New Pen Name and New Cover

My friend, Staci Troilo, has a new pen name and new genre. Look at this stunning cover! I’ve preordered my copy, and I can’t wait.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Life’s been busy, and it just got CRAZY. My publisher moved the release date of my new book from October to May 7. May 7! That’s less than a month away! I’ve got so much pre-release work to do. Starting with a cover release. So… ta-da!

It’s it stunning? I’m so excited about it.

Let me back up a step. First, you’ll notice it does NOT say “Staci Troilo” on the cover. We’ve talked about this before, here and there or in passing. I’m writing under a pen name (D. L. Cross) for this series. We can talk more about that later, though.

Second, you’ll note an alien ship on the cover. Aliens, as in sci-fi. It’s not a genre people associate with the name Staci Troilo, which is one of the reasons I’m writing under a pen name. If you’re interested in science fiction and aliens, this…

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WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading an ARC of Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan.  Add this one to your TBR, guys.  A serial killer, layers of secrets in a small beach town – I read over half of it in one sitting.  So far, I suspect everyone.

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace.

Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth. 

I just finished King of Fools (Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody.  The first book in this series was among my best reads last year, so I waited a long while to find out the fates of these characters – and it was well worth the wait.  King of Fools definitely doesn’t suffer from middle book syndrome.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Next, I’ll read Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.  I’ve read a couple of Jay Kristoff’s books, but Amie Kaufman is new to me.  Look at this stunning cover!  And that last line, ‘They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.’, clinched the deal.  I knew I had to read this book.  It made me think of Guardians of the Galaxy.

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

An Interview and #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Tony Eames hosted me for an interview at NFReads.com yesterday – you can read the interview here.  Find out how I deal with negative feedback, and my creativity tricks (spoiler ahead – not that many), among other things.

Then jump over to Michele and Nina’s blog, 2Quirky, to read Nina’s reviews of both Sarah and The Gemini Connection.  Nina’s not really a sci-fi or horror reader, but I was thrilled she took a chance on my books and enjoyed them!

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan #bookreview #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

I’d seen rave reviews for this book throughout the blogosphere, and that, along with a gorgeous cover and riveting description, had me requesting this book from NetGalley.

Did this book live up to the hype?  Well…mostly.  This is a captivating dark fantasy that weaves the elements of religion, magic, and politics into a thought-provoking storyline.  Many reviews stated the beginning is a slower pace – something I agree with – but the brisk pace and shocking reveals at the end make up for it.  Yes, the pace takes off – but I’d guessed the shocking reveals early in the book, so maybe it’s my fault I was a tad underwhelmed.

The three primary characters exist in the fluctuating areas of gray between good and bad – and that’s my favorite type of character.  Each are wonderfully flawed, possess traits to love and hate, and are ruthless, driven, and distrustful at certain points.  They all believe they’re doing the right thing.  Supporting characters are loyal, well-developed, and occasionally humorous.  Stellar characterization.

Wicked Saints is a brutal, bloody, dark fantasy set in a world rich in history and lore.  It’s very well-written, and if you’re not into YA, give this book a try, because it’s easily a crossover.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#AmWriting, #BetaReader, #BlackSummer

I tried something new to sell books this past weekend – I had a table at an arts/crafts fair.  I didn’t sell many books (it turned out to be a cold, rainy day), but I met a very friendly 8-year-old boy who stole my heart.  The second he saw my books, he ventured over to check them out.  He’s really too young for YA, but I asked what he liked to read, and he said adventure stories.  He told me he was in third grade, and always hurried to finish his school assignments so he could read his books – said he’d be happy if they’d just let him read all day instead of giving tests.  I wanted to hug him!  Don’t you wish more kids had such a love of reading?

Book 3 (still no title yet) is going well, and I’ve got a beta reader waiting for me to finish it.  I met her in one of my book clubs, and she loves YA.  She’s also not afraid to give her opinion, and has a strong sense of what works and what doesn’t in books, and that’s exactly what I need in a beta reader.

Speaking of Book 3, I’m going to have a contest to name a character.  I saw another author mention this, and thought it sounded like a fantastic and fun idea.  Not only will I use the name, but the winner will also be mentioned in the acknowledgements – and I need to get this put together really soon.  Right now, I’m calling this character ‘X’ – just as creative as ‘Book 3’, don’t you think?  My creativity is astounding.

I haven’t really watched much this past week, except for a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones.  I’m almost finished with season 6.  Black Summer, a new series on Netflix, looks interesting.  All I know is it involves zombies, so you know I’ll be checking it out.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Killing November (Killing November #1) by Adriana Mather #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #thriller

It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim. 

What an awesome premise – a school that trains assassins.  Throw in some murders, and you’ve got a ton of suspects, right?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.  The cover didn’t do much for me, but the description sounded crazy good.  And it delivered – I wanted to finish this book in one sitting.  November’s life changes vastly almost overnight – and she has no clue what’s going on.  Every student at the school seems to know things about her, but she’s never met any of them, and no one is willing to share their knowledge.  Every student is also a trained killer and strategist, and trusting the wrong person could be a fatal error.  The stakes are high throughout the book, and I found myself holding my breath in some scenes.  I’m pretty sure I suspected almost everyone at some point in the story.  It’s obvious the author did her research in nonverbal communication and  weapons, with some historical tidbits thrown in that add to the authenticity of the story.

Once the secrets are revealed, some are surprising and some predictable, but they sure do make for a tense, exciting read.  With fabulous character development, political intrigue, a complex, thrilling plot, and a main character whose life is in jeopardy on nearly every page, Killing November is addictive, and one of my best reads this year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Facebook Ads, #AmWriting, and #Supernatural

Has anyone out there tried Facebook ads for your books?  I gave it a shot a couple of times last fall, with no success.  After checking out a link on Staci Troilo’s website that explained the process a little better, I decided to give it another chance.  The ad is for The Gemini Connection, and although it’s far from a landslide, the ranking went up this weekend.  So did the ranking for Sarah, but I’m not sure if the increased sales were a result of the FB ad or a Twitter post from Saturday.  I’ll let the ad run for at least a couple more days and see what happens.  If you know the secret to successful ads, please share!

I’m still plugging away on the third draft of my WIP – which is still titled Book 3.  As I’m reading through it again, occasionally the characters laugh and tell me that’s not something they’d ever say or do, and it needs to be rewritten.  Does this happen to you guys?  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have voices in your head – especially if you’re a writer.

So, I’m waaaaay behind on Supernatural – and I can hear some of you gasping in shock, dismay, bewilderment, and disapproval.  For some reason, I never watched it when the series first started so many years ago, and I’m determined to change that.  Especially since the last season is coming up.  A few reviewers mentioned that in Sarah, the banter between Cain and Finn reminded them of Sam and Dean, but when I wrote the book, I’d never seen the show.  So far, I’ve gotten through the first six or seven episodes, and I love it, just like I knew I would.  I’ll keep you updated.