Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holiday Book Feast - Giveaway and 99 cent fantasy book sale!

Hi guys,

The Holiday Book Feast has begun! Pop over to the Fantasy Book Giveaways blog  to enter a big giveaway and peruse our 99 cent sale! Over 25 awesome 99 cent books. It runs 12/24-12/31. Feast, feast, feast!

I hope you have a lovely holiday and New Year!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Steamy Holiday Reads!

Hi guys, this has been a week for announcing fun stuff for friends! I am delighted to help T.F. Walsh celebrate TWO awesome books: Cloaked in Christmas, and Fallen Ashes! Fallen Ashes comes out today, and Cloaked in Christmas came out a bit over a week ago.

I've already read Cloaked in Christmas, and it's definitely a 5 star super fun and steamy paranormal romance! I really like the Cloaked series, and I think this one is my fave so far. Set in Finland near the North Pole, it has wolf shifters and snowy forests and hot cocoa and blazing fireplaces and SEXY bits and a sweet romance all in one!! Loved it. And it's 99 cents!

Here's what T.F. has to say about the setting:

When was the last time you built a snow lantern on your front lawn?

In Finland, candles and snowballs are part of a special Christmas tradition. When the temperature and snow is just right, snowballs are made about the size of an apple. These snowballs are then hollowed out in the middle to allow space for a small candle. Once the candle is lit, these snow lanterns can be placed outside homes and along gateposts to light a path. Several snowballs can even be grouped together to make a bigger, brighter snow lantern!

On Christmas Eve, people in Finland also put up a Christmas tree and decorate the dinner table and windows with more candles. The warm glow creates the perfect, cozy atmosphere for a family dinner, singing and laughter. After dinner the famous Santa Claus or Joulupukki arrives to give out his presents. As Santa Claus lives in the northern part of Finland called Lapland or Korvatunturi, he delivers all his presents in person throughout Finland.

I had a lot of fun researching Finland Christmas for my latest release, Cloaked in Christmas. A tale about wolf shifters, fighting for the ones you love, and a sprinkling of festive magic. Here are a few more details I discovered while researching:

- Joulupukki also means ‘Christmas Goat’, which was a traditional Yule Goat who demanded presents from people! Over time, Santa Claus became the gift-giver, but the name hasn’t disappeared.
- If you have been naughty, you could end up with a bag of coal under the Christmas tree.
- Rice pudding is a traditional Christmas Eve breakfast in Finland!
- Relaxing in a sauna is a popular way to spend the end of the day after Christmas celebrations.

How do you celebrate Christmas?


After fleeing her abusive ex, wulfkin Cacey Varg and her daughter settle happily with a new pack in Finland. As Christmas approaches, Cacey learns her ex has found them and is on his way to take their daughter back. But a massive snowstorm prevents her from packing up and leaving town - and instead delivers a sexy stranger to her doorstep. Can she trust that he isn't one of her ex's henchmen?

Second-in-command to Europe's most powerful wulfkin, hunter Vincent Lyall's spur-of-the-moment decision to check on his ailing mother soon finds him marooned at a cabin in the woods by the blizzard of the century. Trapped with this spirited vixen, resisting temptation is easier said than done . . . But she refuses to believe he is who he says he is.

Is love powerful enough to win when two sexy wolf shifters, an unwelcome past, and animalistic urges wreak havoc on the holiday season?

Cloaked in Christmas is a standalone story in the Wulfkin Legacy series and only 99cents.

Grab Your Copy: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Googleplay | iBooks

Wulfkin Legacy Series

Cloaked (prequel to #1) – Out now
Cloaked in Fur (Book #1) – Out now
Cloaked in Secrecy (Book #2) – Out now
Cloaked in Blood (Book #3) – Out now
Cloaked in Christmas – Out now

And definitely don't forget Fallen Ashes!! 

Last of your kind? Check. Being hunted by everyone? Check. Waking up magically bound to the world's most cocky and annoying assassin? Wait, what?
Survival has always been on the top of Fallen's To Do List as being the last Dragon shifter in Tapestry had painted a target on her long ago. But after being captured and magically tethered to an assassin who could kill her in an instant, time is running out. With the fate of an entire world at stake, Fallen has to find a way to get out alive, with or without her unwanted companion...her incredibly sexy unwanted companion.
Exiled from the Kingdom and on a mission to save his stepfather from the Collector, Saber's life is already a mess. But he never could imagine that he'd be hexed into a mindless shadow assassin or worse, being kidnapped and mystically-bound to a hot blonde vixen that has a crazy obsession with fire. Sexy/strange/fire-chick aside, he has got to find a way to get out of there but Fallen isn't in the least being helpful with their escape plan. Seriously, can things get any worse?
Magically-bound, determined, and both fighting an undeniable attraction, can Saber and Fallen work together to free themselves and save their world by defeating the Collector? Or will time slip out of their grasp and all will be lost?

