Cut to the Heart Dive in Review.

A few weeks ago I helped do a cover reveal for Cut to the Heart by Janeen Ippolito. Now it’s release day and I back to tell you exactly why I liked it and why you should buy it. But first a refresher about the book:

All Josie Framer wants is a man with fire magic—and to find the truth-knife that’s rightfully hers.

However, neither of these quests is going well.

After her latest date-turned-disaster, she’s almost ready to give up—when she happens along the blade on the way home. Unfortunately, reclaiming her property makes her target of the Arcane Market, a nefarious underground trafficking ring for magical artifacts and magical beings.

To make things worse, she keeps running into Oliver Salamandras, a dangerously attractive fire elemental who’s on the run from his own hunters. Getting involved with him means more trouble. Plus he has enough baggage for an aircraft carrier.

If only he wasn’t just what she’s looking for–right at the worst possible moment.

Faced with deadly foes and an irresistible stranger, a woman might just do something crazy.
Drastic.
Life-changing.

Buy now and enjoy a humorous paranormal romance with a side of twisty plot. Features a sensible firebird shifter with a feisty side, a rascally fire elemental with a tragic side, and a completely adorable wolf pup. Clean PG-13 – there’s heat, danger, and fighting, but nothing graphic.

The Arcane Market Adventures is a two-book companion duology to The Steel City Genie urban fantasy series. Best read alongside that series and great as a springboard.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TX8D7X7/

Goodreads – Add to want-to-read list
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56851000-cut-to-the-heart

My Dive in Review:

Cut to the Heart is the first book in the newest addition to Janeen Ippolito’s Multi series interconnected universe, The Arcane Market Adventures

The Arcane Market Adventures joins, the Steel City Genie series along with the My Alien Romance books, and features characters from all of these. I love these kind of interconnected, well thought out story universes.

This book centers on Josie Framer, Allis’s mild mannered secretary from the Steel City Genie books. Josie is much more than she appeared in those books. She is not only a very powerful shifter, she is also being hunted by some black market traffickers. She is also dealing with a rouge fire elemental who just showed up in her life, and he is very hot. Literally, he’s a fire elemental. But he also makes her feel things.

Being around Oliver brings out feelings she never expected to have for anyone. More passionate feeling than she ever had for her ex fiancée. Who is not hot by the way. He’s an ice dragon.

I was expecting this story to be a back and forth between the two romantic options. But Ippolito is really good at subverting expectations. Turns out Josie settles on one guy pretty easily. (I won’t tell you who.)

I loved watching as Josie’s relationship grows deeper over the course of the book, that even though the decision wasn’t a hard one to make it also wasn’t a hurried one.

If I have one complaint it’s that this book messes with the timeline I’ve already set in my head. Cut to the Heart takes place in between Steel City Genie books one and two and in between My Alien Romance book one and two. So instead of reading one series and then hopping to the next you need to read the first books of two different series and then this book and then go read the next book in each of the other series.

Did you follow that? I’m not sure I did either. Let’s just accept that you are probably not going to read these in chronological order. It’s probably better that way, because most of the fun of this book was catching all the references to the other two series.

Littered with Ippolito’s unique humor, her impeccable world building and her deep characters, Cut to the heart is a worthy addition to the ever expanding Ippolito verse.

*I was given an early review copy of this book for review. The above opinions are my own and are provided willingly and honestly.* 

About the Author:

Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words—and make them awesome! She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced book editor, marketing strategist, and businesswoman, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press. When not writing, she can be found exploring random hobbies or posting cute animal memes. Join her on social media or at janeenippolito.com

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/  
Email Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/getmyfictionchapters
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168444147251310/
Instagram: @janeen_ippolito

Secrets in the Mist: Cover Reveal

I’m excited to join in the Cover Reveal of Secrets in the Mist by Morgan L Busse releasing from Enclave publishing in August 2021! This is the first book in the YA steampunk Skyworld duology and is available to preorder in Limited-Edition Hardcover.

I absolutely loved The Soul Chronicles, Busse’s previous foray into the Steampunk genre. While it looks like Secrets in the Mist is going to take place in a new story world it looks like it will have a similar dark tone. And I’m sure it will have more of Busse’s deep character development and attention to world building.

The cover was designed by Emilie Hendryx, who you can find on instagram as @createexploreread, and it is spectacularly steampunk.

Secrets in the Mist by Morgan L. Busse. Sky world: book one.

What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…

In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the deadly Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.

The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what’s left of humanity into the undead.

Preorder, in limited edition hardcover, now at: http://bit.ly/SecretsintheMist

A Refined Cover Reveal

Remember that author I really like? The one who writes about the superheroes. Yes you got it, that author. Well she is releasing the final book and I got the cover for it right here. If you have already read the first three books in the SVR series then I know you just the shiny cover. So I won’t tease you with it any longer. Here it is:

Isn’t this the cutest family you’ve every seen on the cover of a superhero novel? It is probably the only family I’ve seen on the cover of a superhero novel outside of an Incredibles novelization. That is one of the things I love most about this series, it’s sense of family. Though the author’s sense of humor isn’t bad either.

