Cover Reveal!

Since it’s been way too long since I updated my blog, I thought I’d share the cover for my upcoming fantasy/adventure/comedy YA series. The small version is on the left, but if you’d like to see it in a larger format click here.

The tentative release date is the end of February 2014 (so this month). The second book in the series is also in the editing stage and will be ready for release at the end of March. After that all bets are off, but you might want to put your money down on the final two or three books being put out in successive months.

Here’s the blurb for your consumption:

A serious fantasy series that doesn’t take itself seriously.

An old man, a young, armor-wearing girl, and a farm boy walk into a story, and this is what you get; a fantasy series of monsters and mayhem, where each day leads them into new troubles and intrigue. Fred is the farm boy, a serf bound to his lord by the debt of his deceased parents. He’s thrown out into the world against his will and into the company of an armored young woman by the name of Pat and her cloaked, bearded companion, Ned. Together they make an unlikely group as they wind their way along the roads of Ralcott, bound for the journey of a lifetime.

Final Book

A bit belated (well, very belated in the case of the third book), but I have released the final book in the Blood Guardians series!

Here’s a synopsis for the third book, Weathering Tides (these can of course be found on their book pages, along with buying links):

Will and Violet’s adventures lead them far afield as they travel across the ocean in search of answers. On the Continent they find themselves among new friends and old enemies as they track down a kidnapped vampire in the hopes that he can save their race from the plague.

And here’s one for the fourth, Freed Souls:

A dark secret lies hidden away in a far-off mountain for countless centuries.

Will and his companions race after their captured friends in a desperate move to save the vampire race from extinction by the disease, or a horrible slavery through Stenson’s control of the cure. The chase takes them to Constantinople where they meet up with new friends and foes, and find that their problems only skimmed the surface of the surprise that awaited them at the end of their journey.

This series was a joy to write (even if I tore my hair out trying to do research for some of these obscure areas). Next up is a different genre, fantasy!, with a little more zaniness. I’ll be sure to give you guys a sneak peak of the first few chapters when the whole book is done, and see what you think. Until then, enjoy reading!

New Addition to the Paranormal Family – Plagued Sleep

A new month, and that means a new novel is out! This time it’s the second installment of the Blood Guardian series, Plagued Sleep.

The journey for our two intrepid vampires continues along the eastern seaboard of the United States. There they encounter more foes, more allies and more mystery as they try to unravel the truth behind their past attacks and make their future plans.

Available for download at these places:

Packet Boats – the Semi Trucks of the Canals

In my (endless) research into the first book of the Blood Guardians series, I found myself wondering about the fastest route available to two vampires trying to make a quick escape. That’s when I stumbled on the Packet Boats of the canals. They were the monster trucks of the water freeways in the 1830s (when the book takes place), with a 14 foot width and 70-90 feet long. The boats squeaked through the two-lane canals and were drawn by horses or mules.

Their ability to carry any type of cargo was one of their greatest benefits. They hauled mail, building materials and food, and all for a fraction of the overland price. Their greatest contribution to the United States, however, was their hauling of settlers to the west. Packet boats could carry up to 60 passengers at a time, and the water route was a much faster and more comfortable way to get out west. All those passengers, with the invaluable help of the packet boats, settled the old Northwest (Wisconsin) and what’s now known as the Rust Belt (Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, etc.).

Without these boats, the west would have still been won, but definitely at a slower, costlier pace.

Resources used:
Packet boats
Image of packet boat

A New Book and Its Research

Now I can hear what you’re thinking as you read this blog post. What took her so long to write another? It’s been, what, April since the last one? I can see where you’re coming from with that thought, but just hear me out.

First off, I’m terrible at making myself, or what I do behind the scenes sound fascinating. I’m an average just like you, with an imagination I’m able to rein in when writing (mostly). Since my books are so much more interesting than myself, I’ve decided to write about the research that goes into each of the upcoming novels in the Blood Guardians series. I’m relatively proud (and very intimidated) by the amount of links and research I gathered for those four installments, so I thought I’d share some of the joy that went into making the book. Since at this point the first book isn’t even out, I’m going to opt for a non-spoiler bit of research: the pepper-box revolver.

Tada!  Pepper-box revolver!I’m sure you’re already confused by that name, but I assure you a lot of you recognize the gun. You’ve seen it countless times in old western movies or any films with old-fashioned guns.

Now why would I care about this little gun? For starters, it’s one of the first repeating, civilian-use pistols ever produced on a large scale. Since I wanted my hero of the story to have a gun which was capable of firing multiple times, and the year was around 1837, then this baby was the right one for me. There was also the cool factor in having the antagonists looking down the barrels of that weapon with the cool, calm eyes of the hero staring at them.

Tada!  Pepper-box pistol!I did have my eyes set on the hero having a Paterson revolver, but I was terrified the chamber of the gun would blow up on in him (these plots are so unpredictable!). Also, the Paterson had to be taken apart just to reload, which meant my hero would’ve been killed before they got off more than a round.

And that’s the lesson for today, folks! Tune in next time while I explain to you how paint dries and ice melts!

Resources used:
Pepper-box revolver
Paterson revolver

Price-Matching On Amazon – Fun Times

I’m attempting to price-match the first book in my Catalyst series, Hawthorn Inn, on Amazon to zero. This is an easy process, but sometimes take a few weeks (or even months). Any help would be appreciated, and here’s how you can do it:

First you have to be logged in to your Amazon account. Then go to the Hawthorn Inn Amazon page and scroll down to the “tell us about a lower price?” link below the book info area, then use the following free links to verify that it needs to be price matched:

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Hawthorn-Inn-The-Catalyst-Series/book-KbdVdsPKtkC3lSeolJk2Ow/page1.html?s=a5HxcWsX0kOuBsiZ-dFN4A&r=1 (or just click here for the link).

Put in the number zero (0) for the price and shipping cost, and submit. Easy, yes, a tedious process, definitely, but I appreciate any and all help I get.

Third Novel for the Catalyst Series – Ghost Woods

Yep, you read that right! The third book is done and available to buy on four sites (it’s like choose your own adventure, but with a credit card). Head on over to the page and see what it’s all about!

Feel free to give any feedback and comments about the cover, too. I’m especially proud of it!

Some Witty Wordplay

The English language, while infinitely irritating, can also be fun. I’m sure some people have seen these before, but take for example the following words within words:

You can’t spell crap without rap
You can’t spell hospital without spit
You can’t spell smother without mother

Have some fun with it, and if you find/think up any more, feel free to post it in the comments.

It might be a good idea to avoid these mistakes

This is a useful link for authors and an hilarious page for readers.

On a related note, I’ve started my reader-focused tag, Reader Shoutout. Have any suggestions on what I can write about? Feel free to give me a holler and I’ll see what I can do.

Publish often, and don’t forget to write

In the wide, wide world of indie publishing, there are a lot of ways to stick out. Advertising, blog tours, free runs, Amazon Select, lighting yourself on fire in the middle of Times Square. One of the most common pieces of advice (and one that’s a little less painful. Well, maybe) is to have a large catalogue of books available for readers through which readers can browse. Offer them a variety pack of your best written (or even your slapped together) novels, novellas, short stories, etc. If they find something they like, they’ll check it out (a.k.a, buy it). Then they might find something else to buy, and soon you’re buried beneath a mountain of cash from those poor suckers, er, readers.

How do you get a catalogue, you might ask? Write. If that’s not enough, write some more. Stick to a schedule for how many words you can get a day (don’t make it too big or you’ll get discouraged). Put that goal into increments and handle it that way. Whatever you do, stick with it and don’t give up.

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