February 15, 2017

Three Times A Charm with Patricia Josephine

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. Where readers get to discover new books and learn a little about the authors who wrote them. Today we welcome Patricia Josephine. I recently 'met' Patricia when she participated in our January #InkRipples meme by sharing her book cover for the book she's here to talk about today! Let me first tell you a little about Patricia.

Patricia Josephine was an art geek in high school, and never gave writing much thought. On a whim, she wrote down a story. It snowballed from there, and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She lives in Michigan with her hubby, likes to dye her hair the colors of the rainbows, and one day hopes to have what resembles a small petting zoo. She writes young adult under the pen name Patricia Lynne.

So glad you could join us today, Patricia. Can you tell us about your newly released book, Abducted Life?

My latest novel is a New Adult Sci-Fi Romance aka Sci-Fi-Rom (I’m so making that a thing if it’s not already. =P) Savannah and Evan were adbucted by aliens and altered. When they’re returned to Earth, they both struggle to resume their lives. But danger is lurking closer to home and it’s not what’s hidden among the stars the only thing they need to fear.

I recommend my book to readers who like:
Yeah, I gotta be honest, I’m utter crap at figuring out what books mine are like. Usually Goodreads tells me. LOL!

I have the same problem! Okay, now let’s move onto the 3’s. Give us your top three responses to the following:

  • Top 3 things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.
1)Editing makes writing harder. I swear once I learned the rules, they started stressing me out because I’d worry about them while writing.
2)Which relates to number 1, learn to turn that inner editor off. Writing goes much faster when you don’t constantly stop to edit (or in my case worry if I’m not breaking a rule I don’t want to intentionally.)
3)It’s perfectly fine for someone to hate your book. Before I even hit publish, I made peace with the fact someone would hate my writing. I reminded myself that even JK Rowling has people who thinks she can’t write her way out of a paper bag. And that’s okay.

  • Top 3 leisure activities.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy knitting, making jewelry, and watching people play video games on YouTube.

  • Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.
In kintergarden I remember wanting to be a ballerina. In middle school, it changed to art and stayed that way for a long time. Also, I recall wanting to be an adult when I grew up, but now I realize that comes with a lot of work and I’d like to take that one back. ;)

Oh my gosh, I totally feel that last one! I want a giant do-over because I did it all wrong - took it waaayyyyy too seriously. Where can our readers find you on social media?

You can find me on
Twitter @plynne_writes https://twitter.com/plynne_writes

Thanks for stopping in today Patricia. Readers, her book is only a day old. Show it some love and pick up your copy today!

THANKS!



February 13, 2017

February #InkRipples - Genre To YA or not to YA

This month we are exploring the topic of genre. Last week I shared a varied list of favored go-to genres of many of my Facebook friends and fans (yeah, I hate that that term too!). Today I want to talk about Young Adult.

Wait?...What?
 It’s NOT a genre.

I know. I know. BUT…?! ß I’m with you on that.

See, young adult is a target audience. When you write young adult (as I do) you are writing for readers between the ages of 12 and 18 or those who like to read books written for that target audience. Middle grade is a target audience. Adult is a target audience.

Fiction is a genre. A genre I write, as a matter of fact.

Wait – did you just fall asleep on me? Yep, bet you did. Fiction is a stupidly big category that tells a potential reader nothing about your work. So instead I respond that I write fantasy and contemporary fiction. But you know what? I usually qualify it by saying YOUNG ADULT fantasy and contemporary fiction. As do many readers, as referenced in the extremely informal survey, which I published last week:

Young Adult Fantasy 2
Young Adult Romance1
YA Paranormal Romance1
Young Adult 4
Coming of Age 1

So in this example,
what exactly does Fiction mean
that Young Adults doesn't?
 I also find it interesting that even publishers ask for submissions in the young adult genre. Do they know it isn’t officially a genre? Absolutely. But as evidenced by the varied responses to my question, “What is your go-to genre?” readers consider young adult an entire category unto itself. They don’t necessarily care if it's an issues book or an urban fantasy as long as it is young adult. They want the young adult interpretation of drug abuse or fairies. They want the YA telling. Because YA has a different feel to it than its adult or middle grade counterparts. Read a paranormal book from those three different target audiences and you’ll find differences beyond the heat level of the relationships within. Middle grade will likely have a single story line. Maybe a sub plot or two, but nothing too complex. Young adult will likely have a faster pace than its adult counter part, which in my personal opinion is where YA shines. Relationships are equally complex, but the stakes are usually higher in YA (and mg, for that matter) The entire world or humanity is often threatened instead of just your family, position, personal world. So –to me, at least - identifying YA as a genre points more to the writing style of the book than the audience the book is targeting.

