Blog Archives

At last: My cover for THE UNRAVELING

Woo-hoo!

Welcome to my cover reveal for The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads!

Isn’t it beautiful? I’m so very lucky to be working with the creative and talented Craig Shields. (I wrote a post about him a few days ago—see it here.)

~ ~ ~

About the Book:

In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…

…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.

Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn’t know if she’ll ever belong.

Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won’t be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.

As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.

THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older).

Please note: This is volume 1 of a three-part serialized novel. Volumes 2 & 3 will be published in 2015 to complete THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of these releases, sign up for Laurel’s Newsletter.

 

Preorder from Amazon for the special price of only .99 cents!

Because the cover just uploaded, the “Look Inside” feature isn’t active. To read the first chapters, click here.

The Unraveling releases June 23, 2015, in ebook and trade paperback.

~ ~ ~

Connect with me!

My Pinterest boards feature many images I’ve collected as I’ve researched The Luminated Threads.

~ ~ ~

Giveaway:
One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)
Ends June 10, 2015

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Advertisements

With two days to go to my cover reveal, let me introduce my artist, Craig Shields!

Did you notice on my Thursday post I had my thumb over part of the credits next to my new logo? I couldn’t reveal too much at once (!) and my thumb hid…

Art Credits 1

My cover artist is Craig Shields.

Craig Shields cover artist

Craig is the artist behind the stunning covers of Claudia Gray’s Firebird series: A Thousand Pieces of You and Ten Thousand Skies Above You. I love his vibrant use of color, particularly in this second:

Ten Thousand Skies Above You

No surprise it’s sitting in the #1 spot on the Goodreads list Most Beautiful YA Covers of 2015!

Craig has created the cover artwork for 30+ covers, and will soon be featuring his book cover art in the link on my cover. His book page isn’t live yet, but you can view his advertising, magazine and personal illustrations in his portfolio at www.craigshields.co.uk.

Magonia

When I contacted Craig, he was excited to work on a steampunk cover, and I was excited to work with such a talented artist to express my story. Though The Unraveling is geared to a new adult audience, it doesn’t fit what readers currently expect from the genre–contemporary set, steamy college stories. I wasn’t even going to try to copy those covers with a story set in Victorian England, heavy on fantasy, with steampunk and romance competing for a reader’s attention, plus a few shapeshifters thrown in for fun. My story is firmly in the category NA Alley calls speculative new adult.

So I went the opposite direction of most NA covers and looked at fantasy covers. I looked at a lot of covers. I saved them on Pinterest (See my board!) and then looked at my friends’ collections of book covers. And in those covers I found my cover artist. 🙂

What was I looking for in a cover for The Unraveling? Color. A magical feeling. And steampunk…

I love what Craig came up with for my story and can’t wait to share it with you…in two days!

Five days to go until…

My cover reveal!

If I was a gif person you’d see me cheering, but instead I have still photo… of a tiny piece of the cover, because, you know, the cover reveal isn’t until May 26th. (!)

Sprouting Star Press / The Unraveling

What is that Sprouting Star, you ask? Well, that’s me. I wanted to do all I could to have my self-published print book look like a traditionally published paperback. I had planned to use a little logo my family used for a rubber stamp to do letterboxing while we traveled. (Sorry, I just probably generated another question: What’s letterboxing?) But when I asked my daughter to make a vector of it, she suggested I needed something more representative of my book themes–magic and people’s ties to the land– and to my tag–fantasy tuned to the magic of the land.

She was right, of course, since she is art-savvy and I am not. But the amazing thing was while talking, she sketched it out and said, “Here. Sprouting Star.”

So I became Sprouting Star Press, and I love the look my talented daughter devised!

Sprouting Star Press: The Unraveling

She even sent me one version in an amazing fake embossed look!

BTW, my Mary Behre has completed my cover pendant. I should have it before the cover reveal!

I have a cover!

Yes, The Unraveling has a cover! It’s bright and shiny and everything I wanted in a fantasy cover. So much so, I’m saving it for a cover reveal. That’ll be May 26th. In the meantime, I wanted to share a little thing some authors do when they really love their covers: They have jewelry made.

pendant

I saw this beauty for Unchained Memory when I went to my friend Donna Frelick’s launch and another writer friend gifted her this lovely pendant!

Author Mary Behre has been making cover jewelry for a few years now, starting back when several friends debuted with ebooks and didn’t have a physical book to hold. She told me, “I wanted them to have something tangible to celebrate the incredible accomplishment of getting published.”

