Truth or Lie with Crystal Collier Concludes

If you checked out my Truth or Lie post with Crystal Collier last week, where I told two truths and a lie, now you can learn which story was a lie. The stories went like this:

1. I know some guys in a local St. Louis band called Earl. Back stage at one of their shows at the Pageant, they asked me to go out after the break and play bass, which I did.
2. I’ve met Rob Zombie. In a strange sort of creepy, quazi-ironic way, I met him on Easter Sunday.
3. I have a tendency to win front row seats to concerts. I’ve seen Billy Joel, Elton John, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers all from the front row.

Check out Crystal’s blog post this week to learn which is the lie. And congratulations to Susan Swiderski for guessing correctly. She wins a paperback copy of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud and an eBook copy of The Squire and the Slave Master. While you’re there, you can check out Crystal’s Top 10 List of books in 2015.

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Today I Tell a Lie with Crystal Collier

As the title says, today I’m on Crystal Collier’s website telling a lie. I also tell two truths, so as the song goes, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” right? And speaking of songs, my two truths and a lie are all music related. Your job is to decide which of the three is the lie, and leave your guess in the comments section. Of the people who guess correctly, a drawing will be held for a paperback copy of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud  AND an eBook copy of The Squire and the Slave Master. (US and Canada only for the paperback. If someone from another country wins, the eBook will be substituted.) So get to guessing, the contest closes at 1:00 EST on January 12.

 

The Return of Erin Albert and the Prophecy Blog Tour

Today I’m pleased to welcome my first return guest. Her first guest post, which you can find here, is the third most viewed guest post on this site as of 10:45 CST on November 10, 2013 (in other words, I just checked), and believe me, the two ahead of her are stiff competition. She is also the most frequent commenter on this blog, other than myself. Of course I’m speaking about Erin Albert. Her book, The Prophecy, comes out Friday (it’s available for pre-order here), and she’s excited to tell you about it to entice the few of you who haven’t pre-ordered it to drop the $4.40. She’s sent along two excerpts, a blurb, and a bio to go along with the blog post which finally explains how she is the only person I know who has successfully pulled 26 hours out of a day.

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First of all, I want to give a big shout out and virtual hug to my book brother, Eric, for hosting me today!! His book Unveiling the Wizard’s Shroud comes out November 22, so be sure to check it out!! Fantasy novels ROCK!

Eric asked me to give a little bit of information about my writing process. If you dare, enter the inner workings of my mind… 😉

What am I working on?

I am always working on multiple projects. Currently, I am revising the sequel, The Outlanders, to my young adult fantasy debut novel, The Prophecy (which releases November 15). I also have a futuristic thriller called Number 25598, a middle grade fiction in the vein of Judy Blume called Meet Kit: An American Boy, and another young adult fantasy novel without a title—all in progress.

Why do I write what I do?

I write young adult books because I LOVE young adult books. My friend and Dream Team member Danielle Craver (she created all of the crest for The Prophecy) got me hooked on the YA genre, and I’ve read that almost exclusively ever since. Epic high fantasy appeals to me because I’ve always loved Arthurian legend. When George R.R. Martin combined that time period with fantastical elements, my mind sprung to life. Reading fantasy allows a person to fully immerse in a totally different world, escaping this one completely. Who doesn’t need a good escape every now and then?

How does your writing process work?

I am a total pantser, which means I do not plan a thing. I have a rough idea of how I want the story to start and how I want it to end, but I let the characters take over for the middle. Sometimes that gets me in some logic trouble, but I’m fortunate enough to have my Dream Team and critique partners to catch those little snafus.

The demands on my life and time afford me a very short window to get my writing done, usually between 3pm-5pm. I have ADD, so I always have to drink something caffeinated to help me focus. Also, a little container of chocolate is a creative must. I seek to write a chapter a day (my Dream Team member and timekeeper, Kim Sharp, requires a new chapter to read each night which keeps me on task).

