Smashwords starts its annual Read an eBook Week again, and I entered all the books I published with them. Some are discounted, others are completely free. The coupon codes are valid from midnight on March 2nd till 11:59pm on March 8th Pacific time. You will find them directly on the book description page. They are exclusive to Smashwords.com and will not work anywhere else.
Here are the direct links to my titles. The banner picture will take you to my Smashwords author page. Beware that not all books I published are available through Smashwords.
Swordplay (YA Urban Fantasy)
Gifts for Holly (homage for Holly Lisle)
Flesh & Blood (two Horror shorts)
Urchin King (YA Historical Fantasy)
Amadi (full Trilogy)
Amadi & the Phoenix (part 1)
Amadi & the Sphinx (part 2)
Amadi & the Djinn (part 3)
I was lucky to get two places on a Goodreads group’s R4R (read for review) in close succession. So, I offered my newest release “Swordplay” and “Urchin King”. Surprisingly, the copies of “Urchin King” went fast while the ones for “Swordplay” have still not all be claimed. This got me thinking.
Is my Stress-O-Meter stuck at:
Don’t get me wrong, I like “Urchin King” but I like “Swordplay” better. The world is much cooler, and the characters leave more room to grow over the series (that’s one reason why I decided to make a series out if it). Also, there are so many lovely sidekicks that can have a cameo in the next volumes. But if the R4R is representative for my readers, I might be wrong.
Am I still the weird one out? I know I was when I was a kid, always reading, loving school, living in the middle of a forest with no interest in shopping or make-up. I was never one to fit in easily. But does this apply to my books too? Are they too much out of sync with the rest of the world? Is that the reason why I’m not making a living from my books (yet) despite the fact that I have seven well written (according to my editors) books out there (plus short stories and one audiobook)?
If you’ve read even one of my stories, please let me know what you think. Especially if you’ve read “Swordplay” (or even just the sample on amazon), please tell me if I’m right or wrong to turn this into a series.
I don’t get this discouraged often, but when it hits, it hits me hard. Please help.
Here are the winners for my giveaway. I picked a few more simply because I could.
Thank you for helping me make my blog tour a success.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, the last part of the blot tour is over and the two final days of the giveaway have started. You can find the two last posts here (interview) and here (guest post on marketing). If you want to gain a few more points, click here. If you want to read the different blog posts again, will find links to all (German and English) on this page.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my PC, tired but happy, and write my next story. This time, it’s a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a steampunk world. I love the genre. If you’ve never tried it I advise you to watch the film “Wild Wild West” with Will Smith or read the free online-Comic “Girl Genius” (highly recommended but quite long by now).
Next Saturday (Sunday at the latest) I’m going to draw the winners of the giveaway. Please be patient until then. And finally, I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who helped to make this tour a success for me. Hugs to all.
Look here for infos about the book and the giveaway and here for the Blog Tour schedule.
There are a couple more posts for you to explore. For one, my good friend Andra from Romania put up a mini-story about the main character in “Swordplay” (and she already started reading the book, obviously liking it, although she begs her readers not to tell me ). The next is a spotlight on the blog of my cover artist Corona.
I’m most pleased to know that the first review is up too (on German amazon). It’s a great 3 star review (although it should have been 4, after all 3.5 normally gets rounded up, but I won’t be nitpicky).
So, if you’ve read the book already, please leave a review on amazon and/or any other platform. If you haven’t, enter my giveaway, it’s your last chance. And please remember that writing reviews is the best way to support authors (Indie and others).
My friend Crystal Collier’s first novel “Moonless” will be released in print, and she’s holding her first ever blogfest. For those who come to this site through Crystal’s blogfest, I’m currently running a blog tour where you can win my newest release “Swordplay”. Look here for infos about the book and the giveaway and here for the Blog Tour schedule.
Her AMAZING co-hosts are Pk Hrezo, Tammy Theriault, and Michael Di Gesu (I know two of the three, and ‘amazing’ fits quite well). To make the blogfest more fun for all, Crystal asked her friends to post the answer to the following question on their blogs today:
If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, who would you beg your parents to set you up with? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) Who and why?
