Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson NBtM

Blurb:
Hidden inside the most unlikely person can be the most extraordinary hero…

Jeremy Sunson is surrounded by crazy. Mrs. Abercrombie, upstairs, is widowed because her husband glued feathers to his arms, jumped off the building and tried to fly. His neighbour, Stuart, has gone mad since his wife died in a freak car accident— his only thread to reality the doomsday machine he’s building and his daughter… and, of course, there’s spacemen in Jeremy’s living room.

Every night, in glorious Technicolor, there’s a battle royal between two high tech assassins who continually blast Jeremy’s apartment to shreds. Each man has one mission: Red wants to kill Jeremy, Blue wants to save him!

Though his therapist insists he’s just having bad dreams—Jeremy knows better. It’s time to fight. He’s sick and tired of being sick, scared and tired! Armed with rare confidence and a baseball bat, this night, Jeremy fights like the crazy man he isn’t!

But how can he ever imagine when he’s won the battle, the war is only just beginning… over and over and over again?

The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson – ride a wave of laughter, fun and sci-fi fantasy all the way to Armageddon!


Excerpt:
Battle? Jeremy ambled home from Dr Smith, the word strange in his mouth. He'd never fought for anything before, let alone himself. Was that why he always felt a failure? Why he'd taken stress leave?

Battle. As he repeated the syllables in his head, he became more accustomed to them, more familiar with the concept.

Battle? Well, why not? He considered his life so far not at all successful. On any measure he merely existed. Like now: the train he boarded he treated as an inconvenience, not an adventure. A plodder, his third grade teacher labelled him, and he'd never broken out of that mould. Why not start now?

Battle. Yes—he would battle! And what better place to practice than in his dreams?

"Battle," he said with a whisper. The old man next to him on the train glanced at him askance.

"Battle," he said. The man moved to another seat.

The train slowed for his stop. Time for action. "Battle!" he said. "I'm going to kill you, Red!"

Women pulled their children out of his way. But Jeremy didn't care. He strode towards battle!


Jeremy didn't know how one went about preparing for battle in one's dreams. He decided that physical preparation—combat training—might put him in the right frame of mind. Combat equipment not forming a traditional part of the tax return process, Jeremy didn't have any, but he remembered adverts about Dancercise or Kickercise. And if they could do it...



Hidden inside the most unlikely person can be the most extraordinary hero …

I'll let you in on a secret. Heroes are everywhere. In fact, you could be one of them.

Have you ever wondered what makes a person heroic? The movies would have us believe that overwhelming odds, and the actions a person takes—with guns or fists—define the hero.

Jeremy, in The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson, an accountant on stress leave who's never been good at anything, has a secret. He can't fight with fists or guns; even if he had any (guns that is, he does have fists), he wouldn't know how to use them. And yet he has to stand against many opponents: his therapist, assassins, even the end of the world. Standing against obstacles is heroic, but specific obstacles do not a hero make.

Jeremy chooses to fight, before he's forced to. For me, Jeremy is heroic because he takes a stand. The clothes truly do not make the man.

Harm, the warrior legend from In Harm's Way, has a secret. He might be huge, but he's about as coordinated as ... well, let's just say his toes often stop his gigantic shield smashing into the ground. Unintentionally.

And yet, everyone regales him with his heroic and miraculous deeds, which just happen to occur when he's blind drunk. With no memory of his feats, night after night, Harm submits once more to the ceremony his magician friend Montague created—never sure whether he'll wake up—to save villagers he's never met from an attacking army. He does all this to stand against oppression.

Everyone can be a hero. Even you. At any time.

Have you ever helped a loved one through tough times? You have?

Congratulations! You've succeeded at one of the most difficult tasks imaginable, a constant strain and effort that puts every action star to shame. Yet few of us are portrayed as the heroes we really are—the papers are full of those who aren't heroic, who take their pain out on others. Like Jeremy's mad-scientist friend Stuart who suffers a tragic loss and ... but I can't spoil that for you.

All of us deal with loss, and yet the way we cope can be heroic: we can hide away from the world, or take a stand.

Heroes don't require assassins or Armageddon or a village in need—every time you take a stand, rather than the easy way out, you are heroic. And you join the band of unsung and unknown heroes. Jeremy is an unlikely hero. He reminds me that we can all be heroic, by standing up for what's right.

So join Jeremy on the road less travelled. Hope to see you there one day.



