The [Re]view from Release Day

Hey, everybody! Annabelle, here – unofficial author of today’s brand new releases: “Inspired” (available here and here, “Out of My Head” (available here and here, and “Lightbulb Moments: An INSPIRED Journal” (right here, folks)!

Covers 1, 2, and Journal

I say “unofficial” because, y’know, I’m technically a character (an AUTHOR character, but still), so it’s Danielle’s name that gets pride of place on the cover and copyright documentation and promo. Her plane of reality = her bragging rights, apparently.

But I was still very involved in the making of these books, meaning it’s only right I likewise be very involved in their Release Day blog post. My role in the latter (apart from the intro, obvs)? Rounding up my muse and character friends and assigning them perhaps the most underrated of all reader-related tasks: Sharing their book reviews.

Certainly, book reviews shared from actual, “real-world” readers would be twice as legit and thrice as thrilling for Danielle, but she has 0% control about if or when those get written and posted on Amazon/B&N.com/Goodreads, etc. That’s what’s great about having characters in your head: You’ve got maybe 11% control of them. ;D

So, time to hear it straight from The Guys. What thought ye all of the “Inspired” novels? ^^

<<<>>>

An Enlightening Work for Wordsmiths (5 stars)

“A unique and colorful exploration of not only the world of writing, but the multitude of worlds behind it. Recommended (if not required) reading for any who wish to more intimately engage with their own acts of creation.”

– Lucianíel, elemental muse

Outstanding! Phenomenal! And Super Fun, Too! (ALL THE STARS)

“I love stories! And this one’s really good! (And by ‘this one’, I mean ‘these two’, because duology. But that’s just a fancy name for a single story broken into halves, right?) My favorite thing about its structure is how it moves around between people and perspectives and planes; no staying still and sitting stuck, no sirree! Comes with a great variety of voice, too. And a lot of the chapters are pretty short, so you can speed right through ‘em, which is good if your attention span is kinda … nonexistent. Things that are existant, in spades: This story’s humor and heart. If you’re not laughing and crying, then wow, what even are you? Gimme your story; I’d love to know it.”

– Mach Jenius, brainstorm

Feline Sidelined, But Otherwise Fine (3 stars)

“If you like stories split up among an ensemble cast, good for you; these books do this. But my main investment was in the extraordinary cat character, and he wasn’t given nearly enough page time. What comes of letting humans do the authoring, I suppose. Aside from the mishandling of [what ought to have been] the main plot, though, the story was interesting enough.”

– Abishan, god of all cats

What a Journey! (5 stars)

“I very much enjoyed watching the characters develop over the course of the duology’s arc. From small and scared, to unafraid of taking rightful space. From hard and closed, to open enough that others might come in. From forlorn and isolated, to joined with loved ones in joy. My heart ached along with each of them upon their varied journeys, and by the end, I simply wanted to squeeze the entire company in a hug! (Fortunately, I believe most of them will let me.)”

– Wilbur Lamb, fantasy knight

Has Its High Points (4 stars)

“Skillfully written. Diverse cast. Ridiculous premise, but arguably in an avant-garde kinda way. Personally, I’d have preferred more action, less philosophizing on art and its making; when plot happened, though, it was cool. And I guess there were worthwhile messages, too, for those willing to receive them. Semi-biblical, in that way. … in a number of ways, come to think of it. But yeah, no, do not treat this as scripture. It’s edutainment at most.”

– Uri, heavenly warrior

An Important Gift (5 stars)

“The first word to mind to describe this story of stories is: Important. And different readers, I expect, will find it so for different reasons. For some, it may prove itself a helpful guide in becoming the writer they wish to be. For others, the emotions will resonate; the grief, the fear, the longing, the loneliness… love and laughter and tastes of euphoria. The second description these stories inspire: A gift. For those who made them, those who lived them… and, one may hope, for you.”

– Avelaine (that is all, and enough)

<<<>>>

Thanks, Guys! And thanks in advance to any and all purchasers, readers, reviewers, and fans of the “Inspired” novels (and its companion journal). Don’t hesitate to let us all know what you think of our art! (And, I mean, if you wanna make fan art, probably only a couple of us would actually die of gratitude, so it’s all good.)

