Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Undead Road by David Powers King & Zombify Me! Contest

Have you ever wanted to be a zombie? Well here's your chance.

To celebrate the cover reveal of his upcoming book, My Zombie Summer: Part One: The Undead Road (which looks absolutely fantastic, FYI), David Powers King is offering up a once-in-a-lifetime-chance to fulfill those flesh-eating dreams go down in history as a zombie for all the world to see in the pages of his next novel, My Zombie Summer: Part Two.
Title: The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer: Part 1

Publisher: CreateSpace / Dashboard Books
Ebook Release: January 1st, 2016
Paperback: January 26th, 2016
Cover by Steven Novak

Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Berretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

A while ago, David invited the blogosphere to let him turn one unfortunate lucky contestant into a zombie for The Undead Road. The winner was Ilima Todd, who is now the awesome author of Remake. The next installment of My Zombie Summer is underway, and David wants to do this contest again. Want to be in a zombie book? Not only is this your chance, but it is your choice!

Between now and next Wednesday, send an email to dpowersking [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line: Zombify Me! Contest. In your email, David wants you to tell him three things:

1: The name you will be identified as (example: your first name).
2: A description of yourself—the more detailed you are, the better.
3: How would you like the survivors to put you out of your misery?

Four casualties contestants will be chosen on Wednesday, November 25th. The most inventive or interesting entry will be zombified! The other three who are unlucky fortunate enough to survive will be given special honors. Winners will be announced on December 2nd on David’s blog.

Prizes? The winner will be zombified in the pages of My Zombie Summer: Part Two, receive a signed proof of the novel (when it’s ready), and a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. The runner ups will receive a free ebook of The Undead Road for their Kindle (other platforms TBA).

Thank you for participating, and good luck!

About the Author:

David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to be a writer. He is the co-author of the YA fantasy novel WOVEN, published by Scholastic. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He currently lives deep in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

DAYBREAK by Cheree Alsop Promo & Giveaway + NaNo Update

For me, NaNoWriMo is in full swing. I'll get to an update in a minute but first I've promised to help Cheree Alsop promote her brand new sci-fi series with a book giveaway. Yay! *cue dramatic cover*
Girl From the Stars, book 1:
Liora Day, half-human, half-mess with her and you’ll die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So sign up! Enter! You know you want to...
NaNo Update
I mentioned this on my Facebook page, but I've joined the Rebels this NaNo.
Ohhhhhh yeeeeaaaahhhh
1. Fix the ending of my novel
I'll have to rewrite the last four chapters, figure out a more characteristic way to end everything, all in keeping with some good sibling development between the characters, and still finding a way to add in some good foreshadowing. *phew!*

2. Rewrite the subplot
Due to some changes I made to the series timeline when I started to outline in-depth in the last few months, I'll have to do a rewrite of the intrigue subplot, to make sure all those pesky threads line up.

3. Consistency changes
>self explanatory<

And then, if I have some free time...

4. Study Character Development and work on my unfinished project, Glass and Cinders

Forget Word Count

Initially, I entered my project as 'My Novel' at the NaNo website, but I knew that even if I could count all written, revised, and edited words I'd still never reach 50k. (I'm only revamping the last four chapters of a 60k children's book.)

I could feel that word count bar between my shoulder blades, irking me with its incessant '0'. There was an insane pressure building in me to just write, write, write to appease the virtual word count gods and to show off to the world that I've 'still got it'. (I'm ridiculously competitive during NaNo.) But I'm not here for the word count.

So I deleted it.

The Update 

So far, I've written about 10,000 words.

Now this may not sound like much in the scheme of NaNo. It isn't. But the
thing about these 10,000 words is that they're working.

Just taking the time this month to concentrate on my project -not being
distracted by, sorry, this blog and my vlog- has been a huge help. I
may have to take annual Internet sabbaticals from now on.

I've rewritten three of the four chapters. They're still only drafts, but I'm very happy with them so far.

And that's it for now. Wish me luck, everybody! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Guest Post: Let the Reader Do the Work | September C. Fawkes

Today I'm honored to have a guest post from September C. Fawkes. She has some fantastic stuff over on her blog -like Writer's Tips and analyses of popular shows on why they work- so definitely check it out.

As a warning, this post does contain some Harry Potter spoilers. So if I'm not the only one in the universe who has neither read all the books or seen all the movies, beware!

