Creature Feature Anthology: Featuring Joleene Naylor

Who likes a sale? (*raises hand*)

Who likes a sale on really awesome stuff? (*raises hand more aggressively*)

Who likes a sale on really awesome baddass stories from badass authors? (*THROWS MONEY AT QUESTIONER*)

Okay, good. I’ve got your attention:

Vampires… Werewolves… Monsters… They stalk our dreams and nightmares… the stuff of legends and fantasies…

Featuring short stories by Joleene Naylor (the Amaranthine series), Amber Naralim (the Monsters series), and Gabriella Messina (the Bloodline series), CREATURE FEATURE invites you to take a taste of the worlds these three authors have created, and the creature characters you will never forget. 

Okay, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Amber Naralim or Gabriella Messina’s stories quite  *yet* (though I’m sure they’re amazing) but I was able to sneak a peek at one of Amaranthine-world-creator, Joleene Naylor’s and it’s AWESOME. First, if you haven’t delved into her series yet- what are you waiting for? And second, this story is a Jorick origin, which means you get to see how he became a vampire. Woop!

Jorick dreams of leaving his native country but, after poor harvests, he can’t raise the funds. When a mysterious foreigner arrives with a job offer – care for his animals and stay away from his house until sundown – it seems like easy money. Except, something is killing the herd one by one. When Jorick sets out to stop it, he’ll discover the horrifying truth about his employer and will have to decide: Is the money worth working for the devil?  

Want a quick sneak peek? You’ve got it! Take a look below:

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The following evening, Jorick didn’t meet Malick at the door. Instead, he ate a meager dinner, and readied for the night’s plan. Malick might not care what was killing the sheep, but he was tired of being outsmarted. How the thing could get in the barn was a mystery he must have an answer to.

And once I see what it is, I’ll kill it.

He loaded up a bag, grabbed a lamp and his musket, then headed off through the night. The walk was familiar, but strange. A heaviness hung around him, like invisible mist. Every breath he took was laced with some dark presence; a sense of danger. There was even a moment when he was tempted to turn around, but his stubbornness pushed him on.

Soon the barn was a hulking shadow in the distance.  As he drew closer, he saw the moonlight glint on the boards, on the roof, on the open door-

Open door?

He’d put the sheep away and locked everything up himself! He dropped the bag and quickly set to work readying the gun, filling it with powder, loading it, snapping the ramrod back in place. A breeze blew, the door swung, and he quickly used the lamp to light the gun’s wick. A quick blow, a flare from the burning rope and he started forward, the musket shouldered and ready to go.

The few moments between where he’d left the bag and the barn turned into aching long hours. He moved softly over late summer grass, his feet wet with dew. His heart hammered. His breaths were quick, rasping sounds that seemed too loud in the stillness.

He got to the door and pushed it gently with the barrel of the gun, pulling it the rest of the way open. Inside, the sheep were silent, though not bedded down. They stood, pale shapes washed in shadows, unmoving. A dark figure stood among them, large for an animal, hunched. Jorick aimed the musket and blew again at the wick. The light flared. In that momentary glow he saw Malick, bent over one of the sheep, his lips drawn back from fangs, a drizzle of blood down his chin.

In the shock, Jorick fired. The gun jerked in his hands and the smoke puffed past him. He saw the dark shape of Malick stumble back, followed by a roar more animal than human.  Jorick knew he’d hit him, knew that the damage would be severe – he’d seen the balls push bone out of wounds before. Still, he saw the dark shape lumber back to its feet, let out a second roar-

Jorick ran. The pounding of his heart drowned out Malick’s fury as he raced away, not bothering to grab his bag as he passed it. On he ran, until he reached his own home. Inside, he slammed the door and knocked the bolt in place, too exhausted to do anything but sag against it, gasping for air.

The wick burned his hand. He reflectively dropped the musket, but retrieved it quickly. His hands shook as he moved through the rooms to his store, as he tried to load the gun again, preparing in case the monster had followed him.

Monster.

In that flash of light, that’s what he’d seen. Malick’s long white hair fell around a contorted face, his pale beard stained scarlet with the lamb’s blood, while the motionless sheep surrounded him, silent, glassy eyes looking on, but not seeing.

No wonder he wasn’t worried about what killed the sheep. He knew what it was. It was him.

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Want to know what happens next? You’re going to have to grab your copy!

