Thursday, March 26, 2015

Unique, fresh

I don't do more than 3 or 4 books in a series, ever. I create so many unique worlds, characters n critters, I have to keep a chart as I write. I don't do formulas, so don't expect to see book #19 from me in this lifetime.

I'm different, and I love it. It's deeply satisfying.

As for creating interesting characters, I'm so glad readers love them. The thing is, other authors do that and then end up plugging them into tired old plots. Readers deserve better. I'd rather stay fresh, and besides, I have so many different worlds swirling in my head, I might explode if I don't get them written.

Where do I get my ideas? I fight them off with boat oars so I can finish the books already in the dock.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Win a copy of Bramble Burn!


Bramble Burn: Available April 30, wherever ebooks are sold.


I hate marketing with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but it's time to woman up.

Against my every introverted instinct, I've been working on marketing. Today I updated my front matter (copyright, hyperlinks, including table of contents, website, blog and Facebook links, etc.). Back matter is next (book excerpts, bio, bibliography).

But there is a problem. That's where you come in.

I hate my bio. I don't think it's zippy/concise enough, but I hate talking about myself. I know I should include info about the number of books (27, not counting anthologies) and the genres I write (paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi rom, futuristic) to inform readers about what I do. I've been eyeing the bios of other authors, studying what appeals to me as a reader,

Part of the trouble is I don't always fall into a neat niche. My books are always HEA, but there's often a mash up of science and magic. I excel at world-building but quiver at the specter of email lists.

I'll knuckle down if needed, but I'll be thrilled if anyone else is up for the challenge.

To win a Bramble Burn ebook, send me your best shot at a bio at autumndawn@autumndawnbooks.com. It should be short, spell checked and make me sound like a rock star. To help, I've included the old bio and my bibliography.

Good luck!




About the author:
               
Autumn (also writing as R. Lilly) is a professional writer and stay at home mom with three kids, a dog and an active imagination. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, John, who is known to bring her flowers "just because.”
After 34 years in Alaska, she moved to Washington with her family to enjoy a state with actual seasons.
She started self-publishing in 2010 after a string of rejections that read, “We love your writing, but we’re not sure how to market it.” She published on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which lead to a number of bestsellers. After The Charmer hit  #1 on Barnes & Noble for fantasy romance, she threw herself into editing and uploading her backlist.
The next year and a half passed in a blur as she worked non-stop, and productivity declined as she took time to homeschool her autistic son, who was suffering from bullying issues. With boxing lessons and a year to boost his confidence and academic skills, he’s now doing well in mainstream high school.
The strain of maintaining a business and home schooling while taking care of her family was draining, but God blessed her efforts and the results were worth it. Her income for 2011 was $100,000, far exceeding her best year with traditional publishing.
In 2012, Amazon acquired Dorchester books and Autumn gave Amazon the right to publish two of her Spark Series books, When Sparks Fly and No Words Alone, believing that diversification is good business.
While Autumn is grateful for the opportunities traditional publishing provided, she remains passionate about self-publishing. Keep an eye on her blog for news about upcoming books!
Connect with Autumn online at:
Sneak peeks of works in progress: authorautumndawn.blogspot.com
Friend me on Facebook

Did you like this book? Positive book reviews drive sales and keep me working for you! Readers have the power to make the next best seller. Fans rule!



ALSO BY AUTUMN DAWN:

Spark Series:
When Sparks Fly Amazon books
No Words Alone Amazon books
Solar Flare

Anthology for the Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance:
Iron & Hemlock

Iron & Hemlock Series:
Iron & Hemlock
Gargoyle Girl
Gargoyles in the Attic
Rowen & Gold

Dark Lands Series:
The Charmer
Dark Lands: Homecoming
Scent of Danger
The Golden Bell
Ghost in Her Heart
Beast Wars
Dark Lovers Anthology (includes The Golden Bell & Homecoming)
Dark Warriors Anthology (includes Ghost in Her Heart & Beast Wars)

