Friday, October 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: Past Demons by A.L. Kessler

Cover Reveal For 
The Dark War Chronicles Book 4 
Past Demons 

With her freedom stolen from her by the Father, Tegan had never lived a life of her own. Whisked away to be a bound human to Lucius, she never knew what it was like to have a mate to love and cherish her. Now after losing three hundred years of memories, Tegan needs to rediscover everything she’s worked for and learn every lesson again, but this time something is different. Kaden claims that he is her fated mate.

The reason for Kaden’s exile from the Demon world is no secret: he beheaded his own king. The one thing that makes his exile bearable is being close to Tegan. When Tegan returns he knows he finally has his chance to make her his, but two people stand in his way: Lucius and Tegan’s brother, Zaaren.

The war rages on. With the rumor that someone has raised the Father and the Originals showing signs of waking, the bloodshed will only get worse.

A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and steampunk author

residing in Colorado Springs. Since she was a teenager

she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she's not at

the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, two

black cats by the names of Jynx and Sophie, training a

playful puppy named Zelda, playing with her daughter, or killing

creepers and mining all the things with her husband of 4

years, she's either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or

writing in her Blog Writing Rambles.

Past Demons will be released on February 16th 2015 you can add to your Goodreads list now on your to be read list!  

In the Light of the Moon (FREE in ebook)

Audiobook: http://
A shifter with no control...

As a panther shifter stripped of her control Kassity has no choice but to be a killer for Lucius. Obeying the vampire was simply her way of life. Until Jaxon comes to town, bring trouble with him. When she recognizes Jaxon as her fated mate, Kassity must deal with betrayal, secrets and Lucius in order to be with him.

A war rages on...

Jaxon must decide who he is fighting for and against. What started as a simple job turns into a complicated game of hearts when he meets Kassity, the woman he thought he was rescuing.

But not everything is as it seems in Lucius' territory...

Dance In the Moonlight


Blurb: Renee’s life had been normal until the shadows reappeared and the legendary stone was sent to her. As the arrival drags her further into the paranormal world, the last thing Renee expects is to be swept off her feet by a brooding werewolf.

Yet Coran captures her heart and attention. Small problem—he doesn't want a mate. Coran still suffers from the loss of his first mate, but when Renee is attacked by shifters he is forced to protect her at all costs. Things heat up when he realizes fate has wickedly granted him a second chance at love. With the war causing the body count to rise, now is not the ideal time to find a mate.

The Circle is becoming desperate and something has Lucius worried which means trouble for his followers. It's a dance between danger and fate in this second installment of the Dark War Chronicles.

On Torn Wings


Blurb: A Hunter

Danielle is on a mission to take down a killer, when all signs point to vampire she recruits Orion to help. Bribing him with information on the Fae Queen who stole his crown takes her further into the supernatural world than she wanted. Working side by side, they start to realize there is more there than a forced work relationship, but Orion is still pining over the disappearance of Tegan.

A missing human

Tegan’s kidnapping is taking a toll on the whole territory, Lucius is losing his sanity and the war has taken a turn for the worst. Fed up with the chaos Orion seeks to escape the territory, but other than death there’s only one other option —taking back his crown. After centuries of working under the vampire Danielle offers him the chance and ability to take his rightful place.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where You Write

Where you write can make all the difference. For me, it can make or break my concentration.

If I am sitting on the couch (as long as there isn’t something distracting on the TV) I can be productive. My kids playing video games, not a problem. But put on a TV show or movie, even one I’ve seen a dozen times, and I’m lost. But I love to sit on the couch because we have a big window that lets me look out into the world and I don’t feel so trapped.

If I am sitting at the dining room table I’m good to go as long as everyone is doing their own thing, because it drives me nuts if people are walking behind me and trying to look at my computer screen. So it’s not an ideal place seeing as how as soon as I whip out my laptop the whole house turns into Spy vs. Spy and tries to look over mom’s shoulder.