The good news is that Creature Feature has a special preorder price of $.99 until it’s release date (June 21st) when it goes up to $2.99. All proceeds go to the Book Born Children’s Christmas Book Fund, sponsored by Book Born Facebook group. (link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookborn/ )

Click here to pre-order on Amazon. Click here for everywhere else.

Aren’t you excited? We get to see how Jorick became a vampire. JORICK! Again, if you haven’t gotten into the Amaranthine series, what are you waiting for? This baby’s not set to come out for another two weeks so you have plenty of time. And with a pre-order sale of .99, you really can’t beat that!

Grab your copy of the Creature Feature Anthology for amazing stories from amazing authors like Joleene Naylor, Amber Naralim, and Gabriella Messina!

They Write The Books – Alyssa Kelso

Time for ‘They Write the Books!’ which I *totally* used to do…and then fell off doing for a while…and am now BACK AT IT because getting the word out about new authors and books is awesome. Who knows? You may find your next favorite read 🙂

Today I’ve got Alyssa Kelso and her book, Dreaming of Fire.

First, a little Q and A to spice things up:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a wife and mother, the two best callings in my life. I love healing crystals and my essential oils. I am a fan of art of all forms, though I personally practice painting and photography. I crave Italian food on the daily, and I may or may not be marking my calendar down for the final season of Game of Thrones. Anyone else??

How did you get into writing?

I actually hated anything to do with writing and reading as a kid. But after I read, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, my life changed. Not only did I want to read more but I wanted to write more, too. So, my parents bought me a journal when I was in the 5th grade. It had Harry Potter on the cover and a popup flashlight in the spine. I have been writing ever since.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I was fifteen and daydreaming in math class. My thought was, “I wonder what it would be like to actually fall in love with the man of my dreams…” Then more thoughts came and I imagined writing a story about a girl who literally fell in love with a man she saw in her dreams.

Who are your favorite authors?

J.K. Rowling, Ellen Hopkins, Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon.

If you could only recommend one book, which would it be?

Harry Potter, always.

*Bonus * What one person (living or dead) would you share a meal with? And why?

My late sister, Brianne. Brianne was stillborn, but I have felt immensely influenced by her spirit my whole life. I would absolutely love to thank her for looking out for me, and tell her how much I love her.

Excerpt From Dreaming of Fire – Now On Amazon:

A chilling chant fills the forest. The sound is so frightening, even the trees quake with fear.

“HiyaKay, HiyaKay, ite, ite. HiyaKay, HiyaKay, ite, ite.”

The words weave through my mind, catching hold of snatches of English and shaping themselves into words I can understand: Night King, Night King, rise, rise. Night King, Night King, rise, rise. Brianne blows out several more angel kisses, and they float toward the sky, illuminating the uppermost branches of the trees.  Terror courses through me as I spot the demons of my nightmares sitting and hanging amongst the trees’ shivering limbs. Their gruesome features come in various forms—scaly skin, beady eyes, claws, wings, horns, fangs, gruesome gashes, or spiked faces. Some have no faces at all.  

“Nightmares,” Brianne breathes. Setting her jaw, she lifts her wand and sends a ball of light toward me. The ball expands until it surrounds me in a white haze. “Don’t be afraid, Sienna. These miscreants love fear.”

  

Alyssa lives in Utah with her husband, daughter, and their fur baby. She has started her own collection of healing crystals and besides writing; she loves to express herself creatively through painting and photography.

You can connect with Alyssa on Goodreads, as well as these platforms-

Web: Alyssakelso.com

Twitter: @Alyssakelso21

Facebook: @allthingsalyssakelso

Instagram: @allthingsalyssakelso

There’s An Actual Bar Graph

It has now occurred to me—two days later—that I should’ve put an image of my book on my “TODAY IS MY RELEASE DAY” post, but then I also thought the wedding was on Friday so I have no idea what was going on in my head last week. Most of it was a blur of excitement for Deadpool and the book going live. I think I also made something really yummy in the crockpot because I got compliments on the smell of my leftovers the next day at work and no one EVER compliments my leftovers. 🙂

Friday—despite some terrible things that happened around the world—was awesome and not just because it was Friday or because I FINALLY got a pay check, but all the texts from family and friends telling me they bought my book was just great. It made me feel like I’m not some lame weirdo chucking semi-articulated paragraphs onto the internet, but someone who’s maybe doing something…cool-ish? Or worthwhile?

Oh!

