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Sneak Peek of Distant Horizon – Chapter Two (Sections Two and Three)!

As we get closer to the release day of Distant Horizon (October 27th!), I’ve been working on the final touches! I’ve been reading the printed proof copy for errors…

dh-proof-copy-1 dh-proof-copy-2

See? There’s the book!

And I’ve been setting up promotional items for the upcoming book blitz that will take place once Distant Horizon is published.

(Want to participate in the book blitz? Click here!)

And, of course, I like to provide teasers of the upcoming book. So here’s the second part of Distant Horizon, Chapter Two, for your enjoyment. 🙂

(You can read the first chapter by clicking here.)

(Or you can read the first section of chapter two by clicking here.)

Chapter Two

(Section Two and Three)

“Come on, Jenna—this is perfect. You need the points; I get a good name in, and if the commander remembers me when I graduate, he might recommend me to international Special Forces!” With a smooth swipe of his hand, Lance pushed the straggling strands of his brown hair from his eyes and then brushed his shirt free of wrinkles. I took a step back, eyeing him cautiously. Lance stood straighter, more proper than before.

“Well, what do you think?” he asked. “Think I’ll make a good impression?”

“You look… nice,” I said halfheartedly. “I’m sure he’ll consider you.”

Lance beamed. “Awesome!”

“Yeah, awesome,” I mumbled. I shouldered my backpack uneasily as Lance headed for his security class. He could probably get into a regional team and be charged with the wonderful task of protecting gossipy leaders, but regional agents were stationed all over the world. If he got recruited, I might never see him again.

I hunched my shoulders and hurried to calculus. I could almost swear the agents wandering around campus were watching me. Throughout class, when I should have been focusing on logarithms, all I could think about was the agents’ dark visors, their stern postures, and how they were tasked with protecting the Community against all kinds of threats, including theophrenia.

I pictured the agents escorting Galina into the back of the van. What if I never saw her again? What if she couldn’t be cured?

Needless to say, I bombed the calc test.

I returned to my dorm room, dejected, and switched my materials to the Basics of Agronomy and Horticulture. At least this was a class I enjoyed. When I lived at my parents’ house, I spent what free time I had in the backyard or the community garden cultivating herbs and vegetables. Whenever I was worried about how I’d do on my core graduation tests, gardening was the most efficient way for me to relax.

I trailed my fingers through the leaves of the potted spider plant on my desk. If only plants could understand people. Plants wouldn’t tell anyone about not taking the pills, or failing a computer class, or—

The stem of a spiderette wrapped around my finger and wriggled beneath my palm. I yelped and yanked my hand away.

The plant just moved.

Not only that, but spiderette stems were stiff, not malleable like a vine. They shouldn’t be able to wrap around my finger even if plants could move of their own accord.

I stared at the plant, but it seemed the same as before. Just a normal stem in a normal pot.

I swallowed hard. I could not be hallucinating. Not this close to the Health Scan. I grabbed my bag and stuffed the books inside, then rushed out the door. I was stressed and needed lunch; that was all.

Downstairs, the spicy aroma of sloppy joes mingled with the antiseptic stench of cleaning supplies used in the cafeteria. My stomach churned. Bad idea coming to the cafeteria. Really bad idea. I should’ve just taken the pill and been done with it. Maybe I would’ve gotten accustomed to the lack of focus. I could still go back and take the pill. Maybe—

I stopped short at the lunch table.

“You okay?” Lance stabbed his fork into a half-eaten sandwich. “You’re pale. Maybe you should see the nurse.”

“No!” I gripped the loose ends of my backpack tight. Lance gave me a puzzled look. I shut my mouth, then set my backpack in its proper place under the chair. “It’s just… I failed the calc test.”

He cocked his head with a knowing grin. “Sure you did—you won’t have the results until after the Health Scan. You know, you’re starting to sound like Tim.” His smirk turned into an amused smile. “Want me to get you a plate?”

“Go ahead,” I said, and he left me alone at the table. I traced the spot where the stem had wrapped around my finger. My blood pounded in my ears, mingling with the messy roar of the cafeteria. The stress of the upcoming scan was getting to me—bad. Hallucinations were the first sign of theophrenia. If someone had theophrenia, they’d have hallucinations and delusions of grandeur, and eventually, they’d die. But theophrenia was supposed to be a thing of the past. Contained.

“Jenna?” An elbow brushed my shoulder and I jumped. Tim stood beside me, holding a plate of steamed broccoli. “Are you okay?”

Not really, no. But I couldn’t tell him the real reason I was worried. “I bombed the calc test,” I said.

Tim cringed and took his seat. “Ouch.” He stirred his fork through the broccoli, wrinkling his nose and making a face. But I’d never seen him put something back if it was good for him, and he took a bite. “Lance said you can make up yesterday’s points.”

“Maybe, if I get an audience.”

Tim pulled his tablet from his pocket and sat it beside the plate, then flipped through the screens with a swipe of his finger. He showed me a photograph of the commander next to his transport ship. “Do you think he’ll autograph this for me?”

I nodded weakly. I never did understand autographs, though most E-Leadership members were happy to give them. Lady Winters never signed them, though, and when Master Matoska made a rare appearance, he only did so if the signing was on his schedule.

A plate of food slid in front of me. “I got you extra broccoli,” Lance said.

Warmth flooded my chest. Unlike Tim, I actually liked broccoli—and Lance knew me well.

I smiled. “Thanks.”

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After lunch, I excused myself early to slip outside. I had a few minutes before the next meeting, plenty of time for a walk to clear my head. The sun stole through the clouds in the courtyard and lent warmth to the chilly afternoon. Students swarmed the flagpole at the center of campus, waving tablets and books in the fresh air.

A tell-tale safari hat rode across the crowd and my breath caught in my throat. Unlike Lady Black, who often used her revealing outfits to stand out from the rest of us, Commander Rick did not flaunt his “attractiveness.” He always went for regal attire—except for that safari hat he always wore—and his word was absolutely, positively good. If he said he would do something, we could bet our efficiency points he’d do it—not that betting was in any way efficient.

I took a step back, my chest tight. I wasn’t ready to ask the commander questions. What if I got the interview, but they had to do the scan first?

I turned to take the long way around campus, but nearly collided with a confident woman as she passed me on the sidewalk. She nimbly stepped aside, then glanced at me, surprised. Wisps of dark hair tickled her face, and her green eyes were complimented by the antique, diamond and brass pendant she wore on her chest, the same kind of pendant members of international E-Leadership wore.