Ladies in Waiting:
The Woman Inside
The Other Woman

Through the Looking Glass

Draconian Series:
Ride the Stars
Careful, He Bites
Aliens Do it Better: Anthology featuring Careful, He Bites and Interstellar Lover

Interstellar Lover

Troll series:
Under the Bridge

Western Fantasy:
Women, Whiskey & Gold

Fire, Earth & Water Series:
Scorched Earth
One Night to Burn
When the Sea Burned
Wind Burn

Convergence Series:
Bramble Burn
Breaker’s Ruin

Monday, March 23, 2015

Snippet: the walnut tree



From Bramble Burn, book 1 of the Convergence Series, available April 30. Pre-order it at Amazon, B&N, etc. Here's the official release info.


Chapter 4

She rose at dawn and packed a lunch, unsure how long she’d be gone. She checked on her greenhouse and looked at the cherry tree gang down the street. She hesitated, but she needed peace of mind. She drew on her staff and sent out a small pulse of power. Five of the trees opened, spilling naked, terrified thugs like noxious grubs. They were coated with sticky sap, and as they escaped, the trees shook leaves over them, coating them like walking bushes. It didn’t disguise their nakedness, but it would be extremely difficult to remove.
The sixth tree didn’t open; there was no point.
She took no pleasure in his death, but she refused to mourn him, either, not when he’d clearly meant to kill her.
The morning was warm and birds greeted the sun, chirping happily. She rode along the outer edge of the park, surveying the utter lack of trees. A giant skeleton lay on the outskirts, the reptilian nose poking over the boundary; it would make a good source of bonemeal. An armored truck lay overturned near it, a hole punched in the side. With the early morning mist, it looked like a war zone. Nothing bigger than a weed grew in the entire park, and the trees had been burned to stumps.
She finally reached the edge of the park, frowning as she realized it extended past the boundary on her map. It had grown a little, but she’d talked about that with the city, and that was why she had a year to contain the Bramble. The city didn’t want her delaying so that she could claim more land, but they made allowances for the spread.
She chose a walnut and placed it on the edge, leaving Twix on guard. She’d considered using an oak, but decided it would be fun to diversify, and might even make the boundary stronger.
The thing was, this was a poor district. A tree like this would be tempting firewood, so she needed to make it valuable enough that the products were more popular than the wood would be. It would take time, especially since she needed to provide the tree with protections, but it would also be fun.
She closed her eyes and coaxed the nut from the shell, making a protective cage of shoots around her and Twix as she taught the tree what she needed.
Hours later, she stepped from the tree and squinted at the afternoon sky. The local wildlife had been scared off, but there was a news crew, and they made quick work of swarming her.
“Miss Baily! Can you tell us about your latest tree?” A woman with shoulder length, straight blond hair and a business suit asked. Juniper recognized her as Veronica Myles, the local news lady for Channel 6.
Juniper sighed, but she’d known they were there. She might as well put them to good use. She took a long drink of honeyed tea from her thermos before answering hoarsely, “Yeah. It grows brooms and pens, as you can see.” She gestured to the handsome brooms with stout, walnut wood handles and black or red bristles. The pens looked like bark-covered, sharpened pencils and had a small scored place for personalization, and everything had the Iron Oak logo, a stylized tree. The pens said, “Genuine walnut ink.” She plucked two and handed one to the reporter, then picked a red bristled broom to tie to her saddle, next to her staff. She needed to sweep her floor.
“Why brooms?” Veronica asked, admiring her name inscribed on the pen.
“It will grow nuts in the fall,” Juniper said, dodging the question. It wasn’t smart to suggest it was to prevent stupid people from cutting down a valuable tree. She nodded to the hollowed trunk. “There’s a fresh water spout inside, so anyone who wants to can get water. It’s all free for now.” Water was always needed and would be available all year, making the tree even more popular. She mounted Twix, ready to leave.
“Are you a philanthropist, Ms. Baily?” another man asked.
She laughed tiredly. “I’m a business woman. Excuse me.” She urged Twix to walk away, and the reporters wisely gave him space, though Veronica followed her, stepping lively in sensible shoes. “I’d like to ask you a few more questions, Ms. Baily. Would you be interested in talking over dinner? My treat, of course.”
“Tempting, but no. I don’t have much time right now.” Juniper kept her eyes open for anything strange. Despite the crowd, she wouldn’t take chances.
“Yes, but everyone has to eat.” Veronica’s smile was big and toothy, like a beauty pageant queen. Her orthodontist would be so proud.
“No, thanks.” She nudged Twix into a trot that soon left the reporter behind.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bramble Burn is finished and off to the editor!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Snippet: angry cherry trees

