fiction

Eye of the Storm – Part 3

“Nice to meet you, Summer,” Victor echoed my words from earlier, then turned back toward the bar. “Hey, Howe!” He called out, raising his head and his glass in search of the bartender. “Can I get another one of these?”

Curiously, ‘Howe’ was nowhere to be seen. I shrugged, about to use this opportunity to escape my new ‘friend’ and head back to where Debbie and Paul stood to either side of the jukebox trying to choose the next song, when the power went out. Without lighting or sound, the dilapidated old bar was just that. It was pitch black thanks to the shitty weather and the fact that the streetlamp outside the front window had also gone dark. Guess this isn’t just Howe blowing a fuse.

I could hear voices and shuffling even if I couldn’t make anyone out. It wasn’t crowded by any means, this being a Tuesday night, but it wasn’t a big place. Somebody must have bumped into Debbie because she squealed, “Paul, that better have been you!”

“Uhh…” I heard Paul reply.

“Power’s out across the street too,” somebody called, presumably looking out a window, “but it seems to have stopped raining, so there’s that.”

But my attention wasn’t on the bar patrons, it was on Victor. From the sounds of his stool scraping back, he’d stood and if the darker shadow over the bar was any indication, he seemed to be trying to clamber over it. “Howe?” He called out again from somewhere ahead and above me.

I heard a thunk as Victor landed heavily behind the bar, followed by rustling noises. In the background someone said, “Hey, a power outage doesn’t have to ruin the night, I brought my guitar!”

Despite my better judgement, I started forward, feeling for Victor’s stool. I found it with little trouble. It was still warm. Without thinking too hard about what I was about to do, I put my drink down, hoisted myself up onto the still-warm leather seat of the stool, and stood, stepping onto the bar. My foot hit what I presumed to be Victor’s drink. I made a point to avoid it as I let myself down the other side.

“Aha!” Victor proclaimed seconds before a match flared to life in his hands and our eyes met for the briefest of seconds in the sudden illumination. He seemed surprised to see me there. I was simply glad the ruddy light of the single flickering match didn’t allow Victor to make out the embarrassed flush of my cheeks.

“Here,” he shoved the pack of matches in my hands before grabbing another and starting past me. By the time I got a match of my own lit, he was halfway around the inside corner of the L-shaped bar and moving quickly. I hurried to follow.

A door I hadn’t noticed before now was open slightly. Pulling it wider, Victor disappeared into the opening, his body cutting off all view of the match in his hands. Rounding the corner myself, I almost bumped into him where he had stopped on a set of stairs headed downwards. In retrospect, wearing black was a poor choice, Victor, I silently admonished him.

I became aware of a strange sound coming from the darkness below. Halfway between a hum and a rumbly growl, I couldn’t identify it, but the sound unsettled me in way I couldn’t explain. “Howe?” Victor called again, more tentatively this time, I thought.

Silence greeted his call. I mean real silence; whatever that grumbly sound was, it stopped the moment Victor spoke. Against my better judgement, Victor started forward again, lighting a fresh match and raising it high above his head. I made it two steps before my own match burned my fingers, forcing me to shake my hand forcefully to put the fire out. I stuck my fingers in my mouth and looked down, less than eager to face the prospect of burning myself on another match.

My fingers in my mouth were the only thing that kept me from screaming. There on the ground, in a pool of his own blood mingling with the juice from a smashed jar of pickles was the bartender, Howe. His pale green shirt was bloodied and torn, and the gut I’d noticed earlier was missing entirely, having been replaced by a gaping maw, resembling nothing more than a fleshy crater. From that crater rose a field of spikes, like an over-sized porcupine had taken up residence inside the portly man.

“Holy shit!” Victor cursed and flailed wildly, causing his match to go out.

I fought the urge to vomit as he quickly struck another. The initial flare of light glinted off large yellow eyes and as the light settled to its dim brightness I became aware of what I was staring at. Well, not what it was, exactly, only that I was staring at it.