Sounds awesome, right?

Sign up here for T.F. Walsh’s newsletter to keep up to date with latest releases, special offers, and exclusive content.

About The Author

T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she's always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

I hope you find some sizzling reads this holiday season! And don't forget to stay tuned for the Holiday Book Feast in three weeks!! December 24-31 at A giveaway plus LOTS of 99 cents book deals!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cover Reveal: When Ash Rains Down

Hi, lovelies! Today I have the distinct pleasure of helping with a cover reveal for a writer friend and critique partner, Cecelia Earl! If you've read my Zyan Star series you know I love angels (Eli, the yummy angelic warrior is one of the main characters). So I was super excited to read Cecelia's young adult fantasy about a female angelic warrior and an epic battle between good and evil. It's a really fun read, and you can pre-order below for 99 cents!

Also, all day on the 4th she's hosting a party over on Facebook. Drop on by! I'm one of the guest authors at 9 PM EST/8 CST. And now for the reveal!!!

Drum roll......

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Fantasy Book Giveaway Site!!

Happy Thanksgiving!! I have a very cool announcement that I think you'll love: I've started a fantasy book giveaway blog with two of my fellow fantasy authors!
We're kicking things off with the Holiday Book Feast Dec. 24-31. You'll definitely want to stop by and enter the book bundle giveaway, as well as checking out the 25 featured 99 cent books!! Free and 99 cents is always a good thing, especially with lots of holiday gift cards :) Check out the site and follow to stay up to date on the latest info! And our hashtag is #PNRFeast. See you there!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winner of the Giveaway and a HUGE thank you!!

Hi, everyone! Drum roll please... the winner of my $50 Amazon gift card to celebrate the release of Huntress Found is...

Erika W!

Erika, I'll be emailing you the gift card code later today!

And I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the many friends who went above and beyond helping me spread the word for my new series. I'm now juggling two series, and writing a third for my agent! #Crazy :)

It's been a super fun release week, and I was on staycation so I could enjoy it, so thanks for celebrating with me!! I also hammered out the new Zyan Star novelette that is releasing at the end of the year, so if you're waiting on your Zyan fix, it's coming soon.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Huntress Found Release Party and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!!!

The hunt is on!!

I am wildly excited to release my book baby to the world... Huntress Found, book one of The Timekeeper's War Trilogy. And to celebrate, I'm giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Please help me spread the news about both Huntress and the giveaway so we can give this series a proper kickoff.

Also, it's 99 cents, guys!! And will be for at least the rest of the year.

Huntress is contemporary fantasy, a mashup of Artemis mythology and Dr. Who with a sprinkle of steampunk. It's really unique and fun (can you tell I LOVE it?):

Evryn’s got mad skills at playing hide and seek. She can find lost children, hack the most secure databases, pretty much anything. Except for the one thing she desires most: the knowledge of who her parents are, why they abandoned her, and what her special talent means about who and what she really is.

So, when a guy named Seeker appears quite literally out of nowhere, claiming to know about her past and offering her a job, Evryn can’t say yes fast enough. Even if it does mean following him to another realm. As in, mind-blowingly, not Earth. Apparently she’s part of an elite clan of Hunters descending from Artemis who can find just about anything in all of time and space. As the last of Artemis’ direct lineage, Evryn is her clan’s best shot at finding a lost city before rival clans do.

Not just any city, but the flying, realm-hopping city of Skye. Aboard Skye is the Artifex, a magical device with the power to create or destroy worlds. Everyone wants the device, and with Evryn’s super-powered lineage, it means everyone wants her, too. It’s hard to decide who she can trust, even within her own clan. After she discovers a strange, alluring connection to the Artifex, she’s not even sure she can trust herself. Worse yet, the only person who may be able to help her is the Timekeeper, the sadistic ancient being who created the Artifex. An interdimensional war is brewing, and Evryn is right at the epicenter of it all. 

