SCHISM by Laura Maisano

It’s been a long time since I’ve featured a new book here on authorericprice.com, and I can’t think of a better way to get back in the game than with a spotlight on the first book by Laura Maisano. If you like urban fantasy, interdimensional travel, that sort of stuff, then you don’t want to miss this. This book looks so good, I’ve already bought my copy. While you’re here, don’t miss out on the rafflecopter giveaway about a third of the way down the page.

SCHISM (Illirin Book One)
By Laura Maisano
 
Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe
Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back
to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just
out of sight.
Another
student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the
fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and
fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world
exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each
other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true
origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.

While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for
Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot
unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin
in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle
the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the
riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.


Excerpt

Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small
notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t
need to find data, now she needed proof.
She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps
from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones
of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.
Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow
crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.
Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept
fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on
patrol.
“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone
again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get
mugged, you know.”
“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the
population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”
He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out
here at night.”
Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”
“I know that. Neither am I.”
“Good.”
They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and
dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave
cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and
the humidity only made it worse.
Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes.
“This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She
shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”
“How long?”
“Roughly ten minutes.”
Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers
scuffing the gritty pavement.
Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.
She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure
seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the
entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on
to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from
the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.
“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.
This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out
visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she
squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.
“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She
stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.
“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”
They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at
the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any
sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just
the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed
the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

About the Author

Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA
Christian Fiction.
She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.
Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day.
Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles
and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in
Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure.
Check out her blog at
LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.
 
Twitter: @MaisanoLaura

Google
+
https://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano

Survival Colony 9 Review and Interview with Joshua David Bellin.

One of the first authors I met (with a publisher other than my own), after signing my contract and trying to establish a presence on social media, joins me today. By the time I met him, Joshua David Bellin had gotten a good start on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and he had recently created his blog, The YA Guy, where he reviews and promotes other young adult books, as well as his own. I pre-ordered his book, Survival Colony 9, and anxiously awaited its release–though, I did wait a little extra time so I could get an autographed copy. I read it as soon as it came, enjoyed it, wanted to have Joshua join me here . . . but I got busy. So, after a several month delay, here he is, the author of Survival Colony 9, Joshua David Bellin. Read on after the interview for a review of his book. But I admit, I’m not comfortable writing reviews, so it will lack the eloquence with which Joshua writes his reviews.

Ok. I want to get this out of the way right off. We all know you’re a huge King Kong fan. I didn’t notice any references to the giant ape in Survival Colony 9, but I may have missed something. Of all the sequels, remakes, guest appearances, parodies, and references, which is your favorite of the great ape’s RE-appearances?

 

Joshua David BellinWell, we can rule out the ’76 version immediately. The Peter Jackson remake isn’t horrible, except it’s about two hours too long and relies too heavily on CG effects. I’m going to go with another Willis O’Brien vehicle, the original Mighty Joe Young. Even better stop-motion (thanks to O’Brien’s assistant, Ray Harryhausen in his first feature film), and thought the plot and acting are on the weak side, it was nice to see a giant monster film that ends happily for the giant monster!

I intended to insert a clip from How I Met Your Mother here. There’s a scene where a monkey climbs a model of the Empire State Building and they throw paper airplanes at it, but I couldn’t find it.

 

On to your book. I know authors don’t like to speculate which actors should play characters in their books. The best reason I’ve heard for this is they don’t want the reader to have a presupposition for what a character looks like. After all, when you first read Lord or the Rings, did Frodo look anything like Elijah Wood? (Yet for me, Gandalf did look a lot like Ian McKellen.) So I won’t put you on the spot here, but what do you think of *whispers name of a top billed action star* as Laman?

 

I think he’d be great in the role of Laman! Impressive presence, very authoritative, but with an edge of something dangerous or unbalanced. For the same reason, I think [cough, cough] would be just as awesome.

 

A few aspects of this book reminded me of The Walking Dead. We’ll skip the obvious world in ruin stuff. Laman, as a leader, reminded me a lot of Rick. Laman had a bit more of a grip on his sanity, but he grew up in his world, Rick grew up before the world ended. This could be hard to adjust to. Both had a son under their wing, and both sought a permanent shelter. (Of course, I think we, as people, want a permanent shelter. If not, we’d have never started building houses.) Can you expand on some similarities/differences you see?

