Friday, May 23, 2014

RE: I Planted My Self-Published Book on Barnes & Noble's Shelves... And People Bought It

I imagine many writers by now have read this blog by Brendan Leonard, the author who walked into Barnes & Noble Bookstores and placed his book on their shelves to see if they would (or could) sell. I read it a few days ago and a friend of mine, knowing my passion, linked it to me yesterday. So, in my normal fashion, I let the content sit for a while as I mulled it over. After all, many are praising this as a unique and fantastic way to market your book and gain local attention. Sure, you lose a little money, but in the long-run, people will discuss your manuscript more openly, and may not even realize it's self-published.

To be honest, I'm waiting. Not just because Soulbound isn't done, but I would like to see what happens and how Barnes & Noble reacts to this. My boyfriend and I talked it over, and he thinks it might potentially be considered trespassing. If Barnes & Noble does consider it as such, the author could be looking at some major fines and potential lawsuits headed his way. If Barnes & Noble is fine with Mr. Leonard's actions (which, c'mon, they're getting essentially free money off the deal), then it could open up a new massive wave of opportunity for Indie and self-published authors everywhere.

Herein lies part of the problem. Authors are desperate to make money these days, and the self-publishing industry, in my mind, is likened to a gold rush of massive proportions. The first few who did it managed to make a fairly large name for themselves (Amanda Hocking, anyone?), and nearly the moment others realized how quickly they could make money, they jumped in. The self-publishing market became inundated with enormous amounts of poorly written literature, making it nearly impossible for those who have put the time and effort into polishing their novels to be noticed. That's okay, though, because like gold rushes in the past, human ingenuity fought back.

Businesses opened: Marketing firms, editing consultants, you name it. If it has to do with publishing, it's there. True, some of these firms are not as great as they could be, and a number of self-employed editors out there could use a brush up on their grammar (not all, but some), but this is how authors who are determined to write solid literature fought back.

That's okay, because Amazon and other online booksellers offer reviews, where customers can type out their thoughts and feelings after reading a novel. This helps weed out the poorly-written-just-because-I-wanted-a-quick-buck literature from the more professional, wonderfully written pieces. The problem I see, should Barnes & Noble allow authors to drop off their books at local book stores, is that readers have little way--other than reading the first few chapters of a book--to gauge the quality of the product they're receiving. I pray they will read a chapter or two of the book before they purchase, but it won't stop the same money-hungry people from deeming this a quick-fix to getting wealthy.

I feel that, should Barnes & Noble let this slide, they will be opening the gates for a new kind of flood, one which the company may not be prepared for. In a month or so, you'll see dozens of books on the shelves that you don't recognize...and then you'll watch as the staff, instead of assisting you, are busy trying to reel in the massive mess of books their company didn't want on their shelves.

Is this a nightmare scenario? Of course. Is it likely to happen? I don't see it not happening, to be honest. It won't cause massive chaos at first, of course. But human greed is rather overpowering, and I believe that if the same thing happens with Barnes & Noble stores as Amazon, we will soon be drowning in a sea of poorly written books--manuscripts that are, for lack of better words, written for no other purpose than to help the author get rich.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that, yeah, it would be amazing to make a great deal of money off of my manuscripts, but I doubt I ever will. My goal as a writer is to entertain, and to do so with well-written works and round, well thought-out characters. I don't go into this industry with the belief that I will be instantly wealthy, and I think most authors shouldn't, either. That's not how the world works.

So, I will sit back and observe, as I always do, before acting. I shall see what happens to this author, who is the first of his kind--but not the last--to place his work on a bookshelf without consent of the company. And I shall see whether or not a storm comes our way, and what happens then.

For now, Gremlins, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this most interesting article. I'd like to know what you foresee happening to the writing world due to Mr. Leonard's incredible and awesome actions (NOTE: Just because I may not jump on-board right away does NOT mean I don't applaud his ingenuity; this is the kind of motivation we self-published authors need to see, and need to have, in order to make our own way. This author realized no one would do it for him, so he had to try it himself).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Featured Book of the Week: Smokescreen by Tasha Lessey

Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:


Tasha Lessey

Author of the Urban Fantasy, Smokescreen

Book synopsis/description:

It starts in Washington when a lone gunman enters a busy burger chain and opens fire killing twenty five people. It continues in Paris, London, Sydney and Beijing. Authorities, including FBI agent Jack Rossi find no motive or any connection between the shootings causing fear and panic in the world’s major cities.

As Jack scrambles to get answers, he stumbles upon a secret world of hybrid humans, moles and a threat he never saw coming. One that could lead to the loss of an unprecedented number of lives. Including his own.

To purchase Smokescreen, please visit:

Short author bio:

Tasha Lessey is an avid cook and tennis fan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked as a teacher for many years. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors. She would love to hear from you! Connect with her at or tlessey(dot)author(at)

Excerpt of Smokescreen:

Lauren looked at herself critically in the mirror. The dress was all wrong. The slit of the emerald green dress came too far up her thigh and the square neckline revealed too much of her ample breasts. It was too sexy for an anniversary party. She reached for the side zipper and stepped out of the dress. She put it back on the hanger and went back to her closet. That was the third dress she tried on so far tonight.

