Say, does anyone around here remember the fun of Save-a-Word Saturday? Well, the best of it is back, and then some! …Or it will be, this July. Behold: Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2.5.
Welcome to Avalon, where truly great heroes – and words – never die.
Join the Merry Men and denizens of Camelot in a collection of flash fiction as neo-“ye olde” as a Renaissance Faire, every slice of their immortal life served up with an archaism ripe for revival – from “accismus” to “Weltschmerz”, with plenty of laughs in between.
Come for the language lesson, stay for the Will Scarlet shenanigans, along with a facet or two of your Fey isle friends that you’ve never seen before.
Can we talk about that cover??
“Oh, do let’s!” Will Scarlet jumps in. “That art is phenomenal! Who the heck do we thank?”
“What a concept,” says Allyn-a-Dale, eyes tracing the shape of the lute grown wild. “I hope the like shall never befall my own dear instrument, but visually, it takes one’s breath away.”
Will laughs. “The day your lute becomes a tree is the day you transform into the little blue birdie in its branches.”
Allyn smiles. “There are stranger ways to spend an afterlife.”
As Book 2.5 can attest, along with the rest of your series. X)
Like the Christmas special, “Truly Great Words Never Die” will be e-book only, at least until further notice. So ready your Kindles and compatible apps! Add the title to your Goodreads to-read list! And stay tuned, for the book shall soon be available for pre-order. ^o^
(Interested in reading an early copy in exchange for an honest review? Let me know!)
1 = Y’know “Manifest Reality”? That horror anthology that came out on Valentine’s Day and features a ~daaaark~ little story by yours truly? Well, today the 24th through Friday the 27th, you can nab an e-copy for F R E E ! Dooo it! Tell your friends! And if, once you’ve read the book, you could do all the authors therein a solid by leaving a review, that would be beautiful of you. ❤
2 = Speaking of e-books, the “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” pre-order campaign is still going!
For those who’ve forgotten or hadn’t heard, a quick rundown of what that means:
Step 1: Hit up Amazon, Smashwords, and/or Barnes & Noble and make your early purchase of a “Ballad” e-book – yours to read the instant Release Day hits on July 12. (Also distributed through Kobo and Apple iBooks, if that’s your jam.)
Step 2: E-mail me at Danielle.E.Shipley@comcast.net with
2a) proof of your “Ballad” e-book purchase (a receipt or screenshot of such will suffice), and
2b) the address to which you would like me to mail your very own print of the Avalon Faire map.
Step 3: Reap your thank-you goodies (i.e, the outlaw-signed map and an exclusive Smashwords coupon to pass along to a friend).
*Offer good through July 5, 2016 (one week ‘til Release Day)*
To those who have already taken advantage of this offer, first of all, THANK YOU! Second, you will get your maps! They are already signed and ready to go in addressed envelopes! It’s just that my post office situation is absurdly complicated right now, so it’s taking way longer than I’d like to get them shipped your way. No one’s more irritated about this than me, but you have my word: The maps will be sent. …maybe around the time Arthur ushers in the second age of Camelot, I don’t know…
But hey, you don’t have to wait ‘til then to see what the maps’ signatures will look like!
Because that is today’s special treat from Ever On Word to you. ^o^
Finding each of the Merry Men’s personal autographs would have been a daunting challenge – (what do I know about handwriting? I’ll probably get investigated for badly forging my own signature, one day) – if not for an assist from a fictional friend. You [barely] know him as Gilbert, the genius coloring book artist who everyone wants to marry. He was gracious enough to both figure out the outlaw band’s writing styles and provide commentary on what each signature says about the character behind it. So without any more ado…
“A bold, sure ‘R’ to establish his mark, followed by a merely suggestive scrawl for the remaining letters. Were it a charitable work done for another, he’d give it more care all the way through to the end, but he never dwells long on himself. No ‘Hood’ or lordly last name present, as he doesn’t see himself in terms of the names given him by others. Inside, he has ever been simply Robin.”
“In contrast, Marion strongly claims and identifies with ‘Hood’ and its associations – wife to Robin, member of Sherwood’s most honorable outlaws, eschewer of decorous noble life in favor of all of the above. Her writing is a legible mix of flourish and precision, grounded but ever ready to dash ahead. Overall, it speaks of balance – her own, and that which she brings to her familial band.”
