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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kick Perfectionism in the Pants

If you asked me what my best trait as an author is, it's my buoyant overconfidence. If I want to do something, I do it. I don't ask permission. I don't stop to worry about worst case scenarios. I just do it. I keep moving forward no matter what gets thrown at me, because dang it, I can write and no one is going to tell me otherwise. 



Somewhat to my disadvantage, though, is that I am not a perfectionist. When I decided to take things seriously as an author, I had to learn to buckle down and produce a polished product, but it's honestly not in my nature to self-doubt my way through edits. You know those author memes that talk about the frantic author convinced their stuff is the worst thing ever? Not me. Not me at all. I generally speaking love my writing. I'll read it for fun. I will openly chuckle at it when I feel I'm being clever. Yeah, I'm awful. 
The thing is I'm "self-aware" awful, so I do my best to get multiple opinions on my stories from people who have no vested interest in buttering me up before I move onto publishing. 

Recently, though, I realized something about some of my earlier works.

I'm putting out audiobook versions of my first self-published series, The Dragon and the Scholar books. These are the most successful of my various publications. I personally think my later books are better, but people eat up this first series like nothing I've put out since ... 
But anyway, listening to the narrator files on book two made me think, "Dang, I'm a much better writer now than I was when I put these out."

In two years, my prose has gotten more vibrant. There were a few places where I wanted to pause the narration and just go, "Yeah, I would say that a little differently now ... I'd probably delete that adverb ... I maybe should've found a more original expression for that ..." 
But do I want to give back the money I have made so far on the series, take them off the market so they stop continuing to make money, do I regret publishing them?

Heck no.

Not only do those books bring in constant profit for me, they've helped me create a fan base, and I still get readers whose first introduction to me as a writer is that cheesy (but apparently enjoyable) dragon romance series ... I'm even investing in new covers for them this year to help push them even further.

You can polish forever.
You can always get better.
But someday you need to just take a chance or no one will EVER read your stories. 

And yeah, I'm glad I kept working and got better rather than just stop after the cheesy dragon books. If I'd just put out another cheesy fantasy romance, I might've kept a few fans who just want that ... but I don't think I'd be able to expand to reach a larger audience. I don't think I'd be able to be as profitable as I am now. 

So each book I get a little better.

So yeah, you can polish forever, but eventually you just have to take a stab at it, whether that means in submitting to an agent or publisher or taking the self-publishing leap. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Michael A. Blaylock

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Today's author lurks in the shadows, watching, waiting ... answering questions.



BIO: 
Michael A. Blaylock is a writer, gamer, film geek, anime lover, bibliophile, and armchair theologian living in Southern Idaho with his wife and son. He was the kid writing ten-page papers when the assignment was five. He learned to tone it down in college, but never forgot his love for capturing worlds in ink. 

The Interview

If you had to build a house without conventional materials, what unconventional materials would you use? (Gingerbread is inadvisable because it attracts snacking children)
I'd build the Willy Wonka chocolate palace from the newer movie. I live in Idaho, so that thing would never melt. Ever. 

Congratulations! You are now president of this blog post. What's your first executive order?
My first order as president of this blog post is to make all the font into Comic Sans. That's right, my first act as president is to start an internet war. 

If you could live inside a theme park ride, which would it be?
 I'd live inside the Batman at Six Flags. Because Batman. 

If you had to write only in one crayon color for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Black. Like my soul. Hmm, actually that would be closer to blue-green.

What mythical creature do you most wish to be real?
Genies. Wish number 1: Make ALL mythical creatures real!

If you had to get stuck inside a television show, what would it be?
Batman. Because Batman. But only if I'm Batman. Otherwise, Downton Abbey. 

Rename yourself. Your new name can be silly, pretty, meaningful, whatever you want, but it CAN’T be your real name or penname, no matter how awesome that might be. Sorry.
I am Cyrano de Bergerac. Honestly, I draw a lot of inspiration from that character. That or Damocles. Is there any name more masculine than Damocles? 

If I were to invite you over, what snacks would you bring, keeping in mind that fruit and dried fruit are not snacks?
 Doritos, Reese's and Gummi Worms. Because what else do you need in life?


