#Cover Reveal – INIQUITY by Melody Winter

I’m so excited to be able to share the cover for Melody’s new book!! Ta da….

iniquity-cover

Cover Reveal – INIQUITY (The Ascent, Book One) by Melody Winter

Publication date: October 25th, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Dark Romantic Fantasy

Book Blurb:

Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?

She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.

But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.

As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.

Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.

 

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Amazon.com: Link to Iniquity on amazon US  

Amazon.co.uk: Link to Iniquity on amazon UK

 

melody-winter-author-photoAbout the Author:

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.

 

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#CoverReveal for The Reaping by Shirley Anne Edwards

The Reaping
Shirley Anne Edwards
Publication date: October 23rd 2016
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

The quaint village where Adela Jane lives is surrounded by fear. At night, a centuries old green mist covers the land and controls the animals within the forest. Lately, Adela feels someone or something is following her every move. Unbeknownst to her, the mist waits for the perfect moment to make her his. Adela feels trapped by her small town life and burdened by her love she keeps hidden for her best friend’s older brother, Nathan Alexander. But all that changes on her eighteenth birthday when Nathan admits his love and desire to marry her. Adela’s joy is cut short when the mist kidnaps her and takes her to his secret underground lair. Her nightmare has only just begun when the mist makes Adela his bride.

What of the Jabberwocky fell in love with Alice from Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass? That’s the question tackled in The Reaping. A Young Adult with an atmospheric Gothic feel, and elements from such classic novels, as Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera and John Fowles’ The Collector.

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head.

Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret ANYTHING That makes you smile.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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my personal #sonofapitch factoids

b36ce-soap-finalI want to share a few factoids with you about this week… and well, me.

Factoid number one.

90% of the time, i did not read what other authors wrote about your query. (and of the 10% when I did,  5% was mostly incidental reading as result of scrolling and the other 5% for clarity – to see if previous comments shed light on my questions.)

Why didn’t I read what the others had said?

Two reasons. The first and main one… time. My goal was to see each one of your entries and decide whether I had any advice that might help you craft a better query or tighten your first 250. Having an additional set of eyes on your work can offer a new perspective  – and you sometimes get a few nuggets of wisdom that make a difference.

The second reason was so I wouldn’t be blinded by what others had seen. When dessert hits my table, only I can give the thumbs up or down. The person across from me may tell me the cake looks good or that they’ve had that very torte before and it tastes good. I’ll listen… but in the end, the verdict is up to me. I need to hold the bite in my mouth and let my senses decide whether there’s too much chocolate (as if) or just enough vanilla. Some of you may have received feedback from me that echoed what other authors said, while others may have received feedback that was diametrically opposed to their other critiques. But you know, that’s what makes this world so swell. We are all different. We have different tastes and hopes and expectations.  If you received conflicting feedback, consider yourself lucky – you didn’t just get a critique – you got a cross examination. Chose a side and don’t look back. It’s all an opinion game anyway.

Factoid number two

I’m good with math. No seriously. I’m not saying I’m a human calculator or anything, but I got the basics down pat.  So I want you all to understand that I have nineteen titles that made my top five list… yes, you read that correctly… nineteen. And I have 5 votes. That math doesn’t work. It just doesn’t.  Please take a moment to also realize that it took serious contemplation to get that list down to nineteen. This round of entries is chocked full of pretty words and smashing premises that I would spend weeks reading every title in the #SonofaPitch library. Therefore, I think the blame for my present predicament should land squarely on y’all’s shoulders.

Factoid number three

I’ve got a game plan for going forward. In just a bit, I’m backing away from all your words. Yes, the pretty, flowery, intriguing words you’ve  written that have haunted me for the past 2.5 days to escape. And then I’m going to come back  – hopefully without recollection. If you’ve updated your offerings, I’ll look for that but only if you’ve posted on the same site you were listed. I can’t hunt you down, well I could… but nope… I won’t.