It, was the source of that strange rumbling growl from before and now the sound returned. A warning, low and guttural, it informed me on an instinctual level that I was in danger. Even with shock numbing my mental faculties, I didn’t need the warning. I fled, Victor’s heavy footfalls on the stairs proclaiming that he was trailing after me. Only two steps were needed to take me out of the basement, but they felt like twenty. I cleared the threshold of the door and quickly realized I was trapped by the L-shaped bar I didn’t know my way around.

Victor however, did. He made straight past me for the exit. I started after him, but a blur of motion crossing my vision stopped me.

The creature’s leap was silent. It’s landing wasn’t. Bottles crashed and the wood of the bar groaned as the massive cat-like thing landed on it. Soft guitar music was replaced by a cacophony of screams and curses from the bar patrons as the thing swung its head around, sniffing the air.

I felt a hand grab mine, warm in the darkness. I gasped, but it was only Victor, pulling me away from the scene and toward the back door of the bar. I stumbled along after him and we broke out into the cool, wet night air.

The rain had stopped, but the sky still looked dangerous.

*** Missed Part One, find it here. Part Two is here. If you’d like to read more of this serial, like this post, subscribe and/or leave me a comment!***

 

Up next: Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

In anticipation of our 2017 releases, I wanted to interview each of the authors, but I’ve tried, and I simply can’t interview myself. So, instead let me just tell you a little bit about where I’m at now and what my upcoming new release is all about.

07bcdcc12df687f02e58c2def519f9a9There’s less than two months left until Uncharted is released into the world and I’m excited and nervous and experiencing all the other feelings that come with sending a labour of love out into the world.

Next month, on March 20th, we’ll reveal the cover right here on the blog. I can’t wait to show it to you. Sara Biddle, www.salizabeth.net, is the extremely talented digital artist behind the Mirror World series, Unintended and now, Uncharted. As always, she has gone above and beyond any expectations we had and created something truly lovely.

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Uncharted, in case you’re wondering, is a love story set in the multi-cultural historical/fantasy world of Ismera (the same as Unintended). In it, a woman named Meredith questions her future as a priestess of the Order of Saegard and runs away. On the night she leaves, a legendary artifact is stolen from the temple and she’s blamed for it. Suddenly a fugitive, Meredith stows away on a ship belonging to an off-duty naval officer and a ex-con man posing as his business partner. Together the three of them must evade the law while they work to clear Meredith’s name and track down what was stolen and why.

Uncharted will soon be available for pre-order and will launch on April 17th, 2017. We’re in the midst of planning what we’ll do to celebrate, so subscribe to this blog or our mailing list to be kept informed.

As you may or may not know, Murandy, my sister and co-conspirator… I mean, co-writer, is on maternity leave with her four-month old, but we’re still writing. We’re in the middle of this years’ #85K Challenge (that’s 85,000 words in 90 days) and we’re a little over halfway through two different projects. The first is the next installment in the Mirror Series, working title, Mirror’s Redemption. And the other is the much-anticipated sequel to our first novel ever written together, Neo Central.

1usWith a passion for media and sales, Murandy has a strong background in public relations and promotions as well as an education in Drama and Communications. Justine is an author herself and has worked in a multitude of industries, including publishing. She comes to Mirror World Publishing after acting as Producer and Business and Marketing Director for First Age Studios, a video game design company.

 

Eye of the Storm – Part 2

I pushed away from them, trying not to look like I was fleeing, and soon found myself at the opposite end of the L-shaped bar. “What can I get you?” The bartender, a pudgy bearded man with an obvious beer-belly, questioned.    

“Uh, rum and coke,” I said the first drink combination my mind could supply and the man busied himself with the bottles in front of him.  

“It’s on me,” a new voice said to my left and I whipped my head around. “You look like you could use it.”

The man before me was hunched over the bar, his own drink, a straight shot of whiskey over ice by the looks of it sitting on the bar between his elbows. I narrowed my eyes at him, taking in his deliberately mussed mahogany-coloured hair and his matching dark five-o’clock shadow. His black collared shirt, slightly rumpled from wear, gave me the instant impression that he figured himself a ladies man, but was currently a little down on his luck in that regard. Great, so he’s slumming it…

“I can get my own drink, thanks,” I told him, not kindly.

