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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Project Genesis: The Short Story Prequel to the Genesis Rising Series by J. L. Stowers

Possibility dawns in uncertainty.

At least that’s what the United States President is banking on when he sends archaeologist Belkis Finch on a mission to uncover the greatest find of the century. Belkis, his doting daughter, and his granddaughter with a thirst for knowledge that rivals his own, set out to examine documents found in the recently discovered Hall of Records.

This short story prequel to the Genesis Rising series will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Get it Free!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Author Spotlight: Airwoman by Zara Quentin | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Zara Quentin visiting with the first book in her Airwoman series, Airwomen. She’ll be sharing an excerpt from her book later, but first…
Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.
She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination.
After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia.
Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.

Connect with the Author

Get a free preview of Airwoman!

About the Book

Jade Gariq is the daughter of a respected Taraqan leader, and the heiress to Gariq Industries—a large, cross-Portal trading company. Her future appears to be set. Except for one thing: It’s a life that she doesn’t want. Jade has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force—the elite Taraqans who traverse the Betwixt, filled with terrifying beasts, and who protect and patrol the Dragonverse. Despite having been Travellers themselves once, Jade’s parents remain vehemently against risking their only daughter’s life. When Jade’s father dies suddenly, she inherits Gariq Industries, its assets, trade deals and social responsibilities.
It seems as though her fate has once again been decided.
Meanwhile, Axel—her close friend and secret crush—disappears without a trace. Then Jade discovers the circumstances surrounding her father’s death are not what they seem— her uncle Zorman suspects foul play. To find the truth and avenge her father’s death, Jade travels to an uncharted world, where she will learn more about her family, herself, loyalty, and betrayal than she ever imagined.

Get it Today!

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

Tick.
The only sound was the slow tick of the clock on the wall.
Jade took another step towards Papa. The torch cast a spotlight over his hunched figure. The rest of the room retreated into the shadows, distancing itself from the wrongness of the scene.
Tick.
A message, now forgotten, slipped out of Jade’s trembling hand and fluttered to the ground. Jade reached forward to shake Papa, thinking—hoping—he must be so tired.
Tick.
Jade grasped Papa’s shoulder, expecting him to jerk to consciousness and look up at her, groggy. But he did not move. She pressed harder, but his body was rigid under her touch. He did not wake. He didn’t even groan.
Tick.
Papa’s head fell forward, from where it had rested on his arm. His forehead connected with the polished wood of the desk with a thud. His wings hung limply across his back, their magenta scales dull.
Tick.
Tentatively, Jade smoothed his grey-streaked hair away from his face. She gasped at his eyes; open and staring at his own clenched right hand. She pressed a hand to his forehead.
He was cold, too cold.
Tick.
Jade’s hand fell away. A deep fog settled over her, paralysing her. Deafening her. She stared at Papa’s body. His lips, blue. His eyes, wide. Lifeless. She stared and saw nothing.
Tick.
Tick.
Tick.
Dimly, Jade heard herself screaming, calling for help. There was a clatter of footsteps, then a set of hands on her shoulders.
“Shhhh, shhhh,” someone said, and eventually the screaming stopped.
But the clock did not.
Tick.
Tick.
Tick.

Elements (The Biodome Chronicles #2) by Jesikah Sundin

"The Biodome Chronicles" is a multi-award winning, genre-bending YA Ecopunk mystery with historical fantasy elements.


Get it for $0.99 until 21 August 2017!


New Eden Township is more than a dungeon for Fillion Nichols. The medieval biodome community, where Fillion is serving time, is a birthright that torments his life and threatens his future. Sealed inside the experimental Mars colony, there is no escape from anyone, especially the young woman who has haunted his thoughts for nearly six
years. To preserve his sanity, he focuses on one goal – decoding the mystery behind the Watson deaths.

It is a mission that shatters his distorted perceptions of reality and helps rebuild the fractured elements of his life.

Meanwhile, to prove his worth to the Daughter of Earth, a young nobleman ventures beyond the walls of the biodome and experiences the Outside world for the first time. But his quest takes an unpredictable turn when he meets Lynden Nichols and Mack Ferguson, who draw him into their world – a community also confined and isolated by society. The Anime Tech Movement’s computer underground is far from the rustic, honorable life the young nobleman knows. Yet, he discovers familiar elements within the high tech subculture that may sustain the home he left behind.

As worlds converge, each young man faces a choice that will affect the survival of an entire community. And to save the generation they fight for, both men must defy the boundaries of everything they know.

Youth cultures collide as The Biodome Chronicles continues in a compelling quest for truth, forging an unforgettable story rich in mystery, betrayal and love.

Get it today on Amazon!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Author Newsletter Poll Results | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


Updated: 17 August 2017
Earlier this year (2017) I started a newsletter to start reaching out to my regular readers. Although my growth has been steady, I’d like to try and improve it.
So with that in mind, I put together a little poll to see what subscribers of authors newsletters were looking for as far as content, and also what entices them to subscribe. So far I’ve had 65 people respond, but I’m looking for more. Here are the results so far, but I’ll keep updating them as I get more responses.

The first question I asked is what entices the reader to subscribe to the author’s newsletter to begin with. If you can’t get people to sign up to your newsletter, then it’s all kinda pointless. (Just so you know, respondents were able to pick more than one answer.)
So far 83.1% of the people who took the poll say they are most likely to sign up if they’ve already read the author’s work. This reinforces my belief that giving away the first book in your series (or a book or short story if you don’t have a series) is a good idea. Most people are not willing to risk their money on a new author, and you need them to sign up to your newsletter to sell more books.
The ideal promotional tool I’ve found so far is referred to as the funnel system. I give away my first book to everyone to find new readers, and I give away the second book to those who sign up to my newsletter to build my mailing list. I’ve found most of my new readers this way, which leads us to the next result…
56.9% have said they will sign up if the author is offering a freebie. So if you have your first book free and offer the second free to new subscribers, you’ve now increased your chances of getting a new signup (this is, of course, assuming they liked your first book and actually want to read the second). It’s really important to note that you shouldn’t offer a book that is already free to download. If they can already get it free, they’re not going to bother signing up for your newsletter. I’ve even known some authors who have written a short story or novella that fits with their current series but isn’t essential to the series, and they’ve made that a subscriber only exclusive.
Only about 24.6% of the people have said they would subscribe based on referrals from family and friends, but still… it’s always a good idea to get your readers to tell their family and friends (and social media followers) about your work. If you’re offering a permafree book, it could result in more downloads than you’ve expected. Of course, not everyone reads it who downloads it, but you never know where your next new fan is going to come from.
There were various things added to the others category:
  • Reading the author’s newsletter
  • Updates on interesting blog posts
  • They provide valuable content
  • How to’s and tips
  • Visuals and a great blurb
  • Sales/Discounts
  • Depends on the genre
  • Free sample chapters
  • General interest
  • Interest in the author’s struggles
  • A preview of what’s in the newsletter in the email’s subject line
  • Other authors
  • Value that’s worth getting
  • Usually from a how-to hook

The next question had to do with the content. I asked what they enjoyed reading in an author’s newsletter. (Again, they were able to choose more than one answer.)
76.9% said they want to hear about what the author is working on right now.
69.2% want to hear personal stories about the author.
63.1% want to hear about new releases by the author.
53.8% want to read articles about the author’s genre.
52.3% want subscriber only discounts and giveaways.
52.3% want to see writing, editing and marketing tips for authors.
47.7% want to have access to exclusive short stories and flash fiction.
44.6% want to see spotlights on other authors in their genre.
43.1% want to see genre related artwork and fan art
Some suggestions added to the other’s category so far:
  • Sneaks peeks of their work.
  • Spotlights on other authors their author loves.
  • Only author related material.
  • New releases by other authors
I think focusing on the top three or four things would be the best idea, and then maybe casually mentioning some of the others so that everyone is happy.
I’m looking for more responses to get a better overall view of what people are looking for (and I’m hoping this information will help other authors too). If you can help spread the word and share the poll form with your family and friends who love to read, that would be great!
Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

EXOTIQA by M. Black

ENTER TOMORROW

The second YA SyFy dystopian Thriller released by the debut author M. Black, dubbed Divergent meets iRobot. This novel will appeal to a vast array of audiences. Filled with haunting questions of consciousness and artificial intelligence, identity and self-awareness, politics and love, life and death, the reader will be engaged in an entertaining story filled with futuristic technology.

Set in the year 2055 in British Columbia, Canada, where humans are part robotic and robots are becoming more humanlike, the line dividing the two is becoming less clear.

When sixteen-year-old Fione meets Maci, a twenty-one-year-old Flexbot who escapes from ImaTech located along the crust of the Coast Mountains, Fione’s life is taken on a roller-coaster ride of events that begins with trying to save Maci from ImaTech Corporation and ends with trying to save the country.

With Fione's best friend and love interest, a Flexbot named Pix, Fione and Maci must come face-to-face with the greatest dangers their country has ever seen and learn the disturbing secrets of the popular online program Exotiqa—which her friends, family, and most of the country has downloaded onto their Cerebral Slabs. This won’t be easy, since Maci’s only love and greatest enemy, nicknamed Thirty, is tracking her every move.

Get it today on Amazon!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fantasy Art Wednesday | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

Beautiful, yet forlorn, this place is slowly succumbing to the ravages of time. The lonely figure walking this crumbling corridor is determined to remain its companion to the very end. It was a glorious place once, built by a wealth and power that has long ebbed away. But while this structure was new, and whole, it gave the lives of those within it meaning and purpose. This robed figure has not forgotten, even though its noble arches are now draped in vine, and the crows brazenly come and go as they please. There is writing etched deep into the stones beneath the pillars. Each word is a plea from the past; a silent but unyielding voice that demands a place in the present. The robed figure knows what they say. Do you?
Crows’ Abbey

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Want to Win an Autographed Book? | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


I’m doing another Rafflecopter giveaway for my newsletter subscribers. This time I’m giving away an autographed copy of Into the Shadow Wooda companion book to Journey to Aviad.
Not subscribed yet? Feel free to take a look at my last newsletter.  In this edition there is a character spotlight on Alaric from Into the Shadow Wood, along with some author updates and links to a couple of giveaways for LOTS of free books. When you  sign up for my newsletter, you’ll also get a free e-copy of Book 2 in my series, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths. You can unsubscribe at any time, so really you’ve got nothing to lose!
So, back to my original question:
Want the chance to win an autographed book?
Step 1: Subscribe to my newsletter and download your free ebook
Step 2: Enter the giveaway
That’s it! The winner will be announced in my September newsletter. Good luck!

INTO THE SHADOW WOOD

Once a proud member of the Sovereign’s prestigious personal guard, Einar has lost everything: his home, his Sovereign, and his purpose. Most of his closest friends have either been killed in battle or executed. His friend Nevon died trying to fulfill a dangerous oath…one that Einar disagreed with, but now feels honor-bound to take up in his stead. The quest plunges Einar into the depths of the dark and twisted Shadow Wood, testing the limits of his strength, his beliefs, and his sanity. What he finds in the Wood is far more ominous than anything he’d expected. If he’s not careful, Nevon’s fate might end up being his own.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Keeper and the Rulership by Emily Martha Sorensen | Joshua Robertson

Originally posted by Joshua Robertson:


As the daughter of a landowner, Raneh lives in a world of clearly defined roles and rules. She’s supposed to get married, gain status, become a landowner herself, and definitely not have magic. Seeing as it’s forbidden and all.
Too bad she has it anyway.
On top of that, a suitable courtship does not seem to be forthcoming, her younger brother is a social embarrassment, her younger sister is better at everything than she is, and . . .
And the Ruler’s coming to visit.

The Keeper and the Rulership Cover

Get Yours Today:

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612jde7ssxl-_ux250_
Emily Martha Sorensen writes clean fantasy for all age levels, and she doesn’t exactly follow the crowd. She has hair long enough to sit on (which she has no intention of cutti
ng; why do people keep asking her that?), she laughs loudly in public, she strikes up conversations with complete strangers, and she licks her plate at mealtimes — why wouldn’t you, when the food is good?
She has a ton of books, with more forthcoming. She also draws two comics: A Magical Roommate and To Prevent World Peace. You can read more about her at http://www.emilymarthasorensen.com.

Medieval Monday: The Labors of August | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


The most crucial labor in August was harvesting and threshing the rye and winter wheat, which would have to sustain the community through many months to come. August 1st began the feast of Lammas, when the first grain of the new harvest was consecrated and made into bread for the Eucharist. There would be more harvest celebrations yet to come in September and October, but Lammas celebrated its beginning, and was as much a symbol of the spiritual harvest as it was the physical.
SickleWheat was cut down with a sickle; a short handled tool with a curved blade. Those reaping the wheat would grasp a handful of it, well below the heads of grain, and cut the stems. They would be bundled into small sheaves at first, then into larger ones called shocks that could be left standing in the sun to dry out.  Once all of the grain had been harvested from the field, first the poor could come through and glean any fallen grain, then the livestock would be allowed to eat down the stalks and forage.
Long stretches of dry weather were extremely important for a good harvest. Too much damp weather could ruin the grain, or leave it tainted with ergot, a dangerous, toxic fungus that could do severe physical and neurological damage, causing hallucinations and paranoia. There has even been some speculation by historians correlating the most intense periods of witch hunting and inquisitions, with the worst outbreaks of ergot tainted food.
If grain could not be dried out in the sun, due to unseasonable weather or climates with damp or short growing seasons, grain dying kilns might be used. These were shaped much like regular medieval ovens, but larger, with well-constructed flues.
threshingOnce the grain stalks were dried out, the next task would be threshing and winnowing. This process separated the useful heads of grain, which could be made into flour, from the useless stalks and chaff that could not be eaten.
A flail was used to beat the wheat bundles, which shook loose the grain. If done outdoors, the chaff would naturally blow away on the wind—but it might also take some of the grain with it. Therefore, threshing was often done inside barns. This made it an activity that could continue through the fall, and even winter months if necessary.
I found this very short video that shows someone using a flail to separate grain from wheat stalks. There is even a portion of it where you can actually see the wind lifting away the chaff. The hand-crank machine he uses at the end is obviously not period, but everything before that is informative for those who want to see how this was done. Can you imagine doing this kind of labor for hours at a time, days on end? I would imagine it was a sweaty, back-breaking task in the August heat—with no possibility of a soothing shower at the end of the day!
Below that is the August video for Tales from the Green Valley. Sadly it’s their last month in the valley, but since I didn’t start with episode 1, I will keep posting them each month until I’ve gone through the entire year. They will stay in my Medieval Monday Index indefinitely, so those of you doing research can go back and find them at any time. In this episode they discuss cutting, drying, and bringing in the grain harvest, taking out the geese, making writing quills, duster brushes, and collecting goose down, making lights from rushes and animal tallow, and making a period goose meat pie.



Dominion Rising

Find the Science Fiction and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving! Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairytales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 23 all-new full-length novels set in fantastical realms.

Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to delight readers of speculative fiction.

Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses.

These award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling authors have left no stone unturned in the science fiction and epic fantasy universe to bring you the very best escape from planet Earth.

All the novels are available exclusively in the Dominion Rising collection.

Get it Today!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Locke and Keye by Christie Stratos | Joshua Robertson

Originally posted by Joshua Robertson:


Locke and Keye (Dark Victoriana Collection Book 2)

Coming September 7, 2017

 3D-LOCKE-AND-KEYE“Brothers in the art of keeping secrets.” This is the mantra Mr. Locke’s carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.
If you won’t tell them your name for Locke and Keye’s ledger, they’ll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it’s only a matter of time until they use it.
Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn’t even know exists.
How do the brotherhood and the town’s secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.

Unlock the second book in the Dark Victoriana Collection with Locke and Keye. 

As a standalone novel, Locke and Keye’s distinct characters and tense atmosphere create a dark Victorian experience that will stay with you after you turn the final page. As the book immediately following Anatomy of a Darkened HeartLocke and Keye leads the Dark Victoriana Collection in a whole new psychological direction while expanding familiar characters and scenes to continue the Whitestone legacy.

Pre-order today, read it September 7, 2017.


LOCKE AND KEYE PAPERBACK.png

Locke and Keye excerpt:

Matthew looked down at his interwoven fingers. “I wonder what Jude knows that we don’t,” he said.
John put the journal down and looked at Matthew. “I don’t want to know,” he said. “Being asked to follow someone? It seems a little…” John shook his head once and looked down at the journal again.
“Well it must be for a reason,” Matthew said. “Mr. Locke wouldn’t be part of anything underhanded, I’m sure.”
The corners of John’s mouth tightened. “I’m sure.”

Purchase Locke and Keye

Amazon


51vpsvvmxjl-_ux250_Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Locke and Keye, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.
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