Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Promo: The Message on the 13th Floor by Winter Lawrence

Good morning, squiders! Today I’ve got an excerpt for you from an intriguing sounding novel! (Scroll down to the bottom for the excerpt part.)


YA Paranormal Mystery

Date Published: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult & New Adult Books


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When Meghan’s mother suddenly disappears without a trace, she and her two little sisters are the first to notice, and the only ones who seem to care…

The problem, of course, is that her mother likes to party, so when she goes missing, Meghan not only has to take care of everything at home, but she also has to search for her, because her mom has a bad habit of disappearing, so no one else is officially looking. That is until Meghan begins to receive mysterious messages, almost as if someone or something is guiding her to a haunted hotel in Manhattan, where people say an elevator game will take riders to the mysterious 13th floor. Some say it’s an entrance to hell, others a portal to another dimension. Either way, Meghan must brave the game in hopes of discovering the truth behind her mother’s disappearance.



About the Author

Winter is an award-winning author who lives in the moment and loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family, her fur-babies, and a ton of great reads! When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she’s usually thinking up far away, fantastical worlds or she’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Because of her love for all things literary, Winter pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Professionally, she is a manuscript editor and, in her spare time, she enjoys posting book and movie reviews.

In her private time, she is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances, and one day she hopes to inspire young readers in the same way her favorite authors continue to inspire her today.

 

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Excerpt:

Before we head out to leave, I make a pitstop at the bathroom. As I go about my business, my mind is so acutely focused on where we need to stop I don’t notice the water turning on until it’s on maximum pressure, the hot water coming out in spurts. I quickly finish taking care of business before I hurry over to the sink, my heart pounding painfully against my chest.

“Mom?” I whisper as I search the reflection in the mirror for any sign of her.

Steam begins to form, so I lean forward, waiting for the inevitable message.

A fingertip impression appears, the sight of it causing my heart to race into overdrive. I grab onto the sides of the sink for support, since the sudden rush of blood makes me dizzy. I blink several times to clear my focus, and then I watch on, always in awe, as my mother’s cursive handwriting appears out of thin air.

It says, “Go with him.”

I read those three words several times before I turn to search the bathroom, hoping to catch a glimpse of her once again. “Go with who? Matt?” I’m so tired of the riddles. “Mom…can you…where are you?” I ask, pleading. “Just give me a straight answer and I’ll go to you! Please.” That last part comes out as a sob.

Icy tendrils begin to wrap themselves around my arm, almost as if someone is grabbing onto my forearm and tugging on it. I turn to face the mirror and gasp when I look upon my mother’s beautiful, radiant face. She smiles lovingly and then disappears, the word “Bowery” replacing her image. I reach out to touch it, for some reason hoping I can feel her, but it’s just a mirror, and with the hot water losing steam, the message begins to fade.

~*~*~*~*~

Anyway, squiders, if this sounds interesting to you, check it out!

Making Paperback Copies?

After I posted about Half-Formed Places on Friday, a friend asked if there would be a paperback version of it, which was honestly not something I had considered.

It’s not a terribly long book, but I do know that some people do prefer to have a paper copy of anything, and maybe it would be worth it to make it available to those who want it.

But then I got to thinking–there’s quite a few books I only have out as ebooks. Both short story collections, and all the Writers’ Motivation Books (the workbooks, on the other hand, are only available in paperback). Should I make them all both digital and physical?

Certainly something to think about.

I can tell you why I haven’t. I make most of my own covers, and it is a million times easier to make an ebook cover than a paperback cover. A paperback cover you need to know the exact number of pages, because it’s all one big wraparound file, and there’s bleeding and margins to worry about, and it needs to be a high enough resolution to print clearly–just a lot more things to have to think about and plan for.

(But, Kit, you say, then why didn’t you make ebook versions of the workbooks? That’s a separate but different issue. The workbooks are in a pdf format, since there’s a lot of lines and margins and other things to worry about internally. You can upload a pdf for a paperback book, but you canNOT upload a pdf for an ebook, and I haven’t figured out how to convert the files without everything falling apart.)

Anyway, that’s a lot of moaning, and the long story short is that I’m willing to fight with the covers if paperback versions are something that appeal to people.

So, here’s a poll:

Thanks for your feedback, squiders! I always appreciate your thoughts on these types of things. Otherwise I feel like I’m just shouting into the void, and the void often agrees with whatever I want to do.

Got a new blog series starting next week, so I will see you then!

Promo: An Unwitting Trickster by Kai Strand

Good afternoon, squiders! Got a book promo for you today. Looks interesting!