“Someone of Little John’s extraordinary size in a smaller man’s world does well to learn frugality of space. His writing demonstrates that wisdom (note the economy of two ‘T’s sharing a single crossbar) as well as a quiet protectiveness (the ‘I’ and ‘L’ sheltered beneath), and his steady, level, minimalist nature (no frills anywhere, and most letters of a comparable size / overall shape). And though everyone from his bandmates to casual fans of the Robin Hood legend call him ‘Little John’, his signature identifies him by the name he was given at birth.”
“No, of course he can’t use a black pen like everyone else. It must be red, for the color prompts in him the same gut-level response as the sound of ‘Will’. Most of the lines are hasty and sharp, in so much of a hurry to get to the end that he’s as likely to carelessly throw in extra letters as leave them unfinished. He’s not a man of details, but of vivid impressions. But as demonstrated by the grand, showy ‘S’, he’s never too busy to display his foppish side. He’s also left-handed, which may tell you the smallest of somethings about how his brain works (while leaving the rest an unholy mystery).”
“For the band’s minstrel, a written signature is less about its visual appearance, and more about the movement of making it – the rhythm in the writing. Each letter flows one into the other, smooth and lyrical. An understated, unassuming signature, yet as full of Allyn as any song he sings.”
Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.
Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.
Here’s the deal, Ever On Wordians: My dear friend and fellow Xchyler Publishing author Alyson Grauer is going through one of life’s rough patches. Her father, Mark, is undergoing surgery for cancer, and the fight for his health is not coming cheap. The family could use some help footing the bills, and I’m here to share a few ways even the most sorta-kinda-flat-broke of us can make an impact.
1) Mark Grauer’s Cancer Fund on GiveForward.com. Every buck counts! Even if that single dollar is all you have to give – or if all you can afford is to spread the link around – show cancer and the Grauer family respectively just what you think of them, the crowd funding way.
2) The Generous Juli McCarthy. Quoth mutual friend of Aly’s and mine, jewelry artist Juli of Mockingbird Studio:
For the next 5 regularly-priced sales of Touchstone™ pendants from my website I will donate 100% of the purchase price (minus tax and shipping) to [Mark Grauer’s] fund. After those five sales, I will donate $5 per regularly-priced pendant sold until March 31, 2015.
A Book Bomb is something that indie authors have occasionally done for each other in the past in order to help members of the community in need. We pick one day where we purchase a copy of an author’s book; because of the concentrated buying activity on that specific day, Amazon takes note, and raises the book on their “bestseller” lists! This gets the author some extra attention and activity for their awesome piece of work, and helps them via the extra book sales.
On Wednesday, March 4th, at any time during the day, go to this link, and purchase an eBook copy of On the Isle of Sound and Wonder: http://www.amazon.com/Isle-Sound-Wonder-Alyson-Grauer-ebook/dp/B00O5AGM12
It’s important to do it on this day specifically, as it concentrates the activity that Amazon monitors to rank books. The more people who are shopping and see the book, the more likely it is that we can get more support for Aly’s dad!
You can also purchase a paperback or hardback copy; however, we are concentrating on eBook sales particularly in order to focus our efforts on getting the book to rank higher on Amazon, so more people will see it.
If you’ve already purchased this book once, that’s great! You can purchase it again [and] gift a copy to someone who might enjoy it! Any kind of activity works.
If you can’t buy another copy of the book, that’s cool – YOU CAN STILL HELP! Another factor that Amazon uses is ratings and reviews! If you’ve read the book already, then leave a review on March 4th and it will really help!
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO INVITE AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO THIS EVENT SO WE CAN POOL OUR SUPPORT!
Well, gee. I’ve already got the book and posted a review. Guess there’s nothing for it: I’m gonna have to buy another e-copy and give it away!
How do you enter to win it? Easy.
– Share this post on Facebook
– Share it on Twitter
– Share it on [insert social media platform of your choice here]
– Reblog it to your own web space
Comment below to let me know you have done any or all of these things, and you’re in the raffle. You’ve got ‘til noon today (central time), at which hour I will select the winner and buy their prize.
**Be sure to include the e-mail address you’d want the e-book sent to in your comment entry.** I’m nocturnal now, y’all, and can’t be staying up all day-night to chase down the winner’s e-addy.
Now, MARCH FO[U]RTH and do this day whatever good you can!
