Archive for the ‘Book Releases’ Category

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Blog Tour: “My Fault” by RJ Conte

June 16, 2018

My friend and fellow author, RJ Conte, has a new book out! This time it’s a Christian rom-com – and guys, this book is laugh-out-loud funny. 😀 Her protagonist, Cleo, has one of the best character voices. She’s unorthodox and random and brazen, and somehow RJ manages to marry this hilarity seamlessly together with the deep, heartfelt issues she is known for writing. It’s a wonderful, sweet, quick read. And I get to share an excerpt with you today!

First, here is the blurb and cover…

“I realized his eyes had lost that wary look. They were the bluest blue. Bluer than my favorite coffee mug. Bluer than the Solonaise County Public Pool when it’s actually been cleaned at the beginning of the summer before all those little kids in their floaties come and pee in it.”

Quirky Cleo Stanton has a problem: she’s falling for the guy she ran over with her car when she should not have been driving.

A devout Christian and quietly mysterious, Grayson Fox is as cute as he is kind, begrudgingly putting up with Cleo and her motor mouth. But will he ever forgive her for crushing his leg? Can she break him out of his shell? And what hilarity will ensue when the flamboyant Cleo tries to draw him out?

And now, an excerpt from the story! This is my favorite scene from the book, because it’s just so Cleo and adorkable. 😀

An Excerpt from My Fault!

My phone still rang. And I knew who it was.

“Mom.”

“Cleee! Happy birthday, honey!” came the soft, twangy squeal. Couldn’t take the south out of Mom, no matter how long she hadn’t lived in Louisiana.

“Yeah, thank you…” No use squelching the matriarch. One celebrated one’s birthday in the Stanton family. There was no other option. Even though Jaq and I had outgrown birthdays like forever ago.

“What are your plans? You going out with friends? You have to spare us some time too. Evening? Afternoon? What works with your work schedule?”

It was so cute how Mom thought I had a life. The delusions were strong with this one.

“Um… let me ask Gra… Let me get back to you.” Scratch that. Why was I hiding Grayson? “There’s a guy I might be hanging out with.”

“Eh…” Mom hemmed.

Okay, so I hadn’t chosen award-winning guys in the past. What the fo, Mom. Where was your extreme optimism in my life choices from a moment ago?

After hanging up with her, I ran a brush through my bedhead mohawk, smoothing my crazy red strands down to fall to my chin. Then on went the lemon yellow kicks I had bought for myself. “Happy birthday, loser,” I cheered myself in the mirror – while only wearing underwear and the new Converse sneakers. Clothes were overrated. Maybe I should snap a selfie. What would Grayson think of that?

I had a new book idea suddenly: How to Lose a Guy in Forty-Three Days by Cleo Stanton, Jailbird and Drunkard.

Sighing, while the baby in my head reprimanded me with some loud screaming, I pulled the shoes back off and threw on some skinny jeans before returning the Converse to my feet. Lastly, I pulled out my favorite white t-shirt that said, “Inigo, I am your father. You will kill your father. Prepare to die.” The background image was Darth Vader holding up a hand with six fingers. The thing had cracked me up so much, I had shed tears over my computer keyboard, and couldn’t press “add to basket” quick enough. I bought three, just in case I ruined the first and lost the second. One couldn’t be too careful with favorite shirts. This was back when I had money to blow.

One also had to wear their favorite shirt to a Stanton birthday celebration. I needed the emotional hug from Six-Fingered-Vader just to handle whatever passive aggressive present Jaq showed up with. Last year it had been a set of hand weights. “For the… arms…” he had said, giving a polite cough that hid none of his actual meaning.

I had played dumb. “Thank you! I broke the armrests off my computer chair. I’ll nail these bad boys in as substitute! How did you know what I needed for all those afternoons browsing Reddit eating Reese’s Pieces? Best. Brother. Ever.” I had even patted him on the head like one would a dead lobster they were about to slather with garlic butter and eat with a teeny, tiny, sharp fork.

Jaq had gone home as red as a hard-shelled crustacean, that’s for sure. Stupid brother.

But wait. Grayson had called me “tiny.” I glanced in the mirror and tried to see Tiny Cleo. Yeah, we were good. I could do this thing.

Isn’t she awesome?? You can buy the book here on Amazon, or add it to your Goodreads!

More About RJ Conte

RJ Conte has kissed only one boy in her entire life. And she married him, inspiring her to write about sweet or powerful love stories ever since. She writes realistic, issue-driven fiction that explores human nature and the depths of the soul, while pointing readers to their Creator.

