Friday, May 31, 2013

Author Spotlight: Liz Long, author of Witch Hearts

About the Author:

Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.

Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while. 

Her newest release, Witch Hearts, will be for sale on Amazon on April 30th. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com

Author Links:
Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong) https://twitter.com/#!/LizCLong

WITCH HEARTS Links:


GIFTED  Links:


GIFTED BACK COVER SYNOPSIS
Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.

Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.

When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.

WITCH HEARTS BACK COVER SYNOPSIS

How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?

Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.

WITCH HEARTS Special Excerpt

Cooper and Ruby hopped on his bike and drove back to her place. She even managed to peek out from beneath her helmet to see the city whip past her in a blur. When they finally came to a stop, she untangled herself from him – albeit a tad regretful about it – and handed him back the helmet.

“Thanks again for everything tonight. I know it wasn’t the most fun you could have, but I want everyone to be safe,” she said.

“I understand. I’m glad I went, too. I don’t want anyone else in danger. Plus, you’re good company.” He stood up as he said it, hooking the helmets on his bike.

“You don’t have walk me in or anything. I don’t want to keep you any longer than you need.”
He snorted. “You’re not keeping me from anything. I want to do it, but especially because I want to make sure you’re safe.”

Ruby bit her bottom lip. Her nerves fluttered a bit at the thought of a possible goodnight kiss. She could hardly believe how immature she sounded in her head.

It’s your best friend’s brother. This is Cooper we’re talking about, a voice in her head screamed at her.

Another voice spoke up. Yeah. It’s Cooper. And your thoughts about him have never been exactly brotherly.

Shaking both voices away, she swiped her key fob by the entrance door and Cooper held it open for her. They took the stairs up to the second floor and walked around the corner to her apartment. Ruby stopped as soon as she saw her door.

“Something’s wrong,” she said.

“What? How can you tell?” He looked up and down the hallway.

“There was a barrier when I left. Remember I checked, put my hand on the door when we left? My spell was in place.”

“There was a soft glow on the door,” he said absentmindedly, as though remembering. His eyes narrowed and Ruby could see his veins throb in his neck as his jaw tightened.

“Only witches would be able to see it, but it’s not there.” Ruby took a few steps forward, placing her hand on the door, which was now simply cool and wooden. She retrieved her key and turned the lock, but Cooper stopped her.

“I’ll go in first.”

He swung the door wide open; he held his hands up in case of a fight or a spell, but silence greeted them. Cooper did a quick sweep of the apartment while Ruby waited in the entryway. He returned with Aziza in one arm and a letter in his hand.

“This was on your coffee table,” he said grimly. “Aziza was hiding behind the couch. She hissed until she realized it was me.”

Ruby took the note from him. As she opened it, Cooper stood beside her to read over her shoulder.

“Not all witches are equal. Some are born with extraordinary gifts; anyone can practice, but few are truly powerful. You are one of the lucky ones, Ruby. I apologize about your friend Courtney. She was powerful, but nowhere near your capabilities. I’m afraid that in order for my powers to thrive, yours must come to an end. I’ll be seeing you very soon. –X”

Q&A:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?

I think that would have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To me, it's the first book in that series that really shows emotional angst for Harry between being a teenager, dating your first crush, and of course, being hunted by Lord Voldemort. We get to see our characters developing into real wizards with the DA (like Neville growing into being a badass), plus the introduction of accepting those deemed a little strange, like Luna Lovegood. We feel our first real loss with a major character as well as the real danger now that dark wizards are out in the open by the end. It's a full scale of emotions and really sort of sets the rest of the stage for the series, IMO.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?

Oh gosh, it's probably still a little early in the game for me to presume I can be compared to another author. BookBub compared my Donovan Circus book to the Hunger Games, with a female character destined to discover who she is and stand up for her world. I'm sure my circus folks could hang with any X-Men character, while my characters from WITCH HEARTS would get along well with the Halliwell sisters from Charmed or Sookie Stackhouse and her friends.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?

