Book Launch: Pirate Fantasy Novel

A. F. Stewart‘s latest pirate fantasy release is finally here! Magic, death personified, and an imbalanced universe are just a few of the things that make Renegades of the Lost Sea uniquely imaginative and a read you’ll remember.

A god, his mother, and a Nightmare Crow.

Old enemies surface once again and undead pirates roam the seas. The man he killed, Black Renegades of the Lost Sea by A. F. Stewart Pirate FantasyAxe Morgan, has returned for revenge on Captain Rafe Morrow, while from the shadows the Nightmare Crow reveals his true self. The two form an alliance and bring mayhem to the seas, all to draw out Captain Morrow and his crew.

Yet, this time, Rafe doesn’t face his enemies alone. Death walks the Outer Islands to save her son and the Sovereign of the Gods leads Captain Morrow past all the lies to the truth. The fate of Chaos and Harmony itself hangs in the balance of this fight.

Will centuries of schemes and plans reforge the bond of the realms, or will the Seven Kingdoms and the Outer Islands fall?

Can the God of Souls find his destiny before it is too late?

The endgame of gods begins…

Read the whole Saga of the Outer Islands series

Ghosts of the sea moon by A. F. Stewart Pirate FantasySouls of the Dark Sea by A. F. Stewart Pirate FantasyRenegades of the Lost Sea by A. F. Stewart Pirate Fantasy

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Book Launch: Urban Paranormal Series

We’re thrilled to share with you a brand new voice in urban paranormal, Jaya Moon, with her debut book, Awoken, the first in The Ascension of Meghan May series. Get swept away in an urban paranormal world of sexy animal shifters, dangerous angels, and a war that’s spilling into the human world.

Angels and shifters like you’ve never seen them before.

I moved to the city because I thought it was safer—the bigger the city, the more angels.Awoken by Jaya Moon Urban Paranormal

I was wrong.

Who knew saving an owl would mean I’d be hunted by the High Angel and Warden of the State? That owl I saved…he wasn’t any ordinary owl. I’ve been labelled a shifter sympathizer, and we end up as dead as shifters.

So now I’m on the run.

A shifter believes he owes me his life. With help from his friends—a human and a surly angel—he’s vowed to get me out of this mess I’m in. After that, I can return to my old life.

The plan is simple. Life, however, isn’t.

Awoken is Book 1 in The Ascension of Meghan May series. It is an urban paranormal, slow to medium burn, reverse harem “why choose” story intended for a mature audiences (18+ years). It contains strong language and sexual situations.

About Jaya Moon

Jaya Moon lives on the south coast of Australia with her husband and son. She digs holes by day and writes at night and is tempted to tell you she’s a grave digger (that sounds far more interesting than her real day job).

She writes steamy, character-driven romance novels.

You can connect with Jaya at her Facebook group The Lunar Lounge.

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Short Read: Dark Fantasy Prelude

Dark fantasy at its best! Joshua Robertson‘s latest release, “The Skincutter’s Daughter“, is a
fast read full of unique concepts that will leave you wanting more. Luckily, there are a few books coming!

Madness Never Cut So Deep.

Adela’s first memory was of her father sliding a blade across his forearm, while herThe Skincutter's Daughter by Joshua Robertson mother sobbed and begged him to stop his madness. The cuts were never deep enough to cause permanent injury, but his blood flowed and the scars deepened, forever adorning his craggy skin. For years, Adela hid among the shadows watching him, never quite understanding his obsession. Now, when an old enemy of her parents resurfaces and threatens their welfare, the madness of her father might indefinitely become her own.

Read more of Joshua Robertson’s dark fantasy.

Death at Dusk by Joshua RobertsonHeshayol by Joshua Robertson


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Practical Takeaways from #CopyPasteCris

There was an unfortunate (and provable) case of plagiarism in the romance writing  community (romancelandia) that started unfolding on Twitter the evening of February 18. While we don’t want to bring too much attention to who did what to whom, we do want to focus on what authors can learn from it.