Her eye came upon a sapphire sheath. She pulled it out and tried it on. The sheath was form fitting with a cowl neckline and was tapered in the waist emphasizing her hour glass figure. It was tasteful and classy; Georgina would approve. She twisted her hair into a chignon. The simple diamond studs she always wore looked a bit plain. Mrs. De Luca had given her a pair of large gold hoops for Christmas last year which she had never worn. She was tempted to put them on but she knew she couldn’t. The diamond studs were a gift from her father and she had promised him she would never take them off. The studs would have to do.

As she thought of Mrs. De Luca, the familiar pang of guilt gripped her heart. She was surrounded by people who were so good to her—Mrs. De Luca, Jack, Georgina, and yet she was lying to them all. Everything she had told them about her past was a lie. She had longed to be honest with them as she had never felt so accepted and loved in her life. Her father had loved her but it was always on his terms. Once she lived her life in a way he approved everything was fine. Otherwise the disappointed looks and cutting comments flowed freely.

Lauren sighed. She knew she couldn’t tell them the truth. It was too dangerous and even if they knew the whole story they wouldn’t believe her anyway. She better get going or she would be late. She slipped on her black high heeled round toe pumps and picked up a small jewel-encrusted clutch as well as her gift for the happy couple.

When she arrived at the party, Georgina greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. She looked stunning as usual, her petite figure perfectly showcased in a floor length, black strapless gown.

“Happy sixth anniversary!” Lauren said. As she handed Georgina her gift, she looked around the banquet hall. Georgina had done a superb job and the place looked fantastic.

“Thank you.”

“Where’s Tim?”

“He’s talking to his boss over by the bar.”

She glanced at the bar and saw Jack handing Stacey a drink. He leaned over to whisper something in her ear and she laughed. Lauren tried to squash the jealousy unfolding in her stomach and she kept the expression on her face casual. She looked at Georgina and smiled. “You’re radiating joy. I am so happy for you and Tim.”

“Thank you. You know Jack told me the same thing. I never thought I would see the day.”

“Jack is a bulldog when it comes to his family but he is a fair man.” So tell him the truth, her inner voice urged. If he could forgive Tim … She was so deep in thought she hadn’t noticed Tim had come up to them. He was waving a hand in front of her face.

“Lauren? Hello!” Tim said.

“Tim I am so sorry. My mind got distracted for a second.”

“I’ll say. It’s good to see you again,” he said laughing.

“Same here.”

Tim put his arm around Georgina. “Do you mind if I borrow my wife for a dance?”

“Of course not.”

Tim smiled and pulled Georgina to the dance floor.

Lauren saw Reena standing by the buffet table munching on some hors d’ oeuvres and walked over to talk to her. Reena was married to Jack’s brother Jay who was finishing off a tour of Iraq. “You look as uncomfortable as I feel,” she said.

“Well, I am not used to these situations.”

“Neither am I.”

“I saw the shooting on the news today. It’s so horrible. It reminded me of the suicide bombings back home. Are you and Jack working on the case?”

“Yeah, but let’s not talk about that. Tonight is a happy occasion.”

“It sure is when I get to see my favorite sister-in-law.”

At the sound of Jack’s voice, Lauren spun around and saw him behind her, a huge grin on his face. He hugged Reena and kissed her on the forehead. Reena blushed and smiled.

“I am your only sister-in-law. Jay sends his regards. I got a letter from him last week,” Reena said.

“Good to know.” Jack smiled and bopped his head to a song the band was playing.

“I love this jam. Any of you ladies care to dance?”

Reena took a step back and Lauren shook her head.

“Ah, come on,” he said.

“You know your favorite sister-in-law doesn’t like to dance. Lauren, he’s all yours.”

Jack grabbed Lauren’s arm and dragged her to the dance floor. He pulled her into his arms and started swaying to the music. Lauren tried to stay on beat. She’d often fantasized about being in Jack’s arms but it in a different scenario altogether. He twirled her around and from the corner of her eye she saw Stacey staring at them, her face contorted in jealousy. “I think you better get back to your date. She’s trying to kill me with her eyes.”

Jack threw back his head and laughed. He’s so handsome, Lauren thought. She itched to run her hands over his smooth jaw. He kept his face clean shaven which showcased his features perfectly. He had dark brown eyes, tan skin, full lips and contoured cheekbones. His short thick black hair was the envy of every woman in the office. It was shiny and full without the benefit of hours of salon treatments. If only things were different she might have had a chance with Jack. She sighed. If only she would stop thinking about the impossible.

Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Updated Look & New Pages to Come!

