Monday, June 30, 2014

The Grower's Gift Book Blast with $25 Prize Giveaway #GGBlast

Today I join the book blast for author Vanna Smythe who's promoting her new young adult dystopia "The Grower's Gift." Learn more about her exciting new release and enter the giveaway at the bottom. The winner can choose a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or a $25 Book Depository shopping spree.

The Spring of 2102 only brought false hope...

Series: Progeny of Time #1

Publication Date: May 15, 2014
Genre: YA Dystopian

The future is bleak in the year 2102. The planet is in chaos and the weather patterns have completely shifted, turning most of the world into an uninhabited wasteland.

The rich and powerful of North America have pulled back into the six remaining megacities, erasing all trace of a central government and leaving millions displaced by the environmental crisis to fend for themselves in the dying world. Sixteen-year-old Maya has a gift, a power she thinks can heal the earth and make it habitable again. A gift that she must learn to harness. The school for the gifted in Neo York is the only place where she can learn to control her power and reach her potential.

Yet the school is not what it seems. Ran by the ruthless head of the city of Neo York, the school’s only objective is to extract the powers of the gifted and then discard them. Only Ty, heir to the city, can keep Maya from being destroyed there.

But Ty has a secret and his loyalty to his family has never wavered. Will his growing love for Maya be strong enough to save them both?

Purchase today on Amazon!

Vanna Smythe is the author of the Anniversary of the Veil fantasy trilogy and The Grower's Gift, the first book in a new YA dystopian series. She has been writing creatively since her early teens, though one could say her creative writing efforts started long before that. While still in kindergarten, she once tore up a library book to make alphabet soup, and has been fascinated with what words can do, the pictures and worlds they can create, ever since.

The Progeny of Time YA Dystopian series was inspired by the bleak future presented in The Hunger Games, the fight between good and evil played out in Harry Potter, and the TV show Heroes, but with a totally unique story and twist. The story is equally fun for teens as well as adults. The second book in the series will be released in Summer 2014.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Amid Industry Layoffs Journalist Starts New Business That Helps Book Lovers Find Great Reads

Today I present an interview with the man behind The Fussy Librarian, Jeffrey Bruner. He's a veteran newspaper journalist in Des Moines, Iowa who has turned his ambitions toward running an ebook recommendation email service for readers.

The Fussy Librarian offers its subscribers daily book recommendations based on their interests and content preferences. I can say myself that I picked up a great read last year when I subscribed to the fledgling service.

Authors whose books qualify for advertising space at The Fussy Librarian enjoy transparency about the size of his audience. Bruner discloses precise subscriber numbers in total and by category.

I invited him to answer some questions at Her Ladyship's Quest because his service should be of interest to my audience of book lovers and authors.

What gave you the idea to start a book recommendation email newsletter?

A few other people had been doing them, but I realized none offered a matching service — they sent out lists of books. So I came up with the idea of letting readers set content preferences on profanity, violence and sexual content. That way, if your mom prefers books without swearing, she only gets those. And if you read everything, we can send you all of the books each day.

One of your newsletters talked about all the layoffs you've survived in your newspaper career. How much did this contribute to your decision to start your own business The Fussy Librarian?

It was a significant factor. The company I work for has been laying off journalists for nine years now, cutting payroll in order to maintain profit margins. In the end, it came down to either creating my own backup plan and become my own boss or I could continue to wake up each morning wondering if today was going to be the day I lost my job. It wasn’t a tough decision :)

The number of amazing and kind people I’ve met since launching the website last October has only reassured me that I made the right decision.

I've been reading your newsletter for a few months now and been impressed with your writing. Have you written any novels?

Thank you. Yes, I’ve written one novella (“Signs and Wonders”) and one novel (“Finding Grace”), both under the pen name Alex Adena. I’m going to reissue both under my own name one of these days. I’ve also had two plays produced (“Katrina: State of Emergency” and “Camp Angel”) and have a few unproduced screenplays gathering dust.

You've stated a commitment to keeping your advertising rates affordable for authors. Do you think some of your larger competitors charge too much? Especially considering we're selling items that are typically $5 or less, even free.