But first, let me tell you something about her most amazing book (I already read the sample, bought it, and will be reading it on my trip to Texas in March. I’ll post a review when I’m done).
About the Book
YA Historical Fantasy
In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.
Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.
***Coupon Alert*** Crystal’s publisher is offering a $2.00 coupon until February 14th!! To take advantage of this awesome offer, click the link below and use the coupon code!
Coupon code: LQJM3F84
Now, for my answer
At first, I thought it’d be difficult to pick my dream match, but as it turned out, it was the easiest thing in the world. Of course, I would beg my parents to marry me off to my ex-boyfriend, ex-fiancée, and now husband. We’ve been an item for close to 30 years already and there’s no one in the world who can compete with him (despite us both getting old and crinkly).
However, I don’t think that was what Crystal had in mind when she asked. After all, being madly in love with your own husband is rather boring, right? So I though for a while who else would suit me, and I really found one. A single character out of a myriad of people (fictional and real) … does that tell you something about me? OK, I’m not going to keep you on tenderhooks. The guy that might, with a lot of luck, tempt me is:
He’s the humanized demon from “Good Omens – The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet, one of my all time favorite novels. What I like about him is his way to see the world. He realized that humans are their own worst enemy and that demons aren’t really necessary to bring about our own downfall. At the same time, he doesn’t want that to happen. Also, he’s the best (only) friend of an angel and despite being a demon, he’s very, very human. But since I haven’t finished reading Moonless yet, there’s still a chance that Crystal’s romantic lead might make me change my mind. Now, go and get Moonless form Amazon or read the answers to Crystal’s question on the other blogs. Here’s the list:
As always, here are the links to the blog tour schedule and to the giveaway.
Yesterday, another excerpt went life on Karin Rita Gastreich’s blog. It was nice to meet yet another person with a surname originating in the German language.
And I’d like to apologize. I had meant to post yesterday but completely forgot to schedule it. I couldn’t do it in real time either because I had the house full with birthday guests. We celebrated the 19th birthday of my eldest daughter and I didn’t have much time for online stuff. Thus, the post comes now, and it’ll highlight one of the most important people involved in this novel: the cover artist.
Corona Zschüsschen, Dutch illustrator and graphic designer
Corona comes from Enschede (if you like her art, she’s available for international freelance work and her prices are reasonable). I stumbled over some of her art when I was looking for things to pin to my Pinterest boards, and I immediately liked her drawing style. Since I was having major trouble getting a shutterstock picture to work that I had originally planned on using (but the resolution was crap, every detail looked pixelated), I contacted her. She was lovely to work with. So here she is in her own words.
Why did you become an artist? Was it a childhood dream?
My first childhood dream was to start a cat-shelter. I even wrote a letter to my 20-year old self when I was 10, outlining my plans and ideas! While I really love cats (and I have 3), that never happened. I moved around a lot when I was young. Drawing was something I could do anywhere, anytime. I had always loved illustrating, but I never thought I could become an actual artist. Sometimes I still can’t believe I am. I have to remind myself.
What’s your greatest obstacle in creating?
It’s me. Illustrating can be very mood and inspiration depended. I think it must be the same when you’re a writer. Sometimes inspiration comes at the most impossible of times. Or I can make a lot of different versions of something knowing they simply won’t work. It can be very frustrating! But all the different versions are still part of the journey. As long as I like the destination, it’s all worth it!
What makes your art different?
I don’t know how different I am… though of course no artist is the same. I have found artists whose style looks similar to mine, or sometimes the subjects or thoughts behind an illustration can be the same. I’m not bothered by that. I tend to branch out to a lot of different styles, because I like to adjust my art to the subject. What works for one book cover may not work at all for another. I also like to know as much as possible before I start illustrating. For example, with designing characters, I want to not only know how they look, but also their motivation and background story.
What was the most exciting thing happening when you are creative?
You mean for me as an illustrator? It was about 4 weeks ago when I found out one of my illustrations is going to be used for for very VERY big ‘thing’. But I can’t say anything about it. I’m contractually obligated to be silent about it. I can’t even show the illustrations. I want to shout it from the roofs, hahaha! Also, every time I receive an e-mail from a potential client my hart rate spikes. I can’t sit still before I answer the mail.
