Fall into Fantasy – Week 3, THE UNDEAD: PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Elsie Elmore

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 3: The Undead: Playing for Keeps
By Elsie Elmore

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Survival definitely trumps the in-crowd.

Her corpse-following scare reeks of a major prank and coincides with the arrival of Eric. He’s the hot new guitarist in her brother’s band. But Eric’s arrival isn’t by chance. He’s a Grim Reaper dispatched to find out why Death’s clients aren’t staying down.
As Eric realizes that Lyla can wake the dead, he jockeys for control of her gift. His uncanny way of appearing when she needs him most earns her reluctant admiration. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are easier to deal with than living emotions. 
Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.
Buy your copy here: Kindle  Barnes & Noble Print  Amazon Print
Or add it to Goodreads

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round. 
Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel. Find her on the web: on twitter at @ElsieWriter, her blog at elsieelmore.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elsieelmorewriter.
Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Fall into Fantasy, Week 2 – How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 2: How to Date Dead Guys 
Under the Blood Moon series
By Ann M. Noser

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one. 
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

Buy it from: Amazon US  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads


My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory. For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction. 
I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.
Find Ann Online: 
Blog   Facebook page  Twitter  Goodreads

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Fall Into Fantasy, Week 1- Darkness & Light Series by KL Schwengel

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 1: The Darkness & Light Series
Book One: First of Her Kind
Book Two: Emergence
Book Three: Edge of Darkness (Release date 2015)

It seems everyone wants to dictate what Ciara does with her life: Serve the Goddess, destroy the Goddess, do as you promised your aunt — all Ciara really wants is to keep the two magics she possesses from ripping her apart.

And that’s not going to be easy.

Not only is her earth magic in complete opposition to her other power, blood ties pull her in divergent directions as well. And then there’s Bolin, the man sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the growing attraction between them, but is it Ciara he wants, or her power?

None of which will matter if Ciara can’t overcome her fear and learn how to use her gifts. No one knows the depths of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control. Will she lose herself entirely? Or be forever caught between Darkness and Light?

Buy the e-book: Kindle Nook

Or the paperback: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of who wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

Buy the e-book: Kindle  Nook
Or the paperback: Amazon  Barnes & Noble


K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed. She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Connect online at…

Blog  Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter  Amazon Page  Goodreads

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

“Fall into Fantasy” Tour Line-up


It’s August, and that means Fall is upon us! To celebrate the cooler weather and keep your mind off any back to school blues, we’ve put together the Fall Into Fantasy Tour. This tour celebrates the wonderful fantasy books that you can dive into–right now!

But what’s a tour unless we are giving away free stuff? That’s right! Each week, we will be giving away some awesome prizes from the author being featured. And to wrap things up at the end of the promotion in December, we’re going to have a huge Facebook party all weekend long featuring these authors and more!

Want to get an idea of what is ahead? Check out the calendar below!

August 25th: The Darkness & Light series by K.L. Schwengel
September 1st: How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser

September 8th: The Undead: Playing for Keeps by Elsie Elmore 

September 15th: The Enchanted Bookstore Legends by Marsha A. Moore
September 22nd: The Curse Merchant by JP Sloan
September 29th: The Ragnarok Prophecies by Ayden K. Morgan
October 6th: The Daath Chronicles by Eliza Tilton
October 13th: Me! The Heirs of War series by Mara Valderran

October 20th: Salvation by James Wymore

October 27th: Strings by G. Miki Hayden

November 3rd: The Shadow Series by Anna Hub
November 10th: Between by Lisa Swallow

November 17th: Darkness Watching by Emma Adams
November 24th: Bound by Kate Sparkes
December 1st: The December People series by Sharon Bayliss
December 8th: The Disciple series by L. Blankenship

December 15th: Evensong by Krista Walsh

Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here! And be sure to check out these awesome blogs that will be hosting the tour for us:

Bilbo’s Book Ends

Katie’s Stories

Book Crazy Gals


Read Me

Kelly P’s Blog

SW Fairbrother

Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour? 

  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
  • If you are an author that wanted to take part, be sure to add me on Twitter or Facebook to hear about the next promotion I plan! This won’t be the last. :)


Today’s the day, my friends! Today I reveal the brand new cover art for the upcoming release of THE CURSE MERCHANT.

I’m not going to spend endless paragraphs burying the lead, so without increasing ado… I give you Dorian Lake:

The Curse Merchant: Book 1 of the Dark Choir series.

When I tell you that Dorian Lake is the best damned hex-peddler in Baltimore… I mean that in every literal sense.

What we have in this cover is a focus on both the mood of the novel, and the city itself. Curse Merchant is “urban” fantasy more than a simple genre nomenclature. For me, the city of Baltimore is as much a character of the book as anyone else, and I hope the readers agree. I’ve tried my best to situate the book as indelibly in its setting as has Richard Kadrey for the city of Los Angeles in his Sandman Slim novels.

The Curse Merchant will be available for purchase on September 15th. Spread the word, if you would, and feel free to join me for an online release party on Facebook from 5pm – 6pm on the 15th. Details forthcoming!

Go and tell others, my friends, and keep your karma shiny!

#MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

Holy cats… I got tagged by the illustrious 2014 Kindle Book Awards nominee Sharon Bayliss to participate in the MyWritingProcess Blog Hop. It’s like some kind of social media contagion… I’m a carrier. I’ve been infected. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, Put me down before I turn!

Seriously, though, thanks to Sharon for tapping me to participate. I have plenty of opinions, and it’s rare that I’m actually invited to voice them. So… when I devour your brains, you all can thank her on Twitter @SharonBayliss.

Here’s a quick blurb of what this blog hop is all about:  “We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…”

Here are my responses to the four questions:

1) What am I working on?

Right now, I’m roughly 38,000 words into a horror/western stand-alone novel with the working title of YEA THOUGH I WALK. It’s a creature feature set in the Wyoming Territory during the frontier expansion. In a nutshell, it’s vampires vs. wendigo vs. cowboys, with some serious mind-fuckery sprinkled throughout.

Meanwhile in the back of my head, I’ve been tossing around a rough skeleton for the third Dark Choir novel, THE CURSE MANDATE. I have larger points which will land, but it’s like trying to stitch together a dinosaur skeleton without knowing if the bones you’re sifting through all belong to the same dinosaur.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

The genre of the Dark Choir series is categorized as Urban Fantasy. From my experience reading in the genre, The Dark Choir books play their magic way closer to the vest than some of the more visible properties out there… The Dresden Files, for example. The magic is far more subtle… you’ll never see Dorian Lake launch a plume of fire from the end of a staff, nor will you find vampires lurching around in feeding dens. The feedback I received from THE CURSE MERCHANT upon its initial self-published release seemed to echo the sentiment that it makes suspension of disbelief easy and immediate. This is precisely what I wanted… a world-building experience that was more similar to the recognizable real-world Baltimore than some parallel universe with witches and giant panda-bats.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the kinds of stories I’d want to read. Well… not ALL of the stories I’d want to read. I leave some of the next-level extreme science fiction to others better equipped. At least for the time being. I enjoy the atmosphere of the Dark Choir series. It’s a world into which I enjoy escaping, filled with fine liquors, engaging femmes fatale, and a protagonist I’d spend real time with in the real world.

And as for YtIW, it’s an ambitious novel… perhaps my most ambitious to date. It’s a period piece, and there are some storytelling conventions which require LOTS of attention and fore-planning. It’s rather like going to the gym for a nice, solid workout.

I write what I write because it’s an utterly immersive experience for me, and it’s a blast!

4) How does my writing process work?

Ho HO… glad you asked. Actually, loyal readers of the Fistful are pretty well-versed in my anal, left-brained system of spreadsheets and outlines. In case you’re new, here’s a flurry of links for you to check it out:

- I begin with an idea. I have enough story ideas to fill up an entire Word document, so I can’t expressly say how it works. They just come. I tend to bat the idea around in my head for several weeks before I can tell whether it has legs.

- Then I make a plot outline.

- Then I take the plot, flesh out bullet points into a list of scenes, and then make individual scene worksheets for each.

- Then I take each major character in the story, and cook up an extremely long and thorough character worksheet for each.

After that, I simply start drafting. By the end of the exhaustive pre-writing phase, sitting down to bang out word counts isn’t that difficult. The keys are to keep writing without stopping to edit, leave the polishing for a day after the first draft is complete, and spend “down time” (usually in the car during my commute) hashing out dialogue out loud. If anyone were in the car with me, they’d assume I was having a psychotic break.

