Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I jogged. On purpose.

This is my second morning jogging. The dogs love it, though they seem puzzled that no one is chasing us. Oddly, even as I tried to talk myself out of it, I was excited to get started. I figure it takes very little to get me a runner's high: a slow chug will for half a mile will do it. Anything that makes the heart thump is a success, I figure.

I'm not good at it, but I'm great at "stealth jogging". You know, hitting the back field once all the neighbor kids and the first wave of workers has left for the day.

In the words of Beymax of Big Hero Six, "I am not fast."

Introducing Breaker's Ruin

So Bramble Burn is in the pipe, will be released April 30. Which means I'm working on book 2 of the Convergence Series, Breaker's Ruin. No release date yet, but probably late summer/early fall. I'll keep you posted.




Breaker's Ruin




“What are you doing here?” Daisy frowned at the man in her doorway. The insistent knocking had dragged her from her bed, and she wasn’t thrilled to see him. The man was too handsome for his own good, and unfortunately, he knew it. “Do you know what time it is?”
Breaker braced one hand on her door frame and gave her a slow, hot smile. Being a dragon made that second nature. “Hello, Daisy. We thought we’d visit.” He glanced over his shoulder, his expression less amused.
Since he didn’t move, Daisy peered around his large body. She wouldn’t normally get that close to him, but she didn’t wake easily and the sleep haze made it seem okay.
Lit only by ambient light, a man wove closer, stumbling as he bumped into a table in the small chocolate factory. Something metal clattered to the floor. He cursed in a familiar voice and limped closer, muttering to himself.
“Luke?” Daisy brushed Breaker aside for a closer look, uncomfortably aware of his hard heat. Not a bit of give on that one. She flinched when her brother Luke knocked over a pile of boxes, a puff of flame escaping his mouth. She backed up, wisely putting Breaker between her and the young dragon. Luke would never purposely hurt her, but he was strong. He’d be very upset if he accidently set her afire.
“He could walk by himself,” Breaker said sardonically. “Help wasn’t desired.”
“Is he drunk?” she asked, concerned. Abruptly aware of her thin tank top and sleep shorts, she belted her black cotton robe. Breaker wasn’t staring, but he radiated awareness of her body. Abruptly conscious of her messy blond curls, she shoved a hand through the short, silky mass in an attempt to tame it.
Ugh! Now she was grooming for him.
Breaker made room for Luke in the doorway, his bronze eyes watchful. Her living room light glinted off his black-green hair and the green scaled band around his neck, the sign of a green dragon. Scales protected the back of his hands and his black talons were politely blunted, though that could change in an instant.
 His wings had been transformed to black leather pants and boots, and his formfitting, partly unzipped leather jacket revealed a matt green t-shirt made of micro scales. A platinum medallion with his family crest winked on his chest.
“I’m not drunk,” Luke said with dignity. “I’m stoned.” His indigo and silver coloring was echoed in his black blue hair, and he wore a silver jacket over his inky blue, leather pants and shirt.
Breaker intercepted her look of outrage. “An older human woman up for a quick ride slipped something in his drink. I intercepted them as they were stumbling out the door.”
Outraged on Luke’s behalf, she stepped aside to let them in. “Did you call the cops?”
Breaker raised his brows as Luke dropped on her leather couch. “It wasn’t necessary. After I threatened to bite off her face, she apologized profusely and fled. I’ll have her watched for a few days.” His smile was sharp. “She’ll have more dragon men around than she can handle.”
Daisy grunted. She knew the woman would be investigated further; dragons weren’t very forgiving. Somewhat mollified, she put her hands on her hips and stared at her brother. “Are you going to be all right? Why did you come here?”
“Mom and dad aren’t home. Dad said something about “warm sands for old bones”. I think they went south.”
Daisy blinked. Her mother was human and her first husband had been elven, resulting in Daisy’s Halfling status. She’d married a white dragon called Malcolm and had Luke when Daisy was three, much to Daisy’s delight. Daisy had spent the next ten years mothering him, and he’d returned the favor by being fiercely protective of her. It was no surprise he’d chose to crash at her place if he weren’t feeling well.
Her mom was the “artsy” type, a pretty blond who’d reached middle age with the expectation that men existed to take care of her. She was a loving, if scattered, parent.
“Odd. Usually they call. Malcolm is almost as absentminded as she is sometimes. I know he’s got to be at least fifty, but I swear he seems younger than she is.” Not that he looked fifty, but there was a sense of age to Malcolm. His face might be unlined and his white hair thick, but at times he seemed almost otherworldly. He was also unbeatable at chess and a whiz with the NY Times crossword puzzle.
Breaker looked mildly surprised. “Your father is as old as the hills, love! I’m not even sure how a dragon that old produced offspring.” He studied Luke as if he were a mystery.
“He’s old?” she echoed, belatedly realizing she should offer refreshment. Or should she? It was after one in the morning. She’d rather kick them out and go back to bed. Not that she would do that to her brother. He was only seventeen, and clearly not feeling well.

