Hello out there!

Dear Reader,

At this point you are probably wondering whether or not I survived the drive through Canada and, if I did, will I ever return to the blog and stop leaving auto-posted chapters here. Regular readers are probably expecting a return to nice things like blog posts on writing or news about my favorite books.

Consider this the post you’ve been waiting for! Huzzah!

The summer blog break is almost at an end!

My kids go back to school September 5th, which means I will resume a normal blogging schedule (3-4 posts per week) on September 6th. Coincidentally, that week should see BODIES IN MOTION wrapping up for the grand finale and I should be kicking off a new project by mid-September. I have several posts scheduled including a series on encouraging young writers, fast drafting (and probably a reprint of the NaNo Boot Camp), and how to write a first draft you can work with. This will be interspersed with pics from my explorations of the Pacific Northwest and random other things that will appear randomly. (Random is good).

If there’s anything specific you’d like to see in my return to regular blogging feel free to let me know in the comments, my email, on Twitter, or in my Tumblr Ask box. I’m super excited to get back into a regular routine and my office is almost done, so soon I’ll have some pics of my new work space for you. What are you getting excited about?

Query Help Available Now!

Every book needs an editor. Whether you are an indie author building your self-publishing empire, a niche author working with a scrappy small press, or a wordy warrior scaling the dangerous peaks of traditional publishing – you will need an editor.

Over the course of your career you will probably have several editors. Over the course of a book you will have at least two editors with most publishers (a content or developmental editor and the line editor). For an author who is serious about their career these aren’t luxuries, editors are the secret prep step that makes readers come back for each dazzling story you write.

Getting your story in front of an editor is the hard part. If you’re an indie author you can hire an editor (like me – hi!) to do the work, but for the other avenues of publishing you need to query and get your book under contract first. The best way to do that is with a great query (it reads like the back-of-book blurb) and fantastic opening chapters. If your query isn’t getting the results you want it may need some professional attention.

I offer affordable rates for submission packet critiques, query critiques, contest critiques, and even pre-write consults if you want want to bounce an idea off an industry professional while you’re getting started. Openings are available now, so why not turn your story into a success story? Hire the help you need today!
To reserve a space please contact me at liana.brooks1@gmail.com

Submission Packet Critique (synopsis, query, and first 5 pages) $25
Indie Author Special (blurb, 5 twitter pitches, and first 5 pages) $25 
First Chapter
 (up to 20 pages)  $50.00 and a 1 work-week turn around time
Contest Critique (first 50 pages + blurb) $100
Full Manuscript Critique $1.00 a page minimum of 200 pages
Prewrite Consult (one-on-one time to help you develop the story before you write) starting at $20
A La Carte (add-ons and package deals) starting at $5
Emergency Fee to Jump the Queue  $50
* all page counts are double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font, formatted for Microsoft Word *
To reserve a space please contact me at liana.brooks1@gmail.com

 

The Trouble With Going Offline

There will never be a shortage of posts telling you to get off your computer and go enjoy nature. Being in the woods is touted as a miracle cure-all for everything from mental illness to asthma. And, I admit, I do not mind being outside. Especially if that outside is near tropical water on a warm beach.

I am more a Beach House person than a Lake House person.

But, as I’m writing this from a cabin on a lake front in my final days in Alaska, I realize what I miss about being online isn’t my email or Twitter or the mind-numbing websites that are so easy to find. I miss the mental space that comes with being some place I can write.

I miss being able to forget about bears, spiders, mosquitoes, and kids drowning in the lake or breaking the house. I miss escaping into fiction for a little while.

Thankfully, it started raining and I was able to open an old manuscript that needs some editing. It was nice to get away from it all and wander around the space port.

Books are the best virtual reality. 🙂

BODIES IN MOTION: Chapter 1

A body at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an equal and opposite force.
– Newton’s First Law of Motion

Selena Caryll lost everything in the war: her ship, her crew, her family. The only thing keeping her going is the hope that somehow the feuding, ground-bound settlers and the fuelless space fleet can set aside their differences. But getting the politically-fractured fleet moving again is more than she can manage alone. For now, she has to settle for working undercover with the planetary police force.