Thanks from Aly and me. ❤
EDIT: Even after this blog’s raffle closes, there are more giveaways going down on the book bomb event page on Facebook. Check it out!
Heya, Ever On Wordians. Throwing out an extra post, this week, on behalf of fellow author friend J.A. Belfield and her Holloway Pack prequel novella!
Werewolf Sean Holloway treats the village marketplace like a sexual buffet, though his charm does little to win over his latest entrée of choice. Whether because of Jem Stonehouse’s unique scent, her headstrong nonchalance, or the fact he is forbidden to see her by his pack’s rules, Sean wants her.
When Jem is nothing but flippant toward his advances, he pursues her with vigour, stealing moments alone with her without a libido-driven agenda.
The new and heady experience for him drives their relationship beyond romantic interest, and straight toward love.
That is, until Jem learns the truth about Sean’s heritage. Knowledge of the existence of werewolves leads to only one outcome: death.
In this prequel to Darkness & Light*, we are taken back in time, to the very beginning of Jem and Sean’s love-across-the-centuries relationship.
Did it end there? Or did Sean defy his own pack to save the woman he loves?
*Can be read as a standalone.
Whoa! I only just now realized what’s going on with that guy’s shadow on the cover. Coolness!
To celebrate its re-release, “Instinct” is FREE for a limited time – from release day on Friday, January 23rd until Sunday, February 1st. So if some werewolf romance sounds good to you, grab yourself a copy, lickity-split!
We’re into Week 3 of the “Inspired” blog tour! Coming up, you’ll get a brief overview of what’s gone down since… well, the last time I gave you an overview. ;D
BUT FIRST! An interview with my writing bestie who can as of late March call herself a published author.
Part One: Tirzah Duncan and Cry of the Nightbird
Me: Hello, Tirzah! Thanks for letting me drag you over here to show you off. Tell us: Whence came the idea for your newly-published novella, Cry of the Nightbird?
Tirzah: I don’t know if you remember this, but it started last year, when you were at a loss for what to write for a Camp NaNo novel. And I was trying to brainstorm with you, tossing out this idea and that.
Then I said, “Okay, how about a young female main character who’s got this major crush on a villain? And what if that villain…”
I went on to speak spoilers, so you don’t get to hear that bit. But suffice it to say the idea really captivated me. To my frustration, Danielle, you were not interested. Hang it, I thought, I want to read the story! If she won’t write it, then I guess I’ve got to.
Me: Haha, I do halfway remember that! Obviously, it was a cool idea, T. Just as obvious to me, the idea was meant for you, so good on ya for running with it! You’ve been writing for some years, now. What was it that pushed you to finally take the plunge and self-publish a story?
Tirzah: There’s a bit of a dual answer to that. One, a sudden fit of impatience. But I’m not sure whether that alone would have driven me through all the boring things like spending eight mind-numbing hours trying to get indents to show up properly in an e-format.
What pushed me through that sort of nonsense? Desperation. My fiancé was offered a job in Germany. “Shall I accept the adventure of a lifetime in Europe, or be convenient and stay stateside?” he essentially asked, and left the decision in my hands. Taking the job complicated wedding plans, by which I mean, would require a few thousand more dollars in plane tickets and moving expenses, getting him back and the two of us forth.
“ADVENTURE OR BUST! TAKE THE JOB!” I cried, and determined to see that we do not come up bust, I aim to earn the extra in e-book sales. Audacious, I know, but I will sell this baby door-to-door if that’s what I must do.
Me: Your life is such a novel, you know that? I mean, mine kind of is, too, now that “Inspired”s a thing, but yours is a novel with a European romance, doggone it! Moving on, before I die of envy… Character-centric gal that I am, I’ve gotta ask: Who’s your favorite character from the novella, and why?
Tirzah: Tough one… I tried to make most of them their own brand of excellent. But like the sharp young servant girl, Wren, I’m a sucker for confident, cut, and sorta-kinda kind criminal overlords. So I’ll have to go with Joreth.
(…To clarify, when I say “cut,” I refer to defined musculature, not “the results of coming out of a knife fight somewhat scathed,” of which that master of assassins has both.)
Me: Yum. *cough* Yup. I meant “yup”. *pulls gaze away from attractive killers* Anyhow. This isn’t the only tale you’ve written set in this world. What can you tell us about the other project, Ever the Actor, and when do you suppose it’ll join Nightbird on the market?
