Release day – THE PRINCE’S SON #EpicFantasy #sale

Yay! THE PRINCE’S SON is out there in the wide world!

Or on the internet, at least…

I would be very grateful if you lovely people would share my news

Today is release day for THE PRINCE’S SON, book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series, though as you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been here a while, I can’t abide cliff hanger endings, so once again this volume contains a complete story along with continuing threads of the series arc.

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Think ‘Lord of the Rings’ with a ‘Game of Thrones’ edge

She sought a husband, but found a destiny

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.

* * * * * *

I’ve shared a few excerpts in the run up to this day, and here is one more short snippet from Chapter 1

Excerpt

Nessa flung the doors open and hurried into the pleasantly appointed sitting room. Enya appeared scant moments later through the connecting door from the servants’ quarters.

Nessa pounced. “Enya, who is the delectable young man with the scar?”

The maid’s pretty round face lit with an impish smile. “That, my lady, is Rustam Chalice.”

“No!” A shiver of excitement ran up Nessa’s spine. “The Rustam Chalice? Really?”

“Yes indeed, my lady.”

Enya bobbed her head in emphasis and several blonde curls slipped from beneath her cap. She reached up, trying to stuff them back in, and Nessa stepped over to help her. The young noblewoman sighed in envy of her maid’s crowning glory. Not that she begrudged the girl her doll-like prettiness or her mop of golden curls, but as ever Nessa wished she had been born with something more striking than her straight brown hair and hazel eyes. While her irises had unusual streaks of light and dark colouring—the only visible difference between her and Julin—people had to inspect them closely to notice.

And surely it would take something special to get a second glance from the infamous Rustam Chalice.

Even Julin appeared mildly interested and asked: “Did he come by that mark in the fire? How sad; he must have been very handsome before.”

So Julin had noticed, but she was wrong—the scar made him all the more attractive. Nessa dragged her attention back to Enya.

“… already had it when he was captured. The way I heard it, it was punishment from the goddess for being vain, although some say it was for daring to use magic.”

Nessa pursed her lips. In her opinion anyone who looked that good had a right to be vain. And as to the other, she found it hard to believe the power responsible for saving their kingdom from the vile pretender might be abhorred by the goddess.

Magic! Ugh.” Julin shuddered. Nessa opened her mouth to point out where they might be now if Rustam Chalice hadn’t used magic when something else struck her.

“But how come he’s here? I thought using magic got him exiled, with his life forfeit if he entered Tyr-en ever again.”

“He’s here under diplomatic protection,” explained Enya, who had obviously quizzed the other servants. “He’s a special envoy for the Kishtanian king.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Nessa as a thrilling notion struck her. “Do you suppose he’ll be travelling back to Kishtan with us?”

* * * * * *

Now for the important bit!

You can buy THE PRINCE’S SON for the next few days at the special introductory price of $2.99/£2.44 at the following stores – just click on your choice of store and it will take you to the appropriate site.

AMAZON          B&N(Nook)       iTunes(Apple)       Kobo           Goodreads

So grab your copy before the price rises, and join Rusty and friends on another high stakes adventure.

For those of you who still like to read a ‘real‘ book, the PAPERBACK (a chunky doorstop of a book) will be out in a couple of weeks time, just in time to be a Christmas present, even if it is to yourself…

And just in case you haven’t yet read volume 1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and you want to start at the beginning (a very good place to start…) it’s currently on sale at $0.99/£0.99, so what are you waiting for?

Amazon                 B&N                   iTunes            Kobo              Scribd

****PLEASE SHARE****

Thank you!

9 Summer Treats That Can Harm Your Dog

(I posted this on my website recently since it’s related to my new release, but thought I’d share here as well.)

American_apple_pie by Larry D Moore CC BY SA 3pt0 wiki

(photo by Larry D Moore, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Common)

Summer is a fun time for the whole family, including the family dog. And outdoor barbeques and trips to the ice cream parlor are often part of that fun.

But stop and think before sharing your summer treats with your canine best friend. Many common human foods and ingredients are harmful to dogs.

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Of course, an all-time favorite treat is ice cream, but please don’t share that cone with your pup and don’t let him/her lick the bowl. Here are two of the three reasons why.

1. Chocolate: A lot of pet owners know chocolate is bad for dogs, but they may not know just how harmful it can be. In very small quantities, it’s probably not a big deal, but why take the chance. In moderate quantities (and dark or baking chocolate is worse), it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, restlessness and agitation. More extreme symptoms that may lead to death are abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, and seizures. Continue reading

What makes a book a bestseller?

teasersquare600After two years of pounding the keyboard and putting out indie fiction, I finally hit what I consider a bestseller. Half Wolf had 6,000 combined sales and borrows during its first three months of life, and the sequel seems to be enjoying even better reviews (and, hopefully, sales).