One of my favorite lines is one Lucy says in the first chapter when explaining why she’s rejoining the Donovan Circus:

“I wanted to be normal amongst the freaks.”

Family and a sense of belonging are heavy themes in my first book and this line sums Lucy up perfectly. Lucy has never been “normal” anywhere in the human world. She thinks – hopes, really – that she can find her place in the gifted world in the circus she used to know. She’s been a loner her whole life because of her gift and now that there’s an opportunity to be a part of something, she’s happy to include herself in the strange gaggle that is the Donovan gang.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?

I listen to a lot of soundtracks, especially movie scores, like Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, and anything else that contains some action type of music. Honestly, nothing has been more motivating for me lately than to hear a reader I've never met before tell me how much they loved my work and can't wait for another book to read. It's such an amazing feeling to affect someone's book list and I'm honored to be a part of it. It's a total kick in the butt to know people are eagerly anticipating another title and makes me want to write that much faster.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.

I work full time, so I write when I can in my spare time. Often my husband will go to the gym for a couple hours after work, so I take advantage and try to crank out a few hundred words. I also give him lots of time to play video games or watch NBA so I can sit on the couch with him and write. And of course, the weekends contain my biggest chunks of writing time, so there's nothing I like better than a rainy Sunday with coffee and my laptop.

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?

I love Skittles to snack on during the process, though my teeth beg me to stop. I'm also never opposed to a fresh new 20 oz. Diet Coke within reach, but that's only once a week at most. The rest of the time it's H2O!

7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?

I am currently working on the second book in the Donovan Circus series. Next up is an NA fantasy novel with a unique twist on Reapers.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Long Should A Book Be?

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

I have seen a few discussions about book length recently, so it's quite timely that we are discussing it YA Indie Carnival today.

As a reader I prefer shorter books. It's probably due to the fact that I am very busy and I like to be able to get through a book quickly. I've actually really been enjoy novellas lately. 

I think book length relates to genre a little. Fantasy books tend to be longer, where as a contemporary romance would be shorter. 

Because I write YA, I tend to aim for about 60,000 words. I'm usually a little either side of this, but never less that 55,000 words. The fantasy trilogy I'm working on now is closer to 70,000 words per book. 

One of my goals as a writer is to make my books so compelling that readers find them hard to put down. I have had quite a few reviewers commenting that they've read my books in one sitting. If my books were much longer, I don't think this would be possible.

I'm really happy with the length I aim for at the moment.

How about you? 
As a reader, what length do you prefer to read?
As a writer, what length do your books tend to be?

If you'd like to find out what the other carnival goers think, you can follow the links below. 
And don't forget to check out our latest news on our YA Author Club site.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series4.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog6.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter8.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9.Ella James10.Maureen Murrish
11.YA Sci Fi Author's Ramblings12.A Little Bit of R&R
13.Melissa Pearl14.Terah Edun - YA Fantasy
15.Heather Sutherlin - YA Fantasy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NEW RELEASE - Bait by K. C. Blake

The YA Indie Author Club is having another great week of releases. This week, we are going to ask you to join us in supporting K.C. Blake. She's as dedicated to writing great stories as any author I've ever met in person or virtually.  


Summary for Bait:

Ghosts, a reaper, and a rock star.

At sixteen Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. She doesn't even try to fit in at school. What's the point when she'll be moving to a new place within a few months?
She's lived her whole life on the run, hiding from monsters.

Then a reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm. It has a message for her. Just when she's about to join her father at his school for hunters she finds out they are dying on their birthdays. Something is killing them, slipping past locked doors, never leaving a trace of evidence, and her birthday is only two months away.

Becoming a hunter isn't exactly her dream come true. She's doing it for her mother, for revenge, for justice. Nothing is going to get in her way, least of all love. Then she looks up into a pair of jungle green eyes and everything changes.

Author Bio:
 
Born and raised in sunny California, K.C. Blake fell in love with books at a young age and decided to pursue writing as a career.  Her favorite authors include Stephen King, John Saul, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Carrie Jones.  In her spare time she enjoys shopping (and when I say shopping I mean go to the mall early in the day, eat lunch, and then keep going until you don't have any strength left), reading great books, taking care of animals (she lives on a farm), and searching for creative ideas to improve her home.  A former writer for Harlequin, she now publishes her books her way and loves every second of it.  Okay, she's a bit of a control freak.

