Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sorceress and the Squid BLOG TOUR WRAP-UP + GIVEAWAY WINNER





THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID 


 In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?










  Wow, can't believe it's the end of the week already! This release has flown by and it's been so much fun interacting with people from all over the blogosphere. The response to The Sorceress and the Squid has been incredible and so encouraging! I was honestly a little nervous about all of this whole process - and even a little embarrassed - but it's been so great (because of people like YOU) and I can't wait to do it again.

  If you're interested in checking out all the blog posts from this week (and I encourage you to do so cause they're great), here are the links to all of them below:








  I had a great time with all these guys, they left great reviews, came up with great questions and were overall just lovely people helping to shed some light on my week-old novel! Go over and check them all out because they're awesome.

  At this point, I've gotta say if you haven't decided to pick up my book yet YOU TOTALLY NEED TO. Listen to all these guys tell you so and just DO IT. xD The links to purchase are below, along with the Goodreads link just one more time cause I'm super excited okay


  Now, before I finally finish spamming you and let you get on with your life, I have one last announcement to make. Those who joined my Launch Team or took part in the Blog Tour were entered in a draw for a signed paperback copy of The Sorceress and the Squid, along with a copy of The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis (fantastic book, fantastic author). I did the draw today and have come up with a fabulous winner to share with you all and shout CONGRATULATIONS from the hilltops, ready?

The Fabulous Prize!!


  Drum-roll please....

  The Giveaway winner is....

LISA LONG!!! 

  Lisa was an incredible member of both Launch Team and Blog Tour. She got a digital ARC to read and left me one of the coolest reviews ever and just got me super excited about the whole thing even more than I was already. She was fantastic and I'm so happy to be able to give these books to her as a big "thank-you!"

  But, I do want to take the time now to also thank everyone else, team members or not, for their enthusiasm, interest, and encouragement. Honestly, this was such a smooth and easy process for the most part, and SO SO FUN! You guys are all incredible. Thank you for making my first publishing experience an absolute blast!

  At the end of the month I'll be doing my usual monthly wrap-up with a few announcements for what you can expect over here on the blog in the coming months, be sure to check that out later this week!

  Now I guess I'll just leave you with a commission: GO READ THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID (and let me know what you think)!! XD

  Happy Summer, everyone and thanks again!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Sorceress and the Squid RELEASE DAY + BLOG TOUR KICKOFF

TODAY IS *THE* DAY, GUYS.

This is it.

My debut novel is debuting into the wide world. Today.

I am so excited I will probably be squealing on and off throughout the day. And throughout the week as we head on this incredibly cool blog tour for my very own book! Ahhh...I'm so, so thrilled guys.

*flails totally unprofessionally*

Let's get this thing started, shall we? First, let's take a look at the book in question.

THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID, BLOG TOUR KICKOFF



  In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?


  This is my debut novel and I am super excited to get it out into the world. It's beyond thrilling to know that it can be in YOUR hands today, that's so awesome! If you are interested in purchasing my first book, please check out the following links.


  If you perhaps still need some convincing or are wanting to know more about the book before you buy it, do not fret! I am running a blog tour for the next seven days across several different blog pages where I will be reviewed, interviewed, and spotlighted. There may even be an interview with a main character in there somewhere. ;) If you would like to follow along, below is the list of participating blogs for you to check out over the next few days. Please do, all these guys are great and have really helped me out by doing this! While you are at their blogs, have a look at the rest of their site and start a conversation with them, they are truly wonderful people.

  The first stop (aside from here of course) is over at my gorgeous and amazing friend Abi's Wonderful Blog. She was one of the first to read this book and she's leaving me a review over there, so go check it out! Be sure to hang around after you've read as well, as she's got some fantastic books of her own that you should also definitely read. *coughcoughshamelessAndora'sFollyplugcough*


June 18th - RELEASE DAY, Kickoff Post by Emily Mundell // Review/Spotlight by Abigayle Ellison
June 19th - Spotlight by Hanne T
June 20th - Spotlight/Review/Character Interview by Jem Jones
June 21st - Spotlight by Liv Fisher
June 22nd - Interview by Anna
June 23rd - Interview by Lisa
June 24th - Interview by Karyssa Norton // Spotlight/Interview by Marrok MacIntyre
June 25th - Wrap-Up Post by Emily Mundell 


  If you would like the chance to win a free, first edition signed copy of The Sorceress and the Squid, you can enter my Goodreads Giveaway right here. I mean, who doesn't like winning free signed copies? ;)

  Well, I think I've covered everything more or less. I'll be vigorously promoting the book throughout the week as well as sharing the links from the blog tour stops. Be sure to keep checking back for more throughout this exciting week of the release! Also feel free to follow me on Facebook, and Twitter to keep up with it all. 