Refined: Supervillain Rehabilitation Project Book 4, the final book in the SVR series by H. L. Burke releases March 5th 2021!

BLURB

It’s hard to be a hero when crime is in your DNA.

Now a full time hero with a beloved wife and treasured daughter, former supervillain Fade is certain nothing could take him down a dark path again. However, a mystery from his past lies in wait, a mystery tied to a part of his life he’d rather forget.

When DNA evidence reveals that Fade’s biological father is the elusive and enigmatic assassin known only as Syphon, Fade wants nothing to do with that mess.

Unfortunately, Fade can’t shake the target this newly discovered connection puts on him—and the backs of his friends and family.

Fade’s only chance to fix things is taking down Syphon himself.

But Fade’s long absent father has his own plans for their reunion.

Plans that could cost Fade everything he’s fought and bled to create.

The book is on a special pre-order sale from February 4th through 14th, available for only 99 cents. This book is the endgame of the Marvelous superhero series, featuring adventure, humor, and a whole lot of heart.

Are you ready to save the day?

Book four on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56903374-refined

Book 4 Pre-Order Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VHPP9XP/

Book 1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085X8N8FL/

Book 2 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BCFQ12F

Book 3 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KP28CND

About H. L. Burke

H. L. Burke has written more books than she can count—because she’s written a lot of books, not just because she can’t count very high.

Easily distracted by shinies, she has published in many sub-genres including fantasy romance, Steampunk, and superhero, and always creates story worlds with snark, feels, and wonder.

Married to her high school crush, she spends her time writing, spoiling her cat, and supervising her two supervillains in training (aka her precocious daughters).

An Oregon native, she wilts without trees and doesn’t mind the rain. She is a fan of delicious flavor, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after.

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com

Ways to Connect with H. L. Burke

twitter.com/hlburkewriter (for random snarkiness and occasional book snippets)
facebook.com/hlburkewriter (for longer form random snarkiness, occasional book snippets, and #dailydragon posts where I share my favorite dragon related finds)
my website (and mailing list) for news and deals www.hlburkeauthor.com
my instagram for #TheodoretheDragon awesomeness instagram.com/burkesdragons
and my reader group if you want to be the first to hear about beta and ARC reading opportunities as well as my day to day struggles and weekly live videos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/

Sign up for the Fantasy and Fairy Tales challenge.

You may be aware of the seasonal challenge anthologies I’ve been participating in.

The challenges are created and run by author Michelle Francik, and she is getting ready to host another one this month. This is a great opportunity to be published for the first time, or the twentieth time. So I hope you’ll consider signing up.

The theme is one that I’m very excited for.

Myths and legends, fairtytales and fantasy. Elves and ogres and dragons. What comes to mind when you think of these things? Have you always wanted to write a story about pixies? Or revamp a favorite fairytale? Well, here’s your chance!

Our next Short Story Writing Challenge has arrived and the theme is Fantasy and Fairytales!

The Challenge begins Saturday, February 6th and ends Saturday, February 20th. This is a writing Challenge and you are tasked with writing a short story, poem, essay, letter or something else uniquely you! If it fits the theme and follows the rules, it will be published in an anthology in March!

To participate, you need to sign up at the link below. Once the Challenge starts you’ll get a writing prompt every other day. The prompts are to jump start your creativity, but you don’t have to use them if you already have a story in mind!

Once you sign up you’ll have until February 20th to submit your entries. You can win Amazon gift cards, bragging rights and even become a published author!

Click the link below to find all the information, rules, contact info and to SIGN UP!

https://2021-fantasyfairytales-challenge-signup.mfranciktheauthor.com/

What I’m working on:

I write fantast so I already have a ton of ideas for this challenge. I am hoping to submit three short stories this time around but we’ll see how quickly I can work on them.

Entry one: Working title ASL fairytale

A Deaf princess must choose a husband out of a pool of unworthy candidates. Is anyone willing to try communicating with her? (there is a fairy and a dragon. I never write straight romance.)

I wrote this story when I was taking sign language classes in college. My skill is a lot better now, so since it’s basically just revising I should be able to finish it pretty quickly.

Entry two: Dragon cuddles

A cute story about a shapeshifting dragon that was part of a novel that never went anywhere. Now that I’m working it as a stand alone I should be able to write it out quickly.

Entry three: Trading Pages

Snow White and a girl from our world trade places.

I am not sure I will follow through with this one because I’ve tried to write it multiple times. Either it’s too similar to other stories out there or it’s too boring. I will give it one more shot before I give up on it though.

I have so much fun writing for these challenges. It always surprises me what my brain comes up with on the tight deadline. I think if you give it a try it will surprise you too.

