ARC Giveaway – The Murder Prophet

MP-cover-FINAL-webIt starts today! Between today and next Friday (August 22nd), you can enter to win one of the ARCs of The Murder Prophet I have to give away. There will be multiple winners, and one of them could be you!

I’m using Rafflecopter to run the giveaway, and the widget below details the various ways you can enter (and get multiple entries).

Here’s the book’s description:

Kit Stablefield is a detective with a secret and a crush on a guy she knows only online, in a future where magic is a part of everyday life. But when millionaire Aleshu Coro walks into the offices of Darcko and Sadatake with a message from the Murder Prophet and fourteen days to live, everything changes.

Suddenly Kit is questioning the decisions of her past, trying to find out if the man she loves is, in fact, a man, and hunting for a murderer and a mysterious seer. With her eighty-six-year-old grandmother insisting on helping out, and a sentient goose who simply won’t stop pestering her to watch his “killer” video game moves, Kit has more than her hands full as she races against the clock to prevent Coro’s murder…and possibly her own.

So, y’know, if weird magic and virtual worlds and magically-sentient animals are not your thing, you probably won’t like this book. However, if that all sounds awesome, enter below!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note that you can tweet about it once a day to accumulate more entries! Good Luck!

*If you are a book blogger or reviewer and would like a copy without having to enter the contest, please send me a message and I’ll get one to you pronto! :)

The Murder Prophet Blurb

MP cover tease 1

I promised some more details about The Murder Prophet, so here’s what the book is about and a few other tidbits:

Kit Stablefield is a detective with a secret and a crush on a guy she knows only online, in a future where magic is a part of everyday life. But when millionaire Aleshu Coro walks into the offices of Darcko and Sadatake with a message from the Murder Prophet and fourteen days to live, everything changes.

Suddenly Kit is questioning the decisions of her past, trying to find out if the man she loves is, in fact, a man, and hunting for a murderer and a mysterious seer. With her eighty-six-year-old grandmother insisting on helping out, and a sentient goose who simply won’t stop pestering her to watch his “killer” video game moves, Kit has more than her hands full as she races against the clock to prevent Coro’s murder…and possibly her own.

The Murder Prophet is a little hard to categorize. I’m calling it urban fantasy because of the existence of magic, but it doesn’t have vampires, werewolves, fairies or any of the other paranormal elements that seem de rigeur in urban fantasy lately. Also, it’s a mystery, and takes place at least in part in the virtual world of the Netz. See my problem?

But urban fantasy/mystery covers it better than anything else, so that’s what we’ll go with, okay?

Watch for the cover and contest on Friday!

 

The Murder Prophet Cover Tease

I know, it’s evil to tease you with just a bit of the cover, right?

MP cover tease 1But I’m getting pretty excited about this project. I shared this glimpse of the cover a while back, but here it is again. Don’t forget to watch this space on Friday for the whole thing, and a contest to win some advance reading copies! Later in the week I’ll give you more details about the novel itself.

I will say this: if you enjoyed [intlink id=”2094″ type=”page”]One’s Aspect to the Sun[/intlink] but wished it had less space travel, nanotechnology, and wormholes; and more urban magic, mystery, sentient animals, danger, and romance, you’ll love The Murder Prophet. ;)

Ebook Sale Today!

OATTS cover-smYes, the ebook of ONE’S ASPECT TO THE SUN is on sale today for only .99! If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, this is a great time to do so.

http://tinyurl.com/kowo3j8

About the novel | Goodreads reviews | Amazon reviews

As this sale happens, I’m installed at my desk, hard at work on the sequel, Dark Beneath the Moon. Although One’s Aspect is a stand-alone novel, I’ve had many questions about and requests for a sequel, and who could say “no” to that? There’s certainly enough going on in Nearspace to keep the characters busy! Of course I can’t give much away at this point, but the shadows of the past loom even larger in this book than they did in the first, leaving Luta and her crew with new aliens, corporate intrigue, and more than a few mysteries to puzzle through.

But in the meantime, you should be reading the first book, so you’ll be all set when the next one arrives. It pays to plan ahead, right? :)

A Contest for World Book & Copyright Day

wbd-web-467x300-enApril 23rd each year marks UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright day. As it’s described on their website, “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance…our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.” So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d run a little contest here on the blog.

What you can win: One ebook copy each of One’s Aspect to the Sun and To Unimagined Shores.

How to enter: There are several ways to enter the contest, and you can have multiple entries in my Lucky Basket. Here it is:

luckybasket

Doesn’t it look lucky?

Here’s how to get your entries added:

> Leave a comment below. Just say hi! = 1 entry

> Leave a comment below; say hi and tell me your favorite speculative fiction book or author = 2 entries

> Tweet or retweet about the contest = 1 entry. I’ll even write the tweet for you. Just copy and paste:

Enter @sdramsey ‘s #BookDay contest  by April 23rd for a chance to win free SF/F ebooks (http://tinyurl.com/qgp9hfm) #books #reading #scifi

> Share the contest in any other way; post it to your blog, mention it on Facebook, +1 it on Google, write it on your forearm with magic marker. The comments and tweets I’ll see, but you’ll have to email or message me to tell me about anything else you do. Each share = 1 entry

Rules: You may enter from anywhere in the world. Entries will be hand-written by me on actual pieces of paper and dropped in the Lucky Basket. One winner will be drawn from the entries received by midnight AST on April 23, 2014. Ebooks will be available in the following formats: .epub, .mobi (for Kindle), and .pdf. Winner will have to provide me with a working email address for delivery of their ebooks. Winner agrees to let me post their name or screen/online name so everyone knows that someone actually did win. The decision of the contest administrator (me) is final. I will do my best to record all eligible entries, but will not be responsible for missed, missing, or misplaced entries.

Ready to enter? Go!
 

OATTS cover-sm TUS-front-cover-sm

The Writer’s Ladder of Success

ladder

Look up…look waaaaaay up….

A long time ago, in 2001, when ebooks were barely a “thing” yet and the only format for them was .pdf (ancient history, I know), I self-published an ebook for writers. It was called The New Writer’s Guide to Just About Everything and yes, it’s still around, although it’s sorely in need of an update and a new edition. Another thing on my too-long to-do list. But I digress.

Today I am thinking about a piece in that ebook, titled “The Writer’s Ladder of Success.” In it, I talked about how some new writers think their first sale is the top rung of that ladder, but in reality, that’s only a few steps up. Writing, I said, is the first rung. Finishing is the second. Submitting is the third. You may be stuck on that rung of the ladder for a while before you can climb up to the next one, which is making a sale. That analogy still holds true, I think.

Then, I said, you climb back down and start climbing all over again, writing, finishing, submitting. I think now, with the wisdom and experience of my years of writing (stop laughing!) I’d look at it differently. I think instead of climbing back down, I’d say we can look at it one of two ways: either we go sideways onto another ladder and start climbing from there, or the ladder we started on just keeps going, stretching up into the distance ahead of us. Either way, we’re not starting from scratch; we’re building on what we’ve already accomplished in order to climb to greater heights. Some might find that long, long ladder too daunting to look up at, and like the idea of shorter ones that lead to another, so either way works.

And either view is far more encouraging than feeling like you’re starting every piece from scratch. Of course that’s true in a way, since each writing project is new and comes with its own unique challenges. But we always have the comfortable cushion of our past accomplishments to buoy us up as we tackle the new.

There’s a saying that a writer is only as good as his or her last book. It’s true that we’re often judged that way–and we have to keep our fans happy or we’ll lose them. That’s a lot of pressure, though. I think we’re much more likely to succeed if we continue to feel good about our past successes–and not lose sight of that part of the ladder we’ve already climbed, stretching away below us. One bad song doesn’t make a failed musician; one strikeout doesn’t make a failed baseball player. Why do we hold ourselves as writers to a stricter standard? Why do critics and readers? I’m not really sure.

I closed out that section of the ebook by saying, “…you were a writer from the time you reached that first rung. Don’t let anyone tell you the ladder is not yours to climb.” I think that’s still good advice. I don’t think I’ll change that, should I ever get around to producing a second edition of The New Writer’s Guide.

Keep writing. Keep climbing. Build on what came before. Good advice, and advice I have to keep reminding myself of as I tackle a new project and a new deadline. Because frankly, I like the view from up here.

Photo credit: mensatic

Interview with Kayelle Press ~ “Tomorrow” Anthology

TomorrowI’m very pleased today to be hosting an interview with Karen Henderson of Kayelle Press, to talk about the new anthology, Tomorrow. This post is part of the virtual book tour for this newest publication from Kayelle Press. Karen and I have been Internet friends and colleagues in writing for many years, despite being separated by about half the Earth! So while I couldn’t actually sit down with her for this interview, I think you’ll find our conversation interesting. And be sure to read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of the Tomorrow ebook!

Sherry: What sparked the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology?

Karen: I’ve had a fascination for ‘the end times’ for many years. Couple this with a need to escape reality and I found myself reading books that took me to other worlds. But it was always the books that started in our world and then changed to something else that thrilled me the most. If the theme was realistic, there was more chance that it could actually happen.  And because I was desperate for something to change, I was easily swept away.

When that desperation disappeared and the need for change ceased, my view changed entirely but I found I still enjoyed the books. However, I was no longer looking for something and I realised that the worlds I believed would save me, would in fact be extremely difficult to live in.

As an avid gamer, my favourite PS3 game is “Resident Evil” (I have the entire set), I developed an obsession for killing zombies in post-apocalyptic worlds. This carried over to my reading and those imaginary worlds I used to get lost in became zombie infested instead.

The romantic notions I held dear were replaced with dark, foreboding civilisations where all we take for granted is gone—no electricity, no running water, no communication providers (phone or internet), no shopping centres; everything that makes life easy, gone. The thought is actually disturbing. Throw in reasons for the changes—human error or neglect, pandemics, natural disaster—and we could very easily find ourselves in a harsh new existence. That sparked my imagination and the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology was born.

Sherry: What were you looking for, in particular, in the stories for the book?

Karen: When I put the call out for submissions I didn’t have a definite list of ‘must haves’. The one thing I wanted was a variety of ‘predictions’—zombies, biohazard, space travel. Action and entertainment is always high on my list. Connecting with the characters is always good too. Other than that I let the author and the story do their thing. I’ve always loved surprises!

Often, the stories I enjoy the most are the ones that reach out and grab me. It can be something I can relate to or something that speaks directly to a memory or a feeling or a thought in my mind. It’s wonderful when it happens. It allows me to become totally engrossed in the characters and the plot.  Strangely, the author may never know that a simple sentence they have written changed the entire reading experience for me. Of course, it can easily work in reverse too.

Sherry: Was there anything that surprised you in the submissions you received?

Karen: I guess the biggest surprise was to discover that I’m not alone in my obsession. Over 200 submissions proved that there are a lot of people out there who think like me. That shouldn’t surprise me really, but it did.

It was interesting to read other people’s predictions. The manuscripts proved how vast an imagination can be. When I think about how much thought had gone into developing some of the storylines I read, I was amazed. The authors had me convinced that what they had written could come true.

Sherry: One of the questions you’ve asked in talking about the book is “How do you think you would fare in an apocalypse?” So I thought I’d ask you: How would you do?

Karen: Terrible! Honestly, I couldn’t light a fire without a match or a lighter. I’d be doomed unless I could connect with people who could help me.

After initiating the “Tomorrow” anthology, I spotted a book on wilderness survival in an opportunity shop. I purchased it and now have a few tips for finding water and making shelter, but feel quite sure that getting enough friction between two sticks to spark a fire is totally out of my range of capabilities.

And when it comes to food … I really don’t want to think about it, let alone experience the hunger I’d feel due to my lack of skills. Killing an animal would be difficult. Hunger would force me to do it, but skinning and gutting it would be beyond me. And how would I cook it? Yes, I’m back at the fire making problem … again.

I could become a vegetarian and that would solve some of the issues I would be having. However, it would be just my luck that the first root or berry I ate would be poisonous!

I have a question for your readers: How would you fare in a post-apocalyptic situation?

Sherry: What’s next for Kayelle Press? Do you have a project waiting in the wings?

Karen: There’s a few actually. The first of our “Awesome Aussie Tales” books is due for release later in the year. “The Obelisk Trap” by Margaret Pearce is a fantasy story for younger readers. It will make a brilliant addition to our list.

Submissions are also open for Volume 2 of the “Hope” anthology series. These books contain speculative fiction short stories by various authors from around the world. The second volume will focus on a theme of “courage”.  Also included in the book are small factual snippets on suicide awareness. The profits are donated to Beyondblue, a leading suicide awareness advocate in Australia.

Finally, the third instalment of The Land of Miu series is due for release in 2014. “The Lion Kings” by Karen Lee Field will conclude the fantasy trilogy for younger readers.

****

This interview is part of the “Tomorrow” Virtual Book Tour starting on 6 July 2013. To find out more about the stories, the authors and the publication go to the virtual book tour schedule page at http://www.kayellepress.com/2013/06/tomorrow-virtual-book-tour-schedule/.

I am offering Sherry’s readers a chance to win a copy to the “Tomorrow” ebook (in the format of the winner’s choice). Just leave a comment on this post and your name will be in the draw. One name will be randomly drawn and the winner will be announced in the comments section, in a couple of days.

Before I go, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Sherry for hosting this stop on the book tour. Please take a few minutes to look around.

About Karen Henderson

Karen Henderson is an editor at Kayelle Press, a small independent publisher of speculative fiction in Australia. Their latest release is “Tomorrow”, a post-apocalyptic anthology exploring the possible outcomes of plagues, biohazards, human error, natural disasters and intergalactic travel. The book is available in paperback and various digital formats from their website and from most online bookstores. Visit the website (www.kayellepress.com) to find out more.

 

Thanks, Karen, and continued good luck with Kayelle Press!

Book Juggling and Summer Reading

I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was younger (say, in my teens and university) reading was really my first experience with multitasking (see my previous post!). I read while I was getting dressed. I read while I dried my hair. I read while I ate (whenever I could get away with it). I read before going to sleep. I’d have a book on the go in my bedroom, one in the bathroom, one downstairs, and one in my bag. People often commented on this, wondering how I could keep all the stories straight. I wondered how one couldn’t keep all the stories straight. I mean, they were all different stories, right?

If you pop over to my Goodreads “currently reading” page, you’ll see that I’m still the same book juggler. It’s a bit misleading, really–there are more books on that list than I’m actively reading at any given moment. That’s because when I start a book and then don’t really get into it or get distracted from it, I still leave it on the list until I’m quite certain I’m not going to finish it. I have less tolerance now for books that don’t keep me interested–but I don’t like moving them into the “shelved” category until I’m sure. That means my list can get pretty long at times.

My habits have changed in one regard; I still might have four books actively on the go, but it’s likely that no more than two are physical, print books. Another will be on my Kobo, and another will be an audiobook I’m listening to. I like this; it’s tidier, for one thing, and these days, tidy is like a lovely, usually-unattainable dream. I’ve come to love audiobooks–they appeal to the corner of my soul that loves multi-tasking because I can listen to them while I do so many other things. Cleaning. Sewing. Making jewelry. Driving. Gardening. When I got serious about writing, the time I could devote to reading suffered somewhat. Audiobooks have changed that. I might even attain my long-wished-for goal of reading more than 52 books in a year. Well, I know I have done that when I was younger, but not since I became a “grown-up.” I’d like to get there again.

All this is on my mind of late because summer is still my reading season. I read all year, of course, but there’s something about summertime reading that sets it apart for me. It’s easier to allow myself to take a whole afternoon off and just read. Or stay up late into the wee hours with a book I just can’t put down, knowing I don’t have to wake up early and get kids off to school. Summer is my time to read freely, in some sense. There are some books I save for summer reading, because I know the experience will have an extra fillip of enjoyment.

My Goodreads page and my reviews on this site will tell you what I’ve read lately…what else is still on my summer reading list? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you…