Her side business took off from there. When Mary isn’t under the crunch of a deadline herself, she makes them for other authors…and herself!

Tidewater Pendants

These are titles from Mary’s Tidewater series.

If you might be interested, you can contact Mary through her website (http://marybehre.com/ ) or at authormarybehre AT gmail.com. She sells them for $20 plus shipping.

I’ve ordered mine! Depending on Mary’s schedule, I’ll post a photo at my cover reveal or hopefully by publishing…which will be June 23!

Cover Reveal for The Rooftop Inventor

I’m thrilled to reveal the debut cover for a steampunk YA written by one of my critique partners and fellow steampunk authors! Congratulations, Nooce!

The Rooftop Inventor

Beautiful! I love Theo’s magenta airship, and her undaunted stance. 🙂

Here’s what you can expect from this 19th century mid-western girl:

It’s 1879 and seventeen-year-old Theodocia Hews is out of control. Her inventor father Orin Hews tried to raise her to be a proper lady, but Theo says and does whatever she wants. Since girls aren’t supposed to be inventors, she’s secretly building her own airship up on the roof of their house. When her father is attacked and his valuable invention is stolen, she sets out in her untested airship to get her father’s contraption back. She’d better hurry. Her father’s contract with his buyer expires in three days and without it they’re ruined.

The airship lifts off but things get complicated when Theo finds an unintended passenger aboard. Henry Caracticus Thorne—the thief she’d spotted that morning making off with things in the market—is an altogether unsuitable companion. But he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, he’s willing to help, and he’s drop-dead gorgeous. As they soar through the sky in the close quarters of Theo’s airship, it’s not just the steam engine heating up.

Theo has a hunch who took her father’s invention. Will she manage to catch the culprit before it’s too late? What did that strange lightning storm do to Theo and Henry? And will Theo give in to her heart and act on her growing feelings for Henry?

The Adventures of Theodocia Hews is a humorous YA steampunk adventure and romance series set in 1879 Cincinnati in an alternate universe where the evil institution of slavery was abolished shortly after the United States was founded, the Civil War never happened, crazy inventions are commonplace, and steam power rules!

~~~

About the Author

Nooce+Miller

Nooce Miller writes fantasy, speculative fiction, and YA steampunk. Technical writer, lawyer, marketing communications editor, medical writer, she’s held a lot of jobs, but her current gig is the one she likes best—author. Her favorite music to write to is silence because the dialogue turns out better. She’s also fond of birdsong, thunder, and the sound of the wind in the trees. She sees herself as a visually creative person, though others might disagree once they’ve been exposed to the questionable quality of her drawings, paintings, and photography. She drinks a lot of hot Earl Grey tea, usually in the company of her dog Stinky—who never partakes.

She’s lived in six different states and one foreign country. Tiring of so much moving, she undertook to persuade her husband that they should settle down and enjoy the four glorious seasons of her beloved Midwest until their two sons were grown, and lo and behold, it worked.

~~~

Nooce and I met critiquing YA fantasy in an online writer’s forum, Critique Circle. It’s a fabulous–and free!–place to hone your craft and meet many ambitious authors. After a while, you get to know them IRL, too! Nooce blogs about history, writing and steampunk crafts. Visit her Website | Twitter | Pinterest

I’m looking forward to The Rooftop Inventor releasing May 1, 2015!

Like space? And romance? How about a little of each?

A friend and fellow science fiction romance writer, Laurie A. Green released the cover of her debut novelette yesterday in an exclusive post on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. There, she explains more about what exactly a novelette is, and her upcoming SFR series, but I wanted to give her a shout-out here for this spectacular cover.

Farewell_Andromeda-Final

Yes, indeed, that’s a beautiful space cover!

Here’s the short description of Farewell Andromeda:

Fresh off a painful jilting, the last thing deep space pilot Tiharra Bell needs is another romantic entanglement. Certainly not with the galaxy’s most famous astronomer—who also happens to be single, inconveniently handsome, and a resident of the remote Andromeda Station. But Tiharra soon discovers two terrible truths about Dr. Dante “Donner” Dane—1) he’s not the man he appears to be and 2) he doesn’t have long to live. Before her fourteen-day layover is complete, she’ll put her life and career on the line to protect his heartbreaking secret.