“Lady Black?” I stared at her, dumbfounded. She had to have been cold. Her dress was impractical—it twisted and shimmered in a harsh gust of wind, and her skin was pale where the silky black dress revealed far more of her chest than normal citizens would ever show. She opened her mouth to speak, but I skittered away before any words could be exchanged.

I didn’t check to see if anyone had seen us before I ducked into the closest building. Once inside, I pressed my hands against the stone wall and caught my breath. Too close. What if I’d said something about the pills in a moment of panic? I half expected an agent to come waltzing through the glass doors and ask why I hadn’t reported my earlier hallucination.

I took a deep breath, ignoring the puzzled stares of passing students. Though I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching, no agent came to question me. I waited for my nerves to calm, and then headed back to the dorms for the afternoon meeting.


Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
Amazon – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iTunes – Smashwords

You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂


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Thoughts on Writing – A Blurb For Distant Horizon

Isaac and I are preparing to publish our YA/NA science fiction novel, Distant Horizon, and one of the many things that must be completed is a shiny blurb for the back of the book (and the Amazon storefront).

This particular blurb has been through many incarnations, especially seeing as how it started as a query letter (which went through many revisions on Absolute Write’s forums). Of course, the story changed over time, and some of the query letters became obsolete… even when they sounded half-way decent.

In a query letter, you want to give a little more information than a blurb (though you don’t typically reveal the end in either), and as such, I wasn’t sure what should stay and what should go.

How much information is too much?

If I reveal a certain plot point, is it a spoiler, or does it intrigue the reader?

I’ve read some blurbs that pretty much went all the way to the climax of the book, or ran through each major plot point without room for deviation. I’ve read some blurbs that didn’t tell me much at all.

Needless to say, I’ve started to avoid reading blurbs again once I’ve actually started reading a book, that way I don’t start waiting to see when the next plot point shows up. But I’ve also noticed that it takes a really good blurb to hold my attention and make me read it word for word, rather than skimming for key words that catch my interest.

That being said, let’s take a look at what Isaac and I currently have written for Distant Horizon.

The Community is safe, unless you have superpowers.


Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson resides in an efficient, secure society that’s recovering from a hallucinogenic plague. So when Special Forces agents arrive at her university prior to a mandatory Health Scan, Jenna’s paranoia—and recent string of hallucinations—prompt her to find out what happens to the students who fail. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment, but when she uncovers a cruel government conspiracy, her ideal world is shattered.

Terrified, Jenna flees her home under the protection of a ragtag band of freedom fighters. The rebels offer her refuge on their rusty airship and claim her hallucinations are elemental plant powers. She’s not so sure she trusts them, but when she comes face-to-face with a cruel telepath in charge of the government’s darkest secrets, Jenna realizes she’ll need more than special powers to escape with her mind and body intact.

This particular blurb has a tagline: The Community is safe, unless you have superpowers.

(There’s an explanation on the difference between a tagline and a logline here, and a quick explanation here.)

We’re briefly introduced to our protagonist (Jenna), our setting (an efficient, secure society), and a conflict (Society is recovering from hallucinogenic plague. Jenna’s been having hallucination. Societal enforcers show up, making her wonder what’s going to happen to her). We also learn there’s a government conspiracy and get information that gets us just about halfway into the book (when she first meets the telepath).

Analyzing this, I wondered if the conflict could be made clearer from the get-go, and if there’s more we should know about Jenna to make her an interesting character right from the start.

I thought about trying to write the blurb in third person, but offhand I could only think of one book that did this well (Delirium by Lauren Oliver), and I think that worked so well in part because it captured the feel of her writing style.

In one article I read about writing a blurb, the author suggested that introducing the setting before the main character was important in science fiction and fantasy. I checked this theory. This holds true for both Hunger Games and Divergent, and to some degree, Matched (the tagline sets up the world).

Given that the world plays a huge role in Distant Horizon, I’m now considering setting up the world first. (In a world where super villains won the day and dismissed super heroes as delusional misfits with a hallucinogenic plague… All right, all right, I won’t start with “In a world”… And I’m fairly certain that “super villains” and “super heroes” are trademarked terms. *Sigh.*)

Based on the idea of setting first, I came up with this rough blurb:

Ever since a hallucinogenic plague wiped out half the world’s population, the Community has been a haven for its citizens. The people of the Community are safe, secure, and efficient. They take a daily pill to ensure their immunity to the plague, and when the time comes for them to enter the work force, they take a mandatory Health Scan. It’s their duty.

But underneath the illusion of safety, the Community’s Special Forces agents enforce a dark secret.

The plague isn’t real.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson is a freshman biology student with a secret of her own. She hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year of high school. She feels more alive without it, and she doesn’t show any signs of infection—until just two days before a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces agents arrive at her university. Jenna’s paranoia—and recent string of hallucinations—prompt her to find out what happens to the students who fail. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment, but when she uncovers the cruel government conspiracy behind the scans, her ideal world is shattered.

I’d be tempted to cut it off here, but I’m not sure that it shows enough about what Jenna will do next. What are her goals? What are the stakes?

This is the amended blurb (though maybe a bit lengthy…):

Ever since a hallucinogenic plague wiped out half the world’s population, the Community has been a haven for its citizens. The people of the Community are safe, secure, and efficient. They take a daily pill to ensure their immunity to the plague, and when the time comes for them to enter the work force, they take a mandatory Health Scan.

It’s their duty. But underneath the illusion of safety, the Community’s Special Forces agents enforce a dark secret.

The plague isn’t real.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson is a university biology student with a secret of her own. She hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year of high school. She feels more alive without it, and she doesn’t show any signs of infection—until just days before a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces agents arrive at her university.

Jenna’s paranoia—and recent string of hallucinations—prompt her to find out what happens to the students who fail. Rumor has it that the students who fail the scan are sent away for treatment, but when she uncovers the cruel conspiracy behind the scans, her ideal world is shattered.

Terrified for her life, Jenna flees under the protection of a ragtag band of so-called “freedom fighters” whose arrival coincided with that of Special Forces. These rebels offer her refuge and claim her hallucinations are elemental plant powers, but she’s not so sure she trusts them. Still, her curiosity gets the best of her, and when she comes face-to-face with a cruel telepath in charge of the government’s darkest secrets, Jenna realizes she’ll need more than special powers to escape with her mind and body intact.

