Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Writerly Bucket List by @MaraValderran #blogtour #giveaway


Plenty of people have bucket lists, right? I had one in my early twenties, but I never called it a bucket list (that was before the movie made the term much more popular). Instead of creating one new list that meshes better with my adult self, I've started thinking of separate lists. There are different aspects of my life, and they all deserve their fair share of attention, right? =) So this is my writerly bucket list: The list of things I hope to experience or achieve one day as a writer. I'll elaborate on them as we go, and I'm sure the list will continue to grow beyond this post.

  1. Go to a coffee shop in New York City and spend the day writing and over-caffeinating. Because sometimes stereotypical can be fun. 
  2. Finish writing a series. I hope to finish writing every series I start, but it's still a goal. In reality, I'll probably finish writing the Shifted Realities series next year since it is a three book series, as compared to the five book Heirs of War series. 
  3. Write all the stories in my head. Right now I have one contemporary that might turn into a thriller, a sci-fi series, a superhero serial, and an urban fantasy series all battling for attention in my head. The voices! They multiply. =D
  4. Write a romance novel. Why? Because I don't read romance. Because that means stretching very far outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself as a writer to do something I think I might not be good at.
  5. Write about my grandfather's WWII experiences. I'm not a non-fiction writer by any stretch of the imagination and am terrified to do this one. It's in another country from my comfort zone. But it also means a lot to him, and that makes it important to me. Now to just find the time to research. Did I mention I'm not a history buff either? ;)
  6. Meet Terry Goodkind. I love him as a writer. The Sword of Truth series is such an amazing work of fantasy, and Kahlan is one of the best female characters I've ever read. I think he blended humor, romance, intrigue, war, violence, action, and magic together wonderfully, and I look forward to rereading the series. Just being able to shake his hand would be a dream come true. Getting to sit down and have a conversation with him would be so mind-blowing, I don't even think I can dream about it.
  7. Get 100 reviews on each book I publish. It doesn't sound like much, but reviews are so hard to come by. I've given away over 100 copies of Heirs of War and have a hand full of reviews to show for it. It can get frustrating. So 100 is probably a pretty lofty goal. 
  8. Have a signing. This is actually about to come true at the Vegas Valley Book Festival, so I'll elaborate with:
  9. Have a signing in NYC. This is a big one, I know. But I love New York. The energy of that city is contagious, so getting to sign in the city would be beyond my wildest hopes and dreams as a writer. That's the moment where I might start thinking I've had some success. Or if I ever get interview by Craig Ferguson (love him!).
  10. Have someone write fanfiction for one of my complete series. I've already had someone ask to write fanfiction for Heirs of War (I had to say no since the series isn't finished yet. Booo!), so I am soclose! But I love fanfiction and I am a huge fangirl, so I love the idea of someone sharing the passion I've had for other series with my series. Mind blowing!
  11. Get to meet the members of my street team. I have an amazing street team. I really do. They are some of the most enthusiastic, patient, supportive, and passionate readers I've ever come across. To have them in my corner is amazing, and I'd love to be able to give each of them a hug for all they've done for me. 
  12. Participate in a panel at a book festival or convention. I don't care how big it is. This would be awesome. I could talk about writing and fictional characters all day long. =)
  13. Never quit writing. It might sound simple, but it really isn't. Choosing to be an author is a tough gig. There's a lot of give, and not a lot of return. I recently joked with a friend that I felt like the most underpaid employee ever, because I don't even make a penny per hour at the rate I'm going. I work at this probably 10-16 hours a day. It might be marketing, it might be writing, editing, blogging, etc. But the work to be done is always there, looming. And sometimes that one terrible review can be enough to make you want to crack and give up. So persevering, continuing to write even though things get tough, that's my biggest bucket list item. My late uncle's motto was "Never give up" and that's something I try to keep in mind with this career. 
  14. Once I complete every item on this bucket list, create a new one. Why? Because I never want to stop dreaming. =)
<3 Mara


The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!

Heirs of War #1:

When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she's never met.

Add it to Goodreads

The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames...

Heirs of War, Crown of Flames
Heirs of War #2
Mara Valderran
Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen's dungeon, but danger isn't far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

Add it to Goodreads

Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: 
Sign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss news on new releases and fun contests!

Want to follow this blog tour? Check out the calendar below!

Monday 10/13
Krystal WadeMargo Bond CollinsHere is What I Read Book Blog
Vicki TraskJessa RussoLorraine Harvey
Priya KanapartiNerd Girl OfficialTerry's Book Addiction
Ali DeanShooting Star Book Reviews
Tuesday 10/14Wednesday 10/15Thursday 10/16
Ali Dean (Review)Jan Farnworth (Review)James Wymore (Guest Post)
Terry's Book Addiction (Review)Jamie Ayres (Promo)
Friday 10/17Saturday 10/19Monday 10/20
Emma Adams (Interview)Laveda Kasch (Excerpt #1)Eliza Tilton (Excerpt #2)
Elsie Elmore (Interview)Jessa Russo (Excerpt #3)
Cait Spivey (Guest Post)Shooting Star Book Reviews (Excerpt #4)
Here is What I Read (Interview)
Tuesday 10/21Wednesday 10/22Thursday 10/23
Michael Panush (Review)Book Lover Blog (Review)Ayden Morgen (Guest Post)
Friday 10/24Monday 10/27Tuesday 10/28
K. L. Schwengel (Guest Post)Katie Teller (Interview)Priya Kanaparti (Guest Post)
Charity Bradford (Excerpt #5)Sharon Bayliss (Review)
Vicki Trask (Review)
Sarah Anderson (Interview)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Stricken (The War Scrolls) #paranormal #romance

Hi lovelies,

Since I posted a teaser of All Falls Down last week, I thought I'd share a little bit of Stricken with you this week. I hope you enjoy it.

And don't forget! Only 11 days until All Falls Down! :)

Aubrey had no idea what Dom and Abriel were playing, but it looked like some sort of war game. People were running all over the place, weapons strapped to their bodies. Smoke drifted up from various places. Mangled bodies littered the field where one of their characters was running, a grenade in his hand.
She shivered and turned away only to find Killian watching her again.
"Do you want them to turn it off?" he asked.
"No, that's fine," she said. "I just… Do you guys really enjoy this kind of stuff?"
"What stuff?"
"I don't think anyone enjoys war."
"So why play?"
"It keeps us sharp." Killian shrugged.
"Does it bother you?"
"What? War? Or war games?" she asked.
"The games."
She thought about it a moment. "Not really. I guess I just don't see the point. Isn't the world violent enough already? There's so much death and destruction. Why add to it unless you have to?"
"I think it makes humans feel safe," Killian said.
Aubrey's eyes widened.
"As you said, there's so much death and destruction." He turned his body toward her, leaning in. "Feeling like you have some measure of control over that, that you can control it, makes it seem a little less overwhelming to most humans. And since your people can't control what happens outside of their homes, they bring it inside and try to figure it out the best way they can."
"I guess." Aubrey shrugged. "I still don't get it though."
He watched her for a long moment, his expression changing. Emotion danced through his eyes, so quickly she couldn't catch them. But they warmed her, and made her ache. As if she craved something from him she didn't quite understand. That same vast, bright thing that had called to her in the elevator so many days ago.
"That's not necessarily a bad thing," he murmured, his gaze locking with hers.
Her stomach fluttered at the look in his eye. It was predatory and beautiful at once.
She felt herself leaning in, caught by that look. Captivated.
Killian leaned in, too.
Aubrey's heart raced.
"Dammit!" Dom yelled.
Aubrey jumped, whipping her head in his direction.


FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Tour: Salvation by @JamesWymore

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 9: Salvation by James Wymore

 A man wakes on a frozen battlefield when a scavenging couple finds him among the dead. As they nurse him back to health, he is struck with the horrible realization he can’t remember who he is or anything about his past. Taken in by the kind pair, he begins helping with their farm. She even takes him to meet her family, especially her single sister. The ideal life offered in the high mountains of Winigh is shattered when he sees a transport bringing enemy monsters to the shores below. Cut off by high snow on the pass, their fate will soon be the same as the town his company failed to protect in the last battle, if this estranged soldier cannot help them fight off the next wave of invaders. Even worse, the people of the town don’t trust this Selene soldier. He has a strange resistance to their folk magic which some say make him as dangerous as the enemies preparing to destroy them.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Or add it to Goodreads

On a lifelong search for fantastic worlds hiding just out of sight, James Wymore writes to explore. With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he continues to push the boundaries of imagination. Journey with him at

Find James online: 

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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FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cover Reveal! Altar of Reality by @MaraValderran #ya #dystopian

Today is the cover reveal for Altar of Reality, the first book from Shifted Realities--a brand new series by Mara Valderran. This YA dystopian is set to be released January 31st, 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press. Mark your calendars, and be sure to add the book to your Goodreads list! Want to stay up to date on all things Altar of RealitySign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss a thing!

And now...the moment Mara's we've all been waiting for...

When sixteen-year-old Madeline suffers her first grand mal seizure, she finds herself in an unfamiliar reality, surrounded by strangers wearing familiar faces. Her best friend, Brandon, tells her that the world has fallen to chaos, the aftermath of World War III ten years ago. Madeline doesn’t remember anything from this life— especially not the explosion four years ago that killed her parents and landed her in a coma, or the Lord Commander; a zealot leader of the Southern Territories now searching for her.

Madeline barely has time to process everything before waking up to the life she’s always known. As soon as she dismisses it all as a strange and vivid dream, she finds herself back there once more. Unsure if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion, or teetering on the brink of insanity, she finds herself flipping between the two lives. Her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur as she struggles to save her lives in both worlds.


Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: 

Be sure to check out the Heirs of War, Crown of Flames blog tour going on right now! There are excerpts, interviews, a giveaway, and more. You can find the tour calendar here.

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Every Writer Should Know... by @J_Ryan #blogtour

Hi, loves!

The wonderful Ryan Hill, author of The Book of Bart and new release Dead New World, stopped by today to give us all a few pieces of advice. Dead New World, which released on October 13th through Curiosity Quills Press, is available at Amazon.

Pieces of advice every writer should know

·         Let’s go on and get the clichéd bits out of the way. The best piece of advice for any writer is to WRITE. Whenever you get a chance. It doesn’t matter what it is, always write. Like everything else, it takes time to develop writing skills. You can’t just jump into this field expecting it to become your day job.

·         Because writing won’t become your day job any time soon. For a long, long time. The road to being a full-time author is much longer than you’d ever expect, full of obstacles and pot-holes that come up out of nowhere. From what I understand, it takes having upwards of five novels published before an author can even think about quitting their day job. That said, it all ties into the fact that you should JUST KEEP WRITING.

·         Learn how to take criticism. Writers can be a fickle bunch. Many are introverted by nature, making a solitary occupation like writing perfect for them. However, every writer not only needs an editor, but they need BETA READERS. Writers can’t hope to expand their skill-set and expertise without guidance. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? That’s where editors and beta readers come into play. They can point out inconsistencies in your work, plot holes in your story, etc. Sometimes, this can get pretty brutal. Sometimes, it can wound your pride, or even reduce you to tears. My advice? You have to get over that. Push through.

The first time I had a professor editor look at a manuscript of mine (it happened to be DEAD NEW WORLD, out Oct. 13), there were well over 3,000 marks/changes/comments on the manuscript. I was heart-broken. Like most others, I was convinced my manuscript was perfect. Turned out, it wasn’t even close. But, I got over my wounded pride, sat down, worked the edits, and the novel was greatly improved. Moral of the story? SOMETIMES THE HARSHEST CRITIQUES ARE THE MOST USEFUL.

·         Overcome your shyness. As mentioned above, many writers are introverted. This isn’t a problem when it comes to the art of writing. To succeed in the business of writing, that shyness can be a hindrance. Even before you land that agent or publishing deal, you have to network with your fellow writers and others in the writing community. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” The only reason I’m a published author is because another writer I followed on Twitter held a contest for writers, where they could pitch their work to agents and publishers. Writers absolutely have to network to be successful, and the easiest way to do that is utilize social media. Yes, once you become published you’ll have to overcome your fear of speaking in a crowd, but you’re not there yet. The most important thing right now is to network in any way you can.

·         Don’t get discouraged. Face it. It’s really friggin’ hard to land an agent or get your book published. There are thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of people out there trying to achieve the same dream you are. The rise of Twitter/social media has also made it easier for writers to connect with agents/publishers, making the field that much more competitive. That’s okay. You may have written a fantastic story, one that everyone whose read it can’t stop raving about. That doesn’t mean the manuscript will land you an agent or get you published. Sadly, agents and publishers are more concerned with the business of writing, instead of the art. Agents and publishers are always on the lookout for talent, but what’s more important to them is what will sell, and your book, while fantastic, may not have a great commercial angle. This is nothing to get discouraged about. There’s a 99.99% change you’re not landing with a Big 5 publisher your first time out of the gate. There are plenty of other publishers out there, all of whom are looking for something great. Getting published is getting published, right?

But, what if that manuscript never lands with anyone? What if all of the agents love your book, but pass because they feel like that particular genre is played out at the moment? Yes, it’s disappointing, but look at the larger picture. If an agent/publisher says something like that, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means maybe the book is a better fit somewhere else. It only takes one yes, you know. But if your manuscript never lands…

·         It’s okay to shelve a manuscript and move on. It really is. Fun fact: My debut novel, THE BOOK OF BART, was written AFTER my next release, DEAD NEW WORLD. How did that happen? So glad you asked!

Several agents read DEAD NEW WORLD and liked it. For whatever reason, they passed. So, after a while, I decided to move on, and worked on a new manuscript, called THE BOOK OF BART, which landed with Curiosity Quills. After they decided to publish BART, I decided to pull out Dead New World. I gave it a quick polish, then mentioned the book to them. They read it, loved it, and voila! Another book of mine got published!

There are two points to that story. The first is if I hadn’t moved on from DNW and written BART, then at this moment there’s a more than fair chance I’d have zero books published, instead of two. In the book world it’s about quantity as much as it’s about quality. The second point is it’s okay to move on from a manuscript. Why?

·         More important than anything is to keep LEARNING and GROWING. So what if your manuscript didn’t get picked up? You still wrote it! That’s a huge achievement unto itself. Yes, it’s disappointing that nothing came of it, but that doesn’t mean it might not happen down the road, with that manuscript, or a new one. What is important is that you keep writing, learn from your mistakes, and solicit criticism. The more you do those things, the more you’ll hone your craft. Just because a manuscript didn’t get picked up doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. On the contrary, you’re a BETTER writer for having completed it. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master something. The same goes for writing. So, just because your latest manuscript didn’t earn you fame and fortune, it did earn you valuable experience and knowledge that will help you improve as a writer. 

      The publishing stuff will take care of itself. That will happen when it happens. It’s mostly out of your control. What you can control, though, is the work you put into writing. If you keep writing, learning, and growing, you’ll get there one day. Promise. On the other hand, you might get published!

·         In which case, you remember that mountain you had to climb just to get published? Get ready to climb one about five times that size. Becoming a published writer is the first step towards becoming a full-time writer, but there are a few thousand more that have to be taken before you can claim the mantle of full-time author. Now, you get to do the real work; learning the business of books, attending festivals, speaking on panels, pitching (and selling) your book to strangers at festivals, expanding your brand, spending gobs of money on advertising (yup, the publisher only does so much), and OMGNOBODYSAIDITWOULDBELIKETHISBRAINMELTINGMUSTHIDEINCORNERANDCRY.

Good luck! J

About the Author:

Growing up, Ryan Hill used to spend his time reading and writing instead of doing homework. This resulted in an obsession with becoming a writer, but also a gross incompetence in the fields of science and mathematics. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Ryan has been a film critic for over five years. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his dog/shadow Maggie. Ryan also feels strange about referring to himself in the third person.

Find Ryan on:

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.