On the Other Side
The Red Pearl
The Light Side of the Moon
Holly M. Campbell
The Duchess Inheritance
Jordinia: Book II, C.K. Brooke
Their Rigid Rules
The Chemical Attraction Series: Prequel, Christina Thompson
Holly M. Campbell
New York Dolls
Catherine L. Hensley
The Duchess Quest
Jordinia: Book I, C.K. Brooke
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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…
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ON THE OTHER SIDE by Nicole Aube
When you are forbidden to remember, choosing not to forget is the greatest rebellion of all.
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… READ MORE!
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“Big hey!” from new author, E. Ardell
Hey! My name’s E. Ardell (friends call me Ebs), and I’m excited to be here! I wrote my first story in the first grade and never stopped. Writing is life. I’m a Teen Librarian when I’m not writing. I love coming up with programs and interacting with that age group. They’re so fun. So, of course, I love to write YA and get their input on what they are currently reading and why. I’m nervous for them to read my stuff, but I guess I’ve got to get over that! This native Texan is ready to see her name on the cover of a book. I’ll dance, I’ll sing (I’m the karaoke queen) and probably wipe away a few tears. Great to meet you all!
Lance Hampton: A Happy Accident
Lance Hampton was an accident. When I finally sat down to write the first chapter of Foreshadowed, I had three main characters: Hope Murdoch, Bryce Nelson, and Claire Jones. I imagined a love triangle. Bryce liked Claire, Hope liked Bryce, and Claire was sort of oblivious to all of it. The premise of the story hangs on Hope’s death vision. She is murdered in the dark. I originally planned on Hope having the premonition. Yet I also wanted her to be a mind reader. So the question was, can she see death, too? I didn’t have all the answers when I started writing. While I believe in the power of brainstorming and outlining (especially when attempting a series), I also know from experience that writing is exploration. I don’t know how it works, but sometimes the only way to find the story is to write the story. So I started writing. I wrote the scene where Hope sits in Mr. Kimoto’s class, listening to the thoughts of those around her…. Never going to pass this class… …he can barely speak English, why are they letting him teach it?… …wax on, wax off… …need a gun… Lance was born. A troubled teen. Suicidal. Perhaps Hope could help him. Perhaps…. And then everything clicked. Lance is the one with death visions. He sees Hope die, and she sees it in his head. Even though my head is already pounding, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on his thoughts, pushing everyone else’s back until they’re no more intrusive than an electric hum. …get sick if I see all the blood…don’t want to hang…what if I chicken out?…needs to be quick…quick, before they show up…maybe I could just jump off a building…none of the buildings here are tall enough…what is she doing? My eyes fly open to catch him watching me. Before I can reflect on how odd I must have looked with my eyes closed and my head tilted toward him, before it fully registers how sharply defined his cheekbones are, his green eyes meet mine, and everything goes dark. I’m in his head, seeing his thoughts. I can still see with my own eyes—I see his face, the worried, tortured expression in his eyes, but it’s all in the background. The scene unfolding in his head takes center stage. It’s not like the random flashes I usually get, and there are no words at all. It feels stronger than a daydream and plays like a scene from a movie. It’s pitch-black, but I can hear heavy, labored breathing. Someone is either in pain or very scared. Maybe both. There’s a clicking rhythm of high heels on a hard surface. Someone running away. Fear scurries across my skin as I realize it’s me. The person running away—the person in the dark—it’s me. I don’t know how I know. I just do. The darkness is overwhelming. There’s no hint of light. And the “me” in his head stops moving. Crying now—a helpless, hopeless whimper. There’s a sickening sound—I’m not sure exactly what it is—and the “me” in his head gasps before falling to the ground. I pull out of Lance’s head and blurt out, “What the hell was that?” without thinking. The unplanned love story evolved from there. His lips cut me off—and not with words. His movement is sudden. One moment, I’m talking and the next we’re kissing. His hands cup my face, his lips urgent against my own. It’s my first kiss…and it’s awkward. Not bad, just awkward. My lips sort of stumble, not sure what to do, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He keeps kissing me, one of his hands sliding to the back of my head, his fingers threading through my hair. Chills tickle my neck and my body softens, melting into him. Lance Hampton began as an accident. Served as a plot device. And grew into an integral part of the story (and one of my favorite characters to write). Now, here he is, sharing cover space with Hope. What do you think? How does he compare to the Lance in your head?
Who knows how to plan a book release party? NOT ME! But I tried really, really hard.
So, I’m from a little town. I’m talking like “Can’t find it on a map ‘cuz it ain’t big enough to be listed” kinda of small. But, one thing my little town does–It’s called Poplarville, btw. Google it. If Google knows it exists, it MUST BE REAL.–is rally around its locals. When people found out I had a book coming out with 48fourteen, their first response was not, “Hey! Can I get a copy?” or “Hey! That’s totally cool!” /awkward pause/ It was more like, “Hey! Let’s all get together and eat… and hey… wait! You have a book coming out… Let’s talk about it, and eat during that, too!” I’m not writing all of this to make fun of my people. I’m saying this is what we do: we rally, we eat, we fangirl about anything and everything. And we do it with the utmost love. All this raises the question: how do you throw a book release party? (And accomodate the high demand for the “eating.”) 1.) Choose the locale: Scooter’s, Main Street Poplarville… It’s all vintage inside, a completely redone old store with bare wood floors and plaster-coated brick walls. 2.) Choose the theme: Kitchy-mod with a twist…inspired by both mine and Hilaria’s, my protag, love of all things old. 3.) Choose the goodies: book marks, adult coloring sheets, and other stufffffff 4.) Choose the food: (See note above on the importance of this.) Roast beef poboys and spinach artichoke flat-bread pizzas….well, because it’s good. 5.) Choose the shoes: because we all know the party’s success hinges upon THE SHOES. I’ll just leave this picture here for your fashionable viewing pleasure. Then we decorate, decorate, decorate. People arrive, stay, and have FUN, listening to NoLa street jazz, and just enjoy themselves, discussing all things On the Other Side related whilst stuffing their faces. I never intended for the party to become a signing, but I ran out of books before the night was over. I met lots of new faces; many came from a few hours away. I was bulldozed by students who’ve loved Hill from page one, and I got to tell her story to a whole host of new readers. Overall, I consider the “launch”/”release”/”debut” a huge success. It would not have been possible without my crew of doers, movers, shakers, and food prep engineers, and to them, I can’t say “thank you” enough. Honestly, I can’t say thank you enough to anybody who’s made me feel welcome, loved, and supported…. so thank you again! Now, enjoy these photos from the official On the Other Side release party courtesy of the ahhhmazing Gretchen Gegenheimer Photography! I have to tell you…if I learned anything from being photographed all night it’s that I make a host of stupid faces and have a wickedly awesome double chin. Seriously, it’s regal. I wind down your release party experience with what I shall hereafter refer to as “The Aube Awful Face Montage.” And I finish this awesome photography off with this little beauty… I really have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s too funny not to share. Ole much? That’s Elizabeth on the left and Anya on the right, two of my former students and precious darlings and biggest supporters! Anyway… that was the party! A huge shout out one more time to Gretchen Gegenheimer for offering her photography services… That is a woman of many talents! We even had a photo booth–obviously not pictured–but I have pics up on my Facebook if you want to check them out. (Stop by and like my page, too!) And a humongous shout out to Chemin Pitre at Scooter’s for providing the food, the facility, and the fantastic atmosphere! Okay, I’m out! If you’re super curious about the #teamanthony and #teamjob stuff, you gotta read the novel! (BTW: #teamanthony ALL DAY LONG right here, baby!) P.S. I am already planning my shoes for the On the Brink party, coming your way late 2016! Write on, Nicole
Top Steamy Kisses