What was the biggest challenge with my cover?
The best thing about working with a writer is that they often know exactly what they want, even if they don’t! So the challenge was to get the idea that was in your head onto the cover. Being able to read some chapters of the book really helped. You were very specific and I really like that. You knew what you wanted. I hope I have fulfilled your book cover wishes
Who is your favorite Indie artist?
I guess any artist that’s not affiliated with a publisher could be considered independent. But most are a combination of both. One of my favorite contemporary illustrators is Loish (Lois van Baarle). I’m so jealous of her skills. Her character designs are stunning and magical. Her illustrations are incredibly pretty. Another illustrator I really like is Yasmin (chubbytentacle.com), her style is so much fun. I can’t help but smile when I see her illustrations.
Who is your favorite traditional artist?
I really like John William Waterhouse. I can stare at those paintings for a long time. I also enjoy the work of Berthe Morisot, a female impressionist painter. I have a lot of respect for the female painters in history. Often their pursuit of art wasn’t taken very seriously. Though I can’t identify with the era they lived in. There have been people in my life who don’t see how being an illustrator can be a actual job.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I can only pick one? I am quite happy with my life as it is now. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here.
As always, here are the links to the blog tour schedule and to the giveaway.
Yesterday, Mathew Reuther, a fantasy crime writer using considerable more gore than I do, posted an excerpt from my novel on his homepage. Also, one of the most successful Indie authors from Germany published my guest post on Mixing and Balancing Genres on his site (German only).
Today, German book-blogger Katja posted my guest post “Developing Swordplay” in German on her site (this has also been posted in English). She read the book and liked it a lot, so she’ll be writing a review in a few days.
For my English readers, author L. Blankenship posted a funny interview with my characters on her blog (the German version is available here).
I hope you’re enjoying the tour. Don’t forget to spread the word. By doing so you can earn more entries in my giveaway.
Like with everything, a blog-tour has also times when things don’t go as planned. Thus, the post planned for yesterday on author Roy Huff’s homepage went missing and I don’t know why. As soon as it shows up, I’ll let you know.
As always, here are the links to the blog tour schedule and to the giveaway.
Yesterday, I got the first review for Swordplay (German), and I’m glad that Katie enjoyed the story despite a few, minor points of criticism. Today, Elsa Rieger interviewed me (German). Also, author Masha A. Moore published my guestpost (English) about balancing genres in a novel.
Don’t forget to participate in the giveaway. Some options can be repeated every day to increase your chances to win.
You can find the schedule for my blog hop here and the giveaway here.
People on my list already know this story (list members get early access to a lot of stuff and some exclusivity and special offers), but I want to share it with you too. Here is an introductory snippet for Moira (in German it’s been posted on Kathleens Bücherwelt in today’s tour stop). The English post for the day is about names in worldbuilding. Check it out here.
Moira wriggled on the chair in front of the principal’s office. Her hands felt strangely empty. Up to this point it had been very comforting to hold on to her application papers. What should she do with her hands now?
The door opened and the secretary looked out, the gray bob over her haggard features blending in with the mint colored walls.
“You may come in now.”
Moira’s heart began to beat faster, and the palms of her hands grew wet. What if her application was declined? This was the only chance she was going to get, and it was a miracle already that the Academy had invited her for an interview. She forced her trembling legs to get up and follow the secretary along a narrow corridor with many doors. Not one of them was labeled, but she assumed they led to the teachers’ conference rooms. At the end of the corridor, the secretary showed her through a big oaken door into a gigantic room. It was so different from what Moira had expected, she stopped and stared at the expanse. Big windows on the far side allowed the sun to light up the room, blurring it into a bright nothingness. White walls emphasized the feeling of being out of this world. On the left side of the door stood two comfortable looking chairs and a low table with two cups, a coffee pot, and a plate with cookies. It was the only furniture in the room.
Moira’s gaze searched for the Academy’s principal but aside from her, there was no one in sight. Even the secretary had left. Feeling small and insignificant, she walked to the seating arrangement but didn’t dare to sit down. Patiently, she waited.