My next option is sitting at my sons school computer desk, that would be great, but it runs the same risks as the dining room table seeing as how it is in the same room.

Moving on… My last hiding place is my bedroom, where I actually have a desk, but do I get to sit at the desk? Nope, because my comfy office chair has been taken over by everyone else. It can either be found in front of my son’s computer or in the living room parked right in front of the TV/Xbox. And since I never use the desk it has become a holding station for all items in the house that have no home of their own.

That leave my bed. I actually do like working there but only for short periods of time. My legs get sore sitting cross-legged and eventually my firm mattress wreaks havoc on my lower back.

Can I get work done in these places? Yes, if I really stay focused. But will it be productive work? More likely than not, no unless the atmosphere is right and distraction free. Right now is a very productive, ideal writing time. As I write this I am on the couch, my son is at his computer so the TV is off, the house is quiet and this is actually the second blog post I’ve pounded out this hour. It’s quite productive out here. If I were in my room I would have maybe made it through half of the first one and then called it quits. At the dining room table wouldn’t have worked either because my son would be more tempted to say “Mom, I need your help.” Even though he really doesn’t.

So my spot, at least for now, is the couch. That is the spot that makes all the difference in my being productive. I can work, for the most part, uninterrupted and distraction free. Until 4:30 hits and everyone else gets home, flips on the TV and totally messes up my writing juju.

Do you have a place where you find you are more productive? Is there a spot you know once you sit down you won’t get anything done? Are you distracted by the TV? Music? Birds outside the window? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Presenting yourself as a professional Part 1

Little fish, big fish....which do you feel like when you're acting as an author. Strange question I know. When I first started attending conventions I felt like a little fish... a tiny tiny tiny fish. Why? Was it because I only had two books and a short story under my name? Possibly. Was it because I really had no idea what I was doing? Mmm most likely.  I touched on this a while back, but it's been about a year and a half since, so it's time we touch on it again, but in a little more depth this time. That is why I'm breaking it into parts.

Today we're going to cover physical appearances. What I look like on a normal day, where I'm

chasing around children, cleaning house, and just writing is completely different than when I'm face to face. Example? Well let's take a look: My hair is pulled up (and most likely not very well), I'm wearing a Pink Floyd shirt (not very flattering) and if you look closely I'm wearing loose black pants. Now, I'll be honest, I am likely to go grocery shopping in that outfit, but I'm not likely to go to any writer's event in it.  (please excuse the  legos. I was playing with my daughter)

But it shows my personality. I don't care. If you're going to a convention, a conference, or an event, dress appropriately, dress to your brand. I'll admit, I struggled with this. Should I go around wearing corsets and BDSM gear? I could, except for I write multiple genres. I know an author who has totally made corsets and masks her thing, it works for her brand and that's how she dresses at every event. No one ever sees her face. Again that works for her, but since I write multiple genres, I dress according to the convention and which reader group I'm more likely to face. Some examples? Most conventions will find me in a black dress, leggings or tights, and boots. My hair is always down and fixed (this helps me look older, trust me, it's needed.) I always wear heels, because well I'm 5'2" I'm short. For a more casual event I wear something nice, maybe nice jeans with a tailored polo or a nice shirt, maybe a sweeter dress. Something decent. If there's a chance I'm going to introduce myself as an author, I'm dressed and ready to present myself.

Moving on to the other part of physically presenting yourself as professional...engaging with readers and other authors. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, just go up and say "Hi, I'm an author read my book." No. Now if you're at an event where you have to introduce yourself, say a fact about yourself, or some other ice breaker situation, then yes, you can say that you're an author. Just don't do it randomly or forcefully.

I just got back from an event where I had a wonderful time sitting down and chatting with readers and authors alike. Not once, unless asked, did I mention I was an attending author. Why? Readers are smarter than most people give them credit for, they can recognize a name. My name is in the program and on my name badge. Also, I was on panels, that's kind of a dead give away, they make you introduce yourself on panels, that's when I get to tell people I'm an author and what I write. Also, they'd see me at the book signing, that's also a pretty dead give away. Readers like it when you can connect on the same level as them.

