Five Thousand Words’ Worth of Feels

Once upon a time – specifically, on the day I was scheduled to hop a 10-hour flight from Chicago to Amsterdam – I was granted a blessed distraction from my stressful morning full of last-minute packing (and repacking) by a message from friend/fan Jay Cottle. To paraphrase said message:

I’ve read “The Story’s End”, and I have FEELINGS!

As the book’s author, those words alone would have been enough to brighten my heart. But then – THEN – I realized that I was also looking at a series sketches inspired by the book, which caused my insides to go something like:

I’m looking at fan art, and I have FEELINGS!

‘Cause I don’t know about authors in general, but my definition of success prominently features fan art. *starry-eyed smile*

So here we are a month later, with my European river cruise behind me, my 2015 NaNoWriMo won, and me about as settled in Germany as I’m probably going to be before briefly returning to the States. Sounds like the perfect time to finally show you guys Jay’s “Story’s End” pics! #Behold

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Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 1
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Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 2
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Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 3
3/5
Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 4
4/5
Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 5
5/5

<<<>>>

If you’ve read the novella, you’ve probably got a pretty good grasp of everything going on in these images. If you haven’t read it – if, indeed, you haven’t even purchased it yet – good news: That is easily remedied!

Big thanks for the Wilderhark love, Jay! And anytime anyone else wants to throw some Deshipley story-related art my way, know that I will be more than happy to receive it. ^_^

Wintry with a High Chance of a Teaser

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 4 of “The Soul Shepherdessnow live on Channillo.com. Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.

<<<>>>

Only 2 weeks and a day (can you believe it?!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”. To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Aquinore, color final, gallery size

That chill in the air isn’t just October breathing down our necks. It’s Aquinore, Wind of the North, standing proud on one of three new bookmark designs made just for “Story’s End” – which you can bet will feature in a giveaway during the online Launch Party, coming soon to Facebook. (Drop in! Invite your friends! We’ll party like it’s #WilderharkTales7, up in here!)

Just what role will the Sky’s icy wind have to play in the Wilderhark Tales’ final chapter? That, I’m hardly about to tell you. But if we’re talking of chapters, how’s this for a tease: A peek at the lineup of chapter titles for “The Story’s End”!

<<<>>>

~ A Ballad of Life and Death ~

~ Winter and Spring ~

~ Gant Expectations ~

~ Sky on Earth, Earth in Sky ~

~ The Silencing of Song ~

~ A Lost Lullaby ~

~ The Bard and His Boy ~

~ No Kind of Home ~

~ Whispers in the Night ~

~ Tales of Time Gone By ~

~ Old Friends with New Faces ~

~ The Gant Commission ~

~ The Dark Divide ~

~ Spinning a Long-Ago Spell ~

~ Last Light of the Moon ~

~ The Way through the Window ~

~ A Gathering Storm ~

~ Song’s Finale ~

~ Epilogue: …All the Rest of Their Days ~

<<<>>>

Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

A Pair’s Portrait, and Part of the Sky

Only 3 weeks (WHAT? GAH! HOW IS SEPTEMBER ALMOST GONE?!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”. To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Allyn, color final, gallery size

That’s right, it’s one of three new bookmark designs made just for “Story’s End” – which you can bet will feature in a giveaway during the online Launch Party, coming soon to Facebook. If that young man by the fire looks familiar to frequenters of this blog, there’s a solid reason for that. ;D And of course we all know Gant-o’-the-Lute – up in a tree again, just like in his personal bookmark for Book Four.

What’s he thinking about, up there? The same wish he’s held in his heart from the start of things, as glimpsed in “The Song Caster” and laid bare in “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”. Attune your ear and listen. Hear the music? It’s not “Part of Your World” – a fair guess, given the identical melody and lyric structure, but no. This is not the song of a Disney mermaid longing for land, but that of a Wilderhark minstrel who craves higher still…

<<<>>>

Look at this trick. Isn’t it neat?

Wouldn’t you think that my talent’s complete?

You’d think of me, wouldn’t you, that I can do anything?

*

Look at me now. Don’t I astound?

Watch me be a wonder while you wonder how.

