Wednesday, July 19, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Deception So Deadly / Clara Kensie

It's cover reveal day for Deception So Deadly by Clara Kensie! This super-romantic psychic thriller will be released on August 15th by Snowy Wings Publishing. The cover was designed by Key of Heart Designs.

Title: Deception So Deadly
Author: Clara Kensie
Release Date: August 15, 2017

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Book One in Clara Kensie's YA paranormal thriller Deception So series, Deception So Deadly was originally published as the Run to You serial parts 1 – 3, and is the winner of the prestigious RITA© Award for Best First Book.

RUN. It’s all sixteen-year-old Tessa Carson has ever known. Hunted by a telepathic killer, Tessa and her family have fled home after home, hiding behind aliases to survive. Her scars are more than just physical, and as the only one in her family without a psychic ability, she lives a life of secrets, lies, and fear.

After the Carsons flee to a new hideout and take on new identities yet again, Tessa meets confident, carefree Tristan Walker. Their attraction burns fierce, but she runs from him too, knowing their love can never be true when she can’t even tell him her real name.
But Tristan has secrets as well—secrets that will either save Tessa, or destroy her. The only way Tessa can save her family—and uncover the real reason they’ve been hunted all these years—is to forget everything she’s learned from a lifetime of running away, and run straight into danger head-on.

Danger. Deception. Betrayal. It must be first love.

"A dark, suspenseful, and romantic ride!" - USA Today
"The perfect blend of mystery, romance, paranormal thrills, and danger." - Mundie Moms
"A well-written YA paranormal read, with welcome dashes of thrills and plot twists, Kensie has written a gripping and engaging series that features great family dynamics and the enormity of first love." - RT Book Reviews
“A thrilling story, packed with twists, secrets, and swoon-worthy romance. I couldn’t read it fast enough!” ~Erica O’Rourke, author of the Torn trilogy (Kensington) and the Dissonance series (S&S BFYR)


**Special ebook pre-order price of only 99¢**
Pre-order Deception So Deadly now:
Amazon (Kindle)
Everywhere else*
(*new retailers added daily)
Add it on Goodreads
Paperbacks available for purchase on August 15th


Clara Kensie, author of dark fiction for young adults
…don’t forget to breathe…

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic psychic thriller Deception So series, was named an RT Book Review Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Deception So Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book. The first two books in the series, originally released as the six-part Run to You digital serial in 2014, are being released in print with new Deception So titles and gorgeous new covers, starting with Deception So Deadly in August 2017 and Deception So Dark in February 2018. The series continues with Deception So Dangerous in August 2018.

Clara’s critically-acclaimed novel Aftermath (Simon and Schuster/Simon Pulse), a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines drama about hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Find Clara online:
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Monday, July 17, 2017

If the Jane Colt trilogy were graphic novels...

Two years ago, I released the third and final installment of the Jane Colt trilogy into the world. In celebration of the series' completion (and just because I thought it'd be cool), I commissioned these illustrations... a glimpse at what the books might look like if they were graphic novels :-)

Friday, July 14, 2017

BNG FRIDAY: The Verne Shot

Every Friday until its publication, I'm going to blog something about Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, a YA sci-fi anthology featuring tech-savvy heroines. The goal is to encourage more girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Revenues from sales of the anthology will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. 

Today, I'm spotlighting Brandon Draga's "The Verne Shot," a steampunk adventure set in 19th century Canada. Sadie Ross, the daughter of a Mountie who lives out in the cold woods of Canada, loves tinkering and Jules Verne books. So of course, when her dad gives her a broken revolver, she fashions it into a laser gun. Only one problem: she can't figure out how to power it. I absolutely adore the old-timey setting of this story. Sadie's world really comes to life, and though the tech is steampunk, it feels like historical fiction. When Sadie's dad goes after a dangerous criminal, Sadie fears the worst and goes out after him, hoping to help. Of course, adventure and mayhem ensue. Though Sadie's a quiet bookworm, she's bold when it matters, and I can't wait for y'all to meet her!


The Verne Shot 


Brandon Draga


​Sadie Ross, an inquisitive girl living in late 19th Century British Columbia, is a spirited inventor who is one breakthrough short of her greatest creation yet. When her father, a sergeant in the Northwest Mounted Police, vanishes on a mysterious manhunt, Sadie and her invention may be the only hope of seeing him home safe.


Brandon Draga was born and still lives just outside Toronto, Canada. Drawn to fantasy and world mythology at a young age, his interests segued into his pursuing a Bachelors Degree in History, only realizing years after the fact that he spent more time writing his own personal work than he did some of his papers. In 2014 Brandon released his first novel, The Summerlark Elf, as well as the fantasy children's book Dragon in the Doghouse (with illustrator Deanna Laver). When he isn't writing, Brandon enjoys skateboarding, tabletop games, and playing old punk songs poorly on guitar.


Twitter: @brandondraga
Instagram: @brandondraga


I want to work toward a world where the "smart girl" is no longer a token trope, and where young women don't have to be reminded that they can be whatever they want when they grow up, because it is simply a fact.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Behind the STARSWEPT book trailer

Whether book trailers do any good with regard to sales and marketing is perpetually up for debate. A few things are known for certain though: 1) They can't hurt 2) They're hella fun.

Big publishers sometimes produce life-action, cinematic trailers for their marquis titles. Those of us who don't have such resources and whose budget is determined not by a million-dollar marketing team, but by one's savings account and willingness to subsist on ramen, must find other solutions.