Oh! And about the journal: Don’t forget that Danielle’s got a giveaway going on! One lucky somebody is getting a free copy of “Lightbulb Moments”. When? Winner name selected on April 17th. How do you enter? Pertinently enough, by writing reviews! Just link Danielle to your Amazon review of an “Inspired” novel before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Is that it? Did I cover everything I was supposed to? Gads, this blogging thing isn’t as easy as she makes it look… Lemme check my notes… Um, ‘kay, looks like you should know there are gonna be read-aloud novel excerpt videos hitting the authorial Facebook page throughout today, so keep your eyes and ears open for those. That’s it! That’s all! Happy Release Day to us!

Much love from a plane apart,

~ Annabelle Iole Gray (on behalf of Danielle E. Shipley)

The Bloopers of Allyn-a-Dale

The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”s Launch Week+ is nearing its end! Only this post and one last Kiss & Tell interview to go, at which time I’ll announce the winners of my Rafflecopter giveaway. So if you want your best chance at one of the prizes on offer (including a Merry Men-signed map of Avalon Faire, a tote bag from my Society6 store, a paperback copy of Tirzah Duncan’s “Grace the Mace”, or a one-of-a-kind bookmark), you’ll get those entries in before Friday!

Now, onto today’s hurrah. As I certainly hope you all know by now, “Ballad” is a book, not a movie. And while I’ll take a book over a movie 9 days out of 10, there is one advantage that filmed media have over the printed word:

Blooper reels.

I mean, just imagine how funny it would be to have cut footage of the Merry Men ‘n’ ‘em goofing up their performance of the story!

Or, wait a minute… We totally CAN imagine that! So hey, for today’s post, what say we all just suspend our disbelief for a moment and see what happens “on set”…

Director Will

<<<>>>

Overture, Take 1

Marion’s full lips turned downward in disapproval. The place had been closed to guests for hours. All nonresidents should have been long gone, not loitering around the Faire, and certainly not wandering so deep into Sherwood.

Taking hold of the knife at her hip, she moved away from her half-concealed position and made her presence known.

“Make no sudden movements, please,” she requested, polite but firm, and silently struggling to remove the knife from its sheath. Blast the props department — why wouldn’t the wretched blade come loose? The young man — not yet out of his teens, at first guess — obediently froze.

“Thank you,” Marion said — and, giving up the lost cause of drawing the knife, improvised, “And so you know, I can menace you just as well with my bare hands and razor wit, so take care.”

Quoth the young man, distinctly over-solemn, “No doubt.”

The sniggering author called, “Cut!

<<<>>>

Stanza Three, Take 4

“Aquinore,” the cold one said, moving in the blink of an eye to loom over Allyn-a-Dale. “Wind of the North.” He held out a hand which Allyn did not dare refuse to meet, even though, in the excruciating seconds before the mutual touch was over, he feared with a musician’s panic that his own hand was in danger of freezing right off.

“Austeryn.” The mist-mantled wind gusted smoothly up next. “Wind of the South.” When this touch of greeting ended, to Allyn’s profound relief, his hand felt a little thawed, albeit a great deal wetter.

“Euro—” KRA-BOOM!

“Cut!” cried the author. “Euroval, I told you: Just the hand-clasp, right now. We have to add the lightning and thunder in edits, or you’ll blow out the cameras and mics!”

The Wind of the East scowled. “How is that fair? My brothers got to—”

“Affect the temperature and humidity? Yeah, not the same. Kindly restrain your powerful presence in the next take, alright? From the top of the intros, people. Places!”

<<<>>>

Stanza Four, Take 2

Gawain opened the door wider, admitting another man dressed in the same metal underclothes and crested tunic. The second man stood imposingly tall (compared to all save Little John), his face cool and proud, his sweep of hair an astonishing, if muted, shade of silver-gold. In his hands, he bore an object of some great length enveloped in a purple cloth. This he strode forward to offer up to King Arthur, who stepped down from his elevated seat to remove the cloth, and withdrew from its finely wrought scabbard of golden leather— I say, and withdrew… (psst, Arthur – what’s the trouble?)

Arthur’s brows knitted in vexation. “Sorry, just… *grunts* …can draw the sword from a stone, but not its own scabbard… There we go!” he sighed as the magnificent blade pulled free at last. “Sheesh, are we to have nothing but scabbard troubles in this production?”