RJ writes a blog on parenting, publishing, painting, and perorating at http://blonderj.wordpress.com/

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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Explore Kraesinia with the Irresistible World Building Blog Hop

May 11, 2018

My friend and author coach, Janeen Ippolito, is releasing a new book for writers! Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories: A Creative Writing Guide for World Building That Sells promises to be a fantastic resource for tying my world-building to my stories in meaningful ways. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy!

To celebrate her release, Janeen’s made her blog hop into an opportunity for authors to share about their fantastic worlds. So here are some interview questions and answers about the world of my Kraesinia Trilogy. 😀

The Trusted (Book One of the Kraesinia Trilogy)

Current status: writing draft 7 (42K written!…probably about 68K to go!).

About the story:

He is the son of heroes – or traitors.

Trapped in a brutal double life between high school on Earth and war on another planet, Kevin Leansmith must discover the truth about his parents’ legacy as soldier-spies, before the forces that destroyed them come after him and his sister – and put the entire universe in jeopardy.

Name your spec-fic subgenre!

The Kraesinia Trilogy is a bit of a genre blend, so in all honesty I’m still not 100% sure what sub-genre it best fits! Most of the time I call it YA science-fantasy. It could also be considered portal fantasy or simply soft science-fiction. There’s no magic involved, just high levels of tech and a bit of “science we don’t understand yet” in a few cases. My heroes ride large, furry steeds into battle, wielding electric swords and plasma guns…so that’s kind of the general vibe. 😀 Kraesinia is simultaneously high tech and pleasantly earthy and ancient-feeling.

A Kraesinion mansion I drew many years ago. (Kraesinions have a thing for big, domed skylights.)

What about your world building messes up your main character’s life?

The world of Kraesinia is at war with alien forces. And if Kevin doesn’t agree to join the Trusted (the human auxiliary of the Kraesinion military), the Kraesinions will wipe every memory of their world from his head before sending him home to Earth…including the crucial information he’s just learned about his parents’ history there…

What was the first thing that inspired your worldbuilding?

I was initially inspired for this project one day in my early teens, when I realized that there were no female characters (that I knew of) with bionic hands, like Luke and Anakin Skywalker had in Star Wars. I wanted to write about a girl my age with a metal arm. So Thraunya came into being: a teenage teleporting station guard from another planet, with a venomous stinger on one wrist, a metal prosthetic for her other hand, and a sharp, snarky personality. Once she’d popped into my head, quickly followed by the two human teens who would stumble into her teleporting station, the rest of the world spilled out unstoppably from there.

A very old drawing of Thraunya’s prosthetic arm (in previous versions of the story, it had more extra features than it does now).

What universal feelings do you explore in your world building—and why?

I love to explore a sense of wonder in my world-building, especially through Kevin, who soaks up every new experience with fresh delight. Kraesinia abounds with danger, but there are also glowing flowers, vivid purple cliffs, kaleidoscopic interdimensional leaps, the comforting and musty scent of heth stables, towers that jut out of the sea, floating vehicles, and anti-gravity arenas.

Another big feeling I provoke with my world-building is the fear of the unknown when your fate is wholly beyond your control. One does not simply travel to another planet and get captured by aliens without feeling terrifyingly helpless. Especially when those aliens can knock you out with a single, swift jab of their stingers. Or erase your memories.

One of my more recent sketches of a Kraesinion stinger (the right hand).

What languages do the characters in your story speak? Do you have a conlang? Share a bit about it!

do have a conlang – actually a couple of them! And I may create more down the road. I avoid dumping too many foreign words on readers in the narrative itself, but I’m very fond of developing languages, so I’ve recorded hundreds of words of Kraesinish at this point, and for Drivvandi (the language of the invading aliens) around a hundred or so. Kraesinish is a very lyrical, elegant language, kind of breathy in how it’s spoken. Drivvandi is sharp and snappy, heavy on the harsher and deeper sounds.

If you’re curious to hear some, here’s a video I created awhile back with me reciting the Lord’s prayer in Kraesinish:

 

What is fresh and different about your worldbuilding that hasn’t been done before?

One element I really love about my book is how the humans are integrated into the Kraesinion army – in order to facilitate good relationships between the human and Kraesinion races, the Kraesinion military assigns each human a Kraesinion “Companion,” who they fight with as a tightly-knit partnership. As a member of the Trusted, you are given a Companion of your same gender, chosen based on a variety of philosophical and personality-based factors for close compatibility. Every battle is fought alongside your best friend. (Or so’s the idea…not every Companion pair turns out to be as compatible as intended…)

If you could take any part of your world building and make it into a giveaway item, what would it be?

