One year ago today, I sent the manuscript of The Atomic Circus out into the great wide world of Kindle Publishing and made my debut as an author. In the 365 days that followed this act I have experienced more inspiring moments and met more interesting people than I ever have in any other year of my life. People say that the years go by more quickly once you’re past the age of twenty-one, but for me I feel that my life as a writer has slowed down the hectic hurtle that my academic and working life had been in previous years.
I did a few calculations, because that’s what I do when my brain has too much juice in it. In this last year I have written four novellas, four novels (two have yet to be published) and six short stories. That totals in at just shy of half a million words. Half a million words have fallen out of my brain and made it into the hands of readers the world over and, for the most part, they have been enjoyed. For the first time ever since trying on and off for years, I completed NaNoWriMo. I even completed it in just 15 days and then sat back and supported my other writing buddies instead. Looking back on this incredible year and all the ideas, characters and settings that my crazy mind has dreamt up, I finally feel authorised to say “I’m a writer” when people ask: “So, what do you do?”
I also have a publisher for some of my work; something I didn’t feel was going to be possible for a long, long time since I was starting out at the bottom of the self-pub ladder. When the email came through from Clean Teen Publishing to tell me they had accepted my manuscript, I was half passed-out in a taxi coming home from an exhausting day in Manchester. Their news lifted my adrenaline levels enough to get me home in one piece and I went to bed babbling about how I couldn’t believe they’d liked my work enough to put it into print. It was the very first time I’d ever sent anything to a publisher, so to be accepted so readily and so kindly was beyond my wildest dreams.
More than that though, this journey has unexpectedly led me to an incredible social world that is, quite frankly, much nicer to be part of than the world in which I actually live. I have met some fabulous new friends, one in particular that I was lucky enough to travel four thousand miles to meet up with for chatter and key lime pie, and I have been accepted into a supportive community full of creative and uncommonly kind people who support and inspire me every single day. They have encouraged me to believe in myself and my art and through their influence I am emboldened to explore new genres that I never considered myself capable of tackling and do some daring new things with my storytelling in this coming year.
Below this post is the real symbol that marks my 1 year writeaversary: the anthology edition of Caecilius Rex. It was Cae’s story that first hit the shelves and encouraged me to delve into this world of authorship and now I am proud to mark its completion with the 140,000 word epic that is Cae’s collected story. This one book was really all I had hoped to achieve by now when I sat down this time last year and hit the publish button for the very first time. I am thrilled to have been able to experience so much more along the way.
NEW RELEASE in The Bionics Series by Alicia Michaels
Alicia Michaels and Crimson Tree Publishing are pleased to announce the new release of The Bionic's boxed set! The Bionic's Boxed Set includes the first three books in The Bionic's Series!
For a limited time only, The Bionic's boxed set will be priced at $3.99. That's THREE AMAZING BOOKS for less than a Vente Java Chip Frappucino!
This is a $1.99 savings versus if you download book 1 for free and then purchase book 2 and 3 at $2.99 each. Act fast, because this box set will increase soon.
THE BIONICS SERIES by Alicia Michaels
New Adult Dystopian Romance
Published through: Crimson Tree Publishing
(The Adult Imprint of Clean teen Publishing.)
The year is 4010.
Nuclear war and the wasteful nature of humans have all but destroyed the United States. A new government regime rules the day with strict laws, rationed food, and careful control. When those injured in the nuclear blasts that rocked many of the nations largest cities are offered another chance by the Restoration Project, how could they refuse?
Little do they know that the robotic additions to their body will paint targets on their backs once the government decides that they are dangerous. At the forefront of the resistance is a girl with a bionic eye, Blythe Sol, who wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. Blythe has yet to realize that normal will never exist again for her, or anyone else.
The Revolution has begun...
The Bionics (Book 1)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
Most nineteen year-old girls are thinking about college, stretching the wings of newfound adulthood, and boys. Well, I’ll probably never go to college and all my dreams of the future are gone. I’ve been an adult for much longer than I should have been and my girlhood was stolen the minute the North Koreans dropped their nukes over the United States. As for boys … well, that’s pretty much out of the question now, too. My love life is too messy to even talk about.
I have nothing.
Except, maybe, my cause, my mission, The Resistance. It is the hope I have to cling to, I am counting on it to pave the way to my future. As things heat up and the terrorist sect known as The Rejects make themselves known opponents of society in this war, the choice to be on the side of good is harder than ever. My friends are broken; Olivia is a shell of her former self and Jenica is barely hanging on. Dax and Gage … well, we’re not talking about my love life, remember?
The Rejects, the government, President Drummond; they are pressing in on us from all sides and the weight is tremendous. Still, when given the choice to crumble or stand, I’d rather stand. Times are dark, but we are here, a rebellion, a whisper in the dark, a spark that lights the flames of change.
Titanium (Book 2)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
Secrets (Book 3)
(New Adult or YA Mature)
EXCERPT FROM THE BIONICS:
“I wish that I had died that day,” I admit, unable to look away from his gaze no matter how much my mind tells me that I need to. “I wish that all the time.”
He inches closer to me on the bed. “Is it really so bad? Professor Hinkley gave you and the others a second chance at life. It’s not fair that the government has decided you and others like you pose a threat.”
I think about a news broadcast I saw a couple of weeks ago, showing a surveillance video of a man with an arm identical to mine smashing in the window of someone’s car and beating them to a bloody pulp for no reason, before pulling a limp body from the driver’s seat and driving off in the stolen vehicle. Of course the thief was found and immediately executed; no trail, no jury, no questions asked.
“Some of us are dangerous,” I answer, and of course, it’s the truth.
“Some people are dangerous,” he insists. “Bionics are still people….just modified.”
“Right now your blood pressure is 124/90, your heart rate is an elevated 70 beats per minute; not bad, but still high for a healthy male that I assume is athletic. You have a tattoo on your left arm of an eagle, and a fractured rib.”
“That is amazing.”
I shrug. “It’s my eye. It is capable of reading a person’s body heat signature as well as their vital statistics. It allows me to pull away individual layers, such as clothing, skin, and muscle to expose what’s underneath. It’s how I knew about the rib.”
I reach out with my bionic arm and poke the rib for emphasis, raising my eyebrows as he winces in pain. “Still think I’m human?”
Gage reaches for my arm—my robotic arm—and grabs it by the hand. I can’t feel it, or his hand circling the wrist above it. His eyebrows wrinkle as he turns my arm over, inside facing up. He traces the inside of my arm, his fingers sliding over the cool metal and, for the first time since I woke up with that hunk of machinery on the other end of my elbow, I am wishing that I could feel the damn thing.
“Cold,” he murmurs as he draws circles on the metal. His fingers stop on the inside of my elbow, on the line where the titanium ends and I begin. I hear his breath catch in his throat and another noisy swallow as the pad of his index finger slides over my skin. I gasp as he trails it up the inside of my arm, flesh now on flesh. The human contact that I’ve denied myself for years has left me sensitive to every touch, and I feel as if I’m being caressed for the first time.
Of course Dax has held my hand from time to time; he’s even held me against him some nights when the nightmares get particularly bad until I fall back asleep. But he’s never touched me like this, and while I’m no virgin I certainly feel like one right now. A thousand emotions are exploding in me at one time and just as many sensations are following the path his finger traces up to my shoulder, pausing at the strap of my tank top.
“Warm,” he says with a smile. “Only about….what…ten percent of you is metal. When I got past your elbow, I felt skin, blood flowing through veins, muscle, and…goose bumps?”
He says that last bit with a smile, forcing me to look away in embarrassment. He holds his arm out toward me, pulling up the sleeve of his shirt and revealing a tanned arm sprinkled with light blond hair, which is standing on end. He leaves the sleeve above his elbow and holds his arm out in front of me.
“See?” he says gently, his head way too close to mine, his breath brushing my cheek. “I have them too.”
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
Scroll down for details on getting the first book in this series for FREE! It's on my reading list and it should be on yours - another quality book from Clean Teen Publishing.
NEW RELEASE IN THE BEST SELLING
CONCEALED IN THE SHADOWS SERIES
BY: GABRIELLE ARROWSMITH
RELEASED FROM THE DARKNESS
by Gabrielle ArrowsmithTwo young seeksmen are dead, and Sydney blames herself. The only way to get her sister back from the countyâs clutches, while also preventing more death, was to offer her own life in exchange for Evvieâs freedom.
She expected a dreadful end, but nothing like the prison in which she wakes. Agonizing county life is redefined in Neo-Necropolis, new city of the dead, which lies beneath the earth. Worse than being allegedly deceased, is the false identity Sydney is forced to assume where Evvie, Sheridanâs captain, and Crewe never existed.
Sydney alone knows the magnitude of the countyâs evildoings inside, outside, and now below. At only eighteen, the responsibility to defend freedom falls solely on her tried and tested shouldersâa burden that requires desperate action when a catastrophic revelation upends the world as she knew it.
The people Sydney cares for are more vulnerable than ever. Though sheâs buried underground and monitored by county agents, she must escape this new captivity. Maybe itâs time to fight fire with fire. Sydney has proven her courage in facing their weapons, but can she trigger her own?
Concealed In The Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith
(YA Dystopian- Available Now)
FREE ON SMASHWORDS, BARNESANDNOBLE AND IBOOKSTORE.
Sydney Harter has long awaited September 12th, 2033âher eighteenth birthday. She can finally apply for guardianship of her sister, who is her only family and entire world. She hopes they will be lawfully reunited, but is prepared to defy authority and risk everything to escape the captivity of Miles County so that they can be together.
Escaping will be difficult and dangerous. Citizens are bound to their county by sophisticated chip implants that deliver shocks to those who dare to cross the electric barrier. Sydney is very clever, but her trickery is limited against the all-seeing eyes of technology. Even if they were to survive the escape, disappearing into the forgotten forests and towns of the past seems an impossible task.
What Sydney doesn't know is that she is the particular interest of two opposing forces. With deceit, fear, and warfare surrounding herâcan she trust the party that aims to help with her fight against the other? Can she open her heart to receive and return unexpected love? When her sisterâs life becomes jeopardized, Sydney will have to weigh a new love against the only enduring love she has known. The cost could be deadlyâ¦
How will she choose?
About Gabrielle Arrowsmith:
GABRIELLE ARROWSMITH enjoyed writing her debut novel, Concealed in the Shadows, during a lovely Minnesota summer that she had off from her primary profession, teaching. Acting, playing and coaching soccer, reading, playing piano, and spending time with family and friends are among her other interests.
CTP Website: http://www.cleanteenpublishing.com/gabrielle-arrowsmith.html
I would like to preface this promotional post by saying that I read the first book in this series, The Woodlands, recently in the Clean Teen book club at Goodreads. It was excellent. You can find my great review of it here. Grab yourself a copy of book one on Amazon, it's totally FREE! Find the links below:
NEW RELEASE FOR:
The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
You think youâre in control, that you have your hands on the reins. But Iâm starting to think either someone else is driving or the reins are attached to nothing. Just flapping and snapping in the breeze. What could be simple, never is.
Rosa doesnât want to get used to being separated from Joseph, from Orry. But now she must battle her way back to her family, her future, at the same time struggling to come to terms with her fatherâs past, his secrets and what he means to her now.
With her best friend Rash by her side she feels blessed and cursed. He is her saving grace but will Joseph accept him, and will he forgive her for leaving? More importantly will she manage to return to him? Rosa must pull these threads together. Hold herself in as she hacks her way back to The Wall with the aid of new companions but not the one person sheâd planned on saving.
Finding her way back is only the beginning. The biggest changes, the shocking outcomes are waiting. Hovering over the town like a menacing vapour.
The Wounded have waited, nursed, and been dormant for too long and now theyâre coming, dragging the ghosts of their lost ones behind them.
(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Rosa never thought sheâd make it to sixteen...
When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.
She says it over and over. Itâs her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesnât stop while heâs sleeping. Rosaâs been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. Sheâs also sure they didnât rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts.
The Survivors must want something from themâ¦ but what?
The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards.
Sheâs left so many people behind and isnât sure how to start over.
Thereâs freedom in the Survivorsâ world, more than sheâd ever dreamed of, but thereâs also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family sheâs built on the outside.
Will Rosa make the right choiceâ¦ or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?
About Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second and third book in the series titled: The Wall and The Wounded.
More from Clean Teen Publishing:
The inspiration behind The Mind’s Eye
If there was ever an embodiment of the idea of the ‘troubled teen’, then it was me, but probably not in the way you’d think.
I wasn’t, for example, a smoker or a boozer; I didn’t stay out late or smuggle anything (or anyone) untoward into my room at home. In fact, I stayed in. A lot. I would come home from high school aged 15 and find myself crawling straight into my bed at four o’clock, out cold until gone six and still in my uniform with Mum calling me down for dinner. My entire life was a pattern of eat, sleep, school, sleep, eat and so on; not a scrap of energy or enthusiasm for life, waiting desperately for the time when I could throw off the shackles of the 9-to-4 school day and finally use what little pep I had to do something better with my life. A myriad of doctors and therapists told me that I was depressed and filled me up with drugs, packing me back off to school like that was the answer to my problems.
It took me a further four years to work out what was really going on.
At age 13 I developed what I now know to be called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), a debilitating physical condition that attacks every major system in your body from the nervous and digestive systems to the musculoskeletal, hormonal and beyond. Between the ages of 13 and 16 (what some would call the best years of your life) I went from being a spritely, bright child to a surly, aching, exhausted teen who saw every morning as just one more day of pain coming her way. I dropped out of school and spent eighteen months trying to recover from what I was still being told was depression and anxiety, but no matter what I tried I just couldn’t get better. I knew that there had to be another explanation; I just had to find a way to prove it.
For my 18th birthday I was taken away for a week’s holiday. I deliberately didn’t pack my anti-depressants, suffering a week of cold-turkey withdrawal in order to flush them out of my system once and for all. This is not a practice recommended by doctors and I don’t advocate it, but it was the only thing I felt able to do at the time. Coming home from that holiday I had a fresh perspective on my physical health, realising that I was never mentally depressed, but that my body was the one letting me down. I had an illness and it took me another whole year before I met a doctor who could put the label M.E. to my symptoms.
Armed with this knowledge I returned to college and then went on to university, all the while making my way through different doctors and different treatments until I could find one who would push to get the diagnosis I so desperately needed. I was 22 years old when the letter finally came to tell me what I had been suffering from for the last nine years. It was a relief, but also a sadness, the final confirmation that I am living with a condition that has no known cure and will be likely to affect me for the rest of my life. At the point when I received that letter in November 2011, I felt as though the life I had been wading through suddenly needed a new purpose and a proper direction, something I would still be able to achieve if and when my condition worsened.
So I started to write.
I have written several self-published books in the last twelve months and it has been pointed out to me repeatedly that each one of them contains characters that are physically limited, pained and/or mentally scarred in some way. This is no co-incidence, but it is something that was creeping into my work without a definite conscious knowledge; I think I simply found it more engaging personally to write about imperfect people. That was until I sat down to write my first novel for Clean Teen Publishing, entitled The Mind’s Eye. In this book my central character suffers from Juvenile Systemic Arthritis, a severe and debilitating condition that presents many of the same musculoskeletal symptoms that I face every day. Whilst I am not always bound to a wheelchair, the immobility that my character Kit faces isn’t just about her legs not working. The Mind’s Eye is an exciting wartime adventure with paranormal fun, but at its heart it is also a story about a girl just like me, struggling to work out how to find a place in the world where she can feel valued and still be useful to the people she cares about.
Scenes within The Mind’s Eye are a mixture of Kit’s psychic visions of the Second World War interspersed with her own struggles in her home life. I have a feeling that some people might consider those latter scenes to be the ‘boring bits’, the ‘filler’ that has to happen between the tense, exciting action moments. To me, however, I could take or leave the incredible and heart breaking scenes of war, because the real struggle that touches my heart is that of a lonely young girl quite literally trying to stand on her own two feet in a world where all the odds are stacked against her. When you read The Mind’s Eye, spare a thought for Kit and the life she has to lead every day, because her fictional creation represents countless other people out there who face physical and emotional struggles that ordinary folk can barely comprehend.
The real story of The Mind’s Eye isn’t that of the glorious Allies beating back Jerry, but of Kit Cavendish beating back the sentence that life has handed her with the newfound love and support of the people around her. It is a story that is very important to me and I sincerely hope it will find a place in your hearts too.
The Mind's Eye will be released on April 1st 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing, followed by other books in the Synsk series.
Read the synopsis here.
For more information on the condition:
please visit Action For M.E.