Farewell Andromeda is scheduled for a mid-January 2015 release. If you’d like to receive news on the release or Laurie’s upcoming Science Fiction Romance series, please visit her website at Author Laurie A. Green to read more and sign up for her newsletter.

~~~

Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and Science Fiction Romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals over 500 members. Her extended family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. When she’s not writing, networking, or searching out the perfect cup of Starbucks, she’s usually busy exercising her left brain as a military budget director.

You can connect with Laurie via her website, Facebook Author Page or @SFRLaurie via Twitter.

Congratulations, Laurie!

SFR Brigade Badge

Shoalman Immortal Cover Release & Giveaway!

Title: Shoalman Immortal

Author: Toni Decker

Series: The Shoalman Chronicles #2

Falling in love was never supposed to be part of the picture.

Kyrissa Spears was born with a powerful, and deadly, gift. When she paints, she captures emotions so strong they can kill. Desperate to find a teacher capable of helping her unlock and control her abilities, Kyrissa’s search leads her to an artist who may be able to help her. And he’s the one person she can’t accidentally kill.

After five centuries of pain and loneliness, Robert Shoalman craves release from his immortality. He’s all but given up hope until he meets the beautiful and intriguing Kyrissa. She could paint his death and break the curse, but at the cost of destroying her gift and being lost to him forever—none of which will matter if the demon hunting him finds them first.

Purchase:
——————————————————————————–
Book #1
FREE December 8th – 12th!
Excerpt
          “You keep telling me to trust my feelings.” Kyrissa ran her finger along his
lower lip. “Trust yours.”
          His mouth sought hers, the taste of her lips more exquisite than the finest wine.
He drank her in, wanting more of her intoxicating apples and mint flavor, as
well as the one that was just her. The one found only in her kiss. Burying his
face in her hair, he pulled her closer, lips trailing down her neck and across
her collarbone.
          Pulling the fitted shirt from his jeans, her hands slid up his back and sides. Each
touch on his skin left him burning. Reclaiming Kyrissa’s mouth with his, Robert
fumbled with the buttons on the front of his shirt, feeling her smile when she
tried to help him, both of them making it worse.
          “Damn it to hell,” Robert broke the kiss, pushing up to his knees to rip the
shirt open. The patter of buttons danced across the floor like rain.
          “Robert!” Kyrissa laughed at his impulsive action.
          “What good is money if I cannot afford to ruin a shirt?” He grinned. “Especially
if it is for the right reasons.” He’d ruin shirts every day if she would
look at him the way she was now.
          Kneeling in front of him, Kyrissa used her hands to push the shirt off his shoulders
while her mouth trailed kisses along his chest. “You could have just
pulled it over your head,” she teased, fingers working to pull open the
cuffs.
          “I thought women expected displays like that,” Robert fumbled, distracted by
her hands and mouth. In his day, affairs were slower, more reserved. He enjoyed
these times better. The women were bolder. More passionate.
          “I could get that male bravado bullshit from any pickup in a bar.” Her eyes
devoured him. “I want you.”
          “Good.”
About the Author
Who is Toni Decker?
Two authors telling one sizzling story after another about
twenty-somethings getting along in their own crazy, fantastical worlds. Both
women are wives and mothers, sharing brain cells and characters as if they only
exist with the other.
Toni, one half
of the Toni Decker brain, is an avid reader of all things Young and New Adult
while Kira, the Decker half of Toni Decker brain, devours fantasy for midnight
snacks.

Together, their stories are one part New Adult, 
one part fantasy and 
three parts of holy hotness.
We leave it up to the readers to decide who writes which
character.
You can follow our journey on:
Goodreads: Toni Decker
Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal for Song of Blood & Stone

I’m thrilled to be a part of the gorgeous cover reveal for my Maryland Romance Writers chapter mate Leslye Penelope’s debut fantasy Song of Blood & Stone!

Song of Blood and Stone

Between love and duty lies destiny

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where she is feared for both the shade of her skin and her magical abilities. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive – an injured spy who steals her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but he is saved by the healing power of a mysterious young woman. Together they embark on a perilous journey straight into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

