Killing Your Characters

character deathI am a ruthless author, and if you’ve read all four books in the Akasha Series, you’ll know what I mean. I won’t post any detailed spoilers here, but I can tell you that I have literally received hate mail for killing off certain characters.  I’ve received one star reviews because the reader had become so attached to these characters, and they just didn’t want to accept the ending I wrote.

To these readers, I really want to send a big thank you. Thank you for letting me know (in your own way) that you love my characters!  There is no bigger compliment to a writer. I, of course, apologize for throwing you into an emotional whirlwind, but I hope what you take from the series overall is an awesome story, and maybe you will have picked up some ‘eco’ tips along the way. J

I’m not the only author to tread these waters. Having recently finished ‘Allegiant’ by Veronica Roth, I have to wonder what kind of hate mail is in her inbox – and I can definitely sympathize with her. Veronica Roth explains her decision on her official blog here. Don’t read it unless you’ve already read the whole series!

My favorite quote from Roth during the explanation is “I wasn’t thinking about any readers when I wrote this book; I was thinking about the story, because trying to meet the expectations of so many readers would be paralyzing. There’s no way to please everyone, because that mythical book with the ending that every single person wants can’t exist—you want different things, each one of you. The only thing I can do, in light of that fact, is write an honest story as best I can.”

I agree with Roth – as authors we want honest but bold stories. If anything, The Akasha Series is bold, and I wanted an ending that was just as bold. For those of you that have read the series, please be sure to ask about the bonus short story collection. There is one story in there that takes place 20 years into the future, and it may give you some comfort.

Although I have just released ‘The Rising’ and am hard at work on the second book for that series, I have some exciting promotions planned for The Akasha Series in December!  Please stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to follow my blog by email!

 

Forbidden Future Blog Tour

FF Tour ButtonA time travel anthology including a short story from yours truly!  Bloggers – sign up for the tour now. Forbidden Future is now available for $3.99 on Amazon.

What becomes of mankind in the future? Is life better or worse?

Forbidden Future by James Wymore
When a time machine technician working the graveyard shift gets divorce papers from his wife, he decides it’s time to take the machine for a ride—no matter the consequences.

Jump by Jon Bradbury
Jesse Kendall thinks he’s seen it all. He’s about to see more.

Road Trip by Matt Mitrovich
Four friends drive to a college party and take an unexpected detour into the future.

Cacotopia by James Lauren
Kayne Adamson went into suspension to await a cure, but never imagined how long his sleep would last or the world he would awaken into. Is it really the utopia it first appears to be?

Society by Terra Harmony
Take a ride on the Energy of the Future where society gets a fresh, clean start—no matter who they have to leave behind.

The Mountains Haven’t by Kade Anderson
Something is very wrong in the downtrodden town of Dignity and only the town’s Watcher, Julia, can see what it is.

Between Utopias by Michael Trimmer
After being saved from a fatal heart attack by being transported to the future, David must choose from two opposite utopias.

Akasha Series Book Trailer

Some exciting stuff happening over the next month, and no – I’m not talking about Congress finally passing a budget.  I’m talking about ‘The Rising’, baby!  If you missed the cover reveal and blurb, click here. ARCs are now available via NetGalley (if you request a copy of the book and are denied, just email me and let me know – I’ll make sure you get a copy). The blog tour starts on Oct. 21 and goes through Nov. 9th, where I’ll be giving away several e-copies of ‘The Rising’, plus a grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive my blog posts via email (over on the right), so you don’t miss out on this contest.

Finally – something fun for The Akasha Series fans – a new book trailer!  See below and let me know what you think!  It was put together by Kellie Sheridan of Patchwork Press (thanks, Kellie!) and the vocals are by Emily Gittelman, the narrator that did the entire Akasha Series on audiobook!

My Journey from Scrap Paper to Novel; Six Times Over

Several days ago, I clicked ‘save’ then closed the document on the first draft of my sixth novel. ‘The Rising; Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’ is now with my awesome editing team, and an equally awesome bunch of beta readers.  I welcome the break as I wait for the feedback, but my fingers can’t stay idle for long – it is a curse and a blessing.  They itch to get back to the keyboard.