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August 24: Rogue's Angels
August 31: Fabulous and Brunette
September 7: The Reading Addict
September 14: Archaeolibrarian- I Dig Good Books!
September 21: Kit 'N Kabookle
September 21: T's Stuff
September 28: Sharing Links and Wisdom
September 28: Long and Short Reviews
October 5: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium - review
October 12: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews


Author Bio and Links:
Melindra Hattfield Snowy, a part-time writer and full-time dreamer, who of course prefers to be known as MH. She is the author of In Harm's Way, the first novella in Harm's story published by Pygaso Productions, described as epic fantasy meets The Truman Show.

MH has also penned several short stories including We Three Laws of Robotics Are and The Secret Invasion of George Kranskii which explains how road rage is the result of an alien invasion.

You can find MH at her website, on Goodreads, and you can follow on Twitter.

When not writing or occupied with her dual-identity, MH walks through the mountains with her partner or tries to unravel the secrets of her great-grandmother, an adventuress who disembarked from the French steamer Laos in 1931 seeking to uncover rumours of Mayan temples deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle, and disappeared, never to be heard of again.

In the Line of Duty Review Tour

Blurb:
Her fellow officer has made the ultimate sacrifice, and Detective Madison Knight may have to lay it all on the line to bring his killer to justice. But with leads pointing in several directions, she has to narrow them down—and quickly—if she’s going to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt, including herself.

***

He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him? 
 
It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him—shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice. 
 
When news of Weir’s murder reaches the precinct, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison’s boyfriend, colleague, and Weir’s childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves, just when they need one another the most. 
 
With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town’s seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast…before more people pay with their lives.


Excerpt from Ch. 4:
Madison walked through the station, feeling as though time was moving in slow motion as she first headed to her desk. Once there, she took a seat and opened the bottom drawer, nausea swirling in her gut as she pulled out a clear plastic Baggie. It was where she kept her mourning band. She’d hoped to never need it again…

She pulled it out, and for a few seconds, she held onto it, letting her fingers dip into the thin ribbing in the half-inch-wide black cloth. She unclipped her badge from its holder and slipped the band on, carefully placing it so that it ran horizontally across the center of her badge. As she stared down at the badge, thinking about what that simple band of black meant, a single tear crept down her cheek. But she didn’t have time to dwell on her fallen brother and grieve right now.

She swiped at her eyes and returned the Baggie to the drawer and headed for the briefing.

Even with her detour, she beat Sergeant Winston there. Sovereign and Stanford were already in the room along with about sixty officers. It was standing room only, and Madison scanned the crowd for Troy. But there was no sign of him or of her partner, Terry Grant. She didn’t see the police chief, either.

Andrea Fletcher, Troy’s older sister, had taken over the position almost seven months ago. To say she was a vast improvement over her predecessor was putting it mildly. Patrick McAlexandar was a chauvinist pig who had been in bed with the Russian mafia—the same mafia that almost killed her five months ago. And she was certain there was still a hit out for her. She couldn’t allow the passage of time to lull her into thinking it had gone away. If McAlexandar’s track record wasn’t bad enough, he also had aspirations to be the city’s mayor, but Madison would do whatever she could to sabotage his efforts.

Terry walked into the room then and came over to her. She hugged her partner without hesitation. As much as they teased and rankled each other, he was like the brother she’d never had.

“I didn’t see you at the hospital,” she said as she released him.

“We must have just missed each other. I got there as soon as I could. Dani’s still not sleeping through the night.”

“She is only two months old,” she reminded him.

Spoken like someone who knew kids…which she didn’t.

“That’s what Annabelle tells me, and she’s such a good mother. Besides—” Terry gestured around the room “—complaining about the lack of sleep doesn’t really seem like a big deal in light of everything.” He fell silent for a few seconds and then added, “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“Me neither.” The nausea that had settled into the pit of her gut didn’t seem like it would be going away anytime soon.

Sergeant Winston entered the room, his mourning band also on his badge. Terry was working on getting his band in place, too.

The sergeant stood at the front of the room. He cleared his throat, and all the chatter stopped. “As you may have heard, Officer Barry Weir was shot and killed this morning.”


