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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

Another month has passed. Not quite as much done this month, but that’s in part due to taking care of things like taxes and going on a trip to Missouri for Spring Break (visiting family, friends, and enjoying the anime convention my husband and I like going to).

We still have snow. It’s now a mixture of snow and ice, due to yesterday’s warmer day, but the snow still triumphed! It’s spitting snow now. 🙂

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Glitch: Whispers in the Code and Ghost of a Memory are both now available, and Spirits of a Glitch releases this Saturday! That means the mini-series will be complete!

With those books published, my next step with the Glitch Saga will be to create the print editions. With luck, I’ll have that done in April. But I still need to create the wrap-around covers and format the interior for print, as well as order proof copies, so I’m not setting any release date for the print editions just yet.

Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). I finished the latest round of edits and revisions a couple days ago, and I’ve sent it out to the next beta-reader. Depending on their feedback, this one might end up with another reader before it’s finished, or it might move on to the read-aloud stage. We’ll see. I feel like all the story elements are in place now, but there may be some pacing issues that still need to be resolved (especially since it’s currently sitting at 161,000 words).

Distant Horizon: When I create the print editions for the Glitch Saga, I also intend to update the print edition of Distant Horizon so that it has the new cover.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold.

Book Three of The Wishing Blade series: This is my next big project. With the Glitch Saga complete and Fractured Skies out to beta-readers, I am now set to tackle Isaac’s notes and wrangle this one into a cohesive book. Oh… and I might finally have a title for it. Keep an eye out for news about that. 🙂

Wind and Words: (Book 2 of Stone and String). Out to beta-readers. After I get their feedback, I’m going to do one final pass and then hand it over to Isaac.

Cyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: I’ve gotten feedback from beta-readers, so I’m ready to start work on this. It’s in the queue after I finish edits on book three of The Wishing Blade series. In the meantime, I still need to revise the related short story.

At the moment, I think these will stand alone, but I have ideas of what else I can do in this world if readers show interest.

Warrensburg Readers World Book Signing - March 2018

Marketing: While in Missouri, we stopped by the Warrensburg Reader’s World and did a semi-impromptu book signing (Thanks for having us, Sai! 😀 ). I think it went well. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m continuing to build our newsletters, and I’ve been releasing the Distant Horizon Universe and The Wishing Blade Universe newsletters every other week (I end up writing one newsletter a week).

 

Check out the top of this blog’s side bar for the updated newsletter section. It now has links for all three newsletters.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished creating a banner related to the logo I created earlier.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: Got beta-reader feedback on the first 44,000 words, and I’ve decided to go ahead and make it a full-length novel. It’s currently sitting at 48,000 words. Slow going, especially with all the other projects I’ve been trying to finish, but I’m thinking about making it my CampNaNo project.

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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

Well, this month sure flew by fast. But it’s been productive (aside from both me and Isaac catching a cold). At least, as productive as a launch month tends to be, while still figuring out the loops and holes that come with a launch.

Also, there is snow. There is a lot of snow. Really fluffy, pretty snow. A lot of it.

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Glitch: Whispers in the Code is now available! (You can download it for free if you sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe newsletter). In the meantime, Ghost of a Memory just released on Monday, and the third book (previously titled For We Are Many) now has its official name, Spirits of a Glitch. We hope to release it in mid-to-late March.

Isaac and I are progressing through the read-aloud phase of Spirits of a Glitch, and then I’ll format it, proofread it, and then upload it for pre-order. I also need to do the final touches on the cover.

Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). I’ve gotten notes back from my beta-reader, and I’m now in the process of editing. Then it will go out to another beta-reader.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold.

Book Three of The Wishing Blade series: I need to review Isaac’s notes and then begin revisions. Hopefully this will start after The Glitch Saga is complete.

Wind and Words: (Book 2 of Stone and String). Got feedback from my beta-reader. I finished a round of minor edits, and then I sent it out to another beta-reader. Next, after I’ve made those revisions, I’ll hand it to Isaac to look over with developmental notes.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Got a book cover done and created a flier / finished a logo.

Game Development: On hold while Isaac works on obtaining his PhD.

