The IRIN CHRONICLES: Now Available in Audiobook

616smzqwpeL._SL300_I’m so happy to announce that Audible.com has released the first two Irin Chronicles books in audio edition! (The third I’m still writing, of course.)

Audible cast LA-based actor Zachary Webber as the narrator for the series and I’m really happy with his voice performance. I haven’t listened to the whole book yet, but the samples gave me shivers. Go ahead, give them a listen….

THE SCRIBE

THE SINGER

I know, right?

I’ve never had a male narrator before, but I feel like Zach’s voice is really well suited to the series, so I’m thrilled Audible cast him.

To celebrate the release of the first two books, I’m running a giveaway right here on the blog. If you’d like to enter, all you have to do is comment on this post! If you win, you’ll receive free download codes for BOTH Irin Chronicles books. (You do have to have an Audible account to redeem, but not a paid one.) I’ll be running the giveaway through the weekend. Just leave a short comment and you’re entered to win.

BLOGGER NOTE: If you are a book reviewer who enjoys audio, please drop me a note at ElizabethHunterWrites@gmail.com. I have review copies to send out and I’d love to get them in the right hands.

Best of luck!

Elizabeth

A New Christmas short story and a great big THANK YOU!

christmas withFirst news: Karina and Vika over at Nocturnal Book Reviews host a great series every year called “Christmas with…” which features a bunch of great authors contributing holiday stories. Grace Draven posted one yesterday called The Light Within, which is set in the Master of Crows universe.

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I love the cover.

Grace has also made the book available for sale over on Smashwords! I’m sure it’ll be at all the big outlets eventually, but Smashwords is the fastest, so if you want to buy it, you can do that right now.

Today, Karina has “Christmas with Elizabeth Hunter!” I wrote a short scene called “A Bloody Family Christmas” featuring Carwyn, Brigid, and lots of the UK gang of the Elemental World, so check it out on her blog today!

~

From “A Bloody Family Christmas…”

“I can’t do this.”

“You can do this.”

Brigid closed her eyes and took a deep breath, pushing back the tickle of fire that teased beneath her skin. It was a constant struggle. Some said it always would be. It was why fire vampires were given a wide berth. How they often ended up killing themselves. Her mate, having no concerns for his own safety—or exhibiting a startling lack of caution—stood behind her, rubbing her shoulders to calm her down.

“Carwyn, I’m just… I’m not prepared for this kind of thing.”

“Were you prepared for the drug dealers in Dublin?” he asked. “Or vicious Russian-Mexican mobsters? Human traffickers in Copenhagen?”

She blew out a long breath. “So you’re saying if I fear for my safety I’ll be able to burn someone? Excellent.”

“Brigid, it’s a family Christmas dinner. If Cathy’s managed this long without killing anyone, then you’re more than capable of doing it too.”

~

For those of you wondering if I’m ever going to put up a collection of the shorts and extra scenes I’ve written for various blogs or published on the website, it’s probable. I’m putting all of them in a file and once I have enough, I’ll probably publish a small collection for you guys if you want to buy. But I’d like it to have something new in it, and I’m neck deep in Irin world right now, so it won’t be right away. Maybe spring? We’ll see.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00068]Second news: I’d like to offer an enormous THANK YOU for the stunning release of SHADOWS AND GOLD last week. It was phenomenal. Far bigger than I expected, especially for a story that had been previously published for free. I cannot thank you readers enough for supporting my work. Shadows and Gold is currently sitting at #13 in the Hot New Releases for Paranormal Fantasy, which is a huge accomplishment for a novella. It’s also now available at all the usual suspects, so you can find it on iTunes, Nook Store, and Kobo.

974420_10203580335841794_462988901_nLikewise, the Christmas collection I published with Grace Draven ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN has been seeing wonderful sales and very positive reviews. Still plenty of time to grab it and enjoy the holiday goodness of Gio and B, along with a wonderful novella by Grace called “Sunday’s Child.” (Mmmm, Andor…) Both stories are novella-length and available for just $2.99 for both. So it’s a great bargain. Also, we’re hoping that the Christmas collection will soon be available in paperback, which would make a fun little stocking stuffer for the book-lover in your life.

In fact ALL my books (excepting a few shorts and one novella) are available in paperback edition. Books are an awesome present. Just saying…

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Next week, I’ll be posting my top ten moments from the year, along with my annual “10 Things I Learned About Indie Publishing in…” post, which might actually come the week after. Until then, I’ll be humming along on the first draft of THE SECRET: Irin Chronicles Book Three. Unfortunately, it’s not going as quickly as I’d like and it may be closer to a Spring release than a Winter one. But since I’d rather take my time and make it the best book it can be, that’s just the way things go at times.

Hope all your holiday preparations are going well!

Best, Elizabeth

Art, commerce and the creative benefits of independence

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I’ve been thinking a lot the past month or so about the intersection of creativity and the marketplace.

(Cue the sound of everyone clicking away from the blog post.)

Wait, no! Don’t go. It’s an interesting discussion for both readers and writers.

(Eyeballs hover tentatively.)

See, this is something that affects everyone, because it impacts the art that gets made.

Who is allowed to make the art? Who gets access to it? See, all that stuff, the art—the distribution, the audience—is changing right now. Everything is in flux. How does this affect me, as a writer? How does it affect you, as a reader?

ursula_leguinUrsula Le Guin, who is pretty much an institution in science fiction and fantasy circles, received the National Book Award last month. During the ceremony, she gave a speech (as you do), and she had some really interesting things to say:

“Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art… I have had a long career and a good one. In good company. Now here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want—and should demand—our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”

And I was torn. Because while I understand what she was saying creatively, the person who makes my living with words says, “Yes, but the rewards need to include profits, too.”

And then I had a really wonderful and lively twitter conversation with a few other writers during which the ever-wise Ilona Andrews reminded me that this thing right here:

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was a commission. This was a work for hire by Michelangelo. This was the intersection of art and commerce. This is an important thing to remember.

John_Waters_2014_(cropped)Today I read this really interesting piece over at Flavorwire about the death of the mid-budget film, and how it’s leaving some of our most thoughtful filmmakers, people like John Waters, David Lynch, and even Francis Ford Coppola behind.

“But slowly, quietly, over roughly the decade and a half since the turn of the century, the paradigm shifted. Studios began to make fewer films, betting big on would-be blockbusters, operating under the assumption that large investments equal large returns. Movies that don’t fit into that box (thoughtful dramas, dark comedies, oddball thrillers, experimental efforts) were relegated to the indies, where freedom is greater, but resources are far more limited.”

And that article intersected with one over on the Globe and Mail that The Passive Voice linked to called “Are Book Publishers Blockbustering Themselves Into Oblivion?” It references a recent Publishers Weekly article about the recent rise in seven figure advances for debut writers:

‘There are a few other things in the Publishers Weekly article that don’t make any sense. The story claims that the fierce competition for new novels stems from “a dearth of great material.” One anonymous publishing insider is quoted as saying, “The whole pool of talent is shrinking.” He or she even claims that there are “fewer submissions” nowadays.

Come again? A shrinking talent pool? In the middle of the greatest explosion of writing in human history?‘

Art and commerce. Creativity within the market. We have to think about these things! They’re important. I tend to think writers who write with no thought to the market are one of these things:

  1. Very young.
  2. Very wealthy.
  3. Have no external responsibilities.
  4. Don’t really care about being published.

And I’m sure those things are not true for everyone, but for the most part, if you write something, you want someone to buy it because that gives you the incentive and money to write more. Time is money. If you’re writing with no thought to how you’re going to pay your bills, your lights are going to be shut off. That’s just life.

And that affects what kind of stuff you write. It’s inevitable. It’s inescapable.

Because while Le Guin is correct that the intangible benefits of writing are amazing and important, John Waters isn’t going to make the next Hairspray for free. He has employees to pay. And when the giant corporations who control studios and publishers are only interested in the next blockbuster, that means the midlist author and the mid-budget filmmaker are left behind.

And that’s bad for consumers. Readers don’t like the same thing. Neither do movie-goers. We are not a homogenous culture.

Whether we like it or not, commerce influences art.

When I see writers I love moving genres, I wonder: Did they want to move, or did their agent or publisher tell them it was a smart move because of the market? I don’t get to judge them for that, no matter how I might want to, because I’m not paying their bills.

But does it make me sad that some writers feel pressure to move to a more popular genre because their publisher isn’t putting as much money or promotion behind their books? Yes. Absolutely.

So what is a writer or any kind of artist to do? Do we get day jobs and make writing a hobby? Do you bend to the Corporate Art Distribution market? How far do you bend before you break?

Or do you just leave? After all, didn’t they say the talent pool was shrinking?

Yeah, no.

Here’s a heads up, Corporate Art Distributors: There’s no shrinking talent pool. Let me repeat that: There is no shrinking talent pool.

Your talent pool is moving.

They’re bypassing you. They’re funding themselves with Kickstarter and Patreon. They’re publishing independent of the corporate publishing culture.

We talk a lot about the economic benefits of indie art production, but we need to talk about the creative ones, too. Because they intersect in a positive way.

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And that brings me to a really upbeat post by the band Pomplamoose about their recent tour. I want to end with a quote from them, because it speaks to a beautiful reconciliation between art and commerce that I think is achievable and healthy for art producers and art consumers:

‘We’re entering a new era in history: the space between “starving artist” and “rich and famous” is beginning to collapse…

We, the creative class, are finding ways to make a living making music, drawing webcomics, writing articles, coding games, recording podcasts. Most people don’t know our names or faces. We are not on magazine covers at the grocery store. We are not rich, and we are not famous.

We are the mom and pop corner store version of “the dream.” If Lady Gaga is McDonald’s, we’re Betty’s Diner. And we’re open 24/7.

We have not “made it.” We’re making it.”’

Early Release: SHADOWS AND GOLD

Hey all, guess what?

My editor finished work on Shadows and Gold way early. So I just decided to release it a week ahead of schedule.

Everyone’s okay with that, right?

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Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/prfw6p4

Amazon paperback: http://tinyurl.com/jw6ok4t

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/nzc56gm

Createspace: http://tinyurl.com/mck5wxb

Right now, these are all the sales links I have, but it will be at iBooks and Barnes & Noble and Kobo as soon as it gets approved to distribute over on Smashwords. Normally, I try to have all that stuff lined up before release, but when you decide to do everything early, that’s kind of the way it goes! Anyway, I’ll update the post as I get the links.

I hope you enjoy it! It’s gotten some really great advance reviews already:

Ben and Tenzin make a very interesting pair and you are not sure of anything much about the future other than the fact that Tenzin is going to drive Ben crazy. …5 Stars for entertainment, interesting characters/plots and consistency in writing through all these series.
—Douglas C. Meeks, WICKED SCRIBES

Shadows and Gold offers up an adventure for ancient Wind vampire Tenzin and the now grownup Ben Vecchio and kicks off a new series with Ben in the lead – and does it in a very satisfying manner.
—Melindeeloo, “AMAZON TOP 1000 REVIEWER”

I’ve pretty much put NO blog tour or promotional stuff together for this, so if you like my work and are willing to spread the word on Facebook or Twitter or wherever you hang out online, I’d really, really appreciate it! You’re the best!

In fact, I’ll make it a contest. Share the news about Shadows and Gold releasing today and link to it in the comments here. You’ll be entered to win a lovely little signed paperback of the novella (priced at only $6.99 on Createspace and $6.64 at Amazon!) of your very own. I’ll also run a giveaway over on my Facebook page and you can enter that one, as well. Giveaway is international!

Happy reading, everyone!

Elizabeth

Cover Reveal: SHADOWS AND GOLD (And the final full chapter.)

It’s that time! The last chapter of SHADOWS AND GOLD is posted on the Elemental Mysteries site today, so I thought it would be a great time to share the cover for this story with you:

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Do you love it? I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever done a red cover before. So I think this is pretty darn cool. Damonza put up with me being a bit of a diva on this one, so all the love to them. (As always, if you’re looking for a great cover, I will always recommend them.)

Publication info! 

The novella will be officially out on December 15th. It will be available everywhere in e-book and in paperback through Createspace and Amazon only. (Usually, I publish my paperbacks everywhere with expanded distribution. But to do that, I have to set the price higher to account for distribution costs and I just don’t want to do that for a novella. It’s shorter. I don’t want you guys having to pay ten bucks to get the paperback.)

I am NOT doing a preorder for this book, but you can add it to Goodreads here and of course, you can always sign up for my New Release Mailing List, and I’ll send you an email anytime I have a new book out.

I’ll be leaving the novella up the rest of this week, then I’ll be pulling it from the website. (I love posting free fiction for you guys, but hey, a girl has to make a living, too.) The final chapter is posted today, so the story is really complete. There will be a short epilogue you’ll get if you decide to buy the ebook or paperback on December 15th, but all the major action in the story is resolved.

I’m hoping you like it and don’t come after me with pitchforks. It could go either way, really. Just remember, this is Ben and Tenzin. They’re kind of… unpredictable.

Here’s a quick teaser of the chapter to whet your appetite. You can find the full chapter HERE.

~

At the human’s scream, dockworkers and security officers came running. A small crowd gathered in moments. Tenzin landed on the ground near him. His hand was already drawing the second blade.

“Stop,” she said, putting a hand on his. “Cheng wants to make an example of him.”

Ben glanced around at the crowd. Mostly humans, but with a number of vampires thrown in to spread the word. All had their eyes trained on the two vampires circling each other, one with his hands in the pockets of an eight thousand dollar suit, the other holding his eye as blood dripped down his face.

“So, Kesan, you thought you would betray my friend?”

“She has no loyalty to you,” Kesan hissed.

“And you do?”

Kesan said nothing, and Ben knew the vampire had underestimated the old pirate.

“I faced a mutiny once,” Cheng said, stepping close to Kesan. “Do you know who won?”

“You,” the other vampire muttered.

“No, actually. My crew did. I learned a valuable lesson that day.” He grabbed Kesan around the throat. “Mercy is forgotten. Only cruelty is remembered.”

So much new stuff!

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Before I get to ALL THE NEW STUFF to read, I wanted to thank you guys for one of my best release days ever for ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN, the new duo of Christmas novellas I released yesterday with Grace Draven. Grace and I both wanted to thank you guys for reading (and hopefully reviewing!) the book. It was so fun for me to be back with Gio and Beatrice for the holidays, so I’m glad you enjoyed visiting them, too.

Now, onto the new stuff!

You wanted to read today, right? Because there’s LOTS of new stuff to read and Shadows and Gold Chapter Ten is only one of them. You can read the new chapter HERE.

A quick word about Shadows and Gold publication: The last chapter will post next week. And that’s really the end of the novella! But there will be an additional epilogue for those of you who want to buy the book once it’s published, which should be on December 15th. I don’t have a cover yet! I’m so sorry. They’re working on it. Also, I will be doing a paperback copy of this little book, and that will also be available on or around December 15th.

Nether_UpdatedCover_700In addition to ALL THE STARS, the excellent Colleen Vanderlinden published the fifth and final book in her Hidden Series last week. If you haven’t been paying attention, Hidden is an indie-published Urban Fantasy series that’s been garnering a LOT of attention from critics. Vanderlinden was even nominated for an RT award. NETHER is the last book in the series, so for those of you who like reading series when they’re all finished, now is the time to check this author out! LOST GIRL is the first book (which I read and loved) and you can buy it here. And NETHER is available here. Happy reading!

Night_Shift_260Also available today is an anthology from some of my favorite authors, NIGHT SHIFT. This anthology has Ilona Andrews (a Dali and Jim story!), Nalini Singh (a new Psy-changling story!), Lisa Shearin (who is new to me), and Milla Vane (super-secret pen name of Meljean Brook, who is awesome.) I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my Kindle for when I get a spare minute or twenty. You can buy it on Amazon, or I’m sure it’s available at your favorite retailer.

I probably won’t be posting again before Thanksgiving, so for my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! And to my international readers, try to find some corn bread stuffing and turkey if at all possible. They’re delicious.

Have a great week and thanks for reading,

Elizabeth

An all-new Elemental Mysteries novella is now available!

Hey! You know how I’ve always said I was never going to write another Gio and Beatrice book? Well, I haven’t… exactly.

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I have, however, written a very fun Christmas novella for them that is now available to purchase in ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN, a pair of Christmas romances that I wrote with Grace Draven.

WHAT???

974420_10203580335841794_462988901_nYep! It’s available right now. No waiting. No preorder.

SURPRISE!

Grace Draven has contributed an amazing novella called SUNDAY’S CHILD, a beautiful story that combines modern day romance, Norse Mythology, and a whole lot of Christmas wishes. I have contributed LOST LETTERS AND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, a novella that features Giovanni Vecchio and Beatrice De Novo in an all new mystery (don’t worry, this one is resolved in one book) joined by some new characters in the Elemental world.

And you can get both stories for only $2.99! (Which is what I usually charge for ONE novella, so this is a real bargain.) Take a look at the synopsis for LOST LETTERS here:

Christmas in Rome wasn’t quite what Giovanni and Beatrice had in mind, until a set of misplaced letters leads them back to their library in the heart of Italy in a brand-new novella for ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN.

Serafina Rossi wasn’t expecting vampires for Christmas. But as the director of the Vecchio Library, she couldn’t refuse to help. And if part of that help was spending the holiday in Rome examining mysterious letters at the Vatican… Well, she couldn’t exactly refuse.

Zeno Ferrara was an immortal whose eternity was dedicated to examining historical correspondence. But it was letters from the lovely director of the Vecchio Library that occupied his thoughts. Two years of correspondence has made Fina Rossi more than a mystery to be discovered. She’s become his fascination.

When Fina shows up at Zeno’s library just before Christmas, will they both discover an unexpected gift? And will a centuries-old mystery finally be resolved as Giovanni and Beatrice track down a clandestine romance lost in time? Return to the Elemental Mysteries in Lost Letters and Christmas Lights, a special Christmas novella.

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I HAD SO MUCH FUN WRITING THIS!

Seriously, this is a dose of pure holiday happy. I pretty much grinned the whole time. I loved being able to visit Gio and Beatrice again, and the new characters, Zeno and Fina (who you met at the end of A Fall of Water) I’m just kind of in love with. A lot.

And SUNDAY’S CHILD is just as good! But then, everything that Grace writes is great, so that’s not really a surprise.

So fly to Rome (in your mind, if not on a plane) and grab ALL THE STARS FALL DOWN today.

AMAZON

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(It will eventually be available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all the usual suspects, but it has to distribute through Smashwords first, so it may be a few days.)

Hope you enjoy! And spread the word. Happy early Thanksgiving, everyone!

Best wishes, Elizabeth

Tenzin Tuesday: Chapter Nine of Shadows and Gold is now available.

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“I’m tired of talking about Stephen,” she said. “Touch me and don’t speak, or I’ll go back to the house.”

He chuckled. “So bossy. I’m not the one who angered you. Don’t take it out on me.”

“Fine. You may speak. But not about Stephen.”

“Benjamin Vecchio, then.”

She scowled and called up a gust of wind, knocking him out of the boat and into the water. When he rose above the surface, he was laughing.

“Oh, I missed you, cricket.”

IMG_7464Another chapter of Shadows and Gold is up! You get to meet Cheng. Do you hate him? Hopefully you won’t after this chapter. He’s an interesting character, and I have plans for him. I’m also waiting on the cover for Shadows and Gold. When I have it, I’ll send it out to the VIP Reader list, so if you haven’t signed up for that, please do!

Hopefully, you all caught the news about the new covers for the Elemental Mysteries. (If you didn’t, the post is HERE.) The brand new novella featuring Gio and B, Lost Letters and Christmas Lights, will be published soon in the ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN collection. No preorder, but I’ll be sure to blast it when the links are live!

Other news…

I think that’s it! For now. Enjoy the new chapter. Two more to go, and then you’ll get the epilogue when it’s published. Not long now!

Have a great week, Elizabeth

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Everything old is new again. (Especially Elemental Mysteries covers.)

YOU GUYS!

So I’ve been holding on to some news for… a while. But if you were very sneaky over the weekend and read Ilona Andrew’s blog, you might already know what I’m going to say. I’m so excited. And nervous. And excited!

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The Elemental Mysteries have gotten a facelift!

I KNOW! Do you love them? I love them. I’ve been wanting to give the series a revamped (ha! no pun intended) look for a while now. A HIDDEN FIRE has been out for over three years now. Did you even realize that? I feel kind of old typing that. So, yes. New look. Fancy dress for Christmas, if you will.

So—wait, what?

Ooooh, that. Okay, okay, I know. Everyone calm down. You were looking. You were all excited. They’re so pretty! And then…

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“But Elizabeth, there are… faces.”

You’re right. There are FACES.

“But Elizabeth, you don’t do faces! That is clearly NOT Beatrice OR Giovanni on the cover of A Fall of Water!”

Well, um, no. It’s not. Because of course, Beatrice and Gio are fictional characters who exist in our imaginations and on the page. I’ll admit, I was… a little unsure when I first saw them myself. In fact, quite unsure. I mean, it was a gorgeous cover, but…

FACES.

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In fact, I sent it back to the cover artist (Damonza, in case you were wondering. They did an AMAZING job, as they always do. They’re awesome.) and I said, “Send me another with no faces!”

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(Okay, I didn’t smash any coffee cups, but you get the idea.)

So, being the awesome cover artists they are, Damonza sent me one with no faces! And…

I didn’t like it as much.

See, the more I looked at that cover, the more it drew me in. In fact… I kind of loved the whole thing. I love the library (of course), I love the strong water element, and I love the columns. And those models… well, they’re actually pretty close to what I picture! (But of course, it’s okay if they’re not what YOU picture. Because yay books! They’re awesome that way.) I love how amazingly badass Beatrice looks without being in one of those really awkward cover model poses. I love that Giovanni has an expression on his face that says “I’m an intelligent individual and not just pretty.” (He also has clothes!) And I love that it’s the last book of the series and we get to see… FACES.

So, in the end, I did what I was not expecting and I put faces on the covers of one of my Elemental Mysteries books. In fact, A Fall of Water may be my favorite of the four new covers. But really, I love them all. I love the colors. The depth. As much as I loved the old covers, I feel like these really reflect the series very well.

So, if you don’t like it, that’s cool. But I do! And since they’re my books…

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The paperbacks will soon hit all the usual places to buy if you want to get paperbacks. Same prices and all that. Might take a few days to show up, though.

Now, for those of you who really, really love the original covers, good news! The original Elemental Mysteries covers are still available from Createspace. They’re not in distribution, because I wanted to maintain a unified look for the series, but they are available in paperback. You can find the links here.

Tomorrow is Tuesday! That means I’ll have another chapter of Shadows and Gold posted for Tenzin Tuesday. And that is all. So lay it on me in the comments! What do you think? Do you have a favorite new cover?

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