 My Review:
4 stars

I’m picky when it comes to police procedurals. While I love watching them, they don’t always come across well in book form for me. Either they’re lacking in character development, or the twists aren’t very twisty, or the plot drags at some point, etc. So I was a bit wary about trying In the Line of Duty. Would it work for me? Would it really live up to the claim “Police Procedurals Respected by Law Enforcement?” I’m happy to say that it did.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but suffice to say, I enjoyed this book. The characters were nuanced and real. I could feel the grief Madison and her fellow officers were suffering due to the death of one of their own. And I could feel the urgency that they put into finding out answers. The plot twists kept coming, with red herrings and surprises keeping me (and the cops) guessing throughout the book. While the plot did drag a bit at times in the middle of the book, I was pulled in enough that I kept reading until the end.


I greatly enjoyed reading In the Line of Duty and since this is book 7 in the series (but it still works as a standalone), I would love to read the others in order to learn more about Madison and her crew.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*




September 14: Lilac Reviews
Author Bio and Links:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with Carolyn online:
Website     |     Twitter     |     Facebook

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Defragmenting Daniel Review Tour

Blurb:
7 stolen organs.
1 vengeful victim.
A gruesome sci-fi thriller.

Organ scrubbing was a bloody job, but somebody had to do it. Daniel, an orphan from the Gutter, was put to work scrubbing kidneys at aged twelve. The job had its perks: a warm bed, Law and Order reruns, and an all-you-can-eat Mopane worm buffet.

Until the Orphanage stole Daniel’s parts, and sold them on the organ market.

Now Daniel has grown up, and yearns to become whole again. The cybernetic organ replacements just aren’t the same – he needs his parts back. But the new owners of his organs won’t give them up. Not without a fight.

Just how far will Daniel go to regain his missing pieces? And how much more of himself will he lose along the way?

Defragmenting Daniel is a cyberpunk crime thriller that will unnerve you. Every part of you.

“A work of great imagination. Powerful and gripping.”
“A stark and moving experience.”
– ReadersFavorite.com, 5 Star Review


Excerpt:
“You feel that, son?”

“No siw,” Daniel mouthed. His tongue was numb. Had been numb since they’d replaced it with the generic a year ago, but it felt more swollen than usual. Clumsy against his palate.

“That’s good. Try to relax.” The surgeon’s voice was deep and quick. Like a scythe. “Music, nurse.”

With Daniel’s head turned the way it was, he looked directly into the surgeon’s crotch. He tried to turn away, but his head had been immobilized.

A beat Daniel remembered from somewhere rolled through the operating theatre. The bass vibrated along the legs of the steel table, up, into the brace that pierced his skull, down, through its metallic fingers, and into his brain. It tickled.

The surgeon shifted. A nurse’s masked face replaced the crotch. “Don’t move.” Only her eyes showed above the mask. The doctors and nurses all looked the same with their masks on. How do they tell one another apart?

A grainy woman’s voice hissed through the beat.

We had you cleaned

We had you eat

The high-pitched whine of a bone saw echoed in Daniel’s skull. “We’ll have you open in no time,” said the surgeon.

Daniel felt pressure against his temple, above his right ear. The whine of the blade morphed to a lower, choppy grind.

We had you bathed

We had your feet

Yes, he remembered the song now. It was all the rage in the cafeteria on Friday nights, when they cleared the chairs to make room for an ad hoc dance floor.

“How the kids?”

“Good, thanks doctor. Jordan’s starting school next week.”

“Already?”

Daniel tried to swallow, but lying on his back with his head fixed at this angle, most of the saliva dribbled onto the operating table.

We ate your lungs

We heart your beat

The bone saw slowed to a toothy stop.

There was a hollow metal twang, as something red dropped into a metal bowl on the edge of Daniel’s vision.

“You doing okay there, boy?”

“Yeth, ma’am.”

The surgeon bent down. Peered into Daniel’s eyes.

“We’re in. Won’t be too much longer now.”



My Review:
3 stars


I want to start by saying that I've read and enjoyed several of Jason Werbeloff's books before, and that the writing in this is just as great as his other novels. However, my main reason for the lower rating is because of the gore. Now while I'm not a fan of overly done gore (I'm talking to you Tarantino), I can still usually stomach it. After all, I love cop and forensic science procedurals. Heck, I love the show Supernatural, which gets way too gory at times. However, this was just too much for me. I think the main reason is due to Werbeloff's writing style. He is very good at providing vivid, realistic descriptions which draw readers into the worlds he creates. While this has worked well for me when reading his previous books, it didn't here. It was just too much, and I found myself skipping parts of the story because I didn't want to read them. So that hampered my enjoyment, but that's entirely on me.