I’ve already admitted to being a genre dope, so please take my personal interpretations as just that – personal opinions, not official educational materials. Anyway, this is why I feel young adult is often considered a genre by readers and publishers. For those of you who are sticklers for the rules, please try to accept that in this the rules are blurred simply to define the writing style of the book in question.

What say you? Does it make you growl aloud whenever you see young adult listed as a genre or do you get it? Or perhaps you don’t even care? Let’s hear your personal opinions on the blurring of genre definitions.

If you missed them last week, please visit Katie Carroll's post on YA in genre and Kristine Hall's post on exploding genres. Both GREAT posts directly related to my meandering thoughts.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

February 10, 2017

GHOST TOUCH by LA Dragoni (aka - me)

I'm super excited to share the brand new cover for my new adult paranormal romance, GHOST TOUCH. I published this under the name LA Dragoni - the persona I write new adult and adult under. The book is also now available in PRINT, since my informal survey told me 1/2 of my readers either prefer or only read print. Without further ado:

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. She and Dex work together to find a way to help Cal and the thousands of spirits stuck in the void to cross over. When she learns she has the ghost touch—the ability to touch the ghosts as if they were corporeal—and she accidentally helps a little boy cross, she believes it might be possible. But not all the spirits play nice and when they learn they can sip energy from her ghost touch, they become greedy putting her life at risk.

Each time Cal has to pull her from the mass of ghosts, her touch restores him more and more until he is at danger of being stuck on earth—forever, which is very enticing to Tamara the better she knows him. Will she and Dex figure out how to help the spirits cross and if they do, will she be able to let Cal go?

This new adult paranormal romance is available in ebook, and audiobook from Amazon, and now available in print!
Also available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other e-tailers.

Excerpt:

The newest face in Tamara’s latest nightmare was about to be revealed when a loud SLAM woke her. Still anxious from the events of the night before, Tamara had slept lightly all night. She pulled the shotgun from where she’d tucked it under her bed, slipped into a pair of sneakers and headed out to the barn. The hairs on the back of her neck rose when she found Ruff cowering and whimpering in front of the doors where he’d sat menacingly the night before. She hesitated as she drew up next to him. A faint blue light seeped through the crack between the large doors. There were no windows on the front of the building, so there was no way she could know who was in there or where they were. Even though it would be embarrassing, she decided to call the police again.
As she turned toward the house, the large barn doors swung open. Her heart kicked into high gear. She leveled the shotgun, pointing it straight at the doors as they glided open on their own accord, hoping the sight of the gun would be enough to scare the intruder away.
An unnatural blue-white light spilled outward, making her squint. Blinding bright in the center, it faded to murky shadows in the corners. Tamara’s heart all but stopped when shapes developed within the bright center. A crowd of people surged forward, scattering in all directions across her yard.
There were so many. Panic filled Tamara while she tried to figure out what to do, how to defend herself against so many. Who were all these people? Why had they been in her barn? Why is that man digging?
“Hey, stop!” she yelled.
A woman in a torn red dress stumbled up the hill reminding Tamara of herself in last night’s dream. The woman’s long blond hair streamed behind her in the windless night. She continually glanced over her shoulder, a terrified expression gnarling her beautiful face, though no one pursued her.
Then a single man sauntered forward, his attention intent on Tamara. The bright light behind him made it impossible for her to make out any detail, but his manner seemed equal parts commanding and relaxed. Her heart fluttered madly, and she felt the muzzle of the rifle dip toward the ground as she considered fleeing. A flat, wide-brimmed cowboy hat sat straight on his head. Well-worn leather chaps covered his bowed legs. Strange clicking noises accompanied him across the lawn. As he drew closer his image sharpened. When Tamara saw his face, she lowered the gun barrel. “Sheesh, I am dreaming.”
She looked into the skinless face of her latest nightmare.
“Ma’am, I can assure you, this is no dream.”