My rum and coke arrived and a blue five dollar bill changed hands. My blue five dollar bill.

“Victor,” he said, before I could walk away.

“Sorry?” I asked, turning back to look at him, not sure I heard him right.

“My name is Victor,” he repeated. “You look like the kind of girl who wouldn’t accept a drink from a stranger. Now you know my name, so we’re no longer strangers.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, noncommittally, lifting my drink to him in salute. “Nice to meet you, Victor.”

Having dealt with the ‘local colour’, I was ready to return to Debbie and Paul, and face the music, but ‘Victor’ felt the need to stop me again. “You never gave me yours.”

I whirled again, more confused than ever. “Gave you my what?”

He smiled, revealing perfectly straight, white teeth. So he’s not just dressing well, he’s got money. Or at least, his parents had enough to buy him braces as a kid. I snickered at the thought. “Your name,” he said, smiling wider now, thinking because I was laughing too that we must be sharing some kind of moment or something.

“Summer,” I told him. Certainly telling him my name can’t hurt anything, can it?

********** If you would like me to keep posting more of this story, please leave a comment below. If people keep commenting, I’ll keep writing! Thank you. Also, you can find part 1 here.************

Eye of the Storm, Part 1

Remember that opening I shared as an example of how openings are hard to write? (You can read about that here.) Well, with two books currently in the works, I have no plans to do anything about the sci-fi novella I started, so… I thought I would share it with you. If you like this opening bit, let me know in the comments below and I’ll keep posting every week or two so you can see where this story goes (and keep me motivated in writing it at the same time!)

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Chapter 1 – The Rain

The change came without warning, unless you count the rain. It pounded on the window of my battered Oldsmobile, demanding to be let in. I sighed, frustrated. So much for the Weather Network. Wrenching the rusted driver’s side door open, I was drenched in seconds. I scurried across the city parking lot, doing my damndest to avoid the worst of the puddles, though it hardly mattered now. The damage was done.

Inside the bar, the lighting was dim and yellow. Even so, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust.

“Summer!” Debbie ambushed me before I could so much as shake myself off like a dog after a swim. Her dry hair smelled like strawberries and stranded me somewhere between envious and nauseated. “You came!”

“Of course,” I mumbled. “You said it was important.”

Nodding, Debbie pulled back. “Come on. There’s someone I want you to meet.”

This is it, I realized, I’m finally going to meet the new boyfriend Debbie has been going on and on about. Despite this guy being the subject matter of all our conversations over the past few weeks, I really knew very little about him. I think she said his name was Paul…

“Well, if it isn’t Summer Green!”

Wait… Paul? As in Paul Sheffield? It was him, in the flesh. The very, very attractive flesh. Oh, god, what am I thinking. He’s Debbie’s boyfriend now… Not my highschool fantasy crush.

“Paul!” I didn’t manage much more than awkwardly saying his name before my nerves shut down my vocal cords. Leaning on a barstool, his elbow up on the bar, Paul was as drool-worthy as he’d ever been. Maybe more so. It had been years since I last saw him, but I remembered the day clearly. It had played in my mind over and over again to remind me of just how pathetic I was. Our last of of high school, Paul had left his group of much cooler friends to come over and give me a goodbye hug and I was so shocked I’d garbled any useful words that could have come out of my mouth in that instant. He’d walked away, a confused and sympathetic expression on his face and I just waved awkwardly and let him leave, instead of being suave and asking him to hang out over the summer like I’d planned.

In my fantasy, that summer would have led to a fabulous romance. In reality, I spent that summer working in a greasy 50’s themed diner, which was where I’d met Debbie. We were as opposite as people get, but somewhere along the line we became inseparable.

Speaking of Debbie, she’d managed to fit herself under Paul’s muscular right arm, her thin frame fitting far better there than my plumper one could have managed. She was looking up into his clear blue eyes, her own green ones twinkling. My slight envy from earlier came back with the same ferocity as the storm raging outside the building, developing into full blown jealousy.

“Paul and I are getting married!” Debbie exclaimed, looking to me for my reaction.

