P.H. Solomon on Writing Roots #StoryEmpireRoadshow

Happy Monday and welcome to the first day of the Story Empire Roadshow Blog Tour!

vintage photo of a bookmobile with crowd gathered around it

The authors of Story Empire have banned together on a week-long tour spanning all of our blogs to bring you entertaining posts, fabulous deals on books, giveaways and other prizes. To kick things off, please welcome P.H. Solomon!

Book cover for the Bow of Destiny, a fantasy novel by P.H. Solomon

Hello to everyone and thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I’m P. H. Solomon and I’m a fantasy author, living in greater Birmingham, AL. It’s great to be a part of Story Empire and be on the Roadshow this week. I hope you’ll enjoy all the stops and authors this week and take a look at our books. To see our schedule and information about our prizes, please click to our Roadshow page and see where we are making appearances each day. This week I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the most active commenter.

close up of fountain pen with tip on paperI like to write and have for several decades, even though I’ve taken several long breaks from it. During each hiatus, writing always nagged at me and I often thought of ideas and toyed with them from a writing perspective. But one of the main reasons I like to write is that I’m a reader. While I like to read mainly speculative fiction, I do dabble with mysteries, action-thrillers and non-fiction so I have a variety of interests.

But reading influenced me to write long before I ever made my first attempts and it always called me back to writing over the years, simply for the love of a good story. I suppose one of my first memories of reading a good book on my own as a child was when I read The Hobbit by Tolkien, probably about my fifth-grade year. I read all about Bilbo’s adventures while sitting on a grate of our old furnace because it was warm in a drafty old house. The reading warmed my mind as much as the furnace warmed me bodily. That was a nightly ritual for some weeks as I plodded through a much bigger book than I was used to reading on my own. But it led to reading all of The Lord of the Rings over the next year which greatly increased both my reading comprehension and vocabulary. It also led me to other books.

One summer after that, I dealt with a case swimmer’s ear infection for a week or so during June. During that time, I read all of The Chronicles of Narnia. The series kept me company but I was soon finished with it since I was free to devote most of each day to reading. Of course, when I finished and was well, I was more than ready to get out and be active the rest of the summer but the characters stayed with me all that time as I remembered their adventures.

Later, I read other fantasy books and really enjoyed Patricia McKillip during my teen years. I once picked up her newest book, Heir of Sea and Fire, the sequel to The Riddlemaster of Hed, and read it on Christmas break by the fire. It was another story of wonder and adventure and the cozy fire each night was a good setting for reading about characters often visiting new locales with their own campfires to which the characters gravitated for warmth on their journey.

Book cover for An Arrow Against the Wind, a fantasy novel by author P.H. SolomonThese reading memories are much of what gave me a love of story and eventually led me in to writing. Books have been life-long friends to me and they’ve often lent comfort in difficulty which is the case of stories since people started telling them around their nightly fires thousands of years ago. What books influenced you when you were young? What are your fondest reading memories? Thanks for reading this post today and be sure to check out our schedule. While you’re here, feel free to have a look at my current book, The Bow of Destiny and the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind. You can click on my bio banner below to pay me a visit at my website and learn more about me and the rest of The Bow of Hart Saga. Please follow me all week as I share more about my writing each day.

Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me on social media:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | Google+ | Wattpad | Amazon Author

bio box for author P. H. Solomon

Continue to follow the Story Empire Roadshow at these
blogs for more giveaways, prizes and fun!

Staci Troilo | C. S. Boyack | Harmony Kent | Joan Hall | P. H. Solomon

 

Welcome Harmony Kent with Moments #RRBC Author

Today I’m happy to welcome Story Empire author, Harmony Kent to my blog. This is her first time appearing here, so I hope you’ll give her a nice welcome as she shares the news of her upcoming release, Moments.

Banner for the book Moments by author, Harmony KentHello, everyone, Harmony Kent here. Welcome to my book release blog stop at Mae’s place. Today, I’m celebrating the upcoming release of my eighth book! Moments is a collection of short stories and poetry and brings together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. I’d like to take a moment to thank Mae for her support in helping me to promote my newest collection of stories. It comes out on April 14th, and the preorder links are listed at the end of the post 🙂

About the book:

Come.

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.

These tales touch upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement.

And then, after all that, you’ll find the poems.

From the lonely echoes of an empty house to the soaring heights of unexpected love and joy and learning to live as free as clouds and water.

For each of us, a moment encompasses a lifetime and, yet, passes in but the blink of an eye. In but a moment, everything can change. And in this very moment, life beckons in all its potentiality.

When the shadows fall, what will you do?

Excerpt:
(From ‘Twenty-Niner)

Banner for excerpt from Moments short story Twenty-NinerThe pounding in my skull wakes me. I rather wish it hadn’t. Not much, at least that I can think of, can be worse after a night of over-indulging than waking up next to a stranger.

Unable to recall his name.

Or how we met.

And—perhaps, most important of all

—why he’s dead.

That realisation snaps me out of my hung-over fog. With a groan, I roll onto my side and push myself upright. Once I have my feet on the floor, I prop my elbows on my knees and cradle my head in my hands. Please, please, please tell me that I didn’t do it again.

Is it too much to ask for a normal life? A normal relationship? A normal lifespan?

I pray, dear reader, that you’re not a Twenty-Niner. That your birthday doesn’t fall on the 29th of February. That you don’t age four times slower than everyone else. Or suck the life out of other folks to do it.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Pre-order from Amazon US or Amazon UK

Author Bio and Links:

Indie Author Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

  • The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved
  • The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree / New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015
  • Elemental Earth (YA Fantasy Fiction)
  • Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015
  • Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)
  • Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)
  • Interludes (Erotic Romance short stories)
  • Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services.  As well as reviewing and supporting her fellow indie authors, Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the indie publishing arena.  She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

For all books available from Harmony, check out her author pages at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Trailer videos: Harmony’s trailers.

Website: http://harmonykent.co.uk

Twitter: @harmony_kent https://twitter.com/harmony_kent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

RWISA Author Page: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harmony-kent/

Writing and #Cats

Raven is helping me introduce my post today. For those of you who are new followers, Raven is my rescue cat, adopted the end of September. Recently, it’s been brought to my attention (ahem….you know who you are 🙂 ) that my blog has suffered an appalling lack of cat photos.

So, today Raven is the guest presenter for my post at Story Empire. She was camped out on my desk when I wrote What’s Your Preference? and thinks it’s pretty good. But then Raven likes ripping apart stuffed lobsters (and I don’t mean the gourmet variety).

This is my predatory hunter with a cute red lobster I found on Amazon. See it peeking out from beneath her belly?

Raven with lobster (black cat with stuffed lobster toy)

The picture was taken on the day I opened the package. Today, the lobster has no tail and the right eye is barely hanging on, just one of her many toy casualties. What she did to the stuffed mouse is too gruesome to mention, but what can I say? She’s a cat and cats are hunters.

Like any cat, she also knows how to pose. The second photo is the one that was posted on the rescue site when she was placed for adoption. The moment I saw her, I was smitten. Seriously—who could resist that face? She was so tiny! I used to be able to hold her in one hand.

The final photo is Raven now. Look at those eyes! Her birthday comes up the middle of May when she’ll be a year old.

Raven on rescue site, black kitten

And now that you’ve had a chance to see what a gorgeous girl she is, I hope you’ll join me at Story Empire as I ruminate about writing habits, CPs and professional organizations.

Who knows…there might even be a cat photo or two :)Raven Eyes black cat with legs tucked under body looking at camera

Are You Missing Out?

Open memo book with eyeglasses and penIt’s Monday and the beginning of the last week in March. Although it’s rainy in my corner of the world, the temperatures are beginning to climb and there are even rumors of a gorgeous day tomorrow. Not too shabby for kicking off a new week :)

And, of course, a new week brings a brand new post on Story Empire. Today, Staci Troilo addresses what your author website is likely missing. This is an informative post you won’t want to miss. I know it reminded me of something I’ve neglected to do.

How about you?  Is your author website all that it should be? Hop over to Story Empire to see what you may have overlooked.

Welcome A.M. Manay with She Marches Through Fire #Vampires #NewRelease #RRBC

I’m delighted to welcome A.m. Manay, sister author with RRBC to my blog today. She’s here to share some background on her newest November Snow novel. I’ve already read the first two books in this series and have pre-ordered book 3, She Marches Through Fire, which releases in just a few days. The amount of world-building Anne Margaret has put into this series is phenomenal. Highly recommended by moi. 🙂

In the meantime, please say hello as Anne Margaret shares some background about a unique setting in her books…

~ooOOoo~

“Sanctuary Setting” 
by A.M. Manay

In both She Lights Up the Dark and the forthcoming She Marches Through Fire, November hides in the basement of an historic church in Oakland, California.  Churches have a long history as places of sanctuary for those hiding from persecution or arrest, so I found it thematically appropriate to make a church November’s place of refuge.  The church is based on the one I actually attend, which continues to be a beacon for social justice even as its membership has dwindled since its heyday following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  I wonder if the internet sleuths among you could identify it based on the details in She Lights Up the Dark . . .

The sanctuary building of my church was constructed in 1913, and the heating system is thus based on century-old technology.  The basement chamber where November and company hide is part of that system.  A furnace heats steam, which is sent into coils that form blocks of copper tubing several feet deep.  An enormous fan the size of a bedroom blows air past those heated coils.  The hot air fills a half-height chamber, then it rises through vents into the sanctuary above.  This photo is of that short chamber, where November and company hide.

dark basement room of old church

As you can see from the photo, the accommodations for November and her companions are not exactly lavish.  It’s dark and damp down there.  The ceiling is criss-crossed with old pipes and sharp bits ready to scratch the unwary and to test the efficacy of tetanus shots.  The space is littered with old, rusting equipment.

And yet, unsightly as this basement room is, it keeps us warm every Sunday in real the real world, and it protects my characters in the pretend one.

It’s a testament to my characters’ desperation that no one complains much about their hiding place’s physical condition.  Otherwise, it would be hard to imagine Luka, in particular, choosing to rest somewhere so beneath his station in life.

In She Marches Through Fire, November and Luka wind up spending the day beneath the church having just survived an enormous vampire brawl, a car chase, and a multi-vehicle collision at high speeds, after weeks of the enemy constantly nipping at their heels.  That’s probably about what it would take to get me to sleep down there.  How about you?

To find out just how much November needed sanctuary, pre-order your copy of She Marches Through Fire, arriving March 28th.

Book cover for She Marches Through Fire by A. M. ManayTitle: She Marches Through Fire (November Snow Book 3)
Series: November Snow
Author: A.M. Manay
Cover design: A.M. Manay
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Supernatural fantasy

Mini-blurb:
Psychic vampire November Snow must battle grief, injury, and her own family as she fights evil on all sides. She seeks a cure for the poison sapping her strength and a fairy weapon as powerful as it is dangerous to wield. When it is time to save the innocent and gain justice for her maker, will she find the strength to march through the fire?

EXCERPT:
Luka woke, and his body jerked as he registered the presence of the silver bindings holding him helpless on the floor.  He looked up at his companions: Pine, Hector, Raina, and Gul.

“Oh, dear,” he commented bleakly.

“Tide has turned a bit, you worthless bastard,” Hector said, unable to resist the urge to needle the man he despised.

“Indeed, it has,” Luka admitted.  “The wheel of fortune does turn.  One day at the top, and the next . . .  Well, here we are.  Are you going to torture me, Hector?  Make me beg for death?” he mocked, widening his eyes in fake fear.

“He wouldn’t stoop to your level,” Pine replied tensely.

Luka looked from Pine to Hector and back again before a grin spread over his face without reaching his eyes.  “My, my.  How deliciously perverse.  Whatever will your Grandma Hazel say?  Did you know she used to keep a werewolf head mounted on the wall of her bedroom?  You have to do some kind of special magic on it so it doesn’t turn back into a human one when the creature dies.  I’m not really familiar with the details.  At any rate, it was quite the conversation piece.  Do you suppose she still has it stashed somewhere?  In some ratty storage facility in suburban Nevada or something?  Can you imagine?  That would make a very special episode of Storage Wars, don’t you think?”

“Shut up, murderer,” Hector said, his hands balling involuntarily into fists.  His knuckles glowed white against his brown skin.

“And speaking of murderers, dear Pine, has Hector told you how old his father was when I so cruelly had him slain?”  A cloud crossed Pine’s face.  “He hasn’t?  Well, that should make for an interesting tale, indeed, but I don’t think you’ll much enjoy it.  Might give you bad dreams.  You know, if fairies slept.”

“I know how old Carlos was when you murdered his family and stole his childhood,” Pine managed to reply, in a voice that shook more than he’d intended.  “You’re vile.”

“Tell me, Hector, do you mutts still leave your defective children to the elements?  Poor little cripples who’ll never turn—  freezing to death in the snow, or burning up with thirst?  Mauled by vermin?  Pecked at by razor-beaked birds before they even expire?”  Luka had dropped his pretense of jocularity, his fangs now peeking out of his snarl.

“Enough,” Raina declared.  “I need to see to November, and I may need Luka’s help.  Savita may need him as well, if Greg will allow it.  Nobody is torturing or killing anybody today.”

“What’s wrong with November?” Luka asked, the hostility suddenly gone from his voice, replaced by concern bordering on fear.

“I told you, William shot her,” Raina said impatiently.

“So, you pull the bullet out, and she heals.  What’s the problem?” Luka asked, increasingly agitated.  “Even a baby can take a bullet or three.”

Gul and Raina exchanged a look.  “William poisoned the bullet, which shattered in her leg,” Gul finally explained.  “Some exceptionally strong werewolf toxin.  I believe you’re familiar with it, since he got it from one of yours,” he added pointedly.  “It would be quite helpful if you could give us the antidote.”

Luka looked stricken.  “I had plenty of it.  In the house.  Before it burned to the ground.”

“That is highly unfortunate,” came Gul’s understated reply.  “For both of you.”

 

SHE MARCHES THROUGH FIRE is available for pre-order at most booksellers

Connect with A.M. Manay at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

The End in Mind

How clear is your ending at the beginning?

Wondering what I mean by that? Then you need to hop over to Story Empire where SEer Harmony Kent takes an in depth look at writing with “The End in Mind”

Story Empire

Hello SEers! It’s great to see you here today 🙂

When we write, we create things twice—first, in the mind, and then in the real world. To make the best reality, we have to begin with the end in mind. If we want to tell a story, to sit and write a novel, then we need to know the end (or have a good idea of what we intend).

Even though things may change as we invent, we still need to begin with at least a rough outline of the beginning, the middle, and the end. We need to have an awareness of the point to the tale. Both our characters and plot need to show some development and change by the time it’s all finished and done with.

If you envisage the end clearly enough, you will find less trouble in writing your way there. I have no doubt…

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The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-20-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerNot only is it Monday and the start of a new work week, but it’s the first day of spring. Although it doesn’t look or feel spring-like in my corner of the world, I’m hoping mild temperatures return soon, bringing the flora and fauna that go with them.

In the meantime there is always the Monday Buzz from Story Empire to distract me.

And speaking of distractions, SEer Joan Hall has a great post today about blocking them when you’re trying to write. This one was an eye-opener for me. Hop over and check it out!

Welcome Carmen Stefanescu with Dracula’s Mistress #Historical #Gothic #Paranormal

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! On this delightful wearin’ o’ the green day, I’m excited to welcome my dear friend, Carmen Stefanescu, with her brand new release, Dracula’s Mistress. Carmen is wonderful supporter of other authors. If you haven’t already connected, check out her blog, Shadows of the Past, or find her at any of the contact links below.

As a lifelong native of Romania, Carmen is ideally suited to write Dracula’s Mistress, a tale that combines history, horror and light romance in a look at the man who spawned the Dracula legend. Let’s make Carmen feel welcome on her book’s birthday!

Dracula’s Mistress

Book Cover for Dracula's Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Blurb:
From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous,  Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin’s hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

 

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Excerpt:
Angela smiled with fond indulgence and looked at her father. “Prepare for mother’s. . .” She stopped as the words passed her lips, looked over her father’s shoulder, and started violently. The image behind her father made her words freeze on her lips. A sickening sense of horror overpowered her.

The pale light of the moon fell on a man’s face. A man dressed in torn clothes. Some ragged ends of silken thread were still attached to his arms, stretched towards them in begging.

His face, all covered in blood. His eyes were closed. His bluish lips mumbled something Angela couldn’t clearly understand. Slurred words reached her. She thought she heard, “Candle. . . candle. . . pleaaaase. . .” A sickening odor reached Angela’s nostrils. Slowly, the closed eyelids opened revealing two empty sockets instead of eyes.

A low moan of horror escaped her.

“What? What’s wrong?” Grigore asked.

But before he turned his head to see what triggered Angela’s reaction the apparition melted into the darkness.

Angela staggered a little, and then found her balance.

“Nothing,” she answered in a shaken voice. “I thought . . . Nothing, Father.” She pushed the horrible apparition from her mind. Perhaps all the stories about the souls of the young noblemen killed so cruelly here were not just stories.

Grigore shook his head and shrugged. Then reaching out his hand, he helped her climb into the carriage. She was barely able to move as she trembled from head to foot. She shrank back on the bear skin spread inside.

Grigore sat facing her, but looked absorbed by the things that had happened that night.

The neighing of the horses sounded strange to her ears. The sound of a tree branch scraping the roof of the carriage sent Angela’s heart into her mouth.

She leaned forward until her nose was touching the glass of the carriage window. Outside, on the side of the road, she glimpsed again the silhouette of the horrible man, dressed in tattered clothes. She peered into the darkness to see better. There was no doubt.

Author Bio:
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula  where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High-school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression  by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. Reading was, is and will always be her greatest hobby.

She has dreamed since childhood to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

She likes to blend genres and thus she writes paranormal stories with a smidgen of mystery, history and romance. The reader will find suspense, dark themes, adventure, danger as well as sweet revenge. She calls her stories  “gothic” romance. Her writing focuses on rebirth, past life regression, karmic retribution.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA, folowed by Till Life Do Us Part released by Solstice Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Blog | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon | 
Cold Coffee Cafe  

Branding

Remember when I goofed up my Monday Buzz post for Story Empire? I had the wrong topic listed and the wrong blogger. Well, as promised, C. S. Boyack, has the helm of the Empire today and he’s got a great article about branding. It’s informative and quirky all at the same time. Hop over and see what Craig has to say…

Story Empire

Craig here again. It’s a challenge to write these tips and tricks every time, because so many of the items are debatable. I hate to take a hard line stance, but I do for the sake of the comments that trickle in during the week. The topic today is branding.

Not that kind of branding. The kind where authors promote products. As you appear across cyberspace, what kind of recognizable materials do you use so the masses will recognize you? Chances are, you’ll have a blog, the popular social media accounts, and possibly a newsletter. What kind of branding do you use to tell people this is some of your work?

You will also make guest appearances on blogs, maybe blog talk radio, the occasional video of some kind. While these post are all different, your branding is what sews them all together as you – the author.

My first…

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The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-13-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerAnother week and another Monday. What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Two weeks ago we hit 75 degrees, an oddity for March, but a pleasant one. Tomorrow, a snow storm is poised to strike, Originally, the forecast was for six inches or more, but it’s since been upgraded to 10-18 inches.

Seriously? I have daffodils budding, and I saw my first robin yesterday. That all seems meaningless with the great white winter bearing down.

In other news, I’ve started working on a book proposal/draft that has me jazzed. It’s my second go round. The first proposal didn’t have pizzazz, but this one has me hooked. It’s progressing slowly, but progressing, and that’s reason to celebrate.

Another reason to celebrate is broadening our scope as authors. Today, on Story Empire, P. H. Solomon gives an introduction to Scrivener. This is a program I’ve had on my computer for a while but haven’t taken the time to learn. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see what insights P. H. has to share. While you’re roaming about the blogosphere, hop over and have a looksee.

P.S…to my early readers who may have seen the link about branding, I apologize, I had my dates mixed up. Didn’t I tell you it was a Monday! 😀