It’s My Birthday – Let Me Treat You!!!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I’m having a great day so far, and it is about to get better.  My husband has tickets (don’t know where), he got a babysitter (my oldest son), and told me to dress nice. Needless to say, I’m very excited! So…..

Let’s Have a Giveaway!!!

Okay, this morning started out a little discerning – at 5 am I woke to my 7 year-old standing over me with blood smeared all over his face and hands. He also had the widest grin I’ve ever seen. I pushed myself up, eyes wide.

“Something very exciting just happened!” he said.

My eyes got even wider.

“My wiggly tooth came out!”

* * *

As a good friend pointed out, there could have been much worse endings to that story. But I figure I’m just being prepped for the future.

So, to enter the giveaway, comment below with your BEST birthday story.  Good or bad, awesome or gruesome, it doesn’t matter. Then I will pick one winner to giveaway my entire selection of e-books. There will be  six in all, plus several short stories.

book cover string 2

THE RISING-final coverThe Kindred Curse Cover

So give me your best, and don’t forget to include your email so I can contact you (or email me with your contact info terra(dot)harmony11(at)gmail.com). The giveaway will close Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at midnight EST. Good luck!

My Cover’s Story

Beyond a good story, nothing is more important than the book’s cover (other than maybe the blurb, but that is a post for another time).  Creating the book cover is an exciting, gut-wrenching process for an author.  It is trying to convey the greatness of your masterpiece into one simple but striking visual image. And we usually don’t get it right the first time around. Case in point; the before and after pictures of my first novel, ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’:

BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER

The difference: the first cover is a product of my imagination. The second cover is a product of the artist’s imagination.

In creating the first cover, I just kept thinking of more stuff the cover should have and telling the artist to revise, revise, revise.  She did everything I asked her to do; her mistake.  After seeing the final product I sat back, looked at it, and thought, “What in the hell was I thinking?”  I paid the artist then hired another.  My decision was validated by a friend’s opinion, “It looks like a vagina.”

The second cover is a product of the artist’s imagination.  I gave her all the same instructions I gave the first artist, and she plain out said, “no.”

I tried again, giving her the simple instruction of, “Water.  Fantasy.  Go.”  And….voila.  A vagina-free masterpiece.  She came up with an attractive cover that pops against the black background.  The design was easily mimicked for all books in the series; Air, Fire and Earth, and even the boxed set. Branding at its best.

Air Cover ImageFire V2earth cover hand biggerAkasha Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She even did my vampire anthology cover:

 The Kindred Curse Cover

Love it!

Now that I am ready to publish a brand new series, I thought I knew enough about the business to take a crack at creating my own cover.  For ‘The Rising’, a mermaid, young adult fantasy trilogy, I came up with several versions:

The RisingThe Rising with tailThe Rising tail only

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sent it around.  My husband and mom loved it. No shocker there – they are biased.  But a few problems were quickly pointed out by the lovely ladies of Patchwork Press (my new partners in crime).  In the first version, there isn’t a real ‘mermaid’ element, all of them look too similar to my New Adult series (branding across genres isn’t always the best idea), and they are not very typical of young adult covers – which may or may not be a good thing.

I searched the internet for images, and came across this one on Deviant Art (you’ve seen it in my previous blog posts):

mermaid faceSadly, it has already been claimed as a book cover.

Grr! (If you are interested, click on the book cover image to purchase and read and let me know what you think!)

zerrin

Finally, I went back to the same amazing cover artist that did the Akasha Series covers, Keary Taylor. Turns out, she basically lives where the story takes place, and she was super excited to do a mermaid cover.  I turned her loose on my mermaid pinterest page for inspiration, and I am so excited to do the final cover reveal.  It turned out great!  Here is a sneak peak:

terra-cover-reveal-682x1024

Boo!  I know – you don’t get to see the whole thing yet! Stay tuned for a reveal in mid-September. Book Review Bloggers can sign up here to do a cover reveal on their own blog, plus sign up for the book tour and an ARC.  And be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR list!

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.