Factoid number four

I have enjoyed every minute  (okay, mostly every minute) of this experience. I only hope my schedule allows me the same type of flexibility if I’m part of the next #SonofaPitch. Kudos and claps to Katie Teller for her role as mastermind and creator and to the authors in the #SonofaPitch gang who stopped by and shared their thoughts with you. I’m honored to have my name thrown around with theirs 😉

Factoid number five

The amount of work you put into pruning  and polishing your work shows.  I have been delighted (and slightly overwhelmed) by your creativity and efforts. So… Go you #SonofaPitch ers!

Factoid number six

If Twitter and WordPress had user recognition software to verify account owners, both would have thrown up that screen for me. I’m not much of a Tweeter and or a blogger,  but in the past few days I’ve tweeted more than I have…well… ever. (It’s really not that scary. And Kathy Palm, thank you for not giving up and talking to me there … 🙂 Apparently, new things won’t kill you.

Factoid number seven

All grammatical mistakes and typos were entirely mine. (If there are any in this post, it would be kind of you to overlook those.)

Final Factoid

It’s been my pleasure working with y’all this week and I’ll leave my door cracked. If I helped you and you’re in a tough spot again with your words, give me a yell. I’ll see what I can do.

Otherwise, great job. Thanks for stepping into the spotlight and sharing your work.

 

 

 

Monday’s Motivation: What’s your number?

The start of a new year offers scores of new resolutions made to help people achieve goals they’ve set. But in setting those goals, you must acknowledge the chance of failure. It’s inevitable.

 

Photo Credit: Flickr by Mr. TinDC

Photo Credit: Flickr by Mr. TinDC

Persevering is key if you’re going to succeed.

 

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, was rejected by 38 publishers before it was printed.

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfeld and Mark Victor Hansen was rejected 140 times before begin published.

Henry Ford went broke five times in failed businesses before founding The Ford Motor Company.

None would have found success if they’d stopped and didn’t give it one more shot. They didn’t know how many tries it would take. They simply refused to give up.

So, what’s your number?

There’s only one way to find out.

 

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou

the freedom of creativity

B3NurK3IIAAKxXfLast week, I had the privilege of visiting Wiley Middle School in Winston-Salem, NC. Invited by teachers Jocelyn Stone and Sarah Irvin and welcomed by principal Sean Gaillard, I was to talk to the kids about writing and rejection. I was tempted to walk in with Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” pumped through the library AV equipment, but I thought they were too young to really appreciate that song or those dramatics.

If there’s one industry that offers a lot of rejection opportunity, it’s this one. Publishing has  facts and figures that make success feel futile. But I suppose success feels futile in any endeavor if you only look at your projected rate of potential success on a scale no one can truly verify. Nothing is guaranteed except growth.

So, I told the kids about my path and how responded to rejection by pressing on. I also explained that writing was an art and that opinions were subjective. Not everyone is going to like your work… and that’s okay. Actually, that’s kind of fabulous. We should be different… otherwise we’d be a boring lot. I also talked about the freedom of creativity and how you need to be true to yourself. When we stop measuring our success by the success of others, we’ll probably end up happier.

For one of our activities, I gave each table an interesting picture. (For reference, I googled “interesting pictures.” I DO NOT recommend you do this with small children nearby.) Anyway, the kids were challenged with writing a “hook” for the picture they were given. Some worked in groups, others worked alone… but they all worked. And then, volunteers (and some drafted souls) shared their creations.

Their creativity blew me away. Their energy reminded me that fiction allows you to be both fearless and unlimited. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see some of their names grace the spines of books in the future.

Me pictured with Jocelyn Stone

Me pictured with Jocelyn Stone

I applaud the teachers and administrators at Wiley MIddle for wanting to show the kids the world beyond the classroom walls and I’m grateful I was allowed to meet such a great group.

Want a challenge? NaNoWriMo is almost here!

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbNational Novel Writing Month is quickly approaching. This is the super fun and terribly taxing challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel which will begin on November 1st.  Folks all around the world will sign up for the task… many will succeed.

 

This year I’ve decided to pass on the opportunity (and I call it an opportunity because it truly is. Writers from all over the world ban together and offer each other support during the 30 days of madness). While I threw my hat in the ring last year for the first time, life has been throwing too much at me now to even consider making a 2014 run. (We are less than 3 weeks away from moving to a new house and I can barely find my socks much less coherent thoughts that I can stream together. More about this madness later.)

