Thursday, August 31, 2017

[SELF-PROMO POST] First Words: Final Lesson

First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn

The Final Lesson #0.5
Genre: Fantasy, Aoung Adult
Release date: July 13th, 2017


Synopsis
A recently-crowned princess with a thirst for magic accidentally destroys her home. A simple youthful rebellion grows into a lifelong friendship. A young woman meets reliable allies. And a young boy is dealt a harsh hand when he sets out to make his own path.
Four tales. Four parties. All intertwined to set the stage for a bigger event. The sense of adventure builds as lessons prepare to be learned.

Purchase It

Sneak Peek
Wind chimes echoed through the near-desolate shrine, the salty air flowing through the open window, blowing out the jasmine incense on the polished nightstand. Thunderclaps roared from the outside, and she couldn’t help but grin to herself as she shut her eyes. Abrupt weather changes, a drift in the squalls. The calm before a brewing storm; that was always Leilana Erovina’s ideal time to meditate as a prolific start to her drawn-out morning.

Minsura’s grounds granted her peace, and sitting as the first heir of the kingdom ensured her guarantee to a wholesome life. Isolated, magicless, a free reign to the plight of idealism and growth. The hymns of her people reverberated in passion and solitude. It was as though this closed-off world was shielded behind the clouds, never to touch the cruel workings on the ground below their pedestal. She heard little about the world furthest east of their country, a place called Adrylis, but she knew that their society was fueled by magic and the power of the Warlords. 

For generations beyond known time, essence and being was headed by the Warlords of old, who crafted all humankind and blessed them with the ability to conjure spells to breathe life into their own little world. Magic itself was a mysterious gift that few in Minsura were given; one of the chosen ones had been her own brother, Ennis.

The oldest of the two, he should have been the one seated at the foot of the shrine, leading Minsura as the first heir to his growing land, but his recent growth in power knocked him down several pegs. Magic was forbidden. She was grateful for the shift due to the quiet change of pace and the chance to better her country with her own hands as its chosen princess, but she didn’t understand why it had to be in this manner. Ennis didn’t ask to suddenly develop a life-threatening illness, saved only by what essence resonated within him from birth. He never asked to be turned away by those he loved for something that he couldn’t control.

A light rain pattered against the floor, and she decided to end her session for the day, getting up from her mat and closing the window shut. She rested her head on the windowsill, astonished blue eyes gazing up at the smoky clouds hastily filed in. As much as she loved Minsura and what the shrines had to offer, she couldn’t help but wonder what lied beyond the only land she had ever set foot on. 

She couldn’t wait for the rain to settle down for long—she was already late getting back home, and her parents would already have a mound of duties waiting for her. Pressing her tiny hands against the large doors holding her, she pushed them open and watched the rain pour down on the stone building above her. She took a seat on the stairs for a moment, tapping her foot along the ground, her right leg bouncing in an anxious matter. How long was it going to be before the rain slowed up?


Author Bio
Shakyra Dunn can't stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

Author Links


Monday, August 7, 2017

[TRUTH SERUM] A Day's Events


I'm going to tell you a little story. August 5th, 2012 holds a lot of significance in my life; it was the day that my mother suddenly passed away. I was eighteen years old, a week and a half away from starting college, and it was the moment that my life changed forever.

My mother was the one that raised me, mostly on her own as a single mother, but she had help from others to push me down the right path. Not to say I was a bad kid, nothing of the sort, actually. She primed my love of literature from a young age, and was an avid reader herself. I don't think that I would have become a writer without her guidance.

But this year, August 5th was a day not of sadness, but of opportunity.



I got the chance to participate in a local author event called "Imagine Other Worlds: IOWA." I don't get to attend many events due to my rather annoying night shift schedule, so this one was a dark horse for me.

I wasn't sure how I would fare, as I'm probably one of the new kids still in the industry despite having been published for a year now, and still rather young and inexperienced. But from the start, I was always prepared to learn more, experiment, and see what I could change about my style. And I wasn't at all disappointed.

The hardest thing about attending any sort of convention, large or local, is trying to make yourself stand out, especially if there are multiple other authors in your genre. And I'm still struggling a lot to pitch my work to others, because telling a story aloud can be a hassle, even if you're experienced. But you learn on the go.


Here's what I took from it:

1. Don't be afraid to start up a conversation, even if it's something completely unrelated to your books. This is something that I took from my fellow YA author Jed Quinn. He stated to me after I asked for some advice on how to attract people to you that you should talk to anyone that passes by your booth, strike up a conversation, even if it's just complimenting them. He joked around saying that someone was wearing a Packers jersey, and he hated that team, but if it leaves a mark, then you're sold in at least one way. Even if they don't buy your book, you leave an imprint on them.

2. You can make allies at your events. I made a great new friend in Cassandra Denhartog, sitting right next to me in the YA area! She's really sweet, and she's got skills beyond the border! I think that chance encounter won me more than just some nice conversation, which is always a good thing.

3. Showcase yourself. Being yourself is one of the best things you can be at an event. If you appeal to the right person, you can win yourself some new readers. Personally, I can be rather reserved. But I'm also pretty open and blunt, and Jed actually called me tenacious at a point because I managed to convince him to buy my book. At first, hearing that made me a little nervous, but he reassured me that it's a good thing TO be tenacious in the writing industry, because it shows that you're passionate and willing to push past your barriers.


In the end, I sold four copies of my novella, which got me a little hype towards my future project, "The Final Lesson," but the sales weren't what I thought would help to define me.

My purpose was to build myself a little more, to learn more about what I could do to not only improve my sales, but uncover the depths of what potentials are running within me. I want to be able to travel to other states, promote myself at conventions away from my norm, but to do that, I must first be prepared by starting local.

Imagine Other Worlds was my first real jump into what I think could be the start of something greater, and for this moment, I'm thankful to the coordinators Terri and Dana for giving me the chance to let the *semi* new kid join the fun!





Allow me to introduce my latest release! The e-book is only $.99, and it's a great introduction into the upcoming novel! You can purchase it here!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

[TRUTH SERUM] A mini-questionaire!

I decided to play a little game with myself, and I wanted to jot it down in a new blog post since it's been a while! I always like sharing a bit of information about myself.

So here goes!

1.) What is your author name? 
~My author name is actually my own birth-given name, Shakyra Dunn!

2.) What is the first book you ever published? 
~That would be "The One Left Behind: Magic." It is the first in a three-part series. It's a YA fantasy novel that has sci-fi elements due to the theme of time travel, rebirth and growth.

3.) What is your publiversary? (The day you released your first book) 
~June 13th, 2016! It was two days before my 22nd birthday.

4.) What is your favorite book you've written thus far? 
~So far, it has to be "The Final Lesson," the project that I'm currently working on.

5.) What book took you the longest to write? 
~"The One Left Behind: Magic," because I've had to essentially rewrite the entire novel from scratch over the course of three and a half years.

6.) How long did it take you? 
~I kind of just answered that.

7.) What kind of music (If Any) do you listen to while you write? 
~Oh, I listen to a variety, but my range goes from rock to J-pop to instrumentals from video games and anime! As I type this, I'm listening to the Final Fantasy XV soundtrack. 

8.) Who is your favorite character from any of your books? 
~It's a tough call, but I have to divide it between three from my current works. It would be Nova Avery from "The One Left Behind," Solus Brenner from "The Final Lesson," and Leilana Erovina from "The Final Lesson." All three of them have similar mindsets, but they execute all of their methods in such different ways and have inter-conflicting personalities. If I had to choose one above the rest though, it would be Solus.
9.) What are you currently working on? 
~"The Final Lesson!" I've been writing it for nearly a year now (It will be a year in November, but I feel that I'll be finished by then), and I've already released a novella prequel in preparation for it.

10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write? 
~I tend to go more for drinks than snacks, but if I have a snack, I've recently gotten hooked back on ranch-flavored chips.

11.) What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books? 
~Just one? Ooh, let's see... I'm going to cheat. Instead of a quote, I'll use a minor scene. It's one that I liked organizing.

“Gutless coward!” Rem exclaimed, throwing a rock at the traveling carriage as it sped off. “And you’re two hundred coins short! I hope your wheel comes off! I hope that your family doesn’t accept your funds, and that your carriage gets set on fire!”
Solus slapped the young Prince upside the head, his left hand still resting on his hip. “That is quite enough out of you, Remiel. No need to antagonize the patrons. He was just doing his job.” Rem nearly snarled back at the man.
“No, what he was doing was being a coward just because of a bump.”

12.) Are you a self published or traditional published author?
~Self-published, but I'm going to try and switch up to Hybrid after "The Final Lesson" is done. Or maybe before. I haven't decided yet. 

13.) What is your writing inspiration? 
~I take inspiration mostly from my experiences, but I also take inspiration from video games. I love playing RPG's, and they help me shape my love of character conflict.

14.) What genre do you write? 
~Fantasy! But I also write in the YA genre and plan to try out paranormal with my next non-series book!

15.) Do you have any writing rituals? 
~Rituals? No, not really!

16.) Do you have a specific place you write or time? 
~Neither of the above. I just try to write whenever I can and hope for the best.

17.) Do you have any advice for inspiring writers? 
~Never lose hope. It's easy to stray, especially when you're crafting your first book, or even when you start your second or third. Writer's block exists, and when it hits, it's okay to step back and take a break. Take criticism. Listen to what others have already done. 

18.) What are your writing goals? If any? 
~My goal has always been to inspire others to create. I had a hard time accepting my love of writing as a teenager, but once the bug hit, it stuck. Never be afraid to live your dream.

19.) What authors inspire you and your writing? 
~I could write a book on who inspires me, but I'll say for one, Lemony Snicket is a strong part of the reason why I became a writer.

20.) What will be your next release?
~"The Final Lesson," which I'm aiming to have published around October!


Speaking on my novel work, I mentioned my latest release! Well, here it is for your viewing pleasure! The e-book is only $.99, and it's a great introduction into the upcoming novel! You can purchase it here!


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1548809373
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-words-shakyra-dunn/1126761572

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

[PROMO POST] Josie Carver Books Pt. 2

I'm back--back again, and we're rolling in with part two of Josie Carver's erotica book promotion courtesy of the opposite spectrum of YA and fantasy!


Cassandra’s Unveiling

Damon, his cousin, and four friends converted grandma’s house into a private sex club for people of color. It seemed like a good idea, and the club was starting to turn a profit already—after being open for only a few months.

So, Damon was proud to show it off to his friend and occasional sexual playmate, Cassandra. She’d had a small taste of his freaky side and seemed interested. Damon was interested in finding out how much more this Latina beauty could handle.

What he didn’t expect was to open the door to a side of Cassandra that even she didn’t know existed. It wasn’t just the kink that turned her on. It wasn’t only the submission, either.

Step inside Club Starburst as Damon and his friends help Cass find the sexual freedom and happiness she’s been searching for in ways she didn’t know existed.




Safe and Sane

Rules are for safety. Dungeon Monitors are for protection.

So what do you do when the DM is the one breaking the rules and possibly putting his submissive in danger? Does it matter that they’ve been together for years? Does it matter that this DM is one of the investors in Club Starburst?

Damon isn’t sure how to handle what he’s been observing between Maverick and Desiree. He can’t quite put his finger on what’s wrong. To make the situation even more complicated, Desiree’s old Dominant is watching, too. He was always very protective, and he’s not happy.

What do you do when the play room is filled with tension between friends, when safe and sane are in question, and when respect and rules are being stretched?

If someone has to go, who will it be when everyone involved is an investor with money to lose?




The Dom’s Destiny

Damon didn’t expect Club Starburst to be so successful when he’d first had the idea to open a BDSM club for black folks, but he’d seen a lot of happy relationships form and people grow into fuller acceptance of their sexual proclivities over the months. Everyone seemed satisfied with the way he was handling the club business, but for him, something was still missing.

Until his Destiny walked in the door. No, seriously, her name is Destiny and it only took a few minutes of observing her for Damon to know that he wanted to break her. Then he’d make her his.

Of course, he would set his sights on one of the most difficult new members the club had ever accepted. A submissive who didn’t want to follow the rules. A sassy, beautiful, sexy vixen who turned him inside out and got away with topping him because she was just too distracting for him to keep her in line.

Yeah, he wanted her and he was going to have her... even if his Destiny brought a future full of trouble.

Available for Purchase at: http://bit.ly/jcdomsdestiny

or https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B07336H2DT


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Josie Carver was born and raised in Ohio, where she resides currently. From a young age, she was drawn to romance comic books and novels. Relationships intrigue her. Falling in love fascinates her. She recently decided to write erotic romance stories after discovering a true enjoyment of reading the sub-genre. One thing she hopes to get across in the debut Club Starburst Series is that the power exchange between a man and a woman during intimacy is one of the most vulnerable and powerful experiences people can share if they are brave enough to let go of inhibitions.

Josie desired to create a series with complex characters, so you’ll find a variety of issues affecting the main characters from Cassandra’s Unveiling, Safe and Sane, and The Dom’s Destiny. These stories are about much more than sex because Josie believes that everything about us impacts how we relate to those we are our closest friends and lovers. She spent a lot of time researching the BDSM culture and speaking with people who participate in the lifestyle so that her readers can feel a true appreciation for what she believes is a truly remarkable world. At the end of the day, she believes that this foray and these characters represent the possibilities that can happen when people are unafraid to trust in one another, exercise the power found in knowing themselves, and reach beyond traditional boundaries to find freedom and fulfillment. 

Josie Carver is the erotica pen name of award-winning romance Author Brynette L. Turner. The pen name was chosen to honor her great-grandmother Josephine—a woman of strength, intelligence, bravery, and determination—as well as her favorite middle school teacher, who was one of the people to invest in building her up as a person instead of just seeing her as another student. Creating interesting story lines in a sub-genre that seems taboo to many African Americans is a true act of courage that Josie hopes will make people proud and encourage them to delve deeply into their secret desires and buried needs.

You can reach her at josie.carver.erotica@gmail.com , follow @EroticJosie on Twitter, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EroticJosieAA , and sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/cBpKGX.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

[PROMO POST] Josie Carver Books Pt. 1

"What? A two-parter? That's rare."

Rare, indeed, but I always love a challenge! And I guess it comes as a bit of a refresher after finishing up a novella that debuted last week and currently reworking my debut novel. All of this in preparation for an author event that I'm attending on August 5th!

But enough about that. For the next two days, I'm going to be acting as a promoter for author Josie Carver and her erotica novels!




So, just who is Josie Carver, you ask? Well, I'll give you a little background info.

Josie Carver was born and raised in Ohio, where she resides currently. From a young age, she was drawn to romance comic books and novels. Relationships intrigue her. Falling in love fascinates her. She recently decided to write erotic romance stories after discovering a true enjoyment of reading the sub-genre. One thing she hopes to get across in the debut Club Starburst Series is that the power exchange between a man and a woman during intimacy is one of the most vulnerable and powerful experiences people can share if they are brave enough to let go of inhibitions.


Josie desired to create a series with complex characters, so you’ll find a variety of issues affecting the main characters from Cassandra’s Unveiling, Safe and Sane, and The Dom’s Destiny. These stories are about much more than sex because Josie believes that everything about us impacts how we relate to those we are our closest friends and lovers. She spent a lot of time researching the BDSM culture and speaking with people who participate in the lifestyle so that her readers can feel a true appreciation for what she believes is a truly remarkable world. At the end of the day, she believes that this foray and these characters represent the possibilities that can happen when people are unafraid to trust in one another, exercise the power found in knowing themselves, and reach beyond traditional boundaries to find freedom and fulfillment. 



Josie Carver is the erotica pen name of award-winning romance Author Brynette L. Turner. The pen name was chosen to honor her great-grandmother Josephine—a woman of strength, intelligence, bravery, and determination—as well as her favorite middle school teacher, who was one of the people to invest in building her up as a person instead of just seeing her as another student. Creating interesting story lines in a sub-genre that seems taboo to many African Americans is a true act of courage that Josie hopes will make people proud and encourage them to delve deeply into their secret desires and buried needs.



You can reach her at josie.carver.erotica@gmail.com, follow @EroticJosie on Twitter, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EroticJosieAA, and sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/cBpKGX



Now that I've hooked your attention with her background information, tomorrow I'll be providing you with her fantastic books and where you can find them!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

[ANIMANIUS -Miniview-] Bleach: The Movie

It's becoming a bit of a trend to see anime movies getting live action movies or television adaptions. It's almost frightening, yet exciting in the same regard.

But at the same time, looking back and seeing that there are so many of them releasing, you find that not all of them are as decent in quality as their anime counterpart. There's only so much that you can rush into a two hour movie that could easily be drawn out in twelve (or more) twenty-three minute episodes.

In the past, we've had groundbreaking hits such as Ruruoni Kenshin, Nana, and Erased. In contrast, we've also had movies like Attack on Titan that garnered some mixed reviews, and complete flops in the film industry such as Dragonball Evolution. 

Let's just... never speak of the travesties of that movie again, okay?

And now we have the Death Note television show set to premiere soon on Netflix, which is also gaining some rather mixed emotions. But that's a review for another day, when it debuts and I decide to rip it apart, or praise it, whatever comes first. 

Today we're going to talk about the newest one to grace the stage, Bleach.


Bleach is one of the big-sitting anime along the greats of One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tail, Dragonball, you name it, Bleach is right alongside it. And now it's joined up and getting a live action movie. 

Its trailer just debuted a couple of days ago! You can view it here! While you're watching that, I'll tell you my thoughts on what could come from it, and what I think about Bleach itself.

Bleach:

I watched Bleach as a teenager, and it is to this day the anime of gripe in my eyes. I liked the premise of the show, with protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki, a boy who can interact with spirits, taking up the mantle of becoming a soul reaper bent on eliminating rampant monsters that corrupt the hearts of innocent people. Ichigo himself, fine character... at first. As the anime and manga went on, I found it droning and almost lackluster, especially at the end of the Arrancar arc. Then it just became too much.

The series had a lot of potentials, but it fell way too fast for me. I held on to Bleach from the first episode through episode... 290, I'll estimate, but even bypassing the fillers can leave you with a rather salty taste. Ichigo took on way too many titles throughout his career, and became a bit... Gary-Sueish by the end.


Live Action:

Now, about this trailer. 

I watched it a few times, and while it is only twenty-two seconds long, it leaves a lot of thought.

Ichigo's actor makes me feel a bit... concerned about the direction that they're going to take, but I'm at least thankful that they gave him the hair color that he has in the story. Because an Ichigo without orange hair, which plays a part in not only his namesake, but his age, his background, and many other qualities about the little strawberry boy, is just bad. 

I don't think the trailer is bad for a showcase, but at the same time, it makes me curious about what will happen next. The graphics, they look decent enough when thinking of Bleach's concept. The hazing shadow of the Hollow dissipating behind our hero, the binding glare in Ichigo's eyes... I'm hopeful, and I'm curious to see more of the cast. 

What will Rukia look like, or Orihime? How will they portray Chad or Uryuu? How will they balance Ichigo's school life and his Soul Reaper life? Will Kisuke and Yoruichi play a part this time around? How far into the storyline will the movie go, maybe up to the Soul Society's Rescue Arc? So. Many. Thoughts.

I'm hopeful that there's something more that will turn the tides of the anime/live action franchise. I just hope that my wishes aren't squandered.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

[TRUTH SERUM] A Year as a Novelist

I've wanted to become an author since I was fourteen years old, and one year ago today, I made that dream a reality. 

It was two days before my twenty-second birthday, and after four years of endless turmoil, of hard work, dedication, strife, and an array of growth... I ascended to what became my life's purpose.

June 13th, 2016, I became a published novelist. I made my debut in the industry, and there was so much that I was ready to learn, to see unfold, and to experience as the new kid on the block.

I wasn't disappointed in how much this year has changed me. But it was far from a pleasure cruise. Let me tell you a story about how the first year as a novelist really feels.

The First Day

I'll say this first: writing is not easy. And to this day, it is the most bothersome feeling in the world to be told by someone that couldn't possibly understand that writing a novel isn't a challenge. There's so much effort put into getting the words out, and if you're like me, you probably started your journey with absolutely no knowledge on anything outside of the field. So, after you've typed 'the end,' sent your book off to the world, and you've jumped the gun, congratulate yourself, have a drink (or just something super sweet if you're underage), and breathe! You're ready! 

And I really do mean crazy. 

The moment that your first book is in your hands, I guarantee that you will feel a sense of elatedness that has never washed over you before. "Today, you are official." I remember that I nearly cried when I first held "The One Left Behind: Magic" in my hands. I even got it on video, right here.

It was my first step into the world of creativity as a fresh, published author. Yours will be no different. But the journey doesn't stop there.

That first day that you start your marketing, traditional author or self-published, you're going to struggle, especially if it's your first book. No one will know you. Sharing your book with the world is difficult. You won't always get to be #1 in your category just because you've made your own personal bestseller. And believe it or not, even those family members and friends that promised to buy your book, they don't always follow through with that. It's a cold truth, but one that we eventually come to accept. 

That first step, you're on your own from the beginning, and it's going to frustrate you. But as you work, you find new ways to show off your work to others. One of my favorites so far has been participating in author takeovers (which I'm about to start a day-long one soon!), where you get to showcase your works on Facebook to an invited audience. It's hard to think up the right words to say about yourself, but it's one of the easier experiences I have. Sure, it doesn't guarantee you sales every time, but you definitely get people interested that way.

But keep faith. That first day is one of many to come!


The First Month
Now I'm going to tell you another cold truth: your career as a writer not only depends on sales, but on the reviews and criticism that people give you. And that's something that I came to learn the hard way throughout this first year.

I've been told that my story was poorly executed, worth 2-3 stars. I've been told that my book cover is more suited to middle grade audiences rather than a YA crowd like I aimed for. That it was a mediocre setup. I didn't have the money to pay for an editor at the time, and it was something that dealt me in, played a part in why my book never really broke free from a crowd. It made me feel horrible. I didn't compare to thousands of other people in my field, and it was hard to push away from my failures. The worst thing was learning that my work was never that great because I was too hasty. 

But after tears, it's always the best thing to pick yourself up and do better with your next book. Three stars on a novel is better than one, and it allows you to see your faults in your work. 

You won't always succeed with your first book. And that's okay. 

Someone else is reading your work too, and maybe they'll love it. Or they'll hate it. But you know what? They're reading it. And that's more than what most people can do.

You took the jump. Now free-fall, let the wind hit your face. Have your parachute ready to secure your impact. Rise, and start again.


Taking the Plunge

I was six months into my career when I finally got my first event outside of the online community, participating in Indie Author Day at my local library. It was their first time hosting, and it was amazing to see so many others around me. Though, it was also a bit strange given that I was the youngest person in the room, and therefore, the most inexperienced. 

But that event opened so many doors for me. It allowed me to make connections with amazing people, and it gave me the chance to participate in an upcoming event this August! I also got to join up at a Barnes and Noble book sale, and now I have a spot waiting whenever I can finish editing my book together! 

Taking the plunge means more than falling flat at times. The moment that you become ready to try again, you're able to push yourself past your limits, break your mold, and then you'll unlock so many opportunities. That's one of the fun things about being a novelist. Sales aren't always there, but you learn more to GET them.

And not just in person. Online too. Remember how I talked about attending Author Takeovers? Part of being a novelist is having a strong online presence in a few places. Not a ton, you don't need to go nuts trying to balance it. Pick two or three places that you frequent already, shape your author pages. I have a Facebook, a Twitter, and I frequent this blog! 

And whatever you don't know... there are plenty of people out there that will help you to grow and learn it in a better fashion. 

Make your mark.


Is It Worth It?

That's probably the weirdest question here. Yes, it's always worth it. You spend a lot of money putting it out there, but there's no denying that you'll feel grateful when it's over, and amazed when a paperback is in your hands.

You are a writer, or you're going to be. You carry creativity in your blood, and if you truly crave it, then it will always remain. Or it will consume you until you break it out. 

The first year in your career will be one of your most difficult, but you earn so much from it. 

Step forward. Your future awaits.