Reviews:

LA Dragoni weaves several interesting and unique premises about the afterlife into this story -- and the love triangle is only two parts living! The story has eerie, vivid descriptions of the ghosts, and the emotional turmoil of all three of the main characters is very well defined. Dragoni provides an awesome villain to hate and then masterfully manages to change the reader's opinion of the villain.


There are several twists and surprises in the plot, and the ending is satisfying but absolutely leaves questions that hopefully will be answered in a subsequent novel.


-Hall Ways blog


About the author: LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. She simply considers it her job to capture the story about their love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA will be there to divine their story for you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries up and down the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Follow LA on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her mailing list and learn more about LA and her work at www.ladragoni.com

February 6, 2017

February #InkRipples - Genre

The irony of this month’s #InkRipples topic, GENRE, is that I picked it and I don’t know anything about it. Not really. To me, genre is like the math of the literary world. You can explain it to me again and again and I think I understand until I actually try to apply the knowledge and then it all gets mixed up. Because of that, I cannot promise the most educational blog posts this month, but I will endeavor to provide some enlightenment. Or perhaps simply some entertainment.

Each time I set out to compose a post, my mind ended up in a twist. Since I know other bloggers will provide far more reliable information this month than I can, I decided to find out what genres YOU read. So I posted the question on Facebook: “Okay, be honest. Go-to genre when you want to escape.” Holy cow I absolutely LOVE how diverse the responses were! If ever I worry that there isn’t enough room in the writing world for me, I’m going to revisit this post!

Anyway, here is a compilation of the responses - as accurately as I could manage - followed by the number of people who responded with the same answer.

Fiction  (1)
Historical Fiction (3)
Speculative Fiction (1)
Magical Realism (1)
Science Fiction (3)
Humorous Fiction (1)
Dystopian (2)
Fantasy (10)
Urban Fantasy (3)
Young Adult Fantasy (2)
Children’s Fantasy (1)
Paranormal (1)
Ghost Story (1)
Horror (2)
Romance (6)
LGBT Romance (1)
Romantic Suspense (1)
Regency Romance (1)
Young Adult Romance (1)
Historical Romance (3)
Paranormal Romance (2)
YA Paranormal Romance (1)
Contemporary Romance (1)
Mystery (5)
Mystery Set in Britain  (1)
Murder Mystery (4)
Thrillers (1)
Psychological Thriller (1)
Detective (2)
Suspense (1)
Domestic Noir (1)
Classic Novels (1)
Board Books (1)
Picture Books (1)
Children’s Literature (1)
Middle Grade (1)
Humorous Middle Grade (1)
Young Adult (4)
Coming of Age (1)
Literary (1)
Chick Lit (1)
Travel Writing (2)
Biographies (1)
Self Help (2)
Humorous Non Fiction (1)
Gardening Books (1)
Religious (1)
And my all time favorite genre ;)
Harry Potter (1)

I do realize that some of these are not official genre categories, but if a reader considers it a genre…who am I to argue? I will attempt to explore genre categories later this month. Until then, isn’t it absolutely great how many different categories and sub-categories are identified here? You’ll notice that fantasy had the most responders, yet others specified their go-to sub-category; urban, young adult, children’s.

Thank you to those who responded. It really opened my eyes to the enormity of storytelling potential.

What is your go-to genre when you want to escape?


#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

February 1, 2017

Nominate The Dragon's Cave on Kindle Scout

NOMINATE ON KINDLE SCOUT:   https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/354R8PJ38H5D5

Attention middle grade readers! Here is an opportunity to get directly involved in the publication of your next middle grade read. But hurry, voting ends SOON!

The Dragon’s Cave  by ROSE-MARIE LYTTLE

Only one boy can decode the dragon’s magic…

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/354R8PJ38H5D5
A DRAGON’S TREASURE. A GREEDY KING.
ONE BOY CAN RESTORE BALANCE BEFORE THE MOUNTAIN IMPLODES.

