Friday, September 30, 2016

The Week in Links 9/30/16: Adventure Time, Luke Cage, Portal Movie


Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.


Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
13 Scary Clowns in Movies and Television [Infographic]
The Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books in America
George RR Martin and Apple announce interactive Game of Thrones books collaboration
A Brief History of Luke Cage in the Comics
Tips for Understanding the Lightroom Adjustments Panel


Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 9/30 and next Friday, 10/7.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Soul Finder by Jacinta Maree



Title: Soul Finder (The Immortal Gene #2)
AuthorJacinta Maree
Genre: NA Supernatural/Dystopian

Since being discovered as Soulless, Nadia has become a target for both terrorist groups and government corporations. Now, her only hope for survival rests in the hands of the man sent out to kill her: Diesel, the Mad Dog terrorist.

Diesel is determined to free himself of the never ending curse of reincarnation and the haunting memories that plague his mind. But when his search leads him to Nadia, a greater desire stills him from taking her life.

Unable to see into Diesel's cracking mind, Nadia instead puts her faith into his strength, fueled by eleven generations of unmatched rage and insanity. Their tight-rope relationship balances the two between life and death, love and rage, trust and betrayal.
Tension pulls at the hems of their dangerous companionship, and as time runs out all madmen must eventually make their choice.

Book two of the thrilling Immortal Gene series dives deeper into the danger of trusting your heart over your head.

Readers discretion: Adult language, violence and some adult scenes. For mature audiences only. 



Beyond the bodies left on the ground was a line of faces huddled opposite us. There must have been another fifteen prisoners inside the bunker, easily outnumbering me and Diesel. They clung to each other’s elbows and hips, moving in a single awkward unit like a spider, long limbs and shallow eyes. All of them were men, with the exception of some that were mere boys, no older than fourteen. Dirty. Starving. Wild. They didn’t look at Diesel but watched me. I was suddenly aware that I was the only female inside the hole. That was, until the next prisoner dropped in.

A blonde girl fell through the roof, landing on her side. All at once fifteen pairs of eyes turned to her. I looked at her too. She squinted into the darkness, blinded as I was as the lid locked shut above her head. The wheel knob turned. She didn’t move. I pushed off to reach her first, but Diesel grabbed me and shoved me back. He covered my mouth again as though expecting me to scream. I wanted to shout at her to run. Hide. Arm herself.

Fifteen pairs of feet moved quickly. Diesel covered my ears.

Soulless (The Immortal Gene #1)

Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons, video gaming and Japan. She writes a variety of genres including YA paranormal, steampunk, horror, new adult, dystopian and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and bestselling author, Jacinta writes to bring enjoyment to others while fulfilling her own need to explore the weird and the impossible.






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Monday, September 26, 2016

Guest Post: What is Love (chemistry?) by Lola Dodge


What is love? To answer this question, it’s easier to show examples from real life than from romance novels. The tropes I enjoy most in fictional love stories are the most overblown and unrealistic—the meet cutes, and half a dozen hot guys fighting over the same girl. Those don’t happen too much in real life and if they did I know I wouldn’t react the same as the heroines. (Like who is this big tattooed guy and why is he talking to me while I’m wearing sweatpants?? Why am I such a terrible person, stringing along a harem of guys?)

In real life, love is partnership. As a third party, you can tell when it’s there and when it’s not. Both partners work as a team. They respect each other’s needs and even when frustrations run high, they know when to apologize and make things right. The relationship is too important to lose over something petty.

One of the best ways to spot real love is to separate the partners. What do they say when their spouse or SO isn’t around? It’s a huge red flag when they start trash-talking as soon as their partner’s out of sight. On the flipside, real love compliments. I love hanging out with friends who have nothing but good to say of their partners. It’s the sweetest thing!

The beauty of a love story is watching two people come together and fight on the same side. The fighting might be a little more dramatic on the page, but whether I’m writing a dystopian story or a sweet contemporary, my goal is always to have the partners end up in a place of deep respect for each other.

So what is love? Teamwork, partnership, and respect. Leave the drama to the romance heroines ; )

<3 Lola

Title: Quanta Reset (The Shadow Ravens #3)
AuthorLola Dodge
Genre: YA
Release Date: September 27, 2016

Quanta has escaped her laboratory prison, but that’s where the good news ends.

Life at the Shadow Ravens’ compound is a disaster. She’s drowning in visions of the dark pasts and darker futures of her fellow Ravens and is plagued by her own panic-inducing memories, but Lady Eva still expects her to “train” and “participate in missions.” Plus, the food tastes like burnt plastic.

The only bright spot is her genetic pairing to the brilliant Altair Orpheus. As their relationship grows, she’s positive that chemicals aren’t the only things drawing them together—although chemistry is definitely involved.

While they test the limits of her game-changing new ability to reset time, word arrives from Eva’s agents: Doctor Nagi is still experimenting with her DNA. If he succeeds in duplicating her power…

Forget the Shadow Ravens. The whole world is toast.







Futures fizzed through my dreams.

Tair and me giggling and smiling. Then Tair and me running and dying. Tompkins staring blankly into space.

The Ravens and Eva and Nagi. Millions of possibilities swirled. The past tugged at me, too. Like an underwater cave of phantoms, dying to pull me in.

Darren’s chemical-green eyes bored into me while he cackled from the darkness.

I woke up panting. And on the floor.

Gulping deep breaths, I tried to concentrate on my stinging back, hoping the pain would push away the ghosts. There were a million and one terrible things in those dreams, but one image stuck out more than all the others:

A future Quanta on her knees, clapping her hands to her ears, surrounded by limp bodies.

So, so many bodies.

I pulled my blanket down around me and tried to even out my breathing. If my vitals spiked too much, Tair would come running, and I’d have to explain. I didn’t want to explain, even to him.

The nightmares didn’t bother me. Darren was dead, and he could laugh all he wanted now that he wasn’t breathing.

The past was like a bonfire I’d passed through. It couldn’t hurt me anymore.

But the future…

It’s just a possibility. I hugged the blanket tight. It doesn’t have to happen.

Either way, it sucked that reality was my biggest fear.

I couldn’t let myself kill that many people. I’d end it before it went that far.

And wasn’t that another chipper thought?

I grabbed the closest paper and pencil from the floor and started sketching. A timeghostly forest hovered at the edge of my vision, and I focused on it, losing myself in the shapes of the trees and mountains. By the time the paper was filled, my cold sweat was gone and panic had stopped making my vision shake.

Action. I had to do something or I was going to lose it.

But what?



Lola is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University—and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Week in Links 9/23/16: Harry Potter, Anime NYC, Power Rangers


Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
6 Novels About Freaky Cults
Hermione Granger: More Than a Sidekick
Hulu to Adapt Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass Series for Television
Here Are The First Trailers For The Ghost In The Shell Movie

Writing, Publishing and Bookishness
Making Diverse Picture Books: An Inside Look from The Barefoot Book of Children Co-Author Kate DePalma

Nerdy
Netflix planning to fill half its catalog with originals in the next few years
Bill Hader Joins The Power Rangers Movie as Alpha 5

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Art of Shadows by Lori Titus




Title: The Art of Shadows (Book 2 of The Marradith Ryder Series
Author: Lori Titus
Genre: Paranormal
Available: November 5, 2016

Dead ShapeShifters. A missing warlock. And a demon with an ancestral grudge.

Marradith Ryder's job as a Sojourner means she is tasked with finding threats of the paranormal sort, and stopping them before they cause havoc. Even with Justin and Fiona to help her, things get complicated fast. And as they face one danger, a new one presents itself, threatening Marradith and those she loves.

This is the second book in The Marradith Ryder Series, which began with Hunting in Closed Spaces. The series also includes two novellas: The Moon Goddess and Marradith, Darkly.






I saw a dead man today.