Let the hunt begin.

Snag your copy for 99 cents at the retailers below, and add to Goodreads!

Amazon         Barnes and Noble          iTunes          Kobo

If you want a little teaser, I put some of my fave quotes on these Twitter images (and you can also steal to tweet or put on your blog if you want to share the love!).

And last but not least, the $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! Enter and be merry! Thanks for partying with me, guys :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Be Here Now

Just uploaded Huntress Found to Amazon for release this Friday, and was flipping through the preview mode to make sure all the formatting converted correctly. Snippets of scenes and dialogue kept popping out at me, and I was just overwhelmed for a moment by how much I LOVE this book. I won't get into all the things I love about it and sound like a total narcissist.

The point is that it's a feeling I need to remember. I created this work of art, and I love it. It doesn't matter if anyone else loves it, or if it becomes a bestseller, or if I make any money. Those thing are all awesome, and I hope they will happen. But I'm often a very impatient, driven person, looking ahead to the future. So, remembering how deeply I heart this book is my "be here now" moment. It's something for me to return to and relish when I'm galloping full speed ahead not appreciating things in life.

What's your "be here now" moment?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ten Days Until Huntress Found Release and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Hi, friends!! I cannot believe it's November already. Did everybody have a rad Halloween? I was Darth Vader. It ruled.

So, Huntress Found, the first book in my new Timekeeper's War series, is releasing on 11/11. THIS MONTH!!! Aaahhhhhh!!!!! And election week, too. What a week, man.

Anyway, I'm giving away a $50 Amazon gift card through Rafflecopter, so save the date and swing back by here on 11/11 to enter for the giveaway and help me blast Huntress into the world. I'll love you EVER so much.

See you then!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Timekeeper's War Book One!

Hi friends, I am SO excited today to reveal the cover for the first book in my new series. It's releasing on 11/11 and I can't wait to share it with the world. Today, a sneak peek of the cover. But first, this is what it's all about:

Evryn’s got mad skills at playing hide and seek. She can find lost children, hack the most secure databases, pretty much anything. Except for the one thing she desires most: the knowledge of who her parents are, why they abandoned her, and what her special talent means about who and what she really is.

So, when a guy named Seeker appears quite literally out of nowhere, claiming to know about her past and offering her a job, Evryn can’t say yes fast enough. Even if it does mean following him to another realm. As in, mind-blowingly, not Earth. Apparently she’s part of an elite clan of Hunters descending from Artemis who can find just about anything in all of time and space. As the last of Artemis’ direct lineage, Evryn is her clan’s best shot at finding a lost city before rival clans do.

Not just any city, but the flying, realm-hopping city of Skye. Aboard Skye is the Artifex, a magical device with the power to create or destroy worlds. Everyone wants the device, and with Evryn’s super-powered lineage, it means everyone wants her, too. It’s hard to decide who she can trust, even within her own clan. After she discovers a strange, alluring connection to the Artifex, she’s not even sure she can trust herself. Worse yet, the only person who may be able to help her is the Timekeeper, the sadistic ancient being who created the Artifex. An interdimensional war is brewing, and Evryn is right at the epicenter of it all.

Let the hunt begin.

And here's the cover, by my god-like cover artist Steven Novak, whom I heart very much. 

OMG, I swoon every time I look at it. SO gorgeous. If you want a FREE ARC, sign up for my newsletter in the next twenty-four hours. I am sending a download link to all my subscribers. You can also add it to Goodreads.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: How Long Does Your Story Cook?

I'm making gnocchi right now, and it's all simmering and stewing together, so that's probably why my title came out the way it did :) Pour yourself a glass of wine and join me! It's the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. Check out the other bloggers here, and the fearless Alex Cavanaugh, creator of the hop.

So, how do you know when your story is ready? I have two schools of thought on this. On the one hand, no matter how many times I edit something, if I go back and read it later there are always things I want to change. But you have to find that balance between proper editing and never finishing something because you're searching for perfection. I think critique partners are vital to this. Especially if you're not so good at self-editing (which you should hopefully know about yourself). I happen to have LOVELY CPs. Don't be jealous :)

How about you guys?

In other news, Vengeance and Vermouth came out since my last IWSG post, and I'm announcing a new series very soon!! Plus working on a third thing for my agent. LOTS of stuff going on.

TTFN, friends!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Book Birthday, Vengeance and Vermouth!

