Book Review: “The Successful Author Mindset” by Joanna Penn

The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey by Joanna Penn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual, Joanna Penn knocks the ball out of the part with her insight into the author mindset. We are pretty hard on ourselves as creatives, and Penn dives right in to give us some good ole fashioned inspiration, truth, and literary courage! It’s not all boo-hoos and balms, though.

Penn also dishes out some tough love and real talk on how to make a career as an indie author, urging us to keep our goals clear, to define success for ourselves, and to literally get your ass in a chair and get those words on a page.

What I love most about the book is that it’s super organized and to the point. Whenever I’m feeling overwrought, doubtful, or just plain lost on my own creative journey, I can easily find a passage in it that will give me inspiration. Kind of like the Book of Psalms… but for psycho, self-deprecating writers and angsty creatives! Yes, it is like a Bible, y’all… I took it there.

Loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of Penn’s non-fiction (and fiction) series!

View all my reviews

Rock on, READ on,
<3 Colby

Book Review: “Supercharge Your Kindle Sales” by Nick Stephenson

This is a book review BACK POST, fam! Because I’m relaxing on my Xmas vacay in Florida, and knocking out some of my book list! Here’s the latest review on a great non-fiction book that’ll totally ramp up your Kindle sales if you follow the advice! A great and necessary read for indie fiction authors wanting to make a living.


superchargeyourkindlesalescoverSupercharge Your Kindle Sales by Nick Stephenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

AWESOME advice, paired with some amazing actionable steps. And the greatest part? The book is short, sweet, and low on “fluff”, which helps us to get to the meat of the material and apply the advice ASAP.

Nick Stephenson knows his stuff, and he provides some wonderful insight into the issues of keywords, categories, lead magnets, and other book selling hacks that can really raise an author’s sales and profile on Amazon. Highly, HIGHLY recommended. Plus the book is totally FREE!

Also, check out Nick Stephenson’s amazing “Your First 10,000 Readers” course. There is a free mini course for you to try before you can then upgrade to the major course. I’ve taken both, and I can’t recommend Nick’s courses highly enough. I feel so confident about my author career for this coming 2016, and I have Nick to thank for it!

View all my reviews

Write on, rock on, READ on,
<3 Colby

Ask the Author GoodReads Event + New Hot Giveaway!

ask-the-authorHey creatives! Today is the kick-off of our FIRST “Ask-the-Author” Event at The Fantasy Portal GoodReads Book Club!

And the first author up to bat? ME!

Join our book club and participate to ask me anything and EVERYTHING you want to know about my writing process, creative inspirations, current projects, future plans, or even some personal stuff, to your leisure!

I’ll be fielding questions all the week long, from Monday, Sept 15 until Sunday, Sept 21!

ALSO, as a warm welcome to both our Book Club and to the Ask-the-Author Event, I’m launching a very special, limited time giveaway!

Check it out below!


September’s Limited Time Giveaway!

Participate in The Fantasy Portal Book Club’s Back-to-School Bash, and Enter to win some AWESOME prizes!

bookclubbackpackpic

Giveaway ONLY lasts from Monday, September 15 to Monday, September 22 (until 11:59 PM), so ENTER NOW!

[cjtoolbox name=’The Fantasy Portal Book Club Back-to-School Bash!’ ] [/cjtoolbox]

September’s “Back-to-School” Bash Blog Tour!

Back-to-SchoolFor the month of September, my blog tour theme is “Back-to-School” Bash! I’ll be featuring all sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and paranormal books that fit the following criteria:

  • Written for New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s Level, or any “school-age” audience (no General Adult fiction please!), AND/OR, 
  • Take place in a school or educational setting

Wanna submit your book for a special feature on this blog tour? Read all the instructions below!

How to Qualify for the “Back-to-School Bash” Blog Tour!

