Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Exercise On First Impressions

First Impressions are powerful things. I know, because I've blown my fair share of them. For instance, I will never be able to go back and redo my first day of high school with that extra tight permanent (shudder), or even re-meet my hubby for the first time. Firsts only come once.

That's why we're lucky as writers, because we get to practice and revise our firsts--well the pages at least. We can envision and re-envision them until they feel perfect. Then we can do it again. And again. And yet again. Lucky us.

But should we? Is it really that important?

I used to think that all the emphasis on first pages was bunk. How could an agent or editor really get a feel for the whole book in just 150 words? How could a reader? Doesn't the rest of the book need to be just a good? Yes, but after I had the opportunity to help judge several first page contests I changed my mind about beginnings.

First pages tell volumes.

They set tone, showcase ability, and promise story. They evoke emotion. At least they should. And they should reach out, grab you by the imagination, and refuse to let go.

They should captivate on some level.

Easy peasy, right?

Ha!

It's like trying to nail jello to a tree--only more painful.

But it's worth it.

If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Right now at Throwing Up Words they are having a first page contest, and you get to be a judge. There are a lot of first pages and a lot of revelations on how important first pages are. There are even pages that just might be written by some of the crew here at Scribblers Cove. I won't tell you who because all the entries were submitted under pen names, but you are free to guess. You can vote on your favorite six until Thursday, January 26, 2012. Vote by clicking on the Project Writeway Results link at the top right of the blog.

And have fun!

Leisha Maw

Monday, January 16, 2012

Expectations Kill

We are all familiar  with disappointment.  Disappointment is born when there is hope or expectation. Yes, we all need hope to keep moving forward, but I believe that expectation is a whole lot steeper than hope.



I've lost my sights on why I've become published. I became obsessed with marketing my book to the point that I was losing my soul to it! I'm with a very small publisher and it's up to us to promote our own books. That has been a struggle with me because I have a family to tend to as well, and then there's real life that comes with it.



It became so bad that I've had to force myself to take a break for a whole week straight. I found that I had SO much more time open wide for reading, being me, and playing with my kids. I really enjoyed it.



It's been two days since I've returned to my writing career. This time, it's different. I've set aside specific times in my day so that I don't let things rule my life again.



As an aspiring author, I had expectations for my book--but that's like saying a little girl expects to live happily ever after once finding her knight in shining armor.



I had no idea what I was really in for--being published is simply the business side of writing.



Being published doesn't mean all your problems melt away and you're set for life--it's like with any other career out there: you still have to work at it but wisely! You don't stay at your current job 17 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, do you? It's so easy to let that happen with your book because you love it, you're home doing it and it slowly cooks you alive if you're not watching the water boil!





Just like with any relationship gone sour, I need to remember why I started writing. So I'm getting back to the basics:  Discovering the pure joy in writing, and remembering the love of sharing my heart's work.



As a rule, authors never talk about the hardships of their careers, and it makes me wonder why because it is there. What struggles are you facing now?



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Publicity

A friend of mine tweeted this link that is supposed to be a spoof of an author self promoting. It is hilarious, but alas, not much of a spoof. People really do go to extremes to promote their books. From my viewpoint, this has been veeery interesting to watch. I started my writing odyssey as a Clarion West student and from there was invited into a high caliber writers group, full of writers who were published the traditional way, by publishers. Some of them are quite famous. Ten years ago, anyone who wanted to be a real writer didn't get their hands dirty doing self promotion. The writer's job was to write. Some gained a competitive edge by hiring publicists, sending out review copies, doing interviews, setting up signings and that sort of thing, but would never, ever go around flogging their books.

Then came the indie movement, and with it a whole new species of writer. One who can't access the traditional publicity channels, so must find other ways to stand out from the crowd. The result, a lot of people resorting to extreme and even underhanded measures to get word out about their book. People will get their friends to leave comments on Amazon - and I don't mean friends who liked the book and are just nice people. I have a few of those. I mean a legion of "friends" who're out to stuff the ballot box. Said friends will also downgrade bad reviews to try to get them to disappear, and quite a few of these "friends" are the writer themselves, working from a newly created account on Amazon or Goodreads.