Hi, friends! Vengeance and Vermouth Part 1 is out today and I'm super stoked to share it with you! If you've read Whiskey and Angelfire, the second Zyan Star book (you've totally read it, right?), then you'll know it ended on a cliffhanger. Like, a MAJOR cliffhanger. As in, several people told me they almost threw their e-readers across the room type of cliffhanger.

So, I give you Vengeance and Vermouth, the third book!

To bring her best friend back from the dead, Zyan will march into Hell itself. But first she needs to amass a force that can challenge Lucifer on his home turf.

With Archangel Michael and the forces of Heaven on her heels, Zyan criss-crosses the globe, gathering a supernatural team of epic proportions. She’s calling in all her favors this time, summoning figures from her past both dangerous and deadly.

And to get into Hell she must work with the worst of them all, the one who murdered her friend in the first place. Zy will have to put aside her burning need for revenge to pull off the biggest mission of her life, but that may prove to be the one thing she can’t do. 

Yep, it's on. Zyan is kicking some serious ass. Join her for 99 cents! Here are the purchase links:

Amazon         Barnes and Noble       iTunes        Kobo

And if you have a moment to give V&V a happy birthday shout out, much appreciated :)

Hope all is well with you guys. Any fun news to share?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cover Reveal: Timeless!

Hi guys, today I'm helping friend and critique partner Crystal Collier reveal the cover for her awesome book Timeless. It's the third in her Maiden of Time series, and I read it - it's kick ass :) It'll be out on November 1st.

Check it out!

About the book:

Time is the enemy.

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil, and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

Crystal is doing a giveaway, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek. TTFN!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Interview: Mark from The Hawaii Project (A Really Cool Book Discovery Website)

Hi, friends! Recently I came across a really cool book website called The Hawaii Project. Mark, who runs the site, got to chatting with me and we decided to swap interviews. His interview of me is right here. And my interview of him is below. It involves cocktails, Hawaii, and obviously books. What better combination?!

Eye candy from the Paranormal Romance page on The Hawaii Project...

Okay, here we go:

Me: The Hawaii Project is such a cool website! Tell us a bit about it.

Mark: The Hawaii Project is a personalized book discovery service. It’s a great way to find books that match your personal interests, favorite authors and reading habits. You tell us a bit about yourself, your favorite authors and the kinds of books you read, and we recommend great books you’d never find on your own, and alert you to news about your favorite authors. We’ll deliver a personalized email once a week with personally relevant books, or you can explore via our website. It’s like a bookstore where every book in the store was chosen just for you. The more you use it, the more it learns about you and the better the recommendations.

Why is it called The Hawaii Project?

There’s nothing better than relaxing on the beach with a great book. That’s my “happy place”. We wanted to share that feeling with other readers.

Are you a writer yourself? Tell us how you came to love books and/or your inspiration for the site.

I’ve always been a reader. I was one of those kids who read the encyclopedia while eating Captain Crunch for breakfast. But I grew frustrated with Amazon and Goodreads and the like, who kept recommending me books that I had no interest in, but forgot to tell me when my favorite authors released new books. I am a technologist as well as a reader, so I decided to build something better.

I especially love the music playlist section you can add for specific books. Are you a music lover? Any specific background there?

I don’t think I could exist without music, and I am very omnivorous about musicI love Jazz, hard rock, classical, bluegrass, indiealmost anything. I do play the guitar (badly), but reading and music have always been together for me. Just as book discovery is hard, music discovery is hard too. Seeing what music people pair up with books is an interesting way to find new music, and add enjoyment to reading too! Your readers can see books with playlists here.

So, you live in Hawaiitotally jealous! What’s something we wouldn’t expect to hear about living out there?

Well, it’s hard to complain. But it’s expensive. A gallon of milk costs $8! And there’s scorpions! I found one in my sink a few days ago. Yikes!

I see you’ve started an in-person book and cocktail meetup (jealous, once again). Tell us about that.

Together with Hawaii-based author Stuart H. Coleman (who wrote Eddie Would Go and other books), we created Books & Spirits. We bring in authors who have local relevance, and get a local mixologist to create a custom cocktail for the event. We’re trying to get more people reading and help promote great books. Ultimately it’s about building community around books and reading. So far it’s only in Hawaii but we have hopes to bring it other cities as well.

How can authors best use your sitetips and tricks?