While my figures still don’t hold a candle to those of some authors, I thought it would be worth mentioning what I did differently in case you want to follow suit. Here’s a quick rundown in what went into my bestseller.

  1. Studied the genre harder. I read widely and often and write what I love to read. That said, I noticed repeated criticisms of my Wolf Rampant series surrounding lack of sex and action scenes. At first, I turned up my nose and said, “Hmmph! That’s what makes me an indie author — I can write what I want!” But then I decided to give it a whirl. And I have to admit I feel like the resulting book was more powerful for the inclusions (even though those component are still below average on a modern chart).
  2. Paid for an amazing cover. I have basic photoshop skills and thought I could make my own covers…and I did manage to make passable ones. Then I upgraded to hiring a cover artist…and was amazed at the difference in sales. Rebecca Frank is, unfortunately, now booked months in advance and no longer accepting new clients. However, I highly recommend shopping around and paying for a top-notch cover to match your top-notch book, hitting all of the same genre buttons to signal exactly what’s inside.
  3. Workshopped my blurb to death. Seriously, I think about ten people helped me make approximately 100 revisions on my blurb. Even before that, I studied the blurbs of the bestsellers in my genre, noting word count and other factors. Overall, I spent nearly a week on the project! But the result is tight and humming with life and it sells books.
  4. Launched with forethought. A lot more goes into a sticky launch than just telling your fans and waiting for the sales to roll in. If you haven’t read it, I recommend Chris Fox’s Launch to Market as a primer. I used a spreadsheet and every bit of social capital I’d built up in recent months on my launch and it was very much worth it.

I hope that gives you some ideas for pushing your next book into the stratosphere! And, if you’re curious, Half Wolf will be free Saturday and Lone Wolf Dawn is already marked down to 99 cents for launch week. Feel free to lurk and see whether my second launch does as well as the first.

Cover Reveal & More

The Shy Girl Series, Short Story #2 – Little Black Dress

Cover Reveal

Blurb

“He kissed me! Roland kissed me! Wow! Did that just happen? It was so quick, but felt oh, so good!”

Having been offered a scholarship far away from the prying eyes and gossips of her small hometown, Betsy is excited to be going to the Valentine’s Dance, with her first crush Roland.

However, her clumsiness is a barrier as overcome by nerves; she worries that she will embarrass either herself or Roland. Luckily, her best friend Susan is on hand to offer some friendly advice and a shoulder to lean on. The two girls enjoy a fun-filled day shopping for dresses for the dance.

Will Betsy be able to control her nerves? Will her budding romance with Roland develop into a long-term romance?

Little Black Dress – Short Story #2 of the Shy Girl Series introduces the reader to an adorable young couple at the very start of their love story.

Little Black Dress

I’m pleased to announce that ‘The Shy Girl Series, Short Story #2 – Little Black Dress’ will be published and available for purchase on Monday, June 27th. In addition, ‘The Shy Girl Series, Short Story #1 – Bashful Betsy’ will be available for FREE!

‘The Shy Girl Series’ are teen and young adult short stories. ‘Bashful Betsy’ follows eighteen-year-old Betsy Robinson as she enters college, finds friendship with her new roommate, and develops a crush on fellow student, Roland Barrett.

Read more about ‘Bashful Betsy’ at: https://authordbmauldin.wordpress.com/my-books/

Be sure to check back on Monday, June 27th for links to the FREE ‘Bashful Betsy’ and the NEW ‘Little Black Dress’ available for only $0.99!

https://authordbmauldin.wordpress.com/

View and share my 1st Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/b6Thav

Sign up for my newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bUs2wv

 

#ExcerptWeek To Kill A Labrador by Kassandra Lamb

Thank you, Marcia, for letting me join you all here on The Write Stuff. I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled on this wonderful blog before now.

Hi, Everyone. *waving from Florida* My name is Kassandra Lamb and I’m the author of a successful mystery series, the Kate Huntington mysteries. And now I’m launching a new series of cozy mysteries.

I’m so excited to share a little bit of the first book, about a young woman (whose first name is also Marcia) who trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD. Wait, I’ll let her introduce herself:

ToKillALabrador FINAL

I’m a normal person. Granted I have a somewhat abnormal vocation. I train service animals for PTSD sufferers–mostly combat veterans.

But other than that, I’m just a small-town, thirty-something divorcee.

My name is Marcia Banks–pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha. Okay, okay, so I don’t have a totally normal name.

I live in central Florida, on the outskirts of the Ocala National Forest, in a little town called Mayfair, population 258 (and a half. Agnes Baker’s pregnant. Again.)