Hey, Gremlins! So I have a new look--which I completed about a week ago--and now, new tabs! Right now, the tabs are all empty, but over the next week or two, I plan to fill them with entertaining facts, interviews, and other neat things. I'll be more focused on finishing Soulbound, of course, but I want to have more than just a blog. This morning, I focused on designing a few shot glasses, and once I have the ability, I'll add them to the shop.

I'm also planning to include them in my book signings and raffle off sets of 2 during the signings. Sound fun? I hope so! I'm quite nervous and excited, but due to school (I'm doing a summer session to obtain my Paralegal Certification), it will be a while before I can stock up on more raffle prizes. I'll also be doing raffles on my Facebook, so you might want to follow me if you're not already! And let your friends know about the raffles, too, because the more people who enter, the more variety in prizes I'll offer.

Sorry for the short post, but I need to run and get ready for work. Take care, Gremlins!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Featured Book of the Week: Seeds of Discovery by Breeana Puttroff

Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:

Breeana Puttroff

Author of the YA Fantasy adventure, Seeds of Discovery, The Dusk Gate Chronicles Book One

Book synopsis/description:

The night Quinn Robbins nearly ran over a strange boy with her car, she didn't know that a simple almost-accident could change the way she sees everything.

She didn't know that curiosity could be so all-consuming that it would even follow her into her dreams.

And she didn't know that hiding in her town is a passage to an entirely different world, where she might just discover her destiny.

To purchase Seeds of Discovery, please visit

Short author bio:

Breeana Puttroff has loved making up stories since she could talk. For many years, her biggest audience for those stories was the fantastic students she had the privilege of teaching.

One summer afternoon, while she was picnicking in the beautiful mountains of her Colorado home with her little girl, she saw an old, broken stone bridge, and she just knew there was a story inside. Six months later, the Dusk Gate Chronicles was born.

These days, she runs a small business and writes from home while planning math lessons, digging caterpillars out of garbage disposals (oops!), discovering how to make new colors out of crayons melted in the dryer, and drinking lots of coffee (and occasionally tea).

She loves it when readers connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, especially if they have new recipes for disastrously good times with kids.

Breeana holds a B.A. in English from the University of Northern Colorado, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and Literacy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

You can learn more, and connect with other readers of The Dusk Gate Chronicles by visiting Her Facebook Page.

Follow Breeana on Twitter: @bputtroff

Visit the website at

Or, sign up for the newsletter to be the first to hear exclusive news, upcoming releases, character interviews, short stories, and more. Newsletter subscribers also have chances at fun prizes and Dusk Gate swag. Sign up here and visit Breeana on her Website.

Excerpt From Seeds of Discovery:

When she got to the driver’s side of the car, her heart nearly stopped. The person kneeling outside the car was him. The boy she’d almost run over. And now she knew who he was. William Rose. 

He was a senior at Bristlecone High School, a year older than she was. He must have been really running to get here before her. He was bent over the car’s driver, doing something. He’d pushed the seat back, getting the man away from the deployed airbag. 

“Did you call 911?” she asked. 

William stood up so quickly that he bumped his head on the door frame. When he looked up at her, she got the distinct impression that he wasn’t pleased to see her. 

“No I didn’t. I don’t have a phone.” 

He didn’t have a phone? What senior in high school didn’t have a phone with him at all times? 

“Doesn’t he? Somewhere in the car?” 

“I don’t know, Quinn. I was too busy trying to keep him from bleeding out to look yet.” 

As he spoke, he had already knelt back down in front of the driver, and now she could see that he was pressing a large piece of gauze just above the driver’s barely open eye. It was already soaked with blood. If the man was conscious, it wasn’t by much. A huge gash ran the length of his left arm, too, and blood dripped in little rivulets down past his wrist and to his fingers. 

A little queasy, she pulled her own phone out of her pocket and dialed 911. Quinn. He’d called her Quinn. She was standing here on the side of the road with an almost-unconscious tourist, and the thing that shocked her most was that William Rose knew her name.


Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Soulbound: Chapter One

With only a few weeks left until Soulbound's debut, I figured I should make an offer to the Internet gods and give you a sneak-preview of the first chapter! Now, Soulbound switches points of view throughout the book, and the POVs change from chapter to chapter (think George R.R. Martin's A song of Ice and Fire), but I hope that won't discourage you! If I get enough interest, I'll post part of Chapter Two next week...and do a partial chapter each week until the book is released. ;)

The strain on Eti’s back grew as he bolted through the forest. He darted between the trees, careful to hug the shadows lest sunlight sear his skin. Every breath tasted of blood and tore at his throat, but he couldn’t rest. To stop was to die.

He tripped on a rock, and his face struck the hard earth. The sheathed blade at his side rammed him in the ribs, and he moaned. Had the sword not been enchanted, he would have left it behind months ago. Most ekra had little use for physical weapons, for in the stead of blades and firearms, they battled with magic.

The smell of pine mulch wafted from the ground, turning bitter under the dry scent of dawn. He lay still for a moment, gasping as adrenaline pulsed through his limbs. It begged him to rise, to stagger to his feet and flee the blinding sun, but sharp pain sprang up his leg the moment he shifted.