I can’t emphasize this enough: If you want to participate, click the link, read the rules, and SIGN UP!

So are you signing up?

Which of my entries are you most excited for me to finish?

Cut to the Heart: Cover Reveal

Since I know that the Facebook preview image (If you came here by way of there) already spoiled the cover reveal for you I’m just going to lead with the lovely cover image for this exciting new book, that you can preorder now.

All Josie Framer wants is a man with fire magic—and to find the truth-knife that’s rightfully hers.

However, neither of these quests are going well.

After her latest date-turned-disaster, she’s almost ready to give up—when she happens along the blade on the way home. Unfortunately, reclaiming her property makes her target of the Arcane Market, a nefarious underground trafficking ring for magical artifacts and magical beings.

To make things worse, she keeps running into Oliver Salamandras, a dangerously attractive fire elemental who’s on the run from his own hunters. Getting involved with him means more trouble. Plus he has enough baggage for an aircraft carrier.

If only he wasn’t just what she’s looking for–right at the worst possible moment.

Faced with deadly foes and an irresistible stranger, a woman might just do something crazy.
Drastic.
Life-changing.

Available for preorder now

Amazon Preorder – 99 cents for a limited time!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08TX8D7X7/

Goodreads – Add to want-to-read list
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56851000-cut-to-the-heart


Buy now and enjoy a humorous paranormal romance with a side of twisty plot. Features a sensible firebird shifter with a feisty side, a rascally fire elemental with a tragic side, and a completely adorable wolf pup. Clean PG-13 – there’s heat, danger, and fighting, but nothing graphic.

The Arcane Market Adventures is a two-book companion duology to The Steel City Genie urban fantasy series. Best read alongside that series and great as a springboard.

If want to know more about The Steel City Genie series, check out these related blog posts:

Janeen Ippolito’s guest post for If wishes were Curses: https://cobonham.com/2019/02/09/if-wishes-were-curses-blog-tour/

My Review of Wish you weren’t here: https://cobonham.com/2019/06/17/wish-you-werent-here-dive-in-review/

Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words—and make them awesome! She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced book editor, marketing strategist, and businesswoman, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press. When not writing, she can be found exploring random hobbies or posting cute animal memes. Join her on social media or at janeenippolito.com

Website: https://janeenippolito.com/  
Email Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/getmyfictionchapters
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitounique/

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168444147251310/
Instagram: @janeen_ippolito

A shadow sealed: cover reveal and new release double post.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet since the start of this year. I’ve been taking it easy and getting ready for some more great reads for this year. So in preparation of a year of great books I’ve doubled up the posting today. One is a book you can read right now and the other is a cover reveal for one that I am looking forward to reading later this year.

The first book I’m going to mention is A Castle sealed by Sharon Rose.

A Castle Sealed by Sharon Rose
Prequel Novella in the Castle in the Wilde series

Mysterious tales surround an abandoned castle. Are they summoning Tristan to adventure, or warning him of death? 

Lord Tristan is a hero. Driving invaders from his kingdom has earned him undying gratitude—but no estate in his own homeland. Nor has his boundless energy found purpose through his travels abroad…until he hears of a hidden castle, abandoned and filled with untold treasure. Why has no one claimed this prize? The townsfolk warn of ferocious beasts. Especially the night-prowling vixicats, so vicious that no one lives to tell what they really are. Who started these absurd tales? What are they trying to hide? And what of that isolationist kingdom beyond the castle?

Beth knows her duty…knows all the constraints imposed on a proper lady. They have trammeled her childhood and will now stifle the rest of her life. Granted, her marriage must maintain the strength and purity of the noble families. Yet she loathes the man she is destined to wed, and wonders at the dirty secrets that haunt his clan. At least her own family’s honor is intact. Or is it? Why are the northern lands of the kingdom forbidden?

A Castle Sealed is the prequel novella to the Castle in the Wilde series. If you like fantasy with mystery, intrigue, and romance, come and explore this secondary world with medieval undertones and the turmoil of changing cultures.

What I thought of it:

This prequal novella is very interesting. It’s also short. Basically it’s the story of how Tristian discovered the castle that he is occupying in A Castle Awakened. It’s a fun adventure with a group of adventurous men exploring an abandoned castle. It has very little meat to it (which is honestly odd for a Sharon Rose book).

But the fact that it’s a prequel and not book one already implies that it’s more for fun than for thought. I feel this novella would be great as a jumping on point to the series. But if you already devoured book one then this will expand on the world building and give you more time with characters you’ve already come to enjoy.

The Castle in the Wilde books are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. The print versions can also be ordered from local bookstores and libraries.

A Castle Awakened, book one, is now available. Get it today at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GL7QXB2
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/3LY9qJ
For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-21-6.

To read my review of a Castle Awakened check out this blog post: https://cobonham.com/2020/12/26/dive-in-review-a-castle-awakened/

A Castle Sealed – a prequel novella – will release Jan 19, 2021. Today!
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GKZMCFZ
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/bPXJdl
For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-19-3.