Yeah, this was surprising (top left. Look familiar?) 🙂

BWHAHAHA! I don’t know how I ended up with all these hot couples, but I’ll take it. Seriously, I don’t know if someone shared my post with another someone who shared the post with another someone—I really have no idea because I barely understand FB and the internet in general, but how cool is this?!?!?!? I made it on a list, guys. SOME RANDOM LIST OF THINGS TO READ.

Oh, and all you wonderful people texting me that you’re buying my book—you’re not lying 😊 So thank you again because there’s an actual graph now for units sold which means I’m not cruising at the zero-book-sold marathon I’ve been running for a while. I *super* expect to return to it tomorrow or the next day but it’s nice to have seen some form of life on this EKG of book sales.  BUT: paychecks mean money means advertising means more books sold (maybe) means another bar graph come August? Eh?

I need to start thinking about the next book. Already. Now. In fact, I’m going to go do that (literally right now. I meant to work on it but started this blog post instead) because time’s a wasting and I’ve only got twelve weeks of it. (Why did I do this to myself? And where’s the rest of the victory wine?)

Here’s a picture of Appa because  he’s sexy and you deserve it and you shouldn’t not have a sexy picture of Appa 🙂

drink it in, bitches

P.S. I’m still watching Hemlock Grove. Does ANYBODY else watch this? I need to talk to someone so I can work through it.

P.P.S. Deadpool was Fan-fucking-tastic. Ryan Reynolds, you are still in my Top Five. Batman, you’ve been warned.

It’s Today. TODAY.

Okay.

So, obviously this is a super important day, and not just because it’s Friday (although that’s the real reason—let’s be honest) but because of other awesome things that are happening in the world. Maybe not in Hawaii or the middle east, but I hear there’s this really big event going on across the pond and—dare I say it—Deadpool 2 is releasing. Today. To-motherfucking-day. If you weren’t excited about the royal wedding, you have to be geared up for DP. If neither of those interest you, I *suppose* you can go ahead and lose your shit over THE RELEASE OF BETTER THAN THIS.

**faints**

**gets up to dramatically faint again**

**sits up enough to reach for wine**

This arbitrary date I’ve selected is here and now I can chuck this thing into the interwebs and let you guys have your turn. These characters have been playing in my head for over a year and now—FINALLY NOW—they won’t just belong to me anymore. They’ll be yours too. MUAHAHAHA. Or, anyone who wants them because I actually did it. I published Better Than This which I never planned to do in the first place. Hell, I’d never planned to let anyone read it because I was writing it for me and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t stop. And here we are, all this time later. We (my characters and I) didn’t give up on each other and we (you amazing supporters and I) are talking about this book that started off as nothing more than a silly scene and what-if moment.

Wow, the power of not giving up.

Anyway, enjoy your day. Try to sneak a peak at the wedding and definitely go see Deadpool 2. And if you get a chance, pick up your copy of Better Than This right here. I hope you fall in love like I did (that’s my aim at least) 😊

Alright, guys. It’s almost the weekend.

Time to party. 😉

EDIT: I just realized that the wedding is on Saturday – not today – but I don’t feel like re-writing this so, whatever. Cheers!

IWSG – I need your help!

I know this is a blog hop. I get how this works (it only took me a couple of months of stalking IWSG to figure it out) but now I need some help. Your help.

I’m releasing the fourth book in my series in June.

*ECSTATIC HAPPY DANCE ENSUES*

…and I actually need to market this time.

*stops dancing*

*hangs head*

*ugly sobs*

It’s cliché at this point in the industry to say I have NO idea what I’m doing. But I’ve picked up a few things and I know—I KNOW—I should probably do a new-release blog hop. I’m just kind of confused on how. How do I set this thing up? Do I contact each individual blogger I want to be featured on? Do I put out an announcement or blog about it here? Do I tip the man with the magic beans or kidnap a student on their way to Hogwarts? How?? How do I do this?

When you’ve released your book with a blog hop, how did you go about it? How far in advance did you set up the author interviews / guest posts/ other things I don’t even know exist? And did you do it differently if there were previous books in the series? I am completely and *utterly* lost and barely being able to operate a computer (let alone this blog), any help/advice/drink recipes would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group! It’s a place for writers of all stages to get together and express their fear, doubts and worries, and also to encourage, inspire and befriend 🙂 If you’re interested in not suffering through it alone anymore, I’d suggest checking us out here.

*Compliments to Alex Cavanaugh who started this awesomeness!