Excerpt From My Latest Release, SAKE.

Today, I decided to share with you all an excerpt from my newest work: Book 4 of the Core Series. I’m getting really excited because there’s only one more book to come in the Core Series and I can feel the end forming in my mind. Today, please enjoy a glimpse into the world of Ima, Judge of Pain, as she becomes one of the most heartbreaking villains you’ve ever met.

Sake eCover

Sake: A GREY NOVELLA

From Chapter Six

Birth

Ima brushed her silver hair herself. Her sprite had gone to do her bidding, and she knew that once she had Sirce out of the way, once the Great War commenced, the phoenix would bargain with her to save her pathetic world and the red dragon who lived in it.

“It’s almost time,” she told herself. In a few moments, the ninth turn would end and the tenth would begin. One thousand years.

She was alone as she walked over to the mirror that sat on her wardrobe, always covered in a cloth of black velvet. She felt…different than she ever thought she would. It was as though bones that once were made of glass had been encased in stone. The book and the truth it held gave her courage—not to rule the world or sit on the highest throne, but to tear it apart. It’s all wrong. The whole world is all wrong.

She sat at the wardrobe and prepared herself, her eyes closed. She knew that once she removed that velvet cloth, she would have to stare at herself—her real self. And she would not be young. Her skin would not be soft and frost-kissed. Her hair would not twist over her shoulders. She would be one thousand years old. She would look how she’d felt inside. Like dying. Like a prisoner to her immortality—all bones and rust and dried blood.

A knock on the door.

Ima left the covered mirror and twisted the key in her lock, opening her heavy door without a moment of hesitation or fear. If it was Sirce, the Accuser would not be able to hold her much longer. If it was Lor, she would curse him for keeping silent when she stood up to Sirce, but she would not kill him. Not yet.

The swinging door revealed a tired, worn Papu. He was the same as he always had been, but the light had gone out of his eyes, his skin a dull gray, his shoulders slumped.

“Sirce had no choice but to let me come to the courts for the birth ceremony. Rules are rules.” He reached out, touched his hand to hers, though Ima did not move. “I am here for a night. I thought I would come see you.”

Ima only stood, unmoving, unmoved.

“Ima? Aren’t you glad to see me?” But his hollow eyes said that he was not glad to see her, either.

He moved to her, like a ghost over deep waters, and put a cold hand to her back. Her skin prickled, but she did not move as he forced his lips to hers. Ice against ice, they kissed for as long as they could bear it. When Papu finally pulled away, there was no telling smile, no wink. No light.

Ima didn’t know what to say.  Her heart did not race, her breath did not catch. Papu might as well have been a tree in the sky garden or a root half-buried in the soil.

“Ima?” he whispered, his arm still around her, their chests still touching.

“You left me.”

He shook his head.

“You left me, Papu. You left me with him.”

“I told you—”

“No!” And a rush of pain knocked him off his feet. “You are the same as the rest of them. The same as Sirce.”

“Ima, we never asked to be put here. I never wanted this. We deserve more. We deserve to live and to die. Life is worth nothing if death doesn’t chase it.” He got to his feet and stepped toward her. “Our hearts cannot find one another if the paths we are on never converge. I want more. I want…I want an end. I want to die.”

Ima took a shallow breath. “Good things, once dead, are meant to be buried. Hearts are meant to be burned.”

Papu stood inches from her, and he would have kissed her again if not for the pain that leaked from her lips. “So burn them, Ima.”

***

Click here to read all of SAKE.

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I Need Your Help! – Let’s Get Core In Stores!

Hi you beautiful book people! I want your help with something really really cool! I want to get Core in stores! I mean like…anyone could grab a coffee, go to Barnes and Noble, and see my books right there on the shelf! To do this, I need to start an indiegogo campaign. And to do that, I need a cool campaign video to explain to supporters who this crazy author is and why they should jump on board.

I thought about what to do and realized I didn’t want some lovely, nerdy, babbly author (me) talking about her own stuff. No, I’d rather have everyone hear from the people who matter…YOU. That’s how this idea was born: Why don’t I have my fans tell people what they think?

