Monday, 27 March 2017

An Author’s Worst Enemy: Self-doubt…

Ouch, ouch, ouch! Are you done yet?
Last year, I got my gumption up and decided to get a tattoo to not only celebrate a milestone birthday, but also rid myself of any self-doubt I was carrying inside me about being a writer. The tattoo I choose is quite popular—the Superman shield—but it means more to me than what the man of steel portrays in the DC brand comic books. It means breaking free from all those blocks and obstacles I struggled with to first, learn to write a book, and second, to keep submitting until I was finally published. This was a fifteen-year journey to publication, where as you can imagine, self-doubt continued to creep in like weeds strangling flowers in a beautiful garden.

 To find the strength within and smash through those obstacles and (writers) blocks, an author needs to develop perseverance. Once you understand that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, then you allow for the Universe to work its magic to help you make your dreams and desires come true. This ‘staying power’ comes from a place deep inside you, and makes sure that you never give up, if you’re willing to keep following your heart. It’s no wonder Superman’s shield is emblazoned on the chest area, directly over his heart. Personally for me, the ‘S’ in the shield stands for Sharon, not Superman, and represents my stamp of self-approval. Go figure. Though, I have researched that the ‘S’ is also the Kryptonian symbol for hope, which is an added bonus for a bright, promising outlook.

Let’s face it. Life is full of challenges and obstacles. Those are the things that makes us stronger, better, faster. That’s what our characters face every time we writers drag them through the muds of hell. Then, like us, our characters evolve and grow. Writing is a tough gig, but so rewarding when you write those final two words ‘The End’. It’s a badge of honor, and feels wonderful and uplifting, like you’ve reached the pinnacle of super hero status.

I’ve found that the hardest part of being a writer is the stick-to-itiveness. Going through the basic training that every super hero has to go through. You learn. You fail. You pick yourself up, maybe fail again, and again. But you get back up until you’ve mastered one level, and then move on to the next one. You excel, you celebrate every word you jot down in your magnum opus. Giving up is not an option when you have something to say. The trick is to make your readers feel what you feel. 

Almost done! Whew!
Have you ever gotten a tattoo to celebrate a milestone or mark a rite of passage? If so, what did you decide on? Would love to read your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading this post!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Cover Reveal: Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred...


Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Book Details:

Title: Uncharted

Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred

Length:  319 pages

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury

Release Date: April 17, 2017


About Uncharted:

Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. 

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact. 

Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future. 


Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett's unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.

Murandy Damodred

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.

Connect with:





Blog: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.wordpress.com



Pre-Order Links:






Friday, 17 March 2017

YA Book Release and Giveaway: Luminous Spirits by Dusty Crabtree...


Thanks for hosting me! It’s been way too long since my young adult, urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes was first released in 2012 by Musa Publishing! Now, finally, after 5 years, I’m releasing the sequel, Luminous Spirits. I am super excited to finally release the next installment in the Shadow Eyes Series and get it out there! I apologize to anyone who read the first version of Shadow Eyes five years ago and who had to wait that long for the sequel. This book is dedicated to you. J

(Everyone, don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a print copy of Luminous Spirits or Shadow Eyes – your choice! Also, Shadow Eyes is on sale for just 99 cents until 3/24!)

For those who haven’t read Shadow Eyes, let’s look at that synopsis first.

Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year- old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them. 

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.

Now let’s check out the synopsis for Luminous Spirits

Old habits die hard. Old enemies, even harder.

Iris must now perfect her newfound abilities in order to help her shadow-oppressed family and friends, but more importantly, she must prepare for an impending fight with her most hated adversary. After the arrival of a new mean girl who seems to have history with Iris’s boyfriend, Iris quickly figures out that she is anything but the typical mean girl. She not only creates havoc and conflict among Iris and her friends, but her presence also means that Iris’s inevitable confrontation with her enemy may, in fact, be closer than she thought.