Your book must:

  • Be independently published.
    • Here’s a definition of what I consider to be independently published work or authors: “Independent book publishers include small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.”
  • Be in the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or paranormal genres
  • Be professionally edited, well-written, and have a professional cover
  • Be written by, for, or about a New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s Level, or any “school-age” audience (no General Adult fiction please!). OR, the story must take place in a school or educational setting!

Other important notes:

  • Whether or not your book will be admitted to the blog tour is at my discretion and is also dependent on overall book quality, cover quality, and available space.

How to Submit Your Book!

These are the three things I’ll need from you:

1. Your Author Media Kit, which can include any or all of the following:

  • love support indie authors booksAn author bio
  • An author pic
  • A book blurb
  • A book cover
  • A book trailer (If you have links to embed videos (for a book trailer or what not), feel free to include the links in your press kit as my blog is fully equipped to accommodate all types of media!)
  • An excerpt from your book
  • Book reviews or book review excerpts
  • Supplementary pics, banners, and/or illustrations to put into the blog post (or to put into your book excerpt)
  • An author interview
  • An audio reading from one of your works
  • A series listing or series book cover gallery (if you have multiple works and want to advertise not only your new book, but your prolific career and backlist as an author)
  • Links to your website and social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Google+, Blogger, Tumblr, Instagram, etc)
  • Buy links to where your book is for sale
  • Suggested post tags and hashtags for when I post the blog on my website AND for when I advertise the blog through my social media outlets (i.e. #urbanfantasy, #weneeddiversebooks, etc)
  • Any other cool or unique materials that you feel put your book in a cool light!

Please send these materials in either Word or PDF format.

What you send in your media kit is up to you, your comfort level, and what you think would put your book in the best light.

2. State very clearly in your email what specific GENRE your work is in.

Don’t just say it’s fantasy. Lol! If it’s a Young Adult epic fantasy romance, then let me know! The more specific, the better, and the easier it is to assign categories and tags to your book so that it can find its niche audience.

3. Send #1 and #2 to colbyrrice@rebelragdoll.com.

Whether you’ll be featured or not, I’ll get back to you on the status of your post!

Thanks all, and I look forward to hyping up your stuff!

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY of The Fantasy Portal!

fantasyportal3DfinalcoverAnother awesome giveaway, guys! And this one’s a real treat. 🙂

Recently, three authors and I have released a four book fantasy bundle called “The Fantasy Portal”, and now, we’re offering you a FREE copy of the Fantasy Portal Bundle in PAPERBACK!

Hold over 1,000 pages of urban, epic, and paranormal fantasy in your hands today!

That’s four weighty, kick-ass tomes for you to add to your physical book shelves.

The giveaway is running from August 15 – November 12, 2014.

There are only FIVE paperback bundles available, so enter as soon as you can!

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

August’s “We Need Diverse Books” Blog Tour!

weneeddiversebooksHi all! A quick announcement to all readers and writers: this month, I’ll be doing an eclectic blog tour that will feature DIVERSE sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and paranormal works.

Want to know what counts as “diverse”? Want to submit your work? Check out the guidelines below!

How to Qualify for #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Your book must:

  • Be independently published.
    • Here’s a definition of what I consider to be independently published work or authors: “Independent book publishers include small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.”
  • Be in the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or paranormal genres
  • Be professionally edited, well-written, and have a professional cover
  • Be written by, for, or about people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, and more!

Other important notes:

  • Books featuring protagonists who belong to these particular groups are strongly desired. (But not a requirement, so long as the work itself is about or written by someone in the aforementioned groups.)
  • Whether or not your book will be admitted to the blog tour is at my discretion and is also dependent on overall book quality, cover quality, and available space.

How to Submit Your Book

These are the three things I’ll need from you:

1. Your Author Media Kit, which can include any or all of the following:

  • love support indie authors booksAn author bio
  • An author pic
  • A book blurb
  • A book cover
  • A book trailer (If you have links to embed videos (for a book trailer or what not), feel free to include the links in your press kit as my blog is fully equipped to accommodate all types of media!)
  • An excerpt from your book
  • Book reviews or book review excerpts
  • Supplementary pics, banners, and/or illustrations to put into the blog post (or to put into your book excerpt)
  • An author interview
  • An audio reading from one of your works
  • A series listing or series book cover gallery (if you have multiple works and want to advertise not only your new book, but your prolific career and backlist as an author)
  • Links to your website and social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Google+, Blogger, Tumblr, Instagram, etc)
  • Buy links to where your book is for sale
  • Suggested post tags and hashtags for when I post the blog on my website AND for when I advertise the blog through my social media outlets (i.e. #urbanfantasy, #weneeddiversebooks, etc)
  • Any other cool or unique materials that you feel put your book in a cool light!

Please send these materials in either Word or PDF format.

What you send in your media kit is up to you, your comfort level, and what you think would put your book in the best light.

2. State very clearly in your email what specific GENRE your work is in.

Don’t just say it’s fantasy. Lol! If it’s an epic fantasy romance, then let me know! The more specific, the better, and the easier it is to assign categories and tags to your book so that it can find its niche audience.

3. Send #1 and #2 to colbyrrice@rebelragdoll.com.

Whether you’ll be featured or not, I’ll get back to you on the status of your post!

Thanks all, and I look forward to hyping up your stuff!

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

GRAND OPENING! Colby’s Bookstore is Now Open for Business!

It is with the utmost delight that I’m announcing the OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING of Colby’s Bookstore!

final_3banner

Having my own online store really feels like the ultimate definition of being an independent author and publisher, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to sell my work directly to all fantasy and sci-fi lovers, and especially to my fans! 🙂

More About the Store

colbyrriceAVATARbannerYou’ll find that both the browsing of the store and the checkout process is super easy, and I’ve also included “Bookstore Product Categories” in the sidebar for those of you who are looking for a particular book format (audiobook, ebook, or print), a specific genre (from sci-fi to fantasy to all their subgenres), or a specific title or series!

The Store will contain all my novel series, including some great non-fiction titles for writers and readers that you don’t want to miss! Pre-orders, coupons, sales, and specials will also be coming soon!

Check out Colby’s Bookstore here!

Shopping, Payment, and Your Account

amazonpay paypalcreditcardTo manage and personalize your shopping experience, you can toggle between your Shopping Cart and Your Account.

Your Cart will keep track of all the items you want, and you’ll also be able to see what you’re buying in the sidebar (but only after you place an item into your Cart)!

Your Account is where you can create a sign-in name & password, view your recent orders, and manage your shopping profile. At your Account page you can also re-download any electronic files you’ve already purchased and change your information at any time!

**Your information is super secure as I only accept PayPal and Amazon Checkout at this time.**

Troubleshooting

The store is glitch-free and super easy to use. BUT if you’re having any trouble with the store at all, need a re-send of a product, need a refund or an exchange, have any questions, or you just want to say hi, shoot me an email at colbyrrice@rebelragdoll.com.

I will get back to you immediately, I promise!

Thanks so much for checking out the store, and happy shopping!

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Delving More Deeply into Ghosts of Koa with Michael T Bradley!

DBDsquareSo, unfortunately, Digital Book Day has passed, my dear readers, but it was an awesome run! We gave out tons of free books and hopefully made you all super amped for our next promotion, which will open around the holidays! If you want to stay updated on when the next Digital Book Day will be, SUBSCRIBE to the DBD Newsletter!

No worries, we won’t be spamming you. We just want you to have all the free stuff you want when you want. 😉

But where there is a post-DBD void, there is still hope! We’ve got more free stuff to give you and some cool stuff goin’ on, mainly the fact that I was:

Interviewed by Michael T. Bradley, Narrator of the Ghosts of Koa Audiobook!

GhostsofKoaAUDIOCOVERFINALSo, omg, I get to spend nearly an hour with my actor, Michael T. Bradley, who is equal parts hilarious, witty, and talented. And yes, I know. His voice is husky and HOTT (purr)! Even my boyfriend is jealous of Michael, as well he should be. But before you throw your panties & thongs onto Mr. Bradley’s proverbial stage, ladies, please know that he isn’t here just as ear candy!

michaeltbradleypreferredprofilepic

Michael T Bradley, ladies! Keep calm… and throw panties.

Michael is a PHENOMENAL actor, who has narrated multiple audiobooks and has even been a voice actor for Namco (huge video game company for those of you not in the know). He is very hirable and a joy to work with, and even when you yourself suck at returning his emails (ahem, like yours truly), he’s still all over your project, giving updates, feedback, asking questions, and delivering the goods. I’ve learned a LOT from him about audiobook production and about my role as an author in the process, and I loved working with him!

Check out Michael’s ACX page and HIRE him: Michael Bradley’s ACX Page.

Important note: he’s fantastic with fiction narration, but as I seriously doubt he’s available for phone sex hire, please keep your requests clean, ladies. 😉 Or not. He might like it, can’t speak for him.

Okay, let the panty-throwing continue! ::SQUEAL!::

Check Out the Interview!

Michael asks some hard frickin’ questions, but somehow I survive. We talk about lots of stuff, including but not limited to what GOK’s about, where The Books of Ezekiel series is going, where the inspiration for the ultimate baddie, Sal Morgan, came from, and a discussion on Yonic imagery… which is a classy way of saying “things that remind us of penis and vaginas”.

Actually, Michael’s the classy one. I would have just as easily called it “cock and coochie chicanery”, but fortunately Michael is more of an intellectual than I. Either way, have fun learning more about the engine under the hood of Ghosts of Koa, and don’t forget to pick up the audiobook  through our free giveaway (below)!

Or of course, you could also be a doll and buy it at AMAZON, AUDIBLE, or ITUNES!

 

Ghosts of Koa Audiobook Giveaway!

The audiobook giveaway has been extended to MIDNIGHT on Monday, July 21st, so don’t miss your chance to win a FREE copy!

Just participate below, and also don’t forget to check out the audiobook excerpt (teehee!) from Ghosts of Koa: The First Book of Ezekiel!

[cjtoolbox name=’Ghosts of Koa Audiobook excerpt’ ] [/cjtoolbox]

[cjtoolbox name=’GOK Audiobook PROMO Giveaway #1′ ] [/cjtoolbox]

 

For Newbie Authors (like myself)… Have an Author Media Kit!

press conferenceSo as the blog portion of my site begins to transition to include and present WAY more authors in the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, and slipstream (hybrid) genres, I find myself requesting lots of authors’ information.

Ebook covers, release dates, author bios, author pics, book trailer links, and more are just a few ways that I like to hype authors and their works on my blog, and I LOVE to rep them with as much style and flair as I can.

I find, though, that many authors have to scramble to compile the needed materials on such short notice, or they simply don’t know what to include!

So as a helpful intro for you, my dear fantasy fan (and as a time saver for me), I just wanted to post a little information on exactly what you should have prepared in case a blogger like myself wants to rep you on their web space.

The Coveted Media Kit

winning press kitIn short, what you need is an Author Media Kit. Or as I like to call it sometimes, the Author Press & Media Kit (because there are so many different materials in it)!

Still when I request the media kit, I get innocent sideways glances, like “HUH?” Lol! So here’s some info to help you put together your own media kit!

Full disclosure, these are notes I took during a free webinar that I attended: The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit with Joan Stewart. Now that the webinar is finished, I felt okay posting the notes I took.

I LOVED the webinar and Joan’s expertise is a great launch point for building an Author Press & Media Kit that will rock any journalist’s (or blogger’s) socks off!

So let’s get started!

What is a Press & Media Kit, and Why Do We Need One?

harry potter press kitA press & media kit is a package of promotional material used to brief people about who you are, what your company is, what your company represents, the books / products / services you offer, and more.

If you want to contact media outlets and journalists and have them hype your books, a press & media kit is a great tool to have under your belt. It provides pre-packaged information to media outlets that makes advertising you and your work worlds easier!

Who Cares about Your Press & Media Kit?: The 7 Major Audiences

press1. Journalists: reporters, editors, broadcasters, freelances, media folks, and anyone with media connections who can advertise your book. Developing relationships with freelancing journalists is key!

2. Bloggers: whose lives revolve around books, reading books, reviewing books, and advertising books

3. Book Reviewers: essential for giving your book social proof and for pushing your book higher in the ranks on book retailer sites

book retailers4. Retailers: places that sell books like Amazon, Kobo, Walmart, Barnes & Noble / Nook Press, and most likely, independent book stores who might want to advertise your books or organize book signings

5. Individual Buyers: anyone who buys your book and wants to talk about it / advertise it

6. Event Planners: for those of you who do public speaking, panels, book signings, events, trade shows, etc you want to give your press & media kit to the event organizers in case they want to use it

7. Anyone who wants to promote you or your book: blogger, podcasters, join venture promoters, etc

Your #1 goal (for your media kit) is to make others’ jobs easy!

What a Media Kit IS

musician's press kit1. Branded, hype free marketing materials. No shouting “BUY MY BOOK” from the mountain top. You are informing the public that your product or services are available, not hyping them.

2. Collateral material for journalists

3.  OFFERED. You must OFFER the media kit after pitching who you are and what you do to a blogger, editor, or producer. And only send it if they want it. DO NOT send media kits unsolicited!

8 Important Things to Include in Your Press & Media Kit

1. Author Bios, Speaker Introduction, and Fun Facts.

You should have several bios and they should be written like a news story! Don’t just inform, have fun! Have the bio in different lengths as well.

Author bio lengths that you should have available include:

  • 2-line bio of 140 characters;
  • Short bio (50 words);
  • Medium bio (100 words);
  • Long bio (400-600 words)
  • You should also write a Speaker Introduction for yourself (250-300 words)
    • A speaker introduction is a nice way to make your introducer’s job easier.
    • Write it in third person, and write it in an interesting and engaging way. Have fun with it!
    • At the same time, be aware of your audience! Are you presenting at a business conference, where you need to put on a more professional demeanor? Or are you at a comic convention where you can be a bit more off-the-cuff and laid back? Write your speaker intro accordingly.
    • Think about the points about yourself, your presentation, work, product, or service that are the most interesting and the most relevant to your audience and to the panel topic
    • For a great example of a speaker’s intro, check out this link: Writing a Speaker Introduction
  • You should also write a “5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me” blurb

2. A Press Release

A press release is a concise document giving engaging details on a new book, product, or service that you offer as an author. A press release typically contains:

  • A “Headline” of up to 20 words, describing the event or product you’re advertising,
  • A one-line “Subhead”, giving a bit more info on the topic or book being announced,
  • A “Dateline”, which is the city, state, and date in which you are writing,
  • The “Pitch”, which is the meat of the press release. It’s the paragraph that advertises the most interesting and compelling aspects of your book, product, or service. Here’s some helpful info about how to write the “Pitch”:
    • For fiction author press releases, you can:
      • Write about the key character in your novel
      • Write about an interesting theme or world fact your book is based on (i.e. if you write about ghosts, include some fun real world stuff about ghosts conspiracies or something; if you write psychological thriller, talk about the specific psychological theme & info that inspired the book)
      • Write about the emotional angle (why you wrote the book)
      • Write about the target audience for the book
  • For non fiction author press releases, you can think about:
    • What is the problem out there that your book is the solution to? How does your book actually address the problem? (Maybe give a sneak peek of a solution you wrote about.)
    • Explain who your target audience is for your book. Have a very specific target audience!
  • Whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction author, include a GOOD “Author Quote” written in the third person.

In the “Pitch”, you also want to include:

  • An “About the Author” section at the end of the press release,
  • An “About the Book” section; telling people how to get review copies and media interviews; contact info (email address & telephone number)
  • DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE THREE HASHTAGS (###) AT THE END OF YOUR PRESS RELEASE!
  • Your press release shouldn’t be any longer than a page
  • You should have a separate press release for each book, series, or intellectual property that you produce!!!

For a great example of a press release, check out this link: Press Release Template

Continuing on with the 8 Things You Want to Include in your Press & Media Kit, you’ll need:

3. A Book Synopsis / Blurb. 

This is the most important info about your book on one sheet.

  • Make sure your blurb is in 4 different lengths (2-line, short, medium, and long)
  • Make it compelling and irresistible; offer 5 points of interest in your synopsis
  • Include all of the book details and purchase info

4. Sample Chapter.

Pretty much speaks for itself!

  • Include the most interesting part from your book that’ll suck readers right in.
  • Also, include the cover image, the title, the entire sample chapter, the table of contents, a link to Amazon reviews, and the “where to buy links”

5. Sample Interview Questions

ALWAYS have an author’s FAQ or pre-written questions for a journalist to ask you. Even better is to have both the questions AND the answers prepared, so that folks can just cut and paste.

6. Book Review Excerpts 

Include the best of the best of your reviews so that folks can just copy and paste them on your behalf. Remember, reviews provide social proof that your book is worth reading or that your service / product is worth purchasing.

7. Contact Information Sheet

If readers or audiences want to contact you, get your book, invite you to speak, they need to know where to find you! So don’t forget to include:

  • Your email, social media links, websites
  • For online publicity, only include your address and phone number if absolutely necessary. Be VERY careful with this.

8. Professional Photos of You, the Book Cover, and the Company Logo

Photos give you a face as an author. They also splash posts and press with some color amidst chunks of text.

  • You should have author photos, an e-book cover, and a company logo (if applicable) on hand
  • High resolution and low resolution photos are both necessary

Other Little Things You Can Work on for Your Press & Media Kit

1. Sample Book Review Request (for when your requesting book reviews from bloggers)

2. Cover Letter to Bookstores (for when you’re trying to get stores to stock your book)

3. Sell Sheet for Live Events (a one-page flyer avertisement for your book; can double as an order form)

4. Sell Sheet for National Sales

Tips to Perfecting Your Media Kit

1. Read over your media kit and REWRITE and PERFECT IT
2. Get a professional look for your media kit by looking into a graphic artist who might be able to help you create a look for your kit

Examples of Amazing Press & Media Kits!

1. http://michaelhyatt.com/platform/media#promotioninfo
2. http://www.thecreativepenn.com/about/

More Information and Cool Stuff from Joan!

game press kitSome more information from Joan Stewart (and Joel Friedlander) that elaborates on her points:

Quick and Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors

Will Your Media Kit Disappoint Your 7 Audiences?

In any case, this is a lot of material to prepare, so take your time and make sure it’s top quality. Whatever you do, make sure you include your press & media kit on your website both in inline format and as compiled, downloadable attachments in PDF and Word form.

star wars press kitAs a blogger, I’m telling you… when you’re able to send a PDF of your media kit, it makes our jobs much easier, much more enjoyable, and allows us to represent you and your work the way you deserve!

So what about you? Is there anything that you include in your media kit that you’ve found invaluable? Let me know in the comments below! 😉

Hope you found this helpful, and as always…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Check out this HOT Erotic Paranormal Romance Series, ONE WARLOCK’S LOVE STORY!

Ready for a revolution in paranormal romance? Then check out the One Warlock’s Love Story series, where warlocks, conspiracies, vampires, and bisexual shape shifters take us on a wild ride into a world of intrigue and magic!

All Knight Long: One Warlock’s Love Story

ShadWalkerbook1In a world where shape shifters are openly bisexual, vampires have insatiable sex drives, and warlocks emit pheromones, warlock Zander Knight struggles to make sense of his own strict upbringing. Everything in Zander’s world changes the night he decides to break the rules and meet his on-line chat buddy, Giovanni Nugent, at an underground supernatural nightclub called Club Arcane. Suddenly, he finds himself face to face with a magical conspiracy, a huge family secret, and the most handsome man he’s ever seen.

Zander’s night of drinking and partying comes to a screeching halt when the club is attacked and several magicals are abducted and murdered. Zander is catapulted into the middle of a quest to find who or what is killing supernaturals, while sorting through his feelings for a fearsome shape shifter prince named Tau Long.

Born into a conservative magical family, Zander decides not to tell them he’s gay. Unfortunately, Zander isn’t the only one in his family keeping secrets. This is more than just one warlock’s love story — this is a supernatural adventure.

Check Out “All Knight Long’s” Sexy Book Trailer!

Interested? Here’s a sultry excerpt!

shadwalketourbanner

The club was huge, and every inch seemed packed with writhing and wiggling bodies. Zander’s heart rate increased as the ruby went white hot against his skin.   It was so hot, in fact, that he took it off and stuffed it into his pocket. Men were dancing with men, women were dancing with women, vampires were dancing with shifters, and shifters were dancing with witches. Zander noticed that the dances that they were doing were nothing like the ones that he and his mortal friends did back at his old high school dances.   Someone howled behind them, and Zander jumped.

“Let’s go get a drink! Maybe that will loosen you up,” Giovanni laughed. Zander could barely hear him over the club music. Giovanni grabbed Zander’s hand and pulled him through the thrashing crowd toward the bar. Hands grabbed at every part of Zander’s body as they made their way through. He kept checking to make sure that his necklace, ID, and cash were still in his pocket.

The bar was at the other end of the club, furthest away from the DJ and dance floor, so it was just a little bit easier for Zander to hear.

“This shit is crazy!” Giovanni yelled.

“That is an understatement,” Zander sighed. The bar, like the rest of the club, was crowded, but Giovanni wasn’t shy about shoving his way up toward the front. A young, warlock bartender with shoulder length, blond hair immediately noticed them.

“Love and light,” he said, acknowledging Zander and Giovanni with the traditional warlocks’ greeting. They both responded with, “Blessed be.”

“My name is Milo. What are two little ripe warlocks like yourselves doing in a place like this?”

“Milo, my name is Giovanni, and this is Zander. We are here celebrating my friend’s eighteenth birthday,” Giovanni said. Zander smiled.

“No wonder you are so ripe. You just turned eighteen. You two had better not stand in one place for too long. You might get felt up in here,” Milo teased.

“Where does the line start?” Giovanni asked, and Milo laughed. Just then, the tall, slim, Asian vampire from the line slid up behind Giovanni.

“Bartender, these drinks are on me,” he said, pointing to Giovanni and Zander.

“We don’t know you,” Giovanni said, coyly.

“You don’t know me yet,” the vampire corrected. He looked to be around twenty-five in human years. He had a model’s swagger, a swimmer’s build, and he oozed of sensuality.

“I’m Giovanni and this is my friend, Zander.   It’s his birthday,” Giovanni announced again.   The vampire gave Zander a polite look and moved closer to Giovanni.

“My name is Hung,” he said.

“Really?” Giovanni raised an eyebrow.

“Hung is Vietnamese for spirit of a hero,” he explained.

“Oh, I thought it was vampire for you have a big dick,” Giovanni said.

“That, too.” Hung smiled, staring at the pulsing jugular in Giovanni’s neck.

“What are you having?” Milo interrupted, from behind the bar.

“I’ll have a Bloody Mary — type O,” Hung said.

“Give us Hennessy and hemlock,” Giovanni said. Hung paid, and Milo poured the drinks and slammed them on the counter. Giovanni gulped down his drink before Zander could properly thank Hung. Hung whispered something in Giovanni’s ear, and Giovanni turned to Zander.

“I’m going to go dance with Hung. Stay here. I’ll be right back,” Giovanni assured him. He was gone before Zander could object. Zander turned toward Milo, who was giving him a sympathetic smile.

“I’ll watch you until your friend gets back. Your next drink is on me since it’s your birthday,” Milo winked. Zander couldn’t tell if it was pity or flirting, but it didn’t matter. He would take either at this point.   Zander reached into his pocket to find that the stone was even hotter. So hot, in fact, that it was starting to burn his leg. He reached up to the bar, grabbed a few napkins, wrapped the ruby necklace several times, and stuffed it back in his pocket.

Zander could see Giovanni grinding his fat little ass on Hung’s dick in the center of the dance floor. It was a good thing that no one had asked him to dance because he wasn’t sure that he could move that seductively without some practice and a few more drinks. He took a sip of his cocktail and was pleasantly surprised at how the smooth potion warmed him up and lowered his inhibitions. He’d tasted alcohol before but had never had his own drink – and certainly not one with hemlock in it. He stood with his back to the bar, occasionally smiling at admirers and trying to make sense of Club Arcane.

shadwalkerpostpicThe DJ booth was perched up on a crow’s nest on the opposite end of the club behind a dark, smoky glass. Zander couldn’t see the DJ, but he could tell from the music that whoever was in there knew how to stir a crowd. The dance floor was shaped like a large square with pairs of male and female strippers dancing in cages in each of the four corners. Several platforms at different heights peppered the floor for dancers who wanted to see and be seen. To the left was the black curtain through which they had entered, and to the right was a series of numbered doors that were being patrolled by other security guards dressed like Ooba. The music changed into something with more of a reggae feel. Zander looked back toward the dance floor to find Giovanni and Hung now up on one of the platforms swinging and swaying to the beat.

Zander swallowed his entire drink and allowed the warm feeling to ease through his body.

“Not too fast, young warlock,” Milo said, as he slid another glass of Hennessy and hemlock toward Zander.

“Okay,” Zander agreed. He grabbed the second drink and took a small sip before turning his attention back toward Giovanni, Hung, and the undulating crowd. He could feel the Hennessy and hemlock opening him up. Zander wasn’t a bad dancer. He just wasn’t familiar with these particular dances. He studied Giovanni and imagined himself doing those same moves. Zander took the second drink and gulped it down.

“If you take it slow, then it might not hurt so much in the morning,” a voice said from behind Zander. He turned to find himself staring into a very broad and well-formed chest.   Zander looked up into a pair of light brown eyes and was speechless.

Buy the first two novels in the “One Warlock’s Love Story” series TODAY!

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AND check out the THIRD novel in the OWL series, “Last Goode Knight” coming JUNE 4th!

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About the Author

Shadrach Octavio Walker, a.k.a. Shad O. Walker, has always been an avid fan of all things science fiction, fantasy and paranormal.  It wasn’t until he realized that there were no significant paranormal series featuring GBLT characters of color that he decided to create One Warlock’s Love Story. This epic tale features main character Zander Borealis Knight and spans several installments with villainous vampires, sexy shape shifters, wild warlocks, fierce fairies, great sex, and the kind of drama only found in the very best urban literature.

Armed with his passion for literature and his grandmother’s dictionary, Shad remains as elusive as the vampires in his series’ House of Aleph with writing as powerful as the shifters in its Alpha pack.   Supported by a coven of loyal readers, Shad is sure to take the literary world by storm.

Inspired by the creativity of Octavia Butler, storytelling of James Baldwin, and passion of E. Lynn Harris, Shad is at the forefront of an entirely new expression of paranormal romance and fantasy.  What started out as a desire to create and share a new kind of tale turned into a dream come true with the release of the first installment of the series through Torquere Press.  Today, Shad enjoys “shadowalking” into the hearts and minds of his beloved readers, the OWLS.

GET IN TOUCH WITH SHAD AT:

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