Breaker was another matter.

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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Official Bramble Burn Blurb, release date, preorder


Preorder at Smashwords, Amazon, ibooks
Release date April 30, 2015


It had been thirty years since the Convergence, when the dimensions aligned and combined Earth and the world of Gwyllon, known in human mythology as “Underhill”. Elven castles and ancient ruins sprouted in vacant lots, on major highways, sometimes merging with existing buildings, twisting into completely new structures. Roads and rail systems reformed, and after the rioting, starvation and death, agriculture finally sorted itself and food began to flow. A new government formed of elves and men had arisen, a society of human tech and elven magic. Cell phones and frost giants, race cars and elven steeds, dungeons and dragons…

And everywhere, monsters.

Tree mage Juniper was twenty-three, a child of the new generation. When she found a source of magic buried in an abandoned park, she made a deal with the city. If she can stabilize the park’s wild magic, she’ll own it…if she can survive.

Now she has to clear out magic spawned monsters, deal with a werewolf suitor and survive her bloodthirsty dragon uncle. She’s going to have to dig deep to subdue Bramble Burn Park.

Featuring Haunt!

Bramble Burn cover feedback

I lean toward #1. What do you think?

1. Dragon w scales


2. Scales                                                                  3. Dragon symbol

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Newest Bramble Burn cover. I think it conveys the idea better.

 New vs. Old cover. 

Thoughts?

Unlike a video game, there is no "expert" parenting level.

We kept nagging at the boys to shower daily, because the locker room stench was killing us. Finally, I decided to try another brand of deodorant (Arm & Hammer). Problem solved! It seemed the gel on the other brand was so sticky, it never washed completely away, trapping odors. I told my kids to throw the old brand away, pleased we'd figured out the problem.

Youngest son: Okay. I've had that one for a couple of years anyway.

I did a double take. "How do you have deodorant left over for two years?

Youngest: "I didn't like the smell, so I usually didn't wear it, but don't worry, I like the new stuff."

Never assume that you know what makes your kids tick. Unlike a video game, there is no "expert" parenting level.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thanks for the cover input. I'm going to tweak the cover on the right to give more info about the book...somehow.

I'm doubting myself, feeling general anxiety about this book. Usually that means I'm on to something good. Time to suck it up and wade through the mud. I'm so close to finished, I can smell it.

Part of the anxiety is having three teens. We just get one sorted and another gets sick, has school drama or a Crazy Stubborn Teen Day. Where the heck is the manual that was supposed to come with these things? Every other complex gadget I've ever received came with a thick text, and human babies arrive naked and screaming, without even a brochure. Gah!

John and I have stress. Sometimes we just look at each other and say, "What's wrong with me? Every move I make seems to be wrong." Then we assure each other that we never had kids before we were parents and talk to others who are going through the same thing.

Our conclusion? We aren't constantly trotting to the police station and principal office, so we must be doing something right. God willing, no one will live under a bridge. I kid you not, I actually worry about that sometimes. You know, if my kid won't turn in his homework, he'll end up homeless and alone.

Clearly, I need to take up a hobby. Does cooking for ravenous teens count? Oh, wait...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Radish Tooth, or Don't Get Dental Work in Mexico

I am grateful for modern dentists. I shudder to think what it was like when whiskey and pliers were involved.

My grandpa once drank vodka and yanked his own molar out with a pair of pliers, but he's not the craziest cheap dental story in the family. My aunt (who shall remain nameless) went to Mexico to save a buck on dental care. The dentist sedated her on a dirty couch in his office. When she woke up (thankfully with her kidneys intact, and not in a bordello), he said, "It's lucky you came in! You were about to lose all your teeth on top. We yanked them and replaced them with teeth on posts. Make sure you come back next year so we can do the rest!"