The creative portion of my work takes me very little time. I wrote the entire Fulfillment Trilogy in 3 months. But I am also an anal grammar freak, so editing the work takes me MUCH longer. It’s a painstaking process.

So, to recap: Afternoon writing time with chocolate and caffeine, 1 chapter a day, and edit, edit, edit!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post!!

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Back Cover:

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

The Short:

Even though she had no chance to escape now, Layla shoved the Elder with all her might. The blow sent him flying into the baker’s door, which splintered under the force, and she darted forward.  The Vanguard soldiers moved to block her.

“We are all Vanguards,” she pleaded. “Please let me go.”

For a moment, they hesitated.  Layla used the opening to slip around them.  She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, but they proved to be too slow.  Within moments, the soldiers leapt upon her, knocking her to the ground.  Wrenching Layla up by her hair, they dragged her back to the Elder, whose face now bled from his encounter with the baker’s door.

“I see you’re going to be trouble.” He brushed the dirt off his robes.  “You can’t escape your destiny, girl.”

The Long:

“Everything must be taken down.” A rotund man, with beady black eyes, surveyed the town, disdain in his expression. While he did not appear distinguishable from the other black and purple clad men, he spoke with authority. “The First Ones and their great Prophecy must be honored properly.” He sniffed, his actions indicating the very existence of Medlin and its occupants offended him.

Layla wondered what this man considered a “proper honoring” of the First Ones. The First Ones…they’d been dead for centuries, and, as far as Layla could tell, hadn’t done much in life except start a never-ending war. She knew nothing more about them except that she was to thank them for good things, curse them for bad, and celebrate them on this day.

“That’s Elder Werrick, head of the Ecclesiastics,” whispered Samson, glancing back at Grant. Layla noticed the look that passed between them.

Grant nodded his assent. “Get her out of here, brother.”

Samson tried to steer Layla away, but she held her position to get a closer look at the man whom her family so feared. She knew they had good reason to worry—her black hair and purple eyes marked her as a Fulfillment candidate, one with the potential to bring about the long awaited peace. But she couldn’t quite bring herself to believe Elder Werrick would notice her on the crowded streets, especially with her eye drops and hood. Could he really be responsible for dragging candidates from their homes, forcing them to undergo strenuous, sometimes gruesome, testing for the sake of the Prophecy? To Layla, he looked like nothing more than a short, fat, unhappy man. The very notion that he could strike such fear into the hearts of her people seemed almost laughable…almost. As his gaze swept over the crowd, she glimpsed a sinister undertone that made her shiver.

Waving his pudgy arms at the awaiting townspeople, Werrick commanded, “Take it down.”

Suddenly, his body stilled and his tiny eyes grew wide. They briefly connected with Layla’s, narrowing with calculation. The Elder turned to his nearest black clad companion.

“Do you feel that?” Layla heard Werrick ask.

The other man looked skeptical. “Feel what, Elder?”

Werrick leaned in as the two whispered, stealing furtive glances in her direction. When the Elder’s companion pointed at Layla, Samson grabbed her arm. She heard his breathing change from rhythmic to jagged as he pulled her away from the men.

“We have to go now.” His urgency spurred her into action.

Grant moved to block them from the Elder’s view. “Get her away from here, Samson.”

The Elder looked up to see everyone staring at him as if frozen. He repeated his demand, “I said take everything down.”

The townspeople, joined by the Elder’s minion, scampered to remove their decorations, anxious to “properly” celebrate the First Ones. Their flurry of activity concealed Layla as Samson and Grant escorted her away. Layla scanned the streets, horrified, as the people of Medlin stripped the town’s center barren. In no time, everything appeared as it always had, devoid of any celebratory adornments. She looked up at the sky with its gray clouds lingering overhead. A bad omen…

On the hill, a safe distance away, Layla watched a group of Ecclesiastics erect a monstrous stage where the donkey races should have occurred. She heard the braying of the angry animals, harnessed and corralled on the orders of the Elder to avoid interfering with the “true” Day of Dawning celebration. Her ire rose. Who did they think they were coming in and changing everything?

