Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guest Post: About Writing Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani



There are some stories that write themselves, and other stories you write and write and write. Sunbolt was both for me.

I wrote the first chapter or so of Sunbolt as a short story that ended rather abruptly because I couldn’t figure out what the ending actually was. I wasn’t even sure what the story was about, so I gave it the working title of “Night Story” (since most of it took place at night) and left it at that. It sat quietly on my laptop for a long time, perhaps a couple years. Every now and then I would come back to it, scratch my head, make a few attempts to figure it out, and leave it alone again. Then, while traveling overseas to be with my in-laws during a family illness, the first three novellas of the Sunbolt Chronicles came pouring out of me.

Then I left Sunbolt alone again for nearly three years, while I polished up my debut novel to release and worked on other projects. When I came back to Sunbolt, I knew this was a project I wanted to publish and to complete (there should be about six novellas all told). So I started revising. The funny part? Not a single scene from the original beginning that I wrote and pondered over is left. Bit by bit, it got chipped away, re-visioned, and rewritten. But the story that it inspired still has me in its grip, and I’m looking forward to bringing you the rest of Hitomi’s adventures…

Pay it Forward

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sunbolt will be donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund. UNICEF fights for the survival and development of the world’s most vulnerable children. Find out more at http://www.unicefusa.org.


Title: Sunbolt (The Sunbolt Chronicles #1)
Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.


Buy Links ($0.99 Special):


Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2) Pre-Order Links ($0.99 Special):


Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

Author Links:
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Calling the Reaper by Jason Pere


Title: Calling the Reaper
Author: Jason Pere
Genre: Dark Fantasy

The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.

Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.

In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.

But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.

|Amazon


Aristo reached far within and blocked all the pain shooting through his being. I am Praetorian, my flesh does my bidding. Again, he commanded his eyes to open. When he finally managed to force them open, the agony consuming his head must have felt very much like staring straight into the blazes of the sun. He felt the tearing of skin as his world instantly turned from the darkest black to a moment of brightest white. His eyes watered heavily and he blinked, trying to clear away at least some of the dried blood which had sealed his eyes shut. For several moments, everything was a blur, but then he could distinguish colors and shapes again.

He nearly wished that he had in fact been blinded; he would have at least been spared the image before him. Aristo had been wounded in battle before, but never like this. His body lay covered in a blanket of dried crimson. No one would have known that he bore the deep purple uniform of the Praetorian Legion had they even bothered to look at him. It was confounding that he had bled so profusely and could still draw breath, still feel the beat of his heart within his chest. A moment of warrior’s pride overtook him when he studied his twisted form and realized the excruciating pain was not unwarranted. Then he remembered.

Captured, he thought. I’ve been captured.

Jason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.

At first, Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time, he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012, Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.

Since then, Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length Fiction title.

In early 2015, Jason became affiliated with Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then, he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.

You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement and publications in collaborative fiction at: www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com

To connect with Jason, check him out at: www.facebook.com/jason.pere.7

Jason also writes fanfiction for Team Covenant on their Blog of the Pheonixborn, dedicated to the new game by Plaid Hat Games, ‘Ashes’. Go to http://teamcovenant.com/ashesonline/ to read Jason’s flash fiction work.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Photography is Life: Architecture

I usually stick to nature photography, but recently I've branched into taking shots of architecture. I prefer old buildings, ones with some history and personality.











I've also been taking pictures of ordinary objects that are a bit different.

I've never seen a silver fire hydrant and I love the way its shadow is positioned

I can't wait to travel to different places so I can add to my architecture collection. Nature photography is still my first love and it's spring. Look out for my flower shots!

Find me on:
DeviantArt

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Week in Links 3/25/16: YA Dystopia, DC, AI


Book Marketing and Branding
Creating Promotional Copy That Works: Tag Lines
2016 Book Marketing Survey Results: 6 Complaints
5 major changes that could revolutionize social media this year
How to Use Perspective Corrections in Lightroom and Photoshop
4 Photo Strategies to Supercharge Site Engagement

Did you read any interesting posts this week? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Chronicle of Chaos by D.M. Cain



Title: A Chronicle of Chaos
Author: D.M. Cain
Genre: Fantasy

“The new book in DM Cain’s epic Light and Shadow fantasy series certainly plunges us in at the deep end. The heart of this book—its true essence—is prejudice and love, persistence, and stubbornness.” Stewart Bint, author of In Shadows Waiting and Timeshaft.