The story is well written and exciting, with excellent world-building. If there is one thing Werbeloff does the best, it's his world-building. It was kind of scary even because I could totally see this happening. I will admit, at first I was confused by why people would want to use organs taken from other donors if you could just have artificial organs which were more likely to be healthier, but as I read on, this world made more sense to me. And part of his great world-building is interesting characters such as Daniel. Seeing how Daniel changed from the beginning of the book to the end is what kept me reading. His scenes with Odin were oddly touching, which was weird at times, but helped capture his character (you'll understand why this is sometimes weird if you read the book). 

On a side note, as the title suggests, this is part 1 of 3, so the book does have a cliffhanger-ish, to be continued ending. 

Overall, while this is an interesting, well-written, and exciting story, it just wasn't for me. I'm faced with conflicting emotions because while I want to know how this series ends, at the same, I don't want to continue reading the series. This book is not going to be for everyone. If you can't handle squicky situations, this is not the book for you and I recommend trying some of Jason's other books (I personally enjoyed Obsidian Worlds, as you can see from my review). But if you have a stomach of steel and laugh at gory situations, then give this book a try, because it is worth it. 


*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*


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September 5: Long and Short Reviews
September 12: Romance and Authors That Rock
September 19: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
September 26: Sharing Links and Wisdom
September 26: Natural Bri


Author Bio and Links:
Human. Male. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Sci-fi novelist with a PhD in philosophy. Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). Werbeloff spends his days constructing thought experiments, while trying to muster enough guilt to go to the gym.

He's written two novels, Hedon and The Solace Pill, and the short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds. His books will make your brain hurt. And you'll come back for more.

**Amazon Author Page – download all of Werbeloff's fiction from Amazon.

**Newsletter -- subscribe to get 'The Solace Pill' free, as well as VIP access to Werbeloff's latest fiction.

**Sound Cloud – listen to stories from Obsidian Worlds narrated by the inimitable Marc Ryan Rees.

**Goodreads – read and submit reviews of Werbeloff’s fiction.

**Facebook and Twitter – follow for release date information on upcoming shorts and novels.

**Website -- read about the author, and the philosophy behind his fiction.

The Organ Scrubber is the first fragment of the Defragmenting Daniel trilogy:
Fragment 1 – The Organ Scrubber
Fragment 2 – The Face in a Jar
Fragment 3 – The Boy Without a Heart

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Northwoods Wolfman Review Tour

Blurb:
When Dallas, the self-proclaimed Hero of Trappersville, is recruited by an ancient order of monster hunters, he’s more than happy to sign up. The group’s leader, Colton, is solid as an oak. Randall ain’t half bad, despite his tendency to whine. The whip-smart, beautiful, and totally badass Aletia is whip-smart, beautiful, and totally badass. Under their guidance, Dallas learns everything there is to know about hunting monsters (or close enough) and pledges to keep his friends safe.

Now there’s a werewolf in town, and Dallas and Stanley are on the case. As far as Dallas is concerned, monsters are monsters, and they have no place in Wisconsin.

Or do they? When an unexpected discovery and an unlikely reunion turn his world upside down, Dallas realizes he may not get to choose which side he’s on.


Excerpt:
Randall had whistled through his teeth when Dallas answered the door.

“You look like Batman and Tim the Tool Guy’s D.I.Y. lovechild,” he chuckled. “What are you planning to do with all that stuff?”

The look Dallas gave Randall was sympathetic.

“I know you been doing this for a little while, but I can see why Colton’s looking for new help. You gotta be prepared, right? Covert ops? Surgical strike? Get in, get out, get drunk, get laid, that’s how Big D rolls. You think I’m diving into a nest of, a nest of, um. You know, a nest of… Say, what are we hunting, anyway?”
“Boo hag.”

“Gesundheit.”

“No, we’re hunting a boo hag.”

“Doo rag?”

“No, boo hag, you twit. Kinda like a vampire, but they eat life force from breath, not blood. Sometimes mistaken for skin walkers since they don’t have skin of their own and are fond of taking someone else’s to wear for a bit.”

Dallas nodded authoritatively. “Well, that just proves my point. You think I’m diving into a nest of boo hags with nothing but my sunny disposition?”