In my case, I decided to go abstract for the STARSWEPT book trailer. I didn't have the means to stage elaborate reenactments of the book's scenes... especially since it's space-age sci-fi. Besides, this ain't a movie. Showing things literally wouldn't do any good... it'd be a trailer for a film that would never be released. And it would limit readers' imaginations, since they'd be forced to picture the trailer's depiction of scenes instead of imagining them.

I wasn't aiming to illustrate scenes, but rather to capture the tone of the book... a mix of galaxy-spanning sci-fi, classical arts, and fairytale romance. Since the story takes place at a futuristic performing arts school, where students compete to gain alien patrons who sponsor their careers on a utopian planet, I knew from the get-go that my trailer would feature a combination of performing arts and space images. And while combing my book for ideas, I came across this bit:

It was then that I realized that I accidentally (I mean, intentionally after much pondering and a visitation from my muse :-P) illustrated this very concept with my book cover. On it, Iris is literally floating in a nebula... a star being created from colorful dust.

Symbolism completely on purpose. Not at all because I just thought it was pretty. I am an ARTISTE ;-)

As long as I had this concept going for me, I decided to expand upon it for the book trailer. I combed stock footage websites for videos that captured the tone I was going for... the grace and romance of performing arts and the beauty and futurism of nebulas. Then I faded the footage into each other to create the feel of performing artists appearing out of clouds of stardust. In addition, I tried to find footage depicting stage lights and bright stars, so I could blend them and have stage lights turn into stars... and fledgling suns turn into spotlights. After all, a big solo is a day in the sun.

The hardest part was finding the right soundtrack. I tinkered with the idea of composing something myself, but concluded that I just didn't have the right resources (my small collection of instruments and synths has served me well, but sadly, I can't turn myself into a full classical orchestra). So it was back to the stock libraries I went.

I knew right away that I wanted something orchestral, something classical-sounding without being actual classical music (though I did briefly consider using Mozart... problem was, it made the trailer seem like it was for a historical drama or that it was being played ironically). A lot of the stock music I found was epic, pounding trailer music, which was awesome, but totally wrong for my dreamy sci-fi romance... my fairytale in space. I filtered the results for slower pieces... I wanted something graceful and haunting.

Then, I found a choral and orchestral piece that gave me chills when I listened to it. Bingo: I had my song. As a bonus, the words the choir was singing (though hard to make out if you're not listening for them) matched perfectly; they sing "Come back to me" over and over, which is a common thought for my star-crossed lovers (who are separated by actual stars). 

After I had my pieces, it was time to put it all together. I opened with a shot of the camera approaching Earth... something that illustrates the arrival of the telepathic aliens that kick off the premise. Then, I added my performing arts school/nebula... performers appearing from stardust and stars turning to stage lights. I ended with a shot of a spaceship flying into the distance to illustrate the aliens taking the artists away... and Iris's eventual journey across the universe. Below is the final result, and I must say, I'm proud of it!

Friday, July 7, 2017

BNG FRIDAY: The Swiss Cheese Model

Every Friday until its publication, I'm going to blog something about Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, a YA sci-fi anthology featuring tech-savvy heroines. The goal is to encourage more girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Revenues from sales of the anthology will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. 

Today, I'm spotlighting T. Eric Bakutis's "The Swiss Cheese Model," which tells the story of a disastrous storm on a colony planet  and the young robotics programmer who keeps it from devastating her people. 15-year-old Jun Chang isn't supposed to mess with improvisation programs--which allow robots to act independently rather than just following commands--so she hides out in a cave to do just that. And she eventually creates three robotic pets: a large one on tank treads called Bear, a smaller one on four legs called Dog, and a little flying one called Gyro. First of all, how cute is that concept! Jun loves her robotic pets the same way any kid would love her dog or cat... especially since she "trained" them herself. When the storm hits, a sudden solar flare locks everyone inside the colony, leaving them unable to reach a dam in danger of collapsing and flooding their food supply. Only Jun--and her pets--are outside, so she takes it upon herself to face the storm's dangers. Jun's a great character--brilliant and brave yet also vulnerable and human. It's a fun adventure full of excitement and heart, and I'm excited for y'all to read it!


The Swiss Cheese Model 


T. Eric Bakutis 


A teen robotics programmer uses her wits, pet robots, and bravery to stop her colony's dam from collapsing and wiping out their food supply.


T. Eric Bakutis is an author and professional game designer based in Maryland. His first book, Glyphbinder, was a finalist for the 2014 Compton Crook Award, and he completed his first fantasy trilogy in March 2017. His short fiction has appeared in a number of markets including anthologies from Ragnarok Publications and Deepwood Publishing. He has been closely following developments in virtual and augmented reality for years and loves talking about how VR and AR will change our lives in the near future.


Twitter: @TEricBakutis


I work in a field (videogame design) that would benefit greatly from more female voices, designers, and programmers. I want my daughter to be able to pursue any field that excites her without worrying about harassment or discrimination, and I’m happy to contribute to causes that support that goal.




Monday, July 3, 2017

Shore Leave Panel Schedule!

Say, who's going to Shore Leave in Hunt Valley, MD this week? I'll be there! Exhibiting in the dealer's room with my fellow Red Adept author, Elizabeth Corrigan, and speaking on a few panels. OH, and I may be popping into something I'm not officially scheduled for in order to make an announcement... ;-)

Anyway, here's my panel schedule. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 7

7-8PM If I Had a Publishing Empire (Hunt Room)

Saturday, June 8

12-1PM Does Fiction Go Too Easy on Evil? (Chase Room)
4-5PM Women Don't Write Genre Fiction. Wait, What?! (Chase Room)
5-6PM Falling Out of Love With a Story (Derby Room)

Sunday, June 9
10-11AM Why We Love Sci-Fi (Derby Room)
2PM-3PM Representation is Key (Salon A)