Friday, Indie Authors, YA Society

Thanks for Giving Me a Read

contestdescHappy Thanksgiving!

Here in the states we set aside a day each fall to be thankful for all we have been given. This year I’m celebrating at home with a table full of good food and a my lovely family. And while I’m counting my blessings, I’ll be thinking of you, dear reader. I want to say thank you to all of you who have cheered me on and supported me through my first year as an indie author. I’m thrilled to have such loyal fans and dear friends. Thank you!

This Friday, when you begin the hunt for the perfect gifts for your family and friends, please consider supporting an indie author. My gals over at the YA StoryTellers Society are sharing a few suggestions with their readers to help you narrow down the perfect gift for the book lovers in your life. You can even win a $25 Amazon gift card to make shopping easier. Just take a pic of yourself holding one of our books and you could win!

You can check out what the other Society members listed as their favorite indie author deals for the year by clicking HERE. Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites to add to your Kindle this season:

BAITAt sixteen, Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. The last thing she wants is to be popular, to be noticed, so she never raises her hand in class. She doesn’t participate in extra-curricular activities and purposely puts the wrong answers on tests in order to keep her solid C point average. Her classmates have no clue who she really is, Van Helsing’s daughter. They don’t know she’s on the run, hiding from monsters that want to kill her before she can turn into a great hunter. They’re afraid of her… and they should be because she plans to be the best hunter the world has ever seen. As soon as she is finished with her training, she’s going to track and kill the werewolf pack responsible for tearing her mother to shreds, and nothing is going to get in her way.

FREE on Amazon!

Of sun and moon

Teens are disappearing in a small river town in southern Ohio as Keira Ryan begins her freshman year. Kidnappings aside, her worries mount as she crushes on an older guy, her best friend starts dating a spoiled cheerleader, and the parents that abandoned her at birth arrive at her doorstep. And, oh yeah, she’s a tooth fairy destined to kick some butt and bring about the end of a royal line of vicious, blood-sucking tyrants.

Just 99 cents on Amazon!

Lichgates cover

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

FREE on Amazon!

New Cover for Open Door

Carin exposes the true reason she was asked to summer on the Mallace Mansion estate.  Will she be strong enough to recognize love and redeem her family legacy?  Or will the temptations of power and control lure her to the same dark places where others lost themselves?

Just 99 cents on Amazon!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00039]

Merrilyn’s life is quiet and predictable. An apprentice to the royal healer, she spends her days helping in the village or up to mischief with her best friend who happens to be the handsome younger son of the king. But when a mysterious archer shows up in the forest and shoots their escort, Merrilyn’s life is forever changed. Caught in a battle between two forgotten gods, she must embrace her destiny and fight the very powers of darkness before it’s too late.

Just 99 cents on Amazon!

Don’t forget to stop by The Society and enter to win.

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writing advice, YA Author Club

Word Count Madness

YA Indie CarnivalMany first time authors struggle with word count. How long should my novel be to get published? Is my novel too long? Is it too short? What the heck is a novella and what’s the difference between that and a short story? If you’re an indie author, does it even matter?

Excellent questions. The YA Indie Carnival decided to tackle this confusing topic this week in our Indie Author Series. When I was starting out, I didn’t even know it mattered. Seriously! I had no clue about things like word count and publishing industry standards. Why would it matter how long a book is? Well, like most things, it’s all about the money. Word count in the publishing world affects both the cost of the book to print, and it’s likeliness to be sold to readers. I won’t go into too much detail on this topic because my fellow indie author club member, Bryna Butler, has already covered the basics in her article Do Word Counts Count?

I’ll tell you that I really struggle to get a book over the 60K mark. My stories tend to be action packed and fast paced. My editor always turns in a stack of notes on where I can expand scenes instead of the standard cut and slash method most authors have to endure. In real life I’m obnoxiously verbose, but in my writing I tend to race from one plot point to another. That keeps my word count down. The day I finish a book above 100K, I’ll be calling it “epic” whether it deserves the title or not!

In my opinion, this is just one of the many fabulous reasons I call myself an indie author. I don’t have to worry too much about word count. I get to tell my story, mold it and sculpt it into something I can proudly share with all of you, and then set it free. I don’t have to worry about whether it is meeting some marketing team’s standard, or the printing budget. I know authors who are traditionally published sitting at their desks right now trying to find an extra 30,000 words to cram into their story or a sum of 50,000 to tear out just to meet that industry standard for a publisher. In the end I think the reader suffers most because we don’t see the story as it was meant to be. What a shame that we let business people determine how our stories are crafted. At least if it is a professional editor, we can trust that they care about the integrity of the story, but what does a CEO or a financial team know about our stories? They’re job is to watch that bottom dollar.

Let me tell you how indies are using this freedom to do incredible things for readers in this modern age. We’re seeing the resurgence of the short story and the serial novel in the literary world thanks to indie authors around the globe. With ebooks, authors can share their work so easily, that a reader can now get shorts without having to buy an anthology or search through literary magazines to find them. Some of my favorite authors are even including short stories in their marketing plans these days, fitting them in between their longer novels in a series. For instance, Aaron Pogue has published several short stories to go along with his Taming Fire series, including back story and short stories to give more detail into side characters from the series. As a reader, I love this concept! If I’m engrossed in a world of characters, you can bet I want more of it! This is an area I think I’ll be dabbling in this year as I fill in the missing years between Seen and Wandering in The Wanderer Series.

Another concept I’ve been watching is the use of the serial novel in the ebook world. Once upon a time many of the world’s best stories were written this way and published in local newspapers or magazines. Now we’re seeing this traditional form of story telling reemerge. Wool was crazy successful from author Hugh Howey, netting the author millions of dollars and a ground-breaking publishing contract. Now my friend, author Susan Kaye Quinn, has created her own incredible serial titled The Debt Collector. I’ve been watching her progress very closely as I consider how I might use that model in my own work. She’s set a crazy pace, releasing a new episode in the series every few weeks! Wow! I’m not sure I could keep up with that pace, but I’m inspired to look at my list of future writing plans and see what might work best as a serial. I especially like the value this offers both to the reader and to the writer. Readers can catch smaller chunks of a story at a low price or choose to purchase the entire series for a discount. It’s amazing how this old form is making a new comeback on the modern stage.

What do you think? Does word count matter in this modern age and in the indie publishing scene? What trends are you seeing? Do you have a word count preference? Let us know what you think and then check out the opinions of other indie authors in our YA author club.

Take a few minutes to hop around to the authors’ sites and find out their preferences as well as their rationale behind them.
1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
Indie Authors

Author Spotlight: Bryna Butler

Happy Friday! Today I’m introducing you to another fabulous author from the Indie YA Author Club, Bryna Butler. Bryna’s young adult paranormal novels feature strong female leads and are woven from elements of horror, suspense, comedy, and mystery, all in a modern, small town setting. Here’s what Bryna had to say when we gave her the YA Indie Carnival quiz:

What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I adore The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Its style is like nothing else I’ve ever read. I found it to be almost hypnotic with its imagery and near poetic cadence.

Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why? 
Because I tend to write about strong female characters, I think that one could draw a comparison with Charlaine Harris.  I had the opportunity to meet her this summer and, to my surprise, she is a down-to-earth hillbilly just like me.
Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
 One of my favorite quotes comes from my newest book, Shadows Rising. In this scene, Keira faces off against the leader of a group of extremists that believe her charge is keeping her from her destiny. I think this quote is a great mix of Keira’s courage and her youth.
 “You keep yapping about my charge being a distraction, but here I am dealing with you again. Leave us and my charge alone or die tonight at my hand. I mean it, jerk wad.”
What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
 I’m very inspired by my favorite authors. I often name characters, places and things in my stories in homage to these authors and their work. For instance, in the Midnight Guardian series there is a goth girl named Mikayla Collins whom everyone calls Mikey. Mikey is clearly named in honor of Michael Glass and Shane Collins, two of my favorite characters from Rachel Caine’s Morganville series. Her goth look comes from another beloved character in that series. Also, I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan (who isn’t?). If you look hard enough, you will find several subtle references to Buffy and Firefly sprinkled throughout my books.
Describe your typical writing day or week.
 Just call me the “Night Writer”, not because it sounds like an insanely cool superhero, but because it is true. For me, writing typically begins after the kids are tucked into bed somewhere around 9 p.m. I grab a soda from the fridge and settle in with my laptop. Typically, I first re-read and edit the last thing I wrote before I start writing anything new. That refreshes it in my mind and allows me to move forward.
Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
 I can’t eat while I write. Sounds good in theory, but it never works in practical application. BBQ sauce on the keys…melted cheese on the screen…a whole chapter about brownies.
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
 Shadows Rising was released on January 18th. In this 4th installment in the Midnight Guardian series, Keira and her friends race to rescue her charge before The Harvest and the rise of a new form of evil, the shadows.
Book 5 is well underway with the working title of Book of the Lost and an anticipated late spring release. I’ve also begun work on a young adult werewolf trilogy set in Alaska. The story centers on a girl that walks the line between two feuding werewolf packs.
 OF SUN & MOON (Midnight Guardian #1)
Teens are disappearing in a small river town in southern Ohio as Keira Ryan begins her freshman year. Kidnappings aside, her worries mount as she crushes on an older guy, her best friend starts dating a spoiled cheerleader, and the parents that abandoned her at birth arrive at her doorstep. And, oh yeah, she’s a tooth fairy destined to kick some butt and bring about the end of a royal line of vicious, blood-sucking tyrants. Over the years, humans have pieced together sightings and assumptions to create the myth of the tooth fairy. As it turns out, they were pretty much wrong.
WHISPERING EVIL (Midnight Guardian #2)
Keira Ryan has moved on. It’s the start of her sophomore year at Valley View High School. This means big changes like a new guardian mentor, taking (and passing) her driver’s test, dating her best friend, and figuring out how to stop the new Empress Gammen and her reign of terror. Will she survive it all or will she fall victim to the whispering evil that surrounds her?
MIDNIGHT CHILD (Midnight Guardian #3)
Join Keira Ryan as she chases her destiny in this exciting third installment in the Midnight Guardian Series. While Keira searches, her enemies draw closer. A history of trust is tested. A promise of passion turns deadly. A surviving evil creates doubt and there’s only one way to stop it…Find the Gift. Just what do you get the spoiled gremlin queen that has everything?
SHADOWS RISING (Midnight Guardian #4)
Senior year has begun. Keira Ryan should be worrying about the two boys that are vying for her heart. She should be worrying about Prom. She should be worrying about graduation. But instead of a dress, she’s choosing which dagger to carry. In this fourth installment in the series, Keira and her friends race against time to rescue her charge before The Harvest. They must hurry. Their enemies are bringing forth a new evil to sway the balance. The shadows are rising.
Exclusive Shadows Rising Excerpt that you will only see on YA Indie Carnival author sites…
The night was warm, even though a slight breeze stirred. Keira made her way through the soybean field. She knew the way over the uneven path, even if she couldn’t see. That was nearly the case as clouds worked to block out the moon and stars. The air was thick; the kind that always preceded the summer rain.
As the dirt started to dimple here and there, her steps came quicker. Cool drops chilled her shoulders left bare by her tank top. Steps turned into a jog as the two-story farmhouse came into sight. If she ran hard enough, she could reach his porch before the downpour.
In seconds, she covered the yard. Just a few strides more would land her on the steps where she could wait out the rain on the porch.
Maybe that’s why it happened. Keira was so focused on escaping the rain. Her sneaker slid on the wet grass. Arms circled wildly over her head, eager to find balance or support. They landed on clean, soft cloth. Her feet skittered beneath her as the man under the white robe grabbed her hair and pulled her head back.
“The guardian,” a whisper rose and echoed among the small group. “The guardian,” their murmurs above the tumbles of the strengthening rain. “The guardian.”
Hands flew to her sides and held her arms out. She pulled against them, but there were too many. “Let me go,” she screamed.
Immediately, they let go. She hadn’t expected it and fell on her knees.
“We wish you no harm, guardian. We have come for the midnight child. Trust that this is for the best,” a tall man said. His mouth barely moved, unmarked by expression or emotion of any kind.
Rain began to pour over them. Keira scanned the group to etch every face into her memory; two eager young men, perhaps twins, with strong chins and light coloring; a plump, young woman with red curls falling out of her hooded cloak; a buxom brunette with a permanent sneer; and a mustached brute with a nasty scar through his left eyebrow.
Then, her eyes flickered back to the leader, a bald man with soulless black eyes. Him she knew. It had taken her only a moment to realize he was the one that crashed Jumper’s last Halloween party. He had come for her charge that night too.
“You know that I will never allow you to take him.”
“Your loyalty is misplaced with the Hayes family,” the bald man answered with a voice that chilled her to the bone. “Allow us to remove the distraction so that you may fulfill your true destiny.”
“He is not a midnight child. He is my charge.”
“He is of no consequence.”
A crack sounded, causing everyone to look up. A dark figure stood on the edge of the roof. He stepped forward and landed softly on the ground. He stood tall beside Keira.
Brun’s voice was heavy with anger. “You heard her. The child is not to be touched.”
“But…” the leader of the group started.
His dispute was not heard because Brun was behind him in the next second. The shine of Brun’s short sword glistened at the man’s ear.
“If you will not listen, perhaps you do not need this ear,” Brun growled. “From this day forward, let it be known that the guardian and I both protect this child. Whoever dares to approach him will succumb to the full wrath of the Empire and Elsted. You will leave now…ahhh!”
The leader wrenched his dagger out of Brun’s side. Blood dripped from the dagger’s edge. Brun stumbled back, his face a mixture of disbelief and horror.
 Wanna See More? You can find Bryna here:

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Next week on the YA Indie Carnival we’ll be discussing Barnes & Noble and Nook apps. All the YA author club members will weigh in on how we feel about working with B&N, so stop by and check it out. Happy reading!