If Iris can figure out why the new girl is there and what her enemy is planning, she’ll at least be one step ahead of their game. But will she be ready when the time comes to face her biggest challenge yet? Or will they succeed in tearing Iris apart before she even has the chance?  

Author Bio
Dusty Crabtree loves a good story, but she also loves young people. These two loves are evident in all parts of her life. She has been a high school English teacher since 2006 and a creative writing teacher since 2014. She's also been a youth sponsor at her local church for as long as she’s been teaching. She feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. With her love of reading in the mix, becoming an author of young adult books was just a natural development of those two passions in her life. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.

Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/


Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree

Follow her on Instagram – dustycrabtree12


Check out Luminous Spirits on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34533934-luminous-spirits

View the book trailer for SE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UP9A0Fm78&t=2s

View the Book trailer for LS - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2_C1o113Ok&t=9s

Buy Luminous Spirits on Amazon (eBook or print) – https://www.amazon.com/Luminous-Spirits-Shadow-Eyes-Book-ebook/dp/B06XGTSS34


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 13 March 2017

Kiss Me, I'm Irish...

Actually, I’m one-quarter Irish thanks to my maternal grandmother, but that never stopped me from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! As a matter of fact, I plan to set book #6 of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series in Ireland during the period when Druids were in charge, and standing stones were more than just over-sized calendars. So, sit down, take a load off, and pour yourself a pint of green ale. Aye, here’s to Saint Paddy, banisher of snakes, and founder of monasteries and churches! Now, while you’re waiting for your corn beef and cabbage dinner to boil, have a gander at these six amazing places to visit if you ever get a chance to venture over to the Emerald Isle. A special shout out and thanks to author friend, Dominique Eastwick, who snapped the amazing photos included in this post!

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

Renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is the only World Heritage site in Northern Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries.
Newgrange

Constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries my be laid to rest.

Kilmainham Gaol Prison in Dublin

Built in 1792, it is Ireland's most famous disused prison. It held throughout the years many famous Nationalists and Republicans in members of the Society of United Irishmen (1798), Young Irelanders (c1840s), Fenians and Land agitators, Parnell, Davitt. The leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed here. The prison was closed in 1924. This building gives a good insight into the history of Irish Republicanism.

Dublin Castle (doing Kilmainhaim Gaol first helps with the history)

Originally built in the 13th century on a site previously settled by the Vikings it functioned as a military fortress, a prison, treasury, courts of law and the seat of English Administration in Ireland for 700 years. Rebuilt in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Dublin Castle is now used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top Visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower.

And I saved the best for last…

Guinness Storehouse

The best view of the city and Ireland’s number one visitor attraction. Go figure! The home of the world famous GUINNESS® brand, this historical building is central to Dublin’s and Ireland’s heritage, and has been continually updated to create a blend of fascinating industrial tradition with a contemporary edge. Oh yeah, and you’re also invited to pour your own perfect pint. Cheers!

Now, before you go check on your corn beef and cabbage, please raise your frosty glass high to toast Saint Patrick and Ireland with me: May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Slainte!
Sharon

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Tasty Memory for March Break Madness...

When I began writing The Last Timekeepers Time Travel series, I wrote it with the intention of creating a nostalgic, good old days feeling to take tweens and teens (and hopefully many adults too) on an adventure in time that would keep them reading, smiling, and begging for more books. That said, I made sure that each book also included a scene involving food to allow my characters a chance to rest and mull over what has taken place so far during their Timekeeper mission—think family chats at the dinner table after a long day or those Sunday family get-togethers at supper. Call me sentimental, but there’s something about mixing food with a fun read!

This recipe is among one of my favorites my mother used to prepare for family get-togethers or the holidays. With a melt-in-your-mouth texture, this dish is sure to put a smile on any face—even those who cringe at the thought of broccoli or cauliflower on their plates. Easy to prepare with a prep time of fifteen minutes and cook time of approximately sixty minutes, this supreme cheesy feast serves around six of your famished family members or hungry guests.