Remember your first kiss? Did the longing for your love make that moment, when your lips first touched, passionately explosive? A kiss can tell you he’s the one. A kiss can make the world fall away. A kiss can make you feel alive. And, because you appreciate book-boyfriends, you get to relive those first kisses endlessly. Here are TEN steamy kisses to linger on… HOT AND RAVENOUS Is Hillaria #TeamJob or #TeamAnthony? Really, does it matter? H.O.T.! “Though he’s calm, desperation, hot and ravenous, continues to waft from him, and it melts me. I wrap my hands around the curve of his neck and pull his face down to mine. His hands knot in the curls at the nape of my neck, and this time, I choose him. When NAP wanted me to stay away, I kiss him, and nothing stops me.” ON THE OTHER SIDE, BY NICOLE AUBE THE UNEXPECTED KISS When desire takes over, there is no stopping… Unexpectedly, she grabbed him by the collar and pushed him up against her door, kissing him vehemently, her hands racing down his chest, her body entwined with his, while Cosmith reciprocated with equal enthusiasm. Neither spoke, communicating only with their roaming hands, their intimate embrace, their interlocked lips, until the man could bear it no longer. “I must have you now,” he murmured, proceeding to plant fierce kisses repeatedly down her throat. THE DUCHESS QUEST, BY C.K. BROOKE SWEET EVIL TEMPTATION Sometimes, bad can be oh, so good… Nina tasted his wild spiciness and knew that once would never be enough as a tiny moan escaped her lips. This had been a mistake. But still, Sinclair possessed her mouth, recklessly pushing the limits as he pressed Nina against the wall. Molding his overpowering shape to her liquid form, he demanded a response. Her treacherous body didn’t disappoint him. Suddenly, Nina was carelessly kissing Sinclair back, pursuing an equal reaction. COPPER REIGN, BY ANGELA HARTLEY THE JOLT When the touch of his lips nearly knocks you off balance… Chills tickle my neck and my body softens, melting into him. His tongue slides inside my mouth, just a little, and there’s a jolt of electricity deep inside me. I wrap my arms around his neck so I don’t fall over. FORESHADOWED, BY HOLLY M. CAMPBELL WELCOME DISTRACTION The kiss that can make you forget your impending death…even if just for a moment… …his mouth moves down my neck and then back up to just under my chin. His kisses are firm, almost painful, and such a welcome distraction I can do no more than moan with want and pleasure. FOREWARNED, BY HOLLY M. CAMPBELL (Coming Soon) THE FIRST KISS That moment, when you know you have found the one… Joe spun Madeline around and the song ended. As he dipped her low, her long brown hair brushed the floor. With his face a few inches from hers, she was panting. Lost in his vibrant green eyes, she lifted her head and kissed him. She barely touched his lips, but the nerve endings in hers sent an electrical shock throughout her body. A wave of heat followed. Her body lit up with awareness as if a bolt of lightning shot out from her toes… CHEMICAL ATTRACTION, BY CHRISTINA THOMPSON MEANT TO BE The first kiss may be good, but the second? (*Sighs*) Maybe it was meant to be. Maybe we were just two people who showed up to the right place at the right time. I don’t remember what time he left that night, or the next morning. The second kiss, though, was even sweeter than the first. NEW YORK DOLLS, BY CATHERINE L. HENSLEY TINGLING SENSATIONS The longer you wait, the hotter it gets… I sighed right before our lips touched, so they were parted when they met his. His other hand—the one that wasn’t at the back of my head—moved to my back, gripping the fabric of my shirt. The hem lifted just a few inches up my back and I could feel his forearm against my skin. An almost painful, yet wonderful tingling sensation swept through me. WITHOUT CURTAINS, BY HOLLY M. CAMPBELL AMBROSIA Oh, and it gets better… “In fact,” she hissed, seizing him by the back of the neck, “I’ll prove it to you.” With a tug, she pulled his mouth over hers and latched onto his lips, suckling them as though they were the gods’ ambrosia, and she a ravenous beggar. THE RED PEARL, BY C.K. BROOKE THE FEATHER-LIGHT KISS The feather-light kisses can be so intense! Staring into his smoldering blue eyes, Taylor held her breath. Stuart lowered his lips to hers. The warm feather-light kiss made her want to faint from the intensity. “I’ve wanted to do that for a while,” he whispered, cupping her face. Dazed, she gaped blankly at him… THEIR RIGID RULES, BY CHRISTINA THOMPSON WHEW! Muy Caliente! Take a deep, deep breath…and tell us, which kiss spiced up your life? Comment here or on our Facebook page (on the related post) for your chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card! One winner will be selected on Friday, January 22, 2015, and announced on the following day.
Matt & Eva’s Romance: the beginning
For all the fans of The Chemical Attraction Series who want more of Matt and Eva’s romance, here’s a snippet for the Holiday Season. And, of course, this short story wouldn’t be complete without Joe Roberts. Enjoy. The Beginning of Matt and Eva’s Romance by Christina Thompson Driving Eva’s piece of shit car (aka: her rusting Toyota Corolla), Joe Roberts gripped the steering wheel and concentrated on the snow-covered backroad. His beloved ’88 Lincoln Continental was still buried under two feet of snow at a Saginaw cabin. Joe couldn’t tell if the car shimmied from the uneven grate of the county snowplow on the dirt road or from Eva’s actual car. Growling, he slowed his pace even more. He glanced at Eva O’Sullivan next to him. He loved her like a sister ─ a pain-in-the-ass sister. This petite Irish spitfire with long auburn spiral curls had big opinions and you knew them whether you wanted to or not. Today, in her brown leather coat and thick Kelly green scarf, she quietly fidgeted with the matching green mittens on her lap. The Velcro from her wrist brace from her sprain last month stuck to a mitten. She absently ripped them apart shredding the yarn. “Why are you so uptight?” Joe asked. “Here’s your chance to be with Matt without the kid.” “I’m not uptight,” she replied with a scowl. She tugged on his black suitcoat. “What exactly did Peter text you?” She deflected and he let it go, for now. “He said to pack a go-bag for the weekend and meet him at the car pool parking area near US-131 in Martin.” “What about the suit?” she asked. “He told me to wear a black suit. I’m tall, dark, and extra handsome in it, but I had to buy this. And these new dress shoes pinch my feet,” he replied, sliding toward the stop sign. He blew out a breath as the car stopped just beyond the sign. Un-rattled, Eva continued. “Yeah, you’re a green-eyed hunk,” she replied with a smirk. “Why didn’t he say why?” He turned left onto another snow-covered road toward Allenton, Eva’s rugged new boyfriend Matt Connor, and his eight-year-old son, David. Joe, Eva, and Taylor had met Matt last month during Eva’s stint in the hospital after her body collided with a car. Joe still hadn’t gotten that image of her limp body flying through the air out of his head. She had since recovered from a dislocated hip, broken ankle, a sprained wrist, and a concussion. He had worried so much about Eva and Taylor during that mess Stuart Morgan created. “I don’t know why he said to wear it. When do I turn?” he demanded, suddenly irritated. “On Pine,” she said. “Maybe Peter finally likes you.” Joe snorted. “He likes me. I know you care about David. Make sure you’re serious about Matt though. You know what it was like to get attached to your mom’s boyfriends. I remember how disappointed you were when they disappeared after the breakups.” She winced. Her rarely seen vulnerability flashed across her mask of pristine makeup. She quickly hid her emotions. “Maybe Peter’s driving you to Quantico. You start training next week,” she replied. “Why wouldn’t he say that then?” Joe asked. “And seriously? Driving a long distance in a suit? Come on.” Last month, Joe had helped FBI Division Director Peter Bingaman catch Stuart’s stalker and protect Taylor. The director recommended him for the FBI Academy and offered him a job afterward. Grateful for the opportunity, Joe owed him. Without Peter’s letter, he wouldn’t have gotten into the academy. Joe’s father, a crooked cop/jailbird, almost doused his life’s dream. “Joey, focus! You missed the street,” Eva said. Joe backtracked and finally found Matt’s house, a plain well-kept country blue ranch with a two-car attached garage and a chain link fence in back half buried in the snow. In the neatly shoveled driveway, Matt’s old Bronco had been cleared of snow. Joe stopped beside it then blew out another breath. “Crap,” Eva said, searching her brown leather purse. “He gave me a key and I forgot it.” “Damn it, Eva. I’m not going back,” he replied. “Maybe he has one hidden somewhere.” She laughed. “Here,” she said, holding it out for him. “You’re the one who needs to lighten up.” He ripped it from her hand. She continued to laugh as he walked around the car to help her out. With a walking boot cast on her right foot, she handed him her purse and mittens then struggled to stand on her own. Stubborn as always, he thought. With a sigh, he grabbed her crutches and suitcase in the backseat filling his arms. Taking the crutches, she started hopping toward the front door. Matt had shoveled the walkway bare, too. Rock salt covered every cement surface. Matt was definitely a responsible guy. Joe chuckled as he followed her. Eva held out her hand for the key. “Just drop my purse and suitcase inside then you can leave,” she said, unlocking the door. “No way. What kind of brother would I be if I didn’t look around and make sure he’s not some psycho?” he asked. Inside, Eva turned and glared at him. “He’s a cop and a wonderful father who owns his own home.” “You need to lighten up. I was kidding except for the snooping part,” he said. In the living room, Joe set her suitcase, purse, and mangled mittens beside the worn yet comfortable looking sofa. Under one end table, he spotted a wicker basket with yarn and a partially crocheted blanket. “How domestic do you want to be with this guy? Crocheting? Really?” Joe said with a chuckle. “Aren’t you going to be late?” Eva replied. “Nope. I’ve got time,” he said, walking toward the kitchen on the right. The plain white kitchen had enough room for a square wooden table and four chairs. David’s school paintings on the refrigerator added the only color to the room. With a coffeemaker and a