Please Join My Launch Team

Six days into 2018, and I’m finally solidifying my writing goals. The focus of this year will be on my Angels of Sojourn series, which includes Blood & Holy Water and four other stories.

I’m getting some fabulous covers for this series, creating some memorable characters, and trying to gain some new readers & fans.

To do all that, I need your help. I am looking for people to join my launch team. People who will help spread the word of these stories by purchasing the book(s) when they’re specially priced at 99 cents, leave reviews, or help share Facebook posts.

of sojourn

Here’s my (ambitious) plan for the year:

  • Blood & Holy Water: New Cover in Spring
  • Fangs & Fairy Dust: Publishing February 1st in the Darklight & Daydreams anthology, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in May.
  • Fur & Feathers: Publishing late spring/early summer
  • Untitled Novella: Publishing in the Unleashed anthology in August, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in December.
  • Lily & Grimm (or some other titled): Publishing late fall/early winter

And then that may be the end to this series with new things for 2019.

Please join my launch team HERE:

Here’s my tentative calendar.

January

1/15/18: Hexes and Ohs Published

February

2/1/18: Darklight & Daydreams Published (Fangs & Fairy Dust)

March April

Relaunch Blood & Holy Water?

May

Publish Fangs & Fairy Dust independently

June

Publish Fur & Feathers

July August

8/20/18: Unleashed Anthology Published (untitled novella in Angels of Sojourn world)

September October

Publish Lily & Grimm

November

 

December

Publish untitled novella from Unleashed independently.

How about you? What are you focusing on in 2018?

Sneak Peek of Fur & Feathers

Angels of SojournAs some of you know, I’m trying NaNoWriMo again this year. I know I won’t be able to hit the 50,000 word goal, but if I write half of that, I’ll be happy!

To celebrate writing my first 3 chapters of Fur & Feathers: Angels of Sojourn Book 2, I’m being brave and sharing my completely unedited, un-beta-read first chapter of my first draft.

Blurb:

Katrina Hartley is determined to protect her five-year-old werewolf son, but when the boy’s accused of a gruesome attack during the recent full moon, Katrina must clear her son’s name…only she’s not sure where the child was during the full moon. When one clue after another points towards her son, she never expected the help of a fallen angel.

After recently falling, angel Simon Parker searches for his long-lost family and his place in the human world, all the while trying to forget about the woman he loved for nearly 100 years. When a desperate mother crosses his path, he can’t help but wanting to feel useful again…even if she doesn’t want his help.


Chapter 1

 

SIMON

The moonlight filtered through the pine boughs and cast long shadows across the front of the old fieldstone home. Tucked a few steps into the neighboring forest, Simon leaned against an oak tree watching for a sign someone was home.

After two weeks of waiting, his stomach still danced in anticipation for meeting his family…again.

He pushed himself tighter to the tree, enjoying the uncomfortable sensation of the bumps digging into his back. Since falling from Sojourn six months ago, he hadn’t got used to his heightened sense of touch, especially in a spot that had held wings for over two hundred years.

The other thing he hadn’t gotten used to was not having a purpose in life. He’d always taken pride in his position as head angel advisor, but now, he was nothing but a washed-up angel in love with a woman he could never have.

And he wasn’t even waiting in front of that woman’s home. In fact, he was on the other side of the country, in Maine, avoiding her, waiting outside his old family estate and attempting to relish in the memories from when he was human…the first time.

If you call the limbo he was in being human.

Every night for the past two weeks he had been coming here under the cover of the pines and oaks, trying to get up enough courage to knock on the door. To announce that he was their long, dead great, great grandfather. His family had to still live here, as the mailbox at the end of the windy driveway still said “Parker.” A couple with mostly gray hair lived in the home now. Simon tried to find the resemblance to his wife, or perhaps himself, but failed. How would these people take his news?

When a shadow drifted in front of a window, towards a large mahogany door, Simon jerked forward.

Perhaps now was the time.

