by Emily Ann Ward

Shifting Light: a fantasy/romance novella from the Protectors Series

Today I’m sharing an upcoming release. This is one book you don’t want to miss! The Kickstarter to this book will be available today here. You will be able to get a copy of ELECTED in hardcover and/or paperback with a free ebook, a lot of special limited-edition items and other free books. Don’t wait, get your copy today!

by Rori Shay

Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publisher:Silence in the Library Publishing

It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. Aloy hopes to govern like her father, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is stepping out of the shadows, and as turmoil grows within her country, cryptic threats also arrive from beyond the borders.

As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret – the boy who is somehow connected to her country’s recent upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.

headshot_Rori_ShayAbout the Author:
Rori Shay is an author living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, daughters, black lab, and cat – just not quite in the same exciting circumstances as ELECTED’s main character, Aloy. She enjoys running, gardening, reading, doing yoga, and volunteering with the Dwelling Place non-profit. Rori is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Author social media links:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

~Items seen in ELECTED such as a marriage binding (temporary tattoo)
~Hemlock soap
~Necklace as seen in ELECTED
~Signed paperback copy of ELECTED
~Optional FaceTime or Skype session with the author for 1/2 an hour (can be used one-on-one or at the winner’s book club, etc.)

Elected Giveaway


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Scribd now has a subscription service for books. For $8.99 a month, readers gain access to more than 100,000 books. (Some places, I’ve seen 300k, but from Scribd’s website and app, it says 100,000+)

Smashwords has worked out a deal with Scribd for distribution of self-published books into Scribd’s catalog. Your books are opted in automatically, and authors receive 60% of list price after customers read 30% of your book. The first 10% is a free sample, and the next 20% can be any part of your book. (The “any part” is only important to nonfiction writers, because who would jump to the middle of a novel to read 20% of it?)

Smashwords authors also get a free subscription for a year, which is valued at about $100. You should have received the email already — once you activate your subscription, you can see the available books you can read yourself. Scribd also allows you to make an author page. You can see a screenshot of mine here:

Scribd Profile

Scribd Books

It has all the books you’ve authored, which makes this a great link to share on social media. The interface is smooth, and readers have the option to read your book in “Standard” or “Book” view.

Scribd Single Book

Scribd Single Book

They’ve also been quick to update their catalog. I unpublished a few free short stories on Smashwords because they can be found in a collection, and within days, they were taken down from the Scribd view.

Scribd is available online in your browser and you can also download apps for it. You can login with Facebook, or you can make a new account. So far, from a writers perspective, Scribd seems pretty promising. They have a great interface I like directing people to.

I don’t know how many reads will come from such a subscription service. Plenty of people will pay for a subscription, but only read one or two books a month. For Oyster Books, a similar service, as of February 28th 2014, I had no reads for either of my author names. I don’t think it’s going to be extremely lucrative, at least not unless your name is well known. But I’m still glad I have the opportunity to have my books in these catalogs.

I will be posting Part 2: For Readers, on Guild of Dreams April 15th. What do Scribd and Oyster Books have to offer readers? Is one better than the other? Visit us on 4/15 to see! I will eventually repost it here, too.


A Week in Pictures

April 4th, 2014

I found a prompt recently from DuolitShare a photo from your life for each day in a typical week.

It’s harder than I thought it would be! Mainly because for the past couple years, my routine has changed a lot. I got back into school, which meant my schedule changed every couple months with new classes. Now I’ve graduated and I have my degree. I’m working at a bookstore where my schedule changes a lot, and also working at home on the side, so my day-to-day activities aren’t that consistent. But I like pictures, and I’m up to the challenge!


For the last couple months, I’ve been working on Sundays. I work at a local bookstore, and it’s a lot of fun. I get a discount and I have to exercise self-control daily. I work with great coworkers who make awesome displays like this:

(c) Book Bin East

Every now and then, they’ll trust me with a display, too. Imagine that.


I live in a great city and a great state. Even though it’s been the winter, every now and then I’ll actually get outside and breathe in fresh air! We need to be planting our garden soon, actually, and soon it’ll be warm enough to have fires in the backyard.

(c) Emily Ann Ward


(c) Girly Girl Book Reviews

The daily highs and lows of a writer.


I have two cats, and they do stuff like this:

(c) Chris Ward

I also do a lot of stuff on my Macbook while sitting on that couch (as I am right now), so this is a fitting picture.


I love my family, and we constantly have a coupe group texts going on. Throughout the week, I get gems like this from my sister Bethany, who really wants me to write Promising Power (it says Mom, but she used her phone):

(c) Emily Ann Ward

As you can see from the date and the old layout, I am taking way too long.


Friday, I try to get ready for Shabbat on Saturday. I have different degrees of success. But nights are usually when I hang out with Chris and my friends. And we do stupid stuff like this.

(c) Cara Eggers


I set aside Saturdays for rest and for God. Or I at least try to. Occasionally, it’s the only day of the week we’re together and we can both go shopping, or I just sleep in and watch Netflix all day. But usually, Chris and I can be found at our congregation with our second family. I’m not sure if anyone in those pictures would be comfortable being on some random blog, so I’ll leave you with me dressed up for Purim as a Persian Cat.

(c) Chris Ward

That’s my week. Exciting, huh? I didn’t even mention the hot lava or the princess who is in another castle.

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My Writing Process Blog Hop

April 1st, 2014

My awesome author friend, Celesta Thiessen, tagged me in this writing blog hop. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to answer the following four questions. I’m up for the task!

1) What am I working on?

Promising Power, the last in the trilogy of the Protectors series. I’m finishing a big story, one I’ve been working on for years. Characters are moving into place as things come to a close. It’s crazy! Here’s the most recent sentence I’ve written:

These reminders, these memories, were too painful right now, cutting into her and threatening to take over.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Good question. And a hard one! I know everyone’s a little different, every author has strengths and weaknesses and their unique styles. Personally, I try to focus on the relationships that are driving the plot. How my characters interact with friends, family, lovers, and enemies is important to me. I want it to be realistic. It’s one of the reasons I love writing, to see how humans relate — or don’t relate at all — to one another.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I like playing with the impossible, with magic and those things we never see in real life. It’s fun. Anything can happen. I also like writing young adult because it’s such a transformative time in our lives. Characters learn so much as they come into their personality and become their own person.

4) How does your writing process work?

I get an idea and I start writing. Once I’m a little bit into the story, when I know it’s not just a passing fancy and I want to write an entire book, I will step back and do some rough outlining. I ask what the characters want, how their wants conflict with each others’ wants and needs, what I want to accomplish, and try to figure out how I’m going to do all of that. Then I write the rest of the book. A first draft, if I’m working on just one at a time and not jumping from book to book, will take me 3-4 months to finish.


I didn’t really have the initiative to tag anyone, though those were part of the instructions. I know! I’m horrible! So, if you’re a writer, tell us, what’s your writing process?

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Recently, the publisher I work for, Entranced Publishing, shut down. You can read the entire strange account of what happened on Writer Beware’s blog. I will summarize here: Entranced had a promising start with a mission statement to put out quality YA and Romance books. The staff was experienced, and we took our time launching and editing books. Unfortunately, through a series of mishaps, the press slowly went downhill.

As you can read in the post, many of these things can be attributed to our Executive Editor, the woman in charge of everything. She was the one who had access to financial accounts and vendors who gave her sales reports. Staff and authors were paid once, last summer, and haven’t been paid since.

My point in making this point is not to slander Ashley. I’m not interested in that. She knows what she did, and now dozens of other people do, too.

I posted a blog post called Navigating Ebook Publishers nearly two years ago, giving tips to authors on how to examine ebook publishers. And yet, I ended up working for one that would prove to be a short-lived juncture that left authors with orphaned books and staff with nothing to show for their hard work. What did I miss? What did the authors miss? Were there glaring signs that we were blind to? Were the authors just desperate for their work to be published?

