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.”

***

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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

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!

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