Friday, September 28, 2012

Do you want to help reveal the cover for THE FAERIE GUARDIAN?

Ok, so last week I asked you all to vote on whether the Creepy Hollow novelettes should continue, or whether I should ONLY publish the remaining installments in novel-lenth compilations. Currently there are 41 votes: 21 novelette + compilation; 20 compilation only. So. That was obviously VERY helpful! (<--- note sarcastic font)

ANYWAY, moving on ... The first four installments (plus some bonus scenes at the end from different characters' POVs) are going to be published together in paperback compilation #1, THE FAERIE GUARDIAN, which, of course, is getting its own cover!

For these paperback covers, I was going to get a professional cover designer to do them, but everything that I thought of to ask a designer to do was something I'd seen on other covers. My ideas were cool, but a little clich├ęd. And on top of that, I was finding it really hard to let go of my control freak tendencies and have someone else do the designing! So I decided I could once again do this myself ... I was searching through stock images for ideas when I suddenly came upon something really simple that caught my attention. Simple, yet magical. I looked through all the images by that particular photographer/designer and found a lot that I liked. I picked three, downloaded the comps, and quickly made three mock-up covers. I lined them up next to each other -- and loved them. I hope you love them too!

I'm going to be revealing the cover for the first compilation, THE FAERIE GUARDIAN, on Thursday 4 October. If you'd like to participate in this cover reveal/launch, please enter your name, email address, blog name and blog address into the form that can be found on this page so I can send you all the info beforehand.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH IN ADVANCE!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Author Interview with Carlyle Labuschagne

I'm really excited about today's interview, because this author is a fellow South African! Yay! Carlyle Labuschagne recently released her debut novel, THE BROKEN DESTINY. I haven't read it yet, but you can check out the great reviews here on Goodreads. Also, we're doing an interview swap today, so you can find me answering questions over at her blog (please visit me!).

So onto the questions...

1. What is your earliest piece of writing that you still have?
A book full of poems and songs from my teenage years.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a published author, and how long after that did you get your book deal?
In 2009 I decided the moment I started the first sentence of what is now THE BROKEN DESTINY. After the first draft I realized I had zero knowledge of the craft so I took a year off to finish a diploma in Creative writing. I stared submitting Jan of 2011 and finally landed something that suited my needs three months later.

Rachel: Exciting! It was also 2009 that I realized I wanted to stop just imagining stories and actually write them down and get them published.

3. For you, what is the best thing about being a published author, and what is the worst?
The Best - sharing my story! Being able to fangirl over my characters and book with others. Making new friends all the time. The worst - me being impatient and the editing oh the editing!!! *cries just thinking about it*

4. Do you have any weird little writing rituals? (Like you can only write best when you sit in a certain spot at a certain time of day!)
LOl yes. I can only write in my study. I write best when I have just woken up, and the rest of my neighborhood and family are asleep. So early morning is the best for me. It doesnt always work out that way as I have a day job, so sometimes I have to push myself every opportunity I get.

5. Speaking of ... What is your day job?
I work as a Marketing and PR consultant.

6. You live in South Africa and your publisher is based in Texas. How has it worked only being able to communicate electronically or telephonically?
Its time consuming as the time difference caused a delay. And like I said I hate waiting. But thank goodness for internet and smart phones!

And now for the book ...

7. What do fans seem to love the most about THE BROKEN DESTINY?
They love the Planet I created. The fact that they can relate to the heroine of the story, that she is not perfect and struggles. More so the vast character cast. Mystery and the play on words along with many quotes I incorporate.

8. Are there any songs you’d like to mention that inspired/influenced/are connected in any way to THE BROKEN DESTINY?
Oh wow yes. First the song from Prime Circle - What Ive become. A local super talented band that granted me permission to quote the lyrics in the book. Muse. Metric. Sia. Meese. Civil twilight (more SA greatness). Linkin Park - and dont forget the gorgeous band 30 Seconds to Mars. Ooh I meditated on their music a lot during this book.

Rachel: I can relate to that. I listened to a LOT of 30 Seconds to Mars while writing my first novel!

9. Which of the characters in THE BROKEN DESTINY would you most like to meet in real life?
Oh gosh thats a tricky one. All the good ones!! The villains can stay where they are. I love all my characters and I think the reason I know them so well is because I use people I know to base them on. Not all of them of course.

