It’s a Book Reading!

To celebrate the launch of my new series, I filmed myself reading the first couple of chapters from the prequel novella.

I’m proud of this video because, aside from some smoothing out and touch-ups from Chris, I edited the whole thing myself! Even though I had to re-film it twice and re-edit more than that because my laptop froze and I lost everything and… yeah.

Depending on the response I guess, I plan to do one for each of the IE novels coming out, so if you enjoy watching them, leave a comment below! There’s also my reading of Bladelore on the youTubes as well🙂

Like what you hear? Grab your copy today

The Invisible Entente has come to play

As I continue to my spontaneous BLOG POSTS ABOUT EVERYTHING streak, I figured I might as well take the time to blog about my new book release. Because, y’know, I have one. S’cool. No biggie.

NO! WAIT! DON’T WALK AWAY! I’m actually REALLY EXCITED about this book release, because it marks my first steps into official urban fantasy. I’ve played with the genre in private for years, but I’ve finally worked up the courage to slip into a non-epic genre and build castles in a new sandbox.

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“If you’re reading this note, I’m already dead.  I find even more pleasure in the idea that one of you will soon join me.”

At the precise moment of warlock Jermaine Hershel’s death, seven strangers are transported into a magically sealed room with only a letter from the dead man to explain.

If they want to go home, the way out is simple: discover the murderer — and kill them.

Tensions rise as each stranger reveals their connection with Jermaine, but the puzzle isn’t so easy to solve. At least one of them is lying. In an unlikely alliance, they have to act quickly to unravel the mystery before the murderer acts first.

Don’t get me wrong – I love and miss my Andvell gang, but the Invisible Entente is a brand new kind of trouble. Supernatural and mythological figures trapped in a locked-room mystery, tempers being tested (and when you have the power to set fire on things with your mind, that can be dangerous), and alliances being formed.

This prequel introduces the characters I’ve spent the last couple of months with and launches the first in a 7-book arc as it goes through each of the characters and culminates in…well, you’ll find out when you get there.

These characters are witty, dangerous, powerful, conflicted — all the good things you want to see in a bunch of reluctant heroes — and I hope you fall in love with them as quickly as I did.

The novella (130 pages) is available through Amazon for 99c or through KindleUnlimited for FREE, so grab a copy, brew a cup of tea, and then leave a comment below to let me know who your favourites are.

Grab your copy now!

If you’re not sure yet, you can read an excerpt here

T is for…tea

I was actually hoping to come up with a cleverer title, but there is no synonym for comfort that begins with the letter “T”. Or for bliss, security, or happiness.

In yesterday’s post, I threatened to ramble on about my love of tea and someone made the possibly big mistake of encouraging it.

I’ve been flexing my haiku muscles lately, so here goes:

Tea is ambrosia
Soul-warming and heart-hugging
My mugs are too small

I have a confession to make that might make you want to take away my writer card: I don’t like caffeine. I can’t handle it. One ounce too much and my heart is racing through my chest and I’m as jittery as if I’m in a full-blown anxiety attack, without all the head spinning.

For me, tea has nothing to do with the morning boost. Instead, at 9:30 every morning, I appreciate the joy of wrapping my usually glacial fingers around a warm mug and having my insides warmed up, too. And nothing usually works better than tea.

It’s a psychological thing, I think. Maybe from watching/reading too much British fiction? Bad day? Start a brew. Family tragedy? Better get the teapot out. World ending? Turn on the kettle. And really, I don’t think there could be better advice.

Everyone needs something to get them through the rough patches, whether it’s the hard part of the work day (the stretch where five minutes feels like two hours, where the work is all dumped on your desk, and your boss just laughs as if it’s all a big joke), getting ready for a stressful meeting, dealing with people you’d rather watch step on LEGO pieces…

Let’s face it: it’s a big, scary world out there, and adulting is hard. We have to make phone calls, for goodness’ sake. Society frowns on security blankets after a certain age, but no one suspects a cup of tea.

So to everyone sitting in the coffee shops reading this over a cuppa, I raise my mug to you. We’ve got this.

 

Saying Hi

I’ve been chased by a desire to write a blog post for the last couple of weeks now, but while a bunch of ideas have come to me in the way of subjects, I can’t seem to focus on any of them long enough to write them.

Possible topics for discussion:

  • My thoughts on Stranger Things
  • My reasons for choosing KDP Select for my new series
  • An update on my new series

Or feel free to Ask Me Anything in the comments and I’ll offer answers in a blog post series.

Or maybe I’ll just ramble on about my love of tea.

We’ll see what happens next week.