Authors can create an author account on The Hawaii Project. We’ll create a page for you and your books (for example here’s Alexia’s page). We add your blog to our index of book-oriented blogs, and readers who “follow” you on The Hawaii Project will be notified when you post.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Our basic service is free, and you can sign up here: The Hawaii Project. You can save 25 books and follow 10 authors, and get all the recommendations you want. There are premium accounts for people who want more. Those have a unique “pay what you think it’s worth” annual subscription (you decide), and we donate 10% of our revenue to 3 literacy oriented non-profits, because we believe Books Change Lives.

Hope you enjoyed our interview swap! I love so many things about this website - and donating to charity is awesome! Authors, if you don't have an account, Mark can get you set up (it's free!). And check out my rad playlist for Martinis with the Devil on my page over there :)


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finding Time to Write

Hi, friends! It's IWSG time - Insecure Writers Support Group, headed up by Alex Cavanaugh. Check out the other blog hoppers here.

This month's question is: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

I work full time and so I write in the evenings. If I'm writing a first draft, I set an overall goal for a completion date, and then break that down into a daily word count goal. That might typically be 750-1000 words a day, which is about an hour/hour and a half typically. 

However, at times I've found that counting words stresses me out, so sometimes I'll hide the word count and just write each day until I feel "done". This could be 300 painfully pulled out words or 2,500 written fast and furious because I was really on a roll.

To me, the important part is just to set parameters - a word count, a length of time (30 minutes a day, etc.) and stick to it. Otherwise our lives get in the way and it's too easy for weeks and then months to go by without writing. 

How about you guys? Everyone is different. What works best for you?

As far as my anxieties for the month... just have the third Zyan Star book coming out on the 16th, and the usual worry about sales and whatnot. It's my third book launch this year, so it's been intense!

Hope everyone is doing well! TTFN!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Greatest Mistakes, Successes and Gnocchi!

Hi guys,

I'm over at Erica and Christy's blog talking about Zyan Star (naturally), my greatest mistake, greatest success, something other things, and most importantly, my gnocchi recipe!!

Pop over and say hi!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

One Year Self-Pubiversary - What I've Learned

At the beginning of 2015 I decided that it would be the year my writing career moved forward, one way or the other. It would be my seventh year of writing with the aim to be published, not counting all the stuff I wrote in my teens thinking I could publish (ha!). So, on August 7th, 2015 I released Black Magic and Mojitos, the prequel novelette to the Zyan Star series. Ironically enough, I signed with my agent two weeks later for a different series.

Initially self-pubbing was exciting, and then fairly disappointing with little sales coming in, and then things caught on and it's been exponentially growing in a short period of time. I sold 1,800 books in the month of July, with another 1,000 or so downloaded in a free promo. Black Magic and Mojitos is on the top 100 bestseller list for sci-fi fantasy short reads most of the time, and Martinis with the Devil hit #5 in Paranormal Romance with angels a few weeks ago. I've been having SO much fun, and I wanted to share what I've learned. Caveat: each person's path is different, so what worked for me may not work for you. I don't particularly care for most of those writing and publishing posts that insist on one and only one way to do something. So, use what resonates with you, don't worry about the rest. Here we go!

1) Have a good book.

Before you roll your eyes, let me elaborate, and provide a caveat. Caveat first: if you love writing, and you want to share your writing no matter what, I think anyone has the right to express themselves artistically and creatively. Don't let anyone stop you. Now, taking that one step further, if you are wanting to self-pub with the aim of making some money, or breaking into the market, I think some things should be considered. If you write your first book and try querying for six months and want to self-pub just because querying sucks man, and all those agents are idiots, well... I'm going to venture that probably (not definitely, but probably) your book is not ready, and you are probably not going to like the publishing world in general. Self-pubbing doesn't avoid the haters, trust me. If you slap something up on the net you're likely to get bad reviews that hurt a lot worse than those form rejections from agents. Because EVERYONE gets bad reviews. And you have to be able to roll with the punches.

The reason I chose the Zyan Star series to self-pub was because I'd gotten a lot of agent interest, with many saying that they loved it and the writing was good, but urban fantasy was too hard a sell right now. Too hard a sell for the traditional market, that is. I had also gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback from numerous entries in contests like Write Club, where your entry is anonymous. So, point being, get feedback from lots of people, not just the ones that are going to be nice to you.

2) Have an amazing cover.

