Shopping Small: The Indie Author Edition

Over on my personal Facebook page, I indulged in what has become an annual tradition, in which I pimp out my many creative friends’ small business endeavors and exhort folks to spend some holiday cash with them instead of big box stores that dupe you into getting up at the ass crack o’ dawn on Black Friday so you can fight massive mobs for a limited quantity of deep-discount sale items.

I’ve decided to do something similar here for the benefit of my many indie author buddies, as well as for anyone who might be looking for some new hidden gem of a book. Click on the images to jump to Amazon.com (or the appropriate direct sale site) to grab a copy.

YA – SUPERHERO FICTION

Obviously I’ll start with my own books, but I won’t belabor the point since 99 percent of this blog is dedicated to that. Go here and you’ll fund all the links you need to grab any or all of the Action Figures series, or check out this post to learn how you can grab signed copies.

HISTORICAL FICTION

Jake Hawking and the Bounty Hunters – J.M. Aucoin

SYNOPSIS: The Caribbean. 1715. Jake Hawking — pirate, rogue, and scourge of the Spanish Main — is known for his quick blade and cunning wit. It’s earned him some friends in the Caribbean, but it’s also earned him his fair share of enemies. The governor of Havana has hired three of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the West Indies to track and capture Hawking and his crew. It’s not an unusual predicament for a pirate to find himself — hunted to the end of his days — but if the Spanish governor manages to persuade the lot to fly under a single banner, it could make life a little more interesting than Hawking wishes.

With the giant ex-slave Little Queen and the rest of Hawking’s crew aboard the snow-brig Broad-Wing, they’ll need every ounce of wit, sail, and steel if they’re to survive and out duel the bounty hunters. Included in the collection are the first three Jake Hawking short adventures — “A Pirate’s Honor”, “The Royal Bounty Hunter”, and “Little Queen’s Gambit” — previously only available as eBooks (also available on Amazon). This edition also includes a foreword by J.M. Aucoin, the original single story artwork, and four bonus pirate stories and swashbuckling poems.

Inspired by the swashbuckler tales of the early 1900s as well as the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, the Jake Hawking Adventures promise to thrill readers with swordplay, daring, intrigue, and plenty of high adventure.

CREEPY CHRISTMAS

The Stocking Dead – Dean Calusdian

SYNOPSIS:

A sleighful of pop culture satire and a splattering of the zombie genre, The Stocking Dead will chew at your funny bone and gnaw on your heart strings.

It’s the day before Christmas and all the elves of christmasville are getting ready for santa’s big ride, but one of Santa’s helpers isn’t so merry.

Nothing ever goes right for poor little Wendell. Bored at his job, picked on by the toy shop bully and unnoticed by the elf of his dreams he hopes that somehow this Christmas will be different.

His problems are about to get worse. Much worse.

When a bite from a toxic bunny starts turning all the residents of Christmasville into flesh eating fiends, Santa’s winter wonderland becomes an undead wasteland.Wendell and a small band of survivors must desperately attempt to escape the carnage, but the zombie plague is spreading faster than Christmas cheer.

With all hope dwindling, it’s up to our holiday heroes to save Christmas, but can they even save themselves?

Wight Christmas – Rob Borkowski

SYNOPSIS: Wight Christmas, a flash fiction short, tells a cautionary tale of the consequences of interfering with holiday spirit.

Saving Christmas: A Feel Good Macabre Tale – Jess MacLean, Dan Desilets, Rhiannon McCulloch

SYNOPSIS: It’s all your fault. You could have stopped this from happening. Belief in Santa Claus begins to fade and Christmas is in jeopardy. Santa is despondent and his well meaning elves take it upon themselves to “Save Christmas”. Try to remember that their hearts are in the right place as the blood begins to fly.

Saving Christmas is a lighthearted romp through the “Feel-Good Macabre” genre. As you laugh, sigh and cringe your way through this delightfully grim tale, remember this. You are just as awful as we are for enjoying it.

CHILDREN

Ricky’s Spooky House – Micah Edwards, Tom Brown

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest storytellers ever, and you’d like to share him with your kids. But isn’t he too scary? No longer!

Ricky’s Spooky House, the first in the Li’l Eddie series of books, is a retelling of Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher. The beautiful pictures and entertainingly tamed story would horrify Poe, but will delight children and parents alike.

Saving Santa’s Seals – T.M. Murphy, Adam Taylor

SYNOPSIS: When 8-year-old Ryder asks Santa to help his Uncle Ted overcome writer’s block and create another amazing story, he cannot know that they’ll both be getting the best present ever–a wild adventure. But is it real, or just a wonderful Christmas dream?

URBAN FANTASY

The Life and Death of Lily Drake – T. Michelle Nelson

SYNOPSIS: For Lily Drake, slaying vampires is easy…Dating them is the hard part. Lily Drake is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, Lily finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.

Deciding between pizza and Chinese take-out will no longer be one of the hard decisions facing Lily Drake once she is immersed into vampire society. Humanity or immortality? That doesn’t hold a candle against this question – which of the two handsome vampire cousins? The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene. How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn? Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

YA – ROMANTIC THRILLER

Mobster’s Girl – Amy Rachiele

SYNOPSIS: Gripping my chest is the only way to hold myself together or what’s left of me will fall out. The past week has enlightened me on one thing-I don’t care. Megan, Mobster’s Girl I didn’t even hesitate. I took two strides and blasted him in the face with my fist. He was ready for it this time-unlike in church. He tried to hit me back but I ducked and smashed him again. Antonio, Mobster’s Girl You can’t help what family you’re born into or what lies they keep from you. You can’t help it if they mold and shape you just the way they wanted. Are monsters born or made? Antonio and Megan have a timeless issue. They were told to stay away from each other. They try, they really do. But they are drawn to each other. Antonio is eighteen and the up and coming mob boss of Palmetto, New Jersey. Megan is a girl uprooted from the grassy plains of Ireland at the age of five. Now she’s seventeen and faced with horrors she never thought existed.

PLAYS – COMEDY

WHACKED – Scott Kegler

SYNOPSIS: A full-length comedic play, “Whacked” follows the life of Jack Murphy, whose wife walks in on a private moment and makes an embarrassing discovery the night before Thanksgiving. The next day, all the in-laws come to celebrate and promptly notice something is not quite right in the Murphy’s little love nest, so they decide to play the parental guessing game. The family of course overshoots numerous times causing the pressure to mount and explode into an array of immoral confessions, misguided religious interventions and plenty of excessive holiday drinking. A Thanksgiving farce stuffed full of sex, family, awkwardness and hilariously needless shame. In the end, the message is clear that (of course) everyone is blameless for their own self-gratification— but that doesn’t make it good dinner conversation.

Blog Tour Stop – T. Michelle Nelson’s “Death Warmed Over”

DWO TOUR BUTTON

Heyo, regular readers! You might be wondering what’s going on here with this “blog tour” thing, so let me explain…

“Blog tours” are a way for indie writers to spread the word about their books. Whereas a more established author, backed by a major publisher, might tour the country for in-person book signings, indie authors take the virtual route and get fellow authors (like me) to host a “tour stop.” Michelle and I have done a couple of cross-promos before, so I was happy to play host for her new book.

Speaking of which…

DWO COVERIn the conclusion of the Lily Drake series, Lily must choose not only what is best for herself and her son, but for her people.  Her sword will be stained with blood through her efforts to preserve the lives of the people she loves, but she won’t be able to save them all.

When a devastating loss crushes her will to live, can Lily go on and be the leader she has to be?  What is she willing to sacrifice to save others?

Death comes to everyone…even the Queen’s house…

What doesn’t kill you will make you wish it did…

Bonus! Here’s a chance to win a free copy of the book via a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Good Deed For The Day

A few weeks ago, fellow indie author T. Michelle Nelson put out the call for donations of books for a program run by her cousin, Stephanie Stanfill, a teacher at Graves County High School in Kentucky. I donated a copy of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, and yesterday I received this note, which I thought I’d share here. Hopefully, Ms. Stanfill got a lot of books for her initiative.

Greetings from Graves County High School in Mayfield KY! Let me begin by thanking you for contributing to our “Post It Note Promise” campaign.  To give you some background, I currently teach in an at-risk center.  By at-risk, we mean that we have approximately 80 students that we pull from the main building who are at risk of not graduating for any given reason.  Each student here has a unique situation that could inhibit success in high school.  Tina aka T Michelle sent me a few signed books for students to receive as rewards.  Because we are from a small town with low socio-economic status, the students were overwhelmed at the idea of owning something so “valuable”.  I didn’t have enough books for everyone, so essentially students attached a post it note to the book with their promise and signed.  Once completed, he or she had earned that particular book.  Students have done things like meet benchmark on ACT in reading, be the first to graduate in their family, earn an A or B on national end of course assessment,  and obtain perfect attendance for a month.  These are huge accomplishments for these students.  Most of my students average a fourth grade reading level so just seeing them read the backs of these books is a milestone much less to see them carry them around and read during some down time.

I truly appreciate your generosity in sharing your writing with us.  We have had many lessons just from reading the covers and piqued interests in things I never knew these young ladies and gentlemen pondered.  Thank you for your literary contributions but most importantly for sharing the love of students and helping to provide opportunities for success.  I believe from my heart that teaching is a calling just as writing is.  Together we can make a difference in the lives of these students and hopefully break the chain as well as raise their esteem for future success.

Meet Carrie Hauser

My friend and fellow author J.M. Aucoin invited me to take part in a “blog hop” project, which I thought was pretty cool in concept: an author answers seven questions about the main character in his/her current or upcoming novel, tags off to another author, who then does the same thing. So, here is my entry.

First, I formally accept the tag-off from Justin, whose entry is right here, and tag off to T. Michelle Nelson, who previously interviewed me for her blog, and Amy Rachiele, who interviewed me for her Uxbridge Community TV show Book Talk.

Now, for the seven questions…

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Small Headshot
Artwork by Patricia Lupien.

My protagonist’s name is Caroline Dakota Hauser, but her friends call her Carrie. She’s fictional, but inspired by many young ladies I’ve met through various professional channels who possess her more positive traits: intelligence, maturity, independence, and self-confidence.

2) When and where is the story set?

The when is “now-ish,” meaning the present day, but it’s not anchored in a specific year. The where is Kingsport, a fictional community on the South Shore of Massachusetts.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Carrie is the daughter of recently divorced parents, and she moved to Kingsport with her mother, who was looking to start a new life. Carrie is very much her father’s daughter, and her love of Bruce Springsteen, James Bond movies, and The Hobbit were all inherited from her dad. Her stubborn streak and tendency to argue she inherited from her mother.

More importantly, she has super-powers, which she received from a dying extraterrestrial she chanced across (hey, things like this happen all the time in comic book universes). After moving to Kingsport, she was discovered by a group of super-powered teens, and joined them to form the Hero Squad (she didn’t choose the name).

final front_nocover

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

I’m answering these two together, because they tie into one another quite closely.

Carrie, like a lot of teenagers, is simply trying to figure out who she is, but a lot of people interfere with her attempts at self-discovery: well-intentioned adults like her parents and teachers, who often don’t listen to what she wants for herself; those with more selfish motivations, such as schoolmates who simply want to tear her down; and super-villains who want her (or rather, her alter-ego Lightstorm) dead.

However, while these and other obstacles make Carrie’s journey much, much more difficult, they keep her focused and driven. By trying to deny her what she wants for herself, her challenges only make her more determined.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

Again, taking two related questions at once.

There are two full novels already available: Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, and Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women. You can read the first two chapters on this website (check out the links on the left), as well as a free short story here.

Work on book three is already underway, and the working title for that is Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect. My goal is to have it finished and out by this fall.

When Michelle Meets Michael

Here’s your reading for the day: head on over to fellow author T. Michelle Nelson’s website, click the blog link, and check out the interview she recently conducted with me.

Since I like to quid pro quo such kind offers, here’s what you need to know about Michelle, courtesy of her website bio:

T. Michelle Nelson became enamored with vampires at an early age when she watched George Hamilton in “Love at First Bite.” As she got older, her tastes leaned more toward the dark and morose, but her love of all things vampire never wavered.  Little has changed over the years, except now T.  makes up her own macabre stories of the undead… mixed with a splash of romance, tough heroines and tons of dark humor.TMN

T. Michelle Nelson is a native of Benton, Kentucky and a graduate of Murray State University.  Currently she resides in picturesque Mount Vernon, Ohio, which is also the setting of her Lily Drake series.  The first two books in the series, Life and Death of Lily Drake and ‘Til Death Do Us Part, are currently available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any of your other favorite online bookstores. A short story prequel The First Timeis also available. Currently, T. is working hard to finish her third book.

When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her spending time with her son, singing out of key, watching B-Horror movies or discussing world problems with her little dog, Toadie.

A B-movie horror fan? My kind of person!

And here is what you need to know about the books, again courtesy of Michelle (and you can click on the cover images to go directly to Amazon.com and buy them):

The Life & Death of Lily Drake

The life of a single mother is never easy, but Lily Drake is about to be put to the test.  PTA meetings, a full time job and raising her young son is enough to fill her plate, but when a friend sets her up on a blind date, Lily’s life spins out of control. Mistaking a vampire for her suitor, Lily finds herself thrown into a world where her decisions not only affect her and her young son’s lives, but also could turn the tides in a battle between warring vampires.

Maintaining a balance between Lily’s role as a doting mother and the dark secret society of vampires is no easy task, but when she finds herself in love with two of the vampires, choosing between humanity and immortality seems to be the easiest decision of all.  How will Lily find time to check homework, choose between two handsome vampire cousins and still have time to dispose of the bodies?

The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene.  How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn?

Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

‘Til Death Do Us Part

With a doting husband and a new job training a vampire military, Lily Drake was living up to the prophecies of being the best.  Her life was seemingly perfect, until tragedy strikes bringing her a loss she’s not sure she can endure.

The hard-working super mom / vampire slayer, Lily Drake, has just learned problems still exist even after you become immortal.

As everyone knows, even if you find the perfect guy, you don’t always get a happily-ever-after.  Lily may have found temporary happiness being a newlywed, but the honeymoon is over.  When she finds her husband going out for late night bites with another woman, Lily has to fight to try and regain what she wants most, love and a happy family.

If Lily thought being a single mom was hard, she’ll find being married can be a bloody mess.

Book Three to be released in June.