Seamus’s day couldn’t get any worse. His best friend stops speaking to him, his cross-country coach benches him, and lightning strikes him down, right in front of his middle school. But it does get worse.  When he wakes up from the lightning, he finds himself trapped in the body of a young squire in medieval Scotland. At the base of a haunting mountain, a tyrannical king leads Seamus and a group of soldiers to face off with a dragon. When a knight who seems eerily familiar is wounded, Seamus is the only one who can find the cure deep within the dragon’s lair.

As he approaches the cure, the terrifying dragon traps Seamus and has a chance to end his life. But the dragon spares him, saying that the young squire is on a quest that could change the world forever. Seamus learns he must make a dangerous pact with new allies in order to save his friends’ life and secure one last chance to get home.

If you like Eragon and How to Train your Dragon  then you’ll love Rose-Marie Lyttle’s incredible adventure for kids ages 9-14. Nominate The Dragon’s Cave on Kindle Scout today.


EXCERPT:

Seamus opened his eyes, blinking to make out the picture in front of him. Treetops. Filtered sunlight. The air smelled woodsy.
“Seamus, what are you doing, boy? Taking a nap?” a man’s voice said, his English—or was it Scottish?—accent unfamiliar.
Seamus scrambled to his feet and dusted himself off. And then froze.
What was he wearing? Tights? Leather lace-up boots? And where on earth was he? It appeared to be some sort of meadow, not…his mind grew fuzzy trying to remember where he had just come from. All he remembered was the brightest flash of light he’d ever seen.
“Seamus!” the man snapped.
His head jerked up, and he realized the older man was speaking to him. “Yeah?”
The man frowned. “You mean, yes, sir.
Bewildered, he peered around for some clue to help him understand where he was and what was happening. A flicker of panic bubbled up in his chest. Realizing the man waited for a response, he said, “Yes, sir?”
“Come. Supper is ready.” The man wore strange clothing—a cream-colored tunic with the emblem of a crimson dragon embroidered on the front, like a knight from the Medieval Dinner Theatre where his mom once dragged him. Something about the knight seemed familiar, although he had never seen his face before.
He glanced down and realized he, too, wore a tunic with a crimson dragon. Was this some crazy dream? He touched his face. Who was he? Did he appear different? Had he somehow fallen into another boy’s body? Some kid in medieval Scotland? A tickle on his neck made him bring his hand back to find shoulder-length hair. He pulled it out to see the color—a darker brown than his sandy-blond mop back home.
The knight’s eyebrows drew together. “Come on, boy, what is the matter with you tonight?” He didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and walked away while Seamus trotted to keep up. They entered a clearing where many other knights milled about, some sitting on logs and rocks eating, some standing and talking. A large tent on one side bore the same dragon emblem they wore on their tunics. A fire burned in the middle of the clearing, and a large kettle hung over it, suspended by a chain and a tripod of sticks.
The sight of a boy his age made goose bumps prick his skin. Andy. The memory of their parting scene came back in a rush—Lacey falling in the wash, Andy’s joy that he couldn’t race, the bolt of lightning… Had it struck him? Had he died and come here, to this place? It sure didn’t seem like any version of heaven he’d ever imagined. Nor did it appear to be hell or even purgatory. What was this—medieval times?
BIO
Rose-Marie Lyttle is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author under another penname. As Rose-Marie, she writes middle grade and young adult fantasy novels. She is also a contemporary dance teacher, Feldenkrais Practitioner(R), energy worker and mom to two lights who shine up her world. She splits her time between Tucson, AZ and Taos, NM.

You can connect with her on:
Blog:  https://rosielight.wordpress.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MiddleGradeMunch/


January 30, 2017

January #InkRipples - 5 Star Books & Their Covers


The last Monday in January. It's been a long month! Is it because there were 5 Mondays? Because we got tons of snow, had a gymnasium collapse and missed lots of school while they shoveled rooftops? Perhaps its the vitriolic political climate that threatens to decimate our country. Idk. But I wasn't sure the month was going to end. Ever. But speaking of ending, there's a giveaway of King of Bad on Goodreads that ends on the 31st. Hop on over after you've devoured this post. Link is in my sidebar -->

All month long #InkRipples has been exploring all things book covers. I explored the making of a book cover by sharing different incarnations of my covers during the design process and sharing my collaboration experiences. Other Ripplers have shared new covers, talked about why certain covers attract their attention, etc. It's quite fun. Search #InkRipples on Twitter and find the plethora of book cover goodness. 

