Wednesday, October 30, 2013

River of Bones by Angela J. Townsend - Book Blitz + Giveaway

Title: River of Bones

Author: Angela J. Townsend

Published: October 30th, 2013 by Clean Teen Publishing

Word Count: 50,000

Genre: YA Horror

Recommended Age: 14+


When 17-year-old Dharma Moore moves to Bayou country so her scam artist mother can work as a Paranormal Investigator, she discovers more than ghosts haunt the abandoned plantation they now call home. Centuries ago, a voodoo curse was placed on the swamp waters surrounding the old plantation by a murdered slave. A terrible curse that snares Dharma. To save herself, she must face the terror of the haunted waters, find the dead woman's skull and convince the slave's soul to release her from its torments. However, there is more to this curse for Dharma personally than anyone else knows as she discovers an ancient secret that links herself to the property—a secret kept from her by her own family. To survive, she must accept the help of locals and to learn to embrace the truth—that magic is not only real, but that it can be very, very deadly!

About the Author:

Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.

Angela's first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Her newest novel, Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, was signed for publication with Clean Teen Publishing and released in September 2013. Her most recent young adult horror novel, River of Bones, is scheduled to release late October 2013.

Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.

Clean Teen Publishing Links:

Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • GRAND PRIZE:  eBook copy of River of Bones, bookmark prize pack, $10 Amazon Gift Card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


I shuffled into the living room looking for Wolf. He sat in front of the hearth staring at the skull. He glanced at me when I came in, then leaped to his feet and took my elbow.

“I’m ready for bed,” I said. “Can you help me get up the stairs?”

“Sure,” he said.  “But why don’t you just sleep down here where I can keep an eye on you.”

“Because I have to have the skull under my bed, remember? Down here there’s no bed, only a couch, and I’m not taking any chances. My throat is killing me. I’m getting weaker. Wolf, I’m scared. My whole life, I’ve taken care of myself and Benny. What will happen to my brother if I die?”

Wolf grabbed my shoulders. “Don’t talk like that. We’re gonna beat this thing. Whatever it is.”  He snatched the skull, tucked it under his arm, and bent down. “Get on my back and I’ll give you a ride.”

I hesitated. “What if I'm too heavy?”

Wolf laughed. “You're far from heavy, Dharma. Look, you need to start trusting me. And you have to start trusting yourself. You are stronger than you think you are, and you’re braver than you know. Now hop on.”

I wrapped my arms around his neck, and collapsed against him. “Thanks,” I said, inhaling his woodsy scent.

Wolf labored up the steps, every muscle in his strong back flexing beneath me. At the landing, I slid off and hobbled down the hallway to the master bedroom.

“Good thing I made the bed last night,” Wolf said.

“You did? Wow, thanks.”

“I had to have something to do while you were sleeping.”

He pulled back the blankets and held them up so I could climb into the soft bed. Wolf got on his knees and slid the skull underneath the creaky springs.

“You sure you’re going to be okay up here?”

“I hope so,” I said. “At this point, nothing matters but sleep, even if I don’t wake up.”

“Are you sure about that?” Wolf said. He gazed into my eyes and leaned in close, his lips almost touching my forehead. My heart skipped. For a moment, I thought he was going to kiss me, but instead he placed a hand against my cheek.

“You still feel like you have a fever. No wonder, with everything you've been through.” He pulled away. “I’m going to camp right outside the door. Call me if you need anything.”

“Thanks,” I said. It felt good knowing he would be so close. I couldn’t blame him for not kissing me. My heart sank, I'm sure I looked totally gross. I closed my eyes, listening to his hollow footsteps as he walked away.

Every sound set my nerves on edge—the howling wind, the rattling shutters, the clatter of pipes, a weird scraping outside my window. Then I heard another noise. A different kind of noise. Low. Raspy. I strained to hear against the wind, and held my breath. The eerie sound stuttered in the darkness.

Heavy, mucus-filled breathing.

Coming from under the bed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stories of the Week for October 29, 2013

Wrapped in Red is out today, so I thought I'd post this week's SOTW one day in advance. 

Here are some purchase links, in case you'd like to check it out:

The anthology just came out, and it's already starting to get some wonderful reviews in.  It's also up to #5 on the Hot New Releases list on Amazon.  :)

I'm very excited to see how well it's been doing, and Sekhmet Press has been an absolute pleasure to work with.  I couldn't have asked for a more supportive group. 

Oh, and I should have more news about another anthology before long.  A sci-fi story of mine was selected for the first edition of NovoPulp (by a publisher in Denmark, no less), and I signed and sent off the contract yesterday. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My first "5 Fireballs" Review!

After seeing another perfect review come in, I decided to create a new page on the site, called "Critics Corner."

I've been sending out Try Not to Burn to as many book reviewers as I can find, hoping to get honest feedback and spread the word about the book. 

In the last couple days, two brand new reviews have come in, and they're really encouraging.  Both reviewers loved the book, with Tome Tender Reviews giving it 5 out of 5 Stars, and Boom Baby Reviews giving it 5 out of 5 Fireballs.  (Definitely my favorite review scale, given the theme of the book.)

Mia at Boom Baby is not an easy critic to please, either.  Check her page on her site to see how she approaches reviews, and how much of a warning she gives to authors. 

If you check out the book, I'd love to know what you think of it.  Do you agree with the critics? 

Stories of the Week for October 23, 2013

Hey, there. Welcome back to the blog studio. Oh, and watch your step, there are a whole bunch of flaming pumpkins lying around. 

This week has been another busy one, and not always in a good way. I lost a ton of time trying to fix my laptop after it started to have issues (after an issue with windows update, it refused to start any programs, or even open any documents, saying that a single file was missing). The fix turned out to be quite easy, but finding it involved dual-wielding computers, since the current one was practically useless. In the end, I had to use the scannow function, which thankfully was still working, and it scanned through the core components and fixed the one that went wonky.

But before all the computer headaches—where I was scrambling to back up every file I had on my laptop, searching in vain for elusive Windows product keys, and muttering every curse word imaginable—I was still deep in promotion, both for my free ebook, my thriller novel, and an anthology I'll be appearing in soon. I did a Character Interview for the wonderful Laurie at, which was surprisingly fun to do. (The character I chose was Sam from TNTB, who's a female bank robber, and a rather colorful character). The interview should go up sometime in November. I also did an author interview for another site to promote my story in Wrapped in Red, the vampire anthology from Sekhmet Press, which is due to release on October 29, 2013.

And I'm happy to say I did also manage to squeeze in some writing time. The first draft of the spooky Middle Grade novel has been completed. I've also written up a query letter for it, which I really like, so I'm a couple steps closer to being able to submit it. The dreaded synopsis is still lurking ahead, as is another round or three of edits, but I'm really excited about this book. We'll see if the excitement fades as the editing and submission process starts—it usually does—but for now, I have a very good feeling about this one.

(Photo:“Halloween, 2012” by George Alexander, garussell11 on Flickr)

Monday, October 21, 2013

New 5-star review on Tome Tender & Amazon

Try Not to Burn just got a wonderful new 5-star review from Dii on Tome Tender.  She's also a Top 1000 reviewer on Amazon.  It was so great to see what she thought of the book.  Check out the full review on her site or on Amazon

Here are a couple quick snippets:

"Many of us assume that when the end of our life comes, the good we have done will far outweigh the bad and there won’t be a need to wonder the results of our judgment day. What if that isn’t exactly true? What if your soul teeters on the edge of getting “burned” before you have a chance to redeem yourself? Three souls find themselves running for their eternal lives in Hell City, chased by the demons of the underworld."

"Try Not to Burn by Michael David Matula opens the gates to hell with his dark fantasy, giving us a frightening look at the unknown. The “burning” hurdles he creates for his three main characters, a policeman, a bank robber and a broken-hearted teen would test the mettle of a saint." 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Results from the first day of the free promotion on Amazon.

Here's a picture I snapped on my computer screen an hour or so ago. After a very, very slow start (when I woke up this morning, I still didn't have a single download in the free store, as Amazon wasn't even showing a ranking for my e-book), it seems like things have started to pick up a little bit. 

I still haven't checked the actual units that have been downloaded (I'm almost afraid to look, as I tend to obsess over numbers), but I do love the fact that my little e-book is now in the top 100 in both "Hard-boiled mystery" (#23) and in "Single author short stories" (#89).  Of course, I'm still all the way back at #4,462 overall, but this is already much better than I was expecting, considering how inauspicious my start was, and how little time I've had for promotion today. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Upcoming Sale - Free book on Amazon

This Friday through Sunday (October 18th to the 20th), my new mystery story, Cheating Hearts & Cigarettes, will be free to pick up on Amazon.  It's regularly only 99 cents (which is almost free) so if you miss out on the sale, you can still pick it up for super cheap.  And you'll get the warm and fuzzy feeling of supporting an indie author, which is always a nice added bonus.

Oh, and if you enjoy the e-book, leaving a positive review can be a great way to spread the word, and it would be very much appreciated. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stories of the Week for October 16, 2013

Unfortunately, writing time this week has been difficult to come by, due to all the promotion I've had to do for Try Not to Burn.  Between author fairs I've attended, a book reading I've gone to, a tour of local libraries I've gone on, and countless emails I've been sending out, this week has been fun and busy, but not particularly creative. 

Thankfully, though, I did manage to squeeze in enough writing time to finish a new flash fiction story, "Mausoleum Monster," which explains the photo I used for this week's edition of SOTW.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Like most of my stuff, it mixes a bit of humor in with the horror. 

I've also gone back to my spooky Middle Grade story, which I'm still on the last chapter of.  The chapter had been giving me some trouble, which was why I took a break from it and finished polishing up the sequel to TNTB.  I usually find that working on another story or a book can be a good way to get out of a writing funk. It can also give you a fresh perspective on the old project, as you force yourself to step away for a few days. 

[Photo credit: "Manston Mausoleum" by Marilyn Peddle, MarilynJane on Flickr]

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Author Fair!

 I was at the Joliet Authorfair yesterday, signing copies of Try Not to Burn and hanging out with some great local authors. Here's a picture from outside the event:

 And here are a couple of pictures from inside, when I was setting up my table. They gave each of the authors a nice little swag bag, with pens, a chocolate bar, and some other fun stuff.  I handed out Red Hots again at this event, and almost every time a kid ran past the table, I could hear the red hots rattling around in their pocket like maracas. 

 I forgot to take many pictures after setup, as the day went by pretty fast for me, but I did manage to make a tour of some of the other tables, and here's one of the authors I met: G.P.A. (aka Greatest Poet Alive). Best name in all of authordom?  Possibly.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stories of the Week for October 9, 2013

I finished writing the sequel to my paranormal “escape from Hell” thriller, Try Not to Burn, recently. I'd written the first two drafts a while ago, but the beginning had been giving me some trouble. Specifically, the part where I brought readers up to speed on what had happened during the first book.

It was a doozy of a task, considering how much happened in the first book. The main issue I was having was that I didn't want to just mention what happened in a fusty, narrator-esque way. I wanted it to be in the main character's voice, but not in a gimmicky “Look at me, I'm being clever” sort of way. So it was a difficult balance to strike.

And not to toot my own horn too much, but the first book was a lot to live up to, and I didn't want people to be let down when they read the sequel, so I didn't want to rush the final draft. It's too early to guess if fans of the first one will like everything about the second, as I go in some directions people might not be expecting (I like to keep the reader on their toes), but so far, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Both books takes place in Hell, but they're pretty much all about the characters, their struggles and their interactions with one another. The deeper into the levels they go, the more they have to rely on each other for support and protection, and the more impossible the odds seem.

In the first book, they're struggling against other inmates and the monsters that serve the demons. In the second book, well...they have a number of real-live demons to contend with, in addition to the personal demons they'll have to face. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Advertising opportunity for authors

My publisher, Post Mortem Press, is now offering "limited advertising opportunities" for their new magazine, Jamais Vu: The Journal of Strange Among the Familiar.

If you're an indie author, you can get an ad in the Indie Author Marketplace for as low as 30 dollars. Other advertising options are available.  Most are a bit too rich for my blood, but most things are these days.

Here's the full link with all the details:

If you do decide to place an ad, mention my name so they know I sent you. It'll give me some extra brownie points with the publisher, as well as a small commission.

Monster Gallery: The Gral

Just posted this on my FB page. Thought I should share it here, too.

With Halloween on fast approach, I figured I'd make a couple sketches of some of the monsters that appear in my novel, Try Not to Burn.  There's an eclectic bunch, from giant serpents to burrowing spiders.  I'm not sure if I'll attempt to draw the spider critter, though. It would take me too long to draw in all the legs.

Anywho, here's the first one.  It's a picture of the Gral, one of the monsters that's central to the story. There's an army of them prowling through the afterlife.

I've only painted the eyes so far, as the painting process takes forever for me, so the picture's not finished, but I hoped people might enjoy seeing it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fun at the BookFest, aka "Authors Invade Glen Ellyn"

I was in scenic Glen Ellyn, Illinois for BookFest last week, and had a chance to meet some wonderful local authors, like E.C. Diskin, who wrote "The Green Line." She was a delight to talk to, and the ol' "time flies when you're having fun" expression held true once again. The show went from 9am to 2pm, but I barely noticed. It would have been better if more actual readers had been there, as it was mostly just us author types, but hey, you can't have everything, can you?

This is me telling the crowd about my book before the show began, blinding people with the sunlight glancing off my dome:
 And here are the treats I brought to hand out.  I talk a bit more about it on my Facebook author page, and also mention the item I wish I'd brought along. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stories of the Week for October 2, 2013

Hello, and welcome to another edition of SOTW.

Last night, I put together a new version of the book trailer for Try Not to Burn.  I liked the previous version I'd made, but I do have to admit that it was a bit slow paced.  And since I decided to add in a review quote that called the book “a real page turner,” I thought it made sense to have a faster video.  Also, the video's literally on fire now, which is an added bonus.  :)

The song running in the trailer is “Kill Me Quickly (Or Not at All)” by His Boy Elroy.  The title seemed like a good fit, given the theme of the book.

I'll keep working on it, since I may come up with something I like more, and the video was surprisingly easy to put together.  I added the video for the trailer above, but since I'm not sure how it will play on the blog, I'll also include a link to the animoto page below.  I'll probably upload it to youtube soon, just for good measure.

As for my writing for the week, I had to take a small break from my Middle Grade novel.  I'm on page 203, and on the final chapter, but I couldn't resist the urge to head back to the dystopian Young Adult book I'd finished somewhat recently.

I revised the query letter, trying to make it a bit more fun and lively (it seems like everyone and their dog is writing a dystopian YA book now, so it'll take a lot for it to stand out, methinks), and I also wrote up a synopsis for it.

It took me all of Sunday, and it left my brain feeling like a wiggly blob of gelatin, but I eventually managed to distill the entire book down to a single page.

I've always hated writing synopses (I keep wanting to say “sypnopsises”) but they're definitely an important tool to have when submitting a novel, and they can be a useful writing exercise, as well.  I find that the more of them I write, the better I get at crafting a cohesive plot.