Once again, cleaning out my spare keys from Humble Bundle. Please enter ONLY for games you don’t have!
Gamer dragon and kitty wish you all the best of luck!
Once again, cleaning out my spare keys from Humble Bundle. Please enter ONLY for games you don’t have!
Gamer dragon and kitty wish you all the best of luck!
All right! To celebrate the holidays, I’m giving away 5 Query critiques and 5 Character sketches (portraits)! Note that these portraits can be anything – even fanart, if you’re so inclined.
You can see my artwork here.
As for queries though I’m best at Science Fiction/Fantasy, any genre/age is welcome!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
The next volume in the Birth of Saints series is available now!
On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.
But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.
Meet my version of Ruby, Frostblood’s fiery heroine!
For those interested in specifics: this took me around 20 hours on Photoshop. I used my go-to stock account, faestock, for a pose reference because hands and I do not get along well.
FROSTBLOOD will be out in January 2017 from Little, Brown (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK). It’s a lovely, amazing book, and deserves to be read so add it on Goodreads!
I’m tackling NaNoWriMo again like I do every year. Winner or no, 50k or no, I find that NaNo helps with several things, from productivity to rising from a slump. These past couple years, I don’t think I’ve “won” Nano, but it’s such a fun time it’s impossible to never join in.
This year, I’ll be attempting to write at least 50k on my new novel, Eat Me, Drink Me. It’s going to be YA Dark Fantasy, because it’s what I love to write, and goddamn Bloodborne, of all things, inspired this one. Note that I say “of all things” because, if you’ve known me for a while, you also know I thought I wouldn’t like Fromsoftware games because they didn’t present a story in the traditional sense. Hell, there’s not much story going on in Bloodborne, but the atmosphere, the soundtrack, the gameplay… they’re all so terrific, by the time I realized what was happening, I was planning a Lovecraftian YA Fantasy. It wouldn’t die, so instead of Cat Dragons (a MG Fantasy I was working on), or yet another re-write of Sightless (my YA Contemp Fantasy that really won’t die), I decided to go for this one.
So yeah, Bloodborne is amazing, you should play it if you can, etc. But I digress.
If you’re thinking about doing NaNo, but the 50k-in-a-month scare you, well, I HAVE YOU COVERED. With tips that these, it’ll be amazing if you don’t have 50k by the end of November.
And that’s it! Be sure to add me to your NaNo buddy list and maybe we can sprint together!
I’ve been asked this often, both by native speakers and non-natives, which is why I decided to share my (in)finite wisdom today. I’ve spoken about it briefly on my “Getting the Call” guest post on Michelle Hauck’s blog, but here’s a longer version.
It’s not a secret I’m a huge, huge video game fan. Until I was 12, I’d only had basic English classes at school (basically, two years of learning basic verbs, numbers, how to say the English alphabet, and some questions/answers such as “What’s your name?/My name’s Diana”). Not knowing English on a fluent basis was a very big barrier to my enjoyment of video games, and when I got Ocarina of Time, the world, characters and story were all so vivid and wonderful, I found myself wanting to understand everything. So, like the stubborn little girl that I was, I armed myself with a dictionary. I noted down words I didn’t know to memorize them later.
Now, if you’ve played Ocarina of Time, you know the ending. You also know that any incurable romantic like me wanted more. Zelink is life. Zelink needs to be cannon. I also got hooked on Resident Evil, and the Chris/Jill pairing that everyone knows it’s secretly real at Capcom.
Then I discovered fanfiction.
I lurked on ff.net a lot. I eventually discovered the Resident Evil fic of this wonderful lady named Louise. We started talking. I told Louise that I’d love to write, but there was no point in doing it in Portuguese because no one would read it, and I was afraid of writing in English because mine was so broken. Louise, being the awesome kick-butt lady she is, told me to do it anyway. So, I did.
My first fics were shit. They were riddled with grammar errors (I will never forget my iconic use of “Zelda runned”). Still, people somehow liked them. Errors aside, they liked the story, and kept encouraging me. And I kept writing.
By then, I was in 7th grade and had this wonderful English teacher who nurtured my then-above-average English. I’d ask her to translated some game passages when I was stuck, and she’d do it. I remember learning verb conjugations from her, and finally, I understood that the pas of run, was ran. Similarly, my Portuguese teacher (who I hated back then, but eventually realized I was being a little stupid shit) told me to write more, because he always enjoyed my short stories. So, I did.
At 14, while on an away hockey match, my parents bought me Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. This was significant, because they hate video games, but since yours truly was a model student, and we’d just won the hockey match, they gave it to me as sort of a prize.
You have no idea what sort of doors that game opened. AoD brought on a pivotal change to my life, and it came in the shape of the KTEB. I joined their forums and met the most amazing group of people, some of whom I’m still friends with. My English still had problems, but they never mocked me for it, and they gave me support when I needed it most. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. My Sanistas and Manistas are my second family, and they inspired me in many, many ways. A lot of them wrote amazing Tomb Raider fanfic, and I found myself thinking “I wish I could be as good as they are.” I would never have met them had it not been for video games, and my need to learn English.
Now, school was not easy for me. I was a straight-A student, the kind who’s also good at sports. I was bullied, terribly. People gave me hell for playing video games. People gave me hell when I said I learned most of my English from video games. I got spat at in class, hounded at recess, and this obviously caused me to withdraw.
Cue to more video games, and subsequently, better English. I started drawing just because I enjoyed it (my drawing saga in itself deserves another post, but for now, just know that everyone said I’d never be good). I wrote so much fanfic, it was embarrassing. I played Planescape: Torment and it made me realize games could have amazing, complex stories, with great writing to boot.
PS:T is a work of genius and everyone should play it. Seriously.
By then, I was 15, and my English was pretty damn good. So good my parents decided to send me to summer camp for two weeks in Cambridge as a reward for my good grades. It was expensive, but my parents, in spite of all their flaws, never held back when it came to my education.
I went to summer camp twice: first in Cambridge, then in Manchester. Met incredible people there, and my teachers back then also encouraged me to write more. And that second year in Manchester, I got to meet some of my Sanistas in person. It was amazing.
When I was in 9th grade, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out after a long wait. You think I was going to wait two more months for it to be translated in Portuguese? Hell no! It was the first book I read in English, and I got much use out of my dictionary. Same thing went when I discovered Juliet Marillier’s new book was out in English while the Portuguese release was 6 months away. Wait? Hell no!
(In case you don’t know, Juliet’s my favorite writer, and her books are made of magic. READ THEM.)
Fast-forward a couple of years, and I read an amazing Knights of the Old Republic fanfic by Trillian4210 (who I discovered now writes romance under the name Emma Scott). Its scale and scope inspired me tremendously, and after playing Neverwinter Nights II, I decided to try my hand at something epic. If I could commit to it and finish it, I’d then try to write a book.
That fanfic’s still up. It’s called Full Circle, and yes, you guessed it, it’s complete.
I was in college for Computer Engineering by the time I finished it. By then, I’d realized I wanted to write, and went to Engineering to pursue game development. But Engineering is hard, especially when you’re so engrossed in your hobbies you forget to study, so it took me a while to get that damn degree. But I did it.
Halfway through my Bachelor’s, I asked my parents to pay for my Proficiency in English exam, just to have it. They thought I should have some classes first, so I went to Cambridge School in Lisbon and took their test. I started Proficiency classes next week.
I had about six months of classes. Once, our teacher, Harry, told us to write a short story. He loved mine so much he told me to quit Engineering and go to an University in England (he recommended Sussex) and get a writing degree. Unfortunately, my parents couldn’t afford it, so couldn’t, but that was when I decided to pursue writing seriously.
After that, I decided to do NaNoWriMo. At first, I thought I’d do it in Portuguese. Then I met Leonor, fellow animal-lover and Juliet Marillier fan. Friendship immediately struck. Thanks to her, I gained more knowledge of the Portuguese publishing industry – enough to not want to give it a try.
Fantasy (which is what I write) doesn’t sell very well in Portugal unless you have a TV show or a movie. And then there’s the fact that most of the books we get are imports, and not from national authors. If you write Crime novels, then you might have a shot, or Historical Romance. I’ve heard of an established Hist Romance author who sells well, but her editors refuse to even read her fantasy manuscripts, because “Fantasy doesn’t sell.”
So I gave Portuguese a big middle-finger and went on with writing in English. After years of fanfic, it came surprisingly easy. In fact, it started coming easier than Portuguese itself. But I was still afraid my knowledge of the language wasn’t good enough.
Now, I could try the Brazilian Portuguese market, but Brazilian Portuguese, while very similar, has some differences from European Portuguese, and I’ve watched enough Brazilian Soap Operas to know those differences are significant. I could’ve researched, true, and learned how to write in Brazilian PT, but I felt I had a better shot with English.
Soon, I had a book (which was crap). I learned about the submission process in the US. I queried. I got rejections. But I also got one of the most surprising responses, and it came from Russ Galen – who reps Juliet fucking Marillier. He passed on the novel, obviously, but gave me great advice that I follow to this day. He also said he didn’t believe I wasn’t a native speaker, because my English was better than most of the submissions he read.
Ego boost gained. I stuck to English. I didn’t give up.
I wrote another book. Then another. Finally, on my fourth try, I got rep (the wonderful Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Lit).
So, here’s the gist:
I started learning English at school. I got better because of video games.
I started writing in English so people would read my fanfics.
I kept writing fanfic in English. I got better.
I met the most amazing group of people. Interacting with them made me better, both as a person, and as an English speaker.
I started writing in Portuguese, but gave up when I found out how hard it was to get an unknown author’s fantasy book read by publishers.
I wrote in English because, believe it or not, getting an agent abroad is easier than an unknown getting published here. Especially in Fantasy.
All my support was mostly from English speakers, and it was easier getting feedback if I wrote in that language.
So, there’s why. As for the how:
Ultimately, I practiced. And ultimately, I got better to the point no one knows I’m not a native speaker – unless they actually hear me speak. Accent: I have it.
I’m in sore need of an excuse to drop my 3DS and Fire Emblem. Since my desktop broke and I (sadly) can’t do a lot for Lakewater Press until it’s fixed, PitchWars is right around the corner, and the competition helped me meet some of the most amazing people ever…
Giveaway time! Click on the link below to enter:
Why would you want this?
I’m a nobody, really. But I somehow convinced an agent (the wonderful Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Lit) to represent my novels, so I might know a bit about queries and first pages that work. Might. If you do win, take my word-spew of a critique with a grain of salt (for your sanity).
I write mostly Fantasy, and mostly YA (though I’m trying to write a MG book at the moment). However, I read pretty widely, so anything’s welcome.
And now I leave you with a picture of Norbert on top of my controller because a) he’s a DRAGON and b) HE’S A DRAGON.
In the Blood: The Witchbreed, Book One by R.L. Martínez
Publisher: Lakewater Press
Date of Publication: March 21, 2016
Number of pages: 370
Word Count: app. 122,000
The war between Dosalyn and Roanaan has ended, but a new battle begins for prisoner-of-war, Ottilde Dominax. Dreams of her witchbreed twin sister are visions of death and betrayal. Driven by their grim warning, she escapes her captors and races across nations to save her sister.
But she may arrive too late…
Oriabel Dominax has kept her healing magic secret while she cares for her family’s struggling estate. But the arrival of a new lord with secrets of his own, the discovery of a dark and addictive magic, and threats from a cruel blackmailer push Oriabel closer to disaster. Through it all, the Witch’s Tree calls…
Cover Artist E.L. Wicker
Angry hisses and mutters rippled through the assembly at the announcement of Ottilde’s number.
The guard at the front of their formation watched with a bored expression as the other inmates spat at her feet. “King Killer,” the woman next to her hissed. Ottilde swallowed and her grip on the heartstone tightened. Chroy had not been a king when she threw her knife into his throat, not yet. But he had been their future, their hope.
Ottilde raised one hand into the air. “Here.” The commotion died down after he called a few more numbers and Ottilde let out her long-held breath. She loosened her fingers from around the heartstone.
They came away aching with the force of her hold.
When all the prisoners were accounted for, several inmates broke formation to walk to the dining house for breakfast. The guards, however, growled at them to remain in line, shoving some of the slower ones back into place.
Ottilde frowned at the change in routine, and peered around. Prison Chief Wilder Coomb strode towards them on the other side of the wire fence that formed the front of the yard, his adjutant close at his side. One of the guards unlocked the yard gate and stood back as the Chief entered.
Wilder Coomb was a formidable man. He might once have been handsome, but life had bullied him viciously. His shaved head sported a deep, curling scar on one side of his scalp, while his face and neck carried similar gruesome marks. One earlobe was missing, which gave his head a cock-eyed appearance when viewed straight on. A jagged horizontal line along his neck indicated someone had tried to cut his throat at one time. But Ottilde believed the most impressive scar lay behind the patch over his left eye.
The silvery tail of the wound snaked down his cheek and neck to disappear in the stiff collar of his forest green officer’s coat. Upon reaching the front of the prisoner formations, he folded his hands behind his back and swept a contemptuous eye over them. Ottilde could only imagine what he saw as he stared at them, the ragged unlucky soldiers taken prisoner during the recent Pleinour War. For a moment, Chief Coomb’s hard, dark eye settled on her and she lifted her chin, refusing to show him how much he intimidated her. But his gaze moved on, and she sensed the subtle shift of discomfort in the prisoners around her when one of them felt the whip of his gaze.
He held up a sheaf of folded papers; a letter, judging by the regular creases. “Queen Kuonrada has fled and Deauxerr has vanquished her armies.”
The prisoners shuffled and muttered. The cold air warmed with the force of their anger and humiliation. Ottilde kept her eyes on Chief Coomb’s face, though she felt a good portion of their collective rage focused on her. She knew she held blame for breaking the back of Roanaan’s fighting spirit.
“Over the last several weeks,” Coomb continued, “those with authority in such matters have considered what to do with you all. I have a list of officers and knights to be traded for Deauxerr soldiers now held by the remnant of Roanaan’s military as an act of diplomatic faith. Step forward when I read your number. You will be readied immediately for transport to the exchange point.” He snapped his fingers and his adjutant took the letter from his hand, replacing it with a single sheet of dark paper. Coomb scanned it and shouted out prisoner numbers.
Ottilde’s breathing grew irregular with hope as each man or woman came forward in answer to the prison chief’s summons. But he reached the last number on the list without calling hers. Her stomach soured as she watched a contingent of guards escort the fifty or so fortunate prisoners from the yard.
Once the yard gate had shut again. Chief Coomb’s adjutant handed him another paper. “Now, King Talin of Deauxerr has decided to offer those of you with reports of good conduct and no criminal past the opportunity to swear fealty to the Deauxerr crown. Talin has granted you permission to return to Roanaan or settle in Deauxerr; also, you will be given a small subsidy to start your new life. If you wish to accept this offer, step forward when I read your number.” He sounded off another list of prisoners.
Again, Ottilde listened tensely for her number, though she knew how unlikely it was she would hear it this time. Coomb must have called a hundred numbers or more, but Ottilde estimated only forty prisoners stepped forward. They averted their eyes from those who remained in the formations. Another handful of guards led this group from the yard.
“As for the rest of you,” Coomb said, “you are to be moved to a civilian prison facility where you will no longer be my concern.” He folded his arms behind his back. “Remember, as long as you remain in this camp, or in the custody of my staff, you will obey Lachlas regulations. Everyone will appear for morning roll every day. You all know what will happen should even one of your numbers go missing.” He gave them a last menacing glare then stalked to the yard gate.
About the Author:
R.L. Martinez writes fantasy and science fiction with dark edges and corners. She began writing when she was in the seventh grade when her teacher assigned a creative writing project. She lives in Norman, OK with her husband, two young sons, a mouse-killing cat, and two naughty pooches.
Website – http://robinlmartinez.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RobinLMartinez
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robin.l.martinez40
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121315.R_L_Martinez
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/robinlm488/
Tour giveaway, enter HERE!
1 swag pack (book, bookmark, postcard, heartstone necklace) and 3 ebook copies
Hi everyone! I’m super excited to be a part of the book blitz for K.T. Hanna’s PARASITE! K.T. is an absolute sweetheart and writes kick-ass sci-fi novels. Books 1 and 2 (CHAMELEON and HYBRID) are available for $.99 on Amazon, so WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Parasite (The Domino Project #3)
by K.T. Hanna
Release Date: February 22nd 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
With the Damascus closing in on the Exiled, Sai and Dom must put their grief and inner demons aside as they rush to free the people of the Protected Conglomerate from the influence of the psionic grid.
Chipped and placed under house arrest with a guard, Bastian’s only hope lies in reaching his core to disrupt Deign’s ruthless plan.
Intent on putting a stop to the Damascus and the GNW’s reign, Dom discovers the true extent of the parasite within. Just when Sai thinks the Exiled have a chance, their greatest weapon turns on them.
Praise for Book #1 – CHAMELEON
“Hanna takes familiar sci-fi genre elements… and spins dystopian gold.” Kirkus Reviews
Alpha is stationary and eerily silent when Mele catches up to it. The adrium netting camouflage flickers in and out softly, appearing every several seconds, as if a swarm of fireflies surround the dome. Dom sighs with relief that it’s still standing. Without seeing them, he knows there are people working frantically to get it functional again. If it doesn’t work properly, they’re sitting ducks.
The cargo ramp lowers slowly, an occasional hitch pausing it. Dom waits impatiently, tapping his foot and the light from the lowering ramp momentarily blinds him. As he pulls Mele into the bay, laser points appear on his vehicle—targeting sights for crossbows. He moves cautiously toward the door as it opens and finds Mason, pale and gaunt, flanked by two guards on each side.
They acknowledge him by lowering their weapons.
“It’s you.” The relief in Mason’s tone is palpable, as is the exhaustion.
“Medics,” Dom says shortly, feeling the irritation trying to poke through his control. “I picked up survivors.”
Mason raises his eyebrows as he motions over to the cargo bay door. He takes a step inside Mele and glances around. “Survivors.” His shoulders sag, and the tension drains from his frame a little. “I thought we’d lost them all.”
Dom has a thousand things sitting on his tongue, but he swallows most of them and settles for, “I thought we’d lost her. I can’t afford to lose her.” His grip on the sinuous tendrils of impatience and darkness tightens, choking them back.
About the Author
KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.
Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.
When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.
Note: Still searching for her Tardis
Hiiii, everyone, and welcome to my tour stop for The Tsar’s Guard Parade, in honor of Evelyn Skye’s THE CROWN’S GAME! I’m suuuuper excited for this book and YOU SHOULD BE TOO!
The Tsar’s Guard Parade also includes a giveaway for an ARC of the book. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!
So, without further ado, here’s my contribution: a portrait of Vika!
Bigger size here!
About the Book:
Title: THE CROWN’S GAME
Author: Evelyn Skye
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.
1 winner will receive an ARC of THE CROWN’S GAME. International.