Category Archives: Bound

Happy Birthday, Bound!

Ebook sale news and paperback giveaway details below!

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Time flies, doesn’t it?

It’s been five years since the first readers downloaded Bound and joined Aren and Rowan on their first adventure through the wilds of Tyrea.

Five years since they met Kel, Cassia, Ruby, and all of the other incredible characters that fill this world.

Five years since I became a professional author, though one who was holding her breath and hoping that someone would read her book and find something worthwhile in it. Little did she know that this book would soon make writing her job as well as her passion, all thanks to the readers who bought the book, reviewed it, and recommended it to others.

Half a decade on, I’ve just published my tenth book (four as Kate Sparkes, six as Tanith Frost), but this one still takes up a whole lot of space in my heart. I miss this world and these characters, and I want to keep sharing them with readers around the world.

So to celebrate this special occasion and to say ‘thanks for everything,’ I’ve got a few goodies for readers.

First: Bound is now on sale for 99 cents in ebook on all retailers. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve already got a copy. But if you still haven’t stepped into this fairytale world where magic is a sin, haven’t met the mysterious merfolk or escaped from the dragon’s lair (or if you know someone who still needs to join you on the adventure), now’s the perfect time to jump in. Here are the links.

But more importantly…

I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of Bound to one lucky winner! Just click here to visit the Rafflecopter link to enter. There are only a few options for entry this time, so it will only take a minute.

This giveaway is, of course, open internationally. Winner will be chosen and contacted on July 1, so be sure to enter as soon as possible. Good luck!

EDIT: The winner has been chosen and notified, and the prize mailed. Congratulations to Ashley L!


Bound (Bound Trilogy Book One) FREE for a limited time!

I know, I know. Too much promotion here these days, right?

I promise I’ll be back with something else when I have anything interesting to share with you. Right now I’m buckling down, trying to avoid wasting time on social media, and working on getting the first three books I’ll be releasing under my pen name ready for publication. There’s a lot going on here… it’s just behind the scenes.

I do have one bit of excitement to share, though! For the first time ever, Bound is free on all of its regular ebook retailers! Whether you read on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Kindle, or those smaller ones whose names I can never remember, I’m giving the ebook away.

I wish I could say I had a big strategic reason for doing this, but honestly? It was the end of winter, I was in a funk, and not much lifts my spirits like giving something away. And between this and the paperback giveaway I just wrapped up with my newsletter type people*, I’m having a pretty good time.

Besides, we’re coming up on Bound’s third anniversary as a published book. Why not invite some new people in to explore this world and get to know my beloved characters?

So if you haven’t started the series yet, check out the links at books2read.com/bound. If you have read and enjoyed these books, why not offer a recommendation to a book-loving friend? This offer is only going to be on for a few weeks, and when it’s over, I don’t know whether or when it will happen again.

Enjoy!

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*Newsletter subscribers get the VIP treatment. Giveaways, bonuses, free stuff… want to join in? Visit my site to sign up, then watch your inbox (or spam folder) for the confirmation email. Add me to your contacts so you don’t miss anything, and enjoy!


Newsletter Exclusive Paperback Giveaway!

I know. You get a ton of email, right? It’s easy to miss stuff in the absolute flood of newsletters, ads, and “wait, when did I even sign up for that?”

But this Friday, you’ll want to watch for an email from me. My newsletter subscribers will find out how to enter to win a signed paperback copy of Bound, plus a gold feather ornament and a “create a little magic every day” bookmark. It’s going to be really easy to enter, chosen totally at random, open internationally, and completely exclusive to subscribers.

If you’re on the list and don’t receive the email, be sure to check your junk folder (or your promo folder if you’re with Gmail and have to put up with that little newsletter-hiding system).

Good luck!

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How I Survived My First Live Reading

I’m just going to say this, in case there’s anyone who hadn’t picked up on it: I’m an introvert.

Beyond that, I’m also shy and socially awkward, and I’m non-confrontational to the point where introducing myself to someone or asking for something over the phone sends me hightailing it for the hills.

So when a lovely woman from the library board called me and asked whether I’d be interested in doing a live reading from my books during our town’s winter carnival, the answer was obvious.

“Of course!”

I mean, I started a YouTube channel so I could get more comfortable with speaking, didn’t I? And I have to get out there and do these things if I ever want to expand my comfort zone (or at least get used to stepping outside of it).

So yeah, I agreed. And then I freaked out, second-guessed myself, prayed for a blizzard, and hid my head in the sand before actually thinking to ask for help from people who do this a lot.

Thanks to help from those lovely people and readers who helped me choose passages to read, I survived. And I decided to pass along their fine advice and tips in a video, just in case anyone else can use it. 🙂

(here’s the link in case you can’t see the embedded video)


BOUND TRILOGY SALE!

Hey, everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know I’m running an ebook sale on the Bound trilogy! If you haven’t started this bestselling YA Fantasy series yet, or if you’ve been waiting for a sale to complete your collection, now is the perfect time!

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Enjoy! And if you have any friends who might be interested, your help in spreading the word is, of course, most appreciated. Thank you. You are so wonderful.

Available for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, yadda yadda. You can find all of the links on my site, katesparkes.com, or just click the links below.

Bound

Torn

Sworn

And here’s my latest video. This one mentions the sale, but is mostly about the reading order for the trilogy when you throw the prequels in (you knew you could get those free by signing up for my newsletter, right?). And you get to hang out with me on a migraine day, which is only a little like being around a tipsy yet pleasant and absent-minded drunk. So… yay! ^_^


The End of the Adventure.

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So today is Sworn’s release day.

How am I feeling?

Excited. I’m more proud of this book than anything I’ve done before, and I’ve never released anything I wasn’t 100% in love with. I can’t wait for readers to see how the story ends. Those who have read it have been extremely enthusiastic about it, which makes me even more excited. Sworn is already creeping up the Amazon charts, which is pretty damned cool.

And I feel drained. Yesterday’s release party was a total blast, but eight hours at the computer does take it out of you (thank heavens for guest authors who popped in for giveaways so I could eat!). And I probably don’t have to explain why I haven’t been sleeping well for a while, with everything I’ve had to do to get ready for the release.

And proud. This has been the biggest project I’ve ever taken on, and I’ve done it without a boss or a publisher breathing down my neck. This has been my baby from start to finish, from draft to editor selection to cover design to proofreading. And I did it. Hell yes, I’m proud of my easily-distracted and procrastination-prone and self-doubting self for pulling this off.

And sad. I’ve been working with these characters for five years now, and we’ve grown a lot together. I’m not ready for this to be over. I’m going to miss them and their world.

And thankful. I say this has been my baby, but I wouldn’t be here without my critique partners, my beta readers, my editors, my cover artist, the blog friends who have shared posts and supported me…

…and the readers. I’m so overwhelmed with thankfulness for the readers. The people who buy books, read books, recommend books, review books, share books, and above all LOVE books. The people who bring characters and worlds to life in their imaginations, who carry parts of their favourite characters with them even when they story is done.

My stories would just be words without them.

And okay, I’m a little scared. I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. I have to jump into a new story (already started and going swimmingly, due out in June… with an actual outside deadline this time). And that’s fine. It’s exciting. And it’s terrifying.

But I’ll get through it. And I’m glad you guys will be here with me to see this adventure through.

And the next.

And the next.

Thank you.

**Sworn purchase links available at www.katesparkes.com 

(PS- thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about the sale! The full trilogy is now available for under $10 USD, at least on retailers that don’t adjust prices upward. Not too shabby!)

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PARTY!!!

One week to Sworn’s big release day!

And I’m throwing a party to celebrate. How could I not? The Bound release party was small (as hardly anyone knew about the book), but a blast. The one for Torn was a little bigger, a little crazier, and STILL a blast.

This one’s going to be even better. We’ll have more giveaways (signed paperbacks, bookish goodies, and special little gifts to go with e-book giveaways), guest authors giving away THEIR books, a big (spoiler-free) Q&A if anyone has questions for me about the books, writing, what’s next, yadda yadda…

It’s going to be fun.

And the best part is that it’s happening on Facebook, so you don’t have to travel to Newfoundland to join us! I’ll be there from 3-10 PM my time (1:30 to 8:30 eastern), but some of the giveaways will stay open overnight for people on the other side of the world who can’t drop in during party hours.

Here’s the event link. Click to say you’re coming (and to get notifications of early-bird posts and/or giveaways), and drop in any time when the party’s on. Grab a fictional friend or date to bring with you (it might be worth a prize, you never know), find a comfy chair and some snacks, and we’ll see you on the 28th!

 

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My prize bucket a few months ago. It’s overflowing now. We’ll see how much we have time to give away during this event…


Last Chance to Enter!

Teri Polen’s giveaway (signed paperback copy of bound, mermaid charm, sea glass, and assorted papery swag) is ending soon! She’ll be announcing the winner July 31, which means there’s only a day or so left to enter. This is a fantastic prize from a generous reader, so be sure to enter!

(US and Canada only for this one, but I’ve got something different coming up for everyone else next month)

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Click here to enter. Good luck!


Bound A-Z: J is for “Jumpin’ Jehosephat”

Okay, so that title is a lie. No character in the Bound trilogy has ever said “Jumpin’ Jehosephat,” and I guarantee they never will. What we really want to talk about today is cussin’, but that doesn’t start with J.

I probably don’t need to put a disclaimer here, right?

Every author has to make decisions regarding swearing: How much is appropriate, whether it will sound silly if characters in life-threatening situations don’t swear in order to keep a “clean” rating (see the aforementioned Jehosephat). For some of us it’s not a tough decision, at least until our grandparents and people from church start reading our books.

*cough*

Others have to do a bit more soul-searching.

On top of that, some genres offer additional restrictions or opportunities. Writing middle-grade fiction? Yeah, we all know first-graders who drop f-bombs like Samuel L. Jackson (if with considerably less flair), but it’s not considered appropriate to include that kid as a character in a MG book, even as the bully. Historical fiction writers will have to take into account the historical accuracy of slurs and swears. This might sound restrictive, but judging by the insults Shakespeare’s characters tossed out, I’m guessing the research there could be rather interesting.

And Fantasy and Sci-Fi allow us a range of possibilities. This article from Book Riot has a great run-down of the options authors choose. There’s the vaguely-dirty-sounding substitution, the straight-up swear, religious curses based on the world the story is set in, and more.

Anyone who’s read Bound and Torn knows I let my characters swear when it seems appropriate for the situation. As my editor said in his comments on Torn*, “You gave more shits this time, and it worked.” He thought it felt realistic for characters to swear when everything is… well, when the shit hits the fan, so to speak, to not pussy-foot around to keep things universally palatable.

Why use our curses rather than making something fantastical up? Because everything else is translated, too. My characters don’t speak English in their world. If the words “cup,” “hunting,” “dragon,” and “love” are translated, I also translate the swearing when it works. It’s what works for me as a writer, though I do look forward to writing about species that use less-conventional oaths in the future. That should be fun. And there are cases where the world impacts choice of curses. “Gods” instead of “God” for a character who believes in more than one. “Harpy” instead of “bitch,” because that’s really the more vile insult in that world. It’s all about conveying meaning, not going for shock value.

Do some readers hate swearing? Yes.

Do some readers hate “clean reads” that seem awkwardly contrived to avoid realistic language and references to sex?

*raises hand*

It’s all personal taste, and you can’t please everyone. I’ll write what feels right for my stories and characters, as I expect other writers do with theirs. I do think swearing can be over-used to the point where it becomes irritating, or the reader becomes numb to it. I love creative curses, as long as I don’t have to spend too much time figuring them out. But used properly, a well-placed cuss can add a flash of depth or colour to a serious scene, or a bit of humour to another.

“Bad words” are one of many tools available to a writer, no different from metaphors and adverbs and varied sentence length. Just like anything else, we can choose to use them, to over-use them, or to not use them at all to create mood in a scene, establish character, or add impact to a moment in a story.

They just happen to occasionally be a lot more fun than most tools. 🙂

Fun Bonus Fact: The first draft of Sworn included what I (quite modestly) considered the most perfect f-bomb ever. It came from an unexpected character, and in context no other word would have delivered the same impact or meaning. It was absolutely perfect. I was certain my alpha readers or editor would tell me to cut it, but I had to have it just for my own satisfaction. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the story changed, things shifted around, and that moment was no longer essential to the story, so the Big Bad F-Bomb got cut.

This is what they mean when they say “kill your darlings.” Even when something pleases you as a writer, sometimes it has to go for the good of the story as a whole.

*Paraphrased, I can’t find my notes. Okay, that’s a lie. I haven’t had coffee, I’m lazy, and searching through those notes seems like a poor use of time I could be spending on getting the next book ready for edits.


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?

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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.


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