Merlin’s ironic look for the camera could’ve come straight out of “The Office”.

<<<>>>

Stanza Five, Take 7

Will led Allyn into the quaintly congested interior of a bookseller’s shop, reasoning to himself that to do so didn’t count as spilling secrets. If anything, it was a cover-up, Avalon-style.

“Behold,” he said, the sweep of his hand sending a shelf-top display crashing to the floor. Jumps and cries of startlement all around, plus an explosive curse from Will Scarlet. “Of all the places to stack a bunch of books …Ahem, anyway.”

A slightly less extravagant gesture indicated the clutter at his feet.  “Novels. Picture books. Coloring boo— Allyn, leave those there! This is still usable! Everybody just carry on like my klutz attack was scripted. Lord knows they usually are…”

“As could my act of tidiness have been scripted,” said Allyn, exasperated, “if you hadn’t said that.”

Will opened his mouth. Closed it. Hung his head. Grumbled a few more words his author wasn’t about to print outright and knelt to help Allyn gather up the books for the next take.

<<<>>>

Stanza Eleven, Take 1

“Oh! There they are!” said Marion, half-risen from her chair. Through the window could be seen the minivan Robin had selected, moving only semi-erratically up alongside the front of the bakery. …and which then just kept on going, right out of frame and beyond. The Merry Men inside the donut shop exchanged glances.

“Wasn’t he supposed to stop and pick us up?” said Marion.

“Yes,” said Robin. “Yes, he was.”

Allyn pointed out, “I did suggest a stunt double do the actual driving.”

“Yes. Yes, you did.”

“Do you think Will even knows where the brake pedal is?”

“No,” Robin said into the hand pressed over his face. “No, I don’t.”

Marion nodded slowly, eyes on the various personnel hastening after the runaway van. “Okey-dokey, then.”

<<<>>>

Stanza Fifteen, Take 3

“…Then, of course, there’s the radio.”

“And what does that do?” Allyn asked.

Will’s eyebrows bowed up. “What, didn’t you know? Radios play music.”

The magic word. “Music? They do?”

“Yep. News shows and sports and things, too, of course, but mostly music. Go on — why don’t you see if you can find a little something to drive by?”

Buzzing with anticipation, Allyn ran his fingers over the hodgepodge of buttons, finally settling on and gingerly pressing the one marked “power.” At once, sections of the system lit up in red and blue-green, and a blast of sound filled the minivan’s interior:

“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP,

NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN,

NEVER GONNA RUN AROUND AND DESERT YOU…”

“No…” Will’s gasp was filled with horror and delight in equal measure. “Who did this?!

Allyn’s wide eyes were all alarm. “What’s happening?”

In the seats behind them, the wickedly laughing Hoods exchanged high-fives, crowing, “#Rickrolled!”

<<<>>>

Ahhh, what could have been! But happily, the first Outlaws of Avalon novel is full of laughs as-is – lauded as “fun, humorous” and “thoroughly delightful”, even without a menu full of special features.

Though really… isn’t a special features menu kind of what this Launch Week+ has been? ;D

<<<>>>

Ballad Cover, front 02

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

*Bonus*: #HypotheticalFAQs

How many wizards does it take to change a light bulb?

Will Scarlet, adopting a glowering gray drawl: “The light bulb will change when it’s meant to.”

The Mega-Launch of Allyn-a-Dale

Outlaws of Avalon Banner

Launch Week? Pfft, no. That’s so Wilderhark Tales. I’ve been waiting on this book’s release since NaNoWriMo 2010. This volume’s the first act in the trilogy of my heart. No way is this Launch Week.

It’s Launch Week+!

A solid month of all things “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”! …Which you can at long last purchase in paperback via Amazon and CreateSpace! E-books available via Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, and I’m pretty sure it’s on iBooks, too, but I don’t have the app, so I can’t tell. If any of you happen to purchase “Ballad” through Apple, feel free to flash me the high sign.

In honor of “Ballad”s release, e-copies of its prequel series, The Wilderhark Tales, are price-dropped on Amazon to just 99 cents each, now through July 31! If you haven’t yet, now’s the perfect time to stock your Kindle / e-reader with the collection of stories from Allyn’s pre-Avalon world. Start here with Book One!

