Download “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology” for FREE ’til Dec. 11th!

wgtadoorku-copy

If you’ve always wondered whether astrology works or what all that sign, house, and aspect stuff means, this is the perfect chance to find out for FREE until December 11! This is the book I wanted when I was first learning about it.

The Kindle version is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a beginning student of astrology or an instructor teaching the basics, this book covers the material in an easy to follow manner.

What readers are saying about Whobeda’s Guide:

“A user-friendly introduction to a field of study that goes back to the dawn of man.”

“If you have no clue about cusps, rising, or what a fixed or mutable sign is, then you need to read this book.”

“Fun, witty and informative. . . An Absolute must read!”

“Five stars only because I can’t give it a hundred!”

“Written with wit and candor, this book is a must have for beginners as well as seasoned professionals.”

“Like sitting in the kitchen with a dear friend as she shares her delicious astro insights!”

Get your copy at one of the outlets below:

Click here to get it FREE until December 11th

Looking for the perfect gift for the person who has everything? Get the print version for $15.95 here

Or better yet, get the print version from the CreateSpace eStore and use Discount Code 4KCHSKEW to get 20% off!

 

Blog Tour: Annie Douglass Lima’s Latest YA Adventure Tale

I’m excited to be part of Annie Douglass Lima’s blog tour to announce her latest young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

The Collar and the CavvarachFirst Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

EXCERPT:

“Hey, it’s the new guy,” someone said, and heads turned. “What’s your number?”

“My number? Oh, um, I think they said I’d be Fifty-Eight.” A tasty-looking bowl of chicken and potatoes came within reach, but someone else picked it up, scooped some onto his own plate, and then passed it away down the table before Bensin could get any.

“So, you beat Ninety-Nine,” a Skeyvian gladiator across from him commented, his dark skin laced with pale jagged scars. “Soon as he gets out of the clinic, you better watch out. He’ll be out for blood.” He set down the vegetables he had just served himself, and Bensin picked up the dish, but the guy next to him plucked it out of his hands and sent it in the other direction.

“I didn’t actually mean to hurt him,” Bensin began, looking around for another dish of food. He was interrupted by derisive laughter from everyone within earshot.

“Fifty-Eight didn’t mean to hurt him! Ha! What kind of gladiator are you, kid?”

Bensin couldn’t think of an appropriate response. “Hey, could somebody pass me the chicken?”

“Dude, you better start meaning to hurt people if you want to make it here,” the burly Tarnestran beside him advised. “You can’t manage that, Gile will plan a blaze of glory for you sooner rather than later.”

Bensin wasn’t sure what the man was talking about, and his stomach was still rumbling. Everyone around him was eating now, but the serving dishes had all been passed down to the other end of the table.

“Gile won’t have to plan a blaze of glory for this one,” another gladiator predicted. “At this rate, he’s gonna starve to death first.”

* * *

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

 Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

About the Author

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

(See my previous interview with Annie here.)

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Some Benefits of Backstories

26572416_s

As an author you’re probably already familiar with backstories.  These may reside nowhere but inside your head, but in order to develop authentic characters and plots, they need to exist.  Even if a character has amnesia, such as Jane Doe in the popular TV program Blindspot, he or she needs to have a past.  Life experiences, even for fictitious characters, are what make people interesting, provide motivation and bring out their personality.  As an author, if you don’t know this about your character, it’s going to make it more difficult to tell his story.  Dialog and action may be stilted or artificial without knowing what makes him tick.

If you’re having difficulty getting into a character, talk to him or her to find out more about their background.  You might be surprised what you’ll discover.  Character interviews are common these days in blogs, which further demonstrate this principle.  Talking about a character with other writers or your beta readers can bring out all sorts of great ideas as well.  If you get stuck, try this out.  I can have as much fun brainstorming with other writers about their current WIP as I can with my own, whether it involves character motivation or plot development.  Backstories are also great practice for new authors not only to develop their cast but their writing style as well.

It’s worth noting, however, that you shouldn’t confuse your readers by giving unimportant characters a name.  If you do, they’ll wonder later what happened to so and so.  The general rule is that any character who doesn’t contribute to the plot doesn’t need to be there, anyway, except in the case of certain group situations, like extras in a movie.  If they’re important enough to deserve a name, then they should have a backstory, no matter how simple.

For main characters, these backstories tend to come out in the course of the story to a greater or lesser degree, but not always so much for minor characters.  However, if you find a detailed backstory developing for a minor character, chances are he/she/it has something interesting to say.  You’ve undoubtedly noticed how various sit-coms have had spinoffs over the years, typically when a minor character becomes interesting enough to have his or her own program.  One that comes to mind is Frasier, which evolved from Cheers.  Another example would be the ewok stories that evolved from Star Wars.

It used to be that backstories were useful to the writer, but often sat in a file that never saw the light of day.  Now that ebooks are so popular and relatively easy to produce, they can serve a useful purpose for keeping readers and fans engaged, either as your full-length novel develops, between books in a series or even to add additional depth to a story that’s already out there.  Who knows?  It could evolve into another full-length story as you dive into what makes a character tick.  This is often how series and trilogies are born, when there’s a lot more to tell.  Fans who become attached to a character love to hear more about them.  And these are not always limited to the main ones.  How many movies have you seen where one of the supporting actors grabs your attention?  You never know who another person will connect with or for what reason.

Since this background information is often already written up, or could be relatively easily if it’s parked in your brain, it’s worth it to do some editing and get it into ebook form.  Print form works, too, since these books are usually short and make great giveaways or ultra-inexpensive samples.  As expected, the cover is the most expensive element of a book, so they might not be as cheap as you’d expect, but usually your cost will be around $2.  For example, my Star Trails Compendium, which is 135 pages long, costs me $2.48 while The Sapphiran Agenda is only 29 pages but $2.15.

Backstories work well for giveaways and teasers, both before and after a book is released.  My Star Trails Tetralogy series has two, which are free on Smashwords and its outlets and 99c on Amazon.  The Star Trails Compendium comprises all the terms, definitions and cultural background information for the series while The Sapphiran Agenda is a true backstory for a minor character, Thyron, who’s a flora peda telepathis, i.e. telepathic walking plant.  Many readers noted he was their favorite, though at least one found him annoying, demonstrating how you never know how they’ll be accepted.  Thyron has at least one more story to tell which I hope to have out soon.

Put backstories to work for you to gain new fans, retain old ones, and provide short samples of your writing style.  Short reads are popular these days as well, even having their own category on Amazon, which further increases their appeal and potential for finding new readers.  Whether you’re in the middle of a lengthy novel, between books or perhaps stuck with a case of writer’s block, these gems can be fun and easy to write and provide a means to maintain contact with your existing fan base.  If you need ideas or examples, feel free (literally and figuratively) to check mine out at the links below.

StarTrailsCompendium copy

The Star Trails Compendium

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005]

The Sapphiran Agenda

Top image copyright 123RF

 

Another One Bites the Dust

2015over copy

Year, that is.

I suppose that title gives some clue to my age, at least to those who remember its context. They go by faster and faster. I’ve always liked the analogy comparing life to a roll of toilet paper, i.e. it goes faster toward the end. Scary but true.

Every December I always look back at the list of goals I made the previous year to see how I did. I usually achieve most of them, which is a testimony for writing them down so you don’t forget what they are. Of course that works both ways. If you don’t record it then you may forget to pursue it in the first place but on the other hand, if you finished something without listing it then it could slip into the past unnoticed, meaning you don’t take credit for it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need all the credit I can get.

Fortunately, I have tangible proof of at least some of the things I accomplished. Some have been hanging over my head for years. For example, finishing up my science fiction series, the Star Trails Tetralogy. I think I originally said the final volume would be coming out back in 2013. Hahahaha! That sure didn’t happen. But this year it finally did. Refractions of Frozen Time came out in March, about the same time my contractor, Tracy, finished up remodeling my sunroom into a guest room. I could have quit right there and taken pride in my achievements, with due credit to Tracy, of course. Both those goals had been on my list for years so those were biggies.

But once all four books were complete, then I set to work putting together the box set I’d envisioned ever since I realized my story would require more than one book to complete. I had some extra incentive to get that one accomplished when I agreed to share a book fair booth with three other authors. It took a lot more work than expected, but somehow I finished that one, too. Yay!

Then I had a couple nonfiction ebooks I wanted to get in print. Particularly Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology and The Family History Fun Factor. Done! I still have one more to go but plan to get that out by the first of 2016.

So I’m celebrating and invite you to join me.

GIVEAWAYS!

GRGivestars copy

I’m giving away 3 copies of the Star Trails Tetralogy Deluxe Box Set here.  All books are autographed by yours truly and it includes a fun swag pack of goodies, too.

WGTA-userfriendly

If you’re interested in astrology, sign up to win one of three autographed copies of Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology here.

Both giveaways end December 13 which will hopefully allow enough time for the winners to receive them by Christmas. (Sorry, USA only)

 

 

Here are some other deals you might like. If you have any sci-fi fans on your holiday gift list, remember you can always “gift” them a copy.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005]

 

 

THE SAPPHIRAN AGENDA

The Sapphiran Agenda, backstory of Thyron, the telepathic walking plant everyone loves in Star Trails, is now FREE on Smashwords here.

bthsreallydoneit copy

BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

Star Trails Volume 1, Beyond the Hidden Sky, is free if you join my Preferred Readers here.

STTtiredofwait150ppi copy

STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY EBOOK BOX SET

Get the entire Star Trails Tetralogy box set electronically for half-price on Smashwords here.

Promotional price: $2.99
Use Coupon Code: VP22Z
Expires: January 5, 2016

WGTAFrontCoverHC150ppi

 

WHOBEDA’S GUIDE TO BASIC ASTROLOGY

Get Whobeda’s Guide ebook for 75% off here.

Promotional price: $0.99
Use Coupon Code: QD49E
Expires: January 5, 2016

If you’d like a paperback copy you can get one for 20% off at Create Space here.   Use Discount Code 4KCHSKEW

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you have a prosperous New Year!  Meanwhile, I’m going to go back and work on that list for 2016.  After I take a nap.  I’m pretty tired after realizing how much I actually got done this year…

 

Release Date Countdown with Dream Cast Reveal!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00004]

As of today only 18 days remain until “Refractions of Frozen Time” is available in ebook format! That means you still have plenty of time to read the preceding three volumes so you can fully enjoy the series conclusion. I’ve made each book as independent as possible as a self-contained story but nonetheless Star Trails is a series where each volume continues where the previous one left off. I tried to avoid cliff hanger endings that would make people crazy while they waited for the next book to come out but now that problem is less than three weeks from no longer being a problem!

Is this really the end? I’m not telling. I’m open to suggestions, though, so feel free to let me know your favorite character and whom you’d like to know more about in prequels and/or sequels. You can contact me here or through the following social media:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Author Website: http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Email: marcha@kallioperisingpress.com

Speaking of characters, I had a lot of fun looking for Dream Cast actors. I was pretty happy with what I found. If you’ve been wondering what my Star Trails characters look like, here are some pretty close renditions. If you haven’t read any of the stories yet, these can help you “see” the characters when you do.

Dreamcast copy

Creena: Taylor Dooley

Dirck: Jason Behr

Laren: Josh Brolin

Sharra: Wendy Benson

Deven: Preston Bailey

Win: ?? (Didn’t have the guy’s name on the site where I found this picture but he’s 100% my character. If you know who it is please let me know so I can give him proper credit!)

Jen: Gerard Butler

Bryl: Senna Guemmour

Troy: Ben Bass

Just in case you’ve missed it, I’ve been posting a “Sneak Peek per Week ’til Release” on Bublish. These include excerpts, in some cases an entire chapter, along with some commentary. Follow me at https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111 and you’ll be notified when they’re posted. You can also read the “Book Bubbles” for the previous stories while you’re there as well.

Stay tuned for more updates as the release date nears. There will be giveaways on Goodreads and more “flash sales” of the first three books so be sure to follow me through the above Goodreads link so you know when they’ll be held!

To show my appreciation for my fans and celebrate the great 5-star reviews that came in this week, you can pick up an ecopy of Volume II, “A Dark of Endless Days,” in the electronic format of your choice from February 13 – 16, 2015 on Smashwords for only $0.99 USD using Coupon Code CV99V at this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511336.

Happy reading and have a great Valentine’s Day weekend!