toaster on the otherwise bare countertop, Joe opened a cupboard to annoy Eva. “Joe, stop,” she said, leaning on the back of one of the chairs. “Do you want to get tied down with a kid?” he asked. Joe opened the fridge full of Tupperware containers. He pulled out the closest one with macaroni salad and quickly found a spoon in the drawer. After taking a huge bite, he moaned and held out a spoonful for Eva. “This is so good,” he mumbled with his mouthful. “I think his mom made it. His parents live across the street,” she said. She hopped to the lid on the counter then held it out for him to cover the bowl. Instead, he walked around the table making her hop after him. “Sounds like Everybody Loves Raymond,” he said, before taking another bite. “Have you talked to Taylor today?” she asked. “No,” he replied, taking the lid she thrust in his face. “She’s not my problem anymore.” He shoved the bowl with its lid back into the refrigerator. “Not your problem? She’s your family,” Eva said. “You know what I mean. She’s with Stuart now,” he said, leaving the kitchen. Heading down the hallway, he glanced in David’s dinosaur-themed bedroom then looked in the guest room next to David’s. Six boxes of toys and books set on the bed beside two police uniforms lying across an ironing board. “Do you want to talk about her?” she asked at his heels to keep him from snooping too thoroughly. “This place is void of a female touch. Are you gonna decorate right away or wait until you’re living here?” he countered. “Peter’s going to make you wear a suit everyday with the FBI,” she said. “Not if I can help it,” he replied. Before Joe could add another retort, he and Eva heard a bang then rattling from the basement. Joe whispered for Eva to go into the bathroom and lock the door. Rolling her eyes, she shook her head as Joe opened the basement door. The rattling vibrated the steps as Joe carefully descended. Eva hopped down behind him. Beside neatly packed boxes on metal shelves around the perimeter of the small clean basement, an old furnace shook. At closer inspection, Joe found a large wrench setting on the water heater and a slight dent in the furnace beside it. He banged the wrench into the dent and the rattling stopped. The heat popped on. Joe grinned. “Owning a home is easy. I’m a pro already,” he said. Eva snorted and hopped back up the stairs huffing as she went. When his cell rang, Joe checked the caller ID. He let Taylor’s call go to his voicemail. Eva watched him. “You need to work through your feelings for her,” Eva said. “And, on that note, I’m out of here,” he replied. She was right, but he wouldn’t openly admit it. Using her crutch, Eva poked him in the back stopping him. “I love you, Joey.” He gave her a brief hug. “Stay out of trouble although nothing ever happens in these farming towns.” ***** In the Allenton Police Station, Officer Matt Connor hung up his phone at his desk in the bull pen reception area. In the desk across from him, his redheaded partner, Bobby Callahan, finished the last of his paperwork before the start of the weekend. The two other desks next to theirs remained empty until the next shift started. Gone today, Mrs. Ford, the semi-retired receptionist, had a desk closer to Chief Grady Callahan’s tiny private office. They all hoped she’d make the move to full retirement soon. As sweet as she was, she couldn’t make a decent cup of coffee, always at the ends of the spectrum of watered down or extremely strong. They had offered to take over the responsibility but she considered coffee making a part of her job description. The hallway to the left of her desk led to an observation room, an interrogation room, a single jail cell, and a locker room, all small rooms. The station designed in the 50’s needed some updates … okay … an entire overhaul. After six weeks of rehab from a gunshot wound in the thigh and then another week of desk duty, Matt felt ready to get back into the mix. Partnered with Officer Zack Roach, Bobby had hated every second of it. Matt and Bobby would start Monday, the same day David would go back to school after his winter break. Matt liked the normalcy. Since meeting Eva last month, he realized how much he enjoyed change, too. In a metal chair beside him, eight-year-old David, with brown wavy locks, dumped out a bag of M&Ms onto Matt’s desk and separated them into two equal piles. As Matt closed a folder on a burglary, Chief Callahan stepped out of his office with two more folders. The burly chief slapped them on his son’s desk then walked away without a word. Their ballbuster boss enjoyed delegating his workload especially at quitting time. A taller bulkier version of his redheaded dad, Bobby frowned. “He must love my dedication to the job more than yours.” “Or it’s payback for your earlier argument in his office,” Matt suggested. “You heard that?” Bobby asked. David nodded. “The whole neighborhood heard it. Being chief would be cool.” “Then maybe you should be chief,” Bobby said. It was a touchy subject with the Callahan clan. David nodded and grinned. Bobby had gotten used to the idea of working extra hard for his dad. Close to retirement, his father wanted Bobby as his replacement to carry on the Callahan name in outstanding law enforcement. Bobby didn’t want the job and its responsibilities. Their horns locked on a daily basis. Zack Roach coveted the job as chief and didn’t care who he stepped on to get it. Matt would quit and move far away if Zack became chief. He had yet to hear a nice word come out of the jackass’s mouth. Luckily for Matt, Officer Roach had today off to attend a birthing class with his pregnant wife, Nichole. “Give me one. I still have some time. Besides, I’m your ride,” Matt said. With a nod of thanks, Bobby handed him a folder. David popped an M&M into his mouth giving him two equal piles. “I don’t want to go to Jimmy’s for a sleepover this weekend,” David said, pushing a pile toward Matt. He kicked his backpack away from his chair. Matt ate a red one. “We already talked about this. I’d like to spend some time alone with Eva.” “To kiss?” David asked. Bobby looked up from his file and waited for the answer, too. “Yes,” Matt replied, pointing Bobby back to his paperwork. “You’ve kissed her in front of me before. I won’t look this time,” David said, before putting four M&Ms into his mouth. Bobby coughed back a laugh. “David,” Matt said with a firm tone. David slid the rest of his pile into his hand then opened his mouth wide. He catapulted his handful inside. Three missed and slid across the floor. Matt raised an eyebrow. Sending the metal chair grating across the linoleum, David quickly chased them down. “So more than kissing,” David stated, dropping the dirty M&Ms in the trash. Bobby looked as if he concentrated on his work, but his ears seemed to stick out wider than usual. “Yes,” Matt replied with a sigh. He’d always been honest with David. Although lately, ending the conversation with Because I said so wasn’t cutting it like it used to. “Kissing her in bed?” David asked, plopping back onto the chair. Matt set his pen down and ignored Bobby’s snort. “Have you been watching Grandma’s soaps again?” David grinned with melted chocolate covering his front teeth. An hour later, Matt drove one of the two city cruisers. With David in the backseat, he dropped Bobby off at his apartment then headed for Jimmy Ready’s house a mile outside town. It felt great to actually drive again and not rely on others to chauffeur him around. His leg ached but thinking about Eva kept any major pain away. Turning into the long unplowed driveway to the Ready’s farmhouse, Matt gunned it. Nothing was going to stop his romantic weekend with Eva. As Matt walked with David to the door, he lectured one last time. “No feigning sick and no causing trouble. Eva and I will pick you up Sunday morning.” “Fine, but I get to hog her all day Sunday,” David said, knocking on the door. Deal,” he replied. In a red cardigan sweater and skinny jeans, Kathy Ready opened the door. David quickly slipped through the crack. Kathy’s long red manicured nails rested on the door and showed no signs of working on a farm. She usually glammed up in the farm’s winter off season. “Don’t worry about David. We have a few fun distractions for the boys this weekend. Enjoy your peace and quiet,” she said with a wink. “Thank you. He has his cell just in case,” he said, before turning from the door. Did everyone in town know about his romantic weekend? He’d ring Bobby’s neck. The gossip that passed his partner’s lips equaled Matt’s mother, Gail Connor’s. After sliding out of the drive, he headed home. Having someone waiting for him gave him a thrill he hadn’t felt before. As he turned onto Pine Street, he saw his mother enter his house. Crap! He hadn’t told her about his weekend plans. David must have beaten him to it. He hit the garage door opener and parked in the empty space. The other spot housed his push lawnmower and the snow blower. As he entered the house through the mudroom next to the kitchen, he heard his mom yelling. “What in God’s name!” “Damn, damn, damn,” he muttered, tossing his uniform coat over the wooden chair next to his square kitchen table. Seeing his mother in the hallway, he quickly set his gun and belt on top of the refrigerator. Wondering where Eva was, he met his mother next to his bedroom doorway. With a tight curly poodle perm and newly colored chestnut brown hair, Gail frowned at him. “Matthew,” she demanded, “Who’s that naked woman in your bed? She wears too much makeup.” He leaned past his mother and saw Eva burying her face in his Navy blue comforter in the middle of his bed. Only her long red spiral curls showed. Damn, he liked seeing her in his bed. “Can you be more specific?” he asked. He grinned when Eva stiffened and glared at him. “Matthew, David