Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday



It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I've been reading City of Stairs, a high fantasy novel with some truly amazing worldbuilding.

And I also read Sanctum by Sarah Fine. Wow. I can't remember the last time a book emotionally grabbed me this quickly! I don't write reviews any more because I don't have the time (the ones I post on the blog are pre-written), but this is a definite five-star read. I loved all the characters, loved the creepy atmosphere... and I bought the rest of the series immediately. It's that good!

What I'm writing

Shiny Book 3... and the rest of the series, seeing as my brain still seems to want to work on all the books at once. :P

And I officially won NaNoWriMo! Yay! ^_^ (The funny thing is, this is the first time I've won, despite pulling some crazy wordcounts in other months!) I'm now over 2/3 of the way through the draft. Once I finally pieced the fragmented chapters together, the words started flowing again!


What works for me

Reminding myself (again) that I spend the middle section of every single draft flailing about like I'm knee-deep in glue. As a "plotser", I wish I could outline every single scene, but sometimes I just have to write and see where it ends up (though I do work from an overarching outline for each book). And that means dead ends, redundant minor characters and dialogue, repetition, and in the most extreme cases, having to stop the draft and go back to fix something that's bugging me. *sigh* I've had to do this three times already!

The infuriating thing is that I know the answers are there, but it's like my subconscious won't let me see them until I actually start typing/writing (I often make lists in a notebook until it sorts itself out). If I'm inspired, it isn't a problem, because my brain will keep throwing the answers at me until I can't type fast enough (I've destroyed two keyboards this year with my mad typing! :P). This is what happened with the first book in this series - in fact, I wrote the last half of the book in only nine days, and a lot of it didn't go with my original plan at all! But I did have enough written down to keep it from going completely off the rails. Whereas with this book... I have some, but not enough yet. *shakes brain to see if answers fall out*


What else I've been up to



I had some new author photos taken by a professional photographer! 
And, surprisingly, they weren't all terrible. Haha. (I'm known for being the person whose eyes are closed in every single photo. :P)


 *Mysterious author face* (Actually thinking: "I could be writing right now" :P)

...I don't generally do photos. *hides*


And I've been setting everything up for the release of Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) next Monday! The (gorgeous) cover was finally revealed on Friday. Guys, you've no idea of the level of self-control I had to exercise to keep it secret until now - and I've been sitting on the cover for Book 3 since JUNE! o.O Then again, publishing is 90% keeping secrets. :P

Yep. I have another announcement coming next month. Yes, it's publishing-related. No, it's not an agent or a book deal - and I'm totally okay with that. Yes, it's to do with Shiny New Series (and its actual title) and the Secret Plans I've been hinting at over the past few months. (I do shamelessly drop hints. I'm sorry. I'm a writer, I can't help it. ;) *evil laugh*)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Get 50% off my editing/proofreading services until January!

As it's a month until Christmas, I've decided to discount my editing and proofreading services by 50% until January 2015! That means it's only $50 for a full manuscript report. I'm also discounting my proofreading, copy-editing and substantive editing services by 50%, which means a full proofread for a 70,000-word manuscript will cost only $140! And I offer a free 5-page sample edit, if you're unsure which level of editing you need.

So, the following prices apply from now until January:

Proofreading (spelling and grammar) = $0.002 per word

Copy-editing (spelling, grammar, word repetitions, phrasing, clarity, sentence structure, stylistic errors etc.) = $0.005 per word

Substantive editing (all of the above, plus comments on plot structure, characterization, pacing, description, dialogue, voice, POV) = $0.0075 per word

Manuscript appraisal (a general evaluative report of around 1000-2000 words) = $50 flat fee

Check out my editorial services page for more details!


Monday, 24 November 2014

Fall Into Fantasy: Week 14


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 14: The Bound Trilogy
Book One: Bound
By Kate Sparkes


Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.

Rowan Greenwood has everything she's supposed to want from life—a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there's more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she's been forced to suppress since childhood.