Okay? But what do we talk about? Well, anything really, I had an hour conversation about cats. I also had a breakfast conversation about BDSM struck up by my collar and woman brave enough to ask me. You are a normal person, let your readers know that. Also...unless it's super important, do not text, read emails or check facebook while talking to people. Hello rude! Why should they care who you are or what you're talking about if you're more interested in your phone. Eye contact, an interested tone, ask question, converse people! It's not that hard, and it's professional. No, you will not like everyone you meet, but you at least need to be polite.

Have a table at the event? With the exception of IRC, where the tables were short and the moving space limited, I stand up every time someone approaches the table. Why? So I can have better eye contact. If they pick up a book, or are looking at them, I'll give a little piece about them, to give them enough info. If they just come up to the table, I do the simplest thing ever...I say "Hi, how's it going?" I had someone come back and buy my whole series because of that. We talked for a bit, they walked off and then came back.

Professionalism isn't just about how you look, but how you act. This is a job, a career, and you should treat it as such.

So while you wait for my next part in all this some questions for you to think on.
What's your brand and how can you dress?
What is appropriate for the events?
How do you act around readers and customers?
How can you improve any of this?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Under the Moonlight

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Zara's fate had been decided thousands of years before her birth. She is now fighting against time and family to reclaim the decisions that will ultimately shape her destiny. 

Sentenced to live an existence in the Underworld, mated to a man she despises, Zara must find a way to overcome the Gods and their curses, with love as her only guide. 

Can James, a handsome and rugged sailor, help Zara break the bonds of magical spells or will she end up mated to Xander, the Son of Satan? 

Take a dive Under the Moonlight to see where love can take you.

Review: I loved this. I thought this was the sweetest novella I had gotten my hands on. Yes, a novella it's short, but Ms. Nemer does a great job with crafting the story and pulling you in. We have Zara (which I'm in love with that name, just so everyone knows.) a young mermaid who is fascinated by a human, she can make the choice on her birth day to walk on land or stay under the sea, but something is different. She's been betrothed already to Xander. I love stories where the gods meddle in everything and this is one of those. 

The plot is solid, though I do want more, it ends on it. There is mermaid sex in it, which I think Ms. Nemer does a creative and great job on, it wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. If you need a quick read, I definitely think you need to pick this up!

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
Heat: Mild
(mild, medium, hot, spicy, scorching)

Buy the Book:

About the Author
Ashley, also known as Niki Becker, is married and lives in Houston with her husband Tony. They have two dogs, Toto and Doogie. They have been together for over 8 and a 1/2 years and he brings her more joy than she could ever imagine as a child. She loves to read and has been hooked on the romance genre ever since her lifelong best friend gave her "Ashes to Ashes' by Tami Hoag to read when they
were younger.

Ashley finds her strength through her family, especially her parents. They always support her in life; 
they push her to strive for greatness. There once was a motto that Ashley heard in her youth through her Taekwondo life 'Reach for the Stars' and that is what Ashley has always done. It was through her upbringing that the values Ashley has and displays come from. With her parents always cheering her on in life she was able to grow up having faith in herself and her ability to conquer the world.
Ashley enjoys writing many different genre’s of fiction. Her areas range from science fiction/ paranormal, mystery, romance, poetry and erotica (using pen name Niki Becker.)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo; Part Quatre

This is my 4th year doing NaNoWriMo. Year one was a mess, year two was productive, year three was a disaster up until the last minute and as for this year- I’m still not sure if I am committed to it with the hectic schedule of doctors appointments and traveling to Denver. Even if I don’t go all in, November is a great time to re-assess my writing journey and take stock of my projects that are lingering.

