Tag Archives: young adult

Behind the Scenes – Sojourn: The Beastlands

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to match the style of the previous books, The Wildlands and The Deadlands. I kept the general placement of the titles and author name the same (though we did experiment with different placements), plus we kept with the general theme of the two characters walking on a path to a different destination. In this case, we used the same model imagery from the second cover, but I did a few adjustments to their images to make them seem a bit different (pushed them closer, adjusted the girl’s hair a bit, and flipped their images). We added a couple pieces of deserted imagery to add to the abandoned feel, and I used a lot of Photoshop masking in layers to get the various jungle layers to mesh properly and look natural.

This is the result:

Behind the Scenes - Sojourn: The Beastlands Book Cover

Behind the Scenes - Sojourn: The Beastlands Back of Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-jungle-green-thickets-mountains-malaysia-image56303604 – jungle
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-abandoned-road-image16324304 – road
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tropical-rainforest-khao-yai-national-park-thailand-world-h-image68662437 – jungle overlook
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abandoned-diner-photo-taken-off-interstate-i-usa-image56088809 – abandoned diner
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-abandoned-car-image23149927 -abandoned car
People – From the Dollar Photo Club

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“Path to Old Talbot” by Jordan Elizabeth – Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author Jordan Elizabeth. She has a new book coming soon. 🙂

(Note: I did not design the cover. The cover artist is Rue Volley.)

~

PATH TO OLD TALBOT

A Young Adult Fantasy

Path to Old Tabot - Book Cover

Thirteen-year-old Charity can escape her unpleasant reality by stepping through the parlor closet of her mother’s new home, a mansion built in the 1800’s. 

In her hometown of Talbot, New York, in the year 1880, she doesn’t have to worry about her depressed father skipping his medications or her mother flirting with her coworker. Instead, she gets to know the hatter’s son, who shows her a lifestyle of manners and pride. Few have ever accepted Charity’s old-fashioned ways…until now. 

However, old Talbot can’t banish the present. Charity can stay in the mansion, with access to the hatter’s son in the past, and the prospect of a steady family unit with her mother and the new man in her mother’s life, or she can go back to her father, who has been given the option to straighten out his life and join them in their new home. Instead, his world unravels, and he spirals into violence and self-harm.

Torn between two worlds, Charity knows that if she doesn’t help him, she may lose him forever if he follows through on his threats of self-destruction. 

PATH TO OLD TALBOT is on Amazon from CHBB.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

~

Check out Chapter 1:

Sunlight reflects off the pavement and bakes my bare legs. Shadows play across Daddy while he cries on the stoop, slumped forward, his shoulders shaking. How many times will he play this game? If he got it together, Mom and I wouldn’t be packing the car to move to a different house.

I shade my eyes and look away from him. Think about the steps. Don’t think about him. It’s a lovely stoop, with only a few chips, and it has a wrought iron railing that curls at the end.

“Why does life keep throwing crap at me?” Daddy’s yell makes a crow fly from the old oak tree in our front yard.

Leaves rustle in its wake as the bird shoots over the house like a black ball, and it caws, a hoarse screech like Daddy’s voice when he’s upset.

Mom carries her last box of books from inside the garage and sets it in the trunk of her Subaru. The huge box catches on an edge and she grunts as she shoves it. Her biceps flex— surprising how strong she is, since she never works out. I swear Mom can lift anything. She wipes her palms on her shorts, smearing dust across the black denim.

“Why does this always happen?” Daddy slams his fist into the cement stoop.

I wince. I could cover my ears against the sound, but I’m not a little kid anymore; no more hiding for me.

His hand bleeds. It will add a new scar to the skinny white lines that crisscross his knuckles.

When I was younger, I pretended they were lines from elf hoes, and miniature vegetables would grow among the whorls of dark curls. Now, seeing the scars makes my stomach clench.

Mom won’t bandage him up. She stopped years ago. This time, I won’t either, even though my fingers itch to fetch the Band-Aids and Neosporin. I didn’t make Daddy punch anything. He needs to patch himself. It isn’t our fault he won’t take his medication.

I pick at my glittered purple polish, catching a hangnail. The red stain mixes with the polish as if I intended for a gruesome pattern.

Daddy staggers off the stoop and paces.

“I need a gun,” he rants. “I’m gonna put a bullet in my head.”

Mom clears her throat. “Come on, Charity. We’re leaving.” She presses her lips into a thin line and slams the trunk door, making her Impreza vibrate. She walks along the path of flat rocks, trampling some of the grass that has grown too tall, and pauses next to him.

Daddy grunts, dropping back down onto the stone, and he tips his head up, his fingers dragging across his cheeks. Blood trickles down the back of his hand into the sleeve of his button-up shirt. His blue eyes are wide and bloodshot, tear-filled. Sometimes when he cries, Mom kisses the tears away.

Even though I’m thirteen, I should be the one crying. Heck, I’m still a child. His therapist said so. Daddy should hold me and promise everything will be fine. He’ll take his meds and we’ll all be okay.

I’m too delusional for all that, but the thoughts slip in anyways.

I shouldn’t have to avoid Daddy when he’s in a mood. I shouldn’t have to worry about my words making him emotional, or my attitude setting him off, or whether I’m going to find him dead when I come home.

Mom kneels to clasp his wrists. “I love you, Max. I will always love you.” Her voice squeaks, but her body remains steady. She doesn’t look away from his stare.

“You can’t go!” He yanks his arms free and stands on the stoop, but he teeters. His bare feet poke from the ragged hem of his jeans. The lack of shoes makes him look like a teenager. When has Daddy ever been an adult for me?

Has he ever been an adult for himself? According to my grandparents, his depression started in high school. Why hasn’t he learned how to cope yet?

“I’ll kill myself!”

I wince at the threat, but Mom rises, shaking her head. Why can’t he see how much we love him? Why aren’t we enough to stop his pain?

“You know where we are. When you’re ready, come find us.” She kisses his mouth, fast, as if afraid he’ll push her away. His blood smears her palm, but she doesn’t look down when she wipes it on her thigh. It leaves a crimson streak, as if she’s the one bleeding.

“Charity!” Daddy stumbles toward me. “You won’t leave me. Come back, honey. I need you.”

I quicken my pace to open the car door and slip into the passenger’s seat. My fingers shake as I fasten my seatbelt. He doesn’t need me. He needs to help himself. I play with my hemp bracelet to avoid looking at him. My stomach heaves as I fight back tears.

“Isadora,” he yells.

I glance back, a final glimpse in case he does kill himself.

It won’t be my fault, or Mom’s. We don’t make Daddy do things. Mom tells me that every day. It is never your fault. Sometimes it hurts to think that. If it was my fault, maybe I could fix it.

His brown hair is in that buzz cut Mom hates. He’s gotten blood on his cheek. If only he took care of the things about the house the way he cuts his hair, the place wouldn’t look so run down. After we leave, he’ll break things, but we took the things we cherished— everything except for Daddy, and seeing the tears in Mom’s eyes, I know we cherish him most of all.

That’s why we have to leave.

Mom sits beside me and slams her door. She slips the key into the ignition and turns it without taking her gaze from the road. I stare forward too, because it only hurts to think about the past. Tall grasses wave in the breeze next to the garage as if saying goodbye.

I’ll really miss this place.

“He needs to get help,” Mom whispers. “He can’t do that with us. We’re just his crutch now.”

A chipmunk darts across the driveway and from somewhere down the street, music plays through an open window. I almost forget how hot the day is until sweat gathers behind my knees.

We need to grow up, too, but I don’t talk in case Mom needs solitude. What will the neighbors think?

It’s about time Isadora and Charity left.

How dare they leave that poor man? Mrs. Ames next door has always seen him as someone to coddle, like an oversized infant. No doubt she’ll go with that train of thought.

Mom drives forward and heads down the road, past all the neighbors with their happy, safe families, as peaceful as the fluffy clouds dancing over the blue sky.

“Isadora! Charity!” Daddy’s wails fade and I bite my lower lip.

Mom told him to come home once he becomes well. Our new house. Her dream house.

Our home.

I want to squeeze Daddy’s hand, to feel secure, but my fingers close on false hope.

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  PATH TO OLD TALBOT is her third novel with CHBB.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Logo

 

Books can be our window into the past when we don’t have a portal in our new house.  In honor of PATH TO OLD TALBOT, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

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 the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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The Shadow War – Launch Day!

After an extra month of waiting, The Shadow War is finally here! It’s the second book of The Wishing Blade series, so if you’ve been wondering what happens next, that wait is over!

*Squee!*

I’m both excited and nervous with this one. For this one, we get to see Daernan’s point of view for a large part of the story (60%, to be exact), and we get one short scene from Siklana at the end. But don’t worry, Toranih and Shevanlagiy also get their fair share of scenes, too. Not only that, but we get glimpses of both Maijevan and Cantingen cultures, and the bit of rivalry that might be brewing between the various countries and cities. 😉

So, without further ado…

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War

Upper MG / Lower YA

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War - Book Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Though a shadow is as good as a ghost, with no free will to speak of, they may still be saved…

The kingdom of Cirena is under attack from an army of shadows—beings who can only be hurt by magic or fire. Magic has been stolen, and as the shadows spread, infecting all they touch, the last two ribbon mages race to the nearest port city to warn them of the impending invasion. One of those mages, Toranih, is among the few who can see the Trickster-cursed army, and she’s determined to get magic back—no matter how much she distrusts it. When she is captured by shadows and a dark secret is revealed about her future, her best friend, Daernan, is left to defend the city. But his only methods of stopping the shadows are by fire and the devastating magic of the shodo’charl.

With the knowledge that the shadows are innocent townsfolk forced to do a warlord’s bidding, Daernan must choose between saving the shadows or saving those who have not yet turned.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now Available!

Amazon US ~ Amazon UKBN.com ~ iTunes ~ KoboSmashwords

Paperback Edition

Add to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

A sneak peek…

The roof afforded a smoky view of the burning courthouse and the surrounding mayhem, and here Daernan understood the madness of the shadows. As their victims faded, turning into shadowy wisps, they, too, turned on the crowd. The more the shadows converted, the faster the crowd disappeared.

No wonder they used the explosions. People in the affected areas fled from their homes and the markets, trying to evacuate because the smoke in the distance meant the whole southern side of the city might be burning. But the ghostly shadows waited for them with impromptu weapons, and the refugees fled right into their hands.

“It’s so easy for them,” Daernan whispered. “Lord Menchtoteale found a simple way to conscript his army.”

Siklana frowned as she dug the shodo’charl free from the bag and passed him the stone. “What are they doing?”

“Using the explosions to force people from their homes.” Daernan reached to take the bundle, then stopped. Siklana’s brown eyes were wide with worry, her lips forming an unhappy frown. He quickly turned away and clasped the oilskin tight in his fingers. There were so many shadows. If he released the stone now, he might be killing countless innocent people. But if he didn’t release the stone’s magic, more would be trapped.

“Should we do this?” he asked softly.

Siklana peered over the ledge. “You’re asking me?”

He whispered a soft prayer to Madiya—primarily because she was responsible for taking the dead through her realm—but he fervently hoped he was wrong. Hoped that somehow, some way, the shodo’charl did not kill them.

He hooked his fingers under the oilskin, trembling, already feeling the cold sweat forming on his neck and soaking his back. To do this . . . if he killed them . . . he wasn’t sure how he was going to sleep. How he was going to account for their deaths? But the longer he waited, the more who would die when he finally released the oilskin.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! Feel free to tell your friends, or anyone you think might enjoy the book. 😀

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Book Signing – February 25th

A quick update…

Isaac and I will be participating in a book signing at the new Reader’s World in Warrensburg, MO, on Saturday, February 25th from 1 – 3 pm. (See their Facebook page here). There will be several local authors also signing their books, so there’s a bit of something for everyone. Isaac and I will have Magic’s Stealing and Distant Horizon available. Feel free to stop by! 🙂