My eyes widened and my breathing became laboured. Face with them both and their sickening perfection, I suddenly became very much aware of my bedraggled and water-logged appearance. The nice white top I’d chosen for a night out with Debbie had been soaked through and was likely showing off my breasts, not to advantage like I’d planned, but more in an indecent sort of way. And my jeans, once form-fitting in a comfortable sort of way now just stuck to me in places where I’d rather they didn’t. I took a subconscious step back from the scene before me, wanting to be anywhere but here, but was stopped by a combination of the squashing sound my sneakers made and Debbie’s sudden frown as she began to realize I didn’t share her elation.

“That’s…great…” I tried to save face and failed.

Debbie pouted. “I know it seems unexpected and sudden,” she allowed, “but it makes sense when you think about it. Paul’s a dual citizen and is living and working in Michigan. If I want to be able to move in with him, we’ve got to get married. It’s just part of the immigration process.”

Whoa, immigrating? ‘Just part of the process…?’ I know Debbie moves fast, but holy hell.

I kept my thoughts to myself. “No, I’m sorry, I’m happy for you. I was just caught off guard, that’s all.”

Debbie beamed, assuaged. Paul smiled, that oh-so-cute lopsided smile of his that used to make me weak in the knees. Now it just made my stomach do uncomfortable flip-flops. “I get it,” he said. “You’re Debbie’s best friend, so it would stand to reason that you’d want to get to know the man she’s going to marry. Lucky for us, you and I go way back.”

“Yeah, lucky…” I mumbled. “If you’ll both excuse me, I’m going to go get myself a drink.”

***

Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to continue sharing this story and if I get enough comments, I’ll put part two up on Thursday, next week! Thanks for reading.

My Love Affair with Writing

I am often confronted by the question, ‘why do I write?’ and I don’t feel the answer is one that is easily put into words. Yet, despite not having an easy answer to this question, I know for certain that I have to write. I would feel incomplete without it.

So why is that?love-of-writing.jpg

Well first, being an author has always been my dream. I remember as a kid wandering through bookstores and libraries, I would often imagine seeing my own name on the shelves listed next to my favorite fantasy and YA authors. There’s also the thought of wanting to leave something behind; to make my mark on the world. I’ve never wanted children, but I sometimes think ‘when I’m gone, who will remember me?’ I’d like my work, my stories, to live on after me.

So that answers the question of why I strive so hard to publish and reach my audience, but it doesn’t address why I chose writing as my medium or what drives me to type out page after page. I think the answer to that has something to do with the concept of ‘Flow’. I first learned about Flow in a university course about the creative process and I was fascinated by it. A term used in psychology, Flow is defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

A state of flow, otherwise known as ‘being in the zone’ can be achieved doing any task, but in my experience it happens more frequently when doing a task that you are good at, passionate about and interested in.

When in a state of flow, some or more of the following things are experienced:ca27d20b95c49679195e5c81f016ea1f

  1. An Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. A Merging of action and awareness
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

 

As a creative person, for me, achieving a state of Flow is the purpose; it’s what makes the experience meaningful. I’m also a person who thrives on a sense of achievement or feeling productive and writing gives me that. With writing, unlike any other vocation, I’m able to purposefully achieve a state of flow and at the same time produce something meaningful that I hope to one day leave behind as my legacy.

So that’s my love affair with writing, put into words. Thanks for reading.

Why do you write? Let me know in the comments below and happy V-Day, everyone.

‘Find’ our Books in Windsor

A while back I stumbled across a video on Facebook depicting a woman in Belgium hiding books and starting a book-themed version of Pokemon Go. I immediately wished something like that existed here and even briefly thought about putting it together myself. But, with one thing and another, I got busy and the idea faded. Weeks pass and then, lo and behold, someone in Windsor has taken the initiative and made this idea a reality and it is none other than our friends over at Adventure Worlds Press, along with fellow local author, Jessica Gouin. 

So today in Windsor, Ontario, you can go outside and literally hunt for books. Clues and photos hinting at the book’s location are posted to the Facebook Group: Book Hunters Windsor which can help point the way, but it’s also possible that you just might stumble on a book ‘out in the wild’. If you do, don’t worry, the book comes with instructions on how to play and the rules are simple enough, just go to the Facebook Group and comment ‘found’ on the photo of the book you picked up. Then read it, and when you’re done, huntconsidering re-hiding it and leaving a clue for someone else to hunt it down.

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I absolutely love this concept and if you’re in Windsor or the surrounding area, I hope you take advantage of the fact that this is happening in your neighborhood. If you’re not local, then maybe you should jump on this and create something similar in your town before someone else does.

Speaking of finding our books in Windsor, if you don’t want to hunt, you can always head to your local bookstore like Juniper Books, Storytellers on Ottawa St, or the University of Windsor Bookstore. And, local or not, you can head into your nearest major retailer like Chapters and have them order our books for you.

If you just can’t wait, then come and see us on October 30th at the Caboto Club in Windsor for Retrorama. We’ll be there with Adventure Worlds Press and our ever-growing collection of really cool books to take you to a whole host of other worlds.  

It’s Release Day! The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith

If you’re a fan of Sharon Ledwith’s The Last Timekeepers, then this is a day you’ve long been waiting for. The sequel is here. The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret is book 2 in the series and the Timekeepers are back together. This time, for an adventure in Amsterdam in 1942. Read on to learn more about this thrilling time travel adventure!

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

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Book Details:

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book 2

Author Name: Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel

Release Date: October 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

 

About The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret:

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Read an Excerpt:

“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing: Paperback: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-paperback

eBook: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-ebook

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2dJvpoL

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Last-Timekeepers-Dark-Secret

KOBO: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-last-timekeepers-and-the/9781987976199

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-sharon-ledwithSaphs Book Promotions

Follow the Tour: http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/10/book-tour-schedule-last-timekeepers-and.html

Meet the Author:

Sharon Ledwith #1 HeadshotSharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOKTWITTERGOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

 

Escape to the past and have a blast.

What are your Publishing options?

A couple of days ago, I facilitated a workshop at the Arts Council Windsor Regions’s Artspeak Gallery as a part of their Art.Work series and in partnership with Bookfest Windsor. The subject of the workshop was Publishing 101 and I’m happy to say it went well and we had a really good turnout.

Since the workshop was a one time thing, and only available here in Windsor, I thought I would share with all of you the materials I prepared for the workshop, so you too can benefit from them. Here goes:

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You’ve finished your manuscript, edited it, had beta readers go over it, edited it again, and now you’re ready for the next step. But what is the next step? As a writer with a completed manuscript, what are your options?

Barring doing nothing more than putting that manuscript 2.ArtWORK.Oct16-350x226aside and starting the next one, here’s what you can do to get your book to the public:

  • Self Publish
  • Pay for Publishing Services
  • Find an Agent
  • Find a Publisher

Which option is right for you? Well, that depends on what you’re willing to put in and what you want to get out of the experience. Let’s look at each option individually.

  1. Self Publishing

The success of a self-publishing venture is directly related to how much money, time, and effort you put into it. You can do everything yourself cheaply and easily these days and print as few or as many copies as you’re willing to pay for and then do what you wish with those copies, whether it’s giving them away or selling them on a consignment basis at local stores, or directly at local events. Or, you can become an entrepreneur and make a business out of selling your brand and your book, doing all the learning and legwork required to be successful in a challenging industry.

The Pros: When you self-publish, you have control over everything. You make all the decisions, creatively and financially. You get the largest percentage possible of the revenue from your work.

The Cons: You have to do all the work, or pay professionals to do that work for you. You risk a lower-quality book and you face a lack of support. There is a lot to learn and a lot of market-research to be done. You will have less access to the market as a whole and may struggle to get your book in front of readers.