 


Young Adult Fantasy / Mythology

Date Published: 06-08-2021



Immortal Trickster, Luke, is starting a fresh life in a new-to-him seventeen-year-old body. With yet another lifespan stretched out in front of him, he’s questioning what purpose his endless compulsion to play tricks serves.

Agnar, a Thor look-alike claiming to be his adoptive brother from the planet Asperian, appears to declare Luke has been away from home too long. One problem. Luke doesn’t remember Agnar or living on another planet.

With more questions than answers, Luke cautiously agrees to accompany his “brother” back to Asperian, but the travel portal rejects him, leaving him behind to continue his mundane life of trickery. When interplanetary soldiers show up intent on killing him, he’s forced into hiding and his list of unanswered questions grows.

Will Luke remain trapped on Earth forever, pulling meaningless pranks? Or will he finally figure out his true purpose?


About the Author

Award winning Kai Strand, author of the action packed Super Villain Academy series, is often found exploring hiking trails and snapping pictures of waterfalls in her Oregon hometown. Mother of four, Kai uses her life experiences to connect with young readers. With middle grade works such as Save the Lemmings, The Weaver Tale series, and The Concord Chronicles series, and emotional YA adventures like Finding Thor, I Am Me, and Worth the Effort, Kai has written compelling stories that tweens, teens, and their parents love.

Kai has given numerous presentations in classrooms, to writer groups, and at workshops about her work and the writing process. She loves interacting with teens and gaining their insight on their latest reads as well as what they would like to see in future stories.

To find out more about Kai, please visit Kaistrand.com.


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Half-Formed Places is Live!

Happy Friday, squiders! This week has been more of a mess than I hoped, but I did manage to finished the formatting on Half-Formed Places and get it live on Amazon!

HFP cover

The collection contains four short stories of varying lengths, three of which were published on Turtleduck Press between 2014 and 2016, and one which is brand spanking new.

Now, you may have noticed that this is not one of the covers that I posted last week or whenever it was, though it a combo of the font from the water cover and one of the other images. After discussion with the other TDP people, we vetoed the water cover since there’s no water-related stories in the collection (now, the next one, however…). So it’s a compromise, hooray.

Anyway, the collection is available for a dollar (or the equivalent in your currency) or through Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll check it out!

New SkillShare Class Up!

Oof, squiders. I always forget how long the video portion of a class takes.

In my head, every class–and this is my fifth class–the hard part is putting together the PowerPoint part of the class, and the recording part is the easy part.

Well, I guess the recording isn’t too bad.

But the editing of those recordings? Oy.

I think I’ve spent about eight hours on the editing part. My video editor was starting to get REALLY grumpy.

(It is my longest class, at 40 minutes, but 8 hours for 40 minutes? Oof.)

Though, I will admit, it’s generally easier for me to focus on the recording/editing parts. Maybe they’re just more interesting because it’s not something I do very often.

Seriously, though, why do the PowerPoint portions always take me so long? I wanted this class up in March, maybe April. And here we are, in late May. Excellent job, self.

That being said, I’m considering doing a workshop for my next class, one where students follow along with me as I work on something. It’d be less formal, and it would involve no PowerPoint.

Maybe an outlining workshop, to follow up this class (oh, yeah, this class is about types of outlines). I do need to get a novella or two going, so it would be killing two birds with one stone.

(I had an idea for a novella yesterday while I was walking the dog, but I’ve already forgotten it. This is why we write everything down. WAIT NO I REMEMBER)

But it’s done! It’s up!

Work has been accomplished!

Anyway, if you’re interested, the new class is here! And I shall see you guys next week, no matter what.

Help Me Pick a Cover!

Hello again, squiders! Every so often, over at Turtleduck Press, we pull off the older free short stories, and then I gather mine up and release them in a short story collection. The first one, The Short of It, came out in 2017 and included stories from the start of TDP until 2014 (as well as a new story), and the one I’m working on right now will include stories from 2015 and 2016 (and a new story).

Anyway, it’s cover picking time. I’ve made a couple and I’d love to get your feedback on which one you like best!

Thank you for taking a look!

Excerpt: A Season in Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

Good morning, squiders! Today I’ve got an excerpt from Jackson Kuhl’s A Season of Whispers, a new Gothic novel that was recently released.


Gothic Mystery/Horror

Publisher: Aurelia Leo

Date Published: 08-10-2020 / 

Audibook Launch April/May 2021


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In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.

A Season of Whispers is Jackson Kuhl’s debut novel of Gothic mystery, transcendentalist utopianism, and antediluvian hunger.