If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
What color is a mirror? The world may never know. 


Connect with the Author




Facebook author page: facebook.com/michaelblaylockauthor

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fellowship of Fantasy Valentine's Day Sale!



This Valentine's Day, the awesome authors at Fellowship of Fantasy have banded together to provide an awesome selection of free and discount Fantasy and Speculative Fiction stories. Browse the titles, select as many as your heart desires, and discover your next favorite author!

All Fellowship of Fantasy titles are author rated with a guaranteed content level no higher than PG-13, so you shouldn't encounter graphic sex, gratuitous violence, or excessive language.

As pricing can be subject to the whims of the vendors, please verify that the deals are, in fact, still active before purchasing. Thank you!


Bargain Books (priced at 99 cents)

Fellowship of  Fantasy
Rebirth—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
Seven Deadly Tales—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
The Hidden Level—AJ Bakke-Amazon
To Save Two Worlds—AJ Bakke-Amazon
The Regency Shifter Series—KM Carroll-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Academy of Secrets—Michael Carney-Author Website
Sunbolt—Intisar Khanani-AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo
Wyndano's Cloak—A. R. Silverberry AmazonBarnes and Noble
The Stream—A. R. Silverberry -AmazonBarnes and Noble
Reality Break—Jennifer Kibble-Amazon
Battle for the Throne—EJ Willis-Amazon
Nyssa Glass's Clockwork Christmas—H. L. Burke-Amazon
The True Bride and the Shoemaker—L. Palmer-Author WebsiteAmazon
Cry of the Sea—D. G. Driver-Amazon
Foxtails—Erica Laurie-Amazon
Eun Na and the Phantom—Erica Laurie-Amazon

Free Books




The Buick Eight—Frank B. Luke-Amazon
Cora and the Nurse Dragon—H. L. Burke-Amazon
Lands of Ash—H. L. Burke-Amazon
Prince of Alasia—Annie Douglass Lima-Amazon
Awakening—Julie C. Gilbert-Amazon
Leandra's Enchanted Flute—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon
Mercy's Prince—Katy Huth Jones-Amazon
Woe for a Faerie—B. Brumley-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Chasing Lady Midnight—C. L. Ragsdale-Amazon
Jin In Time Part One —Karin De Havin-AmazoniTunesBarnes and Noble
Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis—H. L. Burke-Amazon



Fellowship of Fantasy

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Nerys Wheatley

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Someone bangs on the door. We open it. Nerys Wheatley rushes in, sword drawn, grabs us by the arms and shouts, "COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!" We better move, but as we move, let us ask her some questions...

BIOGRAPHY
Nerys Wheatley has an underabundance of excitement in her life and an overabundance of imagination which is constantly making up stuff in her head. She writes fast moving, action packed science fiction because she has to let the stories out somehow. She was born in the UK, which makes her spelling just that bit more thrilling. Her greatest wish is to wake up one day to find technology has advanced enough to enable the invention of the calorie-free cheesecake.

THE INTERVIEW
If you had to build a house without conventional materials, what unconventional materials would you use? (Gingerbread is inadvisable because it attracts snacking children)
Even if there were no children around, gingerbread wouldn’t survive me for long! I think I’d use duvets and pillows, just piles and piles of them on the floors, walls and ceilings, so everything would be soft. The whole house would be one big bed! And I’d also get a great workout every time I had to go from one room to another because it would be incredibly difficult to walk on!
If you had to write only in one crayon color for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
How did you know my writing utensil of preference is a crayon?! I’m going to go with green. My favourite colour is red, but writing in red would look like I was always angry. Blue is too standard. Green is soothing and the colour of nature (and Kermit), so green.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
I’d like to say 10. I’d like to be the tough heroine who can take on any and all danger and is a shining beacon of hope to those around her, ushering in a new age to rise, phoenix-like, from the blood-soaked ashes of the old world and build a brave new civilisation of love, kindness and respect.
But if I’m honest, it’d be 1. I’d be eaten on the first day.

