The Duchess’s Descendants
Grave Little Secrets
Stacy R. Collins
Beautiful Something Else
by Sheila Hageman
The Compass from the Red Lands
by Matt Thomas
The Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
The Fourth Piece
Order’s Last Play, Book 1, E. Ardell
The Near Deaths Series, Book 2 Holly M. Campbell
On the Other Side
The Red Pearl
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A chance encounter at New York Fashion Week turns Denton Hodges’ life upside down–and into the biggest story she’s ever reported…
FEATURED NEW RELEASE
The next generation. A new adventure…
Over three decades have passed since the Ducelle Empire reclaimed the land, and Jordinia has never prospered more. When the emperor negotiates a treaty among neighboring nations, Jordinia is awarded an archipelago of islands in the north. With intentions to colonize, His Majesty enlists his two underachieving nephews on an expedition to chart the wilderness.
From an icy shipwreck to precarious encounters with the native inhabitants, almost nothing goes as planned in this fast-paced comedy of errors teeming with humor, fantasy and plenty of romance. Prepare to fall in love with Jordinia all over again! READ MORE!
Enjoy this sneak peek of the The Duchess’s Descendants by C.K. Brooke.
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10 Reasons to Read The Duchess’s Descendants
The Duchess’s Descendants is officially here on Friday, June 23! Need an excuse to pick up this romantic fantasy full of humor and adventure? We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 reasons to read the latest installment in the Jordinia series: 1. If you loved The Duchess Quest and The Duchess Inheritance, there’s now even more to love! 2. Even if you’ve never read the first two books, this book works as a standalone, too. 3. Because shipwrecks, woman scientists, charming rogues, stuttering violinists, hot soldiers, and native tribes, that’s why! 4. Like brotherly bromance? There’s lots of it here. 5. Love traditional romance? There’s lots of that, too. 6. Twists around every corner – we’ll bet you can’t predict what happens next! 7. You’ll meet a whole new generation of characters… 8. And see the return of some beloved ones, too. 9. You’ll embark with the characters upon their epic misadventure, via a hilariously botched expedition, to a place you have seriously NEVER been to before. 10. Because you can never fall in love with Jordinia too many times! Begin the adventure at: http://amzn.to/2sLzstc
Things that are scary, Part II: Another Character Journal Entry
Did Devon know my intentions before he wrote this? Nope. He wouldn’t have agreed. I told him that even I wouldn’t read this. He thought no one would see it. I’m good at being sneaky, and I’ll deny having anything to do with the leak…if it gets back to him. However, I don’t know how good you are, so you might choose to play it safe and not read this. Though, if you’re like me, you’re nosy. Take a peek, but try not to hint around to him that you know he keeps a journal. It’d ruin his manly image and all. 😉 Devon Ladreth’s Journal September 7, 2022 I hate writing. Makes my hand tired. And who’s gonna read this shit? I’m not showing this crap to anybody. But my girlfriend says I should—get this—keep a journal. Makes me feel like a girl. But when I told her that, she called me a douche bag. Wouldn’t even accept an apology, until I said I’d do it. And you know what I gotta do every time I write an entry? I gotta snap her. That’s right, she needs real time video proof that I’m doing what I said. So yeah, I’m writing with her watching. It’s kinda… hot… weird… intellectual? I’m dating a smart girl. She’s older than me by a couple of years and I don’t think I measure to her. She’s got college guys to talk to, and it’s not like I’m smart as she is or anything. She talks philosophy, I talk sports. But she likes me. Says she sees the good in me and it gives her hope for better things. God, I gotta live up to that. But there’s so much I have to do. I want to hit something. There was a punching bag in the gym downstairs… until I broke it. I just… I was working out to my music and I got really into it, you know? In a way I can’t get into it at school or just out where normal people can see me. Huh, guess I don’t have to say normal people anymore. I should say humans. Out where humans can see me. I read that last part out loud so she could hear it. She smiled at me. I don’t call myself human anymore. Neither does she. I don’t know when she last did. She’s proud of being half. She doesn’t like the word vulatto though. I hate the word and I hate being half. Alien. Remasian. But I can’t fix it, so I gotta deal with it. But there’s too much to deal with. It’s not just being half, not just being un-human, it’s… the other stuff. I don’t want to write down any “sit around the circle and share your feelings bull”, but… It’s like there’s a black hole in my gut, eating me up from the inside. Like those commercials for depression, but it’s not depression. I’m just scared shitless. Makes me want to punch through another bag. I think they’re getting a new one. Hope it’s heavier. Didn’t even break my knuckles on that last one, not that it’d matter much. Broken knuckles and fingers heal fast. Broken wrists suck, those take hours instead of minutes. Swallowing is hard. Eating is harder. The food here’s good, I guess, but I don’t want it most of the time. I just kinda eat to live. Damn. She made me read my last sentence out loud. She laughed. Called me a corny ass punk. I swallow easier when she laughs at me. She doesn’t usually talk much when I’m writing. Just makes me read stuff at random to make sure I’m not just pecking keys. But just now she asked how Lyle is. I can’t just tell her fine cuz she’ll know I’m lying. I never told her everything. God I can’t tell her everything. Can’t even write it here cuz she might ask me to read it. But she knows he’s messed up. And I can’t fix me or him. But if some god let me pick a power I actually wanted, it’d be the ability to take “gifts” away. I’d take away his telepathy and empathy and everything else that hurts him. Wonder what he’d be like without it. Would I… like him better? I hate thinking that. It’s messed up, right? But hell, if he wasn’t my brother, I would want to murder his face. He’s a total asshole. But he’s my twin brother too and when he talks to me…. It’s been a while since he’s talked to me like he is now… but that’s my own fault. Anyway, when he talks to me, I get it. I know why he’s a jerk. I’d be a jerk too. In fact, I think he’s better than what I’d be, if I had to listen to people think all the time. I know I think dumb shit. Multiply that by infinity and that’s what he hears. I should’ve been there to help him. I’m gonna to be there from now on, but if I had that power I was talking about, the one to take powers away… but say I could only use it once. I’d save him over saving myself. Cuz maybe I don’t need saving. I just need to sack up, right? Yeah, I just read that part to her. She said, Damn straight. Who tells their boyfriend to sack up? She does. She tells me to suck it up too, but to take things one at a time. So, I think about being Lyle’s friend again. Not just his brother, but his friend. And I’m working on it. Then, I think about leaving home. And I can’t swallow again. I mean come on, it’s not like I’m moving off to college or joining the Peace Corps. I’m leaving the friggin planet, going to live with some dude I don’t remember that’s probably gonna try to act like he’s my dad, cuz he is, but he’s not. He didn’t raise me. I only know what he looks like cuz I saw a picture. Screw him. Screw this whole thing. I read that to her. She wants to talk for real now. I’m done here. **What’d you think? Don’t be afraid to let me know, and there are more entries to come! If you’re curious about what’s going on around this entry, and want to try out The Fourth Piece, you’re in luck! It’s on sale exclusively on Amazon from 9/22-9/29 for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2d3xA39 ! Thanks and take care!**
Things that are scary… forcing my characters to write journal entries, lol.
