YA Review Time: The Broken Rivalry

YA Review Time: 

The Broken Rivalry 

A stellar second book from Christine Rees in her Hidden Legacy series. So many twists, turns, and action that I felt I was on a thrillingly supernatural roller coaster ride. I couldn't put it down!

If you read my review of the first book I had loved it but had a couple small hangups with the narrative style's repetition. Book two is way more streamlined, an amazing page tuner. The only issue was I wanted more!

Faye Lithyer is back with her old powers of foreseeing people's deaths and telepathically communicating with others like her, but also a few new ones crop up that are unbelievably strong. It makes sense, as she's a "pure blood," meaning she is descended from two Bloodline Legacy families--a big no-no. The Seekers of Evil who have attacked before are hunting them down and teens with powers start disappearing, including one of her close friends. To save him and the others, hunting down the books of the ancestors has become more important than ever. It is time for them to understand where they came from and why the seekers relentless hunt them down. Can they combine their powers and work together to save others, or will the powers they bear consume the very essence of who they are?

The strength of this book was the plot. Without giving spoilers, the ending conflicted me as it is a bit of a cliffhanger, but Rees knows what she is doing--I NEED the next one now! The pacing of the book is fast, at times slowing down, but these are necessary pit-stops because the plot is wonderfully complex giving a rich history behind the Legacy itself. The conflicts Faye must face with her heart, family, friendships, and her "pure-blood" status makes readers sympathize with how much she must bear. Relationships grow stronger, characterization is taken further, and I absolutely love Ethan and so wish he wasn't a ghost. I think he's my favorite character now. Overall, I love the deeper story behind the witchy historical background, making the idea of what could have possibly happened back in Salem and what the Seekers of Evil are really about, giving me that Puritan vibe. And yet, Rees puts a spin on that to make us wonder after all if the right pressures are put on Faye's kind, will they become the exact evil the Seekers wish to prevent?

I highly recommend this series to teens and adults who enjoy the supernatural entwined in the real world. You'll want to start with book 1 The Hidden Legacy. then grab The Broken Rivalry. You won't regret it. 

Book Baby Birth Announcement: DRACA

Book Baby




(book 2 of Celestial Spheres)

I'm proud to announce that I just delivered a beautiful book that is ??? page numbers. This is the highly anticipated sequel to Fyr, aptly named Draca (book 2 of Celestial Spheres). Here's a picture of the bouncy baby, 360 (or180?) degree-view like any good parent would show.

Here's a closer up view of the back cover blurb:

After everything they’ve been through, Alex and Toury deserve a happily ever after, but being king proxy is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Alex inherited a world divided by his father, including incensed rebels—and a rogue dragon on the loose!—but the most pressing issue is Toury. Though he chose his kingdom over her and hurt her, by the god and goddess, he loves her too much to let her go. But can he ever do enough to deserve her?

Toury is a shell of her former self and grappling to figure out who—in this still-alien world—she will become. Her relationship is a hot mess, nightmares plague her, and rooting out necromancers is more than overwhelming—not to mention family baggage. Becoming queen means overcoming her past and seeing Alex for the man he is and not the cursed monster who destroyed their love. 

Rebels, dragons, and betrayals galore are just another day of court life. Toury and Alex managed to save the world, but can they repair a torn kingdom while their personal lives are in shambles?

Interested? Head to Amazon.
You have other digital devices? All good, click here.

Tales in Publishing: Draca Pitch

Tales in 

Draca Pitch

One thing I notice authors struggling over is creating an (elevator) pitch--the short 1-2 sentence phrase to hook an agent or publisher to entice them to ask for a query letter or manuscript submission. On Twitter, there are pitch parties where you post your pitch with hashtags that show the genre and age category. If a agent/publisher likes your pitch, you are to follow their submission guidelines and go for it. Basically, it is an easy way to get noticed. And I'll tell you something: it's so much easier to have them come to you than for you to go searching and querying them. Downside? Not all agents or publishers participate and there seems to be a lot of competition.