It's true, guys. We ALL judge books by their covers. And if you self-pub, you don't want anyone to be able to tell by looking at the cover that you self-pub. Covers help sell books. If I see a crappy book cover I wonder how serious the writer is about their writing, and wonder at the quality of the book itself. Does that make me an asshole? Possibly. But I can tell you, I'm not the only asshole out there. Don't shoot yourself in the foot at the onset. Make a stunning first impression.

And P.S. this doesn't mean spending a ton. My guy (the amazingly talented God of cover design, Steven Novak, Novak Illustration) charges less than a hundred dollars for an e-book cover.

3) Pay attention to the self-pub authors that are making it.

When I ventured into this, I contacted RaShelle Workman, a self-pub author with over a million e-books sold. That's a LOT of books. She makes her living writing full-time. Total rockstar.

I contacted her first about her cover artist (she referred me to Steven). I later asked her about marketing tips (see below). And I lot of it I learned by observation. For instance, if you look at her and some of these other baller self-pub authors, they have at least the first book in the series priced at 99 cents, and sometimes several of them (or all). I'm actually going to use that to segway into my next point...

4) Price your book at 99 cents.

Those of you familiar with Amazon will know that if you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, you get 2/3 of the profit, whereas if you are above or below that bracket, you only get 1/3. Thus, I see a ton of books out there from brand new authors priced at $2.99. Personally, I am not going to spend $2.99 on the first book from an author I don't know. I'm cheap, yes. But kind of like the asshole comment above, so are many, many other people. We live in a world where jerks buy e-books, read them, and then return them for a refund (which I think is totally awful BTW). Again, don't shoot yourself in the foot. Make it EASY for people to take that chance on you, as a no-name author. See above about the rockstar ballers charging 99 cents. They have made hundreds of thousands of dollars on their e-books. If it works for them, it could work for you. There's a lot of debate about this: if you pick 99 cents you don't have worth in yourself as an indie writer, etc., etc. That's not what it's about. It's about building an audience. I'd rather get my books in readers' hands.

5) Have a series.

I mentioned at the beginning that after some initial excitement releasing Black Magic and Mojitos, the sales dropped off. I was bummed, obviously. So I contacted RaShelle and asked her what her marketing ideas were. She took the time to look up my book (have I mentioned she's a super nice rockstar baller?) and said that with only one book out there and nothing else for readers to buy, I had lost momentum. She said her most important suggestion to anyone was to have a series with at least five books, and release the first half of the series in close succession. She suggested every few weeks.

With the Zyan Star series, I had initially planned to release Martinis with the Devil shortly after Mojitos came out, but then I signed with my agent and she wanted me to wait. After a few months of being on sub, we came to a compromise, which was that I could release the Zyan series with the books being cut in half, so they technically weren't novel length (this was just trying to preserve my debut status, that weird publishing world virginity thing). Within a few weeks of releasing Martinis parts one and two, sales started to grow rapidly. And that brought in a new influx of sales for Mojitos. A couple months later I released Whiskey and Angelfire parts one and two, and the same thing happened. So, so far RaShelle's advice is spot-on. I also think part of it is that having multiple books out just makes you look like a more serious writer. And a series lends itself to branding yourself and building a set of fans potentially more than individual books do.

6) You don't have to pay for expensive ads (or at least proceed with caution).

I'm going to start this one with a BIG caveat. I have known other authors that have seen spikes in sales from paid ads. I personally have had zero luck with them. Since I have a full-time job outside of writing, I luckily had money to spend several hundred dollars on ads. I got an expensive Goodreads ad and a blog tour, and lots of other supposedly life-altering social media promos. None of them did much, at least nothing noticeable. One problem with a lot of these services (blog tours, newsletters, etc.) is that your audience is other writers. While writers are certainly readers, it's not the same as tapping into a pool of readers that are ready to spend money on books. Since us writers usually have lots of writer friends we like to support, and because we're more picky about writing, we tend to be a little more stingy about buying from new authors we don't know.

7) Make sure you have a stellar hook and strong search keywords.

Just like with querying, you want the brief description of your book on Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, etc. to really sing. It should be extremely compelling. Again, look at the successful self-pub big dogs and see what they have in their descriptions.

Also, keyword combos are important. Amazon lets you have up to seven. I made one of mine '99 cents' and one of mine 'urban fantasy' and now when you search under '99 cents urban fantasy', my Zyan books are usually four of the top five results.