 

But for those of you on the fence about giving it a try, I say “go for it!” At the end of the month you will have more writerly contacts and even if you don’t hit the magical milestone of 50k words, you’ll certainly have more words than you started with month with. And who knows, you may be the next Rainbow Roswell.

 

Want another challenge with a different spin? Take a stab at the Reuts version of NaNoWriMo challenge called Project REUTSway. The official rules are here.

 

Remember: stay focused and write… as much and often as you can.

Photo Credit: AgenciaAndes

Photo Credit: Flickr by AgenciaAndes

Here are a few resources to help you prepare:

Writer’s Digest – Need an Outline? Maybe … Maybe not

Scrivener – Try out their trial edition for NaNoWriMo-ers

Curiosity Quills – Check out Clare Dugmore’s Tips for Success

Good luck, NaNoWriMo-ers!!! May the force and everything else be with you!

Want to sign up for the NaNoWriMo challenge? Click here.

Writing contests can provide great feedback

Throughout the year, there’s an abundance of contests available to authors of novels, screenplays, short stories, and poems. Often the contest have nominal fees; sometimes they’re even free. The value of participating comes in the form of feedback, making new connections, and experience.

Photo Credit: Flickr by AJ Can

Photo Credit: Flickr by AJ Cann

Over the past two years, I’ve participated in several contests and found each one a valuable experience.

The first contest I tried was in 2012 with the Windy City RWA. Being a member of the national RWA group, allowed me to enter at a lower fee. I submitted the first thirty pages of a magical realism story I was working on at the time  in their YA category. I didn’t place in the top five, but I received score sheets and feedback from three published authors. And as every writer knows, feedback is golden. I combed through the comments until I understood what they thought I was doing well and where I needed to step up.

The next contest I entered was in April of 2013 with the Valley Forge RWA chapter (The Sheila Contest). This time I submitted the first thirty pages of The Undead. I’d been working with my two CP’s and was close to finishing the manuscript. Again, no top finishes but I received detailed score sheets and feedback from four other writers. I felt like I was on the right track.

At this point, I wasn’t getting addicted to contests, but the feedback was helpful and insightful. I came across one more contest and decided to give it a try because it seemed perfectly focused on my genre. In May of 2013, I entered the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal 2013 On the Far Side contest.  This time, I decided to send both the magical realism story (entitled The Seren) and The Undead. I took both first and second place in the contest, won back all but five dollars of my entry fee, and got a huge boost of confidence.

And as far as landing my publisher… I participated in #pitmad last August. Yep, #pitmad, the tweeting pitchfest. Armed with a (not so polished) manuscript, more confidence from feedback in the contests, and a “let this be a learning” opportunity attitude, I crafted a 140 character description of my book. Katie Teller was scouting out the feeds that day and saw mine. I was over the moon and extremely grateful.

The goal of entering writing contests isn’t necessarily to win (although it’s nice), but to see how your story stacks up against others and to receive feedback from other writers and authors. Contests can be a win-win situation if you let them.

Here are a few websites with contest info –

Stephanie Smith’s Contest Chart for Writers – what a great spreadsheet of opportunities

Brenda Drake  – the pitch master

Chanticleer Book Reviews and Media – Chanticleer hosts contests for all genres (Full ms and novels)

Why every female protagonist doesn’t have to be a kick-ass heroine

Photo Credit: Flickr by Chris

Photo Credit: Flickr by Chris

 

Kick-ass female protagonists are tough girls who don’t take crap off anyone, don’t bat an eye at the first sign of trouble, and sail through difficult times with barely a flesh wound. (And if it’s more than a flesh wound, they slap on a tourniquet and press on.) You know the ones I’m talking about… the Katniss Everdeens and the Beatrice Priors. Main characters too busy fighting for survival to worry what’s being said about them in the hall. They’re powerful, they’re confident, and they’re not in my story.