Today I'm wrapping up the month by becoming a reader. Well, I'm always a reader, but for the purpose of this post, I'm a Reader Not a Writer (One of my favorite blogs, btw's). I'm examining the covers of my 2016 5 star reads to give my personal opinion on if the cover matches the awesomeness of the story within.

This is a short story cross of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty (sort of). The cover has a great fairy tale feel but the stark colors aren't my fave. I did not read the illustrated version of this book. My opinion of the cover might be different if I luxuriated in illustrations. Hmmm, I might have to check that out now that I think of it. 









I've spent a lot of time with this lovely young adult story by my critique partner, Beverly Stowe McClure. And because of that, I think it bears more weight that I also love the cover. When you spend a lot of time crafting a story, refining the characters, choosing the right words, a first look at the cover can be stressful. What if it just doesn't make the grade? But this cover caught my attention immediately. Made me suck in breath and say, "Oooo." I love purple covers. 






This talking head illustration did get my attention. Enough to read the blurb and decide to read this young adult book. Is it my favorite cover ever? No. But it did it's job. I really, really loved this book, so I'm glad this cover made me think, "Now what's that all about?"












I listened to this middle grade gem on audiobook. I tend to pick my audiobook more from title than cover - not really sure why, maybe because of the audio aspect of the book. So that means the cover didn't get my attention, but I admit that adorable expression doesn't lose my attention either. I do love that the cover sets the mood and mind set of the story. 


This wonderful middle grade orphan train novel (also by my critique partner, Beverly. Hey, what can I say? She's a great author) is well covered. The sunrise gives us a hopeful feeling, which we need throughout Leona's emotional journey. The only criticism I can offer is that Leona is a bit hard to see. Especially in thumbnail. I wish she had a bit of an outline to stand out more. But I really love the color scheme of this cover and the font of the title. 



I love everything about this entire upper middle grade series. This cover is fantastically creepy. Another great color scheme. I'm currently listening to The Creeping Shadow and love, love, love it and it's cover too. Stroud is a favorite author of mine and not because I'd be shelved next to him if Barnes and Noble would stock my middle grade books. (Grumbles in the general direction of B&N)


I can't say that either the cover or the title would have inspired me to read this young adult book. I picked it up after seeing it included on several 'favorites' posts by bloggers. The book is worthy of the favorites, even if the cover isn't. 


For the sake of saving space, let me just say this entire adult series (very adult, btw) was fantastic - all three books got 5 stars from me. Couldn't read fast enough. And I rarely read adult, so that's saying something. I guess. The covers? Yeah. Simple, simple, simple. Definitely not what drew me in (another blogger raved and I trust her opinion. She was right again.) I believe the books were published ages ago, if I remember correctly. With the trend of recovering, I'm surprised to still see these simple covers. These stories could most definitely have oiled, bare chested men on the covers. *fans self*


Oh yeah! I love this creepy middle grade cover so, so much. It has so many elements of the story (except the humor, there's a lot of that) in a simple picture. It really sets the mood, while making us ask, "What the heck is that coming through the door?" Great cover for a great story. 

I put off reading this because I didn't want the series to end. I didn't want to leave Gansey. I didn't want to leave Blue. I didn't want to leave the covers! Isn't this stunning? Stiefvater is one of my all time favorite young adult authors and she gets some of the most beautifully illustrated covers for her fine work. Well deserved.


That's the long list of my 2016 5 star reads. I had a good reading year! I don't usually love so many of the books I read. As you can see sometimes I can judge a book by it's cover and other times, I can't. If there was a sixth Monday in January (thank God there isn't!) I'd share the books with fantastic covers whose contents fall short. We've all read them. 

Do the covers of your 5 star reads stand up to the story inside? Share the titles and authors in the comments so I can check them out - and maybe add them to my tbr list. 