A Castle Contended – look for novel 2 in June, 2021.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R11LYLG
Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/3LY5v0

Sharon Rose writes fantasy and science fiction because they allow the imaginative space to explore reality. Her stories weave cultures and characters, who are more than they seem to be, into adventures with mystery, romance, and hope.

Shadow Cover reveal

For my second post I’m excited to join in the cover reveal for Shadow by Kara Swanson releasing July 2021 from @enclavepublishing in limited-edition hardcover! Shadow is the second book in the Heirs of Neverland duology which is a Peter Pan retelling/sequel. 

Check out my blog post wear I interview author Kara Swanson to get caught up on book one. https://cobonham.com/2020/06/23/dust-tour-stop-29-fantastic-interview-with-kara-swanson/

Isn’t the cover perfect? Look at how it complements the cover for Dust. How the pirate ship and Skull Island paint a different picture from the London cityscape.

Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.
Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.
Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.
To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

#peterpanretelling #heirsofneverland #shadow #karaswanson #preorder #coverlove #coverreveal #enclavepublishing #july2021 #EnclaveEscape #yafantasy #shadowheirsofneverland #yaretelling

I am so excited for this book. Dust really strung me along and now I want answers. This is my number one most anticipated book of 2021. I will drop whatever I am reading to devour this book as soon as I can.

If you feel the same way you can preorder your copy now. Current release date is July 13th 2021. http://bit.ly/ShadowHeirsofNeverland

I’m going to start posting more regularly again including even more audiobook recommendations.

Which of the two books I shared about are you most excited to read?

Dive in Review: A Castle Awakened

Welcome back I hope every one enjoyed their holiday yesterday. Today I’m dropping in with a new release that you can spend your new amazon gift cards on. It’s a thought provoking read and a slow building romance, which is the healthiest kind of romance.

A Castle Awakened by Sharon Rose

Novel 1 in the Castle in the Wilde series

A foreign usurper. A lady who longs for freedom. Vicious beasts who want to rip them all to shreds. Who wins?

Never one to shy from a challenge, Lord Tristan Petram took possession of a forsaken castle. His search uncovered no hint of who built it or why they abandoned such a gem. What treachery would strike the founding family from history? Still, it seems a small matter, since the generations have passed. If he and his followers can forge a life here—and hold out against ravenous vixicats—the castle and this land will be theirs. As for the nearest kingdom, they never venture beyond their border or the mysterious forest of tower trees. Except…

Beth dons a disguise and takes a forbidden ride in Tower Woods—a last fling before she bows to the dictates of her noble birth. Her fun adventure turns into a nightmare of kidnap and rescue—of sorts. Now she’s trapped in a nameless castle held by a foreign usurper who calls himself Lord Petram. Who could he be, and what will he do with her if he finds out who she really is?

Thus, Lord Petram finds himself the unwilling guardian of an injured lady who won’t give her full name. A crime he didn’t commit may bring retribution from an unknown kingdom. Do they have a claim to this castle that he now calls home? If he survives the vixicats, will an army slaughter him and his followers?

A Castle Awakened is the first novel in the Castle in the Wilde trilogy. If you like fantasy with mystery, intrigue, and romance, come and explore this secondary world with medieval undertones and the turmoil of clashing cultures.

Author bio:

I started writing when I was seven years old. Okay, My Life as a Flying Squirrel may have had a couple spelling errors, but my classmates loved it.

Plenty of life has happened since that first story, and I’ve come to realize the things that fascinate me. People. Communication. Culture. Personality. Viewpoints. Beliefs. Anything that makes each of us beautifully unique. Small wonder that my art spills out in story form.

It was only a matter of time before I just had to share my stories. I publish fantasy and science fiction because they allow vast spaces to explore. My stories weave cultures and characters, who are more than they seem to be, into adventures with mystery, romance, and hope.

When I’m not writing or reading, I may be traveling, enjoying gardens, or searching for unique coffee shops with my husband. We live in Minnesota, USA, famed for its mosquitoes—uh, I mean 10,000 lakes and vibrant seasons.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Review:

A Castle Awakened is the first Fantasy novel from Sharon Rose. Up to now she has been known for her thought provoking science fiction. This book shows that she can also write thought provoking fantasy.

Much like her sci-fi offerings, A Castle Awakened deals with humans and their inability to communicate with each other.

When Lord Tristian’s men rescue an unknown girl from bandits he is at a loss for what to do with her. Because no matter how nicely he asks, she refuses to tell him anything about herself. Is it just stubbornness born of fear, memory loss, or possible a subterfuge? He is occupying an abandon castle, in a land that is not his own.

This story has so much going for it, mysterious girl, mysterious monsters in the woods mysterious abandoned castle that no one knows where the last residents went. It’s all so mysterious.