Want a peek inside the heads of some of the characters from The Fourth Piece? Yikes! Why? Lol, just kidding. I have a series of journal entries to share. These entries were written by the characters close to the end of The Fourth Piece. I won’t tell the circumstances, no spoilers here ;D…but, if you’re brave, dive in! From the Journal of Lyle Ladreth September 7, 2022 I’m writing because the doctor says I have to. He didn’t say I have to be profound, though. He said write whatever comes to mind. I’m not a writer. I draw. But I’m not an artist. I don’t think I am. A lot of people sketch stuff they see, doesn’t make them artists. So, maybe they’re like me. We aren’t authors, we’re not good with words, so we make pictures. Are my drawings symbolic? Why would they be? They’re just random crap. Things I see, and sometimes, no, a lot of the time, it’s things other people see. I can’t keep it all out. Gives me a headache to try, so I have to let a little of it in. The doctor says it’s why I’m going crazy. He didn’t say it like that, but that’s what he meant. He thinks he’s really good at shielding his mind from me, blocking his thoughts. But he’s not. Nobody really is. But he’s not so loud. And I don’t have to hear him, if I don’t want to. That’s what makes him better. Makes everyone in this house better. Visitors aren’t like humans. They keep their thoughts to themselves. I have to touch their minds to hear them. Humans, their thoughts run all over the place. Crazy. Insane. Loud. ADHD on pixie stix and cotton candy. But the thoughts, the words, feelings, images, they’re not strange. It’s all normal stuff really. Grocery lists. Annoying spouses. Homework. Heartbreak. Bad neighbors. Just mundane running commentary. But try mashing it all together and then cut chunks out of every random sentence. Pick up laundry at damn dog got bastard went calculus sucks tree in yard milk eggs sugar want to die blouse hole C.S Lewis can potholes again with the music flour butter cheese That’s what I hear. I can make it quieter, but it doesn’t really go away, unless I… But I can’t do that anymore. I want to call her. But she’s gone. What would I even say anyway? Words are useless. I could show her, but I’ll never touch her mind again. Not after how I hurt her. I can’t trust myself. No one should trust me. I don’t know what to do. Devon wants to talk about it. He wants a lot of things from me lately. He’s so… lost. There’s no other way to put it. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he thinks that reconnecting with me will help. Reconnecting. He wants to be like we were. He was who I depended on, but he broke that bond. I want… I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I guess, maybe, I wish we could go back and just be brothers like when we were kids. I have other brothers, older and younger, but he’s my twin. And no, it’s not like TV where there’s this otherworldly, freaky connection between us, but… our relationship was always different. I love Lawrie, and maybe I love Evan too, but Dev… it’s just different. If he disappeared or died, I think I would too. I really think it’d rip me apart, and I’d bleed to death. Even when he’s an asshat and pretending I’m not there because I’m a brother who won’t even try to make people like him… even then. I’d bleed if he died. I’d want to go first. Wonder if it’s like that for him. I’m reading this now. Hell, maybe I am profound. Or maybe I’m just good at rambling coherently. Wish I felt coherent. I just feel present. I’m here, but that’s all I am. I take up space in this chair. I’m wasting paper with my words. Because words are useless. I should go back to talking about drawing. That’s where I started. But my drawings are stupid. Things I see, things other people see…that I also see, through their eyes. Tire swings. Midnight skies. A brother I don’t know waking up in a foreign place. Sometimes I shade them. If I’m in the mood, I use color pencils. I prefer them in black and white though. Maybe it’s because I wish the world was black and white. Good, bad… no gray matter in between. No brains. No thoughts. Just quiet. But it’s never quiet here. Not in my head. Unless… But I can’t do that anymore. That’s what the drugs are for. The doctor says I have to write every day. He needs to read that I’m not going crazy. Or maybe he needs to read that I am, so he’ll keep giving me medicine. One page a day. This is a page. Happy, Doc? Done. **What’d you think? Don’t be afraid to let me know, and there are more entries to come! If you’re curious about what’s going on around this entry, and want to try out The Fourth Piece, you’re in luck! It’s on sale exclusively on Amazon from 9/22-9/29 for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2d3xA39 ! Thanks and take care!**
When the Characters Speak, You Listen
So………….y’all! I literally haven’t had a whole lot of time to update the blog here on the ole websitey-witey. Believe me, I’ve been writing like crazy–2 new novels and a hand full of short stories in the past 8 months. To fill you in, On the Brink, the second book of the Orleans Exodus, is now in the editing phase with 48fourteen! I can’t wait for y’all to read this book. It’s been such a labor of love in writing the next part of Hilaria, Anthony, and Job’s journey. They are so much a part of me that letting them go for awhile hurts, and I mean that quite literally. But one of the things I kept having to ask myself in the process of writing the second book was, “Where do I go from here for the third installment?” And the answer I kept giving myself was, “It’s all about Ramsey.” Honestly, the more I dig into the universe of Orleans and the dynamics which move the world forward, the more I realize the story is as much the 3 major players’ as it is Ramsey’s. To me, that is the fascinating! Who knew the bad guy would become the star of the third installment? Believe me: it was never my intention. Providence however shined down upon me when a blogger asked me to do a character interview for her website. I did these way back when I was outlining the novel; they help a writer to get to the know the characters better. Anyway, I sat down one Saturday night to tap out a “small” interview between Ramsey (the bad guy), Job (the bad guy’s beautiful son), and Hope (the bad guy’s loyal ally). Why? Because I wanted to let Ramsey finally speak. Y’all! Once you flip that guy’s switch, he *doesn’t* stop talking, and along with his now strong and resolute voice came the sounds of Hope, a character I knew little about…until now. Below, you will find what I wrote that night, when I only expected Ramsey and Job to speak up. The way I imagine it, this conversation happened only a few weeks before the opening of On the Other Side. If you haven’t read On the Other Side yet, the bonus scene won’t ruin anything for you, but it will fill in a lot of blanks that my other readers have been curious about until now. and maybe, just maybe, it’ll make you hungry for more of Ramsey…so you’ll grab your own copy soon! On that note, happy reading, and may Hope always be on your side. 😉 -Nicole *** “Traitor Among Us” An Orleans Exodus Bonus Scene I twiddle my thumbs as I sit waiting patiently as any good Ward should. Back straight. Facing forward. Pleasant expression upon my face. That, in the end, is what makes us different from the Quarters. We can suffer anything with a smile. My name is Hope Newsome, by the way. I’m the twenty-seven-year-old liaison to the head of the Name Acquisition Program himself, the esteemed Ramsey Farreaux. I have been privileged to work alongside him for eleven years now as his loyal and trustworthy assistant. He names it, I do it, and my obedience has brought me in close proximity to some of the amazing things to come to Orleans in my lifetime: the building of the NAP Tower, the new construction at the Wall, and the highest participant numbers enrolling in our NAP chapter’s history! It’s an exciting time to be a Ward, and I am proud to be tasked to help the masses better understand the heart of our handsome leader. The door behind me opens, and I turn to see Ward Farreaux enter with his son, Job. If I were ten years younger, Job would own my heart, but I know I am not the only Ward woman to notice his beauty. Unlike his father, Job is fair and blonde, but Ramsey is also striking in a white robe that drapes over the muscular build remaining from his days as a Quarter and bronze skin that shines as if it once enjoyed the sun. “Hope,” Ramsey drones with a nod in my direction. “Sir,” I say. My thumbs stop their nervous movement, and I pick up my notebook and pen. “Job.” “Hello, Ward Newsome,” Job says and lowers a lithe frame into a chair beside his father. “As always, it is a pleasure to see you.” He smiles, and I blush. Ramsey clears his throat and gestures to my paper. “This is nonsense, Hope,” he declares, dark eyes serious. “The Wards know who I am. They respect