  Thanks for stopping by, see you at the end of the week! :DD

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The 5 Stages of Self-Publishing

  Since the release date of my debut novel is fast approaching (1 week away!!!) I thought I would sit down and try to collect some of my thoughts regarding the self-publishing process - for your enjoyment. Because I am kind and generous like that.

STAGE #1 - A WHOLE NEW WORLD




  You've finished all your drafts. You've got you manuscript back from the editor and are quickly revising in order to send it for formatting. You're thinking of a release date, your blog tour, your cute instagram posts where you'll hold your very own paperback in your very own hands. Not to mention, the thrill of releasing this masterpiece into the world for everyone to fawn over! The prospect of being a really and truly published author fills your little writer heart with unspeakable joy and happiness.

  But then...

STAGE #2 - THE SUDDEN WEIGHT OF WHAT YOU'VE TAKEN ON



  Comes out and hits you square in the face. And you're down for the count emotionally (maybe also physically if you're weak and pathetic like me). What have you done? You've created a monster that you don't know the first thing about controlling??? There's no one to help you, you're totally alone on an ocean of self-doubt and terror and social media marketing. *cue internal screaming*

STAGE #3 - INTERNAL SCREAMING INTENSIFIES



  Because wait a minute...how does Amazon work? How does Goodreads work? How will you get enough people to sign up for this blog tour? HOW much money did I pay for formatting??? All of this may or may not drive you over the edge of despair, depending on the solidity of your heart and soul. At this point you will be tempted to give up, throw in the towel, telling yourself "I'm just not ready for this, I'll try again when I figure it out more."

  *chuckles* Oh, but you've forgotten something very important, my dear.

  Care to guess?

  ACCOUNTABILITY. *shudders* You put out a release date for this thing and everyone's expecting something grand.

STAGE #4 - HORROR 


This stage may last for a long time or a little while, depending on how easily you are paralyzed by fear and how much you hate public attention basically how much you are like me. When you realize you're holding this ENTIRE thing on your shoulders and people might NOT EVEN LIKE it after you've poured your heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears and terror into it, well, HOW DARE THEY? And HOW DARE YOU EVER ASSUME THEY WOULD. Look at the mess you've made for yourself? All for a bunch of ingrates who won't even appreciate it - they might even hate it. What will happen to your self-esteem then!!?


STAGE #5 - I THINK I'M GONNA BE OKAY




  And then, you finally figure something out. You've got your Amazon page set-up. You get your cover back from the illustrator. People start sharing your book's release around and talking about it. Things start MOVING and the excitement builds and you go...wow.

  And EVEN BETTER than all of that, the day comes when you're holding your very own book in your very own hands and it's the most magical thing you've ever felt or experienced. It's totally surreal, you can't believe it's actually happening to you. From then on out you know, it's all gonna be okay.


(here is my experience with that feeling from this past Monday)



  There you have it, my 5 *personal* Stages of Self-Publishing. Can my fellow indie authors relate to any of this? Or am I the only one who had multiple breakdowns about the process? :P Commiserate with me!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Books You Should Be Reading (for me) This Summer

  Since my summer will be filled with summer camp, parties, planning and weddings, I decided that I should impress upon my dear readers a list of all the books I wish I could be reading this summer and make them do it for me instead. Savvy? Great! Let's get into it.



CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth



Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

I have heard...mixed things about this book? Ms. Roth (who used to run a wonderful blogger blog but now is too famous for that *sighs*) is a favorite of mine (mostly for said blog). Her first book was Divergent and then the following sequels. It seems you either like or hate Divergent, I am not the hugest fan, but I did enjoy the story and I was looking forward to Veronica's sci-fi venture. I bought it like, two months ago but haven't gotten around to actually reading it yet. I keep starting the first couple pages and then putting it down and not touching it for forever. I want to read it though, it sounds super interesting to me? Has anyone else read it yet? What are your thoughts?


THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer A. Nielsen 



War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne? 

This is the final book of a juvenile fantasy trilogy that I read awhile back. It's a very good series, very funny and interesting, and I have the last book up on my shelf and STILL haven't read it. What is wrong with me?? Ugh.


NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman

Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Since getting into Neil Gaiman's books last year, I have had a craving, and since I purchased Neverwhere a couple months back as well and STILL haven't read it, this one is on my list too. Neil Gaiman is so great at the speculative genre, and just at writing in general. I have an increasing desire to read his books.


THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by Victor Hugo

This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo's brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.

I love the Disney movie version of this story, so it stands to reason that I would love the original with its darker and more tragic end. Cause I like that stuff. Cause I'm a writer. Also, I need a good solid classic on this list, and I've been wanting to read this all year and I might as well be sad that I have to put it off ALL SUMMER. Sigh.

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeline L'Engle


It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

My mom bought me this book literally years ago and I still have not picked it up, even though I'm absolutely sure I will love it. Why have I not? Good question, very good question. I do not have an answer. Hence why it's here, on my Not-Summer TBR. Surely some of you have read this? Am I in desperate need to get this book in my hands? TELL MEEEE

  *ahem*

Anywayyyy, I'm sure you can sense my lack-of-reading-time frustration through this blog post. Please pity me and if you can, read one of these titles and tell me about it. Perhaps invent a way to read books through osmosis? That would be really helpful.

What's on your Summer TBR? Or are you like me and unable to have one? *pouts* Have you read any of these titles? Did you like it? Let me know below!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Girl Who Could See BLOG TOUR


  
  Hello everyone! Today I'm here to introduce Kara Swanson's debut novella - The Girl Who Could See. As part of the book's Launch Team, I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy and am now able to pronounce a review of the story for you all, along with taking part in the blog tour and sharing the book on its way into the world. So exciting!! Let's get started! :D

  First, a bit about the book (and that gorgeous cover image <3)...



All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that's what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern's childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

  Sounds epic, right?? It is, it is. 

  Now, for a little about the author...


As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seven- teen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

  Now that introductions are out of the way, allow me to get to my review.


  I signed up for Kara's Launch Team after seeing a post about it on Facebook. First off, I am not being influenced by Kara in this review, these are my own words and thoughts. I was given a copy in order to bring an advanced review, which is what I shall now do.

  Initially, it was the book's cover that caught my attention. I know, I know, never judge a book by it's cover - but it was so beautiful!!! *ahem* In any case, I clicked on the Launch Team link and read up on the story and the premise absolutely caught my attention. A girl who could see things no one else could, written off as crazy with an imaginary friend she can't shake? Sounds pretty interesting to me.

  So I got my copy and dove in and soaked up the world. Kara set a great pace and introduced us to a very intriguing main character. I like how we were given a sense of her struggle with the very realistic "visions" she was having that everyone else had convinced her to believe was her mind playing tricks. Fern Johnson was likable for me from the start because of the difference that set her apart and how she was warring with herself over it. Tristan, her imaginary warrior friend from another dimension, was probably my favorite character though. I must say, his and Fern's relationship was super adorable. *He calls her "Plant-Girl" and it's the sweetest thing ever* *dies*

  The action really picked up fast, with a disease from Tristan's world poised to seep into Fern's own. The beginning struggle was her accepting belief in him, which I really enjoyed. I liked her hesitance, her desire to cling to what she had been told was real, yet the deeper knowledge that she wasn't crazy, that she was more right than they knew.

  I can't go into much more detail without giving away spoilers (which I don't want to do - you need to go read the book for yourself of course), so I'll wrap up with my one complaint: I wish there was more material to fill it to novel-length.

  While Kara paces her story very well, revealing crucial plot points and twists in a timely manner, I definitely feel that the story needed more space, more space to grow and expand the world. Granted, Kara did a wonderful job making me fall in love with her characters in such a short span of time - which is very impressive.

  Now all I need to do is come up with a ship name for Fern and Tristan...Tern? Ferstan? Hmm...

  Macintosh HD:Users:KaraSwanson:Documents:WRITING:THE GIRL WHO COULD SEE:MEMES/GRAPHICS:exceptional quote--Tabitha.jpg

  Now, the amazing Kara has planned a really cool scavenger hunt blog tour for you all. And I am the second stop for said blog tour, the first being over here. 

  Here is a clue for your collection from the week! :DD


  Keep on hunting onto the next blog! Here is a handy-dandy list of blog tour stops for you to preview on your quest to collect all the clues...



  And, finally, here are ALLLLL the links. Pay special attention to the "buy link", it's the best one, trust me. ;)

BUY LINK

GOODREADS LINK

KARA’S SOCIAL MEDIA:
Find Kara online at karaswanson.com
Facebook: Kara Swanson, Author
Twitter: @kara_author
Instagram: @karaswanson_author

  That about wraps things up for me. Thank you so much for swinging by this stop on the blog tour - Kara is an amazingly talented young writer and she deserves your full support! Get behind her and her book, it is well, well worth it.

  Congratulations on your release, Kara! Onto the next stop...