Marketing: Increased newsletter subscriber count by taking part in several giveaways on BookFunnel and InstaFreebie. I’m going to do at least one more month of BookFunnel, and then we’ll see if the newsletter translates into sales or not. Depending on the results will determine whether I try using InstaFreebie and/or BookFunnel giveaways as a long-term plan.

If you want to sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe newsletter (and download Whispers in the Code for free), click here.

If you want to sign up for the Wishing Blade Universe newsletter (and download “Stone and String” for free), click here.

If you just want to be informed of new releases and events, sign up for the Infinitas Publishing newsletter by clicking here.

Cyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: I hadn’t planned on making progress with this, but since I haven’t had a chance to look at the notes for the third Wishing Blade series book, this sort of got shuffled upward on my to-do list. I’ve finished the first pass of revisions and it’s now out to beta-readers.

I still need to make revisions to a related short story, and then that can go out to beta-readers, too.

In the meantime, I created a proof for a potential cover for the main story, and I’ve been developing ideas for a possible continuation of the story into a series.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: Slowly making progress on this. I got feedback back from a beta-reader who read the first 20,000 words and confirmed it is going in the right direction (once a few tweaks are made), so I’m continuing to write this. It’s slow going since it’s a side project and the other projects take precedence… and because working game mechanics into the story means it takes me a little longer than usual to write the rough draft. I want to get the mechanics right the first time… rather than having a cascading effect of failures if I mess up the stats early on.

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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Flash Fiction – “Unicorn”

I recently met Charli Mills, a local author who introduced me to her website, Carrot Ranch. There, a community of writers respond to weekly prompts for flash fiction, which, for their purposes, is fiction with an exact count of 99 words.

This week’s prompt is “Unicorn.” I very much enjoyed researching the mythology of unicorns when I was in junior high and high school, so I decided to take part in the fun. First, with a darker variant on the idea of the unicorn, which was inspired by stories in which the unicorn was used in courts to determine if a criminal was guilty or not. (You can blame these stories for the version of the chesnathé mentioned in The Shadow War, a brutal, bulky, immortal equine who tends to pass judgment on “lower beings.”) Second, I also wrote a lighter variant (following a more European story).

Enjoy. 🙂

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“Judgement”

His curved horn meets with flesh and another criminal meets his fate. A sinner. A thief. No more shall he steal. The crowd roars their approval. The unicorn raises his bulky head and swings it side to side like a bull. They cheer for him and his judgment.

He flicks his tail, slender like a cow’s, with a tuft of brown hair at the end. The rest of his fur is black. His horn is tri-colored. Black at the base, cinnamon in the middle, and red on top. Stained red… it would be brown, but the blood never dries.

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“Captured”

Her fingers pass through the creature’s mane, which is silky white, like threads dipped in the morning dew. He is in chains. She slides her fingers under the delicate silver.

“You will be free.”

His ears swivel, listening. She strokes the damp fur of his neck. He breathes hard from the chase.

“Do not worry. I will return.”

She disappears, her slippers padding through the rain-flushed grass. When she returns, her gossamer gown whispering around her calves, the unicorn raises his head. His blue eyes regard her, pleading.

She reveals a pair of wire cutters and smiles. “Be free.”

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I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to participate, head over to Carrot Ranch for their Feb 22nd prompt. 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

Wow… busy month. Not a lot of writing done, but progress has certainly been made. As such, it’s time for the monthly Infinitas Publishing status report!

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Glitch: (Spin-off series following Tim from the Distant Horizon series). Read-aloud proofing for Whispers in the Code and Ghost of a Memory complete. Proofreading and formatting for Whispers in the code complete–and it’s now up for pre-order!

It’s official. Whispers in the Code (the first book in the mini-series) will be released on February 8th, 2018! Yay! (Though you can read it now, for free, if you sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe mailing list).

For the second book in the series I still need to finish fixing typos found while proofreading, and Isaac and I still need to do the read-aloud proofing of the third book, For We Are Many (tentative title). The plan is to release each of these books about a month apart, so there shouldn’t be too long of a wait between each story. Progress made!

Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). Currently out to beta-readers.

Distant Horizon: The new cover is now up! Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold until Isaac has a chance to read it and make notes.

