Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Doll by Miracle Austin





Title: Doll
Author: Miracle Austin
Genre: YA Paranormal

"Doll is a frightening 5-star read with enough scary voodoo magic to give just the right amount of twists and turns." 
~Brandy Corona, best-selling author of Midnight Outbreak~

Welcome to Frost High; I bet you've heard about or currently may be attending.

Small school, lots of secrets, a popular mean girl, Pepper Fox, and of course a few outcasts--Tomie Dupuy, Sarifena Green, and Opal Dawn--who all shined on Pepper's tormented list, since junior high. Opal shined the brightest.

Tomie, Sari, and Opal made a pact and traveled to Monroe Creek, Louisiana with the goal to end their torment in an untraditional way.

Sometimes things don't end up as we wish. Fate always possesses a way to redirect everything.

Will they finally find the solution to their agonizing problem or will all spiral out of control, as they never anticipated?

"BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR..."

| Amazon




Before I could reach Opal, the bus came to a slow stop. She almost knocked me over as she was exiting her seat and dropped her dingy backpack.

Everything spilled out. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m such a klutz.”

“Hey, it’s ok. I drop stuff all the time.” I called out to Mr. Ray. “She’ll be up in a few. Need to help her gather her stuff up.”

Mr. Ray nodded, placed the bus in park, leaned back in his seat, and turned on his favorite radio station to listen to a 60’s classic song.

I gathered up her items as fast as I could; I stuffed them back into her backpack, as she did the same. I swooped up an 8x5 picture of Pepper Fox dressed in her cheerleader uniform from the eighth grade.

Something about the picture stood out. I examined closer. It was Pepper’s eyes. They were missing, as if burnt out.

Opal jerked it from my curious examination before I could comment. She stumbled up to her feet, tucked her backpack under her arm, and ran down the bus aisle until she reached the stairs. I followed her halfway.

“Slow down, Opal…” Mr. Ray said as he opened up the bus folding doors for her to exit.

She turned around to speak, but nothing came out. She walked down the stairs in a swift motion with slight pauses, which was the opposite of her earlier entrance.

She looked both ways before galloping across the street to her house.



Miracle Austin works in the social work arena by day and in the writer’s world at night and weekends. She’s a YA/NA cross-genre hybrid author; adults also enjoy her works. She’s been writing since junior high and Drive by The Cars being one of her biggest inspirations to write. She enjoys writing diverse free-verse poems/mini-stories and short stories; she written over a 50 of those works; horror/suspense are her favorite genres.

Doll is her first debut YA/Paranormal novel; Doll won the Purple Dragonfly Award, 2nd place, in the Young Adult category in 2016. Boundless, an eclectic collection of short stories, set for a release in the Fall of 2016. She hopes to present at many more teen book events and conduct school visits in the future. Finally, Miracle resides in Texas with her family.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Photo Manipulation: Creating Fantasy Lands in Photoshop

I always thought you needed to be an illustrator to create those nice fantasy landscapes. A couple of days ago, I was searching YouTube for book cover design videos when I came across artists creating fantasy images by piecing together different stock photos in Photoshop. I was like, "I can do that!"


My publisher asked if I could design some more images to go into The Lost Sceill. A good opportunity to practice creating fantasy landscapes.

Here's my first attempt.


This was inspired by a scene from my latest book Darkness Ignites that Flame. It was so hard to create. I tried recreating it but I can't figure out how yet.

My latest project is an area called Heaven's Gate from The Lost Sciell.

I saw this image and knew it was the Gate.


Instead of starting the project with that image, I went with something else.

Wasn't a fan of where this was going. I returned to my original idea.

The background for the first image was all wrong, so I removed it.


Next, I wanted to add vines to the stone arches.

These were perfect.

Deleting every bit of white between those vines took forever. There must be a quicker way to remove backgrounds from images.

The arches have the Sciell's mark etched on them. It took a while to figure out how to create that effect. Didn't quite get it to work. The marks are so small you can't see them well.



Here's what I have so far

"Rows of black stone arches lined the clearing. Vines of vivid red and white flowers wound around the pillars. Plants with their flowing fishtail like petals only grew around Heaven’s Gate. Long white and brown spotted strings fell from their centers. Unique red and white patterns decorated each noble petal. These flowers, this Gate inspired countless stories.
The arches rested on a white cobblestone road. A wired door hung from only the first arch. Symbols lined each Gate. Josephine saw these markings before. Books said they covered the walls of the underground tunnels. Even the descendants of the natives didn’t know what they meant. If only she had more time. She could figure out this language...
He pressed his palm to the mark—symbol to symbol— and released a measure of Lifeblood.

Every symbol on the stone arches glowed blue. An orb of the same color opened in the middle. It matched their core.

The orb grew. The inside flattened. It turned clear and rippled like the surface of a lake. It opened to a blue landscape. The orb expanded—so did this window. Trees with fiery leaves stretched across the land. A blazing moon hung over it. A sea of bronze towers loomed above the trees."
From The Lost Sciell

I'd like to figure out how to do the fishtail flowers. Also, I tried making the arches black but nothing worked. I'll need to figure that out as well. I might make the symbols a glowing blue so they're easier to see.

What's your favorite fantasy landscape?

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Week in Links 8/26/16: Rings, Photo-Themed Bar, Zelda


Book Marketing and Branding
Snapchat Stories vs. Instagram Stories: Which Is Best for Your Content
A Beginner’s Guide to SEO that Works
4 Creative Ways to Build Buzz for Your Next Blog Post Before It Goes Live
19 Tools to Create Social Media Content
How to Be Active on Social Media without Losing Your Mind

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
What’s Coming Next from the 2016 Hugo Award Fiction Winners?
Okorafor and Jemisin’s Hugo Award Win Huge Victory for Black Readers
Taking Submissions: Robbed Of Sleep Winter 2016
One third of parents avoid reading children scary stories, study finds
Literary Activism: Writers Raise Money to Preserve Langston Hughes’ House

Nerdy

Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 8/26 and next Friday, 9/2.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Interview with Dormaine G. author of Connor Revealed



Title: Connor Revealed (Book 2)
Author: Dormaine G.
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Earth

In the aftermath of betrayal, dust is settling. The San cannot rest as they take more responsibility defending Earth. Meanwhile, Connor must endure immeasurable physical pain as her abilities grow stronger, both through fights and brutal combat training of The San, for they must prepare for what's coming: war.

Connor's loyalties are questioned as her actions are put to the test. She is forced to make harsh decisions against the Elders' disapproval when the world around her crumbles. Ultimately, one decision will seal her fate.

Ether

This foreign planet known for its unyielding cruelty is where Willow now resides. Ultimately, she's forced to confront the actions that put her there. Condemned to continuous battle, she has to overcome her once shallow self and accept the inevitable:: fight or die.

Ronin is back, and on a mission no one else knows about. The very one closest to him is Connor, his mortal enemy. Neither is willing to accept their destiny, yet compelled by it. Will enemies become allies, or battle to the death?


I woke to the sound of strange voices, clinking noises and brightness. I was too groggy to grasp my surroundings but I was alert enough to know that I was strapped down on a flat surface unable to move. A tube was down my throat holding it open, forcing air in to me. It was impossible to speak. I felt movement inside m|y right leg as someone wearing a mask dug into me.

I thought I was already in hell until someone pulled a skinny, brown parasite the size of a baby garden snake out of me, wiggling for freedom. Some odd creature grabbed the parasite and threw it into a glass container housing others like it.

Did those come out of me?

This must be a nightmare. This couldn’t be happening. I squirmed in alarm but a syringe filled with clear liquid was pushed into a tube running into my arm, forcing me back to unconsciousness.




What inspired you to write this book?

As a child growing up there weren’t any teen heroes that I could relate to because there wasn’t anyone out there that looked like me. I don’t think it should be mostly one sided. When you’re young, your creative fantasies should seem limitless and there is nothing more a child desires than wanting to feel special or different. I loved science fiction when I was young but there should have been more of a variety for child like me because I felt left out…stifled.

Summarize your book in one to three sentences as if you were speaking to someone unfamiliar with your book and its topic.

Connor is about a girl who recently discovers that she has abilities and the safe world she knew no longer exists. This second edition picks up right after Willow is forced through a portal to Ether, Earth’s enemy planet, and we follow her long journey. Both, Connor and Willow, must endure hardships as they struggle to survive.

Where does this book take place?

The book takes place in both a small fictional town on Earth comprised of about 20,000 people and on Ether, a far more advanced society. I discuss Ether in more detail; the culture, the non-humans and how it is different from Earth.

Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?

The three main characters in this second edition are Connor, Willow and Ronin. They each have to deal internal battles as well at physical ones in order to survive this new reality brought upon them. There is also Antony, Cheyenne, Byron and Scott, the yougows (teens) of the San culture. They must defend Earth from the supernatural beings sent there to take control. Then there are the six Keepers who contain the knowledge that helps them all fight evil in order to keep Earth safe. We learn more about their rival, Ronin, who is ruled under Monlow, the leader of Ether.

Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?

It will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers because it’s about normal everyday teenagers who stumble upon their abilities and struggle with having to keep that a secret from loved ones. There are both enjoyable and heart-wrench moments, but I do not doubt, that the reader will be entertained.

What makes your book different from other books like it?

It’s different because I encompass a multitude of ethnicities, who the reader can relate to, but it’s so much more than that. Connor Reveled not only answers more questions of The San’s past, it reveals more of language and divulges more of the culture’s deepest secrets. This novel will take the reader on an emotional voyage and all those that do survive will never be the same.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing?

That no matter what life throws at you, you can survive and learn from it.

Are there any other books that you have written?

As much as I love the young adult genre, horror is my second love. I have a series titled Madame Lilly, Voodoo Priestess which is an historical fiction horror and Micco, Anguta’s Reign, a supernatural thriller.

What else are you presently working on?

I’m presently working on a Connor 3, which is the final chapter to my Connor series. In his chapter it will answer all unanswered questions who Connor’s heart belongs to. Plus a vampire, paranormal romance titled Forbidden Thirst. This story involves a favorite character of mine from my Madame Lilly series and goes well beyond love. My last project, A Time Not Forgotten, is a paranormal romance that crosses over time. Each of these novels should be out some time this year. Please stay tuned.


Dormaine was born in Long Island, New York where she lived most of her life. As an adult she liked to travel out of the country though her favorite places to explore were her fantasy worlds as an author. She may be a nurse by profession but her heart has always belonged to writing. As a young child she spent many Saturdays in the library nurturing her love for books. There she discovered her fascination for the science fiction genre, through books, movies and graphic novels.

After many years of dabbling she decided it was time to let her true self free. She took time off from work to pursue a career in writing and published her first novel titled ‘Connor’, a young adult urban fantasy. She plans on following up with a series of books under the ‘Connor’ storyline. This is just the start of her exploration as she stays locked up her office in Colorado spinning more tales.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Release: They Can't Run From Darkness

My latest fantasy adventure novella will be available tomorrow! Preorder now.



Jade and Serin thought they found a home. Darkness found them instead.

A strange red cloud covers the mountain. It poisons... everything. An old and relentless enemy finds them. Their only choice is to escape through an underground tunnel with a group of small but powerful protectors.

Soon, a new, more horrifying, enemy pursues them. In order to survive, Jade and Serin must use magical abilities they didn’t know they had. This dark adventure shows them they’re far more unique than they believed... or desired.

This book can be read alone or as part of a series.



The mountain opened into a valley. A tattered town rotted near the bottom. The scene stretched in the horizon. Jura was amazing. The massive stretch of land existed alongside humans yet it remained hidden for centuries. That would change soon with Bai Ron no longer concealing it. Jade rarely took  time to appreciate Jura. She was usually focused on survival. The land was beautiful even at its death. She wanted to explore it. Why did she have to find such a treasure when it was too late to fully enjoy it?

In the distance, a dragon shaped rock stood almost as tall as the mountain.

“Does Jura have dragons?” Jade asked.

Her question was met with silence. Jade never came across the term dragon in her books. Maybe Jurians didn’t know that word.

“That animal shaped rock, what it is?”

“They’re Reyshril, Jura guardians. I’m sure you’ve read about them in that book,” Lark answered. “One of the most widely held beliefs about the origins of Bai Ron is that the Reyshril became the land, granting everyone born from it the ability to create Bai Ron. It’s believed that was what they looked like though I don’t know how our researchers came to that conclusion.”

Nas gripped Jade's jacket and pointed to the snow.

What’s a draygun?

Jade stepped away from Serin’s arm. She bent down and wiped her gloved hand over the snow, erasing draygun. She wrote dragon instead.

When she stepped back, Serin didn’t wrap his arm around her again. And, dammit, she would not feel lonely. Jade didn’t want to pull out her heavier coat. She settled under Serin’s. His arm brushed hers but that was the extent of the touching.

Nas wrinkled his nose. He shook his head. Nas didn’t care about the spelling.

“They’re mountain size lizards that breathe fire. They don’t exist in my land but people like to write stories about them,” Jade said.

“Why would they write stories about something that doesn’t exist?” Mahya said with a little too much attitude for Jade’s tired mind.

“Jurians don’t create stories about fictional creatures?”

“Fictional?” Mahya frowned.

“Made-up.”

Mahya sucked her teeth. Lark laughed.

“We have our share of fictional monsters. Mahya doesn’t understand the need to create monsters when Jura has enough real ones.”


Books 1 and 2 are .99 cents for a limited time.


Amazon |

Spread the word!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Week in Links 8/19/16: Harry Potter, Hidden Figures, Pennywise

How to Evaluate Your Current Author Marketing Strategy

M.R. Carey Announces Prequel Novel to The Girl With All the Gifts

How To Write And Market Romance With J.A.Huss
Technology is not the death of deep reading
6 Ways to Vet Freelance Editors
Zendaya’s SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Role Revealed
Lightroom Basics: How to Edit a Milky Way Photo


Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 8/19 and next Friday, 8/26.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dispocalypse by Michael A. Rothman

Title: Dispocalypse
AuthorMichael A. Rothman
Genre: YA Fantasy

In a post-apocalyptic world ruled by a Governor who is both feared and worshipped, Willow is a seventeen-year-old girl who is just trying to get through her last year of studies. But when her father dies, she experiences strange dreams that change everything about how she looks at the world and at herself.

Haunted by the tragedy, Willow begins pushing herself beyond anything she could have imagined she was capable of. It’s only when she catches the attention of some of the Governor’s minions that her world is turned upside-down.





Willow planted her hands on the ground and popped up onto the balls of her feet, glaring at the student who’d had the nerve to ask her to leave. “How about this,” she pointed at him, “make me leave.”

He blinked up at Willow as other students laughed and jeered.

“Steve, she’s threatening to kick your ass....”

“You can’t fight a girl....”

“She’s got to be kidding....”

“...I dunno, she looks serious.”

With a shove from one of the other students, Steve grudgingly stood, face red with embarrassment.

Willow smiled and placed herself in a ready stance. As she tensed her legs and upper body, a sudden calm washed over her.

Steve moved deliberately as he circled around Willow, arms hanging limply at his sides. She could tell that he was studying her, trying to figure out if she was serious.

Willow motioned him toward her with the tips of her fingers. “Come on Steve. Make a move.”

The teasing from the others got louder and he grudgingly brought his arms up and slowly approached.

He was short for a guy, maybe only an inch or two taller than Willow’s five-and-a-half feet. His reach was about the same as hers, and the stance he’d taken was a boxer’s stance.

He was barely out of jabbing range when Willow ducked low and swept out her right leg, sending one of Steve’s legs out from under him.

Willow leaped forward as Steve stood off-balance and she smashed him in the chest with a front kick.

Steve flew backward and landed on his back, breath whooshing out of him as a deep male voice yelled across the field, “What the hell is going on here?”

Everyone but Steve, who was gasping for breath, turned as the heavily-muscled combat teacher approached with frustration etched on his face. He was followed by a handful of other students.

Zeno stood, and the giant of a student glanced sheepishly at Willow and addressed Mister Krauthammer. “Sir, Steve and Willow were settling something between each other. No harm done, right Steve?”

Willow extended her hand to Steve, and he grabbed it. She pulled him to his feet. His face was brilliant red and she wasn’t sure if it was from lack of oxygen or sheer embarrassment.

Steve grimaced as he rubbed his chest, turned to the teacher and nodded. “It’s all done. I was just getting to know our new classmate.”


Michael A. Rothman – Author, Engineer and Cat Herder.

In a nutshell:
  • First-born American in my family
  •  Multilingual
  • Hard-working
  • Accepts no excuses
  • Despises self-importance in himself and others
  • Loves Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thrillers
  • Engineer/Scientist



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Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

Monday, August 15, 2016

Guest Post: Author Deborah A. Bailey's World-Building Influences



Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

One of my favorite questions to ask is, "what if?" When I asked myself what would happen if a virus could change someone's DNA, I created the PSI Guardians in the Hathor Legacy science fiction series. Then I asked, what if settlers from Earth moved to another planet to start a new life? What if corporations were in charge of space exploration?

Strangely enough, a few things I've written about have become science fact. Earth-like "Goldilocks planets" have already been discovered in other solar systems. Recently corporations were given permission to take expeditions to the moon. Sometimes it's hard to keep up because what is fiction today becomes fact tomorrow!

Shows like, Star Trek, Twilight Zone, and the Outer Limits inspired me as a child, showing me that science fiction could be used to ask the big questions without being "preachy." Authors like, Octavia E Butler, Ursula LeGuin and Isaac Asimov created stories that ultimately motivated me to create my own universes. But my inspirations weren't only in the science fiction realm. As an English major, I was exposed to stories from many different authors: from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou to Virginia Woolf.

I'm a Law and Order fan girl, which means my writing also includes suspenseful twists and turns. I love comics (I'm a fan of the DC Universe for the most part) so my stories will reflect my love for superhero lore. For many years I was a computer programmer, so technology will always be an integral part of my stories.

Creative people are influenced by the world around them, including the books they read, the shows and movies they watch, and the hobbies they pursue. The fun of creating science fictional (and fantasy worlds) is that there is no limit to what you can use. Just by asking, "what if?" you can create fantastic stories for your readers to enjoy.


Title: Hathor Legacy: Revelations
Author: Deborah A. Bailey
Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Hathor Legacy: Revelations – Book Three of the Hathor Legacy Series

An enemy returns to spark new tensions between the Guardians and Novacorp. In the midst of the crisis, Nadira is given information about her parents that threatens to destroy her relationship to the Guardians and to Jonathan.

While Nadira searches for answers, Jonathan is enticed into the hedonistic world of the Novacorp executive class. His entertainment club attracts the elite of Hathor, but his notoriety comes with a price.

The worlds of the Guardians and Novacorp are put on a collision course where only one side may come out on top. Nadira is called on to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the legacy of the First Families, the original settlers of Hathor, while Guardians, Kasema and Deshtu groups are faced with the choice to unite or be brought completely under Novacorp control.

Old scores are settled and long-hidden truths are revealed, and at the end Nadira and Jonathan’s relationship and their world will never be the same.

| Amazon


When she got outside, she ran down the marble stairs towards a waiting transport. The heavy metal door slid back as she approached. But before she could enter, she felt a tug on her upper arm.

"Why are you in such a hurry?" Jon asked.

Ignoring him, she climbed into the vehicle. Jon entered after her and stretched out his legs as the door closed.

She reached forward and placed her hand on the ID plate.

"Good evening, Sentry Leader Nadira. What is your desired location?" The computerized voice inquired.

"Take me home," she replied as she settled back into her seat. Their apartment was in a tower only about 15 minutes from this one. But by the looks of the clogged traffic lanes, the trip would probably take longer. This main boulevard led through the Entertainments District, one of the busiest areas of the city.

"Tell me what happened. Why do you think they killed your parents? Where did you get that?"

The transport pulled out into the traffic lane and slowly rumbled down the boulevard. Nadira looked out over the crowd, just in case she saw Zina among them. She knew it was a waste of time, if anything Zina would be in her private transport.

"I went to see Mikal at the detention center. He told me everything. My father got to the penal colony. He wasn't lost out there. They had him killed."


Deborah A Bailey's Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat. Her books include the Hathor Legacy science fiction romance series and the Family Pride shapeshifter paranormal romance series.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers' Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. In her "other" life, she's a freelance technical writer and author of non-fiction books and articles for various online publications. http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com



Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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Friday, August 12, 2016

The Week in Links 8/12/16: Diversity, Captain America, Rogue One

Black science fiction writers face 'universal' racism, study finds
Hang Out with George R. R. Martin and Nearly 20 Authors in Kansas City, August 19th
In Defense of Villainesses
Is Fiction An Addiction?
5 Things for Writers to Look for in a Day Job
Do you try to find a balance between male and female protagonists in the books you read and write?
Do YA Novels Have a Responsibility to Educate Their Audience (My Answer is..."Kind of?")

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Art of Black and White Photography

It's amazing the difference stripping color from a photo can make. Most of the pictures I take are in color but I'm gaining an appreciation for black and white. When I see a photo in black and white, I get this feeling- like awe and excitement.









 








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