Thanks, Carlyle! Check out the pretty cover and the blurb for THE BROKEN DESTINY:


Blurb
Ava's People have been exiled to Planet Poseidon, where through a series of horrific events, Ava discovers that their existence has been fabricated by The Council, And She has a Destiny that could save them. Her Soul is a secret weapon that has been lost to an ancient race. To fulfill her destiny Ava needs to go through a series of "changes" that will reveal her true purpose. Throughout her journey she will become what she hates in order to save the ones she loves. And through it all she will find herself - for that is her Destiny, to rise above the fall. 

Prologue
All my life, I had searched for something, something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved. I was the Chosen one, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me are not meant to exist. What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of The Broken.

About the Author
Carlyle Labuschagne lives in Sunny South Africa, married her high school sweetheart and shares her creativity with her two young boys. Carlyle works as a PR and Marketing Manager by day, and writes by every other moment. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at Collage SA. Loves to swim, fights for the trees, food lover who is driven by passion for everything fantasy. Carlyle writes for IU e-magazine an inspirational nonprofit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. Debut author for 2012 - novel The Broken Destiny . Her ultime dream is to write songs and direct music videos. Her native language is Afrikaans and has just begun her journey into grasping the English language.




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Gorgeous Cover for Cally Jackson's THE BIG SMOKE!

Woot! I'm really excited today to help reveal the cover of Cally Jackson's THE BIG SMOKE! I was lucky enough to read an early, early ARC, and I can tell you that I really enjoyed Seb and Ceara's story :-) Go New Adult fiction!!

So anyway, here it is!

Title: The Big Smoke
Author: Cally Jackson
Publication Date: Oct 2012

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?


Cally hangs out at...

It would be great if you could stop by one of Cally's hang-outs and congratulate her on this beautiful cover. As long as I've "known" her (through blogging - a few years now?), she's been working on this book, so it's super duper exciting that it's all coming together for her now :-)


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cover for Elana Johnson's ABANDON - Pin it & $50 could be yours!

Look at the prettiness gracing my blog today!



Title: Abandon
Author: Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 2013

seduced by power, 
broken by control, 
and consumed by love... 

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts. 

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for. 

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death. 

Find ABANDON on Goodreads


WIN STUFF!

Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 repins over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click the Pinterest button below, click re-pin on the image, and select one of your boards to pin the cover to.



Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

~  ~  ~

This cover reveal event is hosted by AToMR Tours

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vote on the Future of the Creepy Hollow Series!

You may or may not know that I've been planning to put the Creepy Hollow installments together in a longer-length book. But I don't want to put them aaaaaall in one book, as that would be a pretty long book, and it also wouldn't be available until I've written the very last installment (and I don't currently know when that will be!). So. My plan is this -- to ultimately produce three novel-length books made up of the individual novelettes. So 3 to 4 per book.

But then ... I started wondering. If I'm going to be producing three novels, is there any point in publishing each future installment separately? Or should readers just wait until they can read them all together in a novel? I've already published the first four parts separately, but that doesn't mean I have to do the same thing for the rest of them. That's the fantabulousness of self-publishing! I can change the journey along the way!

Some pros and cons of continuing with my current publishing model...

Individual novelettes + three compilation novels
  • Pro - it's easier to edit, proofread and format a smaller story
  • Pro - readers get bits of the story sooner
  • Pro - it's easier for book review bloggers to fit a novelette into their reading schedules
  • Pro - it looks like I've published more stuff ;-)
  • Con - more covers = more work
  • Con - more ISBNs
  • Con - can't exactly do a big launch and blog tour for every single novelette!
  • Con - novelettes are a bit too short to print as paperbacks, and paperbacks are COOL and REAL!
  • Con - many people who have read the Creepy Hollow installments have said they wished they were longer. ie. "Give me a whole book please!"

So while I'm still thinking about it all, I thought I'd ask you guys what YOU think :-) Yay, another poll widget thingie! And, um, try and think what you'd want as a READER and not a writer (don't know if that makes a difference to some of you!). There WILL be three novel-length books, so the question here is whether the individual novelettes continue or not.



THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Selection of Book Cover Artists/Designers

I've been checking out the work of some cover artists and designers lately. Well, more gathering of links and less actual checking out, since I haven't had much time yet to actually go to all these websites! So some of them may not even exist anymore, or the people may not design covers any longer, but I thought it a useful list to share nonetheless. And I'll keep updating it. And if a link I haven't checked leads you off to some place weird that has nothing to do with cover design, please tell me and I'll remove it!

http://phatpuppyart.com/
http://mooneydesigns.net/
http://www.adazing.com/book-cover-design/
http://www.maeidesign.com/
http://www.edencranedesign.com/
http://www.fifthplanetdesign.com/
http://paragraphicdesigns.blogspot.com/
http://bookcovers.creativindie.com
http://www.novakillustration.com
http://nimbidesign.wordpress.com/book-cover-design/

http://seejanetwork.com/
http://darksabata.deviantart.com/
http://christinegriffin.artworkfolio.com/gallery/223051
http://ronnelldporter.blogspot.com/p/book-cover-design.html
http://www.sanjanasart.com/
http://www.dancaster.com/
http://www.donmichaeljr.com/
http://scatteredcomics.deviantart.com/
http://www.carlarene.com/
http://www.zapstone.com/
http://www.streetlightgraphics.com/
http://extendedimagery.com/
http://www.waywardsunstudio.com/
http://intensewhisp.deviantart.com/gallery/26789333
http://coverart.joleenenaylor.com/
http://www.tatlin.net/index.htm
http://spittyfish.wordpress.com
http://mycoverart.wordpress.com/services/
http://razzdazzdesign.com/
http://www.books-design.com

Added by Alex J Cavanaugh
http://rustywebb.blogspot.com/
http://sketchergirlstudios.com/

Added by Toby Neal
http://www.metzdesign.com
http://selestiele.wix.com/designs

Added by Gwen Gardner
http://www.sjusjun.com/

Added by Libby Heily
booksat.scarlettrugers.com

Added by Jaycee DeLorenzo
http://sweetnspicydesigns.com/

Monday, September 10, 2012

Revealing ... The Cover & Trailer for Carrie Butler's STRENGTH!

Carrie Butler's cover for Strength is steaming up my blog today ;-) Have a look!

Designer: Carrie Butler
Photographer: Yuri Arcurs
Title: Strength
Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing   
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.




Find Carrie online:
WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  SSP  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS  |  GOOGLE+ 

Find Strength online:


~  ~  ~

In other news, I'm over at The Warrior Muse today talking about why I decided to publish novelettes :-)


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: Forgiven, by Jana Oliver

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control:  something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…


THE GOOD: I'm really enjoying this series. Riley is the kind of kick-butt herione I love, with an awesomely sarcastic (and yet also genuine) voice ;-) She and Beck have been at each other's throats for a while, but it's obvious they care about one another, so I've been waiting for Riley to figure that out and for them to finally get together ... Did that happen? Well, you'll have to read it to find out ;-) There were also a number of other plot threads that were pulled together to make some sense, but also a few things left unexplained that I'm looking forward to finding out more about when I get around to reading FORETOLD.

THE BAD: You know how when you read a traditionally published novel you expect it to be pretty polished? (Well, all published novels should be polished, but we know self-pubs have a bad rep.) I know every now and then a teeny mistake slips in, and it may not even be the author's fault. These things can happen after the author does their final check, right? Well, that's what I've heard anyway. So I can forgive a mistake or two. A missing "a" or "the" somewhere in a sentence.
Now I noticed with the previous two Demon Trappers novels that there were more than just a few of these little mistakes. Five to ten maybe. Which is not great. But this book??? Wow, I lost count way before the end! Definitely more than ten. Twenty maybe? I don't think I'd be exaggerating. And I mean loads of little words missed out like "to", "it", "a", "the", or a word in the wrong place in a sentence.
It's a pity, because it was a fantastic story aside from that.

THE PRETTY: I like the cover up top there more than I like the alternate one here. While the girl on the cover here is beautiful, I never imaged Riley as being pale and sort of ... emo looking! The cover above also feels more "alive" somehow. There's action. She's running away. She's fearful. It works with the story :-) And the flames are cool!





