Monday, October 27, 2014

Mysteries of a Writer's Mind: Welcome M. Pax!

I'm so stoked to have M. Pax here today talking about what inspired her Rifters series. I'm always fascinated by how authors get their ideas. Check this out...

Mysteries of Oregon

Oregon is filled with mysterious landscapes. They make me wonder and spark my imagination.

What if the whole universe was on this tree?


What if a different world existed beyond the mist?


What if this mushroom grew teeth and sucked the life force out of my toes?



If the bubbles are breath, what lives under the lake?



What if the lava were alive?



That last question inspired a swarm of beasts in my imagination ten years ago. They made their way into The Initiate, Rifters Book 2 as the starring monster.

As fantastic as my stories can get, they’re based on real things and places around me. Oregon never fails to disappoint me. To me, it’s the most awesome place in the galaxy.
The Initate is now out! It picks up exactly where The Rifters left off. More monsters. More time travelers. More steampunk. More adventure.


A junction erupts between the worlds in Settler, Oregon, a rift from which horrors attack our world. The Rifters defend us.

To trust unquestioningly is the first lesson Daelin Long must learn as the newest Initiate of the Rifters.

Her first day is a disaster. She stands on a deserted street in a town smaller than a city district, courting killer rocks from another world with her ancestor from the Revolutionary War. Normal no longer exists.

While she struggles, Earl Blacke grapples with atoning for his past ill deeds, running far and fast from Settler, Oregon. The Shaman of the Desert promises him redemption, and an old mine puts the possibility of a gold strike in his grasp. His luck has changed for the better, but he can’t have both.

Available from: Amazon / iTunes / B&N Googleplay / Smashwords / Other


What Inspires You?




M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, the urban fantasy series The Rifters, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons  to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. Learn more at


Monday, October 20, 2014

Some Secrets of Secret Keepers

First, I'm over at the awesome Shah Wharton's place today talking about the Problems with Paranormalcy. Please stop by!
And now...
It's release day for Secret Keepers, the final novella in the Afterlife series.
Not only is it release day, but it's the official "cover reveal."
And by "cover reveal" I mean the little secret within the cover revealed...
First, check out the cover. It contains some of the items that appear in the book. There's the bowl with the special sachets used in a spell to cast out demons. Hazel's collection of wands that she doesn't know how to use yet. A painting of Penny, Hazel's "special" cat.
Then there's the jar. The jar contains smooth, black stones with names on them. These stones are charmed with a spell that allows the user to see ghosts and basically exist in their world. All you have to do is choose the stone etched with your name, kiss it and tuck it into your pocket. 
And voilà!
You're a ghost whisperer, just like Indigo Eady.
You can see that names are written on the stones, but the names are too small to read...
Cover designed and illustrated by Corona Zschusschen
But, when the jar section is blown up like this... can see that not only do the stones have character names engraved (Simon, Badger and Hazel), but some of them contain the names of my own family members (Allan, Amber, John, Donna and Alyssa), along with my illustrator Corona, and me, of course!
I love knowing about the secret hidden within my Secret Keepers cover!
Are there any secrets in your covers?
Bonus Excerpt
Here's a little excerpt. To set up the scene, Indigo and Badger are making their way through the dilapidated ghost hospital. Using the stones allows Badger to go through the hospital without seeing all the cracks in the floors and the possibilities of falling five floors to his death. But did I mention that the stones only last for a couple of hours? This is what happens when the spell wears off the stones...

I shrugged my pack on and helped him with his. Once again we climbed upward. We were slowed to one step at a time, me using my shoulder to leverage under Badger’s armpit to push him up to the next step. What seemed like an hour later, we made it to the top. The fifth floor. Our last stand. The final frontier and all that.

When we stepped out into the corridor, Badger yelled, “No!” He pulled me back, but clung to the doorjamb, as if we might fall into a pit of vipers.

My brief glimpse of the corridor hadn’t revealed anything untoward. “What is it? What did you see?”

“Th-the floor,” he stuttered. “There are gaping holes. It isn’t safe.” He ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We can’t go out there.”

The corridor on the fifth floor was dark and dilapidated, true. But it was no worse than the other floors.

And then it dawned on me as I looked closer. “Badger, where are your stones?”

He eyed me strangely. “Seriously? You’re going to question my masculinity right now?”