Wilderhark Covers Lineup 5

And because I’ve yet to have a Launch Anything without a giveaway, naturally I wanna make it rain with prizes, including:

– A Map of Avalon Faire – Merry Men-signed! (5 winners)

– A Tote Bag from the Ever On Word shop on Society6 – winner gets their pick of any in-store design! (1 winner)

– A paperback copy of “Grace the Mace” by Tirzah Duncan – because she’s my BFF and I support her art (1 winner)

– A custom “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” bookmark created by Chelsea de la Cruz – because she’s another BFF and she supports my art with her art! (1 winner)

To get in on the giveaway, you can hop over to the Rafflecopter and rack up entry points by… buying “Ballad”! Reviewing “Ballad”! Adding “Ballad” to your Goodreads shelf! Leaving blog post comments! Following me on Twitter! Et cetera. You’ve got options, is what I’m sayin’.

And speaking of blog posts: Here, for your convenience, is a look at Ever On Word’s schedule for “Ballad”-related fun (complete with placeholder titles which may or may not give you much idea about the content to come).

Tuesday, July 12 = Introductory Post (you are here)

Thursday, July 14 = An Illustrated Summary of “Ballad”, as told by [wait and see!]

Saturday, July 16 = Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell Interview #1

Monday, July 18 = Shooting Hood in the Wood

Wednesday, July 20 = “Ballad” Blackout Poetry

Friday, July 22 = Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell Interview #2

Monday, July 25 = Diversity and Stuff

Wednesday, July 27 = The Many Faces of Will ‘n’ Allyn

Friday, July 29 = Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell Interview #3

Tuesday, August 2 = The Songs of “Ballad”, as performed by me

Friday, August 5 = Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell Interview #4

Tuesday, August 9 = The Bloopers of Allyn-a-Dale

Friday, August 12 = Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell #5, and Giveaway Winners Announced

Also, every post (minus the Kiss & Tell interviews, ‘cause I’m arbitrary like that) is going to end with a bonus treat: A selection from a little giggle project I call #HypotheticalFAQs! (Because until “Ballad” starts pulling in some actual frequently asked questions, Will Scarlet and I are not above making them up.)

Anyone else hyped yet? ‘Cause I’m darn hyped, and super looking forward to sharing all this stuff with you – most especially, the book. ❤

<<<>>>

Ballad Cover, front 02

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.

AVAILABLE NOW!

*Bonus*: #HypotheticalFAQs

For each of the Merry Men: What’s one weird thing people don’t know about you?

Robin Hood: “I seriously thought I was going to grow up to be a priest or something.”

Marion Hood: “My eye color. My author’s never been able to decide whether it’s brown or green-hazel or what.”

Will Scarlet: “I am unaccountably fascinated by chickens.”

Little John: “I’m fluent in six languages.”

Allyn-a-Dale: “I would quite honestly rather die than give up a private truth on the Internet.”

A Little Kick on the Side

I’m not actually here! I’m still cruising Europe!

…Which would account for why I forgot I’d signed on to be a part of yesterday’s Release Day Blast for author Natalie Whipple’s latest. *cough*

But by God’s grace, I remembered that today’s my stop on the book’s blog tour. So real quick before I get back to exploring abroad (recaps on the whole adventure to come eventually), here’s what’s up:

Sidekick Banner

The Book: “Sidekick” by Natalie Whipple

Genre: Contemporary YA

Blurb: Russ is a high school football player who feels like he always comes in second to his best friend, Garret. In sports. In school. With girls. Well, he’s tired of it, and he gets the rather foolish idea that if he can win the heart of the new girl in town before Garret he can prove he’s not just sloppy seconds.

His plan? Use his anime-obsessed sister’s group, who has befriended the new girl, to get closer to her. He’d never tell the team, but he’s been going to Anime Night for years and might even enjoy it. That would ruin his reputation, just like his secret love for cooking and James Taylor.

But pretending to be something you aren’t catches up to you eventually, and Russ can only get away with living two lives for so long. As more than one person reveals they have something to hide, Russ must figure out what and who he really wants in his life. And more than that, he needs the courage to make it happen.

Sidekick Cover

My Thoughts: One thing I really appreciate about Natalie Whipple books is that I have yet to see her put her protagonists in a vacuum. There’s always a group of friends and/or family around to create an authentic, eclectic social environment. It makes reading the story feel a lot like just hanging out with the gang. And this may well be my favorite Whipple-written gang to date – which is why the possibility of the main character fumbling his relationships beyond all hope of a happy ever after felt like such painfully high stakes.

Jealousies, deceptions, and high school politics served as a foil against Russ Pearson’s desire to just get through his senior year without feeling like a loser, come in second place to his best friend. His situation got complicated, but it was no manufactured drama. Just motivated actions, reactions, and consequences – lather, rinse, repeat. Were some of those actions at the top of the cycle ill-advised? Absolutely. But I got it. I got Russ. And I rooted for him like crazy. Plus, much as he tried to downplay it, experiencing his culinary passion added to the story’s homey flavor (pun half-intended).

I received an ARC of “Sidekick” in exchange for an honest review, and it was a genuine pleasure to read.

Purchase links for “Sidekick”Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Purchase a signed copy from the author here!

Natalie Whipple

About the Author: Natalie Whipple grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck around to earn her degree in English linguistics at BYU, with a minor in editing. Natalie still lives in Utah with her husband and three kids, and keeps the local Asian market in business with all her attempts to cook.

She is the author of the TRANSPARENT series, HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, the I’M A NINJA series, FISH OUT OF WATER, and MY LITTLE BRONY (under K.M. Hayes). In addition to that, she is on the writing team for the cRPG Torment: Tides of Numenera that should be out sometime in 2015.

Blog: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nataliewhipple

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Whipple/165166756949250

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/nataliewhipple/

Tumblr: http://nataliewhipple.tumblr.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ZkX6f

And guess what? There’s a giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle e-copy of “Sidekick”! (Open internationally)

Deshipley, over and out.

Graphic Paranormal

So, how ‘bout that time “Beyond the Wail” launched and fellow anthology author A. F. Stewart made a heck-ton of amazing graphics? At least one awesome pic per each of the “12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”. Gaze with me…

<<<>>>

OF MICE AND MONSTERS by Tirzah Duncan: Troubled by ghosts within and without, Benjamin struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.

Of Mice and Monsters

[To the tune of “Space Ghost”]: Ghooooooost wiiiiiiiiind!

(Relevant: That time the Stranger Than Truth club reviewed “Of Mice and Monsters” in their, uh, inimitable style.)

<<<>>>

GO GENTLE by Julie Barnson: After the death of her boyfriend, a young musician uses her talents and a fabled violin to stop the fatal accidents at a dead man’s curve.

Go Gentle

Cool colors reminiscent of a ghost’s chill presence.

<<<>>>

DEAD WATER by Amanda Banker: A stalled truck, an abandoned graveyard, and a town not found on any map take two brothers on a detour they’ll never forget.

Dead Water

Don’t follow that road, boys!!!

<<<>>>

COLD SPOT by Jay Barnson: When a laptop is stolen from their computer security company, two high school buddies go to extremes to investigate. But, will they manage to return?

Cold Spot

Love how it moves from a tech-ish image into a total fade-out. Quite story appropriate.

<<<>>>

THE WEEPING LADY by A. F. Stewart: Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

When it’s the artist’s own story up at the bat, it’s no surprise if the muse goes wild. Check out these three variations.

The Weeping Lady

The Weeping Lady 2

The Weeping Lady 3

(Not sure I can pick a favorite. Can you?)

<<<>>>

THE POLTERGEIST AND AUNT BETTY by Ginger C. Mann: Aunt Betty is eccentric, but how much is ghost, how much is medication, and how much is just plain crazy?

The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty

If it isn’t the old Hammond Organ!

(Relevant: That time everyone’s favorite Crazy Aunt Betty hit the stage for Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.)

<<<>>>

THE ‘GRIM’ REAPER by L. K. McIntosh: When a soul reaper loses the source of their power, they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.

The 'Grim' Reaper

Ahhh, the fateful antiques shop… *nods knowingly*

<<<>>>

SHRINE OF MIRRORS by F. M. Longo: A spy on a mission becomes a believer in the supernatural when the theft of three ancient relics threaten to bring down the empire.

