Happy Halloween everyone. Are you ready for some spooks, scares, and most importantly, treats? I'm not just talking sugary treats either, but treats you can enjoy over and over again.
YES, I MEAN BOOKS!
Every Halloween, authors gather online to hand out their books like candy. No dressing up required (although, it isn't discouraged. ?) So, if you are a lover of books who has accepted the reality that your TBR pile will never shrink then join the fun and hop from blog to blog and grab your treats.
This year, I'm offering my young adult fantasy post-apocalypse, Leaves of Fall, as my goodie.
Join Armory and Birch as they trek across the ruins of America, Birch in hopes of stopping the war and Armory to return to her family. Along the way, Armory learns the trees she was told were the enemy aren't so different from her.
You can grab it on Smashwords with coupon codeUS26X.
Once you have my goodie in your virtual bag, hop over to the other participants below and grab their treats.
I was contacted the other day and asked if I wanted to try a service similar to Canva.com called Edit.org. Since I enjoy trying out new things and wasting my writing time by making gifs and banners, I said yes. Daniel hooked me up with a Premium account and said, "Go nuts. Oh, and also offer Premium accounts for one year to five of your readers."
As I've already stated, Edit is similar to Canva in many ways. It's online and you can make a variety of banners and buttons. Edit doesn't have as many pre-made dimensions as Canva, but there is a custom option so you have the option to make something any size you want.
There is a variety of fonts to use. It looks like they have more font styles than Canva. They also have some pre-made templates for 3D style font effects. Another thing I enjoyed was the gradients they had that I could apply to fonts. That's something I hadn't seen on any other online editors. Clicking on the gradient multiple times changed the direction the gradient went.
There are plenty of free images available to choose from. Although, I can't say how the selection would look on a free account. When you sign up, you are automatically given a month of Premium for free, so I couldn't check to see for sure. It appeared they did, but I couldn't search without being prompted to sign up.
One thing that was a real perk were transparent backgrounds. I could make the template's background transparent. That's really useful when I make something I want to add to another image in Gimp. But again, I couldn't check to see if this option was available if you used the free version. I also liked I could stretch and distort the images. The resize was locked in on the corners, but the sides weren't.
But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. There were a few things I found irritating and have passed on to Daniel so he can let the development team know.
The site is on the laggy side. It takes a few seconds after clicking on anything for it to pop up on the template.(Edit to add, Daniel letting me know they had servers in Canada, we're left wondering if it was lag on my end. Lag on the site definitely doesn't seem as bad today.)
The only way to save an image was to use a template, so I'd have to pick a template, delete everything I didn't want then add what I did. If I created a new design without a template and saved, it only saved a blank template. (Edit to add: This has been fixed.) It wouldn't work for me on Firefox. I couldn't get logged in. (Edit to add: Also fixed.) Chrome and Brave had no issues, though. Another issue I had was when the image extended beyond the template, I couldn't see the corners to resize. I'd have to move it so the corner was in the template, resize, then move again until it was the desired size.
But in all reality, once I got used to the differences it had from Canva, I found it easy to use. I'd like the lag issue resolved, but that may have to do with the fact I believe they are located in Europe (Daniel replied to me in Spanish and their twitter says they are in Barcelona) so it might be lag from the servers sending info across an ocean. With hubby being a developer, I know when it comes to developing for browser, each one is different so you can't make code for one browser and have it work on all browsers. Sometimes changing code so it works in another browser breaks the code that made it work on the first browser. Hubby says it can be a real pain.
If you'd like to give it a shot, enter the Rafflecopter below and I'll pick five people who will get a year of their Premium service for free.
Don't bother with the raid. Stay home and learn all about it in the comfort of your own home.
BLURB: What’s in Area 51? Is the government hiding aliens? Elvis? Maybe the set of the Apollo moon landing? Do you know?
Join this multi-genre group as they explore the hidden recesses of Area 51, which up until now have only been whispered conspiracies. Don’t bother with the raid. Stay home, read these awesome stories and learn all you need to know.
Interview with Authors from We Know the Truth, Do You? An Anthology to Celebrate the Raid
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as a writer. Annie Walls (Author of Lavish Lure) - I’m Annie Walls. I love books, beer, Forensic Files, and taking off my bra! I’ve been a writer since I can remember, I just didn’t know it. I would create and draw characters and then write stories about them.
Beverly Ovalle (Author of The Road to Eden) - I'm a Navy Veteran, wife and mother. I started finding my passion for writing in high school, but never pursued it past the creative writing club.
Chrys Fey (Author of Detective Heavenborn) - I am the author of the Disaster Crimes series, a unique blend of romance, crimes, and disasters. I love Halloween, black licorice, and believe in the paranormal.
C.L. Roman (Author of Not Your Father’s Area 51) - I write sci-fi and fantasy with a paranormal edge. I’ve recently “crossed-over” into paranormal romance and I’m really enjoying it. As a military wife, I’ve seen a lot of the country and interacted with a lot of people, which makes creating characters pretty easy. I’ve been writing since I was in high school. Back then it was mostly angsty poetry and essays on life, such as I knew it at the time. I hope I’ve grown a bit in recent years, especially since my first book launched in August of 2013. These days, I try to portray real people in extraordinary situations because though I’ve always wanted to have supernatural powers, I love everyday life too.
Debra Parmley (Author of The Road to Groom Lake) - I’m a multi-genre, hybrid author with over twenty books out, and I live in Memphis TN. I used to be in a writing critique group with Elvis’s estate attorney and we met at Robin Williams sister-in-law’s house.
Sherry Rentschler (Author of Mermurings) - I'm a retired USAF non-combat veteran, happily married for almost 30 years to another USAF retired non-combat vet. I broke into writing at 13 when a published "What I did on my summer vacation" earned me a spot in a newspaper and $5. After that I went on to write for newspapers, become a photojournalist, a poetry editor for an online magazine, a copywriter, and finally an author. I self-published my first book in 2013. Today I have three books of poetry, five paranormal romance/urban fantasy, a memoir. an anthology by writers on finding inspiration, and a book of photography.
Valerie Puri (Author of Burner Phone) - I write Paranormal, Fantasy, and Young Adult. I started my career as a published author in 2016 with my debut novel The Crimson Tree, a paranormal thriller inspired by true events.
2. What inspired you to write your first book? Annie Walls: I wanted to write a book I’d read over and over.
Beverly Ovalle: A dare, lol. My BFF dared me to submit a story to a writing contest. I lost, but received a contract from the publisher.
Chrys Fey: A rusted, crooked screw I found in the grass when I was twelve. I look at it as a key to a world, and I wrote about that world—the world featured in Detective Heavenborn, my contribution to the anthology.
C.L. Roman: A Bible verse, actually. That may sound odd, but it’s one that suggests intimacy between angels and humans…and who doesn’t want to know more about that? (Genesis 6:22, in case you were wondering.)
Debra Parmley: Dusty Richards, a well-known western author challenged me to write my first novel and make it a western. The winner of his contest would get a full read by his agent. That was too good to pass up. I wrote A Desperate Journey, a western historical romance, which was published years later, back in 2008.
Harley Easton (Author of In the Air Tonight): It was a writing challenge to cheer up a friend that kind of took on a life of its own.
Sherry Rentschler: I wanted to get my words and name out there. I published late in life at 59 and I felt as though I had been building up to it my whole life. My father actually told me to go for it just before he died.
Valerie Puri: My first book, The Crimson Tree, was inspired by a number of ghostly encounters my sister experienced in her home. These events gave me chills and inspired me to compile them into a ghost story.
3. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Annie Walls: I write things from everyday life experience, so I don’t think so.
Beverly Ovalle: No.
Chrys Fey: Of course! I love to do that. Readers may notice these secrets upon a second reading and spot clues I wrote in that hint at things that happen later in my book/series or even in unrelated stories.
C.L. Roman: There are a number of connections between my stories that a reader would only notice when they read the other books. For the most part, everything I’ve written can be read as part of a series or as a stand-alone, but I love giving characters from one book cameos in other stories.
Debra Parmley: Not on purpose, though subconsciously maybe. Sometimes a reader will point something out which hadn’t occurred to me.
Harley Easton: I usually have little nods to pop culture, song lyrics, fairy tales, or other things I'm interested in. There is actually a Beatles reference in the romantic ghost story I had included in the Haunted anthology with Pen and Kink.
Sherry Rentschler: Yes! in fact I just published a "book of secrets" for my readers/fans because I got so much mail over the last couple of years and I wanted to clue people in who might have missed the trail of crumbs.
Valerie Puri: I love finding a good Easter Egg in a book or movie, so occasionally I'll throw one or two into my stories for my readers.
4. What are you working on right now? Annie Walls: I’m working on a dark fantasy set in a dystopian world with metaphysical characters titled The Hidden, Empathic Disturbances Book One. My protag is an empathic medical examiner who hides her abilities in plain sight. Her world crashes when she encounters other metaphysicals who have escaped the government wards.
Beverly Ovalle: A shipboard contemporary military romance. It is a mix of fiction and fact. I leave it to the readers to figure out which is which. Only those that served with me will know some of it.
Chrys Fey: The last novel of the Disaster Crimes series.
C.L. Roman: I’m working on the third book in Earth Prime, my sci-fi series. It is the last full novel in the series, though there may be a novella later on, mostly because one of the minor characters was left in pretty dire straights and she would like to come back out.
Debra Parmley: Blind Trust, about a blind receptionist and 3 C’s ranch in Montana, a place where women who’ve been attacked and abused go to learn self-defense and other skills to survive and thrive. The hero, a Navy SEAL, has to convince her to go out with him and to leave the ranch to expand her world.
Harley Easton: Editing an anthology with SinCyr Publishing and writing a rock star novel I hope to have published next year.
Sherry Rentschler: After the Area 51 anthology, I'm back to work on Book 3 of my bestselling Evening Bower series. New book should be out by Christmas 2019.
Valerie Puri: So many things! I'm co-writing an Urban Fantasy trilogy with an amazing author, working on finishing up my own YA Dystopian trilogy, I have several short stories lined up, a Wild West PNR novel for a box set, and I've been incubating an idea for a Fantasy series. I'm thrilled to have so many creative projects going on.