When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, that simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

Rowan might get everything she ever dreamed of—that is, if the one thing she's always wanted doesn't kill her first.

Buy it from: Amazon  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  iBooks
Or add it to Goodreads

ABOUT KATE SPARKES
Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality than most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Depression has almost consumed her more times than she likes to admit, but writing Fantasy (be it epic or urban, fairy tales or superhero cat stories) keeps her afloat… most of the time. She released her debut novel Bound (Ya Fantasy) in June 2014. The second book in the trilogy is due out in the winter.

Find Kate online: Blog  Sparrowcat Press  Facebook  Twitter


Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
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Friday, 21 November 2014

Cover Reveal - Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2)!


It's finally time to reveal the cover for Walking Shadow, Book Two in the Darkworld series, set for release on the 1st December 2014!



*Squee* I think this might be my favourite yet! ^_^





And here's the blurb:

When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe. 

Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer unaware of their origins.

The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed.

Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…


Add on Goodreads!




And here's more information on the first in the series, Darkness Watching (Darkworld #1)

Amazon   Amazon UK   Barnes and Noble 
 

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone  - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
 

Add on Goodreads
Read Chapter One.


Reviews

“In the vein of Buffy and Supernatural, DARKNESS WATCHING found that perfect balance between the freaky and the fun.” - YA author Jen Estes

"Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up?...It's full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked." - Rose at Desert Rose Reviews

"A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series." Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” - Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter

"This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons...I loved it!" - Kathy at Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters




Fear's Touch: A Darkworld Novella is also available now!

Amazon

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).



Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.


Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

Goodreads



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, a YA urban fantasy with a unique take on magic. Then I read The Retribution of Mara Dyer. The first two books in the series frustrated me a little because of the lack of answers, but the suspense is absolutely fantastic and I really wanted to find out how it ended. And I enjoyed the conclusion!

I also read Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews. I'm insanely picky when it comes to urban fantasy, but I really like this series!

What I'm writing

Shiny Book 3! I will share the actual titles soon, I promise - I have an announcement planned for after my next book release, so keep watching the blog!

What works for me

It's no secret that I'm a fan of fast-drafting, but I also like to draft series books back-to-back. I drafted Darkworld books 3, 4 and 5 between March and September last year, and then revised them back-to-back, too. I have a terrible memory and I write complicated books, so I was able to minimise inconsistencies that way! And yes, I'm doing the same thing for this series -  I have "working outlines" for each book (which change and adapt as I write and the characters stubbornly resist my plans :P), but the main story events are already set. And yes, I know the ending (!!!). I also like to foreshadow things, so throwaway details in the first books become important later on (though I'll never be as awesome a foreshadower as J. K. Rowling! *writer envy alert*).


Supernatural-Paranormal
The problem is, my brain keeps wanting to work on ALL THE BOOKS at once. :P

What else I've been up to


I went to watch Interstellar with my boyfriend, and I really enjoyed it! Other than that, preparing for the release of Fear's Touch: A Darkworld Novella, which hit the virtual shelves on Monday! (It's now available on Amazon!) And I've also been preparing for the release of Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) on the 1st December!

And Darkness Watching won the BBF Reader's Choice Award for paranormal fiction, which was a lovely surprise! YAY READERS! ^_^ 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Fall Into Fantasy: The Darkworld Series (And release day!)


It's finally here! :D I had a lot of fun writing Fear's Touch: A Darkworld Novella, so I hope you enjoy Claudia's story!

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).


Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.


Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

Now available on Amazon!

Add on Goodreads



And here's more information on the first in the series, Darkness Watching (Darkworld #1)

Amazon   Amazon UK   Barnes and Noble
 

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone  - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
 

Add on Goodreads
Read Chapter One.