A brutal war has raged for centuries. The Brotherhood of Shadow and The Children of Light each yearn to rule the planet and will stop at nothing to defeat the other. Now, from the deepest bowels of Hell, the Brotherhood has summoned demons to fight for them. The demons could end the war once and for all, if only the Brotherhood can keep them under control. Prophecy, destiny, honour, and glory: Chaos, a soldier in The Children of Light, fights in the name of all these things and could achieve them if he wasn’t so arrogant. He believes he is the best warrior in the land, until a fateful coincidence puts him at the mercy of the demon, Anathema. The two warriors, demon and human, strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to destroy one another only leads them closer together. When the forces of Heaven and Hell collide, where will their loyalties lie?



The angel soared towards the Temple of Nirvana, his heart hammering in his chest, pumping glittering dust through his body. The palace of the Almighty towered on the horizon, a grand fortress of silver and white.

Today, he would deliver a message to the ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven, a message that would shock them into action and would once again reignite old battles. The wind blew through his wings, his feathers ruffled and his muscles strained. He swooped over the mountains and finally dropped into a run at the palace gates, great clouds of dust mushrooming at his feet. He threw himself into the arched doorway and thundered into the courtyard of the Temple of Nirvana. Marble pillars spread around the vast courtyard, encircling the open space. The messenger ran across the yard, heading directly for the silver temple ahead. He sprinted the thirty steps to the doorway at full pelt and then halted for a second to regain composure. With a deep breath in, he opened the heavy doors.

Inside, a hall of brilliant light blinded him. He paused and allowed the light to wash over him. He
bathed in its magnificence and gradually his sight returned to him. In an immense cathedral of white walls and floors, a single silver pathway led to an arch. Flanked by other angels who seemingly materialised from nowhere, he made his way slowly down the pathway until he was beneath the arch. The aisle opened into a circular hall with a round, white table in the centre. Around it, silver thrones were placed at equal intervals, and upon these thrones sat the Council of Original Angels. The elders were the first beings of pure goodness, made by the Creator aeons ago.

The messenger had never seen an elder before, but their prestige was legendary across the Kingdom of Heaven. He dared not stare at them, unworthy to be in their presence, but he cast a quick glance around the room. Faith, Hope, Justice, Compassion. All of them were here. The ancestors of every angel in Heaven today. Were his forefathers in here somewhere?

With another deep breath, the messenger fixed his eyes on the grand throne at the head of the table. In a chair made of pure gold sat an awe-inspiring angel who held himself with nobility. Providence was the leader of the angels; his long, golden hair flowed down his back, parted by impressive wings of the whitest feathers.

The messenger opened his mouth to speak, but the words caught in his throat. Providence gave a smile.

“There is no need to feel afraid. Come, sit with us.” He gestured to an open throne.

The messenger took two rigid steps to the open seat and forced himself down. He was overcome by a tangible sense of calm and basked in the positivity that Providence exuded for a moment, then began to speak.

“Your Exalted Highness, I bring terrible news. The equilibrium in the Human Realm has shifted. A group of humans has allied with demons, and if we do not fight back soon, all will be lost!”

Providence tilted his head calmly to one side and examined the messenger.

“Do not worry, young angel. Humans are free beings, allowed to choose their allegiance as they wish. All we can do is to send them our influences, but in the end they will do as they please. The demons may send influence too, but they cannot hurt the humans. Nothing is lost.”

The messenger felt a wave of panic.

“No, Your Highness, it is not so! I wish the demons merely sent influence, but they have gone beyond that. The demons have sent a group of commanders to the Human Realm itself.”

Providence paused a moment, clearly taken aback.

“It cannot be so. For a demon to enter the Human Realm is simply impossible.”

“I know, Your Highness. I do not understand how they have passed beyond the seal, but I can assure you, the offspring of Wrath and Malice walk the planet.”

Darkness passed across Providence’s face, and his eyes flickered as comprehension dawned on him.

“But demons are tied to Hell. It is impossible for them to leave.”

The messenger’s chest tightened with anxiety again.

“Your Highness, I am sorry, but the Human Realm has been compromised.”

Providence closed his eyes for a moment as murmurs of disbelief and shock rose from his council. He opened his eyes and they shone with renewed clarity.

“My council, the time has come for us to once more guide the lives of those in the Human Realm.”

“We do not interfere with the disputes of humans!” The angel Faith rose from her seat. “We can only send strength to them, but their battles are their own.”

“Yes, Faith, but this is not an equal battle of humans. This is a fight the world will not win without our support. This messenger is correct. All will soon be lost if we allow demons access to the Human Realm. We must send our own commanders to the humans before the planet falls to evil.”


D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project - a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, 'The Shield of Soren', and a novella to accompany it.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

Monday, March 21, 2016

My Creation Station: A Blog Hop

My writerly pals and I are letting you see where the magic happens. Welcome to Creation Station Blog Hop! We're sharing our work spaces and our dream offices. Find ideas, inspiration, and maybe some chuckles with a peek at my muse station. Then visit the awesome bloggers listed at the end of this post, who also invite you into their work space.

Welcome to my office!

For now, I work from home. My "office" is my living room. I'm hoping to continue working from home but the money's running out. I'm not giving up. Living your dream is never easy.

Not long ago, my work space was this:


One laptop for writing, one for carrying around and a desktop to do graphic design on. Why I had three computers is a long story.  I needed to streamline my work space. 

I bought a new toy. My 2-in-1 laptop. It's my baby. All the writing happens on this computer. It's also surprisingly good with Adobe products so I do a lot of Photoshop-ing on it. It's good with multi-tasking. I always have about five windows open.


Now, I'm down to 2 computers. I got another toy about a month ago. My other baby. 

It's never far from me just in case, my dog, Oreo does something cute...cuter. I should make a habit of putting it away. I dropped my last favorite camera in the sand. *sigh* It was never the same after that. Since then, I've lived in fear of dropping my camera. 

I still have my desktop. It's my pack mule. It holds all the photos, videos and designs I want quick access to but don't need on my laptop. Since the screen is so big, I watch most of my shows on it. 

For some reason, desks and me have always been enemies. I don't like working at desks which is why I curl up on my little couch.

Sometimes, Oreo curls with me. Depending on her mood, she can be company or an obstruction. Most of the time, she's fine sitting on the floor near where I work or on the couch beside me. Other times, not so much.

I can spend hours working in this chair with the Epic Soundtrack station playing on Pandora to get me pumped. The music also helps drown out my neighbors. They let their children run back and forth. It sounds as if the kids are wearing rocks for shoes. It's really annoying.

I've share this before. It's my world building wall.

I also like to put up quotes to encourage me. Sometimes the writing life can get to you. The map comes in handy the most. As I'm working on Book 3 of The Merging Worlds series, I've had to plot new communities on my map to understand where they are in relation to each other. The wall is for The Merging Worlds series. I do all the world building for my novellas in my head and in Evernote.

Recently, my Creation Station has been more digital, centered on my computer. I don't journal as often as I used to. I do note taking in Evernote. My publishing calendar is digital too, an Excel template. It's always open. I keep a list of blog topics in a separate spreadsheet.

I haven't totally switched to digital.

My dream work space is a room that has a window with a nice view and bookshelves that cover almost every wall. One of my shelves will have a secret passage or storage area behind it because why not. I'll need an old writing desk  to put my computers on and a nice couch to get some work done on. 
Image Source: Pearlworks Architectural Details

Image Source: Dying of Cute
I also love the idea being able to work outside without having to walk to the park. 
Image Source: Better Homes and Gardens
What's your dream writing space?

Thanks for stopping by. For more ideas and inspiration about writerly work spaces, please visit these #Gr8blogs today!

Cat Michaels
Cat’s Corner

Corrina Holyoake
Venturing Into the Unknown

Julie Gorges
Baby-Boomer Bliss

Leigh Shearin
Leigh Shearin, Writer

Kristen Lamb

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Week in Links 3/18/16: Indiana Jones, X-Men, Harry Potter


The Logistics of World Building: Algebra for Fantasy Writers
Five Questions with Michael Boatman, Author of WHO WANTS TO BE THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS?
One of Brandon Sanderson's Unreleased Fantasy Novels Is Becoming a Graphic Novel
30 Inspirational Quotes from Fictional Characters [Infographic]

26 Unique Special Effects Photos to Spark Your Creativity

Did you read any interesting posts this week?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Daughter of Ravenswood Series by Kim Cleary



Book 1: Path Unchosen
Author: Kim Cleary
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Suspense

When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees firsthand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, a challenge when a beautiful, otherworldly man who claims to be her guardian saves her life.

But as Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on the spirit she raised, new zombies attack--zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he's not trying to set anything right.

Now, to save her own life and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy must figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her--a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.


Book 2: Truth Unveiled
Meagan Greystone, a new necromancer who grew up orphaned and homeless, has finally discovered a community where she belongs. But as she settles in at Ravenswood Manor, her ancestral home, a strange voice in her head unravels her newfound peace.

The source of the unsettling communication is Quintus, Meagan’s distant ancestor, known for his brutality and incredible power. When she attempts to enlist her father’s help by raising him from the dead, it’s Quintus who regains a foothold in the land of the living. Now reborn, he vows to obliterate everything Meagan treasures unless she joins him in his quest for power.

Meagan must overcome the heartbreak of unimaginable betrayal and fight in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation. Will she find the strength she needs to defeat the power of darkness and save the people and home she has grown to cherish?



Book 2: Truth Unveiled 

Blinking in the cool, dim hallway, I edged my way along the wall. At the bottom of the stairs, I reached out with my senses. The hair at the nape of my neck lifted. Whatever it was, it waited in the dining room for me.

In the dining room, tables and chairs had been flung across the room.

I pulled power from the earth into my body, let it swirl inside my chest. “Haven’t you realized what I am yet?”

It concentrated itself into a taut ball. A sentience watched me and waited.

“You must stop. You are dead. This is not the place for you.”

It sniggered. It didn’t care what I thought.

You are doing well, my dear girl. Keep calm. Don’t feed it anything.

Quintus, butting his nose into my business again. “I know what to do, Quintus.” It wasn’t true, but I wasn’t about to ask him for help.

Shelley, her back pressed into the wall, edged around the corner. “Can I do anything to help?”

“Please go back outside.” I kept my focus on the poltergeist.

“I can’t afford—”

“I know, Shelley, but please leave.”

Something grated against the wall. The grandfather clock crashed on its side and blocked Shelley’s escape. She lurched out of the way and scrambled behind the bar.

I groaned. Now I’d have to protect Shelley as well as deal with the poltergeist. And it would continue to feed on her fear.

The fishing flies, a mass of blue and orange feathers and animal furs tied onto hooks with silk thread, wobbled in their frame. The frame trembled until it wriggled lose and crashed to the beer taps below. Shelley screamed and jumped back. The broken frame wedged itself against the taps, and liquid gushed into the tiny sink. It overflowed, and ale cascaded like an amber waterfall onto the floor.

“Meagan, what should I do?” Shelley’s voice broke. She struggled with the heavy frame. “I need a hammer to shift this.”

Shards of glass from the broken frame flew at my face. I raised my hands to protect my eyes, and jagged pieces of glass sliced into the backs of my hands. I sucked in my breath at the searing pain.

Shelley called out my name.

Shaking the shards of glass off my clothes, I took a step toward her.

The brightly colored flies lifted like a swarm of wasps. Shelley flicked her hands to protect her face. The flies hovered in the air for a few seconds then zoomed at me.

Blue and orange whirled around my head in a frenzy of humming and buzzing. The barbed hooks caught in my hair and struck my scalp. One tore across my cheek. Pain leaped through me with every blow. Fear rolled around my gut, but I stamped it down.

The flies fell to the ground, lifeless fishing flies again.

I rubbed at my forehead. My fingers found blood, and I pulled out one of the hooks. The welt across my cheek burned like fire.


Kim Cleary is the award-winning author of Path Unchosen, the first title in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, which earned a bronze IPPY award in 2015. She grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in Southern Australia, and has worked all over Australia and in London. 

Forced to leave a successful career in marketing after multiple sclerosis damaged her hands and prevented her from typing, Cleary learned how to write using voice software.

A self-described chocoholic, Cleary loves writing, gardening, cooking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends. She lives with her husband and two dogs, an adorable cocker spaniel and a mischievous moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.