~~~

Song of Blood & Stone releases January 13, 2015, but you can pre-order at Amazon and add to your GoodReads shelf now!

~~~

Guest Post by Leslye: Respecting the Muse

People frequently ask authors where their ideas come from. The muse, that creative force responsible for inspiring artists, is often said to be fickle. Mine can sometimes be an outright jerk. Like a toddler who can’t decide which toy to play with, my muse throws fits and tantrums, and just might have ADD.

When she’s on her good behavior, she tends to show up in the most unexpected ways. I got the idea for one manuscript from my husband who challenged me to write a “black, female, Napoleon Dynamite.” The result bore no resemblance to that film or character, but it was a great starting point.

Another story features a character whose psychic ability manifests via smell. The idea for this one came from my own life. I sometimes smell things that don’t belong, but are recognizable. Like the scent of my late grandmother’s closets, or my late father’s cologne, or ­­––even stranger–– mothballs. The scents are fleeting, but I wonder if they could be messages of some kind. In that story, my character can tell that something bad is going to happen to the person she smells, but she doesn’t know what or when.

The idea for Song of Blood & Stone was born late one night as I was binge-watching movies on Netflix. I was in my Jamie Bell period, watching and re-watching anything I could with him in it. My stroke of inspiration came during the movie The Eagle when his character, Esca, first appears on screen. He’s a slave in ancient Rome, entering a fight against a much larger and well-armed gladiator. Esca doesn’t look scared even though he’s outmatched. He looks pissed. http://makeagif.com/i/GEscaw This is the exact expression that Jack wears the second time he and Jasminda meet in Song of Blood & Stone. About six seconds of film was enough to set my imagination on fire. The next day I started writing.

So, what inspires you? How does your muse behave? My muse definitely has a mind of her own. And even when she’s erratic, I’m always grateful for the sparks of inspiration no matter how they come.

~~~

About the Author:

Leslye Penelope

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She’s a romance junkie who self-medicates with happily-ever-afters and steaming mugs of green tea. She lives in Maryland with her husband, an eighty-pound lap dog, and an attack cat.

Visit Leslye online at http://www.lpenelope.com
Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | GoodReads

To celebrate the cover reveal, Leslye is offering a $40 gift card giveaway until Deceber 10th!

~~~

Excerpt

Jasminda led the way, the light from her lantern reflecting off the snow, now knee-deep but swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. Jack leaned heavily on the walking stick as each step became more difficult than the last. Pausing to catch his breath, a coughing fit struck him, leaving red splatters on the pristine white.

When he straightened, he found her staring at the blood on the ground. Almost immediately, the warm hum of Earthsong rippled through him.

“Save it,” he advised. “I’m all right.”

She scowled. “You are not all right. You are worse than when you arrived. Stop being such a fool.” The buzz of Earthsong continued for a few moments before she turned and stomped away.

For hours they battled the storm, their progress arduous. Strong gusts of wind blew against them, sometimes knocking them on their backs and forcing them to stop until the gale calmed some. Icy blasts whipped through Jack’s coat, freezing his fingers until he could no longer grip the walking stick and had to leave it behind.

“Let’s stop here for a moment,” Jasminda shouted, pointing to a notch in the rock wall just big enough for two people. Underneath the rocky overhang, the snow stood only ankle high, and the sidewalls protected them from the worst of the wind. They crouched down together, shaking from the cold. She took his hands in hers and rubbed, bringing some feeling back into them. In the flickering lantern light, worry etched a frown on her face.

Jack rallied, drawing whatever inner strength he could into his depleted limbs. A small hum of Earthsong tickled at his wounds, but he could sense her weakening. He cracked his knuckles and tried to fashion his frozen face into a grin.

“Now’s not the time to grow lazy.” He wasn’t sure she could understand him over the chattering of his teeth, but she nodded and they stood. At a groaning rumble overhead, they looked up. Something large shifted and slid. He moved forward to see what was happening, but she grabbed him by his coat and pulled him back. Her eyes were huge circles of fear as everything around them started to shake.

With a violent boom, an avalanche of snow slid down the mountain obliterating the path that they were on. The motion pushed them back against the wall as sheets of snow and ice crumbled away and slid off the mountain in front of them. Beneath their feet, the ground convulsed, knocking them off-balance. Jack fell forward into the rioting rush of snow.

Where he’d expected his hands to hit the ground, they hit nothing. He reached out frantically, grasping for purchase as his weightless body plummeted into the darkness blanketed by the cold wet pressure all around him.

Cover Reveal of Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss

I’m excited to reveal the cover of one of my co-authors on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. KG Stutts’ highly anticipated sci-fi novella series, Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss launches on November 21st. KG Stutts is the author of the Mirror series. This spin-off series takes place over a thousand years after the third in Mirror trilogy, Mirror Reformed (out January 16th).

Amethyst Chronicles: Winter's Kiss

~~~

Amethyst is a secret team of genetically enhanced humans which is Earth’s greatest defensive weapon. Leading the team of super soldiers is Ember Wilson, a tough woman with a huge chip on her shoulder. The team gets their name from the after effect of the Genesis Project which turned their eyes and even their blood purple.