Now I stand with a foot in each camp. I've kept Emily Mah traditional, but I took my chick lit moniker, E.M. Tippetts indie. This means I've had to tackle the publicity issue head on and come up with what I am and am not willing to do. In fact, I went indie specifically to learn about publicity, to figure out if there's any way I can influence sales while still keeping my writing goals and my respectability.

When I began this, anything that seemed at all like talking myself up was anathema. I tried to make E.M. Tippetts a website and put good review quotes on it and all that, and despised it. I tore out most of the marketing stuff and started over, and spent more time on things like a cool header that was fun to make and a really nifty background I found. I played with Amazon widgets, again trying to make the site pretty. I didn't feel desperate for sales, so I didn't want to act desperate. Eventually, months later, when book bloggers whom I love and respect gave me nice reviews, I excerpted them on the site, as much to thank them as to have those on display for potential readers.

And I hit the Twitterverse, where I made myself try every technique I could find - short of the fraudulent and spamming ones - to see if any worked. What I found? Being obnoxiously forward does actually increase site hits and move sales. But I really don't like it. Nowadays I do what's comfortable for me, which is just make a lot of silly comments and send an individual tweet to every new follower I get. I rarely ever talk about writing unless someone asks, and not about my own if I can avoid it. I have made a lot of new friends in the Twitterverse, and get a lot of complements on my site. I'm happy in my niche, comfortable, and move a lot more books than I could ever have hoped to if I refused to get my hands dirty.

Through this process I've learned exactly what I set out to learn, which is how to sell more books and still be me. Now, I don't think E.M. Tippetts is set for world domination (she writes Mormon chick lit), but I think she's taught Emily Mah quite a lot about putting yourself out there and taking control of your own sales destiny.

So what are everyone else's stories about publicity? What have you tried or what do you want to try? What scares you the most? What scared me the most was turning into one of *those* authors, the kind who have car full of their self pubbed novel that they try desperately to sell anywhere they can, firmly believing that's the path to the NYT Bestseller list (I know multiple people who've been on that list. Believe me, it doesn't work that way.) The truth is, once you are who you are, being a little more forward with your art will help more than harm you. Unless you really are desperate and unscrupulous...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why Do You Write?

One of the girls in the teen writers club I've been mentoring sent out this e-mail:

          So, I have discovered why I write. I don't know about you guys, but one reason that I write is because I will never get to experience anything that my characters do. I'll never ride a dragon, or shoot at someone with lightning or anything... It's impossible to fly, and no one has super powers. That's one of the reasons I love the new superhero movies so much. Because on this earth, it's awesome to wish that you could visit completely new worlds and beat bad guys and soar in the sky, but no one will be able to. I write because I wish that I could experience all that. So I live through my characters.
          Another reason I write is to explore other people's points of view. We were born in our different places, and do many things with our lives. I like writing about people from different places and times. In my Afalzi story, Anessa lives in a world where people get their years sucked out regularly. It's funny, how much things like that affect and don't affect daily life... We weren't born in the right time to be able to dance at balls with eligible suitors or the right place to have an arranged marriage. So I, at least, find other people's experiences and time periods interesting.
           Finally, I write to travel. Sometimes I have to research for my stories, look up pictures and languages and such to be able to write the area of the world the characters are in. I'm probably never going to go to India, or the moon, or many other places. If I write my characters traveling, then I can experience at least some of it. Once again, going back to living through characters.

It made me think back to why I started writing. It was because I loved to read. I loved to read books with characters who got to experience things I might never be able to do, to feel their feelings, to see through their eyes. I loved to read for adventure, for excitement, for story. I loved to read to find characters I simply enjoyed hanging out with.