Eh… it’s a work in progress.

Let’s look at the taglines real quick.

The current one I have is:

The Community is safe, unless you have superpowers.

An alternative tagline I’ve considered is:

The Community is safe, secure, efficient.

At least, that’s what we were supposed to believe.

Or simply:

The Community is Safe.

The Community is Secure.

The Community is Efficient.

It is our duty.

The first tagline introduces part of the Community mantra, and also brings in the idea of superpowers (which is nice to for attracting the attention of readers who enjoy superhero stories). The downside I’ve considered is that it may not be clear whether the Community isn’t safe for people with superpowers, or if the Community isn’t safe from people with superpowers.

Or both.

Technically, it’s both, but the potential problem is a concern I have.

The second tagline introduces a condensed version of the Community mantra, and instantly sets up that things aren’t as they seem (yay, tension!). Downside… no mention of superpowers.

The third tagline is a bit lengthy, but it clearly shows the Community mantra, which is repeated several times and places a huge role throughout the book. Should be a tad discomforting for the reader, but the downside is that it doesn’t reveal superpowers or and other form tension/conflict.

But what do you guys think? Which tagline do you like best, and why?

What do you think about the blurb? Are there any blurbs you’ve particularly enjoyed reading?

I hope you found this post helpful. 🙂


By the way, as a way to say thanks for reaching 1000 Twitter followers, I’m currently running a giveaway for two ebook copies (.mobi file or Smashwords coupon) of Magic’s Stealing!

Click here if you’re interested in entering the Rafflecopter giveaway, and good luck! 😀

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Seventeen of Magic’s Stealing

I finally got the next reading (chapter seventeen) of Magic’s Stealing uploaded! Enjoy. 🙂

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

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Blog Tour for a Fellow Author – The Goat Children

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, The Goat Children. Friday I’ll plan on doing the video blog post, along with an update on our booth at the upcoming Old Drum Days Festival. 🙂

* * *


A young adult novel with a touch of fantasy, love, and imagination versus reality.

The Goat Children Book Cover

When Keziah’s grandmother, Oma, is diagnosed with dementia, Keziah faces two choices: leave her family and move to New Winchester to care for Oma, or stay in New York City and allow her grandmother to live in a nursing home miles away.

The dementia causes Oma to be rude and paranoid, nothing like the woman Keziah remembers. Each day becomes a greater weight and love a harsher burden. Keziah must keep Oma from wandering off or falling, and try to convince her grandmother to see a doctor as her eyesight and hearing fail, but Oma refuses to believe anything is wrong. Resentful of her hardships in New Winchester, Keziah finds herself drawn to Oma’s ramblings about the Goat Children, a mythical warrior class. These fighters ride winged horses, locating people in need, while attempting to destroy evil in the world. Oma sees the Goat Children everywhere, and as Keziah reads the stories Oma wrote about them, she begins to question if they really exist.


GOAT CHILDREN is now available on Amazon from CHBB.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!


Check out Chapter 1:

Bodies crushed against each other, a blur of hair and clothes, in the mad dash to exit the subway. The air smelled of the greasy restaurants above and felt stuffy, despite the bitter cold that rattled through the damp subway tunnel. My mouth watered as I sniffed roasted chestnuts.


You haven’t eaten dinner yet, my rumbling stomach scolded.


I slipped past a man speaking rapid Spanish to board the train, grabbed a pole, slid on to a seat, and pulled my green bag higher towards my chest. The two paperbacks inside jammed into my ribs. With a groan, I shifted into a new position, wondering what glorious worlds awaited within the glossy covers.


“Whoa ho, ho, ho.”


More people ranting on the subway. It could never be a quiet ride. I opened my bag to peer at the fantasy novels. I’d chosen thick books because they lasted longer and made the reading more rewarding.


“Ho, little one.”


A face shoved into mine from the aisle, and I jerked back, squeaking. Oily black hair hung over a scarred forehead. The man swayed, braying a laugh. I glanced at the woman with bright pink hair sitting on the next seat. She read a newspaper without looking up.


“So much to you.” The man licked his lips and slurred the words.


His pungent odor clawed its way through my nose; no escaping the invisible fumes. They washed over me with groping draws until my eyes watered. I cringed, my craving for chestnuts gone. Anyone on a diet would be thankful to have him around.


He stood, clinging to a pole with one gloved hand. Threads poked from the torn seams in the gripping brown leather. Two duffel bags, stained with mud, rested near his feet, bulging with contents.


I lowered my gaze, clutching the bag tighter. Please go away. I shouldn’t have taken the subway, but I’d done it to save time. Even though I was seventeen, Mama said it wasn’t safe to ride alone, and now, I agreed.


I’m not gonna be home by my seven o’clock curfew. Mama’s gonna freak. I can’t believe I forgot my phone.


“You don’t belong on this world.” He smacked his lips. Behind his head, a large sign told the public not to smoke, or they’d get lung cancer and die. It was easier to stare at the anti-smoking sign than him.


“Yes, thank you,” I mumbled as he leered at me. Even if he lacked a home and suffered from insanity, he didn’t deserve rudeness.


“You like fantasy?”


I stared at my lap, but when he repeated the question louder, I nodded.


“What would ya do if fantasy became your life? What would ya do if it wasn’t fantasy anymore?”


“Fantasy isn’t real.” I shifted my gaze to my black socks. They came up to my thighs and the right sock had a tiny hole near the knee. I’d have to sew it when I got home. If I studied it, maybe he’d grow bored and mosey on elsewhere.


“Are you happy here? Don’t you want more, little one? I can take you to another world.” His deep breaths made snot rattle in his nose.


I gagged, hiding my mouth behind my hand. The woman with the newspaper glanced over. I pleaded silently for her to make the man go away, but she moved to an empty seat down the car, wrinkling her nose. I still had five more stops before I could get away.


Do I dare follow her?


“Don’t you believe in destiny?”


What if he sits next to me? I slid my bag onto the empty seat, clutching the handle. As the subway curved around the corner, it screeched, the sound echoing through the metallic enclosure as if screaming, “Doom!”


“I’ve been to other lands. I’ve seen my future, and I spit at it.” He turned his head to hack on the floor. The saliva bubbled with a yellowish hue.


The subway squealed to a halt, and some of the passengers stood to exit. I removed the bag in case someone new sat down, someone safe, but no one came near or looked at us as they found seats. The doors slid shut, and the train moved again. Four more stops to go.


“Don’t shun fantasy. I’ve made mistakes and don’t want you to make ‘em too. Take it and see what you can do. Take it!” He pumped his fist, revealing grease stains on his coat sleeves.


I scanned the other passengers’ faces. They ignored us, although the ranting man filled the car with his voice. Only the smiling faces on wall advertisements watched. Ever-smiling, ever-trapped in their realm of sales. I fiddled with the zipper on the front of my gray hoodie, heart racing.


The subway halted at the next station. Again, people exited and entered, and no one sat beside me. Three more stops to go. I drummed my fingers against my thigh.


“I know all about the ones they call the Goats.” He drew a ragged breath. “I’m not supposed to, but I know. My wife was one. She told me all about them. Oh, yes, she did. She wasn’t supposed to, but she did. They don’t let them take over the world. They won’t!”


Why do crazies always go for alien invasions? I twirled my brown curls. I’d get off at the next stop and walk the rest of the way, even if I arrived home later.


What if he follows me?


“The Goats!” He flapped his arm.


Alien goat invasion. How awesome. I jumped and clutched my bag like a shield. The subway screeched as it approached the next station. I wanted to run, but he waved both arms, repeating the scream.


The doors swished open, but if I stood to escape, he could attack. Two more stops to go. What if I can’t escape at my stop, either?


As soon as the subway started, he lowered his arm and drew a few breaths. He reeked of alcohol, and overpowering the sweat stench, the stench made my head swirl.


“Beware of the Goats.” His chest heaved. “Help the Goats. Save the Goats!”


He really is deranged. There weren’t any goats in New York City that I’d ever seen.


“Yes, I will.” Go away. “I’ll … I’ll watch out for the goats.”


“The Goats,” he corrected, as if I’d mispronounced the word. He picked up his duffel bags and waddled to the back of the car, where he dropped onto a seat. He took a small paperback book from the pocket of his trench coat and flipped it open.


When the doors swished open at the next stop, I exited in the crush of bodies. People coughed and spoke, heels clicked and wheels on backpacks rolled, and the sounds echoed off the stone walls.


I slid through the turnstile and bolted up the cement steps two at a time, the edges cracked and crumbled and graffiti decorated the walls with images of fire and obscene language. The brightness of the paint, and the harsh edges that curved and sang were beautiful. The scrawls seemed to want to leap off the stone, suddenly alive.


At the top, I grasped the railing. Cold, dented metal bit through the fishnet of my fingerless gloves while I gazed over my shoulder. The people emerging didn’t spare me a glance. I was lost in the crowd, a stationary fixture.


The man wasn’t following. I ducked my head to push into the crowd. People bumped into me, jostling with elbows and bags. I almost walked into a tourist, who snapped a picture of the taxicabs.


“Hey,” called a stout vender from the corner. “You okay?”


I tucked back a brown curl. “I’m fine, but thanks.” Wind whipping between the skyscrapers stole the power of my words.


“Wanna dog?” He held one out, nestled in a white roll.


“No, thanks. I don’t eat meat.”


“Good,” I thought I heard him whisper. “Your kind shouldn’t.”


He couldn’t have spoken. It must’ve been someone else. It wouldn’t make sense for a man who made his living off people scarfing down meat-in-a-tube to agree with my vegetarian lifestyle.


I ogled the sea of metal vehicles washed in the afternoon sunlight like sharks swarming for a fresh kill. I shook off the thought and ran, an empty Styrofoam cup crunching beneath my foot. I didn’t have a watch, but the sun hung low in the sky.


A thought raced through my mind as the sun made windows wink and flash.


Beware of Goats.




“Long line at the bookstore.” I dropped my bag on the marble table beside the door to my family’s condo. Instrumental Celtic music wafted from the living room as I left the small foyer, and I almost tripped over my sprawled little sister.


“Phebe, you shouldn’t lie on the floor.”


“Why are you home so late?” Phebe dragged an orange crayon over the page of her coloring book. Her ponytail bobbed as she tipped her head, studying the picture. “You should’ve taken me with you. Mommy said so.”


“I’m sure she did.” I rolled my eyes.


When I’d left earlier, Phebe had still been doing her mathematics homework. We were home schooled, so even in the summer, we had work to do. It sucked because other home schooled students I knew had summers off. That was our penalty for having a mother with a Master’s degree in elementary education.


“Where’re Mama and Dad?”


Phebe sat up on her knees with her eyebrows knit together. “Mommy’s crying.”


My heart sunk and dropped clear out of my stomach. Mama never got that upset when I came home late. Did she find out about the party last weekend at Tiffany’s? I’d lied and said it was only going to be Tiff, her parents and siblings, and me. I hadn’t mentioned her parents were in Vancouver on vacation or that Tiff had invited all of her friends, not just me. Regret stabbed my gut.


“Mama, I’m home! Mama?”


The family photographs glared at me from the wall, none so reprimanding as the face of my Reverend Uncle. I kicked off my flats and hurried into my parents’ bedroom. With the lamp off, only a little light slipped through the closed venetian blinds covering the single window.


Short brown hair fanned over the plaid pillowcase, and Mama lay sideways on the king-sized bed, a crumpled tissue pressed against her nose. Dad sat beside her, stroking her shoulders. He still wore his suit from work—an even worse sign. The first thing Dad did when he walked through the door was peel off his jacket and toss the tie onto the table.


“Mama?” My voice cracked as my throat constricted.


“Your uncle called.” Dad tugged on his green silk tie that should’ve been lost in the pile of mail, not still fastened around his neck.


“Uncle Tom?”


The Reverend in Massachusetts, Dad’s younger brother, only called once a month, on the first Friday. Even though we called him Uncle Tom around the house, we all referred to him as Pastor Thomas to his face.


“No, Uncle Jan.”


Mama’s brother, the one who called less than Uncle Tom did.


“What…what did he want? Has someone died?” Oh no, is it my grandmother? Uncle Jan lived upstate, in the same town as her.


“Keziah, it’s your grandmother,” Dad continued.


Oh no, oh no, oh no. When I’d been younger, we’d lived down the street from Mama’s mother. She had taken care of me while my parents worked, and we’d often picked violets in the yard. Sometimes, I imagined I could smell their perfume years later and hundreds of miles away.