If there was one thing I didn’t like in this story it was Beth. She spends so much of this novel being distrusting and, while not confrontational, frustrated. The worst part is that most of her frustration is her own fault. She refuses to give any information at all to Lord Tristian and expects him to just treat her like an equal. In this age of the strong independent heroine, I am pleased to see someone finally learn that equality is just as much what you give as what you get.

This story is very much a romance. Far more romance than any of Rose’s space operas were. But it’s a well written slow building romance where two people learn mutual respect and how to communicate. Not the romance most people want, but the one they need if society expects couples to actually build healthy relationships.

The fantastical elements were nicely done. There are no wizards or magic use in this world, at least none that’s appeared yet, but there are healing waters, an ageless healer and mysterious beasts known as Vixicats. They sound kind of like foxes but they are much larger and more fearsome.

The novel ends on a good note. Not a cliff hanger but certainly with plenty more story needing to be told.

*I was given a free copy of the book by the author for the purpose of advance review. The opinions included herein, are my own and are willingly and honestly given.* 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

The Castle in the Wilde books are available from Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. The print versions can also be ordered from local bookstores and libraries.

A Castle Awakened Available now.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GL7QXB2

Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/3LY9qJ

For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-21-6.

A Castle Sealed – a prequel novella – will release Jan 19, 2021.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GKZMCFZ

Other Amazon markets: https://books2read.com/u/bPXJdl

For a printed book from your local bookstore or library, request ISBN 978-1-948160-19-3.

A Castle Contended – look for novel 2 in June, 2021.

Gift for Christmas!

Hello everyone, I know it’s been a light month for blog posts but that’s because I’ve been busy. I’m editing a novel. Hoping to have it ready for beta readers soon. I will tell you all more about it after the new year.

Right now I have a different book to tell you about. A new book. A free book. But still, my book.

I’ve written a Christmas story and I decided to throw it up on Amazon.

Free Book: Dec 21st-25th.
Join Annalee as she searches for the perfect way to light the orphanage’s tree. A sci-fi/steampunk/dystopian adventure for the whole family.

It was mostly an experiment because I know I want to self publish so I decided to play with the Kindle Direct Publishing platform and it all looked so easy that I was like, “I should try this.” The question was what to publish? So I looked at my November project and pulled out a Christmas subplot that I added for word count reasons, (NaNo, am I right?) and just formatted it as an ebook.

Here’s the cover, I designed it myself. I can’t take credit for the art though. I Frankensteined this cover in Cavna using elements I found on Pixabay.com. Credit for each element used is on the copyright page of the book.

Lights for Christmas

A Steampunk Conspiracy Christmas Story

By: C.O. Bonham

It’s Annalee’s last Christmas at Miss Audrey’s home for children, and she wants to make it extra special for her family. She also needs to find a purpose for her life before the government assigns her to a boring factory job. A chance encounter on the street and an adventurous detective may provide both.

The price will normally be 99 cents, but because it’s Christmas I decided to make it free. Starting today and going through Christmas you can download my first solo published work for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.

It’s also in the Kindle Unlimited program so if you you are a subscriber and you want a little holiday cheer after the free period ends, you’re in luck.

Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R2GVGZ5/

Add it to your Goodreads shelf here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56354102

If you do decide to read it, would you consider leaving an honest review. I would love to know what you thought.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Wait,” I here you saying, “what is the Steampunk Conspiracy?”

It’s the title of the series I’m going to focus on publishing in 2021. The books are in progress and I’ll update you as I get them written. I won’t talk about them too much until I get them mostly finalized because I don’t want to get locked into keeping something that needs cut, character, subplot, world building element etc., just because I mentioned it here.

So in the coming year be prepared to hear more about my own writing along with all the other great books I plan on featuring.

Go Write Your Novel!

Well this has been a crazy transition into December. I won NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. During a power outage. (Thank God for laptops with long battery life.) Is it a novel? Well, it’s 50,000 words of something. It might be more like three novellas than one novel. I need to edit it to see what I got.

Maybe today’s featured book will be able to help me do that?

Today is the release day for Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore’s book Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel. This is a writing book for the beginner writer. It’s filled with advice and encouragement for new writers. Learn more at https://goteenwriters.com/writeyournovel

Keep reading for an interview with the authors.

This book cover is so neat. It brings me so much joy seeing this stack of notebooks on the cover of a book about writing.
It’s so meta.

You have a story to tell, don’t you? Or maybe you simply want to try your hand at fiction writing. Perhaps you’ve given it your best effort, but simply didn’t have enough tools in your tool box to finish that first draft. Wherever you’re at with this novel-writing thing, popular bloggers Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore totally understand.

They know it’s hard to finish a first draft. To stay motivated until the end. To feel like a “real” writer. They know because they’ve been there too.

In Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel, you’ll learn: 

  • There is no such thing as one right way to write a novel.
  • How to take an idea and give it a beginning, middle, and end.
  • What story structure means and how it strengthens a book.
  • Different approaches to plotting a novel.
  • How to develop characters worth reading about.
  • Strategies for creating memorable storyworlds and settings.
  • What theme is and how to use it to enrich your story.
  • What to do when your first draft is finished.                                                                                   

There’s no doubt about it. Learning to write a novel from beginning to end is a challenge. But with this book as your guide, you’ll see that when you’re in possession of the right tools, you’re capable of finishing what you start. You’ll be empowered and encouraged—as if you had a writing coach (or three!) sitting alongside you.

A glamor shot of Go Teen Writers: Write your novel, sitting on a spread of opened books.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS OF
GO TEEN WRITERS: WRITE YOUR NOVEL


When you were a teenager, did you consider yourself a storyteller?

Stephanie: I considered myself to be a writer from first grade on and always thought I would
write novels.

Shan: I think I did, yes. I don’t know that I would have pulled that word out of the air, but I was
part of a performing arts group (drama, puppetry, and dance), and I dabbled in poetry and the
like. To me, everything revolved around story, and I knew I had a knack for telling them. A few
teachers had encouraged me in that, and I embraced the idea. I didn’t really know what to do
with it, and I don’t know that I envisioned it as a full time career, but I liked the idea that I
excelled at something cerebral.

Jill: Not really. I was a daydreamer. And I wanted to be famous. So, there were days when I
daydreamed about being a screenwriter or a novelists. Most days, however, I dreamed about
being a fashion designer. That was what I went to college to study.

You’re each respected novelists. Why do you invest time and energy blogging for and encouraging young writers?


Stephanie: I was a teen writer, and I longed to be connected to other writers. I wanted to learn,
to talk about writing, and to figure out how to get published. Because the internet wasn’t a very
social place yet (I graduated high school in 2001) I didn’t know how to connect. So years later
when my first series was published and I began receiving emails from teen writers, I decided it
would be fun to create a place where I could pass on what I know as well as connect them to
each other. Basically, I wanted to create what I wish I’d had as a teen writer!

Jill: I love teaching and helping others. Since I was writing for teens, it made sense for me to
teach teen writers and encourage them any way that I could. Also, back when I started writing,
my husband and I worked as youth pastors at our church, so we spent almost all our free time
with teens. Our life just kind of revolved around teenagers and stories, so it felt natural for me to
blog for teen writers too.

Shan: I love young people! I remember, vividly, how hard and wonderful those years were. So
many things change between the ages of 12 and 18, both internally and externally. For me, that
was when writing shifted from school assignment to hobby for me. I began to process the world
through the words I put down on the page, and I would have given anything at all for someone
to help me along there. It’s both exciting and fulfilling to contribute to a young writers toolbox.

What is the most challenging part of the writing craft for you?

Jill: Getting the first draft complete. I like writing first drafts for about two days, then I’m dying to
be done. It sometimes just feels like I’ll never finish. And sometimes it’s just really hard work
because I’m still trying to discover my characters and my story. It’s so much more fun for me
when I’m done with all that and I can focus on making the story the very best it can be. Once I
know all my characters deeply and understand their motivation, that’s the fun part for me.

Shan: Moving in and out of my story. Like you, I have many roles to play: Mom. Wife. Daughter.
Sister. Friend. Every day requires something different from me. If I had my preference, I’d focus
on one thing at a time–a storyteller until the book is done, and then a mom–but life isn’t like
that. I have to be a storyteller alongside all these other roles, and that takes its toll on me. It can
make staying in my story difficult, and it can make being present with my friends and family a
challenge. I work on it constantly.

Stephanie: I always run into trouble after the 50% mark in my first draft. Endings are tough for
me, so I often get a bit panicky after the midpoint.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Stephanie: Talking about my books has often been a struggle for me. I would much rather be
writing or editing books than marketing them! For my strength, I’m pretty disciplined with my
writing time. If it’s time to write, that’s what I’m doing. (Mostly.)

Jill: I struggle with literary prose. With making things sound beautiful and profound. I’m just not
that kind of writer, and some days it bothers me. I’ll spend an hour trying to rewrite one section
that is bothering me. I think one of my strengths is dialogue. Natural dialogue has always come
easily to me, but once I know my characters, I really know what they’d say and what they
wouldn’t’ say. This is another reason why I enjoy the editing stage so much. I really enjoy
tweaking dialogue to make it just right.

Shan: This question is always tricky. We don’t always see ourselves objectively, but the things
that come most naturally to me are voice, worldbuilding, and character development. I have to
work harder at things like plot and structure. Part of this is because I discovery write so much,
but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

What craft issue was your greatest roadblock early on, and how did you overcome it?

Shan: My process is always evolving. As a discovery writer, plot is something that develops
organically for me, but it was a very messy part of my writing early on. It’s still messy, to be
honest, but I’m better at controlling the chaos these days. I’ve tried my hand at various tools and
I know what works for me and what doesn’t. While I’m loathe to fully plot out a story, I’ve learned
to give myself landmarks to shoot for, and that helps me move through a manuscript much more
directly.