Click on the covers to find out more about the books:

Distant Horizon - Book CoverSBibb - Magic's Stealing Cover

 

In other news, we’re just about done getting new cards ready for Battle Decks, as well as preparing a new game to demo at Stealth Con. And I’m in the process of proofreading The Shadow War before formatting it (updated release day is March 16th). 🙂

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The Shadow War – Now Available for Pre-Order

If you enjoyed reading Magic’s Stealing, then good news! The pre-order for the next book in the series, The Shadow War, is now avilable for pre-order!

The book is still in progress (The Shadow War has been through three beta readers, and now Isaac is reading it), but I expect to have it completed by February 2017. Actually, I’m hoping to have it done sooner, but being realistic, I’m trying to give myself a bit more time to complete the project. Once it’s finished, The Shadow War will probably be about 47,000 words long, though the final word count may vary.

Since I was running the promotion for “Stone and String” on Kindle (a short story set in the world of The Wishing Blade), I wanted to make sure I had the second book of The Wishing Blade series available to pre-order. The series starts with Magic’s Stealing, and continues in The Shadow War.

Now, for the book cover!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War

Young Adult / Middle Grade Fantasy

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War - Book Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

 

The kingdom of Cirena is under attack from an army of shadows—beings who can only be hurt by magic or fire. But magic has been stolen, and as the shadows spread, infecting all they touch, the last two ribbon mages race to the nearest port city to warn them of the impending invasion. One of those mages, Toranih, is among the few who can see the Trickster-cursed army, and she’s determined to get magic back—no matter how much she distrusts it. But when she is captured by shadows and a secret is revealed about her future, her only chance of survival may be to fight the shadows from within.

Available for Pre-Order:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UKBN.com ~ iTunes ~ KoboSmashwords

Add to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! 😀

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Stone and String Available for Free for a Limited Time!

When I released “Stone and String” on Kindle, I went ahead and decided to try out Kindle Select, since the short story isn’t part of a series (though it is part of the world of The Wishing Blade). As such, I get five days to have the story available for free.

I started the promotion a couple days ago, and it’s supposed to end on November 27th. So if you want to read it, now’s the time to pick it up. 😉

“Stone and String,” an 8000-word Fantasy Short Story

Download for free on Amazon (US)!

Download for free on Amazon (UK)!

Stone and String - Book Cover

In the world of “The Wishing Blade,” everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for this ability during their first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as a mage. But when Edyli’s little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses magic to return Akymi to the living. As a result, she finds herself in a land of weblike strings… the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister’s first rites. With the help of a mysterious immortal and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of Madia, the goddess of the dead.

Stone and String - Teaser Blurb

Download for free on Amazon (US)!

Download for free on Amazon (UK)!

After the promotion I plan to remove “Stone and String” from Kindle Select and release it on Smashwords (which includes BN.com, Kobo, iTunes, etc). This should happen sometime in late December However, the price will return to 99 cents.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Happy Book Birthday, Distant Horizon!

Today’s the day! Distant Horizon is now available! 😀

Isaac and I started writing Distant Horizon in 2010 after playing a tabletop rpg that Isaac was the gamemaster for. He created the world, most of the characters (except Jenna–she was my character), and the plot. Eventually, I decided I wanted to write everything down. Thus, the concept for Distant Horizon was born. A lot has changed since the role-play, but a lot has remained surprisingly the same. Now, six years later, we’re ready to share Jenna’s story with the world. 🙂

DH Divider

Distant Horizon

A Young Adult Dystopia with Superhero Elements

Distant Horizon - Book Cover

The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.

Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

Now available!

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ BN.com ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

Print Version Available on Amazon

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

Read the first seven chapters, free! Click here to download the PDF.

Distant Horizon - Teaser Picture "The Community is safe... Unless you have superpowers."

Distant Horizon - "Beast Excerpt"

DH Divider

Please consider sharing this post to spread the word about the new release. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the book! 😀

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