Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow

 I’m really excited to be participating in the cover reveal for very talented author and my Maryland Romance Writers’ chapter-mate, Laurel Wanrow. Her debut novel The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads releases on June 23.
It’s new adult, steampunk fantasy romance and the cover by Craig Shields is GORGEOUS. Pre-order the book now for only $.99!

About the Book:

In 1868 England, the competition to control agriculture is fierce…
 
…and nobody says no to Derby’s industrial magnate.
 
Except Annmar Masterson. The nineteen-year-old rejects his improper advances and instead takes an advertising position on a farm. She discovers the isolated valley is home to gifted species—including animal and plant shifters—who hide their lives from the rest of England. The blue threads only she sees on their clockwork machinery prove her heritage is rooted with theirs, but their world is so different that Annmar doesn’t know if she’ll ever belong.
 
Shapeshifter Daeryn Darkcoat blames himself for the death of his mate and swears he won’t be responsible for another pack. But when the farm he loves falls victim to an endless run of strange pests eating the crops, he joins the hunt, taking charge of an unruly team of predator shifters. In the midst of the battle, Annmar stirs feelings he can’t resist.
 
As Annmar becomes entangled in the fight against the pests, and with Daeryn, she discovers her magic might help…if she can learn to use it properly. If not, she’ll be forced to leave the people she has come to care for and become what she fears most: nothing more than another cog in the magnate’s gears.
 
THE UNRAVELING is a full-length novel, approximately 350 pages, for readers 18+ (new adult and older).
 
Please note: This is volume 1 of a three-part serialized novel. Volumes 2 & 3 will be published in 2015 to complete THE LUMINATED THREADS, a steampunk fantasy romance. To be notified of these releases, sign up for Laurel’s Newsletter.
 
Preorder from Amazon for the special price of only .99 cents! 
 
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Laurel WanrowAbout the Author:
Laurel Wanrow loves misty mornings, the smell of freshly dug earth, petting long-haired guinea pigs and staring at the stars. She sees magic in nature and loves to photograph it.
Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
Visit her online at www.laurelwanrow.com.
To be notified of new releases: Laurel’s Newsletter
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Giveaway:
One (1) winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card, and two (2) winners get paperbacks of The Unraveling by Laurel Wanrow (US/CA/UK)
Ends June 10, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

My Creative Process

The lovely and talented Emily P. DeLoach (author of the fantastic book Escaping the Mirror, which everyone should read) invited me to participate in a blog hop on the creative process. Here is my take:

What am I working on?

Probably way too many projects 🙂 I’m working on the revision of my fantasy romance novel, codename: Earthsinger. I received amazing feedback from my developmental editor, Danielle at Double Vision Editorial, and am busy pulling it all together. I’m also co-writing a paranormal romance serial with my partner-in-crime Nakeesha. We’re sending part one to beta readers today and are digging in to the draft of part two. In the midst of this, last week, I finished the first draft of a story that was nowhere on my writing schedule. It’s called Angelborn, and those 30,000 words just demanded to be written. I actually woke up at reeeally early one Saturday and crawled over my husband to find a pen and paper to start scrawling out ideas. When inspiration strikes, you have to follow!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My fantasy romance doesn’t take place in medieval times, but in a 1920’s-esque world where two races are separated by skin color, magical abilities and five hundred years of war.

I came up with the pseudo-tagline “romance for the head and the heart” because as much as I love fluffy, light stories, I can’t seem to write them. My characters tend to be tortured in some way: societal outcasts, refugees fleeing a brutal dictator, teens coping with a false diagnosis of mental illness, a daughter seeking closure from her dying, abusive father. I don’t see a romantic comedy in my future, though I won’t rule anything out.

Still, at the end of the day, I want my stories to make people feel good. Life is too real for too much realism in your fiction, in my opinion. Hence the magic and the happily ever afters.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I believe you should write the stories you want to read. I write characters of color because I want to read about them, and I believe others out there do as well. I write fantasy and paranormal stories because I want magic to be real, and believe that sometimes it is. Falling in love is the most magical thing of all, and I write love stories so I can experience the wonder over and over again.