Bait links:
(also available in print)

K.C. Blake's Social Links:
Twitter:  @kasiblake

Friday, May 24, 2013

Author Spotlight - Heather Sutherlin

Today, the YA Author Club is exited to Spotlight our very own Heather Sutherlin. She's an amazing person and a phenomenal YA Author Club contributor who writes young adult fantasy adventures when she's not spending time with her family.

Author Bio

1999 – B.A. in Elementary Education from Harding University
2011 - 1st Place White County Creative Writers’ Conference First Chapter Contest
2012 – Debut novel, A Light in the Darkness, is released along with its sequel, To Light the Path.
2013 – Seen and Wandering, two books in a new YA fantasy series, will be released in the spring.
President - Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas
Featured Author – Arkansas Literary Festival

About the Author

Heather Sutherlin lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She is the author of A Light In The Darkness and Seen  both fantasy adventures for young adults. She loves all things creative and enjoys the worlds she dreams up, longing to live the adventure alongside her characters. When she’s not at her writing desk, she is busy exploring and learning with her children or cooking big, elaborate meals in the kitchen with her husband.

You can see more of Heather at her website, HeatherSutherlin.com
Or, email her at HSutherlin@gmail.com
See behind the scenes of her indie life by following her on Facebook.
You can also follow Heather on Twitter and see what inspires her on Pinterest.

Books by Heather Sutherlin:

Merrilyn’s life is quiet and predictable. An apprentice to the royal healer, she spends her days helping in the village or up to mischief with her best friend who happens to be the handsome younger son of the king. But when a mysterious archer shows up in the forest and shoots their escort, Merrilyn’s life is forever changed. Caught in a battle between two forgotten gods, she must embrace her destiny and fight the very powers of darkness before it’s too late.


Prince Jarrod and his men have been missing for months and still Merrilyn has no idea where they are hidden. Now the king of Zinder is missing, too, and his children seem to think Merrilyn’s the key to finding him. Along with Aiden and Prince Justan, she travels to Zinder looking for clues in the king’s journals. When a mysterious man begins whispering in her dreams, tempting her to reconsider all that she believes, she must face both her fears and her desires. Merrilyn may be a light in the darkness, but she’ll have to trust Loian to light their path as they travel through foreign lands and face new enemies in their search for the missing men.

Rory has no idea what’s going on in the woods behind her house, but it’s driving her crazy. On the last day of her senior year she finds herself caught up once again in the curious happenings of the forest and walks away without any of the answers she was hoping to find. To make matters worse, she is sent to visit a sick neighbor and instead finds the hottest guy she’s ever seen. When she discovers his brother’s incredible secret she falls further into her own chaos and into a fate she never could have imagined.

Jaron is just counting the days until the summer is over and he can get back to his real life. Stuck with his little brother on a tiny farm in rural Oklahoma is not exactly his idea of fun. But when Rory shows up on his doorstep with an armload of pie, he knows his summer has just taken a sharp turn into new territory. He never expected the adventure they would discover next or the quest that would change their lives forever.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jumping Through Time with Jeff LaFerney

I met Jeff LaFerney a couple of years ago when I was first starting out on my indie author journey. He has been a great support and become a good friend, so when he told me about his latest release, I had to invite Jeff to my blog so he could tell us a little about his latest book, Jumper.

Thanks so much for visiting, Jeff. It's so awesome to have you.

First here's a little info about his latest book, Jumper...

