Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ashley Nixon's FLINTLOCK Cover Reveal

I enjoyed Ashley Nixon's CUTLASS earlier this year, so I was happy to help her with the cover reveal for book 2, FLINTLOCK. And let me tell you, guys, this cover made me flail with delight. I mean, come on, THAT is how you do a cover!

Sexy badass pirates, crossed flintlocks, the ocean!

It's probably better if you just see it for yourself.

Even better news? Behind that gorgeous cover is an equally fantastic story. Check it out:

FLINTLOCK is the second book in the Cutlass Trilogy. It continues Barren and his crew's story.

Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. (This concept alone would get me to read this book!) With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.

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Ashley Nixon
Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as much as she'd like. She has a Bachelor's in English Writing and a Master's in Library Science and Information Technology. When she's not writing she's either working out or pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

Links to social media: 

Links to where book is sold:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Writing Poll: Best Pick-Me-Ups

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Favorite Books of the Year


I’m slowly crawling out of my editing cave, back into the frigid air of the holiday frozen tundra. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that all you NaNo’ers finished strong. (And even if you stumbled into that final stretch, holy cow, you wrote a book! That’s amazing!)

Speaking of books, I’m in holiday book-gifting mode, so in case you are too or you’re looking for new titles for your own TBR list, here are some of my favorites from the past year:

Lady Thief, A.C. Gaughen
If you love Robin Hood tales or YA with plucky kickass ladies, buy this one right now!

Codex Alera, Jim Butcher
I don't know how I missed this over the years, but I'm finally caught up and it is fantastic! It jumped into my top 2 all-time favorite epic series.

Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one...let's just say my average start to finish time for each of the three books was approximately 24 hours. Yes, they're that good.

These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
This one grew on me in the second half, but boy did it ever! I love these characters together, and I can't wait to see more of them (please!).

Books of Beginning, John Stephens
A must-have for younger readers. I'd read the first book (THE EMERALD ATLAS) a few years ago, and THE FIRE CHRONICLE definitely takes it up a notch or twelve in terms of action and emotional stakes. Love it!

Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson
If I knew a teenage boy, this is the book I'd give him for Christmas. It's angsty, dystopian and action-packed in the best way, with a fun hero and a great twist ending.

Rick Riordan
I am waiting, WAITING, until my nephews are old enough to read Rick Riordan. Doesn't matter if it's PERCY JACKSON or the KANE CHRONICLES. Pick a book...any book...and it'll be a winner. (Oh, wait, I was supposed to only talk about stuff I'd read this year. Well, that's THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS then. Make a note,)

Got any children’s book recs?

My office is collecting children’s books to donate to our local community health center. I already know a few titles I want to give (RAINBOW FISH! WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!). What else should I check out?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Off to the Editing Cave

How cool would it be if this were actually my editing cave?!
It's also the cave where this happened.
So...maybe not so cool.

I'm ducking into the editing cave for the next several weeks while many of you do NaNo. Here's a list of helpful archive posts to set you on your way!

Setting and Worldbuilding


Good luck with all those shiny new ideas, and see you in December!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Writing Poll: Re-reading, Yea or Nay?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Worldbuilding: What Are Your Constants?

Hello again! I took a bit of an impromptu blogging break there while I did some traveling and some beta'ing. Apologies for being absent in the comment trails of late.

Both the travel and the beta read were awesome experiences. Part of the travel involved watching last Sunday's game at a really great Packer bar in NYC (Go Pack!).

Being from WI, Packer games are sacred weekly traditions in the fall, where everything pauses until the game's over and the final score pretty much determines the state's mood for the next week. As always, this got me thinking about writing, and I wondered how to work this depth of loyalty and fandom into written worlds.

It can be profoundly powerful to create this kind of constant for your characters. The sport, tradition or aspect that's always there, that always brings people together, even when everything's falling apart.

Think of Quidditch in the Harry Potter series, for example. It's a huge part of each book (even and especially when it becomes absent), and in the face of worldly stakes and the fight to defeat Voldemort, people still care, and care deeply, about their favorite Quidditch teams. This detail makes Rowling's world that much clearer and real to us. It's also a chance to reflect the mood and tenor of the story without needing to be in an all-stakes battle.

The force of constancy in your world doesn't have to be a sport. I'd argue that in Chronicles of Narnia, for example, it's family. For the seafaring nation in one of my earlier novels, it's a summer fishing festival. But no matter what you choose, I think it's important to identify a force like this, because things will go bad for your characters and they will need something to hold onto.

So, go on. Create that James Earl Jones moment for your world.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Writing Poll: Crossing Genres