In celebration of finishing a cover and a blurb, here's a snippet:


On the bright side, so would everyone else. She didn’t feel good about it, but her arm reminded her she’d been defending herself. Nobody could fault her for that.
Once inside her tree, she glanced at her arm to confirm it was a flesh wound and wrapped it so she wouldn’t have to mop her floor. She took care of Twix and showered, doctoring her arm with unicorn glue.
She’d had to make sacrifices when she came here, and most of her books had been left behind. When she had money, she’d have to ask her mother to box them and ship them here. The freight would be painful, and in the meantime she’d have to find a library.
She took out her phone and reluctantly turned it on, checking her messages. There were several nagging texts from her mom and matching voice mail, most about her brother. Since she didn’t want to know what her brother had done now, she ignored them.
The phone rang, startling her. She didn’t get many calls, and she didn’t recognize the number. She answered cautiously, “Hello?”
“Hey, Juniper! Just wondering if your tree is on fire tonight, because I could use take out again,” Mia said cheerfully. “Otherwise I’m stuck with paperwork.”
Juniper smiled and sat on her bed, leaning against the wall. “No, but I did run into some monsters.” Human monsters, but still. “Nothing serious, but I did get scratched.”
There was a short silence as Mia calculated her gift for understatement. “I’ll be right there.”
Juniper smiled, warmed by her concern. “Don’t bother; I already glued it.”
“Did they attack your tree, or was it on the way in?”
Juniper thought about the way the gang had waited for her. She needed an early warning system, needed more trees. She didn’t want to be surprised again.
“Juniper?” Mia asked, concerned.
“Sorry. I was wondering how much a bullet proof vest costs. Monsters are one thing, but I need to think about better protection.”
“Someone tried to hurt you,” Mia said flatly. She sounded sure.
Juniper thought about how Kjetil seemed to know her movements, how he’d implied she was being watched. Was Mia’s call part of it? She sighed. “The local gang tried a shakedown. I refused, the leader shot me, and I defended myself.”
“Are they dead?”
“Define dead, because the trees holding them are definitely alive.”
There was a long silence. “Dead would be good. I’m glad you’re okay. Where is the wound?”
“Inside my upper left arm.” Admitting it made her realize how shaken she was. She’d almost died.
“Are you inside your tree now? Are you safe?”
“Yeah. I’ll be all right. I just…needed to talk.” Now that she’d admitted it, she realized she was cold with shock. She tucked her feet under her covers and focused on breathing.
“Do you need me to come over? I’d bring back up.” It was a generous offer, considering Juniper’s address.
“I’ll be fine. I’m heading out early tomorrow, so I won’t be home for a while.” She needed to anchor the second tree, and she would be tired. “I’ll have my phone off, but I’ll try to check my messages tomorrow night.”
“Okay. Please call if you need anything,” Mia said, concern in her voice. “And Juniper? Please be careful.”
“I will. Good night.” She felt better, but it would be nice if she had a tub to soak in. There was plenty of water, but the greenhouse storage tanks only made it lukewarm. Maybe if she had a way to heat it, she’d consider a tub.
She fell asleep to thoughts of water, and dreamed of angry cherry trees.

Cover...finished? I think I got it.


Still open for comments. The input has definitely helped make a better product, though I think my family is ready for me to move on. It's like the eye doctor asking, "A....or B?" over and over.