Scan 13

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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Water Cover Image_FinalAir Cover ImageFire V2earth cover hand biggerThe Kindred Curse Cover

Terra Harmony Joins Patchwork Press

PWP TwitterFB

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.

My Trip to Red Rocks, Final Battle in The Akasha Series

Kaitlyn’s adventure has ended. But mine is just beginning! I would love to visit each of the places in The Akasha Series (see my post here to read more about them), and I am going to start at the end.  Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado is the location of the final battle in ‘Earth’. I was fortunate to go there this weekend with my sister.  Fair warning – this post contains crap loads of pictures; hope it loads okay for you!

A young group of runners (pre-teen girls) going all the way to the top. Look at them go!
A young group of runners (pre-teen girls) going all the way to the top. Look at them go!
The stage at Red Rocks, right where Kaitlyn lands.
The stage at Red Rocks, right where Kaitlyn lands.

 

View from the bottom. This is what Kaitlyn sees when she lands. Except for at night - and filled with scary, menacing members of One Less - not exercisers and tourists.
View from the bottom. This is what Kaitlyn sees when she lands. Except for at night – and filled with scary, menacing members of One Less – not exercisers and tourists. I left my bottle of water all the way down here, not realizing until I was huffing and puffing at the top. For the record, I did not go back for it.

 

One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.
One of each of the cliffs on the sides, Creation Rock and Ship Rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my sister, Krista, the inspiration for the main character in my next series!
Me and my sister, Krista, the inspiration for the main character in my next series!

 

Me with a print copy of 'Earth'! I accidentally dropped it, so it is technically the only print version to have touched the Red Rocks themselves.  I gave it to my dad (sorry about the bent pages, dad).
Me with a print copy of ‘Earth’! I accidentally dropped it, so it is technically the only print version to have touched the Red Rocks themselves. I gave it to my dad (sorry about the bent pages, dad).

 

Some of the trees Kaitlyn uses as cover along the sides.
Some of the trees Kaitlyn uses as cover along the sides.

 

Did I mention how many people were there exercising?  It made me feel...inadequate.  I solaced myself in the fact that I was about to attempt the BoulderBoulder 10k run (well...run/walk...okaymostly walk).
Did I mention how many people were there exercising? It made me feel…inadequate. I solaced myself in the fact that I was about to attempt the BoulderBoulder 10k run (well…run/walk…okay mostly walk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More freakin' exercisers.
More freakin’ exercisers.

 

There is Downtown Denver!
There is Downtown Denver!
The bar at the pavilion at the top where Shawn keeps Micah.
The bar at the pavilion at the top where Shawn keeps Micah.

 

Hey Look - one of my favorite bands played there in 2012! Avett Brothers - wish I was there!
Hey Look – one of my favorite bands played there in 2012! Avett Brothers – wish I was there!

 

And there is my other favorite band - Mumford and Sons!
And there is my other favorite band – Mumford and Sons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love ya, Sis!
Love ya, Sis!

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean Passion

After publishing, ‘Earth’, the final book in The Akasha Series, I’ve had some great success with sales! Though I promised myself a short break, the sales are motivating me to begin my next series.  MERMAIDS AND WEREWOLVES Y’ALL!!!  I’m already several chapters in, and hope to have the first book published in/around September this year.  Until then, it will be my job to get you all excited about what goes on in the deep.  More importantly, I want you passionate about the health of our planet’s oceans. I’ve done a lot of research, and so far this video best portrays the dire situation. It is a documentary narrated by Sigourney Weaver, originally aired on Discovery Planet Green. Please take the time to watch this video (it’s 20 minutes – if you don’t have time now, bookmark it to watch later):

On a lighter note, if you aren’t already an email follower of my blog – sign up now!  Over the next few months, I’ll be posting snippets of my new series as I write it.  I have to know what you guys think!

Any Listeners Out There?

ImageWith the completion of The Akasha Series on the horizon, I am taking the plunge into the world of audio books. This is completely new and strange for me – I really never got into the whole audio book thing. I’m going with ACX who will publish the audio book on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. Several narrators have submitted auditions, and I find myself asking – what makes a good narrator? What allows an audio book to stand out from the rest?

Needless to say, I don’t have those answers.  Do you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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!

earth cover hand bigger

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:

Water Cover Image_FinalAir Cover ImageFire V2earth cover hand bigger

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…

Idea Contest

Readers – I need your help! I am currently writing the finale to ‘Earth’, the fourth and final book of the Akasha Series. There is, of course, a final battle between One Less (Shawn’s organization) and The Seven (or Team Kaitlyn, whichever you prefer to call it).

Needless to say, the elements involved have to awesome. I am playing mix and match with some of the elements and have come up with a few ideas – but I need more. Rack your brains for some super cool storms. To you get you started, here is what I’ve done:

Combine Air and Fire for:

fire tornado
Fire Tornado

 

Combine Earth and Air for:

Sandstorm
Sandstorm

Just your typical sandstorm – but when you add a dash of frozen water, imagine the destruction with flying mud balls. Hard to dodge when all you see is sand.  That may be a stretch, but we are just throwing around ideas here. If it helps, the final battle location will be in the USA – Colorado to be exact. I am leaning toward the Red Rocks Amphitheatre where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. What better place for a final showdown for ‘Earth’? Red Rocks is a geological phenomenon – the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world. Come to think of it, I might have to use something to do with sound in the final battle.

Just comment below with your ideas – or feel free to email me directly at terra.harmony11@gmail.com.

What will you win?

If I choose any part of your idea I will write a character for you in ‘Earth’!!! The character will be based on your answers from a list of questions I send you. I will also send you a complete set of the entire Akasha Saga once ‘Earth’ is released; either in digital or print format.

So, let’s get brainstorming. Let me know what you come up with!

Contest details: No purchase necessary. You must comment with an idea or send me an email with your idea to be eligible. There can be more than one winner. Deadline to submit ideas is December 21st, 2012 at midnight. By submitting your idea – you are giving me permission to use it in ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ for no monetary reimbursement.

 

‘Earth’, Free First Chapter and NaNoWriMo

Yesterday morning I embarked on a journey. A 50,000 word journey. That’s right folks, it is NaNoWriMo time (National Write a Novel in a Month). Why, oh, why do they insist on starting it the day after Halloween? Each year, I stay up too late, drink too much wine,  and worse – eat way too much chocolate. The morning after a chocolate binge is never pretty.

But I was determined to start my journey out on the right foot. I used that foot to stumble to the kitchen, and on my way to the coffee machine, managed to bypass this:

That’s right – I didn’t pause to clean the dang kitchen. Coffee in hand, I moaned my way to my laptop, bypassing this:

Yep. Didn’t take out the trash…or the recycling. Yay, me! I sat down and finished up my daily goal; 2,000 words before the kids got up. By the end of the month, I’ll have finished up ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ and get started on a brand new series. Speaking of, I recently posted the first chapters of ‘Water‘, ‘Air‘, and ‘Fire‘. Wanna read the first chapter of ‘Earth’?

Please keep in mind it is a rough draft; hasn’t been through any editors. The rest of the book will follow…next Spring!

Earth, Chapter One: Inside Voices

The Greenbrier is a Cold War era underground bunker buried 720 feet into the hillside of White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. Each of the four entrances are protected by large steel and concrete doors designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Alex and I were standing outside the gated fence, trying to figure out how to break in.

“The west and east entrances are vehicular tunnels,” said Alex, handing me his binoculars. “This one here is the west entrance.”

I focused the binoculars in on a large ‘high voltage’ warning sign at the door.

“Do you think Akasha can burn through that baby?” Alex asked.

“Maybe,” I sighed, handing the binoculars back. “But do we really want to risk a high-profile entrance?”

Footsteps in the woods to our backs caused us both to duck down. I peered under a thick, prickly bush. Susan’s footsteps came into view. I stood, unsuccessfully avoiding sharp thorns.

“Ow!”

Susan started at my outburst. Bee squealed with delight, “Mommy!”

She ran straight for me, and the thorns. “Oh, honey – watch out!” I scooped her up before she suffered the same fate. She squealed again.

“More!” She demanded as soon as I set her down.

“Um, excuse me everyone – we are in surveillance mode here. We need to use our inside voices.”

“Tell that to the two-year old,” I said. Alex was right, but leaving Bee behind wasn’t exactly an option.

Bee took the hint and ran to Alex, “More Unka Alek, more!”

He smiled down at her, “I can’t refuse my best lady. But can you be quiet when I lift you up?”

She nodded her head as fast as she could, practically hopping in anticipation. Alex lifted her up so fast her feet flew in the air above her head. To her credit, not one sound escaped her lips. She could be quiet if she wanted; she just had to be properly motivated.

“What did you find out?” I asked Susan.

“Hotel is operational. Well, as far as hotels can be, these days. But the tours have been cancelled since Daybreak. Electricity is too unreliable to lead tourists underground.”

“Either that, or the facilities are actually in use.” Alex said.

Bee automatically demanded more lifts at his sudden shift in focus. I dug around in my backpack for the stash of honeysuckle I found the day before. “Here,” I handed her the entire bag. “Let the grownups plan their break in.”

“Bake in, bake in,” chanted Bee, plopping down on the ground, already diving in to her new treat.

I smiled, then turned back to the west entrance and frowned. “Let’s camp out for a night – see if there is any activity in or out.”

“What about the other entrances?” Alex asked.

“We could split up,” I suggested.

Susan groaned. “I hate spending the night alone, outside.”

You won’t be outside. You can go back to the hotel; find out more.” Alex said.

“And you won’t be alone, you’ll have Bee.” I said. The three of us looked down at her, still sitting at our feet. Several white flowers already sat crumpled by her side, having been deprived of all their sweet nectar.

In a world with only intermittent power, traditional packaged goods – including candy – along with a long list of other necessities, were scarce. Honeysuckle soon became a treat of choice. Last fall, we also discovered its medicinal properties when Alex came up with a concoction infused with honeysuckle and applied it to the poison ivy rash that covered my legs. After that, I had traded all of my shorts for a few pairs of Susan’s pants. They were long, but a few rolls around my ankles added protection from poisonous plants and bugs.

“Let’s meet back here an hour after dawn tomorrow,” Alex said.

Susan stuck out her lip.

Alex rolled his eyes, “Ok, two hours after dawn. Put that lip back in before I bite it.”

Susan smiled, raising one eyebrow, “Bite me and I’ll bite you back.” She moved a step closer to him.

“Is that a promise?” he asked, closing the distance between them.

I turned my back just in time to hear kissing sounds. The open romance between Alex and Susan was a long time coming, and I was happy for both of them, but with every passing day it made me long for Micah more and more. He’d been missing since a few weeks before Daybreak.

The kissing noises were still coming. I sighed and squat down by Bee, “It’s rude to stare, honey.” The few honeysuckle that remained were forgotten.

She shifted her gaze to me, stuck out her lips and said, “Kiss, kiss!”

I laughed an obliged, then gathered her in my arms, “You’re going to stay with Aunt Susan tonight. Be good, okay?”

“Otay!”

I kissed her again.

“Enough with the smooching you two,” Susan interrupted. I passed Bee over. “We’re going to be late for girl’s night out.”

“Make sure she gets a bath – and check her for ticks.” I dug in my backpack for the only bar of soap the four of us shared.

“We’ll do the usual pampering session,” Susan promised.

“And you get double duty tomorrow night.” I said.

“Done.” A night out of the woods was totally worth it for Susan.

“Bye, Bee.”

She waved, and I watched them walk away as Bee fiddled with the soap.

“She’ll be fine, mama.” Alex said, slinging his arm over my shoulder.

“I know. I just wish…” I trailed off. Alex didn’t need to hear all about how Micah was missing out on Bee, again.

“You wish what?” he asked.

I leaned into him, nose first, and sniffed. “I wish we had another bar of soap.”

___________

Hope you liked it!  I would love to get feedback on this chapter.  Please comment or feel free to email me at: terra.harmony11@gmail.com. Don’t forget to get ‘Water, Book One’ now free pretty much everywhere as an ebook.  ‘Air, Book Two‘ is at a special price of $2.99.