Lyla Grimm, the female protagonist in The Undead, would be the last person you’d ever call a kick-ass heroine. No, I take that back. You just would never call her a kick-ass protag. She’s a tad on the meek side, suffers from lack of self-confidence, and is too concerned with what others think of her. Her character type is not that uncommon; there are lots of Lyla’s out there. And that’s my point.

My goal was to write the story that was crawling around in my head. And not everyone will be a Katniss Everdeen or Beatrice Prior in their lives. Fights for survival may never present themselves; instead, only struggles for sanity, social acceptance, or balance. Those fights don’t seem as glamorous or worthy, but they are the type of fights we deal with on a daily basis. And they can be just as hard.

Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I like tough girls and I like cheering for them. But if every main female character were from that mold, reading would be like having only one type of pizza to choose, ever.

When writing The Undead, I didn’t change the characters as I got to know them. I let them define themselves and it turned out that Lyla was a push over and Eric was pissed. But funny thing was, on the way to the end, they changed a little. Lyla grew a bit of a spine and Eric got over himself and found his own redemption. She was clumsy; he was cool. But at no point did she ever cross into kick ass territory.

And even as she grew, she remained true to herself.

Reading about a variety of characters helps you appreciate the similarities and differences. So cheers to the strong, the silent, the weak, and the misunderstood. We really need them all.

Do you have a favorite personality trait you like to see the main characters possess?

Survival tips for rip currents

Photo Credit: Flickr by Adam Fagen

Photo Credit: Flickr by Adam Fagen

Our first family “quest” this summer landed us at a beach dotted with rip current warning signs. Rip currents are treacherous alleys of water that run perpendicular to the water’s edge. They’re strong enough to cut through breaking waves and can occur at any beach. The public service posts gave information about the dangers of these currents and provided helpful tips on how to react if pulled in.

The main objectives for a person pulled into a rip current were:

don’t fight it

swim parallel and then swim to the shore

if the pull is too strong, tread water and ride it out

call for help

For the past month, my life felt like it turned into a rip current. Activities, changes, shifts, good news, bad news, and adaptations all seemed to land in my lap during a small window of time. I’m not complaining. It was just a lot… at once. When the storms started to settle, I realized that I’d been using the tips I saw posted on the beach to help me navigate my way through the onslaught of “stuff.”

To survive, I:

didn’t fight the overload,

I changed directions from time to time,

I let the critical issues take first dibs at my time so I could continue to move toward the goal (I rode it out)

And although I didn’t call for help, I asked patience 😀 (I’ve been a little MIA from posting as much on my blog and visiting others bloggers.)

One of the “current” pulls has been the upcoming release of my book The Undead, which is scheduled for tomorrow. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been writing guest posts that will be scattered across the web starting this Thursday and preparing for a book signing.  (I’ll post a list of those blog stops tomorrow in case you want to pop over and check them out.)

Life is good, but wow, it can be overwhelming at times. (Hence the Monday’s Motivation on stress.)

So remember, if you get caught in a rip current (on or off the beach),

don’t fight it

change direction

ride out the worst and wait for the calm

call for help

 