This whole dream was ridiculous. They wouldn’t know him, and how would he explain? Would he reveal his hidden wings then make them pull out some old war photos and show them the resemblance? Would they even believe him? Humans were always so skeptical – always looking for the trick.

Could he ever make up for what he lost so many years ago?

Do it. You have to. Why else are you on earth?

Taking a deep breath, he stood tall and took a step towards the small home.

From beside him, a snap came from the woods, halting his progress. He flicked his head in that direction.

When the snapping of branches and feet thumping against the dirt grew louder, Simon stepped out of the moonlight and returned to the shadow of the oak.

On a small, worn trail emerged a sprinting pup. Its front and back legs were moving fast and when the pup turned a corner toward Simon, it’s legs flew out from underneath it, sending it tumbling on its side.

“Whatcha doing?” Simon whispered, squatting down to help the pup over.

The pup flipped to its feet without assistance, and when it flicked it’s head up, the its yellow-green eyes widened at the sight of Simon. It darted around again, brushing a pine bow out of the way as it turned back into the woods down a different path.

Out from the pup’s trail came a gentle rustling of branches and shuffling of fine gravel. Simon stood and tilted his chin. Another dog?

A light shadow moved from behind the trees and before Simon could process what was happening, a beautiful, white wolf leapt into the clearing, plowing right into Simon, knocking him to the ground with a thump.

With a racing heart and all the air knocked from his lungs, for a moment all he could do was look into the wolf’s knowing eyes. As the beast leaned down to sniff…or bite his neck, he stepped into Sojourn and transported himself behind a boulder just far enough to be out of the wolf’s way.

How did humans survive without special abilities?

The wolf’s head jerked left, then right, then put its nose to the ground and followed the trail the pup had taken.

Was the big wolf hunting the smaller one?

Simon felt a tingle in his chest, the pull of a miracle.

Could it be fallen angels get miracles, too?

Even if it wasn’t possible, it had been a while since he had done something for someone else…

Ignore it. Those are only animals.

Simon returned his gaze to his family home and focused on the peacefulness of it.

But his stomach still tingled, pulling him back into the woods, away from the house.

Oh, Great Angels. You can’t ignore a miracle.

Hiding in the shadow’s of Sojorn, he transported himself along the path of the white wolf until the animals came in sight. The wolf had tackled the young one, pinning it down and growling. Simon’s heart raced at the sight of the sharp white teeth reflecting the moonlight.

Taking a deep breath, he stepped from the shadows right beside the wolf. With all his might, Simon threw his body into the animal and knocked it over while keeping his eyes on the wolf’s fangs, prepared to transport away if it went in for a taste.

The wolf shook its head, dazed, and Simon used this to his advantage. He scooped the pup into his arms, holding its snout closed with his hand, and transported…

Oh no.

He tried again, thinking of the mattress he’d been calling home for the past two weeks.

Nothing.

He didn’t budge.

The white wolf snarled in front of him as it stalked closer. Simon turned the pup in his arm, squeezing it tightly against his body with one hand. Twisting around, he scrambled to the closest pine and gripped a branch above his head. With all his might, he hefted himself up, grateful that angels, fallen or not, were stronger than humans. His feet found two limbs and he steadied himself, climbing up and feeling his fingers stick to the sap-filled tree limbs.

Beneath him, the wolf growled and nipped at his shoe. Simon scrambled to pull himself up another branch, but the beast’s teeth sank into the sole. Simon kicked it off, continuing to climb. One branch after another and he hefted himself and the pup up. When the wolf’s growls grew silent, he turned down and a rush of dizziness hit him.

Who ever heard of an angel afraid of heights.

He hugged the tree trunk tightly and turned to sit on a thick limb…and at that moment, the pup bit the lapel of his jacket.

He jerked, wanting to throw it down, but from this height, it would mean the animal’s death. Leaning back against the limb and balancing steady, he looked up into the nearly full moon and pulled the wolf back, clasping his mouth shut once again.