I’d always called her Oma, which meant grandmother in Dutch. I could still remember the way I’d cried and screamed, begging to stay with Oma when we’d moved to New York City. The hours separating us seemed like an eternity.


“She has dementia.” Dad removed his tie and knotted it around his fingers.


I blinked at him. “Dementia?” Demented, like the man on the subway?


“She hasn’t been officially diagnosed, but the symptoms are there. Uncle Jan doesn’t feel she can live on her own anymore.” Dad dropped his tie onto the alarm clock.


“So…she’s moving in with Uncle Jan?” I pictured waking up from a sleepover at Oma’s house with fresh squeezed orange juice waiting in the kitchen beside a bowl of cream of wheat cereal, steamy and sweet.


“Good morning, sunshine,” Oma would sing. She’d pull out the chair, the seat hideous and green, leftover from the 1970s. It had been an honor to sit at the kitchen table with her.


Dad rubbed his chin. “Your aunt won’t let her do that.”


I grinned. “She’s moving in with us? That’s amazing!” I only saw Oma on school holidays, and that summer, we’d had to pass because Mama had taught a summer school class.


“You know that wouldn’t work.” Dad gazed at the dresser across the room, a fog coming over his eyes.


I pulled at a loose thread on my black skirt. If Oma moved in, then Dad would have to move out or risk family war. The yelling would never stop. She hated Dad with a roaring passion I’d never understood. That anger had contributed to the reason why we’d moved, and when we visited Oma, Dad never went.


“Your uncle wants to put her in a home.” Dad leaned over to rub a spot on the wall’s blue paint as if that space was the problem, and he could make it disappear.


I licked my dry lips. “You mean like a nursing home?”


“No!” Mama rose on her elbows. “I’m not putting my mother in a nursing home. Do you know how they treat their patients? It’s horrible. All those people. Oma would hate it. She’s so antisocial these days. Really hate it.”


“Hush. Come on, sweetheart. It’s all right. We won’t put her in a home.” Dad combed his fingers through her hair.


“Why would Uncle Jan want to do that?” I didn’t know anything about nursing homes, but Mama was right. Oma had become one of the most antisocial people I’d ever met.


“It’s your aunt.” Dad patted Mama’s back. “She wants to put your grandmother away. It’s getting too hard to take care of her, and she won’t let her move in with them. You know how your aunt can be.”


My aunt could be downright nasty—a sickish combination of stubborn and controlling. Dad was too nice to say that aloud, though.


“What are we going to do?” My question made Mama cry harder, and I flinched.


“We’ll think of something,” Dad whispered.


Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, and BORN OF TREASURE.  GOAT CHILDREN is her first novel with CHBB.  Her short stories are featured in over twenty anthologies.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.


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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Twelve of Magic’s Stealing

Well, I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of using Premiere Pro and the new microphone. Sort of. I figured out that if I sat it in a pile of soft fabric (a.k.a. the bed), that it wouldn’t pick up the hum of the computer, and so the recording is a lot cleaner. At least until the water heater kicks on, and then all bets are off. *Sigh.* I did remember to turn off the main heater before I started recording though. And thanks to Isaac editing the play through video for Battle Decks, I figured out how to do all the main edits in Premiere Pro instead of using the Youtube editor. In the long run, that should save time, as long as I don’t wait until the last minute to do my recording.

In the meantime, chapter eleven of Magic’s Stealing! 😀

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

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Behind the Scenes – The Girl Who Flew Away

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press. The author had several ideas on their art form for how the cover might look, and they listed a few options for symbolism. After reading the form, I had an idea of the style I thought might work. I found the images (including the sketchy dragonflies, both the illustration and the creature referencing the book) and put together a mock-up. My initial mock-up had a different background, which included cliffs and a waterfall but didn’t really give the right feel in regards to setting. I sent another idea for the background, just the picture, along with the mock-up, and they asked to try it. This is the end result. 🙂

SBibb - The Girl Who Flew Away - Book Cover

SBibb - The Girl Who Flew Away - Wrap-Around Book Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:






Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration

Thoughts on Publishing – YA Paperback Prices

In my last post, I discussed my thoughts on pricing an indie card game. That got me thinking back to pricing paperback books. I’ve already determined that I’ll probably sell the paperback edition of Magic’s Stealing for $7.99. It’s an odd price, but a compromise since there weren’t a whole lot of YA novellas in paperback that I could find to reference, and the ones I did find were by well-known authors, and therefore priced higher.

Since there’s a slight possibility that Magic’s Stealing may appeal to the upper range of the middle grade audience, I referenced the $7.99 price point of similar-sized books. Here, AR quizzes can be of use determining word count.

However, I’ve now been thinking about Distant Horizon (a 97,500 Ya/NA science fiction novel), and wondering how I want to format the print edition. Granted, it still needs to be proofread, and Isaac and I are quite a ways from releasing it, but I like figuring out these things.

The print format that I used for Magic’s Stealing won’t work… we would end up with a huge page count, which means that the production costs would be too high to bring the book into local stores.

Createspace gives us the option to compare basic book costs, shipping, and royalties. With a quick check of the Distant Horizon file in the same format as Magic’s Stealing, I found that the initial page count was 450. That’s not including getting the chapter spacing formatted to look nice.

But let’s plug that into the calculator and get some numbers.

For a single copy of a 5.25 x 8 book, black and white pages with bleed, we’re looking at $6.25 for the book and $3.59 for standard shipping. $9.84 per book.

Let’s take a look at volume discounting for a moment, since that’s what makes it possible to get these books into stores.

If we buy 25 copies of the book, we pay $156.25 plus $15.50 for shipping, for a total of $171.75, or $6.87 per book. Notice how much the cost per book went down? If we buy 50 copies of the book, we pay $312.50 plus $23.00 shipping (be sure to adjust your quantity value in both calculators). That’s $335.50 total, or $6.71 per book. A slight difference from 25, but not so different that we couldn’t purchase the smaller quantity of books if funds are tight.

For royalties on Amazon (not looking at any expanded distribution options), we start making a profit at $10.99 (34 cents), $11.99 (94 cents), $12.99 ($1.54), $13.99 ($2.14), and $14.99 (2.74). Books printed in Great Britain need to be priced higher than the converted $12.99, or they lose money, while books printed in Europe need to be priced higher than the converted $10.99 or they lose money.

