Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summertime and the living's easy

What am I excited for this summer? Well, I'm so glad you asked. . .

1. Shifting Light comes to more retailers
Shifting Light had a small stint Kindle Select, but it will soon be coming to B&N, the iBookstore, and more retailers! And a little birdie tells me it might be free for a while in celebration. . .

2. Camp Nanowrimo 
I'm going camping this summer! My goal is 50,000 words -- some of that will be to wrap up the sequel of Promising Light, and some of it will be for exclusive short stories from The Protectors series. If you're a writer, come join in on the fun:

3. Title and Cover reveal for the sequel to Promising Light
For those of you who have read Promising Light, aren't you just itching to see the cover? Or even hear the title? Well, stay tuned because the title will be announced here soon and there will be quite a few blogs involved in the cover reveal.

4. Burning Light (The Protectors Prequels Omnibus Edition) Paperback
The omnibus edition of the Protectors prequels is available NOW as an ebook on Amazon for $3.49 but I'm excited for the paperback! It's got such a pretty cover, i love the contrast between black and red.

5. Summer Splash Blog Hop
I don't have any links or details yet, but just know this: July 16th-31st there will be a huge giveaway on the blog! Ebooks, paperbacks, maybe some bookmarks and gift cards. There might even be a few copies of the sequel to Promising Light up for grabs, plus exclusive short stories for those who sign up for my newsletter. There will also be dozens of other blogs participating, too, so you will be able to get lots of goodies!

6. Tent City's semi-tour
Well, it's not really a tour, but my husband's band will be playing nearly a dozen shows this summer all over Salem, Portland, and other places in the area. You should definitely check them out! They're on Facebook and Bandcamp. Here's a song of theirs from their album The Valley in Autumn (psst: the second verse is totally about me).

7. Summer Classes
I'm taking a few summer classes and they're pretty neat -- Web Design, Business E-Commerce, and Social Psychology. Plus they're all online so I can make my own schedule. Plus I might have a job! But I don't want to add that to the list in case I jinx it.

8. JoshuaFest
I'm going to this music festival in Sacramento to see Five Iron Frenzy!! Yeah, that's right, they're back! Didn't think I'd ever see them live again. But even better than that, I get to go camping and hang out with my family. My parents and all my sisters are going to be there! If only we could fly my brothers in from Texas and NYC. . .

9. Books!
Particularly Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Borrowed Ember by Samantha Young. A lot of the books I was eagerly waiting for this year already came out (Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, The Calling by Kelley Armstrong, Intangible by J. Meyers).

There are other little things, like the sun and going swimming and getting a new bathing suit and barbecues and camping and going to the Newport Aquarium and the 4th of July. . .but these are the big ones. What are you excited for this summer?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

Published 2012, library copy, hardcover.  

Summary from Goodreads:

Maya and her friends--all of whom have supernatural powers--have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.

This is a sequel to The Gathering, during which Maya finds out about her skin-walking abilities (aka she can change into a cougar) and uncovers a few mysteries about her small town of St. Cloud.

What's neat is this is part of the Darkest Powers series, so there's lot of experimentation with paranormal genetics and kids. And I think we'll see Chloe and Derek and his friends in the next book!

I really like Maya and her friends. Daniel is definitely awesome. This is one of the only times I could see a love triangle and approve of it. He's so nice and supportive and funny. But I love their friendship, too.

What I've noticed about some of her books, especially the second book in a series (The Calling and The Awakening), not that much happens plot-wise. They walk and run and try to escape and find a cabin and talk a lot. But it's still interesting to me, it's stuff I like reading. She's always revealing things and developing the characters. I read it in two sittings and I liked it.

I'm excited for the next one, when the two groups will meet each other and hopefully come out with the upper hand. And they probably will. I mean, we've got a necromancer, a werewolf, a witch, a sorcerer, a couple were-cougars, and whatever Daniel is (bendanati or something, I don't know). I wonder if Cody has anything going for him. Oh, and I love this cover, the girl is gorgeous!

Check it out if you like her stuff!

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Release! The End of Light, a Protectors prequel novella

The End of Light, the third novella in the Protectors prequels, is now available for $2.99!

Coming SOON to the iBookstore and B&N!

Two and a half years after the events of Fire and Light, an elder of the shape changers comes to Shyra with life-changing news. She's had a vision, and in it, Sashe and Sierra break the curse the Protectors set on their family — by becoming pregnant. Yet a pregnancy hasn’t been carried to full-term for eight years, and many women have died from the curse.

Sierra, Sashe, and their husbands must decide whether to trust the elders and risk their lives for a chance at breaking the curse. And when a spy reveals the vision to the Protectors, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Third novella (about 34,000 words or 115 pages) in the Protectors prequels. Set two years before Promising Light and two and a half years after Fire and Light.

Read a sample right now!


Sashe nodded with appreciation as she scooped up the coins to go back into the Cosa-protected safe. Another good month. She wasn’t sure what she’d be doing without this jewelry shop. The trips around the country, the new designs she made, the orders from nobles and even royals—all small things that kept her motivated. Sometimes it seemed silly, but she’d had this shop for nearly four years now. She’d opened it up when the other women her age had started to have children.

She tucked the money away safely and stood to look out the window. The trees were sprouting new life as the seasons changed, the temperature getting higher as spring came—one of her favorite times of the year.

Magnus squealed as he flung the door open and ran inside. Sashe glanced over to see his sister rushing in and shouting something about little brothers. Magnus cackled with delight, running behind Sashe. His sister Karyn stopped in front of Sashe, put her hands on her hips, and glared at him.
Magnus hugged Sashe from behind, peeking around her hip.

Sashe couldn’t help the smile spreading on her face and put her hands on Magnus’s. “What did you do now?” she asked, glancing back at him.

Magnus grinned. “Nothing.”

“You liar.” Karyn huffed. “He tried to cut my hair while I was sleeping!” She held up a lock of her dark hair, hanging out of her ribbon. “Sashe, how do younger brothers survive us? I can’t stand him.”

Sashe chuckled. “They give us strength to endure anything. And Magnus, you should never touch a woman’s hair.”

Karyn’s anger faded just a bit as that comment. She’d just turned thirteen and loved to be called a woman. She sat down in one of the chairs and pointed at Magnus. “If you ever touch my hair again, I’ll tell mother what you do with all the food she gives you to take to Old Harold.”

Magnus laughed. “You would never!” He sidestepped her grab for him and dashed out of the shop.

“Don’t go too far,” Sashe called after him. She was watching the two of them because their father was traveling with Dar’s parents to and from Belisha. Gangs of Protectors lived in each big city, and many of them carried out crimes against shape changers and were rarely punished for them. So, when Avialies traveled, they went in large groups and brought a Thieran with them, just in case anything happened.

The caravan was due to return today. Sashe was glad since Seth and Evan had gone with them for protection and she and Sierra were driving themselves—and each other—mad with worry. She’d miss watching after Karyn and Magnus, but they spent a lot of time with her even when their father was home. Their mother had been pregnant when the curse was cast eight years ago and she’d died just a few days later. They’d moved here with their father a couple years ago when their father was given work on Damon and Lina’s orchard.

Karyn tugged on Sashe’s arm. “Can you braid my hair? The way you do Sierra’s?”

Sashe smiled. “Of course.” She walked behind the chair and pulled Karyn’s hair out of its ribbon.

The door opened again, and Sierra walked inside. “Afternoon,” she said, chewing on her bottom lip.

“Hello, Sierra,” Karyn said.

“Hi, Karyn,” Sierra replied. She glanced back outside, wringing her hands. “They should be back today.”

She’d tried to talk the men into letting her go, but of course, they hadn’t seen much point in taking a woman who wasn’t a shape changer.

Sashe held back a laugh as she finished combing through Karyn’s hair. Evan was one of the only things Sierra worried about. Usually, she took things in stride, sure things would work themselves out, knowing that worrying would solve nothing. Not so with Evan and his trips out of the country.

Her worry was sometimes intuition that something bad would happen. Jeshro had sent Evan, Seth, and Dar on some stupid mission a couple months ago, and Sierra had talked Sashe into following them. A couple days later, they would have been killed if not for Sierra and Sashe. The two of them said they saved their lives; the men would say they helped, but of course they would have been just fine had they not showed up. Sierra wanted to follow them again this time, but they were traveling with a group of nearly ten people.

“Anytime now,” Sashe said. “Sierra, grab me some hair ornaments.”

Karyn gasped. “For me?”

“Get some to match her dress,” Sashe said.

Sierra brought over some of the hair ornaments Sashe sold to nobles in Renaul. Karyn’s father wasn’t particularly wealthy, but Karyn worked for Matilda’s mother as often as she could so she could buy fabrics for her family. And Karyn occasionally had enough hours to buy a beautiful dress, such as the one she wore right now, a lavender-colored dress with long sleeves and a line of pearls along the top. Sashe wove lavender beads into her hair and finished her braid.

“You look beautiful,” Sierra said with a grin. She handed Karyn a mirror.

“Oh, thank you, Sashe!” Karyn said as she marveled at her hair through the reflection. “It’s beautiful.” She turned and flung her arms around Sashe. Sashe hugged her back and let out a small sigh as she thought about how much she’d love a daughter of her own.

“If Magnus does anything to your hair again, I’ll take care of him,” Sashe promised.

“You understand.” Karyn pulled away and stroked Sashe’s hair. She was tall for a thirteen year old, almost to Sashe’s height.

Magnus came running inside. “They’re back!”

Sashe smiled. They’d been gone for a week—too long to be away from Seth. They left the shop, Sashe locking up after them, and walked down the road towards Dar’s manor. Within a few minutes, they were in the courtyard where the caravan was unloading. Sashe saw Jeshro and Lisbeth, the elders from Belisha. She didn’t know they were coming. She searched for Seth, but only saw Evan and Sierra kissing in front of everyone.

Strong arms wrapped around her, making her jump. Seth’s soft laugh sent a breath of air and a chill down her neck. She grinned and turned in his arms to look up at him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he kissed her softly on the lips. Unlike Evan and Sierra, they didn’t go any farther than that. Though Sashe wouldn’t have minded one bit.

“I’m glad you’re back home,” she said.

“Me, too.” Seth tugged her close. “This is right where I belong.”

Jeshro and Lisbeth greeted her, saying they were in Renaul for a little while to visit with the Avialies here. Jeshro was a large, strong man. The only indicator of his age was his white hair and the wrinkles on his face and hands. Lisbeth was much the same, though there was a slowness to her step.

Sashe smiled tightly, nodding and acting as polite as she could. Whenever the two came around, they usually asked Seth, Evan, and Dar to go on dangerous missions: rescuing kidnapped Avialies, investigating powerful Thierans who may have cast the curse. Truth be told, she hadn’t quite forgiven Jeshro for the incident a couple months ago.


If you're interested in a review copy, don't hesitate to e-mail me at emilyannward at yahoo dot com!

Also, if you haven't read the prequel novellas yet, Shifting Light will be free next weekend 5/26 and 5/27 in time for some Memorial Day reading. So keep an eye out for that.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness

The three books in the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness:
The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Ask and The Answer
Monsters of Men

This science fiction young adult trilogy has a dash of dystopian and romance. I was lucky enough to score the first book on Amazon for 99 cents, and oh. my. gosh. In Todd's world, you can hear men's noise. Their thoughts, their dreams, their hopes. Instead of neat phrases like some mind reading stories go, Noise is a mass of pictures and feelings and words, and you can't escape it. Todd lives in Prentisstown and there are no more women. The virus killed them all. But suddenly when he sees some kind of silence near the swamp and tells his family about it, his life is turned upside down. When he meets Viola, the only girl he's ever met, he can't hear her Noise. They're forced to run from the Mayor of Prentisstown and a priest who claims Viola is some kind of sacrifice. Having never been out of Prentisstown, Todd has no idea where he's going, so they have to rely on one another as they flee to Haven.

And that's just the first book. It seriously gets amazing from there on out. I won't give off anything. I'll save that for my individual Goodreads reviews. I just wanted to tout the entire series here on my blog because it is AMAZING.

At first, it took me a little while to get used to Todd's voice. It's first person and almost stream-of-consciousness. Very similar to the Noise, actually. He's been raised in a farming village so he sounds a bit like a hick and he can't read very much, either. But after a bit, I eased right into it. Ness is great with voice and his writing is fast-paced. At high tension moments, you honestly can't read the words quickly enough.  And there are a lot of those. This has so much adventure and action and high stakes.

At first, you're not really sure why the Mayor and the other men of Prentisstown are following Todd and Viola, why they're so set on getting Todd and making him a man. But as Todd and Viola meet more people on their world, Todd (and the reader) realizes that Prentisstown has a lot of secrets in their dark past, and Todd has been kept in the dark about a lot of things. It was almost frustrating because it takes forever to get any answers in the first book -- everyone seems intent on lying to, or at least keeping the truth from, Todd. But things come together in the end and in the second and third book.

This series deals with a lot of things. There are themes of colonialism and conquering indigenous people, anarchy and terrorism and political control, and a lot more. But even though these are prevalent themes, I never felt like Ness was preaching at me or something. I was wrapped up in the story, in the characters and their struggles. I ended up loving Todd and Viola so much. This world was so amazing and different, especially with the Noise and the Spackle and. . .just wow! This series needs more attention, in my opinion. It's a great scifi/dystopian young adult series with a lot of adventure and a lot of heart.