Lore, Toll of Another Bell) = 10 raffle points

Surrogate Sea and Me 1

– Review “Surrogate Sea” on Amazon / B&N / Goodreads / Your Blog = 7 points for each instance

– Change your social media profile pic to the “Surrogate Sea” cover for the week (Tuesday through Monday) = 7 points

– Share/Tweet about “Surrogate Sea”s launch = 1 point for each time

– Share/RT any “Surrogate Sea”-related post I tag with: *Share/RT for entry in #WilderharkTales6 giveaway!* = 1 for each time

*** And don’t forget to let me know – via Facebook, Twitter, or the comments below – when you’ve earned an entry, so I can make sure to keep all your points tallied! ***

Blog Tour Schedule

Follow along with these fine blogger friends!

Thursday, March 19th =

Jodi L. Milner, Author (Spotlight)

Tuesday, March 24th =

Book Marauder (Spotlight)

D. Lee Jortner (Author Interview)

The Flight Reflex (Guest Post)

Shout with Emaginette (Guest Post)

Wednesday, March 25th =

The Black Hound’s Daughter (Letter from Author to Character)

Laney McMann (Flash Fiction)

Thursday, March 26th =

A Drip of Truth (Flash Fiction)

Dreaming Awake (Character Profile)

The Ink Caster (Character Interview)

Rie Sheridan Rose – The Bardabee Poet (Letter from Character to Author)

Friday, March 27th =

Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Flash Fiction)

The Feather and the Rose (Author Interview)

Scribbler’s Sojourn (Poem)

Saturday, March 28th =

Flame Writer (Character Interview)

Four Thousand Words (Author Interview)

YA Chit Chat (Character Profile)

Sunday, March 29th =

Mere Joyce (Spotlight)

The Parasite Guy (Character Profile)

Monday, March 30th =

Julie Antonovich Reece (Flash Fiction)

OriginiquEquanimity (Guest Post)

Ravenhart (Guest Post, Author Interview)

Rewan Tremethick (Author Interview)

Reblogged from Andi’s ABCs – Character Edition!

As a belated hurrah for INSPIRED’s 1-year anniversary, Annabelle Gray and I had the honor of being the first to play with the Character Edition of a fellow blogger’s fun feature! What accessory, book, and clothing item would send Annabelle swooning and why? Read all about it in her custom-written journey entry on Andi’s ABCs!

Andi's ABCs