Tirzah: Well, remember what I said I’m a sucker for? Joreth isn’t the first of those I’ve written. Although I use the term “sorta-kinda kind” far more loosely for Syawn, my sociopath thief lord determined to keep up caring appearances.
Me: SYYY! *more coughing* Sorry, I must be coming down with something. Pray continue.
Tirzah: You can read the book’s blurb and some select excerpts here—and the elsewhere-unreleased prologue is included at the end of Cry of the Nightbird, wink wink, nudge nudge.
When will it come out? Let’s keep it to the ever-mysterious “Coming sooooon…”
Me: Until this portentous “soon” comes to pass, any last words, Ms. Duncan?
Tirzah: Hmm. How about, “Hey, check what I can do!” or “Nooo, I’m too young…” or perhaps “At least I published something before the end,” or “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
Bit of an odd question to end an interview on, though. Leads one to wonder if you put a hit out on me.
Plenty more tour stops still to come (full schedule available on my website’s homepage), and the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!
P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win awesome free “Inspired” goodies!
“BREAKING NEWS!” Will Scarlet calls out. “Not the bit about how Danielle sometimes lies, claiming Saturdays on the blog are to be mine, all mine, then turning around and using a Friday post as an excuse to bump me off the roster. Nobody’s surprised by that anymore.”
I’m sorry, Will! I fully intended to leave you your Saturdays, despite the whirlwind of my ongoing blog tour. But then something came up!
“Oh-ho, did it ever! No worries, author girl,” he says, with a forgiving clap on my shoulder. “These are ultra-special circumstances.”
I’ll say they are! I mean, it’s not every day my writing bestie publishes her debut novella!
“Nope, pretty much just today,” Will says blithely. “Congratulations, Tirzah Duncan! Love you, ever and always! Danielle, release the Kraken! Whoops, read that wrong. The cover. Release the cover!”
Lol, proudly. Heck, I’m giving this the full Deshipley Book Review Treatment!
Look—it’s a nightbird, feathered, black, and tall.
Look—o’er your shoulder; think ye twice,
Look—out, ye wicked rats, pray he finds ye nice.”
Risen suddenly to lordship of the fiefdom of Cavernad, young Ferlund struggles to fill the shoes —and carry on the marriage engagement— of his late father. Doubly sorrowed by the old lord’s death and his duty to part ways with his common lover, Ferlund also seeks to pursue his suspicion that his father’s death was no accident…
Elsewhere in this fantasy-tinged novella, another man is recently risen to power. Joreth, formerly an assassin by trade, is newly the master of the assassin’s guild responsible for the elder Lord Cavernad’s demise. Wren, a servant girl deeply enamored of her new boss, seeks to gain his favor, and happens upon his strangest secret.
A lone vigilante stalks this landscape of cloak and dagger, sense and madness, and grudge and ardor old and new; the preying Nightbird stands in judgement of injustice masked by night or noble station. In this tangle of stale bitterness and fresh affection, who will stand justified, and who will fall condemned? And will the cry of the Nightbird sound loud enough to go down as more than a washerwoman’s four-line ditty?
My Thoughts: Short answer: OHMYGOSH, MY BEST FRIEND PUBLISHED A BOO-OO-OOK!
*ahem* More professional answer:
This story is rife with suspense and emotion, peopled with characters to love and to hate, to cheer for and to grieve for – not to mention an element just about any book can benefit from: A cool guy in a cloak and mask.
Duncan is a true wordsmith with a sharp poetic style worthy of a shady vigilante’s ballad. I chuckled. I gasped. I had to blink back tears to get through the end. And I’m left with a whetted hunger for the eventual release of the first full-length novel set in this fantasy world.
HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): “Should you read this?” says Will. “Should you read this?! I dunno, lemme ask. Hey, Danielle – should they read this?”
Dude, I’m only even friends with the girl because her writing lured me in! YES, read her book! Buy it! Tell your friends to buy it! Coerce your enemies into buying it! And did I mention?… All proceeds from the book’s sales are going toward funding Tirzah’s upcoming wedding to her sweetheart in the Air Force.
(Will Scarlet leads the audience in a rousing “AW-W-W!”)