Book Three of The Wishing Blade Series: Isaac has finished reading through my current draft, and one of my next big projects will be reviewing his notes and making revisions. After that, I’ll be sending this out to beta-readers.

Stone and String 2: I just finished polishing the current draft and it is now ready for beta-readers! Its working title is “Wind and Words,” but we’ll see if that sticks. (In my fictional Cantingen language, that would be “Van si casime,” which usually gets used as an expression stated in exasperation or shock, and references the god of language and wind, Ruetravahn).

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Plugging along. Got a couple book covers done and started work on a logo concept.

Game Development: On hold while Isaac’s focused on his PhD… though I’ve been delving more into the LitRPG/GameLit genre. More on that in a moment.

Marketing: The Distant Horizon Universe website is complete! While it’s still sparse, I’ll be updating this as new books in that universe come out. In the meantime, I also figured out how to do automation with Mailchimp’s newsletter service, and I’ve set up reader magnets (Glitch: Whispers in the Code) to draw attention to our new Distant Horizon Universe newsletter! (Alternatively, you can get the first half of Distant Horizon for free by using this link… but I haven’t set it up yet to where you can get both Whispers in the Code and the free sample of Distant Horizon. I do plan to make both available to anyone who subscribes to that newsletter, but I haven’t gotten that part set up yet. In the meantime, I’ve signed up for Book Funnel and plan to do the trial month of Instafreebie, so I’ll be participating in a few joint book promotions soon.

Cyberpunk/Dystopian Snow White Story: On temporary hold, since I’m primarily focusing on getting Glitch published and I plan to make revisions to the third Wishing Blade book (I’ve really got to come up with a title). But it’s on my to-do list, and I’ve been thinking of possible ways to continue the series, all very loose ideas at the moment.

New Story Idea: So… I’ve become fascinated with LitRPG/GameLit, and I’m currently reading books in the genre. Of course, that doesn’t come without story ideas and plotting, and a couple days ago I finished a detailed outline for what might become my first book in a GameLit series. (By “detailed outline” I mean that it contains every major event, has occasional moments of character dialogue, notes about what clues need to be planted where, and which game mechanics need to be involved. The outline clocked in at a lovely 10,000 words, a short story unto itself).

I’m not sure if I’m going to proceed with this idea yet, especially since I want to read more books in the genre before publication, and I’m not sure yet whether I’ll publish this under Infinitas Publishing with the rest of my books, in order to focus on targeting a specific audience, but it’s a project I’ve been working on in the background to feed my creativity while working on all the formatting/marketing/proofreading stuff for Glitch.

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Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter! Now that we’ve created the Distant Horizon Universe newsletter, the Infinitas Publishing newsletter will primarily be used to announce when a new book is coming out, rather than give sneak peeks into the different books. But you can be on both lists if you want. Enjoy!

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Runners & Riders Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth. 🙂

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Runners & Riders

Companion to the Treasure Chronicles

A young adult novel of gangs and love in a steampunk world.

Runners & Riders - Book Cover

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

 

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

 

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

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RUNNERS & RIDERS is available now on Amazon from Curiosity Quills Press.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Runners & Riders Banner

Can’t wait to read the next installment in the Treasure Chronicles world?  Check out the first chapter:

A figure ducked behind the work shed where the glow of the back porch gas lamp didn’t reach. Jonathan shielded his eyes so he could see more clearly through the bedroom window, but the backyard lay still. The white sheets the maid had hung fluttered in the evening breeze.

 

His uncle would have a ghost story to tell about those.

 

Another dark shape bolted across the yard; this one crouched in his mother’s flower garden. It might have been one of the boys from school come to throw pebbles at the pale blue siding until Jonathan sneaked out, but they seemed too tall for eleven-year-olds. The one in the flowers crept closer to the house.

 

Movement in the woods drew Jonathan’s attention farther across the yard, where two more shapes lurked. They had to be grown men. He gulped as he crawled away from the window to the hallway where the light from the living room glowed up the stairs.

 

“Found you.” The maid grinned from his parents’ bedroom, a stack of table linens in her arms. “When we play hide-and-seek, you ain’t supposed to come out till I call for you. We gotta practice the rules again? I was gonna come looking soon as I put these cloths away.”