One hour around me, and now you’re sure I can do anything.

*

I can top all your top virtuosos –

Any instrument, and any score;

Best you at your best game with my eyes closed.

But so what? Not enough. I want more.

Sky Child, cropped

I want to leave where the people are.

I want to see where no man’s yet ventured.

Land’s been done into the ground.

Try the sea, you say? …Ha. Cute.

*

But even a ship only sails so far.

Higher’s required for my adventure!

Impossible? Ah, you’re forgetting:

I’m Gant-o’-the-Lute.

Rays of Songlight - Copy

You’re free to walk. You’re free to run.

I mean to make my way to the sun,

And hang gravity! I long to be

Part of the sky.

*

What would I give if I could live up where the winds race?

What would I pay to spend a day there ere I die?

What won’t I try? Won’t be denied. Though I spend all my life in the chase,

I’m not quitting. Sick of sitting. Ready to fly!

On Music's Wings

I’m ready to know where the sunset goes!

Follow it westward, and rise come morning!

Dance over stars that your eyes only spy from below!

*

When can I go? Wouldn’t I love,

Love to explore and soar up above?

The sky’s part of me. And someday I’ll be

Part of the sky.

<<<>>>

Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

Extreme Makeover: Wilderhark Edition

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 3 of “The Soul Shepherdess” now live on Channillo.com. Young Solwen is moving ever closer to her minstrel destiny – and naturally, she’s singing all-new, original songs about it. Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

Also, there’s a Wilderhark extravaganza coming, and you (*points to absolutely everyone*) are officially invited. Check it out!

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.

<<<>>>

Once upon a time, an author loved the covers of her fairytale novella series very much.

But then she decided that she could love them more.

For you see, this author was something of a perfectionist, her eye ever open to ways things could be made better. In the case of her books’ covers, they were beautiful to behold. …Up close. But from a distance – or, y’know, a thumbnail image – they didn’t read as well. Moreover, the spines were too plain. Too dull. She wanted to fancy them up a bit, so they better held their own among a whole shelf full of titles.

Fortunately for our author, this series of hers was self-published, so making the changes she desired was as simple (and as frustrating/wearying/time-consuming) as making those changes herself. Thus did she roll up her sleeves, send up prayers for strength, patience, and technological cooperation, and buckle down to get ‘er done.

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

And since I was at it, I went ahead and swept the pages again (both paper and electronic) for persistent typos and formatting stuff that bugged me, so now the books’ insides and outsides are better than ever! Although Books 1 and 2 still don’t include pronunciation guides, because… *squints at past self* What was your reasoning, exactly?

Past Me: *shrugs*

Ohhh-kay. For, um, mysterious reasons unknown, then. But those who want reassurance that they’re saying “Harrold Babbit” correctly can always pop onto the Wilderhark Tales page on my website.

In any case: Look ye now upon the before-and-afters of the old and NEW ‘N’ IMPROVED, full-spread covers for Wilderhark Tales One through Six!

Swan Prince Cover, E-book
Before…
Swan Prince Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Stone Kingdom Cover, front
Before…
Stone Kingdom Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Seventh Spell Cover, front
Before…
Seventh Spell Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Song Caster Cover, front
Before…
Song Caster Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Sun's Rival Cover, front
Before…
Sun's Rival Cover, full spread udpate
…and after!
Surrogate Sea cover, front
Before…
Surrogate Sea Cover, full spread update
…and after!

Ta-daaaaaa! You collector types who simply must have every version of everything Wilderhark that you can get your hands on, terribly sorry, but it looks like I’ve given you something new at which to throw your money. And for those of you who’ve been dragging your feet about getting your copies of the Wilderhark Tales, now seems like a shiny time to get your collection going, dontcha think? ^^ Just in time for the series’ end, too

Holler in the comments: What do you think of the makeovers??

Wilderhark Cover Updates 01

Wilderhark Cover Updates 02

Wilderhark Cover Updates 03

The Beginning of the End

Story's End Cover Reveal Tease

Once upon a time not so very long gone, I began my self-publishing adventure with a walk beneath the boughs of an enchanted forest. Step followed step, and story followed story – from the mystery of “The Swan Prince” to the legend of “The Stone Kingdom”, through time with “The Seventh Spell” and to the music of “The Song Caster”, under the dueling lights of “The Sun’s Rival” and into the storm of “The Surrogate Sea”, taking a side jaunt with “The Sky-Child and Other Stories” along the way. And now at last, the journey nears its end.

From the inspired hand of Yana Naumova, I present to you…

…the face of the final Wilderhark Tales novella.

(Click to zoom in for a closeup)
(Click to zoom in for a closeup)

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

The Outside

Those of you who’ve laid hands on hard copies of the previous Wilderhark Tales may be saying to yourselves, “Is it just me, or is the spine of Book Seven looking pretty fancy?”

To which I say, “It’s not just you.”

My perfectionist eye has grown disgruntled with the comparative plainness of my Wilderhark covers’ typography – particularly on the spines. I want my book babies’ exteriors to flaunt a touch more pop!, and I just may have finally figured out how to achieve it. This means that by the time the last novella launches (barring insurmountable shenanigans), all of the preceding Tales will be gussied up to match it. Sing hey for self-pubbing with print-on-demand, where such tweaks can be made without bringing the world to its knees!

The Inside

I shall be frank with you: This story both pleases me and breaks me every time I read it. It is an emotional, bittersweet, and straight-up painful goodbye to the series that’s become so dear to a number of hearts. I hope you love it and/or curse my name through your tears.

In the meantime… what do you think of the cover? ^^

The Face of Five

Happy (belated) blogiversary to me! September 1st of 2011 saw the very first Ever On Word blog post, and just look at what all’s happened since then: More than 4.5 hundred posts in the archives, blog hops and blog tours, hosting guests and being hosted, pics, gifs, Will Scarlet holding my Saturdays hostage… and, of course, intermittent hurrahs to do with whatever professional publication things are hitting the market. Case in point: Today I am elated to reveal the cover of the fifth book in my series of fairytale retelling novellas. Behold!

Sun's Rival Cover, front

Next to the uncommon beauty of her sisters, Princess Laraspur feels invisible, until she learns the two most powerful kings in the world have their eyes fixed upon her. But the ensuing double-courtship goes horribly awry, requiring Laraspur to brave the secret perils of earth, sea, and sky, on a quest that will try the very essence of her being.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)

I cannot sing the praises of my cover artist loudly enough. Yana Naumova, you knock my socks off harder every time!

Since this cover-revealing anniversary has got me in a festive mood, here are five fun facts about Wilderhark Tale number five!

1) I actually drafted this book ahead of Book Four, because I had an inkling about where I wanted to take this chapter of the series, whereas Gant-o’-the-Lute had yet to divulge his plans for “The Song Caster”.

2) Unlike the other Wilderhark Tales to date, my main inspiration for “The Sun’s Rival” wasn’t a fairytale, but the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche.

3) This is the first Wilderhark Tale driven by sibling relationships, of both the positive and, erm, not to be imitated varieties.

4) It is really hard to compile these five facts for you, because so much of the cool stuff I want to tell you does not comply with the rules of my spoiler-free zone. So I just really need everyone to read this book upon release so we can discuss it freely, okay?

5) This young adult romance adventure is slated to share a book birthday with another publication of mine; J. Taylor Publishing’s “One More Day” anthology (featuring my short story, “A Morrow More”) launched on a December 2nd, too!

“The Sun’s Rival” is currently available to add to your Goodreads shelves (you can do so here. Anytime, now. At your leisure), and will be ready for purchase no later than the official release date of December 2, 2014. ‘Tween now and then, keep your eyes open for excerpts, bookmark giveaways, and any other awesomeness my brain may come up with at the last minute (like it does).

ALSO, I am currently seeking folks willing to give e-ARCs (advance reader copies) of the book an early read ‘n’ review! Qualifications are minimal: Just do your darnedest to read “Sun’s Rival” and post your honest opinion of it (on Goodreads, your blog/social media platform of choice, and Amazon/Barnes and Noble.com), preferably before or on the book’s release date. Interested parties may leave a request in the comments section below or shoot me a message via my contact page.

Thanks in the meantime to all the awesome people who are helping me share the face of “Sun’s Rival” all over the interwebs; you guys get all the Cyber Brownies of Gratitude. ^_^

So-o-o-o? What’s everybody think of the cover?! 8D

“Two” or “‘Stone Kingdom’ Giveaway Tease”

Only ONE DAY left ‘til the release of my second fairytale novella, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”! And what’s a super-exciting launch day without a mega-fantastic giveaway?!

As many of you may recall, I celebrated the launch of “The Stone Kingdom”s predecessor, “The Swan Prince”, with a weeklong extravaganza known as the Seven Swans a-Winning Giveaway. It was hecka fun, and it almost killed me. Keeping up that level of enthusiasm every day for a full week straight proved to be a bit more than I could healthfully handle. So, in the spirit of living and learning (emphasis on living), we’re going to try things just a smidge differently, this time around. But fear not! All the best parts of the giveaway will remain the same. (:

There will still be seven days to enter – Friday, September 20th (launch day!) though Thursday, September 26th. On the in-between Monday and Wednesday and the following Friday, I will announce the latest winners of the fantabulous prizes.

How to Enter

Everyone will be given oodles of chances to win those aforementioned, exclusive, custom-made (by moi!), totally-boss-sauce prizes by engaging in any or all of the following activities:

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Stone Kingdom” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf * = 1

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post ** = 3

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 7

* This is something you can do right now! Just let me know in the comments below that you’ve done it, and that’s one instance of your name in the prize pool already!

** You can get an early start with this one, too! Send me a message through my contact page, and we’ll settle on a date (which, by the way, does not have to be during the giveaway week, if that timeframe isn’t convenient for you; any time’s good). Provide the interview questions and/or topic you’d like me (or Rosalba or Edgwyn!) to guest blog about, I’ll type like a maniac, and wha-bam – you’re part of the “Wilderhark Tales” phenomenon. (: (And if an advance review and/or interview has already appeared on your blog, don’t worry, you’re covered. Automatic name in hat for you. ^-^)

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win the first prize? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the prizes to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

Winning what?” I’m very glad you asked.

The Prizes

#1 = Our first winner will receive an autographed print of word art, the words being the lyrics to “Both True”, an original song (composed by me) inspired by “The Stone Kingdom”.

#2 = The second winner will get an autographed print of dual portraits (drawn by me) of the book’s main characters, Princess Rosalba and Edgwyn Wyle.

#3 = Winner number three gets an autographed print of a picture (drawn by me) depicting one of my favorite moments in “The Stone Kingdom”. That’s all that I’ll tell you; just know that it’s awesome.

#4 = Another autographed print of another “Stone Kingdom” moment, also drawn by me, and also a surprise. (Oh, the mystery!)

They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”
They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”

#5 = These were a hit last launch, so I’m bringing them back. Our fifth prize will be seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom” … with author commentary! One lucky winner will get an exclusive look at what went into the making of the story, including inspiration for names, reflection on early plot/character concepts, references to movies you may or may not have seen, and more!

#6 = The most coveted prize of them all: Seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom”… with CHARACTER commentary! Pretty much any verbal exchange between Edgwyn and Rosalba is entertainment worth the price of admission, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to getting this hot little number into somebody’s hands.

And then, of course, there’s #7 = The Epic Win of the giveaway. For the raffle’s grand finale, I’ll draw three names from the hat (or the shoebox, if we’re going for absolute accuracy), and each of these three winners will have their pick of any one previous prize.

Actually, you know what? This is the giveaway for Book Two, y’all. Let’s crank this party up a notch: Each of these three winners will have their pick of any TWO previous prizes. Yes. I’m serious. Any two prizes they most desire. AND, one of those three will also be selected to receive the Grand Prize Bonus – an autographed paperback of “The Stone Kingdom.

If this is madness, I don’t want to be sane.

So, I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for the big release of “The Stone Kingdom”, yeah? Good deal. Tell your friends! (Or forever receive dirty looks from them, the pain in their eyes saying, “Why didn’t you let me in on this awesome book and giveaway? What the heck, man? I thought we were friends! It’s like I don’t even know you! #Betrayed!”)

Good Friends...Books This Good

“Re-Cover” or “New Looks, Same Books!”

Eyes wide, everyone: You’re arrived at a stop on author Emerald Barnes’ blog tour! Her novellas “Read Me Dead” and “Piercing Through the Darkness” have received cover makeovers, and she’s eager to tell us why and show them off. The floor’s all yours, Emerald!

* * * * *

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Danielle!

People have been asking me why I decided to change my covers. It’s really a simple answer. It’s for the genre of the book.

I loved the old covers for both of my books. Honestly, I still love them, but they didn’t fit the covers of their genre well.

Read Me Dead -- "before".
Read Me Dead — “before”.

Read Me Dead’s old cover has a sad, young girl on it, and really, that’s what she is, but you couldn’t see her face. I like that we get to “see” what Alex looks like in the new cover, but it still holds that sad, young girl image. My cover artist, Najla Quamber, added in script in the back. That is important to the story, and I liked that subtle text added. She also added raindrops which is also important and in some important scenes. The story is dark, and I won’t lie about that. Alexia is a sad girl, and we wanted that to come across in the cover. It came across in the old cover as well, but I think the brown coloring of the old cover wasn’t “young adult” enough. Take a gander at the most popular young adult covers. It didn’t really “fit,” and I wanted it to fit and be eye-catching for that genre. I think we’ve succeeded for that.

Piercing Through the Darkness -- "before".
Piercing Through the Darkness — “before”.

Piercing Through the Darkness’ old cover focused more on the “antagonist” of the story. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but I wanted the focus on Kandi, the girl whose life was torn apart when the accident happened. (Then again, if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that even the antagonist isn’t really a usual antagonist.) But still, if you notice the young adult/new adult genre covers focus more on the females. I’m not sure why that is, but that is the case. The girl is bloody, and I think that’s what draws the eyes in. Why is she bloody? The old cover didn’t really draw us in with “whys” in my opinion. It could’ve be better, so we made it better.

I think this is another thing about being an Indie author that I love. If it turns out that our covers aren’t right, they can be changed, and this instance, although I loved the old covers and think they captured attention well, I eventually thought it could be better. 

Covers are the first thing that is seen. A book is judged by its cover, and it has to be appealing and eye-catching yet still capture the essence of your book. I think these new covers are just that for mine.

* * * * *

Read Me Dead -- "after"!
Read Me Dead — “after”!

Alexia Wheaton’s problems go far beyond picking a dress and a date for the homecoming dance.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory – the memory of her parents’ horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet about the identity of the murderer to protect herself and her family and friends, but when a journalist over hears her secret and writes about it in the local newspaper, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents’ murderer will soon find her – and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents’ murderer to justice. She will face many secrets, lies, and betrayals before the truth about their murder is revealed.

“Read Me Dead” by Emerald Barnes on Ganxy

Piercing Through the Darkness -- "after"!
Piercing Through the Darkness — “after”!

It’s on the edge of her memory like a word on the tip of her tongue, but Kandi can’t remember what it is to save her life.

Despite being a cop, Jimmy can’t protect Kandi from the one thing that haunts her. She’s in danger and doesn’t even know it. After it happened, her brain repressed her memories of the accident, and now, she’s taking a Biology class under a man who wants to see her dead. The memories have started coming back, and it feels like she’s miles away from him. How can he protect her when she doesn’t even know she needs protecting?

Can these characters pierce their way through the darkness?

“Piercing Through the Darkness” by Emerald Barnes on Ganxy

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About Emerald Barnes:

Emerald Barnes 3

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.

She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages! She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. She blogs at emeraldbarnes.blogspot.com and ebarnes23.wordpress.com which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much! She’s also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is so amazing!

She’s an auntie to two beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews (and another unknown gender coming by the end of 2013) who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn’t imagine spending her time in any other way!

She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Stay up to date with her at her Website, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also find her on Goodreads , Google+, and stay up to date with her releases on her Amazon Author Page

embanner

For more stops on the tour visit: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us/on-tour.html