could have seen this harlot,” Gail said. Matt’s amusement became annoyance as he clenched his jaw. “Don’t ever call her that again. Eva’s studying to be a doctor. I invited her here and I know David told you that. I just dropped him off at Jimmy’s for the weekend, which you are also aware. I warned you about dropping by unannounced. Give me your key.” She would not undermine this relationship. She opened her mouth but thought better of it. Dropping the key in his hand, she stormed out the front door. Dismissing his mother’s antics, he turned back to Eva. “Hello,” he said, leaning on the door jam. “You have a parade of women coming through here that you need more information?” Eva demanded. She reached over to retrieve her clothes on the nearby chair. “It’s sarcasm. I never wanted to take the time to date until you,” he replied. “You definitely made a lasting first impression with my mother.” She groaned and continued to put on her black leggings and pink bra under the covers. “God, I just wanted to surprise you,” she said. “Oh boy, did you. Why are you getting dressed?” he asked with a chuckle. “Seriously?” she said, slipping her bulky forest green sweater over her head. She struggled to put her ankle cast back on. “Did she kill the mood?” he asked. Eva left off her wrist brace and threw back his comforter. Matt joined her as she stood beside the bed. She groaned against his uniform shirt. He lifted her chin. Her makeup was tastefully done in shades of brown against her heart-shaped face. He liked her classy look. “How about dinner?” he asked, kissing her forehead. She smiled. “Allenton has a night life?” “Until 8 o’clock,” he replied, hugging her. Would she get bored with this kind of life? He hadn’t much to offer her. “I was hoping to show off my sexy girlfriend.” He touched her soft cheek with his thumb. “After meeting your mother, are you sure you want me to meet your town?” she asked. “Oh yeah, I can’t wait,” he replied, before kissing her lips. …to be continued…
Hilaria’s Universe Through Her Eyes & My Lens
So, as I’ve mentioned before, New Orleans is my second home. Something about the history of that city appeals to my old soul… almost like I’ve walked its streets before. I’ve had such a love affair with the city, particularly the Quarter, that when Hilaria’s story in On the Other Side started coming to me years ago, setting her flooded, dystopian world there was a no-brainer. And with Hurricane Katrina the final inspiration for her story, setting the novel in New Orleans was a two-fer! Not only did I get the rich history of the city I love most–I get the tumultuous recovery and sense of devastation it faced after Katrina. Is there a better making for a story? I. Think. Not. 😉 Anyway, I digress. Last weekend, I got the afternoon with my best buddy to just rewalk the route Hilaria takes in her boat everyday throughout the Quarter. Of course, I had my camera with me. You can’t go to NoLa without snapping a pic here and there–and because I see the world through my character’s eyes when I’m in what we shall heretofore call “Book Mode” (or as my momma calls it, “Manic–Lord, Nikkie! Slow down, I can’t keep up with you anymore! *grunt* *wheeze* *collapse* Remember, I’m an old lady!–Mode), I had to take some pictures. Many of the shots I’m going to share are edited to how Hilaria sees her world–a little artsy, a mighty bit skewed, and beneath layers and layers of decaying beauty. Hilaria and her BFF (and maybe more *hack*) Anthony spend most of their days in the St. Louis Cathedral. When Hilaria looks at the structure, which is falling to pieces in her world, she imagines the stories the walls could tell if they could speak of all that they’ve witnessed. Sometimes, when you’re really, really quiet, you can hear the building sigh. I’m not joking… That place breathes, and it’s the most awesomely wicked feeling in the universe. Most of the buildings in Hilaria’s Quarter are uninhabited, or when they are occupied, people live on the second floor–old galleries now repurposed as front stoops because the Flood has consumed the first floors. Her world is grey and sepia, but there are pops of colors everywhere–vines on a wall, a creaky old shutter, a forgotten advertisement on ancient plaster. When Hilaria looks at the decay, she sees more than waste; she sees art: life continuing on in spite of the odds. Of course, we can’t talk about NoLa without mentioning jazz and street bands. I played sax over a decade… and good jazz is my weakness… so maybe…. yeah, this one is for ME. 😉 And now, for the grand finale…! To see the Cathedral every morning would leave me speechless, and my girl, Hilaria, does! ((I’m totally jelly. Like, seriously. And me speechless is like a sign of the apocalypse. When it happens, pigs will fly; hell will hath frozen over, ya’ll….! Dude. That means our world would be a dystopia, like in a YA novel. I’d be LIVING IN A BOOK! …Would I be the good guy or the bad guy…? Bad guy, most definitely. Too fun not to be! What about you? (Anyway, what was I was talking about… Oh, Hilaria! RIGHT.)) When she steps out onto her stoop, into her boat, just a little look to the left brings this into her focus. Without question, her view is a little more colorful, but caught in B&W, the Cathedral is swoon-worthy. Hill’s world may be falling apart around her (both literally and metaphorically) in On the Other Side, but at least, the view down is gorgeous, right? Not even the Name Acquisition Program–the government of Orleans that may or *ahem* may not be out to get them all–can take this away from her. Remember: On the Other Side releases this THURSDAY, December 10! You can preorder it now for Kindle… ya know… if you’d like, too. 😉 Hope y’all l<3ve the photos! Welcome to Orleans, friends. May your stay bring out the best in you. NAP insists on it. Until next time, Nicole
Attending a convention in seven easy to follow tips
The most common question I get from authors and fans alike is: so what’s a convention like anyway? Your convention experience depends on what you do and enjoy. There’s always differences due to size, regional laws, convention’s focus, and like/dislikes of the organizers. Everyone does things a little differently, so I wrote these tips for anyone thinking about going to a convention. Many conventions will have: Art show, Artist Alley, or Artist Demo Exhibit Hall/Dealer’s Room Panels, Workshops, Readings, and other programming Hospitality suite (A place to relax often with snacks ) Cosplay and Costuming Gaming Music: Sometimes known as Filk Media Guests: Actors and Directors Visiting Pros of the convention’s focus My favorite: Movie Screenings. There’s usually at least an attempt to mix classic, obscure to the new. However, unless it’s a big convention, do not expect a big budget movies. Expect weird indie shorts and full length movies you have never seen before: I love them. At Night, there’s even more stuff This is the Thursday room party board at Sasquan Room parties Bid parties (Some conventions move to a different location each year and groups bid for the next spot.) Offsite Events “Adult” Programing and rated R readings A masquerade or costume contest. And my second favorite: Star Parties and Astronomy Events Tip 1) Research the con you’re considering attending as much as you can. Tip 2) Don’t wait to get your badge. Many big conventions sell out early. Also there is generally an early registration discount or specials Tip 3) Check out the online schedule and figure out what you like to do. Look at flyers for other events not on the schedule And then go do it! Tip 4) Read the Rules: All cons have regulations to help make the convention run smoothly and be as fun as possible for everyone posted on their website and in their program. Look them over to understand what is expected. In addition to general conduct policies, they will have guidelines for cosplay, press, exhibitors, and others. I am not trying to scare you: generally they all can be summed up with do not do anything: illegal or dangerous to yourself or anyone else. Excessive or underage alcohol use, drug use, harassment, etc will result in getting booted from the convention. Note: If you have a safety or security concern, bring it to the convention’s operations center immediately. I have never seen a convention that didn’t care about the attendee first and foremost. Tip 5) Wear your badge and have ID at all times throughout the convention. People will notice if you are not wearing a badge. The other reason is to get into events. If you want to go to room parties you need your ID. Security will check, even if you are in your eighties. These cupcakes were at a publisher’s room party for a book release. So if you want them, bring your badge and ID Tip 6) Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Even if you go alone, don’t feel like you have to stay alone. Many science fiction and fantasy fans have often felt out of place, and are thrilled if someone approaches them. Ask people about their costumes or talk to them about a panel you both just attended. If you’re interested in an author, talk to them or ask questions at a panel. Here is my secret: most convention goers don’t realize I am shy, and can be completely socially awkward. (Though I have written enough socially awkward characters that they might realize it by now.) Around age 28, I decided it was time to be the author and person I wanted to be. So I read A LOT of Miss Manners to figure out how to talk to people and make friends in uncomfortable situations. I still make mistakes, but overall, this served me well. Tip 7) Take care of yourself. Sometimes you get so busy, you don’t realize the time slipping away so make sure to get a few hours sleep, a shower, and a few healthy meals during the weekend. And one more for free: Have fun!
