Friday, July 21, 2017

Sins of the Father Cover Reveal

Just in case you aren't subscribed to Michael Reid Jr.'s newsletter (which you should be! What's wrong with you??)
You can see the teaser cover right here:
Which is the follow up book to his debut novel, Debt of Fear
You can read my reviews for both The Beyond Experience HERE
And Debt of Fear HERE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Would You Want to Read More of This Story? "A Tremulous Woman"



Prologue:

Lillian stared at herself in the mirror. She ran her fingertips over the red, puffy skin under her eyes and silently scolded herself for being such a cry baby last night. Her rich, auburn hair looked dirty; greasy. She wound a strand of hair around her finger and made a perfect ringlet. The dirty quality of her hair held the curl so she made a few more.
As she tilted her head from side to side, the dim light in the room highlighted a developing rash around her mouth and under her nose. Little bumps that she could hardly see but could easily feel.
She was still in her bedclothes- a thin gown made of raw silk. The low neckline revealed the top of her breasts and she could see that the bruises had finally faded to a soft olive green rimmed with purple. She cinched up the neckline by pulling on the two velvet ribbons threaded through the gown and made a perfect bow. The bruises were no longer visible.
Her fingernails were chewed down to practically nothing and were actually quite painful. Still, she found herself gnawing on the tender skin trying to find something she could nibble off.
Her eyes began to well up with tears and sting. Her throat seizing up she tried to hold back the sobs.
No more crying! NO MORE CRYING!
The constant crying was exhausting her and making it difficult to think clearly. All day yesterday and for most of the night until she fell into a deep sleep, her body shuddered and shook with the crying. She would try to stop so that she could strategize or plan but it seemed as though her body and her mind were disconnected. Her mind wanted to regain control; her body wanted to breakdown.
Perhaps if I got some fresh air?
Her mind filled with hopeful anticipation, forcing her broken and downtrodden body out of the chair and across the room.
The floor was icy cold on her bare feet and she could feel the chill of the room pressing in against her thin bedclothes. A velvet robe that matched the ribbons on her grown was balled up at the foot of the bed. As she picked it up, a huge grey spider skittered across the floor.
Lillian gave a little yelp and dropped the robe in disgust. Instead, she pulled a blanket off the four poster bed and wrapped herself up in it. She glanced at the large stone fireplace across the room and couldn't remember the last time someone came to build a fire in it.
Lillian tugged on a rope at the left side of the bed summoning her attendant. Somewhere on the lowest floor of the manor, a bell would be ringing and an attendant would be forced to stop eating their breakfast to come see what Lillian was requesting. The house was so large, it would take several minutes for them to reach her room.
Lillian found herself in front of the large, glass doors that led to her private terrace. The curtains had been drawn across the doors for so long that when she pulled them back, she actually gasped at the amount of light that poured in. Her eyes wouldn't stop blinking and watering but she was determined to make them adjust to the new lighting. The door knob seemed to be locked but then decided that they were probably just stuck from limited use.
Finally the doors gave way and opened. A cool rush of air filled Lillian's nostrils and excited her flesh with goosebumps.
She had no idea what time of the day it was or what activity could possibly be going on around the manor. Her mind was formless; devoid of exploring any solid thoughts. This saddened her tremendously.
How out of touch with the world am I? Does anyone even know what has become of me?

The flowering vines on the terrace were out of control. They wound their way around and through almost every surface. The railing was thick with them and Lillian had to physically move the vines from her path in order to stand at the railing and peer over its edge.
“You summoned My Lady?”
Lillian jumped at the sound of a voice and whipped around to see young Madeline standing in the doorway of the terrace.
“Yes.” Lillian's voice was whisper soft and slightly scratchy from crying and misuse. She cleared her throat and tried again, “Yes! Yes, I summoned. I would like for you to build a fire in the fireplace, change the coverings on the bed and send a Gardner to manage these unruly vines.” She gestured at the thick tendrils surrounding the railing.
“Yes, M'Lady” Madeline answered softly, keeping her eyes downcast.
Lillian remembered she was only wearing her bedclothes. She pulled the blanket from around her shoulders and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“Also, Madeline, I need you to fix me a hot bath. I'll need a gown for attending the gardens later as well. But hurry along and build that fire, a roaring fire to remedy the awful chill in this room that has lingered so long!”
Madeline blushed at the rising tone of Lillian's voice. She scurried over to the fireplace and began scooping out the heaping pile of ash and coals.
“It's not your fault, Madeline. I know I have asked not to be disturbed but someone could have checked...” her voice trailed off as she remembered shouting at Madeline the last time she came to “check” on her.
Madeline mumbled something totally inaudible and she let it go. She didn't want to hear Madeline speak of the last few weeks. It would confirm her fears that she had truly gone crazy. That she had been to the brink of utter darkness and despair and have almost been unable to return. Or survive.

Madeline managed to get a healthy fire established and then left to ready Lillian's bath. The warmth and glow of the fire drew her in and she let the blanket drop from around her shoulders.
There was a large wingback chair in the corner of the room and Lillian drug it right to the very front of the hearth and then allowed herself to sink into the cushions. She held up her feet to the flames, letting them lick at her heels.
She closed her eyes. For the first time in a long time, Lillian Briarwood felt present in this world.

_____________ **______________



Madeline was having trouble making her way down the dark corridor. Her heart was beating rapidly and she was short of breath. The lamps that usually were lit in this particular wing of the manor were so dim she could barely see.
She knew the Master was down here somewhere but she had only visited him once and had forgotten the way. She came to the end of the narrow hall and discovered that she could either turn right or left. Both directions offered nothing but rows of doors and darkness.
She was lost. The Lady was probably already wondering where she had gone. It shouldn't have taken her this long to fetch hot water for the bath.
“Which way?” she wondered out loud to nobody. She finally went left. Left just seemed right. As she passed by a door she heard voices. She stopped to listen, slightly pressing her ear to the door.
She could hear the low, familiar baritone of Master's voice but couldn't make out the words. Just as she raised her hand to knock on the door, a scream exploded from inside. Madeline instinctively went to cover her ears but the scream stopped short.
Madeline felt a panic rise up inside her and she covered her own mouth before a scream could betray her presence. Quickly, she turned to run back the way she came but ran smack into Dolger, Master's footman.
Madeline didn't know if Dolger was the footman's first or last name. She never knew how to properly address him.
“Oh! Sir! Sorry!” she went to step around him.
“Wait up missy.” Dolger caught Madeline's arm in a vice like grip, “What are you doing down here?”
“Master told me to tell him if the Lady made summons. She made summons this morning, Sir.” She wiggled in Dolger's grasp and he let her go.
“Well, Master didn't tell you to tell me, now did 'e? He told you to tell 'em” he roughly pushed her back towards the door.
“Can't you tell him? I'm to draw the Lady's bath.”
“Naw. I can't. You do it.” Dolger reached around Madeline and rapped heavily on the door.
Almost as if he was waiting, it swooped open and Master stepped into the hall.
“What is it? What happened?” Master was wiping his hands with a dark cloth. He was so tall, he stooped a little in the door frame in order to look right into Madeline's eyes.
Dolger wrapped his arm around her shoulders, “This little one 'as something to tell you.”
Madeline was trembling uncontrollably, “Lady made summons this morning. To build a fire and draw a bath. I better go, I have kept her waiting.”
She ducked out from under Dolger's arm and ran down the corridor as fast as she could go his black eyed stare haunting her the whole way. She didn't stop until she got to the West wing kitchens and then she slumped down in front of the boiler.

After she had collected herself, Madeline ran hot water for the Lady's bath and then silently employed two attendants to help bring the tub and the hot water to the Lady's chambers. Both attendants asked Madeline a barrage of questions but she would just shake her head and kept her mouth closed.
They managed to fill the Lady's bath in just under three separate trips and then the attendants left Madeline to bathe and dress the Lady Briarwood. Before they left the room, one of the attendants nudged the other one and pointed towards the fireplace. Lady Briarwood was still in her bedclothes. The glow of the fire and the nature of the raw silk gown revealed her beautiful, feminine silhouette. The attendants tittered and the taller, more mature one pleaded with Madeline to let him hide behind the curtains while she bathed her.
Madeline rightly slapped the boy square across the face and told him to remember his manners and good fortune to have landed a job at the manor.
“Control your lusty thoughts Brandon or I'll tell Master.”
The young attendant was quick to respond, “You need a good shagging Madeline. Meet me tonight behind the stables and you can help me control my lusty thoughts.”
This comment got both high praise from the other attendant and a swift kick at his private parts from Madeline which he was able to avoid by exiting the room.
She slammed the door and leaned against it. The loud noise startled the Lady from her nap.
“Ready for your bath my Lady?”
“More than you know.” the Lady sighed.

________________**__________________
If you would like to read more of this story, comment "YES" or hit me up on my social media platforms! I'll have a Poll on Twitter or you can DM me on Instagram. Thanks! ~Sadie
**Everything on this blog is copyright protected and belongs to Sadie Hartmann

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

So You Want to Get Some ARCs?



Hey there bookstagrammers. I haven't updated my blog in FOREVER but I haven't really had anything to say that I don't already say on Instagram or Twitter.
But now I have something to say! There seems to be this assumption on social media that you have to be contacted by publishers to get an ARC (advanced reader copy). This is not the case.
I mean, yes. Sometimes people are contacted. I have been contacted by indie authors to read their books for free in exchange for an honest review. I have been contacted by Crown Publishing to be in their bookstagram partnership. (we pick out books, we thank them, we post them. No obligations or deadlines)
Example:
This book was part of that arrangement. I have also been contacted by Doubleday to read an ARC of Meddling Kids for an honest review. Of which I did. HERE. But publishers, generally, are not going to be banging on your door or my door anytime soon to beg you to take a free book. However, they do want their books read and reviewed. This is important to them and they are recently realizing the viral nature of social media micro-communities like #bookstagram
Which boasts over 12 million photos!
I'm sure you've seen some dedicated bookstagram accounts posting pictures of books that they are reading that don't come out for months! How do they do that? How do you get those? It's easy! Here are a few ways to do that:
1. You absolutely can request them from the publishers themselves. It's always good to be very professional in your approach, don't ask, "GIMMIE FREE BOOK?"
Rather, draft an email that you could copy and paste each time you make a request. Include your full name, the reason why you would like to be considered and links to your presence online. Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. I have partnered with a small publishing house who agreed to send me whatever books I wanted if I just paid the shipping. I'm not going to tell you who they are, *laughing* I'm just letting you know I was successful doing this.
2. Join newsletters of your favorite Publishers. Often times, they have giveaways for ARCs or a request button. You might not always get one but I got two books from TOR this way
3. Goodreads First Reads has giveaways for ARCs and older titles. I have never won these but some of my friends have.
4. LibraryThing.com is like Goodreads and also has an ARC program
5. Join NetGalley and get free eBooks for reading and reviewing.
6. I've heard from two reliable sources Emily and Shannon that if you sign up for ShelfAwareness.com newsletter there are opportunities for ARCs
7. Penguin Teen loves giving bloggers ARCs! Check this link if you have a blog! HERE
8. Blogging for Books is an awesome resource if you don't mind deadlines and blogging!
9. Blog Tours- These sound a bit scary and time consuming. Bloggers are vetted and selected and if you are selected, failing to meet their demands can result in you getting kicked out of the program. But hey, if you don't mind that sort of thing, DO IT try TLC Blog Tours
10. There is one website I joined like six months ago and I can't remember the name of it because the terms were so ridiculous. You could request ARCs but if you were awarded the book, there were reading deadlines and the website actually scored you on how quickly you returned a review. The higher ranking you got, the more popular the ARC titles became. I think this sort of agreement sucks. It takes all the joy out of reading. Why would I want to read a bunch of books nobody has heard of in a very rigorous timeline and be obligated to review on a schedule? No thanks. I have books at home to keep me busy!
So there you have it folks! If you want ARCs go out and get them. You don't have to sit around and wait to be considered "special" ain't nobody THAT special. *wink*
~Sadie



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Interview with P. Anastasia, author of the Dark Diary

As many of you know, I'm working on writing a novel. It's a dark fantasy. Yesterday, the words just flowed out of me! It was wonderful! I've never had a more successful writing session. But sometimes, I feel overwhelmed, defeated and hopeless. I feel like I'll never hold my own book in my hands. So it's great that I have met some writers who have gone out in front of me and paved the way. They are all very approachable and willing to answer all of my crazy questions.

So I thought you might want to see a few questions I asked P. Anastasia recently and her brilliant answers!

Q. Are you the type that outlines?

A. I do not generally do outlines. Only periodically. I do research as I move forward (as needed), and to make effective use of your time, you simply have to write. 1 word or 1,000 words. It is better than nothing. To flesh out a story, I may write a thin draft of the scene with dialog, general ideas and actions and then on the second go-over/ first editing phase, I fill in the nitty-gritty details. Add more atmosphere, really let myself steep in the scene instead of rushing to just get it down. Imagine the place. The smells. The colors. Really let yourself be in that environment and try to convey the sights and sounds of the scene. If I find myself trapped at the end of a scene and unable to move forward, I back up a few pages and begin combing through the entire scene again --- this often helps trigger the mind to begin filling in the gaps. I’ve heard other writers tell me to never look back after I write something down until I am done with the entire piece. This NEVER works for me. I have to stop and rewind quite often to get my momentum back up. It works for ME.

Q: Can you tell me how to be effective in my writing time? Make the best use of the time I’m given?

A. Although I absolutely love writing, In general – I often have to force myself to sit down and actually do the work. As Neil Gaiman once said: “ You write on the good days; You write on the bad days.”
Sometimes you’ll write utter rubbish, but it will always be better than a blank page. Some days I wake up chomping at the bit to get to work, and other days I stare at a blank screen for HOURS, unable to stop fidgeting or thinking about the next meal I’ll be cooking or TV show I’ll be watching. I don’t outline full stories, but I do sometimes spend a day outlining certain events I know must happen and I put those parts into some logical order so I can flesh them out later.
Sometimes I skip forward to write an event and leave it for a bit as I’m not always inspired to write the tedious chapters that connect the more exciting ones. It’s OKAY if you want to write a fun bit and then get back to the less interesting stuff afterward. Write what you are called to write. Just do it. You can connect the dots later!
Setting an ultimatum for yourself every day will also help. I did this while completing my latest novel because I couldn’t get the drive together to do it. Basically, I told myself I had to write 2,000 words or I wasn’t allowed to do anything leisurely. After a few days/weeks of that, my brain kicked into create mode and I found writing the words each day easier and more efficient. Make sure you facilitate this by giving yourself a proper work environment. No distractions. Clean your desk of any and all things that get into your mental space. Use a specific computer or room for writing only and nothing more. This way, when you sit down, your body KNOWS you mean business.

"Don’t let anything get in the way. Think of it as solitary confinement for the sake of art! Stories can be shy beasties at times and need to be coaxed out of hiding."




Train yourself. Writing is like exercise. If you don’t do it for a while, you’ll get weak.

You’ll have to keep a set schedule to do this (if you can). Sometimes I end up going to bed at midnight even though I aim to be done with writing at 7 or 8PM, because the words ultimately choose when to come. Not everyone has this liberty -- so if you don’t, then simply give yourself a nice quiet hour each day to try. If nothing comes, so-be-it. If you do this over time, you’ll find your mind should begin ticking around the time you go to sit down. If it doesn’t, don’t be too hard on yourself. There will always be good writing days and bad. Don’t forget to take breaks so you don’t burn out, too.
That being said, you can EASILY go weeks and months without writing and when you get back into it, you’ll feel like a blob of can’t-write/how on earth did I ever write anything ? I’ve done this and I’ve promised myself from this point forward to never take more than a month hiatus from writing because 8 months off nearly murdered my newest novel.
Once in a while, I set a word count and stop right at the end of it, even if I’m in the middle of a rousing scene – that way, when I return the following day, I’m excited to jump in and get going on the rest of the action. Other days I’ll hit way over my quota and return the next day to a blank chapter heading and end up sitting there for an hour wondering what was going to come next.
The more you write, the better you will become. I also recommend working with an editor whenever you can. A professional editor – not a friend or friend who is a professional. Get someone who is unbiased of your work but who is interested in it. Work with them. It is worth the investment.
I’ve learned so much from my editors over the past few years that I’ve been able to catch most of the my mistakes now myself and fix them before they have to tell me to. (I still need my editors, though! EVERYONE does) My writing has become cleaner, more polished and less redundant the FIRST time around due to my experience.

I think that’s about the best advice I can give you. Write what you are called to write no matter what. Don’t let others tell you what or how to write it. Take advice from your editor(s) with a grain of salt, and do listen. They can help you substantially, but some editors can hurt you, too. This is your work, not theirs, so remember that. Always.




Good luck in your journey! It will be a rough one. Some days the sun will shine and birds will sing. Other days there will be torrential downpours and ten feet of icy snow. You have to make it past the bad days to get to the good ones.



Nothing can replace the feeling you’ll experience when the last word of the story appears on the page.



TAKE CARE AND HAPPY WRITING!

P. Anastasia just released an all ages coloring book that I think looks like a lot of fun! It's available now on Amazon HERE

Saturday, January 14, 2017

One Year #bookstagram


A year ago today, I posted my first picture on Instagram with the hashtag, #bookstagram. I had been following a few bookish accounts and started thinking that this could be something fun to do. I made the mistake of just rolling my personal account into the new book dedicated one--it didn't dawn on me that I could have two different accounts. (Ah well)
I painstakingly removed all of my old photos (saved them to my Flickr account) and I think more than half of my friends and family deleted me after they realized I would be posting pictures of books all day, every day.
(Which still kind of bugs me, actually. Just because I'm not posting pictures of my family and my food and like a shit ton of sunset pictures or photos of my vacations, doesn't mean it's not still me. It's still ME. Whatever, I deleted all of them too. Ha!)
I decided to do a Top Ten list of my favorite things about #bookstagram right now. I love making Top Ten lists. I've made a lot over the years and I'm looking forward to this one. OKAY! Here we go:

#1. The people. My god, I have met the coolest people from all over the world in this community of book nerds and misfits. Some of you have impacted my life in very profound ways. I've learned things about myself; good things and bad things: if I'm honest. This community has forced me to be more introspective and intentional. It's a delicate thing, expressing yourself online. It's different than "real" life. Real face time. I've had to trip and fall on my face a few times so that I could navigate my way safely through this new territory. It's been a challenge and a blessing. I love it. I have met true friends here, people I would do battle with when the shit hits the fan and we find ourselves in some kind of awesome apocalypse! YEAH, Baby!

#2. The books. I never knew there were so many books out there I had to read and own. I could easily spend the rest of my life reading all the books you guys have turned me on to and still not be able to read them all! I have over 600 books on my Goodreads TBR list and I blame all of that you! You've taken my passion for reading and lit a fire!! Damn, it's HOT in here!

#3. The booktags and challenges. We have fun on bookstagram don't we? We play little games and join in on these daily photo challenges and it gives us this amazing sense of unity. But my book account will never just reflect a specific challenge (even though I created the Circle of Bookish Friends). I don't want my account to just be about that--nobody started a #bookstagram for the stupid challenges. Post what you want to post! Don't feel limited by the prompts-let's get back to us--who we are, why we do this weird shit. Rebel! Use the #circleofbookishfriends hashtag but don't let that hashtag USE you. Know what I mean, Jellybean? I think you do.

#4. The Nocturnal Reader's Box. I consider myself terribly lucky to have turned the heads of the powers that be over at the Nocturnal Reader's Box. I still pinch myself that I landed that rep position. What a fantastic company! I'm truly honored to be able to receive their product in exchange for an honest review of the service. Of course when my rep privileges run out, I'll be a customer too. I love it!!

#5. The writers. Through this community, I have met some seriously gifted writers: Professionals and Beginners. I have no idea where my passion for writing stories is going to take me in the future but I'm so glad I have met people that have already traveled pretty far down that road and are willing to show me the way when I'm ready. It's a very exciting time for me.

#6. The Buddy Reads. I've gotten to partner up with some pretty amazing individuals and share in the experience of reading a book together, even if they live on the complete opposite side of the world! That's a special thing. Seriously. We might be oceans apart--miles away, but we are connected through the words of an author in a book we each hold in our hands. Portable magic people, portable magic.

#7. BOOK MAIL. Man, I have gotten some fun stuff in the mail. Books, candy, presents, pillows, coffee mugs, LOVE, tea, stickers...!! So much LOVE! I like to give more than I receive, but lawd, is it ever fun to open the mailbox and see a goodie from one of you guys in there! Instant elation!

#8. The Laughs. You guys are hilarious, you know that, right? I love the way you make me laugh, outloud...in coffee shops or libraries or wherever else I happen to be where people turn to look at the weirdo laughing at stuff on her phone.

#9. The Constant Readers. You guys know who you are. I know who you are too. King lovers. We rule the world.

#10. The Distraction. Sometimes life is just a bit too much. It's too loud. It's annoying. It's disappointing. It's lackluster. It's boring. It's depressing. It sucks. It hurts. It's scary. Sometimes.

But bookstagram is a happy little place I can go and get away from it for awhile. So thanks for that. Thanks to all of you. I love our weird little corner of the internet where we get to squirrel away from the world and play with our nuts. Hahahahah....bet you didn't expect me to say that.

Anyhoodles!
Here's to 2017 and whole year of #bookstagram
Love you,
Sades

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

The CormorantThe Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"It is what it is."
This book was *almost* a four star rating as compared to Blackbirds and Mockingbird but then, WHAM, BAM, thank you, Ma'am! The ending just sucker-punched me and earned itself that fifth star.
I was concerned at first. I missed my Louis. I didn't like the beginning. I was disappointed Ashley Gains was back. I thought maybe the plot line was becoming formulaic or predictable.
*PLOT TWIST*
Shit got real. Really, real and I loved this side of Miriam. I don't want to give *any* spoilers so I'm just going to say, Miriam evolves yet again. She is constantly growing, learning and with this painful process, her gift/curse adapts and changes too.
I love the new characters we got to meet: Gabby, Jerry & Corie, (not the FBI agents, I didn't care for their personalities at all) and Sugar. I liked Sugar a lot and it proved that Wendig is good at making very distinct, unique voices for his characters--none of them blend in together or sound the same like in so many other books with a strong protagonist. Sugar was light and ethereal and refreshing--like a drink of crisp, clean water when you've been slopping around in the gutter.
I loved this third installment of the series and I'm excited for where the story is going. Thunderbirds, is going to be BAD ASS!



View all my reviews

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Blog Party: The Nocturnal Reader's Box Unboxing!

Welcome to my blog party! Please settle in, make yourself at home *pours you a glass of wine or a drink of your choice--coffee for me, it's early* I'm excited to reveal to you the contents of the box that I have been eagerly awaiting. The theme for January is "From Beyond the Grave". I love that the makers of this subscription box have tailored a box specifically for lovers of horror,  science fiction and dark fantasy; the dark and twisted. The box arrived on my doorstep, safe and sound. The contents were carefully packed and protected.
Take a gander of all the goodies that conjure images of death...

My favorite part of this box is the 3D skull double shot glass. Fill it up and see the detailed, wicked skull grinning back at you!
I love this collection of stories called, Five Stories High. Tagline: One House, Five Terrifying Stories
The makers of this box created a key chain from Stephen King's Everything is Eventual collection, 1408. How rad is that?! It's already on my set of keys.
I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have a Peter James novel in my collection now! I have heard great things from my friend, Abbie! What a treat! Also, a NerdWicks candle that smells delicious called "The Hideous Heart"
Another favorite is this Edgar Allen Poe tote! How cool is THAT?! A classic storyteller in the genre of death and the macabre. I can't wait to bring it to the library with me!
Lastly, The postcard and bookmark. I LOVE collecting bookmarks. I love the quote on the postcard too. Very cool.
I am so pleased with this box! It already convinced me that I need a subscription for the rest of the year for my birthday! *hint hint* to the hubby. Thanks for coming to my unboxing blog party! Stick around and have some snacks.If you're interested in buying February's box, the theme is Paranoia  and here is the link to TheNocturnalReader'sBox.Com you can save 10% by giving them your email, or you can save 15% when you use my code: SADIEREADS15