me. More importantly, most fear me. Why all this fuss about a press release then?” “Sir,” I say and add a placating smile, “our latest polls are such that your approval in the Quarter is less than twenty-five percent. With unrest growing in the flooded part of the city, we—your publicity team, I mean—believe that making you more personable to the Quarters could do well to continue the increase in enrollees we’ve seen the last few years. And, too, maybe it will help the rumblings behind the Wall settle down a bit.” “Oh, let us be entirely honest, Hope. You want to make my father more likable to the unwashed masses,” Job says, a smirk brightening his startling blue eyes. I look away to the table. “Yes, exactly, Job,” I agree. “But, sir, with all due respect, you are a powerful man. The position you hold is an intimidating one, and the Quarters don’t relate to you.” My eyes flick up to find Ramsey running a long finger over his chin. Our eyes lock, and he shows me a rare grin. “Fine,” he says. “If you think it will help my so-called ‘bad’ reputation, proceed. But Hope, you are limited to five questions. Do you understand? So choose wisely.” Job snickers beside his father, and Ramsey throws him a look that could make flowers wilt. I flip through the pages and pages of questions I’ve prepared for this interview, and none seem appropriate enough to complete the job I’ve been given. I feel panic dry my mouth, and I cough. The braid over my shoulder feels like a noose, so I grab it and toss it behind me. “Well?” Ramsey prompts. “I don’t have all day.” I feel both his and Job’s gazes on me. It’s now or never. What image do I want the Quarters to have painted for them of the man I serve day in and day out, the Ramsey Farreaux? I have no idea. They’ll never understand what I see when I look at him. So, I ask the first thing that pops into my mind. “What is your favorite color?” Ramsey groans and crosses arms over his wide chest, his immense presence filling the room. “That’s what you drug me in here for? My favorite color, Hope?” Job sighs and turns to his father. “You said five questions, Father. Shouldn’t number one be the easiest of them all, a warm-up, perhaps?” I telepath my thanks to Job for the explanation of my reasoning and ready my pen over the paper. “Sir?” Ramsey rolls eyes to the ceiling then his chin drops to his chest. “Blue,” he mutters, and I almost miss it. “Blue?” I repeat. “Blue,” he barks. “Next question.” I stifle a giggle. I’ve never seen the stoic Ramsey so put out over a single syllable. Job and I share a glance, and he has a hand pressed to his mouth, probably holding back laughter, too. “When you were a little boy, what did you want to be as an adult?” “That is an easy one,” Ramsey says, waving a hand to dismiss me. “I wanted to be a king over a glorious domain full of minions to do my bidding.” I stop writing at his candor. “You do not mean that literally, sir. Do you?” “Why wouldn’t I?” Ramsey says. He spreads his arms wide. “Do you see what I’ve accomplished in my time as General Operating Director, Hope? I’m so very close to making that dream come true.” “At the expense of us all,” Job murmurs. Ramsey glares at him, but I quickly record his response and decide it’s best to move on from the current line of questioning. I’ve seen these two become physical with one another over Ramsey’s desire to strengthen NAP’s grasp on the city, and now isn’t the time or place for that to happen again. “What is your biggest fear?” I ask, my eyes dancing between father and son to measure the tension. Ramsey exhales loudly and runs a hand over his bald head. Job leans away and keeps his eyes to the floor. “If I have to answer this one, I would say my biggest fear is mediocrity. I hope I never have to hear someone say that I could have done something better. I want to be the most gifted person in the room, the best G.O.D. in NAP’s history—I want to be the brightest star burning in the sky.” When he finishes, Ramsey slams a fist against the table and leans back into the chair, as if he wasn’t aware he pushed forward during his speech. I smile because that is the man I know. “And you will have it, sir. I feel it in my bones.” “Thank you, Hope,” Ramsey says, nodding, seeming to have settled from Job’s remark. He flicks his pointer and middle fingers into the air. “Two more questions.” I return his nod. “What is your biggest accomplishment?” “Aside from the obvious?” Ramsey asks, and I’m not sure if he’s speaking rhetorically. “My biggest accomplishment is what I’ve brought to Orleans—a sense of peace and purpose to those who trust me to lead them.” Job’s lashes flutter, and his cheeks flush pink. His shoulders slump, blond waves swarm his shoulders, and he looks, for want of a better word, hurt. “Sir, would you like to include something personal in your list of achievements, such as successfully raising, as a single father no less, a son to be the next G.O.D.?” Without hesitation, Ramsey proclaims, “No.” Something in my stomach pinches, and I’m suddenly very sad for Job. Then following, without my permission, is an incredibly unsettling sense of disloyalty to Ramsey. It originates from the fact I am now thinking he may be something less than the stellar man I believe him to be. I know the lie isn’t true, but I can’t help but feel it—the doubt, the uncertainty. And as a Ward, emotions are both unwelcome and unsettling. As a result, I feel myself begin to shut down. “I think that will be all for today, sir,” I whisper. A chair screeches across the tile, and Ramsey’s boots thud as he makes his way to the door. “I want to see a mock-up of this promotional material on my desk first thing tomorrow morning. And, Hope?” “Yes?” I ask without looking back at him. “Make sure the photo you use has me from in profile. You know how much the light loves my left side.” With that, the door slams, and I am left with Job across the table from me. “I am sorry, Hope,” he says. “You know how he can be at his worst, but today has been a good day.” “You do not need to apologize. I am used to it. Nothing will make me do less than my best at my job, though.” A cool hand covers mine, and I look up to see Job smiling at me. My heart skips a little, and I swallow. “You have one question left, yes? Ask me,” he says. “Are you sure?” I say and pull my hand back to retrieve my pen. “Absolutely,” Job says. “I have a few minutes.” “All right,” I say and pick the first from the many questions I’d prepared for Ramsey. “If you could add anything else to Orleans to make it the ideal city, what would it be?” Job clasps hands in his lap and takes time considering the answer. His eyes float to the door then back to me. “Must it be something in addition to what exists? Could it possibly be something of which we suffer too much?” I twist the pen in my fingers. “I had not thought of it that way, but I suppose.” “Will my answer remain in your confidence?” Job asks, a hint of desperation to his voice. I am a Ward. Most do not have the ability to lie, but I do. I cannot tell you how Ramsey has exempted me from the rule, but he has. The use of my dishonesty is one of the many ways I prove my allegiance to him time and time again. And it’s because of his intervention in my life that I will remain loyal to him, no matter the doubts I might have. “Of course, Ward Farreaux,” I say. “Please, know that you can trust me.” “Then,” Job says quietly, “I would remove my father. That last thing our city needs is more Ramsey Farreaux. He is a curse upon us all.” My jaw hangs open as Job rises from the seat. All six feet, two inches of him tower over me, and his blue eyes burn into mine. “Your loyalty to my father comes with very dangerous consequences, Hope,” Job warns. “Be careful trusting him with your life as you so clearly do.” Job moves around the table, and I hear the door close behind me. If Job himself fears his father’s reign, I have no reason to doubt Ramsey any longer. At once, feeling restored to my former self, I scramble to write down all that Job’s said; then, I rip the paper from the pad. I slip it into my pocket and decide to pay Ramsey a visit earlier than tomorrow morning. We have a traitor among us, and he is none other than Ramsey’s son.
How do you write
I was asked a question today that I had a hard time answering. They wanted to know how I write. My first response was, well, with a pen and paper, but I knew that wasn’t what they meant. How do I write? Well, while I’m writing I kind of let the scenes play out in my mind like a movie. I see my characters actions and imagine their responses. I picture their movements, and their facial expressions and try to include as much as I can without dragging it out. Then they asked, how do you know when to start a new chapter. again, I picture it as a TV movie. Where would my commercial breaks be? That’s where my new chapter starts. This may not make much sense to some, but that’s how I do it.