My Review:
I didn’t realize when I first started this book that it’s a sequel, so that influenced my opinions of this book. While I still was able to enjoy the book, I think I would have gotten more out of it had I read book 1, Wisconsin Vamp first, so I would recommend reading that book before reading Northwoods Wolfman.

The best part of this book was Scott’s writing, especially his sense of humor. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the book. Even when I didn’t always understand what was happening (which probably wouldn’t have happened as much if I’d read book 1), I wanted to keep reading to see what zany thing would happen or what piece of pure comedic gold would come out of a character’s mouth next.

The characters, while a bit confusing and odd at times, were absolute gems and fun to read about. I can’t even pick a favorite because I liked all the characters. I didn’t even really dislike any of them, a rarity in a book with a good number of characters.

All in all, this is an absolutely fun read, and I will definitely not only go back and read book 1, but am not eagerly looking forward to reading more books in this series as this a fun, monster-filled romp.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*


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September 15: Liz Gavin's Blog
September 22: Sharing Links and Wisdom
September 22: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
September 29: Books, Dreams, Life
September 29: Natural Bri
October 6: LibriAmoriMiei


Author Bio and Links:
Scott lives in the Midwest with his wife and their boxer-pitt mix, Frank. He’s a horror, urban fantasy, and dark comedy fan, and also enjoys beer, bowling, karaoke, and rooting for the underdog. After not nearly enough consideration, he decided to write about the things he enjoys. The result was the Monsters in the Midwest series.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sword of Shadows VBT

Blurb:
Sisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a millennial tradition once forbidden to women. When war strikes, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.

Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.

Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.

"War propels the story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst." -Publishers Weekly

This is the second book in THE SILVER WEB trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the sequel to the first book, EOLYN.


Excerpt:
A hush of wings on the windowsill interrupted Eolyn’s thoughts. She looked up to see a Great River Owl, its proud silhouette outlined by moonlight.

Eolyn rose to her feet in surprise, keenly aware of its penetrating gaze, though she could not see its round eyes in the dark. A breeze ruffled its feathers. Its aura was impossibly familiar: intense shades of gold, burgundy, and forest green, shot through with streaks of deepest indigo.

She held her breath and let it go in a whisper. “Akmael?”

More than a question, it was a hope, a fear, an invocation.

A shimmer passed through the owl, followed by a flash of white light. Suddenly Akmael was with her, the heat of his hand upon her throat, the strength of his fingers intertwining in her hair, the demand of his lips upon hers, warm and full of passion. The magic of the South Woods blew through the window in a humid gust, swirling about them, begging Eolyn to remember who she was and what she once meant to him.

Akmael kissed Eolyn until she had no more breath to give. Then he paused and held her close, their foreheads touching as her fingers traced the familiar prominence of his cheekbone, the line of his jaw, the curve of his full lips.

All she could hear was his desire, carried on the rhythm of his heart. She dared not speak, for if she did, she might stumble upon words of caution or prudence or common sense, and none of that had any place here. Not when he was so near, nearer than he had been in such a painfully long time, closer than he might ever be again.

This is a gift from the Gods, Akmael had once said. To deny it would be an insult to them.

“Eolyn, I—”

She hushed him with a kiss.





Why Query?

It’s been only five years since the first edition of Eolyn was released by Hadley Rille Books in May of 2011. At that time, ebooks and self-publishing were just getting off the ground. Both were viewed with trepidation, even suspicion. But Amazon opened its arms wide to the coming wave, giving self-published authors a ready home to realize their dreams. Ever since, Amazon’s bright cartoon eyes have been going k’ching k’ching as its e-coffers fill with money.

A lot has changed since 2011. Ebooks are now part and parcel of any novel release, and numerous presses and imprints have sprung up to dedicate themselves exclusively to digital editions. Self-published books have flooded the market, making it easy for readers to find a large variety of stories cheap or free. At the same time, market saturation has driven down the monetary value of the blood, sweat, and tears all authors dedicate to their craft.

Many acknowledge that self-publishing is more respected than it used to be – which, to be fair, is not really saying much. But still, a large cadre of innovative authors have made their mark in self-publishing, proving that success doesn’t necessarily depend on landing a traditional press.

Which begs the question: Why bother querying at all?

As I mentioned up front, the first edition of Eolyn was published in 2011 through the traditional route. I sent out queries, synopses, and excerpts, and suffered my share of rejections, before Hadley Rille Books, a small press specializing in genre fiction, picked it up and offered me a contract. I published two novels with Hadley Rille before deciding, in the spring of 2015, that it was time to strike out on my own.