He groaned as he struggled to his feet. His ankle had been sprained, no doubt, and he sent part of his blood-mite to his foot rather than take time to tend to the wound. Skin and muscle tingled, and the slightest of twitches strummed along his leg as his blood-mite worked.

Blood-mites, masses of congealed, living blood, served as the circulatory system for all ekra, and took residence under their decaying skin, amongst their magic-infused muscles. No ekra could live without a blood-mite, for they couldn't breathe, heal, digest or move unless the mite assisted.

The mite split apart and slipped through his veins, using them as a highway to reach the affected area. The numb tingling of his skin built as agony lessened, and though his foot was not healed, the temporary relief would have to do.

The sun continued to rise, growing brighter and stronger, and the oncoming heat of dawn stabbed through the trees, a warning that sunlight would soon devour his flesh if he didn't find shelter. The way the breeze changed—a sudden shift in temperature, from the cool of evening to the dryness of daylight—sent a thrill of terror through him.

Eti tested his wounded ankle and, pleased at his mite’s work, sprinted on, ignoring small snaps of pain each time his injured foot struck the hard ground.

Just ahead was a clearing, but morning light already swathed the grass and shrubbery within. He swerved to evade it and slammed into a tree, his entire right side numbing from the impact. He lost his footing and rolled down a hillside, smashing into saplings and rocks, his sheathed scimitar jabbing him. Loose sod crumbled in his fingers as he scrabbled for handholds.

As he rolled, his gaze caught the white light of dawn in short glimpses. The sun had risen. His time was up.

He grasped a sapling with a three-fingered, mold-mottled hand, and long, yellowed nails dug into the tree's soft bark. Dirt and rocks tumbled past him, and when dawn’s rays touched his hand, he bit back a cry of agony. The golden light seared his knuckles, peeling flesh away like singed paper.

Seconds later he gained his feet and ran again, cradling his wounded hand as the mite slid into his burnt digits. He tried not to look at the gleaming white bone. The blood-mite lurched, sick from the pain and reek of charred flesh, and his skin bubbled and swelled where the mite worked.

Krávaldîn lie ahead. All he had to do was survive long enough to cross the field beyond the tree line, and he would be safe—at least as safe as an ekra could be in a city such as Krávaldîn. Less than two days ago, bandits had taken his cloak, his only protection against the searing anger of the sun, and they’d been tracking him since. Ekra souls won a high price in illegal trade. Most ekra were safe within amüli cities, where thieves rarely ventured for fear of the law, and Krávaldîn was his only chance for survival—his only chance to find the one.

No other way but to run through the light. If I die, so be it, but I cannot hide away another day with them on my trail. They would find me, even in the forest.

Eti cleared the trees and launched forward. In the open, he was free to use magic, to speed through the grasses and shrubbery, and he cast a quick spell, calling upon the gods to aid him in his race for life. Magical heat surged through his legs, empowering them. Sunlight nipped his flesh, but red walls of stone marbled with white stood less than a quarter-mile away. So close. He was so close. The gates loomed, mammoth in size, yet miniscule compared to the wall of sheer rock that encircled three-quarters of the city.

He struck the gates and shrieked for help as he pounded against the stone.

Two amüli guards swooped from above, their wings thumping against the cold morning air as they descended. Eti clawed at the wall of rock as sunlight bubbled his skin. Flesh popped, sizzled, and smoked, and the fumes of his burning body fogged his thoughts, pain whipping through his form as he sank to the ground.

"Let me in!"

"Open the gates!" roared an amüli.

A loud boom reverberated through the air. Ropes and chains creaked as the gates groaned open, showering the ekra with red dust, and the moment a gap appeared, he squeezed into the shadow of the city wall. Sweat rolled along his brow and between two short horns kissed with dried blood.

The two amüli slipped into the city behind him. Soft and fleshy, the amüli were bipedal creatures, and feathered wings trembled at their backs. Narrowed eyes gazed at him, and they narrowed even farther as he panted on the ground. It was hard to believe these weak-looking creatures made up the strongest country in the world.

Their cities, towns, and settlements blanketed the Northern provinces, and grew larger by the year. They were an infection, a scourge the ekra wished to see fall from power. In addition to their numbers and military prowess, these creatures’ history of violence toward his people surfaced in his mind. Countless had fallen to their greed and expansion, and the ekra clans retreated further and further south, until many lost contact with their sisters and brothers. Those on the eastern continent had not been heard from in decades.

The bastards.

Still, they had let him into the city rather than leave him out to burn to death, which was something he should be happy at, he supposed. Recent years had seen fewer ekra deaths behind amüli walls, but only due to the treaty forcing the Amüli Republic to offer shelter to all ekra who asked it.

"I need your papers, necromancer," said the guard, and he shifted his weight from foot-to-foot.