Let’s Talk About SEX
“Gods, Annie,” he gasped, as she dug her fingers through his hair, soaking his neck with repeated kisses. “You look so damn ravishing in these trousers.” “Perhaps,” she moaned, writhing against him, “you can determine whether I look better out of them.” His pulse lolloped. “Are you serious?” She tugged on his collar, bringing his nose to hers. “I seriously want you.” -The Red Pearl by C.K. Brooke, Chapter 31 Let’s talk about sex, baby… Seriously, though. Sex in books. It’s IT right now. Fifty Shades launched the billionaire BDSM fantasies of a million moms, and now erotic romance has moved from that sketchy section in the bookstore where I bought my first Cosmo Girl Kama Sutra and out onto the display tables. (…What, TMI?) If you browse the bestselling romances on Amazon, you will find everything from lewd doctor, lawyer and werewolf romps to dragon and dinosaur erotica. (Yes, I said dinosaur. Look up “Taken by the Triceratops” or “The Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay”. Both of which have outsold all of my novels combined. *Cough.*) Anyway, in the midst of this toasty new trend, what’s an adventure-romance writer, such as yours truly, to do? Do I amp up the heat and dedicate entire chapters to illicit sexytimes, or do I keep it sweet and gently shut the bedroom door in my readers’ faces? Either decision isn’t easy to make. I strive to write with integrity and class, but I also wish to capture my main couple’s passion and give readers what they want (what they really, really want). My ultimate decision brings me back to fall 2013. I was three quarters of the way through writing my debut novel, The Duchess Quest, and the heroine had just professed her love for the picaresque hero (or anti-hero). I hadn’t been planning on writing a novel with any sex – my parents were going to read it, after all. But the chemistry between the characters was so strong, and the tension so high after a book-long build-up, I discovered myself desperate for them to finally shag already. I got into bed that night, conflicted. Quietly, I leaned in and whispered to my husband, who had read my manuscript thus far: “Do you think sex would be out-of-place in my book?” He got that smile he always gets when I mention sex and answered, “Not at all. There’s been plenty of innuendo leading up to it… I think it would fit.” Having secured the only opinion that mattered to me at the time, the next evening, I set out to writing my very. First. Sex scene. (Okay, of my adult life. Obscene fan-fictions about the dudes from Lord of the Rings when I was fifteen don’t count.) It was a deeply personal and emotional experience, to unite these two people who were very real to me. I felt as though I was actually falling in love again – a little lightheaded and giddy, with no concept of needing food or sleep. I kept the prose mild and flowery, nothing graphic (no throbbing you-know-whats or glistening you-know-wheres). And of course, I had to insert a quote at the end that was a little ridiculous/funny, because I don’t like to take myself too seriously, and I love shattering tension with humor. The result was actually a bit of a longer scene than what’s published in The Duchess Quest today. Because in time, I learned that the less detail, the sexier. For me, at least. From there, the rest of the novel unfurled and was completed without any further bedroom chapters. While I was admittedly sheepish about showing it to my family, I was relieved when everyone waved a hand and insisted the sex wasn’t “bad” at all. (I did receive a gut-bustingly hilarious series of texts from my sister though, who confessed, “It was so intimate and I was so into it and then I was like…my sister wrote this.”) After that, I became much more comfortable writing sex scenes, and didn’t shy away in the sequel, The Duchess Inheritance. I went there more often with the main characters. But still, I didn’t use any anatomical terminology, showed no pink parts, and in the second half of the book they were married, so who cares? You can imagine my surprise when I started receiving comments from friends and family: “Gee, getting kinda racy, ain’t it?” “CAITY, good God!” And my top favorite from my BFF: “I’m going to rename this book Jon & Dainy F–k Around the World. Seriously, can you write a third novel of the Duchess just icing her v–?” I didn’t realize the sex had seemed so prominent in Book 2. At one point, my editor had even suggested, “We need more here,” so if anything, I was worried there wasn’t enough. And then, I began to panic. I had just finalized the edits on my third novel with 48fourteen, The Red Pearl, which contained my steamiest chapter yet. I warned my mom and Grandma: “There’s a chapter you’ll have to skip.” And I alerted my Aunt Sandi, too: “There’s sex.” (To which she responded bluntly, “Well, what would be the point of reading it if there wasn’t?”) Now, I’m no prude, but I strive to uphold some semblance of a good Christian household here, and this sex-writing thing was starting to perplex me. Exploring my characters’ passions is part of the joy of writing romance! So, I prayed about it. And it might’ve only been my imagination, but I thought I heard the answer: “Look, I want the authentic Caity. Don’t just use your talent for some watered-down version of you. Look at all the sex in the Bible!” So, I came to terms with my choice at that point. Sex isn’t bad; it’s in the Bible! And God (if you believe in one) created it for our pleasure. I’m not “sinning” by writing it. If executed tastefully, and with genuine love and respect between the characters engaging in the act, it’s a beautiful expression of the human experience. And that’s why we write, isn’t it? To impart beauty and meaning to the human experience, in all of its aspects. My mind more open, I allowed myself then to read some genre romances that weren’t afraid to go farther than I’ve ever gone in the love-writing department. They weren’t erotica books, but definitely named and described body parts in some heavy, extensive scenes. It was hot as hell, and I thought, “I should read more of this! And it would be so easy to write!” But then, even aside from the Catholic guilt settling in, I honestly began to feel – of all things – a sense of sadness. Like, I felt taken advantage of, as if someone was exploiting me for my sexuality. And I realized: No, no, no. I want to make people feel warm and lovesick and a little eager when they read my books, but I don’t want them feeling exploited or abused. And so there’s a fine line I’ve begun to walk, of presenting sexuality – when I choose to do so – in a heartfelt way that honors and respects the dignity of the act. That doesn’t mean some of my characters aren’t literal whores (or man-sluts), but I don’t write actual sex chapters about them unless it’s transformative and emotionally significant. Chapter 32 of The Red Pearl is the last overtly sexual scene I have written to date. The Wrong Prince (coming to 48fourteen Publishing in 2016) catches characters just after the act, or refers to memories past, but doesn’t contain any direct intercourse. Neither do my other manuscripts that were written after Pearl. Because I’m finding that, while it’s fine (and fun) to explore my characters’ sexuality, it isn’t always necessary. A brush of his hand over her fingers, a fond gaze into each other’s eyes amidst the face of danger, a yearning kiss just before the pair must part, can be equally sensual and arousing. And sometimes what’s left unsaid, or implied, is even more titillating than what’s made plain. All right, I’ve written my fill. Now I open the discussion. How do you like the heat level in your reading (or writing)? G-rated sweet, sensual to moderate, or are you a glutton for a super spice-fest? How do you feel about authors handling sexuality in their work? Let’s talk.
Part 3: How to be an awesome Panelist that conventions invite year after year!
So here is the third part of my series for authors who want to do conventions. Part 1 was all about the mental prep. Part 2 is about Physical Prep/Packing for a Weekend Convention. This part is about being a Panelist/Guest of the Convention/Visiting Pro or whatever the conventions call you. Here I am between panels in my magnificent Jacket of +2 Charisma and Bruce the Dragon at RustyCon 2014 Here are my top ten rules for being a good panelist. I will admit these all boil down to: Be Respectful! Be on time to your panels. Read the panel description and prepare some basic on-topic comments. If you are the moderator, MODERATE. That means make sure everyone has a chance to speak. If someone is quiet, bring them back into the conversation. If someone tries to take over, gently shut them down. “Well I see your viewpoint on that, what do you think, [Person who hasn’t gotten a word in]? A panel is not a monologue. Give all other panelists a chance to speak. If another panelist says something asinine, learn to kindly say, “Well I see your viewpoint on that, mine is X” (Notice a pattern.) Unless there is a serious issue, just go with the flow. If there is a major problem, tell the Programming coordinator immediately so he, she or zie can help you solve it. OR if there is nothing to be done, you can leave them a comment so maybe something can be done for next year. Remember conventions are run by volunteers who graciously donate their time and resources. Don’t take yourself too seriously, if you make a mistake, laugh it off or apologize which ever is appropriate. Enjoy the convention, but don’t get stinking drunk at room parties. (This is nothing against alcohol, this is about being prepared and knowing your limit. If you feel pressured, nobody but the bartender need know there is not vodka in your cranberry juice.) Be nice to the Greenroom staff and thank them for the food and hospitality. And finally: be gracious to your fans. They are the reason you are here! Did I miss anything? What other advice do authors have for would-be panelists?
What’s a Red Pearl? And 9 Other Things to Know About C.K. Brooke’s Next Adventure
The Red Pearl is finally here! What’s the least you need to know? Let me fill you in… 1. In a nutshell, what’s the story-line? Girl meets man, girl saves man’s life, man is…FURIOUS with her? The Red Pearl is an old-fashioned, action-packed love story about Antonia, a priestess-in-training who flees her temple only to get tangled up with Robin, a fiery adventurer on a harebrained treasure hunt. 2. Where does it take place? Rob and Annie live in a fantasy land called Innía, on the continent of Otlantica. Readers of my Jordinia novels (The Duchess Quest & The Duchess Inheritance) might recognize a few references, pegging this story in the same universe as Jordinia. 3. What’s the era? It takes place in a more modern era than my previous works. There are guns, for example, and an automobile prototype. Think turn of the 20th century. 4. Define the genre. It’s a streamlined romance. But it’s also an adventure, in the vein of “Indiana Jones” and “Romancing the Stone.” Sub-genre-wise, it classifies as fantasy (although without supernatural/paranormal elements). 5. What’s the heat level of the romance? Mostly mild…except for one chapter. Age seventeen and up, folks! 6. So, what exactly is the Red Pearl? It’s not a ship…or a Chinese restaurant…as some of my friends were wondering, LOL! It’s literally a pearl that’s red. You’ll learn in the book why it’s so valuable…and if it even truly exists. 😉 7. The Jordinia books oscillate between several characters’ points-of-view. Is Pearl set up the same way? No. In line with producing a more mainstream romance, this novel only focuses on two alternating POVs: that of the heroine, and that of the hero. 8. What inspired you to write this book? I was inspired to try my hand at more punctuated, traditional adventure-romance after reading my first paperback category romance novel and being perfectly delighted by it. 9. Is it part of a series? No, it’s a stand-alone. 10. Where can I get it? It’s now available in paperback and Kindle eBook format from Amazon and 48fourteen. The paperback is also available at Barnes & Noble. The NOOK and iTunes eBook editions will be available February 2016. Want to sample the first 3 chapters FREE? Start reading here! THE RED PEARL by C.K. Brooke (November 12, 2015) Full Book Description: Treasure lost…passion found? Antonia Korelli is on the run from her coven of priestesses. She never desired a life confined to the temple, relegated to chastity and service to the goddess, Azea. Instead, she longs for true love and adventure in the Kingdom of Elat. Robin Watkins is a fiery dreamer on a mission of his own: to uncover the legendary lost Red Pearl. Only, he must first regain his treasure map, which was stolen by his former best mate and conniving ex-girlfriend. When Antonia becomes unwittingly entangled with Rob, she’s more than dismayed to find herself stuck on his harebrained hunt. But somewhere amidst their bickering and banter, their plight for survival through desert and tropics, and the joint pursuit of impossible dreams, Antonia begins to realize that perhaps she might have found the unforgettable adventure – and romance – she was seeking.