 


 

About the Author

 Jackson Kuhl is the author of the Gothic novel A Season of Whispers and the Revolutionary War biography Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer. Kuhl has written for Atlas Obscura, Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, National Geographic News, and other publications. He lives in coastal Connecticut.

 

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Excerpt:

He awoke engulfed in darkness. Stumbling through his mnemonic geography he managed to raise the fire and find and light a lamp. Outside lay impenetrable black and chirping frogs and crickets; Lyman had no conception of the hour but judged he had missed supper at the main house. Resolution would have to abide his stomach until daybreak. He poured himself some water from the jug and washed his face and hands and unpacked his clothes into the dresser. The other bag he stuffed under the bed. With log and poker Lyman built up the fire as high as it would safely go and sat staring at it, and gradually a snowfall of calm gathered in his hair and upon his shoulders, an accumulation of peace he hadn’t known for weeks. Finally he was secure: ensphered in a globe of night on the edges of civilization, as isolated as a Sandwich Island maroon, but not so alone as to be lonely. The purest bred hound, raised on a diet of nothing except dirty stockings and pinpricks of blood on grass, could not track his footsteps from New York to the little stone ruin perched on the periphery of Connecticut wilderness. He wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and dozed again.

The second time he woke to the sound of a violin. He couldn’t have been long asleep. the fire burned brightly; but the night beyond the house had gone silent, with only the scraping of the bow across strings. Lyman lay there a long time, icy needles stabbing him, wondering where the music originated. There was no wind to carry it from the house or some other building. Maybe someone fiddled while walking along the road? An approaching visitor. Then the playing, mournful at first, kicked up to a merry jig, and Lyman jumped to raise the lamp wick and push on his shoes.

He followed the sound from the bedroom to the stairs and descended. It was louder on the first floor, seeming to rise from the boards rather than out-of-doors. When he reached the basement door, it abruptly cut off.

It so happened that the basement door at the top of the worn stone steps, along with the front and kitchen doors, had not been stripped of its iron and thus functioned as intended. Additionally—and Lyman hadn’t thought this odd in the daylight, but now wasn’t so sure—the door was fitted with a crossbar, which, as there was no direct entrance from outside to the basement, seemed unnecessary.

He undid the bar, opened the door, held the lamp high. Nothing but shadow—the light failed to reach the floor below. Neither glimmer of light nor sounding of fiddle note wafted from the darkness.

The flame of the lamp leaned and flickered. Air brushed the hairs of his short beard: a breeze on his face. Something moved toward him at fast speed he realized, something large, its mass pushing the air ahead of it. Even now it noiselessly rushed up the stairs at him.

Lyman slammed the door, shot the bar through its cleat, threw his weight against the wood—steeled himself for the impact against the other side.

None came. After a long moment he looked at his lamp. The flame stood straight as a soldier.

He took a deep breath. Upon returning to his room it didn’t take him long to convince himself he had imagined everything, that the only music had been the cotton of a dream clinging to his sleepy skull. He tossed another log on the fire and lay back on the mattress, listening as the usual players outside again took up their instruments and played him off to sleep.

Virtual MileHiCon Aftermath

Oh my God, it’s Thursday. When did that happen? I swear I didn’t mean to skip Tuesday. I blame the snow day on Monday.

So! MileHiCon happened last weekend. How did it go?

Well, first of all, I felt like my panel went pretty well. Hopefully that’s also objectively true! (It’s up on YouTube, actually.) And the bigger, mobile one was mostly quiet during it, huzzah.

Normally I do 2 or 3 panels per con, and I haven’t moderated before, but I talked to a couple of other people, and it seems like, with the exception of the guests of honor, everyone was down to fewer panels, or only one, in many cases. I think that comes down to fewer “rooms” and the need to space the panels out, so tech issues could be dealt with in between in case panelists were having problems.

Overall, I felt like the con was well run. The addition of a Discord channel for panelists and attendees to continue discussions was a good idea, and it also allowed the staff to provide real time updates, which was essential, especially on Friday, when the website crashed and was inaccessible for about twelve hours. (So it turns out that having multiple ways to access the panels was also a good plan.)

They said, during the closing ceremonies, that they’d sent people to every virtual con they could for the past several months, so they could see what was working and what wasn’t, and the result was a well-run convention with very few hiccups (aside from Friday).

I wish I’d gotten to spend more time on it. As expected, being unable to distance myself from my responsibilities by being physically present at the con made it hard to focus on it. Friday would have been the day I could have focused the most, but the site being down limited what I could do. I was supposed to be manning the chat room on the Turtleduck Press page in the Authors’ Row, but alas, it was not to be.

Saturday was full of real-life activities, and I didn’t even get to sit down until dinner time, let alone do con things. (I made a nice Little Red Riding Hood cloak in twenty minutes flat, which I’m pretty proud of, not going to lie.)

Sunday morning was also busy, so I didn’t get back to the con until about 2 (and closing ceremonies are at 3). I did make the most of it, though–I went through the Authors’ Row and chatted with some of the other authors (nobody’s chat rooms got much use so maybe it wasn’t worth it to have sprung for one), looked at vendors and the costume pictures people had sent in, went to a panel, chatted in the Discord.

So! For a virtual con, it was good! But I much prefer the real thing, and I hope next year we can be back in person.

Other than that, oh man, November starts on Sunday! Planning for my mystery is coming along, but do I feel ready by any stretch of the imagination?

Nope!

I hope you’re having a good week, squiders! I’ll see you next week and next month.

Going to a Virtual Convention

So, MileHiCon, which you’ll remember if you’ve been with me for a while, is a scifi/fantasy literature convention I hit every year. Except, of course, this year sucks.

So MileHiCon has gone virtual.

There are pros and cons to this, like with anything, The biggest con, of course, is not being able to physically be there. I’ll miss my writing friends and acquaintances that I don’t always get to see elsewhere. I’ll miss the con atmosphere. I’ll miss the Critter Crunch. I’ll miss the networking and random discussions.

The pro is that my other Turtleduck Press people can come this year, which they usually can’t. So that’s exciting. I think.

We signed up for the virtual author’s row, which in theory gives us a space to advertise (and also gives us a chatroom–be interesting to see if anyone comes in. Other than ourselves). I haven’t heard a lot on that front (which is bad since the con starts on Friday) but I know they’ll pull it together. The con has a great team, and I’m actually a little impressed at the virtual space they’ve put together for the con itself.

(I watched the panelist info video yesterday, which was well done and also hilarious. It was so good.)

Speaking of panels, I basically told them not to feel like they had to put me on any panels this year. Without being physically at the con, I can’t guarantee that I won’t have the small, mobile ones or other family members bothering me.

I did get one assigned–a panel on editing. As the moderator.

I’ve never moderated a panel in my life. The closest was two or three years ago when I and another author led a roundtable about Doctor Who. (Which does not add to my confidence, because basically the other author talked the whole time and shot down anyone who didn’t agree with him.)

So that’s fun! Nothing like trying to lead a discussion while hoping the bigger, mobile one doesn’t need help on his social studies (it’s on Friday during the day)!

It’ll probably be fine. I just need to do some work before hand to make sure I’m prepared. Fingers crossed and all that jazz.

It is too cold to type out here. Hold on.

Anyway! I shall be interested to see how the con goes this year. A lot less prep than usual on my side, but I wonder if I will get as much out of it as normal. Things to talk about next week, when the con’s over.

(If you’d like to come, please do so! It’s $15 for a full weekend membership, and there’s decently big names as the guests of honor: Cory Doctorow, Rebecca Roanhorse–what? Barbara Hambly is coming? ::makes notes::–Connie Willis, etc.)

(Also, I appreciate MileHiCon always treating me like I’m someone worth coming to see.)

Have you guys gone to or participated in a virtual con this year? How did it go? Any tips you have? Any moderating insights?

Promo and Review: Taking Time by Mike Murphey

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.

            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.

            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.





About the Author


Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.

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Review:

I enjoyed this book! It’s not the most standard of story formats (in terms of plot and pacing) but that doesn’t really bother me. I don’t think I would call it humorous science fiction. Maybe if you find dick jokes funny, but I don’t. (And if you really don’t, this is not the book for you. To be honest, if they’d gone on much longer at the beginning, I would have put it down.)

The story follows three candidates selected to be some of the first humans to travel through time: Marshall, Sheila, and Marta. The formatting in the review copy I received was a little wonky, missing things like page and chapter breaks (and italics) and sticking page numbers and the book title in between paragraphs, which was a little distracting (and sometimes hard to tell when points of view changed) but I figured it out eventually. Marshall, Shiela, and Marta are very different in personality, but all of them are likable and easy to follow along with. There are also sections from other characters.

The story follows the time travel program from when the potential time travelers arrive on campus as the program evolves as they discover more about how time travel actually works.

The story is very readable. The time travel is interesting though not terribly revolutionary if you read a lot of time travel-related stories. The characters are believable and sympathetic. It’s also a fairly quick read, all things considered, and it’s easy to keep reading.

So, if you like time travel stories, don’t mind stories that are a little more meandering in their plotlines, and can withstand dick jokes, you might consider picking this one up.