The Duchess has descendants, and they’re coming…
It’s been officially announced: The Duchess’s Descendants (Jordinia: Book 3) is coming to 48fourteen! This book was a long time in the making. Sort of. After I’d finished writing my original Jordinia duology (The Duchess Quest and The Duchess Inheritance) in early 2014, a name in the epilogue of Book Two stuck with me. Johanna. (Pronounced “Jo-HAW-nah”.) She had a character and a story; I just had to find it. I began writing and came up with a novella told from her perspective. That summer, I submitted the novella to 48fourteen. And despite the fact that the email opened up with: “Dear Caity, (Please note, this is not a rejection letter)…” Well, it was. 😀 By that point, after 30,000 words on the matter, I knew all about Jordinia’s next generation – the one that would be reborn into royalty. I didn’t know how else to use the information. But 48fourteen was right. The novella was off. There wasn’t enough action. Little sense of adventure. The pacing wasn’t the same as my previous books. Although, 48fourteen still thought it had potential, if redone. When they slipped its title into the “Other Books By C.K. Brooke” page while formatting The Duchess Quest, I wrote in: “But we aren’t publishing it?” To which 48fourteen responded, “I can remove the title from the list…but I think it’s a story you’ll want to tell.” I’ve already told it, and it didn’t work. Those were my thoughts. It isn’t worth rewriting. I’m going to write different books now. And I did write different books. But every so often, I returned to the novella, scratching my head. It wasn’t until I finally just deleted it off of my hard drive and changed some details in Book Two’s epilogue a month before it was published when I knew the novella was truly dead. And thank, thank goodness. Anyone who follows me on social media knows I listen to a lot of podcasts, and an episode of Stuff You Should Know about the Lewis & Clark expedition was keeping me up at night. My brainstorm notebooks were full of half-baked doodles and outlines about two brothers – one shy and stammering, the other bumbling but charismatic – on an expedition…but where? In what universe? I’d been sitting on the concept for a year until it finally occurred to me. In Jordinia, that’s where! So, in early 2016, the new concept was born. For three weeks, I worked like a madwoman on the outline, taking my little notebook everywhere with me – to the playground with my son, to scribble in while waiting at doctor’s appointments or red lights – until the notebook was full and I had three love stories rolled into one comedy-of-errors adventure that I was pretty giddy about. Writing The Duchess’s Descendants was probably the easiest writing experience of my life. I think I finished the 67,000-word manuscript in about two months (a record even for me). The characters and adventure came more naturally than my own breath and practically wrote themselves. For the first time in years, writing was no longer methodical for me or a race to the finish, but pure and definite joy. And this time, I’m thrilled to announce that 48fourteen accepted it. The story is very different from that first-attempt novella. So are several of the characters. I’m so glad for it. I suppose this is my testimony in favor of the rejection and rewriting process. I’m super excited about this third “surprise” novel in the Jordinia series, and I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it – the second time around! 🙂
Rust City Book Con 2016
The weekend before last, I attended my first-ever author convention. The first annual Rust City Book Con took place in metropolitan Troy, Michigan. I met some fantastic authors (a good blend of indie, traditional, self-published, and hybrid), spoke on a couple of panels, and am already looking forward to 2017. To my fellow authors, bloggers, readers and book lovers in and around Michigan, I hope you’ll join us next year!
The Author Connection Event
A few of your favorite 48fourteen authors will be taking over our Facebook page this week! Stop by www.facebook.com/48fourteen, hang out with our authors and ask them a juicy question for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card. One winner will be chosen every day, between August 29th and September 6th, by the hosting author! The cherry on top? Their book will be available for only $0.99, on their event day, exclusively on Amazon! ANGELA HARTLEY TAKING OVER: Monday, August 29, 2016 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Copper Reign FAVORITE NOVEL: Remembrance by Jude Deveraux FAVORITE SERIES: The Dark Tower by Stephen King FAVORITE MOVIE: It’s a tie between Far and Away and ZombieLand FAVORITE TV SHOW Supernatural Angela enjoys studying theology, folklore, psychic abilities, and serial killers. With this unique knowledge she has educated and entertained at many symposiums and conventions. She’s also an amazing cook. If you have a chance, you should try her pie! NICOLE AUBE TAKING OVER: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: On the Other Side FAVORITE NOVEL: It’s a weird tie between Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (historical romance) and the Season of Passage by Christopher pike (scifi/horror). FAVORITE SERIES: I love, love, ***love*** The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, The Shatter Me trilogy by Tareh Mafi, and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. FAVORITE MOVIE: Hands-down–Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Chicago and The Last Crusades are close seconds. FAVORITE TV SHOW Of all time…? The Golden Girls, but I also love the weird stuff like The Vampire Diaries, The Flash, and Stranger Things. Nicole can’t survive without coffee, and only when she’s super-charged with caffeine can she purse her interests in photography, graphic design, and architecture. If she isn’t reading or writing, you can find her working with the community theatre, traveling to historical graveyards, or antiquing for things no one else will buy. She’s also a pretty decent make-up artist. She’s a firm believer in the old adage, “Eyeliner is life,” because, seriously, y’all, it is! ROXANNE KADE TAKING OVER: Wednesday, August 31st 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Therian: The Bloody Crescent, Book I FAVORITE NOVEL: How does one choose?? The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (PNR) and By a Thread by R.L. Griffin (Contemporary Romance Thriller) FAVORITE SERIES: The Merry Gentry Series by Laurell K. Hamilton FAVORITE MOVIE: The Time Traveller’s Wife FAVORITE TV SHOW Game of Thrones Roxy is an avid reader with an adventurous spirit. Her kitchen is her zen zone, with baking being her favorite form of meditation. In a perpetual state of improvement, Roxy believes that there are no limits to learning new and interesting things. CATHERINE L. HENSLEY TAKING OVER: Thursday, September 1st 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: New York Dolls FAVORITE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice FAVORITE SERIES: The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder FAVORITE MOVIE: Titanic FAVORITE TV SHOW The Golden Girls, Saved By The Bell, The West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Modern Family… Catherine is a freelance editor and writer. She loves to travel and all things Hollywood. She is currently working on her second novel. HOLLY M. CAMPBELL TAKING OVER: Friday, September 2nd 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Foreshadowed, Forewarned, Without Curtains FAVORITE NOVEL: Harry Potter, Outlander, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, The House at Tyneford, Les Miserables, and The Princess Bride FAVORITE SERIES: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs FAVORITE MOVIE: Probaby Rocky or Star Wars FAVORITE TV SHOW Parks and Recreation, The Office, New Girl, Sherlock, Community, Arrested Development, and The I.T. Crowd Along with reading and writing, Holly loves dancing, singing, laughing with friends and family, and has recently taken up kickboxing! She loves twist endings that seem out of the blue in the first reading/watching, and totally obvious in the second. She is attracted to many different kinds of genres, but is known to judge a book by its cover. C.K. BROOKE TAKING OVER: Saturday, September 3rd 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1), The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2), The Red Pearl, and The Wrong Prince. Coming soon: The Duchess’s Descendants (Jordinia: Book 3) FAVORITE NOVEL: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card FAVORITE SERIES: The Near Deaths Series by Holly M. Campbell FAVORITE MOVIE: Fiddler on the Roof FAVORITE TV SHOW Last Week Tonight with John Oliver C.K. Brooke lives with her husband and their vivacious four-year-old in the lower thumb of Michigan (although she’d rather be back in sweet, flat Ohio). When not mommying, she’s writing stories, editing, blogging, or reading what’s hot in YA. She’s the author of nine romantic fantasy novels. In addition to her love for commercial fiction, she enjoys music and singing, political satire, spiritual research, and info-tainment podcsts. Her latest addiction is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. E. ARDELL TAKING OVER: Sunday, September 4th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Fourth Piece FAVORITE NOVEL: Oh, not this question. I’m too fickle for it. If I absolutely have to choose, I guess The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. FAVORITE SERIES: Not another one of these! Um…The Last Herald Mage by Mercedes Lackey. FAVORITE MOVIE: Coming to America and Toy Story FAVORITE TV SHOW Does anime count? I’d say Full Metal Alchemist. E. Ardell doesn’t enjoy long walks on the beach because she hates sand and water–oh, and outside, because outside is yucky. She does appreciate a karaoke bar with a big book of selections full of Britney Spears and Disney songs, dark movie theaters that play Marvel movie marathons, and book stores with huge science fiction/fantasy and comic book collections. Twice labeled the nerd of your dreams, prepare for an evening of RPG’s, Buffy/Angel marathons and come prepared to be quizzed on the names of every Robin in Batman’s book. If you get it right, you get a prize. MATT THOMAS TAKING OVER: Monday, September 5th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Compass from the Red Lands FAVORITE NOVEL: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy FAVORITE SERIES: The Dragon Lance Series FAVORITE MOVIE: The Shawshank Redemption, The Empire Strikes Back, every movie made by Marvel Studios FAVORITE TV SHOW I don’t watch a whole lot of television. My favorite shows growing up, however, were The X-Files, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld. I also binge-watched season 1 of Daredevil, and I was incredibly impressed with the quality and depth of that show. Matt enjoys spending time with his family, geeking out over superhero and science fiction movies, an occasional hike, and mid-range road trips (too long: anything more than six hours; too short: an hour…that’s not a road trip. For many, it’s a commute!). Matt tries to create character-driven stories with compelling fantasy/sci-fi plots in his shorts and novels. TRACY AUERBACH TAKING OVER: Tuesday, September 6th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Human Cure FAVORITE NOVEL: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson FAVORITE SERIES: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper FAVORITE MOVIE: The Princess Bride FAVORITE TV SHOW Supernatural Tracy Auerbach studied English and Education, and some of her college poetry was published in the “Penn Review” (The University of Pennsylvania’s premiere literary magazine). She went on to teach and write S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum for the New York Department of Education. Tracy’s work is featured in the online literary journal “Micro-horror,” and “The Writing Disorder” fiction anthology. Her first novel, “The Human Cure,” was published by 48fourteen. When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading, performing science experiments, or playing with her own children. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. SHEILA HAGEMAN TAKING OVER: Wednesday, September 7th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Beautiful Something Else FAVORITE NOVEL: Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough and The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr FAVORITE SERIES: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems FAVORITE MOVIE: I honestly don’t have one. When I was younger, my favorite was On Golden Pond. FAVORITE TV SHOW An Idiot Abroad (an English show by Ricky Gervais) Sheila can ride a unicycle and juggle thanks to dating a professional clown in high school. She was also sawed in half by an electric chainsaw in a circus. Sheila is a yoga practitioner and teacher, who loves to hate hot yoga.
I love doing readings!
I did another featured author slot at a local author event called Curated Words. The first reading I did there a few months ago set a record of how fast a person can read 10 pages. I didn’t think I was reading that fast, but one of my friends recorded me and when I played it back, wow. I was impressed. It was like listening to an audio book at 2X (which I do, because I’m a fast reader and can’t stand listening to things slower than I’d actually read them, lol.) So, this time around, I practiced before hand, and got some feedback from some writer buddies. Then, on the night of the reading, right before I began, I told the audience to give me a beat, lol. (No, I really did.) I said: If I go too fast, start stomping your feet. I won’t look up, because I’ll lose my place on the page, but I’ll hear you and slow down. It went well. I have a brand new recording to share. If you’re interested, follow this link to my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/eardell/# and hey, maybe click on “like” while you’re there ;). Take care!
Bubbles and books and reading
“There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back.” About a decade ago, I had a conversation with a friend regarding the sheer volume of books that have been published. Think about it: all the books ever written in the world’s history. So many genres, volumes, and adaptations. It’s a seemingly infinite list. One could spend literally every second of every day reading for the rest of his life and never come close to finishing every book ever published. The aforementioned friend said, “There is simply no need to publish anything else from this point forward. All relevant, worthwhile literature has hit the shelves. What else needs to be said?” At the time, I didn’t know if I agreed with him or not. It’s a question that has stayed with me. With the dawning of the digital age has come even more literature. Most of which will never be read, studied or appreciated, my own work included. It just gets added onto the pile. So what’s the point? Why do so many feel so compelled to write when the likelihood of being read is so incredibly slight? The answer finally came to me a few days ago. I found myself sitting on my porch with my daughter, who is just over a year. Like many her age, she loves bubbles. She looked to her right, spotted the bubble wand, and shouted, “Bubbles!” “OK,” I said, grabbing the wand and prepping it for a bubbles bonanza. I waved the wand left and right and watched in shared awe with my daughter as hundreds of bubbles, large and small, drifted through the air above us, dancing downward upon our hands, eyes, and heads. My daughter squealed and laughed and smiled . . . infectious things. Her happiness became my own. Something so simple, so effortless, filled her with wonder. It’s as if the bubbles were from another world and had the power to provide onlookers with a new lens on the world around them. Watching her, I thought to myself, That’s what a good story should do. Good stories lift us; wrap us with wonder and joy; allow us to see our world from a different perspective. And yes, so much has been written by so many. Most of it will, unfortunately, be forgotten, but that doesn’t really matter. True writers, I believe, don’t do it to be known or remembered or celebrated. The work becomes an echo, a bubble blown into the sky, drifting aimlessly downward, and shouting “Here I am! This is how I see the world. Look at me and know a different version of truth and beauty . . . or don’t.” And the bubble hits the ground, and it pops, and it is no more. But that doesn’t mean it was without value, especially if someone saw it, even just for a second, and smiled. So, why do we write? Every perspective, from the greatest king to the lowliest worker, is incredibly valuable. When that perspective is recorded and shared with the world, it has the potential to enlighten others. And isn’t that important? It’s why individuals will never stop writing and never should. Every book added to the collective is the voice of a different generation, a reflection of different times and experiences, echoes of lives present and departed. Through literature, we come to understand how the world was and is, and it’s why we will always need to keep writing: It’s how we know that our thoughts are still very much our own.
Get a FREE copy of On the Other Side in exchange for a REVIEW!
Hey, y’all! I need YOUR help. I want On the Other Side to go viral, and to make it spread, 48fourteen and I are giving away a FREE copy of my 5-star young adult novel in exchange for a quick REVIEW on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, or all three! To whet your appetite a bit, here’s what other readers have already said: In a market flooded with dystopian novels aimed at young adults, this world created by Nicole Aube definitely stands out! I am amazed that Aube is able to transform NOLA from the jazzy, beautiful streets I know and love to a dismal, watery graveyard filled with lost memories. I knew from the moment I picked up On The Other Side I would be reading it all weekend, and I wouldn’t stop until I was done. It was absolutely amazing. I honestly felt like I was a character in the book by the way it was described. It was like I was in New Orleans as the characters themselves… Wow!! What a fantastic novel!! It is one of the best reads of the year!! Fantastic read. I’m a sucker for science fiction with a purpose, and this novel is an excellent study of race, adolescence, identity, and sense of place. And, now, YOU get to join them in telling me what you think! If you’re ready to join the movement, click here: FREE eBook Need a little incentive to join my review team? I’m giving away *two* $25.00 gift cards randomly to those who post a verified review within the next 60 days–that’s by September 15, 2016, y’all! EVERYONE who posts a review that I verify will receive some awesome author swag as well as the option to review On the Brink before it releases later this year! Want to *really* guarantee I see your review, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know it’s posted! This offer is open to EVERYONE, fellow authors at 48fourteen included. 🙂 Still not convinced you want to read On the Other Side? Check this out! Bound to the Flood waters, sixteen-year-old Hilaria McCleod gathers relics from the days when Orleans wasn’t divided in two by the Wall and long before NAP—the Name Acquisition Program—governed her beloved city. But pieces of a lost past do nothing to satisfy Hilaria’s desire to escape. Beyond the Wall lies the land of the Named. There, those who have earned their Name and Purpose live in prosperity on coveted dry ground. To earn her place among them, Hilaria makes a deal with an unlikely ally to reveal dark secrets about her own heart and NAP’s true intentions for the future of Orleans. The fate of her city depends on listening to those who cannot be trusted while her own destiny lies in embracing the love of a boy who will drown her yet. Now is the time—Hilaria will make a Name for herself. Do you dare to journey to Orleans for yourself? Hope to see you there! Nicole Aube
I just did my first author interview!
