This giveaway is now closed.
With five sets to giveaway, and six people that entered, I couldn’t just turn one person down! Congratulations! You are all winners. I will be contacting you via email…
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a great holiday season. As a way to welcome all of my great new followers, and to thank all of my long-time followers, I am giving away five copies of the first two audio books of the Akasha Series. To enter to win ‘Water’ and ‘Air’, you must follow my blog by email (if you haven’t already – sign up over there on the right). Then comment below with the best thing that happened to you in 2013, and be sure to include a way to contact you in case you win.
I’ll start! The best thing that happened to me in 2013 isn’t one specific event, but rather everything falling into place. I am at a good place in life, with my family, my writing, and my job. I work hard, but am starting to reap the rewards and for the first time in a long time, I feel like everything is balancing out.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember all the good points in your life over the past year. Because of that, I’ve decided to start my own ‘2014 Good Things’ jar, and have each of my kids do it, too:
Get started and that way next year when I have this giveaway it will be easy for you to recall the best memories of 2014 – just open up your jar!
Now remember to comment below, sign up to follow via email if you don’t already, and leave a way for me to contact you. You can email me at email@example.com to send me your contact info if you like. The contest is open internationally and will close at midnight on Saturday, January 11th.
A time travel anthology including a short story from yours truly! Bloggers – sign up for the tour now. Forbidden Future is now available for $3.99 on Amazon.
What becomes of mankind in the future? Is life better or worse?
Forbidden Future by James Wymore
When a time machine technician working the graveyard shift gets divorce papers from his wife, he decides it’s time to take the machine for a ride—no matter the consequences.
Jump by Jon Bradbury
Jesse Kendall thinks he’s seen it all. He’s about to see more.
Road Trip by Matt Mitrovich
Four friends drive to a college party and take an unexpected detour into the future.
Cacotopia by James Lauren
Kayne Adamson went into suspension to await a cure, but never imagined how long his sleep would last or the world he would awaken into. Is it really the utopia it first appears to be?
Society by Terra Harmony
Take a ride on the Energy of the Future where society gets a fresh, clean start—no matter who they have to leave behind.
The Mountains Haven’t by Kade Anderson
Something is very wrong in the downtrodden town of Dignity and only the town’s Watcher, Julia, can see what it is.
Between Utopias by Michael Trimmer
After being saved from a fatal heart attack by being transported to the future, David must choose from two opposite utopias.
Beyond a good story, nothing is more important than the book’s cover (other than maybe the blurb, but that is a post for another time). Creating the book cover is an exciting, gut-wrenching process for an author. It is trying to convey the greatness of your masterpiece into one simple but striking visual image. And we usually don’t get it right the first time around. Case in point; the before and after pictures of my first novel, ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’:
The difference: the first cover is a product of my imagination. The second cover is a product of the artist’s imagination.
In creating the first cover, I just kept thinking of more stuff the cover should have and telling the artist to revise, revise, revise. She did everything I asked her to do; her mistake. After seeing the final product I sat back, looked at it, and thought, “What in the hell was I thinking?” I paid the artist then hired another. My decision was validated by a friend’s opinion, “It looks like a vagina.”
The second cover is a product of the artist’s imagination. I gave her all the same instructions I gave the first artist, and she plain out said, “no.”
I tried again, giving her the simple instruction of, “Water. Fantasy. Go.” And….voila. A vagina-free masterpiece. She came up with an attractive cover that pops against the black background. The design was easily mimicked for all books in the series; Air, Fire and Earth, and even the boxed set. Branding at its best.
She even did my vampire anthology cover:
Now that I am ready to publish a brand new series, I thought I knew enough about the business to take a crack at creating my own cover. For ‘The Rising’, a mermaid, young adult fantasy trilogy, I came up with several versions:
I sent it around. My husband and mom loved it. No shocker there – they are biased. But a few problems were quickly pointed out by the lovely ladies of Patchwork Press (my new partners in crime). In the first version, there isn’t a real ‘mermaid’ element, all of them look too similar to my New Adult series (branding across genres isn’t always the best idea), and they are not very typical of young adult covers – which may or may not be a good thing.