An icy, phantom finger traced a frigid line down her spine. After hearing warning after warning from the Mantars her whole life, Layla knew exactly what the Ecclesiastics could do, what they had done to others in the past. Maybe Samson and Grant had been right. Maybe she should never have come, especially today. Layla turned her back on the town, resolved to go home, to safety.

“Layla!” Samson’s alarmed tone sliced into her, and she swung around toward him.

To her horror, two Vanguard soldiers forced Samson to the ground. She knew just how much strength he possessed, yet he couldn’t free himself. Her hands balled up into fists, shaking with their desire to unleash the full force of their fury.

“Run!” Samson screamed before a soldier’s fist smashed into his face.

His body stilled. Panic, coupled with indecision, crippled her. She should run like Samson commanded, but she couldn’t leave him lying there. To her relief, Grant ambled toward them, his eyes full of rage.

“Run!” Grant echoed Samson’s warning.

With a final glance at the two boys who’d been as close to her as brothers, Layla fled. She flew down the hill, swinging her head from side to side in alarm. Ecclesiastics swarmed throughout the city, making a clear escape route difficult to discern.

Terror rose within Layla. Why hadn’t she listened to her family? She’d been foolish to believe she could sneak around under the ever-watchful eyes of the Ecclesiastics, and that hubris put Samson and Grant in danger as well. She choked back a sob.

“Run,” she whispered.

Willing her feet to move forward, Layla darted toward the back of the baker’s shop, hoping to take a shortcut through the back alleyway. She swerved to miss a wooden box and stumbled, arms flailing to right herself. Unfamiliar hands reached out to break her fall. Once stable, Layla looked up to find Elder Werrick staring down at her. She screamed but no sound came out of her open mouth.

“I’ve been looking for you,” he said, a wicked smile on his face.

TheProphecy_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto_Smaller

Erin Albert is an author and fitness trainer. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.

Find me online:

Preorder Link: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/50-our-authors/authors-a/381-erin-albert

Twitter: @ErinAlbertBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Albert-Books/182769448541270

Website: http://www.erinalbertbooks.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18160774-the-prophecy

 

Guest Post: Erin Albert author of The Prophecy

This week, I am pleased to welcome a very special guest on my blog. No, it’s not Stephen King (maybe someday), but it is a person very influential in my journey into promoting my writing. She has taught me most of what I know about Twitter and Facebook. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know her. If you’ve seen my author page or Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud page on Facebook, I almost gave up on creating them until she sent me an article describing in detail the steps to take.

By this point you must realize I speak of Erin Albert. A self-professed “Grammar Freak,” and my “Book Sibling” (we each have fantasy novels coming out from MuseItUp Publishing in November–who knows, possibly even the same day, and our books share the same content editor) . She is simultaneously my best virtual friend and greatest publishing rival. We’re like Shakespeare  and Marlowe meet Neo and Morpheus (of course she’d probably prefer a Trinity reference–it’s possible she likes The Matrix). If you don’t know her, I hope you enjoy meeting her now. Heeeere’s Erin!

First of all, let me thank you, Eric, for allowing me to guest post on your blog!  I am so excited to be here and to share the story of my humble writer beginnings with you and your readers!!

I think I have always been drawn to the written word.  My parents and grandparents say I started talking way earlier than most children (and haven’t stopped).  One day, I wandered around my grandparent’s house and stumbled across a copy of Morris The Moose Goes To School.   I studied the book intently for a while and then read it to my grandmother, only tripping over the word “alphabet.”  From that moment on, I read all the time, whatever I could find.  Books took me to places I could never go in reality.  By the sixth grade, I started volunteering in the library.  My single mother worked long hours, so I spent my time afterschool completing my volunteer work then holing up in a corner with a book until my mom came to get me.