If you had to get stuck inside a television show, what would it be?
If I was sensible I’d say something nice and happy like The Waltons or Modern Family, where everyone is mostly content and they all love each other, no matter what happens. But I’m going to say either Firefly or any of the Star Treks, because spaceships and adventure.

Pirates, Ninjas, or Vikings? Choose carefully.
That depends on what I need them for. For an invasion, it has to be Vikings because they have the pillaging down pat. If I need some swash buckled, give me a pirate any day. If I have some kind of stealth mission that needs to be accomplished, Ninjas are where it’s at. If we’re talking romantic heroes though... um... could we add cowboys to that list?

You find a talking animal. What sort of animal is it and what’s the first thing you do?
It’s a frog and the first thing I do is kiss it. I’m still waiting for my prince!

Tree House or Cave? And why?
This is tough. The obvious answer is Tree House because it’s light and airy and pretty and has the nice views, whereas caves are dark and damp and smell funny. But tree houses have one very significant drawback which is pretty much a deal-breaker for me – spiders. It would be overrun. So I’ll have to go with Cave. Can it be a cave with indoor plumbing and wifi?

What’s the most important lesson you ever learned from a cartoon?
Always turn left at Albuquerque.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
I have £5million I want you to have, would you like it? I think you know what my answer would be.


Connect with the Author


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: Halayda




A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.

Author Bio:

Sarah Delena White is a vagabond on a never-ending quest for truth, beauty, and really good lattes. She writes eclectic fantasy with complex characters, rich world-building, and a fine balance of poetry and snark. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, and working a variety of odd jobs. She occasionally remembers to eat and sleep, because those things are apparently important. She also loves chickens.

Release Date: March 23, 2017

Preorder Page Link at Uncommon Universes Press: http://wp.me/P74XSo-lK
(aside: our special preorder price for autographed print copies is $12.99 including shipping, vs. normal price of $14.99 + shipping)

Social Media Links:


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Sonya M. Black

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

We put out some chocolate and trapped our next author. Let's ask her some questions before she escapes!

Sonya M. Black

Author Biography

For more than 20 years, Sonya M. Black has called the Pacific Northwest home. Her writing partners include two cats that distract as much as they encourage the creative juices. Her husband and son put up with her frequent bouts of writing and leave her presents of chocolate to appease the writing muse. She enjoys exploring worlds beyond this one and uses myths, legends, and fairy tales as her guide to new stories.


She has released two books, Happily Never After and The Snow White Files. Both are twisted fairy tales that explore alternate versions of the beloved classics. Currently, she is working on the second book in the Twisted Files Series, The Riding Hood Files, as well as a flintlock fantasy, A Sea Like Glass. She hopes to release both books by the end of 2017.


If you had to build a house without conventional materials, what unconventional materials would you use? (Gingerbread is inadvisable because it attracts snacking children)
But, gingerbread is so good! The problem for me wouldn’t be snacking children. It would be me taking a nibble now and then. I’d always have holes in my house if I built it from gingerbread. I think if I were to build a house from anything it would have to be from Legos. Those things are practically indestructible and come in a million shapes and colors. I could build a fancy castle with a moat and a dragon to guard it. 

Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
I’m a cat person. I don’t have anything against dogs, but they tend to be smelly and I happen to be allergic to them. I have two cats that distract me as much as they inspire the muse. One is part Maine Coon and is only a few months old. He’s pretty naughty, but his super power is his mega cuteness so he tends to get away with being naughty. My other kitty is a Tuxedo cat and he’s very proper and sophisticated. He tends to look down his whiskers at the kitten’s antics. He’s a cuddle bug and has the sweetest meow. 

If you could live inside a theme park ride, which would it be?
Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s always been my favorite ride. Plus, there’s this really cool restaurant inside that you can eat at and watch the people float by on their way into the ride. I would have the ambiance of living in the bayou without the bugs or crocodiles. I could pretend to be a pirate or I could save the people on the ride from the pirates with my swashbuckling skills. 

If you had to write only in one crayon color for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Purple. And not the pale purple color. The darker the purple, the better.  It’s my favorite color. I like blue and green as well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
I’m pretty resourceful, but not a terribly fast runner. So as long at the zombies were slow movers, I’d give myself a solid 8 to survive. My dad took me camping a lot when I was a kid and his idea of camping did not involve a campground with bathrooms and showers. One of my earliest memories of camping involves helping to dig a hole in the ground for the potty. It was fall and raining. Brr.

If you had to get stuck inside a television show, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. It would either be Dr. Who or Once Upon A Time. Once Upon A Time because fairytales. Fairytales are cool. Dr. Who because wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey stuff and bowties are cool. If I could combine the two of them that would be perfect. Imagine a fairytale version of Dr. Who that travels through space and time saving Hansel and Gretel from the evil witch, gives Rapunzel a haircut with his sonic screwdriver, and turns Maleficent into a tiny dragon for Aurora to carry in her pocket. That would be a fun TV show. 

I'm not really a fan of the Hogwart's House system. It seems so needlessly divisive and focused on a very limited range of characteristics (or I may just be annoyed with Pottermore for sorting me into Slytherin). How would you improve upon the system for sorting students into houses?
I think if I were to change the system,  I would base it off of everyone’s ice cream flavor preference. If you like vanilla, you belong in Ravensclaw. Ravensclaw is vanilla. Gryffandore is chocolate. Slytherin is neapolitan.

If I were to invite you over, what snacks would you bring, keeping in mind that fruit and dried fruit are not snacks?
Warm, fresh baked brownies and ice cream drizzled in chocolate and caramel sauce. Or maybe blueberry pie and ice cream. These are more desserts than snacks. I suppose if I have to choose a traditional snack it would be pretzels and cheese sauce or salt and vinegar potato chips. But, I think I prefer the desserts.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Which is the better droid, BB-8 or H2SO? BB-8 is cute and sweet, but I like H2SO better. He made me laugh and it was sad when he got blasted. 


Connect with the Author!

Happily Never After:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3GM6ZO
The Snow White Files:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018HB7BH8

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I LOVE DRAGONS Giveaway

I Love Dragons!




Whether fire-breathing or water-dwelling, winged or serpentine, dragons capture our imagination and take us to fantastic new worlds. For the month of February, nineteen dragon writers have gathered together to offer a collection worth sinking your teeth into. We've got dragons of all sizes, from friendly to fierce and everything in between. Let's take a closer look at a few of them:


A Keeper's Tale: The Story of Tomkin and the Dragon
​by JA Andrews

Regardless of his aspirations, the bookish, untrained young man is better suited to recording the deeds of heroes than being one himself. 
Which becomes an obvious problem when he finds himself clinging to a ledge above a sleeping dragon. And instead of wielding his family’s great sword with valor and skill, he drops it—onto the dragon.
The problem grows immeasurably worse when Tomkin himself falls off the ledge—also onto the dragon.
And his problem reaches its peak when Tomkin, after being captured, discovers a maiden locked in a tower. But this is no sweet damsel. Not only does she refuse to be rescued, she refuses to even admit she’s in distress.
It’s too bad for the people of Marshwell that Tomkin is the only thing standing - or falling - in the dragon’s way.


Dragon Friend
by Marc Secchia

Gold Award winner - 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Stabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.
Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.
This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.


King's Warrior
by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
When Dark Warriors invade her country, it is up to Princess Kamarie to seek out the legendary king’s warrior and request his aid. The feisty princess has spent her life dreaming of adventure and is thrilled to be tasked with such a quest. There’s only one thing that can dampen the princess’s excitement: Oraeyn. The squire views his task of protecting the princess on her journey as an inglorious assignment and makes no attempt to hide his disappointment.
Despite a rocky start to their journey – in which Oraeyn throws the obnoxious princess in a river just to get her to call him by name – the travelers soon learn that they must depend upon one another if they are to locate the man they have been sent to find.
The adventure merely begins when they meet Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past. He joins their cause readily, his heart smoldering with a vendetta Kamarie cannot completely understand. But whether she trusts him or not, the hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side.


But Wait … There's More!


View the entire collection of 20 ebooks here, and enter to win them all for your hoard, along with your very own embossed leather dual dragons journal.
The giveaway runs from Feb. 1-28. The winner will be notified by email on March 1.Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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