Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale!

For those of you who are diehard Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday shoppers, there is a promotional going on! Over 20+ authors are offering their books, many at fantastic sale prices — and the books are perfect for many of the readers on your Christmas list.

Check out the covers below — have you ever seen such beautiful books?

         

So, don’t delay — go check out these amazing stories! Buy one (or several!) for the special people on your list.

 

 

Guest Post by Sarah Delena White, author of Halayda

Today at Jilligan’s Island, I’m thrilled to have Sarah Delena White joining me.  Sarah has recently released her fantastic debut novel, Haylada. More information on the book is below, along with its beautiful cover! But first, she shares what she discovered while working on the novel.

 

 

Halayda was a first for me in more ways than one. It’s not just my first published novel; it’s the first novel I successfully finished. Don’t get me wrong—I wrote quite a bit before that. I started ten other manuscripts in the space of twelve years, but ended up abandoning them for one reason or another. When I started Halayda, I wanted to see it through to the end. I read up on writing strategies and tried out a lot of different advice. Here are a few of the things I learning during the process.

It’s okay to prioritize writing.

For my entire adult life, I had pushed writing aside, labeling it a fun hobby at best and an utter waste of time as worst. I felt guilty whenever I prioritized writing, always wondering if I could put the time to better use. It took me a long time to realize how hypocritical this was. Stories have tremendous power—it’s not an exaggeration to say that some of them have redefined how I see the world. It’s easy to value other people’s stories—or any kind of art—more than we value our own, but this isn’t doing anyone a favor. I decided to set aside chunks of time and make sure I made progress each day, no matter how impractical it seemed.

Find what works for you, even if it’s weird.

Each writer is wired differently. It’s easy to fall down the black hole of writing advice and end up doing things that worked for someone else but don’t benefit you. For example, I tried to be a “plotter,” writing thorough outlines and planning every detail in advance. This works great for many people, but for me, it killed the story every time. Despite being a natural planner, I decided to approach Halayda differently. I made sure I had a story structure and kept the characterization consistent, and then let everything else unfold in the moment. Each scene held new surprises, which meant I never got bored with the story. Then I broke one of the cardinal rules of first drafts by showing each scene to a critique partner as soon as I wrote it. Getting someone else’s reactions early on was helpful in making sure I was on the good track with the story. In other words, there’s no right or wrong system for writing a book!

You’ll never have the process completely under control, and that’s okay.


This was the hardest part of writing Halayda! I wrote a clean first draft and anticipated a straightforward editing process. My characters had other ideas. I ended up working a major character into the story after the first draft was complete, making some big changes to the world-building, and shifting my main characters’ arcs in order to set up the rest of the trilogy more effectively. It was a long process, and incredibly frustrating at times, but In the end it made for a much stronger book. I had to let go of a lot of preconceived ideas and let the book be what it wanted to be, even when it meant putting in a lot of extra time and effort. Like anything in life, there’s nothing predictable about writing. It’s a journey that will test you at every turn, but it’s ultimately worth it.

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing with us what you learned during the writing process. For those of you wondering what Halayda is about, read on!

A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.

Review/buy links:
Author bio:
 
Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is also the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, drinking tea, and working a variety of odd jobs. She can be bribed with dark chocolate. 
You can find Sarah here:

 

Spark Cover Reveal: A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Isn’t the cover for Spark gorgeous? I feel like a proud mother.  Sara Helwe Digital Arts is responsible for all this awesomeness! Click on the link above to check out her work. I’d like to give her a big “thank you” for capturing Brenna and Linneah so well. Oh, speaking of which….

 

Hey guys, how’s it going? I’m Brenna James. J.M. Hackman’s being super-cool and letting me hijack her blog post for a minute. Spark is my story, which believe it or not, actually happened in the alternity (alternate reality) of Linneah. Yes, alternities exist! And portals. Look for them around running water. You know, like reservoirs, natural springs, fountains, that kind of thing.

Yesterday after school, I stopped by J.M. Hackman’s house and she showed me the cover of Spark—coolness! I’m planning to snag a copy to show my griffin Arvandus and my boyfriend Baldwin—both of them are in the book. J. (that’s J.M., even though she hates it when I call her that) and I worked on this story for a long time. Even though it was a team effort, I had the easy part. You know, talk a lot and then go home. Of course, I’ve had a lot going on with school and studying. Which reminds me, I’ve got a history paper due tomorrow. So before I sign off, let me remind you: don’t forget to pick up a copy of Spark. Trust me—you won’t be bored!

 

I’m back. Brenna, Baldwin, and Arvandus are just a few of the characters in Spark. I had a blast telling their story. The back cover blurb is below.  Oh, and I’m working on Brenna’s next story, titled Flare. Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled—Brenna might stop by again, or maybe even Baldwin, if either of them can carve time out of their busy schedule.

 

Spark: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One
J.M. Hackman
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Paperback: $14.99, eBook: $4.99 (Pre-order Price: $2.99)
Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, LLC
Genre: YA Fantasy, 330 pages, ISBN: 978-1-943788-14-9

Back Cover:

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.
When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she
travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?
Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello,
Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time? And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?

 

 

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman: Review

nightbird-review

I don’t often do book reviews, usually because I’m so far behind the trends. By the time I post a review, I’m guessing everyone else is thinking, “Yeah, read that one three years ago. What’s she been doing, living under a rock?” I leave the book reviews for the quicker readers. But this is an exception. Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman (author of Practical Magic, among many others) was released last year.

Nightbird is juvenile fiction, appropriate for ages 10 and up. It covers the story of the Fowler family, in particular Teresa Fowler (aka Twig) who attends sixth grade in Sidwell, Massachusetts. Twig loves living in Sidwell, next to the apple orchards her family has owned for forever. But dark secrets plague Twig and Sidwell, too. The witch that used to live in Sidwell many years ago cursed Twig’s family. And the descendants of that witch just moved in next door. Her mother forbids her to spend any time with them, but Twig is intrigued by this friendly family. Before she knows it, their daughter Julia becomes her first best friend.

The townspeople have always believed a monster haunts the town, but when things start to go missing, people become concerned. The mutterings about hunting and killing the monster develop into concrete plans. Twig’s terrified when she hears of the plans, because she knows something the townspeople don’t. The monster may be closer than they think.

As Twig, and her new best friend Julia, attempt to understand and fix the curse, they get some help from friendly townspeople and long lost papers. As usual in a Hoffman novel, magic is found everywhere, from the special Pink apples grown in the Fowler’s orchard to the exotic fragrant teas offered by the town librarian.

Although there was an opportunity for the author to explore the topic of bullying, she instead focused on how the unveiling of this secret changed Twig and her family. (Best of all, nobody died. That’s important to me. If a character dies, there better be a darn good reason for it.)

So if we’re giving stars, I’d give Nightbird 4.5 out of 5. If you love clean speculative fiction with family secrets and magic, I’d encourage you to pick it up.