After spending three years in jail and others completely alone, twenty-four-year-old Cole Flint discovers an amazing ability—he can time-travel and teleport. He’s a jumper. So what should the motorcycle-riding, cage-fighting tough guy do? He should protect an innocent eighteen-year-old girl who happens to be in possession of the Staff of Moses. Following the direction of a trio of angels who are determined to shake things up in the Middle East, Cole pairs up with Hannah Carpenter and her pet grizzly while he also tries to change his past and learn the mystery of his birth. Curiously, the King of Jordan knows all about Hannah, and he’s determined to gain possession of the staff. He’ll do anything to possess its power, but is it possible that he’s no more than a pawn, manipulated in time along with Cole and Hannah? Jumper is a mysterious roller coaster of action and a time-traveling adventure that will keep readers guessing right to the very last page.

It sounds like such a great read. I have it waiting on my kindle and I can't wait to get into it. You can buy a copy on Amazon.

And now let's hear from the man himself...

What was the hardest part about writing time travel?
Time. Seriously. Time is fairly difficult in all books, but as soon as you start messing with it, it gets all mixed up. I had this somewhat unrealistic desire to follow the “rules” of time travel according to the scientists. When I’d start moaning that what I was writing was impossible, my wife occasionally would remind me that I was writing fiction and that time travel wasn’t real—I could do what I wanted to do. Let me also say this: I had this great idea that if my time traveler took Hannah  Carpenter back in time to hide her, no one could possibly find her. It was a great idea…until I realized that if no one could find her, there would be no more plot. This led to some serious thinking, and the end result is a twist on time travel that I’ve never seen before.

Who's your favourite character in the book and why?
I honestly think that in all of my books, my favorite characters are minor characters. In the book I have one scene with a lady named Lillian Marsh who had an experience with a teleporter and tried to explain it. She made me laugh the whole time I was writing the scene. My other favorite character was a grizzly bear named Teddy. He actually is an important character to the plot, including becoming the final motivation behind Hannah’s conflict with the King of Jordan, but mostly he’s good comic relief.

Did you have an actor in mind that would play your MC?
Cole Flint is super cool. He is tough and fearless. He’s got a great sarcastic wit. He drives an amazingly awesome motorcycle and he jumps and time travels. He also has a soft heart and looks out for the underdog. If I had to pick a character to play him, it would be Mark Wahlberg—a young version.

What is the most enjoyable part of the writing process for you?
It consumes time, but I like the research part the best. I pulled off a brain surgery in Bulletproof after doing extensive research. A brain surgeon suggested I make one change. For Jumper I researched various geographies, time travel, motorcycles, cage fighting, grizzly bears, the coolest trail climb in the Swiss Mountains ever, etc, etc. I research even the smallest details and take pride in the accuracy of my writing.

Do you have any future projects planned?
If all goes according to plan, I’ll write three more time travel books. The next one has been mostly planned and will be my next project. I have the beginning set for my next Clay and Tanner Thomas mystery, so that may be the next book. I’d love to write a book in the first person point of view about my “midget” attorney, Jasper. He’s so much fun that if I can think of a trial that can include a comedy of errors, I’ll love writing that one.

Top 5
1. Favourite author: Harlan Coben
2. Favourite TV show: The Mentalist
3. Favourite ice cream flavor: Orange sherbet
4. Favourite music: Contemporary and Christian rock
5. Favourite hobby (other than writing): Sports (coaching, playing, watching, dreaming)

 I’ve been a language arts teacher and coach for nearly twenty-seven years. I earned my English and teaching degrees from the University of Michigan-Flint and my master's degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. My wife, Jennifer, and I have been married for twenty-six years. We have two college-aged children, Torey and Teryn. Loving the Rain is my first suspense novel in the Clay and Tanner Thomas series.  The second, Skeleton Key, and the third, Bulletproof, are paranormal mysteries.  Jumper is a time-travel, action/adventure. I love competing at sports, connecting to good books, and creating words that make people laugh.

You can connect with Jeff on the links below. 

Facebook      Website    Blog  



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Indie Life - It's All About Exposure


I'm very excited to be part of The Indelibles Indie Life series. These posts run on the second Wednesday of every month and include ideas and articles from a wide variety of indie authors. Check out the links below to learn more about INDIE LIFE.

I am doing a bit of a series with these posts. I've talked about balance, quality and attitude.

Today I want to talk about the importance of exposure.