Necromancer—only an amüli could call an ekra that and make it sound like a curse. Their detestable attitude and inherent belief in their superiority had become a common encounter for Eti of late, yet he considered what a queer sight he must be, with his bluish, moldy flesh and black, pit-like eyes. Two horns jutted from his forehead, crusted with old blood, which cracked and popped, seared like cooking fat from the sunlight. His nails were long, sharp, and yellowed from age, his skin tough and leathery, sewn together with black thread, and gaping pus-filled wounds speckled his arms, neck, chest, and face where the slabs of flesh met.

Yes, he must've looked like an abomination. Many had treated him as such.

Now wasn't the time to debate appearances, though, nor could he rebuke their insults. The two nations kept to a tenuous alliance, and the slightest offense could trigger a war neither could afford. No, better for him to remain low, act the servant, and pray for a quick entry to Krávaldîn. Goddess knew he couldn't face the sunlight again.

Eti withdrew a set of documents from his ribs. Like many ekra, his ribs were covered in the barest film of flesh, and within the cage lived his blood-mite. Dozens of glittering chains of various alloys were strung between his ribs. "Please hurry. I need to find a place to rest."

The guard smiled as he took the papers, revealing white, rounded teeth. "From the Southlands, eh, necromancer?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"I see you’re on official business."


"Looking for something?"

He grimaced in irritation while his mite squirmed at the question, but the symbiont went about its work, trying to heal the boils covering his body. Flesh twined together, stitching tighter and tighter, and he didn't need to look to know that the swelling of his ankle lessened with each passing second, that scabs covered his burnt knuckles, shoulders, and back. Strength returned slowly to his weak leg, like the thawing of a numbed limb, and the ekra straightened. Fully erect, Eti stood a head and a half higher than most amüli.

The guards stepped back and one licked his lips.

"Looking for something, necromancer?" the first asked again, an edge to his tone as he reached for a small, alien weapon at his side.

Necromancer, indeed. "I am on sabbatical." The lie flew from his tongue, just as it had in every other amüli town.

Despite the weapon’s compact size, Eti did not wish for the amüli to draw the firearm. Guns, they call them. Tales of these pistols had flowed southward after an amüli raid on a neighboring clan further north. Since then, many ekra had left their hunting grounds, Eti included, though he had not run in fear.

Some months ago, an elder ekra had come across his clan during their trek north for the summer months and warned them that he had met an amüli with the intent of drawing a goddess, Matrisk, onto the mortal plane. Gods and goddesses could only touch Inrugia, the world of the ekra and amüli, for brief spurts, and only when the Inrugians cast magic.

If what this travelling ekra claimed was true and an amüli sought to bring Matrisk to Inrugia, the resulting destruction could end everything. Matrisk was the goddess of flesh, the source of offensive magic and self-destruction, whereas Ilandere-karais embodied the neutral source. To stop the tipping of power, he and dozens of other young ekra sojourned across Inrugia to find the vessel, the ekra through whom Ilandere-karais could come to the mortal world without shattering it, and end this amüli’s mad dream.

When he’d reached the castle of Ozenrik some weeks before, the ruling amüli lord had demanded to know his business. It was a mistake to answer honestly, for word of his sojourn could spread and the one he sought might flee into hiding. He had succumbed, though, and explained that he searched for an ekra of the Avi caste—a caste reserved to the few ekra who could bind with a god. The amüli lord had asked little else but gold from him before releasing him.

"Ah," the guard murmured, scratching his chin. Hair grew from his face, and that paired with his fleshy features looked so alien. He marked Eti’s papers with a seal, allowing the ekra within the city walls. "Well, welcome to Krávaldîn. How long will you be staying?"

"No more than a week."

"Good. Get going."

Eti took his papers before dashing along the edge of the wall, staying within the deepest shadows. And that was when the enchanted blade at his side reacted for the first time.

He shivered at the vibrations. They were slight, but strong enough to bring him to a stop. He tightened his grip around the hilt, the cool metal easing the warmth of burnt flesh from his aching fingers. Before Eti had left the Southlands, his elder and mentor, Sha’eti, had cast a spell on the blade, explaining that it would only tremble if the goddess’s vessel dwelled within range of the weapon.

Joy mingled with shock; after months of scouring every amüli castle, town, and city, after leaving his sibling and his clan behind to seek someone who might not even exist, and after all but losing hope, the spell on the scimitar had triggered. Only one other place resulted in the slightest reaction from the blade, and that had turned out to be a false positive.

Two months ago, outside of the amüli hub of Reaivyk, the City of Knives, he had expected to find the Avi ekra hiding in the Lacefields. The gigantic blades of obsidian that pierced the air offered the shelter and anonymity the Avi might seek. For weeks he scoured the hellish landscape, and still nothing more came from his sword—no trembling, no reaction of any kind.

Of all places, though, the Avi was here, in the amüli capital, the largest city in the world, a place where anyone could find it—and a place where everyone might overlook it. Eti crouched beside the wall and closed his eyes. The last place I expected to find it, yet here the Avi lives. I have reached the end of my sojourn at last.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Soulshifter: Part One Cover Reveal!