I won’t name names, but yes, I think some of my competitors are too expensive and others aren’t as transparent as they should be. If you subscribe to The Fussy Librarian’s author newsletter, I include the numbers for each genre every week so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

But yes, I try to keep the fees affordable because I know authors aren’t wealthy people. All of the revenue is going back into the site right now, most of it for marketing. We have about 14,000 subscribers now, but I want to grow — the bigger the site, the more it benefits authors.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I would just like to encourage ebook readers to check us out and give us a try. We have a great assortment of wonderful ebooks every day that you are going to love.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish The Fussy Librarian much success.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Climate Fiction - A New & Exciting Genre Emerges

Today at Publishing Perspectives I read about the new fiction genre labelled climate fiction or cli fi. 

In Why Climate Fiction Has Gone Viral Claude Nougat wrote:

"It’s climate fiction, a new genre that is quickly going viral, mainly because it is organically linked to climate change. It’s no coincidence that the term cli-fi was coined by a climate activist, Dan Bloom, back in 2008. Climate activists view climate fiction, or “cli-fi” for short, as a “hot” new genre designed to wake up the public to the dangers of global warming. Short of actually saving the planet, the hope is that emotional cli-fi narratives will move people to action far more effectively than a string of scientific data projections. And, as recently reported by the New York Times, climate fiction is already put to use in some American universities to sensitize college students about environmental issues and how to handle them."
The article went on to talk about how climate fiction titles aren't always about apocalypse. Sometimes they are just stories based on "what if" scenarios about the climate. Many years ago I read a book that fell into this category. Forgive me for not remembering the title, but the novel was about a new ice age. It was rather fascinating. As ice sheets drove Europeans into Africa, white people became the refugee minority. They were second class and the black Africans lorded over them.

As for the growing public appetite for climate fiction, I believe it's caused by the widespread need for people to process and imagine what it's going to be like living on our world in the coming years. Substantial changes are already happening. Oceans are rising and our food supply is threatened. Just because our governments and many people choose to ignore reality does not mean that millions of other people aren't trying to psychologically prepare themselves.

Stories are how our brains train for difficult events. Usually we hope they never happen to us, but climate change is something all of us will have to deal with. The emergence of it as a prevalent subject in fiction is a hopeful step for humanity to become accountable for its actions. Fiction has often played a role in making social progress. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe encouraged the abolitionist movement. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair ushered in badly needed reforms in labor and food safety. 

Climate fiction will help us understand that we are part of a global ecosystem. I hope we'll learn to start nurturing our world instead of damaging it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Excerpt - A Father-Son Scene from Love Lost for Father's Day

For Father's Day I present an excerpt from one of my fantasy books. It's a scene from Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV. Cruce and his father Zehn have an important relationship through the whole series. In this excerpt you get some insight into how they're coping with Cruce taking over more family responsibilities. Cruce accepts his grave responsibilities. And Zehn still tries to do what he can and protect his son.

Cruce wiped the sweat from his brow and started again. He swung his sword and lunged and squatted and spun and blocked imaginary blows and swung again. His bare feet moved lightly on the patchy lawn that he had worn down with his daily practicing. He ducked and jumped back and then rushed forward hacking and slashing high and low.

Since coming home that winter he had developed many practice routines. Tirelessly he worked to master complicated moves and then execute them faster. Some of his techniques came from his battle experience and others he created with the help of sparring partners.

He started another series of attacks and pushed himself to do it fast. His final moves were sloppy and he grunted unhappily. Frustrated, he stuck his sword in the turf and walked to a rack of spears.

Zehn sat in the shade with a drink on a little table by his wheelchair. “I can almost see your opponent when you do that,” he commented.

Cruce glanced at his father. “I can see who I’m fighting,” he said. He always pictured the same face when he trained without a partner. The dark man with the scar on his cheek. The killer of Bellastan Carver. The one who had taken the ruby armor. The beast who would have hurt Ajel.

Cruce grabbed a spear and turned toward the targets. Zehn admired his son as he gathered speed for his cast. He wore only shorts and his hard body rippled with muscles, and his sweaty skin was shiny in the sun. Everything that Zehn had once been bounded across the worn grass and threw the spear. It sank into the center of the target.

“You’ve improved,” Zehn praised.

Breathing hard, Cruce put his hands on his hips. The spear in the target satisfied him. “That’s why I practice,” he said with a grin and headed back to the rack.

