Cover Reveal – Decoherence

Decoherence 1Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

 

 

Liana Brooks is a fellow Harper Voyager Impulse author, and a good writer to boot. Decoherence, is the third book in her Time & Shadows Mystery series. Its awesome, you should check it out. To tantalize you, here are the first two pages.


Decoherence (n): a period of time when all iterations collapse and there is only one possible reality.

~ Excerpt from Definitions of Time by Emmanuela Pine, I1

 

Day 247

Year 5 of Progress

Capitol Spire

Main Continent

Iteration 17—Fan 1

… three. Rose stood and peered through the frosted, warped glass of the conference room as the speaker turned away. It didn’t matter which iteration she was in, Emir was predictable. She had seven seconds to do a head count. She didn’t need that long.

A quick head count was all it took to confirm that the einselected nodes she’d been sent to assassinate were where they belonged.

Every iteration had nodes, people or events that kept that variation of human history from collapsing. Dr. Emir had created a machine that allowed people not only to move along their own timeline, but at critical convergence points, it allowed them to cross between realities. But the Mechanism for Iteration Alignment’s greatest ability was the one that allowed Dr. Emir and Central Command to steer history by erasing futures they didn’t want.

Rose knelt beside the door, did one final sweep for alarms, and nodded for her team to move in. It was her job to cross at convergence points, kill the nodes, and collapse the futures that no one wanted.

One look at the version of herself watching this iteration’s Emir with rapt fascination was enough to make Rose want to snip this future in the bud.

Chubby was the first thing that came to mind. Rose’s doppelganger was enjoying being at the top of the social pyramid and probably gorging on whatever passed as a delicacy here. The squared bangs with a streak of riotous red only accented the corpulence and lack of self-control the inferior other had.

Even with a heavy wood door between them, Rose could hear that this iteration’s Emir was hypothesizing things the MIA was never meant to do. Everyone with half a brain knew that decoherence didn’t combine iterations, it crushed them. Only the true timeline, the Prime, would survive decoherence. Planning to welcome and integrate doppelgangers into the society was pure idiocy.

The techs sealing the door shut gave her the high sign.

Rose nodded to her hacker.

“Cameras locked. Security is deaf and blind, ma’am” Logan’s voice was a soft whisper in her earpiece. He was a genius with computer systems, a fact that had saved him when they collapsed I-38 three years ago. “We have a fifteen-minute window.”

“Hall cleared,” reported Bennet. “Permission to move perimeter guard to the exit?”

Rose nodded. “Permission granted.” She waved for the soldiers to move out. There could be no risk of failure. No chance for the errant nodes to escape, and no risk that her team would get killed here.


Links:
Liana’s Website | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Liana’s Newsletter |
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Author Bio:

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Liana Brooks write sci-fi and crime fiction for people who like happy endings. She believes in time travel to the future, even if it takes a good book and all night to get there. When she isn’t writing, Liana hikes the mountains of Alaska with her family and giant dog. Find her at LianaBrooks.com or on Twitter as @LianaBrooks

Website | Twitter | FaceBook

Happy Book Birthday, The Returned!

The day has arrived! Commence the epic fanfare!BanjoSloth

As of today, the ebook for The Returned is now available wherever ebooks are sold. Sadly, if you’re a strictly paperback kind of person, you’ll have to wait until August 23rd. To you I say be patient, the book is worth it. If I do say so myself. This marks the fourth book in the American Faerie Tale series, and I believe is my best work to date. For those of you who might’ve seen it labeled as book #3, that’s because Three Promises is book 2.5, since it wasn’t quite a full novel length.

I’m still a little dumbfounded that this is my fourth book in less than two years. I’m very proud of this book, of course I wouldn’t have put it out there if I wasn’t. The characters really do feeling like they’re coming into their own, and I’m feeling more confident in my skills as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of hard work. There were some moments of panic when a potential issue was found by my editor, which were resolved, but this story seemed to write itself. This is the first book where Wraith spends significant amounts of time with Edward & Caitlin, and I think all three grow from it.

Now, just for the readers of this blog, here are some nifty tidbits you might find interesting:

  1. Once again, The Doubleclicks let me license some lyrics from one of their songs. That song actually had a significant impact on the scene it’s used in.
  2. The leader of the Legion of Solomon, One, got his name because of a winner from last year’s Worldbuilders charity auction.
  3. Nearly all of the characters in the book are named after people I know, including some other Harper authors.
  4. The title has multiple meanings: the returned-those coming to the morgue for the second time, Caitlin & Edward returning as main characters, Wraith’s returned memories (yep, she’s still remembering).

I hope you enjoy the book. I know I enjoyed writing it. Watch this space, and/or on Twitter as I’ve got guest pieces and interviews that’ll be popping up all over the internet. Additionally, to celebrate The Returned, and my two year anniversary as a writer, I’ll be giving away copies of The Stolen, The Forgotten, and Three Promises.

Now what are you waiting for? The book won’t read itself!
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Lessons About Life as a Published Author

Katherine Harbour was one of the author’s discovered during the open submission window Harper Voyager held back in 2013. Her work stuck out so much, she was picked up more than a year before the rest of us, and she certainly earned it. Her Night and Nothing series is truly exceptional and worth picking up, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually get into YA.
Not long ago, Katherine posted some of the things she has learned along the way. I wrote something similar last year, and probably will again this year, but she makes some interesting observations. As such, I felt it was worth sharing with all of you. You can read it here, and while you’re there, check out the rest of her site.

What I’ve Learned About Being a Traditionally Published Author

 

 

 

Guest Post – Auston Habershaw

I’ve been lucky in the authors I’ve met and have come to call my friends. Auston Habershaw is one of those. His name makes him sound like a Bond villain, but I’ve been assured this has never been proved in a court of law. He first stopped by about a year ago to talk about guilty pleasures when his debut novel, The Oldest Trick, came out. Auston is an eloquent and gifted writer, be it novels, short stories, or blog posts. Which of course means I hate him as only the truly envious can. I’m kidding of course (mostly). His second book, No Good Deed, comes out today. If it’s anything like his first, or his blog posts, or short stories, or, well, it’ll be awesome. Yep, hate him.
Anyway, he’s back to talk about, rather fittingly, writing a second novel.


For many young writers trying to break into the traditional publishing world, the primary focus is getting that first book deal, and with good reason—that deal represents the foot in the door, the start of the journey, the admission to the secret club with the secret handshakes and snake pit and what not. There’s a lot you learn while writing your first book (often the hard way), and there are huge amounts of good resources to advise you on what to expect on your way to that magical “yes” moment. I, however, want to spend some time talking to you about what comes after that.

Say you’ve gotten that book deal, published that first novel, and now your contract has you writing a second one for the same publisher. Or maybe your agent is there telling you what would be the best next move. Or maybe you’re just on your own again. The fact is, while everybody loves talking about how to deal with your first book, not at many people seem interested in telling you what goes on with your second. You’ve already got keys to the clubhouse, right? Why worry? Well, sadly it isn’t as easy as all that. Here’s a list of five things I learned while writing my second novel.

 

#1: Writing Every Novel Is Different

This is probably the worst thing I can tell you, but also what I think is the most true. The experience of writing one novel is not likely to be the same as writing any other. All that weeping and crying and grim determination you mustered in mastering that first book? Yeah, it’s coming back. Yes, you do learn from each book you write, and yes, you hopefully will improve as a writer, but you are almost guaranteed to get somewhere in the midst of your next book, face contorted in anguish, and yell KHAAAANNNN at the sky.

Thing is, though, that this is normal. It’s okay. I daresay it means you’re even doing it right. Novels are complicated beasts and, what’s more, they should be unique. You can’t and shouldn’t write the same book a million times in a row, so you shouldn’t expect the same experience every single time you do it.

 

#2: Editors Are Not Forever

If you’re anything like me, you expected your relationship with your editor to be something like when Butch met Sundance. “You and me,” the editor would say, with a steely glint in her eye, “are gonna take on the world, buddy!” and then we’d jump on our individual jet skis and fight ninjas with our laser axes.

Yeah. It ain’t like that.

My experience with my editors (note the plural) has been very good, mind you—no real complaints—but you are probably only one of their many, many authors all of whom they are trying desperately to give their attention to equally and all of whom are smothering them in a staggering workload. They are also human beings who have other things going on in their lives and sometimes that means leaving their job, or switching jobs, or going back to school, or whatever. And then there will be another editor there to take their place—hopefully every bit as professional and talented as the last one—and you will continue on with them. This is the nature of the business and it happens. It isn’t the end of the world.

 

#3: You Mean I Need To Worry About Word Count?!

When you are trying to get a book deal, you might think a bit about word count, but most of us probably just shrug and say “the story is going to be as long as it needs to be” and keep writing. In an ideal world, I suppose, this would be true—books should be as long or as short as prudent (assuming they’re well edited and not wasting our time or leaving us hanging). Unfortunately, once you’re under contract for another book, this isn’t the case anymore. The publisher wants a book that is between 90K and 100K words and no more and no less. That’s a binding document, buddy—a document you signed—so you’ve gotta do it now. And writing a novel with a word-count target is very hard. It’s a bit like shooting a tennis ball from a cannon and getting it to land in a trash barrel five miles away—it’s going to take a few tries.

The first draft of my second novel was 124,000 words. My editor needed it as far under 100K as possible, preferably closer to 90K. That meant I needed to cut 25-35 THOUSAND words from my complete, polished novel to make it fit. I lost a few years off my life there, let me tell you, but I did it (and am a much better editor of my own work as a result).

 

#4: Series Fatigue Is a Thing

When you start writing your series (and who doesn’t write a series these days, right?), you think you’re going to be writing that series forever and ever and ever. “It’ll have 9 books!” you’ll crow. Oh, my, what a glorious decade of book writing that will be! Ahahahahaha hahaha…hah..ha…heh…

 Gulp.

 Okay, so maybe that will happen—maybe the series will hit it big and you will write it forever and forever be known as the “space laser monkey lady” or whatever. Almost certainly not, though. And what’s more, you very probably will get tired of those same characters and that same world and that same story. I know it sounds crazy, but it is a very, very distinct possibility. Consider this: for every hour you spend reading your favorite series, the other probably spends a hundred hours writing it. Now, in a trilogy, that adds up to about three hundred hours of writing. Do you have many books that you would love to read for three hundred hours? Yeah, probably not. Sooner or later you, as a writer, will struggle with some heavy I’m-sick-of-this-shit-itis. You can get past it, but I’m telling you it’s coming.

 

#5: Writing Is a Calling, Not a Whim

For all the hard truths I’ve mentioned so far, though, there is one thing that is very, very worthwhile that you learn in that second book: writing is something that fulfills you on a level all other work does not. Even when it’s hard and you’re not making your word count and your editor has disappeared into the Sudan on a commando mission and you hate your stupid protagonist’s stupid face, you realize something: you’ve done this before, you can do it again, and, in the end, you will love having done it. That second book, and the conquest thereof, is a true rite of passage—plenty of people write one book, but authors write many. You are about to confirm what you’ve always known is true in your heart—you are an author, and this second book proves it wasn’t a fluke.

Press on. We’re with you. If you need me, I’ll be waiting by the snake pit.


NoGoodDeed_cover art
Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.

That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody is playing a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long. And that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that the person pulling all the strings is none other than the most powerful sorceress in the West: Lyrelle Reldamar.

Tyvian’s own mother.

No Good Deed is available at all the usual places or you can read an excerpt here.
Harper Collins
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
iBooks
You can also find Auston on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, or writing to his cousin.

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Guest Post – Dan Koboldt

Dan Koboldt is a scientist and author of The Rogue Retrieval, a brilliant fantasy/sci-fi story about a stage illusionist sent to a world where magic is real. The fact he’s also a fellow Harper Voyager Impulse author means he’s cool in addition to being a great writer. Him being a scientist and an author just means he’s showing off, but don’t hold that against him, like I said, he’s cool and a great writer.
One of the most common questions authors are asked is “where did the idea come from?” Well, Dan was brave enough to answer it, and do so here.

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What Inspired The Rogue Retrieval

By Dan Koboldt

When you write a book and manage to get it published, one of the most common questions you’re asked is “Where did you get that idea?” For me, there’s a short one-line answer that I hand out a lot: I got the idea for The Rogue Retrieval after reading an article about a Vegas illusionist. That’s only a partial truth. There were actually three sources of inspiration for the story that became my debut novel.

Epic Fantasy Classics

I first read The Lord of the Rings in the fourth grade. This wasn’t a school assignment; my parents had given me the trilogy after I’d finished reading The Hobbit. My 4th grade teacher, in fact, was not a fan of how much time I spent reading rather than paying attention to her. But Lord of the Rings drew me in, and sparked a love of epic fantasy that’s lasted more than two decades.
I went on to read other epic fantasy authors – Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams. I spent almost as much time in Midkemia and Recluce as I did in the real world. When I started writing fiction of my own, I wanted to create secondary worlds that were just as engrossing. That was inspiration #1.

Hard Science

When I was in high school, I heard about this effort to map the human genetic code, something called the Human Genome Project. Part of the work was being done right in my hometown of St. Louis, at Washington University School of Medicine. I knew I’d probably enter a technical field, and I thought it would be so cool to join an effort like that. Fast forward about ten years, and I joined the Genome Sequencing Center at WashU as a genetics researcher.
I love cutting-edge science, and because of my profession, I’m exposed to it every day. Geeky futuristic tech is my bag, and I wanted that to become part of my writing, too. But this created a problem for me. There are epic fantasy books, and futuristic sci-fi books, but rarely books that incorporate both.

The Modern Illusionist

About four years ago, I read an article about Teller, the silent half of the famous magic act Penn & Teller.  The article – which I’ve long since lost track of – described his efforts to get patent/copyright protection for his illusions. Apparently, whenever he developed a new trick, these hacks would reverse-engineer it and run off to perform it in Europe or other places without even acknowledging him.
It got me thinking about how modern technologies –things like high-def video and the Internet – have changed even the field of performance magic. I wondered how a modern illusionist would fare in a world that hadn’t even invented electricity.
Barring time travel, the only way that could happen would be if we discovered another world. And I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if that discovery were made not by a gaggle of precocious children, but a large and powerful corporation. This became the unifying element that let me write epic fantasy themes, sci-fi tech, and a modern illusionist into a single book: the story of a Vegas illusionist who infiltrates a medieval world.


The Rogue Retrieval is available everywhere and you should really buy and read it right now.
Amazon
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Harper Collins

 

Stacey Berg Interview

Stacey Berg is a writer with Harper Voyager Impulse and a scientist. Her novel, Dissension, came out March 15th in ebook, the paperback came out yesterday. As one of the newest members of the HVI family, I invited her here to the pub to talk about her book and ask her utterly irrelevant questions.


Hi, Stacey! Welcome. First question, what are you drinking?

Thanks Bishop. Nothing yet, but it’s going to be beer. Probably the Karbach Weekend Warrior tonight.

I suppose a pale ale is acceptable since it’s a craft beer. Dissension is a science fiction story set in a world where clones are tools of the government to oppress the unhappy populace. How much of this is autobiographical?

I haven’t managed to clone myself, if that’s what you mean. Although like everyone else I would find having one pretty handy when the days get busy!

Actually, you’d be surprised how annoying they can be, especially when you get above seven and the personalities start to degrade—um, so I’ve heard. Seriously though, your main character, Echo Hunter 367 is a soldier genetically designed to only focus on duty in a dystopian type world. What came first? The character, the story, or the world? Or did they all evolve together?

In this case the world and character came first, then the story. I had a very strong image of a woman in the desert, a kind of soldier, protecting another woman, some kind of runaway who was her prisoner. The dynamic between them was clear to me right away: the soldier determined to do her duty no matter what it required; the prisoner, wryly admiring her captor’s skill.  That gave me a hint of story: I pictured the two of them facing some unseen enemy together, and gradually switching roles, until the duty-bound soldier wanted only to set the prisoner free, and the prisoner realized that she could run no longer and had to face her destiny. This bit ended up not being the main plot, but it’s an important part of the backstory.

That sounds like a really interesting scene, I can see why you found it so compelling. Now you’re a medical researcher in your day job, how much of that knowledge fed into the story?

I think my science background helps, the same way doing detailed world-building before you start writing helps: a lot of what you have doesn’t make it directly into the story, but it gives you a solid foundation underneath the bits that do, and it makes the story feel richer. In writing Dissension it was useful for me to know some basics about cloning and genetic recombination, but the story is driven by the characters rather than by the science-y part of the fiction. I just needed to have enough understanding to make certain things plausible, and to avoid distracting mistakes.

Nice that you were saved the time of researching based on your existing knowledge. Speaking of which, is this book just a test to see how people will respond to cloned soldiers so that you’ll know the effects when you release your own in a bid to conquer the world?

There are some, shall we say, drawbacks to the cloning methods in the book. It ends up being a low-volume process. My women are pretty badass, though. It wouldn’t take too many of them to conquer the world if that’s what they set out to do. Fortunately they’re made to protect us instead.

Yes, here for our protection…Well, let me be the first to welcome our new badass women overlords. On a related note, cats or dogs? Hint, it’s a trick question, the answer is marsupials.

Hmmmm, does that make it wombats?

It was actually wallaby, but I’ll give it to you because your choice is almost as adorable as a wallaby. You’ve written a couple of short stories, is this your first published novel?

Yes, this is my debut, and I’m incredibly excited to have it out in the world!

Well congratulations! I’m sure I speak for every single other person in the world when I say we’re delighted to have your book in it. In terms of writing, you’ve also blogged about issues of diversity, how important do you think it is for a book/story to have a diverse cast?

It’s important for readers to have acknowledgement that people like them exist. Every book doesn’t have to have a diverse cast, and a cast doesn’t have to represent every kind of person to be diverse. But “books” in aggregate should be diverse. If you read a dozen or a hundred books about future humanity and don’t encounter a single person like you, you begin to think that there’s not a place for you out there. On the other hand, if you see all kinds of people, you get an idea that there could be room for you too.

I couldn’t agree more, and I think readers enjoy a story much more when they can relate or connect with a character in it. I’m going to guess you think it’s a good thing that more diverse people are getting stories published (I would agree) but what do you think of those of us with higher levels of privilege (straight white cys males) having more diverse casts in our books? Is it a good thing, or should that be left to people of specific groups to write their own stories?

I think we all should be free to write whatever we can imagine. If you take write-what-you-know to the extreme, we’d all only be able to do autobiography (and most of us wouldn’t be able to do aliens).  However, diversity isn’t just about the kinds of characters in a story. Writers from different backgrounds are likely to see different stories as important to tell. The more diverse our authors, the richer our book world will be. Regardless of our backgrounds, though, creating different characters, trying to get into the heads of people who are not like us and to see the world through their eyes, seems like a good step towards breaking down the barriers that make someone else “other.”

That’s a really concise and eloquent argument for diversity, and I’d like to reserve the right to quote that in the future. I am curious though, you said “most of us wouldn’t be able to do aliens.” Just most? Is there something you’d like to share with the class? Or perhaps it’s better if you didn’t say anything since they’re probably watching right now, so let’s move on. Do you have requirements for writing such as listening to music, absolute silence, bonobo monkeys playing ukuleles behind you, or can you write under any circumstances?

Concentration is my one requirement. It has to be quiet in my head, but if it is, it doesn’t matter too much what else is going on as long as no one’s talking directly to me. I don’t listen to music much, but I think that’s because I usually write early in the morning. That said, I listened to a lot of Imagine Dragons and Muse while writing Dissension. I guess Radioactive, Demons, and Madness pretty much set the mood!

Preaching to the choir! When the insane radioactive demons get loose it really—oh wait, you meant the songs, didn’t you? Yes, of course, me too. Next topic, you live in Houston Texas, do you have puffy tacos there?

Puffy tacos are really a San Antonio thing, but we can get them here.

I find your lack of enthusiasm about tacos quite disturbing, but I’ll let it pass because you’re building an army of badass women soldier clones. What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Almost anything. Of course Klondikes are a ’Burgh thing, I used to get them at Isaly’s.

Almost anything? So we finally learn the ultimate goal of your clone army. How many books do you think will be in the Echo Hunter series?

Right now the plans are for two. The world the books are set in is on the cusp of change though, so who knows what might happen?  It could be up to the readers!

Always good to keep an open mind. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading Ancillary Mercy, interspersed with a Modesty Blaise graphic novel. (For anyone who hasn’t read Modesty Blaise, you should get one of the novels or graphic novels right this minute. They’re about a woman who’s kind of a female James Bond, and the stories are incredibly entertaining).

I loved the Ancillary series, a really great concept. I’ll have to check out the Modesty Blaise graphic novels. Do you have any plans for other books or stories?

I’m in the middle of writing the second Echo Hunter 367 book, so I haven’t had much time to think about what’s coming next. I have a very enticing idea for another novel percolating in the back of my brain, but it’s not ready to come out and face inspection yet.

I understand, can’t take the cake out till it’s done cooking. I mean you can, but then it’s runny and how likes runny cake? Anything else you’d like to declare?

It’s been great to be here, thanks for having me! Enjoy a nice quiet pint.

It was a pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your hypothetical plans for world domination. Good luck with the sequel and I hope sales are fantastic.

Dissension is available in ebook or paperback now, and you should totally go buy it. Remember, she has an army of badass women soldier clones, and she can make more!

Amazon
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Dissension

For four hundred years, the Church has led the remnants of humanity as they struggle for survival in the last inhabited city. Echo Hunter 367 is exactly what the Church created her to be: loyal, obedient, lethal. A clone who shouldn’t care about anything but her duty. Who shouldn’t be able to.

When rebellious citizens challenge the Church’s authority, it is Echo’s duty to hunt them down before civil war can tumble the city back into the dark. But Echo hides a deadly secret: doubt. And when Echo’s mission leads her to Lia, a rebel leader who has a secret of her own, Echo is forced to face that doubt. For Lia holds the key to the city’s survival, and Echo must choose between the woman she loves and the purpose she was born to fulfill.

Three Promises Now Available! (Really This Time!)

It’s here! Three Promises: An American Faerie Tale Collection is now available as an ebook! For $0.99, no less! I’m still a little blown away that this is my third book (and second this year). Three Promises was a new adventure for me. It’s a collection of short stories—technically three short stories and a novella—and I’ve always struggled with short fiction. It’s never come as naturally to me as novel-length fiction, but that wasn’t the case here. These stories seemed to write themselves, and the characters truly shine. In my previous books, The Stolen & The Forgotten, the story drove the characters. In Three Promises, the opposite is true. There’s no child in danger, no looming shadowy enemy snatching kids off the street, and you get to see the characters for who they are. I was worried they wouldn’t stand on their own, but I think they didn’t just stand, they soared. I really liked them before; now, I love them. I hope you will, too.

As a reminder, if you preorder the paperback (releases 1/8/16 and is only $3.99) from The Fountain Bookstore, not only will it be signed, but you’ll get an exclusive gift, too (and it will be awesome). As a nice bonus, you can also order signed copies of The Stolen and The Forgotten while you’re there, and don’t worry, they ship worldwide.