I want a collection of dozens (maybe hundreds) of videos of my fantastic readers telling people to support this series. You can shoot the video from your phone, like I did, on your couch, outside, at work, in a bookstore…anywhere. At the end, make sure you say, “Let’s get Core in stores!” You don’t have to have a picture of the cover to do it, either. I just need your beautiful face. If you AND a friend have both read it, do the video together. Have fun with it!! Laugh, giggle, mess up, smile!! I want people to know what my fans are like (because let’s face it, you’re the best).

You can email the videos to me at teshellecombs@gmail.com. Oh and check out my facebook page for some sweet examples of videos!

Love love love,

TC

PS, if you haven’t read the Core Series yet, don’t miss out! Jump on board!! The Core Series.

Core New eBook Cover-page-001

Tips for Planning a Great Facebook Event

HiHeyHo!

In this update, I’ll share what I know about pulling off a banging Facebook event. As you may know, my Big Book Giveaway was a bit of a success, and I’m gearing up for my BBG2 – Book Boyfirned Edition this November.

BBG2

But first, I have to share all my news with you guys! This November 21st, book 3 of the Core Series is coming out. VANE is a full-length novel and it’s the continuation of Cale and Ava’s crazy epic urban dragon story. In other news, I was asked to be a part of Nightshade Reads, a group of YA/NA authors who’s putting out an anthology early next year. So I’ll have an exclusive story in it for you guys (#NSR)! And all the proceeds go to charity, so I’m excited to launch this puppy. Also, I have a free story I’m putting out episode by episode right here on this blog and on wattpad for all my lovely loves. Check out Ill Fate.

Now on to the Facebook Event tips!

Tip #1: Map Out the Day-by-day Activities

Don’t just wing it. Events don’t organize themselves. And your fans will be able to tell that everything is well planned out and structured once the fun starts going. For my BBG2, I have three days of stuff going on. I assigned different fun events for each day so it doesn’t just seem like one messy blob of activities.

Day 1 – Meet and greet, Trivia giveaways, and book blasts

Day 2 – Author takeovers and book blasts

Day 3 – Book Boyfriend wars and book blasts

I have a common activity (book blasts) that runs every day at the same time so my fans feel a sense of uniformity. And then varying activities every day so there’s a reason to come back the following day. When I have the days planned, I dig in deeper and plan every hour.

Tip #2: Map out the Hour-by-hour Activities

I’m a full time author and a full time mom and wife, plus I do a lot of volunteer work, so I can’t take three days off of life to run a successful event. I’m going to insert an adorable picture of my little Jaxter (grandparents in the background) because I’m obsessed with how fun he is.

JJ

What I do instead is spend the weeks leading up to the event typing out all the posts I think I’ll need. I literally come up with what I want to say every hour of the event. This helps with organization and with timeliness. It erases the chances that there will be empty, boring down time during the BBG2.

When the event rolls around, I just have to copy and paste all the posts at the right times. If you’re into the hootsuite app, you can even upload those posts early so it’s all automated. Then you can just pop online and actually spend quality time interacting with the people who were kind enough to stop by.

Tip #3: Make Lasting Connections with Visitors

Never take a conversation for granted. When you’re putting on your event, make sure you actually chat with people who are attending. Ask them how they like it so far and what they’re most excited about winning or who they’re most excited about meeting. When the event is over, they probably won’t remember what the plot to your book was or what your cover looked like. In fact they might not even remember details about what you said or how witty your jokes were. But they’ll remember they liked you. And that, my author friends, is gold. I’ve come away from my first BBG with fans and friends I still keep in touch with. It’s wonderful. They’re wonderful. And that alone is worth putting on a great event.

Tip #4: Make a Mirror Event

Before your event is over, click the Facebook option for making a mirror event. It duplicates the basics and specs of your event so you don’t have to start from scratch on your next big venture. Post the link to this next event before your current event is over so your partiers can sign up for it. If they’re enjoying themselves, they can join the next event with a click of a button.

Tip #5: Be Strategic with Giveaways

I haven’t tried this yet, but for my BBG2, I’m not giving away any copies of my own books. Maybe that’s crazy, but here’s my reasoning. Instead, I’m having a huge sale (99c for each book) and encouraging fans to get my goods while the sale lasts. Last time, I gave away a whole slew of copies of my books and I think fans held out on buying them to see if they’d win one. It was counterproductive for me, since I was hoping I’d get a little boost in my numbers. So this time around, I’m giving away gift cards and books that other authors donated. I’m telling my fans upfront that I’m not giving away any Combs books during the event. I’ll be sure to let you know how it works out.

Tip #6: Try a Book Blast

Again, this is a new idea of mine. When my new book, VANE, is released, I’m going to ask all my fans and event attendees to hold back on buying it until the Book Blast at 7pm. I’ll have one blast every day at the same time. I hope it kindles a bit of excitement so my fans can feel like they are directly responsible for my boost in rank. I’ll let you know if it works!

Vane eCover 4

Tip #7: Have a Backup Plan

If you’re asking authors to show up and take over the event during certain hours, I’m going to advise you to have a backup plan, just in case something happens and the authors don’t show. For example, I had each author fill out a fun trivia questionnaire. When a few authors couldn’t make it, I still held giveaways in their honor and posted their trivia answers on their behalf. Less panic-inducing for everyone involved.

So, if you’re curious or you just want to come support me and have fun, join my Big Book Giveaway 2 event! And pre-order my book, VANE. And buy all my other books. And be my patron and pay me ridiculous amounts to write beautiful genre lit. And buy me a mansion. And make me a sandwich. Or just be my friend and say hi!

*If you’re an author and you want to get in on the event, please comment or email me at teshellecombs@gmail.com.

Big News for this YA Series

I have so much to tell you. My bookliness is so happy right now, I just want to freak out and spend too much money in B & N!! (That’s the nerd equivalent of getting wasted, I think).

Tess freaking out

So first off, today is the release day for SOLE: A Blue Novella. It’s finally here and the reviews are so beautiful I could cry.

Next, the Big Book Giveaway is still in full swing. There will be FIVE authors there tomorrow, so sign up and win some free stuff.

Last, I worked really hard and I’m so elated to announce that the second full-length novel of the CORE series is ready for pre-order today. Like right now! You can get it for half price if you make a move on it. I really think it’s even better than the first one, if you can believe that! VANE is here!!

Vane eCover 4

The Big Book Giveaway is TOMORROW!!

Book Giveaway

Tomorrow is the big day! It means SOLE is about to be released (this Tuesday, baby!) and it means you could win a ton of prizes!!

How to play: Just click “join” in this Facebook event!

Glimpse of some of the prizes:

  • –GRAND PRIZE
  • –an audiobook of Ehriad and an autographed copy of Faelorehn and by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
  • –2 autographed paperback copies of CORE and THE SYSTEM
  • –Gift cards
  • –ebook of 18 Things and one of 18 Truths by Jamie Ayres
  • –ebook of Destiny: New Avalon by Andrea Buginsky
  • –ebook of Double Life by S. Usher Evans
  • –2 ebooks of Hikers Part 1: Power by Lauren Algeo
  • –an ecopy of Descending by Holly Kelly
  • –2 ebooks of the #1 release, NETHERWORLD, and a swag gift basket containing an autographed copy
  • –The Sanctum Trilogy, Book I: The Girl and Book II: The Boy
  • –Autographed copies of The Prophecy of Arcadia
  • –MORE!!!

How to pre-order SOLE for only 99 cents: Click here!

SOLE cover-page-001

Free Kindle – The System

First things first. My book is in the TOP 100 of all free kindle!! Has been all day!! Holy crap in a basket!!

This was my face when I found out.

Tess freaking out

And this is where you can download THE SYSTEM for free before it goes back to $3.99.

CLICK HERE to download it for free

 

Just saying, guys, if I make it to the TOP 40 in free kindle, I will record myself doing my crazy dance and post it on here. You have my word. I’ll scare the pants off every singe one of you. I mean it.

How’d I do it?

1. I have no idea.

2. Okay, that’s not really true. I did a few things right. I priced my ebook at something normal and not ridiculously disheartening (it used to be $.99 all the time). I just decided I’d put too much work into it to make pennies in royalties. When the free promo started ( I use KDP Select), readers knew they were getting a good deal because they could see how much I usually charge for my baby ($3.99 for right now). I don’t know about you, but I like to know I’m getting a good deal. Gives me the happy willies 🙂

3. I don’t remcommend this, but I put the SYSTEM on promo without much planning. It wasn’t my first time doing a free advert (did a couple back in the spring with a ton of planning and moderate success, which means about 1000 downloads in my book). But I just kind of felt like doing it and went to KDP and clicked “free” right then and there. On a whim. And then I kind of waited.

4. Boom. Holy boom. By the next morning, I was giving away about 100 books an hour. I was #1 and #2 in my genres and every time I hit refresh, I could see the numbers go up. My poor husband had to just sit there all day while I refreshed and called out the new stats, “#60,000 in kindle, #30,000…#10,000!”

5. I sent out a few “oh my GOD!” tweets and before I knew it, It was time for bed and I was #121 (but I couldn’t stay up because I’d worn myself out hitting that darn refresh button). And don’t judge me, but I was up at 3 am to check my stats and goshdarnit, I was in the TOP 100!!

Here’s a pic of the best I’ve done so far:

 

The System Free Ranking

So, cross your fingers, say a prayer for me, do a rain dance, download the System, tell your friends to download it, tell your grandma to download, tell you pet goat to download it…just get me to the TOP 40!!

PS If I had a pet goat right now, I’d name it Pigeon Pea 🙂

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Today I get to be a part of an awesome blog hop. So you get to see the rather mysterious and sometimes frightening inside of my brain. Much thanks to the author who got me involved, Shari Sakurai. She wrote ‘Demon’s Blood,’ to be released in print July 19th. WOOT! Go Shari! Check her out and let her know she rocks via her website and her Goodreads page.

Now, let’s do this thang!

***

What am I working on?

 

THE SEQUEL TO CORE!!! I am so excited it’s coming together. I’ve been chipping away at it every day I can, and I’m pleased to say I’m a fourth (almost a third) of the way done. The first chunk is already with my glorious editor and I’ll have feedback on that as I continue to craft the goods. My goal is to have it out this November. And let me tell you…it’s goooood, guys.

 

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

 

I love movies. And I dabble in screenwriting. So I think I tend to pace my YA novels differently than most. I’ve gotten reviews that point out how something is “always happening.” It creates an edge-of-your-seat effect that most rather enjoy. When I write, I see it in my head like it’s already a movie, and if my characters are just lounging around yapping, my movie brain goes “this is boring, Combs! Make something happen NOW!”

 

 

Why do I write what I do?

 

I write for young adults because I want them to write, too. My greatest dream is that someone will pick up one of my books, love it, and think “I want to do this too. I CAN do this too.” I write for the future dreamers. I write for that “one.” I was that one once.

 

How does my writing process work?

 

When I wrote “Core” and the System, I had no process. I had time in buckets, so I just wrote until my fingers went numb. Now, I have a baby boy, so I’m a bit more structured. Right now, as I type this, it’s 6am. I write until 8:30 when he wakes up. Then, I market during his naps and write again at 9:30 when he goes to bed.

A lot of research goes into my books. For example, I have thirty pages of dragon lore research I did for “Core.” And I actually had to have my little brother walk me through how to assemble and fire a sniper rifle about a dozen times so I could write one scene in The System.

Once draft one is done, it goes to my number one editor (my best friend), and she dissects the content line by line. Then I rewrite, usually from scratch. That draft two goes out to a few more editors, then I revise. Draft three goes to my beta-readers. Revise one more time. Proofreaders take me to draft four. And there we go! A few more tweaks and the final version is ready! Phew!

It’s a lot lot lot of work. But how I LOVE what I do! This is my dream. And I get to do it every single day. So check out “Core” and “the System” before you gear up for next week’s blog hoppers!

Introducing…

 

Madhuri Blaylock, author of The Sanctum trilogy.  Love on her and read her stuff, including book one, “The Girl,” and her new release, “The Boy!” Goodreads and her website.

 

Kyra Hylland, author of author of “Sarya’s Song,” and many other crazy fantastical and highly original romances. Give her some love and read her stuff! Goodreads and her website.

Interview with Jennifer Snyder

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the very kind Jennifer Snyder, NA/YA author of such works as Catalyst and the Marked Duology series.To learn more about her or how you can preview and purchase her work, visit her website! (Also, if you’re interested, please check out my debut novel, “Core!“).

Here goes my conversation with Jennifer:

1.      Why do you think you became a writer? How did you know?

Writing was just one of those things I’d always had a passion for. When I was little it was silly poems and short stories. As I grew older the stories became longer. I pulled away from it for a few years or so (think teenage years), but then dove right back in head first in my early twenties. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine myself not writing. It’s a part of who I am.

2.      Of all those you’ve created, who is your favorite character, and why? Can you describe that character’s birth story (how you thought them up)?

 This is a tough question! I really have to go with Seth from my debut novel Shattered Soul. He was the very first character to literally enter my mind via a talking voice in my head. Sounds nuts, but oh so true. I was folding laundry one day and this male voice popped in my head. It was a pivotal scene from near the end of the novel. His first word to me was ‘NO!’ and then the scene continued to unfold in my mind. It ended with him saying this to me “The girl I loved was becoming a stranger, and I knew this moment, the moment her soul first began to shatter, would haunt me forever.” From there I just had to know more about him and this girl he was so desperate to hold on to. This girl who was slipping through his fingers.

3.      Have you ever had an “I’m-A-Failure” moment in regards to your writing or your writing career? If yes, how did you cope? If no, how did you manage to stockpile that kind of self-esteem and where can we get some?

 With every novel one (sometimes more than one) occur  I think every author who has those moments are the ones who care most about their stories as well as their readers. As for coping, that’s where family and friends come into play. It also helps to have other author friends who ‘get it’ and can give you that extra pick me up to help dig you out of that funk.

4.      On your blog, you mention that chocolate may be a possible cure for writer’s block. What kind, quantity, and dosage of this antidote do you recommend?

 Ha,ha! Yes, chocolate. Some days it’s a handful those little Dove dark chocolates. Sometimes it’s Halloween chocolates from last year. And others it’s a warm mug of coco. Either way, I’ve come to learn chocolate in any form and any quantity is a necessity while writing.   

5.      In just two years, you’ve released six novels, two novellas, and a short story, quite an impressive feat. Can you offer a bit of advice to hopefuls? 

Thank you! Write what you want to write. I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that if a story isn’t coming…don’t push it. Set it aside and work on something else. Whether you’re just jotting down ideas for another novel or actually writing out scenes, nine times out of ten, the story you were stuck on will begin to flow again. Especially if you add in chocolate. 😉 Also, carve out time to write at least something everyday. Even if it’s only 100 words…at least it was something. 

Thank you for offering to have me on your blog! Best of luck with your novel (and future novels) as well as your author journey!

Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to answer my questions!

Image 

How to Read CORE

Step 1. Flex your fingers. I suggest a few finger warm-ups and stretches before you rush into the next few steps. Safety first, people.

Step 2. Click here. (I bet you’re glad you warmed up, eh?)

Step 3. Wait.

Step 4. Tear open your neatly packaged copy of the best book ever in the whole world (again, warm up beforehand). If you ordered the kindle version, click on afore mentioned best book ever.

Step 4. Use your preferred combination of finger movements to open the deliciously large paperback book or to flip through the electronic pages (and you thought I was crazy with the finger stuff).

Step 5. Read.

Step 6-10. Read, read, read, write me and tell me how much you love it (teshellecombs@gmail.com), read, read, leave me an amazon review, read, read, tell all your friends, read, read, read.