Tuesday, June 30, 2015

So Shall I Read by Kathy-Lynn Cross Release Day Launch

NEW RELEASE

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There is a brand new release through Clean Teen Publishing today! SO SHALL I REAP by Kathy-Lynn Cross, is a Scythetacular young adult paranormal romance. Yes, that word is totally made up. Anyhow, don't wait, get a great deal on this hot new release today before the price goes up. We can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of this first book in The Unseen Series by debut author— Kathy-Lynn Cross.

SO SHALL I REAP by Kathy-Lynn Cross


Ebook - So Shall I Reap
So Shall I Reap YA Tree
AMAZON / B&N / IBOOKS / BOOK DEPOSITORY
Las Vegas, Nevada can't contain Alexcia Crystalline Stasis, who is living the ideal teenager's dream as the school's elite socialite. That is, until a fatal car accident changes everything. Now Alexcia's emotions are on the verge of combusting. As if mourning the loss of her boyfriend isn't enough, she is also dealing with extreme night terrors that leave her wondering if she just might need to be fitted for a straightjacket.

Tevin isn't your normal daemon. He's the leader of his clan, and he also happens to be a very active Grim Reaper. He never wanted to be charged with babysitting the one girl who can sway Creation's Balance. Tevin has known and kept Alexcia safe most of her life. Now that he has to become even more personally involved in her protection, Tevin finds himself having a hard time separating his sworn duty and pure curiosity. What does make Alexcia tick?
Will Tevin be able to keep Alexcia safe from the Unseen? And will Alexcia's emotions eventually help Tevin attempt to understand what being human is all about? Or will the entities and assassins' of the Unseen get what they want … her dead.

So Shall I Reap is the first installment in an exciting new young adult paranormal series.

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER

So Shall I Reap by Kathy-Lynn Cross Book Blitz

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Title:  So Shall I Reap
Series:  The Unseen Series
Author:  Kathy-Lynn Cross
Published:  June 30th, 2015  
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Content Warning:  Violence and adult language
SynopsisThere is no protection from the Unseen.
Las Vegas, Nevada can’t contain Alexcia Crystalline Stasis, who is living the ideal teenager’s dream as the school’s elite socialite. That is, until a fatal car accident changes everything. Now Alexcia’s emotions are on the verge of combusting. As if mourning the loss of her boyfriend isn’t enough, she is also dealing with extreme night terrors that leave her wondering if she just might need to be fitted for a straightjacket.
Tevin isn’t your normal daemon. He’s the leader of his clan, and he also happens to be a very active Grim Reaper. He never wanted to be charged with babysitting the one girl who can sway Creation’s Balance. Tevin has known and kept Alexcia safe most of her life. Now that he has to become even more personally involved in her protection, Tevin finds himself having a hard time separating his sworn duty and pure curiosity. What does make Alexcia tick?
Will Tevin be able to keep Alexcia safe from the Unseen? And will Alexcia’s emotions eventually help Tevin attempt to understand what being human is all about? Or will the entities and assassins’ of the Unseen get what they want … her dead.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads


Excerpt from So Shall I Reap by Kathy-Lynn Cross:

Flames and darkness served as a reminder of the future we faced. Resting both forearms around my middle and feeling defeated, I shuddered. Filling in my view with his unreadable stare, he then glanced away briefly and whispered, “I wonder if a soulless creature is worthy to be bound by a heart, tied to a soul? Yet, as you stand there looking at me, I continue seeing the eyes of the child I once knew. Do you still want to offer me your soul?”
Without hesitation, sorrow for him exploded inside my chest. Thin lines of ink trailed down his cheeks, and I reached up to caress this face while pulling him closer for a chance to kiss his lips. Even for a moment, to give him a taste of my soul.
How did I know him?
I hadn’t grasped the words he spoke, let alone the feelings I had for him. Without conscious control over my voice, it answered him for me, “I can only choose what is right and pure. This is my only function. My heart is all the power I can give you right now.” I was unsure what I meant, but he smiled at me. The creatures formed a tighter circle around us and their wings appeared to be dripping hot silver acid that melted into what looked like cloaks made of the same black mist rising from the ground. Without notice, I found myself wrapped within two massive wings.
His wings sizzled as he pulled me into his icy embrace, leaning in to whisper against the inner part of my ear, “They say love knows no bounds. Death only has one boundary, and you cross over it when your heart stops. But written on the Unseen scrolls, it states this one emotion will last even after the breath ceases.”
With his trail of words still lingering against the inside curvature of my ear, my composure disappeared. The blankets were wrapped tight around me like a cocoon. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn it had snowed in the room overnight. Shadows were thick and barricaded the bedroom and closet doors. No escape from the nightly terrors. Rubbing the grit from each lash, I unwrapped from the cocoon of covers, followed by flopping one leg at a time to the floor. My mind was clouded in the thick fog making it difficult to push off the bed. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever been so weak and chilled from sweating. An overwhelming need washed over me to open the drapes and cleanse the bedroom from the unknown with the glow from the streetlights. His presence remained in the room with me. Turning slowly from the window, it felt as if I were wearing lead shoes. Pushing their weight toward the mirror, I was horrified at the face gaping back at me. I leaned closer to try and comprehend what the glass was telling me. Two small, dried streams of red gleamed on my cheeks. I was frozen in a nonexistent moment of time. My breath caught as I gasped… and woke up.


 photo Kathy-Lynn-Cross.jpg About the Author:
Born in Pomona, California, Kathy-Lynn Cross lived there for twelve years until her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada—where she resides still to this day. Inspired by the backdrop of Sin City, Kathy-Lynn took her English professor’s advice and wrote about the hometown that she knew.
Kathy-Lynn wasn’t always a writer. In 2008, when her niece was hospitalized, Kathy-Lynn decided to do something special for her so she wrote a short tale for her to read. After devouring it in a single day, her niece and the nurses in the pediatrics wing quickly asked her, “What’s next?”
That was when a new chapter in her life opened up, and Kathy-Lynn realized that she wanted to become a Storyweaver.
Kathy-Lynn loves the color red and obsessively uses it in everything, including her bottle-blonde hair accented by red highlights. She has a knack for baking and cake decorating—that is, when her fingers are not busy writing mayhem. When recharging, you could find her curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book or spending time with her hubby of nineteen years, two kids, four cats, and the family dog.

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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack and winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook.

Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire #2) by Sherry D. Ficklin Release Day Launch

The Queen Has Arrived!


It's true what they say, royalty waits for no one. and so we are excited to announce that Queen of Tomorrow, the highly anticipated follow-up to Queen of Someday, is now available everywhere books are sold--a full two weeks early!


Queen of Tomorrow  

Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace. When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

"A must-read romance!" -The USA Today


"Addicting." -Goodreads


"A sequel that will surprise!" -Hit Or Miss Books 


Queen of Tomorrow is a YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great. Fans of the hit TV show REIGN will devour this scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most dynamic women in history.


arrival  

Grab your copy today!

Amazon B&N.com iBooks 

For more info on this series and for a free book club reading guide, visit the author at http://sherryficklin.com

Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire #2) by Sherry Ficklin Review

Hey readers, Ethan here with a review that's sure to light up your Summer TBR! The second installment in what is, quite possibly, my all-time favorite YA historic fiction series, Stolen Empire. What am I raving about today? Queen of Tomorrow by the amazing Sherry D. Ficklin. Let's learn a bit about the novel and our author before we get to my thoughts:

Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.





Sherry D. Ficklin
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Find Sherry F. Ficklin




***

My Thoughts:

You guys may remember earlier this year when I devoured and raved all about Queen of Someday, book one in this series. As several of you guys will remember, I am a huge history buff. Russian history and culture has always been interesting to me so as soon as I heard of this series, I knew I'd fall in love. I was right. Immediately after reading book one, I realized this series was truly something special. I couldn't say enough great things about it. Not know exactly what Ficklin had planned for book two, I'll admit I was a little nervous, there was a lot of ground to cover. I'll tell you what folks, Ficklin definitely did a очень хорошо job on this novel! Ah-maz-ing! (That's a 'very good' job for my non-Russian speakers out there.) 

Oh wow guys. The plot for Tomorrow is one emotional roller coaster ride. Twists, turns, unease, heartache, and heartbreak follow our cast of characters as Sophie continues to rise to the occasion, growing from poor German-born Sophie to Empress Catherine the Great. The story sure isn't without its' hiccups, but Sophie, now Catherine blossoms from the ashes and become the heart of Russia. Outshining even the brightest stars in power. It isn't easy to craft these characters, but it's even hard to watch them endure the hardships they do. Ficklin does note that this novel is not suited for young readers, and she is very right in saying this. Forced sex, physical abuse, and harsh language will follow Catherine on her journey to win the heart of Russia. It certainly isn't an easy ascent up the mountain.

Ficklin does an absolutely amazing job with the characters in this novel. Anyone who remembers book one will remember the huge cast of characters involved. Thankfully in book two, Ficklin doesn't throw many more at us, but rather dives deeper into the psyche of the ones she previously crafted. Not only do we see the crucial development of Sophie to Catherine, we see amazing strides in the characters of Empress Elizabeth, Sergei, Peter, and others. Like I said before guys, it's non-stop emotion and tension. Expect the absolute unexpected because nothing is as it seems!

Set in eighteenth century Russia, Ficklin pulls out all the stops. From palace to the forests of Russia, each setting is beautifully crafted with just the right amount of description to set the tone of the novel. I was very clearly able to close my eyes and imagine myself in the palace of the Empress Elizabeth, right alongside Sophie and the gang. Everything from Russian architecture to food was described in such a fantastic way as to leave the reader more than impressed. 

I can honestly say that I am in absolute awe of Sherry Ficklin. Never before in my bookish history have I seen an author go to such lengths for a story. The research Ficklin has done on every facet of Russian history and culture is sure to please even the harshest of critics. It is noted in the novel multiple times that this is a historic fiction and that Ficklin has taken some liberties in interpreting the tale. In all honesty, I believe that Ficklin's tale is probably closer to the truth than the history books have led us to believe, plus they give these historical figures a story for an entirely new generation of learners. Save a spot on your bookshelf of favorite, Ficklin has more than earned that empty space! 

This novel deals with some strong adult themes including rape, domestic violence, torture, murder, adultery, underage drinking (by our standards), and more. If any of these things offends you, please take caution that this may not be the series for you. For those of you who are able to embrace these elements as truth, you will be greatly rewarded by this gripping tale Ficklin has crafted. The lessons learned by Sophie in this series are reflective on our own lives in the 21st century, we can all learn a lot about life from Mrs. Catherine the Great.  

There is only one more novel left in the Stolen Empire series, Queen of Always and it just so happens I had the great pleasure of beta reading it for Sherry Ficklin earlier this month. Guys, if the final installment ends up being anything close to what I read, we may have a contender for all-time favorite series on our hands. I'm not kidding when I give this series such high praise. Written with the greatest eloquence, sophistication, and flair, Sherry D. Ficklin has truly delivered a literary masterpiece of our time. 

Writing this review has really made me fall in love with this novel all over again. Queen of Tomorrow really is beyond special to me in every facet. As a history scholar, as a reader, as a human being. It spoke to me. Sherry Ficklin is a national treasure. To write such beautiful words in such a well-crafted story is amazing beyond any words I could possibly write here. Here's to you Queen Sherry Ficklin, well done ma'am. Well done. It is for these reasons, and many, many more, that I am granting Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry D. Ficklin a near-perfect 5+-star review. You'll be seeing much more about this series for me in the future. Don't worry folks, it only gets better from here!

***



Click the cover below to see my 5-star review of 
Queen of Someday (Book #1 in the Stolen Empire trilogy)


Alright folks, that's all I have for you on the topic of Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry D. Ficklin. As you guys can clearly see, I am absolutely enamored with this entire series. It's almost perfection. I highly recommend it to any and all readers mature-YA aged and up. Don't miss this incredible read. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Thought Monday #9 (Falling Out of Love with an Author)


Hey readers! Welcome to another thrilling installment of My Thought Monday. A weekly post where I get to rant and/or rave about happenings in the book world. I have received lots of positive feedback from my previous posts and want to keep the momentum going. This week I'll be touching on another topic that's important to all authors and bloggers. 

I'd like to offer up my thoughts for discussion among authors, bloggers, readers, and all members of the literary community. I understand that my views may be in the minority on some fronts and would love to hear your thoughts. Please note that while I would love to hear your thoughts, I will not tolerate this as a place of hate and negativity. If you so choose to put forward your thoughts via comment, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc, please do so professionally. I am fully aware that sometimes the bookish world is the last place you want to put your personal thoughts, but I, for one, am tired of being quiet. It's time for me to take a stand on issues that are important to me in this community. It is my belief that, only as a community, can we pull together and make real change in this bookish world we all know and love.

This week's topic:
Falling Out of Love with an Author

*****

As many of you guys know, I didn't do a MTM last week because I was on the way home from UtopYA in Nashville and just didn't have time to get one done. It's been a crazy week for me book-wise with all the catching up and whatnot. This topic has been stirring around in my head for several months now, but I think after some of the things I am seeing here lately on social media, now is the best time to let my thoughts be known. Today's topic? Falling Out of Love with an Author.

I read. A lot. Many of you read, a lot. In fact, you are reading right this very moment. Do I expect you to read everything I write? No. Do I expect you to agree with everything I write? No. Do I expect you to love everything I write? Of course not. Then why do we do it with authors?

Ever since starting this blog last March, I've noticed a growing trend that really irks me. Reviewers, bloggers, etc are sometimes afraid to let their honest thoughts be known. If they love an author, everyone knows it. If they hate an author, their closest friends may know it, but what happens when their favorite author writes a novel that's sub-par to them?

Nothing. 

We shrug it off, continue to promote it, and then either 1) neglect to review it or 2) lie in the review. I say 'we' as the reviewing community, not saying that I personally do such things. 

Anyone who reads my negative critiques knows that I don't go easy on them. Some of my all-time favorite authors such as Sherry Ficklin and Jon Messenger sure didn't start out that way. In their earlier reviews, I ripped their works apart. In the end, I still loved them and their work, but I wasn't shy about pointing out the issues I had. Do you guys remember my reviews for Gayle Foreman's If I Stay series? I hated that novel and I sure wasn't shy about admitting it. My whole point with this rant is to remember to be honest in your promotion and reviewing. Lying doesn't help anyone.

Personal story time. (I'm going to leave out specific names here in an effort to not single anyone out.) Earlier this year, I was approaching by an author to review the latest installment in a series that has been very special to me. I've been promoting it for well over a year now. I eagerly awaited my ARC, then flew through it, only to discover that I actually kind of hated the book. A novel I'd been waiting a long time to get my hands on, only to be extremely disappointed in the novel in nearly every way possible. I analyzed the read from every angel and facet and discovered that it simply was not the read for me. I was torn. In a big way. Not only was this series a favorite of mine, the author was (and remains to this day) a very close personal friend. What do I do?

I fought long and hard about my decision. Do I risk our friendship by posting this bad review? Do I just not share my thoughts? After consulting with several friends on the matter (many of whom agreed with me that this was not the author's greatest work), it was decided that I should not only post my review, but also reach out to my friend explaining why I judged it so harshly. So... I bit the bullet. I posted my review. 

The next day I sent the author a message explaining my thoughts and my review. The response? The author was completely fine with it. In fact, I was praised for being honest and pointing out some things that the author was also nervous about in the novel. Now, that being said, my thoughts didn't impact anyone probably, because the novel went on to be a best seller. The author explained to me that any review is helpful to them and their readers and that they only ask for honesty in their reviews. 

That meant the world to me. 

Just because I don't love what an author has written does not mean I can't continue to be a fan of their works. In a lot of aspects of the world the phrase "a _____ is only as good as their latest _____" can be said. In the author world, this simply is not true.

Authors are people too (gasp, surprise). Each time an author sits down and puts pen to paper, it's a different experience. Are they sad? Happy? Angry? An author must be cautious when writing because their feelings are displayed very clearly on the page. Are they writing on a deadline and just trying to hurry up and finish the novel? Yeah. I can definitely see when that is the case. Maybe their writing experience doesn't match your reading experience? Who can say? 

I can honestly say that in a majority of cases, an author gets better with each passing novel. That's how it should be. More experience= better writing, makes sense, right? This isn't the truth in all cases though. You know how sometimes an author will release a bestselling debut novel and then drop off the face of the planet? That's why. Sometimes people only have one story to tell, and that's completely okay. There have been several instances where I've read from a debut author (or read a debut novel) that was absolutely fantastic, only to be severely disappointed in later works. Writing is a fine art folks. Let's not judge too harshly. 

If you love the first novel in a series, don't let the next one affect your thinking. Even if it doesn't go the way you envision. Don't ever let the next read affect your overall views of the author, no matter how hard that may be. 

The bottom line truth is folks, it's going to be very seldom that you find an author that's going to release a 5-star perfect, fantastic read every time. Don't let that pressure get to you. All books are not meant for all readers. Embrace it. Own the no. Let your truthful thoughts be known. I can assure you that not only the author, but your fellow reviewers, will respect you so much more.

Nobody likes a kiss ass. If you've reviewed 100 novels this year and 99 of them were 5-star reads, you're in the wrong business folks. If you look at my archive, you'll see that many of my reviews are for 5-star reads. I also don't review near as often as other bloggers. Why? Because I don't take the time to review novels I don't care for. For every book I do review, there are probably 2 that I choose not to. I challenge all my fellow bloggers and readers to look into a reviewer carefully before selecting novels solely based on their opinions. I've come to find that they aren't all always the truth.

But what happens when you do completely fall out of love with an Author?

I've had this happen to me recently as well. It's hard to say who changed. Was it me? My life certainly has changed a lot recently and that is definitely being reflected in my reading choices. Was it them? Has their writing style changed so much that it's beyond recognition? Have they given in completely to the spotlight and stopped writing from the heart? It's hard to say. In this instance I strongly believe that the author has changed. Not just as a writer, but as a person. It's an author who's career I followed since the beginning, devouring each and every novel they'd written. I've watched for years while they rose to superstar status, while their books fell down the hill into poorly written trash. 

I fell out of love.

It hurt. I was offended. I never want to read another book they write. But guess what? That's okay. Nobody cares. I can be mad all I want to, but the only person it's going to effect? Me. Only me. That bestselling author and now superstar doesn't need my approval, they don't even know me. So I just let it go. They've released several other books now and guess what? I didn't read them. I don't care anymore. They've lost my respect as a person and an author. 

Yet the world keeps on spinning.

For every author I love, there are thousands out there begging for their chance to be loved by one more fan. I've come to the point in my blogging career that I no longer care what people think about who or what I read. I've crossed all genres and read from authors worldwide, always looking for that next shining star to add to my bookshelf. If I search hard enough, I'll always find one.

Reading isn't about The One. It isn't about finding that author who is your soul mate. It isn't about finding that singular tome that will change your life forever. Reading is about hope. Reading is about life. Reading is about losing yourself in the pages of another world for a short period of time. Books may only hold a place on our shelves for a while, but they stay in our hearts forever.

Remember that friends.

It's okay if you fall out of love with an author. Please don't let it get you down. pick up the pieces of your broken bookish heart and move on. There is another author hiding out there who would love to help put you back together again. Don't continue to suffer through the works of an authors whose works aren't what they used to be. C'est la vie.

So where does that leave us? In a world full of infinite bookish possibilities! Don't waste your time on authors you don't love anymore. Be thankful for the good times you had together and let's move on! Let another author fill that void, I promise you'll be more happy than you were! Maybe one day you can go back to that author you dropped and fall in love all over again. Who knows what tomorrow may bring! 

Keep reading, keep reviewing, keep loving, and keep following your passion. Just do it with honesty. Don't lie to anyone, including yourself. You'll never help anyone that way. 

*****

And there you have it. My thoughts on Falling Out of Love with an Author. Have you experienced this yourself? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below. This was such a fun post to write and I hope you all got something out of it. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Sunday, June 28, 2015

All the Way to Heaven by Becky Doughty Cover Reveal

THE FALLOUT SERIES

We have some more cover goodness for your viewing pleasure. Check out the new cover for ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN by Becky Doughty. This new adult contemporary romance, published by Clean Teen Publishing, will hit shelves in January 2016. Take a look at the cover, give the blurb a read, and comment to let us know what you think! We love hearing from our readers.

ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN by Becky Doughty


Ebook - All the way to Heavin  


Anica Tomlin, business major, has just learned that the man she's been planning her future around, her Global Finance professor, already has a beautiful wife and family. Ani cashes in her graduation gift to herself a little early—a trip to Tuscany—but from the moment she boards the wrong train in Pisa, her plans for solitude and self-indulgence begin to unravel around her.

When a bicycle accident thrusts Ani into the skilled hands of the dashing Dr. Cosimo Lazzaro, she reluctantly accepts his invitation to recover in his family's country villa, perched on a hilltop surrounded by the Lazzaro olive groves. But it's been a black year for olive growers all over Italy, and generations of tradition are being put to the test like never before.

Ani is swept up in the drama of life in Tuscany, the convergence of old and new, and the passions that drive people to pursue the desires of their hearts. Just as Ani begins to get her feet under her again, an unexpected turn of events leaves her doubting the very existence of happily-ever-after, unless she can learn to trust the desires of her own heart.

Although All the Way to Heaven is a stand-alone novel, it is the first book in The Fallout Series, a collection of sweet contemporary romances that follow characters featured in the first book.

The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons Recruit Tour

TFM Receruit Tour Banner - Final

Hey readers! Ethan here with a special post for you guys today! I am proud to be a host on the special RECRUIT tour for Heather Lyon's The Forgotten Mountain. In this special tour, we will not only be promoting the novel itself, but also picking OUR OWN recruits to join The Collectors' Society. Before we get to my recruit, here's a bit about the novel and Heather:


After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine Collectors’ Society, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.



Heather Lyons

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—she’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Find Heather Lyons






*****

The Forgotten Mountain Recruit Tour Schedule

June 22

June 23

June 24

June 25

June 26

June 27

June 28

June 29

June 30

July 1

July 2

July 3

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One Guy's Guide to Good Reads Society Recruit...


As outlined in the document above, my choice for potential Society recruit is Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, Hobbiton, Middle Earth. Baggins resides in timeline 1937/55TOL-HOB, or, at least did as of his last known whereabouts. Baggins held many hats during his adventures in 1937/55TOL-HOB before departing Middle Earth on one final journey. It is assumed that Baggins is still out there, searching for adventure. Of all the literary worlds and creatures we at the Society have visited and uncovered, Tolkien's Middle Earth has been both a Timeline of great interest and much debate. It was originally decided this Timeline was too dangerous to be disturbed, for this reason no liaison has been chosen. No contact has been made with this timeline. Due to extreme circumstances in stopping the villains who have placed us in such unspeakable peril, it is my belief that the time is nigh to make contact. Through the help of Baggins, we could do much good in our endeavors. 


While it is not known at this time the specifics of this timeline's catalyst, it could be a number of relics including Sting, Bilbo's coveted blade, the Arkenstone, or the Crown of Gondor. Protection of each of these relics is vital to ensuring stasis within the timeline. As evident in the map to the left, we can see that Tolkien's Middle Earth is among the most developed and civilized Timeline's available. It is with great caution that we disturb this Timeline. 




While not known to be aggressive, Baggins has extremely powerful allies, including one of the greatest Wizards of all time. Through Baggins' extensive knowledge and marketable skills, I am confident his addition to the Society would prove to be invaluable. 

"In paginis mundus invenimus. In verbis vitam inveniimus." In Tolkien script.
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Click on the covers below to be taken to my 5-star reviews of all three novels in this series.

     
          
   

Alright guys, that's all I have for you on my stop on the recruit tour for The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons. This series is one of my all-time favorites so I am honored to share my choice of recruit on this tour. Some amazing characters have already been chosen. Be sure to head to the other blogs and check out their choices! Huge thanks to Heather and the team at InkSlinger PR for allowing me to participate!
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Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book World: Behind the Scenes {1}


Hey readers! Ethan here introducing to you a brand new blog series!

Getting a book from a word document and onto the shelves at your local bookstore takes a lot of work and, often, a small army to do it. Many believe that the authors are the only rockstars in the business. After over a year of blogging, I've learned that this simply isn't true. There is an entire community of 'unsung heroes' doing the hard work behind the scenes to get the book ready for our hands!

In this series, I'm honoring those awesome unsung heroes.

Book World: Behind the Scenes will be a weekly post, each Thursday, that will spotlight one awesome individual from the book world. I will not only be spotlighting that person, but also conducting a one-on-one interview with them covering an array of topics such as the current state of the book world, trends they are seeing, and some information about their background in the field.

I think this is an incredible opportunity to show readers and the rest of the bookish community just how much work goes into making a book successful! Let's give those unsung heroes a moment in the spotlight!

Week One: Meet Marya Heiman

What an amazing way to start out our very first Book World: Behind the Scenes! Today I am hosting the absolutely incredible Marya Heiman. Marya wears many, many hats including Chief Creative Officer for Clean Teen and Crimson Tree Publishing. Marya is here today, however, as a cover designer and literary guru on all things graphic design. With so many book cover artists out there, it's hard to find one that really shines. You guys know how big of a cover snob I am, so you know how important it is to find great covers. In Marya, I have found some of my absolute all time favorite covers. Her portfolio is truly incredible. 

Before we get to our sit down, let's learn a bit about Marya Heiman:

Marya Heiman has ten years of experience in customer relations and creative design. In 2011, Marya entered the publishing world when a friend asked for her help in designing their book cover. Soon, she found that she had a knack for image manipulation and an eye for bringing multiple elements together to create a visually stunning cover. Marya decided to do what she loved and began freelancing as a cover designer, and later went on to open Clean Teen Publishing. Marya was recently honored with a RONE Award for one of her covers and has received numerous other accolades for her gorgeous designs. Marya believes that people do judge a book by its cover and she’s determined to make the Indie publishing world a more beautiful place, one cover at a time.

Find Marya at Strong Image Editing


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Interview with Marya Heiman


Name: Marya Heiman
Location: DFW, Texas
Book World Occupation: Publisher/Cover Designer
Years in the Business: 3 years
Favorite Book/Genre: Fantasy and Sci-fi

1. We’ve read your bio, but tell us a little more about yourself and your work within the business. What exactly is your role in helping a book get from a word document and into the reader’s hands?

As a cover designer I work with the author to give a face to their story. This involves searching for images, mocking up and doing the back and forth dance, research on any new techniques and genre trends, polish on the finished product and then any side items for swag and the like. It's not too complicated but can be time consuming... and rewarding. ;-)

The publisher end of things is waaaaaaay more complicated. I do nearly all the covers for CTP but I also coordinate with the artists who do various other things for us, I schedule our blog tours, I make and order book marks, I coordinate with our distributor and printer for cover work, I answer questions from authors and help to foster our family type atmosphere, I research... lots of research on new ideas and ways to improve, I design banners and swag and any other graphics we might need, I'm always looking for cool new ideas for give always, I do my best to interact on our authors social media pages, and on our own pages, I attend conventions and help to do everything from set up, to tending the booth, to meeting with other vendors, to attending classes and learning ever more about the constantly changing publishing world. And this is just off the top of my head! There is so much more that goes into publishing books and as an owner of the company I'm involved in all of it even if I'm not actually doing the leg work. All three of us are involved in the decisions for the company; who we sign, what direction we take, what vendors we use, and on and on. It's a crazy world but I love it very much.

2. What kind of training do you have? What prepares you for this type of work?

I don't have any sort of formal training, I am all self taught and constantly learning more every day. I do, however, come from a long line of artistic folk. My Aunt is a muralist in Austin, my mother was a writer, and many others in my family dabble in creative avenues even if they never made a career of it.

3. Marya, your covers are, by far, some of my all time favorites. What do you use for inspiration when designing your covers? Do you actually read each novel or do you work with the authors for elements to include?

Aww, thank you!! And no, I don't always read the book before I do a cover. Sadly I don't have the time to read them all any more. Though I wish I could!! So I mostly work with the author and bounce around ideas with them. They tell me their favorite scenes, I look at their Pintrests boards and inspiration images, and we search the stock sites to find the right  look. My authors are very involved in the process because it's their vision I am bringing to life. It's my job to take that idea and make it amazing.

4. How much time goes into each cover you design? Can you walk us through the process a bit?

Oh time... such a tricky beast! Lol! I've found that each cover is unique when it comes to difficulty. Some fall into place and are done in an hour, some take days. It depends on the complexity of the manipulations, the ease of finding the right images, fonts, and other elements, and just hitting the right mark. Some times a cover will go through a few iterations before we find just the right 'OMG!' moment. I would say though, that on average from start to finish it's about a two week process.  This includes discussion and image searching and everything. That said, don't contact me two weeks before you need a cover! Lol! My schedule is usually booked for months out and running a publisher takes priority over everything else. I've even been considering not taking on any more outside clients because I am just SO busy with CTP things. But that is a hard decision to make as I love this community and the authors I've worked with.

5. As someone who designs covers, I’m sure you see some great and some… not so great, work. What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to cover design? What makes Marya Heiman tick?

Oh yes, there are some covers out there that should NOT be out there. But I don't have anything that really irks me. There are things that make me cringe, like putting a stroke (an outline) around the type.  It just doesn't look good to my eye. There are some fonts that should be retired and never used again. And just bad editing, where the lighting doesn't match and you can tell it's one image cropped onto another. But again, it doesn't get me riled up, just doesn't look good. ;-)

6. Covers, much like books themselves, go through phases and trends. What are some of the more common trends we are seeing in the current book market?

Honestly, I try not to follow trends too much. I LOVE good cover art, and I do spend time ogling the top seller lists. But I don't often seek out what's trendy. I think right now for YA it's all about being vibrant and dramatic. There seems to be a move to covers with out people, but covers with the MC's on them are still popular too. But beyond that, like birds, or thorns, or fancy dresses... I don't want to be a lemming and I find that following my own trends leads to a more eye catching cover. For other genres what I usually do is go out and find a style I like in other covers and save those as inspiration for that project. It's called a mood board and it's very helpful in getting the mind into the mood for the project.

7. What advice would you have for an author who is looking for a cover designer? What criteria do you think is most important when searching? With so many to choose from, how is an author to decide who best to represent their vision?

First and foremost, find someone who does covers you love. And not just one, but like, nearly all of their work you love. If you don't like what they have already done, you wont like your cover. Second would be price; figure out your budget and search for that among the designers you like. And always ask your fellow authors who they recommend. You can have the best designer in the world but if their work ethic is sloppy then it will not be worth the money.

8. Not only do you design covers, you also design swag and help with website design and graphics. In your experience, how important are these other aspects of the book world?

Very important! Your visibility doesn't end with the cover. It's certainly what draws new readers to your book, but if you want someone to become a long time fan of all your work, then your swag and web page and all of that has to be just as good.

9. What are some of your all-time favorite book covers? 

Oh man.... I love so many! My favorite authors have some of my favorite covers too, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. I love dragons so that's an easy way to get me to 'Ooooo!' at a cover. I'm also a big fan of Regina Wamba and Conspiracy Digital Art as designers. And Phat Puppy does stunning art work.

10. What is your favorite part about cover design? How do you feel when you see a cover you designed on bookstore shelves?

LOL! Are you kidding me? I want to do cart wheels in the aisles when I see my covers on a shelf! Maybe someday that will be old hat, but right now it's like a kid in a candy store for me. I want to go grab random people and drag them over to see the awesome. ^_^ I think my favorite part of the design is when the author falls in LOVE with what I've done. I aim for that every time.  And also the creative outlet it gives me is a close second.

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Check out some of my favorite covers from Marya!


  ... aren't they beautiful?

This past weekend at UtopYA, I had the great honor of actually meeting Marya. She was absolutely amazing and made me so glad to feature her and her work here on my blog. I can't say I know many cover designers, but Marya will forever hold a special place in my bookish heart. I swore I took a pic with just Marya and myself at some point this weekend, but apparently did not so... Here's a pic of Marya and I alongside the rest of the CTP team!

Left to Right: Ethan, Marya Heiman, Rebecca Gober, and Courtney Nuckels 
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Alright everyone, that's all I have for you on Marya Heiman during my very first Book World: Behind the Scenes post! I hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit more about some of the BTS work that goes into making our favorite reads awesome! Be sure to join us next week when we meet another amazing industry professional! 

Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading!


-Ethan


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Are you an author? Do you work with an incredible someone who holds a career in one of the above fields? Are you a blogger who has worked with one? I want to honor those awesome people!

I already have a handful of interested parties lined up, but I'd like to add more. If you would like to nominate someone for a spotlight, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Interested parties are encouraged to fill out the Goodle Doc by clicking here or to contact me (Ethan) directly by shooting an email to OneGuysGuidetoGoodReads@gmail.com.

Google Doc:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YGWFHnUYU2FZ3CnqKU70pmuKk4JaNxKB8CugxHZTn_4/viewform?usp=send_form

I think this is an incredible opportunity to show readers and the rest of the bookish community just how much work goes into making a book successful! Let's give those unsung heroes a moment in the spotlight!
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