There is no point writing all these amazing books if no one can find out about them. For me, marketing is the hardest part of this job, but I am learning as I go and here are a few things I've discovered that work really well for me.

These are all cases of: "You have to give a little to get a little."

- Giving out copies for review. I know this kind of goes without saying, but it's really important to get a bunch of solid reviews behind your book before you start really pushing the advertising. This is just my opinion, others may disagree here, but I think reviews give your book credit. Plus book bloggers rock - like mega rock - and if they like your stuff, will help you spread the word far and wide. Be nice to bloggers and they'll be nice to you ;-)

- Doing a freebie. I put my first novel, Golden Blood, online for free. It was the best decision I ever made. I have subsequently sold hundreds of copies of the other two books in my series, something I never would have done if it hadn't been for me being willing to lose the money on the sale of my first book.

- Paid advertising. I have paid for advertising twice so far and both times it has been worth every penny. I have made my money back really quickly and it's led to higher rankings, more exposure and continuing sales for the few weeks after. I have used Bookbub.com for my advertising so far, but I know there are plenty of sites out there.

- Group sales. If you can be a part of a group sale, this is a really great way to get your book some exposure. You want to open yourself up to as many readers as possible, so if you are part of a group sale, all the cross promotion can only do you a favour.

- It's the same with giveaways. What better way to score your fan page some likes, gain some more followers and generally get your name out there. It costs you nothing more than a few e-books. Better yet, if you go in with a group of authors, you can put together better prize packs for really low cost. I have an example going on at my YAlicious blog if you'd like to check it out.
Indie Inked Mother's Day Giveaway.

I know there are plenty of other ways to gain exposure for your work. I am learning new things all the time, but the ones above have been my most successful.

What have you done to gain yourself readers?


Sunday, May 5, 2013

COVER REVEAL - Losing Francesca by J. A. Huss


I have to say, I just adore this cover. There is something very haunting about it. It's my total pleasure to be able to share it with you all today.

Francesca Sabatini came to America to take in the sights, celebrate her high school graduation, and have fun wasting time before college starts in the fall.

That’s not what happens.

Fresh off the plane and barely on American soil more than a handful of minutes, Francesca’s face is recognized by TSA scanners to be a match for a child who was kidnapped twelve years ago.

Brody Mason remembers the day Fiona Sullivan went missing during a family vacation in Italy and it’s haunted him his whole life. So when Francesca shows up at the Sullivan farm down the road, he’s compelled to figure out if this girl really is his long lost friend.

But Francesca knows she’s not Fiona Sullivan. She knows exactly who she is. At least she thinks she knows – until Brody Mason relentlessly pursues her and she begins to have feelings for him. Maybe being Fiona isn’t so bad?

Reality becomes blurred, secrets are revealed, and life will never be the same when the final questions are answered: Is she Francesca or Fiona? And where does she really belong?




If you'd like to add this book to your reading list, here is the Goodreads link: Losing Francesca

J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label). 

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter 

And because this lovely author is so amazing, she's also running a giveaway to help celebrate the cover reveal. Entry details are below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Head Down, Bum Up

For those of you who don't know what the title of my post means, here's a definition.


head down, bum up(Noun)
A figurative bodily position adopted when working hard at some task, either physical or mental. (Head down may well be literal, but bum up is figurative.)


It suddenly occurred to me this afternoon that I forgot to do my regular Tuesday blog post. In fact, it didn't even enter my mind until now.

The reason for my serious slackness is that I'm behind schedule. And I really hate not meeting a deadline.

I have a trilogy coming out in June, July, August. I was completely on track until my darling son decided that he is nearly two years old and no longer needs a nap during the day. What the?!?!
He still has room time, but it's just not the same. I am now scrambling to get things done!

So please forgive me if my blog posts are a little irregular for the month of May. I'm not dropping off the radar completely. I will still do my Indie Life post and I will try to keep up with my YA Indie Carnival posts as well, but just for this month, I will be blogging a little less.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their month. I look forward to getting back into my regular routine as June rolls around.