Stephanie: Figuring out what ideas could sustain an entire novel and what couldn’t. The best
thing I did to overcome that was FINISH BOOKS. Once I pushed myself to write beyond the first
few chapters and make it through to the end, I began to understand what kind of ideas were big
enough for a novel.

Jill: Showing vs. Telling. I just did not know what people meant by that! It took me a very long
time to understand the difference. And even once I could understand it finally, learning not to
write that way was another hurdle. I just needed hours and hours of practice, but I wanted it to
happen much faster than the time I was putting in working on my craft. Overcoming it, however,
simply took time. I had to write and write and rewrite and rewrite until I started to figure it out.
Until it started to become natural.

Image text is an endorsement from author Nadine Brandes, The text of which is typed out at the end of the blog post.

If you could go back to the beginning of your writing journey and give yourself advice, what would say?

Stephanie: Write what you want to write. When I first started pursuing publication, I wanted to
write impressive novels that you would study in English class. Literary fiction. But I had zero
ideas for literary fiction, and I don’t really enjoy reading it that much either! I wanted to write that
because it seemed impressive, which isn’t a great reason. I wanted to write young adult fiction
just out of love for the stories themselves.

Jill: Trust your gut. There were several times when I didn’t think something was a good idea for
my career, but I trusted other people instead. Turned out that I was right. I knew my market. I
knew my audience. And I knew how my stories would be received. I wish I would have trusted
my instincts and not given in to pressure from others. Once you’ve been in publishing a while,
you need to trust your gut. Not every opportunity needs to be pursued. Think carefully about
your own goals and make careful choices.

Shan: My answer to this question changes frequently, but one thing I’d want rookie writer
Shannon to know is that writing stories is, in itself, a reward. Writers do this job for all sorts of
reasons. I began to pursue writing as a career because I wanted a work-from-home job that
satisfied my creative itch. And while it hasn’t made me rich financially just yet, storytelling has
met some financial needs, but more than that, it has been the catalyst for growth in my own life.
As I try and fail alongside my characters, I learn and I change and I am so grateful for that
experience.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Jill: Hmm… I’m going to say Brandon Sanderson because I love his worldbuilding, magic
systems, and plotting. I seriously just want to be the man’s writing friend. But I’d love to ask him
about how he decides what to write and where he finds the time. I’d also like to talk with Jennifer
A. Nielsen about writing different genres for different audiences. And it might also be fun to talk
with John Grisham, who was one of my favorite authors before I started writing. I’d like to ask
his advice about the business side of things and see if he has any tips for my least favorite side
of being a writer.

Shan: Ooo! First off, Tana French. She’s a mystery writer who is all voice all the time and I’d
love to pick her brain. Second, maybe Tasha Alexander. She’s a historical fiction writer who
travels a lot, and often writes her books in the location she’s featuring. I so wish I could do that!
And third, let’s go with Jennifer Donnelly. She’s been able to cross genres and age groups and
continues to create beautiful stories for each audience. Talk about career goals.

Stephanie: Sarah Dessen, because she was the first YA author that I “discovered.” (She was
already on the NYT list, so I hardly discovered her!) J. K. Rowling, obviously. And I’m going to
cheat and say James S. A. Corey, author of The Expanse series. (James S. A. Corey is a pen
name for two writers.) I’m regularly blown away by the size of that storyworld and the
characterization, so I’d love to talk with them about their process and how the story has evolved.

Any last words of wisdom or encouragement for new writers?

Shan: Read. A lot. And widely. There’s pushback against classics these days, but I say dive in.
Read everything you can. Read old books and new books. Read what interests you and give
those big scary books a try too. If you have other bookish friends, talk about the stories you
read, or journal about them. Pull the story apart in your head, consider why certain characters
did what they did. Ask yourself how the setting contributed to the tale, and how failure played a
role in the growth of the characters. Consider why certain books resonated with you and why
others didn’t. Be thoughtful about literature. It’s a choice that will serve you well.

Stephanie: Build strong writing habits. Writing a little every day or every couple days is better
than writing once a month or writing 50k once month out of the year. Having strong writing
habits will make a big difference in your writing life.

Jill: I’m with Shannon on the reading part, but I’d say: read and write a lot. Read books in the
genre you’re hoping to write. Study how the authors tell those stories. But also, read fiction
widely. And write every day, if you can, or at least regularly. You will not become a better writer
if you don’t practice a lot. So sit down and type some words. Over and over and over again. And
try to have fun doing it too.

COLLECTIVE BIO:

Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and Shannon Dittemore have written a combined 30+speculative, contemporary, and historical novels for young adults. Since 2010 their critically acclaimed website, GoTeenWriters.com, has offered honesty, community, and encouragement to teens (and not-so-teen) writers working to improve their craft. When not writing, blogging, or mom-ing, they can be found hanging out with young writers at conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. 