No. Entranced was very promising when we first started out. We had a strong contract. We had a good staff that was organized well. But the person in charge failed everyone else who put their trust in her. She started strong, but after too many mistakes, she wasn’t interested in mending them and doing things right, or in stepping down and finding someone to actually take over. She persisted for months after it was clear things weren’t working, then she placed responsibility on “Bob” and shut the press down.

While I stand by my previous post, I’d also like to offer authors these extra tips:

Look for transparency.

It may seem rude or nosy, but you’re trusting these people with your hard work. Ask exactly who will be involved with the financial statements. See how many people will be in charge of the publisher’s account. Tell them you want to know what kind of accountability will be in place. Ask how often you’ll get statements. Some people aren’t going to feel comfortable asking this, but you can point to this exact situation and use it for your reasoning.


If it’s a new press, you can always let things sit for a year. If there are problems, they’ll be exposed in time. They may be smoothed out or they may kill the publisher, as ours did. There is nothing wrong with not taking the risk on a new publisher.

Sometimes, you can do all the right things, and you still end up in a situation like this. Entranced authors weren’t desperate, and neither was the staff. Things like this happen.

I know we’re all ready to move on to bigger and better things. Hopefully our experiences can help other authors (and editors and cover artists and other staff members) avoid publishers who seem promising but are led by people who can’t follow through on those promises.

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Write What You Know?

March 28th, 2014

How many times have you heard the writing adage “Write What You Know”? This is a saying so old, that who originally said it has been lost. Of course, it’s attributed to Mark Twain, but what quote isn’t these days?

(c) Adam “Ape Lad” Koford:

But this quote… what does it mean for writers? I certainly don’t think it means write only what you know. If all writers did that, we’d all be writing memoirs or thinly veiled autobiographical novels.

For example, I write fantasy, even though I’ve never fulfilled a prophecy. I write from a male’s point of view even though I’ve always been a female. Many of our writing assignments in classes are writing from strange points of view (once I got an assignment to write from the perspective of a table) or writing about things we’ve never experienced firsthand.

I’ve also written about relationships I’ve never been apart of: I’ve written as an only child, I’ve written about battles and wars.

Yet always, something will surface in my writing that I have firsthand experience with. It’s inevitable — I’m human and I’m writing about humans. (Even if I weren’t writing about humans — if, say, my characters were cats, I’d probably be humanizing them. Plus I’ll always be writing for a human audience.) So, I may not know what it’s like to lose a parent, but I know what it’s like to love a parent. I may not have ever been to the catacombs of Paris myself, but I know what it’s like to be

This has never been a problem for me as a writer. If I haven’t experienced something myself, I just imagine what it’d be like. I’ve always been an empathetic person, and I think this really factors into my writing. If I can’t imagine what it’d be like, I do research. What is it like to be shot in the side? What’s the weather like in New York during April? It’s not hard to figure out those things for someone who is interested.

Emotional things are harder to figure out. If you’ve never experienced PTSD or been a parent or suffered from anxiety, how do you write about it? It’s a different kind of research, but you can figure it out. Psychology classes and articles; talking to others who have experienced that emotion can help. Reading other fiction can be an invaluable tool, too. You can see how such-and-such author dealt with it.

Not interested in reading? As the King said,

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ~Stephen King

You may not know what you’re writing, but you can know enough to make it believable. You can even know it, in a way, by experiencing it through your characters. You know how some parents live vicariously through their children? Writers can live through their characters. So can readers.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~George RR Martin

Sometimes you want to write what you know, but if you don’t know, you can still write.

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Today, I have a guest post from the fantastic Lisa Nowak. Her book, the McCall Initiative, is set in my very own Pacific Northwest! and guess what? The first episode is free. Read about how she got the idea, and more about the book…

* * * *

Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.

“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.

Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.

Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.

McCall Initiative cover

What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States?

The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors—until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.