Cover Reveal & A Birthday!

I’m 30 today – and it’s pretty great. Mostly because I love round numbers. Because I’m a dork. Proudly.

I was going to write up some thoughts on entering another decade, but then I realised all I really want to do is celebrate by sharing the beautiful artwork I have for my next project.

I’ve mentioned The Invisible Entente before, but now it’s official. This 7-book urban fantasy series, which plays with mythology, fairy tales, and all kinds of trouble, will kick off NEXT MONTH with the prequel novella, followed by the first novel in September.

The covers are being done by the ever-so-magical Ravven, and I’m amazed by how well she’d bringing my characters to life. Covers like this beauty right here:

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Want to know what the prequel is about? You can either read the blurb:

“If you’re reading this note, I’m already dead.  I find even more pleasure in the idea that one of you will soon join me.”

At the precise moment of warlock Jermaine Hershel’s death, seven strangers are transported into a magically sealed room with only a letter from the dead man to explain.

If they want to go home, the way out is simple: discover the murderer — and kill them.

Tensions rise as each stranger reveals their connection with Jermaine, but the puzzle isn’t so easy to solve. At least one of them is lying. In an unlikely alliance, they have to act quickly to unravel the mystery before the murderer acts first.

Or you can watch this trailer created by the team at Lovesick Android:

Want to know more about this series? Make sure you sign up for my newsletter for the most up-to-date information and exclusive content: http://eepurl.com/GIJkz

Paragraphs, Perogies, and Pinball

I just had a very difficult time coming up with a book-related word that starts with “P” for that striking example of alliteration, so I hope you appreciate it.

But it was worth it, because I’M DOING A LIVE IN-PERSON THING.

That’s right, on Sunday, June 26, 2016, you can come on down (up, over) to Ottawa, Ontario and find me at the House of TARG on the corner of Bank St and Sunnyside (1077 Bank St).

If you’re in Facebook, join the event page for the latest up-to-date info.

From 2:30 until people stop showing up (or I run out of books), I’ll be signing/selling paperback copies of both the Meratis and Cadis Trilogies ($20/book, $45/trilogy, $80/series).

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I’ll also have a few prints by Adam Tupper ($10/ea)

On top of that, there will be two draws for these beautiful creations by Punk in Pink and The Sewcial Kat

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OMG THAT’S NOT EVEN EVERYTHING!!!

My amazing and wonderful friends are going all out to make this as special as possible. There’s going to be a fresh-baked cake! There are going to be Andvell-based colouring pages! There’s even going to be a special cosplay reveal (that’s a complete surprise from me)!

AND – because I like sharing things – people who show up will be the first to get a cover teaser for my new novel, The Invisible Entente: A Prequel Novella due out August 2016

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If you’re not in the Ottawa area, but still want to see the cover before anyone else, I’ll be revealing it to my newsletter subscribers on July 1 (Canada’s birthday) and then a general reveal here on July 14 (my birthday). But, in my honest opinion, this cover is absolutely stunning, and you’re going to want to see it as soon as possible. Here’s a tease. If you’re not signed up yet, you should do it soon!

IEP teaser

BOOK Release: Into Elurien by Kate Sparkes

I was remiss in announcing this yesterday, and I feel kind of bad about that. Not because Kate is a great author and an amazing friend and there’s nothing I enjoy more than supporting my friends.

She’s great and all, but…this book.

Into Elurien grabbed me by the first scene and didn’t let go until – well, I don’t think it’s let go yet. This novella is a beautifully crafted tale about an awkward, rationally minded woman who winds up in a world of monsters and magic and a supporting cast that will steal your heart.

Hazel is a most awkward character, a quality that adds so much heart and realism to the story that you could easily imagine bumping into her (literally) on the street.

This is the kind of book that proves magic is real – you just need to turn to the first page.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, go and check it out right here, right now – and then leave a review, because authors love reviews. Thank me later.

KIEOut of plans and out of luck…

Hazel Walsh left her island home three years ago, determined never to return. But when a series of misfortunes leave her homeless and heartbroken, she has no option but to drag herself back to a place she fears will strangle her. On her way, she stops for the night at the Old Brook Inn. It’s a place of local myth and legend—things that Hazel hasn’t believed in since she was a child. When she finds a strange key in the attic and tries it in a locked door, she suddenly wishes she’d paid more attention to the fantasy stories she once scoffed at.

She’s thrown into a world in the midst of revolution, where monsters have overthrown the humans who once enslaved them. All of them, that is, except Verelle, the cruel sorceress queen who vanished at the moment of Hazel’s arrival. If Hazel wants to have any chance of surviving and making it back to her own world, she’ll have to join forces with the amalgus Zinian—horned, winged, mysterious, and monstrously attractive—to unravel the mystery of Verelle’s disappearance. If they can’t, the fates of two worlds may be at stake.