Conventions Part 2: Dealer/Exhibitor Necessities
As I said last week, I started a series on working a conventions. I hope these are helpful for my author pals and aspiring authors. Part 1 was all about the mental prep. Part 2 is about Physical Prep/Packing for a Weekend Convention Inventory: I pack specifically for the convention. If it is a science fiction convention, I might grab a few more Other Systems. If it’s a comic con I’ll grab more artwork. I also always consider attendance. Finally: I set aside one book to get beat up for the season. Otherwise too many books get beat up. On the comics, I actually mark it “Display” with the novels, its easy just to stick it in the easel. (Attendance less than 10,000) 15 Other Systems +display copy 6-10 The Light Side of the Moon +display copy 10 sets of Out For Souls and Cookies (Bagged and Boarded) + loose display copies 5 Additional Copies of Out for Souls and Cookies #1 7-10 Copes of Lure +display copy 3 Sets of Faminelands +display copy 2-5 Copies of 25 or so different prints (Bagged and Boarded) (Attendance 10,000 – 50,000) 20 Other Systems 10 The Light Side of the Moon 20 sets of Out For Souls and Cookies (Bagged and Boarded) 5 Additional Copies of Out for Souls and Cookies #1 10 Copes of Lure 5 Sets of Faminelands 5 Copies of 25 or so different prints (Bagged and Boarded) (Attendance 50,000+ ECCC/Comicon) 35 Other Systems 20 The Light Side of the Moon 25 sets of Out For Souls and Cookies (Bagged and Boarded) 5 Additional Copies of Out for Souls and Cookies #1 10 Copes of Lure 5 Sets of Faminelands 5 Copies of 25 or so different prints (Bagged and Boarded) Why don’t I bring more? Because the more I drag around, the more likely it is to get damaged. Besides, the most I have ever sold of a single item at a conventions was 35 copies of Faminelands: The Carp’s Eye. That was at its release at ECCC 2008. Once I had more products, each product sells less. Also books are heavy. Airplanes only let you take so much luggage. Shipping is expensive. Gas is expensive. Signage/Banners I have one standing banner, one front of table banner and several two-sided 4×6 price signs made. Here is an example of my two sided place cards which I put in two-sided 4×6 photo frame that I got for $1 at IKEA. Back has the basic pitch for Booth Helpers. Front has price, show special, audience and gives people an idea what’s the book about. Marketing Giveaways: Excerpts, Bookmarks, Buttons, Etc. Display Stands: I set out everything in display stands before I leave so I can see how it looks. Sales Sheet, Cash Box and Credit Card Reader: I personally like to have $100 to open. 10 Five’s 50 One’s. Tablecloths and cover cloth: I use Queen Size Flat Bed sheets. They come in a wide variety of colors and wash well. At the end of the day, bring another sheet to cover inventory. Personal Emergency Kit: Band-Aids and Neosporin, Wet wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, Sanitary napkins, chapstick, nail glue, Zyrtec, Aspirin, and Tylenol, Dayquil, Elastic bands, Comb Office Supplies: Pens for signing books, Blue Painter’s tape, Scotch Tape, Large Binder Clips, 3 x 5 cards, 1″ price lables Foam Mat/Tiles: Convention Centers aren’t known for their thick padded carpets. Food: 1 liter of water per day A coffee beverage with 2 shots of espresso Bag of apple slices and or baby carrots/celery for snacks Bagel with cream cheese for breakfast Sandwich with meat for lunch I don’t leave my table for meals. I eat right there, grabbing bites when I can. Final note on Clothing: I wear my good jeans, a loose-fitting peasant blouse type top. Basically, my goal is to look casually business-like. I also bring a light sweater or hoodie, because the environment is constantly shifting from hot and cold as doors open, groups of people move around etc. On my feet: I wear hiking socks and comfortable MaryJane-style shoes. I personally like Clarks, but have also heard good things about Keens. If my knees start getting really sore, I switch to TEVAs for a little while. Yes, that does mean I am wearing sandals with socks, but no one can see my feet behind the table. Did I miss anything? Is there anything other authors like to have at conventions? Share in the comments!
Conventions Part 1: Mental Prep and Booth Etiquette
I’ve had a request for my links on these posts I wrote back in 2012, but when reading them, I decided to do an updated version series. I do A LOT of conventions–anywhere from 12 – 20 a year. I’ve done large cons such as WorldCon, Comic Con International, ECCC, On the smaller side, I’ve done Jet City Comic Show and Rusty Con. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll talk about running a booth, being on/moderating panels and other topics that I hope folks find useful. Part 1 will go over mental preparation of being a Dealer/Exhibitor. Next week, I will write out how to pack for as a Dealer/Exhibitor. Part 3 will focus on participating in and moderating panels. Part 4 will focus on being a good guest of the convention. While there is some overlap, I feel the different parts all have different rules. Here I am at 2015 Jet City Comic Show Part 1: First of all, until you have actually exhibited at a convention, you do not understand the stress factor. There is a major difference between attending a con and exhibiting at one. You are probably nervous, excited. You may have a variety of stomach upset. I do. It’s natural. But first things first…. Step 1: Fill out the form, pay the fee, and see if you get in. This happens six months to a year in advance. At major shows, you might get waitlisted, they might have a full list of exhibitors going in to it. So plan to do a variety of events in a year. Don’t plan your whole year around one event. Step 2: Prepare a basic PITCH for each title. Some people complain that having a pitch means I am selling. You are correct. I am selling my books. There is no purpose to spend anywhere from $100 up to $800 on a convention booth, if I’m not selling my books. However I consider the pitch a basic tool of informing the customer what the book is about. And it helps me because I know within fifteen seconds if they are interested in hearing more or not. Right now, the first thing out of my mouth is something like, “So I write comics and realistic sci-fi, what would you like to hear about?” OR “This is the adult side of the table, this is the All Ages Side, what would you like to hear about?” Notice, I’m letting the customer tell me what they want. If they say nothing and walk, then I didn’t waste anyone’s time. Then I start pitching. My pitch for Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon goes like this: Set 1000 years in the future, we have discovered planetary colonization is extremely difficult. Our colony on planet Kipos needs more people. The Kiposians head back to Earth to get some. However they are shocked at the state of the homeworld and to protect their new paradise start passing horrible laws. Other Systems follows an Earthling to a promised utopia where she ends up being enslaved… (Normally the person knows the rest, and they’ll say something like: Utopians are never real.) If they continue to show interest: I say, “The Light Side of the Moon is the story of those who stayed behind. Inspired by Kipos, they restart Earth’s space program. The book follows a girl who follows rumors of good jobs to the moon. She ends up finding a prison colony.” Now I’ll let them lead me. Do they want to know more? Sometimes I talk about the main characters. Do they want to read the back cover copy? If so I let them. Know the price? Do they want to shout at me for writing a book with violence. Do they want to tell me that I suck? Or that I am great? Well, it all happens…And this leads me to step 3. Step 3: Prep for soul-crushing and uplifting comments. Prepare for positive and negative comments. I will never understand why anyone who has no interest in what I am doing approaches my booth, but they do. True Story: More than one snotty jerk has called my comic, Famine Lands completely redundant and derivative, because it is about elves. They haven’t read it. They don’t know. It sucks when I have to hear why my artwork is all wrong or I am no talent hack–but that’s part of the gig. When someone says something rude, have a few polite comments ready. My favorite reply: “Well, art is subjective, perhaps you might enjoy Wayfarer’s Moon. They do a fantasy comic which has highly detailed realistic artwork. Almost a European Style” Pick out another book/comic that the jerk might like. Usually I try to sell something one of my friends created. After all, this person is obviously not going to buy from me, but if I can help a friend get a sale, I will. Also and most important: it gets the jerk away from your table. On the bright side, prepare for people to love your work. Some of those folks can’t afford it, but will give you a nice complement anyway. Tell them to request it from the library. Some will probably purchase your work. When people give you a compliment learn to look them in the eyes and say, “Thank you, I really appreciate that.” Prepare for some fans to buy everything you write. I know I have superfans and yet I’m still surprised that they follow my work. Step 4: Find Help At most cons, you get 1-4 free badges for the con. Friends and family often assume that you get as many as you want. Be firm and clear with people. You can not just bring in random people. It gets expensive really fast. This is a retail job. You have to shove your shy author part of you deep down into your chest and lock them into a tiny jail and get ready to engage with people. And you want your minion to do that too. So choose your minion wisely. I tend to take my pals with retail experience or aspiring authors who want the experience. These are the people who understand if I send them out for coffee, they need to bring back a receipt, because I’m a f****** business. Step 5: Create some booth rules Your booth minions might think you are over the top by having booth rules. More than one of my friends backed out once they realized I looked at this as work. However I also have had plenty of people who were happy that I laid down a few ground rules. No Swearing. No Complaining. Always try to make eye contact and smile with the customers. Shake hands if appropriate. Learn the basic pitch for each book and my basic bio. When someone asks a question outside of basic info, they reply, “I don’t know, let me get Elizabeth.” Rules For the Author: Be nice to your minion. The ones that work hard are worth their weight in gold. I PAY for breakfast, lunch, coffee. I make cookies and bring lots of fruit to munch on. I also tell them to enjoy the convention and attend some panels that interest them. Step 6: Make a realistic sales goal. People have different equations to come up with a good sales goal. Here is a really basic one: The cost of the con (including travel expenses) X days the sales floor is open = sales goal. Hopefully your inventory is priced fairly enough to sell, but high enough for you to turn a profit, by using a basic formula for sales goal. Another formula is 5% of estimated attendance X the average cost of your product line. While I have a sales goal, generally I also try to look at it also as a marketing vehicle. In 2012, I handed out sample chapters of Other Systems. I need to hand out to prospective readers–not just every random passing stranger. While I hoped this would lead to sales, I found it actually led to people remembering the book at other conventions, which led to sales. Sometimes it’s about the long game. Step 7: Prep for on the spot interviews with bloggers More than once, I got an interview specifically I said yes and I am ready now. Have some stock answers about the kinds of writing/artwork you do. Inspirations. Basic bio. Practice with a mirror or with a webcam. Next week, I’ll discuss what to pack for a weekend convention…