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

FEBRUARY #INKRIPPLES - GENRES







January 23, 2017

January #InkRipples - Book Covers, My Favorite Collaboration


January's #InkRipples topic is book covers. Throughout the month I’m exploring the making of a book cover. So far this month I’ve shared the progression of a couple covers as I worked with digital artists, I shared my experiences working with an illustrator, and the challenges of covering a series. Today I'm sharing my favorite cover collaboration to date.

The cover for Finding Thor was such a challenge in so many ways and my publisher and cover artist were SOOOO patient through the process.

Such a gorgeous cover. I want to write a book
I could use this cover for!
Finding Thor is a romantic suspense, which means there are two important aspects to the overall story that should be portrayed on the cover. 1) The reader needs to know that there is suspense and intrigue in the story. 2) They also need to know that the love story is an integral part of the story line. Though real life often twines suspense and drama throughout your love life, it isn't as easy to combine the two in an image as you might think.

The first image I received for the cover I really, really loved. The field and the lighting is beautiful, alluring even, the girl is taking control of her life. And lightning! I love lightning not the mention the color scheme of the title and my name. But unfortunately, it just didn't portray the story at all. First off, Finding Thor is set in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, and there isn't a field like that within a day's drive. Second it's just too serene. There is constant action and suspense and harrowing circumstances throughout the story. Not this peaceful moment of empowerment.

I took that photo! Elk Lake, Oregon.
I think I was in a canoe
So I sent the cover artist a picture I'd taken at one of Oregon's high lakes where I'd imagined the final scene of the book taking place. I said, "Maybe something more like this as the setting." The second mock up I received included my very own image, shot with my very own camera. Yeah, that was hard to decline. Look at how gorgeous that is! With the added beach, the pretty girl, the cover was beautiful - but again, it was too serene. I didn't want someone picking up the book thinking it was a sweet love story and then reading the torture with kitchen implements scene. Talk about misleading!

So, I was like, "IDK, maybe we can keep it simple. A heart shaped rope or something" - thinking she'd never have that kind of image. OH MY GAWD! She did. Plus she found a mountain lake in the most spectacular colors that were eye catching while also setting a more suspenseful mood. Ah!!! I love this cover. Maybe I love it so much because of all the work we all put into it, but of all my books this cover gets the most compliments. And you should see it IRL! It is so, so stunning in print.
Final cover - SO gorgeous
Get your hands on a copy of Finding Thor by visiting my website.

What drives you craziest on a misleading cover? Wrong character hair color? Unrelated setting? Misleading mood?

Be sure to visit again next week when I wrap up the book cover topic by becoming a reader and talk about my favorite book covers.

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

January 18, 2017

New Release - Fading Into the Shadows by Kelly Hashway

I'm excited to share Kelly Hashway's newest release:



When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.


Buy Links: 



Happy reading!


January 16, 2017

January #InkRipples – More Book Covers


This month I’m exploring the making of a book cover. So far this month I’ve shared the progression of a couple covers as I worked with digital artists and I shared my experiences working with an illustrator. This week I want to share the experience of covering a series.

Even though I have The Weaver Tales series, it didn’t start as a series, so I didn’t go into it knowing the covers had to relate. Plus each of book in The Weaver Tales series is a standalone. When it came time to work on a cover for King of Bad, book 1 in my Super Villain Academy series, I knew that there would be more books with the same theme. But I still didn’t understand what it meant to make the covers look like a series. Not really.

I would love to say that I approached the cover of King of Bad knowing how the over all story arc would progress over the next two books. But I mostly didn’t. Instead, I approached King of Bad with my blinders on. Looking only at the single book and it’s single cover. The only suggestion I had was that I wanted his super power abilities of fire and ice represented somehow. When I got the resulting cover I was super happy! Isn't the ice beautiful?

Final Draft

Then I wrote the second book, Polar Opposites, and started working with a different cover artist. I worried that a different artist wouldn’t be able to mesh the covers. Turns out it was almost my fault that they didn’t mesh. I gave her all the wrong information. She sent me this great mock up of a boy looking out over a desert scene, an adobe building all but camouflaged in the sand. It was a great cover, but the boy looked too young even though he faced away from the camera and the scene just didn’t say super powers at all. I wish I had a copy to show you, but I must have deleted it. I regrouped, revisited the King of Bad cover and realized that I was over thinking it. We needed Jeff’s nemesis, Set on the cover of Polar Opposites and his super powers control weather. This remains my favorite cover to date. The back cover is pretty too.