While Soulbound has been taking MUCH longer to finish than I expected (it was supposed to be released last month on the 25th...well, I'll aim for THIS month on the 25th...), I do have some fun news! Last month, I received the cover for The Soulshifter: Part One, the first part in my very first serial novel!

For those who are curious, here is a synopsis for The Soulshifter:
Syncrel is a bounty hunter, one of the best in the Amüli Republic, and she’s been hired by her paramour and High Lord, Nicholas Rybredel, to track down an amüli accused of stealing souls. His kind are called Soulshifters, and their danger comes from more than just their ability to rip a soul from its human host on Earth--Soulshifters are widely-known magic casters, and magic is illegal in the Reublic.

To capture her bounty, Syncrel teams up with a local of Nabrevoi--the Republic’s north-most city--who calls himself Eblyn. Though she has little trust toward him, his is the only lead she has, and she follows him into the desolate wasteland of the Maervydoi Mountains to find her quarry. Not only is she travelling with a man she knows nothing about while searching for a felon, she’s doing it in the most dangerous and isolated part of the amüli world--the frozen Avdenavhin.

The plan for The Soulshifter is to have five parts released over five months, and Part One will be released the month after Soulbound's publication. While The Shoulshifter is being released, I'll also be working on the sequel to Soulbound, The Soulless King. Of course, I have no idea how long The Soulless King will take to write, but I'm aiming to release it around Christmas. No promises, though, because I know it will be longer than Soulbound, which is sitting at a fat 165,777 words right now, and will probably come close to 166,000 words by the time it's done. My guess is that The Soulless King will hit 175,000 who knows. The Soulshifter will be much shorter, reaching a rough 50,000 words (it's a serial novel and a spin-off of the main, yeah. Shorter!).

I have a special attachment to the main character of The Soulshifter...mostly because Syncrel is pretty kick-ass, but not only that, she doesn't conform to a lot of the female achetypes in the Fantasy genre. True, there are strong women out there in Fantasy (Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire, just to name one of the most bad-ass women out there), but Syncrel is someone I hope most women reading the manuscript can identify with. She has a lover, but he's married and from a higher House than hers, so they can never be together as anything more than paramours. She realizes this and doesn't let it rule her life; she doesn't need a man to be happy, but she's happy to keep one around if she wants to have fun. Though her partner out in the wilderness is a man and there is sexual tension, she doesn't rely on him to solve her problems, and actually rescues him a number of times. She's a hero, and she knows how to take care of herself.

At any rate, I'm excited to reveal, at long-last, the cover for The Soulshifter: Part One, which was created by the amazingly talented Mallory Rock of Mallory Rocks Art, Graphic Art & Book Cover Design.

Pretty, huh? I like it, and Mallory did an amazing job of keeping a similar feel with the Soulbound cover without making this one feel like a sequel. She and I talked at length about the colors, and the size of the bird, positioning, and why she chose the background she did, etc. I'm quite pleased with it, because it reflects the cold and isolation of the Maervydoi Mountains, where the novel takes place. The novel is set during winter, too, so the icy white, grays, and blue really add to that feeling.

One of the major problems we ran into is that The Soulless King will have a similar color pallet; each of the eight books from the Soulbound series will have a different High House's sigil and colors for the theme. Soulbound is based on the Aneys House, whose banner is a golden eagle looking right upon a field of sanguine, so the colors Mallory chose were, of course, red and gold. The banner of the Rybredel House, the House featured for the cover of The Soulless King, is a silver crow clutching a snake, wings spread, on a field of dark blue...and for The Soulshifter, I wanted cooler colors, which are, of course, blue and gray. Mallory didn't want the covers to be confused, especially since the bird on The Soulshifter (a yellow-billed hornbill) looks a lot like a crow. I think she did a fantastic job of making sure the two covers won't get confused!

Okay, enough gushing for now. I need to get back to work--Soulbound won't finish itself! I hope everyone likes the newest addition to The Amüli Chronicles cover collection, and I look forward to any feedback you might have!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Featured Book of the Week: Week Five: Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley

Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:


A.W. Exley

Author of the Steampunk Adventure, Nefertiti's Heart

Book synopsis/description:

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty's Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti's Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

To purchase Nefertiti's Heart, please visit

Short author bio:

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita's life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and chickens.

You can visit Anita on her website or on Facebook.

Excerpt from Nefertiti's Heart

The blinds, drawn over the carriage windows, concealed the occupant. She stared at the open door, debating her course of action. This development wasn't unexpected; in fact, she invited it. But his timing was annoying. She had things to do and no desire to be in London any longer than necessary. Picking up the corner of her skirts, she stepped into the carriage and took the bench seat facing backward. The Villainous Viscount, known in society as Nathaniel Trent, Viscount Lyons, occupied the opposite side.