Cruce had come home lean and hard from his battles, and months of training and good food had bulged his muscles further. Cruce’s relentless discipline impressed Zehn. Daily swims in the lake. Hours of sparring, sometimes into the night. Then Cruce attended to correspondence that came every week from Kahtep that concerned his new responsibilities as Militia Master. Cruce also advised the other Kwellstan estate families on how to outfit and train their recruits. He attended the Adarium. He toured their estates. He even studied inventory reports with Dayd. The scars that Zehn saw on his son’s solid and graceful body explained Cruce’s fervent pursuit of all duties. The long one on his right shoulder told of a sharp blade that had come too close to killing. The puncture mark on the lower left chest recalled the dirty arrow that had sickened him. And jagged white lines on the hands and arms informed Zehn of how many times his dear son had grappled with death.

Cruce threw another spear and it pierced the second target in the bull’s-eye. Zehn sighed. Great Divinity, may he never miss, he thought.

After throwing a third spear, Cruce grabbed his water jug, flopped to the ground at Zehn’s feet, and drank.
Zehn lifted his cup and curled his nose. Nothing managed to mask the bitterness of his newest pain remedy. He gagged down a big gulp and gladly set it aside.

“Uh, how can anything cost so much and taste so bad?” Zehn joked bravely.

“A trader told me once that if such things were priced low, then you wouldn’t value them,” Cruce said, trying to be conversational even if watching his father suffer troubled him.

Zehn chuckled but then coughed to clear his throat. He said, “You need to get cleaned up before our women get home. They’ll want you for the Quadreni festivities.”

Cruce stared across the lawn at the spears in the targets. “I suppose I can’t practice anymore by myself,” he grumbled. All his sparring partners were excused for the holiday, and Radello had gone with Dayd to the Plaza of the Waters for the ceremony.

“So it was just work that kept you here with me?” Zehn said. He was used to staying home alone on Quadreni.

Cruce stood up and stretched. “You know I have no business going to a Kwellstan Sect ceremony,” he said and tilted his head to both sides to loosen muscles.

Zehn scowled and picked up his medicine cup. He knew why his son skipped the ceremony, and it worried him. Zehn accepted Cruce’s military reasons for switching allegiance to Tempet and Alloi, but he feared reprisal from the Kwellstan Sect.

“Going to the ceremony would have been a conciliatory thing to do. The Grand Lumin is not going to let you disrespect him forever,” Zehn said.

“Alloi won’t let him retaliate against us,” Cruce said.

Zehn noted how his son went starry-eyed when he mentioned the tabre female. “Don’t trust those Drathatarlane so much,” Zehn scolded.

Although Cruce regretted inflicting such worries on his father, he was not going to crawl back into the Kwellstan Sect fold. He brushed dirt from his legs and then leaned over his father. “If the Adarium dares to open contracts for bidding because of our falling out with the Kwellstan Sect, I promise you I’ll convince anyone who even considers submitting a bid that it’s a very bad idea.”

Zehn turned away slightly, disturbed by the chilling resolve on his son’s face. Cruce retrieved his spears, and Zehn sipped his medicine. This new side to his son was a stranger to him. A hard and vicious man lurked in Cruce now. His soul had a shadow that could threaten and perhaps kill. Zehn hoped that Cruce would never kill one of their own. Perhaps Zehn could avoid such a tragedy with his politicking. Maybe when the inevitable Kwellstan Sect punishments came, he should just let the contracts go. The Chenomets still had their estates and Cruce had spoken of starting new ones on the frontier. Zehn had meant to do that before injuries burdened him with unwanted challenges.

“Cruce, come here,” he said.

Cruce put the spears on the rack and walked over. He had noticed the paternal tone and expected a scolding. He should not have spoken so bluntly. It only caused his father more worry. If threats to Chenomet power arose, Cruce intended to deal with them without involving his father.

“Yes, Father,” he said.

“It’s been nice having you home so much,” Zehn said. He finished his medicine and gestured to be taken into the house.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Finished Writing My 10th Novel Today

Just a quick note to the world. The manuscript for Journey of the Hunted: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale 2 is complete.

This baby weighs in at 130,000 words. I good length. After editing it will be a bit shorter.

Journey of the Hunted is the sequel to Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale.

Now would be a good time to join my Readers' List at Brave Luck Books. I'll be doing promotional sales for Werelord Thal in the near future and you'll want to know when Journey of the Hunted is published.

Judgement's Tale by William L. Hahn Audio Sample from Epic Fantasy & Giveaway

Audio Sample
Judgement's Tale Part One, Games of Chance
Written and Narrated by William L. Hahn

Right click to download if you want. 

I'm thrilled to host William Hahn's blog tour for his upcoming release. You just have to listen to the Chapter 1 audio sample. His voice is tremendous. And he speaks each word of his smooth poetic writing with love and inspiration.