When someone tries to reignite conflict between the planet-siders and the fleet, there’s only one person who has the rank and ability to help Selena protect the fleet: Titan Sciarra, Fleet Guardian—the one man she’s tried hardest to avoid since the war destroyed her life.

In a world where the stagnant weight of tradition can be as deadly as any knife, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

 

SELENA

The problem with vacations, Selena reflected as she adjusted her sweater outside of Cargo Blue, was that at the end, reality was always waiting. A quick search of the local security cameras found one that showed the peeling sunburn on her right shoulder blade.

Such was the curse of pale-skinned, ship-born Fleet personnel. Anytime she left the foggy belts covering the city of Tarrin, she barbecued like a shrimp. Otherwise, she’d flee even further from the Enclave and make her home on the equatorial beaches of the planet they were trapped on.

She panned the camera and checked her left shoulder. Black ink, dotted with stars, made a starscape that disguised three silver scars as three shooting stars. The painting covered her shoulder blade and part of her arm. As the artist had promised, the skin-paint had kept her from burning. With a few adjustments, her uniform covered most of the temporary art, which would keep her from having to explain to her fellow fleet officers.

Her arm warmed, an advance warning that someone was about to try to contact her through the tech implant tucked between her radius and ulna. She hesitated too long and the call came through, a persistent ping against her skull as the phantom image of her best friend floated on the edge of her vision.

Selena turned off the visual receiver, and answered. “Genevieve,” she said with a smile as the image of her vivacious, red-headed friend appeared.

A Grounder would have thought she was talking to herself, but Grounders wouldn’t set foot near the Enclave. The fleet ships hulking on the rocky beach served as a permanent reminder of the last war—and Selena’s folly.

Not a mistake. A decision.

The only people with any right to judge her rested with the Lost Fleet, just like the rest of her ancestors—

Continue reading BODIES IN MOTION: Chapter 1

FAIR WARNING: I’m Scheduling Things

Here’s the deal… my computer is getting packed on June 19th, I don’t know what day I’ll lose internet, and between here and there I have SO MUCH WORK TO DO!  There’s packing, writing, house repairs, kids, school things, craziness. So much craziness! And keeping up with blog posts and tweets isn’t going to be possible.

For every social media outlet I have I’m scheduling posts now. And I may not be around to turn them off in the event of a world tragedy. After June 26th I’ll be off the internet for about a week. Once I cross into Canada I’m not even sure my phone will work. That means that I can’t turn off an auto-post if World War III breaks out.

Scheduling things in advance, and not being there to turn them off, is always a calculated risk. Even if you aren’t scheduling sales tweets there is always the risk that a tense chapter of the serialized novel might come out at the same time as a major tragedy. Or that a post on diversity might pop up on the day someone says something that insults women, or minorities, or religions, or atheists, or LGBTIA+ people (which is every day if you read the wrong Twitter feeds).

If that happens, please understand that it isn’t intentional and I’m not trying to fan any flames, start a war, or be insensitive.

If possible, I’ll log on and delay or delete a post as needed.

Hopefully everything will be wonderful while I’m away and we’ll all continue on without a hitch. But, if there’s a hiccup, please bear with me.

 

<3 Liana <3

 

The Great Escape… Leaving Alaska

Getting ready to travel always puts me in a reflective mood. Did I learn anything from being here? Did I do any good? Am I going to bring something better with me on this move that I didn’t have before?
Alaska has been a really interesting trip outside my comfort zone. It’s beautiful. I traveled through most of the United States and good chunks of western Europe, and there’s really nothing that compares to Alaska. The sky is a brighter blue. The vistas stretch for miles. And Alaskan summer is lush, green, and lively in a way that even the tropics can’t compare to. I can here not really expecting to love Alaskan summers, but I did. It’s so charming you can’t help but love it.
While I was here I picked up some new skill sets. Nothing strictly Alaskan, but I found the long winter nights and gray, bleak days left me craving color and I started painting. I failed art in grade school and always hesitated to go back and try again. But my daughter wanted a paint party for her birthday, and youtube had painting tutorials (a lot of painting tutorials). It was a lot easier to paint than I thought.
Am I great at it? No.
Are my paintings original? Not really, they’re more like fanfic of a youtuber’s painting. But it’s a start.
Will I ever be an amazing, museum-worthy painter? I could be if we knocked off a bunch of artists, or I practiced more, or the zombies in the apocalypse ate all the good art… there are options. But, to be great at painting I would need to spend a lot more time on it than I have. And my goal really isn’t being museum-worthy, it’s not even to be etsy-worthy. I’m painting because I enjoy painting. Because I like seeing bright colors and learning new techniques.
Am I a better person leaving Alaska than I was when I arrived? I like to think so.
Just career-wise I made a lot of big jumps while I was in Alaska. I was here when my first novel hit the stores. I did my first book signing at Fireside Books in Palmer. In more personal matters I think I grew up a little, learned to be a better parent, spent more time with the love of my life, spent more time exploring the world. I hope it’s all adding up to making me a better person, even if I still haven’t learned how to get to bed at a decent hour.
And what’s next?
I’m moving 3000 miles at the end of the month, headed for Washington State in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be landing in the Seattle area, which I’m told is beautiful and full of farmer’s markets. What’s waiting there for me? I’ll let you know when I find out!

Mother of Teens: How To Write With Little Kids At Home

On one of the writing forums I belong to someone asked how anyone could possibly write with little kids around. What they really wanted to know was: CAN YOU WRITE WITHOUT PUTTING YOUR KIDS IN DAYCARE? Not everyone has a partner, nearby family, or the money needed to create a kid-free environment when they want to write.

There is a myth that you can’t write while you have little kids around. Or that you need to have a partner who will take care of the entire household while you sequester yourself with your muse to commune with pen and page.

And, like all other myths, it’s a big, fat lie told by some author desperate to get out of watching Frozen for the fifteen-millionth time.

You can write with kids at home. You can write with kids in the room. You can write with kids on your lap.

My first story (Even Villains Fall In Love) came out the same year my son was born. That means my two youngest kids have never known a time when Mommy wasn’t a published author. I wrote a trilogy between the time my daughter was born and the year she turned four. Four kids, three cross-country moves, and three books. If I can pull that off, so can you.

HOW TO WRITE WITH KIDS AT HOME
1 – Set reasonable goals and set acceptable reasons to miss writing. If you stress out because of impossible goals, or because you’re trying to write with a newborn, you’ll make yourself miserable. Don’t.

2 – Steal what time you can. When the baby naps, while CARS is playing for the 3rd time today… I’ve finished novels with babies nursing or a toddler on my lap. Use a boppy pillow and run spellcheck.

3 – As kids hit the Needy Years (3-5) where they nap less and need attention, make a writing space for them. My 5yo isn’t in school yet, but she’ll give me a quiet 30 minutes if I give her a dry erase board, markers, paper, and a place to sit near my desk. Thirty minutes usually means 500-1000 words. Thirty minutes daily means a novel is finished in 3 months.

4 – Prep to write so that when you sit down to type that is all you need to do. Outline, use note cards, use sticky notes, whatever… just make sure that computer time is spent writing, not trying to think. Check out the plotting session I did to get you started. 

5 – Give yourself 30 minutes a day. You might get 300 words, you might get 1000, but with 30 minutes a day (weekends off) you can write a novel in 6 months.

DARKNESS AND GOOD Release Day!

The DARKNESS AND GOOD ANTHOLOGY is officially in the world and ready for you to read!

This is a collection of 35 fan favorites taken from the Darkness & Good website, edited, finished, and polished for your reading pleasure. Included in the book are short stories from the universe of FEY LIGHTS and SEVENTY.

Buy direct from Inkprint Press to receive both the .mobi and .epub files at no extra cost!
Amazon | Book Depository | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Scribd

 

From the ‘Darkness and Good’ blog comes a collection of fans’ favourite stories, all in one convenient volume. Come read about gods and monsters, unicorns and shapeshifters, magical worlds and galaxies far, far away!

Head to our website, http://darknessandgood.blogspot.com, for free weekly science fiction and fantasy short stories.

PLEASE NOTE: This volume contains stories with both Australian and American English spellings.

Dash my wig! Are you feeling unwell? – a guest post by Anna Humphrey

Also known as…a blog post on Victorian era medicine.

Why is that, you may ask? Because the current project (MIDNIGHT HOUR, a Victoriana horror/scifi with steampunk elements) involves a couple of doctors (among other things) and so I’ve been reading up on the Victorian age and come up with some interesting, fun little facts that a) are useful for the novel, and b) that you, dearest reader, can use to impress at cocktail parties.

You know you will. Don’t give me that look.

My major Bible for this project is this wonderful “Encyclopedia of Health & Home” from 1898.  And various places on the internet. So here are a few interesting things I’ve learned so far:

-Artificial respiration was in full-use, in much the same way as I was taught when I did my Bronze Medallion/Cross (I once thought I’d work as a lifeguard. I learned very quickly that this was a Bad Idea. 😛 )
-ice cream was a remedy for hiccups. So was a teaspoon of vinegar. Take your pick.
-if you are suffering from a cough and cold, try boiling together flax seed, dry hoarhound (strong-smelling hairy plant of the mint family, thank you Wikipedia), and water. Add lemon and licorice and there you go!
-witch hazel extract was used for cleaning wounds.
-if your nose is runny, try sniffing a mouldy sock. Conversely, you might also try drinking hot whisky. (Whisky, please)

So there you go. Short, sweet, hopefully mildly entertaining.

…and if you drink too much at that cocktail party, you might try warm milk mixed with fireplace ash for the hangover.

You’re welcome. 😉

Anna F. Humphrey can be found musing, riffing, dancing, etc at afhumphrey.wordpress.com

SciFi/Fantasy book Giveaway!

Family is such a comfort. There’s your blood family and then there’s the family you create through shared experiences. There’s no better shared experience than writing, and many of the authors from Harper Voyager have become close. We love to support each other. 

And we love to do things together! Like chat about science fiction and fantasy books. 

And super lucky for readers, we like to give away books together, too! 




Please check out this collection of magnificent science fiction and fantasy books! Then use the rafflecopter below to enter to win a paperback copy. Or if a book sounds too good to miss, links are included so you can go ahead and purchase. 

We will choose three winners/each winner will receive four books. (Note: Winners must provide a US address.) The contest runs from Saturday, March 4th until March 15th. Please remember to tweet about the giveaway for extra chances to win! 

And be sure to join us for our monthly twitter #SFFChat at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm EST on Monday, March 6th. We’ll be chatting about every aspect of being a writer: querying, editing, drafting, marketing, and much more. We want you to join our SFF Family.
Giveaway Books



“What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d darn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hanged from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.







Following the events of Elixir, Mabily “Mab” Jones’ life has returned to normal. Or as normal as life can be for a changeling, who also happens to be a private detective working her first independent case, and dating a half-fey.

But then a summons to return to the fairy world arrives in the form of a knife on her pillow. And in the process of investigating her case, Mab discovers the fairies are stealing joy-producing chemicals directly from the minds of humans in order to manufacture their magic Elixir, the dwindling source of their powers. Worst of all, Mab’s boyfriend Obadiah vows to abstain from Elixir, believing the benefits are not worth the cost in human suffering—even though he knows fairies can’t long survive without their magic.

Mab soon realizes she has no choice but to answer the summons and return to the Vale. But the deeper she is drawn into the machinations of the realm, the more she becomes ensnared by promises she made in the past. And in trying to do the right thing, Mab will face her most devastating betrayal yet, one that threatens everything and everyone she holds most dear.






Three brilliant novellas. One fantastic story.

Collected together for the first time, T. Frohock’s three novellas—In Midnight’s SilenceWithout Light or Guide, and The Second Death—brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between.

Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul.

Lyrical and magical, Los Nefilim explores whether moving towards the light is necessarily the right move, and what it means to live amongst the shadows.







A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.







After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills. 

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . . 

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.







Winter is the most deadly season in Temperance. And it’s not just because of the fierce cold. Evil is stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, killing wolves and leaving only their skins behind.

As the snow deepens, Geologist Petra Dee is staring her own death in the face, while former Hanged Man Gabriel struggles with his abrupt transition back to mortality. The ravens and the rest of the Hanged Men are gone, and there are no magical solutions to Petra’s illness or Gabriel’s longing for what he’s lost…and what he stands to lose now.

Meanwhile, there’s a new sheriff in town. Sheriff Owen Rutherford has inherited the Rutherford ranch and the remnants of the Alchemical Tree of Life. He’s also a dangerously haunted man, and his investigation of Sal’s death is leading him right to Gabriel.

It’s up to Petra, her coyote sidekick Sig, and Gabriel to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being stalking them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.








Anders Jensen is having a bad month. His roommate is a data thief, his girlfriend picks fights in bars, and his best friend is a cyborg…and a lousy tipper. When everything is spiraling out of control, though, maybe those are exactly the kind of friends you need.

In a world divided between the genetically engineered elite and the unmodified masses, Anders is an anomaly: engineered, but still broke and living next to a crack house. All he wants is to land a tenure-track faculty position, and maybe meet someone who’s not technically a criminal—but when a nightmare plague rips through Hagerstown, Anders finds himself dodging kinetic energy weapons and government assassins as Baltimore slips into chaos. His friends aren’t as helpless as they seem, though, and his girlfriend’s street-magician brother-in-law might be a pretentious hipster—or might hold the secret to saving them all.

Frenetic and audacious, Three Days in April is a speculative thriller that raises an important question: once humanity goes down the rabbit hole, can it ever find its way back?






For four hundred years, the Church has led the remnants of humanity as they struggle for survival in the last inhabited city. Echo Hunter 367 is exactly what the Church created her to be: loyal, obedient, lethal. A clone who shouldn’t care about anything but her duty. Who shouldn’t be able to.

When rebellious citizens challenge the Church’s authority, it is Echo’s duty to hunt them down before civil war can tumble the city back into the dark. But Echo hides a deadly secret: doubt. And when Echo’s mission leads her to Lia, a rebel leader who has a secret of her own, Echo is forced to face that doubt. For Lia holds the key to the city’s survival, and Echo must choose between the woman she loves and the purpose she was born to fulfill. 










A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is: 

Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property? 

Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There’s a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it’s not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.

The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.

This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.

A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.






Both familiar and fantastic, Clark T. Carlton’s Prophets of the Ghost Ants explores a world in which food, weapons, clothing, art—even religious beliefs—are derived from Humankind’s profound intertwining with the insect world. 

In a savage landscape where humans have evolved to the size of insects, they cannot hope to dominate. Ceaselessly, humans are stalked by night wasps, lair spiders, and marauder fleas. And just as sinister, men are still men. Corrupt elites ruthlessly enforce a rigid caste system. Duplicitous clergymen and power-mongering royalty wage pointless wars for their own glory. Fantasies of a better life and a better world serve only to torment those who dare to dream. 

One so tormented is a half-breed slave named Anand, a dung-collector who has known nothing but squalor and abuse. Anand wants to lead his people against a genocidal army who fight atop fearsome, translucent Ghost Ants. But to his horror, Anand learns this merciless enemy is led by someone from his own family: a religious zealot bent on the conversion of all non-believers . . . or their extermination.

A mix of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt, Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and Phillip Pullman’s Golden Compass, this is a powerful new addition to the genre. 

Goodreads|Amazon

Young Devin Roché is about to graduate as an Archivist from the prestigious Llisé’s University, and there is just one more task he wants to complete – to preserve a complete history of Llisé.

The history of Llisé and its fifteen provinces are a peaceful affair, filled with harmony, resolution and a rich oral tradition of storytelling. Nothing untoward ever happens in this peaceful land. Or does it?

Trainee archivist Devin Roché has just taken his finals at the prestigious Académie. As the sixth son of the ruler of Llisé, his future is his own, and so he embarks on an adventure to memorize stories chronicling the history of each province.

As Devin begins his journey with only his best friend Gaspard and their guardian Marcus, he hears rumors of entire communities suddenly disappearing without a trace and of Master Bards being assassinated in the night.

As the three companions get closer to unearthing the truth behind these mysteries, they can’t help but wonder whether it is their pursuit that has led to them.

But if that is the case, what do Llisé and Devin’s father have to hide?
In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard’s Star, a recently hired maintenance man has just committed murder.

Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him.

His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.