Cara guessed him to be approaching thirty, young for his position in the underworld, but he had spent ten years ruthlessly climbing to the top. He was reputed to be the head underworld figure in London and beyond. His family had no fortune to match their titles, so he set about acquiring one. With a formidable head for business, he established an airship cargo company. It generated a healthy income stream on its own, plus had the added benefit of providing an excellent front for his illegal activities, and extended his reach far beyond London. He simultaneously repulsed and attracted society. He was titled, rich, bad to know, and deadly to cross.

And he's handsome.

He was tall, his legs taking up an inordinate amount of room in the plush carriage. Her eyes ran up over highly polished, black boots and muscular thighs. Heading farther north, she took in his powerful torso in a formfitting, grey frock coat. He wore his black hair short and his sideburns narrow and long, emphasising his strong face and square jaw. A shiver ran down her spine as she met his steel-blue gaze.

"You shot my men."

At least he got straight to the point, no inane social niceties. She would never have to worry about inviting him over for tea, crumpets, and chitchat.

"They were trespassing in my house and tried to rob me." She undid the buttons on her jacket. The interior of the carriage constricted around her; the heat from his dominating presence caused the temperature to rise.

"I've killed men for doing less." His tone was well modulated, with no change in inflection nor any hint of anger; they could have been discussing the weather.

"So have I." She held his gaze. She could play his pissing contest all day if he wanted. He wasn't getting his hands on her father's notebook. Lord Devon sold her into slavery and nearly beat her to death when she escaped. Her father owed her a large debt, and with his notebook secure, she intended to collect a small portion of her due. She was going to enjoy breaking up his valuable collection of antiquities as much as she enjoyed smashing his stupid, precious clock.

"Keep your men out of my house, unless you want to lose them permanently." She shifted on the seat. Her jacket fell open to reveal the shoulder holster with the gun nestled close to her chest. A custom Smith and Wesson with a carved ivory handle, the delicacy of the bone co-ordinated with the cream silk lining of her jacket. She made her threat without blinking. Let him discover she was no blushing English rose. She had thorns.


Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

You Telling Me the Birds in Your World Don't Poo Little Pillow Cases?

I refuse to let this depression monster get me down, which is why, beginning tonight, I'm changing everything about my life. Well, almost everything. I'll still be living where I'm at, but I'm changing my daily routine during the week, because I refuse to be stuck inside all day, letting life pass me by.

I'll wake at seven o'clock every morning--no more sleeping until ten or eleven just because I have "nothing to do" (that's bullshit, I have TONS to do). After breakfast, I'll apply for as many jobs as I can, then head to the gym at ten o'clock and do my weight-lifting routine; that usually takes about an hour, so I'd be home around eleven for lunch. Huh. Notice how instantly I'll have accomplished more by eleven than I would just by sleeping in? Yeah. And I'm pretty sure this will also make me feel more accomplished, which usually helps in my case of depression. After lunch, I'll stroll over to a local brewery with my laptop, order up a brew or two, and work on Soulbound and other books of The Inrugian Chronicles. Sometime around three or four, I'll walk home, cook dinner, and enjoy time with my beau before we hit the gym for cardio.

This will be my new routine until I find a job, and I think it will help me a lot--not only to keep myself from being depressed, but to give myself focus and a purpose. Part of my depression--and this isn't true of everyone--stems from sitting at home trying to write all day. I crave structure, and I always have, even as a child. Without structure to my life, I fall apart, because in my mind, everything has no purpose, and where purpose lacks, so does the drive to do anything productive. I'd rather spend my time giving myself purpose than letting my life drift away. True, I have a lot of work to do before Soulbound is 100% ready, but it will never be complete if I don't give it my all.

I'm glad I made this decision, and to be honest, I hope I can implement it. I tend to get lazy in the mornings, but if I remind myself that doing this long enough will give me a sense of purpose, then I'll be able to get motivated enough to move forward and get my life in gear. =) And for that...I'm happy.

Featured Book of the Week: Week Four: The Coming Storm by Valerie Douglas

Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here:


Valerie Douglas

Author of the Epic Fantasy, The Coming Storm

Book synopsis/description:

Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.

Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.

To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

To purchase The Healer's Legacy, please visit

Short author bio:

Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors in almost every genre she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and, as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance.

Happily married, she's companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

You can visit Valerie on her website at

Excerpt from The Coming Storm

Ailith glanced back once as she rode away, the Named sword and the bow bound in their wrappings once again.

Even in motion Dorovan wasted no energy, he moved smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. He’d taught her some of that as well, the meditations Elves used to keep themselves centered in the world. In many ways he was like the uncle she’d never had, or an older brother. It was that kind of a closeness. There were a thousand lessons he’d taught her that had little and everything to do with what he taught her about the sword and the bow. The Elven concepts of Honor, their language, patience, stillness, more. She couldn’t name them all.

He was gone through the trees in that long, steady lope he’d told her Elves could maintain for days. She’d never told him of mornings she’d spent in the gray light of dawn running through the hills to test her own legs to see if she could run as he did. There was a joy in it, in the feel of muscles moving, of setting a pace that took you over hills and through valleys. She didn’t do it often now, not any more.