In terms of writing, I wrote my first poem at the age of four.  My grandparents own a car dealership, so I composed silly rhyming prose that included “A Honda for Fonda.”  Um….yeah, not my best work.  However, my family made a huge deal about it, and the attention hog inside me squealed with delight at the power of my words.  I began writing for fun and, by middle school, had a gaggle of girls chomping at the bit for the next chapter in my latest tale.

In high school and college, I received the opportunity to bring the written word to life through acting.  What a perfect combination—words and stardom!  LOL!  So, I threw myself into acting, eventually becoming the director of an acting group.  I even got to write plays and watch them performed by talented people.  For a good while, my creative life existed solely in that realm.

That chapter came to a close, as all good things do, but I still yearned to flex my artistic muscle.   I turned back to my first love—words.  One day, the idea for a story hit me like Zeus’ lightning bolt (gotta find a way to work in Percy Jackson).  I wrote non-stop, breathing life into a story I named The Prophecy.

When my friends read and loved it, I decided to give publication a try.  I read all the information I could find about the process and tried to steel myself for the inevitable rejections.   Let me tell you, I received plenty of them but also a lot of excellent feedback and praise.  My family and friends stepped in to encourage and lift me up on the days when I felt discouraged.  I would not be where I am today without them.

The day I received my publication contract, I had gone to get my cat some food at the pet store.  My phone dinged to notify me of an incoming email, so I gave it a cursory glance.  The email’s title said The Prophecy, and my heart sank a little because I assumed the email contained a rejection.  I opened it to the words, “Congratulations!  We loved The Prophecy and would like to offer you a publishing contract.”  I started screaming and jumping up and down…right in the middle of the pet store.  I’m sure people thought I’d lost my mind!  LOL!

So, that’s my story.  The Prophecy releases in November 2013, and I can’t wait!  I hope you will be inclined to give it a read.

Thank you again, Eric, for allowing me to “talk” about myself on your site!

Until next time,

Erin

Excerpt from The Prophecy:

Even though she had no chance to escape now, Layla shoved the Elder with all her might. The blow sent him flying into the baker’s door, which splintered under the force, and she darted forward.  The Vanguard soldiers moved to block her.

“We are all Vanguards,” she pleaded. “Please let me go.”

For a moment, they hesitated.  Layla used the opening to slip around them.  She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, but they proved to be too slow.  Within moments, the soldiers leapt upon her, knocking her to the ground.  Wrenching Layla up by her hair, they dragged her back to the Elder, whose face now bled from his encounter with the baker’s door.

“I see you’re going to be trouble.” He brushed the dirt off his robes.  “You can’t escape your destiny, girl.”

Author Bio:

TheProphecy_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto_SmallerErin Albert is an author and fitness trainer.  Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.


Find me online:

Twitter:  @ErinAlbertBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Albert-Books/182769448541270

Website:  www.erinalbertbooks.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18160774-the-prophecy

WELCOME ERIC PRICE

I appeared on Susan Royal’s blog earlier in the week explaining how Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud came to exist. I don’t know exactly what happens when you reblog, so I thought I’d try it.

Susan A. Royal

Author Photo

Today I’m doing a blog swap with fellow Muser, Eric Price. It’s great to have him here. Let’s find out a little bit about him.

Eric grew up in central Illinois. He now lives in northwest Iowa with his wife and two sons. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. His first short story, “Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast,” a spooky children’s tale about a haunted bed and breakfast, came out later the same year. He has published more than 30 nonfiction articles/columns, four short stories, and a poem. Three of his short stories have won honorable mention in the CrossTIME Annual Science Fiction contest. This is his first novel.