Mayfair sprang up in the 1960s, in response to the transitory success of the Mayfair Alligator Farm (rumor has it that old Mr. Mayfair poached the gators from the Forest). Billboards plastered along the newly minted I-75 corridor drew in vacationing families to witness the wonders of gator wrestling and to buy fake alligator skin handbags and belts. Sadly, the farm went under in the mid-seventies, when Walt Disney plopped his amusement park down next to another sleepy Florida hamlet–Orlando.

Mayfair was virtually a ghost town when I moved here two years ago, shortly after the demise of my brief but disastrous marriage to a concert violinist in the Baltimore Symphony.

It’s a great place to train service animals because everybody knows everybody. It didn’t take long for the residents to learn the rules. The main one being to never, ever pet the dogs I’m training unless I say it’s okay.

The exception is my Black Lab-Rottie mix, Buddy, if he’s the only dog I’m walking at the time.

He was my first trainee, and how he came back into my possession was the beginning of my not-so-normal avocation–unwilling amateur sleuth.

One sunny day last winter, I received the most shocking phone call of my life. It even beat out the anonymous one three years ago informing me that my husband was having an affair with a cello player.

The caller said she was with the Collinsville Sheriff’s Department and wanted to know if I had trained a service dog named Buddy.

My mind scrambled for a reason why someone from a sheriff’s department would be asking me that. Had Buddy bit someone?

“Where exactly is Collinsville?” I asked, stalling for time.

“Off 33, near Polk City.”

“In Florida?” More stalling.

“Yes, ma’am, not far from Lakeland.” Her tone said she was losing patience with me. “Are you the Marcia Banks who trained Buddy?” She mispronounced my first name, of course.

I couldn’t figure out how to get around admitting it, since I had signed off on his training certificate. “Uh, yes.”

“Could ya come get the dog as soon as possible?”

“Why? What’s happened to his owner?” Jimmy Garrett was an Iraqi veteran who’d had a close encounter with an IED. As a result, he’d come home with a prosthesis where his right leg used to be and some pretty disabling nightmares, among other PTSD symptoms.

“He’s been arrested, ma’am.”

“What about his wife?”

A long pause. “That’s why he’s been arrested. He’s bein’ held on suspicion of murder.”

“Of his wife?” My voice rose, ending on a squeak.

“Yes, ma’am.”

The book is available for pre-order now and will be released on April 10, 2016 (Psst! It’s just $1.99 during the pre-order period; it goes up to $3.99 once it’s released.)

AMAZON US   AMAZON UK   AMAZON CA   AMAZON AUS   APPLE   KOBO

 

#FindingHunter Available in Print Format Now!

Final FH Cover Smaller

Woohoo! Finding Hunter is now available in print as well as Kindle format. Here’s the blurb from amazon:

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Soon, Willow learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.

*

Hope some of you will check it out here:

Finding Hunter

Happy Book Release Day!

Boys don't Cry ThumbToday is the day! I’m so excited, you seriously have no idea. I can’t wait for you to finally get your hands on my brand new contemporary romance: Boys Don’t Cry.

Taliesin Wick knows exactly what she wants to do with her life. Even when her house-flipping father puts their home in Austin on the market and moves the family to Pennsylvania, it’s nothing but a minor wrench in the cogs of her dreams.
Then she meets Nate Thorne.

From the moment she first spied Nate playing guitar on his front porch, Tali was drawn to him. The sorrow in his songs, the deep sadness in his beautiful eyes… she can feel Fate pulling her to him.

Something haunts him. He never talks about the sins of his past, but she knows he doesn’t trust himself, especially not with her heart. Tali can’t imagine the sweet, loving boy she’s come to know being the awful monster he thinks he is, but what if he’s right? What if learning his secrets changes the way she feels about him?

Tali doesn’t know if their whirlwind of bliss is just a summer fling, or something much more, but she does know falling in love with Nate is going to leave the kind of mark you can never erase.

Available for $2.99 everywhere eBooks are sold

Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, The Netherlands

Kobo

iBooks

Nook

All Romance ebooks

You can also grab paperbacks for $9.99 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or U.S. residents can snag a signed paperback copy right here on the site for $9.99 plus $3.00 shipping and handling:

I am also running a big giveaway over on Facebook until 12 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday, September 15. I’m giving away paperbacks, ebooks, book swag… all kinds of goodies. So if you’re on Facebook, you won’t want to miss out.

You can find out more about that right here.

Short Story release & an upcoming #0.99c #sale – #UrbanFantasy #Ecology

Short Story release and a 0.99c sale

Hi folks, I’m pleased to announce the release of my short story SPRITE NIGHT – a Caledonian Sprite short story.

This series has been described as ‘Eco-urban fantasy’, which fits it well.

rsz_sprite_night_complete

Blurb

Discover a unique eco-urban fantasy with a touch of romance.

When Scottish water sprite, Cassie, volunteers for an anti-fracking protest, the last thing she expects is to find herself at odds with a druid. But with time running out for the local environment, she can’t afford to be distracted by the handsome hunk of a Highlander.

Intent on a minor act of sabotage, Cassie is totally unprepared to be caught in the cross-fire of a magical battle. Can she avert catastrophe? Or will she become the very agency of an ecological disaster?

ChapterHeader (2)

Now, you can buy this on Amazon here for 0.99c, OR you can get it FREE if you either:

  1. sign up to my mailing list here, or
  2. offer to leave me an honest review on Amazon

If you are interested in reviewing please leave me your email address and required format in the comments below, or contact me directly via my blog (form below my bio here).

0.99c SALE

And in celebration of my latest release, I am holding a one week sale (10 – 14 August) for the first book in the series DESPRITE MEASURES.

Blurb

DespriteMeasures

On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde; a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.

Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.

Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.

She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?

And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.

So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

You can find DESPRITE MEASURES here on Amazon (remember the sale is next week), an both can be read for free by Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime members.

Each story is a stand alone.

Please share, especially next week when the sale is underway.

And what are you waiting for – contact me NOW for your FREE short story

 

The Darkling Prince is Now Available for Pre-Order

darkling princeKrayven has only ever wanted one thing: his mother’s love. Cold and beautiful as starlight, he trails after the queen, an unseen shadow vying for affection she would never lower herself to give. Enshrouded in secrets and mystery, he watches each day as she travels to the Nether Lake and stares longingly into the deep.

He knows not what she’s looking for, and following her is forbidden, for her secrets are her own. When his father’s jester informs him that she speaks to spirits there, the boy cannot resist the lure to spy upon her in the act. Perhaps he will overhear something to shed light on the aloof woman who brought him into the world, and then went on about her life as though he wasn’t even a part of it.

What he learns while spying is enough to send him running, for some secrets are better left undiscovered, lest they wake the darkness in a heart that was born to know only pain.

The Darkling Prince, a novella that takes place between the events in Winterborn and Jack in the Green, is now available for pre-order on Amazon for just $0.99. Other venues will follow over the next few days, so be sure to check the book page over on my site for updates as they are added.

Amazon Sales Venues

US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, The Netherlands,India, Japan, Australia

#Excerpt from #SF short story PERFECT FIT by Deborah Jay #readers #books

The World and the Stars 500Excerpt week continues!

Today, a little snippet from my forthcoming contribution to the SFF multi-author anthology edited by Chris Butler, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, that I will be publishing next month.

You are the first people to see the cover!

I trained originally in life sciences, with specialised interest in genetics, so developments in gene-splicing and genetic modification (GM) are of particular interest to me, and that’s how this story came about.

Roz is a technician in the gene-splicing lab on board a worldship, travelling to set up a new colony. Unfortunately their arrival is long overdue, and the inhabitants are getting restless.

 

Excerpt from PERFECT FIT, a science fiction short story

Roz sidled in at the back of the crowded meeting hall and slid onto a chair in the hope that nobody would notice her arrival. The wooden seat creaked a protest as she perched on its front edge, and she drew a couple of deep breaths to settle her pounding heart. Accustomed to the sterile atmosphere in the lab, she almost choked on air thick with the smells of so many bodies.

She glanced from side to side to check who else was there, and met a pair of beautiful velvet brown eyes, almond-shaped above sculpted cheek bones. Sam’s lips curved up, and her stomach flip-flopped. She’d met him at her second meeting, and they’d made an instant connection, though under normal circumstances their paths would never have crossed. As a gardener, Sam’s was not a profession normally found in the social circle of a lab tech, but these secretive gatherings defied the usual conventions, and for that, she was glad. Their relationship was blossoming fast, and even as Sam smiled at her, Roz’s mind was darting ahead, imagining how his unique, fuzzy-tipped fingers might feel against her bare flesh. The tech side of her brain speculated what genes might have produced the specialised modification that allowed Sam to pollinate plants with just his finger tips.

Just then, Garth, the huge man responsible for instigating the budding revolution, rose to his feet at the front of the hall, towering over everyone else, even those still on their feet. Roz’s face snapped forward, severing the delicious promise in Sam’s gaze. The assembly—several hundred, by Roz’s reckoning—settled into reverent silence, overawed by the spectacle that was their leader. With the dense double muscling of his bovine GM bulging beneath his skin, Garth looked like he could take on the world and win. Charolais genes, a mutation that had proven fortuitous for the beef industry, supplied the tech side of Roz’s mind. Sometimes she wished she could switch it off.

She’d seen countless modifications, but few as visually impressive as Garth’s. Specially designed for heavy lifting, his super-manly physique had quite swept her off her feet when they’d first met, but things had not gone so well thereafter. She crossed her legs and squeezed her thighs together, recalling their embarrassing attempt at sex.

She’d heard all the jokes about ‘size matters’, but she didn’t think that was quite what they meant.