Now, The Silver Web trilogy, including Eolyn, Sword of Shadows, and Daughter of Aithne, is being released as a self-published work.  At the same time, I’ve started querying for another novel series, Path of Souls, with sincere hopes of finding a traditional press for my new project.

Having walked the road of both traditional and self-publishing, I can speak to both experiences and give you some ideas as to the advantages and disadvantages of both. I can say with confidence that no one has to cling to just one path to publication. In fact, the more I look at the fast-paced change of today’s publishing world, the more I believe we shouldn’t cling to just one path.

It’s also become clear to me that self-published authors cannot lay exclusive claim to the term “independent author.” In my mind, all authors are independent. Each author determines the best publishing route for each of her novels, and exercises freedom by using all the options available.

For those trying to determine which path to publication would best suit their current manuscript. I’ve set up a little quiz that I hope will help you evaluate whether you’re ready to dive into self-publishing, or whether maybe, just maybe, you should query first. This isn’t a comprehensive decision-making tool, but hopefully it will shed some light on what might be the best path for you.

The quiz consists of just three questions:

1. Is this your first novel?
YES – Query first, because let’s be frank: You have no clue what you’re getting into. Publishing is a shit load of work, and the learning curve is steep. At this stage in your career, you will benefit enormously by collaborating with publishing professionals who are invested in your success and capable of giving you all the support you need to edit, launch, and market your new baby. If you can find a press ready to offer a home for your book, DO IT. I highly recommend small, independent presses that can give you personalized attention and involve you directly in the publishing process. BUT, beware of vanity presses and the like. Anyone who charges you up front to publish your work is not a legitimate press. Do your homework, and don’t sign a contract unless you’re absolutely certain that press can provide a quality experience for you and your first novel.
NO – If you have some publishing experience under your belt, and you’re chomping at the bit for more autonomy, self-publishing may be the road for you. See additional questions below.

2. Do you have a lot of cash on hand?
YES – Lucky you! Get ready to throw it all away. Your budget will include professional line editing, professional copy editing, cover art and design, marketing, formatting, and other related expenses (including ISBN numbers, if you do a print edition). The cost of self-publishing a single novel, in ebook and paperback, can run into thousands of dollars, depending on the choices you make. Higher quality products require a larger investment. And you don’t want to risk putting something shoddy out on the market, because readers who pick it up will never look at another novel by you again if they have to suffer through typos, poor formatting, clich├ęd story lines, and the like. Most importantly: Do not count on making any of that cash back. Ebook and other sales will generally not compensate for your initial investment. The market is saturated and it is extremely difficult to get one’s book into the hands of more than a few readers. The good news is that as you put more books out there, you’re likely to attract more readers. So each subsequent novel should require a little less investment, and the more novels you have on the market, the greater your returns.

NO – Query first. A quality press can and will absorb the set-up costs for publishing your book. They can also provide the marketing muscle to get your novel into the hands of enough readers to at least have a chance at going viral. With a good enough story and little bit of luck, you may even get a modest advance.

3. Are you a control freak?
YES – Consider self-publishing. I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed having full control over every aspect of publishing The Silver Web (despite the shit load of work and the exorbitant expense). When I decided to self-publish, it was in part because I had a very clear idea of exactly what I wanted to do with my novels, how I wanted to roll them out onto the market. I had identified the perfect cover artist, and I envisioned a very tight time line for editing, formatting, and release of all three novels. Maybe a strong marketing team from an established press would have done a better job than I, but in my heart of hearts, I wanted complete ownership over this project. I wanted to do things my way, and to this day, I’m glad I did.

NO – Query first. Give yourself a chance at finding a press that can free you from some of the more onerous tasks of publishing. The fact of the matter is, the more control you have over a project, the less control you have over your time. And time is a precious commodity, especially for writers. I have no regrets about self-publishing The Silver Web, but for my next project, I’m ready to set aside my publisher’s hat and surrender some control. Partly because I want more time to write. But another important consideration is that my next series will likely appeal to a somewhat different market than The Silver Web. A traditional publisher with a good track record could help me reach out to new audiences. And I’m hungry to work with an experienced editor and a proper marketing team. So I’m buckling down to query again.

If I get an offer I like, I will sign that contract.

Because as an independent author, that’s my choice.


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Author Bio and Links:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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