Keeping in mind that we can adjust those prices separately, I’m not worrying about non-US prices right at the moment.

However, without knowing how to format the book, it’s hard to say what the right price point is.

So I decided to run over to Hastings and take a look at their YA section. Figured I’d take twenty minutes to do some quick research.

One hour later…


Anyway, I came up with a list of various young adult books across different genres. I noted their title, my best guess at their genre (I referenced Goodreads for a few of them), their page count (by last page of the story, not including front and back matter), line count per page (unfortunately I didn’t think to count the average words per line), price (there may be some variation here due to price stickers covering the price listed on the book), and book size.

I found that, overwhelmingly, the young adult paperbacks were 5.25 by 8 inches, or very close to that size (some variations from printer to printer should be expected). In general, if they came from a traditional publisher, they were 5.25 x 8. Keep that in mind if you’re self-publishing, and you want your book to “look” professional. On the other hand, I briefly skimmed the adult section with the 6×9 book, and there were several more instances of the 6×9 trade paperbacks available. At some point I would like to go back and check the adult book price points and line counts and such, since I think my previous research has suggested that the average adult trade paperback would sell for roughly $14.99.

Keep your target audience in mind, and research similar books to get a feel for how to format and price your own book.

This is the list of YA books I compiled at Hastings.

Michael Vey: Rise of Elgen (Science Fiction) – 6 x 9 – 335 pgs – 35 lines per page – $10.99

Hush, Hush (Paranormal Romance) – 5.25 x 8 –  391 pgs – 25 lines per page – $11.99

Perfect Chemistry (Contemporary Romance) – 5.25 x 8 – 359  pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

Barely Breathing (Romantic Thriller) – 5.25 x 8 –  502 pgs – 32 lines per page – $9.99

Perfect Ruin (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 356 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Jewel (Dystopian Romance)- 5.25 x 8 – 359 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

Beautiful Creatures (Paranormal Romance) – 5.25 x 8 – 563 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

Eye of Minds (Science Fiction) – 5.25 x 8 – 310 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

The Dark Is Rising (Complete Sequence, Fantasy) – 6 x 9 – 1082 pgs – 30 lines per page – $16.99 (The Amazon edition is different than the edition I found)

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Original Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 374 pgs – 29 lines per page – $8.99 originally. Now has sticker that says $10.99

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Movie Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 374 pgs – 29 lines per page – $12.99

The Hunger Games (Dystopian – Shiny Gold Edition) – 5.25 x 8 – 436 pgs – 27 lines per page – $12.99

City of Bones (Urban Fantasy – New Cover) – 5.25 x 8 – 485 pgs – 30 lines per page – $13.99

The Sight (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 464 pgs – 33 lines per page – $8.99

Graceling (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 471 pgs – 28 lines per page – $8.99

The Demon King (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 506 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Testing (Science Fiction Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 325 pgs – 29 lines per page – $9.99

The Darkest Minds (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 488 pgs – 30 lines per page – $9.99

(About here I discovered that Dreamland is out. *Squee!* I’ve been wanting to read that since I read the first few chapters… *Ahem.* Back to cataloging…)

Mortal Gods (Mythology Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 366 pages – 33 lines per page – $10.99

Never Fade (Dystopian) – 5.25 x 8 – 507 pages – 30 lines per page – $10.99

Fourth Comings (Contemporary Romance… looks New Adult) – 6 x 9 – 310 pages – 31 lines per page – $13.99 (Amazon has the list price at $15.00, so I think this may technically be categorized as an adult romance, though it was in the young adult section)

IMPORTANT: Some of these numbers may be incorrect due to my notes having tiny handwriting. I’ve linked to the books in the Amazon store where available, and those may have product details for the print editions that include the front and back matter. As another note, you could probably do a lot of this same research on Amazon by checking the scratched-out list price when you have the paperback edition selected.

I also found that hardback books tend to lean toward the 6 x 9 mark, but they completely vary as to the exact size, and some are considerably smaller. Also, font size and line spacing varied from book-to-book, so when formatting your own book, be sure to take that into account, and study your favorite books in the genre of the book you are formatting.

Now, let’s do the same categorizing for Magic’s Stealing that I did for the above books.

Magic’s Stealing (Fantasy) – 5.25 x 8 – 158 pages – 28 lines per page – $7.99 (once the print edition is available)

Based on the above list, most of the YA books are sized 5.25 x 8 inches, typically range around $9.99 to $10.99, higher if they’re a well known book. Based on this sampling, there aren’t as many at $11.99 as I originally thought, though more research may be needed regarding specific genres. The biggest benefit to this list that I see for Distant Horizon is that a large number of those books allow for 30 lines per page, which can significantly decrease page count. Additionally, something I didn’t check for at the time is the average word count per line, which would give a rough font size estimate.

Let’s go back to our Distant Horizon book and see what happens. I lowered the font size (which isn’t the end-all answer, but this is a rough estimate), which brought the line count to 31 lines per page (a little high, but still acceptable), and now only have 370 pages. Let’s round this to 400 pages, since formatting changes could increase the count.

With those variables, a single book is $5.65 plus $3.59 shipping, or $9.24 per book. A volume purchase of 25 books would be $141.25 plus $15.50, for a total of $156.75, or $6.27 per book. 50 copies would be $282.50 plus $23.00, for a total of $305.50 or $6.11 per book.

At the common price points, a 5.25 x 8, 400 page book would profit on US Amazon at 34 cents ($9.99), 94 cents ($10.99), and at the uncommon prices $1.54 ($11.99), and $2.14 ($12.99)

Let’s say that we want to take this into local bookstores. We choose to pick up 50 books to start with, so each book costs us $6.11. At the high end, a store asks for a 40% discount, which doesn’t work at all for the $9.99 book, but yields about 50 cents for the $10.99 book, or $1.09 for a $11.99 book.

So… it is possible to sell the book to stores at a 40% discount, though the profit wouldn’t be high. The profits would increase as the store’s requested discount decreases.

Alternatively, we could hand-sell the book at conventions, keeping all profits for ourselves (minus sales tax… and the cost of a booth), earning $3.88 per $9.99 book. Potentially, we could list it as $11.99, and still have room to discount it at conventions. However, it’s still not the best price point available, and I’d need to play with formatting to get the lowest number of pages possible, while still keeping the book as readable as possible.