Back in town, her regular dentist was horrified. "What did you do?"

It gets better. For the next few months she had a wiggly tooth, and she fiddled with it. One day it popped out and she had to search the couch. She found it. Relieved, she stuck it back in her mouth...and promptly lost it while walking in the woods.

She came to my parent's house for dinner, and I wouldn't have said a word, except she arrived with a cotton ball in her mouth to hide the gap and kept covering her mouth. I come from a mischievous family with Irish blood. I couldn't resist a few bars of, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth..."

There was blood in the water. My dad suggested to his little sister, "You know, we could make a tooth for you. I could carve it out of wood and paint it in the shop."

"Yeah! That's a great idea! Let's do it," she said.

She was serious, people. Keep in mind, her appointment to fix it was in two days.

We got crazy with it. Dad suggested fabricating a metal tooth. My aunt got happier and more excited. Mom and I were hysterical. Marshmallows covered in clear nail polish were met with enthusiasm, and my aunt thought we were really on to something with glue gun wax and make n bake clay. Finally, worried she was going to poison herself (and dying of laughter) I suggested carving a radish tooth, shaving off the red part.

My mom's eyes lit. "Do it!"

So I did. The great thing about a radish is it's curved like a real tooth and easy to carve. She popped it in, enthused that it only vibrated a little bit when she talked...and then she asked why we were hysterical. The tooth stuck out like a bucktooth rabbit, and eighth inch too long, giving her a hillbilly Jill look, so I suggested she nibble it down to size. The resulting tooth was ragged, but fit perfectly.

She was on a roll. She called Fred Meyer to ask about polymer clay while I made some teeth for the road, cracking jokes about cops and drug sniffing dogs and her little baggie, and how I was going to tip off my cop brother-in-law that she had contraband.

So she gets to Fred Meyer and pops in a fresh tooth. It's late, there are few customers and the lady at the counter remembers her call. She asks with a smile, "What are you making?"

My aunt opens her mouth...and spits the tooth at the woman.

The poor cashier never said a word.

I thought we were done. I couldn't get any crazier...and then the next day, my mom got an email of a picture of make and bake teeth, except these were the "make and dry" type. Picture chalk in your nice, wet mouth. You know what happens next.

My aunt made the teeth and went to watch a motor cross race. All was well until a little boy said, "Lady, you have white stuff all over your lips." The clay had dissolved, taking her fake tooth and her dignity with it.

And this is why we don't have dental work done in Mexico, kids. In the effort to save a dollar, you might find you've bit off more than you can chew.
Slept all night, got to use only Tylenol yesterday, can mostly talk, so I'm thrilled! Thing is, this morning I feel completely woozy, like I took another prescription narc. I assume it's the pain meds coming out of my system, but I'm not loving it. How long does this junk last? Is it a drink lots of water thing? I'm grateful to my dentist, but a wee bit o' warning might have been nice.

For someone who doesn't even like crowds, because everything is chaotic and uncontrolled, this is very disconcerting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Possible book covers


Since I've been having trouble writing I worked on book covers. I lean toward the one on the left, but my family is divided. Any thoughts?


Monday, March 2, 2015

I've never liked my baby chin. Thanks to the swelling, I got to see what I look like with a square jaw. It's not a good look for me, so I think I'll appreciate the chin I've got.

I can chew today! Sorta. When your doc says to clear the calendar, the next five days won't be fun, they know what they're talking about. Tylenol didn't work out yesterday, but I'm hopeful it will today. The headache from the pain meds are becoming worse than the tender mouth. It's getting better, though. I can talk a bit.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I don't get the appeal of narcotics.

I don't get the appeal of narcotics. I'm on day three after the gum graft and in addition to being hung over, I'm crabby. The woozy stuff seems to be less effective each time. Since I can't mix and match what I've got with over the counter stuff, I've decided it's Tylenol today, since I value my ability to walk a straight line.

I've gotten very good at grunting and charades, since talking hurts.

I feel like I've been punched in the face when the stuff wears off...while wearing braces. I haven't dared take a close look at the stitches, since even with the pain meds it's way too tender. Sometimes curiosity simply isn't worth the price. But hey, I'll have teeth when I'm old.