  1.  Pay for Publishing Services

I originally had this under the heading of ‘Find a Vanity Press, or Hybrid Publisher’ but I want to be clear about what this option entails. There are a number of companies out there for whom authors are their source of income. They sell publishing services, which allow you to end up with a published book by paying them to produce it for you. A lot of vanity presses are scams, though not all of them are, you just need to be aware of what you’re getting into. Vanity presses are not selective, they charge you to publish your book, and they will often not provide much beyond that original transaction and allowing you to purchase copies of your book from them to re-sell. Hybrid Publishers are a little different. They combine the vanity press model with the more traditional style publishing model. They can be selective, they may offer you more support, but you may still have to pay for their services. Each hybrid publisher is different, depending on how they’ve constructed their business model, so do your research and read your contract very carefully before signing, especially if you’re being asked to pay for any part of the publishing process.

Pros: Your book will be published by professionals. You’re paying for a quality product. The press may offer other benefits at a price.  

Cons: A lot of vanity presses are scams. This method can be expensive. You may receive no support beyond the production of the book, leaving marketing and distribution entirely up to you, just as it would be with self-publishing.

  1. Find an Agent

Agents are brokers. They represent your work to publishing houses and try to broker a deal on your behalf, making their profit from this arrangement. It makes sense then that an agent would try and bring your manuscript to the larger, more reputable publishing houses that have deeper pockets. A number of publishing houses prefer to, or will only, accept manuscript submissions from agents, so your chances of being accepted by a larger publishing house are much better with an agent. However, with a smaller publishing house, an agent will likely be of little to no use for you.

Pros: You will have someone other than yourself championing your manuscript. The agent has contacts within the publishing industry they will use to your advantage. The agent can get you a better deal than you might be able to get yourself, and some will offer their advice with the contract process.

Cons: The process of finding an agent, then having that agent find a publisher who wants your manuscript can be a long and frustrating one. A part of your revenue will go to the agent. An agent accepting your manuscript, does not guarantee that a publisher will.

  1. Find a Publisher

Publishers are selective. Depending on their size, they have a certain number of books they put out each year and they usually have certain genres or types of books they specialize in. When looking for a publisher, it’s important to consider only those that would be interested in your manuscript, as in ones where your book will fit. A publishing house is essentially a team of professionals that exist to find books they can bring to market and sell. The publisher will handle all aspects of getting your book from manuscript to finished product, including but not limited to: editing, cover design, layout, e-book production, printing, distribution, and marketing. You will still be expected to promote yourself and your book to help it sell, but you will have what support the publisher can offer throughout the entire process.

Pros: You will have a team of professionals behind every aspect of the production and sale of your book. You will have the reputation of the publisher behind you. The publisher access to distribution to get your books to the market. You do not have to pay for any part of production.

Cons: Your contract with the publisher will determine what royalties you are entitled to. You may have less creative control over the final product. The publisher’s schedule decides the release date of your book.

So there you have it. Which option is right for you? Well, that’s a decision only you can make. Even though I’m a small publisher myself, I hope I’ve given you an unbiased view into your publishing options.

 

Ps. As a reminder, our submissions open October 24th! You can find our submission guidelines on our website: www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/submissions 

Sharon Ledwith: The Name is Bond. Ravi Bond.

James Bond. The name invokes espionage, danger, martinis (shaken, not stirred) and a bevy of beautiful women with every spy adventure. Bond also conjures up something that men have drooled over for years (besides the women)—spy gadgets. In each Bond movie, master inventor Q hands James a few spy gadgets to ensure his safety, and save the world. In The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book 2 of my tween and teen time travel series, Ravi Sharma buffs up his cufflinks and straightens his bowtie to pretend to be Double-O-Seven before he’s even imagined by his creator, Ian Fleming. It was fun writing the Bond culture into this book, and quite an eye-opener when I went to research all the spy gadgets that were really created during World War Two.

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Here’s a look at some of those outrageous spy gadgets:

One plan was to create synthetic goat dung loaded with anthrax as part of PROJECT Capricious in 1942. By using flies, the government hoped to infect German troops in Spanish Morocco in an attempt to stop Spain from joining Axis powers. Now that just sounds baaaad!

Another plot was to introduce estrogen to Hitler’s food in the hopes of eliminating his trademark moustache and affecting his baritone voice. Wait…that could have been an improvement! A deadlier plot included hiding a capsule containing mustard gas in flowers to cause blindness among Nazi generals inside the German High Command Headquarters. Yikes, spying is a nasty business!

