I am very excited to announce my second book, a young adult sci-fi romance called Eyes Ever to the Sky, is now available on Amazon.
Writing and launching a second book is an amazing experience and I do hope you like the final product. I'm also celebrating by giving away a $25 gift card on my website.
Check out the book and let me know what you think. And thanks to all my Underground friends who helped make this possible. When Hugh wakes up in a smoldering crater—no memory, no clothes—a single thought echoes in his head…trust no one. Frightened and alone, with no memory of who he is, he stumbles upon a grisly murder scene and is fatally shot. He wakes, only to find he can heal himself. He has superpowers and he’s going to need them.
Desperate and bleeding, Hugh stumbles upon fifteen-year-old Cece, who’s got enough troubles of her own. Between caring for her bipolar mother and trying not to get evicted from her run-down trailer, Cece may be the only person struggling as much as Hugh. Drawn to Hugh, Cece finds a love she’s never known. But when the real killer—a man-hunting beast—chooses another victim, Hugh and Cece realize they must unlock the clues to their past if they have any chance at a future.
Underground Book Reviews writer and assistant editor Brian L. Braden
is pleased to announce the publication of BLACK SEA GODS
, his first full length novel.
As a way of saying thank you to all our UBR readers and authors, BLACK SEA GODS
is free today and tomorrow on Amazon
as an e-book.
A fresh, new direction in historical fantasy, BLACK SEA GODS
transforms recently re-discovered Black Sea legends, possibly the root of all Eurasian mythology, with ancient Chinese mythology to create an unprecedented epic fantasy series.
***The fish have disappeared from the sea. The animals have vanished from the land. All humanity, and even the gods, tremble under the specter of a pending cataclysm. The demigod Fu Xi races home from the edge of the world bringing news of a looming god war, but finds his land under attack by monsters he once called his children. He discovers a terrible curse has been cast, one intended to destroy the gods and all life. To his shock, Fu Xi learns mankind’s hope rest solely on him, a simple fisherman and a banished slave girl.
Beset on all sides, Fu Xi knows he must act quickly and races west to rescue the saviors. Unaware of the real doom that awaits, Aizarg the fisherman and his party begin a perilous journey across a dangerous steppe. They seek the last of the Narim, the legendary Black Sea Gods, who hold the key to their salvation. Leading them is the rescued slave girl Sarah, the only one among them who knows the path to the land of the god-men.
Over seven days the defining struggle of gods and humans begins under the onslaught of a powerful force whose true objective and origin remain a mystery. Fu Xi knows the secret to victory resides in a fisherman and a slave girl, whose lives he must protect, even if it means the rest of the world must perish.
Keep up with the latest updates on Brian Braden’s
writing projects on his blog
. If you miss the free promo, you can still buy his books, Black Sea Gods or Carson's Love
, on Amazon.
Amy R. Biddle
There are plenty of reasons why authors choose pen names. Theodor Geisel first started using his middle name (Seuss) so that he could continue to publish in a magazine that he was fired from. Benjamin Franklin used a litany of fictional characters, complete with alternate personalities, which he used to spark controversy. Stephen King created the pseudonym Richard Bachman so that he could publish more than one book a year, which was unthinkable at the time.
But the literary landscape is changing, and while the pen name still runs amok, it is a serious choice for the budding author. As a victim of the nom-de-plume, I understand both its advantages and disadvantages on a very personal level. While anonymity has a certain romantic ring to it, the truth is that pen names are more of a burden than a blessing. Let this be a warning to all up-and-coming authors: don’t fall prey to the frivolity of a pen name without a sound reason to do so.
Sorry authors, but in the modern world, social networking and online marketing are crucial. Fans want to be able to connect with authors, it’s as simple as that. The more road blocks you put between yourself and your fans, the harder marketing becomes. If you use a pen name, you’re shutting out your current fans (your friends and family, if you aren’t published yet) as well as cutting off your new, potential fans from your personal life.That brings us to the logistics of a pen name: Maintaining separate email accounts, remembering how to sign your emails, even writing book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and making comments on Facebook… it all becomes a convoluted mess. It sounds like small stuff now, but when you use a pen name you’re sealing up a can of worms and saving it for later.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good reasons to use a pen name: You might share a name with a well-known author, for example. But I'll be the first to admit that new authors usually find bad reasons to use a pen name. I had lots of bad reasons, but it all boiled down to one thing: I wanted to hide behind a wall so that I could be myself without fear. Instead, I found it harder to be myself while staying hidden behind said wall.
In the end, I realized that it simply wasn’t worth the email-swapping and gender-bending to maintain anonymity. So there you have it. From this day forth, A. B. Riddle is dead, and Amy R. Biddle is taking her rightful place as author of The Atheist’s Prayer and editor of Underground Book Reviews.
A pen name didn’t work for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. What you have to decide is whether or not it’s worth it to keep up the façade. And I’m warning you now, it’s a lot more work than you might have imagined.Amy Biddle is the Editor-and-Chief and President of Underground Book Reviews, LLC. Her debut novel,
The Atheist's Prayer, will be published by Perfect Edge Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing. You can read a short teaser or visit her website for more info.
I'm very excited to announce that Nessa: A Breeders Story
will release today, Tuesday, February 5th. The genesis of this story began when I polled readers in December and asked which character they'd like to get to know better. Surprisingly, many fans said Nessa Vandewater, Clay's mother. From there, Nessa's story grew and I am pleased with how it turned out. I hope you'll like it too. The novelette is priced at 99 cents, so it will be affordable to die hard fans and new readers alike. To celebrate, I'm also hosting a giveaway of an Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. Enter here.
Here's the pitch to wet your whistle.
Eighteen-year-old Nessa knows what it’s like to be an endangered species. Growing up in a dying world where nine out of ten babies are born male, she survives by trusting no one. When Marlin, the nineteen-year-old gunslinger with the sky-blue eyes, kills the man who has been keeping her enslaved, Nessa decides this handsome stranger might be her meal ticket. What she doesn’t realize is love is still possible, even in their decimated world. When Nessa discovers she’s pregnant with Marlin’s child, her difficult life now teeters on a knife’s edge. Can she bear to bring a child into their shattered world? Better yet, can Marlin keep them safe from those that hunt Nessa?
A companion story to The Breeders
, this prequel novelette (34 pages or 10,000 words) explores the origins of two important characters and gives a deeper look into their background. It contains minor spoilers to the novel and is intended for mature teens and adults. You can follow Katie French on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.
Feeling edgy? Today, Perfect Edge Books is doing a double release of
The Sound of Loneliness by Craig Wallwork and
Stranger Will by Caleb J. Ross. Take a peek. You're not afraid of good fiction, are you?
The Sound of Loneliness
by Craig Wallwork
Manchester in 1991 is a town suffering under the weight of high unemployment and massive government budgetary deficits that is plunging the UK into a recession. To Daniel Crabtree, a struggling writer, it is the backcloth to his first novel, one that will see him become a famous published author. Living off mostly water and flour, Daniel has embraced penury into his life under the mistaken belief that many young artists have: one needs to suffer for success in art. But Daniel is a terrible writer. In the three years since signing on the dole, of every morning chastising his Irish singing neighbour for waking him from his sleep, and scrounging food from his close friend Henry Soperton, Daniel Crabtree has produced one short story. His heart is bereft of words as much as his pockets are of money.
It is a story of love, and how a poor starving man chasing a dream came to the understanding that amidst the clamour of life, the sound of loneliness is the most deafening of all.
by Caleb J. Ross
The child he loves. The idea of a child, he's beginning to understand, is where everything will go wrong.
William works as a human remains removal specialist, removing stains left by the dead. Whether by a bloody crime scene or a quiet domestic death, William is reminded each day of the frailty of human life. As his fiancée, Julie, nears term with their first child William becomes increasingly desperate for a way to overcome his belief that to birth is to kill. But Mrs. Rose, an elementary school principal and messenger pigeon hobbyist, nurtures William’s depressive outlook and claims to have a way to prove that William’s hesitancy to accept fatherhood is not only natural but necessary.
In this novel of impending parenthood, an idealistic teacher recruits a pliant protégé to join her group of Strangers – a devout collection of kindred minds who have dedicated their lives to cultivating a unique idea of perfection.
But joining is easier than leaving.
This year, Liz D. Publicity held its first Shirley You Jest
competition, highlighting self-published and indie books that "deliver the funny." Underground Book Reviews agreed to sponsor it by reviewing the first and second place winners over the month of December. We're counting on these books to keep us laughing, but will they live up to our expectations? Only time, and some honest reviews, will tell. So stay tuned! December's review schedule will look something like this:
Ketchup as a Vegetable by Robin O'Bryant
First Place in the non-fiction category
Reviewed by Katie French
Pickin' Tomatoes by J. W. Bull
First Place in the fiction category
Reviewed by Brian Braden
What Would Satan Do by Anthony Miller
Second Place in the fiction category
Reviewed by A. B. Riddle
Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom by Pam Grimes
Second place in the non-fiction category
Reviewed by Yvonne Lieblein
This month Underground Book Reviews is thankful for all your love and support. If you’ve felt any UBR love, there’s a chance to support our growth even further. Every year Writer’s Digest
collects nominations for their prestigious 101 Best Websites for Writers. We’ve never won such a prestigious award, but feel like this is our year.
Please send your nominations to Writers Digest (writersdigest<at>fwmedia<dot>com) with the subject line "101 Websites." Thanks for all your support!
Fans of edgy fiction, put your reading glasses on. Perfect Edge Books is here to give you flawed characters, dark comedy and darker dystopias. A new imprint of John Hunt Publishing, Perfect Edge is pushing the boundaries in fiction and re-shaping the definition of traditional publishing. If Penguin is the Hershey’s of the publishing industry, Perfect Edge is Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
So what is Perfect Edge all about? Phil Jourdan, who runs the imprint, can sum it up: “Perfect Edge publishes fiction that blurs the distinctions between “literary writing" and its evil twin, "genre." We combine the indie press attitude with the resources of a larger publisher. We look for authors who are confident, talented, tireless and entrepreneurial. We don't publish hardbacks; we don't give advances; we produce our books with more efficiency than most presses because we try to be relevant and dependable. We even enjoy the horror stories about the publishing industry we read in the magazines because we're adapting quickly. We go for smallish print runs (a few hundred) to prime the pump, print more when stocks get low, over and over. And we make friends with each other along the way.”
Sorry, folks, but according to Phil, “Perfect Edge isn't looking for new submissions right now. We want to focus on achieving the best results we can with the authors we already have onboard. We do, however, intend to open the gates again to find a new group of authors, and when that happens we'll branch out into new genres and styles.”
And now for the good news: Perfect Edge has released its first title! 100 Years of Vicissitude by Andrez Bergen follows a geisha and a corrupt millionaire in their tour of the afterlife. It is the stand-alone, not-quite-sequel to Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, which Andrez published in 2011. While most sequels follow the heroes from the previous novel, 100 Years of Vicissitude follows the villain. I have no doubt that 100 Years of Vicissitude will be well worth your time and money, whether or not you’ve read Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat.
Sure, call me biased. When my novel comes out I will officially become a member of the Perfect Edge family, so it is not without self-interest that I promote the imprint. But I’m excited about Perfect Edge because I believe in their mission, and I still wonder how I’ve managed to become affiliated with such a forward-thinking and creative group. The authors at Perfect Edge aren’t afraid to break the rules, and they have the talent to get away with it.
In an effort to capture the spirit of Perfect Edge, I asked some of my fellow authors to let loose their feelings about the imprint. It was no surprise to me when they waxed poetic about community, change and our fearless leader, Phil Jourdan. Here’s what they said:
You can buy The Breeders on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
It's finally happened. I am now a published author.
It feels strange to type that statement. I keep thinking somewhere a record will scratch, everyone will turn and look at me and someone will say, "Umm, no Katie, you can't just proclaim yourself published. Didn't anyone tell you?" For most of my life I've dreamed of being published, but in my head it meant attention from "the industry," an agent, a hot shot editor. Not me alone at a computer late at night reading Smashwords Style Guides until my eyes crossed. Publishing felt akin to God on high descending on a billowing white cloud, raising a golden scepter and proclaiming me published. It just wasn't gonna happen.
But then I started this blog and I met all the lovely, self-published authors who had written really great books. They were smart, normal and good at what they do. They were putting it all out there and reaping the rewards. They had readership, an outlet for their work and were having fun in the process. I finally realized they were just like me except one thing: I was afraid.
So I started examining my hidden fears. I was afraid I couldn't get my book ready without the help of a fantastic editor, so I hired one. I was afraid to navigate the confusing mire that is formatting, so my husband and I slogged through it. I was afraid of what people would think when they actually read my book, so I got over it. One by one my fears fell away until all I had was excitement. And man, am I excited.
There are lots of great reasons to stick with traditional publishing, but I think I have found my path for now. The joy of reading that first five star unsolicited book review is something I will always remember. The path hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it. And I'm happy to say I'm no longer afraid.
The Independent Book Blogger Award is run by Goodreads, a fantastic website for anyone who likes books. At the Underground, we just assume that you like books. Why else would you be here?
So if you like books, and you like the Underground, go to the competition page
and put in your vote for us! If you don't already have a Goodreads account, you'll need to get one. But don't worry, it's free.
Thanks for your support,
-The Underground Team