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Happy Halloween! Today starts Reading Addiction’s Halloween Sale blast. A whole bunch of chilling books for 99 cents and up (including The Bloody City)–and you can also enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The blast and contest goes on until November 6th, so enter today and also pick up some cheap, spooky books!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card

WELCOME TO THE HALLOWEEN SALE BLAST! 
 
Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the buy links! Please make sure to scroll down as each page will consist of many titles in that same genre!
Novels On Sale for $0.99!

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Novels on Sale $1.99 and Up!

 

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The Blogging From A to Z Challenge is over and I think we all need a little break! Congratulations if you took on the challenge and made it to the end. Even if you didn’t make it to the end, good job for trying! If you were sane and didn’t do the challenge, I applaud you as well.

I also moved house this weekend and my life is currently in shambles (and boxes). I just wanted to make a quick post and let urban fantasy fans know that the first book in my Siren Song series, The Wicked City, is currently free at all retailers until June 5th! You can’t get any cheaper than that! If you like what you read, the second book in the series, The Bloody City, is available, and the third book, The Burning City, is available for pre-order.

Clicky below to learn more about the books and get the deal!

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The lovely covers for my Siren Song series were created by awesome cover/media artist Fiona Jayde. She works with my publisher and they enlisted her for the job, which made me quite happy. I had seen her work around the writing world many times and was always enamoured with it.

When I received the cover for the first book, The Wicked City, I was a squealy, giddy author indeed. June looks almost exactly like I picture her. I originally envisioned her with shorter hair, but because of the covers, I actually rewrote her to have longer hair because I liked it better. Her tattoos are also pretty spot on. I know it’s hard to create an artistic rendering of a character with a lot of tattoos, so I was quite impressed.

The only thing that baffled me, at first anyway, was why the artist chose to depict her with sunglasses on. There are no descriptions in the book of her wearing sunglasses. I discovered the cover model has sunglasses on in many of her photos (a lot of cover artists use stock photography to make book covers) so I figured this might have been the reason (some pictures there are NSFW, no nudity though).

But after some thought, it struck me. And also, touched me.

In my little made up world, people with exceptionally strong paranormal powers (and that’s not a good thing, trust me) are made obvious by the fact the color of their irises are either super-vibrant or drastically washed out. June has spent her entire life trying to hide the fact she’s paranormal so she can have a simple, regular life, and also because it brought tragedy to her family when she was younger. Except…her eyes are almost luminescent green because of her power, so she can’t hide what she is as well as she’d like. That’s when I realized Fiona made the artistic choice to hide June’s eyes.

This means she either read, or read enough of the book to make that choice, which really gives me a lot of warm fuzzies. I of course don’t expect cover artists to read every book they make a cover for, because then they’d never have time to get any work done. I did fill out a description of June and provided some background on the story for the artist, but I didn’t touch on her eyes that much.

The cover of The Bloody City depicts June much more ragged and her hair kind of unevenly colored because in that book she’s in hiding and has lost focus on vanity and beauty upkeep. The cover for The Burning City manages to capture the more concerned, matured state of mind June has evolved to, and she seems to be more ‘looking toward the future’ than on the previous books. These are all little elements, maybe only things I notice because I wrote it, but it’s always great when the artist ‘gets’ your vision for the story.

So here’s to all great cover artists and how wonderful they make our books look…thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

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If you’ve been a writer for any length of time, or even if you’re just thinking about writing, you’ve probably heard the most sacred, steadfast, fanfare-inducing holy rule of writing, probably over and over again:

Show, don’t tell.

You metaphorically (or perhaps literally) had this adage engraved in your forehead on the day you decided to become a writer. Everyone from creative writing teachers to bestselling authors parrot this bit of advice like it’s some ancient knowledge passed down from the very first human to ever put marks on paper symbolizing language. You’ve had it hammered into your brain so deeply that if anyone asked you for writing guidance, you regurgitate ‘show, don’t tell’ immediately without even thinking about it, like a pre-programmed, dubious advice-spewing automaton.

But what does it mean? It’s easy for something to lose substance if you repeat it enough times, and doling out advice without giving practical examples is like someone handing you a baby and saying “here, don’t let this die.” It’s great advice, and absolutely necessary, but how do you accomplish it? Especially if you’re new to writing, it’s confusing to have these ‘writing rules’ yelled at you by a wild-eyed person who has clearly had too much caffeine from behind a typewriter. Show, don’t tell, is a good bit of writing advice, but how do you do that?

Here’s how I simplify show, don’t tell: showing is like watching a TV show, telling is like recounting the episode to a friend the next day.

You want to feel like you’re watching the TV show, not like someone else who watched it is telling you what happened. How do you accomplish that? Ironically, by being a storyteller who doesn’t tell stories. Instead, you’re more like a painter who makes pictures.

I’ll give you an example of this, from my novel The Bloody City (because I’m vain like that):

Sam and Muse took one of the beds. Muse had already fallen asleep on it after taking the painkillers Sam brought her. She twitched and shuddered in her sleep. Trina refused to get in the other bed with June, and June didn’t blame her. June gave her a pillow and blanket, and she curled up in the chair. June got in bed but didn’t expect to sleep.

She lay there, staring at the light from the bathroom stretched across the ceiling, the soft breathing around her a small comfort. Muse’s breath hitched with each shudder in her sleep. The occasional car passed on the street. Once, footsteps passed by the door, and June held her breath until they were gone.

Eventually, she checked the clock. Ten after midnight. So many hours before dawn.

She pushed the covers back and quietly got up. She padded to the bathroom and closed the door to a crack.

She leaned, both hands on the sink, and stared into the mirror. The overhead light was harsh, picking out lines on her face she didn’t know she had. Her eyes shone vivid green. Sam’s words from months ago came back, when he’d told her vividly colored eyes betrayed strong powers. She couldn’t hide them. They gave her away at every turn.

She sifted her fingers through her hair. Her light roots were a couple inches long, the black dye job on the rest faded. She placed her hand back on the sink and tilted her head. She looked old and tired. Her thirtieth birthday was coming up in a few months, though she had no reason to care. Where would she celebrate it, if she celebrated at all?

Would she even be alive to celebrate?

I could have shortened this whole passage up by merely saying, “June couldn’t sleep, she was nervous and restless, she had a lot on her mind. Eventually she got up and went to the bathroom, where she pondered her fate.” That, however, is telling. In this example, I’m showing how June feels–you can tell by her restlessness, the way she’s hyper-vigilant of the other people in the room and the sounds outside, the way she checks the clock. You know she’s got heavy thoughts on her mind, when she goes to the bathroom and critically examines herself and wonders morbidly about her future. I don’t have to tell you how weighty and tense this moment is, because you can tell by June’s actions. If you were watching this on TV, you would know this person was bothered and tense, and that things were not going well in their life.

Showing doesn’t always mean non-stop action. It can also be conveying a character’s state of mind by showing the way they behave. Instead of telling that someone is sad, happy, or angry, show how they react, interact, and behave. If your friend is sad, can you tell without them saying it? Of course you can. You should be able to do the same with characters.

So the next time ‘show, don’t tell’ is yammered at you as writing advice, you’ll have a better idea of how to implement this practically. Think of it instead as ‘watch, don’t recount.’

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Each of my Siren Song novels has a little news to go with it today! I’m happy to share:

The Wicked City is just 99 cents right now at ALL retailers. This will be going on until the end of the month. So if you wanted to get the first book in the series you can do that right now, cheap!

 

 

 

The Bloody City got a wonderful five star review at The Romance Reviews and was also chosen as one of their top picks. They seem to like me and my work a lot over there, and I’m super grateful for it! Also, if you have interest in becoming a book reviewer, it’s a great site to start on. When you sign up for an account you can also ask to be a reviewer.

 

 

The Burning City now has a sneak peak available. You can find and read the first chapter here! A warning though–there’s some pretty big spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books.

 

 

 

Today is also the opening of the A-Z Challenge sign-ups! Since I got a great deal of my blog followers from that challenge, I can’t wait to participate again and meet a whole bunch of new folks this year. The challenge last year also got me into blogging more regularly and I had a blast doing it.

Are you doing the challenge this year? Are you as excited about it as I am?