Shrine of Mirrors

Lovely aesthetic. Seems a view Saga Naoki and company would enjoy, no?

<<<>>>

DEAD MAN HOCKING by T.N. Payne: A world-weary zombie learns to beware what you wish for, and not all sure bets are worth the gamble.

Dead Man Hocking

I don’t care if it is only Kyle: If a zombie comes walking out of that fog, I’m completely done.

<<<>>>

SAINT PETER’S FISH by Alex McGilvery: Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?

Saint Peter's Fish

Sure, the water’s calm now… *waits for the oceanic life to monsoon down* Also, I really like what’s going on with the colors in the second row of text.

<<<>>>

THE DIORAMA by Sebastian Bendix: A play set turns life around for Martin Taper, but things take a turn for the worse when he neglects it and the lonely child obsessed with it.

The Diorama

That’s just a straight-up cool little photograph, man. *remembers associated story* *is crept out*

<<<>>>

And then there’s MINE!

DATE DUE by Danielle E. Shipley: A magic library’s guardian determines to protect her treasured books, whether their authors elect to do things the easy way … or the fatal one.

Date Due graphic

She used the same image in a warmer shade, too, which I also liked, but this library reads as spookier, and I just tend to lean toward bluer tones in general – in life – so this is the one that gets the coveted blog post spot.

(Relevant: That time Ginger C. Mann went on a character walk with my crazy book lady.)

(See also: That other time, when A. F. Stewart’s Richard Dale had a fireside chat with my Elizabeth Young.)

<<<>>>

What do you think, Ever On Wordians? Pretty darn sweet, or nah?

Thanks for the great graphics, A. F.!

(Relevant: The “Beyond the Wail” blog tour is still going, along with its Rafflecopter giveaway. If you haven’t entered yet, get a move on!)

An Enticing Tease

Remember that time I joined in the cover reveal for Holloway Pack short story “Enticed”? Well, as of last Thursday, the cat werewolf’s out of the bag! Happy release tour to friend and fellow author J.A. Belfield, and happy birthday to Ethan!

Or is it?

perf5.250x8.000.indd

Gifts aside, Ethan’s morning hasn’t been anything to write home about. Sure, life is good, the pack is staying out of trouble, he finally has a mate who boils his blood … in a good way.

Except Shelley hasn’t called. Hasn’t come by. Didn’t even bother to join her son and his girlfriend for Ethan’s annual I’m-a-year-older breakfast.

What Ethan doesn’t know is that Shelley has plans. Plans that have been in progress for weeks. Ones that Ethan will never see coming, and that she’s banked on him not knowing a thing about.

She can only hope her secrecy doesn’t force his inner wolf to the surface—at least, not too early.

Enticed: A Holloway Pack Mini can 1) be read as a standalone, and 2) now be obtained via these locations:

Enticed on Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo iTunes | Enticed in print

The e-book is FREE, or you could slap down a few bucks to get it in print.

Not enticing enough for ya? Suppose I slip in an excerpt to show you what you’re in for…

<<<>>>

Sinking down onto the edge of my bed, I worked a finger under the flap and took out a regular old birthday card with a chimp on the front and a simple ‘Happy Birthday’ printed across its top in bulky orange letters. Nothing romantic. No hearts. No confessed feelings. No nouns pronouncing who the recipient might be to the sender.

Though, what could she get one with, anyway? To my boyfriend? My face screwed up at that title. My mate? Somehow, I doubted they did those at Hallmark.

Even so, I found myself opening it, like some part of me hoped she had more to say with her own words than with those fabricated by some anonymous message maker.

Four envelopes marked 1, 2, 3, and 4 had been tucked inside.

Moving those out of the way revealed more of Shelley’s neat handwriting across the inner fold of the greeting card. A cryptic note of: ‘What? Did you think this was it?’

I frowned, my eyes scanning downward to another little note.

‘Pssst, in case you can’t figure it out, the envelopes are number-ordered for a reason. Open them. You know you want to.’

“What the hell’s got into you, Shel?” I muttered, though my lips twitched even as I set down the card and three of the envelopes, and ripped at the flap of number one.

No card sat inside it. No note. Just a tiny black rag of … I grabbed it between my two fingers and slid it out. Lace?

Lifting it to my nose, I sniffed. A faint whiff of Shelley lingered on its surface, but otherwise, it just had that new fabric smell I’d have expected from the stiffness of the strip.

Setting it aside, I lifted number two, tore through the stuck-down flap, and peered inside.

A couple of glossy photos peeked back, and I withdrew them. Stared at the first one. Tried to figure out what the hell the pinkish-but-not-pink, creamy looking whatever the shot seemed to be of. I shuffled out another from behind it—same thing. Kind of. Except the second one had a couple of ridges.

Only when looking at the third did I notice the faint porous-like indentations, the delicate downy-looking hairs, and realised it was a close-up of … “Skin? Lace … and skin?”

Despite my narrow-eyed frown, my lips curved. Shelley was definitely—definitely—up to something.

And experience warned it would be something really bad.

Or something painfully good.

<<<>>>

And now for the giveaway. *wiggles brows*

Enticed Giveaway

Prize: 1 Signed Print Copy of ENTICED for your reading pleasure

1 ENTICED 6×4 Cover Art Print for your viewing pleasure

1 Thornton’s Viennese Truffle Bar to enjoy whilst you devour Ethan

Enter here!

/End steamy spotlight ;D

The Author, the Prince, and the Wind

FTF Button 2015

Once upon a time, an author looked up to discover that, high goodness, it was that time of year already: The annual, magical Fairy Tale Fortnight was once again come to its host blogs, The Book Rat and A Backwards Story.

Book Rat's Glass Slipper
Speaking of glass slippers… Image via (and the original watercolor created by / up for grabs courtesy of) Misty from The Book Rat.

Enamored with fairytales as she was, the author simply had to get in on the event. And as aforesaid event happened to fall right around the time she released the latest in her series of fairytale mash-up novellas, it was clear as a glass slipper what the author should do: Offer a pair of fun author/character chat vignettes and a giveaway tied-in to her new book!

And that author… *solemn nods* … was me.

And that book is, of course, “The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)”.

Surrogate Sea cover, front

With a little cooperation from my South Wind and the Crown Prince of Denebdeor, I put together a couple of “Inspired”-style interview posts for the entertainment of the fairytale-loving community. You’ll find them here and here, along with a giveaway offering one lucky winner a set of signed bookmarks + a limited-edition “Surrogate Sea Word-Sketch Book” + a paperback copy of “The Surrogate Sea”! You’ve got ‘til the 22nd to enter. Enjoy, and good luck!

And for those of you in a fairytale mood, I hope you’ll check out/subscribe to the new series I’ve begun on Channillo.com, The Wilderhark Talettes! The first of my monthly short stories is up now (all new, and all about a young Edgwyn Wyle, squee!), with the next story comin’ atcha two weeks from today. ^_^

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)

The Storm of the South (“Surrogate Sea” Bookmark Giveaway)

One week* ‘til the launch of “The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)”!

*(Though, WHEE! You can totally order it early! Like, NOW! Pre-order the Kindle e-book here! Or the paperback here or here! Or the Nook e-book here!)

Also known as, a perfect day to show off a little Wilderhark swag, a quickie peek at a related snippet from the book, and – oh, yeah – let you know that, this week only, in honor of the upcoming release of Book Six, you can get the Kindle e-book of Book Five for just 99 cents!

That’s right – “The Sun’s Rival” Kindle e-book can be yours (or your friends’, or their friends’…!) at a delightfully discounted $0.99. Because while Book Six can absolutely be enjoyed on its own, the series is best experienced from start to end. ^_^ Spread the word!

Sun's Rival 99 Cents

And now, brought to you by the talented hand of Wilderhark Artist Yana Naumova, here’s the bringer of rain and master of guile, Austeryn, Wind of the South!

Austeryn, art gallery size

<> ~ <> ~ <>

The expression on Austeryn’s face was impossible to read. “My daughter has fallen in love with Ionquin Wyle?”

“Yes, after she saved him from her storm, the other day.”

“So you have taken her place…”

“That’s right,” Liliavaine said, bracing herself as the wind drew forward, in case he intended another wrathful attack.