With a pang, she wished she could call him back. She couldn’t. She’d been gone for some days now, visiting her grandmother. It was a long ride home, and she dreaded what she would find there.

The breeze cooled her face, drying the sweat.

It didn’t cool her fevered thoughts, which crowded back now she was alone.

High on a distant hill she caught a glimpse of some of the Woodsmen she thought, riding along the edge of a wood. She wondered if Gwillim were among them but she didn’t see his familiar head. He’d taken a group of Hunters up into the east highlands, as there had been many reports of things from the borderlands coming across up there. These, though, seemed to have no urgency to them, no air of alarm. Nothing for her to worry about, then, simply the usual patrol. Home.

She’d never thought that at any time in her life she would dread going there, but she did.


It was like wading along the familiar shore of the river only to find a sharp stone awaiting unseen beneath the murky water. One false step and there would be pain. Her mother, usually a cool, calming presence, had become a shadow. There was a puzzled worry in her eyes on the rare occasions Ailith did see her. Else she stayed in her rooms or wandered through the small library off the great room like a ghost. She wouldn’t speak of what worried her though Ailith had tried. Selah looked drained and tired, as if she didn’t sleep well these days.

Nor did Ailith often of late. Odd dreams troubled her sleep, some she could remember, some she couldn’t. Often it was of lying frozen in her bed, unable to move, while something terrible stood just outside the door listening to her breathe. She feared it, that unknown presence, feared the shadow that fell on the space beneath the door cast by the torch outside her room. Firmly, she thrust those thoughts behind her.

She should have told Dorovan, he would’ve known whether her fears were groundless or not. She could still tell her grandmother. Not today, it was too late to go back now. It would be some days before she could arrange another visit. She thought maybe her mother might have said something but there’d been no sign of it. Her grandmother Delae, that firm practical lady, would know whether she was being foolish or not. But she was her mother’s mother and it felt as if Ailith were betraying her parents by speaking of it.

Dorovan she could have told.

For all his friendship with her grandmother – she knew it was more than that but it was a good enough description – he wouldn’t betray her secrets unless he felt she should speak. In some ways for her, he was a neutral party.

It didn’t matter, that chance was lost until the next time he came. That could easily be months. Once it had been almost a year. A short time in the long lives of Elves.

Her horse clattered up the causeway. The gates were open as they often were during the day. The sun wasn’t too low on the horizon – it still cast a warm golden glow. A stable boy came up to take her horse, which she gave up gratefully and with a smile.

“Thank you, Gellin,” she said, softly.

“I’ll walk ’im a bit for you, miss,” Gellin said, ducking his head.

A bellow startled them both. “Get out!”

Stunned, horrified, her package cradled in her arms, Ailith spun as Gellin flinched.

She knew that voice. It was her father’s voice. But he never shouted.

There he was, though, standing between the entryway doors. His face was red, nearly purple. She’d thought her shock couldn’t be greater than when she’d heard him shout. She was wrong. This couldn’t be her father, this red-faced furious figure in the doorway. It couldn’t.

He couldn’t be shouting at Tanith. He couldn’t.

Tanith had been chatelaine at Riverford since before Ailith was born. In all her years Ailith had never seen her father like this, so angry. She hadn’t known him capable of it.

All around people stopped to stare, sharing her bewilderment.

Tanith backed away from the doors in the face of Geric’s fury, then finally she broke and fled, her skirts flying as she ran for the gates. Her hands were at her face, and Ailith could tell she was weeping.

Past shock, Ailith was sick at heart as her father reached out for the doors on either side and drew them shut with a bang.

“Gellin, take the horse into the stables and brush him down until he’s cool. Go quietly, lad.”

Somehow, she didn’t think the storm that was her father had passed. Rather than face that uncertain wrath herself she slipped into the castle through the kitchen entrance.

The cooks all stood frozen, their eyes on the door to the castle interior. They looked frightened. The head cook looked at Ailith with a shaken expression. Ailith shook her head at the unasked question. She didn’t know either.

Swiftly, she ran up the back stairs with her precious gifts cradled in her arms. When she reached her rooms, she thrust them beneath her bed where they would be safe. Why she felt they wouldn’t be safe in her own home didn’t occur to her. She only knew she had to hide them.

Relieved, she sat on her bed and then realized with fresh fear that someone stood outside the open door. Cold alarm washed through her.

It was her mother.

Arms clasped around herself, her eyes wide and staring, Selah stood at the top of the stairs and listened to the brooding, waiting silence below as Ailith did. She was more of a ghost than ever, dressed in a gauzy gray that matched her eyes, she was like a shadow.

A softly held breath slowly escaped her.


Each week authors can submit one book for a chance to be the featured book of the week, and each week one book/author will be selected at random. The winning book each week will be featured on, multiple book blogs, and social media platforms from various sources.

Are you an author? Would you like your book to be the next Featured Book of the Week? Check out all the details and entry form here: