If you are out there…I have an awesome Christmas present for you! Check it out:
Akasha ornaments – they are kinda cool, right? Please say yes because I made them myself. My plan was to post step-by-step instructions with pics that would rival any DIY craft blog, but things got a little messy. You can probably get all you need to know from this:
And by the way, the wine in the back was totally involved.
So how can you get your hands on this set of ornaments? Here’s how: send your answers to the below questions, and one fan who emails correct answers by Dec. 14th will be randomly selected. I have to give my sincerest apologies – this contest is only open to those in the US. I just shipped a bunch of books overseas and those rates are killer. So summing up; answer questions by Dec. 14th, US only. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question 1 from ‘Water’: How did Shawn manage to overtake Kaitlyn and Susan, ending in Kaitlyn’s fateful trip to the Galapagos? (I’m specifically looking for the element used – you have a 1 in 4 chance!)
Question 2 from ‘Air’: What happens to Cato at the end of the book?
Question 3 from ‘Fire’: Where (what island) does Kaitlyn choose to hide from the rest of the gang?
Question 4 from ‘Earth’: The Akasha Series takes the reader all over the world, but near which city (or for bonus points, the exact location) does the final battle take place?
Hopefully the questions are fairly easy, it’s been a while since some of you have read the series! Again, just email the answers to me at email@example.com, and hopefully I can get these beautiful ornaments to the winner by Christmas!
Good luck and happy holidays!
Oh geez, I’ve got a cold…and a stomach thing…and like half my kids have it too. I just realized two posts ago I promised the first chapter of each of my books, then didn’t continue. Sorry! But in case you missed the news flash, ‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series‘ is now available!!! Except for iBooks (grrr) – still not available there. It’s been submitted but their approval process can take forevs.
Anyway, here is the first chapter to ‘Air, Book Two of the Akasha Series‘. Enjoy!
“I can see my breath.”
There was no response from the small, handheld radio nestled in my thick glove.
I clicked on the talk button again. “Did you hear me, Micah? I said I can see my breath. Time to go.”
Finally, a voice answered, though not through the radio. Do you not understand the concept of silent ops?
He was using our telepathic connection. I immediately shut it down. There were things in my head he need not know – not yet anyway. I couldn’t take the chance he would find them while tooling around in there. I clicked the radio again. “Then why did you bring the radios?”
I could almost hear his frustrated huff through the vast expanse of the Pennsylvania pine forest that lay between us. He had explained it to me before we separated; the handhelds were there in case we suspected someone intruding on our telepathic connection.
He came back, over the radio this time, and said, “I am almost to the cabin. Let me just check it out and then we can go. I am going silent – for real this time.”
“Don’t you dare turn off the—” my best warning voice was cut off by the hum of the radio, letting me know I was no longer connected to my counterpart. It was tit for tat with us.
I huffed, the same way I imagined him doing it. My breath formed a cloud of fog that lingered lazily in front of my face. I played with it, sucking it back in, then blowing out to form bigger clouds, and swishing it away with my hands. Anything to keep my mind off the cold. The wind picked up as clouds moved into the valley, darkening the midnight sky further.
I squinted, trying to pinpoint the cabin in the dark. The moon, fully hidden behind thick clouds, was no help. We had tracked Shawn this far, despite my protests. In my opinion, it had been far too easy – like following bread crumbs. But Micah’s need for vengeance surpassed my own.
Giving up on the cabin, I exhaled again. A gust of cold wind met the fog. I narrowed my eyes. This gust had come in against the oncoming storm. I watched as my breath cloud was sucked into an invisible black hole and disappeared, sizzling as it went. The wind followed its trail, straight into my lungs.
I turned, flailing my arms out to ward off whatever was attacking me. But how can you ward off air? The sucking persisted, panic and fear taking hold of me more thoroughly than the cold that had bit its way into my bones. Had it not been so dark out already, I’m sure I would’ve already seen the forest go black.
Falling to my knees, I reached out for the only element of which I had a strong grasp; water. Particles were drawn from the clouds, the soil, and the trees. They rushed to meet me, then wavered in front of my face, hesitating. I wasn’t sure what to do with them. But there was more than just me at stake. In a desperate, final act, I sent them down my throat, into my lungs and into the very thing that sucked the life out of me. I flooded it with far more water, volume-wise, than the amount of air it took. Shortly, it proved to be too much, and the mysterious void of nothingness expelled everything. Water and air both flooded my system. I sputtered, choking up the water I had so desperately called to my aid.
As soon as I lifted myself from the ground, thoroughly soaked, I thought of Micah. Whatever, or whoever it was might be going after him too. The trail leading up to the cliff was steep and full of loose rock, causing me to slide most of the way down. Once my feet hit solid earth, I took off running. The forest was dense, but I avoided the protruding roots and clawing branches easily enough. There was only one thing on my mind. Without thinking, I opened up the telepathic connection and screamed his name, Micah!
There was no answer. I ran faster. The forest opened up into a small, circular clearing. As I entered it, I spotted Micah clearing the trees on the opposite side in a dead run toward me. We met in the middle, coming to a stop a few feet apart, both hunched over with our hands on our knees. A cursory scan of each other while still gasping for air was enough until words came to us. He was out of breath, but he was unscathed and handsome and dry – and I hated him for it.
Before he could say anything, I went first, in between breaths, “Well – was there anything in the cabin?” I didn’t bother keeping the bite out of my voice.
He held up a piece of paper in his hand, at least having the mind to look sheepish. “I found a letter.” He folded it up and put it in his pocket. “What happened to you?”
I fixed him with a stare as cold as the wind, “I found trouble.” Then, because I couldn’t help it, I shivered.
He sighed, taking off his jacket and wrapped it around me, “I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from you, Kaitlyn.”
Hope you liked it! Don’t forget to get ‘Water, Book One’ now free pretty much everywhere as an ebook. ‘Air, Book Two‘ is at a special price of $2.99. Stayed tuned for the first chapter of ‘Fire, Book Three‘!
I am celebrating!!! I just finished the last chapter to the third book in the Akasha Series, ‘Fire’. Of course, it still has a few months’ worth of editing, revising, and critiquing to go (worst part of the writing process, I swear), but this is the first milestone of novel ‘done-ness’.
By far the largest motivation factor to continuing with my series is the unexpected but awesome support I’ve found from readers. Never could I have imagined that complete strangers would be so enthusiastic about Kaitlyn and the goals of the Seven. Waking up to find posts on my facebook page about how much readers enjoyed my books makes all my late nights and early mornings worth it!
Over the next few months, I will be posting excerpts from all three of the books so far, I will do a cover reveal, and (hopefully) organize a massive blog tour for the release of ‘Fire’. To celebrate my readers, I will be offering ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series,’ for FREE for a limited time. You can download an e-copy in almost any version from Smashwords right now. But I need your help. When you have a moment, please go to ‘Water’s’ Amazon page and under ‘product details’ click on ‘tell us about a lower price’. Insert the URL to the Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92109. I’m hoping within a week or so Amazon will price match, and ‘Water’ can be enjoyed for free by thousands of people!
So – a day of rest for me, then back to writing. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of June. I’m moving right on to the final book of the series, ‘Earth’. The genre of ‘Earth’ shifts into dystopian, so it will be quite an adventure to write!
In the meantime, have you added ‘Fire’ to your Goodreads TBR list, or seen my book trailer yet? Which reminds me, I’ll need to do one for ‘Air’ and ‘Fire’ next…
And now, bask in the glory that is ‘Air’ *imagine choir music here*
And, if you are not sufficiently basked – you may continue to bask in the glory that is ‘Water’ *more choir music*:
Now a mixed symphony:
Ok, yes. They’re very similar. It’s called branding. When you see one of my book covers, I want you to know it’s from me! For a fun, quick read on how ‘Water’ came to be, see my blog post titled Mormons, Vagina’s and Cover Art.
‘Air’ will be available for purchase within one month on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. If you have read ‘Water’, and are interested in an ARC of ‘Air’ to review, let me know! In ‘Air’, while Kaitlyn continues to carry her secret, Micah must work to prove himself to her and Shawn turns his depopulation theory into a plan.
Stay tuned for my book trailer to ‘Water’, where I totally exploit the cover! You’ll see how – follow my blog via e-mail so you don’t miss a thing!
Tomorrow is the cover reveal of the next book in the Akasha Series, ‘Air’. But for today, an interview with Air’s cover designer, Keary Taylor. I am so excited to be interviewing Keary, she is a very talented graphic artist and indie author. She created the button on the right, by the way – feel free to grab it! Keary recently released some exciting news that more than trumps my cover reveal – and I couldn’t be happier for her! Keary is an indie author of the paranormal romance ‘Fall of Angels’ trilogy and the post-apocalyptic thriller ‘Eden’. Now on to the news:
Q: Ok, I’ll just come out with it. The film and TV rights to ‘Eden’ were just negotiated. Wha- what?! Talk about every author’s dream – or many author’s dreams, anyway. How are you not bouncing off the walls right now? Tell us how this whole thing came about!
Haha, it certainly is beyond exciting! I was contacted by KK&P on November 1st so I had to keep everything a secret for over a month! But yeah, Kami Garcia (co-author of Beautiful Creatures/producer) read Eden, loved it, passed it to Mark Morgan (producer of Twilight and Percy Jackson) and he loved it too. So they contacted me, said they wanted to represent Eden for film. We went through some contract stuff and here we are! And amazingly enough, KK&P wasn’t the only production company to contact me about Eden!
Q: When did you first self-publish Eden?
In June of this year.
Q: For us author types, what marketing strategies worked best?
You have to be pretty smart about your advertising. Whenever I have a new book come out, I send ARC’s to book bloggers and do a bunch of interviews and giveaways. I also promote on Goodreads.com as well as Facebook ads. Sometimes, you just get lucky I think and things take off.
Q: For us reader types, what can we look for from you next?
I just finished the first draft of a YA contemporary I’m hoping to release in the spring (I’ll be doing an announcement of the title and cover on my blog probably around the same time this interview goes up). After that I have a science fiction I plan on working on.
Q: Will you send me an autograph movie poster of ‘Eden’, you know – when you have hit it big?
Haha, we’ll talk when it gets to that point 😉
Q: Ok – on to your graphic talents. You’ve done an amazing job with your covers, my covers, and many other indie author covers. Here are a few (more can be seen on Keary’s design page):
I’ve gotta say, ‘Awakening’ is my favorite out of the bunch – after ‘Water’, of course! Does design come naturally to you? Do you have professional training in graphic design? How did you learn the trade? Is this a part of the ‘job’ you really enjoy?
I guess you could say it comes naturally to me. When I started reading so much, I really started paying attention to covers, picking out things I really liked about certain ones. I have to admit, I don’t have any professional training. When I started self-publishing I just started playing around in Photoshop and watching different tutorials and just picked it up! I loved it! And so I started offering other authors to do it for them and soon I had people coming to me! I don’t know if I’d call the graphic design a “job”. While I do make a bit of money from it, I mostly do it for fun and to help other authors out.
Q: Tell us your thoughts on the importance of book covers.
Oh man, I can’t stress enough how important a good cover is. Being an independent author is hard enough without a bad cover working against you too. A cover is what people see first and even though they say “don’t judge a book by its cover” people always do.
Q: Have you ever won any awards for your graphic work?
None that I know of, lol. But I do get a lot of compliments and the cover for my book Eden was listed on a TON of best of 2011 covers.
Q: And back to the film rights for ‘Eden’ (because I just can’t stop thinking about it). What are the next steps? Is there a timeline? What info can you give us?
I really can’t say too much right now. There should be some more news to share in the next six months or so. As of right now it’s about getting a screenplay done, looking for actors, and studios. It is certainly exciting though! A total dream come true.
A big thanks to Keary for doing the interview and an even bigger thanks for all my great covers! Please check back in tomorrow to see her masterpiece!
Keary Taylor grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now resides on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night. She is the author of BRANDED, FORSAKEN, VINDICATED, AFTERLIFE (Fall of Angels series), and EDEN. To learn more about Keary and her writing process, please visit http://kearytaylor.com.
This week’s flash fiction is a snippet from ‘Air, Book Two of the Akasha Series’ to be released next month. Kaitlyn, the main character, and Vayu, a wind elemental I introduce at the beginning of the book, are sent to battle a manmade fire:
A thick wall of flame came into view. Vayu stopped. “Here. This is the front of the fire.”
He turned to me and I realized how wildly unprepared I actually was. Wind was the most unpredictable of elements, the most difficult to control. I hadn’t had much practice with it.
Vayu was able to read my face. “I don’t have time to teach you, but we can do this one of two ways. You can either feed me energy or you can try to copy what I do as best as you can.”
It didn’t take me long to choose, remembering what happened to Micah last time he willingly gave me his energy. “I’ll try it on my own.”
Vayu scrutinized me for a moment, trying to judge my abilities as if he could by just looking at my face.
I frowned. He hadn’t seen any of what I could do. “Vayu – Micah wouldn’t have left me if he didn’t think I could handle it.”
Vayu accepted my reasoning. In a weird sort of circle pattern, that in turn gave me more confidence. Amazing how Micah could change things without even being there. Vayu took a deep breath in, and flows of energy left his body as he exhaled. It was an all-encompassing net that went out from his body. The net expanded, retracted, and grew thicker or thinner at Vayu’s will. I felt it letting air through in some places and blocking it in others. The net quickly grew to the left and right of us, expanding beyond my sight. Somehow Vayu knew what to do in the places he couldn’t see.
Following his lead, I took a deep breath in and immediately sputtered on the smoke. Vayu spared a sideways glance at me but kept most of his focus on the job at hand.
I thought back to all the other times I had used my powers. I had either drawn energy from within myself, drawn energy from another element, or used raw emotion to conjure weather. I decided I couldn’t draw energy from within and risk my baby; it was the least I could do as a mother. I also lacked any significant emotion, barring the fear building up in the pit of my stomach. I had never really operated on fear before. It was anyone’s guess how the elements would react.
