Stories that Sever the Shadows

Things look a bit different around here and on my social networks today! I’m refreshing the look, with a new author tagline – Stories that Sever the Shadows.

While I liked my former tagline, “Bringing Joy to the Journey,” it felt too shallow to me. It didn’t dig deep into the marrow of why I do what I do. I want to sever shadows! I want my stories to pierce the shade so that journeys through the dark can have joy and hope.

While ideally they are comforting in their own ways, I don’t aim to write books that pat you tritely on the head and keep you comfortable, but rather fierce, intense tales that grip you, impact you, and inspire you toward victory and triumph.

Exciting changes and news!

I also have some more exciting news coming. 😀 My first email newsletter goes out on Thursday September 21st! Subscribers will get the earliest glimpse of my graphic and prompts for the upcoming #WIPjoy, and in this letter I’ll also talk about my current writing projects and my plans for the near-future…as well as some exciting new opportunities to connect, see sneak peeks, and maybe win giveaways. 😀

Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss it! Sign up here by clicking the linked image below:

What do you think of the new tagline? Does it describe my writing well for you? Let me know in the comments! 😀

Author Updates: Realm Makers 2017, New Author Services, and Simmering Mind Designs Raffle Winner!

After a long night of flying, I’m back from another amazing Realm Makers conference!

Last year when I went to the conference in Philly, I was struggling as an author. I had just put away my trilogy and was floundering deep in that fresh heartbreak. I was working on a new project, but aware my heart wasn’t fully in it. And I was only beginning to unravel some of the intense soul-challenges God had planned for me over my identity and motivations as an author. But I went away from RM2016 refueled, encouraged, and uplifted, more confident in my calling than ever before.

As I expected, that was true of RM2017 as well.

Strangely, my trilogy haunted me all weekend, ever since getting on the plane to Reno. After several months of supernatural peace about it, that’s a bit unusual. I’m again praying for guidance on when to return to it, but so far God’s answer remains “wait.” And I’m still processing how to apply some of the new insights I gained through this conference.

But I had wonderful times of fellowship with friends, and enjoyed some fantastic classes from authors such as Mary Weber, Jim Rubart, Lisa Mangum, and Robert Liparulo. It was so good to meet so many fantastic people for the first time and to reunite with good friends!! And although I didn’t agree with everything in his speeches, keynote speaker Ted Dekker was fascinating, with some really good heart-hitting insights as well.

And I was blessed to wear the “Published” banner on my name tag this year! – bearing testament to the fact that I’ve put out two short stories in the past year. It may feel sometimes like I’ve been spinning my wheels, but I have truly been moving forward in my writing, and I’m so thankful for Threadbare and Dragon Lyric and those who have read and loved them.

Vendor Table

It was also exciting to attend as a full-fledged businessperson with a vendor table. I had Simmering Mind Designs shirts and tote bags for sale, as well as paperbacks of my short stories and prints of the painting on Dragon Lyric’s cover.

Before I launch into some of the other news I have to share, I’d like to mention here that there are still some shirts and art prints left!

These shirts were a custom batch from a local printer, so they’re slightly different from the ones in my Society6 shop, and I’m selling them at the lower conference cost of $22, which will include shipping (although if you’re international you may have to pay for the shipping on that).

If you’re interested in purchasing a shirt or one of the art prints of Roth and Theryn ($18 shipped), please contact me using the contact form at the bottom of this post!

I have varying sizes and colors for these three designs:

  • “Pardon my vacant stare – my mind is another world” (blue, gray, and black)
  • “Ask me about my imaginary friends” (gray and purple, women’s sizes only)
  • “I create worlds – what’s your superpower?” (blue, gray, and black)

Raffle Winner

As those of you who went to Realm Makers may know, that purple bucket on my table was for entries in a giveaway (and signups for my newsletter). I’m excited to announce that the winner of the giveaway was Jamie Foley, who chose a paperback for her prize. Congratulations, Jamie!! You are such a delightful person and I’m so glad I got to meet you at RM! 😀

Author Services Changes

And last but not least, I’d like to announce some changes to my author services page. Due to the busyness of this season of life, I have chosen to step back from line and content editing to focus more on proofreading and one of my other longtime loves – graphic design! I am still offering blurb help, definitely. But I am adding a few new things to my repertoire, so if you’d like help with polishing your work and showing it off to the world with graphics, edited synopses, etc., please check out my author services page – I’d love to work with you! 🙂

Current pricing (click HERE for more info on all services and examples of my design work):

  • Blurb Writing: $25
  • Promo Graphics: $15 each
  • Social Media Headers: $15 each
  • One-Sheet Design and Edit: $30
  • Synopsis, Proposal, or Query Edit: $25 and up – contact me for a free evaluation and price quote
  • Proofreading: $0.0035/word ($350 for a 100,000 word novel) – minimum cost $15

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in buying a shirt or art print! I can also ship signed paperbacks. 🙂

Dragon Lyric is HERE!