Also be sure to enter the giveaway with the form at the bottom of this post. Learn more about Judgement's Tale Part One and listen to the sample

Message from the author of Judgement's Tale I Games of Chance

I am thrilled and honored to open this tour on the site of such an accomplished fantasy author as Tracy who I’ve known for years now. I write epic and heroic fantasy tales set in the Lands of Hope. My next tale is publishing July 4th, entitled Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance.
Today’s post is by far my loudest! Since I’ve put some tales of the Lands of Hope on audio, I wanted to give folks a chance to hear the first chapter of Games of Chance in the author’s voice. I hope you enjoy it.

The only thing that appears in the text, before the chapter you’re about to hear, is the following verse-

As Areghel’s line sits the Kingdom’s throne
Ways keep straight, Kog’s day is done.
But failing the seat, hell’s place repeat,
And no child of Hope alone
No branch of Conar’s bone
May demon cheat, his eye align,
Or Tridium seat, till the heir assign
The fivescore castles his own.
-Ancient Prophecy

Now, click on the link to hear the first chapter of Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance. Don’t forget to enter the give-away contest below.

Games of Chance
For twenty centuries the Lands of Hope prospered from their Heroes’ peace, but suffer now from their absence as a curse thickens over the central kingdom known as the Percentalion. An immortal omniscient conspirator schemes to escape the extra-worldly prison restraining his tide of undeath, using a demonic ally in a plot to bring back hell on earth. Solemn Judgement steps onto these Lands both a stranger and an orphan, driven to complete the lore his father died to give him.
In a world beset with increasing chaos, the bravest Children of Hope must take mortal risks. A young woodsman’s spear-cast, a desperate bid to save his comrades; the Healers Guildmistress’ cheery smile, hiding a grim secret and a heavy burden of guilt; the prince of Shilar’s speech in a foreign tongue, a gambit to avoid bloodshed or even war. As a new generation of heroes, scattered across the kingdoms, bets their lives and more, Solemn Judgement- soon to be known as The Man in Grey- must learn to play… Games of Chance: Part One of Judgement’s Tale

Wm. L. Hahn Bio

Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.

Will didn't always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.

Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). With the publication of Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance, he begins at last to tell the tale of the Land’s most unique hero, The Man in Grey.

Will Hahn is the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales.
The Plane of Dreams- See the trailer!
The Ring and the FlagTry the Audio Book at Scribl!
Fencing Reputation-

Will's Blog Thoughts- Including tales of a happy childhood (which continues), hopes for a writer's journey, and analysis of Classics You've Never Read

Rafflecopter of the Lands Contest
Enter to win free Tales of Hope here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Indie Authors Create Treasure Trove of Bargain Kids' Books

As a parent I know that buying children’s books adds up quickly. Even buying them ebooks costs a lot.

Indie publishing to the rescue.

Children’s fiction is written in quantity by self publishers too. And if you’re in the market for children’s ebooks, you can find plenty of bargains here. (Self publishers tend to price below the price points of corporate publishers)

You can even find lots of free children's ebooks.

At Smashwords, one of the e-publishing companies I use, you can browse hundred of free titles. These come in many formats. You can even read them online. How easy is that to put some fun kid's books on your tablet?

But wait, isn’t self publishing bad?

Um, no more often than non-self publishing. Children’s fiction isn’t exactly high art. Sure there’s some beloved classics, and there will be more, but have you read your typical middle grade chapter book? They’re mostly chatty drivel pounded out in a formulaic frenzy. So I’m sure I can do as well as that, and hopefully better.

To be on the safe side, you can always sample an ebook before you buy it, especially at Smashwords.

If it’s appalling, don’t buy it. If it’s cute and cuddly, pop it on your tablet and give your kid something to read. It’s better than fruit-slicing apps and them taking butt-selfies. 

You guessed it. This is leading up to me mentioning my children's title. 

Bear Dog Dog Bear is a kid's ebook for only $2.99

Daniel Wood and his family are getting a puppy. A black German Shepherd puppy to be precise. His dad already picked her out on the internet, and they are on the road to the breeder’s house at the end of a long creepy country road into the woods. It looks like a woods where bears might live, but no one is thinking about that when disaster strikes the puppy barn.

This cheerful chapter book brings the wild into suburban Cherry Park and sets a puppy loose in the countryside. Daniel has no idea what is happening until the truth is broadcast on the evening news and a video of his dad wrestling a bear cub hits YouTube.