Patricia Lynne talks about writing

95ab8c5453cf0ad8956ec4.L._V142990368_SX200_Through the wonder of the internet, I crossed paths with Patricia Lynne several months ago. She hails from Michigan, possesses mad skills with flash fiction, and has published two books. Her second book, Snapshots, was recently rereleased and I asked if she’d let me interview her. After reading about her writing, check out her books at the bottom of the post.
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Patricia, are you a panster or a plotter? How do you approach a new idea?
I am a total panster. The most I know about an idea is a little bit about the ending, more about the beginning, and if I’m lucky, something from the middle. Sometimes, characters don’t even tell me their names! Sometimes, when I’m done writing for the night, I write reminders of the next scene so I don’t forget where I want to go.
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Do you have the same critique partners for all your work or do you have different sets? And why?
I used to have the same critique partners, but life has gotten in the way for some and they can’t read for me anymore. They tried, but it was sloooooow. I’m kind of on the look out for some new crit partners.
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What is the most difficult aspect about being a writer? How do you mange to find to write with your schedule?
I struggle with finding the motivation to get started. I can procrastinate quite well. Lately, I’ve learned to turn off the distractions and the temptations to just check this or that first. My day job schedule doesn’t interfere with my writing too much. What I struggle with the most, right now, is fatigue. I’m having issues with that, so I’m tired a lot and lacking energy. Sometimes, just the thought of doing things is enough to wear me out. I’m seeing a doctor to find out what’s causing it so I can get it fixed and have energy to get things done without needing a nap afterwards.
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What are your top three nuggets of wisdom you would like to share with unpublished writers?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help (says the chick who’s afraid to ask for help.)
Read all the advice you can find, but don’t feel you have to stick to it all. Use what works best for you. We’re all different writers and are motivated differently.
Listen to your gut.
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What is your favorite part of the writing process?
It varies. Sometimes I love the writing part, then other times I really enjoy the editing part because the words are already there, I just have to make them shiny.
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What do you think is the most important element a story should have?
That’s a tough one. I think good characters. A story can be written well, but if you hate the character then you’re not going to care about the writing.
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Do you have other stories in the works?
I have a bunch at different stages. Currently, I’m working on a ghost story that won’t reveal it’s title. I also have a short story series that I think can be considered NA about angels. There’s a sequel to BEING HUMAN, but I’m a little intimidated by it.
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I wrote a blog about self-doubt being a new demon I encountered. Do you have any writing demons?
Self doubt is a big one. If I don’t have a friend pushing me or cheering me on, I get really discouraged and feel like a giant failure and start contemplating deleting everything.
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What led you to this genre?
I’m not sure. I just write the stories that pop in my head. So far, most of them have been young adult stories. Plus, writing sex scenes is awkward. You can’t describe certain body parts without sounding either vulgar or cheesy. I’m not a fan of cheesy writing.
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Favorite recipe you’d like to share 
I’m trying to think of one I can share. I used to be the baker at my day job and there are so many good recipes, but the boss had a former employee steal her recipes when he left. Now new employees have to sign a waiver saying we won’t take the recipes and make money off them. We can make them at home, but that’s it, so I’m not sure I can share them here. How about I show a picture of a Smore’s Pie I made? It was really good, trust me. (Did she really just share a teaser photo?)
SmoresPie

Books by Patricia

Snapshots

5146YoJbBxL._AA160_It’s said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but that’s a lie. They are snapshots of a time yet to come–the future of the person to which they belong.Cyclop Blaine stands out in a crowd with his pale skin and mismatched eyes, but it’s his ability to see the future that really sets him apart. The unusual gift makes him an invaluable asset to Tyler, his adoptive father and leader of the Victory Street Gang. It also means Cyclop must hide what he can do from others. Once, a man he knew only as Master controlled him, using him for experiments. Cyclop has no desire to return to that life.But he may have no choice. A man claiming ownership over him haunts his dreams and waking moments, leaving him no choice but to go back to the past he thought he had escaped. Cyclop must face this man, along with his past, if he wants to reveal his own future.

Find Snapshots at Amazon by clicking here.

Being Human

51UWJSR-ZSL._AA160_For Tommy, there is only one thing he needs to do: survive.Only surviving isn’t that easy. The hunt for blood can be tricky when humans know to fear the night. Desire sits on the edge of his mind, urging him to become the monster humans think he is. Vampire Forces, a special branch of police, is determined to turn every vampire to ash. Tommy included.The only human Tommy can trust is his twin brother. A bond connects them, and with Danny’s help, Tommy starts to understand the human world he struggles to survive in. He’ll learn what friendships means and feel the sting of betrayal, find that sometimes the worst monsters are very human, and come to understand that family means more than blood.Tommy just wants to survive and he knows what he needs to do. But with the number of humans that mean more to him than a meal growing, he’ll learn there’s more to life than simple survival. He’ll discover being human doesn’t mean being a human.

Find Being Human at Amazon by clicking here.

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Find out more about Patricia by checking out her blog or following her on Twitter. And if she ever shares the recipe for the Smores pie pictured above, I’ll post it!!