Now, without further ado, September C. Fawkes, ladies and gentlemen! 

If you are like me, there are a couple (or ten) books you've cried in. There may be a couple (or ten) books you've wanted to throw across the room because you where so mad at the villians. And then there may be a couple (or twenty) books that left you feeling empty, bittersweet, and satisfied all at once.

As a reader, I love and yearn for books that make me feel powerful emotions. Sometimes I'm surprised how one book can deal with big conflicts but leave me feeling apathetic, while others deal with small conflicts but make my heart ache or my spirits soar.

In books, a lot of the emotion we feel has to do with how the writer handles that emotion. I'm a writer myself, and I have the opportunity to read a lot of unpublished fiction. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about why some books hit us in the feels and others . . . don't.

There is a writing rule I heard that states that "If your character is crying, then you reader doesn't have to." When I first heard that, I wasn't sure I agreed with it, but I thought about the books I'd read, and I talked to a few other readers and realized there was some truth to that statement.

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, went to midnight releases and everything. In the books, Harry is on the verge of crying several times, but he never actually does. Fact: I cried more in those books than any other book I've ever read! And loads of other people cried too. In Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Jean Valjean weeps several times just in the first 200 pages. I never cried once. (And anyone who knows the story, knows how heart wrenching it is.)

If Harry ever broke down and bawled, I don't know that I would have. I may have still gotten teary-eyed, but I don't think I would have sobbed like I did. There is something about having ther character cry that takes the tension out of us, the readers. The character is doing the emotional work, so we don't have to.

I soon realized this applied to more than crying. In one unpublished story I read, one of the characters was often worrying about a mystery. She asked all the questions, did all the wondering, the worrying, and I found that I, as a reader, didn't have to. And you know what? I wasn't as engaged. The author didn't let me do that part. So instead of participating in the story, I was merely "watching" it.

I Open at the Close by Yume Dust
I'm not saying authors can never have their characters cry etc. (there is a time and place), but it's best if kept minimal. As a writer, you want to build up those feelings in your reader so that they experience the story, not just read about it. Just because you didn't write that your characters were crying, or worried, or angry doesn't mean they weren't.

In fact, I've come to accept that those passages where I was bawling my eyes out were moments where I was vicariously crying as Harry. And frankly, that's what readers want. As a reader, I want to be in the character, in the story, because only then can I reach that deep, emotional plane where the story leaves an indelible mark on me.

So for writers, when their characters are sad, anxious, fearful, embarrassed, or angry, instead of focusing on how the character feels and reacts emotionally to it, they should focus on how to elicit those emotions in the readers, so that we become part of the story. This is often done by focusing on the event that caused those emotions and rendering it in a way that amplifies those emotions. For example, how much emotion do these sentences conjure?

Harry watched Sirius fall through the archway to his death. Harry couldn't believe it. He was upset and started crying.

How much more emotion does this passage conjure?

It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch. . . .

And Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's, wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment. . .

Harry heard Bellatrix Lestrange's triumphant scream, but knew it meant nothing--Sirius had only just fallen thought the archway, he would reappear from the other side any second. . . .

But Sirius did not reappear.

"SIRIUS!" Harry yelled, "SIRIUS!"

[Harry] sprinted to the dias, Lupin grabbed Harry around the chest, holding him back.

"There's nothing you can do Harry--"

"Get him, save him, he's only just gone though!" . . .

Harry struggled hard and viciously, but Lupin wouldn't let go.

The second example is more likely to give the reader that vicarious feeling, the sense that they are experiencing the story firsthand. That's the kind of writing I like to read.

So as readers, what books made you feel a lot of emotion?


September is also hosting a fan-tastic giveaway on her blog! The prizes include a Fullmetal Alchemist pocket watch, a Time Turner necklace from Harry Potter, and a key to 221B Baker Street.

To enter, just click here!

About September

Sometimes September C. Fawkes scares people with her enthusiasm for writing and reading. People may say she needs to get a social life. It'd be easier if her fictional one wasn't so interesting. September C. Fawkes graduated with an English degree with honors from Dixie State University, where she was the managing editor of The Southern Quill literary journal and had the pleasure of writing her thesis on Harry Potter. Today she works for a New York Times best-selling author, is penning a novel, and sharing writing tips on her blog, which you can find at