These days, in all my fuss about dialog punctuation, query letters, and publishing market trends, sometimes I forget why I'm doing this. I forget why I write. I write to bring something to life that was never there before. I write because words are magic. They can make something happen in your mind that feels as real as living it. I write for the joy of language, for the power of story. I write because I want to give people something wonderful to read.

I'll be a better writer if I remember.

Why do you write?

Friday, January 6, 2012

In dreams begin stories...

Okay, raise your hand if you've ever gotten a story idea from a dream?

So, you know the elation you feel when you first wake up with that golden nugget sparkling inside your brain. Maybe you grab for the notebook and jot the whole thing down, bleary-eyed.

This happens to me, like a lot. And then the next part happens:

I wake up properly, and as the threads of story leave my brain and I try to decipher my scribbles, I find gaping holes in the story logic that my sleeping brain found perfectly acceptable. Or things that seemed really cool but are in fact ridiculous. Here's an example from last night's dream:


source cnn.com

I'm a nurse at an unauthorized research facility that has snatched young girls, harvested their eggs and is performing experiments with embryos. At some point, the facility is found out and the administrators run so fast they leave the girls behind, chained to their hospital beds. As a few of us nurses free the girls before running off ourselves, I stop at one girl's bed, a 12 year old, and as I unlock her, I covertly slip her the fruits of two of her eggs -- two embryos held in stasis. One is a control, which if implanted would mature into a normal baby, and one altered embryo. No one knows exactly what it will become.

Kind of a cool premise for a story about the girl, perhaps a few years in the future when she considers implanting the embryo(s?). But what I, the nurse, slipped the girl was, in fact, two BLUEBERRIES.


source bellybytes.com

Blueberries, yes. The embryos were stored inside blueberries. Are you done laughing yet? It seemed perfectly reasonable in the dream.

I like the overall idea, but the feasibility of handing a girl some transportable embryos is a roadblock that will probably make me abandon the story. And here's the thing: My whole idea-making factory (my brain) is suspect, since I must have thought the blueberries were just as cool as the rest of the show. My whole dream -- or any waking idea for that matter -- is suspect.

So I have a two-part question:

How do you go about vetting your ideas for stories, deciding which are workable,

and,

how do you move them from mere ideas to fleshed out stories?

Big questions, I know. But I'm going to join some old conference buddies this month in a little writing boot camp, and I need to turn some cool ideas into short stories, so I could use some fresh tips.

Feel free to provide examples of weird dreams that became kickin' stories. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bumps and Bruises


source



It's been about 1 month since Darkspell released--2 weeks since I've had my print copies!

Is life suddenly rainbows and pink clouds? Nope. The book dream doesn't stop here.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Indie Book Fair

Did you find a new Kindle, Nook, or iPad under the Christmas tree? Browse the Indie Book Fair and find a new ebook to break in that reader!

These great new books were released Nov 2011-Feb 2012 by Indie authors, priced right so that taking a chance on a new author doesn’t have to break your wallet. (Check out my previous Internet Book Fair for other great Indie finds.)

[Indie = self-published or small-publisher, for the purposes of this post, because no matter how we’re published, we’re all in this together, trying to get the word out about our books]

Note: Links are given for Amazon, but most authors publish across all e-book formats. Click on the author’s name for additional purchasing options, including paper copies.