This morning, he stood beneath a tree in my back yard, arms crossed, and eyes glowing. The rain didn’t touch him, but I could see it falling all around him. The sun moved behind the clouds and lit his ethereal frame. He put a finger to his lips. Shhhhh. There are no words, but I feel his pain. It’s always with me. I was with him when he died, six months ago. He took a part of my being with him that can’t be replaced. Perhaps that’s why he comes only to me.

Then he was gone, just as suddenly as he came, leaving behind nothing but the sound of the wind and rain and the house settling around me.




Lori Titus is a Californian with an affinity for horror and dark fiction. Her work explores mysticism and reality, treading the blurred line between man and monster. She thrives on coffee and daydreams when she isn’t writing or plotting out a new story. Her latest novel is The Art of Shadows, the second book in The Marradith Ryder Series.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Photography and a Story: Fire in the Sky



Enjoy this dark fantasy scene inspired by images of the sunset. All images are mine. 

The sky was on fire. She never wanted the flames to go out. Bright orange lit the scene, casting a heavenly glow on the world.


Her heart squeezed then pounded. Her skin tingled. Even now, there was still beauty in the world. 


If only she could capture this, take it home and let it cast away the shadows determined to make her miserable. 


The scene was a perfect mixture of dark and light. Just like her. Why did people call this twilight magnificent but treat her like something ugly?


She used to despise this time of day. Its power was like hers only it was pretty. Unlike her. 


Once she got home, she'd find a way to recreate this scene. She'd use her powers to make something amazing. Then maybe she could have real friends. 


She inhaled. The tightness in her chest loosened. Light and shadow danced around her. They rose like  living things, attracted to her presence. 


Her name was Twilight. She stood between light and dark. She would make people see her true self. 

...
I love taking pictures of twilight but I'm rarely outside during that time. Since it gets dark earlier, I find myself walking my dog during sunset. I always have my camera on me now. Don't want to miss any great shots.

This little scene was something I wrote just for fun. I might turn this into a novel or short story. A character named Twilight sounds like a lot of fun. I'm already exploring the power of darkness in The Merging Series. Maybe it's light's turn. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Week in Links 9/16/16: Pokemon Go, Wrinkle in Time, Harley Quinn


Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
Social Media Best Practices for Authors
How to promote your romance novel on social media
5 Blog Post Ideas to Bring Variety to Your Content

11 Mugs for Sci-fi and Fantasy Readers
Magic: The Gathering and the Importance of Inclusive Fantasy

How To Write a Compelling Title For Your Book
53 More Bookish Movies and TV Shows Streaming on Netflix
Ghost Rider Featured in New Poster for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 4
20 Composition Techniques That Will Improve Your Photos


Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 9/16 and next Friday, 9/23.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guest Post: A Few Thoughts on Genre Conventions by Quanie Miller


I don’t think about genre too much when I get a story idea (or even when I’m writing). I typically just outline the story within an inch of its life until I have a pretty good handle on all the big picture stuff. In fact, it didn’t dawn on me that my last novel, The New Mrs. Collins, was a “scary” story until a reader pointed it out.

“I had to put it down before bed because, you know.”

“What?”

“Because it’s scary.”

“Really?” I asked.

I was shocked! In all honesty, I had not even thought about “writing a scary story.” When I initially got the idea for the book, I saw this image in my head of a mysterious woman next to a lake (ringing out a towel) and I wanted to explore who she was and what kind of secrets she had. Incorporating certain genre conventions never crossed my mind—until one of my readers suggested that I include a dog dying at the beginning of the story (to prepare the reader for all the scary stuff that happens later in the book). I gave this idea a great matter of thought.

Should I? I mean, readers do have certain expectations when it comes to particular genres: romance novels typically have a happily ever after. Mysteries generally involve an overworked sleuth, her hilarious sidekick, and a dead body. And horror books often feature something ominous in the opening pages to set the tone: a wolf howling. A hunched back gate keeper who warns the main character not to go into that house. A single sparrow on a telephone line, and right after that, miles and miles of darkness before the character reaches a farmhouse, where the light coming through a cracked window illuminates a very…odd looking figure.

But.

I felt that going back and including something gloomy at the beginning of the story was synonymous to the tail wagging the dog. The beginning of the book is somewhat comical in tone, and the characters are likeable, regular folk who just so happen to discover that there are strange, inexplicable things happening around them. So instead of focusing on genre conventions, I felt my job as an author was to get the readers so invested in the characters that no matter what course the novel took, they’d be along for the ride because they cared.

And readers did! I got many comments like, “I don’t normally read this kind of story but I really enjoyed your book.” I also got many comments from readers about how they were really rooting for the main character, and I think that’s the key, no matter the genre: creating sympathetic characters.

Of course, the most wonderful thing about writing is also the most frustrating thing; there aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules. What works for one story may not work for another, and as authors, sometimes we just have to employ the “try it and see” method. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then that’s what revisions are for.

To any authors out there struggling with whether or not to buck genre conventions, my advice is this: focus most of your energy on creating characters that your readers will care about. If you get too caught up in incorporating tropes just for the sake of it, you might end up with a serious case of the tail wagging the dog—and a story that readers find trite.


Quanie Miller grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana. She fell in love with reading at an early age and spent most of her time at the Iberia Parish Library discovering new authors like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike (she was often found walking back home from the library with a stack of books that went up to her chin). She has a bachelor's degree in English from Louisiana State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from San Jose State University. She has been the recipient of the James Phelan Literary Award, the Louis King Thore Scholarship, the BEA Student Scriptwriting Award, and the Vicki Hudson Emerging Writing Prize. She is the author of The New Mrs. Collins, a southern paranormal novel, and It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy, a romantic comedy. She loves writing stories about strong-willed women who can’t keep themselves out of trouble, traveling, and Zumba.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Behind the World Building: The Beginning

Diving headfirst into building a new dark fantasy world is like a choose your own adventure story. I'm not only enjoying the twisted ride, I'm in charge of it.

I'm talking about the 4th and final book in The Merging Worlds series. 100 years has passed between books 3 and 4. Since then all hell has broken loose.

My characters aren't immortal but they age slowly. 100 years is nothing to them.

Why 100 years? As some of you know, the books in this series were supposed to be standalone stories until I realized they took place in similar worlds. Piecing together these stories created time jumps between the books.

In Book 4, the new main characters don't remember a time before Darkness ruled the world. I figured a century was a long enough time for this to be realistic. This not knowing is important to the story.

Book 4, The Sciell's Legacy (working title), will need some deep world building. Back to the board!


This'll need to be updated, characters' personalities and powers have changed. Darkness blocks out the sun. The world has ended. In the past, non-humans remained hidden. Now the world knows about them.

I don't outline. I explore the world with my characters. This often leads to a block. I hit a wall and don't know where my characters should go next. Outlining could probably prevent this but I tried that in the past and didn't like it.

My only form of  "outlining" is making notes of character names, traits and plot points as I write.


To get out of the block, I turn to my most favorite site. Pinterest.

The series takes place on one land, Jael.

In The Sciell's Legacy, I wanted part of the series to be set somewhere else. The first block come when I was trying to figure out how to get some characters off Jael. In the end, I decided a few POV characters would start in Annissa then "something" would eventually lead them back to Jael.


Collecting images of Annissa gave the muse a nice kick.

Fortunately, I've been writing this story for years. I have three journals filled with scenes.
Unfortunately, most of those scenes became useless when this story became part of a series. They don't help much in getting around that wall.

My biggest problem is I'm thinking too much. This is the first draft. I usually throw stuff out there then fix it on the second and third... and tenth read.

I haven't done this kind of world building in awhile. This'll be an interesting ride.

To get more peeks behind the scenes, like my Facebook page. Follow me on Instagram, to read excerpts from my stories. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Week in Links 9/9/16: Underworld, Star Trek, iPhone 7


Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fantasy and sci-fi writers and fans.

Book Marketing and Branding
How To Write Fascinating Amazon Book Listings To Sell More Books
STAR TREK Enterprise Custom Rocking Horse Is Out Of This World
Five Books That (Conspicuously) Mix Science and Fantasy
It's a Game of Thrones reunion in first Underworld: Blood Wars trailer

Opinion: It’s not Creative or Commercial, It’s Both

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash



Title: Monsterland
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Genre: Horror / Action

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?





“Not a pleasant sight, ladies and gentlemen, but a stark reminder of what we are trying to accomplish here today,” Vincent began. He had their attention now. “Monsterland was created with the help of President McAdams and his administration to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as protect the entire population of the United States.” The room quieted as the guests listened with rapt interest. “By nature, we are curious creatures. I myself used my natural interest to discover werewolves. Using my resources, I captured them all and have brought them to the various parks to prevent them from rampaging our communities.”

Carter smirked. He hadn’t heard of any rampaging werewolves. Apparently, they had been in the Everglades for eons and had lived unnoticed by the rest of society. Lie one, he began his count.

Vincent continued. “Vampires have lived among us, on the fringe of society, for a long time, but their disregard for our values has made them a menace as well as a nuisance. Their wholesale thirst to corrupt our youth had to be stopped and stopped fast. No country is safe from those vermin.”

Carter caught Jessup’s face and rolled his eyes. Vamps had lived peacefully among the population for years. They didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them, he thought. They were dying out now, having trouble adding to their numbers. It was against the law to make someone a vampire, the punishment swift and terrible. Only the occasional disenfranchised teenagers found themselves sucking blood, but, generally, it had been brought under control years ago. While they were known to prey on people intent to join their ranks, usually they were turned into drones and released when the blood drawing stopped. Carter shook his head. If you didn’t give them an excuse to find a disengaged person, they eventually moved on elsewhere. With the exception of Melvin’s mother, Carter couldn’t think of another person he knew who had joined them. She ended up in Antarctica anyway.

“That brings us to the zombies.”

“The vitality challenged,” President McAdams corrected. “We don’t like the other term.”

“Of course.” Vincent smiled. “The vitality challenged presented a big, expensive burden to the country as well as the world.”

“We are working on a cure,” the president said to the room at large, his hands outstretched with assurance.

“Indeed, we are.” The doctor took over. “Having them here kills two birds with one stone. You see”—he directed this to the Asian diplomats—“making them available in a safe environment is better for the entire population. Now people can see them safely. Even though their camps were high in the mountains, pesky interlopers would go there to investigate and, sadly, were infected, making more people at risk. Here.” He pointed to a monitor. “We wear protective suits. We can study them, and people can see them without running the risk of bringing the infection home.” 



Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning and best-selling novelist of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels.  He's written ten books including the best-selling “Brood X”, “Stillwell”, “The Flip”, “The After House”, “The Hanging Tree”, “Witches Protection Program”, “Pokergeist”, "Monsterland", "The History Major", and “Battle for Darracia” series. Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island.

Monday, September 5, 2016

My First Radio Interview!


On Friday, I did my first radio/podcast interview and it was a lot of fun! I met the show's hosts, Lissha and Mz Toni, at The Harlem Book Fair.

The nerves kicked in the day of the interview. I did a ton of research on being a guest on a podcast and tried not to imagine all the things that could go wrong.

My biggest concern was background noise. Brooklyn, NY is noisy. On any day, I'll have a band practicing in the apartment above mine, children stomping back and forth next door, my dog barking because someone got too close to my apartment, subway train passing, people chatting in the hallway...

See noisy.

Fortunately, my building was unusually quiet during the interview, except for the trains. I never really appreciated how often those things passes my building. The train sounds didn't come through on the recording.

The interview was great. I had a blast. The nerves were still there but they weren't screaming at me. It's always fun talking about writing and publishing.

Check out my interview on Let's Chat!


I also realized I never listed the services I offer. I work through my publisher, Aubey LLC. You can go there to find out more and contact me.

My services:
If you have any writing, publishing or marketing question or are interested in one of my services, email me at audendjohnson (at) gmail (dot) com.

My portfolios:

Digital Marketing

Graphic Design