Bonus Short Story #2 Released!

destroy-cover-121216Destroy has reached 20 reviews! Woot! Woot! Time to celebrate!

Of all the short stories to be released, this one is my favorite. It is a bit of backstory telling how Laurence and Annita met. Annita is just…she’s fun. She’s Brandi’s mom, so her voice is kind of similar, yet she’s even a bit more reckless, if you can imagine that.

It was also fun to write a few well known characters at a completely different time in their lives. Lord Alistair as a nervous young man before his wedding, anyone?

Without any more introduction, click the link below to read the free short story:

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 4 pages: 10 Reviews: PDF Cut Scene

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews: PDF The Perfect Plan

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews

 


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , by with 2 comments.

Bonus Short Story #1

Yay! Destroy has reached 10 reviews! That means I can release the first bonus short story/cut scene.

Technically this isn’t a cut scene. I had finished the novella and I wrote this scene thinking I might add it into the novella when I revised. In revision, I realized that adding this scene would throw off the flow and rhythm of the early chapters. So it was cut before ever getting added.

Click the link below to read the free cut scene:

 

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 4 pages: 10 Reviews: PDF Cut Scene

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , by with 2 comments.

Destroy Releases + Free Short Stories!

Ta da!

Today, Destroy (The Blades of Acktar 3.5) releases as a Kindle ebook on Amazon! destroy-cover-121216

This companion novella gives a sneak peek at the backstory of the events of Dare as well as some of the aftermath of Defy. Actually, time wise, it covers the most time of any of the books (nearly 6 and a half years).

You can buy it here on Amazon.

So far, the early readers have enjoyed it, which was something I was biting my nails about. The main character in this one is a character that was nearly universally disliked in Defy (as he was supposed to be).

Yet, somehow, this new main character stole a corner of my heart, and hopefully does the same for a few readers.

I really enjoyed giving the backstory and messing with perceptions in this one, even my own. There were times, I’d catch myself writing something where a character struck back against the Blades and I’d start cheering…only to realize my poor darling Leith was in for a horrible time of it. That’s the nature of backstory, I guess.


Short Stories

I mentioned free short stories. Here’s how they are going to work. When Destroy reaches a certain number of honest reviews on Amazon, it will unlock a short story or cut scene that will be posted for free on my website. Kind of like we all get to celebrate together when Destroy hits a milestone.

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 6 pages: 10 Reviews

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews


I’ve never done this kind of short story giveaway before. I’m excited to see what you guys think. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the book!


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , by with 4 comments.

Destroy Cover Reveal & Release Date

This is the moment you have all been waiting for. Information on the next Blades of Acktar release.

Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5)

Release Date: 12/30/16 (Kindle only)

Yes, that’s two weeks from today.

Ready for the cover?

*drum roll*

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


destroy-cover-121216

Back Cover:

Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…

There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.

One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.

The cost was hard, but forgiveness is harder.

The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?


I’m actually a little nervous for this one. It is the first Blades of Acktar release without Leith or Renna as a main character. And the new main character’s sins and struggles aren’t Leith’s sins or struggles. Everything is kept clean, but parents might want to read the first chapter before handing the book to their ten-year-olds just to make sure it isn’t anything their child isn’t ready for.

But plenty of your favorite characters still make an appearance. New characters will steal your heart. And I might have a new favorite cinnamon roll character to huggle.

What do you think? Are you excited for this one?

 

 


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , by with 11 comments.

Fandom Merchandise

cross-daggers-header-the-blades-of-acktar-version-smaller

This Friday, I’ll post the cover reveal and release date for Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5), but until then, I have another announcement.

I set aside the first week of December and put together a few designs for Blades of Acktar fandom merchandise. I’ve seen other authors do this (and I’ve bought several things as a result because, let’s face it, fandom merchandise is so much fun).

I thought about making the merchandise only available as part of a street team. I’ve seen other authors do this. But, I decided I don’t have the time right now to run a street team, not without taking away from the little writing and editing time I have. Besides, all of you essentially ARE my street team. You do such a great job of getting the word out. You all deserve a way to shout your love of the Blades of Acktar fandom.