For Your Browsing Pleasure

Contemporary (Adult)

Build a Man by Talli Roland (Chick Lit) 
Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist. With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy's life. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job. $0.99 on Amazon

The Golden Sky by Elisa Hirsch (Memoir) 
The night I met Cade I never would’ve thought that two years later, after we were homeless street musicians in Hawaii, we would have a little girl and another baby on the way.  Our son was born with the type of birth defects that make televangelists cringe. The “death home” gave him a really nice funeral, the kind I’d never wished to attend. We lost it after that, totally cemented in our grief.  Cade got into drugs, joined a rock and roll band, and I kicked him out of the house. That was how I met: Earl (an old man and unlikely best friend), the “big sag” (a middle aged woman who still flashed folks), Todda (the stripper next door), and Chris (a cowboy who fell in love with me). It wasn’t until I killed a rogue skunk, and my daughter nearly choked on a fry, that I gave my husband another chance.  But could our marriage recover from the death of our son? $2.99 onAmazon

Someone Else’s Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts (Contemporary Romance) 
Jason Vanderholt is the hottest actor under thirty with legions of screaming fans. Chloe Winters is a college student who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies. When they meet by chance, he is smitten, but it just isn't her fairytale. In fact, it could be her worst nightmare as her past, attracted by the bright lights of the media, comes back to haunt her. $0.99 on Amazon


Historical Romance (Adult)

The Duke’s Divorce by Anne Gallagher Available late January 2012
A simple trip to the Scottish Highlands finds the Duke of Cantin with a bride he does not want.  With her impeccable beauty and fiery disposition, Fiona takes Society by storm.  As their prearranged divorce proceedings draw near, can Fiona change his mind? Check author's website.




Literary Fiction

String Bridge by Jessica Bell 
Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits ... $6.99 on Amazon ALSO:  Music Sample!

Mystery

Sherwood Ltd. by Anne R. Allen
Sherwood. The name immediately conjures up images of Richard Greene, Michael Praed and Russell Crowe. Or maybe that sly fox in the Disney version. Only, in Anne R. Allen's latest rom-com mystery the fox is a coyote and there's no Robin Hood. Or is there? In her usual inimitable fashion Allen peels back the layers, one hilarious subplot after another, until you just never know what's real and what's not. Rather like the Robin Hood legend. When the Manners Doctor, Camilla Randall, flies into Robin Hood airport with a suitcase in one hand and a book contract in the other she thinks she's leaving all her problems behind and is about to start a new life. If you look very carefully you may just spot the Sheriff of Nottingham, Maid Marian and even Little John hidden away. But as for Robin Hood himself... You'll just have to read it and find out.  $2.99 on Amazon 


Short Stories and Anthologies

The Initiate (Cloud Prophet Trilogy) by  Megg Jensen (YA Fantasy)
Over a thousand years ago, the gods left Eloh's people and took their magic with them. To win back their favor, her people sacrifice ten female initiates every ten years. No has ever survived. There has never been a Chosen One. Forced into becoming an initiate, Eloh will try to find a way to beat the odds, stay with her boyfriend, and survive the fires that threaten to consume her. But will her lack of faith in the gods and her disbelief in their magic doom her to a painful death? $0.99 on Amazon

Eight by Karly Kirkpatrick (YA Paranormal Short Story Collection)
Prepare to be thrilled and chilled by Kirkpatrick's eight short tales in EIGHT. These eight stories, while short, pack a big punch. There are demon spirits, zombies, and even some human baddies. Each story comes complete with author's commentary. It also includes the previously unreleased short Grenades. $0.99 on Amazon



{CoverComingSoon} In His Eyes by The Indelibles (YA Anthology) - Available February 14th
Just in time for Valentines Day, The Indelibles bring you a one-of-a-kind young adult anthology! Twenty original short stories, all from the point of view of our favorite male characters - some are old flames from our novels and some were dreamed up especially for this anthology. Let these imminently crushable, swoon-worthy guys show you what romance looks like – in his eyes. Add to Goodreads TBR

The contributors to IN HIS EYES include award winners, frequent “Top 100” placers, and hot 2011 debut authors: S.R. Wells, C.K. Bryant, Elle Strauss, Susan Kaye Quinn, Jessie Harrell, Magan Vernon, Lisa Nowak, Heather McCorkle, RaShelle Workman, Ali Cross, Karen Amanda Hooper, Cory Putman Oakes, Laura Pauling, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Sarra Cannon, Katie Klein, Cheri Lasota


Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal by Lani WoodlandMelonie PiperRita WebbWendy SworeMelanie MarksHeather McCubbin and Evan Joseph (YA Anthology)
Discover the secrets of a siren, fly with a hawk girl over the mountains of Montana, and flee supernatural party-crashers as the d├ęcor comes to life in this magical journey through paranormal stories. Along the way, watch for ghosts in a haunted house, or ride through the moonlight with a stranger. Save a comatose boy who has lost his soul, and don’t forget to bring your garlic and wolfsbane—you never know when the shadows will snag you. Transcendent includes eight stories of magic, love, death, and choice by some of the newest names in young adult fiction. $0.99 on Amazon


Young Adult

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn (Paranormal/Science Fiction) 
When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her. $2.99 on Amazon

Bound by C.K. Bryant (Paranormal Romance) 
When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia,has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive. $3.99 on Amazon

Become by Ali Cross (YA Urban Fantasy)
Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she Becomes the evil she despises and the good she always feared. When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her Choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is a reason to want to change—something she’s never had before—a friend. $3.99 on Amazon

Exiled by RaShelle Workman (YA SF Romance) 
Worlds divided them. Chance brought them together. Only love will save them.
An alien princess exiled to Earth. An arrogant boy. One week to get back to her planet or she'll die. And, her only chance for survival? She must help the boy find his soul mate.
Piece of cake! $0.99 on Kindle



The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle (Urban Fantasy)
Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with an aunt she’s never met. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands. Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Soon, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad though. $4.99 on Amazon 

Destined by Jessie Harrell (Retelling) 
When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear. As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.  $0.99 on Amazon


Darkspell by Elizabeth Mueller (Paranormal Romance) 
Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . . until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold. As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her.  Violently thrust into a magickal realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own. Will love prove thicker than magick? $3.99 on Amazon



Untraceable by S. R. Johannes (Thriller) 
Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him. One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves. $0.99 on Amazon


Rival Demons (Book 5 of the Peachville High Demons Series) by Sarra Cannon (Paranormal Romance) Available January 20th
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Order of Shadows, Harper finds herself thrust into the strange and beautiful world of the shadow demons. But crossing through the portal doesn't mean she is safe. The Order of Shadows is determined to bring her home and transfer the Prima line to the Harris family. They send their most vicious hunters after Harper. Hunters who will not stop until they have found their prey. Determined to keep her safe, Jackson takes her deep into an underground world filled with dangers of its own. Here, Harper will begin a journey that will teach her more about herself and her own path than she ever imagined possible. Add to Goodreads TBR

The Legend of Victor Standish: Under a Voodoo Moon by Roland D. Yeomans (Urban Fantasy/Romance) 
Can love kill? Yes ... if you love a ghoul who hungers for your flesh only slightly less than she does your heart.  Yet to the lonely street orphan Victor Standish, who has risked his life for a meal, to find love (even for one magical French Quarter night) is worth dying in the morning. $2.99 on Amazon All profits go to the Salvation Army.



Getting Sideways (Book 2 in the Full Throttle Series) by Lisa Nowak (Contemporary) 
Getting shipped off to live with his uncle Race was the best thing that ever happened to fifteen-year-old Cody. Then a wreck at the speedway nearly ruined everything. Cody’s making every effort to get his life back on track—writing for the school paper, searching for the perfect girlfriend, and counting the days until he gets his drivers’ license—but there’s no escaping the nightmares that haunt him. A chance to build his own car seems like the perfect distraction. Until Cody realizes he’ll have to live up to Race’s legendary status. But that’s the least of his worries, considering he doesn’t have his dad’s permission. All he has to do is the impossible: keep Race from discovering his lie until he can convince his dad that racing’s safe. Yeah, sure. That’ll be easy. $3.99 on Amazon

Tangled Tides by Karen Hooper (Sea Monster Memoirs) 
Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one. When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious. Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans. $4.99 on Amazon

Here by Denise Grover Swank (SF Romance)
Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before. Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can't ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from.  $2.99 on Amazon

The Veil by  Cory Putman Oakes (Paranormal Romance)
Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi.  Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be—the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem.  And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her.  Or so he says . . . $7.99 on Amazon

Embrace by Cherie Colyer (Paranormal Romance)
Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him. Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own. Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. $6.99 on Amazon

Onyx Talisman by Brenda Pandos (Paranormal Romance)
Unrest stirs deep in Scotts Valley. Filled with uncertainty, Julia anxiously awaits Nicholas’ return. Phil, holds the pieces of Julia’s fragile psyche together, secretly hoping Nicholas stays away forever. But Alora secretly conspires to reclaim her talisman and strip Julia of everything she holds dear. Little do they know, a war is coming and more than one vampire would like to see the Prince of Vampires overthrown. Can Julia bargain with fate? Find out how it all ends in this explosive grand finale of The Talisman Trilogy. $3.99 on Amazon

How to Date an Alien by Magan Vernon (Science Fiction) 
High school senior Alex Bianchi's estranged father gets her an internship at Circe Operations Center to pad her college applications. But Circe isn't your typical military base. It's an alien-run operation center and not all of the aliens are friendly, especially the one that tries to kill Alex on her first day. When Ace, a dark-eyed Caltian, enters and saves the day, she can't help but be drawn to him. Can these star-crossed lovers survive when they're on the brink of intergalactic war? $2.99 on Amazon


Fireseed One by  Catherine Stine (Science Fiction/Thriller) 
Fireseed One is a journey into a tricked-out near-future earth where 18 year-old Varik has inherited a vast ocean farm, following the suspicious drowning of his Marine biologist father. When Marisa, a beautiful and devious terrorist, destroys the world's food source, Varik is forced to travel to a lethal hotzone, teeming with dangerous nomads and a strange cult to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. The catch? He must take Marisa along, the only person who seems to know way, way too much key information.  $2.99 on Amazon



The Missing by M.A. Leslie (Paranormal)
Eight-year-old, Ethan Doyle is just a normal kid whose biggest problem in life was to fight for the attention of his busy parents from his older twin siblings. But, after his aunt and uncle tragically die, his family takes in his teenage cousin, Kelsey, and moves to a spooky old, manor house in a new town. At first, everything seems fine, but when he begins to see and speak to a spirit named Lucas, his biggest problem becomes, just staying alive. Lucas was ten years old when the spirits of the house came to him and asked him for help setting their spirits free. Unfortunately, he never made the deadline and as a result the spirits took him and made him a part of the house as well. As he soon finds out, the only way he can save his own soul is to save the souls of the missing boys in the house. With his own deadline in place, Ethan enlists the help of his cousin Kelsey to solve the twenty-year-old mystery of THE MISSING. $0.99 on Amazon


Princess Kandake by Stephanie Jefferson (Fantasy) Available February 1, 2012
In Nubia a woman can be whatever she chooses. At 14, Kandake knows exactly what she chooses...Prime Warrior of Nubia. But her grandmother has said that she will follow her father on the throne. Refusing to abandon her warrior dreams she continues to train. When her brother is kidnapped, Kandake learns she must be both queen and warrior to win his release! See Author's Website 



Middle Grade

Blink of a Dragon by Eisley Jacobs (Fantasy)
Discovering she’s connected to dragons is one thing, but when another dragon is caught hanging out in the fifth grade, Meia thinks things couldn’t get any worse. Is she ever wrong! Trouble is brewing in the cosmos and Deglan believes this new dragon holds the answers, but his hopes are crushed when the leader of the exiled dark dragons ambushes them. The fate of the dragons and possibly the whole world falls to Deglan and Meia as they search for the only creature powerful
enough to send the dark dragons back into the abyss. What they encounter along the way makes the adventure worth fighting for. $0.99 on Amazon