You never know just what an author interview is going to entail, until you get the list of questions. Magda put together a fun list and has a great blog! Check out the interview here: https://maginibooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/interview-with-e-ardell/
Quick Thought: Some Random Thoughts on Music and Writing
Download the novel by clicking here! A short time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I used to work Manhattan’s music and nightlife beat for a bunch of small publications. This meant covering concerts, movie premieres, hotel openings, etc., etc. I got started by simply wanting to listen to as much music as possible. I loved talking with artists about their projects, their process, their struggles to create, sell, market, and support their work. Recently, I listened to Blink-182’s new album, California. It’s a somewhat controversial LP since the band’s beloved co-frontman and guitarist, Tom DeLonge, unceremoniously cut certain ties to the group to pursue different endeavors. Mark Hoppus, now the band’s only original member, and drummer Travis Barker, moved on by recruiting Alkaline Trio’s guitarist and co-frontmant, Matt Skiba. The newly formed trio collaborated on the aforementioned album, which, I think, is a resounding success. The group, which has now been around for decades, has found a way to revisit their classic pop-punk sound defined by power chords, fast beats, and catchy lyrics while appropriately aging with their audience. There is angst in the album; there is sophomoric humor, but there is also introspection; there is reflection. In many ways, it could be labeled as some of Blink-182’s best work. So, why am I drifting into a quasi-review of a music album when I’m supposed to be promoting a novel? Music, quite simply, is a fundamental part of my own writing process. Whenever I write a scene, whether it’s for a short story or a novel, I try to accompany it with a song that matches the tone I’m going for. Music, no matter what the genre, is an important aspect of how we come to understand a story or an experience. It is emotion in audio form and therefore universal. There’s a scene in The Compass from the Red Lands in which Tom and Lynette, the story’s heroes, are traveling from New York City to Colorado. During the road trip, the two come to know one another before venturing into a questionable place to save Tom’s half-sister. The image that kept on flashing through my mind was a bird’s eye shot of the ’76 Grand Prix they’re traveling in with a dusking sky in the background; the headlights are on; the heavy relic cuts through the curving highway to the sound of Ra Ra Riot’s “Ghost Under Rocks” from their debut album The Rhumb Line (great track, incredible first album). The tune perfectly captures the transition from the certainty of routine, no matter how mundane it might be, into an adventurous yet potentially very dangerous world. A song helped me make sense of that section. It provided me with a framework. After listening to the track over and over, I knew what I was going for, I just had to find a way to match it. Listening to Blink’s California made me think about specific scenes from The Compass from the Red Lands in new ways. Which songs from that album would match specific chapters? How could they heighten the emotions being conveyed in forms that I hadn’t previously considered? Each track lent a new perspective and fresh take on work I didn’t think I’d ever revisit. Wouldn’t it be nice if every novel were accompanied by a soundtrack? The other side of that coin: wouldn’t it be great if every album tried to tell an extended story? Maybe Blink-182’s next piece will be a pop-punk narrative of epic proportions, and maybe my next post will be the soundtrack for The Compass from the Red Lands!
Hot New Summer Releases!
This summer, indulge in our hot new releases! Something for everyone! ✔ Paranormal ✔ Mystery ✔ Romance ✔Fantasy ✔ Chick Lit ✔ Young Adult THERIAN by Roxanne Kade All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death, on the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that. Plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror, with a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long, she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amberlyn will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING ELSE by Sheila Hageman Beautiful Something Else is a contemporary romance with smarts and humor. Lizbeth, an outwardly-confident but overly self-conscious thirty-year-old, is spurred on by her New Age friend, Janet, to trust the Universe and ask for what she wants in life—to land a starring role, lose five pounds and find herself naked with a man. The stars seem to be aligning for her, but not exactly in the way she meant. A chance encounter with a film director at Grand Central Station may be her lucky break, but the New York City actress is blindsided when she is fired from her bill-paying waitress job, and she must decide where her true values lie. Should she take a position as a “pretend secretary” for a handsome, but holier-than-though chiropractor and healer with questionable morals to pay her rent? While Chip Duncan woos a potential investor for his new healing center, he fights his romantic urges for Lizbeth. She finds herself falling in love with Chip’s caring, healing heart, but she’s equally frustrated by his greed and dishonesty. Can Lizbeth resolve her body image issues and find a clear path to satisfaction in career and relationship? And will Chip realize in time that Lizbeth is the woman for him before he blows off her love? THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS by Matt Thomas For twenty-year-old Tom Gareth, life couldn’t feel more pointless. He’s working as a dishwasher at a greasy-spoon to pay tuition for a college he doesn’t even want to be attending. And Lynette, the love of his life, has relegated him to the dreaded friend zone. All that changes when Tom receives a letter from his father. Pretty standard, right? Not really. His father is supposed to be dead. Half-sister he’s never met? Kidnapped? Taken to the Red Lands? Find her and never stop running? It all sounds like a prank, a crazy lie, until Tom finds a compass in the envelope. It glows and screams and burns, until it eventually reveals a path to Tom’s lost sister – in the Red Lands. A place not on any map. To unlock the compass’s secrets and discover the terrifying realities of his father’s past, Tom embarks on a quest and crosses into a mystical and deadly world. Surviving its jade infernos and bizarre residents will take more than just blind bravery. It will mean letting go of everything he knows, dispelling his fears, and making the ultimate sacrifice. But Tom has to be willing. Is he? THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war… Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option. In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games. FOREWARNED by Holly M. Campbell Death is not finished with her… With a little help from her death-seeing boyfriend, Lance Hampton, Hope Murdoch has already defeated fate once. Doing it again—and stopping a serial killer in the making—shouldn’t be too hard…except she hasn’t healed from her last brush with the psychopath, Lance is struggling with his personal demons, and she’s grounded. Tracking down a murderer is not easy when you’re basically under house arrest. Yet, the seventeen-year-old mind reader isn’t about to let those trifling obstacles slow her down. So what if she has to lie to her parents and sneak out of the house to catch him? She is not the only one in danger. Once again, Hope is faced with the burden of choosing between saving her own life and the victims starring in Lance’s visions. Getting past her parents’ house alarm is a walk in the dark compared with trying to get a murderer behind bars…or in the ground. With only a few clues to piece together, every path looks like a dead end—literally. This time, the cost of changing her future may be too much to bear. THE WRONG PRINCE by C.K. Brooke FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED! Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding… Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy? Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri. When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.
Did You Accidentally Write Yourself Into a Book?
I was genuinely shocked when my best friend texted me that she was simply envisioning me in a black wig for the character of Dainy while reading The Duchess Quest. “How am I anything like Dainy?” I demanded at the phone. My sister, wading into the pool with me, insisted, “You’re exactly like Dainy! Innocent, sweet, and curvy too.” Curvy, I’ll give her. By the time I wrote my debut novel, I was so sick and tired of reading about skinny heroines, I knew I had to break the mold and make my MC on the shapely side. But I’d thought that was where it ended. I don’t have black hair or green eyes. I’m not royalty. I wasn’t raised in a bungalow on the beach and I’ve certainly never had more than one man after me. I turned to my sister. “Why would anyone think I’m as innocent and naive as Dainy? The character I’m most like is…Jon.” I didn’t realize it until I said it aloud. But, by God, I was most like Jon Cosmith. Not that I’m a sexually promiscuous Casanova or a wanted thief, mind you, but my head is often in the gutter and I’m usually looking for the personal advantage in a situation. “Then your mind is like Jon’s,” said my sister, “but the way you act to all of us is like Dainy.” She proceeded to point out that ‘Dainy’ and ‘Caity’ are just 2 letters apart. I tried not to panic. The truth really was that I wanted to spell her name Daney, but was afraid people would pronounce it as “Danny”. Dainey was too many letters, so I took out the ‘e’. I swear, it was an accident that both our names are five letters long, with three of the same letters in the same places. It was unintentional. I had no desire to write myself into any book. But I continue to be amazed at the number of friends who ‘call me out’. “She is SO YOU!” And here I am, insisting that SHE IS SO NOT. I’ve seen some novels on the market where the main character’s name is fairly similar to the author’s. And I’ve wondered why, whether it was intentional. Fellow writers, what about you? Have you ever purposefully – or accidentally – written yourself into a book? How close to home are you willing to let your characters and storylines get? 🙂
The Compass from the Red Lands: Influences
There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back. As a kid, I was a huge comic book fan. It started in third grade when my father brought home the bound collections of all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics (I loved the cartoon show), and it quickly grew from there. My consistent go-tos were Spider-Man and Batman, but after a while I found myself taking on any superhero title that was available. Some heroes were goofy, others were dark and aloof. Many in the end, just weren’t all that interesting. At least not for an extended period of time, so it made sense to jump around from title to title. Yet, the hero I always returned to was Spider-Man. I, like most other nerdy comic book fans, related to the SUPER nerdy Peter Parker. It wasn’t just because he was a nerd who lived every nerd’s fantasy of gaining a super power and kicking bad guy butt every night. It was more than that. Peter Parker, unlike so many other heroes who rose to prominence in the sixties, was, IS, inherently flawed. If you look back to Spider-Man’s origin story in Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter lets a robber escape in a petty attempt to get back at a man who wronged him earlier. Somewhat ironically, it is later revealed that the same robber murders Peter’s Uncle Ben. Peter could have prevented the act had he just been more responsible. It’s a tough lesson, and one that he has to keep at the forefront of his mind. As the character grew, his temptation to sometimes do the wrong or selfish thing was always present, and it wasn’t uncommon to witness Peter doing the wrong or selfish thing. What set him apart, and what I believe made him truly heroic, was his ability to recognize these transgressions and attempt to make up for them. Peter Parker / Spider-Man is severely flawed, but he knows it! This fascinated me, and it’s something I often try to include in the characters I create. What is the protagonist’s central flaw? Will he recognize it? If he does, will he be able to learn something new about himself in order to improve? In my novel, The Compass from the Red Lands (I know, I know, cheap and shameless plug), Tom Gareth is selfish, manipulative, and cowardly. It takes him a while to truly accept that these negative traits are cornerstones of his personality, but once he does his true growth begins. The reason why Peter Parker / Spider-Man has remained relevant over the last fifty years is because he keeps on growing. He’s willing to change. And so often the only way to progress is to acknowledge the hurt you’ve inflicted on others and seriously try to atone for it. These contrite actions, if genuine, are self-sacrificing and, ultimately, heroic, which most audiences find to be both endearing and captivating. So, is Tom Gareth a hero? Not really, but in The Compass from the Red Lands he desperately tries to be.