Remember, poor formatting can drive a reader away from a book without them ever knowing why, while good formatting can help them ease into the reading experience, so make sure your book is readable to your target audience.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and these are just a few things to consider when you’re preparing to format your book. Good luck. 🙂


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Behind the Scenes – Sojourn: The Deadlands

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we chose to keep the theme similar to the first book in the series, Sojourn: The Wildlands. To do this, we kept a few key elements: the two characters walking with their backs to the reader, a desolate landscape, similar placement of the title treatment and author name, along with the late evening lighting. Though we tried a couple different proofs before this, we found this one to have the strongest appeal.

This is the end result:

SBibb - Sojourn: The Deadlands - Book Cover

SBibb - Sojourn: The Deadlands - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club:

https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/84643064 – pink desert
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/86018878 – cityscape
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/61414729 – cracked desert sky
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/78050476 – Desert in the distance
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/77169647 – cracked desert texture
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/52669985 – couple walking
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/73794707 – man head
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/13610115 – female head
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/3514602 – fedora
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/3059778 – cowboy hat
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/85873155 – rust


Filed under Book Covers, Photo Illustration

Thoughts on Writing – Aging Up Characters

I’ve been getting feedback from beta readers for Magic’s Stealing, and one of the comments that has been fairly consistent is that the characters (which I intended to be around twenty years old) feel like they’re twelve- to sixteen years old, effectively making the story sound like it’s aimed at a middle grade or the lower end of the YA audience. Which isn’t a bad thing… if I meant for my characters to be younger. However, I’m hoping to get them to sound like they’re at least eighteen, so it’s time to consider what’s making them sound younger, and what can be done to make them sound older. 🙂

To start with, once I knew that their age was an issue, I sought feedback from the beta readers. I needed to know why these characters were sounding younger.

1. Their actual age isn’t mentioned until later in the story. This leaves their age open for interpretation, and by the time a reader gets to the point where their age is mentioned, readers already have a solid idea of the characters’ ages in mind. (As a side note, there’s a book I read recently, Renegade by J.A. Souders, in which a certain intimidating character is revealed to be a child. The story is told in first person by a character who is brainwashed into thinking nothing of this, so she’s not surprised, but it is a twist for the reader. As a reader, I personally loved that twist. However, it did take me a little while to hold the image of a child in my head, rather than that of an older teenager. In  my current manuscript, I don’t want this kind of surprise for the age of my main characters, so I may need to bring up their ages sooner).

2. The characters act younger. In the opening scene, my main character, Toranih, is nervous because she’s been hearing footsteps and thinks she’s being watched. As soon as she ‘turns out the light,’ she dives under the covers of her bed. Personally, I love the image. However… this isn’t what we typically picture an older person doing. Therefore, the first impression is that Toranih must be younger. An option to fix this may be to have her consider diving under the covers, but she forces herself to walk calmly to bed. Or she may walk calmly to bed but reference that she’s going to bed with a knife at her side. Or… some combination thereof. Haven’t decided yet.

Darkness flooded Toranih Covonilayno’s sleeping chambers as she mentally extinguished her magic crystal’s light. She dropped the crystal on her dresser and rushed to her bed, then dove under the covers.

Silly, she knew, but the last few nights had brought strange creaking noises from the attic, soft footsteps and the brushing of rough wool on the edges of the wooden floorboard above. She listened now, waiting to see if the footsteps returned.

3. Lack of romance. The current draft doesn’t show much in the way of a romantic interest between the main characters. Now, that’s not to say you must have romance in a story to make it YA or adult, but without romance, this story seems like a more likely candidate for an MG novella. When I go to edit, I plan to hint a little more at the (lack of) romance between the main characters. I’m toying with the idea of having Toranih and Daernan ‘technically’ courting (mostly so Toranih can keep her father from trying to point other suitors in her direction, since she’s not necessarily interested in Daernan romantically), while Daernan actually does like her. Increases tension in the story, and gives a better clue about their age.

4. Expectations for the type of fantasy. Especially in YA, we seem to get a lot of hints that the teenage main characters are either actively seeking (or avoiding) marriage. These worlds have their characters finding partners at a younger age. In Magic’s Stealing, I’m going with the idea that the characters live longer and have a tiny bit more ‘modern’ of a society (with magic taking the place of electricity, but in an older setting with kingdoms and lords and ladies). However, to pull this off, I’m going to have to show more of their world. We need to see older characters walking in the streets. Maybe a reference to food spoiling when their ‘magic refrigerator’ no longer has magic to keep food cold. Maybe a reference that going to an academy for magic, versus sticking around and getting married, is a common occurrence. I’m considering having Toranih’s sister, Siklana, already be accepted into an academy (think college), rather than expecting to be accepted at the end of the month. Maybe she’s back at the manor because she’s visiting, and she’s planning to oversee the festival that takes place at the beginning of the book. And maybe Toranih actually is studying swordsmanship, rather than dreaming about it, but her lessons are private since she can’t convince her father that being a guardsman is fitting for a lady of her status (but she can’t pass her magic exams, so… what else is she going to do?). There’s a lot of world building opportunities here, and the great thing is that these changes don’t have to be major alterations.

5. Lack of (graphic) violence. Though there are a couple battle scenes, we don’t really see much blood spilled, and nor do we get graphic depictions of the shadows who are burned. Now, this doesn’t mean it isn’t for older readers, but it makes it more open to an MG audience. That being said, I’m  considering adding a bit more detail to these scenes, partially for the impact they have on the main characters, and partially so that once we get to the second book, it doesn’t come as a surprise when we actually start seeing more violence coming into play. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be gratuitous. Just means that the MC is going to be distinctly aware of what’s going on around them.

Her friend had backed into a rocky cove, but he was using that to focus his attention on the growing force of shadows in front. He shifted back and forth, thrusting each hand separately and delivering a blast of air or a blast of fire, to which they ducked and dived away.

The shadows shied from the wind, but they hated fire. They scuttled aside when his magic seared their hands and scalded their weapons. They sent new shadows to fight while they nursed their burns. Those burns healed, but slowly. And one shadow lay dead on the floor, burned beyond recognition, and did not appear to be healing at all.

Toranih shuddered. If these were mortal men, Daernan wouldn’t be using fire like this.

But fire did hurt them, and they weren’t mortal men.

6. How other characters perceive them. The antagonist refers to the main characters as the ‘boy’ and the ‘girl.’ Granted, from a god-like character who can’t die, it makes sense that she’d view these characters as being childlike. But with this scene placed early in the novel, it doesn’t help the perception of the main characters’ ages as being younger. I’ll probably keep these kinds of references for the actual deities, but at that point, the actual ages for the MCs should be established, so the reference should hint more at the internal thoughts of the deities in question.

A cloaked figure knelt beside a sprawling sycamore near the girl’s window, her eyes trained on the two owls.

Finally, they’re gone, the figure thought to herself. She climbed up the tree, bark catching on the tips of her leather boots, then slipped inside the open window. The room was dark, but the light crystal glowed with residual energy and lit the bare essentials.

The girl had rearranged the furniture since the night before. No night table or pile of books, and her usual set of sparring knives didn’t hang from the wall. Probably locked in the chest at the foot of the bed, or buried under the mattress.

There’s a lot of little things that could affect the perceived age of the main characters, and with a few tweaks here and there, I think I can have them sounding like they’re at least eighteen. And it’s worth noting that I do read a lot of YA and the occasional MG book. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that my narrative voice would lean that direction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and now it’s your turn. Have you had any experiences with your writing or reading where characters don’t sound like the age that they’re supposed to?


Filed under Personal Work, Writing

Author Interview – Jordan Mierek (Treasure Darkly)

Today we have an author interview with Jordan Elizabeth, the author of the upcoming book, Treasure Darkly. 😀


Beware a Treasure Darkly…


(The stunning cover art is thanks to Amalia Chitulescu– find her here)

Treasure Darkly - Book Cover

Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe… until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead. A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

And he is not alone. His new found sister, Amethyst, thinks that’s rather dashing, until Horan kidnaps her, and all she gets is a bullet through her heart. When Clark brings her back to life, she realizes he’s more than just street-smart – and he’s not really a Treasure. Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.

Treasure Darkly Full Cover Preview

TREASURE DARKLY, Book 1 of the Treasure Chronicles

The young adult novel is a dark mix of steampunk, the paranormal and romance in a “Wild West” setting.

Below is an excerpt from TREASURE DARKLY. You can read more on the Curiosity Quills Press website.

“Looks like he did drink it up.” The general client spoke from the right. “Must’ve interacted with all that bloody hertum. Look at ‘im, he’s bleeding already.”

“What’s it gonna do to him?” the guard from the morning asked.

“Lots of stuff.” The general laughed. “When he touches the dead, he’ll be able to bring them back, and exchange that life for another. Perfect soldier, huh? We only have one vial ready and I was going to give it to a lucky fellow. Guess it will be this boy.”

“Whatcha gonna do with him?” The guard snickered.

“Have to be a test subject,” the general said. “Sure thought it was that Judy who stole my bottle. Pity I killed her. She sure knew how to make my pecker sing.”

Clark’s mother.

Clark bolted off the ground and ran. He could hide in the hole under the shed behind the brothel. Mable never found him under there. He might be cursed with raising the dead—he’d already done that to the poor mine worker—but it didn’t mean he’d let them take him for tests.


And now for the interview with Jordan Elizabeth:

Tell us about your latest book:
Right now I’m working on Book 4 in the Treasure Chronicles, for those who want more of Clark and Amethyst!

How did you get your start writing?
I wrote my first novel back in high school. When I looked into how to get published, I saw that I needed credentials for agents to even look at my work. I started submitting short stories anywhere I could.

What publishing credits do you have under your belt?
I was published in numerous online journals before signing with Curiosity Quills Press. I like to embark upon writing exercises by working on short stories; you can find them in anthologies published by Horrified Press and in the anthology 13 HAUNTING TALES.

What is your writing process?
I take an idea and run with it. I only make notes as I write, so I can keep track of names, locations, appearances…

What has been your most rewarding writing experience?
That has to do with my story TABITHA’S DEATH (you can find the first three chapters on WATTPAD). One of my critique partners contacted me a year after reading it to say it still gives her nightmares! Now, I don’t want to give people nightmares (insert malicious laugh), but I was delighted that something I wrote stuck with someone for so long.

What writing projects are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on Book 4 in the Treasure Chronicles, for those who want more of Clark and Amethyst!

What is your favorite thing about writing?
Creating worlds. All day I think about characters, settings, and adventures, so it is a great release to get home from work and be able to write.

What was your favorite thing about writing this book?
One of the main characters, Amethyst. She’s so selfish and flighty – I had a blast writing about her!

Was there anything you found particularly difficult about writing this book?
Pleasing my critique partners. I don’t always have this problem, but for this book, my critique partners each wanted something different. I love my critique partners, and I hope they’re happy with the final product. Their excitement for different characters is what inspired me to create books 2, 3, and now 4 in the series.

What was the process like for writing, editing, then finally publishing the book?
The process for this book was the quickest! I wrote it, and along the way I shared snipets with my critique partners. Curiosity Quills Press accepted it, it was edited, and now it is published. TREASURE DARKLY really flew…like the airship I’m including in book 4.

Who’s your favorite character in the book? Why?
Although I loved writing about Amethyst, Clark is my favorite. He’s a handsome rogue, who knows how to be bada** while still being a gentleman. Plus he’s sexy as all brass glass.

Since every author wonders… how did you find the publisher for your book?
I’m honored to be critique partners with Eliza Tilton, who is published through Curiosity Quills Press. I compiled GEARS OF BRASS and Eliza contributed to it. She showed it to the publisher, they accepted it, and I was able to show them more of my work.

What’s the cover creation process like?
I explained to the cover artist what the characters looked like and an idea of the story. She came up with the rest.

Anything else you want to tell us?
The sequel, BORN OF TREASURE, comes out September 21, 2015. You will get to see more of the Steampunk Wild West world and there will be plenty of ghosts. The romance will be even hotter.


You can read more about Amethyst Treasure in GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology from Curiosity Quills Press available now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, is the author of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, available from Curiosity Quills Press. Check out Jordan’s website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for contests and book signing locales. Jordan is represented by Belcastro Agency and she is president of the Utica Writers Club.

Gears of Brass - Book Cover

No blog tour is complete without a giveaway. Enter here for a chance to win a paperback copy of GEARS OF BRASS.


Thanks so much for the interview, Jordan, and good luck with your book! 😀

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