  1. The most basic rule of content creation of any kind: never copy someone else’s work. Plagiarism can result in anything from a bad reputation for the plagiarist to the victims bringing lawsuits against the plagiarist. It’s easy to prove plagiarism with all the tools online that will verify it for free, so just create your own unique content, don’t copy others.
  2. Always check the work of others whose writing you are publishing for plagiarism. It’s always best to check for plagiarism if someone else has written something for you to publish. Don’t forget how far this spans: blog posts, articles, short stories for anthologies and journals, full-length works, etc. Even though it’s the writer’s fault if they plagiarize something, the onus always comes back to the person posting or publishing the plagiarized material, as we’ve seen with the #CopyPasteCris situation. Forewarning: an author might copy and paste research in particular into their work to include relevant research that they struggle to rephrase, but it must be rephrased and/or quoted and/or cited, etc.
  3. Credit others and ask for permission before posting another person’s content. This is a tricky one because we all like to quote from our favorite books and put them into pretty graphics. Where we get into trouble is quoting without citing the author and their book, or quoting large passages without permission, especially if it’s posted anywhere that could result in monetary gain for someone that isn’t the author (e.g. website, social media platform, published work). If you’re quoting a large portion of text from a book, check the copyright section of the book first. It may tell you to ask for permission from the author or publishing company before using significant portions of text, especially if you’re going to reprint it in a book (remember, monetary gain—even if the book is free, you could gain income in other ways). Even if the copyright page doesn’t mention that, you should still ask permission.

    From the book CELL 2455 DEATH ROW by Caryl Chessman

If you want to learn more about plagiarism, how to avoid it, and what constitutes it, check out

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Showing Instead of Telling: Make the Most of the Details

We’re excited to start a new series of posts that focus on one particular part of the writing process in deep detail—showing instead of telling.

It’s an important part of writing that many authors know of but don’t totally understand. Even those who do understand what it truly means don’t always know how to wield its power to the greatest extent possible. There is always more to learn and use as a tool in your writing arsenal.

Let’s get started!

This may sound overwhelming at first, but your work is worth the effort.

When you describe something, every word should count—no excess words allowed. But why not make each word count for more?

If you describe a chair, you can choose something that matches your character’s personality, underlying traits, or even general mood. The color of the house or its lighting could reflect the relationship of the family or people living in it. Even a weapon can be a metaphor for a character’s strength or personality.

In action

Let’s create an example. Let’s say you have a character who goes to a coffee shop to pick up breakfast before work as part of her daily routine. What she orders could say a lot about her—if you want it to. Does she order:

  • An espresso—nothing else (high-powered businesswoman)
  • A latte and a cinnamon bun or breakfast sandwich (corporate admin worker)
  • Black coffee and protein bar (personal trainer)
  • Several coffees to share around the office (social butterfly)
  • Coffee and a donut…no, just a cup of fruit…well, maybe an iced coffee instead (indecisive)

These orders don’t have to always symbolize the examples provided, but the idea is that the order can represent the person, their type of job, their personality, etc.

Here’s one of the keys to using this piece of advice—and it’s a preview to one of our upcoming “show don’t tell” posts: after having a character sound indecisive in dialogue, for example, don’t point it out in narration. That’s showing and then going on to tell too, and not only is it unnecessary, but it ruins the effect.

Practice makes perfect

Try this out for yourself using the example below. You can change the color of the chairs and even the style, but the point is to think about the scenario, the character, his/her personality, what s/he may be trying to prove or the impression s/he may be trying to create, etc. Write a scene and follow the instructions below.

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Book Launch: Dark Fantasy Standalone

Adventure, political intrigue, betrayal—Joshua Robertson‘s latest release, Death at Dusk, has everything fantasy novels should. Look forward to dark fantasy magic, wily characters, personal vendettas, and fantastical creatures all rolled into one novel in the Thrice Nine Legends Saga. Watch out for twists you won’t see coming—it’s not over when you think it is!

It’s mercenaries vs. assassins in this high-stakes dark fantasy book.

The princess must die—that’s Brenn Dardrogan’s objective when he, his Dusk Legion Death at Dusk by Joshua Robertsonpartner, and a few expendable sellswords break into the castle at Cavell. But the righteous Crimson Sun’s sudden interference forces the Dusk Legion’s group to chase them through the dangerous dark forest of the Dyndaer. As allegiances among the assassins are called into question and the veracity of their quest becomes doubtful, Brenn must try to strategize the completion of their task without becoming the catalyst to a greater war.

The princess must survive—and Teodor Bacheva of the Crimson Sun will see to it that she does. Accompanied by skilled mercenaries, Teodor leads the princess into the Dyndaer, hoping to make it to the king before the Dusk Legion kills his charge. As the truth unravels, Teodor discovers his mission is disingenuous despite his determined enemy, and if he fails his mission, he will forever tarnish the reputation of his family name and his righteous faction.

Death at Dusk is a standalone novel in the greater Thrice Nine Legends Saga. Some wounds cannot be healed.


When you buy Death at Dusk, you get more than ever before!

  • Original illustrations of main characters
  • Brand new tracks of music created specifically for this book by Anthony Abdo, Zaalen Tallis, and Stephen A. Jacobi

Read more of the Thrice Nine Legends Saga

Anaerfell by Joshua RobertsonOf Life and Death by Joshua RobertsonThe Highborn Longwalker by Joshua Robertson

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10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Writers: $7 – $31

The writer in your life deserves themed gifts that will inspire them all year long. Here’s a list of ideas we love that your writer friends will tell all their writing friends about!

1. Writer Emergency Pack: $19

Give your writer friends the tool they need to get inspiration no matter where they are! If they’ve got writer’s block, this will help unstick them. Pick any illustrated idea card or even a few, and use them as writing prompts, outlines for a short story, revivals for stories that have been stuck for a while, and more.

“Even better than I could possibly have imagined.” – Amazon reviewer

“These cards are cute, petite, and does what it says it will….helps you write!” – Amazon reviewer

“…they make a terrific gift that encourages and validates aspiring writers.” – Amazon reviewer

Click here to order this fun gift. 

2. Favorite author and great first lines mugs: $16

With nine mugs to choose from, you’re sure to find the best one for your writer friends! You can pick:

  • Sherlock Holmes (pictured left)
  • Banned Books
  • Bronte Sisters
  • First Lines of Literature
  • Last Lines of Literature
  • Jane Austen
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Mark Twain

Buy these mugs here.

3. Do Not Disturb Writer At Work Doorknob Sign: $7

Writers often need to shut themselves away in order to get some peace and quiet. That means getting friends and family to understand that the door behind which the writer is building worlds should not be opened.

This gift will not only make them smile, but it’ll actually help protect their writing time. All of your writer friends will thank you for giving them an easy way to say “go away” without actually having to say it!

Grab this fun gift here. 

4. Writer Wall Clock: $31

There’s nothing to hold you to writing better than looking at a clock that constantly reminds you to write! Put it in your home office to keep yourself in that writerly mood or put it in your kitchen to remind yourself to get out of there and into your writing.

At 17″, this wall clock is easy to read, and it’s ideal for aspiring and professional writers alike. Keep your passion in plain sight. All it takes is one AA battery to run.

It’s time to buy this clever gift here. 

5. 642 Things to Write About: $12

This writing prompt book from Chronicle Books is a fun one with hundreds of writing prompts. Some are fun, some are vague, and some are very specific. For some of them, you’ll probably need extra paper! Here are some examples of the prompts you’ll find inside:

  • “A man jumps from the fortieth story of a building. As he’s passing the twenty-eighth floor, he hears a phone ring and regrets that he jumped. Why?”
  • “Write a scene that begins: ‘Joe was the last person on earth I expected to do that.'”
  • “Write a story that starts with a piece of gossip.”

“Any writer w/ brain block or in a slump, this will help you get back on track.” – Amazon reviewer

“This book is so fun if you like to write.” – Amazon reviewer

“I love that there are prompts that range in topic and resulting length.” – Amazon reviewer

Click here to buy this book. 

6. I Write – What’s Your Superpower? Mug: $9.27

Writers need reminding all the time that their talent isn’t just making up fiction—it’s a superpower. It brings readers out of their own relationships, situations, and work lives and into a character’s. Maybe they write fantasy and build whole new worlds. Maybe they write contemporary fiction that allows readers to experience life from a different perspective. Whatever they write, they’re changing readers’ lives. Remind them how much their writing means with this mug.

Buy this mug for your amazing writer friends.

7. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success: $9.79

So your writer friends think they’re pantsers and there’s no other way for them to write? They think that outlining will ruin creativity and take the enjoyment out of writing?

This book by award-winning author K.M. Weiland proves otherwise. Outlining isn’t supposed to suck out creativity; instead, it’s meant to act as a support system for creativity. Weiland encourages writers to outline in whatever way creatively works for them instead of sticking to a style that might work for some but limit others.

“My copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS is packed with handwritten notes, highlights and dog-eared pages. It is truly a wealth of information and an eye-opening experience. You know a book is worth every penny when you have a light bulb moment.” – Amazon reviewer

“Not only does this book give me a whole new perspective on what it means to outline my novel, I also found some other surprisingly good tips inside, like creating a calendar for the events in my novel, something that definitely comes in handy if you’re writing historical fiction, like me.” – Amazon reviewer

Help take the stress out of writing with this great, well-reviewed book. 

8. Buy My Books Mug: $9.27

Ask any writer—marketing is possibly the hardest part of the writing journey. It’s difficult, sometimes even painful, to strike the balance between salesman and…well, just a writer doing what they love.

What if your writer friends had mugs that sold their books for them? Mugs that allow readers to approach them at work, at Starbucks, anywhere, and ask, “Hey, you’re a writer? Do I know any of your books? Are you working on your next novel?”

Make your writer friends’ lives easier and gift them this mug. 

9. Writer’s Digest 1-Year Subscription (Kindle + Print): $17.96 with renewal, $19.96 no renewal

One of writers’ biggest strengths is information. Constantly learning from others, hearing success stories from those in the same field, reading useful and practical advice—these not only improve writing but build confidence.

Gift the subscription of all subscriptions: Writer’s Digest. Not only does this well-established magazine provide invaluable information, but it presents contests and opportunities too.

This price is Amazon-only—other vendors sell the magazine for the same price for print without Kindle access.

Give the gift of constant learning.

10. The 5 Day Novel: The How To Guide For Writing Faster & Optimizing Your Workflow: $15.99

Writers are famous for having more ideas than time to write them. This book is made for just that purpose—to help writers write faster. It includes actionable advice, no fluff, and you don’t have to write a book in five days, writers can read it as advice on how to get books finished faster.

“Practical tips and the truth about writing fast.” – Amazon reviewer

“This is not a craft book, this is a blue print for how to actually write a novel that takes 5 days and not 5 years!” – Amazon reviewer

“It’s not a boring textbook, but instead something that’s fun to read and easy to understand. He talks to us through the book, like talking to someone face-to-face.” – Amazon reviewer

Help your writer friends achieve their goals.

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How to Hire a Great Editor

One of the most stressful things for writers before they can even publish their book is to find a great editor who will do it justice. An editor is a significant part of the writing process who provides that in-depth look at your manuscript to discover and help you solve plot holes, character development issues, inconsistencies, and so much more. Without an editor, the polish will be lacking from your diamond of a book, and your reviews will show it.

Join us on The Book Tavern to find out how to identify a great editor without spending tons of money hiring bad ones.

How to Hire a Great Editor

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Black Friday Amazon Deals for Writers and Readers

Start your holiday shopping in your PJs! Grab fantastic deals from Amazon that will save you money to buy more gifts, whether they’re for family, friends, or yourself.

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet

Down to $50 from $80! Read books, watch TV, listen to music, scroll through Facebook, and more with this tablet’s 8-inch HD display. It’s got 6 GB of memory, plus it’s the latest at the lowest price. Grab it before it’s gone!

Emily Windsnap: Six Swishy Tails of Land and Sea by Liz Kessler

This six paperback boxed set is priced at $19.10 for Black Friday, but it’s normally $34.99. What a great deal for paperbacks! Intended for ages 8-12 (middle grade), this series based around mermaids and even includes a bonus twelve-page friendship booklet. You aren’t going to find a better opportunity to buy these books!

Get these fun, fantastical books today.

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll: Amazon Charts Bestselling Psychological Thriller

Remember the TV show What Would You Do? In this suspense thriller by Teresa Driscoll, the question is, what would it take to make you intervene? For only $7.98 instead of the regular price of $15.95, why not find out?

Ella Longfield saw two teenage girls on a train being hit on by two young men, and she does nothing to interfere. A day later, one of the girls is missing. A year later, not only is Ella suffering from terrible guilt, but she’s started receiving threatening messages. And as it turns out, the missing girl’s family has quite a lot of secrets.

Buy this thrilling paperback novel.

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King: Debut Fantasy Novel with 4.5 Stars & 2,152 Reviews

The first of four books in the Hundredth Queen series, see how you like it before you take the plunge with the price of just $5 for this paperback instead of the everyday $9.99 price.

When Kalinda, an eighteen-year-old orphan, is ordered to fight for a place among Rajah Terek’s ninety-nine wives. Constantly beset by fevers, she must now journey across the desert for something she never wanted in the first place. Will she be able to escape her fate using an old, forbidden power?

Find out what happens next and buy it now.

Not sure what books, readers, or products your friends and family would like?

Grab an Amazon gift card with no expiration date!

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Breaking Down & Summarizing The Smashwords Update

Smashwords has had a nice facelift that they just announced last week! We’re happy to see the much cleaner interface homepage, and there’s a lot more than that in their update.

If you receive Smashwords’ emails and you look through their blogs and instructions in general, you know that while they are packed with information, they sometimes go on at length. In this post, we’re giving you the summarized version so that you can get on with your busy day and still be informed.

Here we go!

1. Smashwords Store Unveils New Book Discovery Interface

  • Smashwords sales have grown between 2017 and 2018, which is the opposite from the rest of the industry.
  • They’ve updated their homepage to look more like bookshelves.
  • The Smashwords catalog now has over 500K titles, so look forward to more positive changes because of this significant number.

Highlights of the new Smashwords home page:

Books in Shelves

  • You’ll now see nine shelves on the Smashwords homepage, and themed shelves are on their way.

Multi-Dimensional Book Discovery

  • The homepage isn’t the only page to have these new shelves. All genres now have the same layout and filtering system.
  • Homepage shelves will not recommend books you’ve already purchased through Smashwords.

Reader-Powered Algorithms

  • Like many social media sites, Smashwords has now updated its algorithm. Books with the highest “reader endorsement” in terms of sales and downloads will determine where they show up on the shelves.

Enhanced Control over Erotica

  • As a sensitive genre, erotica no longer has the default setting of being turned off. Now first-time users will be prompted to confirm whether they want to see erotica on their homepage and in their shelves and searches.
  • Instead of erotica being switched on or off with no further filtering or options, now Smashwords is allowing the reader to choose (1) no erotica, (2) only mainstream erotica, or (3) all erotica (includes taboo). Filtering can be done at any time from any page.

2. How to Sell More in the Smashwords Store

  • You can always easily toggle between the classic interface and the new one.
  • Check out the Smashwords blog to find out more about each shelf and its algorithms. Also look for “Tips for Authors – How to Sell More in the Smashwords Store,” which has a checklist to help improve the odds of readers finding your book. Smashwords says the most important tips are (as quoted from their email):
  1. Distribute with Smashwords because sales at our retailers and library partners will boost your visibility in our new store.
  2. Release all future books as preorders, because preorders are proven to increase sales, and your preorder counts increase your shelf rank in the early days following your new release. Episode 4 of the Smart Author Podcast teaches you how to make your next release more successful with preorders.

3. Holiday Delivery Deadlines

  • Make sure that end-of-year and beginning-of-the-new-year releases are submitted early to avoid missing your release date. Two weeks in advance of the release date is recommended.
  • You can put your book up for preorder using Smashwords’ assetless preorder feature within twelve months of publication. “December 25 through the first week of January is usually the busiest ebook sales period of the year so this is a great opportunity to give your future releases some extra exposure.” Plus, preorders are high priority for both reviews and shipments.

4. Smashwords End of Year Sale

  • We all look forward to the Smashwords End of Year Sale, which starts December 25 and runs through January 1. Enrollment begins early in December, and the form for it will include a bulk enrollment option. If you’re an author or publisher who needs to enroll a large list all at once, this is for you.

Download free books about Smashwords by Mark Coker

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark CokerSmashwords Style Guide by Mark CokerSecrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker

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