“Please, make yourself comfortable.” The principal’s voice she knew from a previous parlebol call filled the room before a dark shadow appeared beside her and condensed into a portly man with a big, curled mustache.
With his wide, black robe and the beak-like nose, the principal reminded Moira of a rather plump raven. She curtsied and stammered a greeting before her legs gave and she settled into the nearest chair. Did he always appear like this? Would she ever get a chance to get used to this?
He sat too and filled both cups with coffee, leaving it to her to add sugar or milk.
“You seem rather young to be sitting here.” Stirring his own cup, he leaned back and studied her. “I understand that you skipped two classes, and I must say, I was impressed by your grades. They’re the one reason why I decided to take a look at you. You’d be a great addition to the Gendarmerie Générale. So, why do you insist on joining the Gendarmerie Magique?”
“I’ve been working very hard to be considered.” Moira hated to feel so defensive. She knew she was lacking in magical skills. “My parents have both been very successful officers, and it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember.”
“Not all dreams come true.” The principal drained the cup and set it down. He got up and stepped into the middle of the bright room. “Convince me you’re good enough for the basics. With a deficiency like yours, you’d be a liability for your colleagues.”
Moira swallowed. Did he mean she was supposed to do magic? Here? She followed him, marveling at the fact that her legs were still supporting her. The closer she got, the more the principal blurred. When she reached the middle of the room, only his face was still sharply defined, the rest merged with the whiteness.
“If you find my bureau, I will sign your acceptance paper,” he said and vanished completely.
Dumbstruck, Moira stared at the place where he had just been. Surely it wasn’t so very difficult to find his office? She turned toward the door, but it had vanished together with the principal and the furniture. Everything around her was white and blurred into a mist in the distance. She picked a random direction and walked but nothing changed. Drat. How was she supposed to find anything if she was stuck in the middle of a bright, white mist?
This clearly was a test, and the only qualification that needed testing was her magical ability. Since the principal had said he was only looking for the bare minimum of skills, it couldn’t be too difficult. She probably only needed to use a simple Guide-Moi spell. The problem was that she couldn’t even do first grade stuff. She’d tried often enough to know it wouldn’t work. So, she had to find a way that would lead her to the principal’s office and make him believe she used magic. Fine. The GM-spell was simple and straightforward. People using it looked like sleepwalkers. Moira closed her eyes and let her arms dangle as if using the spell. She turned a full circle, hoping for something, anything that might indicate the direction the principal had left. When nothing presented itself, she opened her eyes again but didn’t move her arms. Surely she would be watched closely.
Surprised, she discovered that the windows were still there. A fine web of golden strands ran over their frames. She had seen this kind of webbing before. It indicated active spells. Well, it was nice to know that the whiteness around her was some sort of spell but it didn’t really help, or did it? She walked toward the windows, the only point of orientation she had in the fog. Against her expectations, she was able to get closer. Soon, she stood in front of a windowpane twice the height of her bedroom at home. Outside, she could see the Academy’s running arena. Several students were training. For a split second, her longing to be one of them became so strong she thought her heart would burst. Biting her lip, she turned away from the window. A thin, blue line led from the window into the mist and vanished in the distance. This hadn’t been there before.
Moira hesitated, but only for a second. It was the only hint she could see, and whether it would lead her to the principal or take her out of the Academy and shatter her dream of joining the Gendarmerie Magique was irrelevant at this point. She couldn’t stay here, so she had to follow the blue line. A fifty-fifty chance was always better than no chance at all. With a sigh, she set out, still letting her arms hang limply at her side as if she were using a GM spell.
The floating blue ribbon led her ten steps away from the window, and then angled sharply to the right. Another seven steps took her to a door. Gently, she touched the surface. Yes, it was a real door, solid oak, like the others she had seen in the Academy. She knocked, and it swung open silently, revealing an office stuffed with books and dark oak furniture. The eyes of several teachers and the principal turned to her. Warmth spread through Moira’s belly. All was well.
P.S.: Please excuse any misspellings and grammar errors. If you want more of these, join my list.