But on the contrary, Austeryn only clasped his liquid-and-air hands to her shoulders, his lips stretched into a seemingly delighted smile. “Thank you, Liliavaine. You have done both Muirigan and me a great service.”

Liliavaine ducked her head. “I am pleased to hear it, though I confess I agreed to my part in this with little thought to charity. I only wished to be the Sea that I might…” Shyness tinged her cheeks pink before she finished, “That I might seek a love.”

“Seek a love?” Austeryn chuckled. “That would be an awkward thing. You’re already married.”

Liliavaine’s head jerked up, her eyes round with shock and brows knitted in confusion. “Married?! No I’m not! To whom??”

Ticking off the points on his fingers, Austeryn replied, “Item one, yes, married. Item two, yes you are. Item three…” He smiled. “To me.”

<> ~ <> ~ <>

“The Surrogate Sea” in its entirety officially launches Tuesday, March 24. In the meantime, who’d like to win a bookmark with the Austeryn portrait shown here? There are five ways to enter the giveaway:

1) Order your copy of “The Surrogate Sea” via any of the links shared at the beginning of this post, and comment here with the word, “Ordered!”

2) Add “The Surrogate Sea” to your Goodreads shelf and comment here with the word, “Added!”

3) Order your 99-cent Kindle e-copy of “The Sun’s Rival” (or, if you already own the e-book, gift one to somebody! Or both! Still just 99 cents!), and comment here with, “Just bought Book 5!”

4) Comment here with your answer to the question, “What is your favorite kind of weather and why?”

Inspired_Cover_Draft_Final_web

And/or 5) Incidentally, it’s the 1-year anniversary of INSPIRED! ^o^ So, leave your favorite quote from the book below, and it’s a giveaway entry, yo!

One winner will be selected at random and contacted over the weekend. Best of luck to all entrants!

Book Banner, Surrogate Sea

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.

The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)

“The Surrogate Sea, more than any other Wilderhark tale to date, takes the heartstrings and pulls them out from under you. There is fury, ecstasy, heartache, and resignation to be found within these pages beautifully bound up in true love and tragedy as only Ms. Shipley can.” – early praise from reader Chelsea de la Cruz

The Princess and the Sea (“Surrogate Sea” Bookmark Giveaway)

Two weeks* ‘til the launch of “The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)”!

*(Though, WHEE! The Kindle e-book is available for pre-order NOW!)

Also known as, a perfect day to show off a little Wilderhark swag and a quickie peek at a related snippet from the book. ;D Brought to you by the talented hand of Wilderhark Artist Yana Naumova, here are (left to right) Muirigan, daughter of wind and water, and Princess Liliavaine of Denebdeor!

Lily and Muirigan, art gallery size

<> ~ <> ~ <>

Muirigan shook her head sorrowfully. I cannot survive beyond the reach of my greater self.

I cannot leave.

Unless… Muirigan turned to Liliavaine, her eyes alight with some new hope.

“Unless what?”

Unless I were not the Great Sea, she wrote.

Unless someone else were the Sea.

Someone like you.

“Me?” The human princess gaped. “But that’s absurd. One does not simply wake up one morning and decide to become the sea!”

True, Muirigan agreed.

But the Sea can decide to pass her greater self onto another.

That is how I became the Great Sea, and how Mother became the Great Sea before me.

Everything must die, but there must always be a Sea.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

“The Surrogate Sea” in its entirety launches Tuesday, March 24. In the meantime, who’d like to win a bookmark with the portrait of Muirigan and Liliavaine shown here? There are two ways to enter the giveaway:

1) Pre-order your Kindle e-copy of “The Surrogate Sea” and comment here with the word, “Pre-ordered!”

2) Add “The Surrogate Sea” to your Goodreads shelf and comment here with the word, “Added!”

And/or 3) Comment here with your answer to the question, “If you could wake up as anyone different, just for a day or three, who would you choose and why?”

One winner will be selected at random and contacted over the weekend. Best of luck to all entrants!

Book Banner, Surrogate Sea

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.

The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)

“Seriously. These books just keep getting better and better! Danielle Shipley has…written a book that totally tugged at my heartstrings and made me love her characters more and more!” – early praise from reader Emerald Barnes