 

Do What You Love?

As I reach the mid-way point in my 12-month “Full-Time Author Test”, I thought I’d share some of my experiences and perspectives on the mission of “following my dreams”.

When I first stepped into the FT arena, I had a plan. I weighed out all the pros and cons, talked through every element that I should watch out for: money, isolation, mental health, etc. I waited until I was sure I had a solid foundation before I took the leap.

At the end of January, my plans fell through. There were delays in my latest book release, and that delay led to a drop in sales, and a delay in the release of my next book. Those delays and sales drops meant a hit to my finances, and in May, I was sure I’d have to cut my 12-month trial off early to go back to work.

Fortunately, my support team is the best I could have asked for. My fiance and I sat down and rearranged our budget to make sure I could take another six months without any more of a hit. We’re currently working on some really fun promo material for my next series to try to get some new eyes on it. We’re talking about beginning a new project – a podcast about two artists living together, following different streams of our craft, and the ups and downs of it all.

Even when the pitfalls loom, I’m so grateful I have people who will help me stay on a solid foundation.

I knew before I went to full-time that money would be tight. I chose to skip Ottawa Comic Con this year so I could afford the GORGEOUS covers for my new series (the cover reveal is coming July 1 to my newsletter subscribers!). My social life is in a bit of a lull, because I don’t have the easy-access cash to go out very often. Every coffee I buy is a debate of whether I should get out of the house for a while and spend the $1.89 on a Tim’s cappucino, or if I should stay home and make one for free.

And money isn’t the only challenge.

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I tell people I write full time is whether I have issue getting to work in the morning and if I get distracted by everything going on at home.

My problem actually lies on the reverse side, as my fiance can tell you. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I begin my day when he leaves for his dayjob at 6:30a.m., and there are many times I’ll continue working until dinner 12 hours later. In my case, my self-discipline has grown in knowing when to walk away at the end of the day. To leave my work in my office as best I can and appreciate the rest of the day outside of my books.

The work-life balance is harder to handle when they’re one and the same (as they’ve always been, because an artist can never really get out of her own head), so I practice this by going out for long walks most days of the week.

There have been days where it’s taken all of my energy to sit down at the computer and get to work because I feel I’m not making any progress in my business. FAILURE is a terrifying word, and even though my rational brain knows that there’s no such thing – because even if the details don’t go according to plan, I’m still going to be ahead of where I was at the beginning of the year with so much more experience under my belt – it’s still a prospect that makes taking the next big step scary. Being your own boss, trying to make a go of it in the arts in a city where the arts have a hard time taking hold, means a lot of uncertainty.

I’m not saying this to whine or seek sympathy – again, I KNEW this would be the case. I’m sharing it for those of you who are on the fence to make the same leap and take risks with your dreams.

It’s a big choice. It’s a scary choice. If I were on my own and didn’t have the support of my family, I don’t know how well I would be holding up.

On the other hand, I can say, without any doubt, that I have no regrets about making my choice. For the last six months, while I’ve still had to wake up to my fiance’s alarm, I have never dreaded getting out of bed in the morning. My to-do list is always full of tasks I look forward to tackling.

I may cry, I may stuff my face with cookies, I may even bury myself in books for hours in the evenings, but every day I get to wake up and do what I love – do what I’ve always dreamed of doing with my life – and the reward for that is priceless.

So should you take the risk and jump into your dreams with both feet? That’s up to you. Be sure you’re ready for it and you know what’s coming. But once you’re really really certain – take a good look at what’s holding you back.

Life is crazy, loud, and full of uncertainty anyway – why not lose yourself in something that makes you look forward to greeting each  day?

 

COVER REVEAL: Darkness Shifting by Sarah L. Blair

It’s time for another cover reveal!

This time around it’s a debuting author, one who’s been plugging away at her draft for years, spending so much time making each pass better than the last. I had the pleasure of reading a very early draft a few years back, and I can’t wait to see what the final picture looks like.

Please give a warm bookish welcome to the new urban fantasy novel in town:

DS_COVER_BlairDarkness Shifting is the first book in the Tides of Darkness Series.

Paranormal Investigator, Sidney Lake doesn’t jump at shadows. The weird stuff is her jurisdiction. When the mangled body of a supposedly extinct creature turns up in New York City’s subway system, she’s number one on the Medical Examiner’s speed dial.