Final Draft

1st Draft
I wish I could tell you how easy the cover of Super Bad was, but again I was over thinking it. Plus I had yet another new cover artist, so she didn’t have the previous experience to tell me I was over thinking it. I talked too much and too much was happening on the first draft. That was when I realized that I needed to KISS (keep it simple, Stupid) and I told her who should be on it and what super powers play a part in the epic final scene. We went through a few more drafts trying to find the right balance of powers before she struck a great balance. The feminist in me is happy to have a girl with powers on a cover!

Final Draft
I have plans to write another trilogy with these characters, but I think I’d go in a different direction with the covers. Though still keep it simple. Granted, the publisher could put a kibosh on my ideas, or I may not have a publisher at all, or, well, we’ll see if it ever comes together.

You can pick up any of the books in this series or a three book bundle. Visit my website for links, www.kaistrand.com.

What element grabs your attention on a cover? Fire? Lightning? Rain?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

January 9, 2017

January #InkRipples – Book Covers Continued


This month #InkRipples is talking about book covers and I’m exploring the making of a book cover. Last week I shared the progression of a couple covers as I worked with digital artists. This week I want to share the experience of working with an illustrator. Oh my gosh! So cool. (It’s all cool, actually, but whatever.)

My first published novel was The Weaver, published by Guardian Angel Publishing, a publisher of books for children from 0 – 12. The majority of the books they publish are picture books, which require heavy illustrating, but my book was a middle grade novel – no illustrations required. Or so I thought. The publisher paired me with illustrator K.C. Snider for my cover art, because we live close to each other.

K.C. invited me to her house to see her studio. Then we went to lunch and talked about my book and what I might want on the cover. Keep in mind this is my first book. I’ve never collaborated over a cover before. Never thought about what a cover should look like. Never expected to have input on the cover. And finally, was pretty star struck to be having lunch with an illustrator/established fine western artist.

K.C. had just been in St. Louis visiting the publisher and when she was there the publisher mentioned that I wanted a house on the cover of my book. Turns out, my publisher used to be in real estate and sold a house in St. Louis that she thought fit with the old-timey, village-y feel in my book. So they went and took some photos of the house and K.C. shared them with me over lunch. She said there should be something child-like on the cover as well. I mentioned there was a gnome-elf character in the story and shared his physical description with her. A few weeks (maybe) later I got a mock up of the cover.


This was the full art. Some would wrap around the back of the book. The publisher still had to add the title and my name. She tried a few different treatments with the lettering before we settled on the woven look. I'll be honest, I geeked out over each step. Here's the final:


A couple years later my standalone novel became a series with the impending publication of The Wishing Well. Suddenly we needed to collaborate on another cover. When K.C. asked me if I had a house in mind I said, “As a matter of fact…” There is a house in my town that I’ve always loved because of its old timey feel. I knocked on the front door one day and asked, “Can your house be on my next book cover?” The owners were thrilled.



Finally, it came time for the third book in the series, The Lumpy Duckling, to get a cover and I didn’t have a feel for that one, but all I had to do was look around my own home. I love houses. Cottages to be specific. I have Thomas Kincade plaques, paintings of quaint farm scenes, and miniatures all around my house. So, I took pictures of my favorites and K.C. combined elements of them to make an idyllic scene. The only change I suggested was to have an ugly duckling somewhere in the scene. K.C. was happy to add a duck family with their ugly duckling offspring (You have to get the print copy to see this little addition.)



For me personally, there are two really great aspects to working with an illustrator. 1) K.C. is a wonderful person and I respect the heck out of her talent. We’ve done many, many school visits and book signings together. I’m so happy to know her. 2) I own the original art to the first two covers. (Cripes! I really need to get the art to Lumpy!) It is really cool to have that hanging on my wall. I can’t even tell you how cool that is.

The Weaver Tales books are available in ebook and in print. You can find links to all major retailers on my website, www.kaistrand.com.

Do you have favorite illustrated cover art?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.