Supreme Cheesy Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms (pieces and stems)
1 tbsp. butter
Half and half cream
Head of Cauliflower
Bunch of Broccoli
Dash of paprika

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

CUT broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces. Drop into a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain the vegetables well and set aside.

FRY mushrooms lightly in butter until browned.

EMPTY cans of soup into a saucepan and add one can of half and half cream. Stir until smooth. Set stove to medium heat. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture just to the boil.

PLACE vegetables in lightly greased casserole dish. Pour mushrooms and soup mixture over the vegetables. Garnish with paprika if desired.

COVER with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil to brown, then cook for another 20-30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Since you’ve got some wiggle room to relax, why not set your butt in the closest cozy chair, and crack open one of The Last Timekeepers books? BTW - these books are the perfect adventure for any tween or teen looking to be whisked away during the March Break. Happy time traveling!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Cover Reveal for The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2 by Elliott Baker...

Cover Reveal & Pre-Order Launch ~ The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2, by Elliott Baker

We are revealing the cover for The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2 in Elliott Baker's new series!

Plus, the book is available on Amazon for Pre-Order:  http://amzn.to/2lEnUke

Book Information:

Title: The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2

Author Name: Elliott Baker

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Release Date: April 18, 2017

Visit the Tour Hosts:


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About The Sun God's Heir: Rebirth, Book 2:

The Count of Monte Cristo meets ancient Egypt in this riveting sequel to The Sun God’s Heir: Return.

Set during the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert, a journey that defies time as he must draw on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.

The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.

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Meet the Author:


Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott Baker grew up in
Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and produced in the
United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to release
his first novels. The Sun God’s Heir: Return, book one of the trilogy, was released this
past January, and book two, Rebirth will come out on April 18 th , followed in July by the
third and final book of the series, Redemption. A member of the Authors Guild and the
Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

You can find Elliott at the following places:





Monday, 27 February 2017

Author Branding: Developing a Logo for a Book Series…

As many of you know, I recently signed a contract with Mirror World Publishing to do another book series called Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. The first book in this teen psychic mystery series, Lost and Found, is slated for release July 17th, 2017, and I’m so excited! But…there was a lot of work and preparation ahead of me to get this new series off the ground, including wanting to create a new logo for branding purposes. Enter Mikey Brooks—illustrator extraordinaire!

I knew exactly (in my mind) what I wanted for a logo for this new series, so when I emailed Mikey, I told him to visualize those colorful signs you’d see driving northward for a visit to ‘cottage country’ while on vacation. I wanted a nostalgic, good old days, happy memories sort of feeling. Then, hanging underneath this welcoming sign, have a small sinister-type sign to give a foreboding, eerie presence. Cue the scary music…

So, here’s the first concept:



Not bad. My illustrator was on the right track. Next, I told Mikey to add bright, primary colors. Here’s the second concept:



I pursed my lips and shook my head. Not exactly what I was looking for. I wanted the sign to have a brown background, not gray, with a welcoming feel. I needed this logo to literally POP! Here’s the third concept:



Getting so close I could feel my feet wading in a cool, spring-fed lake, smell the fresh country air, and taste those gooey campfire marshmallows. Next, I wanted the hanging sign to have a burnt wood look to it, to give it more of an ominous tone. This is the fourth, and final concept:



I did the happy dance. Mikey knocked it out of the park. When creating a logo to pull a book series together and make it part of your author brand, you need to have a set idea in your mind—a premise of the series so you, as the author can make your audience (readers) feel how you want them to feel. In my case, Fairy Falls is an inviting small, nostalgic northern tourist town, but there’s something about this place that has an air of mystery, of something secretive and uncanny. A place, I hope, that will have readers wanting to visit again and again.

Have you ever designed or hired an illustrator to create a logo for your book series or author brand? If so, what was your experience? What do you think of my new logo? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thank you for reading this post!