Romance Weekly- It’s Giveaway day!

RW Banner

As you may have noticed, the past few week I have been linking to a rafflecopter giveaway on my romance weekly posts.

Well, today is giveaway day!

Good luck to everyone who entered.

If you didn’t, why not pop over to our event page? There are some great fun things happening, including even more giveaways :D

Who doesn’t want to be in with the chance to win some great book by amazing authors?

Head on over and join the fun!

Using the Visual

I was flicking through one of my favourite book series, The Jack West Jr series by Matthew Reilly, and noticed the use of maps and diagrams throughout his book. I never really paid attention to them before, I mean, I looked at them obviously, but I hadn’t really thought about his use of illustration throughout his work.

The diagrams he uses help to explain rather complicated contraptions, and they are useful in just being able to look over once to get an idea of what is happening and where everything is.

In my current book, Prophecy of Stones, I have also added illustration. Not in such a way as diagrams of traps, but I have used a map and also added runes.

When I planned this book I really wanted there to be a map, as I love maps in fantasy books. I think it adds something to the feel of another world and culture. But, also, the group of characters in the story are going on a journey, and I thought having a map would help readers quickly visualise where it is the characters are having to go. So, I plotted the route and drew a map, one that I hoped would be accessible to all types of reader.

Map of Lahrinn:

Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Prophecy of Stones is also the first time I have written a book using multiple POVs. This wasn’t just a writing choice, but also because it suited the story, which revolves around three champions of the prophecy, and I wanted the story told from each of their varying points of view.

To help readers understand when the point of view changes, I have separated them using chapters, but also I created a separate rune to add to the header of each chapter.

Strength

Heart

Copyright- Mishka Jenkins Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Being a very visual person, I enjoyed the look that these small illustrations give to my work. But also, because I created them and drew them myself, it also adds a uniqueness to my book that I hope readers will enjoy and appreciate.

Adding them into an eBook, especially to the Kindle, has been a fighting process, but one I managed to achieve in the end! :D

Prophecy of Stones will be released on July 31st 2014!

Do you enjoy illustrations in books? Do you like maps in fantasy stories? Do you think they can add to a book or do you think detract? Have you ever tried to add pictures to an eBook?

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Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Final read-out. Formatting. Marketing.

Books read: 3/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

Just sit down and read!

Lately I have been struggling to read as much as I want. I think it’s because I fell out of the habit a while back and now it’s difficult trying to get back into it. Getting into that regular routine is much harder than it should be.

Recently, Callum posted about his approach of reading little and often, which got me thinking about how I could better my reading routine.

So, to try and help myself find a better schedule, but also just to motivate me to read more in general, I have decided to make every Wednesday a post about reading and books by others. And I am going to write an extra book review a month.

I will probably post the new book review in the middle of the month, and it will be either traditional published or indie published, but my end of month book review will still always be indie/self-published books.

I’m going to try reading for an hour and a half on an afternoon, rather than trying to read on a night, which I have been failing at. I read an article somewhere that changing the time you read might work well, so I’m going to attempt to give it a go :D

My goal is to still read 4 books a month, and maybe I can work my way to upping that number by next year.

Remember, if you would like me to review your book, then just drop me an email :)

Do you have any tips on creating a good reading routine? How many books do you manage to read in a month? When do you find the best time to read is- day or night?

Also HUGE thank you to Winter Bayne and S.R.Carrillo for helping with my cover reveal, and to all of you who tweeted and reblogged! I am always so grateful for your support :)

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Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Final read-out and Marketing.

Books read: 3/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

At the Break of Dawn

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr

A few people commented on my Romance Weekly blog post at how they were impressed that I had such a set schedule for my writing and could stick to it.

For a start I have to say I am very lucky to be able to write full time, so that is a major help, as that is pretty much all I concentrate my effort on. I realise a lot of people can’t do this as they have full time jobs, children, etc.

But the comments got me thinking about my routine for writing and if I could change, would I?

The answer is yes.

I wouldn’t change how long I write for, well, I would like to up the amount of hours I write, but I would change at what time of day I write.