I finished Waking Up In Bedlam before NaNo was over in 2012 (year two), and I was like this story is finished and I’m only at 38k! Then I went back, filled in some spots and by the end of the month I came in at just over the 50k… Then came the editing and cutting and I was back down to around 38k again and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. But then after countless Betas and editing it ended at over 56k. The point being, no novel is ever ready at the end of NaNo. You still have to fill in plot holes and shine it up with editing. Lots and lots of editing.

This year I might go at it again but with a story I’ve already been working on and if I really dig in and try for the 50k goal I’ll just make sure that whatever I write in the month of November equals 50k minus whatever I’ve already written. Or maybe I’ll start something new and fresh. At this point I have no idea what my plan will be. But what I love about this time of year, this month before the chaos starts, is the excitement for writing that abounds around the internet. People are excited about writing. Companies are encouraging people to write. It’s fun. Go to YouTube and you will find any number of NaNo songs, skits, information, tips & tricks. It’s so much fun to see people get excited about something that encourages everyone to get their creative juices flowing. It’s fun to experience, but even if you can’t devote your entire month of November to pounding out 50k words at breakneck speeds you can still have fun enjoying the energy and excitement of the participants.

So in honor of NaNoWriMo I’d like to share a couple of the deals, tips, and songs that can be found around the internet to help spread the cheer of Pre-NaNo this month:

1)      StoryBundle has a NaNoWriMo bundle that includes up to 12 books about writing and also on crafting a career out of writing. Check it out. StoryBundle lets you pay what you think the books are worth. The minimum is $5 which gets you the first 6 books, anything over $15 gets you the other 6 for a total of 12 books by amazing authors. My favorite has to be 500 Ways To Write Harder by Chuck Wendig.

2)      For Tips and Tricks the web is an abundance of information but the best place to start is the NaNoWriMo forums. Participants throughout the years have posted their best tips, tricks, and hints for everything NaNo related from plot holes to writers block. Check out the forum here to get you geared up and prepared for the 30 days of chaos you might embark on come November 1st.

3)      And lastly. NaNo on YouTube. Oh the fun. Check out classic vids by some fantastic NaNo folks!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pros and Cons

My last post I covered knowing what you want from your writing and publishing. With a lot of drama going on in the writing world, I'm reminded why I'm primarily indie. When I first went indie, my husband sat me down and said "Hey, make a damn choice and stick with it." Or something to that effect. So as I do with many things. I sat down and made a list. A list of pros and cons. I'll share them for you and I invite you to continue the list on your own or in the comments.

Indie Publishing
I get to keep more profit
I control everything
I don't have to change my story (this has happened to me on a short through trade publishing)
My deadlines, my schedule

Most of the profit goes back into publishing
Everything comes out of my pocket or I have to learn how to do it myself
Still have to depend on others for cover art and editing

So those are generals, I actually listed out what I get to control and what was going to cost me. I also tried to draw on experiences of others, with keeping in mind that I wasn't going to be an over night success. From there I moved on to trade publishing, including small presses- anything that I had to write a query letter, submit, and wait on.

Traditional Publishing
Professional editor
Professional Cover art
The attraction of a big name behind the title.

Possibly less royalties
Very little or no control
Still might have to do all my own marketing.
Could take a long damn time.

Both lists are close to being even, Trade has a few more pros, but since marketing is questionable, it evens out. To me. To someone else they may think that trade publishing is better. To each their own. However, due to recent events (that because it's not SPE related, I won't mention here in detail) I'm very happy that I didn't put all my eggs in the trade publishing basket.

The thing is that indie publishing met up with what I wanted and what I need. I have a wonderful support team and I've learned a ton on this journey. I've even learned a program that I swore I'd never get along with. I have to say that I like having the control over everything. Down to what edits make it in the book (have I mentioned how much I love my editors?) to what the cover looks like, to the release day. I get to throw my own parties, decide how I want to market, say what events I go to. I can also hammer down my own timeline and if it doesn't get done, I only have myself to blame.

So while you're asking yourself: What do I want out of my writing. Also ask yourself: Which route is best for me?