Right now, I have two sites where you can get Blades of Acktar merchandise.

  • Zazzle.com – this one has more designs available since its rules on picture sizes are less strict and I had less trouble uploading designs. I believe I left most of the items as open as possible so you can customize colors and sizes. For the clothing, the women’s version is pictured, but they should all be available in youth and men’s sizes if you customize them.
  • Society 6 – this one has more options for housewares items (such as pillows and clocks), but fewer designs available at the moment since this site demands higher pixel counts than Zazzle. Currently I don’t have any apparel set up, but I will be working on that in the future.

Here’s what the Zazzle site looks like and a few of the options:

I have personally purchased items from both of these sites before and have been pleased both times. Currently, both sites are running a lot of promotions for the holidays, which is always nice for saving money if you would like anything (or you can convince a family member to get it for you for Christmas).

Have fun looking through the designs and options!


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , , , by with 1 comment.

Upcoming Publishing Schedule

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on a few things. I apologize in advance because there is going to be a flurry of activity this week, but it all good stuff and I think you’ll be excited.

Deliver Update

I have had a lot of people ask me when Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) will release.

The short answer: I don’t know yet.

Sorry. *wince* *ducks flying books*

The long answer: The first draft is written. That’s the first big step. Now that November is over, I plan to spend December revising. The revised draft should go out to my editor and early readers in late December or early January. Then it all depends on how long it takes for my editor and early readers to go through it and send it back to me, and how many changes I have to make in the second revision. Then all the publishing stuff and proofreading. Right now, I’m hoping for a March release, but I’m making no promises. I don’t want to rush and give you a sub-par book.

Before you despair too much, keep reading for an update on everything I plan to publish in the next few months.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

In case you don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. In November, authors all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words in 1 month. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds, especially for writers like me that also work a day job. To put this in perspective, since working my current full time job, I have never written 50,000 words in a month. My highest word count was roughly 30,000. Somehow, I needed to find time to write an extra 20,000 words.

I did it. Not really sure how. Actually, I do know how. I pretty much did nothing but write and work the entire month of November. But, it was worth it.

What does this mean for you, my amazing readers?

Well, obviously, I wrote 50,000 words of new Blades of Acktar stuff. That’s a lot of words that will be coming your way.

Stuff I wrote during NaNo:

  • I finished the novella about the Leader titled Destroy
  • An extended ending short story for Deliver
  • A short story about Shad and Jolene
  • A few backstory scribbles of scenes in Dare from Shad’s POV
  • A short story about Laurence & Annita Faythe, Renna and Brandi’s parents
  • A short story set 10 years after the end of Deliver
  • A few scenes set 8 years after the end of Deliver that could turn into a novella down the road (but not right away.)

Publishing Schedule

If you’ve been keeping track, I have first drafts of Book 4, a novella, 4 short stories, and a few random backstory scribbles waiting in line to be published. You might be wondering when in Acktar all this cool stuff will finally make it your way.

Here’s the tentative schedule. Things might change, and I’m making no promises.

Late December

  • Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5) releases as Kindle only – this is the novella on the Resistance Leader that gives both backstory for when Respen took over and some new information on what happens immediately after Defy ends. This novella is something of a prequel-sequel that spans about 6 years of time. It isn’t necessary to read this book before Deliver, but it gives more insight into certain characters.
  • short story about Shad and Jolene (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy
  • short story about Laurence and Annita Faythe (to be titled yet) –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy 

March

  • Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) releases – remember, this is a tentative release date. Subject to change
  • extended ending short story for Deliver (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver
  • short story set 10 years after Deliver  –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver

April 

  • Destroy releases as paperback with all the short stories released as part of the launches for Destroy and Deliver included as bonus content.

Some of the other random backstory scribbles will probably also be released during one of the launches as freebies on my website.

Yes, you read that right. The next Blades of Acktar release is planned for the end of THIS MONTH. It’s a novella (though technically long enough I could call it a short novel) and releasing as a Kindle ebook only at this time, but still. That’s only a few weeks away. I might be kinda freaking out at this point.

Later this week, I’ll have a cover release for Destroy and give out an official release date so you can count down the days. There will also be more information about Destroy then.

So stay tuned. 😉


Posted in Announcements, The Blades of Acktar and tagged , , , , , , , , by with 4 comments.

Black Friday Sale

Like last year, a group of fellow indie authors and I got together to cross-promote Black Friday deals on our books. Unlike last year, I have 3 books instead of 1, and the deals will be better.

For example, Dare and Deny will be selling at $9 (plus shipping). This is $1 off from what I normally sell them on my website. Defy will also be $1 off. But, the real deal is going to be the 3 book set. If you buy Dare, Deny, and Defy as a 3 book set, it’ll be $25 (plus shipping). If you figure that out, that is $8 for Dare and Deny and $9 for Defy. In other words, if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the paperbacks, this would be a good time to do it.

To promote the Black Friday sale, we’re looking for bloggers to post about the sale. In return for your time and effort of posting, you’ll be able to choose a free ebook from the ones offered by the below authors:

Sarah Holman
Jessica Grayson
Kendra E. Ardnek
Leah E. Good
Faith Blum
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
Jenelle Schmidt
Jaye L. Knight/Molly Evangeline
J. Grace Pennington
Claire Banschbach
Rachael Ritchey
Tricia Mingerink
Sarah Allerding
Kate Willis
Amanda Terro
If this interests you, please fill out this form to participate:
2016 Indie Book Black Friday Sale
Thanks so much!

Posted in Announcements, Book Recommendations and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

the-rise-tour-blogger-banner-1

I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.

As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.

Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.

And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.

Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.

This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.

Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.

This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.

During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.

And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.

Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?

Yep, Nadine Brandes. nadine-early-release-2

The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.

When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.

atimetodiecov

That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…

It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.

But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.

And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.

Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.

Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book. atimetospeak5

But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.

It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.

Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.

If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…

If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…

If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…

If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…

Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?

And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.

Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.

Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?

 

Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.

Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18

image

Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?

A Time to Die

AmazonBN-iconlogo EvxYrjm7_400x400goodreads icon

A Time to Speak

AmazonBN-iconlogogoodreads icon

A Time to Rise

AmazonBN-iconlogo goodreads icon


Posted in Book Recommendations, Christianity, The Blades of Acktar, Writing Blogs, Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , by with 6 comments.

The Awesomeness that is Realm Makers

I know, it has been over a week since Realm Makers and everyone else and their brother-in-law has already written their Realm Makers post. I’m a little behind. More news on that later.

All I really have to say is IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!! That would pretty much sum it up, but that would be a sorry excuse for a blog post, especially after I haven’t posted anything in four weeks.

Realm Makers is a writer’s conference for Christian writers in the speculative (fantasy, science fiction, horror, steampunk, etc) genres. It is kind of like a four day retreat with 150 of your closest friends (even if you didn’t know they were your friends until you arrived). This year, it was at Villanova University outside of Philadelphia. Me being crazy me, I drove the 11 hour drive all by myself. Who wouldn’t want to drive themselves with views like this?

Displaying IMG_20160727_161252863.jpg
I did the drive in two days, one long day and one morning so that I had time to stop at the Valley Forge National Monument. Valley Forge is where George Washington and his men spent the winter of 1777-1778 and started being better organized as an army. While most of t
heir huts and entrenchments are no longer visible, the farmhouse where George Washington spent the winter is still there. It is about 80% original, down to much of the interior floorboards, railings, and paneling in the rooms.

Displaying IMG_20160728_110055664_HDR.jpg

Finally, I arrived at Villanova. The campus was beautiful, all stone buildings and brick paths. Lots of scope for a fantasy writer’s imagination there!