Book Order Incentive

The authors are offering a signed book plate and a book mark to the first 100 readers who order and submit their receipt, before the end of the year, for Go Teen Writer: Write Your Novel. Those who submit a receipt will also be entered into a drawing for one of ten spots in a virtual “Ask me anything” session with all three authors. Go here for purchase links and the form to submit your receipts: https://goteenwriters.com/writeyournovel

WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ARE SAYING:

“This is it. A go-to writing craft book I can recommend to ANY writer! Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel is easy to read, but rich and thorough with content. Even as a multi-published author I found myself jotting down notes, quotes, and coming away inspired to go write! From writing craft to author doubts this book covers writing from head to heart. There’s no doubt I’ll be rereading this one. An absolute must-have for all writers young, old, beginner, advanced, human or cyborg. —Nadine Brandes, award-winning author of RomanovFawkes, and the Out of Time series

“Whether you’re looking for encouragement or practical advice to get you writing or editing, Go Teen Writers is the place for teens who want to connect and grow. The ladies behind the blog and the books have years of experience honing their craft and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If you’re a young writer searching for that missing piece to help propel you forward, look no further than the resources Go Teen Writers provides.” — Sara Ella, award-winning YA author of the Unblemished trilogy and Coral

“I love goteenwriters.com! The site offers insightful instruction on the craft of writing a novel, excellent tools to help new writers learn the ropes, and a valuable sense of community. Highly recommend!” – C.J. Redwine, New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen

Love and Memory and A Cover Reveal.

So I guess I was wrong when I said I was only going to do one post this week, Because I randomly had a cover reveal show up in my inbox yesterday.

Okay so it wasn’t random, I may have promised to do it and then not added it to my calendar of posts to schedule My bad, but I’m posting it now so you can take a break from your Black Friday online shopping.

So here it is the cover for Love and Memory the third book in The Rizkaland Legends series by Kendra E. Ardnek. Read to the end of the post for an exclusive snippet and a special sale.

Release Date: April 19th, 2021

The Rizkaland Legends #3

When a Queen forgets,

Her enemies rejoice in her weakness.

But when the Queen remembers,

They tremble in fear.

When a King loves,

His country rejoices with him.

But when that love is broken.

The land is broken, too.

Can Water and Fire join again?

Can Love and Memory be restored?

They spent years in Rizkaland. They ruled the land, forged friendships, built families, and made it their home. But then it was time to return to Earth, and their former lives just don’t fit anymore. Clara and Andrew struggle to reevaluate their priorities when hundreds of miles separate them. Reuben and Petra are lost as they seek a balance between their old friendship and their Rizkan marriage. And Ashna and Noraeto never planned to return, so what live is there for them on Earth?

When the unthinkable happens and a new enemy arises, they’re all thrown back into Rizkaland, into a young prince’s rise to power and struggle to build alliances for his kingdom. But they no longer belong in their other world, either.

Are good memories too much to bear?

Purchace Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CSYSSXS/

Add Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32674009-love-and-memory

Author inspiration:

So … Without going into who Rose and Richard are (you know if you’ve read LDTD), let’s just say that this was a pretty heartbreaking scene to write. And also a ton of fun.

Exclusive Snippet:

“Oh, hush,” said Kath, stepping forward. “She’s in love, and love can change a person. You know that.”

Rhoda rolled her eyes to Kath and shook her head. “I don’t even know this new Clara.”

Kath’s gaze drifted to Clara, and then her eyes fell. Her answer was a mumble. “Then we need to take the time to get to know this new Clara.”

Rhoda stared at her a long moment before rolling her eyes again. “Honestly, though, what’s gotten into her? Falling in love shouldn’t produce a one-eighty personality change like this.”

No, but falling into another world and being married for twenty-five years would.

Author Bio:

Kendra E. Ardnek is the self-proclaimed Arista of Fairy Tales. She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her dragon babies and massive herd of mini-giraffes, and she is still waiting for one of of her fifty nutcrackers to come to life and marry her. When not writing, you can usually find her sitting in a random box, and she’s frequently known to act before she thinks.

Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || YouTube || Newsletter || Instagram || TikTok || Amazon

Black Friday Sale:

For Black Friday and in honor of this cover reveal, Kendra is offering:

book one, Water Princess, Fire Prince as a FREE ebook on Amazon,

book 2, Lady Dragon, Tela Du, is just 99 cents!

And, Broken, which is part 1 of Love and Memory, is free as well as an early read!

This sale is part of Perry Kirkpatrick’s Black Friday Sale, so do go check out all of the other books on offer for 99 cents or less!

“In case of boredom break glass.” Image is a book inside of an emergency box that normally has a fire extinguisher in it. In case you didn’t get the joke.

I knew posting this today would be a good thing. Now you can click right to the sale instead of remembering to come back later.

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