Once Simon’s heart stopped pounding, he focused on the sounds of rustling leaves, breaking pine branches, and something else loud, but unidentifiable from below. “Holy Sojourn. What are we going to do?”

The pup whined.

In a moment, the noises stopped and the forest grew eerily silent.

“We did it,” Simon said, focusing on the tingle still in his chest. Was saving the pup not his miracle?

He tried to transport back to the ground, but, once again, nothing happened. What was wrong with his abilities?

Simon took a deep breath, tightened his grip on a branch, and glanced down. He hadn’t climbed up far. He could get down, if only he didn’t look.

Twisting in the tree and holding on tight, he lowered one foot down, searching for a branch.

“Let him go!” came a woman’s voice from below.

Simon jumped, hugging the tree tighter.

“Thank you ma’am, but be careful. There’s a wolf in the woods.”

The woman sighed. “You’re holding a wolf. Let him go. I’m sure he wants to get back to his mother.”

His mother?

Simon glanced down at the woman, and before another rush of dizziness hit him, he was certain he saw a woman, completely naked, using a few pine boughs to shield her body.

“Oh, great miracle!” he exclaimed. “Um…I’m not coming down with you naked below me.”

A heavy huff came from the woman, “Fine. Let me get my clothes,” she said as she stormed away.

 

KATRINA

 Katrina kept one eye on the man holding her son as she edged herself to the white fence surrounding the home. She pulled the pale blue dress off a post she had left it on and pulled it over her head. “There,” she called, spinning around to the man sitting on a branch, clutching her son, and covering his eyes with his free hand. “I have clothing on, you can look.”

Truth be told, she didn’t know when she’d get used to running around in the woods naked. Did anyone get used to that? But she’d do anything to ensure her son was safe. She’d even galivant through downtown Portland bare-skinned, if that’s what it took.

As she returned to the foot of the giant yellow pine, the tree’s slightly citrus scent flooded her sensitive sense of smell. There was another scent there…one she couldn’t quite identify, yet was familiar.

“Okay, give me the wolf pup,” she called up the tree in her sweetest, calmest voice, despite the turmoil spinning inside.

She took another whiff of the air, confirming the man was not a wolf… She had gotten a good whiff when she knocked him over. He was not wolf, for sure…but she wasn’t certain he was human either. He smelled slightly of cinnamon—a scent that had been prevalent in this forest for the past few weeks.

“You better not bite me,” he warned the pup as he shifted it in his long arms.

Katrina reached her arms up. “He wouldn’t have bitten onto you if you’d let him alone.”

“I saved him from that other wolf.” The man attempted to lower himself down, but his foot missed the branch and he stood there, in the tree.

“That wolf…was his mother! Now, I’ll need to find her to reunite them.” The man hadn’t moved. His knuckles white from gripping the tree. “You’re not afraid of heights, are you? Do I need to call the fire department to get you a ladder?” Katrina couldn’t help her laugh. The big tall man afraid to be up twenty feet or so. The man swayed in the tree. “Stop. Don’t move,” Katrina yelled, thinking of the worst case. What if the man let go of the pup?

Branch by branch, Katrina climbed until she was beside the man. Contrasting with his nearly black hair, his vivid blue eyes almost seemed to glow in the dark. Did her yellowish ones look the same way? Katrina leaned forward and gave him a cautious whiff. The cinnamon scent was strong…and he had no scent that reminded her of human. The usual metallic, salty human odor was absent.

She leaned closer and gave another whiff.

“What are you doing, smelling me? You’re not a vampire, are you?”

Vampire?

What did this man know?

Katrina snatched the pup from the man’s arms and pulled away. “Who are you?”

“My name’s Simon.”

Katrina left him in the tree, climbing down as fast as she could. “No. I meant WHAT are you?”

A nervous laugh. “Just a normal guy…”

When Katrina’s feet hit the soft pine forest floor, she let out a nervous laugh. “A normal guy outside at night…window peeping.”

She dropped her son to the ground and they both took off running.