 

He grabbed the railing. “There’s people out in the yard.”

 

Her eyes widened before she clicked her tongue. “Ain’t nobody out in this cold. I’m dreading my own walk home. Bless your father if he gives me a ride.”

 

“I saw them. There had to be ten, at least!” Jonathan took the stairs down two at a time.

 

His uncle sat in front of the living room hearth, the fire crackling to stave off the autumn chill, with Jonathan’s sister nestled in his lap. “The old king rose up tall as that old oak out by the water pump, and he waved his scepter as if he was a wizard.”

 

“Uncle Henry,” Jonathan interrupted. “There are people out back.”

 

“What’s that? You get to bed already?”

 

“What?” His uncle never made them sleep as early as his mother did; they usually got to stay up until their parents came home from the opera house.

 

“You must have had a nightmare.” Uncle Henry chuckled, and the little girl giggled from his lap.

 

“No, I saw them. They were slinking through the yard.” Jonathan pointed toward the rear of the house. His uncle would appreciate “slinking,” as if the word had fallen from one of those mystery novels he read them.

 

Uncle Henry glanced at the clock on the mantle. “Your parents shouldn’t be much longer. It must’ve been them you saw.”

 

“There were a bunch of people. Lots of them. Fifteen at least!” Jonathan’s heartbeat increased. Some of the natives – those Bromi warriors – from out west might have crept across the country. Pirates might have invaded from the sea. His parents whispered about those when they read the newspapers.

 

“Fifteen, huh? Well, you keep an eye on them for me. If they come too close, we’ll build a fort around the house.” Uncle Henry adjusted the pink afghan wrapped around the toddler.

 

The doors were locked, but the enemy might break through the windows. Jonathan’s father kept the guns sealed in a case, but he did have an emergency pistol in a box under his bed. They’d be proud if he protected his family.

 

As Jonathan reached the top of the stairs, someone knocked on the front door. He froze, one sock-clad foot on the landing and the other on the top step. Pirates and natives didn’t knock. They invaded; they were evil.

 

The maid swept past him, lifting her ankle-length brown skirt. “I hope that’s my dear papa come with the pony cart. He won’t let his little girl walk home in the frost.” She winked at Jonathan, but he gulped. She wouldn’t know to be afraid. Even though she played games with him, she was sixteen, old enough to think the world was perfect. Only he knew enough to find danger in shadows.

 

“If that’s your father, invite him in for some coffee,” Uncle Henry called.

 

“Will do, sir.”

 

Jonathan crouched beside the railing and clutched the rungs. If he bent his head enough, he could see the front door. The maid wiped her hands on her apron before she opened it.

 

“Oh, hello. Can I help you?” Her final word fell away in a scream as a man shoved her inside. His black coat buttoned to his chin and a black knit cap covered his head.

 

Jonathan’s own scream strangled in his throat.

 

“This the Montgomery residence?” the man barked. Three more men shoved into the foyer, all of them dressed in full black. The tallest of the bunch seized the maid by the shoulders and slammed her into the wall.

 

“Y-yes, sir,” she stammered.

 

“What’s going on here?” Uncle Henry burst in from the living room while two more assailants stepped inside. Jonathan’s sister started to wail.

 

One of the men drew a handgun from his belt and aimed it at Uncle Henry’s chest. “Where’s the laboratory?”

 

“Get out of this house,” Uncle Henry said. Jonathan had never heard him speak with such calm finesse, the laughter gone from his voice.

 

Jonathan’s hands trembled where he gripped the polished wood. His uncle would handle everything. Take that, bad guys.

 

“Well now,” the attacker drawled, “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.”

 

“How about you, girl?” the man yelled at the maid. “Take us to the lab.”

 

As soon as the man released her, she sank to the floor, her shoulders shaking with sobs.

 

The man crouched in front of her to grip her chin. “What’s your name, girl?”

 

“R-Rose.”

 

“You the scientist’s daughter?”

 

Jonathan stiffened. Uncle Henry would protect them, and if Jonathan needed to, he could leap over the railing onto the man’s back.

 

“N-no, sir. I’m just the maid. It’s a common name here. Rose. We have that rose festival and all. We have the famous rainbow-colored rose.”