8) You might enjoy self-pubbing more if you're a control freak and workaholic.

A lot of people ask me if self-pubbing is hard, because you not only have to write the book, you have to arrange editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, etc. I would say the first trip through was somewhat daunting, but after that it's been easy. I have a checklist for e-book formatting - that's the one really tedious part. But now it only takes me a few hours since I've done it a few times. I am ALL about the checklists - I have a very Type A side to my personality that lives opposite the creative side.

I also like to stay busy, and love being able to control all the different aspects of my book. When I do land a traditional pub contract, relinquishing control will definitely be something I'll have to adapt to. The last year has made me realize that I definitely want to be a hybrid author. I want to have some traditionally published works, but I think I'll always continue to release some of them myself.

9) Have fun.

In closing...make sure to have fun. If you're controlling your own destiny, enjoy yourself, eh? We're all just a work in progress as humans and as writers. My sales go up and down still, and I worry that somehow it's all going to vanish. But it's not. Because this isn't a static point, it's a step in the journey. Keep writing, keep having fun. Do it because you love it, whether or not you want to make a career out of it. Celebrate the small things and the big things.

And speaking of that, I am raising a glass to myself for an epic first year of self-pubbing and self-discovery, and to you if you read this far down in the post! TTFN, friends!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gargoyles and Soul Thieves - An Interview Swap with Rebecca Chastain!

Hi, guys! A few weeks ago, I got an email from a fellow urban fantasy author asking if I wanted to do an interview swap. I love stuff like that, so I jumped on board right away. Rebecca and I have chatted quite a bit since then, and she's super cool and so are her books! Gargoyles and elemental magic are the feature of her latest series. Oh, and she's an Amazon bestseller, so that's rad. Are you ready? Rebecca's answers below, and my answers about the Zyan Star series over on her blog!

She looks badass, right?!

Me: Gargoyles and elementals together? Yes, please. What else can you tell me about your Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles series?

Rebecca: If you took the United States in the early 1900s, added in a population who can all wield varying levels of earth, water, air, fire, and wood elemental magic, and topped it off with multifarious mythical creatures, you’d have the world of the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles. Within this magic-saturated setting, I built my story around an ordinary woman, because I’ve always felt that no matter how fantastical the world, the best stories involve relatable characters making tough decisions.

Mika is a midlevel earth elemental who has worked a lot of late nights as a freelancer to hone her skills with delicate quartz projects. Her goal is to leave her dead-end quarry job and open her own artisan shop. Unfortunately, her carefully constructed five-year plan—and years of hard work—are jeopardized when a baby gargoyle bursts into her studio and begs for her help on a desperate mission.

As you can probably guess, she can’t say no to a baby gargoyle. Could you?

When you built the world for Magic of the Gargoyles, how did you start?

I start every story by opening up a fresh Word document and typing everything that comes to mind in a non-stop brainstorming session. A lot of…we’ll call it “fluff” comes out in these session, but there’s nothing like that moment when a spark of an idea ignites into an entire story. With Magic, it was baby gargoyles. The moment I pictured a housecat-sized gargoyle, I knew I had to write the story. After that, I researched quartz and mythical creatures, but mostly I focused on building a magical world that would be fun to romp around in for a few novels.

If you could manifest the magical traits of one of your characters, what would it be?

Mika’s elemental abilities, definitely. She can alter the structure of quartz with her magic, shaping it into incredible masterpieces. Plus, she’s the one that gets to help baby gargoyles…

Have you ever traveled (or have plans to) in the name of research, and where?

I don’t know if this counts, but my Madison Fox series is set in my hometown. In essence, every errand run around town could be construed as research.

What are your reading habits these days? Do you have rules about what you read while you’re writing?

I do have rules! While writing the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, I refused to read anything with gargoyles in it. In general, I try not to read anything in the genre I’m writing, and when I’m deep into a writing project, I often skip fiction entirely and focus on nonfiction. I have an idea for an alternate history fantasy that may or may not ever happen, so for the last two years, I’ve been reading tons about the world around 1492. I’m now a font of weird facts. For instance, did you know there were no earthworms in the United States before colonists started carting in soil from England? They’d been killed off in an earlier ice age, and those in warmer climates farther south had never burrowed back up this way. 

And here's a synopsis of Magic of the Gargoyles:

To help a baby gargoyle, Mika will risk everything.