A man outside at night…who isn’t afraid of a wolf.

Who seemed to believe vampires are real.

Protect Alex at all costs.

When Katrina was certain she was out of sight, she whipped the dress over her head and shifted into her wolf form in one huge leap. When she caught up to Alex, she nipped his heels, urging him to run faster. Daylight was coming and they needed to be home before anyone spotted them.

To read Book 1 in the Angels of Sojourn series, Blood & Holy Water Click HERE.

To read Katrina’s story for free, check out Bitten in my free giveaway, Quick Escape, Fantasy Tales HERE.

 

 

Book Spotlight – RETURN TO ROYALTY by E. Paige Burks

Book Spotlight (3)

Novel: Return to Royalty

Author: E. Paige Burks

Genre: Urban Fantasy / PNR / New Adult

How I found this book: The author of Return to Royalty and I mutually follow each other’s blogs and we both published our Fantasy novels at the same time. It seemed only right to take a look. (Plus, I loved the cover.)

Amazon book description:

RTR

Nyx Estrella is a princess from Gexalatia, a world on the other side of a portal. Unfortunately, she has no idea. Sent to Lucky, Texas, when she was a baby to protect her from the evil King Paraximus, her biggest concerns are grades and seeing her friends. She has no idea that she possesses magical abilities and that her reality is about to become really strange. Jet Lamia is a war prisoner, sent from Gexalatia by the queen, Liana Estrella, to bring Nyx back home to the kingdom of Ymber. The portal only opens on the winter solstice, so Jet finds himself trapped on Earth, trying to blend in. Fortunately, he has help in the form of the queen’s chosen assistant, Seth Alvar. But playing well with others has never been one of Jet’s talents. It is a race against the clock to tell Nyx her true identity and try to train her, while also keeping her alive. Nyx and Jet struggle to defeat the assassins sent to kill them both, while trying not to kill each other. Can this duo put their differences aside and return to Gexalatia?

What’s not in the blurb: I didn’t expect the suspense (maybe even a touch of horror, at times) in this story…both of which are not my usual genre, but I LOVED IT!

As I writer, what I really enjoyed and appreciated: Holy cow did the tension between the character’s get to me. I found myself turning pages to find out how their relationship would grow, taking mental notes how I could use the author’s techniques in my own writing.

Who’d enjoy this book: Lovers of contemporary fantasy who enjoy a little suspense and romance thrown in. This book is listed in the Young Adult category, but I found it more New Adult, appealing to a wider audience.

My overall impression: Once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down! I seriously loved the characters and can’t wait to read more. Once book two is published, I’ll definitely be getting myself a copy to continue the journey of Nyx and Jet. This book had the right mix of suspense, fantasy, and a little romantic tension. Perfect!

About the author: E. Paige Burks, budding author of The Heart of the Guardian, is a graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Communication and Journalism. Her book, Return to Royalty, won the 2016 Author U Draft to Dream Award in the Young Adult category and has been nominated for USA Best Book Awards and International Book Awards. When she is not writing fantasy and love stories, she enjoys Mexican food, singing out loud, cuddling with her cats, and taking long naps. E. Paige Burks lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, four dogs, three cats, three horses, and a single bird named Ricki.

Where to find this novel:

Other books in the series:

  •  Book 2 of A Gexalatia Tale (Yet to be published.)

My disclosure: I hate star ratings. Honestly, I think these are so subjective and sometimes reflect the reader more than they do the book. Because this is my blog, and I can do anything I want, I’m not using them.

I think ANYBODY who puts the time, effort, and dedication to write and publish an entire novel deserves 5 stars anyway. Also, when I read indie authors, I realize they operate on a shoestring (non-existent) budget and don’t have a team of college educated professionals helping them fine tune their novels.

 

Wanted: Readers to Review my Novel (Again!)

Anyone willing to receive a free digital copy of my novel, BLOOD & HOLY WATER, in exchange for a review or two on Amazon, Good Reads, or wherever else? I’m planning on publishing the book in April and would love to get some reviews right away upon publication.