I searched the internet for images, and came across this one on Deviant Art (you’ve seen it in my previous blog posts):
Grr! (If you are interested, click on the book cover image to purchase and read and let me know what you think!)
Finally, I went back to the same amazing cover artist that did the Akasha Series covers, Keary Taylor. Turns out, she basically lives where the story takes place, and she was super excited to do a mermaid cover. I turned her loose on my mermaid pinterest page for inspiration, and I am so excited to do the final cover reveal. It turned out great! Here is a sneak peak:
Boo! I know – you don’t get to see the whole thing yet! Stay tuned for a reveal in mid-September. Book Review Bloggers can sign up here to do a cover reveal on their own blog, plus sign up for the book tour and an ARC. And be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR list!
Very exciting news! ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ is now available as an audio book via Amazon, Audible, and iTunes! The rest of the series is already in production. You can purchase or listen to a sample of ‘Water’ right here.
I want to send a special thanks to my narrator, Emily Gittelman, who was patient enough with a newbie to get me through the process, then take on three more books! I am so impressed, I decided I had to share her with you all! Below is Emily’s interview – and seriously, let me know what you think about the audio book!
Emily: Audiobooks keep me very busy. I started out doing it part time last year, but it’s become my full time job. I’m also an actress, so I sometimes have auditions to go to and projects I’m working on.
T: Which job(s) do you enjoy doing best and why?
E: I’m lucky that I love all my jobs. I can’t think of anything better than making a living doing what I love: acting and narrating audiobooks.
T: As if being a narrator/actress/author doesn’t keep you busy enough, what do you do in your spare time?
E: I’m an avid reader, which is what drew me to audiobooks in the first place. I like to be informed, so I read four newspapers every day. I love to travel, though I haven’t been able to recently. I spent most of 2010 traveling in Europe. I lived in London and Prague each for four months and went on weekend trips to other countries for a total of 23 countries in Europe. I kind of miss it, but traveling that much is exhausting. I also spend time with my wonderful boyfriend, who lives with me in Los Angeles. And I occasionally LARP on weekends (I’m a bit of a nerd).
T: You are finished with narrating ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ and are gearing up for the rest. Maybe you can tell us a little about why doing audio books, even for Indie authors, is a good idea?
E: Well, I love listening to audiobooks myself. There’s something about having a book read to you that just makes it come alive (with the right narrator). For me, narrating audiobooks is just acting with my voice. I love scenes that are really emotional or dramatic because it allows me to really get into the moment and express the emotions the characters are experiencing with my voice.
T: Any advice to give authors when they are ready to do an audio book – or even what to keep in mind as they are writing their novels?
E: Make sure you find a narrator who brings your imagination to life. This is especially important with a first person narrative, where the narrator’s voice is the character’s voice. Also, if you can, try to put together a budget for your project. Most of the more professional narrators won’t do a royalty share unless the book is selling really well. For the sake of quality, it’s worth raising the money to pay for a decent narrator.
T: Now the fun stuff – tea or coffee, Coke or Pepsi?
E: Er… None of the above. I don’t drink caffeine or soda… sorry!
T: You live in New York (right?)? What is life in the Big Apple like, especially for your line of work? Give us all the glamour and the down and dirty!
E: I grew up in NY, but I moved out to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago. I very much enjoyed living in NY. It has a certain energy to it that you can’t find anywhere else. And I loved being able to walk almost everywhere. The thing I miss most about NY is public transportation. Traffic in LA is awful.
T: Favorite TV shows/movies/plays?
E: I’m not a big favorites person. I don’t usually have one thing that sticks out above all others. HOWEVER, I do have a favorite TV show: Six Feet Under. It was on HBO from 2001 to 2005 and in my opinion, it’s the best show that has ever been on television. It’s heartfelt and profound, full of substance, while still having moments that make you laugh, and some that make you cry. It asks really important questions that leave you thinking for days afterward. I wish there were more shows like it! (HBO didn’t pay me for that. Promise. Though they’re welcome to if they see this.)