Despite the downsides, I found two publishers through pitch days. After a couple years of querying--somewhat successfully with a handful of full requests, three R&Rs, and one almost deal--I broke into the book industry because I wrote decent pitches. Obviously, I had to have a good query and novel too, but the pitch got my foot in the door. To help others, I'm continuing to make example pitches for my novels even though they are contracted; they also make great social media advertising blurbs so this is not a wholly selfless act. Here's my pitch in red with notes to follow.

Toury and Alex saved the world, but can they repair a torn kingdom while their personal lives are in shambles? Rebels, dragons, and betrayals galore--just another day of court life.

First off, this is a sequel in a series, so it recaps the first book. However, in all pitches try your best to get in the main characters in, as well as the main conflict(s), what is at stake or what there is to lose. Well, I put a lot in with few words; since my books are always complex, this can be difficult. The stakes are whether their personal lives can be mended, including their relationship, and how the entire fate of the kingdom is going through the same exact thing. Basically, we're starting at the bottom for my characters despite wining the day last book. I give you the conflicts next, "Rebels, dragons, and betrayals," so the reader can see the problems that need to be addressed. Last, a touch of personality and originality usually turns heads. I made it that way with "just another day court life" to give it a sassy sarcastic tone to echo my characters and the mood of the book--although these are serious subjects, expect some fun and comedy along the way to lighten it up. Throughout, you want word hints to the genre. Yes, on pitch days you get to hashtag them, but shouldn't your pitch be all encompassing? This is not adding more or hard to do but comes down to word choices. This is an upper YA/NA fantasy romance so "personal lives" usually alludes to relationships--whether it be family, friends, or romance and "dragons" gives us fantasy. You can tell it does have a dystopian and historical feel with "Rebels" and "court life," but these are merely parts and not fully the genre.

Obviously, there are missing components, but a pitch is meant only to give a little teaser to leave them wanting more. Your query will cover all vital info, then when they request your manuscript, they get it all. Hopes this helps. Give pitching a try. You never know. 

If interested in the first book in this series, Fyr, see here. Draca arrives next week but you can preorder right here.

Tales in Publishing: Cover Reveal

Tales in Publishing: 

Cover Reveal

It's been a long wait, but when you tell your publisher you want something that is pretty extravagant for your cover, it takes time to deliver. The same comes for the manuscript, so I apologize that my books take a year to produce. It's worth it to do things right. I'd like to show you the cover of Draca (book 2 of Celestial Spheres).

We decided to continue the circular object and flames theme, but I wanted it to be slightly different than inserting another cool stone. This book is both about Toury and Alex, of course, but more so about Alex figuring out how to fix his kingdom and the rocky relationship he has with Toury, all while finding himself. So this book is named after him in a way, since the Sapphirians are linked to the draca (an Old English word for dragon) in legends. The blue fire is to emulate his sapphire stone ancestry, and the medallion is the king's showing the torch of leadership has been handed down from father to son. Like the labradorite stone was central in book 1, Fyr, this medallion--particularly the weight it figuratively brings--is central in book 2. On the medallion itself, the dragon was intended to show what the draca look like but also to appear more crest-like since the world is heavily constructed after pre-Victorian British culture. The motto on it in old English: Se Draca sciele riscian moncynne, translating roughly to the dragon shall rule mankind.
Stay tuned for more Draca info. Be one of the first to receive Draca by looking out for my preorder announcement. Also, get the first chapter earlier than others, as well as important announcements, by signing up for my semi-annual newsletter (promise no spam). Can't wait and love reviewing books? Snag it on Booksprout right now here. Not into reviews? You can preorder Draca here.

If you need to catch up and read book one, pick up Fyr today.


Tales in Publishing: Query example

Tales in Publishing:  Query example I'm sharing my successful query to others in hopes it exemplifies what to do and helps other au...