Hey booknerds! Now that the cover for “Resistor” is out in the wild and all the character art for the first book has been shown, I figure this is the perfect time to not only talk about the cover in more detail, but the character art itself, as well as explain how the pre-order art works. I am so insanely proud and happy with how everything turned out that I hope you love it all just as much as I do, and I hope you share “Resistor” with your family, friends, and everyone in between.
So let’s talk about that cover super-fast! It was done by the talented crew at ebooklaunch, with the very same designer who did my Monster of Selkirk series! I loved how those covers turned out, so naturally I wanted to use the same team, but given the change in genre, I needed a completely different format. Usually I shy away from putting my main character on the cover of my books as I don’t want to contradict the readers imagination, but not only does this cover fit with the genre, but Ellinor is so vivid in my mind and so distinct with her eyes, hair, the weapons she uses, etc. that it felt like a missed opportunity not to have her cocky-self shown front and center this time around. The next covers may even include more of the characters as Ellinor’s adventure continues, but we’ll see!
As for the character art, I see all these big book boxes that come with mugs inspired by amazing book series, book sleeves, candles, and that’s on top of the traditional character art prints. I couldn’t do the more elaborate art swag this time around, which is why the character art isn’t just a posed drawing of the characters, but rather scenes from the book so more of the characters personalities can shine through. That’s why I’m doing a playing card deck for these books as well. They’re functional, but in a way that you can use them with friends, which hopefully makes them a bit more special. But you may ask why I chose Kai and Jelani to be playing cards in addition to Ellinor. Simple: those two were my beta reader’s favorite characters. Plus, this allows me to add to the deck of characters as the characters themselves become more important, so even if one character is introduced in an early book but gets a bigger role in the next book, I can save his character card for the sequel. See? There is a method to all of my madness!
As for the pre-order incentives, I know it can be a tad confusing given that the paperback book is currently available for purchase ahead of the eBook, and you can currently buy signed paperbacks from my Etsy shop, as well. Never fear! Hopefully this helps clear things up:
You can either email me or the publisher Starfish Ink, or message me on Instagram or Facebook showing that you bought/pre-ordered Resistor, and then I will mail you the playing cards. As for the polaroid of Ellinor and her crew, that will be a giveaway prize for every 5 reviews "Resistor" gets, though I may have some extra goodies to giveaway for that later, too! These giveaways will be open for everyone though, so if you’ve read Resistor, reviewed it everywhere your heart desires, and just loved it so much, you can request the polaroid from me as well. But this isn’t included with the pre-orders mainly because you’ll better know who is who in Ellinor’s crew once you’ve read the book.
So there you have it! A little behind the scenes, some explanations, and a whole lot of art! Who could ask for more? Let me know what you think of the cover, the types of bookish swag you love most, or if you have any more questions about the pre-orders and how to get the “Resistor” art for yourself! And, if you’ve already bought your copies, I also have another custom Spotify playlist for “Resistor” for you to enjoy!
This is a very exciting month for me, booknerds: it’s the month where the cover of “Resistor” will be officially debuted, and the pre-orders of my latest book baby will start! To celebrate, I have two more characters to introduce you to from my New Adult/Adult cyberpunk fantasy: Cosmin von Brandt, and Jelani Tyrik Sharma! We’ll start with the villain of the new book, and end with my beta reader’s newest favorite character, that way we end on a high note, as it were.
Cosmin von Brandt is a seersha. A seersha is my new, colorful race that is a mix between elves, drow, and the quanari (the horned race from Dragon Age). This race of people can have skin ranging from the traditional colors we know, to indigo blue, soft greens, lilac… you name it! Their eyes are similar in that vein as well, they range from the natural to the unnatural—like Cosmin’s pumpkin orange eyes. Basically anything with color—skin, eyes, hair—can be any color of the rainbow for seersha. Some of them also have long ears like elves, or even horns. They are a beautiful and eccentric race by nature, and Cosmin, while not the most outlandish looking of seersha, makes up for it with his eccentricities. A connoisseur of high, fine and daring fashion, Cosmin loves all the flash that comes with being a seersha—including the power. Seersha casters are naturally more powerful than their humani brethren, and Cosmin is the most powerful of them throughout Euria.
Gifted with both fire and earth magics, Cosmin has made a name for himself smuggling illegal magitech—magically imbued technology. Not all magitech is outlawed, just the most devastating kinds, which happen to be Cosmin’s specialty. He is, essentially, a gangster with a crime “family” that spreads throughout the entirety of Euria. Cosmin is the extreme embodiment of “absolute power corrupts absolutely”; he’s arrogant, narcissistic, but also very generous to those who are unequivocally loyal to him. Which is why he gets so perturbed when anyone challenges him, tries to leave him, or take something he deems as his. Cosmin is always vaguely paranoid that someone will come along that will challenge his power, a worry born in him early due to the death of… well, I’ll save that little tidbit. You see, Cosmin will be getting his own standalone novella very soon that details exactly how Cosmin von Brandt became the elite and untouchable dealer of illegal magitech that you meet in “Resistor”. But needless to say, I had a lot of fun writing this character! He’s smooth and charming and an absolute dick. He’s a proper gentleman, and a perfect devil. And given he is over 300 years old, it’s very hard for someone like Ellinor to outmaneuver him.
And now, allow me to introduce you to the character that single handedly became my early readers’ favorite: Jelani Tyrik Sharma. Jelani is also a seersha, though he looks it more than Cosmin does. And, like Cosmin, he’s also a caster—of sorts. Jelani is an earth caster, but he’s nowhere near as strong as Cosmin—but more on that, and what it means for Jelani, when you read the book. I will say that Jelani is what you would consider to be a libertarian. He wants people to live their truth, he doesn’t believe in imposing someone else’s will over a person—be that in sanctioning mechanical advances, or the rights of the sentient robots, the Ashlings. Jelani is a freedom fighter, beholden to no one but his little sister, who he feels responsible for due to a tragic event from his past.
Jelani is a refined soul, someone who has lost much, but rebuilt himself and found new purpose in life. He is more than willing to drag Ellinor and very blatantly show her when she’s wrong, when her prejudice is making her into someone she doesn’t have to be anymore. Jelani is a sensitive soul, but he’s not a pacifist by any means. He can go toe-to-toe with any number of extreme beastie, so he’s definitely not someone to cross. Good thing it takes a lot to get on his bad side! But Jelani has his own motivations for wanting to remain on Ellinor’s mission, to stay within her circle, one that you just know is going to rub Ellinor the wrong way…
The contrast in personalities and speech patterns between my characters was thrilling to build and experiment with. It makes each one stand out from the other, and was honestly a lot of fun to write. I thoroughly enjoyed getting into the minds of these diverse characters, watching them butt heads, and discover things about themselves they didn’t know until these new faces came into their lives. Again, sorry for being a little vague on these characters, but I hope they sound enticing and interesting enough for you to want to meet them very soon!
Hey booknerds! With “Resistor” going to be hitting pre-orders soon, it’s time for me to start telling you a bit about the main cast of characters! And even show off some of the new art work that will be part of the pre-order packages. So, without further ado, come meet Ellinor Olysha Rask, and her ex-best friend, Kai Axel Brantley!
Ellinor is an air caster, meaning she can manipulate the natural element to do her bidding. She’s not a very strong caster though, where some of the more powerful air casters can suck the oxygen out of someone’s lungs and cells and create magical beasts from the elements to do their bidding, Ellinor can’t do that. She can turn the air so dense with pressure it makes her punches harder, creates walls that can clear a room, even break her fall, though she’s not finessed enough to really fly. Ellinor has a complicated relationship with her magic, however. As the only caster in her family, her older brother, Andrey, was always a bit envious of his little sister. He tried to tell her that magic made people lazy, made them too reliant on that power to help them, rather than being clever in their own right. So, when Andrey died, Ellinor wanted to honor him by being great IN SPITE of her powers. It was her husband who helped teach her otherwise, which is a whole other story in and of itself.
Ellinor came from an upper-middle class family, so it made little to no sense to them when she aligned herself with a gangster who specializes in creating and smuggling illegal magitech (technology imbued with magic) throughout Euria. Her parents wanted so much more for her, but never stopped to ask what Ellinor herself truly wanted. Only her husband did that, and without him, Ellinor is adrift in a sea of bloodlust and depression where she has lost herself completely. She’s become mean, mistaking kindness for weakness, and if she doesn’t make it out alive from accomplishing her mission, that’s fine with Ellinor. But, fortunately (or unfortunately depending on who you ask) fate seems to have other plans for Ellinor Olysha Rask.
As for her friend, Kai Axel Brantley, he never had the opportunities that Ellinor had. Raised by a single mother after his gambling addicted father walked out on them, Kai has always been poor, growing up on the lower levels of the city where he was constantly bullied for his massive size and not having a father. Kai developed a taste for mayhem, he relishes the adrenaline from a good fight, but he’s also a big softy and always sticks up for the “little guy” because he knows too intimately what it’s like to be bullied. Kai also loves his mother passionately; he knows perfectly well that he wouldn’t have survived to adulthood if it weren’t for the sacrifices she made. Kai’s mother is a hostess now at one of the mega casino's restaurants, which is how Kai first got tangled up with a magitech smuggler, and the gangster Cosmin himself.
Cosmin could tell early on what kind of asset Kai would be, and recruited him young, which allowed Kai and his mother a form of comfort and stability neither had before. It has made Kai unquestionably loyal to Cosmin, and had the big, brawny man fall head over heels in love with the handsome, and smooth gangster. Cosmin does like to string Kai along, as it has Kai do whatever Cosmin wants without question—even if that means going after his former friend, Ellinor. Kai isn’t a caster, but he is a force to be reckoned with when he’s in his Coyote mechanized suit. When in the powerful armor and in the throes of combat, Kai can give even a talented caster a run for their money, making him well suited to handle Ellinor, if he has to.
And there you have it! Just a little background information on two of my main characters who you’ll meet in full on October 1st! The playing card art is down by the crazy talented Golden Rose and will be given out to ALL pre-orders along with Jelani’s character card (more on him later). Be on the lookout for the official pre-order post and the cover reveal for “Resistor” coming on August 7th, it will have all the art you can get, and how to pre-order signed paperbacks—which will come with their own exclusive swag, too! I can’t wait for you to meet Ellinor and Kai, and sorry for not sharing more, but you know, spoilers. ;)
Time to go on a journey, booknerds! Today I’m transporting you to the new world I’ve crafted for my Eerden novels. That’s right! Today I’m bringing you into this new world, specifically to the continent of Erhard where the first book takes place. Eerden is a massive world with several continents, but I’ll be showing each continent one by one as the books move to new locations. I worked with the super talented Sarah with The Sketch Dragon in order to bring Erhard to life, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to this continent, and some of the cities the first book in the series visits.
So let’s start with the continent itself, Erhard, and the city the book starts off in--Euria. Fun fact: the shape of Erhard was inspired by Australia, and that’s roughly the size of the continent too, just to give you some perspective. Erhard is a dead continent though for the most part. The resources are drained, regulated to the cities, big and small, as those with natural magical abilities unknowing form a symbiotic relationship with their home areas. Their magic drains the land, bust sustains the place where they live, making an oasis of sorts. In between the cities there may be a few forests, fields that can support grass, but the soil is dead, nothing grows there. Then you get these long stretches, such as the Saxa Desert, where monsters dwell, hunting people with magic, making these areas even more of a no-man’s land. I’ve just always loved the idea of these big lands with lots of cities, but with such clear borders in between where there’s almost nothing between them.
I live in a sprawling city currently, so the idea of things ending in nothing appeals to me personally, mainly because it’s not a reality I currently have. But, I do live in a major city so being cramped with lots of people and high rises is something I am intimately familiar with: the noise, the long shadows of high rises, the areas you avoid at night because of crime, the pollution, the ability to get lost in a crowd surrounded by strangers even in the place you live. So those are the kind of cities that populate Erhard. Massive, bustling cities with skyscrapers so high they punch right through the skyline so people at the bottom can never see the top, let alone the stars.
Euria is such a city. Think of New York City, Downtown Los Angeles, and Bangkok all combined together just to give you a sense of the 1. Scale of this massive city and 2. How metropolitan it is. Euria is one GIGANTIC city that tappers out at the edges into farmland that makes it self-sufficient, before ending abruptly in dead, uninhabitable land. Euria thrives off capitalism where people are always struggling to move up (sometimes literally) and to get out of the ground levels that are polluted with the exhaust from the aerial and other ground vehicles. Euria is constantly growing up, as it can’t grow out. And while it has senators and lobbyists, an elected governor, and police that keep the peace alongside their android guard bots, there is a constant struggle between the legitimate government and the underground crime lords. The most powerful crime lords in Euria, and most places in Erhard, are casters with extreme elemental magic. Often these types combine their magic with technology with devastating effects. The government outlaws this magitech, but that doesn’t stop it. All the government can do to keep control is to have better emporiums, better technology and bio-tech and regulate the hell out of everything to various degrees. But, if they are powerful enough, the crime lords always find a way around those regulations and hide behind legitimate business, or help the elected officials with their casting ability, so they remain relatively untouched. Which is the case in Euria, whose underground crime boss is an earth and fire caster; his abilities help with the farmland so allowances are made to overlook some of his other criminal activities.
The other major locations the first book takes place in is Amaru and Anzor. Anzor, being a major city-state, is similar to Euria in many ways, though they survive mainly on their industry and therefore trade for food. As all the cities on Erhard are city-states, they are all run pretty independently of one another with loose agreements with the other governing bodies on travel between locations, and laws that keep the continent from constantly waring with other city-states. But not all city-states are the massive centers that Euria and Anzor are, case in point—Amaru. While still massive by today’s standards for a city, places like Amaru are not nearly as large or as built up as its bigger brethren. The luxuries are not as prevalent, there are more ground bound vehicles and people, there’s more of a gap between the poor and the rich, as the casters that dwell in these places aren’t as powerful as those in places like Anzor. There’s a reason for that: most casters cannot leave the city of their birth without their natural, elemental abilities being significantly weakened. A less powerful caster may want to go to another city and try their hand at operating there, but then they risk being completely powerless, which kind of defeats the point for them. In Amaru, the most powerful caster there, who also happens to be a criminal (absolute power corrupts absolutely and all that jazz) is nowhere near as powerful as the ones in Euria or Anzor, so it’s probably best for him to stay where he is, as he wouldn’t survive anywhere else!
So there you have it, friends! A little peek behind the curtain at the world that will be on full display in my upcoming books. It’s been such a fun world to create, a cyberpunk far future world but full of magic and incredible technology. The world of Eerden is ripe for adventure, conflict, and wonder, full of powerful, broken people all just trying not to be crushed under the weight of industry. Tell me what you think, and I hope you enjoy the map Sarah made as much as I do!
Have you ever considered doing the big National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), or maybe even one of the smaller camps like they have in April and July? Not sure how to handle it alongside your job or side gig (like, maybe a professional dog wrangler)? Then never fear, booknerds and aspiring writers, I’m here to help! Maybe. I’m going to do my best, anyway. I’ve been asked a few times how to prep for NaNo, and before I’ve always answered on Instagram, which limits word count and what not, so hopefully this “guide” is a bit more helpful, and early enough to where you have more than enough time to get ready for the next NaNo, whether that’s a smaller camp, or the big one in November.
First, in case you aren’t familiar, the differences between the two NaNo’s: The November one is where you write an entire novel in the span of one month. In this case, a novel is based on 50k words, so you can technically achieve the goal without finishing your book, which is what usually happens to me. My first drafts’ of novels all hover around 90k-110k words, so while I can “win” the November camp, I never actually finish a book in that time—which is ok! The second type of NaNo are the smaller camps that happen a few times throughout the year. These camps are where you can set your own goal, whether it’s a certain word count in a month, researching, revising… you determine what kind of project you want to focus on, and then put in your measurement for success. These camps are much more relaxed then the November one, and I tend to like them best, but the November one is great if you just really need that kind of pressure to get you rolling on a novel.
Prepping for these NaNo’s can be vastly different, mainly because the pressure for each one is vastly different. So let’s talk about how I prepare for the smaller camp’s first because those are by far the easiest. Personally, I love doing the smaller camps when I am in between projects because it helps keep me focused and moving things forward when I’d rather procrastinate like a boss about starting something new.
So, for prepping, I pick two projects that need attention, a bit of refining, or need to be outlined. I still pick a word count as a goal for these, but I keep it pretty low, between 10k-20k words. You can set your goal as time spent researching instead, which would also work for this. But the word count holds a type of accountability that I find helpful. Before starting the camp, I look at my monthly schedule, see what I need to do outside of writing (let’s say, it’s dog walking because I do walk a lot of puppers), and I figure out about how much time I need to devote to that on a daily basis. That gives me a good idea of how much time I have left for writing. From there, I skim through the two projects I’ve selected and see what they need, what will make me feel like, once I complete it, I am over that hump and ready to put these babies to bed to start on something new. It could be polishing a character’s personality, beefing up the fight scenes, or adding in name pronunciation guides. I make a list of the things those projects need and assign a word goal. If it’s small, like polishing, the word goal stays small, but if it’s more about elaborating on certain scenes, my word goal is a bit higher. Having those goals in mind before I start is key though, even with the relaxed nature of the smaller camps. Knowing what I am going to do ahead of time, and how much of my time I can devote to it, helps me figure out what’s not only doable, but gets me excited about the things I CAN do to improve my work. The good thing about the smaller camps is that I don’t have to write every day either, which is perfect for when I’m between projects and a little burnt out.
November’s NaNoWriMo is another beast entirely. I recommend starting to prep for this at least a month ahead of time, as November is already full of interruptions with holidays. In order to really do this one, make sure you know WHEN you can write, as well. Are weekends your free days for writing? Evenings? Or maybe just early mornings? Whatever that time is, guard it fiercely because you’ll have to write AT LEAST 1,700 words a day to really finish on time (it’s a little less than that, but rounding up helps create a bit of wiggle room). I tend to be a really fast, over writer. When I’m focused, I can write about 1,500 words in thirty minutes, so generally I know how much uninterrupted time I’m going to need in order to write 50k words in 30 days. Knowing that helps manage what you can and can’t do in a day.
But, and this is the big one, knowing what story you’re going to write ahead of time is huge! Have all your outlining done, your world building, know your characters names, all of that, before starting so you aren’t losing time in November to things that don’t count toward that larger goal. See why I recommend starting your prep work a month early?
But in the throes of November Camp, the best thing to help focus and keep you going (because trust me, some days are HARD when it comes to writing and the pressure feels a bit much) is to do writing sprints with friends. Even if your buddies aren’t participating, and they are just writing blog posts or beta reading, having people who are dedicated to doing one task alongside you for thirty minute sprints, and then checking in at the end of that time to see how you did, is a life saver. Not only does it keep you focused, it also adds accountability to make sure you work, and then after, you get to share your accomplishments, which is amazing! Personally, I really need that when I am feeling unmotivated, or that my words aren’t “pretty” yet. It’s also important to remember that this is just going to be the first ugly draft of what will eventually be something great. Giving myself that freedom to just vomit words out on a page, knowing full well I’ll fix it later (like at the smaller camps!) alleviates that personal pressure I feel for perfectionism.
Each year I’ve participated in a camp I have “won” because I go in with clear goals, and all my homework done ahead of time. I know how much time I have in between the demands of the dogs I take care of (I don’t have kiddos) so I can set realistic goals, and know how much time I need to guard from others, because that is my writing time. The prep work is a bit boring and cumbersome, but honestly, it makes the camps so, so much easier. And, if you need a buddy to keep you accountable, friend me on NaNoWriMo! I’ll be your forever cheerleader. Hopefully these little tips help you, but if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help!