I’ve already started on the second book of the trilogy, but want to take some time to reflect on my writing journey, and how it came to be.  My first novel, ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’, took nearly ten years to write.  It started in high school, when I would be stuck in class daydreaming. I daydreamed of a cute boy coming into the classroom to sweep me off my feet. I’d dream of an equally cute villain coming into the classroom to take us all hostage. I dreamed of fighting the snobby girl next to me. How would I react? What would I do?

I went through the same daydreams over and over in my head, changing minor details until the scene was perfect – then I’d go over it again. I couldn’t stop. Finally, in order to keep some level of sanity, I began writing them down. They were just scenes; not even complete short stories. It worked well in class, I looked like a very studious note-taker.

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I graduated high school and tried my hand at college. It was…boring. So, I joined the Marine Corps. Boot camp wasn’t so boring. And neither was the first two years in the corps.  But things settled down, and the daydreams started as once again, I sat behind a desk, this time at work but in cammies and boots. I can’t sit still for long.

I got married, had a child, and went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I also resumed writing.

 

After five years, I left the corps for a career in the translation business.  The job was good, but I still continued to write.  Eventually, I took all these little ‘scenes’, saved in a folder from my high school years, and melded them into a story. I typed them up, working on my lunch break at work, in the early morning, or in the evenings.

IMG_3576In September of 2011, more than ten years after I started, my first novel was finished. My second novel, ‘Air’, only took two months. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of writing, editing, and marketing. I have six books and seven short stories to my name, and I still have so much to learn and do. The ideas are still flowing – I’m not sure I will ever be done writing.

One thing I’ve learned from writing on scrap paper, literally on the back of my biology notes, and eventually turning them into an actual published novel – even if it takes ten years, never give up!

Keep pushing for your dreams. If you never quite get there; the journey itself will be worth it.

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Terra Harmony Joins Patchwork Press

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A couple big things happening to The Akasha Series. First, the second e-book ‘Air’ will run at a promotional rate of $0.99 for the next four days (as you know, ‘Water, Book One‘, is always free across all platforms.). Be sure to get ‘Air’ at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, or iTunes and start getting caught up with the series!

PWP TwitterFBSecond, I’ve joined forces with Patchwork Press, a joint American-Canadian publishing venture founded by Kellie Sheridan and Erica Crouch.

Patchwork Press is not a traditional publisher. All authors keep 100% of their rights and royalties, but by joining forces with other skilled independent authors, each book we publish as a team becomes stronger.

I’ve taken the plunge and hope to start building PWP’s First Readers Program, as well as getting my titles up on NetGalley (‘Water’ is there already, for those of you who use it).

Finally, to kick off what I think will be a long-lasting, cohesive relationship, I’m having a giveaway!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

1 Grand Prize: A $25 Amazon gift card.

12 Runners-Up: An e-book of one of four Patchwork Press Titles; The Akasha Saga (the complete series to include bonus content), Mortality, Ignite, or Follow the White Rabbit.

Akasha CoverFollow-the-White-Rabbit-by-Kellie-Sheridan-200x300 mortality_final-200x300 Ignite

Here is how you can enter:

Follow the links below to like and follow for extra entries (all extra entries will be verified). Then, fill out the form at the bottom.

For one extra entry each, like us on Facebook:
Like Patchwork Press on Facebook
Like Terra Harmony on Facebook

For one extra entry each, follow us on Twitter:
Follow Patchwork Press on Twitter
Follow Terra Harmony on Twitter

For three extra entries each, follow us by email:
– Go to Patchwork-Press.com, and scroll down the page.  At the bottom right-hand corner, sign up to receive the Patchwork Press Newsletter via e-mail.
– On the right hand side of this page, follow Terra Harmony by e-mail.

Now complete the form below and good luck!

Contest Rules:

This giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway is open until 11:59 PM EST on July 14th, 2013. Must be 13 or older to enter. Winners are selected at random and will be emailed. Winners will have three days to respond, or new winners will be selected.

‘Water’ Now Available as an Audiobook

Very exciting news!  ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ is now available as an audio book via Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!  The rest of the series is already in production.  You can purchase or listen to a sample of ‘Water’ right here.

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I want to send a special thanks to my narrator, Emily Gittelman, who was patient enough with a newbie to get me through the process, then take on three more books!  I am so impressed, I decided I had to share her with you all! Below is Emily’s interview – and seriously, let me know what you think about the audio book!

gittelman.e.72.2Terra:  Thanks so much for doing the interview with me!  I know you are busy – speaking of, what keeps you busy these days?

Emily: Audiobooks keep me very busy. I started out doing it part time last year, but it’s become my full time job. I’m also an actress, so I sometimes have auditions to go to and projects I’m working on.

T: Which job(s) do you enjoy doing best and why?

E: I’m lucky that I love all my jobs. I can’t think of anything better than making a living doing what I love: acting and narrating audiobooks.

T: As if being a narrator/actress/author doesn’t keep you busy enough, what do you do in your spare time?

E: I’m an avid reader, which is what drew me to audiobooks in the first place. I like to be informed, so I read four newspapers every day. I love to travel, though I haven’t been able to recently. I spent most of 2010 traveling in Europe. I lived in London and Prague each for four months and went on weekend trips to other countries for a total of 23 countries in Europe. I kind of miss it, but traveling that much is exhausting. I also spend time with my wonderful boyfriend, who lives with me in Los Angeles. And I occasionally LARP on weekends (I’m a bit of a nerd).

T: You are finished with narrating ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ and are gearing up for the rest. Maybe you can tell us a little about why doing audio books, even for Indie authors, is a good idea?

E: Well, I love listening to audiobooks myself. There’s something about having a book read to you that just makes it come alive (with the right narrator). For me, narrating audiobooks is just acting with my voice. I love scenes that are really emotional or dramatic because it allows me to really get into the moment and express the emotions the characters are experiencing with my voice.

T: Any advice to give authors when they are ready to do an audio book – or even what to keep in mind as they are writing their novels?

E: Make sure you find a narrator who brings your imagination to life. This is especially important with a first person narrative, where the narrator’s voice is the character’s voice. Also, if you can, try to put together a budget for your project. Most of the more professional narrators won’t do a royalty share unless the book is selling really well. For the sake of quality, it’s worth raising the money to pay for a decent narrator.

T: Now the fun stuff – tea or coffee, Coke or Pepsi?

E: Er… None of the above. I don’t drink caffeine or soda… sorry!

T: You live in New York (right?)? What is life in the Big Apple like, especially for your line of work?  Give us all the glamour and the down and dirty!

E: I grew up in NY, but I moved out to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago. I very much enjoyed living in NY. It has a certain energy to it that you can’t find anywhere else. And I loved being able to walk almost everywhere. The thing I miss most about NY is public transportation. Traffic in LA is awful.

T: Favorite TV shows/movies/plays?

E: I’m not a big favorites person. I don’t usually have one thing that sticks out above all others. HOWEVER, I do have a favorite TV show: Six Feet Under. It was on HBO from 2001 to 2005 and in my opinion, it’s the best show that has ever been on television. It’s heartfelt and profound, full of substance, while still having moments that make you laugh, and some that make you cry. It asks really important questions that leave you thinking for days afterward.  I wish there were more shows like it! (HBO didn’t pay me for that. Promise. Though they’re welcome to if they see this.)

T: Do you have any funny stories about narrating? Or even in some of your other jobs?

E: … Not that I can think of? Sorry. That’s so boring.

T: Finally, tell us more about your books!

E: Well, this question has two answers depending on what you’re asking.

I’ve narrated dozens of audiobooks. Mostly teen or young adult fiction. I’ve done a lot of books with author Morgan Rice, including books three through eight of The Vampire Journals series, books one and two of The Survival Trilogy, and books one and two of The Vampire Legacy series (which will be released soon!). The other books I’ve done have been mostly fantasy or romance (or a combination). Lots of vampires.

While I was in college, I co-authored a few books with my dad, Steven H. Gittelman. Literally since the month I was born (August 1989), my dad has been volunteering at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, NY. Because of this, I volunteered there from the age of eight until I moved to Los Angeles at twenty-two. Our life-long association with the museum inspired us to write several books about the Vanderbilts. The first two books my dad wrote on his own and I’m credited as chief editor. Those books were Willie K. Vanderbilt II: A Biography and J.P. Morgan and the Transportation Kings: The Titanic and Other Disasters. The former is a biography of the Vanderbilt who owned the mansion at which we volunteered. The latter details a conspiracy between J.P. Morgan, the Vanderbilts, and other tycoons to dominate global shipping and transportation circa the turn of the twentieth century. After, that, we wrote two books together. The first was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt: The Unlikely Hero of the Lusitania. Alfred was Willie K.’s cousin, and his story is one of lust, power, and tragedy. He was basically a playboy who, at the age of 22, inherited a huge amount of money. For sixteen years he behaved like any playboy would, resulting in the tragic suicides of at least three women. Then, he gets on the Lusitania and spends the last eighteen minutes of his life saving women and children. It’s such a great story, I’m currently working on a screenplay version that I’m hoping to get produced. The publisher keeps pushing back the release date, but right now it’s set for June 24th. The other book we wrote together was a historical novel inspired by Willie K. Vanderbilt II’s second circumnavigation of the globe in 1933. That one is being privately published by the museum, and will hopefully come out soon.

The works I’ve authored, edited, and narrated, can all be found by searching my name on amazon.

About Emily:

Emily Gittelman grew up in New York and received her BFA in drama from New York University in 2011. Shortly after graduation, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting under the name Emily Lawrence. More information about her acting career can be found on her website at www.emilylawrence.com. In the last year, Emily has narrated dozens of audiobooks, which can be found on audible and amazon. In addition to this, she’s also a published writer and editor of mostly non-fictional works. She writes creatively in her own time, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to publish any of it yet. Maybe one day!

Earth Day

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Today is the day! ‘Earth, Book Four of The Akasha Series’ is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. $4.99 will get you through the exciting conclusion to the series. Join the already over 200 people who have added ‘Earth’ to their TBR list on Goodreads, now.  Plus, Goodreads already has 4 reviews and 5 ratings – I’d love if you could add yours! Did you know each book is available in print, too? You can find Water, Air, Fire, and Earth on Amazon (just make sure you are purchasing the print version, not the Kindle version).

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I am also currently in the middle of creating audio books for the entire Akasha series. The ‘Water’ audio version should be out sometime late May, with the rest to follow. Check out the very talented narrator I chose for the series, Emily Lawrence.  I chose her out of 15+ auditions for her great voice, her knowledge about the business, and her reliability and professionalism. Plus – she is an author, herself. What a great match!

 

Akasha Cover bonus contentAlso, by the beginning of May, I will release ‘Akasha, The Complete Saga’. This is a boxed set of all four books (available in electronic formats only), for $9.99. The boxed set will include never before published bonus content; short stories for each of the main characters (including one for Bee – twenty years into the future). I certainly understand that many of you will have already purchased the entire series, and don’t want to spend ten bucks for a few short stories. You can still get them – without spending the money! All you have to do is send me a link to a review of each of the four books (preferably on Amazon or Goodreads), and I will send you the bonus content (just the bonus content – not the boxed set) – for free! Please remember, they have to be a review (one or two sentences is fine), not just a rating.

 

herbs2So – on to the important stuff. How are you celebrating Earth Day? This weekend, we kept our celebration small and planted an herb garden on our outdoor deck area. Thyme, dill, parsley, sage, mint, basil, and some lavender thrown in for scent. Herb gardens are great; they cut down on pollutants, save you money, and green your area. They can be done inside or outside, whether you live in a house or apartment. And trust me – those summer mojitos with fresh mint are totally worth it! We have about ten of these planters, and can’t wait to start cooking with fresh herbs!

Not sure what to do for Earth Day? Go to www.google.com, check out their interactive, animated doodle – then search for evens in your area!

Amazon to Buy Goodreads

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I woke up to this news this morning. (Official press release here.) And I have to say – I’m shocked…and worried. Kudos to Amazon, though. It makes me wonder if their competitors are all:

I know I am, a little bit. The problem is, Amazon tends to roll out incentives to those who publish exclusively to them, and punish those who don’t (KDP program and certain royalty rates). It makes me wonder if I, as a self-published author, will not be able to reap all the benefits  Goodreads has to offer because I am not exclusive to Amazon. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to even think about it, considering the majority of my sales now come from iBooks.

On the plus side, I think Amazon can help bring Goodreads into the digital world. So far, Goodreads hasn’t really been integrated into e-readers, and I am sorely disappointed in their smartphone app.  Heck – Goodreads doesn’t allow ebooks in their giveaway section. It is print books only.

Until now, Goodreads has been a wonderful ‘crowd-sourcing’, review generating outlet. I hope it doesn’t lean too far toward its for-profit owner, but how could it not?

If Shelfari (Amazon’s other review site) is any indication of what’s to come, we can say goodbye to Goodreads and hello to whatever new book review platform Google or Apple might roll out. Maybe – just maybe, Amazon competitors are cheering…

What do you think?

Cover Reveal – Earth, Book Four

Finally!  The announcement can be made. ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ will be released on April 22, 2013. This is also Earth Day – how cool is that?!  For those of you buying via iTunes, ‘Earth’ may not be available for a couple weeks after the release date, as you may have experienced with ‘Fire’.   April 22 seem too far off?  Maybe I can satisfy you with the cover and blurb:

OMG – and please keep in mind it is ultra-hard to make dirt look magical!

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After an elemental apocalypse, the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.

 The hunt for Micah in a world that has gone dim leads Kaitlyn straight to Shawn and One Less. While struggling to survive, she battles a side of her that is as dark as the rest of the planet. In the exciting conclusion to The Akasha Series, our heroine is no longer a part of The Seven or One Less. Now she is on Team Kaitlyn; who will join her?

So here you have it – the complete cover set to The Akasha Series and a huge shout-out to Keary Taylor for the cover designs:

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I have to admit, I am nervous about releasing the conclusion to the series. ‘Earth’ is a different from the other books. The world has no power, Kaitlyn goes a little crazy, and Shawn tries to redeem himself. Be warned – this is no fairy tale ending. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think of it! Add it to your Goodreads TBR list now…

Orangeberry Favorites

This month I am participating in the Orangeberry Summer Splash Mini Book Tour Marathon; 100 authors, and 100 blogs. Featured genres include fantasy, science fiction, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery, thrillers and more.

The event is expected to raise awareness about the growing Indie publishing movement and offers readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how imaginary worlds and characters are created. The event includes interviews, book reviews, guest posts, a Kindle Fire giveaway and much more!

I finally got a chance to peruse the book tour myself and was excited over what I saw! Here are some of the highlights that stuck out for me:

Prettiest Participating Blog – Always a Book Lover

Once I clicked on Victoria’s book blogging website, I knew I had to include it on my favorites list.  Website design and the imagery bloggers put across their sites always amazes me, and  Victoria’s is straight out beautiful!

Favorite Participating Book – Two Moons of Sera by Pavarti Tyler

I had the chance to read this one a few months ago, and was instantly captivated by this world Pavarti created! I won’t rehash my review here, but check out the blurb:

In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother’s water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?

Would Most Like to Read:

The book tour has a lot of interesting reads to offer; two in particular are at the top of the list for me:

Song of the Fairy Queen by Valerie Douglas and Bactine by Paul Krater

Best Author interview – Lisa Scott, author of 15 Shades of Pink

There are a lot of interviews to go around. Authors answered 20 questions or more from a list of hundreds, and there are also ‘twitterviews’ all throughout August. By far, I thought Lisa’s interview was the best – it had me laughing all the way through!

Best New Feature: Page 99 Test

Okay, not sure if this is exactly new to book tours, but I’d never heard of it before. The Page 99  Test is an excellent way for readers to judge the writing of a book before buying it. See page 99 for my book, ‘Water’, here.

Biggest Thanks

A huge thanks to Pandora Poikilos for organizing the Orangeberry Summer Splash, and for the twitter blasts and twitterviews (see them by following @PandoraPoikilos).

Pandora Poikilos is the international best-selling author of ‘Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out’, along with several other novels and short stories. She is also the founder of Orangeberry Book Tours, and a social media enthusiast (close to 150,000 twitter followers), who is passionate about blogging and finding her way around the virtual world.

Connect with Pandora via e-mail (pandorapoikilos@gmail.com), on Facebook or at Amazon.