Mika Stillwater is a midlevel earth elemental with ambitions of becoming a quartz artisan, and her hard work is starting to get noticed. But when a panicked baby gargoyle bursts into her studio, insisting Mika is the only person she’ll trust with her desperate mission, Mika’s carefully constructed five-year plan is shattered.

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld of Terra Haven, Mika jeopardizes everything she’s work so hard for as she attempts to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster—and to stay alive…

From the imaginative mind of international bestselling fantasy author Rebecca Chastain, Magic of the Gargoyles is a spellbinding adventure set in a world full of elemental magic and adorable gargoyles that is sure to enchant young adult and adult readers alike.

Want to pick up a copy? (sure you do - 99 cents!)

Amazon, US                Amazon, everywhere

Rebecca's official bio:

Rebecca Chastain is the internationally bestselling author of the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series and the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, among others works. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in Northern California with her wonderful husband and three bossy cats.

Hit her up on the Internet!

Hope you all enjoyed our swap! If you want to check out my answers to the questions, hop on over to Rebecca's blog. TTFN!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG - The Nicest Thing That's Been Said About My Writing

Hi, writer friends! It's July! Fireworks, beach and popsicle time! One of my books came out yesterday! My birthday is next week! It's definitely one of my favorite months :)

For this month's IWSG post, there is now a question you can answer if you want, which is: What's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?

Well, two from recent book reviews spring to mind. The first is a review of Martinis with the Devil, and the person said:

"I just love the story line and the characters to pieces, to death, to the end of the world, whatever..... man I wish it never ended and just went on forever."

And then a very recent review of Whiskey and Angelfire, which came out yesterday (three snippets from one review):

"I am completely in love with this series. Earlier this year, I read both the prequel novella and the first book in a frenzy of insomnia and emotions and I've been dying a little ever since then because I needed to know what happened with these characters and this world...." and "This group is so great because it feels like you fell right in the middle of a family and you can't help but love them all and want to make sure they're happy." and "I'm seriously considering selling my soul to Lucifer so I can read the next book right now..."

So, that's all INCREDIBLY flattering and I'm SO happy people are loving the book. On the flip side of that though, you get bad reviews... so I guess that's my insecure thing for the month. Whenever you release a new book, you want everyone to love it, or at least most people. So, as these first few reviews start coming, there's a lot of nail biting going on for me :)

How about you? How's your month going?

Don't forget to visit the other IWSG posts, and of course our lovely host Alex Cavanaugh! (I nearly made a corny joke there about our lovely host Alex Trebek) (I'm probably not the first to go there).


Monday, July 4, 2016

Whiskey and Angelfire Book Birthday!!

It's here!

Zyan Star Book Two! Lovers of urban fantasy, your 4th just got a lot spicier :) 

"I'm seriously considering selling my soul to Lucifer so I can read the next book right now..." Top 100 Goodreads Reviewer Emily Seamir

**blushes furiously**

This is what Zyan's doing in the second book:

Can Zyan avert the war that's brewing before her past catches up to her, quite literally?

When one of the angelic warriors goes missing, Zyan and Eli head off to Dublin to join the search. As soon as they arrive, they're swept into rising tensions between the angelic forces and the other supernatural races. As more supernaturals go missing, Archangel Michael will stop at nothing to put the perpetrator behind bars, even if it means placing the city under martial law.

To add to the mess, Zyan's sister Anna is in Dublin, and where Anna is, Lucifer is only a step behind. Not to mention Alexander, Zyan's sworn enemy. Zyan has more than a sneaking suspicion they're at the heart of a spree of recent demon invasions. But something is odd about these demons, and if she doesn't figure it out before Lucifer reveals his ultimate plan, the price could be catastrophic.

As if things couldn't get worse, being back in Ireland where she was turned immortal has dredged up the worst from her past. Including her maker, Olga, who's none too pleased that Zyan's come back.

Plus, I'm trying something new for this book: leave a review and get a free download of the prequel novelette to the Zyan Star series! Just email me or leave a comment here (include your email if you don't have responses set up), and I'll send you a Book Funnel code to download it for free. 

Plus, you can vote on which Zyan backstory novelette I release later this year. Either Zyan in the 1920s, or when she met Riley and Quinn (or you can throw in another idea)!

Barnes and Noble

I'm SOOOO excited to share Zyan's story with everyone, and I can't imagine a better day than a day of fireworks and fun. Happy 4th of July everyone!!