For decades, Earth has been ravaged by unpredictable weather which began to cause crops to fail. Most of the planet’s food sources have deteriorated. Dr. Clayton Rudo has proclaimed he has the means to save the soil. He has created a weather machine to regulate and help replenish. But Ember knew the truth. He didn’t want to save the planet. He wanted to control it. Amethyst destroyed the machine, but was placed in stasis. Two years later, Rudo recreated the device and has frozen Washington, DC and the west coast of the United States.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

~~~

Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss launches on November 21st, but you can pre-order now at Amazon for $.99. Head over to the author’s website at kgstutts.com to find the Barnes and Noble link.

Join the Facebook Launch Party on Friday, November 21!

~~~

About the Author:

Growing up in Texas and later South Carolina as the youngest in a house full of science-fiction fans, K.G. Stutts had her natural curiosity and imagination nurtured since birth by family movie nights where they would watch Star Wars, Indiana Jones and even timeless Disney favorites.

A prolific writer of sci-fi, romance and mystery, K.G. draws much of her inspiration from those amazing works that gave her an appreciation for telling rich, compelling, character-driven stories for all audiences. She is also a contributor to http://iwassociation.com and http://thewritingnetwork.com and is a proud member of the http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/

She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Brad and works for a customer service call center full time. She’s a lover of Star Wars, Star Trek (original, TNG, and Voyager), Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Muppets, Garfield, Disney, Indiana Jones and is a big football, wrestling, and hockey fan.

 

kgstutts.BlogSpot.com | kgstutts.com | Facebook.com/KGStutts | Twitter.com/KGStutts

~~~

Excerpt:

A lab technician carefully brought Ember Wilson out of stasis. Liam stood back as her team surrounded the final pod. Her violet eyes fluttered open and Liam’s hands began to shake. He couldn’t believe how stunning she was.

“What the hell?” she groaned.

“You’ll feel sick to your stomach for a moment, but it will pass,” Lewis informed her.

“My head,” she muttered, rubbing her temple. “What did that empty-headed, bureaucrat ass kisser Blanchard to do to me? How long have we been out?”

“Two years,” he replied.

“Wilson, take a second to get your bearings,” Morris said.

“You’ll feel back to normal in a moment,” Nova added.

She scanned the lab, coming to a stop the moment her eyes locked on the General. Her foot pressed against the back of the pod, her eyes wild with anger.

“You son of a bitch!” she yelled as she used her foot to launch herself in the air.

Nova and Morris caught her before she could reach Blanchard. She kicked and screamed for freedom but the duo wouldn’t budge. She jerked against the hold they had on her arms, spitting and cursing.

“I know,” Lewis calmly said as he stood in front of her. Her foot was inches from his chin when she kicked. “Hey, it’s okay. I know. But there are more pressing matters at hand than him.”

“Rudo?” she asked through gritted teeth.

“You got it.”

“You moron!” she shouted, looking over Lewis’ shoulder to Blanchard. “You had the chance to stop it before he could act but you were too much of a coward!”

“I’m sorry–”

“Sorry? Sorry?” Her voice was nearly shrieking. “Not yet, but you will be.”

Read the rest of this entry

Presenting CONJURE

I’m pleased to be included in the cover reveal for Conjure, the first novel in the soon-to-be-released Hoodoo Apprentice series penned by my friend and fellow Maryland Romance Writer Lea Nolan. Ta da:

Beautiful, isn’t it? Ah, this dark and dreamy scene perfectly depicts the southern mystery Lea’s fourteen-year-old heroine stumbles into–one that forces her to conjure up a bit of old-time magic.

Be careful what you search for…

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

Sounds exciting, right? And it is! While we wait to get our hands on a copy, Lea is running a Rafflecopter giveaway!

Read more about Lea’s upcoming middle grade release of CONJURE:

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13425130-conjure
Lea’s website: http://www.leanolan.com/
Lea on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lea_Nolan

Thanks for stopping by!

%d bloggers like this: