ARC Winner and a teaser from THE SECRET

Happy Friday, everyone! Thanks for all your enthusiasm about the cover reveal on Wednesday. I’m happy to report that awesome reader and blog regular Pugratt was the winner of the ARC contest here on the blog. (Email me!)

Over on my Facebook Author page, the lovely Susan Buckley won an ARC on Wednesday. She emailed me last night to share a favorite passage and suggest I share it with you guys, too, because it would make a great teaser.

She’s so right!

It would make a great teaser, so I’m sharing it here with you guys. Hope you have a great weekend!

All the best, Elizabeth

Teaser from THE SECRET…

They started up the stairs. Ava could hear someone snoring loudly.

“I feel like it should bother me more that you’re so good at breaking and entering.”

“Why?” Apparently, Malachi was no longer concerned with security. His voice was louder. He pulled out the earbud and tucked it in a small pocket of the vest he was wearing. “I’ve been doing this kind of thing for three hundred years. Trust me, it’s a lot less messy than it used to be. I don’t break and enter for personal gain. It’s just a useful life skill.”

“Useful life skills are starting a campfire or… knowing how to tie really good knots.”

“I know how to do those things, too.” He tugged her close and leaned down to her ear. “Give me one weekend without a world-changing revelations,” he whispered, “and I’ll show you my knot-tying skills.”

The color rushed to her face. “Bad man. Very bad man.”

He chuckled. “You wouldn’t be saying that by the end of the weekend.”

Copyright 2015, Elizabeth Hunter

Cover reveal: THE SECRET: Irin Chronicles Book Three

Good morning, everyone! Are you ready to see it? Are you? Keep reading underneath the pretty to find out how you can enter to win an ARC.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00049]

COMING MARCH 31st, 2015

Add it on Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/p6856r9

New Release Mailing List: http://tinyurl.com/lcsx6zy

Only when the darkness falls can you see the light of the stars.

For thousands of years, the scribes and singers of the Irin race have existed to protect humanity and guard the gifts of the Forgiven. They have lived in the shadows. They have kept their secrets. 


But the Irin aren’t the only race with secrets.

Ava and Malachi have found each other, but wounds as deep as theirs don’t heal overnight. While the Irin world struggles to correct the power imbalance left by the Rending of the Irina, Malachi and Ava struggle to connect their past with their present.

The Fallen may scheme, but Ava has found her power and refuses to be an angel’s pawn. And while Malachi may have forgotten his history, the scribe’s relentless search for answers leads both him and his mate to the heart of the Irin power structure in Vienna, where knowledge is guarded more closely than gold and those with power will do anything to keep it.

Malachi and Ava have survived the darkness, but will they ever discover its secrets? A powerful cabal of the Fallen may hold the answers, but to surrender them, it wants the Irin race to finally face their enemies. Both those coming from the outside, and those raging within.

THE SECRET is the third book in the contemporary fantasy series, the Irin Chronicles, and the conclusion of Ava and Malachi’s journey.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I am not doing a preorder for this book, but you can add it on Goodreads at the link above and/or sign up for my New Release Newsletter, which is ONLY for new releases from me, and I’ll send you the sales links as soon as they’re live.

So, what do you think? Did Damonza.com do a good job? This cover took more back and forth than any others so far, and I’m really pleased with it. I hope you are, too.

Let me know what you think in the comments and you’ll be entered to win an ARC of THE SECRET! E-copy only, and the contest will run until Friday.

Have a great Wednesday!

Elizabeth

THE SECRET teaser: “Sometimes, we must do exactly the thing that terrifies us most…”

From THE SECRET: Irin Chronicles Book Three…

~

“She is very resistant.”

“To using her magic?”

“Yes.”

“I know.” He took a deep breath. “She’s afraid of what she can do.”

Orsala smiled, and warm creases formed around her silver-blue eyes. “I do not want to interfere. Or ask you to break her confidence. I want to help her.”

“Let me talk to her again.”

“Thank you.”

“I warn you, though.” He gathered his papers and turned to leave. “I will not pressure her to use her magic if she’s not ready. My loyalty is to her, not any cause.”

“As it should be,” Orsala said. “You remind me much of my own mate. He was highly protective, even when I was at my strongest.”

“It is when we are strongest that we often don’t protect ourselves,” he said. “Whatever her destiny is in this life, it is my job to defend her.”

“For the Irina, I think the time has come for offense, not defense.”

He shook his head. “I’m not talking about the Irina. I’m talking about Ava. I will not let her be dragged into a war of your making, Orsala. However much I may support your cause, her part in it will be of her choosing.”

“She has not chosen this,” the old woman countered, “but Jaron has. The Fallen has targeted her.”

“And protected her.”

“I know.” Orsala stepped closer. “We need to know why. There is a darkness in her. A darkness to her magic that I have never seen before.”

“I do not fear her darkness.”

“Nor should you. But we need to understand it, so we may understand her. She needs to understand herself, Malachi. If you do not fear the darkness, then do not shield your mate from it, either. Sometimes, we must do exactly the thing that terrifies us most in order that we may live the life we were meant to have.”

~

Copyright 2015, Elizabeth Hunter

Writing news: THE SECRET release and getting back to the Elemental World

Secret promo 3

Hello everyone! I’m hoping to do a cover reveal for THE SECRET sometime this week, so hopefully you’ll be able to see what the lovely artists over at Damonza have been working on soon.

The official release for THE SECRET: Irin Chronicles Book Three is March 31st, 2015! If you’re a reviewer who is interested in taking part in the release, please fill out the ARC/COVER request form here and let me know.

Readers have been asking about a pre-order for THE SECRET, so I wanted to let you know what was up. I am NOT doing one for this book. The pre-order system that Amazon and Smashwords have set up means I’d need to push back the release date to have everything in order and ready to go (which is totally understandable, of course) but that means I can probably get the book to you SOONER if I don’t do a pre-order. While the final deadline is March 31st, but I’m hoping to actually have the book in reader hands before that.

The easiest way to keep up with my new releases is my New Release Mailing list that is ONLY for new releases. The VIP reader list is for extras and newsletter kind of stuff (I need to send you guys a new letter, by the way. it’s been WAY too long.) but the New Release list is ONLY for new releases. So if you don’t want to miss anything, that’s the one to sign up with.

As for other writing news…

I’m getting a few questions about whether THE SECRET will be the last book in the series. I’ve updated my FAQ over on the Irin Chronicles page with the answer to that, but I’ll tell you here that it won’t be. I will be writing more in this world, because there are really a lot more stories that can be told. I’ll probably take a break, though. Just like the Elemental World, I don’t want to get burned out.

Speaking of the Elemental World! I’m starting to outline Murphy and Anne’s book (Both were introduced in Building From Ashes) and I’m having a great time. It’s so great to be back writing about vampires. I’m having a blast. (In between wanting to bash my head on my computer keyboard because I’m editing, of course.) So be looking for the next Elemental World novel late this summer (hopefully) and then I’ll be back in Cambio Springs to write Ollie and Allie’s story. (Can’t wait!)

So that’s what happening in writing world for me. Hope you’re all doing well!

Take care, Elizabeth

Reading/Watching/Listening: Valentine’s Weekend 2015 and a GIANT SALE!

It’s been ages and ages since I’ve done a RWL post. (Okay YES, I know Valentine’s Day was yesterday, but I had a book signing hangover on Saturday that caused me to curl into an anti-social hedgehog and hide in my house.)

Very quickly, I wanted to mention that the four books of the Elemental Mysteries are on sale for this weekend only! Today is the last day. I hardly ever put my books on sale, so I wanted to let you guys know. I know most of you have already read them, but if you wanted to gift them or convince someone to share your Gio and Beatrice love, grab them now, because the first book is free and the others are only $1.99 on Amazon.

Sale banner

Sales links are HERE:

FIRE: http://tinyurl.com/p3ks8w2

EARTH: http://tinyurl.com/lgjdlee

WIND: http://tinyurl.com/nreuhjk

WATER: http://tinyurl.com/pt4cjo5

And  now! A late Reading/Watching/Listening: Valentine’s Weekend Edition

LOOOOOOOVE is in the air, and so I will share some of my all time favorite romantic reads and listens. Check your cynicism at the door because we’re going full swoon on the blog today. Deal with it.

IMG_2606READING: The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda

This collection of Neruda’s is, hands down, my all time favorite collection of love poetry. The evolution of love within this narrow volume is stunning. Elemental. Raw.

“I can scarcely measure the sky’s most spacious eyes

and I lean down to your mouth to kiss the earth.”

It’s a collection of poems about one relationship. It’s flush with new love, brimming with anger at times, wise with age at others. I love, love, love these poems. That picture? That’s my actual copy.

“All night I have slept with you

next to the sea, on the island.

Wild and sweet you were between pleasure and sleep,

between fire and water.

Perhaps very late

our dreams joined at the top or at the bottom,

up above like branches moved by a common wind,

down below like red roots that touch.”

This book has travelled all over the world with me, because when I want to remind myself of the many facets of love, I read it again. And I get more every time. If you only read one poem from this collection, look for Ode and Burgeonings, but really, please read the whole thing.

“My wild girl, we have had

to regain time

and march backward, in the distance

of our lives, kiss after kiss,

gathering from one place what we gave

without joy, discovering in another

the secret road

that gradually brought your feet close to mine,

and so beneath my mouth

you see again the unfulfilled plant

of your life putting out its roots

toward my heart that was waiting for you.”

Seriously, I could just quote this all day, so we’ll move on to Watching. Read More

Celebration time: THE SECRET is complete! (With all the usual caveats.)

Let the minions dance, my friends. Let them shake their little yellow tushies in celebration. Because the first draft of THE SECRET… is finished.

9dab3f9c45d7c3be4c147f513685a8f0.jpg

Yes, yes. I know you’re all excited. Trust me, I am too. I spent most of yesterday visiting with my mom, who had a completely routine medical thing, but has to lay low for a while, which (being my mom) she finds very frustrating. But today I might just sleep. Because… yeah, this book has put me through the wringer.

minion-stuart-google-plus-coverAnd of course I’m not done yet! Revising and editing needs to happen, but I’m happy to say an end is in sight. And not even a year after the second book was released! (COUGHCOUGH everyone sending me nasty emails and messages about how late the book is needs to just calm down COUGHCOUGH)

But of course, I will not know a release date until I can hash things out with my lovely editor and get all the order stuff out. I would expect it to be early spring if not (hopefully) a little sooner.

despicable_me_2_minions-wideIt’s a big ‘un. At over 100K words, THE SECRET is my longest book since Building From Ashes. And it kind of needed to be. I can also say with confidence I will be writing in this series some more (as I did with the Elemental World) but I do anticipate taking a pretty substantial break. Don’t worry. Ava and Malachi’s story is wrapped up in this book, but like Gio and Beatrice, I’m sure they’ll end up popping up in others.

Don’t ask me if I love this book right now, because I’m still all emotional about it. I’m pretty sure I WILL love it fairly soon. But this has been the hardest book I’ve ever written. It has some of my favorite moments ever. It has some things that ripped my heart out. And moments that made me cry happy-tears, too. Ava and Malachi are very close to my heart. I hope you’re as excited about the conclusion of their story as I am.

So for now… let the minions dance.

Ej8Oyf8

Best always, Elizabeth

Getting back to business

Some of you might have noticed that I kind of dropped off the face of the earth last week.

I took an unexpected trip to Houston when a good friend’s father passed away and I wanted to be there for him and his mom, who were (and are) very special to me. It wasn’t wholly unexpected, but I’m still very sad. Sad for my friend and his family. Sad for his wife of fifty-five years. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. All in all, not a bad way to go.

Having one of my best friends lose his father is one of those things that reminds me I’m not a kid anymore. I am getting older. My father’s own heart scare a few years ago reminded me that I won’t have my parents forever. It’s not an easy thing to wrap your mind around because parents are so present in our minds. Relationships might be good or horrible, but they are there. Losing them is a milestone that most everyone will face if they live long enough.

I’m getting morbid when, really, it was a very life-affirming trip. I was able to spend time with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Another one of my best friends got engaged. Two others have new babies on the way. There’s something about keeping the friends who knew you when you were young. I think they remind you of who you meant to be before jobs and bills and mortgages and marriage happened. Hopefully it’s a good thing to be reminded of that person.

I got back very early Saturday morning, so I’m easing back into work after a quiet weekend with my son. I’m hitting the end game of THE SECRET (or the first draft of it, anyway) so that’s very exciting. Early feedback from beta readers who have read the partial manuscript has been good. I’m excited for you guys to read the end of Ava and Malachi’s story. Hopefully, I’ll surprise you. In a good way.

I’ll sign off for now and get back to work, leaving you with a song that reminds me of my friend’s father, Eugene Gerla. A good man. A quiet man. A life-long Texan. A veteran. And a good dancer. A man who loved the same woman for fifty-five years. A man who raised two great kids. A man who invited random college kids to his house for any holiday they couldn’t make it home. Jo’s husband. David’s dad. Conor’s grandpa and so much more to so many people.

Patty Griffin—”Go Wherever You Wanna Go”

You can go wherever you wanna go
Go wherever you wanna go
Fly up to the moon and say hello now
You can go wherever you wanna go

You don’t ever have to go to war no more
Never have to go to war no more
Wear them boots and swim that icy shore now
You don’t ever have to go to war no more

You can get up on some sunny day and run
Run a hundred miles just for fun now
Heartaches and yesterdays don’t weigh a ton now
You can get up on some sunny day and run

Happy New Year and a peek at THE SECRET

Happy New Year to everyone!

First let me say how much I loved reading all your wonderful holiday traditions last week. Though I took most of the week off to spend with family, I had a great time peeking through my email every now and then to read your comments. I’m very happy to announce the winner of the four book signed set is…

Harleyfairy!

If you could please email me with your info at ElizabethHunterWrites@gmail.com, I’ll get your books out to you.

My 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is still happening for my VIP Readers. I hope you’re signed up! The first four winners were announced the beginning of the week and the second four winners will be announced tomorrow.

I’ve spent most of the last four days writing. I’ve written about 26K on The Secret draft, which has equaled about nine chapters. I’d say I’m about ten chapters or so away from finishing the first draft. What does that mean for a publication date? Well, it’ll likely be late this winter or early spring, but I can’t say more than that, because it will depend on how editing goes and how many revisions end up happening.

A WORD ABOUT PREORDER DATES

So, a lot of people don’t love that I can’t tell them waaaaay in advance when a book will be ready. There’s a couple reasons for that and I want to just touch on them briefly.

In traditional publishing, preorder dates are set very far in advance, often up to a year! That year allows the writer to finish the draft, the editors to edit it, the formatters to do their thing, etc. In order to not cut things too close, a traditional publisher will usually put a lot of extra time in there to allow for a writer to miss a deadline or an editor to get backed up or any number of things. Which makes total sense, because they’re dealing with a bunch of different books.

For me, being a self-publisher, things are a lot more streamlined. I write the book. I pass it out to pre-readers. I revise it. I self-edit it. Then it goes to my editor and proofreader and when I get it back, I publish. (I do my own formatting.) Now, I COULD set a preorder date waaaaay in advance so that you guys can mark on your calendars when a book is going to be available. But if I did that, I’d have to work a lot of extra time in there (because life happens) just like a publisher.

Would you have a definite put-on-the-calendar date? Yep.

Would you get the book any sooner? Nope.

In fact, you’d probably get it later, because of all the time padded in there to ensure I don’t miss a date.

So, I’ve decided not to do that. Furthermore, I don’t like working on a deadline. It’s nerve-wracking and stress-inducing and part of the reason I don’t have a traditional publisher is so I don’t have to work under that kind of pressure. My own self-induced mania is enough for me, thankyouverymuch.

So, I can’t tell you when THE SECRET will be out. I CAN tell you, it’ll be out as fast as possible while still making it the book I want it to be. Trust me, I don’t sit on projects just to torment you guys. That would be mean. Also, kind of stupid on my part, because I wouldn’t be selling it to you; it’d just be on my computer, which does not pay the bills.

ANYWAY, I wanted to give you guys a look-see at what I’ve been writing. So without further ado, here’s a teaser of THE SECRET: Irin Chronicles Book Three:

Damien and Sari exchanged a look that told Ava they’d be talking more about it later. Yeah, so it kinda made her feel like a kid at the grown-ups table, but she had to remind herself that to these people she was a kid.

“Hey,” she whispered to Malachi. “When are Irin considered adults?”

He was following what looked to be a quiet argument between Sari and Mala. “Full adults? Around sixty to seventy-five years. When we’re finished with our schooling. Why?”

She flushed. Wow.

“So, you’re quite the cradle robber, aren’t you?”

Malachi turned to her abruptly. “What? No, I’m not.”

“I’m not even thirty. That’s like… a teenager to you guys.”

She could see the flush crawl up his neck, even behind the beard. “You’re human. You mature differently.”

“But I’m not really human.”

His shoulders were stiff and his posture screamed his discomfort. It was really a shame that Ava found teasing him to be so amusing.

“I mean, what would your mom say if she found out you were mated—and I mean well and thoroughly mated—to what she would basically consider a kid?”

He wiped a hand over his forehead. “Heaven above, please stop talking.”

“So are we going to stop fooling around now?”

He groaned, “Ava.”

“I’m just yanking your chain.”

“You’re going to have to speak up, because the mental lecture my mother’s memory is giving me right now is rather loud.”

She bit her lip so she didn’t burst into laughter.

“Malachi?”

“What?”

“Have you ever, ever heard of Irin teenagers finding their soul mate before they’re adults?”

“No.”

“So, even though I’m young in your world, I’m thinking the universe decided I was an adult a while back.”

He squeezed her hand and said, “I hate you a little right now. You know that, right?”

~~~

Copyright 2014 Elizabeth Hunter

Happy Holidays and a progress report for 2014. And giveaways. Lots of giveaways.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.06.56 AMI wanted to take a moment today and wish everyone happy holiday celebrations. It’s the season of hope, renewal, and new beginnings, so here are my hopes for you, my lovely readers:

  • I hope you’re spending some relaxing time with family or friends or both.
  • I hope cookies are finished, houses are prepared, and you’re in the fun part of the holiday season and not the “wow, this is so much work” part of it.
  • I hope if you work retail you’re still sane and haven’t been arrested for assault yet. (Hold strong. I know the temptation is almost overwhelming at times.)
  • I hope you’re looking forward to the new year.
  • I hope you have some really great books to read when you get a spare moment.

And I hope you’ve enjoyed being part of this blog community. I always enjoy posting here because I get great comments from readers, enthusiastic feedback, and so much encouragement. Thank you for being part of my writing journey in 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.08.00 AMI like to keep myself accountable for working hard, so consider this my progress report for 2014. This year I released:

  • A boxed set of the four Elemental Mysteries novels
  • A short story in the Cambio Springs series
  • Three novellas in the Elemental series
  • Two full novels (one in the Irin Chronicles, one in Cambio Springs)

Estimating things, that’s around 255,000 words of new fiction written this year. Or almost 700 new words a day if I wrote every day. Not bad, but not my most prolific year. At the same time, I also did these things:

  • Took a month-long research trip to China for Shadows and Gold and the new Elemental Legacy series.
  • Took a week long research/writing trip to the desert for Cambio Springs.
  • Took a five day research trip to Vienna for The Secret (which I’m working on right now)
  • Went to the RT Conference in New Orleans
  • Attended one signing
  • Went on two field trips with my son’s class
  • Attended a couple of family vacations
  • Celebrated lots of birthdays
  • Watched lots of AYSO soccer for my son and various nieces and nephews
  • Got a new dog
  • Finished taking down the really ugly wallpaper in my bedroom (The plaster is still a work in progress.)
  • Finished decorating the new house (mostly)
  • Started a barre physique class and got back into yoga
  • Took a few more walks than I did in 2013

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.08.55 AM2014 was all about balance for me. The more I publish, the harder it is to find time to write. That makes me frustrated at times, but I think it’s also inevitable. The business of writing takes time, whether you’re traditionally or independently published. Life also takes time. I’m coming up on my third year of single-parenthood, which is not something I talk much about, but it’s challenging. I balance a lot at home and to do that, sometimes writing time suffers.

It’s all about balance.

So my hope for the new year is that I balance a little better than I did last year. A little less time worrying, a little more time writing. A little less time in front of the computer and a little more time out in fresh air. More time with my son and as little time as possible doing paperwork.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.09.12 AMAnd as much as I’d like to put out four books every year for you guys, I have to realize that, where I am now in life, that’s not realistic. So I’ll focus less on quantity and more on quality. I want to write the best books I can. I want to keep growing creatively. Part of growing creatively is living life. And I can’t do that if I’m shut up in my writing cave all the time. So I have to allow myself that and accept the words I put on paper will be better for the time that I’ve spent living. I also have to hope that you guys will accept that. I’m pretty sure you will, because I have great readers.

As my thank you for being such amazing readers, I’ll be doing a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway starting tomorrow for my VIP Readers. (If you’re not signed up for the VIP Reader List, you can sign up here.) I’ll be picking a winner every day for the next 12  days to win paperbacks of different books. I have thirteen different paperbacks now and I’ll be giving away one of each (with the two Elemental novellas combined into one day). You don’t have to do anything to enter, just be signed up for the list! I’ll be announcing winners every day, so just check your inbox and email me if you see your name.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.08.26 AMI’m also doing a giveaway here on the blog for a COMPLETE signed four-book set of the Elemental Mysteries. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite holiday tradition and be entered to win. This contest will run for the next week, and it is open to international readers. I’ll announce a winner on New Year’s Eve.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Thanks for being part of this amazing journey.

So much love to you all,

Elizabeth

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