I generally settle down to start writing at about 9:30am, after my morning chores have been completed. I write until around 12:30pm at which time I then check my blog, post a blog post and do all my social media and things which can take up the rest of the day.

It’s a good routine that works for me, but if I could I would change the time I write to about 4:30am.

Yes.

4:30. In the morning :D

I am not a morning person, if I’m honest I’m not really a ‘day’ person. I am very much a night owl and can easily (and happily) stay up all night until the early hours of the morning and sleep all day. Most of my best work is done at night!

Dawn usually breaks at about 4am here, and wow, it’s an incredible time. It’s so quiet with only the birds chirping, and the light is soft and soothing. No one is around, which means I can concentrate and give everything to my writing.

There is something amazing about dawn, it feels slightly dream-like, and it is my ideal writing time.

Unfortunately I can’t write at this time, my dog wouldn’t be too happy about that! Plus everyone else is up during the day, so to get things done I need to be to talk to them at regular hours, like normal people :D

It did make me think though, about other writers and their favourite times to write. Not everyone likes the same routine and I find it interesting (‘cause I’m completely nosey) to learn the best ways others like to write.

What time is your favourite time to write? Are you a day or night person? Would you change your writing routine if you could? Do you even have a writing routine?

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Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Completing edits from the readers.

Books read: 2/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

A break from the norm

There is no Romance Weekly blog post this week, due to most of the writers being at the RWA Nationals :)

As such, I just wanted to take the chance to post some of the reviews I’ve received for my books because, well, I’m kinda chuffed with them :D

Melissa Barker-Simpson posted her review of Heart of the Arena (5* on Amazon), which had me smiling all day yesterday!
http://writingroom101.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/heart-of-the-arena-by-mishka-jenkins/

Heart of the Arena has had two 5* reviews and two 4* reviews.

I had my first review for The Queen’s Jester (4* review), which I can say I was pretty pleased with!
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1001795538?book_show_action=true&page=1

‘Not sure what I was expecting when I started this book, colour me surprised when I finished it. I’d completed it in a couple of hours and was actually disappointed that it ended.
I found the story well written and fast paced, filled with Romance, intrigue and suspense. A story that had me guessing till the end as to what would unfold for Queen Marie, her husband King Warrick and her Jester..
With out giving anything away “no spoilers”…. I was amazed with the unexpected twist at the end and was pleased with how the author ended the story. I was left with that oh so wonderful feeling that, YES!!! that’s how I wanted it to end…

Would recommend this book to all fans of romance ..’

As for Stolen Bloodline, I’ve had three 5* reviews on Amazon!

I’m definitely having a positive day! :D

The best way for indie/self-published authors to sell books is through reviews and word of mouth, so if you do enjoy a book then why not leave a quick review? Your support will always be appreciated :)

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Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Completing edits from the readers.

Books read: 2/4

Status of July eBook review: Written and ready.

Prophecy of Stones- Cover reveal!

Here it is, the big reveal of my next book :D

ProphecyCover

Blurb:

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

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Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they will activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

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Excerpt:

The cottage was as cosy on the inside as it looked on the outside: yellow washed walls, white vases brimming with pink blossoms and a square table covered in a lace cloth. Kai pursed his lips, thinking that the decoration didn’t really suit the tense woman, who now stood to one side with her arms folded and a pensive frown lining her brow.

“This is nice,” Otto remarked with slow words, glancing around the room before turning to Cosmas with wide eyes and a raised brow. His bond mate shrugged at his reaction.

“I don’t want to guess why you’re here,” Milana said and ran her fingers through her shoulder length, straight blonde hair. Then her attentions turned on Kai, who shifted under her heavy gaze, as though she could see right through him. His skin burned red and he plopped down onto the chair beside the table. “But I am thinking that with his presence, your visit isn’t purely social.”

“Always so perceptive, Milana,” Sindrin said with a grin, sitting down on the wide window seat and propping his feet onto the top of the table.

“Always such good manners, Sindrin,” she replied, shoving his feet off so as they thumped to the ground.

Kai frowned at the familiar and somewhat jovial interaction. Did they know each other too? He had never been allowed access to the records about the prophecy, Kai had assumed the council kept this from him so as he wouldn’t make judgements about those who would be aiding in the quest. But he had heard tales, and so far, the real heart and strength were nothing as he had envisioned.

Glancing around, it was then he noticed Riff was not with them.

“It is time,” the council servant said, bringing Kai back to the conversation.

“Not for me,” Milana replied, crossing her arms once again.

“You cannot refuse your destiny,” the man shouted, slamming his fist down onto the table, a vase wobbling precariously at the force. Kai flinched, it was the first time he’d seen any council servant express emotion, especially with such a strong reaction.

Milana was unmoved by the display. “I don’t care for destiny.”

“It is not just your fate that is decided in these times. It is the livelihood of all of us, including your friends,” the red-robed man said, spreading his arms out to gesture to the people gathered behind him. Once again, it seemed that this group was more familiar with each other than Kai had thought. He bit his lip to stop the questions spouting from his lips.

“I would really prefer to live,” Sindrin added with a shrug.

“You have hidden from the world and this prophecy for too long,” the council servant said. “The council have allowed it-“

“Allowed it?” Milana straightened herself and Kai swallowed hard at the sudden tense atmosphere that had developed, like the brewing clouds of an oncoming storm. He shrunk down in his chair beneath the weight of it.

“You are a part of this world, Milana,” Otto interrupted, gripping the shoulder of the councilman and yanking him back, trying to diffuse the tension. “And the world is dying.”

“I know.” Milana softened as she spoke to Otto, turning her gaze away and frowning.

“You cannot blame the council for what happened back then.”

“We all suffered, Milana,” Cosmas said, leaning across the table she’d taken a seat at to get closer.

“I know!” Milana repeated, closing her eyes as though it were too painful to keep them open. Kai’s heart grew heavy at the emptiness that creased the woman’s brow, and again he pressed his lips together to avoid asking what it was that had happened.

“You are one of the prophecy.” The council servant interrupted the silent, sullen moment, Milana bristling at his voice. “It is your duty to give this world back its life and peace, your duty to the Ancients and their council.”

The hollowness was gone, replaced by anger that curled her lip. “You can say nothing to convince me, servant.” She sneered at him, advancing with stiff shoulders towards the man. Kai’s brow rose, surprised to see the servant retreat a step, though he couldn’t blame the man; she may have been shorter than him, but she was as threatening as an angered wolf. Her fists were balled up with barely contained rage. “You cannot sell your false promises of a world of peace to someone who has seen the price of it!”

“You must go,” the council servant protested, but his voice quavered and he stumbled back into a chair as she loomed over him. Kai gripped his satchel and tightened his lips, fearing to let any noise escape him.

“I will not,” she said through gritted teeth. No one refused the council, no one dared, but glancing between the quivering servant and the small but intimidating woman leaning over him, it seemed she would. This woman was far from the embodiment of heart she was supposed to be and Kai was relieved she didn’t want to travel with them, his palms sweating at the thought.

The door suddenly creaked open and Riff stepped inside, ducking beneath the frame and bringing with him a much-needed gust of cool air, which blew away the hostility in the room.

It was in that moment that Kai watched in confusion as Milana’s angered expression drained, replaced by something else, an expression Kai couldn’t quite recognise. Her lips parted, her breath slowed and her once narrowed eyes, widened and glistened. For the first time since entering the house, the threat pulsing from her dissolved.

“Riff…” She breathed his name, which seemed to struggle to make it from her mouth.

There was a silence that invaded the room, so thick it threatened to choke Kai and he gasped in short pants at the air as he remained silent.

“Hello, Milana,” Riff replied, to which she blinked a few times, as though the man before her were not real.

“Guess we know what she was hiding from,” Sindrin muttered from behind his hand, receiving a swift kick to the shin from Otto. “Ow!”

Milana and Riff continued to stare at each other, apparently forgetting that anyone else was in the room.

There we have it, my next book! :D I’m so excited.

Prophecy of Stones is a fantasy romance and a tale of love, adventure and discovery!

It will be released on July 31st.

I made the cover myself, the runes on the front I also created and drew, and are specific to the story inside.

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What do you guys think? Does it sound like something you’ve be interested in reading? Did you enjoy the excerpt?