When the first draft is complete, I let it age like a smelly piece of horrifying cheddar. When all emotional bonds between me and the manuscript have withered on the vine, I pick it up for a ground-up reread and revision pass. The first pass is spent hunting down plot holes, testing believability, pruning abandoned leads, and shoring up weak characterization.

On my second pass, I test for readability… pacing, dialogue, prosody. Yep… prosody. I end up reading quite a bit of the manuscript out loud. I’m surprised at how many people don’t do this. At the same time, I hammer it with a course editing mallet, catching the really glaring typos and misspellings.

With that entire process complete, I farm the manuscript out to my alpha reader (spoiler: it’s my wife). When she gives me all of her notes on plot and characterization, I tidy up the manny with a third pass, then send it out to my beta readers. I give them a month or two to really hash through it, wherein I tend to launch into my next project. Yep! These overlap.

When my betas come back with their notes, it’s time for the final plot revision pass and edit. Following this, it goes out to acquisitions… or at least it will when I get around to wrapping up YtIW.

There you have it. I try to write every evening after my boy hits the hay, and usually get between 1500 and 2000 words in per day. I tend to finish first drafts in the space of three months, not counting pre-writing.

ALRIGHTY, BUCKAROOS! I can feel the virus necrotizing my flesh, and the hunger for brains has become all-encompassing. Time to tap some people to spread the contagion, and share with the world their writing process. First on the meat-train:

HEATHER MARIE, YA Fantasy author. She’s always posting up “for reals” Tweets, and I bet she’ll be highly forthcoming with regards to her writing process. She has a pretty sweet novel coming out soon…

DEBRA DUNBAR, urban fantasy and paranormal fiction author, horse owner, and critique group partner. Debra is prolific with a capital FFFFFFFfffffff…. Her ragingly successful Imp series has garnered a legion of fans, and she just keeps pumping out the awesome. I bet her writing process includes way more Gatorade than mine.

SAM CURTIN, self-published author of paranormal horror, student of anthropology, and advocate for pagan interests. She’s got quite the full plate between work, study and her recent nuptials. I’m curious how she continues to make the word counts rain.

And of course… COURTNEY SLOAN, author of horror, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and my wife. I know her writing process… but YOU DON’T!!! So there.

Off to chew brain stems, kiddos… om nom nom…


Author Support Blog Hop – Making the Time to Write

This blog post is primarily for all of you practicing and aspiring authors out there who struggle to make the word counts rain while holding down a day job, a family, one or more hobbies, pets, world domination, an illegal panda trafficking ring, co-ed slip-and-slide tournaments, or whatever the hell else you horrible people are into.

Welcome to The Fistful for the Author Support Blog Hop. I’d like to walk you briefly through my life as a writer.

To start off with… I’ve been at this for ten years, plus or minus. To be more specific, that’s when I started writing for the purpose of getting published. It wasn’t until I’d wrapped revisions on my seventh novel, The Curse Merchant, that I decided I was ready to put it forward for consideration by industry professionals. I spent a year querying before deciding to self-publish. I then went on to write the sequel, The Curse Servant. Just prior to releasing Servant, I was put in touch with the literary marauders at Curiosity Quills. One thing led to another, and they ended up signing the entire Dark Choir series. In the space between then and the re-release of Curse Servant, I’ve been busy hammering out short stories and a new stand-alone novel which has me pretty damn excited.


How do I do it? How do I find time to write?

I’m not a full-time writer (yet). I do, in fact, have a day job. For those of you who are interested, I work in the city of Baltimore for an office furniture manufacturer. My boss is aware of my aspirations to transition into full-time writing, and he supports that… which is pretty amazing in itself.

Nonetheless, the day job is an hour away from home. That’s two hours each day sacrificed to the gods of commuting. On top of that, I have a wife and a son who take priority over everything else in the entire Universe. I’ve resolved long ago never to crimp my family’s well-being in the pursuit of a writer’s lifestyle.

We work out at the gym three to four times a week. That’s another two hours (including the drive to the gym, workout, shower, etc.) committed to that.

I’m also a homebrewer… regular followers of this blog know that already. I commit to semi-regular beer-related events, meetings, gatherings, festivals, etc. at least three times a month. On top of homebrewing, I’m a National-ranked BJCP beer judge, which means I find myself dedicating Saturdays to beer competitions every so often.

Then there’s the dog. She has to eat, drink, pee, poop, and play an amount of Frisbee-fetch that borders on obsessive.

Cram a lot of that into one day, and when Homeslice Jr’s bedtime rolls around, you’ll find me sitting at my laptop, a single bead of drool tracing a line from the corner of my mouth to the space bar.

"Oh look, it's Pass-the-Fuck-Out-Thirty."

“Oh look, it’s Pass-the-Fuck-Out-Thirty.”

Energy drain… it’s the biggest obstacle this writer faces. How do I manage to find the will to write after reaching the point of bone-wearying exhaustion?

Answer: sometimes I don’t.

Oops… this was supposed to be miracle blog post to show you the secret to writing success, wasn’t it? Well, hate to break it to you, but there is no miracle cure for having a life. As a wise man once told me back when I first started writing: “You’ll never find the time to write… you have to MAKE the time to write.”

So I do. From eight-thirty to ten at night I tend to hammer out between 1500 and 2000 words. I don’t make it every night, though I feel like King Failure of the Failure Tribes of West Failure when I do. Sometimes I scrape for motivation. Sometimes it comes easy. Sometimes it sits on my computer like a spectral catball and glares at me until I go away.

When I do manage to muster the will, I do find it helpful to bear the following in mind:

1. It’s possible I might never earn enough from my writing to quit my day job. However, if I don’t commit to as much writing as I can now… it’ll be an absolute certainty. I keep my eyes on the prize. I know what I want. And instead of wallowing in uncertainty, I kindle the hope. Hope that I’ll succeed.

And the only way out is through.

2. I have to stay connected to others who are going through the same thing. I have a critique group I attend once a month, and beyond the advice and manuscript deconstruction we offer one another, we tend to lend an ear for our peculiar bellyaches. Writers have a specific set of anxieties which only other artists can really understand. If I didn’t have other writers to vent to, either in person or online (NETWORK, PEOPLE!!!), I’d easily buy into the assumption that this was a pointless endeavor.

3. There’s always going to be someone who’s better at this than I am. It’s like going to the gym. I know I’m only bench pressing 115 pounds, and if I looked to my right and saw Stafford Manchisel pounding out 300 pounds without breaking a sweat, I’d assume I was a noodle-armed slackard and give up. But just because someone else is successful, that doesn’t mean I won’t be… or even that I’m not already. Once I stop comparing myself to other writers and start focusing on the quality of what I have written, it’s easier to improve.

4. I must write what I enjoy reading. Writing outside of my comfort zone is fine… writing outside of what I find appealing? Not such a great decision. Anything born from a miserable writing experience tends to become a miserable reading experience. Which means…

5. I must keep reading. I must read widely. I must read successful, quality works within my chosen genres. If I don’t, then I’ll never know a cliche or a tired trope when I see it. I won’t know quality prose when I write it. My advice to my critique group won’t be as valuable. Those inner demons will be more effective in their needling. Just gotta keep reading.

Well, these aren’t cure-alls. They’re just thoughts. These thoughts have kept me going, and going strong. But I do happen to have a secret weapon that not everyone has access to.

My wife.

See… she’s a writer, too. And generally speaking, when the boy’s in bed and I’m cracking out the manuscript, she’s pulling hers out, too. When one of us is feeling tired, but the other is ready to write, we get positive peer pressure. Hell, it’s positive spousal pressure. She’s available as an alpha reader, as I am for her. She never begrudged my pursuit of publication, and was the first to celebrate with me when I signed my contracts… as I was when her short story was published in the Burial Day anthology.

Writing is a family value in our household. It’s a focus. Neither of us allows it to define our family, but it certainly helps that it’s a welcome and familiar presence in our lives.

So… aspiring author. Do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to float them my direction in the comments section below. I’m available on Tumblr and Facebook as well. I try to be flippant and distracting, but honest as well.

Just don’t ask me about pandas. Big Tony hates it when I “go public.”


Other sites on the Author Support Blog Hop:


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