But this case hits too close to home when clues point her toward the truth about her parents’ brutal murder twelve years ago. Her boss Mitchell Harris, questions whether she should continue to investigate. However, Sidney insists on facing her greatest fears and putting her parents’ memory to rest once and for all.

What she uncovers sheds a light on secrets that reach further into the darkness than she ever wanted to go… and leads her to a future she never imagined.

Want a bit of a tease? Read on for the excerpt:

A door at the back of the room next to the fireplace opened before Mitch could answer. The man who emerged wasn’t quite as tall as Mitch, but as soon as he stepped through the door, his presence seemed to expand to fill the enormous space.

Sidney didn’t need to be introduced. It was very clear who this man was.

At first glance, his shoulder length hair was jet black, but when he stepped into the light it picked up gold and orange tones from the fire and she saw that it was actually a very dark brown. It reminded her of pure chocolate falling in loose waves around his square face, ending in stark contrast with the edge of his pristine, white collar.

His eyes were the same dark liquid brown as his hair. She could tell the second she met his gaze that this man didn’t feel the need to impress anyone. His deep set eyes were soft, holding a hint of amusement, as if he didn’t have to think about what she might do or say because he already knew.

“I apologize for the wait. Mitchell, it’s good to see you again.” The voice that came out of his mouth was unexpected and familiar at the same time. It sounded British, but it was more rugged than the Queen’s English.

In all her years at boarding school in the UK, she hadn’t heard anything like it. It held lilting notes of Welsh, but there were gruff hints of a Highland brogue in there as well. She recalled hearing it at one point in the hospital, but she didn’t remember actually meeting him.

The men shook hands as if they’d been pals in grade school.

Sidney stayed behind Mitch, not wanting to draw attention to herself. She could see Dimitrius better up close and noticed that his nose had the smallest rise along the middle of the bridge; it hadn’t healed properly after a break. A slight cleft cut through his chin. He had a ragged scar at the edge of his hairline, and another one on the left side of his neck below his ear that disappeared under the back of his collar.

The top two buttons of his shirt had been left undone, as if he intended to draw her gaze downward. He wasn’t wearing an undershirt, so it was easy to see the outline of his well-toned chest and the tarnished silver pendant that rested right below the dip of his collarbone, tied to his neck with a narrow leather strap. It was some kind of old coin or a stamped crest.

Now that he was even closer, the scent evolved into something more distinct; Sidney picked out the smell of horses, sweat, blood, even the smoky flavor of fire and pitch.

Battle.

He smelled like a warrior.

“Ms. Lake, at last we meet.” That voice again, softer and gentler than what a battle-hardened warrior should sound like. She wanted to curl up and listen to him read page after page of Internet search results. “I’ve heard wonderful things about you.”

“I’m sure the chief was exaggerating.” It was like being sucked into a whirlpool and Mitch had suddenly become her safety net. Knowing he was right there with the line of his body pressed against hers made her feel more grounded.

“On the contrary…“Dimitrius gave her an unabashed head-to- toe assessment. He offered his hand. She didn’t want to take it, but she couldn’t be rude.

She returned the handshake much more firmly than she’d done with his assistant. It was the same grip she used to make Williams go weak in the knees and beg for mercy when she was mad at him. It had no effect whatsoever on Dimitrius. Instead, she felt what could only be described as electricity, an actual current running between them where their skin touched. His eyes narrowed, and she wondered if he felt it too.

“He hasn’t done you justice at all,” he said. “Dimitrius Arturus Roman, at your service.”

He leaned forward at the waist and raised her hand toward his mouth, keeping his eyes locked on hers. A whisper of something brushed across her fingers, like an invisible string wrapping around her hand, curling its way up her wrist. She felt his pulse in her palm, saw it throbbing at his neck millimeters from the edge of the scar. She wanted to lick her tongue over it to find out if he tasted as good as he smelled.

That last thought brought her back to herself. She jerked her hand away before he could touch his lips to her skin. It all happened in an instant. Dimitrius stood there, tilted forward holding nothing but air.

Enjoy more of Darkness Shifting available for purchase July 1.

**

SareyPic2(1)Sarah L. Blair earned a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While spending a semester abroad at Swansea University in Wales she traveled to nearby Bath and Glastonbury often, drawing inspiration for her writing from the myths and legends surrounding the area. Sarah now resides just north of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two children, and chihuahua. While writing is her first passion, she also enjoys sewing, tater tots, catching up on her teetering TBR pile, and hanging out on her porch drinking sweet tea.

You can find Sarah around the web on Twitter: @SarahLBlair, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarahlblair, or visit her new website: http://www.sarahlblair.com