HETHS. These furry beasties are huge, cuddly-soft, and will rip out the throats of your enemies. What’s not to love? 😀 Heths are used in the Kraesinion cavalry, and each one is large and strong enough to carry a set of Companions, trained to defend their riders, as agile as a cat, and as loyal as a dog. My amazingly talented sister-in-law has created and sewn a lot of stuffed animals, so someday when The Kraesinia Trilogy is published, I plan to commission her to make stuffed heths for swag and giveaway items. (And some to keep for meeee…)

A “common heth” outfitted with a double saddle.

Describe a food your protagonist enjoys in your world—and one he/she hates.

How about beverages instead? Kevin enjoys kaiith juice – a thick, green Kraesinion drink that’s both sweet and tangy; it’s made from kaiith fruit, which looks a little like an elongated green pepper, and grows on trees.

On the other hand, there is cappis milk, which looks and smells like regular cow’s milk from Earth…but Kevin finds out the hard way that it goes down like a mouthful of fire, hotter than jalapeno peppers. There’s a reason it’s served in tiny shots!

Is there any physical item from your world building that would make a big splash in our world?

Well, there’s tenatha stone, which is purple and glows at human touch (at least, some particular human touch) and can be used to facilitate teleporting. Teleportation would make a big splash on Earth if it was publicly known to exist!

Share a short excerpt from your story that shows off really cool world building.

This part features Kraesinion stingers. 😀

“You can’t fool me, Ori.” He pronounced the youth honorific as though it was an insult. “Earlier you said this human was a security threat. You said he needed to stay with his sister and you were oh-so-concerned about his safety. And now you’re running around the base together, and saying he’s a trainee sent here by mistake. If not for the lies, I’d think you were completely incompetent. What are you up to? I demand you tell me.”

Thraunya fought through the pain to suck in a deeper breath. Her mind spun, producing nothing. Think faster, think faster!

“Answer me!” He swooped forward, pinning her against the wall with his forearm across her throat.

Thraunya buried her stinger in his shoulder with a growl. A weak little spit of venom shot into his muscle. The sensation turned her stomach. I’m venomless. Defenseless. True fear, for the first time, settled into her middle like a ball of ice.

Or Laushen grinned. “Forgot you already used up your store on the humans?” He pressed her throat harder, stinger pricking against her skin. Dark spots swirled in Thraunya’s vision. “That pathetic single stinger won’t even touch me. I have almost enough in this one gland to stop your heart. So either you can tell me right now what you’re doing, or I can sting both of you and—”

Through the dance of darkness, a fist came flying at Laushen’s face.

Intrigued by what you’ve heard about Kraesinia? Follow my Facebook page for regular snippets of my writing, subscribe to my newsletter, or join my Facebook reader group for up-close and personal updates on my writing progress and more insider info. 😀

More about Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories

I’m really looking forward to using this resource as I develop Kraesinia even more for this draft of the trilogy!

Here’s more about Janeen’s book:

Write stories with worlds that create lifelong fans and fandoms!

Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories contains key methods and tips on how to weave your world building into every aspect of your story, from theme to plot to character arcs.

-Use writing prompts and exercises to jumpstart your creativity
-Get ideas on how to refresh world building genre tropes while still hitting reader sweet spots
-Learn to embrace your inner geek and passions to connect your world building with readers

Vivid world building is great. Vivid world building that sells? Even better!

Buy Irresistible World Building for Unforgettable Stories on Amazon!

Or add it to your Goodreads!

About Janeen Ippolito

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes urban fantasy and steampunk. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. She believes that words transform worlds and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website: janeenippolito.com

Sign up for her newsletter HERE!

Check out the other posts in the blog hop!

April 30 – Claire Banschbach (https://clairembanschbach.wordpress.com)

May 1 – Doug Triplett (https://dougtriplett.com)

May 5 – Sarah Delena White (https://sarahdelenawhite.com)

May 6 – C. O.  Bonham (https://cobonham.com)

May 7 – J.F. Rogers (https://jfrogers.com)

May 8 – Anna Tan (http://blog.annatsp.com)

May 9 – Shannon Stewart (https://shannonstewartwrites.wordpress.com)

May 10 – Laura A. Grace (https://unicornquester.com)

May 11 – Bethany Jennings (http://simmeringmind.com) <– You are here!

May 12 – Jebraun Clifford (https://jebraunclifford.com)

May 14 – Tabitha Caplinger (https://www.tabithacaplinger.com)

May 15 – Amelia Nichole (http://amelianichole.com)

May 16 – Amy Brock McNew (https://amybrockmcnew.com/guts-on-the-page/)

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Book Birthdays and Shiny Covers!

May 1, 2018

There are so many gorgeous books coming out today that I had to give a shoutout post to them, and also to some great cover reveals! 😀

Click on the covers to head over to Amazon!

Windswept, a short story by Sarah Delena White

You guys!! That cover! 😍 Sarah is one of my favorite authors, and I’m thrilled to see her putting out another story. Windswept is short and sweet, snarky, haunting, and magical – and it’s finally out today!

Princess Zhenya is in love with the rain.

Heir to a century-old curse, she spends her life in royal captivity lest she be carried away by the wind. Her one solace is Yori, the handsome storm wraith who comes to her window on rainy nights. But he can never be part of her constrained palace life, where she must tread cautiously and follow the rules.

On the eve of an arranged marriage, she makes a fateful choice that sets the curse in motion. But the wind she fears may hold the key to her freedom. Hounded by vengeful wraiths, Zhenya must risk her soul and uncover the truth about the curse.

Or else she may become the very terror she flees.

The Story Peddler (The Weaver Trilogy, Book 1) by Lindsay A. Franklin

Between waiting for my preordered paperback of this beauty, and my anticipation for seeing Infinity War tonight, I thought I might burst with excitement today. *scream* Lindsay’s worked so long and hard on this gorgeous story, and I finally have my copy in my hands! You should get one too. 😀

Selling stories is a deadly business.

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too.

Unbreakable (The Unblemished Trilogy, Book 3) by Sara Ella

So shiny! I haven’t read the second book in this trilogy, yet, but I enjoyed the first book, Unblemished – that ending!! AHH! – and I plan to continue on to read Unraveling and this third book, Unbreakable. 😀

Sara and Lindsay are having a joint Facebook party tonight to celebrate their releases, so CLICK HERE to head over there and join in on the fun!

I’m not going to read or share the full blurb for Unbreakable, since there might be spoilers for Book 2! *covers eyes* 😀

Sara Ella masterfully takes readers to new worlds in the jaw-dropping finale to the Unblemished trilogy. With the fate of the Reflections at stake, Eliyana must destroy the Void . . . but at what cost?

Renegade Skyfarer (The Stones of Terrene Chronicles, Book 1) by R.J. Metcalf

This one’s out on preorder today! Such a beautiful, colorful cover for this steampunk adventure (done by Magpie Designs LTD, who also did my cover for Threadbare!). You should definitely check this out – so thrilled to see my friend’s story going out into the world. 😍

The airship crew saved Ben’s life from a dragon, of all things.

When Ben wakes up, he has no memory of his family, his home, or how he got to this strange world. All he knows is what his new crew members tell him: the magical Barrier that protects their land is weakening. Unless they find the artifact that can repair it, all of Terrene will be destroyed and enslaved by the enemies beyond.

But when Ben suspects that danger may lurk closer than dragons or sky pirates, he has to decide: stay and fight with the airship crew, or focus on regaining his lost memory? If he leaves, he risks losing his newfound friends–but if he stays, he might never return home.

Welcome to Terrene–where dragons exist, the past haunts, and magic is no myth.

The Inkling, a short story by K.T. Ivanrest

Cover with an ink dragon!! I had the privilege of beta reading this fantastically immersive, snarky fantasy story. It’s a creative world, and a compelling, fast-paced adventure, with characters who are lovable (and also exasperating, in the best way 😄 ).

Magic was supposed to make stealing easier.

Ever since her parents’ deaths, Yeta has been stuck stealing in order to pay back their debt to the city’s most dangerous crime lord. Though she clings to her dream of one day attending the prestigious Academy, the closest she’s managed to get is impersonating a student and using her aptitude for ink magic to aid in her thefts.

But when her ink dragon inexplicably develops a mind of its own, debt is the least of her worries. With an arrogant Academy student as her only ally, she’ll have to get back what her inkling stole–or more than her future could be at stake.

Do you know of any other exciting releases coming out today? Tell me in the comments! 😀

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The MBTI of Lawless by Janeen Ippolito

September 30, 2017

I’m excited to be taking part in this blog tour, celebrating the release of Lawless, book one of The Ironfire Legacy by Janeen Ippolito!

I had the honor of reading this book in its early stages, and it’s so much fun. Dragonshifters and steampunk romance and airships. And lots and lots of intrigue and snark. Ahhhh, I can’t wait to get my hands on my shiny print copy so I can read it all again!! 😀

But of course one of the best things about a book is its characters. Today, I’m putting a spotlight on the major players of Lawless and their respective Myers-Briggs types. (I did this same kind of post awhile back for Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Watera novella which was co-written by Ippolito and her illustrator, Julia Busko. Also a really good story!)

Down at the bottom of this post, you’ll find another cipher for the blog tour scavenger hunt! But for now, without further ado, let’s meet the Lawless characters!

Kesia Ironfire – ENTP

Lawless‘s dragonshifter protagonist, Kesia, is a perfect example of an ENTP who has been “stomped on” by life and is slowly regaining her power and confidence. Convicted of murder at an early age, she’s been branded a criminal – bound to serve the dragon Pinnacle as recompense for her crime. But underneath her shame and uncertainty, she is a daring, fast-thinking, hopeful, and incessantly curious dragon. She and her fleetwing have a delightful, snarky relationship, grounded in their intelligence and wit, and it’s so fun to watch her acclimate to human society and discover new layers to herself and life that she never understood before.

Zephryn Nightstalker – INTJ

Kesia’s fleetwing, her military partner, is classically INTJ: a quiet, innovative, and critical deep-thinker, with a subtle but hilarious dry wit. It’s clear right from the get-go that he would do anything for Kesia, and her lack of self-preservation brings out his snark and protectiveness. When he’s not by her side, he enjoys burying himself in books and research. I love his cool inquisitiveness – when he doesn’t know or understand something, he goes after that information with a passion.

Shance Windkeeper – ESFP

Shance is one of my favorite characters in the book – an airship captain (with a special wind Talent!) who clearly loves life. As a sincere and loving FP type, he’s really not built for war. The brutality of it tears him apart, and while he does his duty, he’d much rather live in peaceful times – and kiss pretty girls, as he is quick to fall in love. This guy’s sensual SP side can be his downfall, but it’s hard not to like him anyway, with his natural charm and genuine affection.

Nula Thredsing – ENTJ

Nula’s less of a major character than the others featured here, but she has such a presence in this story that I can’t possibly leave her off this list! (Plus, she’s getting her own novella in the series later. And she deserves it. 😀 ) She’s powerful, calculating, and alluring – and as with most ENTJs, she’s got her own game plan and an intense drive to pursue her goals. I found her completely fascinating, and I’m excited to see more of her in future books.

More about Lawless!

The salvation of humans and dragons lies within a convicted murderer.

Dragonshifter Kesia Ironfire has one goal—to redeem her past by serving the cruel dragon Pinnacle as a soldier in the dragon-human war.

Then a rogue mission to spy on a new airship explodes into sickening green smoke. The same mysterious green smoke that was present the night of Kesia’s crime. When her dragon overlords deny any involvement, she and her tactical partner Zephryn Nightstalker try to investigate–and are sentenced to death.

Still searching for answers, Kesia and Zephryn flee to the human military capital, where Captain Shance Windkeeper has been furloughed after the destruction of his airship. Eager to discover what–and who–blew up his vessel, he agrees to help Kesia and Zephryn infiltrate High Command. In exchange, Kesia must pretend to be his betrothed so Shance can escape an arranged marriage. If only she knew what ‘betrothed’ and ‘arranged marriage’ meant.

But human social customs are the least of her worries. Dark secrets surface as Kesia delves deeper–secrets that challenge the facts of her crime and undermine the war itself.

Lawless just released yesterday (*throws confetti!*), and is available in the following places:

Amazon

Uncommon Universes Press
(autographed paperbacks can be ordered here!)

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Kobo

Also add it to your Goodreads list here!

Author Janeen Ippolito

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She creates writing resources and writes speculative fiction with monsters, misfits, and mushy stuff. She’s also an experienced author coach, editor, teacher, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, geeky TV, and brownie batter. A lifelong misfit, she believes different is beautiful and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her two websites: janeenippolito.com and writeinsideout.com.

Blog Tour Cipher Clue!

Here is clue #5 for the cipher!

The next stop in the tour is the blog of Melissa Sasina. Thanks for stopping by!!

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Dragon Lyric is HERE!

July 21, 2017

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!