I roomed with Nadine, Katie, and Ashley. Of the three, I’d only known Nadine before the conference, but that didn’t stop all of us from bonding. Katie is super perky and amazingly dedicated to her blog fans. Ashley and I swapped curly hair horror stories and product tips. Seriously great Realmie Roomies! I could go on and on about how amazing our three AM chats were! Ashley and Nadine both have books available, and I adore both of their series! There was a rather hilarious moment when I wore a Nadine’s Ninjas shirt all day, but Nadine didn’t notice it until nearly midnight. She screamed incredibly loudly and totally freaked out. Katie and I got a good laugh about it, because Katie asked in the morning how long I thought it would take Nadine to notice. Apparently it took her all day.

Realmie Roomies

Nadine's Ninjas

Photo Credit: Nadine Brandes This is Nadine’s “I can’t believe I never noticed this” face!

 

Ashley and I got each others books at the conference. So excited to read the rest of her series now that I have them!

Ashley and I

 

The sessions were amazing, especially Steve Laube’s. He focused on building our own faith since, as writers, we pour out what we take in. If we aren’t taking in God’s Word, we can’t pour it into our writing.

The costume night was also a highlight. I dressed as a Blade, but I struggled to be intimidating.

Dressed as a Blade

Then there was the lack of sleep. The last night I got about 20 minutes of actual sleep before I had to be up to drive a carload of faculty to the airport. I’m really surprised none of them refused to ride with me when they realized I’d had pretty much no sleep, I was driving in the dark in an unfamiliar area, and it was a torrential downpour. Thankfully, they all arrived safely, and I was able to doze in bed for a few more hours before I had to start my drive home.

In case you hadn’t noticed, no one at Realm Makers sleeps. For four days, people should get about 32 hours of sleep. I haven’t seen any Realmie report anything more than 20 hours of sleep. I think I got about 10 hours of deep sleep and a lot of catnaps and dozing. Good thing everyone at the conference is too buzzed on hanging out and caffeine to care how little sleep they got!

The best thing about Realm Makers I think is the whole atmosphere. It is very relaxed, very friendly. Like I said, it feels like a several day retreat with 150 of your friends more than a stuffy conference. I made so many new writer friends it would take pages to list them all here. I miss them all so much already!

13872936_1228536687181239_7655883261979742588_n

Seriously, if you are a Christian speculative fiction writer, you should go to Realm Makers if at all possible! I can see now why people go back to it every year!


Posted in Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , by with 2 comments.

A Time to Rise Cover Reveal

I have a super special treat for you guys today. A cover reveal! But not just any cover reveal. This is a cover reveal for A Time to Rise, book three in the Out of Time series by the extraordinary Nadine Brandes. Yes, the same Nadine Brandes who happens to be the freelance editor for The Blades of Acktar.

I was super excited when I got the chance to sign up for the cover reveal and see the cover a day earlier than the reveal. The benefits of being on Nadine’s street team. If that sounds good to you, you can find the sign up here.

Now, the cover reveal…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ta da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ATimetoRiseCover

Isn’t it gorgeous? Then again, I didn’t expect anything less. All of the covers for the Out of Time series have been amazing, done by Kirk DouPonce, DogEaredDesign! I can’t wait to have this book on my shelf!

About the Book

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Add to Goodreads

Release Date: October 14, 2016

How am I ever going to survive until October? Ah!!!!

If you want to add a countdown timer to your blog (because you’re an excited fangirl like me), then here’s the link for one: https://countdownsbyerin.com/cd/time/

All Covers - IG - ST

Sadly, the preorder isn’t available at this time. But if you haven’t picked up the first two books, you can find them here:

 A Time to Die

AmazonBN-iconlogo EvxYrjm7_400x400goodreads icon

A Time to Speak

AmazonBN-iconlogogoodreads icon

You can connect with the author Nadine Brandes at her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To top off all the fun, Nadine is hosting a giveaway for Happy Hello Out of Time character bookmarks. Follow this link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c244e3122/?

What do you think? Isn’t the cover amazing?


Posted in Book Recommendations, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , by with 5 comments.