A Sci-Fi Writer Becomes a Fantasy Writer
or Why I Wrote Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud
by Eric Price

For conversational purposes, let’s say you already know I wanted to write, I…

View original post 1,282 more words

Some Amazing Graphic Novels and a GIVEAWAY

As a followup to Wednesday’s guest post by Scott Harpstrite on comic book movies (if you missed it, read it here), I have decided to compile a list of my favorite graphic novels. As Scott mentioned in his post, I too won’t squabble over the difference between graphic novel and comic book. My main criteria for classifying something as a graphic novel: can I get it in a collected edition instead of buying individual issues–I know, this opens up almost every popular title ever printed. I’ll be selective. This is not a Top 10 list, nor are they listed in any particular order. Many great graphic novels remain unread by me–largely due to the fact that I try to get them from the library so I don’t have to buy them. I believe collecting is the biggest vice of a comic book addict. So please use the comment section to let me, and other readers, know some of your favorites. And don’t overlook the giveaway of the Collector’s Set of Wolverine/Gambit: Victims which started on Wednesday.

File:FrankMillerSanDiego crop.jpgI’m going to start, not with a title, but with a writer/artist: Frank Miller. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read everything he’s done. Of what I have read, here are my favorites:

Sin City: Gripping writing filled with obscure metaphors and similes gives these stories a “pulp” feel. Yet, the artwork drew me in even before I read the books. Almost entirely drawn in black and white, color is only rarely used to draw attention to certain characters.

Batman: Year One: Growing up watching Adam West as Batman (in syndication–I’m not that old), this was my first look at a very dark Batman. Okay, I didn’t read this when it was new, and although the Tim Burton film (which came out two years after Batman: Year One), seemed very dark, it couldn’t hold a candle (get it?) to the darkness of Batman: Year One.

300: A fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. With every page illustrated as a double-page spread, it had more the feel of watching a widescreen movie than reading a graphic novel.

Watchmen: Alan Moore’s alternate timeline where superheros emerged to help the United States win the war in Vietnam. Written in the late 1980s, Watchmen takes the cold-war fears and exaggerates them to the point of the United States being on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. This is another book I read years after publication, and growing up with the Comic Code, I had no idea how real a comic could seem if made without “PG-13” restrictions.

File:WalkingDead1.jpgThe Walking Dead: I know this is a periodical series, but it has been grouped into six volume collections, and it’s awesome, so I’m counting it. I know, everyone loves the T.V. show, but if you watch the show and haven’t read the comic books by Robert Kirkman, you’re shorting yourself. I’ve only seen the first season (I can write more now that I don’t have cable), but the books go so much farther than anything T.V. will allow. Especially with the character of Carl Grimes, a child. As I said, I haven’t watched all of the show, but in the books, Carl does some things, and has some things done to him, I’m sure would never make it to T.V.

Locke & Key: Joe Hill, son of one of my favorite authors, Stephen King, and Gabriel Rodriguez have created a strange and gripping comic where the Locke family moves to Keyhouse (see where the name comes from) and they find mysterious keys which can unlock a person’s mind, strange doors with mysteries of their own, and the elusive Omega Key which opens a portal to allow demons to enter our world. The series will conclude within the next few months. I’m excited to see how it ends, and sad to see it go.

Age of Apocalypse

Age of Apocalypse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse: I know I’m going out on a limb with this last one, but all the issues are available in a four volume set; plus, I blame this, more than anything else, on my comic addiction. Before the Age of Apocalypse, I had a casual interest in comics. But when Legion went back in time intending kill Magneto, he accidentally killed his father, Charles Xavier, and he simultaneously spun the X-Universe into an alternate timeline dystopia where Apocalypse conquered North America , and me into a several year addiction. Every X-title got involved. Magneto led the X-Men, Cable never acquired the techno-organic virus (neither did he get raised in the future nor go by the name Cable), and Wolverine only had one hand (but he still had six claws).

There are some of my favorite graphic novels. I know I’ve missed a lot. Let me know what you like. And don’t forget to enter the contest!

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Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway!