Monday, September 29, 2014

New Release: The North by Sean Cummings

Congratulations to Sean Cummings on the release of his post-apocalyptic zombie thriller for teens The North.
The North
by Sean Cummings 
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
September 29, 2014
 by Bloor Street Books
Breakout from the armoury. Escape the city. Live. 
Sixteen-year-old David Simmons is on a mission to save his eight-year-old sister. In a smoldering world infested with walking cadavers, the survivors of Simmons infantry reserve unit are going hatches down in a pair of armoured personnel carriers and everyone knows that it’s only a matter of time until their fuel runs dry.

There’s a weak short wave radio signal from a place called Sanctuary Base and it’s supposed to be zombie-free. But there’s more than a thousand miles to cover, a biting, unforgiving cold, armed survivalists, legions of the living dead and someone called SUNRAY.

They’re outgunned, outnumbered and out of time.

This tense thriller for teens offers a terrifying and brutal vision of survival in a post-apocalyptic world where the bonds of friendship and family are the only things left that are worth fighting for.

About the Author:
Sean Cummings is a fantasy author with a penchant for writing quirky, humorous and dark novels featuring characters that are larger than life. His debut was the gritty urban fantasy SHADE FRIGHT published in 2010. He followed up later in the year with the sequel FUNERAL PALLOR. His urban fantasy/superhero thriller UNSEEN WORLD was published in 2011.

2012 saw the publication of Sean’s first urban fantasy for young adults. POLTERGEEKS is a rollicking story about teen witch Julie Richards, her dorky boyfriend and race against time to save her mother’s life. The first sequel, STUDENT BODIES hit bookstores in September 2013.

Sean's newest book is THE NORTH. A post-apocalyptic zombie thriller for teens. It will be released in October 2014.

Friday, September 26, 2014

For authors: Candid Covers- a free, private cover feedback service

Authors know the importance of a great book cover. The cover is the first impression your book makes. But even though an author knows this, some still try to squeak by with a sub par cover, and others have no idea their Photoshop skills are a hot mess. Some self-pub authors can do this successfully! Some. Can. Not.

How do you know if your cover will be successful or end up featured on a cover shaming blog? You need a trusted and objective view point. Not your friends, fans or family.

Wouldn't it be great if you could show your cover privately to a large panel of experienced bloggers, avid readers and graphic artists for an objective and honest opinion.

Candid Covers is a private Facebook group made up of bloggers, readers and graphic artists who are willing to give you some feedback for free. 

Authors can submit a cover which will be posted in our private group for two days, and the author will be invited into the group for the discussion. Only you and the group will see what goes on. The one rule is: What ever happens in Candid Covers, stays in Candid Covers. No one on our feedback panel will talk about or mention you or your covers outside of the group. Once you have gotten your cover feedback you will be removed from the group and your cover thread will be deleted. There will be no evidence of our discussion. Then the next cover/author will be invited in.

Now you need to be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly. The group's opinions are not a personal attack on you or your book, but we will not sugar coat things. On the plus side, you just might get some great advice on how to improve your cover. Look at us as cover editors.

To submit a cover send an email with "Candid Covers" in the subject line, along with your cover attached, the genre of your book and the blurb to

Once your cover is posted to the group, you can request to join here:

or I can send you an invite via email. If you would rather us discuss your book without you there, I can send you an email with all our comments when we are done.

Candid Covers is an experiment to see if authors want, cause let's face it...lots need it, this type of help. We will be making tweaks to the process once we find out what works and doesn't. The key is for everyone to behave professionally. If you don't like what is said about your cover that is fine. No one outside the group will ever know what was said so there is no reason to take your anger out on any of our panelists. They are doing this for free as a service to help self-pub authors.

Steps for submitting to Candid Covers
1. Send email with "Candid Covers" in the subject line with cover, blurb, genre (
2. Once given the go ahead join the group.
3. Put on your big girl/boy panties and bring a sense of humor (borrow one if you have too)
4. Have an open mind to feedback without getting defensive (hence the big girl/boy panties).
5. Ask questions, get advice.
6. Go forth and be awesome!

Remember the one rule:
What ever happens in Candid Covers, stays in Candid Covers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Release: Bad Things by Varian Krylov

Congratulations to Varian Krylov on her erotic gay romance release: Bad Things!

by Varian Krylov
Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it's his predator's gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it's Xavier's ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous. 

But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent.

Carson suspects he's playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they're slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he's not the predator, but the prey, until it's too late.

And you can't beg for mercy when there's a gag in your mouth.

But when Carson escapes from Xavier's trap, he's forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.

About the Author:
Since her girlhood in a sunny coastal town in California, Varian Krylov has nurtured a love of words and a curiosity about the deep, dark forces at work in human nature, especially sexuality, and how they often paradoxically twine with our tenderest impulses. Her stories tend to explore the sometimes fine line between what arouses, and what frightens, what we’re driven to, and what we’re ashamed of.

As witty and seductive as I am sarcastic and self-deprecating, I spend as much time as possible thinking and writing about sex. No, not dense, inscrutable post-feminist texts on media representations of gender and the body--that was grad school. I write stories--short stories, novels, and starting a few weeks ago, screenplays--most of which poke and prod and the dark little corners of human sexuality. In a sense, nothing's taboo, anymore. There's no act, no fetish that hasn't been made utterly banal in the proliferation of porn. What intrigues and excites me is the exploration of the conflicting impulses, the twisted psychology and turbulent emotions of people who find themselves unable to resist desires that lie beyond their own moral boundaries.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Self Editing Tip: Catching Dialogue Punctuation Errors

Dialogue! Yikes, there is an awful lot of punctuation going on there. One of the first things I do if I have to proof read a manuscript is use the find feature in Track Changes and search for " (quotation mark)

The wonderful thing is, it highlights every quote mark and you can now page down checking each piece of dialogue one at a time. Tedious, yes. But so important.

First thing you will be able to check is pairing of the quote marks. All dialogue has an opening and closing mark (except when the same person is speaking and you start a new paragraph, yadda, yadda, you know what I mean.)

Second, look at the dialogue tag. Did you use the comma correctly, the ? or !, did you only capitalize when you should?

It is that easy, but it can be slow going. If you are paying an editor by the hour then this will cut their editing time down. You will be surprised at how many quote marks you use...I had one with over 7000!

Here is an example of what you will see:

While you are at it use that find feature to look up these words and get rid of them where you can: just, that, had, here, there.

Look for "to be" verbs and replace them with stronger verbs. "To be" verbs:  is, am, are, was, were, has, have, had, do, does, did, been, being.

Look, need, want are all weak and usually happen when you are telling not showing. ex. "He looked scared." Could be "His eyes darted from door to to door while his hands shook." (I'm obviously not a writer, but you get the idea)

Happy editing! Sharon

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Release: Dying by the Hour (Jesse Sullivan #2) by Kory M. Shrum

Congratulations to urban fantasy author Kory M. Shrum on the release of Dying by the Hour (Jesse Sullivan #2)
Dying by the Hour (Jesse Sullivan #2)
by Kory M. Shrum

Paperback, 443 pages
September 2nd 2014
by Timberlane Press
After 83 deaths, Jesse Sullivan knows how to die. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. But using her NRD to save lives is why she’s being hunted.

For Ally Gallagher, death is permanent. If she fails to protect Jesse again, there will be no third attempt. After a quiet year the signs of serious danger have returned. People connected to Jesse are disappearing. Her home is vandalized and threatening messages are turning up in the safest of places.

Then Jesse is taken and Ally has only hours to get her back. But no salvation comes without its price.

About the Author:
Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Bateau and elsewhere. Her first urban fantasy novel Dying for a Living will be available March 4, 2014.