Author Takeover Event – Week in Review
What an INCREDIBLE week! This was the first time 48fourteen handed over the reins to it’s authors and allowed them full access to the 48fourteen Facebook page, and I must say, it was AMAZING! Ten authors and six days of book trivia, games, prizes and so much fun! To all of you who joined us, THANK YOU! You made this week unforgettable. If you missed us, don’t worry! Here’s our week in review: C.K. BROOKE kicked off the 48fourteen Author Takeover Event and with a special announcement… Ready? THE RED PEARL is now available for PRE-ORDER on Amazon! The official release date is November 12, 2015. The novel will be available in print, and the eBook will be available exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, and then on iBooks, B&N, and Kobo thereafter. You can PRE-ORDER the eBook now on Amazon at it’s special price of $0.99! Price will return to it’s regular price on release day. ROXANNE KADE, author of Therian, The Bloody Crescent: Book I, revealed the novel’s brand spanking new cover, and it’s STUNNING! Therian is getting a make-over and will be re-released soon. Add it to your Goodreads TBR List! For the first time ever, Therian, The Bloody Crescent: Book I, will be released in print, and the eBook will be available on iTunes and Kobo, in addition to Amazon and B&N! NICOLE AUBE gave you the inside on her upcoming novel, ON THE OTHER SIDE, & made an exclusive announcement! What was it? ON THE OTHER SIDE eBook is now available for PRE-ORDER on Amazon! This novel will be officially released on December 10, 2015, in print, and the eBook will be available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iBooks! If you are a fan of the Divergent Series, this book is for you. Here is another exclusive: PRE-ORDER NOW for a chance to win a signed copy of the print book & a $10.00 gift card. Email a screenshot of your receipt to email@example.com or post it in the comments below. DENISE DeSIO, author of ROSE’S WILL, showed you a good time and exchanged crazy, funny, and very interesting, family stories. Everyone went all out! DENISE pulled the curtains and introduced you to her family members and friends with starring roles in her fiction novel. DENISE shared a bit of trivia and gave you the recipe for Mean Rose’s Meatballs! You’ll have to take a peek. See how your family compares, and jump into ROSE’S WILL. CHRISTINA THOMPSON, author of THE CHEMICAL ATTRACTION SERIES, shared her inspirations, passions, perspective on love, and gave you a peek at what the sexy heroes in the series look like. The setting of the series came to life as she showed you a picture of the boardwalk where certain romances take place. You’ll have to read the THE CHEMICAL ATTRACTION SERIES to find out what I’m talking about! LYNDSAY JOHNSON, author of FIRE OF THE SEA, shed light on the mythology and culture that inspired the novel. And it’s beautiful! From scenery to character names, she invited you into a world anyone would want to step into, and shared the music that set the mood and brought the story to life. LYNDSAY shared the book trailer to FIRE OF THE SEA, filmed in Iceland by her fabulously talented husband. Dive into FIRE OF THE SEA. CATHERINE L. HENSLEY gave you a behind-the-scenes peek of NEW YORK DOLLS. If you’ve never been to New York City, you will feel as if you have after reading this novel! CATHERINE introduced you to the very mysterious Hollywood hunk, Chris West, that her leading lady, Denton, encounters while reporting at New York City’s Fashion Week. Step into the lights and check out this fun whiteboard book trailer of NEW YORK DOLLS! Here’s another sneaky EXCLUSIVE just for you: For a limited time, NEW YORK DOLLS is on sale for only $0.99, right here, on 48fourteen, when you enter coupon code BOOK SALE at checkout. ANGELA HARTLEY introduced you to the two leading men in COPPER REIGN – Sinclair Devereux, rock star extraordinaire and so much more than meets the eye, and Nate Phillips, the boy next door, quirky, exasperating, but he’ll be there for you when the chips are down. She revealed the light and dark side of these characters and the choice that Nina Douglas must make, despite temptation luring her in. ANGELA breathed life into the novel, and shared with you the sweet treats that represents these men: chocolate covered cinnamon bears and lemon torte. Yum! You’ll have to read the book to find out why. And she wrapped up the night with music that brought these characters to life. R.L. KING brought the spook-tacular fun, sharing favorite scary movies and ghost experiences, perfect for Halloween. He is the author of DEAD HEART the lone horror novel in the 48fourteen collection – but it was THAT good. Although the ghosts in DEAD HEART aren’t scary, the story will have the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, all while tugging at your heart strings. HOLLY M. CAMPBELL introduced you to WITHOUT CURTAINS and divulged how her fears of the dark inspired FORESHADOWED. She gave Hope Murdoch a very good reason for being afraid of the dark – and she should be very afraid. But it’s not all blood, guts, and gore in FORESHADOWED (Book 1 of The Near Deaths Series). It’s mind-reading, death-visions, and a race against time to save a life. And a very sexy, complicated, intriguing Lance Hampton. HOLLY announced she will re-write the first chapter of FORESHADOWED in the POV of Lance Hampton! Amanda Lennep Hall won the opportunity to have a role in the chapter! Like HOLLY’S Facebook page to find out when it’s up. In the mean time, read FORESHADOWED because FOREWARNED, Book 2, is coming soon! And now, what you have all been waiting for. The winner of the ultimate prize pack is: LACIE MITCHELL ROBICHAUX! Lacie, please email firstname.lastname@example.org within the next 24 hours to claim your prizes. Congrats! Again, I can not thank you all enough for participating in our author takeover event. You all rock! Be sure to check your settings on Facebook and set them to receive notifications from 48fourteen. You don’t want to miss out on any of the fun we have. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter – scroll down to the footer and enter your e-mail address to keep up to date on new releases, promotions, and giveaways. And here are a few favorite links for you to check out while you are here: BOOKS | BOOK GEAR | SHIRTS | AUTHOR BLOGS
A Photo from latest Sci-Fi Reading: Two Hour Transport
Here is me (Elizabeth Guizzetti) reading from my first novel Other Systems (because it is a finalist for the 2015 Canopus Award ) as I was the invited reader at the October’s Two Hour Transport at Cafe Racer. As you can see, it was really dark in there which is why I decided to print out my chapter with a huge font. It was so much fun!Other Systems
THERIAN’s new cover is HERE!! Behold the beauty…
Cover designed by Melody Pond All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. But what if normal is everything supernatural and legendary? 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 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. She is immediately plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror. With a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, whose sparkling hazel eyes leave her breathless, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, who seems to be immune to her gift, 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. Amber doesn’t know if she has the strength to accept the hand fate has dealt her. She will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. RE-RELEASE COMING SOON!! Add it on Goodreads Connect with me: 48fourteen Twitter Facebook Goodreads Blog
A second, and more official, greeting
Well, we’ve been working on this book for a while, and I’m pleased to say we’re very close to having a polished product fit for publication! My name’s Matt Thomas, and I’ve been moonlighting as a writer for the last ten years or so. I got my start covering Manhattan’s music and nightlife beat for a slew of small magazines and websites, including The Village Voice and CBS New York.com, which was a fun but EXHAUSTING gig. In that time, I published some essays as well, but I just kept on gravitating toward short stories and novels. As a kid, I devoured graphic novels and fantasy stories. Loved them! Once I hit high school and read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, however, I sought out texts that had deep character development within an engrossing plot, but they were so hard to find. So, I decided I’d write my own stories that had such a mix at their core. THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS, my new novel being released by 48Fourteen later this year, is one of those stories. Earlier drafts were either too long, too dark, or just too hard to follow. After countless rewrites and a slew of major overhauls, I sent a version to the good folks at 48Fourteen, and they gave it a home. Now, even if you’re unfamiliar with me and my writing, here are a few thoughts that will hopefully get you excited about this fantasy novel: 1. 48Fourteen edits . . . hard! Each time I thought the book was done, polished, ready-to-go-and-bring-joy-to-the-masses, 48Fourteen editors found more things to work on, fix, tweak, polish, or rethink. They’re never satisfied, and that’s such a good, and rare, thing to find in any publisher. They’ve made this book as good as it can be, and I’m a better writer as a result. 2. It’s a fun and wild ride –As we’re putting the final touches on the manuscript, I’ve just been really enjoying reading this story. Yes, yes. I know! I’m the author. Of course I’m going to say that. But one thing that we kept on coming back to is whether or not this would be a novel that both adolescents and adults will find engaging. Does it have the right mix of plot and character? Are the fantasy elements grounded in a believable reality? Is it an adventure? Yes, yes, and yes! 3. It’s a modern-day retelling of one of my favorite King Arthur stories –This story is loosely based on the Arthurian tale of Gareth and Lynette. Gareth was the younger brother of the knight Gawain, and he wanted to be just like his brother. So, be begged his mother for permission to go to Camelot where he would train to become one of the knights of the round table. His mother wasn’t too keen on the idea, but she eventually agrees (sorta) and allows him to work in Camelot’s kitchen (seriously!). Gareth is none to thrilled about being a bus boy of sorts, but he’ll take it. Lynette enters the fold seeking a knight to rescue her sister from the Red Lands. Arthur assigns Gareth to the job. Lynette essentially laughs this off as a joke (Really? An adolescent bus boy is going to rescue my sister from a foreboding realm?), but she has no choice. During their journey, Lynette is pretty critical of Gareth, but he proves himself to be quite capable, especially when he defeats the Red Knight of the Red Lands and rescues Lynette’s sister. In some versions of the poem he marries Lynette. In other versions, he marries her sister. THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS is very different from this plot, but it has its roots in the adventure and coming of age genres. The spirit of a young man not only trying to prove himself to those he cares for most, but to find his place in the world was the driving force behind this story, and I think that comes through. The cover art should be making its way to 48Fourteen’s Facebook page pretty soon along with an official synopsis. Keep an eye out for that those (#excited!). Also, I’ll be posting some giveaways and excerpts on my updated Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMattThomas). Thanks for support, and I hope you look forward to reading THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS!