 

You’re not the first person to make a Walking Dead connection with my book, but I have to admit: I’ve never seen the show. (Or that’s not entirely true—I watched the first episode simply to see if it was as similar to my book as people were saying, but I didn’t like it.) In general, I’m not a huge fan of zombies. I feel like they’ve been done to death, and with very little originality to the story line. They’re undead cannibals who turn their victims into other undead cannibals and destroy the world in the process. Been there, done that.

The reason I made the connection (and I can’t speak for the show, I’ve only seen an episode or two), is the comics really aren’t about zombies. Sure, they exist, and when it’s time for a character to get killed off, they can always get bitten, but the stories are about the people learning to live in a new world. It’s character driven more than any other Zombie medium I’ve seen. It could be a world taken over by mutant lions and have the same result. (Hum, a world taken over by mutant lions.) Anyway, In Survival Colony 9, the Skaldi made them live in constant fear, but the book was really about the characters.

I also intended to compare the Skaldi to the byrus in Stephen King’s Dreamcathcer, but I forgot.

 

In one scene, Laman makes everyone give up the items they carry that aren’t absolutely necessary. In our world, so full of hoarders there’s even a TV show about it, how hard do you think it would be for people to give up sentimental items in the event of the apocalypse?

 

I think it would be nearly impossible. Though I personally feel we in the western world care far too much about material possessions—this is an ongoing dispute with my wife and kids, by the way—there’s no denying that this stuff defines us. So if the world were to collapse, and on top of that (as in my novel) memory were to fade to the extent that people have practically no reference points to the past, I think the importance of material stuff would be greatly magnified. Which is one thing that makes Laman a problematic leader—he doesn’t understand this. But as readers will discover, he has his own reasons for not understanding.

 

I always like to ask authors about characters they like or dislike. I did not like Yov. Who are some of your favorites/least favorites?

 

I actually like Yov, because he’s such a smart-mouth jerk he got some of the best lines in the book! But leaving him aside, I love Aleka and Petra, two of the strong women in the colony, and Korah, because she’s so much more complex than I’d originally planned. She was one of those characters who took on a life of her own and refused to be limited by my first intentions. If I had to choose a character I don’t like—which is hard, because in this book I very much wanted there not to be simple heroes and villains, so I got to know all my characters too well to hate them—I’d say it’s Araz. I get where he’s coming from, but I simply can’t condone some of the things he does.

You’re the second person in a row I mentioned the character I liked least, and the author pointed out that the character is smart-mouthed. Interesting. What does that say about me? Maybe I don’t like characters too similar to myself.

 

All right, enough about Survival Colony 9. As you wrote in the book, “Life isn’t about looking back. It’s about looking ahead.” What can you tell us about Skaldi City? I assume it will also be about Querry. What’s next for him? Do you know an approximate release date?

 

I don’t have a release date yet, alas. But you’ll know as soon as I do (as will the rest of the Twittersphere). SKALDI CITY picks up right where SURVIVAL COLONY 9 leaves off, but it takes Querry and the others into very different territory, revealing much more of the world, as well as much more of his personal history. I think readers will be surprised by what they discover. And they’ll also meet a new character who is, hands down, my favorite in the series. So it’s something to be on the lookout for!

I look forward to it. I’d pre-order a copy now if I could. On to the review.

Survival Colony 9 Review:

Querry Genn can’t remember who his is, or how he got to Survival Colony 9, but he needs to remember to save himself . . . and possibly the human race. In a world destroyed by war, the remaining people formed survival colonies, but harsh climates, including lack of food and water, aren’t the only threats in this post-apocalyptic world. They also have to contend with the Skaldi. No one knows what these monsters look like. No one has seen them and lived to tell. You see, they possess a human host and mimic them perfectly. They could be anyone, even me.

Joshua David Bellin creates a completely plausible dystopian world. When the Skaldi attack, and Survival Colony 9 has to pack up and run, you’re there. When they find a place to set up camp, possibly for a long-term, you feel their relief. And you share in their losses when members of Survival Colony 9 fail to survive the Skaldi.

My only complaint is the book left me wanting more. Sorry for the vagueness, but I’m not actually sure what ‘more’ I wanted from it. I may have wanted more interaction between Querry and Laman. Or perhaps I wanted more information about Querry or the Skaldi. If that’s the case, I guess it’s a compliment not a complaint. In which case, I should get my ‘more’ in Skaldi City.

Guest Post: Kai Strand’s Takes on Publishing

Today, I’m very lucky to host one of my friends (at least in the online sense of the word) who happens to be one of my favorite authors. Shortly after I signed the contract for my book, I started cyber-stalking. No, not in the creepy, obsessive, you-need-to-get-professional-help-before-you-hurt-yourself-or-someone-else sort of way. Instead the subtle, and more socially accepted, way of passively observing what other authors were doing. When I cam across Kai, her book Beware of the White caught my attention. First, it had an outstanding cover (CK Volnek, who did Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud’s cover, also did Beware of the White). The story also sounded interesting, so I read it. Not only did I enjoy it immensely, when I finished it, I realized it also had the same editor as my book, Katie Carroll. Maybe that’s just one of the fun quirks of being with a small press. I’ll let Kai tell you more.

Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe – Today’s Publishing Options

It used to be that you could be a fantastic writer, but if none of the big six publishing houses or any of their imprints wanted to publish your work, your story was dead in the water. Today there are more small presses than ever before, including many that are taking advantage of electronic publishing and doing a good job of it, and there is accessibility and affordability in self-publishing. It is a great time to be a writer. The power of publication has shifted more into the author’s hands than ever before.

A book is a collaborative deal regardless of which route you take. With a small press, the collaboration is more intimate than if you were with a large publishing house and less over-lording than if you self-publish. You usually have good communication with your editor, input into your cover design, and can get answers to your questions from the senior editors or the publisher.  Though it is less likely you will get an advance from a small press, your royalties might be slightly larger, especially on the ebook. Their overhead isn’t as big as a large publisher, so they tend to give more back to the author where they can.

Of course there are drawbacks. Because small press keep their staff lean, the employees are often overburdened and might miss deadlines, pushing back your release date. Small presses often don’t even provide a solid release date because of this, leaving the author unable to prepare a ‘launch’ for their book or having to postpone a previously planned one (that can be embarrassing). Small presses usually don’t provide much support for promoting your book. Sometimes not even a Facebook page or Twitter, which costs the company nothing if they can get their authors to add the content for them. While small press can be the answer for publishing a niche story, they can often be limiting for the author as their career progresses, which is why I am published with four different presses. Not one press I’ve published with publishes all the books I write because their line up is more specialized than a larger house. And finally, small presses go out of business frequently, which can result in your book rights bobbing around for a while or your publication never coming to fruition. Do your homework on the company before submitting to them and if you choose to accept a contract and the company isn’t what you thought…move onto the next book with a different publisher. You usually will have a chance to snag back your rights after three years and then you can take the book elsewhere or self-publish it.

Small press fits my current publication expectations. I like working with people who know more about the aspects of publishing a book than I do. I love that I can have multiple books being prepared for publication at the same time while I keep writing new stuff. Last year I had two books publish within a few weeks of each other and this year there were only a couple months between book releases. It is much harder to do that if you are self-publishing, because it is all up to you.

Going forward, I don’t know that I will only publish with small presses. I hope my career will be long and fruitful, and my goal is to hit all the options eventually. However, I am enjoying my experience publishing with small presses and I’m learning a lot about the business of writing for children.

Thanks for joining me today, Kai. I had hoped to finish reading King of Bad before this went live so I could spend a paragraph saying great and wonderful things about it. Alas, I failed. But I will say I’ve enjoyed the first quarter of the book before moving on to your blurbs.

Beware of the White FinalBeware of the White: middle grade fantasy adventure

As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a Natures Spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe…that part breaks tradition.

The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.

With Spirit of Security, Frank, protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new Spirit earn back the peace of the city?

Buy It:

MuseItUp, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Or look for it on iTunes

King of BAD COVERKing of Bad: young adult fantasy

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Buy it: Whiskey Creek PressAmazonBarnes and Noble Add it to Goodreads

Kai StrandAbout the author

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Visit Kai’s website, www.kaistrand.com, to browse her books, download companion materials or to find all her online haunts.

Can Self-Publishing Authors Destroy Literature?

Two events happened June 17 to inspire this article. First, I read Michael Kozlowski’s post “Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature.” Second, I talked about publishing to a “Writer’s Free for All” group at my local library.

Mr. Kozlowski’s article implies there are two types of books on the market: large publishing house masterpieces, and self-published garbage. To take it a step farther, the authors of the self-published garbage pollute social media and online bookstores so much, a person can’t even wade through to find the masterpieces. I almost read this article without giving it a second thought. But as an author with a small publisher (Muse It Up), I became upset; not by his attack on self-publishing, but his ignorance of working with a small publisher. Remember, I’m signed to a publishing company (good, according to Mr. Kozlowski), but I have to help promote my book with tools such as social media (bad).

Mr. Kozlowski also complains self-publisher’s devalue the work of “legitimate published authors”:

“One thing indie authors have done is devalue the work of legitimate published authors. You know the type that write for a living, who have an editor and are considered accomplished, or at least well-read. The average indie title is $0.99 to $2.99, and the average publisher price is $7.99 – $12.99. Book buyers have been so conditioned to pay as little as possible that often they will not even consider a more expensive book.”

I could say so much about this one paragraph, but I think I’ll leave it at this: Why should I pay as much for an eBook as I’d pay for a paperback, regardless of the author?

Before I get into my publishing opinions, I’ll start by defining self-publishing and differentiating it from “traditional publishing.” A self-published book is produced by the author. He or she typically pays a company to print books, or produce an eBook. The author either self-edits, or hires an editor. When the book is complete, the author commences promoting the work every way possible. Any author, regardless of talent, who can afford to self-publish, can have his or her own book on the shelf, or eReader.

Traditional publishing differs in many ways. A publishing house, be it large or small, agrees to produce the book for the author. The publisher pays for an editor(s), pays to produce the book, and pays to promote the book. In this case, anyone can publish a book if he or she can find a publisher who thinks the work is good enough to invest the publishing house’s time and money on the project.

There are also hybrid situations where the author and publisher split the expenses, but I’m going to ignore that for simplicity. I’m also going to ignore authors who have always been with a publishing house, who, for their own reasons, decide to self-publish a book.

When I started writing I had not heard of self-publishing. While paging through a writer’s guide, I came across a publisher to whom I thought I could market my book. I ran the idea past an acquaintance of mine, who was a published author. She explained the publisher I had chosen was a self-publishing company. She went on to say I should avoid self-publishing as traditional publishers looked down upon prospective authors if their writing credits were from self-publishing. I don’t know if this was accurate at the time, but a large number of former self-published authors have moved to traditional publishing.

I decided self-publishing was not for me. As much as I wanted to see my book in print, part of my dream was for an editor to read my submission and see enough potential to commit the resources of the publisher to produce my book. Some people just want their book produced and they are willing to pay to have it. Some people have written several books this way, and they have no desire to have a book traditionally published. If this completes their dream they should go for it, but that’s not what I wanted.

Mr. Kozlowski also leads the reader to believe all self-published work is garbage, and all traditionally published work is good. I don’t think I should have to address this, but I will for the sake of completeness. This is asinine. Who hasn’t read a book by at least one established author that was terrible? If you haven’t here’s how to find one. Watch the bestseller rack. If you see an author there more than twice in the same calendar year, start with one of his or her books. It’s not guaranteed to work, but the chances are good. Likewise, if you read enough self-published authors, you’re bound to find a good one. Sorry, I don’t have any tricks for this, but you could start with reviews. If the book has positive reviews, and the reviews themselves are well written, it may be worth a shot. If the reviews appear to have been written by a kindergarten class, you may want to stay away.

I have not read every book; I just haven’t had the time. But I’m willing to bet there are more self-published pieces of garbage than traditionally published garbage. When I hear self-publishers say they got tired of being rejected by publishers so they decided to self-publish, I get very leery about reading their books. Maybe there is a reason, or reasons, the publisher’s wouldn’t accept them.

Having worked with several editors, I’m a firm believer of the power of an outsider’s eye to catch mistakes and see areas where the story can be tightened, expanded, or otherwise improved. And when I say an outsider, I mean a professional editor, not your mom. (Even if your mom is a professional editor, this may be an area to avoid close friends and family).

I do think self-publishing has a place. Books with a limited interest are perfect for self-publishing. Authors of family histories and small town histories would struggle to find a home at a publishing house, unless the family or town were already famous. But even limited interest books don’t necessitate self-publishing. Many states have small publishing house willing to produce a limited run of exactly that sort of book.

What I’m trying to say, and I hope I’m fair to self-publishers, is self-publishing cannot destroy literature. In fact, it could make literature better if an amazing story comes out of the blue–though I have a hard time believing a publishing house wouldn’t pick up a truly amazing story. If you’re a writer, decide what your dream in publishing is, and go for it. But don’t sell yourself short. You’ve already put in the hard work of researching, writing, re-writing, revising, now it’s time to put in more hard work and find the right publisher for it.