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2014: the Year of Goodbyes

February 2nd, 2014

So many good series are ending this year. All good things must come to an end, I guess, but I want to hold onto them forever! Here they are, in all their glory…

Tempest Trilogy

Julie Cross


Timestorm: January 28th!! I have this book in my purse, you guys!

I am really digging time travel. But not time travel where they go to the past, like some Victorian era or they fall in love with Scottish knights. No, I’m digging the science fiction time travel where they have to deal with paradoxes or prevent a dystopian world or something. This series kicked it off, All Our Yesterdays fueled it, and now I want more more MORE!

Start the series with Tempest.

Shatter Me series

Tahereh Mafi


Ignite Me: February 4th

A dystopian series, yes, but let’s not kid ourselves, the real strength of this series is its romance. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, but this one is a big one and one I definitely approve of. Because it’s going to end in the favor of the right guy, I can just feel it. Not to mention its beautiful, stream-of-consciousness writing.

Start the series with Shatter Me.

The Mortal Instruments series

Cassandra Clare


City of Heavenly Fire: May 27th

She has made quite a success from these Shadowhunters, hasn’t she? She probably spends her evenings rolling around in money and eating bon bons. She’d be crazy not to. She’s found her audience, and people are loving these books. I’m one of them. These books are addicting, and they get better as she grows as a writer. I still think the Infernal Devices is better, though. So if you don’t like TMI, try Clockwork Angel.

Start the series with City of Bones.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

Laini Taylor


Dreams of Gods and Monsters: April 17th

Ughhh, Laini Taylor, why do you have to be so awesome?? Not only do you have beautiful pink hair, you have my envy. Your writing is so beautiful. This is a fantasy book with angels, a Romeo and Juliet story, past lives, and the descriptive skills to make Tolkien jealous.

Start the series with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

The Grisha

Leigh Bardugo


Ruin and Rishing: June 3rd

Pretty sure Bargudo and Taylor are clones in some other life. If you like one series, If eel like you’re bound to like the other, as well. Bardugo’s is set in a completely different fantasy world, but it has that same feel of foreignness, that dark, doomed romance, and a main character to kill for.

Start the series with Siege and Storm.

Lux series

Jennifer L. Armentrout

No cover yet!

Opposition: August 5th

A paranormal romance set up, but with aliens and science fiction! JLA is the queen of addicting writing. Origin suffered a bit, in my opinion, from the NA craze and wasn’t so much about the scifi. I’m hoping for a big bang of an ending.

Start the series with Obsidian.

Elemental series

Brigid Kemmerer

No cover yet!

Sacrifice: September

Armentrout and Kemmerer are also writing twins. The elemental series had FIVE hot guys, though! Each book in her series focuses on a different one. They are heavy on the romance and the emotional issues of the teens, but the last third of her books never fail to deliver when it comes to action and kick-ass powers.

Start the series with Storm.

Writing this list is surreal. There are some of my favorite series, my favorite authors! What am I going to wait for after this year? Am I going to have to start new series??

Well, here’s to journeys with amazing authors who tell beautiful stories. Here’s to finding a new thing to obsess over ;)

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Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.

Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.

Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.

Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—or he’ll lose his family.

Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.

Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers.There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

Secret is the fourth book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer and fortunately, not the last! We have one more after this one, called Sacrifice, which focuses on Michael, the oldest Merrick brother.

But Secret is about Nick. The air elemental of the family. He’s also the reliable one, the smart one, the nice one, the one with a lot on his shoulders. If you read Breathless, and you really should before reading this one since it doesn’t explain what happens in that one too well, then you know what this book will be about. Along with Nick, the POV is split up with Quinn, his “girlfriend” and Becca’s best friend. She has a not-so-great family life and some nights is unsure where she’s even going to sleep.

As usual, this book does not let you put it down. I couldn’t stop reading! She does teen drama so well, making it relatable and realistic. The characters are flawed–you see where they mess up, and you want them to get it right, and when they do, you cheer them on. Sometimes they are a bit too flawed–Quinn, for example. I like her because she is very realistic, but there are some things about her that bother me. She was a bit melodramatic. But in the end, we see her get it together.

More than the others, this book is about the characters’ journey. It’s about the emotional conflict for Nick in keeping his true self form his brothers, and for Quinn, it’s about the family and self-esteem issues she deals with. We also find out a lot of backstory of the Merricks and Tyler.

The shocking prologue shows you an even darker side of the guides. It left me wanting to see more bad guys! Especially because the action–the kickass fight scenes and the drama with the Guides–is lacking compared to the other books. It really is more about Nick and Quinn and how they overcome their individual issues. The ending is when it really kicks up a notch, and I couldn’t stop reading during the last third. I love the climaxes of her books, how the characters get one punch after another, and you just can’t get enough breath in your lungs. The endings are generally the best and yet also the worst because you know you have to wait 6-12 more months for the next book. Sacrifice comes out in September!


What’s with this cover? New designer? The different model (unless it’s supposed to be Tyler?), way different tone, that bright yellow font? But that’s just the designer in me talking.

There is homosexuality in this book. If that irks you, go find another book.

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Who knows me?

October 10th, 2013

Who knows me better? Google or my next-door neighbors?

Google. Hands down.

My neighbors know very little about me. They know I’m married, that my husband and I own our house. They know what kind of a car we drive. They know we have two cats. They know the kind of clothes I wear, jeans when it’s cold, skirts and dresses when it’s warm. They know I like to have friends over every now and then, and fires in the backyard. They know my husband and I got a dog but then found we didn’t have time for a stubborn, energetic 9-month old puppy. They know my husband better than me since he’s out in the yard more often.
To be honest, that might be all they know about me.

Google, though?

I’m logged in to Google all the time. I use it for my job with Entranced publishing, so it knows about my job as an editor. It knows my thoughts on submissions since we use Google forms to submit assessments. It can read excerpts of my stories since I use Google Drive every now and then.

My old blog was on Blogspot, so they know all about my books, my writing habits, my book reviews, my book/movie comparison posts, my writing prompts, and my random posts.

I don’t use gmail, so it can’t read my email. But they can see my search habits. I use Google by default to search when I have problems with my phone, when I want to look up a movie, when I find a quote I like and want to know who said it, when I’m looking up a meme.

Oh, they have my Youtube habits, too. They know I watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries from the beginning, and that I’m subscribed to a lot of channels that I hardly watch. They know that most of the videos I watch are music videos and movie trailers. They see my favorite videos, including a Star Wars-themed parody of “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye, the first Hunger Games movie trailer, and my husband and I reenacting our engagement in front of a group of people at a conference.

If someone only had Google to get to know me, I wonder what they’d see. They’d have my online job, the persona I put up on a blog, what I search for, the videos I watch on Youtube, to come to some kind of conclusion about me. It’d be a more fully formed picture than what my next door neighbors see through glimpses of me leaving for work or during a five minute conversation about dogs. But it still lacks so much.

If someone really wanted to get to know me, the “real” me. . .they’d have very few options. Hey, sorry, it’s nothing against that someone, but I’m a private person. I’m an introvert. There are very few people who I feel really know me. The people who I don’t have to worry around, the ones I don’t filter myself for, I could count on one hand. They come and go, of course—for example, my high school friends had that privilege, or as my sisters become young women, we’re getting closer.

When I write about it, it sounds like a lonely life, and yet my life is really awesome. Sure, sometimes I’m sad that my best friend lives like a million miles away (okay, it feels that far). Sometimes I beat myself up: “Why can’t I just be close to these people I’ve known for years now? Why do I still feel like I’m only showing part of myself?” But I don’t know why. Maybe someday I’ll change, or maybe someday I’ll loosen up around this person or that person and maybe someday, we’ll hit this point where I open up. And right now (the night before I’m getting ready to go on vacation with a lot of those people I’m lucky to have in my life), I’m okay with all of this. I’m okay with being kind of withdrawn and weird. I can still have fun with my friends. I’m still me, even if not everyone knows who exactly that is. Let’s face it, not even I know who exactly that is.

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