Reviews

“In the vein of Buffy and Supernatural, DARKNESS WATCHING found that perfect balance between the freaky and the fun.” - YA author Jen Estes

"Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up?...It's full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked." - Rose at Desert Rose Reviews

"A suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series." Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author

“The story is extremely well-written with effortless, flowing prose, and the original magic-user mythology and Darkworld creatures are very entertaining. The author took what might have been over-done premise and twisted it into something very fresh and exciting.” - Lexa Cain, author of Soul Cutter

"This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons...I loved it!" - Kathy at Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters



And I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a Darkworld swag pack to one lucky winner! :D

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Don't forget there's still time to sign up to the Walking Shadow cover reveal and blog tour here! :)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Blogger Book Fair Day 5: K. Ferin

Magicless

Fantasy | Young Adult



Magicless is a young adult epic fantasy novel.

Deep in the Oakwood, a boy is born without magic.  

In a land where powers flow through one’s veins as naturally as water down a mountain stream, Micah is an aberration detested by everyone—everyone except Alekka, a gifted but solitary mage who understands the price of isolation. Her sensitivity to the thoughts of others drives her to seek solace in the forests surrounding Aclay, a small village that has been living under a malevolent shadow for hundreds of years.

As fear and loss ravage the countryside, the two outcasts form an unlikely bond forged in loneliness and surrounded by the flickering silhouettes of destiny. When their home is destroyed, the outcasts must join a volatile group of their peers on a journey that threatens to strip them of everything they cherish, imperil everything they’ve ever known, even force them to question the nature of reality itself. Can they find the key to stemming the tide of darkness without losing themselves along the way?

Buy Links:

Magicless Excerpt


Deep in the Oakwood, a boy is born without magic.

In a land where powers flow through one’s veins as naturally as water down a mountain stream, Micah is an aberration detested by everyone—everyone except Alekka, a gifted but solitary mage who understands the price of isolation. Her sensitivity to the thoughts of others drives her to seek solace in the forests surrounding Aclay, a small village that has been living under a malevolent shadow for hundreds of years.

As fear and loss ravage the countryside, the two outcasts form an unlikely bond forged in loneliness and surrounded by the flickering silhouettes of destiny. When their home is destroyed, the outcasts must join a volatile group of their peers on a journey that threatens to strip them of everything they cherish, imperil everything they’ve ever known, even force them to question the nature of reality itself. Can they find the key to stemming the tide of darkness without losing themselves along the way?

Interesting Information about Magicless


An item of interest might be that the inspiration behind what this book turned out to be was my nephew and an issue he was having with bullying by some neighborhood kids. He was five at the time, had just moved into the neighborhood, and there was a group of kids who ruled the hood with an intolerant and cruel fist. It was mostly verbal taunting but there were a few scraps. And the truly bothersome thing, to me, was their parents were the same as their kids.

So I wanted to write something about the value of diversity, the importance of difference, and how everyone brings value to the quest. Thus was Magicless born.



Author Bio:


During the daylight hours I live in a world filled with high technology - satellites, windowless buildings filled with humming machinery and robust HVAC systems, and networks spanning half the globe.

When the working-day ends the world around me shifts from one filled with engineers and machines to one filled with magic, myth and adventure. My heart lives here, along with my writing. I write fantasy of all kinds, some epic, some urban, and some dark, some young adult and some for mature readers.

You can find my young adult novel Magicless at all major online retailers. My next book, Desiderium, Monsters the First will be out in October 2014.

Connect:

Interview


When did you start writing?
I've been writing stories since I first learned how to write. My mother always expected I'd grow into a writer one day. Stories, fantasy stories, are like breath to me. I must read them and write them or suffocate under the weight of the mundane.

What inspires your writing?
Literally everything. I might overhear a conversation in a coffee shop that sticks in my mind, something might grab me from a news article, random images can form story nuggets that linger. For me I think the key is curiosity - seeing or reading something and asking *why*, and then adding magic into the mix.

What is the best part about being a writer?
The easy answer to this is that I get to work in my PJs on my patio with my dogs everyday. The real answer is far more complex. Books subtly change us in a myriad of tiny ways. Particularly with speculative fiction, they allow us to see *possibility*, to see the world differently that what we've done before. Being involved in creating such objects of power is the coolest possible thing.


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