T: Do you have any funny stories about narrating? Or even in some of your other jobs?
E: … Not that I can think of? Sorry. That’s so boring.
T: Finally, tell us more about your books!
E: Well, this question has two answers depending on what you’re asking.
I’ve narrated dozens of audiobooks. Mostly teen or young adult fiction. I’ve done a lot of books with author Morgan Rice, including books three through eight of The Vampire Journals series, books one and two of The Survival Trilogy, and books one and two of The Vampire Legacy series (which will be released soon!). The other books I’ve done have been mostly fantasy or romance (or a combination). Lots of vampires.
While I was in college, I co-authored a few books with my dad, Steven H. Gittelman. Literally since the month I was born (August 1989), my dad has been volunteering at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, NY. Because of this, I volunteered there from the age of eight until I moved to Los Angeles at twenty-two. Our life-long association with the museum inspired us to write several books about the Vanderbilts. The first two books my dad wrote on his own and I’m credited as chief editor. Those books were Willie K. Vanderbilt II: A Biography and J.P. Morgan and the Transportation Kings: The Titanic and Other Disasters. The former is a biography of the Vanderbilt who owned the mansion at which we volunteered. The latter details a conspiracy between J.P. Morgan, the Vanderbilts, and other tycoons to dominate global shipping and transportation circa the turn of the twentieth century. After, that, we wrote two books together. The first was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt: The Unlikely Hero of the Lusitania. Alfred was Willie K.’s cousin, and his story is one of lust, power, and tragedy. He was basically a playboy who, at the age of 22, inherited a huge amount of money. For sixteen years he behaved like any playboy would, resulting in the tragic suicides of at least three women. Then, he gets on the Lusitania and spends the last eighteen minutes of his life saving women and children. It’s such a great story, I’m currently working on a screenplay version that I’m hoping to get produced. The publisher keeps pushing back the release date, but right now it’s set for June 24th. The other book we wrote together was a historical novel inspired by Willie K. Vanderbilt II’s second circumnavigation of the globe in 1933. That one is being privately published by the museum, and will hopefully come out soon.
The works I’ve authored, edited, and narrated, can all be found by searching my name on amazon.
Emily Gittelman grew up in New York and received her BFA in drama from New York University in 2011. Shortly after graduation, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting under the name Emily Lawrence. More information about her acting career can be found on her website at www.emilylawrence.com. In the last year, Emily has narrated dozens of audiobooks, which can be found on audible and amazon. In addition to this, she’s also a published writer and editor of mostly non-fictional works. She writes creatively in her own time, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to publish any of it yet. Maybe one day!
Just kidding, there is no application. But I do need beta readers! I’m almost 1/3 of the way into the first book of my next series, and I’m looking for volunteers to read an advanced copy (e-book only). I’d love to have a group of readers to provide comments on grammar, spelling, format and accuracy of text, and another group to provide comments on actual content, dialogue, plot, etc. My plan is to have it ready for you in August or September; but there will be a working deadline of about 3 weeks. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll put you on the list. When the manuscript is ready, I’ll send out e-mails double checking your availability. Unfortunately, there won’t be any monetary compensation, but I’ll of course send you a final e-book in the format of your choice, and if you run a blog I can sponsor an e-book giveaway.
The series is a young adult eco-fantasy. Here is the first chapter, just to give you a taste (posted before, but have since made a few changes):
She looks behind her. There is time; the beast isn’t yet in her sight. She slows down enough to slip off the shoes. The beast takes the corner too fast as well. When Serena hears the skidding, she turns and throws one of her shoes. A miss. The beast scrambles to get his legs under him and lunges for her. She throws the other shoe, nailing him in the nose. Serena laughs out loud, then resumes her steady running pace.
“I thought werewolves were faster than this!” she yells over her shoulder.
