Saturday, May 26, 2018

Submersibles, Zombie Knights, and Free Reads

Today I am over at Pamela Thibodeaux's Wild Rose blog to talk about the third book in my steampunk thriller series, The Blackburn Chronicles.

Chasm Walkers is the culmination of a series that spans nations, seas, and the sky. Long brewing wars and unexpected betrayals drive Charlotte's story towards an excited finale!

From strange submersible machines to unexplained mechanica controlling the heroin, there are plot twists and harrowing adventures that bring this series to an explosive end. 

I hope you check out Charlottes journey from debutante to dissenter to the most dangerous woman in a war for survival.

The Chasm Walkers will definitely satisfy your fix for thrills.

To celebrate the release of the series, I have three #FreeReads available to download. Have a taste of the strange and chaotic world of The Blackburn Chronicles with these novellas...

Click to Download Free Novellas

Monday, May 21, 2018

Lady Villains Need Love Too

Available Now
Lady villains sometimes get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in terms of motivation. Jealousy over a lost love or anger at being rejected are all fine reasons to go to crazy town, but there are so many other more compelling reasons that are so much more interesting.

Fury at your family's mistreatment for one, is a pretty driving reason and it is one I tried to explore in writing my female characters in the second book of my series. 

In the Wind Reapers, Ajala is an incredibly strong, loving, and therefore shockingly ruthless character. Some might argue that she is the villain of the book, but I disagree. I think that her goals just happen to be diametrically opposed to the protagonists (Charlotte Blackburn's) but that they are not, in their purest form...diabolical or bad.

She is a woman fighting for the survival of her family and extended clan. Those vicious Reapers everyone fears came from somewhere. They weren't born on those massive walking machines that troll the Wasteland. And now, as conditions get worse and her people start dying, she has to act in the only way she knows how.

Ajala is a leader, a mother, a warrior, and a formidable negotiator. She is valiant for her own cause and it is why she was one of the most interesting characters to write...

Now, as I headed to speak with Ajala, the clank and clatter of the Wind Reaper’s legs kept time with the sway of the vast vessel. With the sun going down and hiding our location, we moved using the thermal winds to fill the craft’s massive sails. Most of the debris cleared, the fire scorched deck still showed the scars of our battle. 

Yet as I peered at the patchwork material mounted on the reconstructed masts I couldn’t help but be impressed by the speed with which the people recovered from the sky marauder attack.  Ascending the ladder to the outlook tower, I pushed through the heavy hatch.

Ajala started speaking before I pulled off my gas mask. “Beautiful, this horrible place, is it not?” She leaned, arms crossed, looking out of the cracked windows. The gold discs woven to the ends of her scarf reflected the dimming light. “All angry and red and steaming.”

“It is the stuff of nightmares.” I walked over, leaned on the opposite side. My hand twitched, wanting to scratch at the slice in my neck, but I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. “But then again…”

“Yes, I know, you aren’t a Reaper.  We find beauty in this wasteland.”

A jagged seam glowed in the dark landscape and then flared with ignited gas that burned a dozen stories high.

Ajala’s eyes narrowed with the flash of brilliant orange and blue fire. “Myself, my people, we all were chambermaids, plantation slaves, and factory workers.”

“Before the quakes.”

She nodded. “Scratching for our piece of freedom before the hand of God smote us all.”

“And so you forged a life out here in damnation.” I let my gaze travel the ink swirls at the corners of her eyes and thought them strangely beautiful. Like the henna designs on the hands of women in India from my books. “Why…why did you leave the Texas-Louisiana Dome?”

“Texiana,” she snorted, a derisive sound that flashed heat into her eyes. “An atrocity for both states. And I did not leave voluntarily, in any case.”

Find out how Ajala's story turns out and what part she plays in the thrilling steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles. And don't forget to check out the #FreeReads as well!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Blood Blizzards - Trembler Weather Pt. 4

In book 2 of The Blackburn Chronicles, the Wind Reapers, Charlotte and Sheriff Riley brave the tumultuous Wasteland to secure a cure for the deadly Ashen Croup -- a devastating illness that drowns victims in their own lungs. Caught up in a storm just outside the glowing electric dome that protects the city, they find a way in through the decaying grid...

In the distance, lightning lit up the dark sky illuminating an enormous black cloud. I squinted, adjusted the violet lens of my goggles down over my right eye, and froze. A roiling mass of churning wind and ash, the dark cloud rumbled with flashes of light in its belly. It moved like a massive wave towards us.

Riley motioned and I followed him along a tacky path to an opening just ahead in the dome. The tar never could seem to set into its final hardness where the dome met the street. Lit only by the flickering pulses of the grid’s energy, we stole along the curved base of the protective covering. Behind us, the howling winds raced in from the dark, hot abyss of the wasteland. 

A deep rumble tore across the landscape as the mounting wave of ash and rain built to a colossal storm. It was far off still, but closing in. Already, frigid splatters of the Blood Blizzard flew at us. They hit the cross sections of the grid and hissed as water evaporated and ash burned to shiny hard spots on the ground. The tainted rain left red splashes on my gloves and sleeves and made me appear as if I had survived some terrible, bloody battle.

The strangely violent and unpredictable climate of the Blackburn Chronicles world was so much fun to use as a way to push the characters to the limit.  The Wasteland offered a multitude of dangers to anyone foolhardy or desperate enough to venture into the desolate lands between the domes.

Red ash from the fissure fires mixed with the water of the storm left anyone caught in the torrent dripping wet with crimson. Quite a frightening sight, but an appropriate warning for those thinking they might try the journey.

If you like dystopian thrillers with lots of adventure and strange devices, they check out The Blackburn Chronicles.

For a taste of this fantastic world, try the FREE NOVELLAS here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A World Gone Mad - Super Territories

In my steampunk series, The Blackburn Chronicles, a disaster fractures all of America, sends California into the ocean, and blocks off the north leaving the country in a shambles.
Powerful governors of the remaining states merged under giant electric Tesla Domes to create super territories. As a result, American rose from the quakes as The Peaceful Union, which was anything but peaceful.
Ruthless governors, created a new government. One with no central seat of power to avoid losing the President as they had in the Great Calamity. Each dome is like a separate country unto itself with its own specialty. Giant agri-factories grow what few kinds of vegetation that are left.
Some city-states control the coal factories that fuel the massive steam engines running the domes. Others house cities repaired with metal fa├žades which house the precious remnants of culture, music, and art. The frozen territories of the north keep terrible secrets locked behind icy fortress walls.
All of this was so fun to imagine, but challenging to get across to readers. However, a wonderful artist sent me this map of the Thirteen City-States of the Peaceful Union bringing The Tremblers that much more to life for me.
If you're interested in finding out more, take a look at the free novellas which offer a peek at the dangerous world of The Blackburn Chronicles.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Waves of Fractured Ice - Trembler Weather Pt.3

I recently did an #AuthorAMA (Ask Me Anything) in which people posted some questions for me to answer.  One of the questions was about the strange and unpredictable weather in my steampunk novel series, The Blackburn Chronicles.
In the final book, the Chasm Walkers, the hero and heroine crash land in the northern territory that has been sent into a mini ice age as a result of the calamitous quakes that fracture all of north America.

They are trying to beat an ice storm that is bearing down on them. Slowed by the knee-deep snow and bitter cold, they hear what can only be described as a freight train full of glass crashing underwater.
It is ice stacking and it is barreling towards them at breakneck speed and threatening to cut off their route to the only shelter.
To truly appreciate the noise, watch a video of this amazing phenomenon...

Here is an excerpt from that scene:

Ashton stumbled up ahead and beyond him flashes of gold twinkled in the shifting light. The rumble grew to a roar, shaking the fragmented ground, the sound reverberating up my legs. A shroud of mists lifted revealing a massive wave of ice shards moving along the surface toward us.

Like countless pieces of broken glass, the thin fragments of surface ice shifted over one another, their edges catching the sun as they tumbled on the waves and wind over the ice, the sound like a train rumbling toward us. Ashton skidded to a stop, going down on his heels.

“What is that?” I gasped, flailing to reverse my stride, my boots squealing on the chunk of snow.
“Stacking,” Ashton shouted. “Back…back the other way!”

This was such an exciting scene to write! I had to get up and pace bit to calm down.  This crazy natural occurrence is extremely loud and can move quite fast. 

If you'd like to know more about the steampunk thrillers in my Blackburn Chronicles series or to sample the free novellas that set the whole adventure in motion, you can find them here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Interview with Author, Christine Lindsay

Today I am so happy to host Author Christine Lindsay to talk about her writing process and what inspired her to write Sofi's Bridge.
Book Blurb:
Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.
But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.
About our Featured Author: Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.
Christine's books have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award (Twice), the READERS’ CHOICE AWARD, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite and the Selah Award.

Christine, your historical romance Sofi’s Bridge that won the Readers’ Choice Award features an Irish immigrant as the hero. Tell us why?
I was born in Ireland, so I not only love the culture, I know the culture and history inside and out. My hero, an Irishman who is on the run from the English police, is really a doctor but pretends to be a lowly gardener who comes from Belfast, same city I was born in. My hero’s father and
brother were ordinary tradesmen—Riveters—building massive ships in the Belfast shipyard just like my father, my grandfather, and great grandfather. So I loved adding that personal family history into an adventure that actually takes place in beautiful Washington State, also not far from where I live currently.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The Anne Frank Story. I wept bitterly after finishing that tragic story. 
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me, but the marketing of my books drains the life out of me.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Getting caught up in the details of their writing without getting their story completely down first. Get your story down, make sure you have a good story arc, that your characters are fully developed and learn what they need to learn by the ending, and that your ending has satisfying resolution. Then go back and work on the details.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I always write each of my books to stand on their own. This is true even in my trilogy, or the series I am currently writing, each books stands alone, but the reader can pick up the next book in the series and feel she is with old friends and starting a new adventure. The characters going forward in the series continue to develop as the series progresses.
What does literary success look like to you?
I can’t say I’ve been a commercial success, but my books have received some lovely critical acclaim of which I’m pleased. At least this confirms my writing is nothing to be embarrassed ab out. But the success that means the most is from that individual reader who I meet in person or who writes to me and tells me how much my book or books meant to her. That’s the cream in my coffee.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Tons, good thing I love research. I learned however after writing my first book to not do all my research up front. That really stops you from getting to that blank page. Nowadays I do a little bit of research at the start, and get the main gist of my story down, and research as I go along. Still, because I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research, read loads of non-fiction to get my facts right.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yep, I try hard to put symbols into my books that not every reader will notice. For example, in my first novel Shadowed in Silk which is set in India, the title and silk saris within the story represent that invisible feeling people have when they are not loved or respected as they should be. This refers to my main character an American woman called Abby who hides who she is by wearing a silk sari. But being shadowed in silk also refers to the whole continent of India and the Indian people who are invisible to the British Colonials who rule them.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The blank page. It scares me like it does every other writing. That’s when you have to be brave and start plunking words down on the page.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Thundersnow - Trembler Weather Pt. 2

I recently did an #AuthorAMA (Ask Me Anything) in which people posted some questions for me to answer. If you haven't taken part in one of these, they are a fun free-from cousin of an interview, but more interactive.

Anyway, one of the questions was about the strange and unpredictable weather in my steampunk novel, The Tremblers.

It takes place after a disaster set off  hidden fault-lines triggering a chain of calamitous quakes that fracture the continent and plunge Victorian America into a post apocalyptic nightmare.  It gets better...there's some kind of sickness sweeping the population that is turning people into monsters called the Tremblers.  All of this is happening whilst the climate goes haywire.

The weather is horrendous and deadly, but NOT made up. Thundersnow is an actual thing and was one of the freakiest weather phenomenon to research. The conditions have to be just right, but they do happen and its been caught on tape.

So in the middle of a snow storm, with all the white flakes blowing about obscuring your vision, the sky will start flashing and booming just to make things that much worse.

Now, imagine you're locked in a battle with monstrous knights while suspended on walkways swaying a mile above the ocean.  Awesome, right? I thought so too.

For a look at what Thundersnow looks and sounds like, take a peek at the video below...

It was such a rush to write that scene, but it was inspired by real weather that people live through all the time. As a Californian, where our weather is hot and a lot hotter, the idea of this type of storm just gives me shivers!
If you'd like to know more about my steampunk thriller, The Tremblers, now is a great time.
The entire series is on sale for under $3!
All 3 for $3
For a taste of the Blackburn Chronicles World, try the free novellas, Of Books and Blades, This Perilous Path, and new release, Riley's Rise, available here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Speculative Faith & LoreHaven Magazine

Speculative Faith is the sister site to the Christian fantasy publication,  Lore Haven magazine. I had the opportunity to write a guest post on What Fantasy Is Telling Us About Faith and I hope you pop on over to check it out.

Speculative Faith Blog has so many great articles on movies, books, and fantasy in general. It is a beautiful site and the magazine is filled to the brim with interviews, reviews, articles, and more.

Monday, May 7, 2018

I'm Hosting an #AMA!

If you aren't familiar with an AMA then you are in for a treat! Ask Me Anything or AMA's are freeform interviews where you can ask the questions you want answered. They're fun and social and you really get to interact.

Tomorrow I'm excited to be over at AMAFeed to do an  #AuthorAMA where we chat about the craft of writing and how to capture what moves people. Let's discuss the pitfalls and pleasures of the author's life and how to stay motivated to finish that first draft.

I will be answering questions on May 8th at 4pm EST but you can enter your questions ahead of time here.

Come hang out and ask me, well...anything!