Cigarettes laced with tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (Indian hemp). The compound works similarly to morphine and was used as a possible none-lethal incapacitating agent. When given to someone, the cigarette would bring about uncontrollable chattiness. Hmm…didn’t they realize that loose lips sink ships? knife-in-pencil

Knives concealed within shoes, lapels, pencils, sleeves and coins. Cameras small enough to fit into a match box; a cigarette case which exploded upon opening. Suicide pills (L-pills) hidden in necklaces or rings. Boy, these spy gadgets were playing for keeps!

coal-bombExplosive coal or the “coal torpedo”, as it was also named, was invented by Capt. Thomas Edgeworth Courtenay of the Confederate Secret Service. Originally, it was a hollow iron casing (to look like coal), that was intended to be shoveled into the firebox of Union steam transportation ships, where it would explode. While Courtenay had approached the British War Office to further refine his idea, they turned him down. However, both the American OSS and the British SOE used forms of his original explosive during World War II. Maybe Courtenay should had gotten a patent…

The next time you squeal when you see a rat, spare a thought to the men and women of the Second World War. One deceptively cunning way to blow up enemy bases would be to fill dead rats up with explosives. The rats would be placed in factories close to enemy camps. When factory workers discovered the dead rodents they would throw them into the fire, ignite the explosives and blow up everything and everyone in the vicinity. However, the Germans discovered the rodent bomb plan, and consequently left the dead rodents to rot and spread disease. Even the Piped Piper couldn’t help them.

pigeon-spyAnd finally, my favorite…

Today, we have satellite imagery and stealth airplanes for aerial reconnaissance. In the 1940s and 50s, we had pigeons. During the World Wars, carrier pigeons completed more than 95 percent of their missions—strap an automatic camera to one of those messengers, and you’ve got yourself a camera roll of discrete reconnaissance, ready for development. I can see Q cringe now.

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

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Sharon Ledwith #1 HeadshotSharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Would you like a free sample?

Over the weekend we were in Toronto at the Word on the Street Festival and I discovered just how refreshing it was to know that nearly every person who stopped by our booth was already a self-professed reader. Typically at craft shows, conventions, or even our own events, it’s a mix of different types of people, some who enjoy reading and some who don’t. From a marketing standpoint, the conversation is very different when you already know that the person in front of you likes what you have to offer. The conversation essentially begins at a different point. Instead of, ‘Do you like to read?’ it’s ‘What kinds of books are your favorite?’ or ‘Are you looking for anything particular today?’

At the festival, we also got the chance to try out something new: Free Samples. I’ve created three different ‘Samplers’ and I’m giving them away to anyone who wants one. They’re ebooks that contain the first chapter of each of our books in a given age category. There’s one for kids, one for young adults, and one for our adult collection. So now, you can sample what we have to offer which might help you decide which book to read first, or if our membership program is for you.

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Black Lightning by K.S. Jones
The Legend of Ghost Dog Island by Rita Monette
The Curse at Pirate’s Cove by Rita Monette
The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith
Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

And a bonus short story not found anywhere else:
The Hunting Dog by Rita Monette

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The Young Adult one contains:

She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker
Neo Central by Justine Alley Dowsett
Crimson Winter by Justine Alley Dowsett
The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco
Stormdancer by Joshua Pantalleresco
Disenchanted by Leigh Goff
This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

And a bonus short story:
The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker
And the Adult one contains:MWKS3 copy.jpg

Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord
The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum by David McLain
Mirror’s Hope by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Mirror’s Heart by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Unintended by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Forbidden by Matthew Freake

And a bonus short story:
The Queen’s Intent by Justine Alley Dowsett

These ebooks are available FOR FREE in our online store! Just follow the links to check them out or head over to our online store for the whole collection.

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In other news, our Worlds Collide Gala is in two days and if you’re local to Windsor, Ontario we hope you can make it out to see us. With several authors, prizes and the birth of our imprint, Adventure Worlds Press, it will be a night to remember! RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1186485788080361/

Thanks for reading!