How to Make a Book
There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back. Officially, The Compass from the Red Lands, has been released! You can buy it on Amazon and other digital media outlets. It’s available in both electronic and print forms (sweet!). Here’s what I learned about making a book: it’s really, really hard! I’ve published articles, essays, short stories, all kinds of stuff, but never anything at this length or on this level. The first version of The Compass from the Red Lands was written when I was in grad school. I workshopped it, and it received a fairly good response. Back then, it was more of Catcher in the Rye meets the Dresden Files. Kind of like an introspective/conflicted private eye working in a real fantasy world. I only had three chapters written, but it seemed promising. I put it on the shelf for two years, revisited it, and completed a first draft of a novella. When I thought it was polished, I workshopped it with another group of writers. This was a much older collective, and they thought the piece was simply too weird and dark, which, at the time, was a bit devastating. I didn’t know what to do. Should I chuck it and start a new piece? Do I give up on writing altogether? No. Neither of those things made sense. What I needed, was a definitive approach. My thoughts as a writer had shifted and refined. I knew that I wanted to write books and stories that teenagers and new adults would find engaging. But finding the right mix of world-building, realism, action, and character growth would be difficult. The story had to feature real tragedy and consequences, but it couldn’t be overwhelming. There had to be fantasy elements that were intriguing but not unbelievable. To find this balance, I essentially rewrote the entire novel about four times. Yadda, yadda, yadda . . . a few months later I had a publishing contract, and the real work, the editing, began. After about eighteen months of going back and forth with 48Fourteen’s AMAZING editors (and I mean that with all sincerity!), we arrived at a point where we thought we could start thinking about the cover. Basically, that’s the publisher saying, “OK, I can definitely get behind this!” Originally, I wanted an illustration. Something abstract and cool and edgy. So an artist was hired, and she worked on a series of drafts. The publisher recognized the beauty of the depiction, but it didn’t quite match the content and feel of the story, so they went back to the drawing board (no pun intended . . . well, maybe a little). That’s when we agreed that the protagonist, Tom Gareth, should not be on the cover. Instead, the mystical compass, which represents the personal and literal journey Tom must undergo, should be at the forefront. Colors, fonts, types of compasses, sizes, etc. were all evaluated and discussed until we came up with what you see at the top of this post. I think it looks absolutely incredible. I’m proud of this book. It’s a good story with polished prose that is accessible, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Yes, I came up with the plot, I wrote the piece, but the completed novel is the result of a team of people coming together to try to provide an audience with a wonderful and unique reading experience. If you decide to download the book, and if you (fingers crossed!!!) enjoy it, send the team at 48Fourteen an e-mail. Thank them. They’re working hard so you, dear reader, can escape into a world of excitement, adventure, and fantasy, which is no easy feat. . .
History with a Twist
It’s no secret that The Chemical Attraction Series is based on Allegan, Michigan. That’s three books and a fourth to be published later this year. Although my husband and I have only lived here for four years, I’ve worked here for over twenty and claim it as my hometown. So when the city manager with ten years of notes on the history of Allegan asked if I’d write a story using it, I was thrilled … and honored. Then I thought, holy moly, how was I going to do that? Where do I start? Well, Google has become my new best friend. I found a great article by Dave Hood about creative nonfiction history, which “presents facts and cause and effects but also adds narrative including storytelling, dialogue, setting, and character development.” At first, I thought the genre I’d write in would be creative historical nonfiction, but now I think it’s still fiction, specifically historical fiction. This genre, in which the story is made up, is set in the past and borrows characteristics of the time period, basically fictional characters in documented situations and/or fictional characters in fictional situations but in the context of a real historical period. BINGO! In my Series, I’ve used real places in Allegan (aka Allenton) and fictional people. In this next story, main characters will still be fiction even though I’m using the real history of Allegan. My plan is to create people to observe and participate on the periphery of the town’s history but still have lives and adventures of their own. How boring would this story be if they didn’t? I love the idea of connecting this story with my series, so I’m going to use Matt Connor’s family tree since his family has lived in the town since it became a town. (Okay, I just made up that last part, but see, I’ve already gotten the creative juices flowing.) With the basic ideas set, my next step is to outline Allegan’s history focusing on major events peppering in a few minor ones. I’ve gotten off to a great start with notes from the city manager, Allegan: Images of America by Nancy J Ingalsbee and Carol B. Garofalo, and Allegan’s History by Joe Armstrong and John Pahl. Then, I’ll outline my people and plot. I have a feeling I’ll be camping out at the Allegan District Library for the summer. What do you think? Is this the best way to take on this huge undertaking? Please, comments are appreciated. I’ll keep you posted. Inset picture is the Griswold Auditorium (aka the Hartford Auditorium from the Series)
Therian, The Bloody Crescent: 1 is HERE!!
