The Ministry Blog Tour

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TheGrayTowerTrilogy

I am excited to be able to participate in The Ministry Blog Tour in celebration of the completion of the final book in Alesha Escobar‘s Gray Tower Trilogy, Circadian Circle. Congratulations Alesha! It’s phenomenal to be able to rub shoulders with such smart productive indie authors. It inspires me to work harder and to believe in my writing. Thanks Alesha for being an inspiration and for producing a quality piece of fantasy literature.

The Gray Tower Trilogy is a mash-up of magic and espionage, set in an alternate WWII era where the Nazis join with warlocks and vampires to gain the upper-hand, and the Allies employ wizards to stand in their way. The trilogy follows the exploits of Isabella George, an alchemist trained by the Gray Tower and hired as a spy by British intelligence. After losing friends and colleagues to the horrors of war, she’s ready to retire. However, a vampiric warlock stalking her, and a deadly secret from her past, only draw her further into a world of danger and deception.

If that doesn’t sound like a fun and interesting story line check out what others have to say about it:

“In addition to the variety of allies and enemies Isabella George encounters in the first book, an array of new characters and situations await a reader in Dark Rift. Some of the characters are warm while others are of a most sinister and evil nature. I even found myself having some difficulty falling asleep at night after one particular encounter. While I will not disclose any of the major plot elements, I will reveal that there are several plot twists for which there is little or no warning. While there might be extremely subtle hints, Alesha keeps her secrets well hidden.” (Goodreads Review)

“This is a fantastic finale to a series of espionage and fantasy woven into a complex plot with well-developed characters and intriguing story line. I could not put this book down! There was tension, suspense, magic, love, mystery, and more over an exciting conclusion. Circadian Circle gripped me to the very end.” (Samantha LaFantasie, Made To Forget)

Go for a chance to win some loot by signing up for the Ministry Raffle. Come on, you  know you want to! Have fun! And congrats again Alesha!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The-Towers-Alchemist-Kindle-cover-600x800-72dpi1The Tower’s Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1)

Dark-Rift-Cover-low-rez-singleDark Rift (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #2)

Circadian-Circle-CoverCircadian Circle (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #3)

Old Endings, New Beginnings & Getting Down to Business

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Blank Pages In An Open NotebookFor about the past year I’ve been exclusive with Amazon’s KDP program. Initially I saw an upsurge in sales. Nothing huge, mind you, but a noticeable difference. Then I ran into some major hiccups. My ebook kept showing up for sale on other sights, making me not so exclusive, and KDP would kick me out of the program. I have my past with Smashwords and my very unfortunate past with Xlibris (horrific vanity publishing) to thank for that. Each time I managed to get my ebook removed from one market, I’d sign back up with KDP. Each time this happened, about four times in total, I found that I couldn’t recover and sales were even fewer.

I realized that I was probably going about things all the wrong way. Go figure, I’m new at this, and besides having little time, I’m lazy. I wanted to make selling my book as simple as possible. I also spent more time worrying about that book than I spent worrying about my current projects and about this site.

Along the way I also just got off track with my writing. I was losing my resolve and my hope. Then I came upon this fairly new and interesting podcast called Rocking Self Publishing hosted by Simon. I encourage you to listen to a few of the interviews. They are incredibly enlightening and educational. You will quickly learn just how generous other indie authors are as they share some incredible information about self publishing. A site that always helps set a fire beneath my creativity and give me indie author hope is that of Lindsay Buroker, author of The Emperor’s Edge series. Besides being a successful and prolific indie author she imparts some amazing advice over at her site.

So, I made the decision to make some changes. We are always changing aren’t we? It’s supposed to keep us on our toes, I guess, but to be honest, it tires me out.

  • I didn’t sign back up for the KDP program. What’s the point? Fewer venues means less visibility and fewer sales.
  • I’ve republished An Unproductive woman on Smashwords and as a result it will soon be available at many outlets. In this case, more is more.
  • I’ve come to the realization that I need to STOP avoiding outlining and give it an honest try. I’ve been pantsing myself into literary holes. I can’t seem to stay jazzed about a story or complete a story because I end up floating in space with no direction.
  • I’ve decided to start working with some internal deadlines. I need to complete one of the multiple projects I’ve started over the last year. Not having done so when I know that I am capable has dealt a blow to my writer’s self esteem.
  • I’m actively looking for reliable betas and reasonably priced editors. So if you have any suggestions please send them my way.
  • I’ve dusted of the picture I purchased over a year ago with the intent to use on a book cover. I’m using it as the background on my desktop to keep me motivated about this project that I wholly believe in.
  • I’m getting back to my old schedule, where I rise at 0400 to get some writing done.
  • I will take no prisoners or excuses.

See you at success.

Starla Huchton On Her New Novel Entitled Maven

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MAVEN_450x600I’m so happy to have Starla Huchton back that if I was a giggler I would, uhm, giggle. Needless to say, I’m excited to bring her back to talk about her new book Maven which is set to be released on June 3, 2013. That’s just over a week away! She’s such a busy woman, which I can totally understand and appreciate, so the fact that she spared the time to do this interview makes her presence here that much more sweet.

So Starla, talk to me…

1. For the sake of those who don’t know you yet, give us a little bit of information about yourself. You write, yes, but what else are you up to?

Most of what I do these days (outside of chasing my kids while my husband is deployed) is design book covers. I work with both independent authors and publishers alike. I believe my job as a designer is to get to the heart of a story and try to convey that into the visual. It’s not the easiest of tasks sometimes, but I love what I do and I’m thankful that others like my work enough that I can continue doing it.

Some might know me as an audiobook narrator. I’m currently working on the fourth book in Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge series, though I am woefully behind in this. It’s been a rough few months with moving and having the husband deploy amongst other things, but it’s coming.

2. Tell us about Maven. What was the inspiration? How long did it take to write it from inspiration to completion? Where do you hope to take the series and how long do you plan it to be?

Maven is the first book in my new Science Fiction Romance Endure series. There will be four total when the story arc completes, and I plan to have all of them out in the world before my birthday in March 2014. It’s an ambitious schedule, but I’m more than on-track to meet it. The majority of the story takes place in an underwater lab in the year 2050 (at the beginning of book 1), but by book 3 you get to see some of the outside world. It’s not a huge stretch from modern day, really, but enough so that it’s firmly planted in Science Fiction. Even with these futuristic leanings, it’s still a very accessible story, even for readers that are not typically fans of Science Fiction. I don’t generally like hard Sci-Fi, but I do like some of the elements, so I wanted to create something that others like me could really enjoy. As I’ve managed to sway at least two Paranormal or Urban Fantasy-only readers over to the dark side of SF, I’m counting this book as a success.

As for the inspiration, well… that’s a long story. Basically, as a teenager in the 90s I was a huge Jonathan Brandis fangirl. However, I didn’t discover him until one summer I happened to catch a rerun of the first season of a show called SeaQuest DSV, of which he was a cast member. In re-watching the show now, I inevitably wind up in fits of giggles over the “future tech” and somewhat cheesy scripts, but for a geek like me, especially back then, it filled a huge entertainment void in my world. I took my love of that show so far that 16-year-old me even tried my hand at writing my own scripts for it, neither of which I finished and neither of which will ever see the light of day because they are absolutely awful. But, there was some takeaway from it. The heroine of the Endure series, Dr. Lydia Ashley, was born from those precocious, immature scribblings, and she has stayed with me all these years.

So, that leads into another part of your question. If we’re talking how long it took from it to go from original inspiration to completed novel, the answer is seventeen years. However, I didn’t really pursue the story until January 2012. In six weeks I knocked out 68,000 words of Maven, but then I hit pause. The reason for this is probably because my Steampunk novel became a finalist in a contest, which it then won. My focus shifted to that book and its sequel and Lydia and Daniel got put on the shelf. Fast forward to January of this year, at which point I had 3 or 4 unfinished first drafts of things in various states. I decided it would be my goal to finish several of these up over the next year and went looking at each one to see which spoke to me the most. Honestly, I didn’t think Maven was the one that would make the cut, but the moment I opened the file I was immediately drawn back into that world. A week or so later, the book was complete, but I realized their story was not. I jumped right in to the second one, and then immediately the third right after that. At some point in book two, I figured out this was not going to be a trilogy. Four full novels would be required. It didn’t feel like a heavy weight to bear, however. This story is easy for me to bring to the page now. I would think so, after thinking about it for 17 years!

3. Maven isn’t your first novel length work. Tell us about your other writing endeavors.

My first finished novel was The Dreamer’s Thread. It’s a modern fantasy story and very much a first book. My writing style has changed and grown so much since I put it out as a podcast. People still enjoy it, however, so I leave it floating around the interwebs, waiting for unsuspecting folks to stumble across it.

My second book, which isn’t out anywhere yet, is the first of my Antigone’s Wrath series, a Steampunk adventure called Master of Myth. It’s the one that won first place in the Crested Butte Writers Conference annual contest, The Sandy, and, as a result, was requested in full by a senior editor at TOR/Forge (never did get an answer either way on it, but that’s neither here nor there). I’m a little over halfway done with the second in this series, Master of Machines. I was actually hoping to put the first one out this summer, but with all I’m doing with the Endure series, I’m no longer sure if I’ll have the time to devote to it that I think that story deserves. I know there are a lot of folks waiting to get their hands on it, so I hope they know I’m going to do my best here. I am only one person though. 🙂

4. Will you be podiocasting your book? If so will you read it, or will you have someone else do it?

At this time, I have no plans to podcast or audiobook the Endure series. Lydia and Daniel have unique voices to me, and I just don’t feel like I could do them justice if I were to narrate it myself. First and foremost, I’m concentrating on getting the written content out, so people can enjoy the entire story arc as fast as I can toss it out there. I know how hard it is to wait between books in a series, so this is an experiment in rapid-fire content for me. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

5. Where do you see yourself and your writing in ten years or so?

In ten years? Goodness. Right now I’m just trying to get through the week!

I don’t really know how to answer this. In an ideal world I’d say “on top of the NYT Bestseller’s List”, but, really, who wouldn’t want that? I suppose what I honestly want is for my writing to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, and hopefully make a little money for me. I like to keep my goals realistic and achievable. That way, I don’t get too bogged down in how I’m not making any progress towards success. There will always be another milestone ahead, and another brass ring to grab. Definitions of success change all the time and vary greatly from one person to the next. Today I might tell you I’d be happy to sell even 100 copies of Maven. Tomorrow, it might be landing a great review on a book blog I admire with a lot of followers. A year from now I could be completely burnt out on this whole thing and just want six hours of uninterrupted sleep. I have no idea. That’s probably a terrible answer. Feel free to chuckle.

I can totally relate Starla. I wish you lots of luck getting those six hours of sleep, catching up to the kiddos, publishing and finding a giddy appreciative audience to read all of your work.

*****

 

starlaStarla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla’s voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor’s Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards. Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four.

After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

You can find Starla here:

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Upon the Wings of Greater Things