I LOVE the premise of this new Pacific Northwest YA Dystopian series by Lisa Nowak. So, I thought I’d share. PLUS, it is currently FREE on all venues.
The Inspiration for the series
By Lisa Nowak
Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.
“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.
Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.
Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.
What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States? In 2063, it has.
The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors-until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.
Spoiler Warning: The following is an unedited, subject-to-change early excerpt from GHOST HEART, Book Three of the PSS Chronicles. If you have not already read GHOST HAND AND GHOST HOLD, please be warned this content may contain spoilers concerning the first two books.
The morning after the Eidolon
Wind gusts in the hemlock trees and the pre-dawn sky grows darker, not lighter, as storm clouds scud in, gathering menacingly over Indiana’s Shades State Park. The air is thick, each invisible molecule of oxygen ambushed by the embarrassing mouse-ears of hydrogen, pulling it down, down, to splat on the cold packed earth. Fat drops plop into the swirling Sweet Water River. And then the air becomes a wall of wet, all individuality lost. The sky is the air is the water is the river. It is all one.
The river swells, kissing its banks, then ravishing them. Blue water turns to churning white and brown. An hour past the dawn that never comes, the river valley that runs through the park is a raging flood, every visible surface wet and wild.
But there is always a hidden calm just beneath the surface of chaos.
Here, that calm sits on a shelf of stone three feet below the turbulent water of a deep pool. It is a black, round ball; a patient, waiting thing, unbothered by the storm raging overhead. The ledge it perches on is narrow, but it balances easily, resting on its one flattened edge. On its upward side a white circle encompasses the symbol for infinity stamped there emphatically in black, bold script.
The ball knows itself. It is The Magic Eight Ball. But that is almost all it knows. It does not know where it came from or where it had been before. It does not know why the girl tossed it aside when it gave its answer. It does not know what to do now, or even that it can do anything, other than sit on that submerged rock covering its answer-window ass.
But then the pool at the bottom of the cliff known as Devil’s Drop begins to swirl. The current grows deeper and stronger, buffeting The Magic Eight Ball and nudging it closer to the edge of its comfortable know-nothing ledge. Something cracks and crashes and groans above it, as a huge log jam plummets into the pool from the upper river, displacing everything in its path.
Water surges against The Magic Eight Ball, shoving it off its shelf, sending it end over end, roiling around in a tumultuous wave of questionless answers.
It is certain.
Don’t count on it.
It is decidedly so.
Careening off rock and buffeted by debris, The Magic Eight Ball begins to sink. Slowly, slowly, gravity and current carry it into darkness, and it descends to the calm nether regions of the deepest part of the pool.
Ask again later.
You may rely on it.
Better not tell you now.
Past gleaming grey-green walls of stone and silhouettes of sunken trees.
My sources say no.
Reply hazy try again.
The Magic Eight Ball lands on another shelf, but this one is not made of rock. It is made of a man.
The man is young, his shirt torn to ribbons that float around him like kelp, revealing a gaping hole in his chest from which a jagged branch juts. The man is resting peacefully on his back on the submerged log that sports that branch, much like The Magic Eight Ball rested peacefully on his rock shelf only moments before.
And now upon the man, The Magic Eight Ball settles, gently rolling toward the sloping cavity of his chest, its answer window flickering a sweet blue sigh of YES.
A shadow passes overhead and a log, like a giant lumbering pool cue, plunges down cracking into the end of log the man and the Eight Ball sit upon. They both bounce, the Eight Ball careening around inside the man’s gaping chest even as his body rises just above the top of the stick skewering him.
There is a flash of light, bright and cerulean.
It washes over The Magic Eight Ball, filling it with wonder, even as it slips down through the hole in the man and under him.
The man settles, returning to his stick and log, pressing the Eight Ball against its slimy surface and shooting it out into the heavy current once more.
Outlook not so good
My sources say no
I am David
The Magic Eight Ball is pulled closer to the surface of the pool and careens downriver, leaving the man on the stick far behind it.
SO that wonderful day dedicated to all things love related is fast approaching: Valentine’s Day. What do you have planned for the special day? Roses? Chocolates? Dinner with your honey bunny?
Or maybe you’re single. And happy.
Maybe you hate all the consumerism and hallmark sentimentality that comes with Valentine’s Day.
Maybe all you want to cuddle up with that weekend is a really good book.
Well, if that’s the case, I have just the thing for you.
Why not pick up some great horror and dark fantasy novels to celebrate Valentine’s day? It still involves matters of the heart, just more the possibility of one getting ripped out.
The Valentine’s Day “EAT YOUR HEART OUT” Author Extravaganza will feature a huge array of great horror and dark fantasy fiction all on a special 99 cent sale for the e-book versions. And I’m thrilled to say that GHOST HOLD will be one of the books on offer for that special love-you-darkly price.
Be sure to join the event on FACEBOOK and invite your friends too. On the day there will be authors galore, giveaways, contests, and prizes guaranteed to make your heart quiver.
I am thrilled to officially announce the title of book three of The PSS Chronicles.
And it shall be called GHOST HEART.
Interestingly, around the time I was settling on this title, friends and fans kept sending me a link to a science article about an actual ghost heart, so I felt like that was a very fortuitous sign. If you’re interested in how life follows art, or vice versa, you can check out the article HERE.
I have been getting many e-mails and website comments asking when the book will be available, and I can only give you my tentative plan, as the book is still being written, but here it is: I will be running the Kickstarter Campaign for GHOST HEART in May, which will have backer options to pre-order the book in various e-book formats and as a signed paperback. If you are on Kickstarter, you can follow me HERE. If you aren’t, it is a great crowdfunding website and I encourage you to go check it out and back a creative project or two. The publication of both GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD was funded through Kickstarter and they would not be the quality products they are without it.
Currently, I’m shooting for a summer 2014 release of GHOST HEART. The writing is going very well, and if it continues to do so I should make that mark. In some other very special news, this book will be written from three different points of view and getting into the heads of these other characters is going to be a blast. Finally, I do believe that GHOST HEART will not be the final book of the series. It is looking like there may be a fourth book, and I’m pretty excited about that prospect.
Be sure to stay tuned to here and via the newsletter, as I will be releasing new snippets and sneak peeks each month.
Watch in February for the first sneak peak excerpt from GHOST HEART.
And thanks for all your FANtastic support.
A LOOK BACK AT 2013
I only have one resolution for 2014, and that is to treat my writing career less like a hobby and more like a business.
In November 2012, when I published my debut novel, GHOST HAND, I wasn’t really thinking about strategies, or promotion, or marketing plans, or anything else except having a real book with my name on it. Most new authors don’t think beyond that.
So, 2013 really was a year of bumbling along learning through trial and error how to promote and make money on that first book. I did a lot of things right by accident. I learned that the market is constantly changing and you have to be flexible. You have to be willing to try new things. Thankfully, as a self-published author, all the new things were right there at my fingertips.
As I look forward to 2014, I’ve assigned myself the task of writing a multifaceted business plan. I’ve never done anything like that, but the natural place to start seemed to be looking back at 2013 to see what worked, what didn’t, and what progress I made even when I didn’t have a plan. That’s what I spent the last day of 2013 doing. It was pretty encouraging, so I thought I’d share some of the stats with you.
E-BOOK SALES INFORMATION
Between November 2012 and November 2013, I published two e-books in a YA paranormal thriller series, and one YA fantasy novella. All books started on KDP Select. GHOST HAND was on Select for 9 months and I utilized the FREE downloads feature multiple times. The novella was on Select for six months and I utilized the FREE downloads once. GHOST HOLD was only on Select for three months, and that was after Amazon’s rules for FREE downloads changed and it was much less effective. GHOST HOLD was never offered for FREE but I did use the Amazon Count Down Days for it once (at a 99 cent price).
For both GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD, I’ve done only cheap (less than $10) or free promotion campaigns, but many of them. And I didn’t promote the novella at all except through my e-newsletter.
HERE are my stats for KINDLE E-BOOKS.
Total GHOST HAND sold on KINDLE = 388
Total OVER THE RIM novella sold on KINDLE = 29
Total GHOST HOLD sold on Kindle = 173
Total Books Sold on Kindle = 590
Total Free KINDLE Downloads of Ghost Hand = 21,284
Total FREE KINDLE Downloads of OtR = 177
Highest Sale month February – $205.47 (I ran a 99c and FREE promotion that month)
Lowest Sale month August – $5.23
Average monthly Kindle income with 1 novel published (Ghost Hand) – $40.00
Average monthly Kindle income after 2nd novel published (Ghost Hold) – $150.00
Total KINDLE e-book income = $759.27 (through Nov 2013).
KICKSTARTER E-book sales
Both my novels have been funded through Kickstarter with the pre-sale of both the e-book and paperback. Weirdly enough, for both Kickstarters I sold 68 e-books = 136 e-books at $10 a book = $1,360
OTHER E-BOOK VENUES
Both GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD went up on Kobo and B&N as soon as they came off of KDP Select, so neither have been on very long.
I have sold a total of 2 e-books of GHOST HAND on Kobo, but have’t reached the payment threshold yet so haven’t seen any money from them. I am now offering GHOST HAND FREE on Kobo and it has been downloaded 101 times. I am hoping this will generate purchases of GHOST HOLD on Kobo.
I have sold a total of 4 e-books of GHOST HAND on B&N, to a total income of $15.56.
At first glance, this seem pretty dismal. However, it helps to remember that both books were exclusive to KINDLE when released and it may take time to for them to build sales in these other venues. Also, almost all of my promotion efforts have gone toward Amazon, since I felt like it was best to focus on one venue while I was still learning the ropes. And let’s face it, Amazon is the easiest to utilize and has the most self-generating promotion.
TOTAL E-BOOK INCOME FOR 11/12-11/13 = $2,134.83
CONCLUSIONS and 2014 Goals
I’m pretty happy with that income for a first year of e-book publishing. Especially in light of the fact that my e-book income has increased three-fold since the release of GHOST HOLD proving that with each new book release your income really does go up exponentially, especially for a series.
For 2014, I’d like to explore and expand to some other e-book venues like XinXii. There are new e-book venues cropping up all the time. I’d also like to do some more promotion directed at Kobo and Nook users. And I will be designating 10% 0f my income in 2014 to paid promotions. I am also looking forward to how book three of The PSS Chronicles series bumps up sales to an even higher level.
I hope this info has inspired, informed, or encouraged some of you out there to analyze your own writing from a business perspective. If you have any questions or observations, I’d love to hear from you.
AND STAY TUNED for PART 2 of Treat Your Writing Like a Business: Paperback Sales as well as installments on how to write a business plan for 2014.
I’m a big movie buff. I especially love the big flux of movies that come out over the winter Holidays when I can snuggle into a warm, dry theater and be taken away to other worlds. Going to movies together AND watching them at home was a big part of my Christmas tradition growing up.
And as an author, one of the most common interview questions I’m asked is “Who would you want to have play your main characters in the movie of your books?”
Of course, I love that question. Who doesn’t want to see their book on the big screen, while eating popcorn, surrounded by people oowing and ahhing over YOUR story? Plus, being a movie fan, I did write The PSS Chronicles books with movie sensibility in mind and readers often comment that the books feel like movies to them.
But I also hate that question because I am terrible at casting actors and actresses. First, I can never remember any of their names. Second, I have very specific pictures of my characters in my head, and they aren’t Hollywood-looking people. They’re just your average teenagers. But finally, it is because I don’t want any actors or actresses to play my characters. I want something very different for the movies of my books.
I want them to be produced by Hayao Miyazaki. (Never mind that he just retired this year- I’m dreaming here).
If you don’t know who Miyazaki is, let me tell you. He is simply one of the best movie makers of all times. He is a Japanese artist and film-maker famous for his anime feature films. And his movies are wonderful on so many levels.
First, he almost always has a young, strong, female protagonist in his movies. One of my favorite examples of this is his adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle, based on Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 fantasy novel of the same name. Because of this, I think he would be the perfect person to make Olivia Black truly come to life on screen.
His films are drawn from Eastern mysticism and spiritualism, and have less of a Western “good versus evil” element to them. They are complex and deep and often involve the environment, spirituality, and balance. Many of these same themes are what inspired The PSS Chronicles series and will play out as the series progresses. I can see Miyasaki really doing justice to the ethereal element and power of PSS and Olivia’s ghost hand.
I love how Miyazaki’s work speaks to both my inner child and the outward adult I am now. His movies are simultaneously deeply, seriously dark and laugh-out-loud funny, a feat I think I accomplished in my books as well.
And of course, fantasy and magic are woven into the tapestry of everything he does, and I can certainly relate to that.
My list of favorites by him includes:
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
These movies were specifically written, animated, and produced by him. But almost anything by his company, Studio Ghibli, would be a wonderful watch for the Holidays as his movies appeal to such a wide age-range and audience.
So, when I cast the movie for my book, I don’t imagine actors and actresses doing casting calls. Instead, I see Miyazaki bent over his sketch book scratching them to life in intricate, animated, detail.
Probably, that will never happen.
But one can always dream.
Either way, have a wonderful movie-filled Holiday.
I am thrilled to announce that GHOST HAND has been nominated for the Cybil Awards, the Children’s and Young Adult Blogger Literary Awards, in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category. I am honored to be among so many great writers.
Thank you so much to Tanita Davis of Finding Wonderland, an amazing blog and blogger, for LOVING GHOST HAND and nominating it.
Finalists will be announced January 1, 2014, so keep you fingers crossed for me.
Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants.
Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college. Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable.
Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the descendants of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?
From Gods purchase links~
“You’re wet. You should take off your clothes.”
What a way to avoid a question! Skylar blinked her eyes in disbelief. Did she hear him correctly? “Excuse me?” Not wanting to assume he was really asking her to strip off her clothes, she didn’t move a muscle, but the way his piercing eyes laid on her, she might as well have already been naked. Then she inwardly gasped when he started to unbutton his shirt. Her eyes shot to the floor, then back to him, and then to the floor, wondering what she was supposed to do in this awkward moment.
“Here. Go change in the restroom. You don’t want to catch a cold.” He placed his shirt in front of her.
She looked up to see him shirtless for the very first time. With all the right curves and tightness, he looked like a statue of a god. He was beautiful and perfectly toned, with satin-like skin, which looked like it would be smooth to the touch. And there was a small tattoo shaped like a lightning bolt on his upper right arm, toward his shoulder. Way too sexy!
As warmth flushed her face, she tried not to stare, but there was no way around it. “Umm…you won’t have a shirt,” Skylar said, thinking that was the most idiotic thing she had said so far, but she couldn’t think when he was half-naked in front of her.
“I’m not cold, but you will be.”
Mason was right. Skylar didn’t realize she was shivering until she placed her hand out to take his shirt. The adrenaline from the initial shock had kept her warm, and now it was wearing away. The blasting air conditioner didn’t help either. “Thanks.”
Just as she pivoted right toward the restroom, even though she was deathly scared to go back, Mason gripped her arm. “Wait. Don’t go in there without me.”
His sudden protectiveness surprised Skylar, but then again, he had saved her.
Bio: Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.
Mary’s Social Contact Links:
Enter Mary’s Release Day Giveaway here,
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The Fall into UtopYa Party Giveaway too!
Featuring Ghost Hold by Ripley Patton:
AND GET BOOK ONE, GHOST HAND
Olivia Black is back.
Only this time she’s not the one in need of rescue.
Samantha James, rich, popular, and an award-winning composer at age seventeen, is the next target on the CAMFers’ list. In order to convince Samantha to come with them, Olivia and Passion must pose as cousins, blend into the most affluent high school in Indianapolis, and infiltrate a mysterious cult known as The Hold.
Olivia doesn’t expect it to be easy, even with the PSS guys backing them up. But what she discovers over the course of the mission will call into question everything she ever believed about her ghost hand, her family, and especially about Marcus, the guy she is undoubtedly falling in love with.
Marcus crossed back to the faucet of the now-full tub and turned it off. He bent over and turned on the jets, which kicked up a lot more steam and a lot more noise. I was starting to melt inside my own clothes, and he must have been too, because when he turned back to me he was slipping his t-shirt over his head.
“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice coming out a little strangled.
“You and I need to talk,” he said, letting the shirt drop to the floor.
“Yes,” I said, trying not to gawk at his chest and the way the steam swirled into it, his PSS shining back and coloring the mist a soft blue hue. “But can’t we do that with our clothes on?”
“We need to talk where I’m sure no one can hear us,” he said, his hands going to the snap of his jeans. “They don’t put bugs in bathrooms because the moisture corrodes them.” The snap was undone. The zipper was next. He had on red tartan boxers. “Plus, not many people plot and plan in the john.” He slid the jeans down his legs, turned, slipped off the boxers, and stepped into the tub, sinking down into it with an audible moan.
I stood there stunned. I had just seen Marcus naked. He’d just stripped to his beautiful bare ass right in front of me as if it were nothing. Yes, we’d been sleeping in a tent together for weeks, and making out, but when one of us changed clothes, the other still looked away. Marcus and I had not gotten naked together. We hadn’t even come close, because I always held back. I couldn’t even bring myself to reach my hands inside his shirt. What if my flesh hand accidentally went into his chest and disrupted his PSS? Even worse, what if my ghost hand reached into him and pulled something horrible out? I was pretty sure either of those scenarios would be a serious buzz kill to our intimacy.
“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve had a bath?” he said, almost a purr, laying his head back on the edge of the tub and closing his eyes.
“I—no—I haven’t had one for like a month,” I stammered, looking down at the tile floor, completely flustered.
“Olivia,” he said softly, and I looked up to find his eyes boring into me, dewy drops captured on those thick dark lashes. “Come here.”
I crossed obediently to the side of the bath, both relieved and a bit disappointed to find that the burbling of the jets obscured most of what was in it. Except his PSS chest. It glowed and pulsed like some half-submerged, cerulean, underwater treasure.
Marcus put his hand out for mine. The invitation was obvious.
This was crazy. There was no way we were going to be able to talk, coherently, in a bathtub together.
“It’s a big tub,” he said, nodding at the other end, “and I promise to be good.”
Yeah, but it wasn’t just him I was worried about. If I got in the tub with Marcus, I would be in the tub with Marcus. “But I—” I looked down at myself. I had on my sleeping tank with no bra underneath, my sweatpants, and underwear.
“You have no idea how relaxing this is,” he said, slipping his hand back into the water and closing his eyes. Either he was taunting me, or giving me a chance to undress without him watching. Probably both.
“You bastard,” I muttered under my breath. I slipped off my shoes and sweatpants and padding barefoot to the far end of the tub. I was not going in completely naked. I wasn’t that much of a fool. I kept my tank and underwear on and stepped into the hot swirling water. As I slid down into it, jets pounding my butt and back, the wet heat rising up and swallowing all my aches and pains in its pure liquid magic, I couldn’t keep the moan from escaping my lips either.
And I didn’t miss the effect that sound had on my bath mate.
One of his lean, muscular legs brushed mine, trembling. And his eyes widened. And his breath came a little faster across the water, far less relaxed then it had been only a moment before.
What are people saying about Ghost Hold?
5 Luminous, Vibrant Stars!
A Thrilling, Wild Adventure with Danger, Intrigue and Excitement. And A Chilling End Sure To Haunt You! – Hazel G from Craves the Angst Reviews
I can promise you, I will read as many books in this series as Ripley can create because it truly is a stand out series with stand out characters. – Ghost Hand and Ghost both chosen as Indie Book of The Week by Ali at My Guilty Obsession.
Ripley Patton is a master storyteller! She creates a world that is not only harsh and unforgiving but most importantly, unforgettable. Jess from Inside the Pages of a Book
“BRAVO. A GREAT book! Better even than the first. I abso-fucking-lutely LOVED IT!” – Former librarian and bookseller extraordinaire, Angie Chute
To find out more about Ripley and The PSS Chronicles, be sure to check her out on
Aloysius Gonzaga Academy, things get pretty weird pretty fast. After being confronted by a strangely hostile boy, she meets two girls and instantly bonds with them. Before long danger threatens the entire student body, in the form of a soul eating possessor fae. When her brother is savagely beaten and left in a coma, the girls decide to use their fae powers to become superheroes and stop the possessions.
only by her need for Dr. Pepper. A self-proclaimed techno geek, she loves cell phones, computers, tablets and all
things technological. The internet has to be the greatest invention since the
wheel, in her opinion. She lives in a quiet subdivision with her husband,
one-year-old son, three cats, and far too many electronics. It’s quite possible
she has some raccoon in her DNA, because she loves glitter and anything that
sparkles. She enjoys making jewelry and costumes. Halloween is her favorite
holiday since it’s the one day of the year that you can be whatever you want.
But her first love will always be writing. Otherwise, hearing voices in her
head would make her feel schizophrenic.