poll: Wolf Point cover redesign

I’ve been struggling with creating a cover for Warriors, the final book in the Wolf Point series.  I’ve also been struggling with writing it, but here’s the thing: I love to have a cover before I start writing.

In trying to come up with a cover, I want to keep the covers consistent across the entire series, and I’m kinda tired of the old covers, so here are my ideas!  I would really appreciate it if you could give these a glance and then vote in the poll at the end.

If you haven’t read the books, all you need to know is that this is a series about teenage werewolves.  Each of the first three books are from a different viewpoint and the final book will combine all of their POVs.

The Original Covers (for your reference):

Here we go!

Cover Redesign #1: The Indie Remix

This idea was to keep the original concepts of a slash across the cover, a vague throwback to the colors used on the originals, and having the main character represented.  I also thought these might evoke more of the coming-of-age themes in the series.

Cover redesign #2: Dark & Bold Remix

This redesign attempts to evoke more of the darkness of the series and not include people, while still having the slash sort of thing on the cover and the original colors.  If you like this one, please let me know your thoughts on the Scavengers and Warriors covers in particular, because to me the lettering doesn’t look as nice as the first two.  I’m also really unsure of the blue tone of the Warriors cover so if this is the winner, the color may change.

Cover redesign #3: Moontime

So, Canva was being a pain in the @$$ and wouldn’t let me download the Warriors cover in this redesign series.  But here’s the photo I’m going to use:

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The Poll!

 

 

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January 2018 reading round-up

  • # of books read: 11
  • audiobooks listened to: 2
  • Leigh Bardugo books read: 3
  • total page count: 3,517 pages
  • year total page count: 3,517 pages

Last year I read a total of 174 books!  My goal was only 100, so I don’t feel like I’m rushing to complete my Goodreads challenge.  This month was a little slower going but still not bad (the audiobooks I listened to were really long…)

I received my OwlCrate edition of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue back in July 2017, and as much as I wanted to read it, I didn’t quite get around to it until this month.  I even brought this book to the Boston Teen Author Festival in October to get my copy signed.  And when I finally got around to reading it… I LOVED IT!  It was a funny book because Monty is such a flawed character, sort of spoiled and selfish and a hot mess, basically.  But he grows on you – or he grew on me, at least.  I also loved his sister Felicity and I’m happy to hear that she has her own book coming out next year!  Aside from being a rare LGBTQ historical romance, this was also a fun adventure.

Bonfire was one I’d been hearing about as a readalike to Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, and The Lying Game – all books that I enjoyed.  While I can’t say this one was super memorable, it was a good thriller and kept me guessing.

I have had a signed copy of Shadow and Bone in my possession for over two years, and it was one of those books/series that I kept hearing about and wanted to read, but never got around to reading.  I finally picked it up and MAN!  I was instantly hooked!

I picked up the second book from the library almost immediately after I finished the first – I mean, come on, Cruel Prince came in for me at the library and I HAD to read Cruel Prince first (it was amazing, BTW, more on that later…).  I’d been struggling through The House Next Door and listening to The Kiss of Deception, both of which were sort of dragging, so having two awesome books in a row (Shadow and Bone and The Cruel Prince) felt like a breath of fresh air.  I hurried through the end of House Next Door just so I could keep on reading the Grishaverse series!

As soon as I finished Siege and Storm, I checked out Ruin and Rising.  I have to say that I am now a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo, since I already picked up The Language of Thorns while in Vermont.  Hopefully I’ll be able to start reading it next month!

So, I read the library’s copy of The Cruel Prince shortly after it was released… but then I got my own copy to keep from OwlCrate!  It’s signed AND an exclusive cover.  I have to say, I love the original cover.  I absolutely LOVED this story.  I’ve slowly been becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Holly Black with each book she releases.  Given how much I loved this story, I’m sure it won’t be long before I go back and read the Tithe series.  This story had so much intrigue and adventure and I could never predict how the characters would act.  Also the romance didn’t overshadow the plot.

  • Best Overall: The Cruel Prince
  • Least Favorite: The House Next Door
  • Best Romance: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • Best Ending: The House Next Door
  • Best Audiobook: Fallen
  • Fastest Read: Erased v. 2 (1 day)
  • Slowest Read: The Fourth Protector (7+ weeks)

The full list (links take you to my Goodreads reviews):

    1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
    2. Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
    3. Fallen by Lauren Kate (audiobook)
    4. Shadow and Bone (Grishaverse #1) by Leigh Bardugo
    5. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
    6. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (audiobook)
    7. The House Next Door by Ann Rivers Siddons
    8. Siege and Storm (Grishaverse #2) by Leigh Bardugo
    9. Erased Omnibus v. 2 by Kei Sanbe (graphic novel)
    10. The Fourth Protector by Bri Baker (Wattpad)
    11. Ruin and Rising (Grishaverse #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Hitchhikers is featured on Wattpad!

Hitchhikers ebook cover 4Since Amazon changed things, I haven’t been able to list Hitchhikers as free – not a huge problem, since you can download the Kindle format of Hitchhikers for free over on Smashwords.  It isn’t exactly ideal, and because Hitchhikers is not exclusive to Kindle (I want people to be able to download whatever format they need!) I can’t offer it for a giveaway, either.

So, I decided to start posting it on Wattpad.

The werewolf category on Wattpad is huge, and full of those alpha/omega type paranormal romance novels, so Hitchhikers hasn’t been getting very many reads.

Lo and behold, Wattpad noticed, and told me they were going to feature Hitchhikers on a list called Undiscovered, For Now.

This is quite an honor!  Before, you could fill out a form to request that your book be featured on Wattpad, which is what I did with My Zombie Girlfriend.  Then they changed the system, so that the Wattpad team could choose the stories they believed were worthy.  It always feels good to know that someone out there thinks your writing has merit!

As of now, My Zombie Girlfriend has over 60K reads.  Poor Hitchhikers has just over 500 – hopefully this will start to change!  I’d love to get a bigger following for the Wolf Point series before I release book 4.

Which I am working on, I swear!  (right now, my word count is still under 10K…)  I’ve been pushing the release date back for about a year, and I think a realistic release date is May.

3 on a theme: you’re my reincarnated love (and my name is probably Daniel)

collage

Usually my 3 on a theme posts involve books read close together or even concurrently.  In this case, however, it was more a feeling, much like the heroines of these stories, that I had read this before.

In Fallen by Lauren Kate, the main character Luce finds herself drawn to Daniel, a broody type who is sometimes outright mean to her.  After all, he’s fallen in love with her over and over again – every 17 years in fact – and when he kisses her, she usually dies.

Where had I read this before?  Almost three years ago, I read two books with the theme of reincarnation.  In My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares, the main character’s recurring lover is also named Daniel.  And, strangely enough, even though Daniel has known her as Sophia in other lives, her name in this life is Lucy!

No wonder I had déjà vu.  But wait, there’s more!  I had déjà vu about My Name Is Memory shortly after reading it, when I picked up I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell.  This time, instead of a girl named Luce/Lucy, there was a guy named Lucas.  Again, it’s the dude who remembers falling in love with the girl before.  Or after.  Lucas remembers things that have yet to happen.

To further confuse matters, I listened to all three of these on audiobooks.  And look at the similarities of the covers!  All in shades of blue and green, with white centered text and silhouetted profiles.

December reading round-up

  • # of books read: 13
  • audiobooks listened to: 2
  • graphic novels read: 3
  • total page count: 3,954
  • year total page count: 44,234

Lots more reading this month!  Especially since I hardly wrote anything!  Did some editing and wrote a couple of chapters, but otherwise I’ve been busy reading…

I’m not sure how my coworker heard about Paperbacks from Hell before I did, but I was quite excited for a book about horror paperbacks from the author of Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism.  Turns out I had read a bunch of these and had a couple sitting on my TBR pile.  Gotta love a book about books 🙂

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic that’s been on a TBR list in the back of my brain for a long time, and this year’s Nanowrimo novel drove me to pick it up.  It takes place during the French Revolution, and while it didn’t help much with my novel, it was a good adventure story.

I saw this one on Dawn Kurtagich’s Instagram and decided that I needed to read it.  Thornhill is a ghost story that is told in two parts: the novel part, that of a girl’s diary years ago; and the graphic part, of a girl who has just moved in near the abandoned Thornhill orphanage, which is told only in images.  The effect is haunting and won’t be soon forgotten.

I was so, so excited for The Becoming of Noah Shaw!  I loved the Mara Dyer series so much that I think it would be impossible for this to live up to that.  It was strange seeing Mara from an outside perspective, and I had forgotten what a jerk Noah was.  But I do love this world, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book!

Nevernight keeps popping up on the book sites I follow.  I hadn’t actually read a review or summary of the book, however… yet the title made me curious enough to download it.  I can’t say I would recommend reading via ebook, because there are footnotes, and it took me a long time to get used to the author’s style.  The world is quite rich, and I ended up really enjoying it.  Hopefully I’ll be reading book #2, Godsgrave, next month!

A friend from college had recommended Lamb and Christopher Moore in general way back when, and I’ve had this book sitting on my shelves for literally years.  I brought it along to read while on vacation in the Azores, because it was almost Christmas and I couldn’t find The Twelve Frights of Christmas (I’m afraid I got rid of it!).  It was definitely amusing and somehow actually taught me more about the Bible…

Winter days = cozy reading #erased #currentlyreading #bookstagram

A post shared by Kate (@spoffk) on

The artwork on the cover of Erased convinced me to pick up this manga.  As you know, I don’t read a whole lot of manga, but this was a cool story.  Man occasionally relives seconds of his life until he changes something that saves lives, but when his mother is murdered he forces himself to go back to his childhood to prevent the murder of one of his classmates.  When I checked this out of the library, I thought this was a 2-book series that was complete, but turns out there are five volumes and counting…

#rupikaur #milkandhoney #currentlyreading #poetry #bookstagram

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Another book I just kept seeing, Milk and Honey is the only poetry collection I read this year.  Some of the poems really blew me away with their truth.  Others not so much…

I thought I would never win a Goodreads giveaway again, and I’m so happy it was this book.  Josh Malerman’s first book, Bird Box, is one that has stayed with me.  Unbury Carol (out in April 2018) was another unique thriller, taking place in the Wild West.

  • Best Overall: Unbury Carol
  • Best Audiobook: Feed
  • Goriest: Nevernight
  • Fastest Read: Louis Undercover (1 day)
  • Slowest Read: Born at Midnight (13 days)

The full list (links take you to my Goodreads reviews):

  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
  2. Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix
  3. Feed (Newsflesh #1) by Mira Grant (audiobook)
  4. Thornhill by Pam Smy (graphic novel)
  5. The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #1) by Michelle Hodkin
  6. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  7. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  8. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
  9. Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt (graphic novel)
  10. Erased, Volume 1 by Kei Sanbe (graphic novel)
  11. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman (ARC)
  12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  13. Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1) by C.C. Hunter (audiobook)

all the free books!

There’s a huge sale over at Smashwords, which means all my books there are free!  These include:

I haven’t posted the third Wolf Point Origins novella, The Seer, on Smashwords yet, unfortunately.  You can download these ebooks from Smashwords in pretty much any format, including Kindle (which apparently no longer does the price matching thing).

Once of my goals for this year will be to publish the fourth and final Wolf Point book, Warriors, as well as an omnibus of all the prequel novellas.

I’ll also plug the novel I posted over on Swoonreads.  Waiting Room is a contemporary LGBQIA+ novel, and you can read the whole thing and leave comments and ratings.  (The more ratings I get, the more likely it will get published!)  You can read more about Waiting Room (and why I haven’t talked about it on this blog until now).

christmas horror story: Silent Night, Deadly Night

This has to be one of the worst holiday horror movie franchises in existence.  It may also be the only holiday horror movie franchise, which makes it that much worse.  Where is Black Christmas 2?  Jack Frost 2?  No one asked for Gingerdead Man and its many sequels but we got them anyway, and that’s really it.

Image result for silent night deadly nightThe first film follows two brothers orphaned after a criminal in a Santa suit murders their parents.  Years later, the eldest brother Billy now works at a toy store, and becomes unhinged when he is forced to fill in for the store’s Santa.  There are quite a few Christmas-themed murders happening: aside from murders committed by “Santa”, there is also strangulation by Christmas lights and impalement by deer antlers.  Of course the murders are sparked because Billy can’t handle people having sex, so the tagline “He knows when you’ve been naughty” is pretty accurate.

The second movie, creatively titled “Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2” is where we run into problems.

Image result for silent night deadly night

Basically, you could skip the first movie and just watch the second.  The second movie contains a complete recap of the first movie, and is made up of at least 50% footage from the first movie.  The movie is about Billy’s younger brother Ricky, who takes up the mantle of Killer Santa (after killing a Salvation Army bellringer for the costume).  Ricky’s still upset about people being “naughty,” but also upset about the abuse he suffered as an orphan.  His main goal is to kill Mother Superior, who is now in a wheelchair and puts up a good fight before he finally offs her.

 

Image result for silent night deadly nightThe third movie still contains footage from the previous movies, but thankfully not as much.  Part 3, or “Better Watch Out,” follows the experimentation of a blind psychic girl, who a doctor is trying to connect to the comatose mind of Ricky.  Why?  Who the hell knows.  So Laura starts having visions of Santa killing people.  And then, of course, Ricky is awakened by the drunk asshole playing Santa at the hospital and he begins his murder spree anew.  This movie continues the tradition of laughable acting, but unfortunately, there weren’t very many Christmas-themed murders in this one.

 

Image result for silent night deadly night initiation“Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation” finally drops the footage from the original movies!  Instead of Ricky as the main murderer, we are treated to a feminist cult that worships Lilith and causes our protagonist, Kim, to see cockroaches everywhere and makes her fingers do a weird twisty thing, and later lets Ricky (now a homeless weirdo – or is this even the same Ricky??) rape her and impregnate her with some weird giant larvae.  Aside from being set around Christmas time, the deaths and theme have little to do with Christmas.  There’s a lit Christmas tree on the top of the building where our initial sacrifice spontaneously combusts, and where our finale takes place.  A man is killed having fallen into said Christmas tree.  There’s also a lovely scene where Kim hangs with her current bf’s family, who turn out to be pretty sexist and anti-Semitic.  Given that the ending involves the defeat of the Lilith cult, I’m not sure what the takeaway is meant to be.  Are we for or against feminism?

Silent Night Deadly Night 5.jpg“Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker” proves that maybe the fifth in a franchise can be the best.  It amazes me that the actors in this franchise have become more recognizable (Mickey Rooney, what are you doing here??).  The Toy Maker starts out with a Christmas bang as a young boy listens to his parents having sex.  Little Derek then discovers a gift clearly marked “do not open until Christmas.”  After his father practically beats him down for opening it, Derek watches on as Dad opens the gift and is attacked by the Santa ball within.  The toy attacks Dad’s face (is it kissing him?  eating his face off?) and kills him.  Derek’s mom isn’t much better and quickly loses patience with him after the brutal death, deciding that buying his happiness is the only way – Mom doesn’t seem too upset it.  There’s a nod to SNDN4 with a larvae toy, and Ricky returns as a department store Santa.  “You would not believe the things I’ve been through,” says Kim, who also returns, and doesn’t seem too freaked out by mysterious Christmas gifts that keep showing up for Derek.  There’s a murderous Santa and a full-on assault by an army of toys (while the baby-sitter is having sex, naturally).

SPOILERS AHEAD

The finale of the last movie almost makes up for how terrible the first four movies.  I mean, a robot/puppet named “Pino” created by “Joe Petto” who just wants to be a “real boy” with a real dick, and somehow figures he’ll make that happen by sex with his mommy?  Didn’t see that one coming.