I rolled my eyes. “The charmed stones, you dork. The ones Hazel gave you.” Seriously.

“Oh. Yeah. In my pocket.” He reached in and pulled one out, our eyes meeting as he did so. The fire-engine red blush was adorable. Kissing the stone, he rechecked the situation in the corridor, then released a held breath. “Bloody hell,” he muttered.

“Better?” I asked.

He nodded. “Although it’d be even better if I didn’t know what lie underneath. What the bloody hell is holding us up?”

“Don’t think about it.” I wrapped his arm around my neck again. “When you kiss the stone, you are no longer in our dimension. You’re in theirs. Just go with it.”

“Go with it, she says,” he muttered under his breath. “Don’t think about falling through the gaping holes to your death, she says.”

I smirked.

He cracked a smile. “Oh shut up.”

About Secret Keepers:

In Second Death, Indigo and her team of sleuths escape the clutches of underground evil.

In Ghostly Gallows, Indigo and the gang managed to dodge the falling ruins and free those spirits trapped by the evil spell that bound them to Gallowsgate Prison.

Now in Secret Keepers, even though Indigo speaks to ghosties, there is so much about the afterlife she doesn’t understand. Such as…how can spirits be sick? They’re dead, for goodness sake! But once again Indigo is forced to go where she made it a point to never go: the hospital. There, the mystery of the sick and missing spirits explodes into a frenzied battle for souls where dawn may bring life or final death.


About Indigo Eady:

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?

Tweets if you feel like tweeting:

“When you kiss the stone, you are no longer in our dimension. You’re in theirs. Just go with it.” @UnRealms

"... correct me if I’m wrong, but… spirits are dead people." Secret Keepers. #Afterlife #Supernatural @UnRealms

"I have to admit, having friends who could float through walls came in handy." Secret Keepers. #afterlife @UnRealms

 Secret Keepers available now!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jules Flanders and The Turnagain Arms

I know you've been seeing Julie Flanders' lovely cover all over the internet for the past week. I have, and I couldn't wait to share it.

The cover is awesome.

The blurb is awesome.

But wait!

Guess who begged an excerpt from the author? Yep, I got an excerpt that you haven't seen unless you've read the novella. And, I'm happy to share it here.

But first, let's learn a little bit about it...
The Turnagain Arms, prequel to Polar Night:

Polar Night's Aleksei Nechayev leaves war-torn Russia in 1917 and makes his way to Alaska. Settling in at a railroad camp, Aleksei comes up against an adversary who seems to know the truth about the newly-turned vampire's identity, and who soon gives Aleksei much more than he bargained for at The Turnagain Arm.

Cover design by Michael Di Gesu
Only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle

Book Blurb: 
Locomotive wheels screech to a halt. Potters Creek, Alaska is nothing more than a small camp set up alongside the tracks. A weathered sign dominates the scene.

The Turnagain Arm Saloon 

Only one passenger remains and exits.
The early afternoon full moon peaks through a shimmering snow fall as a shadow casts over each split rail. The wind howls, sweeping the cloak of a hooded figure. He follows the tracks toward the distant saloon. A hulking man crunches through the snow, attracting his attention.
Calling out to him in a foreign accent, the townsman stops in mid step. The stranger catches up and engages him.


The man disappears under the stranger’s cloak.
Blood drips from his lips, and he wipes the remaining trickles from his mouth. After disposing of the body, the mysterious figure continues on his journey. He glides through the snow as if on a sleigh, leaving no footprints behind.

*          *          *          *          *

Within a short period, he convinces Vasyl, the owner of the saloon, to hire him. Aleksei charms everyone he meets. But soon mistrust enters every tense line on Vasyl’s face as others disappear, and his wife falls under Aleksei’s spell.

The classic game of cat and mouse continues, but who will win?
Is a mere mortal any match for Aleksei?

A spark ignites within Alexei after yet another of Vasyl’s attempts to disgrace him.

This man knows of me. He must be a witch. Aleksei laughs. You are no match for me or my plan.

The Turnagain Arm Excerpt:
“Folks are disappearing around here, Mr. Dzubenko. Everybody’s noticed it.”

 “Disappearing, huh?” Vasyl said to the young man across the bar from him. He had long forgotten the boy’s name, in spite of the fact that he arrived each morning for breakfast like clockwork. “You know we’ve been losing men ever since the United States entered the war back in April, right?  Men are leaving left and right.”

The man shook his head. “That ain’t it.”

 “What are you talking about, James?” Lara asked as she slid a plate of pancakes towards the man.

Vasyl glanced at his wife. Of course, she’d remember the name. James. She never forgot a name. Or anything else, for that matter.

“Just what I said, ma’am. Guys are going missing. They’re here when we head back to the barracks for the night and they’re nowhere to be found come morning.” James took a bite of pancakes. “Just like what happened to your man here. Kenneth.”

“Maybe they’ve just gone to work at one of the other camps,” Vasyl said, although he winced at the mention of Kenneth MacNeil.  

“In the middle of the night?” James asked. “And without telling another soul? Who’d do that?”

“It does seem very odd,” Lara said. “And troubling, Vasyl.”

Vasyl shook his head. The last thing he wanted was his wife to be upset about anything. “Don’t you let it bother you, Lara. I’m sure there’s an explanation.”

“There ain’t no explanation ‘cept that something bad’s going on around here,” James said. “Somebody’s up to no good.”

“Shut your mouth, you idiot,” Vasyl snapped. “There could be plenty of explanations. You forget we live in the wilderness here? You’ve heard of bears, yes? Perhaps there are some hungry grizzlies around and some of these drunken fools wandered too close to their dens.”

“Right, I’m sure that’s it,” James said, rolling his eyes as he continued to stuff pancakes in his mouth. “You know it ain’t just the guys disappearing? Rebecca’s gone too. She ain’t been seen in weeks. Last time anybody saw her was here at your place.” He pointed towards a table in the corner of the saloon. “She was sitting right there when Aleksei closed the bar for the night, I saw her myself. Ain’t nobody seen her again.”

“Are you trying to suggest that Nechayev has something to do with this?”

“Huh? How was I suggesting that? Aleksei takes good care of me in here. No offense, Mr. Dzubenko but he pours a better scotch than you do.”

Vasyl bristled. “You’re the one who brought him up, idiot.”

 “Only cuz Rebecca was here the night she disappeared. Doesn’t mean Aleksei had anything to do with it. Hell, that’s crazy talk right there. Everybody likes Aleksei.”

“Oh, of course, of course they do. I know everyone likes him.” Vasyl slammed a coffee mug onto the bar. “Богоматір Пресвята Діва!”

James stared at Vasyl. “I’m sorry. What was that?”

Vasyl felt his wife’s hand on his arm. “I believe he said ‘Mother of God the blessed Virgin,’ Lara said. “I’ve learned that one over the years.”

 “That Russian? Like Aleksei speaks?”

 “It’s Ukrainian, you horse’s ass!” Vasyl bellowed. “I am not Russian.”

James put down his fork and took a step back from the bar. “God almighty, Mr. Dzubenko, no need to get yourself all wound up. How am I ‘sposed to know what language you’re speaking?”

“You’ve finished your breakfast, yes? Get out of here then. Go to work, why don’t you?”

“I surely will take my leave. Thank you for the delicious pancakes, Mrs. Dzubenko.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed them, James. Good day to you.”

About the Author: 

Julie Flanders is a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Julie is also a television show addict with a particular fondness for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and a slightly obsessive sports fan who cheers for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Cincinnati Bengals. She is a life-long animal lover and an animal rescue advocate and shares her home with her rescued dog and cat.
Julie’s published novels include the paranormal thriller Polar Night and the historical ghost story The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Both are available from Ink Smith Publishing. Polar Day, the sequel to Polar Night, will be published by Ink Smith in January, 2015.

Julie is a proud member of the speculative fiction writing group Untethered Realms. Meet the rest of the group and explore their books at
Please visit Julie at her website at or contact her by email at She can also be found on Twitter at @JulesFlanders.

Enter to win one of two prize bundles featuring a $15 gift card and an ebook copy of
The Turnagain Arm.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ghostly Gallows: Come Hang With Me

Launch Day!

Ghostly Gallows
(Book II - Afterlife Series)

Ghostly Gallows:

The case of missing paranormals is far from solved.
Hundreds of Sabrina Shores’ spirits are still missing.
In Second Death, Indigo and her friends escape an eternity underground in evil clutches. Back aboveground with a few missing ghosties happily in tow, one truth is painfully clear: the size of their problem is bigger than the village cemetery itself.

Now in Ghostly Gallows, new information leads Indigo and her fellow investigators to the ruins of Gallowsgate Prison, long abandoned by everyone and everything except malevolent spirits. It’s not called Gallowsgate for nothing when the noose swings a little too close to home.
Indigo Eady:

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?
Blog Tour Schedule:
(Come hang with me here!)
Tweet if the fancy takes you:

Ghostly Gallows, where #Afterlife takes on a whole new meaning. #supernatural #paranormal #ebook @UnRealms

#We’re surrounded by spirit energy,” I whispered, as if the spirits couldn’t hear me. Ghostly Gallows @UnRealms
  1. Everyone who comments here or at any of the stops during my Afterlife Blog Tour will be put into a drawing for FREE ebooks of Second Death, Ghostly Gallows and Secret Keepers. Five copies will be given away during the two week release period of each book.
  2. Everyone who leaves a review of any book in the Afterlife series by October 31, 2014 will be put in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.
  3. Everyone who purchases the complete ebook set or boxed ebook collection set by the end of the Afterlife blog tour (by October 31, 2014) will be put in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card (boxed ebook set available October).
  4. A print book giveaway of the series will also be up for grabs - stay tuned for more details!
Send your purchase links with the heading "AFTERLIFE" in the subject line to to be entered into the drawings.

Available Here:

Connect with me here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Marketing and the Blog Tour

Today we're posting our advice for the entry into the IWSG anthology. Should they deem my post helpful, they have my permission to use it. Many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts this month, KristinSmith, Elsie, SuzanneFurness, and Fundy Blue .
Marketing and the Blog Tour by Gwen Gardner.

I’ve been told on many occasions that my debut blog tour was amazing. I toured with Angela Brown, also a debut author at the time. Both authors of YA, it worked out well for both of us.

Whether you’re an indie author or with a small press, here are some tips to organizing your own successful tour.

1. Research. Research the process and learn from others who have already been through the experience.

2. Blog. Blog about your publishing plans. When other writers found out we were self-publishing, most wanted to help, whether for cover reveal, hosting or advice on editing and formatting. Ask what kind of posts they want to see. FYI, for our blog tour, most wanted short, quirky, fun, and character based posts.  Based on the above research, we generated interest by bringing our characters to life in our posts, using short character sketches, character dialogues and character interviews.

3. Finding Hosts. For the most part, we didn’t approach people directly. We posted a comment linky on each of our blogs asking for volunteers for our cover releases and tour hosts. The response was overwhelming. The blogging community is so generous and willing to help.

We did approach at least two high-traffic blogs separately, though. They tend to fill their guest spots quickly, and you’ll want to reserve a spot at least two to three months in advance.

4. Pre-plan. Organizing a blog tour takes time and you will need certain items before the tour begins. It’s a good idea to allow three to four months to have a cover made, interior formatting for print/ebook and signing up tour hosts.

Book outside services early, especially if you’re going with popular designers. All of my covers are illustrated rather than photographic and it takes at least two months for my designer to complete one from start to finish--that’s if she’s immediately available.

Pre-write your tour posts well in advance (they can be modified later to cater to the host) so you’re not bogged down at the last minute. Find out what kind of post your host wants and provide it at least a week in advance (two weeks if possible). With several venues now offering pre-ordering for independent authors, it’s now easier to provide the buy links in advance.
5. Media Package. Put together a file with all your links. Social media links (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, GoodReads), buy links (Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Google Play) and author bio. Include any giveaway information and linkys. Pre-made tweets are a nice touch as well. It’s easy to copy and paste the document into your tour post or attach it separately when emailing it to your host, along with your cover and author photo.

6. Final Advice. Start early and do your research. Use social media to engender interest, but don’t risk alienating your friends and writing buddies by bombarding them with pleas to buy your book. The recommended ratio is 80/20, i.e., 80% of your Facebook posts should be about something other than your book.

And always, always, be considerate of yours hosts. Be reliable. Deliver when you say you will, or advise them if you’ve hit a snag. They’ll understand and a good reputation in the blogging community is always a plus.  

I'm Gwen Gardner, young adult author of the Indigo Eady paranormal series, including two paranormal novels and three novellas, and I blog at Gwen Gardner, YA Author Permission granted to use this post in the IWSG Anthology.