 

He slapped her across the face and jerked her to her feet. “Shut up, bitch. Get us to the lab or you won’t be making no more noise.”

 

“You’ll release her now.” Uncle Henry lunged forward, and a crack split the air. He staggered, rasping, and dropped to his knees. Blood appeared on his chest, the circle growing, morphing into something that dripped and twisted without pattern.

 

“Mack, what was that? You shot him.” One of the men chuckled.

 

“No,” the maid shrieked.

 

Jonathan squeezed his eyes shut. Perhaps he had fallen asleep waiting for Rose to find him. It had to be a dream. Uncle Henry is fine. Were all fine.

 

When he opened them, his uncle lay on the hardwood floor in a pool of red paint. Red paint. No, not paint. Blood.

 

The men stomped through the house toward his father’s laboratory off the kitchen, and the maid’s sobs mingled with his sister’s cries. He had to protect his sister. He’d get the pistol, grab her, and he’d run for the neighbor’s farm.

 

Jonathan ran for their bedroom, the door still open from when the maid folded away the tablecloths. With only the light from downstairs, he crawled to the bed and lay on his stomach to reach the box. Nothing should have invaded his perfect house, with its two chimneys and dark blue shutters, with the flower garden and those ghost sheets flapping on the line.

 

He pulled out the box and flipped the hook on the lid to remove the pistol. He’d seen his father polish it, but he’d never known it could be so heavy. How do I hold it?

 

A door slammed below him. He would have to point the gun and pull the trigger, like what the villain had done to his uncle. The bullet would save him and his sister. It would save the maid. If he found her, she could use it better.

 

He crept back downstairs, but the commotion came from the laboratory. Glass smashed and heavier things crashed. Another gunshot seared through the house.

 

Jonathan ran for the armchair where his uncle had left the toddler. “Rosamund, be quiet.” Her pale hair stood out against the seat’s green velveteen. “Please, Rosamund.”

 

“Well now, who’re you?”

 

Jonathan twisted around and did his best to aim the silver weapon at the man lounging in the doorway. He couldn’t be much older than the maid; how could someone so young do such evil? Jonathan couldn’t picture the boys at his school shooting anyone with anything more than a slingshot.

 

“Get out.” Jonathan’s voice squeaked.

 

The young man chuckled. “I reckon you’re the man of the house now. Good luck with that.”

 

“Get out!” Jonathan pulled the trigger.

 

The pistol clicked, but no bullet ripped through the villain. Jonathan cocked it again, his heartbeat echoing in his ears.

 

The man laughed harder. “That thing’s out of bullets, kid, but don’t worry, we’re leaving. Runners don’t mess with kids.”

 

Jonathan pulled the trigger again, but only that click answered him. Tears burned his eyes as he threw it down.

 

Runners. Next time he met one of them, he’d have a pistol full of bullets.

 

#

 

Jonathan rested his elbows on his knees and sighed. The sun shouldn’t be so bright and the few leaves that had begun to change to gold shouldn’t glow so much. At least the crimson leaves fit his mood.

 

He gazed at Rosamund as she sat beside the few marigolds that hadn’t given up on summer, petting her kitten’s gray head. She looked so happy, with her hair in two short braids. They’d let him dress her in white – black made him shudder now.

 

The Runners wore black.

 

“What do you suppose will happen to the house?” Mrs. Rogers’s voice danced through the open kitchen window. Airing out the rooms wouldn’t help banish that lingering stench of blood.

 

“I don’t know,” Miss Lea answered. He’d always loved his teacher, but she hadn’t said much more than a few sentences, as if she didn’t know how to console.

 

“I don’t suppose anyone will want a house where two murders took place. Shame, since this place is so pretty. Biggest home in all of Rosedale.”

 

Jonathan scrunched his eyes shut. How could they stand next to the laboratory where the maid had been shot? How could they even bear to be inside?

 

“All for that invention,” Mrs. Rogers continued. “You really think a motor for a ship is worth all the trouble they went to?”

 

Trouble. As if murdering his parents in their steamcoach on the way back from the opera house counted as trouble. Trouble meant forgetting to study for a spelling test.

 

“Who knows what those Runners think.”

 

“Blasted Runners. Don’t they care about the suffering families? Couldn’t they have spared all those folks?”

 

Jonathan clenched his hands into fists. He’d hunt them down. They couldn’t take his family away and laugh about it.

 

Miss Lea mumbled something he couldn’t hear.

 

“Are you going to keep the two mites?” Dishes rattled. Jonathan’s mother had never trusted Mrs. Rogers; he had a feeling he would never see those porcelain plates again.

 

Who cared what happened to the belongings?

 

“The neighbors will take him now that their daughter’s so far away. The Ashers are good folk.”

 

Jonathan jerked his head up. The neighbors, that old man and woman who never smiled much? Why would they want the Montgomery orphans, as Mrs. Rogers had dubbed them? He expected they’d live with Miss Lea since they didn’t have anyone else.

 

Miss Lea is nice enough; she’ll take care of Rosamund.

 

“It might do that old Rider a favor having some sprites around,” Mrs. Rogers said. “Come help me wrap up these teacups. Wouldn’t they look darling in my china cabinet?”

 

Jonathan plodded to the water pump to see if he could spot the neighbors’ barn through the trees. Riders hunted down the Runner gangs that plagued the east coast. If he got to live with a Rider, he might learn some tricks.

 

Jonathan sneered.

 

Runner beware, for the mark of the Rider will shine.

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Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth became obsessed with steampunk while working at a Victorian Fair.  Since then, she’s read plenty of books and even organized a few steampunk outfits that she wears on a regular basis (unless that’s weird, in which case she only wears them within the sanctuary of her own home – not!). Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, BORN OF TREASURE, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  RUNNERS & RIDERS is her fifth novel with Curiosity Quills Press.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

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In honor of RUNNERS & RIDERS, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Contest runs from August 22 to September 1.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

 

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Cogling Blog Tour for Fellow Author – Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for a fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth!

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, since I had the privileged of beta reading one of her earlier drafts of this book. I’ll soon be reading the new version, so I’m super excited to see how the book turned out. 😀

In the meantime…

COGLING

Young Adult Steampunk-Fantasy

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover

The beautiful cover is thanks to Mandie Manzano.

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors. 

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover Wrap

 

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Excerpt:

Green smoke snaked up the side of the tenement and drifted over the sill of an open window. A breeze blew the vapor into a column before it solidified into the shape of a stout, young hag. She shook her crimson curls away from her face and straightened the hood of her cloak to keep her kohl-lined, silver eyes shadowed.

The scent of lavender clung to her robes, washing over the small room. Two brass-framed beds crowded the floor. Blankets covered sleeping children. A little boy wheezed against the head of his stuffed bear, drool dripping onto the wool.

The hag squinted to see the goldenrod dream cloud above his head—a dream about seeing his father again. She frowned at the other bed, where a sleeping teenager lay with a threadbare blanket tugged around her chin. Even squinting, the hag couldn’t make out a dream cloud. The girl was too old to be of any use.

The hag slithered to the boy’s bed and, from the folds of her cloak, drew out a rectangular box four inches long, with a circular indentation on one side. She set it on the floor to remove a vial and rag from her skirt pocket, the rough wool of the rag irritating her fingertips.

“Do it, Simone,” the hag muttered to herself as she willed her hands not to tremble. “Make the Dark Mother happy.” She couldn’t fail at her first mission.

Holding her breath, Simone dribbled three drops onto the rag, yanked the teddy bear away, and shoved the drugged cloth against the boy’s mouth. His eyes opened, his gasp muffled, and his body jerked. Simone stiffened.

The girl moaned. Her mattress rustled as she rolled over to face the wall, brown curls shifting over her pillow.

Simone’s heart thudded. By the seven Saints, she should’ve cast a sleeping spell over the girl. The Dark Mother preferred humans to think hags were harmless healers, not thieves who kidnapped children.

The boy writhed, squeaks emerging from behind the rag. Simone pressed harder. She needed his breath in the wool to disguise and fuel the machine.