How does my creative process work?

Occasionally the lightning bolt will strike and the words will magically flow from my fingers, but most of the time it isn’t like that. These days I get up at 6am every day to write for at least an hour and a half.

I keep a notebook of story ideas like most writers, but I take it one step further. When I have an idea, many times I’ll log in to 750words.com and just start writing a small section of it. Start in the middle and write for ten or fifteen minutes, sometimes longer, just to get it out of my system. I could use Scrivener or Word, but I don’t want to have to worry about filenames and where to put it on my computer, the website saves it and I can go back through all my idea snippets later on and choose one to expand on.

I talked a bit about fast drafting before – dumping out a first draft as quickly as possible helps me coalesce the idea in my mind. Then the second draft is all about fleshing it out, making sure there’s a plot and conflict, goals and motivations, and then a third draft to polish before anyone else looks at it. Critique partners are key to let me know when I’ve gone off the rails and to encourage and motivate me.

 

Tag, you’re it! Up Next on the Blog Hop: Angela D’Ambrosio & Nakeesha Seneb

Angela grew up in a small mountain town in Idaho and graduated at the top of her class of seven. She was born in Boise, Idaho in 1977, the second of four children and the only girl. She still lives in Boise, where she raises three small kids and blogs at http://angelad.me about reading, writing and the human condition. She has been featured in Go Read Your Lunch and IDAHO Magazine.

By trade, Nakeesha is a screenwriter. She wrote and produced for the kids’ programming block of the Black Family Channel. Currently, she teaches screenwriting and digital media production at an art college Washington, DC. She loves being immersed in a story whether it’s on a page or on the screen. Having success with the small screen, she’s turned her attention to the small press. She will be self-pubbing a collaborative shifter paranormal romance in the fall of 2014.

Do you want to play, too? Answer the four questions above and post a link here in the comments!

In Defense of Kissing Strangers

This is a video of people kissing. Not just people. Strangers. You’ve probably seen it, the thing exploded all over the internet last week. I’m told it’s a very good video, but I can’t be certain because I’ve only seen the first minute or so.

Now, I should tell you that I have a problem. (Well, obviously, but let’s tackle one at a time, shall we?) I never grew out of that stage where kids find it uncomfortable to watch people kiss. When I’m alone (or with people who won’t make fun of me) I still cover my eyes and peek through my fingers at couples kissing on television.  Not all the time, but often enough for it to be considered an actual problem.

Why? I’m not really sure. I think kissing is great, it’s fun, it burns calories, not to mention the emotional uplift it provides. I think people, in general, should kiss as much as possible. I just don’t want to see it.

For a long time I thought it was because it’s such a personal activity. I’ve never been a fan of PDA. The world doesn’t need to know or see or hear about everything. And I still feel that way, but it’s probably something a bit deeper than that. I feel the need to look away when that kind of emotional intensity is on display. Even kissing between two strangers who have no emotional connection is extremely intimate.

Even kissing between two strangers who have no emotional connection is extremely intimate.

This is supposed to be a post on why I write romance when I can’t even bear to watch people kissing on a TV screen. Frankly, I’d much rather read about kissing than watch it. I consider myself a visual person, I have a degree in film production and have dabbled in design for a living, I understand the power of the image. Is it that watching intimacy is more or less impactful than reading about it? Which is more immersive?

“The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan famously stated. Watching moments of real intimacy feels intrusive, voyeuristic, like I’m crashing a party when I should be safe at home. Reading about them, however, pulls me in, makes me feel included in the exchange, like my emotional intelligence is necessary for me to understand what’s happening on the page. I don’t feel like an outsider.

I love movies, don’t get me wrong. We probably see 60 movies, in the theater, each year. But I read more than twice that many books last year, the vast, vast majority of them with strong love stories. And when it comes down to what I want to spend my spare time writing, love always wins.