THE BOTTOM LINE: This is a series I'll keep reading despite the typos!
 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Double Cover Reveal: GIVIN' UP THE GHOST & NEVERLOVE

Mystery and mayhem teamed with heartache and overcoming. Follow PIP here.

Gwen Gardner and Angela Brown have undertaken an exciting indie publishing adventure - Partners in ParanormYA. Fun, right?! And today is the day they reveal the covers for their books, GIVIN' UP THE GHOST and NEVERLOVE. Here's what they're about...


Corona Zschusschen
Friend or Foe?

Murder victim Bart Bagley is not content to merely roll over in his grave. He wants his murderer caught and he wants teenage ghost whisperer, Indigo Eady, to help him.

It becomes obvious that Bart’s temper lead to more than one disagreement, but is it enough to want him dead? With nothing but a cold trail and a hot list of “friendly” suspects, Indigo and her friends race to find the killer before they become the next victims.

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute new friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks start to fly in more than one direction...


Heather McCorckle of CP Designs

For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present, and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE?

~  ~  ~
 
About the Authors

Haunt me: FB, Blog, Goodreads

Gwen Gardner

Running, writing and reading are my favorite things.

I am also a dreamer.

Have you ever told yourself that "some day" I'm going to travel or write or whatever it is that you are passionate about but can't do right now for whatever reason? You can go for years and years and keep telling yourself that "some day" you'll do it. Too often "some day" never comes. But mine did. I am a former Administrative Manager and Vice President of a successful swimming pool plastering company - until I woke up one day and realized that my "some day" had arrived. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and began to write. Crazy, I know. But even crazier? Is when you get to the end of your life and realize that your "some day" is too late. Life is much too short for that! So the adventure has begun.

GIVIN' UP THE GHOST is a YA paranormYA cozy mystery, the first in the Indigo Eady series, due out October 8, 2012.



Haunt me: FB, Blog, Goodreads

Angela Brown

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time I gave birth to my forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that I really took writing seriously. After all, how could I teach my child to follow her dreams if I hadn't tried myself?

As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, I favor the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life...even harbor a secret fright for things that go bump in the night.

NEVERLOVE is a special project spawned from a blog-challenge-turned-blog-opera, the Abby and Basil affair. It is the first in the Shadow Jumpers series and due out October 8, 2012.


~  ~  ~

Sounds like October is going to be a fun and busy month for these two ParanormYA ladies ;-)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Novels with Rave Reviews: When You Just. Don't. Get It

A little while ago I read a self-published book that I was really looking forward to. The premise sounded fun and original amidst other YA books, and there were a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

My thoughts on the book: Okay, I really don't get this. Did I even read the same book everyone else did?

Yup. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

I recently decided to write well-balanced book reviews with a The Good, The Bad, and The Pretty layout (like one of the reviews I did last year), but I can't do that for this book because I'm not sure I can think of anything good to say about it (which is why I'm not mentioning the author or title).
Here's what I found:

  • Typos - a proper proofread could fix this.
  • Missing commas - not a big deal to some readers, but I find it annoying.
  • Sentence structure - there were a number of sentences that just could have been written in a better way.
  • Tense mix-ups - you can't mix up is and was!
  • Weird formatting - You know how just the first line of each paragraph in a book is supposed to be indented? I think every single chapter in this book had an entire paragraph that was completely indented. Very weird.
  • Unrelatable characters - well, that could just be me. Obviously some readers did relate to these characters.
  • Predictable storyline - one reviewer said she thought she had the whole storyline figured out and then wham, the author managed to surprise her. So I read this thinking, even though I think I've got this figured out, I'm sure there's a great twist coming up. But no. The 'twist' that was impossible for the main character to figure out seemed pretty obvious to me.

To summarise: this book read like a first draft. With more work it could have been great.

Fortunately, I wasn't asked by this author to do a review, but what if you are in that situation? What do you do when an author asks you to review a book, or you offer for a blog tour, thinking the book will be great, and then it turns out to be pretty bad?

Do you write a good review anyway so as not to hurt the author's feelings?
Do you write an honest review of exactly what you think of the book?
Do you speak to the author privately and decline to do the review?

It's a toughie...