The potion took hold and the boy collapsed. Simone’s thick lips curved over her broken teeth. She lifted a pocket watch from around her neck and positioned it into the crevice in the metal box. As the two pieces connected, a chime rang out. She set the box beside the limp little boy and draped the rag over it. Even though she should wait to make sure his breath stuck in the machine, she couldn’t risk waking the girl.

The metal stretched to become his replica as if it were made of putty. With a second chime, the metal shimmered and dulled into the pale peach of his flesh, becoming an exact duplicate of the child.

“Mine.” Simone hefted the little boy into her arms, leaving the duplication on the bed, and transformed to smoke before the chimes awoke the girl.

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About the Author

Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. She is the author of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, TREASURE DARKLY, and BORN OF TREASURE. Check out her website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for more information on her books, contests, and bonus short stories.

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Thoughts on Writing – Swearing in Audio Formats

In my last post, I read from Magic’s Stealing. It was the first time I edited one of my Youtube blog videos using Premiere Pro, and I used it to remove some of the more obvious stumbles where I tripped over my words. However, I ran into a bit of a conundrum that I hadn’t considered before. For public readings, should I bleep out swear words, or should I leave the text as-is?

If you recall, I wrote a post a while back on To Swear or Not To Swear, in which I debated whether or not to include actual swear words in the dialogue of the book. Ultimately, I decided to keep that particular instance, because it fit the character’s intentions and offered readers a bit of insight into the characters.

Keeping the swear as-is continued to bug me, though, largely because I wondered whether or not a middle grade audience (not just young adults) might be inclined to enjoy the book–but might have a less-inclined parent if those parents read the first chapter.

And that in itself is a whole new debate. Is it a good idea to tailor a story to a specific audience, with certain marketing expectations in mind? Middle grade novels are typically expected to be free of swearing. YA ranges the gamut, and adult depends on the genre.

The conundrum I’ve run into is that I intended Magic’s Stealing to be YA. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if a middle grade audience enjoyed it. As such, it’s led me to a new thought… if I ever do a public reading, should I censor the word? Then again, if I didn’t keep the swear, the passage wouldn’t have quite the same meaning. It’s unfortunate from a marketing standpoint that the only real-word swear is in the first few pages. Should I simply find a different chapter to read, perhaps in the middle of the action?

I suspect this will depend on the venue in question. Some venues, especially ones that are geared towards being family friendly, may ask to not have the swear read. Others may not care at all. It’s probably up to the type of fiction you write as to whether or not you choose to use venues that have specific preferences.

But what about audiobooks?

My first thought was, why change what we wrote? We choose our words for a reason.

On the other hand, people reading a book can very easily skim over words they don’t like. It’s not so easy when those words are being spoken aloud.

(I’ll admit that I don’t tend to listen to audiobooks, so I’m not sure what the general protocol is here.)

Granted, censoring spoken swears will depend on the audience. Obviously, censoring an erotic novel would be ridiculous. The target audience has expectations as to the contents of the novel.

But what about a YA novel with the occasional swear? Should this be censored in audio format? My first thought was “no.” That’s not how the author wrote it. But when read aloud, does that change the impact of those words?

Does reading the book aloud change the impact of the intent, and thus, change what should be read? Does reading aloud change how the text is perceived?

Or does trying to censor a word–whether by dropping the volume or inserting a bleep– actually draw more attention to it?

What about switching the word? The meaning changes, but what if, by switching words during a spoken performance, you actually get the intended reaction?

Is there a difference between the impact of something spoken, versus something silently read?

That, to me, is the real question.

If what we write on the page takes a different meaning when said aloud, then perhaps we should consider that impact, and decide what to change from there.

After all, screenwriting is different from novel writing. Adaptations are made because a book is a different format than what you might see in a live or recorded performance, and has different advantages and limitations.

But if the spoken word has the same impact as the written, then perhaps no changes should be made.

Honestly, I’m probably over-thinking this. For the previous reading, I left the swear in. I figured that pretty much anything I did would draw more attention to it (other than writing a whole blog post pondering the question), while letting it flow in context should keep the story running smoothly.

And in general, I’m thinking I’ll read the text as-is. If the one swear is likely to pose a problem, I could always chose a later segment to read.

But now I’m curious as to what you think. How would you handle a reading that has the occasional swear, whether an audiobook or in public?

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