She doesn’t know if he can understand speech in his animal form, but he is angry. His growls tell her so. Her legs brush past the sharp, thick shrubbery outlining the path. Shallow cuts crisscross over her otherwise smooth, white skin.
Next to come off is her shirt. She throws it behind her, only stopping to watch the beast tear madly at his own face, where the shirt lands. unclasps the button on her skirt, but has to throw it backwards over her head as she runs. The beast is on the move again. He dodges the clothing, finally learning what to expect.
Serena breaks through the tree line at her fastest pace yet, feet sinking into soft sand and slowing her down. The wolf is close; she can smell his foul breath. The thing snaps at her, almost reaching the tresses of her black, curly hair. Werewolf spit flings forward onto her shoulder. “Gross!”
The beast is faster on the sand. Serena does not expect that. The greedy thing doesn’t even wait until he has a sure kill. He swipes at her when the long reach of his paw is close enough. The gash causes Serena to falter, and she stumbles in the sand. Trying to avoid the yellow razor-like gnashing teeth, Serena rolls. The beast rolls with her, unwilling to let go of his prey. In the split second he is on top, Serena pushes up and out with her powerful legs. The werewolf yelps as he spins, head over tail, into the water.
Rough waves topple over the beast as he struggles to get on his feet. The ocean pushes and pulls, becoming stronger and stronger, as if it is working against the werewolf. Serena laughs again, delighted to see the mighty creature out of his element, and into hers. He drags himself out of the water, weighed down by his thick, matted fur and gasping for breath. Serena passes him, keeping a wary eye out. Welcoming waves reach out to her, drawing her into their frothy grip.
Once he is ankle deep, the werewolf shakes his fur, ridding himself of the salty sea water. He looks out into the ocean, and spots his prey bobbing up and down with the waves, well beyond his reach. He turns his head toward the full moon and howls.
It is an ear-piercing noise that makes Serena cringe. She flicks her freshly formed fins, spraying water onto the hound. His howl ends with a sharp yelp.
Serena turns, flinging her body up then down again, diving into the cold, dark water.
* * *
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!
I woke up to this news this morning. (Official press release here.) And I have to say – I’m shocked…and worried. Kudos to Amazon, though. It makes me wonder if their competitors are all:
I know I am, a little bit. The problem is, Amazon tends to roll out incentives to those who publish exclusively to them, and punish those who don’t (KDP program and certain royalty rates). It makes me wonder if I, as a self-published author, will not be able to reap all the benefits Goodreads has to offer because I am not exclusive to Amazon. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to even think about it, considering the majority of my sales now come from iBooks.
On the plus side, I think Amazon can help bring Goodreads into the digital world. So far, Goodreads hasn’t really been integrated into e-readers, and I am sorely disappointed in their smartphone app. Heck – Goodreads doesn’t allow ebooks in their giveaway section. It is print books only.
Until now, Goodreads has been a wonderful ‘crowd-sourcing’, review generating outlet. I hope it doesn’t lean too far toward its for-profit owner, but how could it not?
If Shelfari (Amazon’s other review site) is any indication of what’s to come, we can say goodbye to Goodreads and hello to whatever new book review platform Google or Apple might roll out. Maybe – just maybe, Amazon competitors are cheering…
What do you think?
‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series’ becomes available in October. Wanna see the cover?
Beautiful, right?! This, by far, is my favorite cover of the series. Here they are together (with Earth still to go):
I already have the cover for ‘Earth’, which will be revealed in a few months, but I may make some tweaks. It is damn hard to make dirt look magical. I hope that after ‘Fire’, the ‘Earth’ cover isn’t a let down. Maybe I should’ve saved ‘Fire’ for the last book of the series. 🙂 You really can’t go wrong with flame. For your comparison, here are a few other ‘hot’ book covers I’ve come across:
Which is your favorite? Feel free to say mine! Haha. No seriously – feel free. I’m so excited, can’t wait for the release – stay tuned for the announcement!