At long last, Dragon Lyric has released!! *throws confetti* Yay!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen me post awhile back that my release had been delayed. Turns it out was delayed by about a month – this story required so much more thought and time than I had initially expected. But it’s all the richer for it, I hope!

I admit that this story is a bit scary to put out there, for me. It’s dark, it’s intense, and the ending has proven divisive for beta readers. It also hits on mature themes I never imagined writing about, like spousal abuse and divorce. Because of those things I haven’t labeled it YA like I did Threadbare (it would probably be appropriate for most YA readers, but as always, I advise parents to check it out before giving to teens, especially younger teens 🙂 ).

But Dragon Lyric is a story of triumph, of fierceness, and of rebellion against despair. I believe these things and the themes the story contains are vital, and I am so excited to finally share this little book with the world.

In a couple of days, Amazon should merge these two pages into one, but for now you can buy it in paperback HERE and as an ebook HERE.

Stay tuned for more author/editor news, coming soon!

The Girl Who Could See Blog Tour – Stop #6!

Do you see this gorgeousness?

Would you believe me if I told you the inside of this book is even more gorgeous than the outside? 😉

A few months ago I became online friends with Kara Swanson, a sweet and inspiring young woman who grew up as a child of missionaries in Papua New Guinea. She asked if I was interested in beta reading her novella, The Girl Who Could See. At the time, being pretty busy, I was going to decline by default (I almost never beta read these days), but then she sent me the premise…

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

….Yeah, there’s no way I was gonna say no to that. 😉

And the story did not disappoint! I read it basically in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down! So intense, heart-rending, and inspiring. It has earned a place among my favorite books. 🙂

Interview with Kara Swanson

Today I am excited to share an interview with Kara as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of The Girl Who Could See!

So glad to have you on the blog, Kara! In what ways do you relate to your main character, Fern – and to Tristan, her so-called imaginary friend?

Great question!

Haha I relate to Fern in a lot of ways. We both can’t drive because of debilitating health issues. For her, she has “psychosis.” I’m fighting Lyme Disease (a sickness you get from a tick bite. Among many other symptoms, I have a lot of memory/processing issues. So driving is very hard). We’re both fiercely determined – grab onto something and won’t let go. We both are a bit sarcastic. We both have younger people in our charge that we’d die for (my siblings–especially my 10 year old sister, Kylie. For Fern, her niece Elinore). We both see the world in a different way, and live trapped between two worlds. (Though for me, it’s because I grew up outside the U.S., not seeing a parallel world. 😛 )

Tristan – I get what it’s like to be alone. To sometimes feel invisible. We both have a very outgoing personality/snarky wit. And I like to think, given the chance, I’d have his courage. <3 

I’d love to hear more about your life as a missionary kid. What are some ways growing up in Papua New Guinea influences your writing and the themes you like to write about?

Oh, there’s so many ways my childhood overseas impacted my writing. A few of the big ones, though…I had a very vivid imagination. We didn’t have internet or cable TV. No roads or stores. So I would keep myself entertained with make-believe friends and adventures. Climbing trees, hiking to unique jungle vistas, shooting with a bow and arrow, raising exotic pets, etc. And reading – I read a lot! Anything I could get my hands on. Fantasy was my favorite – especially Narnia. I could relate with kids dropped into a unique world. I loved the whimsical elements.

So, after a while of telling myself and my siblings and some of our friends stories about unique words and exotic creatures, I started writing them down. It just sort of took off from there! 🙂

Can you tell us a little about your next project? Where are you going from here?

I have about six novels in the works. Some of in really good shape, some are in the rewriting stage, others are just starting to be put on paper. I can get a solid draft done in a few months, though, so they’ll all meet the world here soon!

Now that TGWCS is officially into the world, I’m working on a novel called Skyridge. First book in a trilogy about a girl whose father is a fallen angel. She’s kind of an antihero, born with a dark heritage and destiny to destroy the world – but not sure if that’s truly what she wants. It’s her journey to trading freedom in the darkness for bondage in the light. Of changing sides in this war she was born into and escaping to the very beings she’s been taught to hate: the angels.

What’s one of the things you hope readers will take away from reading The Girl Who Could See?

To have a blind faith that sees beyond the now. The circumstances that weigh us down. The darkness that may threaten to drown us. A faith that trusts in something so much bigger – so much more – than what we can see around us. To find hope in the most dismal place, and to fight for a love that won’t let go. To embrace the impossible. 🙂

Thank you so much Bethany for having me on your blog! I so enjoyed this little interview <3 

Thank you so much for being here, Kara!! 😀

Blog Tour Scavenger Hunt Clue

Kara is giving away 5 signed paperbacks of the book to those who find all the clues from the blog tour! Here is the clue for my post:

Check out these other stops on the blog tour to collect all the clues! Next stop HERE!

Connect with Kara

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Buy the Girl Who Could See HERE on Amazon!

Find Kara online at karaswanson.com

Facebook: Kara Swanson, Author

Twitter: @kara_author

Instagram: @karaswanson_author

Dragon Lyric: Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek!

As some of you know, I’m preparing to release another short story, a high fantasy tale called Dragon Lyric. It was originally part of the larger collection of shorts I’m compiling, but it grew to have a presence of its own that demanded to be shared individually.

Dragon Lyric releases a month from now, June 22nd!

Today I’m officially introducing it to the world: not just sharing what it’s about and a sneak excerpt, but also its gorgeous face cover – done by talented artist Julia Busko. 😀

First thing’s first!

About the story…

Her husband is a dragon. And the dragon is hungry.

Drawn by his allure, Theryn left everything behind to live with Roth in his mountain cave. But then her fiery-eyed husband transformed into something else: a monster of scales, claws, and wings. The dragon has only one use for her—to bear his dragon egg, now forming in her womb. After the egg is laid, she will be nothing but fresh meat.

But Theryn refuses to suffer the same fate as Roth’s former brides. For her own sake, and for the baby dragonshifter she carries, she must find a way to escape the monster, and break the enchantment of the dragon lyric.

And now for the cover…

Okay…

at long last…

the moment we’ve been waiting for…

Here…

it…

is…!

*squeeee* Look at that snarky dragon face!!

Julia captured Roth and Theryn so perfectly! I love the emotion she infuses into her art, and I’m very thankful to have this cover done by her. 🙂

And I can’t wait to share this story with all of you. It’s a tale of defiance and maternal courage, laced with dragonish snark, ferocity, and fire.

Here’s a tiny taste of the story within…

AN EXCERPT FROM “DRAGON LYRIC: A SHORT STORY”

by Bethany A. Jennings

The dragon rested his upper half on the end of the bed, and the entire bedframe creaked as though it would snap. His golden eyes smiled hungrily at her. You will have plenty of time to accept your fate – three whole weeks until the egg will be ready to lay. Did you know that you had dragonshifter blood in you?

She sat upright and gave him a sharp look. “That can’t be true.”

But it is! I see it in your eyes. I have searched for many generations to find a woman who can carry my young. We are a rare breed, almost gone from this land. I cannot find a true mate…alas, you only carry enough dragonshifter blood to form an egg.

“And after I do that for you, you are going to eat me?” she cried. “I thought you loved me. You wooed me! You showed me all the affection any man would show a woman. I left my family to live with you in a cave!

Your emotions are like morsels…the more I taste, the greater variety of flavor. I have tasted your trust, your passion, your affection. Now I taste your woe, anger, and fear. All the work merely makes my conquest more delicious, and the deeper I know you, the more control I have over you with my magic. The lightning of his laugh cracked through the chamber again. They say food tastes better when it’s prepared with love…

Theryn grabbed an iron candlestick off the bedside table and hurled it into the beast’s face.

Roth flicked it away with a swish of his massive foreleg. Try what you might. I am invincible. Seven furious fathers and brothers of my wives have come to make their revenge, and all have been destroyed. No wife has escaped me yet, either. You are a helpless, feeble woman. There is nothing for you to do but accept your fate, my dear – precious carrier of my egg – my love – my lunch.

Theryn grabbed fistfuls of the slick pillow and screamed a curse into the silk.

Hush, now…you must relax. All this worrying will do my egg no good. Roth’s huge, scaled form curled around the bed, head near Theryn’s face on one side, and tail swishing on the other. You have heard of dragonshifter magic since your youth, I am sure. Now you will feel it. Pride thrummed in his voice. I will sing you to sleep while I sing growth to my young. Dragonshifters may need a mother, but only their father can sing them the lyric they need to grow…

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Dragon Lyric releases June 22, 2017. To be updated when it’s available, sign up for my brand new newsletter below!

The newsletter will contain updates on new releases, writing projects, and secret sneak peeks into upcoming #WIPjoy events and other exciting tidbits – it only goes out four times a year (and on rare special occasions) and I promise I will never spam you! 🙂

CLICK HERE to sign up for my quarterly newsletter!

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What do you think of Julia’s beautiful cover? The excerpt? Do you like stories about good dragons or evil dragons better? I’d love to hear what you think! 😀