Therian (The Bloody Crescent #1) by Roxanne Kade Genre: YA Paranormal All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death, on the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that. Plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror, with a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long, she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amberlyn will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. EXCERPT HER HEAD ACHED. THE COLD air wrapped around her bare skin, and the damp earth was hard against her cheek. Amber slowly opened her eyes. Was she dreaming? She thought so. The tall trees that stretched to the heavens along with the lush green vegetation seemed all too familiar. Every night, for the past few weeks, she had dreamt of this exact place. The dream was always the same…. She was running, terrified, but from what, she never knew. The farther she ran, the more peculiar she felt. Her vision sharpened, and her sense of smell brought forward overpowering scents. Amber inhaled the sweet aroma of the flowers in the woods, and the musky odor of moss and damp tree trunks filled her nostrils, relaxing her. She was at home in this foreign place. In one swift movement, she was running on all fours, faster than she’d ever run before. Whatever she was trying to escape was no match for her speed. A sudden movement to her right brought Amber to a halt. The heartbeat of a tiny rabbit was deafening. She could taste its warm blood before she even took a bite. The poor creature didn’t stand a chance. That’s when she realized she was not running from something but after something. With lightning speed, she grabbed the rabbit, crushing its small frame with her powerful hands. The rush of the kill empowered her…. Amber never saw further into her dreams, always jerking awake before she saw the monster she had become. She never had such vivid dreams before; she didn’t even have a vivid imagination, but since coming to CFU, nightmares were becoming more frequent. Only now, as she lay on the ground looking up at the dark sky through the branches of the trees, she knew this was not a dream. She lay amongst the fallen leaves on the floor of the forest, confused and vulnerable. The air was thick with a fog that clung to the lower branches of the trees, and although it was cold, her body was on fire. Amber tried to sit and the stiffness from lying in one position for too long shot through her side. She stretched her body, but it didn’t help ease the pain. Amber listened, trying to hear anything, but there was nothing. The silence was frightening. She lifted a hand to her clammy forehead. The perspiration ran down her spine, and her hands were wet and sticky. Her breath came in quick gasps with a fear that rose inside her every second she sat in the dark, cold, damp forest. Amber lifted herself slowly, testing her legs for balance. Her blue cotton pajamas were badly soiled by the thick mud that clung to them. She walked slowly, not really knowing which direction to go. She didn’t know how far into the woods she was. Should she just choose a path and hope it leads to civilization, back to campus? Her fear grew stronger, and the fuzziness in her head made it difficult to focus. Amber stumbled along, slipping over the mossy ground. As she walked, an unusual sense of familiarity welled up inside her. She continued forward, and when she caught sight of the road, not too far ahead, relief washed over her. That is when she heard it. The long and anguished howl of a wolf pierced the silence. It sounded close, too close. Fear gripped her again. She found the strength to move a bit faster as adrenalin began pumping through her veins, and she ran toward the road. Was it her imagination or did she hear the snapping of branches behind her? She was not alone; a fierce growl confirmed that. Amber stopped in her tracks and turned slowly, staring back into the thick bushes she had emerged from, but she saw nothing. She sensed, however, that there was something watching her, and it wasn’t friendly. Goosebumps spread over her skin, and she turned to run again. The sound of something behind her forced her to quicken her pace. Amber raced forward, and, clearing the remaining trees, made it to the road, but she tripped on the graveled path. A sudden flash of light stopped her dead in her tracks. She was blinded by a set of headlights only a short distance from her that were growing brighter with each passing moment. There was no way the person driving could stop in time. This was not the way she had imagined dying. Amber screamed and covered her face with her hands, as if that would lessen the impact of the car as it slammed into her. She waited for it to strike her. But the pain she was expecting never came. Had it happened so quickly she didn’t even feel it? Was her life over? She was still breathing, crouched on the road, her hands over her face. By some miracle, the car had stopped, only inches from her. Amber’s breath came in quick gasps, and her lungs burned. She couldn’t get the air she needed. Tears were streaming down her face as she lay on the warm asphalt. Her mind swam, rushing through the dreams and the odd place where she mysteriously awoke. The howl she heard played over and over in her head, like an evil echo sent to torment her. Amber tried to focus, but she knew it was no use. Her breathing grew shallow, and the lack of oxygen made it hard for her to keep her eyes open. She heard someone speak—a muffled voice, but it was calling her name. She caught the hint of a southern accent but couldn’t be sure because whoever it was sounded like they were miles away. A blurry figure appeared next to her. Strong arms lifted her, then darkness took over, and she was gone. About the Author Roxanne Kade lives in the land of Funsunzi. Affectionately named by the locals for its fun, sun and sea, Durban, South Africa is a culturally diverse and beautiful city that offers warm weather, big smiles and a host of attractions. Roxy spends her nine to five in the finance division of a shipping company and is currently studying her degree in Financial Accounting. Words are her escape from reality. When She’s not working, writing or studying, she can be found devouring a book or baking to her heart’s content. Author Links: 48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/users/roxanne-kade Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5133405.Roxanne_Kade Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RoxyKade Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthRoxanneKade/?fref=ts Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/roxykade/ Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+RoxanneKade Instagram: http://instagram.com/roxykade18 Roxy’s Reviews: http://roxykade.blogspot.com/
AXED: What Got Cut from the Jordinia Novels
The Books of Jordinia were the first novels I wrote to completion. As a new writer back in 2013, my greatest struggles were wordiness, and learning how to leave out all but the crucial details. As I’ve stated in numerous YouTube interviews and blog posts, two to three books’ length in words and chapters were deleted from the original novels, which are now published as a duology. Today, I’m sharing with you 10 axed characters and plotlines – 5 from each book! The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1) 1. Golbain Golbain was one of the characters I had to remove from The Duchess Quest, for brevity. He was originally the messenger of Francosto Eco – the soldier who saved the condemned duchess – charged with delivering Eco’s scroll to the duchess’s uncle. Of course, Golbain read the scroll in transit and had to make the decision whether or not to deliver it. He was not a very decent person, with less than decent intentions, and died pretty early on in the story. I got rid of him altogether, but borrowed his name for a pirate in Book Two. 2. Ezra MacNeale The original surviving search party (after the fire) included a fourth man, Ezra MacNeale. Ezra had a woman he loved back home in Bainherd, but was on the quest for the financial reward, in hopes to start a family with her. In early drafts, he parted ways with the three leading males once they reached the Bainherd Plains. (I think primarily he was homesick, but it was also due to Jon bugging the dickens out of him.) After feedback from beta readers complaining of too many characters in the first hundred pages, I used Ezra briefly in one scene, then killed him in the fire. However, a succeeding plotline, involving his father in the second book, survived the cuts. 3. Pascale and Priya My first draft of Book One had much more detail about Dainy’s Uncle Pascale and Aunt Priya’s history together, and even hints of Aunt Paxi’s past. When rejection letters from agencies came pouring in due to length alone, those were some of the first chapters axed. 4. Jon and Selu Jon and Selu’s characters were sort of conceived together, as counterparts. I was going off of the Johnny Depp/Penelope Cruz dynamic their characters shared in “Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides.” I thought Jon and Selu were a perfect match, until I wrote Chapter 30 and discovered that Dainy and Jon’s chemistry was far more interesting and heartwarming. 5. Pascale’s Precursor A very early outline (more like a skeleton sketch) had a young Heppestonian man romantically linked with Dainy. He was the one who alerted her aunts about the quest and the men seeking her. Fairly soon, however, I realized that he would result in too many love interests for Dainy, would block her motivation for leaving Heppestoni, and that her character worked better as an unassuming girl, completely inexperienced with men. So, the character was changed to Uncle Pascale, Aunt Paxi’s twin brother, whose relationship with Dainy was fatherly instead. At one point, when reading the early manuscript, my dad joked that Dainy might end up with Pascale for all he knew. I was surprised by his perception! The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2) 6. Trilogy Book Two was originally written as two books: The Duchess Inheritance and The Duchess Revival. Both manuscripts were too wordy and contained some major plot and character issues. By the time I rewrote both of them and fixed all the issues, each novel was too short to stand on its own. So, I combined them into one punchy, epic conclusion. I sometimes regret the decision, and wish I would’ve found a way to expand them into three books again. 7. Dainy’s Jealousy My sister read the original draft of The Duchess Inheritance, way back when it was the second book of a trilogy, before I had a contract on the first book. In that version, Dainy had a much more difficult time accepting Jon’s past promiscuity, and trusting him around other women. My sister complained that Dainy was so jealous and insecure, it drove her nuts. I completely agreed and eliminated many scenes and arguments between the couple, which dramatically shortened the book. As a result, Dainy became much more likable for her unconditional love of Jon and forgiveness of his past. 8. Mac and Indi The Asiotican translator, Indriel Chow, a.k.a. Indi, was originally romantically interested in Mac, while he had no interest in her – a sort of poetic justice for his and Dainy’s relationship in the first book. But after reading it, my husband and sister still said it didn’t work. Indi now appears in the book as a guide and translator, for expository purposes, but her romantic feelings for Mac were chopped out. I’m very glad for it, because his love story in Part 2 of Book Two ended up being a charming subplot and one of my favorite aspects of the book. 9. Maxos and Franz are a gay couple. Okay, this actually wasn’t axed. It’s still in the novel, but seems to fly right over everyone’s heads. LOL! 😀 10. One of the main characters might’ve died. No spoilers here, so I won’t say who. But I definitely toyed on-and-off with killing a character, and giving their partner to someone else. Then I decided I didn’t have the heart to do it. Plus, I’d already conceptualized the character’s children. I think readers would’ve been furious with me, had I done it. I’d have been furious with me too! ~ If you haven’t begun the journey yet, now’s the time to dig in! The Jordinia books are available via Amazon, B&N, BAM and 48fourteen.
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