Author Takeover Event
48FOURTEEN AUTHOR TAKEOVER EVENT For the first time EVER, 48fourteen authors are taking over 48fourteen’s Facebook page for one unbelievable week of book-loving fun, games, reveals, exclusives, everything books, a TON of prizes, and so much more! if you live and breathe books, this is one online event you’ll want to attend! Click HERE to attend. AUTHORS TAKING OVER Lyndsay Johnson – Fire of the Sea Holly M. Campbell – Foreshadowed C.K. Brooke – The Duchess Quest, The Red Pearl Angela Hartley – Copper Reign Nicole Aube – On the Other Side Christina Thompson – The Chemical Attraction Series Denise DeSio – Rose’s Will R.L. King – Dead Heart Roxanne Kade – Therian, The Bloody Crescent, Book I Catherine L. Hensley – New York Dolls Be sure to check out our calendar to find the date and time your favorite author is taking over! THE ULTIMATE PRIZE PACK At the end of the 48fourteen Author Takeover Event, one attendee will win all of this and more! Share with your book-loving friends! Sign up for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/518385418325562/
Copper Reign: Book Club
When I first started work on the Heartstone Collection, I wanted to create a story with layers of depth that any level of reader could walk away from wanting to discuss what they’d discovered about themselves. On the surface, the first book, Copper Reign is a love triangle, but if you delve deeper into the core this story is a battle of personal truth. Nina starts out as a weak teenage girl full of insecurity and doubt, and grows into a woman so strong and assured that even the devil himself can’t touch her. It is a right of passage that reflects pieces of many of our lives, and sparks the debate of create or fate. With all of this in mind, I hosted a dinner at my house with my first readers who just happened to be the neighborhood book club. I wanted to see what type of discussions sparked up from my manuscript, and see if I was on the right track. Unfortunately, little was said. They smiled sweetly, and said they loved my cute little story, and that was that. The real debate took place the next month when I wasn’t able to attend. I live in a very conservative community. Needless to say, there were strong feelings on both sides, but they were too polite to talk about their issues in front of me. I completely understood. I hadn’t explained that my father was Irish. There aren’t very many ways to offend me, but luckily rumors trickled back, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’d hit the sweet spot. Anything sparking that much emotion definitely had my readers thinking. That’s awesome! And what any writer, or book club hostess dares to hope for. I’ve put together a discussion guide and recipes to help your Copper Reign themed book club be a success, and although my appearance shut down the debate in my neighborhood, I’d still be happy to video chat into yours, or even stop by if you live with a reasonable distance! Find me on Facebook and we’ll talk. First, you’ll need to purchase your books: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. The Recipes: Drink: Ocean Blues Punch (Sprite mixed with Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid). Dinner: Shrimp Scampi (saute’ 40 medium-sized shrimp in 1/2 cup of butter and 2 tablespoons of garlic salt, serve with 1 lb of linguine, 2 medium sized zucchini saute’d 1/4 cup of butter, white chardonnay, and garlic bread) serves 6. Dessert: Angel, and Devil’s Food Cake topped with appealing Strawberries on Cream (mix and bake cakes to boxed specifications, top both with strawberries and whipped cream). Candy: Chocolate-Covered Cinnamon Bears The music: Nina Bleeding Out—Imagine Dragons Dark Paradise—Lana Delrey The Lonely—Christina Perry Down—Jason Walker Never Let Me Go—Florence + The Machine Nate Come Home—One Republic Car Crash–Matt Nathanson Draw Your Swords—Angus & Julia Stone Wrong Side of Heaven—Five Finger Death Punch Closer—Kings of Leon Sinclair I will Not Bow—Breaking Benjamin Love Me Again—John Newman Just One Yesterday—Fallout Boy Discussion Guide—Copper Reign In Copper Reign, Nina and her mother face issues beyond our reality, but the way they cope with one another reflects countless parent/child relationships. For better or worse, why do parents feel the need to mold their children into something they’ve pictured? At the beginning of chapter two, Nina confides in Nate, and instead of judging her for being different he asks her out. How hard was it to take that leap of trust, and why did she hesitate to accept his offer? The best moment of Nina’s life is quickly snatched away and replaced with tragedy. It’s a common theme throughout the novel. How does Nina cope with adversity in the beginning of the story compared to the end? After her parents’ death, Nina honors her mother’s last wish, and uses the amulet to lock away her gift. She is held in a holding pattern until the amulet fails, at which time all of her emotion comes flooding back. What do the walls of protection represent, and who is Nina truly facing when her safety crumbles? Sinauf has discovered her name, and he’s coming for Nina. He’s the embodiment of everything she fears and desires. She’s drawn to him, even after she watches her best friend, Jenny kill herself under his power. This trope goes back to the beginning of women’s lit. Good girls can’t seem to resist the allure of reforming a bad boy. Why is that? And how do these types of relationships differ in actual life? Nate is everything a girl could want, handsome, attentive, and fun, yet Nina continues to fight loving him. What do you think were the reasons she avoided her feelings, and what methods do you consider Nate’s most effective in overcoming this obstacle? Sinauf (aka Sinclair Devereux) burns through Nina’s world like a wildfire, consuming her every thought. She’s tricked into betraying Nate, and turns him away. Why did she think this was the right course of action? Here’s a fate, or create moment to question. Would anything have changed if she’d chosen to stay? Nina’s in hell, quite literally. It’s been revealed that Sinauf and Sinclair are only a couple of a thousand personas the Archangel Lucifer has used throughout his time on Earth. She’s discovered his plan to destroy the world, and her role. Instead of allowing him to use her, Nina decides jump, and her sacrifice opens the Copper Way. Going forward, what will this mean for their world? Discuss the choices that drive the ending, epilogue, and what these decisions will mean for the books to come.
Writing Beautiful Something Else
The writing of Beautiful Something Else began as a “writerly” challenge between my writer friend Sandra Hurtes and me. We went to graduate school together in New York City and received our MFAs in Creative Nonfiction. We don’t get to see each other too often anymore now that I live in Connecticut. Well, one summer day in 2011, Sandy came to visit me and we went to my favorite restaurant on the water, Marnick’s. While we were eating, we discussed what projects we wanted to work on next, both of us having written memoirs. We thought it would be fun to write something just for fun and I thought—romance! I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, but I decided to try. I didn’t know where to start, so I decided to start with where the idea was born. You’ll notice the opening scene of Beautiful Something Else takes place in a fictionalized version of the restaurant and the heroine’s friend was jumpstarted by my friend Sandy. I knew I wanted the story to be fun and quirky because that’s how I see myself, so I made Lizbeth a version of who I see myself as or a version of me who could have existed in another dimension. I also knew I wanted to include some of the subjects that are important to me when I write creative nonfiction, so I wove yoga, self-esteem and body image threads throughout the story. I have three young children, so finding the time to write a novel had to be made very important in my mind. I set a goal of 1,000 words a day and just focused on quantity instead of quality. That helped to free me from writer’s block because the goal was just to get the story down. I knew there would be time for revisions later. I feel proud of myself for accomplishing my goal. I hope that readers will enjoy following the many self-discoveries that Lizbeth and Chip make in finding their way to more beautiful versions of themselves in Beautiful Something Else.
On the Other Side: Cover Reveal!
The creation of a book cover is not something I’m new to. I make e-book covers myself, but I’ve never actually made my own book cover. Well, let me rephrase that. I made sample covers for On the Other Side long before it was ever picked up by 48fourteen (when I thought I was brave enough to self-publish it), and let’s just say… nothing I made compares to the beauty that is the finished product! I am guilty of buying books based on the cover alone, and I think the OTOS cover has the “Please, buy me now!” appeal readers love to see. It’s artsy as well grungy; it’s smooth yet just rough enough; it’s lovely to behold but thought-provoking, too. How the heck does a cover do all that in one shot? I’m not sure, and I’m being a little braggadocios when I say that this one does! Also, the mixing, swirling colors in the middle are such a visual metaphor for the novel’s conflict that I have trouble believing it’s spot on to what Hilaria, Anthony, and Job experience. Anyway, I made you wait long enough. Here is it, people–may I have a drum roll, please? *brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr* (<–That’s my lame attempt at snare drum onomatopoeia! lol) Thanks to Veronica Riga for the awesome design and Lyndsay Johnson for the text treatment! It’s breathtaking. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands. =D ~Nicole
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