I closed my eyes and concentrated on the elements around me. Water was obviously in short supply, the air was tainted and I didn’t want to interfere with Vayu’s element. That left fire and earth. Could I possibly draw energy from the very element I was trying to defeat? I shrugged my shoulders.
“Why the hell not?” The fire was far too loud for Vayu to hear me. Good – the less crazy he thought I was the better.
I began, this time without taking a deep breath, and started to draw energy from the fire. I worked gingerly through Vayu’s net. Before the energy returned through the net to me, I shifted its direction and in the process it simply converted itself to wind. Perhaps it was following my will or even Vayu’s example. I directed the wind more over the fire than around it, quelling what flame I could and cooling the entire area.
“Good,” Vayu called over the noise. “That is helping – very good.”
He looked surprised, and I smiled. I liked surprising people, as long as it was with my skill and not the lack thereof. I continued to concentrate on my wind, cooling down the fire and occasionally letting a gust blow over the top of Vayu’s net to cool us down.
We were making progress. The evidence was in the blackened landscape left behind as the fire was pushed back. We moved constantly, to the sides, and forward, following the fire. Suddenly, several loud bursts to our left shocked us from our concentration. A small grove of trees had succumbed to the fire and were literally exploding into flames, one right after another.
“Move your wind to only that area,” Vayu yelled.
I refocused my efforts as Vayu’s net grew more intense. I worked for what seemed like hours, no longer sparing wind to cool us down. I was drained. Hopefully the fire was experiencing the same effect.
A strong wind on our right caught me off guard and nearly blew me over with such a force that it could only be described as malicious.
“What are you doing?” I yelled at Vayu.
“Not me – when a fire gets too hot it creates weather of its own.”
Despite the heat, chills crawled up my back. We were no longer fighting just a fire; it was a living, breathing monster. A crafty one, at that. The fire’s weather pushed quickly through Vayu’s net on our right and we angled our bodies to combat it. We had to move backwards to avoid being singed ourselves. Now we were on the losing side of the battle.
We were pushed backwards into burnt terrain.
Something caught us from behind and we both ended up on the ground.
Vayu recovered faster. “Damn log.” He got up quickly and rebuilt his net.
“Vayu.” I swallowed hard, not moving. “It’s not a log.”
“What?” He shouted down at me without looking.
“It’s a person.” I sat, frozen for a moment, then finally shuffled around the charred body and looked for signs of life. The hair was mostly burned off leaving only sporadic patches of fuzz, but judging by the size of the body and width of the shoulders, it was a man. He was lying on his stomach, his head turned toward me. Finally his back rose slightly, a shallow, somewhat regular breathing pattern.
“Is it Shawn?” Vayu asked, not able to spare a glance down at the body.
I looked at his face, and shook my head. “No.”
The man’s eyes, probably the only unscathed part of his body, were a light brown, not Shawn’s icy blue stare. Strange as the stare was. There was too much white. His eyelids were almost completely burned off. Bile rose in my throat.
He began to gurgle in an effort to say something.
I whispered back though he probably couldn’t hear me, “Shhh…..don’t say anything. I’ll get you help.” I touched his shoulder gently and bits of something flaked off. I couldn’t tell if it was skin or clothing. The entire body was either black or red; he wasn’t going to make it no matter what I did. I felt physically ill. I looked at him again and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry’.
Recognition flashed in his eyes. I believe I had just been so kind as to help him realize his own death was close at hand. I lay down next to him, oblivious of the fire around us. The least I could do was stay with him until the end. Vayu was yelling something, but my priorities were clear. I wasn’t a Gaia right then, nor was I Kaitlyn. I was simply the last connection this man would have in his life, or this life, anyway.
Vayu, still yelling, rustled around in the pack on my back for something. My body jerked as his search became more frantic.
The man resumed his attempts to speak, despite my insistence he lay still. I leaned in closer, trying to interpret a phrase he said over and over. Only two words in the garbling were comprehensible, and they were enough to freeze me in place. “One less, one less.”
He began shifting his body and grunting; I couldn’t subdue him with my hands for fear of causing more damage. Finally he leaned away from me, pulling out a bag from underneath the blanket. It was shiny; possibly fireproof. Inside the bag was a thick, neatly bound document. He must have been protecting the document while sacrificing his own body. The white pages were a stark contrast to the blackened earth below and his charred hand. He pushed the document feebly toward me. He left streaks of ash behind on the pristine paper as he pulled his hand away. On the cover was one simple symbol, the same symbol worn on my shoulder as a permanent scar of Shawn’s doing.Suspicions confirmed, my body went numb. The charred man smiled. “I was chosen to be one less.” Triumph and self-importance emanated from him. His smile, no matter how much it anguished him to do so, was the last thing I saw.
So there you have it. Now is your chance to let me know what you think; before I release ‘Air’! Please leave a comment!