Monthly Archives: June 2015

Some Incredibly Exciting News!

Hey, guys! Celine Jeanjean has been a huge supporter of my work from the beginning, and it’s my pleasure to share the love. She’s looking for a few readers who might be interested in reading and reviewing her new book, which is available now for pre-order. If it looks like something you might be interested in, let her know! Early reviews are critical for new books, and hey, free books! Win-win. 🙂

Celine Jeanjean's Blog: Down the Rabbit Hole

My book, The Viper and the Urchin is finished! It is now a Thing That Exists, and that Thing (or rather the ebook copy for now) is available for pre-order on Amazon at the very bargain pre-launch price of $0.99. It will be properly out in the world late July. To say that I’m excited is an understatement of epic proportion, and likewise about being nervous.

D’you want to see the cover? Here it is in all its full-sized glory:
assassin_fullWhat do you think, do you like it? It’s by Ravven, and I’m so pleased with it! And not just because of my very childish excitement at seeing my name on the cover.

The story’s steampunk but set in a world of my creation — the tropical city of Damsport. There’s a bit of mystery and humour thrown in there for good measure too. Here’s the blurb:

The Viper and…

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H is for Heartleaf

Story ideas come from some weird places.

The inspiration for Bound came from two places: the first was a desire for a story that started with a decidedly non-badass girl saving a hero’s life… an idea that I quickly rejected in favour of her saving a villain’s life, because that’s far more interesting to me. And hey, I write what I want to read.

The other was my headaches.

I get a lot of them. My husband would call that the understatement of the century. All told, I’m insanely grateful if I get through a full day without any kind of pain. Most of the time it’s pain that’s very manageable with drugs, coffee, cold packs, and more drugs. I get through the day, I get my work done, the house doesn’t end up a complete disaster area.

Then there are the headaches that send me to bed because the light and noise of daily life are too much.

It’s not always the same kind of pain. Sometimes it’s a feeling like nausea, but in my skull. Sometimes it’s ice-picks stabbing at my eyes or my temples. Sometimes it feels like someone whacked me with a 2×4 on the back of the head, and sometimes it’s a seething, creeping, crawling pain that oozes around like a tiny monster trapped under the bones of my head.

It’s quite pleasant.

Wait… no. No, it sucks.

But the thing is, something good came of it. Something great, I think. I found a story. As I lay in bed with these monster headaches, or when my head was clear but I was too exhausted to do much else, I started to wonder what it would be like if there was a reason for the pain.

What if it had something to do with magic? What if it somehow hurt someone, made her feel pain like I felt?

What if it led to great adventure? To love, to self-discovery, to danger and wonder and a huge, wide world of possibility?

Well, my own headaches didn’t lead to any of that, but they did lead to me puzzling out a story that’s become a favourite of more people than I ever could have imagined.

Now, to work our way around to today’s topic…

In Bound, Rowan experiences headaches much like mine. At the beginning, she has no idea what’s causing them. No one does (which, it turns out, is probably a good thing for her). Doctors have been no help. The only relief Rowan can find from her pain is heartleaf tea, made from the inner bark of a tree that grows wild throughout Serath. The sweet-smelling, bitter-tasting tea keeps the pain at bay, at least for a while, and she’s learned to ask for nothing more than that.

Too bad for her when it becomes illegal to grow or possess it because of suspicions that it’s a magical substance.

For the record, I didn’t intend to make any statements about controlled substances there. Maybe I did… but I didn’t mean to.

Here’s a picture from my notes of the leaves that give the heartleaf tree its name.

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Okay, so it looks a little like a tongue in my drawing… it’s way prettier in real life, I swear.

Tell me: When have you found inspiration in an unexpected place? What was the outcome?

 


Are Amazon *Really* Paying Authors Per Page Read? No. No, They’re Not. [Pause] Well…

Reblogging for author types who may be confused, or for anyone who sees click-bait headlines trying to freak people out. Authors are still getting paid the same amount as we were before for every book you purchase on Amazon. We still set our prices and get the same share. Amazon’s new payment system only affects borrows through Kindle Unlimited, and it now pays more for gripping, high-quality, and longer books than it does for short stories and books people don’t want to finish. I consider this a positive change, even if it means some of us need to make adjustments in our plans or marketing tactics. This post is a great explanation if you’re looking for one.

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

I understand how the internet works. I know what click bait is. If I click on a headline like She Used a Pen To Open an Envelope. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next… or His Dog Pooped In His Shoe and the Shoe’s Reaction was PERFECT, I agree that I’ve no one to blame but myself. But headlines about Amazon paying self-published authors per page read has my blood pressure spiking.

They’re inaccurate because they’re out of context. The truth is buried in the posts themselves no sooner than five or six paragraphs down, but people don’t seem to be reading that far based on the tweets I’ve seen in my stream. And as for people outside the self-publishing world – well, they seem to be missing the whole point of it altogether.

Now, it’s been a while since I wrote a nuts-and-bolts post about a self-publishing thing but [rolls up shirtsleeves, takes…

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One Year Celebration (and giveaway!)

EDIT: Giveaway now closed. Thanks still apply.

It’s been quiet around here, hasn’t it? On the blog, I mean. Around HERE here, in my real life? Not so much.

But we’ll have time for news and project updates another day. Today we’re here to celebrate the fact that one year ago today, Bound became A Thing People Could Read.

First book of a trilogy.

First book for me.

First time in a long time that I had stepped so far out of my comfort zone that the stress made me physically ill, and the first time I’d ever chased a dream that hard.

It was also the first time I’d ever taken a risk that big and invested so much in what I suspected would amount to a whole lot of “well, at least a few people read it” and “I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t try, right?” and “It was a great learning experience.”

All of those things are true, but this year has gone SO much better than I ever expected.

Why?

Because of you guys.

Because of people who read my blog and commented on snippets that I posted on WIPpet Wednesdays, kind folks who commented on the first chapter when I posted it, and bloggers who helped out with the cover reveal and release-week posts. Because of writer friends who got me through tough moments, who let me vent about frustrations, and who were there to celebrate the victories and setbacks I didn’t want to talk about in public.

Most of all, it’s because of the people who read the book. Those who bought it when it was new and untested, or when they decided to take a chance on an unfamiliar author. Those who loved it, who recommended it to friends and family, who suggested Bound to their wine-drinking book clubs, who wrote reviews,who shared the book on their blogs and requested it at their local libraries, those who tweeted about it, who mentioned it on “what are you reading” and “who are your book crush” facebook posts…

I wish I could give every one of you a medal and a hug.

See, I wrote a book that I loved and I thought a few other people might enjoy, and I did what I could to make it the best it could be.

That’s about it. The rest of it, the rankings and the reviews and the recommendations? That was all you guys.

Pretty amazing.

It’s my job to make words work for me, to get them to express what I’m thinking, imagining, or feeling, but I continue to be at a complete loss when it comes to trying to thank you guys. It’s too much.

Thanks for making this author’s maiden voyage such an incredible adventure.

*sniffle*

Okay, enough sappy stuff. Who wants free crap?

I mean… a book? WHO WANTS A BOOK?

IMG_2162

This is a celebration, so let’s make the prize a good one. Let’s see what we’ve got here… How about a signed copy of the book of your choice (Bound or Torn), or a CD copy of the Bound audiobook? And let’s throw in some extra goodies. Some sea glass and a mermaid charm (my apologies for the fact that she has a fish tail… mammalian merfolk merchandise is hard to come by, and also a bit of a tongue twister). A couple of cover cards that you can use as bookmarks, or as posters for your Barbie Dream House (not judging), or whatever else floats your boat. Also, the last postcard I’ve got here. YAY!

Enter here, through rafflecopter.

To claim your blog post entry, comment below and tell me who your favourite character in the Bound trilogy is (so far) and why. If you’re just joining us and haven’t read the books, no problem! Tell me your favourite species of Fantasy creature, and don’t forget to claim your rafflecopter entry!

And please share! I’d love to see everyone who might be interested get a chance to enter this giveaway. You can tweet for an entry, or share this post on other social media platforms by clicking the wee buttons below.

Thanks again, guys.

I can’t wait for you to see what comes next.


G is for Griselda…and Going Places

G

Griselda Beaumage is a teacher at Ernis Albion’s school on Belleisle.

As we know from Torn, she’s a powerful Sorceress–an omnilinguist and an illusionist, to be precise, though she has other skills that Rowan knows nothing about. She’s tall and intimidating, and fiercely intelligent. She’s a bit of a hero for Rowan, who hasn’t really had a Sorceress to look up to. Sure, there are a few other female students at the school, but a true Sorceress is a rarity, and Griselda has had a lot longer than those students have to hone her skills.

She’s an adventurer, and has been spending significant time in Luid as the guest of the Tiernal family and as an ambassador.

She’s more than that, though.

Griselda is a scholar of magic. She’s far older than she appears (one of the benefits of strong magic), and has spent decades exploring the world outside of Serath. Her gifts with languages have allowed her to travel as she pleases, communicating with people and intelligent species the world over. She spent years among centaurs–previously a misunderstood and nearly legendary group, as far as her people were concerned. She has loved, and she has lost far more than she will ever let on in front of her students.

She’s also a character whose history I’d love to dig deeper into some day. She’s not the only one. If I were to write every story I wanted to that branched off from the Bound trilogy, I’d be looking at…

*counts on fingers*

*takes off socks, counts on toes*

A hell of a lot of work ahead of me. I’d love to follow the merfolk to their world, to explore new lands with Griselda, to seek out the Aeyer and witness their clan wars. A dragon’s story would be a challenge, but an interesting one.

And then there are the two trilogies I’m actually planning to set in this world, one historical and one set in the near future.

There was a time when I worried I’d run out of stories to tell. That was before I met my characters and realized that each one of them is the key to a door that opens up new lands, new worlds, and new adventures.

Have I mentioned that I love my job?


The Cadis Trilogy: BLOODLORE Released!

A few days late (oops!), but here’s the release announcement for the first book in Krista Walsh’s Cadis Trilogy, which we did the cover reveal for here a while back. Ebook is on sale for 99 cents! I read this one before publication. It’s a great read if you’re into adventure and intrigue, and if you love a salty-mouthed heroine as much as I do. Many of you are familiar with Krista’s work (and Venn) from the Meratis trilogy, and this is a good place to either jump in or continue the story. First chapter reveal included if you click through!

The Raven's Quill

It’s Monday morning! I know Mondays are not usually looked at with pleasure and excitement, but hopefully Venn can at least add a few chuckles to your otherwise Monday-like Monday. That’s right – BLOODLORE is now available at a limited-time sale price of $0.99! The Kindle and Kobo links are up now, with B&N and print copies coming shortly – Nook and paperback readers, you have not been forgotten!

This book now has an extra special place in my heart. On Saturday, June 13, 2015, my grandmother passed away after a battle with cancer. She was always one of my greatest supporters, right to the end, she telling anyone who would listen how proud she was of her published granddaughter. So although it’s not written in the book itself, BLOODLORE is dedicated to my nan, Eulalie Mallette. She liked Venn’s feistiness and sharp wit, so I think she’d be tickled pink…

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Bound A-Z: F is for Fairy Tales

A selection from my kids’ room, since mine are packed away. *sniffle*

If you’ve read Bound, I probably don’t need to explain why this entry is included here. Fairy tales are a big thread running through the story: talk of adventures and happy endings, of life not measuring up to fairy tales, the books that Rowan reads even though they’re as good as banned in her country.

I adore fairy tales. I loved them when I was a kid, and cried when I thought I was getting too old for them (my mom set me straight, thank goodness). I still love them now, though my interest has broadened somewhat. As a child I had only a few books to look through, mostly containing the familiar European tales that Disney tends to adapt. I found more as I grew older. My brother and I got a book for Christmas one year that had stories from all over the world. Though I’m ashamed to say that at the time I only wanted the same old stories, having access to tales from Africa and Australia and Asia helped me understand the range of stories there are to be told.

It’s deepened, too. Have you looked back at the history of fairy tales? Read older versions, read analyses of the intent and meaning behind them? It’s a journey I’m only starting on in my free time (feel free to laugh…), but it’s fascinating.

And yeah, I like to play with them. While I’ll probably never do a full novel-length re-telling of a fairy tale (the market seems pretty saturated with those these days, and people are doing amazing things), I did enjoy trying it with flash fiction (my urban fantasy version of Cinderella is posted here), and hope to do more in the future.

And of course, my Fantasy world that I’m working in these days is stuffed to the mer-gills with fairy tales. Myths, legends, superstitions, children’s stories and folklore would spill off of every page if I wasn’t afraid of readers being bored.

We all carry stories with us in our memories and our beliefs. My characters do, too, even if they won’t admit it.

Maybe some day the fairy tales of Tyrea will see the light of day. Anyone interested in hearing that story about the young woman who fell in love with the dragon? Want to hear about Pourana, the woman who guides the souls of the dead? What about the story of the Gryphon’s tear, or a little mer folklore?

I really need more time to write…

Tell me: What’s your favourite fairy tale? What is it about that story that you connect with?


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