Any takers? Comment below, use the “contact me” page, or shoot me an email and I’ll get you a copy of the novel.

I’ve been describing the story a urban fantasy with some suspense/paranormal romance.

You can read the first few chapters here to see if you like it: Blood & Holy Water on Kindle Scout

high-qualityVAMPIRES AREN’T PERFECT, BUT NEITHER ARE ANGELS.

Ava’s sick of mundane angel duties. She wants a promotion to finally earn her wings. A promotion takes more than hard work; it takes a miracle—literally. Unfortunately, her miracle’s impossible, as it involves a vampire.

Fin has no time for frivolous gestures. He’s too busy avoiding his own kind to care what a naïve angel wants. But when the other vampires uncover his deepest secret, threatening what he cherishes most, nothing can help him except a miracle. Too bad he chased the angel away.

Have a great day and, as always, thanks for stopping over & supporting me.

–Joy

 

Quick Escape – FREE Fantasy Short Story Collection

I (finally) put together a collection of short stories that I want to give away free as a thank you for reading my blog. If you’re interested, they’re available exclusively through this link or by clicking the book title below. You can download them for Kindle, EPUB readers, or PDF format.


cover_image

Enjoy a taste of another world with these three fantasy stories. 

  • Bitten: A desperate mother struggles to protect her son.
  • The Fairy Flu:A sick fairy confronts a childhood rival who threatens the kingdom.
  • The Enchanted Apothecary: A grieving shopkeeper becomes suspicious of a mysterious man who keeps visiting her apothecary shop.

(Yes, this was COMPLETELY a shameless plug to grow my newsletter list. Please forgive me. If I get annoying, please tell me. To learn more about my quest for 2017 to find “true” fans, click HERE.)

Wanted: Someone to Read my Urban Fantasy Novel

As I’m preparing to publish my new novel, BLOOD & HOLY WATER, I’m looking for some high-level feedback on the story.

Is anyone interested? It should be a fairly quick read.

I can send the file over in word, adobe, google docs, .rtf, or many other formats.

BHW finalSecond Order Angel, Ava, is sick of helping elderly women cross the street and strategically placing spare change where the poor can find it. She wants to be promoted and finally earn her wings. An angel promotion takes more than Ava’s hard work and determination though. It takes a miracle – literally. Unfortunately, her miracle is impossible, as it involves a vampire.

Fin, the vampire in question, has a different agenda. He doesn’t deserve a miracle and can’t be bothered helping a naïve angel earn her wings. He’s busy enough keeping the Blood Board off his back. Fin has spent his entire life as a vampire avoiding his own kind, and now it seems his luck has run out. When one of his secrets surfaces, it seems nothing can help him short of a miracle. Too bad he scared the angel away.

Contact me below if you are interested.

Here is a link to the FIRST CHAPTER if you’d like read before deciding.

–Joy

Blood & Holy Water – First Draft Done!

It only took me nearly TEN years and multiple first attempts, but Blood & Holy Water has a completed first draft! It feels fantastic!

PLUS I feel it’s the best first draft I’ve ever written. This story I wrote with the help of a critique partner (who I found on GoodReads) that went through each chapter as I wrote it – helped me with plot holes and grammar issues as I wrote… Which left me with a First Draft I’d actually show more people.

I started June 26th with the actually writing and finished today… 41 days to 60K. Not bad, but this novel practically wrote itself (it should have, I had 10 years to think about it!)

Next step: August 15th I’m participating in a novel swap though Scribophile where we swap novels with 3 others writers. I haven’t participated before, but we each will end up with three critiques on our novels. There’s still time to sign up (it’s free) if you need a read through of your novel. There are alpha reads and beta reads.  I have 10 days to zip through what I wrote one more time and make sure it’s ready for the swap.

Also, here is the first chapter of Blood & Holy Water if you’re interested.

Thank you for following my journey!

–Joy

Blood & Holy Water Cover