So seriously. As her BFF, critique partner, and maid of honor, I must insist that you purchase “Cry of the Nightbird”. BUY NOW.
…And if you want to pick up a copy of “Inspired” or something while you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll not say you nay.
As I hope you’ve heard by now, I’ve got my first self-published book coming out on May 31st. (Yeah, the one just a week and a day from now. Eep, eep, eep!) What you may not know are the “functional and technical aspects [behind this] activity”. So in the interests of letting everyone in on what all has being going into the production of “The Swan Prince”, today I’ll be sharing some details from behind the curtain.
– That done, I searched for an illustrator to create my cover art. It took a few tries, but I found a great one, and the artist and I have been collaborating on Wilderhark art ever since.
– Meanwhile, I browsed my self-publishing options. There are plenty of companies out there who advertise themselves as happy to help independent authors get their books out. I went with CreateSpace, in no small part because I’d used them to get a free proof copy of a book before, and it had been a relatively painless experience. (For someone whose dealings with all things technological tend to devolve into mini-nightmares, familiarity counts for a lot.)
Apart from that, I looked over their site and didn’t get knocked over with any red flags. They’re print-on-demand, meaning I don’t have to pour a bunch of money into books that, worst case scenario, won’t ever be bought. Their proof review system lets me get a physical copy of the paperback in my hands to scrutinize for anything I want to change, and I can do that as many times as I like until I’m satisfied, for no more than the cost of printing the book and shipping it to me. They even gave me the option to use my own ISBN.
– On ISBNs (abbreviation for International Standard Book Number). It’s a legit book thing. Probably a lot of self-publishing companies will be up for providing an ISBN or its equivalent for you, even for free; CreateSpace certainly offered that alternative. And there’s nothing wrong with using that freely-provided identification number, if you don’t mind having the self-publishing company listed as your publisher. I was okay with that for the e-versions of my books, but for the paperbacks, I preferred to be listed as my own publisher; no major reason, it’s just the way I felt.
So I had to purchase my own ISBNs, and that meant a shop stop at Bowker.com, sole seller of this little commodity. You can purchase them in ones, tens, hundreds, or more, if I rightly recollect. I went with ten, which will cover all six of my “Wilderhark Tales”, my subsequent “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” trilogy, plus one extra, which I’ve got ideas for. For those of you wondering about the bottom line, the set of ten costs $250 – a better deal than buying them one at a time. (The bigger packages were even better deals, but I don’t have anywhere near one hundred books to sell, just now, so…)
– With the ISBNs for my paperbacks acquired, I had to figure out a way to format my e-book files. I know nothing about e-readers, and my late laptop couldn’t even deal with PDFs, half the time. An appeal to the internet for guidance introduced me to PressBooks.com. The free site is designed to work a lot like WordPress (a big selling point for me. Familiarity, remember?), only with a feature that exports your content into PDF, EPUB, and MOBI files. I was able to review the PDF on one of my home’s newer computers, a couple of friends were good enough to look over the other files on their devices (big thanks, Emerald and Nikki!), and of this post’s drafting, it looks like everything’s a go! The next stop on this front will be over on Amazon Kindle Direct and NOOK Press (formerly PubIt!).
– In the meantime, I went over to the U.S. Copyright Office to (appropriately enough) officially register my book’s copyright. To quote CreateSpace, “Every artist’s situation is different, and copyright laws and registrations can be complex. As a self-published artist, it’s up to you to ensure you are protected as you desire. For that reason, CreateSpace will not register or submit your work for copyright protection under any circumstances.” So I had to be a grownup and do it myself. Bless the copyright site for providing a tutorial I could follow every step of the way; I’d have been stressing out even more, otherwise. (I have this phobia about filling out forms. Especially important ones. Especially online.) The copyright registration cost $35, but it’ll more than pay for itself if I win an infringement lawsuit. (Pirates, ye be warned.)
– I’m also in the ongoing process of compiling a list of book blogs which may, upon invitation, be interested in reviewing “The Swan Prince” and/or interviewing me about it. If any of you readers are bloggers with such an interest, give me a holler via my contact page.
Phew! Anybody else feel exhausted, just reading along? All that and readying my novel “Inspired” for publication next March (not to mention gearing up for the “One More Day” anthology in Decemeber)! But I’m not complaining. This is making The Dream happen the best way I know how, and my cartwheeling heart already knows it to be worth it.